Famous anime voice actor voices flavor that’s stepping out of the spotlight after 40 years.

Hi-Chew’s popularity in America is a relatively recent thing, but the chewy fruit-flavored candies have been one of Japan’s favorite snacks since the 1970s. Part of the reason for its sustained success is that confectioner Morinaga is perpetually tinkering with the flavor lineup, adding new varieties and pruning those that have slipped in appeal, and sadly than means that a flavor that’s been around for four decades is being retired from solo circulation.

On Tuesday, Morinaga announced that it is phasing out the 12-piece Hi-Chew Green Apple pack, which was introduced in 1982. What’s more, Morinaga revealed that production of the 12-piece Green Apple packs has already concluded with the end of August.

In recognition of Green Apple’s service to the company and the joy it brought to fans, Morinaga has released a series of goodbye videos, giving Green Apple a chance to say its farewells to coworkers and fans, starting with one in which it breaks the news to fellow veteran Hi-Chew flavor Strawberry.

In addition to “Auld Lang Syne” (which in Japan has more of a general goodbye/end-of-the-day image), you’ll hear the voice of voice actor Tomokazu Sugita (Suzumiya Haruhi’s Kyon, Gintama’s Gintoki, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’s Joseph Joestar), who’s portraying Green Apple.

Green Apple: “Strawberry, the truth is, I’ve gone out of produciton.”
Strawberry: “What? Really?”
Green Apple: “Yeah. Thank you, for everything you ever did for me.”
Strawberry: “What are you saying? It’s not like you to come right out and say it like that. I’ll miss you so much.”
Green Apple: “Strawberry…”
Strawberry: “I’m sorry, I can’t…”
Green Apple: “Strawberry!”

Such a touching exchange…that is, until we get a zoom-in for Strawberry’s intended inner monologue (which she’s actually saying out-loud).

Strawberry: “Ahh, it’s just Green Apple that’s getting retired. Good. Hahaha!”
Green Apple: “Umm…I can hear you.”

In Japan, the senpai/kohai (senior/junior) relationship is an important part of the workplace environment, and following the news of his 12-piece retirement, Green Apple also spoke with one of his kohai (junior), spinoff line’s Umai-Chew Aoringo. Aoringo translates to “green apple,” and if you’re wondering why Aoringo gets to continue in his current capacity while Green Apple doesn’t, well, you’re not the only one.

Aoringo: “Hey, senpai, thanks for all yer hard work for 40 years!”
Green Apple: “Who are you?”
Aoringo: “I’m Aoringo, with that fresh new Umai-Chew texture!”
Green Apple: “Umai-Chew Aoringo? What makes you any different from me, Green Apple?!?”
Aoringo: “Well, ya know, like, if ya bite me, I’ve got a crisp outer layer, but then my flavor is all like ‘heeyyyyy’ in your mouth. I mean, basically, I’m totally different from you, Green Apple.”
Green Apple: “Hahahaha!…So you’ve got jokes, huh.”

Aoringo: “Senpai, you OK?”
Green Apple: “You’ve got jokes.
Aoringo: “You…you got a scary look on your face…”
Green Apple: “Let me take a bite out of you CHOMP.”

And in a final video, Green Apple took a moment to address us directly.

Green Apple: “And so, everyone, the time has come to say goodbye. I, Green Apple, am being retired. Thank you, thank you so much for these 40 yea-.”

Mom: “The store’s closing. Hurry up and pick out which flavor of Hi-Chew you want.”
Son: “OK.”

Green Apple: “Wa- wa- wa- wa- wa- wait! Let me finish what I’m- AGHHHHHH!

Humorous tone aside, it’s entirely in keeping with Japanese cultural values for a company to take a moment to thank customers for supporting a product as it’s being retired, even if the reason for the phase-out is because of diminished demand. Those who remain loyal to Green Apple and aren’t interested in that brash young upstart Aoringo will be happy to know that while Morinaga is no longer making the 12-piece Green Apple-only pack, Green Apple will still be available in assorted-flavor packs mixed in with Grape and Strawberry pieces (although we have a feeling things are going to be awkward between Green Apple and Strawberry).

Source: Oricon News via Livedoor News via Otakomu
Top image: YouTube/森永製菓
Insert images: YouTube/森永製菓 (1, 2, 3)
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he really, REALLY wants Morinaga to bring back the orange-flavor Ice Box.