Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Aikatsu: The Card Game Sweeping the Nation (in Japan, at least)

You can forget about Pokemon. The latest craze for little boys is Yokai Watch. But that's for another day. Instead, let's talk about something for girls... and old men?
Aikatsu is a card/video game of sorts, which is basically slang for "Idol Activities" in Japanese. The game is based on collectible cards, similar to CardGen, which instead of players feature articles of clothing. You use these cards to "dress" your idol, which helps her to pass auditions and become more successful.

The game came into being in late 2012, and continues to be highly popular today. There's an anime (cartoon on TV), movie, and two Nintendo 3DS video games. Plus a manga (comic book). 

Many elementary school girls are obsessed with this game, and I've been curious about it for a while now. I've come to find out that many adult men enjoy playing the game too, which is kind of disturbing but not so surprising when you know how obsessed men can be with idols and games.

I'm still learning and I'm interested in sharing more details with you. The official website (in Japanese only) has images of all the cards, and several of the special cards feature actual performers. I'll have some regular cards for you at some point to share (because, hey, it's fun to try to figure this all out), but I'm currently trying to build a set of all the performer cards.
 I first discovered that the above girl, Kanna Hashimoto, has a few promos for the 2015 first series set. All three are pictured above.
 The outfits coordinate, with tops, bottoms, shoes, and occasional accessories. The accessories might not exist for every outfit; I haven't figured that out yet and I'm not sure I want to put in the time to find out.
 Some outfits include the top and bottom, as Kanna's does here. The backs of the outfit cards show the complete outfit, along with all the pieces that put it together. You can see here the dress from the front, the accessories package card, and the shoes.
 And here are the shoes. Notice that the backs change based on which part of the outfit you have.
The other Kanna promo is a tiara card, which has a full outfit to go with it that I haven't seen yet.
If you're wondering, Kanna Hashimoto jumped to major national fame last year as a member of a Kyushu-based idol group, and was labeled as a once-in-a-thousand-years idol. She has since made plenty of appearances as a spokeswoman, including a few Softbank cell phone commercials.

And I think that's enough cuteness for the week. But if there's any more interest, there will be more in the future.


  1. I read an article about how men make up a large portion of users for Kim Kardashian's game app, which has a similar premise. You acquire wardrobes that earn your avatar access to bigger and better social opportunities. I almost downloaded it to give it a try, but I never got around to it. Usually anything with an opportunity to collect and customize something will grab my interest.

  2. I've heard of the Kardashian game, but I have no interest in her whatsoever. But the collectability of this game, along with the fairly unique concept, is a dangerous thing for me. That said, I won't be building a set! I am trying to build a subset with the real-life idol promo cards. Hashimoto is the latest in a line of spokesidols appearing in special releases - magazine promos, book promos, etc.

  3. It appears that you can get the little scanner devices shown at the website and the game cards quite readily on eBay. Without any ability to read the literature or cards it all seems a bit impenetrable to me, but it's all out there and I've been thinking about it. I was surprised to see that this all was posted in late November. I've been thinking about this stuff for longer than I thought.

  4. I'm not surprised they're on eBay, but it looks like it's mostly the merchandise, and not raw cards. What's on the 'Bay is just the smallest taste of what you can find here.

    I'm not sure why but I've been chasing after some of the clothing sets. I guess it's just another random collection to add to the box. Collecting the promos featuring actual singers has been fun, though.

    Actually, I've gathered a small collection of Japanese gaming and other non-sport cards as a sort of type collection - far from complete by any means but a fun stack of cards to thumb through. In the end, those might just be used to decorate a wall or something.