Forget the Chevrolet Volt dance. Forget the hugging Polar Bears from the Nissan LEAF’s first TV Ad. And forget those mischievous anthropomorphic Kia Soul Hamsters in the Kia Soul EV ads.
They’re all pretty tame when compared with the latest at from Japanese grocery store chain FamilyMart, which manages to combine a popular TV monster with Japanese gravure idol Ai Shinozaki and a Nissan LEAF electric car. It’s meant to advertise the fact that FamilyMart is the leading provider of store-based Rapid DC quick charging for electric car customers in Japan.
We’re going to let you watch the ad first — then explain what it’s all about.
Those familiar with Japanese culture will recognise the non-human as Eleking, the fictional alien electric-eel-like kaiju (strange creature) from the tokusatsu (special effect) TV series Ultraseven. Created way back in 1967 by Eiji Tsuburaya, the series was a followup to the Ultraman series, a live-action, special-effects show. Both feature the Science Special Search Party, whose job it is to protect the earth from alien invasion and rampaging monsters, primarily in human guise. But when the alien threat is too much, one of the team inevitebly activates the “Beta Capsule,” a powerful artifact which transforms them into a super-humanaoid giant from space known as Ultraman. And in the best TV tradition, Ultraman always saves the day.
Eleking is one of Ultraman’s many nemeses, and has come back again and again to fight against him in various reincarnations of the series since its 1960s inception.
With us so far? Good.
The woman in the ad meanwhile is Ai Shinozaki, a famous Japanese ‘gravure idol’ (model) and singer. A member of the AeLL, a music idol group, she’s instantly recognisable to anyone who follows Japanese idol group culture.
The ad itself involves Eleking the monster noticing the supermodel as he plugs in his LEAF at the FamilyMart. Besotted, Eleking buys Shinozaki a coffee, but that does nothing to impress the pop star. So a helpful employee suggests he plays some music.
Cue the weirdest musical number we’ve seen in a while, with Eleking the monster playing a foam guitar, accompanied by the store clerk on bass guitar, and Shinozaki on vocals.
Her microphone, of course, is the CHAdeMO DC quick charge plug no-longer charging the Nissan LEAF. But that’s okay, because we’re treated to a musical montage of Ultraman references, including Shinozaki shooting love-rays as she poses in Ultraman’s trademark “one arm horizontal, one vertical” power pose.
Still lost? That’s okay, because this particular explanation comes full circle.
You see, the latest incarnation of Ultraman uses a Nissan LEAF and a Nissan e-NV200 electric minivan as the vehicles of choice for the Science Special Search Party, kitted out with special ray guns and dodads which not only fight the monsters weekly but plug into the charging ports on each vehicle.
Clean, green, and fighting monsters too. We’re impressed.
And of course, Eleking is part of the Ultraman universe, so it all makes sense in the end.
At least, sort of.
Is this the weirdest TV ad you’ve ever seen involving an electric car? Have you seen weirder ones? Share and link to them below!
[hat-tip: Chelsea Sexton]
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