Obligatory Japan Post #1

Many a blogger has gone to Japan for conspicuously selfish reasons and returned home to annoyingly spend a few years contributing semi-valid “In Japan they…” gossip to all conversations. Concordantly, let my one-sided observations of the Rising Sun Land commence.

Observation #1: Mascot Envy

While American company icons petered out after Spot and the Noid, Japanese businesses have kept their mascot coffers full for the last 20 years.

DoalaBehold Doala, the Chuunichi Dragon Koala, naturally, the cutest possible animal with the Dragon’s “D” added to the beginning…

And Chidejika, the terrestrial deer responsible for Japan’s digital television switch, because the elderly relate more to a partially mechanized ruminant than a public service announcement.

Until the States’ agencies re-realize the genius of mascot characters, let’s all pour one out for Grimace, Mayor McCheese, and good old Mac Tonight. *Tear*


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Thinking fourth dimensionally

Warmachine, Iron Man 2Photo: Paramount PicturesEver since Ford put a Cylon face on all its vehicles we knew we’d reached a cultural Sci-Fi saturation point. The 90’s already a decade behind us, we’ve gotten used to bubbly low-riders laced with gadgetry like the Civic and Fiesta being commonly available. The new Warmachine-inspired Chrysler logo too now lends weight to an arcane brand, drawing on twenty years of action-adventure design teams. So I thought I’d take a peek back and see what other Sci-Fi-inspired gems made the transition from media to market.

Action cop John Spartan witnessed first-hand the stopping power of Securefoam in 1993’s Demolition Man. This technology has since been adapted as window curtain airbags, standard in the Prius. Not quite as advanced, but the premise is basically the same.

Judge Dredd TaxiPhoto: Hollywood PicturesIn fact, we really have to hand it to Stallone for setting the pace of automotive futurization, because if anything Toyota’s FJ Cruiser is a mid-market Judge Dredd city cab.

I, Robot Audi RSQPhoto: Twentieth Century FoxWill Smith’s personal transit in 2004’s I, Robot could spin rapidly in circles while barreling down a highway. The ball-wheeled Audi RSQ concept, sans balls, is practically available today as the Audi A5. Released in a rash of robot thrillers, I, Robot was the tale of a robot named Sunny who learned to wink and could also print dot-matrix images from his finger.

Without getting into Minority Report, with its revamped highways, The Fifth Element, where McDonalds hotties await your sky-car, or the original pimped ride, the Back to the Future DeLorian, auto-engineering has definitely made some great strides towards putting drivers in the seat of our Sci-Fi dreams. Until the flux capacitor is realized, however, we may hang in limbo, staring at our backing-up cameras and playing, “artist, the Strokes,” wondering if in our lifetime we’ll truly, boldly go.

Thanks due in large part to the Internet Movie Car Database for its extensive library of amazing, useless information. You’ve done it again, internet.

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Epic is the new Zombies

Kia Epic RideIf you saw Jane McGonigal’s talk on gamer potential or on The Colbert Report last week, or the Superbowl Kia Optima 60-second spot, or caught last night’s Glee, you know what is come. “Epic” is the new zombies.

For the last few years Valve’s Left 4 Dead series, alongside Will Smith and Jessie Eisenburg’s successively less creatively-titled releases had helped saturate us with Zombie fever. We all knew there was a glut when the Zombies begin to sell me Starburst and Ford Fiestas. (I think that Fit owner was in my yoga class.)

Now the Zombie must hand over the torch, by removing his actual hand, to our next cultural champion, the double rainbow.

zombie chart

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