Category Archives: japanese novelty goods

Chilled, green tea, sweet potato and more mark 40 years of Japan’s Hi-Chew candy

Morinaga’s Hi-Chew is one of Japan’s favorite candies. Its popularity has spread across the world and you can often find different flavors of Hi-Chew at your local store. Fans have gone to great lengths to show their appreciation for the flavorful chewy snack over the years, including our Japanese team who once even created their own giant Hi-Chew, thus disproving the old adage that “bigger is better”.

Now, to celebrate the candy’s 40th anniversary, Morinaga is releasing some special new flavors and an extra-special version of their most popular flavor that will become the first refrigerated Hi-Chew in history.

Since the candy was first released in 1975, there have been more than 130 different flavors of Hi-Chew, so coming up with a series of new flavors to celebrate the anniversary couldn’t have been an easy task. Morinaga didn’t even figure out their most popular flavor until 1992 when they released the grape version. That great taste took off, proving to be popular with both children and adults. Perhaps for this reason, the company decided to go back to grape for one of their commemorative 40th anniversary Hi-Chews.

Named the “Shocking Hi-Chew”, this special candy is made with 100% grape fruit juice. This new rendition of a classic flavor packs a huge blast of grape flavor and completely melts in your mouth. It will be available in convenience stores Japan-wide for 298 yen (US$2.41) starting August 4 and is certainly something to try before it’s gone.

▼ Don’t forget to refrigerate the 100% real fruit juice!

hi chew 1

Also available throughout Japan will be five special flavors packaged in a 40th anniversary box for 850 yen ($6.86). The five flavors chosen for the occasion are Uji green tea, purple sweet potato, kinako mochi, affogato and grilled corn. Some of these flavors may seem a little unconventional, but Hi-Chew has had some odd flavors in the past including fresh mint and sour plum.

hi chew 2

Whether you are looking for something traditional or something new, this 40th anniversary celebration will be a wild ride for your taste buds. You’d better be sure to punch your ticket soon as they will likely only be around for a limited time.

Let us know what to get for you, and remember at japanwebshopping there is no minimal order, we go to the shop, buy and send you that one pack of hi-chew and only charge you 5% commission of the price of that sole package!

New children’s superhero BABYTECTOR comes straight out of the womb ready for action!

Usually when people think of a superhero, they imagine someone big or strong, like Captain America or Baymax from Big Hero 6. That said, it’s important to remember that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when it comes to superheroes, Japan has quite the variety. But among Japanese good guys, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Anpanman, a superhero made out of anpan, a bean jam-filled pastry, definitely has a monopoly on the baby and toddler market. However that might be about to change with 441LABO’s newest superhero, Newborn Hero BABYTECTOR.

Newborn Hero BABYTECTOR, or Shinseiji BABYTECTOR as he’s called in Japanese, is a superhero figure series by hobby company 441LABO born of the concept of a fighting baby.

BABYTECTOR was designed by artist Shoichi Mukai, who modeled the original version after his newborn son. In the light of child abuse and other real world problems that affect young children, Mukai came up with the idea of having children protecting other children instead of relying on outside society to intervene. The original design for BABYTECTOR incorporated diaper and pacifier-like elements as part of its armor for protection from all those big ol’ baddies lurking out there.


At first only the original BABYTECTOR design was up for sale, retailing at 15,800 yen (approx. US$128) each, but recently LABO441 unveiled three types of custom designs for which the company started taking orders on July 23. Custom designs include the BABYTECTOR PS (Perscription) series, ONE OFF, and FULL ORDER. Depending on which one a buyer choose, these new BABYTECTORS can run anywhere from 17,800 to 39,800 yen (US$142 – $322).

▼ BABYTECTOR PS, with 20 different color choices


▼ BABYTECTOR ONE OFF and FULL ORDER custom designs


With so many of the custom order releases already gone, it looks like BABYTECTOR is well on the way to winning the hearts of the masses. You have to admit, he would be a cute nursery addition or a nifty toy for new dads that also happen to be hobby enthusiasts. In fact, he just might be the most adorable superhero we’ve seen yet, fighting hard to make the world a better place before bed time.

Top image/insert images: 441LABO

Brace yourselves, because panty-scrunchies are now real, buyable accessories

Earlier this month they unveiled a new accessory based on thet concept of mixing panties of knickers with a scrunchy!

The new product for sale is called pantsu shushu (パンツシュシュ), literally “panty scrunchies.” We can’t imagine that the creative duo behind the new fashion item, Hiroka and Pochi, will find themselves with much competition on the market for something which looks like a regular scrunchie when tied…

318…but actually untwists into an adorable pair of miniature undies!

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If that ingenious design still isn’t doing it for you, here are three other ways listed on the product’s website to enjoy your new fashion accessory:

1. Surprise your friends by casually pulling it out of your hair and remarking with surprise, “Oh my goodness, panties!”

2. Slip one around your thigh while basking in the warm glow of the summer sun and boys’ stares (OK, that’s a tad bit creepy…)

3. Secretly leave one on the desk of a boss you hate and watch as he/she becomes a source of laughter around the office.

The scruchies are available on Village/Vanguard’s online store for 756 yen (US$6.11) each. The site also proclaims such lofty tidbits of wisdom as “The possibilities are infinite! ‘Panties are the universe,’” and “This is Cool Japan.”

▼ Now if only these things were around back in 2010 when AKB48 filmed their music video for the single “Ponytail to Shushu” [“Ponytail and Scrunchie”]!

Source: Narinari
Images: Tumblr (Hirota to Pochi)
Top image: Tumblr (Hirota to Pochi)

“Pictuarium”, the virtual aquarium that brings your doodles to life!

Fish may make low-maintenance pets compared to cats and dogs, but they are still fragile creatures, and you may find that neglecting to clean the tank, forgetting to feed them, or letting their water get too warm in the summer months will send Bubbles to an early, watery grave. Even with utmost care, some fish don’t have very long lifespans, and no one likes saying goodbye to a beloved pet.

Well, now you can forgo the aquarium maintenance and not worry about the heartache, by creating your own invincible fishy friends and bringing them to life through your iPhone with Takara Tomy Arts’ new Pictuarium!

The Pictuarium hit the shelves around the end of June , and uses an iPhone application to bring your very own hand-drawn water creatures to life in a virtual aquarium. Interact with your pets as they swim around, and even give them little treats if you like.

r0005586The process is simple-just draw your own creative creature design on the special “fish card” provided, place your phone face down on top of the aquarium, and scan your picture using the special app. Your very own fish gets projected and brought to life in the virtual aquarium!

After watching the videos and reading all about it, we knew we had to grab one of these things for ourselves.

▼ The Pictuarium kit comes with an aquarium, lid, and the special fish and snack cards you                          need

img_5639▼ Draw your own fish on the special card providedr0005602▼ Place the lid on top of the aquarium and set your phone face down. You can then use your phone’s camera to scan your fishr0005581▼ Watch your creation come to life in its virtual world! You can even take selfies of you and your friends, and swim around your virtual aquarium with your creations!


This is sure to provide as much entertainment, if not more, for the grown-up crowd as it will for the kids. And at only 1,922 yen (US$15.53) +17points for hours of fun, it’s definitely worth the purchase.

You can get your own Pictuarium here through the Takara Tomy Mall!

You need an iphone 5 or 6 though, so those with android phones (I had to borrow my missus iphone) are out of luck for now.

Are you a big enough otaku for a seven-meter (23-foot) Monster Girls anime pillowcase?

In any industry, it’s important to keep innovating to stay one step ahead of your competitors. That’s true even for comic artist Okayado, whose stock-in-trade is sexy 2-D characters.

Okayado has been tapping a new market with his manga Monster Musume, also known as Everyday Life with Monster Girls, and its currently airing anime adaptation. As a true professional, though, Okayado knows that merchandising is the lifeblood of a successful franchise, and so he’s designed an anime girl pillowcase featuring Monster Musume’s female lead.

So far that’s par for the course for a hit among otaku, but what makes this pillowcase special is that it’s a shocking seven meters (23 feet) long!

Monster Musume’s basic framework isn’t particularly unique. Earnest but loveless everyteen Kimihito Kurusu’s ordinary life is suddenly interrupted by a series of hijinks, and when the dust clears, he finds himself living with a bevy of beautiful females. But what sets Okayado’s hit apart from countless other harem series is that all of Kimihito’s housemates are mythical beasts, or at least some hybrid of mythical beast and attractive anime girl.


The cast includes centaurs, harpies, and mermaids, but the girl with the most time in the spotlight is Miia, a creature from Greek legends called a lamiai. From the waist up, Miia looks like a human girl, but past her hips her body turns into that of a monstrous snake, which she likes to wrap around Kimihito while sleeping next to him.

▼ Preview for Monster Musume (Warning! Video contains ridiculously large monster breasts)

Seeking to capitalize on the series’ boost in popularity from its recent anime premiere, Okayado himself has penned new artwork for a Miia pillowcase. But rather than some tiny scaled-down version of the character, the pillowcase is life-sized, showing Miia in her full seven meters of scantily clad scaliness.

pf-1Ostensibly, the idea is to use a regular-sized pillow as Miia’s torso, then wrap the rest around yourself and sleep like Kimihito does.

▼ Comfy?


And no, for the record, we don’t really get what’s going on with Miia’s butt, although we’re sure the manga goes into minute detail about such anatomical matters.

This limited-edition piece of Monster Musume merchandise will be on sale at the upcoming Summer Comiket, which will be held in Tokyo from August 14 to 16. It’s obviously strictly for the series’ most loyal fan, as not only will it cost a cool 100,000 yen (US$800), its massive size means it’ll be incredibly difficult to hide when friends come over.

Sources: Monster Musume official website, Hachima Kiko, IT Media、rocketnews24

TRANSFORM! And write while you’re at it, too — with these cool shape-shifting Transformers pens!

Check out these Transformers pens, and yes, they actually change shapes — so Transformers fans, get ready to “transform and roll out” the letters!

The intricately designed pens, made by toy and figure manufacturer Sentinel Co., Ltd., come in three variations — Optimus Prime (or “Convoy”, as he’s known in Japan), Nemesis Prime (or “Black Convoy” in Japan) and a special edition Ultra Magnus.

As you can see, the pens are created in amazing detail to make the transformation from robot into pen possible, and in their robot forms, the figures have fully movable joints, which allows them to carry their blaster weapons in various positions.

▼Here are some pictures of the Optimus Prime pen, in both the robot and pen form, looking quite regal in the bright trademark Optimus colors

pen-optimus-1pen-optimus-2pen-optimus-3 pen-optimus-6 pen-optimus-7pen-optimus-6pen-optimus-7

Well, we have to say, these guys certainly look sleek and stylish! And the fact that you can make them actually transform must be absolutely thrilling to fans of the series. Not surprisingly, the creator of this pen is a passionate fan himself, as he explains by writing in the Sentinel blog, “I love Transformers, and I wanted to work with the concept of having something you can carry around with you that you really like and be able to ‘show it off’, in a way, to people around you. I wanted it to be something practical, and that’s how I came up with the idea of a pen. I also didn’t want to compromise on the form and mobility of the robot; we had to make it look cool, too. In the end, I think we were able to create a product the Sentinel as a company can be proud of. We made sure the pen wasn’t too big, so that it would be easy to write with. It’s a quality pen, and we hope you give it a try!”

The pens are 10.5cm (approx 4 in.) tall in robot form and 14.3cm (5 and 1/2 in.) long as a pen, and all three types are priced at 4,298 yen (US$42). The Optimus Prime pen will come out in September, while the other two pens will be released in October, and apparently, they’ve already started taking pre-orders for the Optimus Prime pen at several online shops. Unfortunately, the pens seem to be sold in Japan only, but we think you’ll still agree that they look pretty darn amazing. Actually, it  makes us wonder what we can we look forward to next — maybe Transformers iPhone cases?pen-nemesis-1 pen-nemesis-4 pen-ultra-3pen-nemesis-4pen-ultra-3sentinel website

Become a swimsuit model…without dieting.

Officially called the Deluded Fantasy T-Shirt, the unusual piece of clothing was created by ekoD Works, which bills itself as focused on “humorous art and design.” According to the product description, the Deluded Fantasy T-Shirt was made using the company’s “proprietary deluded fantasy mapping techniques,” which allow it to determine exactly what sorts of uninhibited thoughts are running through people’s heads.

In other words, the shirt looks like it’s giving everyone a peek at an impressive pair of boobs. And not just any boobs, as the shirt is specifically mimicking the chest of gurabia model Mao Harada.

bs-2According to Village Vanguard, that’s Harada’s actual cleavage on the left in the above photo, and her modeling the T-shirt on the right. Since we weren’t there for the photo shoot, we can’t confirm this, but neither can we deny the store’s claim after carefully examining the images seen here for close to an hour.

We suppose there might be some women who would be interested in purchasing the 3,888-yen (US$31) shirt as a way to technically show off a little skin while keeping their own completely covered up, and Village Vanguard does offer it in a women’s medium size. The shirt also comes in “unisex” medium and large sizes, though, so both men and women who need these breasts hanging in their closet can ask us to place an order through the Village Vanguard online store (shipping is scheduled for early July).

Village Vanguard novelty shop

Harada Mao DVD