It all began with a “formal request” from Mayor Yoshinori Yamaguchi of Saga Prefecture to the Yorozuka gang, and lo and behold – the “Sagaharu Project” collaboration between the hit anime series (based off popular manga by Hideaki Sorachi) and the Saga Prefecture regional tourism revitalisation campaign “Sagaprise!” is kicked off!
The collaboration project will run for the period from 10 August 2018 to 17 September 2018 in the main Saga City of the prefecture. Headed by Gintoki Sakata in the role of ‘Producer Sakata’ in charge of, well, literally the prefecture’s production; together with many other familiar “Gintama” characters in their respective special ‘roles’ for the project.
The adorable puppy and pet of the Yorozuya gang Sadaharu will don on a cute mudskipper – a Saga specialty – headgear and become the project’s mascot character “Sagaharu”. A huge live-sized statue of Sagaharu will grace the public square near the southern entrance of the Saga JR train station for the limited period of the project’s duration – as pictured (based on artist’s impression at time of conceptualisation) below:
Other features and highlights on local and regional specialties of Saga like hot-air balloons, Arita-area porcelain wares, onigiri (i.e. riceballs) and strawberries will also be incorporated into specially-designed promotional visuals with Gintama’s characters – like the one (pictured below) featuring Kotaro Katsura in Yayoi Era (BC. 10 – AD. 3) garbs of the nobility, with his mysterious buddy Elizabeth as a squid from the town of Yobuko – to promote the Yoshinogari Historical Park – an archaeological site and little-known tourist attraction within the prefecture.
Local tourism and hospitality enterprises and businesses will also be involved in the “Sagaharu Project” – in the forms of Gintama-themed rooms at Oogiya Ryokan in the Furuyu Kumanokawa Onsen Resort Town and Yamatoya Ryokan located in Fuji City within the prefecture. Ryokan guests who reserve themed rooms with either establishment will receive a souvenir present in the form of a specially-designed and produced tenugui towel:
Within the main Saga City, four participating restaurants will also present their special collaborative menus (more details to be released at later dates) and diners may expect to receive a specially-designed postcard when they order food or drink items from these menus. On top of this, a special pop-up merchandise and gifts store “Sagagin-ya” will be set up at the Saga City History and Folklore Museum (https://sagarekimin.jimdo.com/) – fans and visitors may expect to be entertained and spoilt for choice with a special array of official Sagaharu Project collaborative merchandise – mainly featuring local speciality food produces – that will make memorable (if not hilarious) souvenirs.
The “Sagaharu Project” team-up with “Gintama” is the third time that the Saga Prefecture has collaborated with popular anime or game series/franchises in a series of efforts to promote and revitalise regional tourism. The previous two collaborations were done with internationally-popular ice-skating series Yuri!!! On ICE; and the villainous Team Rocket from the Pokemon series.
More details on the Saga Prefecture x Gintama collaboration may be found on the project’s special website; fans may also like to follow the Producer Sakata’s official Twitter account for the latest news and updates!