No more flabby anime fans. Stop watching Evangelion and get off the couch. You’ve got walking to do!
That’s what health gadgets maker Tanita is banking on with this Evangelion Digital Pocket Pedometer, a limited edition tie-up fitness device now on pre-order, to be sold in Lawson convenience stores from March next year.
As you might expect, there are different versions for different characters — Asuka Langley Soryu, Kaori Nagisa, NERV, and the insanely popular Rei Ayanami — aimed at otaku, hardcore or not, who like the series and want to get fit.
And if you live in Tokyo you will also be able to take part in a competition with other Evangelion pedestrians, with data of your route sent to a campaign website that tracks a map of everyone’s promenades. There are locations from nineteen key Evangelion scenes placed virtually into the Tokyo landscape.
You can use the FeliCa reader in the Loppi terminals in Lawson stores to upload your calorie burn-off, walking distances and more to the website where you can manage your progress (there’s apparently a ¥2000 yen six-month fee for use of the service). Just don’t then get tempted in the shop to buy one of those fatty cream buns.
If you walk 8,000 steps in a day you get one point. Sending your data to the site from a Loppi terminal rewards you with another point. Every ten points means you can apply to receive special (but unspecified) tie-up merchandise.
The idea is that fans walk 400,000 steps or 280km in 50 days. The more you walk, the higher your ranking (and we all know how competitive subculture fans can get).
Lawson seems to like positioning itself as the convenience store of choice for otaku (though it’s not alone among competitors). It previously held a campaign selling merchandise for the K-On! and Puella Madoka Magica franchises, plus there was the now infamous Evangelion-themed store in Hakone in 2010 that was so popular it had to close almost immediately.