Top 5 Anime Faux Product Placements

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Over recent years, anime has steadily been utilising more and more product placement in their content. While live-action films and television shows are still far better known for doing so, a number of anime titles have been busy playing catch-up; Code Geass has its conspicuous tie-in with Pizza Hut, the Evangelion Rebuild movies heavily feature Yebisu Beer and Doritos, and Tiger & Bunny is of course renowned for weaving in big-name corporate sponsors such as Softbank, Bandai, and Pepsi into the central concept of its story.

I find I don’t really mind much – anime is as much a business as any other form of entertainment, after all. Decidedly more amusing, however, is when anime dishes out ‘fictional’ product placements in order to avoid using actual trademarks. Change just one letter and suddenly characters aren’t drinking Coca-Cola or wearing Adidas sneakers – they’re sipping on Poca-Cola and rocking the Abidas brand… with remarkably similar logo designs, of course. Titles set in real-life, modern-day Japan sometimes use a truly dizzying amount of laughable brand names, as in Durarara!! with Red Snake energy drink, Yahaha motorcycles, Mindows computer systems, Yohoo! search engines, Yo!Tube videos, and Amezon online shopping.

For this post, I’ll be counting down through my top 5 fake product placements in anime – proudly brought to you by Heireken beer and Smickers chocolate bars.

5. Angel Beats!: Macrosoft Winding XO

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Technology-related products have been fair game in anime for years now, with fruit such as bananas and pineapples stepping in for Apple and systems that are apparently supported by Windoors and Wacintosh. Angel Beats! features possibly the most elaborate (and shiny) of fake computer product placements though, thanks to every single PC in the afterlife being run on Macrosoft Winding XO. Regardless of how well this product actually works, I think we can all agree it’s still preferable to Vista.

4. AnoHana: Nokemon Gold

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In the mood for a little nostalgia? Take a trip down memory lane and play Nokemon – completely unrelated to Pokemon, mind you. Sure, Nokemon Gold is a little outdated now, but don’t let AnoHana’s obnoxious store clerk shame you out of it; I’m sure its mascots are equally as adorable. And besides, it’s always really nice playing on something a little retro once in a while – beats the hell out of video games supported by the Blay Ztation 2 or Nendo CS, amirite?

3. Steins; Gate – Dk Pepper

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Koca Kola, Caca Cola, and Cock Cola (especially that last one) are so overrated, don’t you think? So is Bepsi, by the way. Instead, you should definitely be imbibing Dk Pepper – the single beverage proven to be 100% effective for powering the brains of Great Mad Scientists the world over… or at least, all of them in the Steins;Gate universe anyway, which when you think about it is the only one that really matters. So shove aside your crappy Dr. Cinnamon and get those genius ideas properly flowing with the one and only intellectual drink for the chosen ones – probably on sale at your nearest maid café.

2. Toradora! – Sudoh-bucks

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Craving a decent coffee? Not to worry, Toradora!’s Sudoh-bucks has you covered. Not to be confused with Starducks, Bear Bucks, Moonbucks, Starjackass (yes, really), or even Deathbucks, I have it on good authority that Sudoh-bucks beats all competitors out when it comes to both pricing and flavour. Needless to say, it’s also a far better taste than you’ll get out of any of those nasty instant coffee brands like Hescafe. As of this writing, Sudoh-bucks has not yet been sued, so I recommend getting some while you still can.

1. Hataraku Maou-sama!/The Devil Is a Part-Timer! – MgRonald’s, SFC, Docodemo

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Oh sure, any anime these days can have a plain old WcDonalds – Cowboy Bebop, InuYasha, K-On!, Suzumiya Haruhi, and Ouran High School Host Club all do, and that’s just to name the first handful that spring to mind. But it takes a bit more dedication to not only come up with a different name but also have your main character (the demon king no less) actually work there for a living. Don’t be taken in by that cheap Sentucky Fried Chicken down the road – spending your hard-earned cash (which you may or may not have gotten from working at your local Docodemo call center) is easily the better option. I hear their Black Pepper Fries are to die for.

Question of the post: What’s been the funniest and/or most memorable fake product in anime you’ve seen so far?

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28 thoughts on “Top 5 Anime Faux Product Placements

  1. That’s friggin’ funny. When I watched “School Days,” every time it showed the main character’s place, it was right outside a “Nobil” gas station (“Mobil”). I kept thinking, “Am I seeing that wrong? The logo is exactly like Mobile. Was that on purpose?” Apparently so. Although “Nokemon” got more laughs out of me.

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    • Yeah, fake product placement is so much more amusing than the real thing. I quite like seeing it pop up in anime, especially when the creators get a bit more inventive with it.

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  2. Reblogged this on Pirates of the Burley Griffin and commented:
    In which the always entertaining Artemis surveys the best usages of Bland Name Products (yes, there’s a trope for that, there’s a trope for everything) in anime. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlandNameProduct

    As for my favourites I think I’ve seen Ganon cameras and, uh, Cherry Laptops as well. 😉

    Please click through to the original post and share your own favourites there.

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  3. I liked Dokupe, a Dr. Pepper version in Kamisama Hajimemashita, since it sounds like “towards poop” in my native language. For the same reason I really liked WCdonald.
    Yay toilet humour!

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  4. I always liked the DkPepper, since I like a very similar, real product. Great minds think alike. Another take on the same product I like so much that I use it as my avatar.

    I also like Hidamari Sketch’s take on an OS: “Shaftsoft Wonders.”

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    • You know, I don’t think I’ve ever actually tried Dr. Pepper. I can get it in Japan but only if I buy it from an expensive import store, and I don’t even know if it;s available in New Zealand. If so, it’s clearly not an extremely common product.

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  5. This post is hilarious xD

    I certainly saw all sorts of Apple logo variations in anime: ranging from pineapples, oranges, inverted apples and so on. It’s really hilarious, lol. And I think we can all agree Dk Pepper is one of the most awesome and inspiring drink of all time for those looking to be a mad scientist.

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  6. I seriously can’t get over pretend product placement in anime– there’s something transcendentally funny about the way they parody real brands that western animation has never gotten right.

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  7. Hataraku was a pretty cool show. I especially liked their references to Japan-only goods/brands such as the Matsumoto Kiyoshi pharmacy chain and the Suica train cards. I was quite surprised to learn Sasazuka(Maou’s suburb) was only a few stops away from Shinjuku on the Tokyo Metro (as my most recent Tokyo trip showed).

    The anime only adapted 2 out of 10 (and continuing) source novels, and sold quite well, so it could just be a matter of waiting for Season 2. It did take nearly 5 years for Durarara!! Season 2 to be approved, as comparison.

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    • Yeah, it was pretty cool seeing those Japan references in there as well. I think the one that gave me the biggest chuckle was that Uniqlo one – especially as I shop at Uniqlo myself every now and again. 😀

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the show did get greenlit for a second season at some point in the future, though I’m not sure that Durarara!! is a fair comparison; from what I can tell, it’s a great deal more popular than Hataraku.

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  8. This wasn’t from an anime, but the video game Deus Ex: Invisible War had two viciously competitive coffee restaurants, Pequod’s and Queequeg’s (in comparison to Starbucks, all three of which are things in Moby Dick). By “viciously,” I mean that one of the missions you can take is to break into Restaurant B when no one’s there and vandalize its supplies.

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      • Funnily enough, since the game is over a decade old and predated the iPhone by years, I don’t know if Starbucks was really the ever-present thing at the time of the game’s release that it is now! I just find that amusing.

        And yes, I don’t often drink coffee (though I do like Starbucks’ vanilla drinks and would like to learn how to make my own so I would know just what’s going into them). I try to stick to mainly fruit juice, Sunny Delight, milk, water, and the occasional ginger ale or unsweetened tea. As far as real life goes, I wasn’t really aware that a lot of people consciously hated Starbucks. Happy new year, by the way! =D

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        • All the coffee connoisseurs I know seem to have a marked disdain for Starbucks, at any rate. If I ever go, it’s purely for the sake of a decent hot chocolate – I quite like the smell of coffee, but not the taste, and I prefer to make my own tea at home rather than drink it out.

          Happy new year to you as well! 🙂

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          • Thanks! =) I’m not sure I’ve actually had hot chocolate in itself for years, but I definitely remember drinking a lot of it, complete with marshmallows, when I was little. Come to think of it, I think that’s probably the only form I ever really cared for dark chocolate in (liquid). Never did think to try it with white chocolate, but ooooooooooh …

            I will say that Starbucks does have some nice baked goods, though.

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  9. I once read it’s because of legal issue and copy right. The company might not want to get involved or associated with the anime/manga. So, Fanta became Ponta, Sony became Somy, PlayStation became Play Stan. Maybe it’s better safe to be sorry later.

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