Design through the eyes of a 13 year old. A 13 year old girl having had her birthday just last weekend and who is immersed in the world of anime. Anime is a style of Japanese illustration and animation. An exciting world of fantasy and action, good versus evil all wrapped in color and remarkable edgy design. Simply stated in her words “anime is a style of Japanese cartoons of many genre.” Her current favorite is Magi and the Labyrinth of Magic. The characters have large saucer-like eyes belying their Japanese origin. Their story-lines appeal on many levels for all ages.
Katarina loves to watch the cartoons, draw the characters and learn about the world from which they originate. So one of her birthday to-dos was a visit to the Marukai Market in San Diego. Instantly, upon entering “Tokyo Central” colors and forms scream from floor to ceiling producing a sensory over-load that made me take a breath. Katarina beamed at my reaction. She said with her subtle delivery “See? I told you.”
It is a startling graphic design extravaganza of cellophane wrapped brands, foil metallic labels, signs and glitz and packaging that suggests advanced art classes on the subject. From over-sized dangling flowers to disco balls sparkling from the rafters, the place is alive with static animation. Well, monitors too airing the vary anime of this initial topic!
The merchandise is displayed in such multiples that they are a design of their own. The patterns and redundancy, characters and faces peeking from every inch of space. Row upon row of stuffed animals each with adorable expressions begging to be taken home.
But it’s the design on EVERYTHING that is so amazing. To see such an emphasis on design. The importance and effect on every package. When comparing to like-kind of variety stores in the U.S., this is product design gone wild. The edifice itself is but a box. Simple, clean and attractive from the outside, inside is nothing but raw retail finishes. But it doesn’t matter because the back-drop is invisible. It is impossible for the eye to go beyond the products. It is impossible to see anything of the space other than its intense collections of contents.
From beverage bottles to bears, pink kitties to hair and make-up lotions and potions, games and costumes – yes you too can dress-up like a bowl of Ramen Noodles or an egg yolk named Gudetama.
Although this amazing chain of markets is concentrated in California and Hawaii, it is worth investigating the Asian Markets in your area especially with an emphasis on Japanese products to see these colorfully artful expressions of graphic design, inspiration and imagination. Thank you Katrink for this amazing experience we shared for your birthday!!!