LINE have released two new Minion models in their Clova Friends smart speaker range on August 21: “Clova Friends (MINIONS Kevin” and “Clova Friends mini (MINIONS Bob). They also released the Clova Friends Dock which comes with a remote control and is compatible with both Clova Friends and Clova Friends mini.
Clova Friends is a series of cute smart speakers modelled on popular characters such as those in the LINE FRIENDS gang like Brown the bear and Sally the chick.
The speakers are equipped with the AI assistant Clova which, similar to the Amazon Echo, is voice controlled and can update you not only on the news and weather but can play music and tell you fortunes too.
They have been on sale since December last year and make it feel as if you’re really talking to the characters. They can be enjoyed together with friends and family too.
The newest entry to the character range include the popular Minions from the hit animated movie franchise Despicable Me.
The two types include the taller Clova Friends Kevin and the shorter Clova Friends mini Bob who has two different eye colours.
You can converse with the Minions using their language with words like “Banana” and “Bello.” You can also say things to them in Japanese like kawaii ne (“Aren’t you cute?”), suki da yo (“I like you”) and tsukareta (“I’m tired”) and they will give a wide range of different reactions. You can also make requests like asking them to do a sum or sing a song.
The models are also customizable and come with different stickers to change their facial expressions.
The Clova Friends Dock was also released alongside the two models which is compatible with your TV, house lights and air conditioning. Make your life easier by simply giviving a command like “Hey, Clover, turn off the TV” (Nee Clova, terebi o keshite).
There are also future plans to increase the number of compatible electronic devices.
Japanese Artist VERDY Releases Minions Collaboration Collection
To commemorate the upcoming film Minions: The Rise of Gru, a new apparel collection has been unveiled! The new items were made by VERDY, the artist behind popular projects like Girls Don’t Cry and Wasted Youth, both of which have been noticed by celebrities overseas. Prior to the collection’s launch online on July 1, fans can buy items from the limited-edition collection at Universal Studios in Los Angeles starting June 17 and at Universal Studios Japan starting June 24.
VERDY is an incredibly popular artist who has garnered attention around the world, and his products are often seen with celebrities and big names in Japan and abroad. He has collaborated with a number of top brands in the past.
The first collaboration between the two, Minions x Vick, was released in 2020 to huge popularity, selling out within one minute of release. This second collaboration was created to satisfy huge fan demand, offering up tons of items featuring Otto, a Minion who will appear in the new film, and VERDY’s signature character Vick. Fans can purchase T-shirts, hoodies, long sleeve shirts, hats, keychains, skateboards, and more.
This is the only time you’ll be able to snag these unique items, so don’t miss out!
WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ WBEI. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s22)
Minions and all related elements and indicia TM & © 2022 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.TM & © Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment
Universal Studios Japan TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
Minions x VERDY
Where to Buy: Universal Studios Japan, Studio Style
Available: June 24 – June 30, 2022
*Items only available while supplies last.
Available Online starting July 1
Available at Universal Studios Hollywood starting June 17
Popular Illustrator Kanahei Announces Piske & Usagi Berry Berry Festival, Limited-Edition Merch
04.March.2022 | FASHION
Kanahei is one of the most popular illustrators on the web today, with many of the artist’s adorable characters featured on LINE as stickers. The creator’s characters will be featured on tons of new merch during two new events–the Piske & Usagi Berry Berry Festival from February 19 until March 31, and the Cat Festival with Kanahei’s Small Animals from February 19 until March 27, 2022.
Piske & Usagi Berry Berry Festival – Merchandise at a Glance
Goods featuring newly-created art of Piske and Usagi will be available at participating stores during the event. Those purchasing ¥2,000 or more on select products will receive a bonus sticker. Get one before they’re gone!
Cat Festival with Kanahei’s Small Animals – New Goods
February 22 is Cat Day in Japan, and this is the second time that Kanahei has held a Cat Festival event to celebrate. Those who purchase select Cat Festival products during the event period will be gifted a bonus postcard while supplies last!
※The amount of available postcards is limited.
※Some items may not be available at all stores.
※Stickers are available in limited quantities.
※The following stores will not offer bonuses:
Sapporo LOFT/ Yokohama LOFT / Tenjin LOFT / Nagoya LOFT / Ginza LOFT / Shibuya LOFT
Piske & Usagi Berry Berry Festival
Running: February 19 – March 31, 2022
Participating Stores/Details: https://kanaheis-small-animals.jp/special/berry2festival_2202/
Cat Festival with Kanahei’s Small Animals
Running: February 19 – March 27, 2022
Kiddy Land Stores: Osaka Umeda ‘Kanahei Store’ / Harajuku / Ikebukuro Sunshine City / Fukuoka PARCO / Kami-Otai / Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi
TV Tokyo Shop at Tokyo Station
Official Site: http://www.txhd.co.jp/
Hot-Pot Party-Themed Gorogoro Nyansuke Cafe Opens in Ikebukuro
Gorogoro Nyansuke, a popular character featured on LINE stickers, will get his own cafe in Ikebukuro for a limited time! The nabe (hot-pot) party-themed location will be open from December 2, 2021 until January 23, 2022. In Japan, it’s popular to enjoy nabe with friends and family during the winter months to warm up!
Refreshing Lemon Nabe
Soy Milk Nabe
Black Sesame Parfait
Dorayaki Pancakes with Japanese Sweets
Red Bean Paste Covered in Snow
Warm and Cozy Kotatsu Cake
Nyansuke Float (Melon Soda)
Nyansuke Float (Anzu Soda)
Nyansuke Float (Roasted Green Tea and Milk)
Cafe Latte: ¥660 (Tax Included)
Acrylic Keychain (Random, 10 varieties)
A4-size Clear Folder (Set of 2)
The adorable kitty-cat has become popular on LINE and social media and was designed by Tsumugi Murasato. Her first manga was published in October 2020 with merchandise following, and she has become more and more popular since!
© MIND WAVE INC. / GORO GORO Nyansuke ®
Gorogoro Nyansuke Cafe
Running: December 2, 2021 – January 23, 2022 *Closed from December 30 – January 4
Location: BOX cafe&space Ikebukuro (1-22-8 Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo)
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/goronyan_cafe
Reservations/Official Site: http://gorogoronyansuke-cafe.jp/
New Track from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Inspires LINE MUSIC Campaign
29.September.2021 | MUSIC
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu will release her first full-length album in three years Candy Racer on October 27, 2021. Ahead of the release, one new track, Jumping Up, will be shared early! This light and fun EDM track will, as promised, make you want to jump up and down along with the bass, and will be streaming starting September 29, 2021.
In conjunction with this pre-release, a LINE MUSIC playback campaign will begin on September 29, with the top 10 listeners receiving a prize exclusive to the event. Be sure to listen to the song as many times as possible for your chance to snag this premium prize, the design of which will be revealed soon!
Jumping Up – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Streaming: September 29, 2021
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s 5th Full Album Candy Racer
Release Date: October 27, 2021
10th Anniversary Special Site: http://kpp10.jp
Official Site: http://kyary.asobisystem.com
Jumping Up LINE MUSIC Campaign
Running: September 29 – October 6, 2021 at 23:59
Streaming Link: https://music.line.me/webapp/album/mb00000000023c3386
New BT21 Cafe Coming to Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Okinawa
The 9th BT21 Cafe ~Relaxing Holiday~ will be open for a limited time in six venues across Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Okinawa. If you’re a fan of these adorable LINE FRIENDS, just take a look at the menu items and goods on offer!
Chicken and Orange Hot Sandwich: ¥1,760 (Tax Included)
Grilled Vegetable Curry: ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
Tandoori Chicken Tacos: ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Bacon: ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
Pistachio and Chocolate S’mores: ¥1,540 (Tax Included)
Cinnamon Apple Pie: ¥1,540 (Tax Included)
Maple Lemon German Pancake: ¥1,650 (Tax Included)
Mixed Berry German Pancake: ¥1,650 (Tax Included)
Strawberry Mojito/Kiwi Mojito/Peach Mojito: ¥990 each (Tax Included)
Coffee (Iced/Hot) / Black Tea (Iced/Hot): ¥550 (Tax Included)
Pins (Random, 7 designs): ¥660 (Tax Included)
Acrylic Keyrings (7 designs): ¥770 (Tax Included) / Clear Folder: ¥440 (Tax Included)
Stickers (7 designs): ¥770 each (Tax Included) / Placemat (2 designs): ¥1,000 each (Tax Included)
Swizzle Stick (7 designs): ¥990 each (Tax Included) / Tote Bag: ¥1,650 (Tax Included)
Canvas Pouch: ¥1,980 (Tax Included) / Mini-towel (7 designs): ¥990 each (Tax Included)
Bandana (2 designs): ¥1,320 each (Tax Included) / Marshmallows: ¥972 (Tax Included)
Customers who book a table in advance will receive a randomly selected A5-size clear folder and a random clear coaster for each drink ordered.
The first installment of the 9th BT21 Cafe run, ~MY LITTLE BUDDY~, began in July 2021. The menu and goods, based on cute babies and their friends, received rave reviews.
~Relaxing Holiday~ is inspired by summer and being outside with friends. Menu items look like what people may eat while camping, and the original character art features your favorite BT21 characters eating their favorite foods. Various soups and desserts are available in cute souvenir cups, and anything ordered is perfect for posting on social media!
Which menu item looks the most delicious to you?
*Images for reference only.
BT21 Cafe 9th Run ~Relaxing Holiday~
Address: SHINJUKU BOX café&space Lumine EST (B1F 3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo)
Running: August 28, 2021 – October 3, 2021
Address: HARAJUKU BOX Alta (3F 16-4 Jingumae 1-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
Running: September 16, 2021 – October 31, 2021
Address: Collabo_Index Lumine Yokohama (6F 2-16-1 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa)
Running: September 1, 2021 – October 3, 2021
Address: Nagoya Box café&space (B1F LACHIC, 3-6-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi)
Running: September 30, 2021 – November 7, 2021
Address: Shinsaibashi contact (1-6-24 Kitahorie, Nishi-ku, Osaka)
Running: August 27, 2021 – September 23, 2021
Address: OKINAWA BOX café&space (Naha OPA 2F, 1-20-1 Izumizaki, Naha, Okinawa)
Running: September 3, 2021 – October 3, 2021
Official Site: https://2021-2.box-cafe.jp/
BT21 is a globally popular cast of characters from LINE FRIENDS.
*The products and menu items produced and sold by LEGS COMPANY, Ltd. are the result of an official license agreement with LINE FRIENDS Co., Ltd. and may not be reproduced or sold without permission from LINE FRIENDS Co., Ltd.
Minion-themed Sweets Return to Lawson Convenience Stores Across Japan
Bandai Candy’s Tabemas series of Japanese sweets are releasing a fan favorite yet again! Minion-themed wagashi are making a triumphant return to Lawson convenience stores in Japan (excluding Natural Lawson and Lawson Store 100) on August 10, 2021.
The line-up includes popular characters from the Despicable Me and Minions film series: the childish Bob, prank-loving Stuart, and the leader of the group, Kevin. After a popular release in 2020, it’s no wonder they’re back!
Tabemas, a portmanteau of ‘edible’ and ‘mascot,’ is a series of traditional confections made to look like well-known characters, crafting them out of ingredients such as red bean paste, rice flour, and sugar. Each Minion is faithfully crafted in edible fashion, from the goggles to the hairstyles.
While the sweets are filled with red bean paste, a traditional flavor in Japanese sweets, each character has a different flavor: Bob is banana (his favorite), Stuart is strawberry, and Kevin is chocolate. As delicious as these treats may be, they’re almost too cute to eat! We’d recommend taking a few snaps for Instagram before digging in.
The Minions aren’t the only characters the Tabemas series has made into edible creations: other popular releases include familiar faces from Rilakkuma, Sumikko Gurashi, One Piece, Snoopy, Kirby, Doraemon, Yo-kai Watch, Sailor Moon, Detective Conan, and a collection of beloved Sanrio and Disney characters!
Which Minion is your favorite flavor?
Minions Franchise (C) Universal City Studios LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Tabemas Minion 2021 Bob/Stuart/Kevin
Release Date: August 10, 2021
Where to Buy: At the chilled desserts section of Lawson convenience stores across Japan
Product Lineup: https://www.bandai.co.jp/candy/tabemas/
*Not available at Natural Lawson or Lawson Store 100
*Available while supplies last
*Stock date may differ from branch to branch
*Select stores not participating
*Tabemas is a registered trademark of Bandai Co. Ltd
LINE FRIENDS Collaborates With Minions For 10th Anniversary
As part of the LINE FRIENDS 10th anniversary celebrations, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Brand Development released the MINIONS X BROWN & FRIENDS collection at the LINE FRIENDS Harajuku store and the online store on July 22. A collection of digital accessories, camping items, and golf goods will also roll out in August. This includes a release at 17 branches of KIDDYLAND on August 7 as part of PLAY LINE FRIENDS.
BROWN & FRIENDS began as a stamp series on the Japanese messaging app LINE. The characters are now featured just about everywhere including as merchandise. See Brown and Sally meet Kevin, Bob, and Stuart from the hit animated films Despicable Me and Minions in the form of digital accessories aimed at tech lovers such as AirPods cases and smartphone clips as well as eco bags, golfing equipment, camping necessities, and more.
As part of the collaboration, Brown & Friends and Minions LINE stickers and Instagram filters will also be released in August. Check out the official LINE FRIENDS social media pages for related promotional videos too.
And for Japanese fans of both franchises, they get some Japan-exclusive merchandise too including a mini towel, hand towel, face towel, bath towel, denim tote bag, denim pouch, eco bag, hat, stationery, bottle, mug, neck pillow, and more.
BT21 Cafe to Open in Five Japanese Cities For Summer 2021
The BT21 Cafe is set to see its 9th run in Japan when six of them begin opening in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Okinawa from July 22. The theme this time around is “MY LITTLE BUDDY.”
Uchiwa Fans (7 Designs) / Coasters (8 Designs)
Customers who book a table in advance will receive a free fan, and if they buy a drink, a free coaster.
KOYA Gapao Rice | ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
RJ Omelette Stew | ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
SHOOKY Loco Moco Don | ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
MANG Coconut Green Curry | ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
CHIMMY Chicken Over Rice | ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
TATA Bibimbap | ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
COOKY Sushi Bowl | ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
Parfaits (Mango/Melon/Grapefruit) | ¥1,540 (Tax Included)
Mini Parfaits | ¥550 (Tax Included)
Milk Drinks (Strawberry/Mango/Blueberry) | ¥990 (Tax Included)
Shuwa Shuwa Fruit Tea | ¥990 (Tax Included)
Fuwamoko Latte | ¥990 (Tax Included)
Pins | ¥660 (Tax Included)
Acrylic Keyrings | ¥770 (Tax Included)
Folders ¥440 (Tax Included) / Clear Pouches ¥1,320 (Tax Included)
Pin Case | ¥1,320 (Tax Included)
Stickers ¥770 (Tax Included) / Acrylic Coasters ¥1,320 (Tax Included)
Milk Caramels | ¥1,080 (Tax Included)
The menu line-up is based on Asian cuisine and features cute dishes, drinks, and dessert combined with the BT21 characters. There’s also a collection of exclusive merchandise for fans to get their hands on.
BT21 Cafe 9th Run ~MY LITTLE BUDDY~
Tokyo Cafe ①
Address: TOKYO BOX cafe&space Omotesando Hills (4-12-10, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo)
Running: July 22, 2021 – August 29, 2021
Tokyo Cafe ②
Address: BOX cafe&space Lumine EST (3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo)
Running: July 22, 2021 – August 22, 2021
Address: Collabo_Index Lumine Yokohama (2-16-1 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa)
Running: July 22, 2021 – August 29, 2021
Address: Address: Nagoya Box Cafe&Space (B1F LACHIC, 3-6-1 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture)
Running: August 26, 2021 – September 26, 2021
Address: kawara CAFE＆DINING Shinsaibashi (Shinsaibashi OPA 9F, 1-4-3 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka)
Running: July 29, 2021 – August 29, 2021
Address: OKINAWA BOX cafe&space (Naha OPA 2F, 1-20-1 Izumizaki, Naha, Okinawa)
Running: July 22, 2021 – August 29, 2021
Price: ¥715 (Tax Included) *Includes freebie
Cafe Website: https://2021-1.box-cafe.jp/
Popular LINE Sticker Series YOSISTAMP Opens Travel Themed Pop-Up Shop
The YOSISTAMP Premium Shop, a pop-up shop themed on the popular sticker series YOSISTAMP from the LINE messenger app, has been making its way around Japan since 2019. It recently opened inside Abeno Harukas Kintetsu in Osaka.
The store’s merch line-up
The pop-up shop is themed on travel, and fans of the series can get their hands on a cute selection of exclusive merchandise. The shop even has a special photo spot for snapping pictures.
YOSISTAMP Kaputto Premium Shop
Location: Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Wing Building Floor 9F
Address: 1-1-43 Abenosuji, Abeno Ward, Osaka, 545-0052, Japan
Running: June 2, 2021 – June 15, 2021 (Closed Weekends)
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Until 15:00 on 15:00)
*Subject to changes or closure depending on COVID-19
Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Official Website: https://abenoharukas.d-kintetsu.co.jp/
YOSISTAMP Official Website: http://yosistamp.co.jp/
Sanrio Character Ranking 2021 to Announce Winner in Collaboration With Tokyo Girls Collection
Sanrio has announced that the announcement ceremony for the winner of the 2021 Sanrio Character Ranking will take place in collaboration with Tokyo Girls Collection (TGC), a semi-annual fashion festival in Tokyo, on June 8. The event will be streamed live on Hello Kitty and TCG’s respective LINE accounts, as well as Sanrio’s official YouTube account, so that more people can tune in to this year’s announcement and see which of Sanrio’s characters will take the crown.
80 characters are participating in this year’s Sanrio Character Ranking which will be announced in order from 80 to 1. This year also sees the return of the sub-award categories including Collaboration. Hosting the event as MC is tarento and actress Nao Asahi and the Japanese comedy duo Wagyu ga Tsutome.
But the winner announcement is not the only event scheduled for 2021’s ranking. Since this time is a collaboration with TGC, there will be a fashion runway where popular models will show off their looks, a live performance with JO1 and the Sanrio characters, a rap battle, and more.
Fashion Runway: Famous models display the Sanrio character aesthetic
On the fashion stage, a line-up of well-known Japanese models will serve fashion inspired by Sanrio’s most famous characters including My Melody, Kuromi, Little Twin Stars, and Pompompurin.
Marie Iitoyo and Maika Yamamoto will use a real-time composite photography system as they dress up as the adorable My Melody and her rival Kuromi. Serving the dreamy star-filled world of Kiki and Lala are Kaane and Sakura Saiga, Yoshiaki & Michi, and Rikariko. For the Pompompurin section, which is themed on the golden retriever’s daily life, we have Nana Kato, Ami Komuro, Natsuki Deguchi, Sachi Fujii, and Roy. But that’s not all as Sakachin, Yuki Higashihara, and Reina, who won the LINE LIVE auditions to appear on this year’s fashion runway, will also appear.
A heated rap battle between the Sanrio characters
In the rap battle, KIRIMI-chan, Kuromi, Kogimyun, and Pompompurin will go head to head against special guests Tsukasa Saito of comedy duo Trendy Angel and Yuriyan Retriever.
The Sanrio cast join music artists for a concert
The adorable Cinnamoroll, who is also expanding his work as an idol, will perform alongside JO1, while Hello Kitty will sing with singer-songwriter Sonoko Inoue.
A new virtual experience using the latest technology
Japanese digital advertising company CyberAgent, who produced virtual events and 3DCG content, will be using the latest in 3DCG and XR tech to blur the lines between reality and the virtual space with an interactive experience, such as people’s comments on social media and the video displaying in real time, and more.
2021 Sanrio Character Ranking – Winner Announcement
Running: June 8, 2021 @ 19:30-21:30 (JST)
Watch on Hello Kitty’s LINE Account: https://lin.ee/7juKjZs
Watch on TGC’s LINE Account: https://page.line.me/tgc_line
Watch on LINE LIVE: https://live.line.me/channels/21
Watch on Sanrio’s YouTube Page: https://youtu.be/ujzQG0afFnc
Official Website: https://www.sanrio.co.jp/news/mx-ranking2021-20210527/
LINE Disney Tsum Tsum Puzzle Game Breaks 90 Million Downloads
07.May.2021 | ANIME&GAME
Japanese messaging app LINE announced that their casual puzzle game LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum has broken 90 million views. The popular game launched a collaboration with the Star Wars franchise on Tuesday which is set to run until May 31.
LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum is based off Disney’s collectable stuffed toy series. The game launched first in Japan on January 29, 2014, before rolling out to the US, UK, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere on July 1 of the same year. Tsum Tsum and 400-or-so characters are popular around the world with the toys having appeared in Disney films, commercials, at events, and more.
In celebration of the puzzle game reaching 90 million downloads, the Today’s Mission feature is offering a 10x bonus. The game is also collaborating with Star Wars until the end of May where Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper are making an appearance. And for the duration of May, the game’s title logo and background music has been changed into traditional Japanese styles.
Tsum Tsum Tenka Touitsu Event
Another in-game event is also ongoing where players can receive pins and a Princess Minnie by clearing the mission.
©& TM Lucasfilm Ltd.
90 Million Download Celebratory Events
Running: May 4, 2021 – May 31, 2021
LINE Disney Tsum Tsum Official Website: https://www.disney.co.jp/games/dtt.html
Popular Japanese LINE Character Raccos Second Plushie Collection Revealed
01.May.2021 | FASHION
Following the popularity of the first Raccos plushie which released earlier this month, a second collection is being released featuring Penguin, Mage, and Onemu, at the end of May at entertainment facilities in Japan.
Raccos is a character series created by planner and animator Takada Bear of CHOCOLATE Inc.
The characters are popular stamps on the Japanese messaging service LINE. The new plush toys size in at 16cm and are super cute.
Raccos Plushie Collection 2
Release Date: Late May 2021
Official Website: http://f-ch.jp/raccos02/