While adoration for mythical creatures and popular anime characters is nothing new in Japan, this pastime has spurred a new marketing took utilized by local government institutions: yuru-kyara. Roughly translated as "amateur characters" these costumes are based on local attractions and points of interest that help define any given area. The municipalities take advantage of their citizens' willingness to create these characters in a strange amalgam of hometown pride and cost-saving measures on the part of the city councils. These civic mascots brought to life in floppy, fury, fuzzy and homemade costumes. Citizens convene conventions of their very own, demonstrating how yuru-kyara devotees represent another enigmatic, yet utterly captivating, aspect of contemporary Japanese visual culture.$11 at Amazon. Via.