I’ll admit – I’m not much of an expert, or even a fan, when it comes to anime. Sure, I like some Miyazaki, and could even get into Speed Racer when I was younger, but when it comes anything more than fair-weather fan stuff, I’m at a loss. But then again, Israel’s latest ad campaign isn’t designed for people like me – it’s aimed squarely at enticing the Japanese tourism industry. And apparently it’s working.
いいね！イスラエル, or “Israel, Like!” is the Israeli Embassy In Japan’s new anime series, created to attract Japanese tourists to Israel through the adventures of animated sisters Saki and Noriko as they bop around the holy land. The sisters are occasionally joined by “Shalom Chan,” a weird bird-egg (egg-bird? Horrible mutant?) character introduced last year by the Embassy.
Given my limited exposure to anime, I think it’s safe to assume he’ll transform into a giant robot, or sprout sexually-aggressive tentacles, right?
The series will feature seven installments, the first of which is already available online, with the rest to follow in the coming months. According to embassy spokesperson Ronen Mezdinni, the series is already a major success. As quoted in YNet:
“The feedback we’re getting for the project is unprecedented. The show is receiving massive media attention all across Japan. The main goal is to showcase the lighter and original aspects of Israeli society all the while paying homage and respect to Japanese popular culture.”
Here’s the first episode, which is is (duh) in Japanese. That means you’ll have to watch it with youtube’s closed-caption option, which – I promise you – is hilarious and bizarre.