family mart strawberry sweets

My Melody x Family Mart’s Strawberry Paradise Is Music To Our Ears

As we inch closer into strawberry season, My Melody is here to bring us into a world of pink through the doors of Family Mart. Sanrio’s pinkest character will be collaborating with the local convenience store for “Family Mart Strawberry Picking,” a nationwide campaign for all kinds of strawberry sweets and snacks.

Kicking off from January 9th, the lineup includes many time-limited products to embrace Japan’s favorite fruit. Expect the return of the ever popular strawberry crepe, as well as the strawberry cheese terrine, sweet and sour strawberry caramel corn and strawberry donut. For the true strawberry-holics, there’s also strawberry milk, a special Haagen-Dazs mini cup strawberry chocolate parfait and a strawberry sauce and whipped cream sandwich. 

For more info on Family Mart’s strawberry items, check here.

Sanrio’s My Melody leads the Strawberry Campaign

Promoting kicks off with My Melody herself who will be featured across Family Mart’s in-store broadcasts. A special edition My Melody with a strawberry ribbon will also be featured as a mascot in-store. We’re not sure why My Melody has specifically been chosen out of all of Sanrio’s pals, but its undeniable how well her (and her pink hood) match with the theme of the event. Her birthday is also apparently on January 18 which ties in well with Japan’s strawberry season. 

For more info on the collaboration check here.

Final fantasy 14 wine collaboration

Image via The Prisoner Wine Company

A Drink Suited for the Victory Fanfare: The Prisoner Wine Company x Final Fantasy XIV Online Collaboration

This wine collaboration takes no prisoners. The Prisoner Wine Company is back with another wine partnership to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV Online

The Collector’s Box doesn’t just hold the wine, it’s art in and of itself. A chain design graces the exterior which links the logos of the two brands involved in this collaboration. Inside is a brand new illustration of the Warrior of Light which represents the hero and protector role. Fans can take heart at the words written inside which quotes Venat, one of the Final Fantasy XIV Online characters saying: “Break your chains, shed your burdens – and show me your strength of will!” While the bottle itself bears The Prisoner label, peeling it off reveals the artwork representing the Warrior of Light.

As for the wine itself, it’s called The Prisoner Red Blend and has a 2021 vintage and a California appellation. A selection of grapes are used, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec. On the nose, wine imbibers should detect hints of dried blackberry, cedar and tobacco leaf, plus the sweet spices of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Flavors range from ripe dark cherry to blackberry coulis with a hint of anise for a soft and vibrant finish.

The Prisoner for FINAL FANTASY XIV <10th Anniversary Collector’s Box> will be officially released on January 12th. Fans of the game and wine tasters alike can preorder this online at selected retailers in Japan.

For more info on The Prisoner Wine, check here. 

Stealth Meets Style With the Return of Uniqlo’s Metal Gear Solid Tees

Blink and you’ll miss Snake in this comeback collection. Uniqlo is bringing back the coveted Metal Gear Solid collection of T-shirts, in the spirit of the franchise’s 35th anniversary which took place a few months ago. The tees, which were first released in 2009 and then again in 2012, are now slated to be in stores in Japan from January 22. Overseas shoppers can also buy the T-shirts online with the U.S. store earmarking a February 26 release date. Six designs complete the collection and include concept art of the main character, Solid Snake, as well as some distinctive aspects of the game such as the “game over” screen.

The Metal Gear Solid franchise is widely recognised as one of the greatest and most important games in video game history. Developed and produced by Konami under acclaimed director Hideo Kojima, the series is said to have laid the foundations for the stealth adventure genre of video games. Kojima has since spun off from Konami to create his own studio, Kojima Productions, which has also launched fashion collaborations with GU, a subsidiary clothing brand within Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing. 

UT Archive is a celebration of the storied history behind Uniqlo’s T-shirt project “UT” which began in 2003. UT is known to collaborate with all forms of art and media, with some of its most famed gaming and anime partnerships including Final Fantasy, Spy x Family and Animal Crossing. You can explore all past UT collections here. Here’s hoping it brings back more best-selling hits from its robust t-shirt museum.

we are one piece cover

Sail the Seas While Listening to The First Take x One Piece

It’s no surprise to see more and more One Piece related content crop up. The series, which began as a manga by Eiichiro Oda, has been a permanent fixture in the anime and manga scene since the latter’s debut in 1997. August 2022 brought us Netflix’s One Piece Live Action, which catapulted the franchise onto the global stage in a way that welcomed new fans from outside of the otaku-sphere.

Barely two weeks after the premiere, Netflix already confirmed that the live action would be renewed for a second season. In December 2023, it was also announced that Wit Studio would be remaking the anime, also for Netflix. 

The First Take is a YouTube channel dedicated to shooting musicians and singers performing in a single take. Since it started publishing videos four years ago, The First Take has grown in popularity due to its strong focus on showcasing Japanese talent.

Owned by Sony Music Entertainment Japan, many of its videos feature acoustic or unique arrangements of original songs. It’s minimalistic backdrop and purported “one take only” nature gives the viewers a much rawer and more authentic perspective on the talents and the music.

This 394th episode is Kitadani’s first appearance on the channel. Other notable anisong performances include “Go!!!” by Flow (the 4th opening song for Naruto), “Kizuna no Kiseki” by Man with a Mission’s and Milet (the 3rd opening theme for Demon Slayer) and Yoasobi’s “Yasashii Suisei” (the second ending theme song for Beastars). 

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