Anime tie-in turns out, unexpectedly, to be exactly what it promised.

Spy x Family has been following the standard arc for a hit franchise. The manga debuted in 2019, building up a solid reader base through word of mouth and leading to an anime TV series adaptation which just started airing this month. It’s now popular enough that various merchandise and collaboration projects have started showing up, including a partnership with Japanese confectioner Marukawa Seika in the form of Spy x Family gum.

With various illustrations on the anime’s cast on the wrapper, the gum’s Spy x Family tie-in is easy to see, and Japanese Twitter user @Lucky_______A, being a big fan of the series, wasted no time opening it up. The four sticks of gum (peach, green apple, yogurt, and cola flavors) slid right out.

But what really @Lucky_______A really wanted to get at was the character art sticker that was surely inside too, right? Except…

…there was no sticker.

That’s when @Lucky_______A took another, longer look at the gum’s wrapper and realized that it makes no mention of a sticker, figure, or any other sort of prize or character trinket being included. The Spy x Family Gum, as the product is officially called, is just that: gum.

But hey, on the plus side, Spy x Family Gum only costs 54 yen (US$0.44), and even if you’re not a huge gum chewer, four pieces should go pretty quick right? The thing is…

…@Lucky_______A bought an entire box, with what looks to be about 20 packs!

This kind of investment isn’t unusual for otaku. If there’s a cross-promotion that includes some sort of prize, usually there are a number of different designs, with a random one in each package. Buying an entire box generally means you can get the whole set, and while you’ll also end up with some duplicates, you can give your extras to friends who are fellow fans, or even sell them on the secondhand market. Again, though, that’s if there’s an included freebie. In this case, though, there’s not, meaning that @Lucky_______A now just has a huge stockpile of gum.

The confusion might have partly stemmed from the fact that back in the fall of 2020 there actually was a Spy x Family gum, from a different manufacturer, that did come with three stickers in each pack out of a possible 25 designs, as pictured below.

The new product from Marukawa Seika, though, is, again, simply called Spy x Family Gum, with no promise of stickers.

“Seriously bawling my eyes out,” tweeted @Lucky_______A with the video. “This makes me just a gum shopping otaku.” Commenters were quick to sympathize, even if they couldn’t help seeing the comedy contained in this tragedy.

“I think I’d have done the same thing.”
“You’d totally expect for there to be some kind of prize inside, wouldn’t you? Well, enjoy all the jaw exercise you’ve got coming up.”

“It’d be one thing if you’d just bought one or two packs, but the entire box? That’s rough, but I gotta laugh too.”
“Looks like you’ll be living the gum life for a while.”

There are, at least a few possible silver linings here. One commenter pointed out that some 100 yen shops sell kits to make your own pin badges with, and since the illustrations on the wrappers are quite nice, @Lucky_______A could use them to make a few (there are three different wrapper designs). Another offered the hopeful scenario that the next time a company wants to make some sort of Spy x Family candy they’ll look at the strong sales for the gum (bolstered by @Lucky_______A’s bulk purchase) and say “Hey, since the fan base is so supportive, we can afford to throw in a cool freebie.”

If nothing else, gum doesn’t go bad that quickly, so @Lucky_______A can take their time chewing through the mistake, while the rest of us get a reminder to always make sure we know exactly what we’re buying.

Source: Twitter/@Lucky_______A vis Jin
Top image: Twitter/@Lucky_______A
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