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...

6 comments:

RMilner said...

It think it is so awesome that Japan has so many overlapping train card systems.

What is the mascot character for Pasmo?

Mr. Salaryman said...

Rmilner - I think PASMO has that pink robot dude, a pretty standard character, neither outrageously bad nor particularly good or cute either...
(checked it out, here he is http://pasmosuica.up.seesaa.net/image/pasmo.bmp )

ThePenguin said...

I have of course gone to great lengths to ensure my places of residence and employment are connected by a JR East line.

I wonder why they didn't try and put a face on the melon.

Didn't you cover the inscrutable Keisei panda before?

Sakie and Thomas Gantz said...

Which one is the robot with roller skates for feet. I thought that was also Suika. I actually kind of liked that robot. :-)

Mr. Salaryman said...

Penguin - Yep, it seems like the character designers hard at work at JR at least had sense enought to realize that a penguin is a bit cuter than a watermelon... Yep, the Keisei Panda is one really horrible example...

S&T - That's the PASMO pink robot dude, not a big fan but don't really hate on it either

Martin said...

I thought the cute animals were plunging to their death while skydiving without parachutes?

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