Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.
To raise its profile as the city of anime, Tokyo’s Nerima Ward introduced its new official mascot, Nerimaru, which was produced by ward-based animation house Studio Comet.
Nerima Ward is known as a major hub for anime studios in Japan, and the ward office will use the manga character Nerimaru in a public relations campaign.
Nerimaru is modeled after the ward’s specialty product, Nerima daikon radish. It is also based on a horse, with “ma” coming from the kanji character meaning “horse.” “Maru” is an honorific suffix used to describe a child.
Nerimaru was designed to express Nerima Ward as a high-spirited city.
His cheeks are accentuated with the letter “N” in red ink to represent the initial of the ward. The antenna on top of his head symbolizes that the ward is determined to deliver hopes and dreams across the globe through anime and receive information at the same time.
The cape means that Nerimaru is willing to fly into the future. His heavy-duty goggles represent that he is prepared to tackle any difficulties, no matter how hard they may be.
The selection process of the official character began earlier this year.
With the help of the Nerima Animation Association, nine animation studios based in the ward came up with characters. Three of them were picked by the selection committee to be voted on by the public from Feb. 1-20 for its design and name.
Nerimaru received about 1,300 votes.
The ward office has been making efforts, such as the appointment of an official mascot, to promote industrial development and cultural and regional activities in tandem with the Nerima Animation Association.
There are many Yurukyara, or mascot characters inspired by animals or local specialty products. But Nerima Ward took advantage of the area’s anime industry to dream up its official mascot.
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