Soapbox: How One Giant Vegetable Highlights The Concern With Japan-Solely Merch

Whereas perusing information on the upcoming launch of Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive City – a sport I’m reviewing, and a collection I really like – I stumbled upon one thing particular: a restricted version turnip plushie, obtainable solely in Japan.

I… love the large turnip…

And, you see, the factor is, I would like the Large Turnip. However extra than simply that – I would like what Japan has. It looks as if at the least as soon as per week, I discover myself writing a information piece about some cool new factor obtainable solely in Japan – Pokémon themed manhole covers, Mario sandwiches, and, in fact, the whole lot of Tremendous Nintendo World. This Turnip, the squishiness of which I’ll by no means know, stays locked away by oceans, and the shortage of cash in my checking account. Additionally, the pandemic, I suppose.

The Giant Neep is considered one of Japan’s many treats to have fun the twenty fifth anniversary of the Bokujo Monogatari collection – that is Story of Seasons, in English – and may be gained as a prize at varied arcades throughout the nation. It coincides with the newest launch of a BokuMono sport: Pioneers of Olive City, which, in keeping with Famitsu (h/t Fogu) has offered simply 236,000 copies in its first two weeks in the marketplace.

Third-party merch makers like Fangamer are doing great work
Third-party merch makers like Fangamer are doing nice work (Picture: Fangamer/ConcernedApe)

Such issues are a lot much less potential within the West, for quite a lot of causes. The gaming panorama is rather more dominated by home-grown releases, like Fortnite, Amongst Us, Fall Guys, Minecraft, and so forth. Folks simply aren’t making merch for Harvest Moon video games, as a result of who would purchase it?

Positive, some individuals (like me) would – however the video games simply aren’t as common within the West as they’re in Japan, and we do not have the identical cultural panorama. Japan has arcades, gachapon machines, and usually a a lot better view of video games – they are much extra within the mainstream than they’re over right here, despite the fact that the video games trade is at the moment greater than Hollywood and North American sports activities mixed.

A selection of Nintendo's American online store...
A choice of Nintendo’s American on-line retailer… (Picture: Nintendo America)
...versus a selection from Nintendo's Japanese online store
…versus a variety from Nintendo’s Japanese on-line retailer (Picture: Nintendo Japan)

I have been to Comedian-Con and PAX, and spent an unlucky sum of money on Stardew Valley pin badges and posters (this one, particularly), which had been all stunning and well-made, however I would like BIG TURNIP, too. I would like to have the ability to present my love for the smaller Japanese-made video games that folks in Europe and North America love, like Ace Lawyer and BokuMono, with the identical love and care that they recover from there.

Me, my girlfriend, and her $500, four-foot-tall Neep
Me, my girlfriend, and her $500, four-foot-tall Neep (Picture: Marvelous)

Something with a Nintendo stamp on it, from Mario and Zelda to Pokémon and Animal Crossing, makes it over (though Japan nonetheless will get higher My Nintendo rewards, and that fluffy Gelato Pique line of Nook-themed loungewear is Japan-only, too), however it could be fantastic to have some appreciation for the third-party stuff that is been bolstering Nintendo’s roster of video games for a very long time.

Did I simply write a number of hundred phrases as a result of I desire a three-foot squishy vegetable in my home? Sure. I need to be like that meme concerning the woman with the $500 greenback, four-foot-tall Mareep, and I am certain my accomplice would really feel equally to the chap within the photograph. However, as terrible as it’s to be that Nintendo fan that complains that they can not purchase extra toys… I might love to have the ability to purchase extra toys.

Those that make it to Canada (the place I at the moment reside) are both super-boring, fundamental plushes, or they’re off-model ones offered in native Japanese import outlets that appear to be Pikachu’s being haunted by a Victorian orphan ghost. I do know I should not be spending cash on, you understand, Pokémon tat, however the factor is, I principally do not. The merch we recover from right here – at the least the official stuff – simply would not do it for me.

On the left, a Zelda hoodie from the America store. On the right, a Zelda sweatshirt from the Japan store - with unique art, and no logo
On the left, a Zelda hoodie from the America retailer. On the suitable, a Zelda sweatshirt from the Japan retailer – with distinctive artwork, and no emblem (Picture: Nintendo of Japan/America)
Just look at this lovely teapot!
Simply take a look at this beautiful teapot!

The high-quality, generally bizarre stuff that Japan will get – Pokémon miniatures, Kirby lip balm, and this pleasingly plump Snom plush that I discovered whereas researching this text (I made a noise of anguish so loud that my accomplice got here in to ensure I used to be okay) – that is the stuff that will bankrupt me. And sure, I can import it, however I am not made of cash – I am manufactured from flesh, bones, and an timeless love for giant, squishy issues.

We cowl Japan-only stuff so much on right here, as a result of it is at all times fairly cool to have a look at. If we ever make it over to the nation that gave us this web site’s namesake, then you possibly can wager we’ll be heading to the Kirby Café, and emptying our wallets in Akihabara, as a result of we’re simply horrible online game nerds. We’re glad that Japan will get such well-made, beautiful stuff. Nevertheless it’s an indication that video video games simply aren’t fairly as embedded in mainstream tradition over right here, and that is not more likely to change quickly.

Till then, there’s at all times Sugoi Mart. I can go with out groceries for a yr, proper?