FUKUOKA – Sylvanian Families, a series of adorable animal figures that celebrated their 35th birthday in 2020, has recently caught the interest of adults as many creative photos using the toys are posted on Instagram and other media social.
Tokyo-based Epoch Co. Ltd., which is best known for the Sylvanian Families series, reported that cumulative sales of anthropomorphic dolls stood at 210 million as of March 2020. The dolls are sold in more than 70 countries and regions. , and have also highly appreciated abroad, mainly in Europe and the United States
Sylvania means “land of the forest” in Latin, and the series features animals such as rabbits and squirrels. From four-legged babies measuring around four centimeters tall to adult goats wearing glasses, the animals, which were only new at the time of release, have grown to over 30 to include elephants and otters. The series is popular with a diversity of people and cultures thanks to the animal characters.
A lot of thought is put into the toys. For example, the clothes worn by the figures are decorated with buttons and lace, and an S-shaped drain appears when you open the door under the kitchen sink. The house and furniture sold at the time of the first release can still be connected to the latest releases, and the company has received high praise, including, âI’m happy to be able to play with my kids using Sylvanian Families, which I also had. used to play with it. ”
Piko, who lives in Niigata Prefecture and posts images of the figurines wearing handmade clothes on Instagram and Twitter, is one of the many people who play with the toys with their children. They apparently became obsessed with making the doll’s costumes while nostalgically playing with them.
While creating the clothes in their free time between work and babysitting, Piko also produces videos showing how to make the outfits. They apparently receive messages from a wide range of age groups, and sometimes even from strangers. Piko explained, “Not only are the dolls cute, but the buildings and accessories are also finely crafted, surpassing the level of normal toys. It’s also good that you can make clothes with less material because the dolls are small. . play with them.”
While various events have been canceled due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a photo contest run by Epoch since 2017 is drawing attention. A variety of images are submitted to each contest, including those with figurines outside, or that use multiple dolls to recreate an office scene.
So why has the series been so long and so widely supported?
Arisa Kaihara, curator of the Tokyo Toy Museum in the capital’s Shinjuku district, explained: âIt is rare internationally for anthropomorphic animal dolls standing on two legs to be sold as family units. She says it’s easy for more people to project and empathize with the products. Kaihara presented his analysis by stating, âThey are delicately made, but not overly cute. Perhaps this is because new products in the series are constantly being released while keeping a firm sense of an apparently ‘desire’. achievable. ”
The official Sylvanian Families YouTube channel features such characters as a baby speaking in honorary letters, a laid-back kindergarten, and a goofy dad. An Epoch spokesperson explained, âWe value diversity in the products we make and the messages we deliver, and we strive to eliminate gender biases.
He added: “Precisely because we are in a time of unease over the coronavirus, we want to provide heartwarming opportunities for children and adult fans with humor and a moment of relaxation.”
(Japanese original by Mari Tago, Kyushu office support group)