He’s even got a leather tag hanging from his zipper! Also, you can see that his apron is lined with a nice brown and white polka dot fabric from this angle, too!
He was a Rilakkuma Store exclusive first released way back in September of 2009! He holds a special place in my heart because he reminds me of all my adventures in Japan, running around finding Rilakkuma Stores :D
Continuing the second half post theme of “Rilakkuma products my dad bought”, check out this Rilakkuma riding a banana!
Bananas are my dad’s favorite food!
I wish I had plushie version of this!
In a previous post, I mentioned that my Nara Rilakkuma is part of an HNA series the produces special Rilakkumas for each prefecture in Japan – this Rilakkuma is part of the same collection, except this one is from the Kantō region line, representing Tokyo!
I guess Tokyo is known for their bananas?
The only thing I could really find out about bananas is Tokyo is the company Tokyo Banana (東京ばな奈), which makes tasty banana cream-filled sponge cakes.
My family bought a few while we were in Tokyo. They’re pretty good, and apparently they’re the #1 best-selling souvenir! Is this Rilakkuma really referring to this banana cream cake company? Googling “tokyo” + “banana” and there are just pages and pages about this company alone!
It’s a really cute concept: the regular banana cream only ones are a solid yellow, and they use animal print to represent additional flavors. This giraffe-print one is filled with banana caramel custard cream! There’s also leopard spots (chocolate), and tabby cat stripes (caramel).
Anyway, I also found out there are banana vending machines around Tokyo, so maybe that has something to do with it, too haha.
Basically, licensing concerns products that feature Rilakkuma designs with the official permission/blessings of San-X, but are not made directly by San-X themselves.
For example, if you were a tech accessories company and you wanted to produce and sell Rilakkuma laptop covers, you would have to get the Rilakkuma license from San-X in order to legally use Rilakkuma’s design on your merchandise, and the license would be different depending on whether you were based in Japan or not.
To clarify a bit more: for me, there are 4 basic categories of Rilakkuma goods:
Additionally, licensed goods differ from the campaign/collaboration goods because licensed goods generally come from other toy companies themselves: campaign/collaboration goods are generally a seasonal offering with a non-toy related company.
As the name implies, campaign/collaboration items are often focused on the joint nature of the two companies, like buy a Pizza Hut pizza and get a Rilakkuma pizza cutter … or a promotional campaign like buy a bunch of Lawson food and get a Rilakkuma plate – while licensed goods generally just feature Rilakkuma with little input in design from the company producing it. Other examples of campaign/collaboration goods include Mister Donut, KFC, and Pancake Days.
Licensing is a significant part of San-X: they have a HUGE booth at most licensing expos:
When I started collecting Rilakkuma, I used to get confused with how Fansclub fit in with the San-X world, but fortunately, Fansclub plushies have a pretty consistent look and format to them, and they are cataloged by Fansclub meticulously. At first, I wasn’t sure if my Nara Rilakkuma was legitimate or not because he had such a different look, but this got cleared up as I started looking into Rilakkuma licensing.
However, I think things do start to get a little confusing when other other plush toy companies receive a Rilakkuma license.
For example, Dream International, a Hong Kong based plush toy company, recently got a Rilakkuma license. They showed off their line at 2013 New York International Toy Fair:
I don’t really know how I feel about these because they seem somewhat inconsistent with the other San-X Rilakkuma plushies (e.g. the tag is on the ear??), but your mileage may vary.
How to tell
Basically, companies holding official Rilakkuma licenses are all over the place in terms of quality and design, so it’s really hard to apply all the authentication guidelines that we’ve worked so hard to craft as a community, but the good news is that it is rather easy to tell which ones have the official seal of approval from San-X.
Licensed goods are required to display their license seal in some way, and licenses differ between domestic (Japan) and overseas (not Japan) products. Most products do so with a holographic sticker, but some just print it directly on their packaging – I took some photos, but it’s kind of difficult to capture holographic images so bear with me:
San-X clover logo repeating diagonally in the background
License ID printed in black
Text on the bottom that says “TRADEMARK” or “OVERSEAS” for domestic and overseas products, respectively
Small holo circle above the TRADEMARK/OVERSEAS text
The printed licenses follow a similar format, but without the fancy holographic stuff. They’re not as consistent as the stickers, but generally most of the information is still there.
In addition, overseas items will print a line that says “A Licensing Programme of RM”. RM Enterprises is a character licensing company that deals with international licensing (mainly in Asia). As far as I know, this line isn’t printed on the domestic products, but then again, I can’t read Japanese T^T
As a complete disclaimer, the licensed goods I’m looking at have been released in the past 3 years – I think the designs might differ slightly in earlier licenses.
If you’re unsure about a company’s license status, it is pretty easy to look up the company online – they usually list their license information there.
After that, it’s up to you whether the quality of the product is up to snuff, I guess haha.
As an additional note, I think the San-X Rilakkuma Blog only posts about the domestic licensed stuff occasionally, not the overseas licensed products. Also, Rilakkuma Stores stock domestic licensed goods (I’ve seen HNA, Re-Ment, Nanoblock, and a bunch of food products and more), while I don’t think they do with the overseas ones.
What do y’all think about licensed Rilakkuma goods? Do you have any, and if so, which ones/brands?
Personally, I love my licensed goods – most of mine are domestic products, and I think their Rilakkuma goods are very diverse and well-developed! However, I’m not sure if I’d buy a licensed plush outside the Fansclubs, but I guess I’ll have to assess them when I see one in person.
I was originally planning on doing individual plushie posts later, but I couldn’t wait to share this one!
It’s Nara Rilakkuma!
The top cracker he’s holding up says 鹿せん (shika-sen), which is the cracker used to feed deer; the bottom cracker 奈良 (Nara), the region he represents!
This plushie was produced by HNA with a Rilakkuma license!
Basically, each prefecture in Japan has its own special Rilakkuma based on the what’s special for that particular city.
In Nara, there are a TON of deer, so Nara Rilakkuma is appropriately wearing deer antlers and holding up a rice cracker called shika-senbei – you can buy them to feed the deer.
I think it’s really fitting because it seems like deer paradise in Nara. According to legend, one of the gods (Takenomikazuchi-no-mikoto) appeared on a mountain riding a deer, and since then, deer have been considered messengers of the gods in Shinto! Back then, killing a deer was a crime punishable by death!
One photo really does not do them justice – there are really deer everywhere!
Sometimes people get way too friendly with the deer though…