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PrincipaleArticoliArticolo #33395

Kyoto Municipal Subway FiguresKyoto Municipal Subway Figures

During a recent trip in Japan, it came under my scrutinity that Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau had put together a pervasive bunch of moe mascots to boost its ridership. In last may, they succesfully premiered a short anime (10 minutes) made thanks to crowdfunding. I had the chance to assist to that event by sheer luck and even if that kind of anime is always underwhelming, it was a nice experience. It didn't take mw long to look for goodies related to than CM campaign and I found some interesting stuff quickly including posters, badges, prepaid cards, wallscroll, clear files and... figures.

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The underlaying reasons behind that marketing stunt are relied to Kyoto's relatively low subway ridership and high construction cost due to mandatory archeological surveys. Back in 2010, it meant the subway needed 50000 more people riding the network per day. It was devised to launch a challenge to the population to reach that goal and save the subway from making annual deficits. For the occasion, a bunch of moe characters were drawn and debuted in 2011, each of them being a 17 year old high school girl and sporting some generic moe characteristics. The girls' names are all derived from subway station including your typical sweet girl Uzumasa Moe, the tomboy Matsuga Saki and goofy guitar-playing twin-tailed Miso Ono (which seems to be a favorite of Kyoto's otakus has I could witness). The character got quite popular and a few years later, they got a major redesign by illustrator Kamogawa how made them more appealing and professional-looking. And from then it was history, they have become a staple of Kyoto Municipal Transportation system and I've seen many otakus in Kyoto wearing T-shirts and other accessories of their favorite character.

Meanwhile, other characters where added includind Moe's cousin, soon to be joined by the Manga Museum's own mascot, a slightly older woman representing young adults which I can't recall her name (and often seen half drunk (not that much really) and riding the subway to go back home safely) and a few guys.

https://prtimes.jp/i/21989/22/resize/d21989-22-635632-19.jpg

At Kyoto Manga Museum, one can see an original GK sculpted by BOME myanimeshelf.co... and produced by Kaiyodo. Quite large, it's a 1/4 prepainted figure, that is a unique prototype. The price tag is steep too. Something like 864000 yens at least. Unfortunately, the sculpting suffers from Bome's general problem with pose and proportion inherited from the 80s and 90s GK. I know the guy was a famed artist back in the days, but it seems to me he never learn to get better at his art. Stiff pose, weird faces and far too elongated body make is personal style unfit to modern moe style.

Meanwhile, sculptor Hatsumi from 83℃ made another GK of Uzumasa Moe ITEM #528623 which was sold at two conventions in 2016. I wasn't able to find any copies, but the sculpture is more faithful to the original character design. However, painting the skirt motif must be an excruciating process.

Finally, I discovered another limited edition of Moe's cousin Uzumasa Sono for an event ginpen.cocolog-.... Very little data filtered from that figure except it was a limited edition of 30 copies sold at Kyoto University in 2015 (+ 5 assembled copies), but I would really like to grab one. Searches didn't yield any positive results, but I would really like to find this particular figure since it is related to an interesting public transportation public relation program. Not a great figure indeed, but the background story makes it an interesting item.

http://ginpen.cocolog-nifty.com/photos/uncategorized/2016/06/09/20160529kyoto05.jpg

Also, the three main girls were also made into SD garage kits. At least two different versions of Uzumasa Moe seems to exist.

Chances to find any figure of the Kyoto subway mascots are quite low, but who knows! Meanwhile, should we be surprised to see Kyoto - the seat of moe-producing KyoAni - jumping the moe bandwagon?

That said, I had much more fun using my Misa Ono, Matsuga Saki and Uzumasa Moe prepaid cards than my supposedly cute penguin Suica card. But I can assure you asking the clerk at Kyoto Bus Information Bureau to get the three cards was an humiliating process. I can still vividly recall the cold stare she had when she understood I wasn't looking for the most affordable way to use Kyoto Public transportation, but only wanting to get 3 different prepaid cards!!!! In a matter of less than a second, my seemingly nonsensical request made sense... in a really bad way! ;-)
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0pt
sailormatlac (1 anno/i fa) #22021708At first, I thought it was just some habitual PR campaign using moe characters, but they really put a lot of effort behind that. On many occasion, I spotted people on the street wearing hats, T-shirts or bags with a character printed on them.
Later on, I learned they have hold regular events or promotions. If you use a pass a certain day to visit a certain touristic site, they can give you an event-only poster or a clear file. Yahoo! Japan Auction shown me a lot of different clear files and merchandising have been released since the 2011, much more than I would have thought.

Wow, that's super cool!
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maron-makaron (1 anno/i fa) #21895610This was a fun read, thanks for sharing! The need for the characters as well as their evolution is pretty neat. If I'm ever in Kyoto, acquiring one of the prepaid cards sounds like a fun souvenir!

At first, I thought it was just some habitual PR campaign using moe characters, but they really put a lot of effort behind that. On many occasion, I spotted people on the street wearing hats, T-shirts or bags with a character printed on them.

Later on, I learned they have hold regular events or promotions. If you use a pass a certain day to visit a certain touristic site, they can give you an event-only poster or a clear file. Yahoo! Japan Auction shown me a lot of different clear files and merchandising have been released since the 2011, much more than I would have thought.
1 anno/i fa
0pt
This was a fun read, thanks for sharing! The need for the characters as well as their evolution is pretty neat. If I'm ever in Kyoto, acquiring one of the prepaid cards sounds like a fun souvenir!
1 anno/i fa
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