If you have been in Japan for more than a few weeks this past decade you are almost bound to have heard of or seen the massively popular adventure TV game, Monster Hunter by the game company Capcom. When I was visiting Tokyo’s seaside Odaiba district the other day I came across a massive pop-up store based on the game, it was almost like a little theme park with a couple of huge and incredibly well done blow up monsters. The monsters were hugely popular with tourists and kids, most of whom I doubt have ever played the game itself! There was even corner inside the store where you can practice roasting the meat of your hunted monsters, every time you roasted it well the little meat roasting tune would sound and you’d get bonus points – a hilarious little detail that you can only understand if you have played the game. I have, for about 3 hours, many years ago. There’s even a video on Youtube with 173,822 hits of some guy playing the meat roasting tune on a recorder!
Even if you aren’t much interested in games it is good to remember at least the title of this game, it is easily one of the most popular games in Japan right now, with quite a cosplay following as well! Click the Monster Hunter tag to get all my posts about Monster Hunter!
When you have successfully merged yourself with the cat herself, Hello Kitty, you have officially entered a new and elevated rank in the pantheon of characters and cultural phenomena! Latest to achieve that honor is the cat from the hugely successful Monster Hunter game, Airu! Airu went from being a rather bland pet character in the online role playing game to becoming a huge character in itself, spawning hordes of games, toys, spin offs, comics etc. Capcom even created a game based on just this cat character called Airu Village (you can see the trailer at Youtube).
Here’s a photo of Airu and Hello Kitty mashed up, as well as some plushies that were on sale in the Capcom booth at the latest Wonder Festival! I don’t have time to play the games, but I just love this cat! By the way, I hope you didn’t miss all the other Monster Hunter related posts I have done, over here, here and here.
The most impressive cosplay at this summer’s Wonder Festival was without question this troupe of cosplayers doing their version Capcom’s massive game hit, Monster Hunter. In recent years Monster Hunter (or “Monhan” as it is shortened here in Japan) cosplayers have become the most numerous and usually make up about one third of all cosplayers at any major event. This group had amazing costumes and a very coordinated group outfit, but most impressive was the poor guy (it was over 30 degrees in the shade, and very humid) inside the monster mount suit! He barely moved as the troupe spent hours posing for photographers and fellow cosplayers. Later on I caught them checking out a show inside the festival so I snapped a picture (even though you are not supposed to, very bad manners) just to show you how the suit looks half-worn! That guy is a real hero! I’m happy for the sake of his back though, that he didn’t actually do any poses with the rest of this team astride on his back!
You might have heard of one of the most popular video games in recent Japanese history, Monster Hunter? I see this game played on PSP devices on trains and cafes almost daily, it even got to the point where a friend lent me her game so that I could try it out. I soon rediscovered my general disinterest in games but I must say it’s a beautiful game, and very detailed. One of the most popular characters, obviously, is a cat, called Airu (アイルー). Originally a sidekick to the main hero, he/she soon developed a solid fan base and now there’s games devoted just to this lovable cat (see for example Capcom’s Pokapoka Airu no Mura).
This being Japan there’s also several figures, toys and other kinds of goods available with this character, and not to mention a thriving fan-based maker communtiy. One maker of Airu figures that I discovered in this year’s Wonder Festival is Mimishiki (耳式) who created some excellent and very cute posable Airu figures, as you can see in the first three photos of this post.
The last photo is figures from the Pokapoka game, Airu and his friends. If you claim an interest in Japan or all things Japanese, Airu is a character you should now about!
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