Sanity’s Other Side: Top 4 Product Placements in Anime

But wait, there’s more!

K-On! Mio on the bass

There are few people as zealously devoted today as the average 21st Century geek. You’d see legions of neckbeards flocking to snag new releases of anything really, trampling their brethren for the last figurine of their waifu, and overall proclaiming any such item X as “the best thing ever.” With such unquestioning attitude, enthusiasm, and disposable income any smart entrepreneur would know this is a golden opportunity should you happen to have a few good friends in the industry. Tonight, the Inverseman checks out the top cases of product placement in modern anime.

4.  Everything in K-On!

K-On! Ritsu's phone strap

Now to your average watcher of K-On!, you won’t really notice anything; Yui has a Gibson Les Paul, and that’s cool because it’s a classic guitar.  I don’t really get it. But then you take a step back and truly contemplate who else watches this show and then things start to make sense. Not only would the diehard K-On! afficionados pursue expensive guitars (in spite of not knowing how to play one) and amps, crazy K-On! fans would seek out the very exact same model of pen and phone strap Ritsu has or the exact camera Mugi used in the beach episode. You could most likely chalk this up to KyoAni just using real world objects around them a basis, but when your fans are devoted to every last cell of your work the unforeseen side-effects might give someone else an extra sale.

K-On! Ritsu's phone strap IRL

3 Dr. Pepper in Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate Kyouma's Dr. Pepper

Coming in at third as my personal favorite and more of an unintentional placement is Hououin Kyouma’s love of Dr. Pepper (or Dk Pepper as it is parodied) in Steins;Gate. Now normally this would just come and go like any character with a pet craving for  food or drink, but therein lies the distinction: this is no ordinary craving. As stated by Kyouma himself, “Dr. Pepper is the drink of intellectuals, an ambrosia of the gods,” so to anyone who thinks Kyouma is somehow not delusional you too can be intelligent if you comprehend the complex flavors of Dr. Pepper.  With the release of the anime, a humble gag from the visual novel turned a legion of fans to try a soda that wasn’t really too popular in Japan, making new Pepperarian converts out of mundane Coke drinkers. Even in the English release, FUNimation tossed countless Dr. Pepper cans all over their convention booth when they pushed the series at Otakon two years ago. Too bad the English dub script had to evade mentioning “Pepper” as a soda, but we all know what Kyouma’s really drinking.

2. Pizza Hut in Code Geass

Code Geass C.C discovers pizza

There’s a reason why Geass Sunday was a thing. I personally remember the somewhat hilarious abundance of Pizza Hut in Code Geass, but you could simply write this off as just mere cameo. However, such a notion is quite far from the truth when you see C.C’s adorable obsession with the fast-food-style pizza chain. In one scene C.C wins a plushie of Pizza Hut’s Japanese-only mascot Cheese-kun. And since this is one of the series leads here, we all know that the pizza-scarfing otaku are already sharing a kindred bond with their newly proclaimed waifu. Too bad the English broadcast of Code Geass had the logos edited off the pizza boxes, there could have been a small windfall to be had.

1. All of Tiger and Bunny

Tiger and Bunny Blue Rose Pepsi NEX ads

Of all the cases of product placement, while some are unintentional, some are parody, and some are merely sponsorships, Tiger and Bunny is actually thoughtful. In the city of Sternbild, superheroes are in a business and the act of being a hero is a service of the private sector. All of the heroes big and small have logos for banks, websites, restaurants, and other companies emblazoned all over their costumes. Moreover, even when a hero feels it’s just to go act, at the end of the day he is an “employee” and only really can suit up when the company sees it’s reasonable to. The commentary is both subtle and overt with complex layers, but of course that’s not going to stop me from buying Pepsi NEX thanks to Blue Rose.

Tiger and Bunny Kotetsu riding a wild tiger

And that’s a wrap, my top four product placements in anime. What are some unique shameless (or not so shameless) marketing attempts you’ve seen in geek-dom? Sound off in the comments bellow! Join me next time when I buy a goat.

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The Inverseman is an evil overlord from an alternate dimension representing humanity's anti-existence who wound up becoming a modest civil servant.


The Inverseman is an evil overlord from an alternate dimension representing humanity's anti-existence who wound up becoming a modest civil servant.

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