Osomatsu-san: proof that anime fans will buy literally anything
The runaway popularity of Osomatsu-san is obvious here in Japan. Those Matsuno brothers give everyone something (and somebody) to love. Each new item launches with a custom version for each main character. We kinda like that it’s always been kept equal.
Until we realised just how much stuff that is.
You can buy Osomatsu-san keychains, badges, clear files, cushions, smartphone cases, Nendoroids, plushies, eye masks, calendars, backpacks, Figma figures, hair accessories, business card holders, T-shirts, erasers, face masks, Christmas decorations, lawn chairs, and hundreds of other things. Hundreds. More stuff than one sane person should reasonably own.
That’s a lotta-matsu! Sheeeeeeeh!
There’s so much Oso-merch to push that people are making unofficial Twitter accounts to promo new goods. It’d be hard to keep track otherwise. We’ve pulled out some highlights from the giant wave of officially licenced products and collaborations.
Osomatsu-san x Sanrio characters
Sanrio has so many characters that they can – and do – hold a ‘which one’s your favourite’ online election every year. The Sanrio Character Ranking 2017 will be the 33rd vote, and they introduced a separate Character Curry Election in 2016.
Osomatsu-san obviously got the cute character treatment, because neither franchise could help themselves. It’s a collab that was begging to be made. Each ‘matsu’ has been mashed up with Sanrio’s kawaii characters:
Osomatsu = Hello Kitty
Ichimatsu = Nya Ni Nyu Nye Nyon
Todomatsu = My Melody
Karamatsu = Tuxedo Sam
Choromatsu = Kerokero Keroppi
Jyushimatsu = Pompompurin
We love that these choices feel appropriate for individual colours AND personality. Jyushimatsu and Pompompurin make a great team. Likewise My Melody with Todomatsu – everyone loves some ‘moe moe’ ‘mote mote’ action. And to top it off, pairing up cat-lover Ichimatsu with 5 fluffy cute kittens… genius move.
As you might know, Sanrio never misses a chance to slap a character’s face on a product. They’ve helped get the 6 siblings onto packs of popcorn, pen cases, microfibre towels, socks, plastic tumblers, smartphone cases, bobblehead toys, and a 300-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Osomatsu-san x JRA
The Japan Racing Association and anime don’t often mix. In the mini web anime series ‘6 Brothers & A Horse’, they totally do. An extra TV special played up Osomatsu’s love of betting on basically anything.
And the series, uh, didn’t shy away from a bit of controversy, either… (it’s a carrot. We hope it’s a carrot. We’re praying it’s really a carrot.)
For a while, fans could try betting on their favourite brother with an online racing game. JRA have taken it down, the spoilsports. The online show’s also gone, as it was pulled from online streaming back in March.
The Matsuno clan didn’t just joke around as jockeys for the JRA. Some of the official show merch has the brothers transformed into Horse-o-matsus. Complete with coloured muzzles and perfectly-styled manes.
Wow. We have so many questions about this. Where the hell did Todomatsu’s fetching straw boater hat come from? And how does it fit perfectly between his ears like that?
Osomatsu-san x HMM (Fruits-matsu)
HMM is Hybrid Mind Market, a Tokyo-based brand that brings anime and fashion together. One of this year’s limited-time pop-up shops in Tokyo and Fukuoka is for Osomatsu-san. With the theme of ‘juicy fruits looking back at you’, which is weird but let’s roll with it. The shop events ended a bit earlier this month.
Osomatsu = Cherry
Ichimatsu = Grape
Todomatsu = Peach
Karamatsu = Apple
Choromatsu = Kiwi
Jyushimatsu = Mikan
Even this HMM collaboration included special Osomatsu goods from trendy Japanese fashion brand ANAP. Some of those exclusive items are popping up on resale and proxy shopping sites like ours.
Go to karaoke in Japan and you’ll see ads for little drink bottles. ‘Voice drinks’ or ‘throat care drinks’, made to help your vocal cords survive hours of drunkenly belting out anime theme tunes. In partnership with Avex and the karaoke chain Jankara, some of these little bottles have the Matsunos on the front.
A 50ml glug of herb extract and honey, and you’ll be holding the microphone again in no time. Seeing as you’ve just downed a bottle of Matsuno-covered goodness, why not queue up the Osomatsu-san theme song?
“It’s a disaster, this place we’re in is on fire! / Firing beams from anxious eyes, pon.”
On second thought, maybe there are more optimistic songs you could try singing.
If it hasn’t been made into a game or a way to encourage gambling, then it’s not a hit anime. Pachinko places across the country now have limited supplies of the official Osomatsu-san slot machines. Even with a multi-level car park and massive floor space, most pachinko parlours have been given just 2 machines for gambler otaku to fight over.
Yes, this is yet another gambling collab that real-life Osomatsu would love. Watch the video clips and feel MAX excitement! Fruit reel machines with giant LED sunglasses = only in Japan.
The Joshi-matsu sisters (Girlymatsu-san)
What’s better than making merch for 6 characters? Making merch for 12 characters!
For some random reason, the Matsuno boys have female counterparts. You’ll likely know them as either the Joshi-matsus or the Girly-matsus from the anime episode title. It’s not quite a ‘gender bend’ – they’re new additions to the character list.
The Japanese kanji ‘ko’ is often tacked on the end of girls’ names, so naming all the new characters was easy:
Osomatsu = Osoko
Ichimatsu = Ichiko
Todomatsu = Todoko
Karamatsu = Karako
Choromatsu = Choroko
Jyushimatsu = Jyushiko
Why the hell is Jyushiko a ganguro gyal with creepy eyes… Other than that, we feel like the female characters match the guys pretty well. Karamatsu and Choromatsu for sure (those pair look hats!).
Oh so much Osomatsu-san stuff
Think we can’t be serious? See for yourself. Try searching DEJAPAN for Osomatsu and see just how many pages of results pop up.