More photos of Funassyi and Antony in Antarctica. They’re now on the boat heading back to Argentina.
Although Funassyi is known for always maintaining a cheerful attitude, Antony tweeted that it was a “hard trip” and that “by the time I’m back in Japan, I will have grown up”. Let’s hope he gets a career boost as a result of the exposure the program will give him.
The day before Funassyi’s new anime series starts, a Funassyi-cameo in a venerated anime series will come to an end. The weekly 30 minute airing of Chibi Maruko-chan every Sunday evening has two episodes. At the end ofnd of the first episode, just before the commercial break, there’s a mini-game where you guess what kind of fruit will come out of Maruko-chan’s basket. Since February 15th, Funassyi has been hiding in the basket, emerging to hold up a fruit. This cameo will end this Sunday, March 29th. The Chibi Maruko-chan/Funassyi collaboraretion merchandise should still be available while supplies last, such as the magnet in the last picture above, at the official ANi-CUTE Japan Animation store in Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, Kiddyland in Harajuku and online, e.g. Amazon Japan.
The evolution of Funassyi, part 15: Funassyi is thrown to the ground and becomes an overnight sensation
On February 5, 2013, the popular morning news and entertainment program Sukkiri! had a segment about the Asahi Juuroku Cha (Asahi Sixten Tea) commercial. Although the segment was about the fact that so many yuru-chara were being used in a major TV commercial, to one of the co-hosts, comedian/actor Koji Kato one yuru-chara in particular stood out - a little known yet strangely hyperactive yellow pear fairy.
A week later on February 12, 2013, the program invited Funassyi to the studio; the video above shows that event. Kato is astonished when, during the intro video, the announcer explains that Funassyi is “an individual doing this [being a yuru-chara representing Funabashi] on his own”. Later on, when Funassyi challenges Kato to a sumo wrestling match, Kato throws Funassyi across the studio under the table. Funassyi rolls face first into the table legs. Kato even throws Funassyi to the floor a second time. (Kato has a reputation for going all-out and not holding back when performing such stunts on TV; a few months before the Funassyi segment, he was heavily criticised by some fans when he seemed to kick Mayu Watanabe of AKB48 in the head.)
Near the end of the segment, Kato makes a prophetic remark - that “Funassyi may become a big star”.
Whether it was all staged or not, Kato’s interactions with the pear fairy made Funassyi an overnight nationwide sensation. Offers poured in after this, and Funassyi’s life was changed forever.
(Note that Funassyi is still speaking quite oddly, but his speech pattens will change a lot in the coming months.)
Top: Funassyi on a lifeboat*! It wasn’t because of any crisis, it was to try to get close to some whales. Still, this picture makes me wonder again whether there was any actual danger to our favorite pear fairy during this expedition. It looks like Fuji TV used a regularly scheduled Antarctica cruise, but still…
The bottom photo shows Funassyi leading people on the boat in a rousing round of Funa Funa Funassyi, his debut single. Funafunafu! Funafuna fu fu! Hyahaa!
*(ETA: The Guy at We Love Funassyi HQ says it’s a runabout, not a lifeboat.)
Funassyi, Antony, and beautiful Antarctica. Wow.
The official website for Funassyi’s upcoming anime series, Funassyi no Funafunafuna Biyori ふなっしーのふなふなふな日和 (Funassyi’s Funafunafu Days) has gotten an update, which includes a cast and staff list. The three main characters are Funassyi, Guressyi - the pink angry looking thing on the right, voiced by Lynn, and the Nashigami (Pear God), pictured top left, who will be voiced by Naoki Tatsuta.
The short-anime series will make its debut on March 30th during the Sukkiri! morning program.
There’s an ever-growing number of special Funassyi versions of products, many that already exist, that seek to take advantage of the pear fairy’s popularity. This is a rather interesting one: disposable toilet cleaning sheets. Michigaeru Toilet Cleaner from Elleair, a major household products manufacturer, already has its own mascot, the black frog on the label (the”gaeru” part of “Michigaeru” can also mean “frog”), but it never hurts to be endorsed by a celebrity. The sheets are printed with a Funassyi design, and have a refreshing Asian pear (nashi) scent.
The Funassyi-themed toilet cleaner sheets went on sale on March 21, 2015 and will be available for a limited time. Another Funassyi themed cleaning product, disposable disinfecting wipes, will go on sale on April 21, 2015.
Coincidentally, the doyenne of the character world Hello Kitty recently lent her august image to Johnson & Johnson for one of their Scrubbling Bubbles toilet cleaning products. (You collect points by purchasing the product to get a Hello Kitty tote bag.) Mascots sell!
Sources (both Japanese):
Funassyi and Antony are now heading home after a successful Antarctica location shoot. They got some pretty amazing shots if the photos are any indication.
The evolution of Funassyi, part 14: Funassyi’s first TV commercial
In late 2012, ad agency Hakuhodo contacted the Japan Gotouchi Chara Association. They were looking to cast several gotouchi/yuru chara in a new commercial for Asahi Ju-Roku Cha (Asahi Sixteen Tea), a popular brand of bottled green tea, starring actress-singer-model Yui Aragaki aka Gakky (she’d been starring in commercials for the tea brand for some time). The Gotouchi Chara Association is the same group that runs the Yuruchara Summit in Hanyu. One of the chara eventually chosen for the commercial was Funassyi.
The video here shows two versions of the commercial which ran in the Kanto area (where Tokyo is as well as Chiba, where Funabashi is located) in early 2013. Funassyi is a bit more visible in these versions than in the national or other region versions (see the national version here), but he’s still just one of the crowd. He’s quite small compared to the other mascots, but he does stand out for being much more mobile and twitchy than the others.
This TV commercial got quite a lot of attention in the Japanese media at the time. It was seen as a sign that yuruchara should be paid serious attention to, and how businesses could work with them. As for Funassyi, the commercial as well as his appearance at a press event for it led to perhaps the biggest break of his career.
As I mentioned yesterday, there are 2 Funassyi games coming out soon for the Nintendo 3DS. The first one, called 梨汁ブシャー!! ふなっしー VS DRAGONS - Pear Juice Bushaa!! Funassyi vs. Dragons by Rocket Company will be released on March 26, 2015. It’s a Funassyi themed version of the wildly popular Puzzle & Dragons game. Besides the game, it has extra features such as “Take a photo with Funassyi”, where you can insert Funassyi into a photo, and a song recorded specially for the game.
The retail price is 5,184 yen, but it’s available for a discount from various places. On Amazon Japan you can pay the full price get a screen cleaner and download special wallpaper for your smartphone, or get it without the extra for 1,000 yen less.
- Official Funassyi vs. Dragons page (The video above is the official promo video.)
(Note: I don’t know if the game requires a Japanese version of the 3DS - probably so, judging from Nintendo’s past history.)
Glutamic acid: konbu seaweed, tomatoes, onions & the onion family (leeks etc), some types of fish fish, green tea, Parmesan and other aged cheeses, green peas, Chinese and Western cabbage, soy beans (Also, human milk is pretty high in glutamic acid!)
Inosinic acid: Bonito flakes, meat and poultry in general (beef, pork, chicken, etc), some other types of fish (it seems fish have both glutamic and inosinic acids, with some varieties having more of one than the other.)
Guanylic acid: Dried mushrooms such as shiitake and porcini
Some concentrated "natural" sources of these acids include miso, soy sauce and other fermented soy bean products, hard aged cheeses as mentioned above, yeast extracts like Marmite and Vegemite.
Modern flavor-enhancing type products (e.g. in the US Accent, Spike etc.) contain at least one of the above, plus other flavors and sodium chloride (salt). With such flavor enhancers, what makes them taste different is what other flavors they add to the basic umami substances, e.g. beef flavor, chicken flavor, etc.
A small percentage of the population may have glutamate sensitivity, which may have to do with the amount consumed. In terms of scientific research, too much salt causes more health damage than MSG. (This is an area that I've changed my opinion on quite a bit over the years...)
Relatedly, I was reading something the other day by a Japanese chef, and according to him the best, all-rounded dashi (which, by the way, just means "stock" in the end) is made by combining glutamic acid or glutamates, which largely comes from vegetable sources, and inosinic acid, which comes from animal sources. This is why the combination of bonito flakes (very rich in inosinic acid) with konbu seaweed (ditto for glutamic acid - possibly the highest natural source) makes such a satisfying dashi. A good ramen soup, for example, usually uses konbu as well as chicken and pork bones etc. Onions and garlic are also pretty high in glutamic acid, as are soy beans and green peas. The way to best extract the umami elements from each ingredient is where the skill of the chef comes into play.
Something to think about next time you're making a soup! ^_^
You Think You Know Umami
Funassyi and Antony seem to be finally enjoying some clear weather in Antartica. The iceberg in the bottom photo looks like Gundam’s left foot to Funassyi.
Birdie, the yuru-chara of GreeNYC New York City’s environmental initiative, who had a yuru-chara summit with Funassyi when the latter was in New York recently, seems to be following the Antarctica expedition too.
(The song used is Attakaindakara (Because It's So Warm) by comedy duo Kumamushi, a big hit and a major earworm.)
ハウスシチューのCM × クマムシ【あったかいんだから～♪】
・ 特別なスープ あなたにあげる あったかいんだから～
Top: Funassyi and Antony sitting in the snow, with penguins all around. (The 2 in the front look like they’re coming after Funassyi…)
Bottom: Funassyi in a penguin suit.
Funassyi reports that they finally got some great shots, including a sequence with him on a piece of floating ice. They have 3 more days of shooting in Antarctica before they head home.
Nintendo Japan released a Funassyi theme for the Nintendo 3DS yesterday, March 18, 2015. Titled “Funassyi to Yukai na Kyoudai 01” (Funassyi and his Fun Siblings 01)”, it features Funassyi, his 56th sibling Funagoro and several other pear fairy siblings (Funassyi is the 4th of 274 siblings, according to official legend) that appear in ふなっしーのめいっしー - Funassyi no Meisshii (Funassyi’s Name Cards), a collectible card series.
The theme is from Bandai Namco, who issues the Funassyi cards, even though Funassyi’s upcoming 3DS games (more on that later) are from Success and Rocket Company, presumably because they own the rights or have some kind of control over the images. The theme is priced at 200 yen.
Personally I’m especially intrigued by the dancing Funassyi underpants.
The “Funassyi and his Fun Siblings 01” anime shows a few of the Funa siblings.
- Funassyi to Yukai na Kyoudai 01 on the Nintendo Japan 3DS site
- Funalog, the Funassyi site operated by Bandai Namco; Funassyi no Meisshi page