Friday, June 25, 2010
The good characters!
In this series of post, dissecting the (ab)use of image characters here in Japan, I have focused on some of the worst that this country has to offer. But to give a fair and balanced view to this, I thought I should also highlight some characters that I actually think work reasonable well in context.
The role model of uniquely developed image characters here should be the Japanese Railways company JR, they are divided up into sections according to region but have adopted regional systems for paperless electronical tickets (touch and go pre-loaded cards) and have adopted use of image characters to promote these and illustrate the use of the tickets in advertisements and commercials. East JR with the SUICA card utilizes a penguin, West JR with the similar ICOCA card uses a platypus and Central JR with the TOICA card uses a happy little chicken.
In addition, they seem to have had some sense and reason in coordinating these characters to match and work together (although in the Tokyo region we basically just see the Penguin). But I should raise a red flag here; there are other railway companies that utilizes a similar and compatible system as JR but who have much, much worse taste in picking their mascots and that is perhaps the target of an in-depth investigation at a later stage...