In a surprising announcement earlier this week, representatives from major Japanese consumer food corporations admitted that it never occurred to them to release any Dagashi Kashi-branded merchandise.
The Studio Feel show — a comedy focusing on the Japanese snack industry — is about a young boy whose father wants him to inherit the family candy shop, when one day a strange girl visits and challenges him in his knowledge of Japanese junk food. Dagashi Kashi makes several references to individual brands of snacks each episode, has been popular among late night anime fans.
“I’ve been stuck trying to think how we can tie our product to more anime for the last few months, and while watching the scene where Hotaru and Kokonotsu feed each other fugashi it suddenly hit me,” Pasco Shikishima president Rokajima Touji told Anime Maru. Pasco Shikishima is Japan’s leading producer of fugashi, manufacturing 12,000 tons of the dried wheat snack last year. “I guess we kinda missed that one.”
Calbee director of marketing Matsudake Ito admitted that is was “pretty embarrassing” that he and his staff never thought to approach Studio Feel and negotiate some kind of branding deal. “In hindsight I guess Dagashi Kashi should have been more obvious to us,” said Matsudake. Instead, Calbee attempted to generate interest from convenience-store goers by releasing a limited-edition flavor of bubblegum featuring characters from Norn9: Norn+Nornet.
Rokajima mentioned that if he had thought of Dagashi Kashi-branded snacks earlier, his company could have made Dagashi Kashi-themed umaibo, ramune, milk candy, potato chips, ramen, and fugashi — the latter having been literally mentioned by name in a recent episode of the show.
Matsudake added that since ‘kashi’ means ‘snack’ in Japanese, they could have called them “Dagashi Kashi Kashi”. “It’s a very funny pun, you see,” Matsudake told reporters while chuckling to himself.
According to a study published in 2013, viewers of late-night anime are responsible for 23% of convenience store purchases, making them the single largest demographic for convenience store revenue. “I’m pretty surprised myself that I’ve never seen any Dagashi Kashi snacks on the shelves,” said Matsui Nomu, 26, inside a Lawson’s in Hiroshima. Matsui stood in front of a wide selection of Butamen-brand kids’ ramen featuring various popular characters and recalled the Butamen ramen Hotaru cooked in episode 3. “Ah that was a funny scene wasn’t it?” Matsui said before putting a cup of Go! Princess Precure-themed ramen back on the shelf and leaving the store empty-handed.
Companies in other industries have been quick to express that they will not make the same mistake of missing a chance to release fan merchandise. A Kotobukiya spokesperson has already announced a new series of figures and dakimakura featuring characters Endou Tou and Shikada You.