Important Importables: San-X

July 18, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: San-X

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS1, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, GBA, Handhelds-Other, Gear, Accessories, Figures & Toys, Genres, 2D, Action, Casual, Children’s, Puzzle, Sim

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Monochrome Monokuro Boo & and Baby Boo Kururin Boo DSWhen people think of things that come from Japan, the cute mascot characters often spring to mind. Typically, one of two companies is behind these adorable figures – Sanrio or San-X. While Sanrio is well known worldwide, thanks to Hello Kitty and, to a lesser extent, Keroppi and Badtz Maru, San-X isn’t a household name.

That may soon change, as San-X characters are experiencing a recent surge of popularity both in Japan and overseas. Characters like Rilakkuma and Tarepanda are becoming more and more familiar. And, now that San-X’s Mamegoma has an anime series, that popularity can only grow.

So this week, Hot Japanese Imports is all about San-X. Read on to find out more about the company behind the cute characters and some video games with San-X characters as the stars.

Nyan Nyan Nyanko Collection GBA

San-X and its adorable mascot characters

While the names may sound similar, don’t confuse San-X with Sanrio. They’re two very different companies, they they both deliver the same sorts of characters and goods. Besides, it’s been around longer. San-X began in 1932 as Chida Handler, while Sanrio didn’t form until 1960.

San-X wasn’t originally about cute characters. It started as a general stationary company with commonplace images and landscapes. In 1973 the company changed to San-X though, and in 1987 it began creating character lines, starting with Pinny-Mu the bear and continuing with Tarepanda in 1995. Shortly after, San-X began capitalizing on the success of character goods and started charging forwards full-force with lots of cute animal, anthropomorphic item and food characters.

While the company still does some landscape and more serious stationary and other novelty goods, for the most part it focuses on characters like Buru Buru Dog, Rilakkuma, Mamegoma, Nyan Nyan Nyanko, Monokuro Boo and Wan Wan Wanco.

Kogepan Pan mo Game wo Yarurashii PS1

Ever seen a San-X game?

If the answer is no, you obviously don’t keep an eye on import game releases. There’ve been a number of San-X games released, especially recently. Almost every one is geared towards younger audiences though, which may have kept them out of your line of sight. Mamegoma, Rilakkuma, Kogepan and Monokuro Boo have even gotten their own games.

There’s a positive side to all the San-X games being somewhat simple and geared towards younger gamers – it means that they tend to be import friendly. Often times, they require very little text to advance the story or guide players. If there is text, then chances are it will be hirigana and katakana, with very little kanji. Or, the kanji that is present is very basic and recognizable.

Some of the most notable San-X game releases include:

  • Kogepan Pan mo Game wo Yarurashii (PS1) – a minigame collection released in December, 2002.
  • Mamegoma 3: Kawaii ga Ippai (DS) – a pet-raising sim that will be released in August, 2010.
  • Monokuro Boo & Baby Boo: Kururin Boo (DS) – an match-3 puzzle game released in December, 2009.
  • Nyan Nyan Nyanko no Nyan Collection (GBA) – a mini-game collection released in March, 2005.
  • Rilakkuma Rhythm Mattari Kibun de Daan Run (DS) – a music game that came out in December, 2009.
  • Tarepanda no Gunpey (WonderSwan) – a puzzle game released in December, 1999.
  • San-X Character Channel: All-Star Daishuugo! (DS) – a mini-game collection released in August, 2008.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Poupeegirl.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports looked at everything Bandai does.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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