Hugely popular high school baseball series adds some spice to the chain’s chicken burgers in Japan.

McDonald’s is always coming up with clever ideas to keep customers coming back to the Golden Arches. In Japan, that means anime ads, sakura burgers, and fries seasoned with plum flavouring. And now, it means we get to enjoy the fruits of a surprising new collaboration featuring Touch, a nostalgic high school baseball anime from the ’80s.

Written and illustrated by Mitsuru Adachi, Touch was first serialised in manga magazine Weekly Shonen Sunday from 1981 to 1986, quickly going on to become one of the best-selling manga of all time, receiving its own TV anime series in 1985 and spawning anime specials, films, and even a live-action movie in 2005.

Often described as a “timeless masterpiece”, Adachi’s sensitive storytelling and whimsical drawing style etched the series into people’s hearts forever, particularly when–spoiler alert!–one of the main characters died in a shocking plot development that nobody saw coming. 

▼ That character was Kazuya Uesugi.

Kazuya was the beloved younger brother of twin Tatsuya, and before the shock event, the two had been vying for the affections of the girl they grew up next door to, Minami Asakura.

▼ Tatsuya

▼ Minami

With Kazuya literally moments away from fulfilling his dream of playing at the Koshien school baseball championships when he met his demise, the tale of romance, family bonds and baseball that followed was tinged with heightened, bittersweet emotions that remain close to people’s hearts today.

And if a tale can tug at one’s heartstrings, it may just have the power to loosen one’s pursestrings too. Well, that appears to be the marketing plan behind McDonald’s Japan’s newest release, which marks the 30th anniversary of their popular Chicken Tatsuta burger with a play on the name “Tatsuya” and “Touch” that draws up all the heady nostalgia from the beloved series.

▼ Take a look at the new commercial for the Tatsuta burgers here:

The commercial above is for the Chicken Tatsuta (in red lettering) and the Setouchi Lemon Tartare Chicken Tatsuta (yellow lettering), using identical font to the one seen on the original Touch title, which appeared in red. While the look of the ad is very Touch-esque, the soundtrack is too, as it uses the same opening theme song, “Touch“, only instead of “Touch, touch, koko ni touch” (“Touch, touch, here, touch”), the lyrics become “Tatsuta, Tatsuta, Chicken Tatsuta”.

As the song plays, the announcer can be heard saying, “The taste of youth, is it the same as it was then? Or is it bittersweet?” This is in reference not only to the series, but to the two burgers, with one being the original Tatsuta Burger and the other embellished with lemon.

For added impact, the ad recalls the love triangle between the three main characters, only now Minami isn’t choosing between the two boys, she’s choosing between the two burgers instead.

▼ The shorter, 15-second commercial also shows Tatsuya and Kazuya represented by the two burgers.

▼ Specially marked boxes feature each twin, making it even harder to choose between the two.

▼ If you can’t choose between the two burgers, McDonald’s suggests you try the bite-sized Tatsuta pieces in the meantime.

The Tatsuta pieces will be sold in five-piece packs for 500 yen (US$4.83) while the Chicken Tatsuta will retail for 390 yen and the Setouchi Lemon Tatsuta will retail for 420 yen. On sale at McDonald’s branches around the country from 27 January, customers will be hard pressed choosing between them and might just wind up purchasing all three, which actually makes this an impressive marketing campaign.

And if all that talk about Adachi’s beloved characters has you hungry for more manga nostalgia, you might want to take a look back at this list of Weekly Shonen Sunday’s all-time best sellers, where Touch ranked in at a very impressive number two.

Source: McDonald’s Japan
Featured image: McDonald’s Japan
Insert images: YouTube/マクドナルド公式(McDonald’s)(1, 2)

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