« We should have a Mascot... »
Five simple words, spoken during a weekly meeting, were all it took to embark the whole company on one of its best adventures yet. After months of discussions, meetings and hard work, we announced this June our brand-new Mascots.
And today, we can finally disclose their names: meet Waka-kun and Mina-chan, our Wakanim siblings!
This blog post is about our journey, from the first idea to the last drawing.
Being part of Aniplex’s great family, we felt Wakanim deserved a mascot that would represent us as a company, while also being something our fans could easily associate themselves with. As we started brainstorming, it quickly became apparent to us that one character would not be enough, we would need two: a boy and a girl. We felt Wakanim should stay true to its audience by providing characters for everyone: the more the merrier! Our Japanese colleagues were all for it: “yes, this is a great idea, let’s do this! No, let’s even do better: we’ll find one of the best Character Designer and have him work with us!” Of course, we were already ecstatic, but nothing could have prepared us for the answer we received a few weeks later. Shingo Adachi, the Character Designer of the entire anime series Sword Art Online, would create our Mascots.
Then began the concept phase. We started by asking you, at conventions, at the theater and on social media: what is Wakanim to you? At the same time, we also asked ourselves, what was Wakanim to us. We received many answers, many ideas. We concluded that Wakanim was still a young company, full of bright and energetic people, committed to helping fans enjoy the best of Japanese animation; all of that within a top tier service, complemented with apps and the latest streaming technology. This is Wakanim. And so, our Mascots began to take shape!
Waka-kun is the tech guy, smart and cheeky. He likes to watch anime on his desktop while chatting about it with his friends in real time. For him, animation is all about knowing everything: the trivia, the latest news, and sharing it with his friends and family.
Mina-chan is more of a designer, an artist. She likes animation, the designs, the outfits, the craft. She watches anime on the go on her phone, while going to the latest conventions, or shopping for the best goods available from her favorite shows. She makes anime real by bringing it into her real life.
And, best of all: Waka-kun and Mina-chan are siblings!
After a couple of discussions with Adachi-san, we received the two designs above. Two complementary characters, encompassing all that is Wakanim (and so much more); and we couldn’t be happier with the results. We hope you are too, as Adachi-san is monitoring your feedbacks and can’t wait to see what will become of these characters, how you will make them yours.
This Mascot Project took time and effort from Europe to Japan, but in the end, all that work and energy created these two awesome characters. And this is just the beginning. As we’re starting to receive more poses and more facial expressions directly from A-1 Pictures, the studio currently working on Sword Art Online -Alicization- ; we can guarantee that there is plenty more in store for our two siblings 😊