Definitely not a conventionally kawaii character.

A few weeks ago the organizers of Expo 2025, the upcoming World Expo scheduled to be held in Osaka three years from now, announced that they’d narrowed down their pool of candidates for the event’s official mascot to three finalists. This being Japan, it’s easy to assume that this would be a difficult decision between a trio of instantly adorable, disarmingly cute characters, right?


…all three would-be goodwill ambassadors for Expo 2025 are pretty disturbing. OK, Candidate A looks like it could have a sort of quirky charm, but Candidates B and C, with their irregularly shaped rings of eyes, definitely show stronger concentrations of creepiness than cuteness.

And yet, after taking the past few weeks to sift through public reactions to the three candidates, Expo 2025’s organizers have made their decision, and it won’t be Candidate A representing the event, nor Candidate B, but Candidate C, arguably the most frightening of the group.

“We have decided on the character design,” tweets the Expo 2025 official Twitter account. “We will raise it as a character that people all over the world will love and feel a sense of attachment to,” the statement adds, but that promise might be hard to keep, judging from online reactions to the decision, such as:

“When children see this character walking around, they’re totally going to start crying and screaming.”
“Out of the three candidates, Candidate C is the one I’d bet is most likely to laugh to itself while eating human beings.”
“So they’re prepared not to sell any merch, right?”
“No way I’d buy a plushie, or anything else with that character on it.”
“What’s up with that bulging crotch?”
“It’s like they took [Sesame Street’s] Elmo, melted his body, [and put it on Cookie Monster].”

One commenter pointed out some visual similarities between the mascot character and the Winter Lanterns, a type of enemy in video game Bloodborne that cause insanity when looked at…

…while another felt the Expo 2025 mascot could sub seamlessly into the crime-against-nature-and-morality homunculus created by the most reviled villain in manga/anime Fullmetal Alchemist

…and yet another drew a comparison to the half-decomposed God Warrior from Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

However, while Twitter reactions to the chosen design have been overhwlemingly negative, there are a few dissenting, supportive opinions, like:

“What? I think it’s super cute…”
“Candidate C was the most psychotic-looking of the three, and I want to thank them for going with something out of the ordinary.”
“Rather than trying to mix weird and cute in a diluted way, amplifying the character’s weirdness will create a more lasting impression…so I think they made the right choice.”

It’s worth noting that when Osaka hosted the Expo ’70 world’s fair in 1970, the artistic focal point of the festivities was the Tower of the Sun, which itself is pretty strange looking but nonetheless is now regarded by many as an important piece of public art.

▼ The Tower of the Sun still stands in Osaka today, and has even had its own line of capsule toys.

Whether Candidate C will go on to earn the respect and reverence the Tower of the Sun now enjoys remains to be seen, but at the very least the people of Osaka have three years to wrap their heads around Expo 2025’s mascot with eyeballs wrapped around itself.

Source: Twitter/@expo2025_japan
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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