I came across this strange collaboration between Lawson convenience store, Kirin beverages, and this weird nameko (fungi) character today. I noticed that he had a CD as well as a tie-up with Hello Kitty as well. After several minutes of confusion, I found out that this little dude was a character from a game called Touch Detective on the Nintendo DS.
I’m sure many of you are thinking, “ah, so the Japanese marketing answer is collaborations,” but this critter seems to have quite an amount of notoriety and he may even be better known the Nameko rather than a character from the DS game. He has his own website, merch, and CD for crying out loud! The marketing answer in Japan is to create a minor strange character and have it sing and dance so that you can make dough off of its merchandise. And to be honest with you, this little guy is growing on me. Who could resist that helpless looking thing offering you a chicken nugget or the one holding the bottle of milk tea with love and care?
His website, Nameko Paradise, is quite entertaining. They have a comic strip, video, and recipe sections among others. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of effort being put into this character. I guess you never know what’s going to turn into a big money maker!