A cafe based on the Sanrio Danshi brand has opened in Ikebukuro PARCO. We came to visit it at 11 a.m. on a week day, and it was already full of people. Apparently on holidays you must wait for 2 hours before being served. Sanrio announced “Sanrio Danshi” on November of 2015 and it became a massive hit online, slowly but steadily gaining female fans in their teens and 20s. A new character project like this one signifies a fresh challenge for such a veteran character company like Sanrio.
Sanrio Danshi are, from left to right, Ryo Nishimiya, Seiichiro Minamoto, Kota Hasegawa, Shunsuke Yoshino and Yuu Mizuno
■Let’s go to the Sanrio Danshi school festival!
The Sanrio Danshi are five good-looking high school boys who each have their own favorite Sanrio character, such as Hello Kitty or Pom Pom Purin. It’s the story of their adolescence, following their coming of age as they pass the days with their Sanrio character merchandise. After being announced on their official Twitter on November of 2015, it immediately drew the attention of a female audience and now their Twitter follower count has risen up to approximately 190,000 people (as of December 2016). The brand then expanded further, including 2 manga serializations and a smartphone game app.
Sanrio Danshi @ cafe
In the midst of this success, the “Sanrio Danshi @ cafe” has now opened for a limited time only. It is set up as if the 5 Sanrio Danshi had opened up a cafe during their school festival, and in this setting each one of them has decorated their dishes with motifs from their favorite characters. It truly was a unique menu, so we quickly began tasting the food.
The president’s cinnamon affogato (1380 yen excluding tax)
This is a dessert called ” The president’s cinnamon affogato”. It has the image of Cinnamoroll made out of cotton candy. It’s so cute! If you pour some concentrated black tea on top, French toast coated with cinnamon powder and vanilla ice cream comes out from the inside. It was really tasty and had just the right amount of sweetness.
It comes with a good luck charm for certain victory (1180 yen excluding tax)
Next we tried the dessert called ” It comes with a good luck charm for certain victory”. Despite its cute appearance, this dish is very substantial and has a rich flavor.
A truly smart hand-made crepe (1180 excluding tax)
The last dessert we tasted was ” A truly smart hand-made crepe”. It shows the image of “Kiki & Lala” made with Ramune ice cream, berry ice cream, and rainbow colored starch syrup. This crepe has the standard filling, chocolate and banana, and eating it makes you feel very stylish.
There also were many other items on the menu which looked very unique.
The clients were mostly girls in their teens and 20s. We asked them what they liked about Sanrio Danshi, and these were some of their answers — “Each one of their favorite characters is so appropriate for them!”, “Their Twitter is fun to read, and really makes it feel like they exist. Their high school life is so cute”, “The fact that they like Sanrio characters is so perfect”.
There is also a merchandise store right next to the cafe. And the most popular items are the Yuu Mizuno merchandise.
■”Idol brands” are taking over the female market
The most popular brands in the anime market at the moment are the so-called “idol brands”. These include brands such as IDOLiSH7 (Smartphone game), Ensemble Stars (Smartphone game) or Love Live! (Anime). In most cases, they all share certain keywords such as “a lot of main characters”, “music”, “training”, etc.
Amidst all these, Sanrio released “SHOW BY ROCK!!”. It features a music band formed by characters with a great individuality, and in 2013 a smartphone app was released, with a TV anime released later in 2015. It is formed by youthful characters, such as cute big-headed characters, designed with motifs from Sanrio’s food and animal visuals, and also by beautiful, slender women. It has a very unique sensibility, and this has earned it a lot of popularity. In the 2015 TOP 10 prize awards for Sanrio characters, 4 of the bands from “SHOW BY ROCK!!” made it into the ranking. This caused a lot of discussion among the general public, who spoke of Sanrio’s “new approach to adapt themselves to today’s changing trends”.
c2012, 2016 SANRIO co., LTD SHOW BY ROCK!! The production committee
And of course, Sanrio Danshi also took part in this “SHOW BY ROCK!!”, drawing a big reaction from both fans and the media. When we investigated, what we saw took the whole issue in a new direction.
In the second half we will investigate the strategy behind Sanrio Danshi.
©’76,’96,’01,’15,’16 SANRIO CO.,LTD. APPROVAL NO. SP571351
Sanrio Danshi Official Site
Sanrio Danshi @ cafe
Ikebukuro PARCO Main Building 7F THE GUEST cafe & diner 12/1 (Thursday) ~ 1/4 (Wednesday)
>>”Sanrio Danshi” Second half – A new development for this veteran character company
>>”Sanrio Danshi” Special article – The growing presence of female fans in the entertainment market
(Article by: Kenichi Nakamura)
Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.