Sanrio’s marketing comes full circle, then keeps on going.
This probably won’t come as a shock to anyone, but Sanrio is really, really good at marketing. Hello Kitty’s parent company more or less conjured out of thin air the perpetually profitable “character goods” section of Japan’s economy, where fans happily plunk down cash to buy merchandise featuring characters who were created with the sole purpose of selling merchandise.
Sanrio’s talents are such that the company can even score a hit with a character merchandise line starring characters who promote other character merchandise line, which is exactly what it’s done with the Sanrio Boys, or Sanrio Danshi, as they’re called in Japanese.
Credit: Twitter @Sdan_sanrio
First introduced in late 2015, the Sanrio Boys aren’t an attempt to macho up Sanrio’s products. On the contrary, they’re a group of five high schoolers with physiques and fashion sense that would have them right at home in an anime targeting female fans of Japanese animation. Each member of the group has a particular Sanrio character he’s got a soft spot for.
The Sanrio Boys’ official Twitter account is full of “selfies” by the boys posing with cool merch, which is either shameless advertising or a faithfully realistic recreation of many real-life social media accounts.
— サンリオ男子【公式】 (@Sdan_sanrio) December 7, 2016
— サンリオ男子【公式】 (@Sdan_sanrio) November 22, 2016
実はね、ルームシューズも買ってたのサ(*˘︶˘*).｡.:*♡ ゆう☆ pic.twitter.com/l0Z3aSyRdS
— サンリオ男子【公式】 (@Sdan_sanrio) October 10, 2016
The Sanrio Boys’ steadily growing popularity led to a mobile game dating simulator last autumn, and now Sanrio has announced that there’s a full-fledged Sanrio Boys anime TV series on the way.
【重大なお知らせ】サンリオ男子につきまして、テレビアニメ化が決定致しました。追加重大情報を、2月3日SANRIO EXPO 報道向け事前公開の場にて発表させて頂きます。 pic.twitter.com/PkeW434jLj
— サンリオ男子総合Pです【公式】 (@Sdan_p_sanrio) February 1, 2017
The company is withholding details until after the upcoming Sanrio Expo fan event. The producers have, at least, released the title, which is to be Sanrio Boys: Never Without My Favourite Friend.
Whether said “favourite friend” is referring to the boys or their personal Sanrio spirit animals is unclear.
— サンリオ男子【公式】 (@Sdan_sanrio) January 20, 2017
— サンリオ男子【公式】 (@Sdan_sanrio) January 8, 2017
While no official premiere date has been given, a start date sometime in 2017 seems the most logical, since while the Sanrio Boys have amassed a sizeable following, they’re not quite a big enough pop cultural phenomenon to string fans along for a whole year after promising them an anime. Going into further speculation, storylines are likely to involve the boys’ hanging out in fashionable surroundings while gushing over various Sanrio products.
— サンリオ男子【公式】 (@Sdan_sanrio) December 15, 2016
男子も乾燥が気になるんです( ˘ ³˘)♥ゆう☆ pic.twitter.com/Cmi2ZjHYva
— サンリオ男子【公式】 (@Sdan_sanrio) October 25, 2016
Oh, and also touching each other a lot, but that’s become sort of a given in anime with Sanrio Danshi’s target demographic.
By Casey Baseel
This article first appeared in RocketNews24.