We like to do the occasional jaunt to the Japanese-owned dollar store near our neighborhood. Today I was looking at the kids’ items and I spotted the item at right. It’s the packaging for a tiny rubber stamp (not pictured), with the stamp’s impression below. This beady-eyed bunny apparently loves strawberry shortcake so much, it makes him drool. I don’t know Japanese, so what he’s saying on the stamp is a mystery to me — but I kinda like it that way. It has that “goofy/cute/enigmatic” aura that makes Japanese pop culture so appealing.
It embarrasses me to say this, but much of the time when I’m designing manga books for VIZ I can’t tell what the hell is happening with the story and characters. Currently I’m in the middle of desiging two titles for them. Hunter X Hunter is an action-filled tale typical of their Shonen Jump Advanced titles, with saucer-eyed kids racing after monsters and stuff. The other one I’m doing, Reborn!, is quite different. It’s about a middle school kid who is tutored by a baby mobster. It’s my understanding that some of the characters start out as bulbous, Pokemon-like creatures who eventually “grow” into relatively normal looking children. It also sports a saucy infant/adult romantic storyline, which is probably why the books are rated “T+” for older teens. Those Japanese kids get all the cool stuff, don’t they?