Magazine: Youchien July-August 2020 with Okonomiyaki Game Furoku

In which I take a gamble and come out a winner in both furoku and cute character content.

I must admit I bought this magazine almost entirely because I just couldn’t figure out how exactly the furoku worked. I was going by a relatively small picture, and I couldn’t figure out if this was some type of miniature or a plastic toy set or what. So I decided to take a $9.50 chance and see, and I ended up super tickled by what it was.

I just couldn’t resist…what was that okonomiyaki thing?!

Truthfully, seeing the furoku package with the magazine only confused me more…

But first let’s talk about the magazine itself. I didn’t have any significant expectations; I knew it’s an 80-ish page popular magazine for both genders that skews just slightly to “boy content” and that was about it. It’s not much different than many of the others we talk about here, but less pink and with some seriously awesome furoku even in a market with a ton of incredible stuff.

Seriously, check out the heavily-Glico-sponsored-and-I-don’t-mind ice cream treat machine furoku for the September issue! It sold out at my usual sources….but I will keep my eyes open.

I didn’t really know what this would have in terms of character content, but it didn’t disappoint there either. There’s Sumikko Gurashi with a welcome return to the camp theme:

On the left, there’s a hiragana puzzle, included since I’ve learned recently that a lot of readers of this blog are learning kana. がんばってねみんな!

My getting-a-bit-back-into Pokemon has become a raging obsession, so of course I’ve got to include them here:

There’s actually quite a lot of Pokemon coverage, and some Police x Heroine Love Patrina here:

Other properties include Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Phantomirage, and there’s even some Doraemon manga and games:

It’s rare enough to run into Daifuku-kun in one of these magazines, but featuring it also lets me talk about something I rarely get to in these reviews — just how lovely and well-illustrated the included children’s stories are. On the left, there’s the story of Ushiwakamaru.

I’m fond of the way the magazine embraces not just the cool or cute but also just the amazingness to be found all around us. Like jellyfish!

There’s no way better to win my heart than with sea creatures.

The other main furoku really emphasizes this — it’s a sort of optical illusion that allows you to see an image like your face repeated neatly in a series of boxes. (Apparently this is related to the paper project book series Paper Puntasu.) Again, I just love the idea of these as furoku, because I would have thought it was so cool when I was in the target age range.

I almost said I remember what it’s like being a dorky little science-besotted geek, but it’s easy to remember when you basically don’t change.

But I can’t wait any longer to talk about this furoku! So there’s a lot of coverage in this magazine on okonomiyaki in general — which is great by me, as I can say I’ve had the best okonomiyaki in the world in Osaka, and I really do love it.

I had to include the below picture because the image on the left reminds me so much of this Re-ment set. And notice that up in the right corner is the sauce — the all-important sauce — making okonomiyaki just as delicious as it is.

Note its name — Otafuku — for it will rule your world!

Seriously, the instructions for this furoku are the perfect mix of complex and complete. IKEA could take a lesson from these folks.

In case you’d like to make okonomiyaki yourself in non-toy form, or if you’ve wondered what exactly you’re eating when you have it, here’s the rundown in a closeup from the magazine coverage. From top to bottom, here we go:

  • 7 A little more batter on top
  • 6 Rib meat
  • 5 Bean sprouts
  • 4 Spring onion
  • 3 Bits of fried tempura/fried squid
  • 2 Cabbage
  • 1 Shredded katsuo
  • All on top of the batter foundation

Normally, I try to write these at night after dinner, so it just figures I’d do this one today when I’m absolutely starving for lunch…..ah well. At any rate, here’s what I came up with. Notice that those yellow rolled things from the mysterious packet were tiny spindles of crepe paper for making the noodles to combine with everything else. That’s so creative it actually made me squeak!

I felt really transported back to childhood setting up this whole thing (it’s huge, by the way, about twice the length and width of your standard magazine). Every single part of it, from the transparent paper used on the sauce topper to the way you have to cut out and slightly crumple the cabbage, really is magical.

Here’s my clumsy version of everything — and yes, I realized I put the sauce drop on the bottle the wrong way (you shouldn’t see instructions), but by the time I realized that I had a critical lack of ability to fix it. It’s nonetheless worth noting that there’s a game associated with this set, and it has a heavy emphasis on putting a big old dollop of sauce on that okonomiyaki.

And as you might have oh-so-subtly noticed, all of this is brought to you by none other than the deliciousness of Otafuku okonomi sauce. How would you know that? Well, their name is all over the magazine, all over the griddle part of the toy, on the sauce bottle itself — it is omnipresent and it doesn’t matter. I don’t know why this type of commercialism just doesn’t bother me on Japanese stuff. It just doesn’t.

So, yeah, I just had to share what a cute random delight this ended up being. What a fun magazine — I’ll definitely pick up another issue, especially to get that Glico ice cream treat machine I showed up above, if I can find it available.

And if I’m being really honest it’s making me want some Okonomiyaki — or, well, anything doysed in okonomi sauce. And of course, only one brand will do….

HEY GUYS HAVE YOU TRIED OTAFUKU OKONOMI SAUCE

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