Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
This project compares three sets of animated transport related kyara local mascots that have emerged over recent years: the Kyoto Moe Moe Project (KMMP), Nanto, Toyama’s True Tours (TT), and the Gomen Nahari (GN) train line in Kochi. The comparison reveals three trends of Japanese animate kyara representations: superflat 2D, the 2.5D, and the 3D modes, and their concomitant relations both within their sets and with their fans. KMMP uses moe kyara to animate localities, are engaged in social relationships, similar to those of televised dramatic narratives, and even enjoy narrativization in other media including a light novel. Previous to Pokemon GO but equally technologically entrenched is Nanto, Toyama’s True Tours, starring three human heteronormative romantic pairs working in local occupations. In the TT game we may trace geographic settings for three separate stories across physical space and even enter via AR space, retracing extant contents tourism locales. Thirdly, the most historic set are the furry-suited yuru kyara of the Gomen Nahari (GN) train line in Kochi. These were developed by the creator of An-pan Man, an anime which has received the Guinness World record for most characters. Following his tradition of anthropomorphization as animation in anime that underlay the entire local mascot boom, the GN kyara animate their respective train stations’ particularities, such as eggplants and pilgrims, and can be performatively animated by locals. From these examples we can explore the range of potential styles of yuru kyara local mascot animation of places and related institutions of transportation.