Artwork On Parade: New 3DS Promotional Character Art
September 29, 2014
Nintendo of Japan cranks out of a lot of character artwork specific to its home region. Some of the more expressive, cultural images (such as Mario and Princess Peach in traditional kimonos) rarely make it out of the country to be used in advertising the Nintendo brands overseas. With the company preparing to launch the New 3DS in Japan, television commercials are already running to show off the new customizable faceplate options. As part of the campaign, Nintendo's artists have put together some images of the company's famous characters such as Mario, Pikachu, and Link sporting some very garish, loud costumes to show that you can personalize your New 3DS to be as obnoxiously clashing as you want. At least, I think that's the intent. Let's have a look at some of these images.
Nintendo once told its customers to "Play it loud!", but here we see Mario wearing it loud. Stripes, polka dots, and plaid? As Mystery Science Theater 3000's Tom Servo once said, "Man, I'm a naked robot and even I know that's a fashion no-no." The clown shoes aren't helping either, and everyone's favorite plumber can't quite pull off short pants. The baseball cap redesign of Mario's iconic plumber's cap isn't bad though and I'm honestly surprised Nintendo has never sold a real wearable hat in this style. Producing one for sale seems like a foregone marketing conclusion.
Poor Luigi. He obviously got dressed in the dark this morning. The beanie cap with the off-center L logo is bad enough, but what's with the vest and tie combined with short pants? Was this week's business meeting held out on Koopa Troopa Beach? Then there's the lime green sandals; the less said about them, the better.
Compared to what we've seen already, Princess Peach's striped dress is actually a solid look for her. It's a simpler dress than her usual pink ensemble and gives her a relaxed demeanor, although the black and white colors evoke imagery of old-timey prisons or old-timey bathing suits. Considering how often we see the princess either locked up as a prisoner or relaxing on vacation, perhaps that's a purposeful design choice. Either way, I like it.
Fun fact: when he's not serving as Princess Peach's handmaiden, Toad works part time as a carnival barker. Step right up and check out Toad's snappy stripped shirt and bow tie. Unlike the Mario brothers, he's color coordinated. Just be sure to have your tickets ready when you go to see him.
Nope, sorry, my mistake; Link is Nintendo's part-time carnival barker character. With a classy top hat (with Triforce insignia!), tails, long pants, and bow tie, the Hero of Wind encourages you to marvel at the wonders of the haunted treasure ship for only five tickets. While his green color scheme evokes his traditional heroic garb, he's also color coordinated with Toad. Maybe they work the carnival together? Link gets you in the gate and Toad works the game where you try to flip frogs into little rafts to win an oversized stuffed Moblin toy.
Kirby is channeling the New 3DS's human pitchwoman, Japan's model and singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, right down to the hair and hair clip from the commercials, so any criticism of his appearance really reflected back on Pamyu and not Kirby himself, although since we know that Kirby gains his abilities (and appearance) by inhaling and digesting other people, then this means he's clearly eaten Pamyu. I'm unsure which is more terrifying: the cannibalism angle or the freaky wand Kirby is holding with its Rolling Stones-type mouth and single eyeball. You won't see this version of Kirby given the angry eyes in order to appear on North American box art, that's for sure.
Donkey Kong got into the hair dye. The blue tie with matching yellow monogram is a nice touch, but the more I think about the spots, the more troubled I am. There's no way that DK could reach all around his entire body in order to dye those places blue, so someone must have had to help him with this project. Why didn't that person try to talk him out of this? Then again, I'm sure you remember the old joke about what color an eight-hundred pound gorilla is: whatever color he wants.
All hail King Pikachu! Master of electricity, harbinger of lightning, ruler of... the... striped parachute... pants. It's a snappy design despite the MC Hammer throwback and the little lightning bolt on the top of his crown is a nice touch, while the bolt insignia brooch is a little overkill. It's difficult to get a good look at his cape from this angle, but I say it works for him. The only thing really missing here are tiny shoes.
The Animal Crossing villager is feeling the love in this heartfelt pink design. The yellow headband works for him, but he's clearly stolen Pikachu's tiny shoes!
Even though some of these costume designs are influenced by strange choices, I'm glad to see Nintendo willing to take chances with its characters like this. It shows a playful lightheartedness that you don't expect from companies that fight to protect the integrity of their brands as easily and as often as the rest of us breathe. I don't expect to see this kind of advertising campaign anywhere else in the world. It's just too colorful and strange to work elsewhere. That won't stop us from enjoying the designs on our own initiative though!
(images via NeoGAF)