Studio Ghibli’s ode to New Year becomes a sell-out hit online.

Whenever retail chain Donguri Kyowakoku adds a new Studio Ghibli product to its already bursting-at-the-seams collection, it runs the risk of selling out on release day, because fans don’t waste time snapping up cute merchandise, especially when it’s an item that features their favourite character.

That’s what ended up happening on 25 November, when the chain released a kagami mochi (a traditional Japanese New Year’s decoration) in the shape of a small Totoro from the Ghibli movie My Neighbour Totoro. The product proved to be so popular it sold out online within hours, which was a disappointing turn of events for our reporter Yuka Koizumi, who only found out about it after it had sold out.

Being a diehard Ghibli fan, Yuka was not about to let this hurdle stand in her way of owning the decoration, so she headed out to her nearest Dobguri Kyowakoku branch, in Kamakura, to see if they had one in store.

The store was busy with customers on a Sunday, so Yuka wasn’t entirely sure if she would have any luck finding the item. However, she saw a New Year’s display in a corner of the shop…

…and in amongst the special New Year’s tenugui and decorations was the product she had been looking for, packaged in a beautiful red-and-white box with plum branches on the front.

Yuka almost squealed in delight as she picked up one of the boxes and took it over to the counter, paying 6,930 yen (US$46.64) for it and triumphantly taking it home.

▼ Now it’s time for the grand unboxing.

Lifting the lid on the box revealed the two main products in the set — the Totoro and the pedestal it sits on — were snugly packed, keeping them safe from any knocks during transit.

From this angle, the Totoro looked as if it were gazing up at Yuka, accepting her as its new companion and begging her to show it some love.

Yuka smiled as she released the Totoro from the confines of its box and laid it out with the pedestal and paper it came with. Traditional kagami mochi displays consist of two mounds of mochi placed on top of each other, with a Japanese citrus fruit called “daidai” on top, which sits on a traditional sheet of paper called shihobeni and a small pedestal known as a sanpo.

▼ The set includes all these items, only with the Totoro cleverly taking the place of the mochi rice cakes.

Ripping the plastic from the adorable creature, Yuka was delighted to find that not only did it look cute, it was hefty as well, feeling a lot heavier than she expected.

▼ Weighty like a mochi rice cake, but a lot cuter.

The small Totoro was beautifully crafted to look exactly like the one from the film, at all angles.

Though it was small enough to sit in the palm of her hand, it was so heavy she decided to place it on the scales for a minute to find out exactly how much it weighed.

▼ According to the product description, the Totoro weighs 761 grams (26.8 ounces), but Yuka’s scales revealed…

▼…its actual weight was 807 grams!

Its near-kilo mass gave it a high-quality feel, while also helping to keep it safely in place on the stand.

Compared to Yuka’s other Ghibli companions, many of which had been purchased in blind boxes like the ones below, the Totoro was like a massive overlord watching over them all.

▼ A massive overlord but a friendly one, helping to usher in a good New Year for all.

Yuka couldn’t help but laugh when she put the actual Totoro next to the so-called small white one on the pedestal. This threw the scale off completely but Yuka didn’t mind — mochi rice cakes are white, not grey after all, and given the importance of New Year in Japanese culture, it seemed only right that this decoration was larger than everything else in her collection.

It was a wonderful addition to her brood, and it just goes to show that if a new Ghibli item is sold out online all is not lost, as you might still be able to find it in an actual bricks-and-mortar Donguri Kyowakoku location.

It was a move that certainly paid off for Yuka, who is absolutely thrilled with her purchase and now looks forward to spending New Year’s with it, after sending out her Ghibli-stamped nengajo cards.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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