Two dreams, in fact. It was a good day for Haruka!

Puyo Puyo is game very similar to Tetris in that you have to race against the clock to clear a screen of little round creatures called Puyo Puyo before it becomes too full. Despite being released more than 30 years ago, the game is still highly popular and is also a huge part of the E-Sports scene in Japan.

Our Japanese-language reporter Haruka Takagi is a huge fan of the game, which she first played in the form of Puyo Puyo 2 for Windows 95 when she was in elementary school. At the time, she didn’t have any game consoles like the Nintendo 64 or a Super Nintendo, or even a Gameboy, so she spent her childhood days playing Puyo Puyo 2 on her family’s computer. Though she was never good enough to beat “Solo Puyo”, she practiced making chains by competing with her sister, so she had a pretty fulfilling gamer life.

▼ The arcade version

The game also came with a small booklet that contained installation instructions, game rules, and strategy guides, but on the very last page was an advertisement for a sweet called Puyo Puyo Manju (shortened to “Puyoman”), which were red bean stuffed sweets with Puyo Puyo faces on them.

Puyoman were made by a company called Compile based on Momiji Manju, which is a popular maple leaf-shaped sweet from Hiroshima Prefecture, and were sold for a few years during the ’90s and early 2000s. You could find them in select stores in Hiroshima City and on Miyajima, a tourist island just a short ferry ride from Hiroshima City, or you could direct order them from Compile. They came in two flavors: red bean and cream, and were sold in packs of ten for 1,000 yen (currently US$6.83).

Haruka wanted them more than anything in the world, but though she begged her parents to buy her some, they never managed to get their hands on a catalogue (there was not much access to the Internet in those days) and never had the chance to visit Hiroshima before they stopped selling Puyoman in 2002, so she never once got to try them.

10 years later, when she finally visited Miyajima, she spotted a standing sign advertising Puyoman covered in dust and stuffed into a forgotten corner of a souvenir shop, and thought sadly, “I guess times have changed…”

Though she wouldn’t say she regretted never getting to try it, Puyoman had nevertheless achieved a legendary status in her mind as the “sweet that never was”.

But not anymore! By some miracle, the Puyo Puyo Manju are back, and Haruka was finally able to achieve her childhood dream of trying them!! She had honestly never thought she would ever have the chance, so she was very excited.

The new Puyoman are made by an old Hiroshima Japanese sweets maker called Heiando Umetsubo in collaboration with Oken, a janitorial service company at which former Compile employee Kenji Ondo now works. They now sell in a pack of four for 1,000 yen.

Under the neatly sealed wrapping paper was a pure white box.

And inside the box was…

Puyo Puyo Manju!

“So cuuuuuuuuuuuuute!!!” cried Haruka, who’d even seen Puyoman in her dreams a child. She was so overcome with emotion that she lost all of her vocabulary. “How could I ever eat these?” she thought.

There were even four different Puyo Puyo faces: normal…



And crying.

They were fairly heavy and looked like they were about 1.5 times larger than regular Momiji Manju. Currently, they only come stuffed with red bean paste, but Haruka heard they may add more flavors in the future.

“I can’t wait to eat it!” she cried, forgetting how she’d said they were too cute to eat only moments before. But before that, there was one thing she had to do…

Beat all the levels of Puyo Puyo 2 Solo Play! Though as a child she couldn’t make it past Stage 2, she wanted to crush the Dark Prince and achieve a final victory, flaunting her success at the end with a victorious bite of a Puyoman.

She fired up her Nintendo Switch and loaded up Puyo Puyo 2, which is available as part of a paid Nintendo Switch Online membership in Japan. With sweaty hands, occasionally yelling at the screen, and panicking at the increasing speed of the dropping Puyos, Haruka progressed stage by stage, until finally, finally, she made it to the end.

It was an unfair match in which only double chains dropped, but somehow, by some miracle, she managed to clear it.

“Did you see that, past me?!” she cried, leaping to her feet in victory. “Future you loves Puyo Puyo just as much as you did!!”

When she’d finally calmed down, she cracked open a Puyoman package.

The dough was soft and fluffy, and had a very sweet smell.

▼ Those big beady eyes actually see the dreams of children… Haruka had to try not to look deeply in them, or she thought she’d never be released.

To keep from drowning in the eyes’ depthless gaze, she quickly broke it in half.

The castella dough was faintly sweet and refreshing, a great complement to the sweet, rich, and thick red bean paste. It was a really rice manju that felt high quality. Haruka could see herself making a habit of eating them. Plus, each one is a substantial size, so just one is fairly satisfying!

Though it may be a specialty snack based on a video game character, it was still a simple, delicious manju. Honestly, it was what you’d expect from a long-standing sweets shop.

If you wish to relive a niche segment of ’90s and early 2000s culture in Japan, you can find these Puyo Puyo Manju from select souvenir shops in Hiroshima Prefecture, which will stock them for a limited time only, as well as Hiroshima-only Heiando Umetsubo stores. If travel to Hiroshima or Miyajima isn’t an option for the near future, you can also order them online from 47 Club Net Shop.

Puyo Puyo fans, don’t miss out on this chance to try a nostalgic, ’90s-era Hiroshima sweet!

Images © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]