I went to Yuru-chara Grand Prix 2015 to cheer for Mican, Ehime Prefecture’s official mascot. Although Mican didn’t win the Grand Prix, Mican got the second place.
Yuru-chara Grand Prix and Mican
Mican was born in November 11, 2011 as the official macot chanarcter of Ehime Prefecture. When I trvaled to Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture in December 2013, I knew Mican for the first time. Although Mican was not so famous at that time, I became a fan of Mican on the spot due to its cute looks.
Mican has entered Yuru-chara Grand Prix, an annual event where the most popular mascot is determined by public voting, since 2012. Mican has raised its ranking every year (847th in 2012, 11th in 2013 and 3rd in 2014), and aimed to win the grand prix in 2015. When I visited Matsuyama again in July (see the related post), I found Mican has increased its exposure to the public. When the Internet voting of Yuru-chara Grand Prix 2015 started, Mican kept the first place during the early and middle stage, so I thought Mican would be able to win the race. However, toward the end of the race, Ieyasu-kun, the mascot of Hamamatsu, caught up and finally passed Mican. The result was undisclosed a week before the deadline of the Internet voting, and Mican was behind Ieyasu-kun by 37,000 points at that time. The final result was based on the combination of the Internet voting and the voting at the Yuru-chara Grand Prix event site, and the event site was in Hamamatsu, so the situation was definitely favorable for Ieyasu-ku, considering the venue was his home town.
However, during the one week, between the time when the result of the Internet voting was undisclosed and the time when the Internet voting was actually closed, I saw many Mican supporters called for the voting via SNS including Twitter. As I was inspired by their support, I decided to go to the event venue.
Go to the Grand Prix site
I arrived at the venue.
Into the site. There were lots of Yuru-chara around here.
Pon-chan, the mascot of Tatebayashi city.
Bocchi-kun, the mascot of Yachimata city.
I reached the booth of Mican.
Many kids took pictures with Mican.
Mickyan has several related characters and the below was Matsudai Mican and Dark Mican.
Local TV staff also gathered.
There was a long queue to take photos with Mican.
I left the Mican booth for the time being and went around the event site. At the event stage, there were several shows.
I went around other Yuru-chara booths.
I visited the event stage again.
I returned to Mican booth. I found Mican covered the smallest details, as it often changed its cloths and used several items. First Mican with happi, a traditional Japanese straight-sleeved coat.
Mican with Pon Juice, a well know juice in Ehime Prefecture.
Mican with sunglass.
Mican with garland.
Mican with cycling helmet.
Dark Mican, an evil character related to Mican.
Finally, the result of the grand prix was to be announced.
There were lots of visitors in the venue.
MCs of the event.
First, the result of the “Yuru-chara for children” category.
The presenter was Kumamon, one of the winners in the past grand prix.
Fukka-chan received the first place in this category.
Next, “Corporation” category. The below was Tochi-kichi, who got the 3rd place.
The 2nd place was Enerainu.
The 1st place was Shizunabi.
Then, “Local region” category, the main category of the grand prix. The blow was Shimanekko, who was in the 1oth place.
Dashimaru-kun got the 9th place.
The 6th place was Tichi-maru.
The 4th place was Shinjo-kun.
Now the best three characters were to be announced. There were Fukka-chan, Ieyasu-kun and Mican.
Before the final result, the result of the Internet voting was announced and surprisingly Mican got the first place. The voting at the event site was added to the final result.
The 3rd place was Fukka-chan.
Mican got the second place in the end.
The first place was Ieyasu-kun, the local mascot of the event site.
I hoped to watch the event entirely, but the event continued beyond the scheduled hours and I already booked a return return to Tokyo, so I left the site.
FYI: I got the souvenir when I voted for Mican at the event site.
That’s it for the article about Yuru-chara Grand Prix 2015 to cheer for Mican. To be honest, I was saddened by the final result, but I was happy to know Mican got the first place in the Internet voting. In the voting at the event site, Ieyasu-kun got voting 10 times more than voting than Mican, but considering the event site (Hamamatsu) was where Ieyasu-kun came from, it can’t be helped.
By the way, the Yuru-chara Grand Prix 2016 will be held in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture and Mican has already determined not to enter the race, because Mican will focus on hosting the event. Since Mican got the 3rd place last year and the 2nd place this year, many Mican supporters hope Mican will enter the race next year to win the grand prix. However, considering it is obvious Mican has the big home advantage next year, it should be a wise decision not to join the race next year.
After the event, I just knew that a parade will be held at Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture to thank for supports for Mican. Although the air ticket between Tokyo and Matsuyama is far from cheap, I decided to visit Matuyama to see Mican’s parade. I will write about it in the next article.