This Game Sold Over 200,000 Copies In Japan, And We May Never Understand Why

By Eugene . October 20, 2013 . 2:00pm


This folks, this right here, is where we go “…Japan.” Kobito Zukan is essentially a series which takes everyday objects and foodstuffs—like peaches, ginseng, and beans—and turns it into an ugly person/thing.


Surprisingly popular in the “ugly, but cute” genre form that hit Japan several years ago, the series is still going strong with sales of toys, mushroom toy kits and other various odd paraphernalia. Somehow, the series managed to make itself into a game called Kobito Zukan: Kobito Kansatsu Set which sold over 226,000 copies in Japan. So of course we’re getting a sequel now, with Kobito Zukan: The Wondrous Experiment.


The Wondrous Experiment lets players explore the wilds and wilderness, and their own home, in search of more of the odd dwarf children and capture them. Really. Do we, like, feed them with human foods or fertilizer or something? I’m not sure myself. You can watch the trailer for the new game above and judge for yourself.



If I remember right, people who are interested in this stuff can find an official licensed shop in Odaiba as well. A mate of mine picked up their mushroom kit, which lets you grow real mushrooms in your home, and then re-use the pot to grow more mushrooms. Though why you’d want to buy this over a Fennekin is your decision and yours alone.


Kobito Zukan: The Wondrous Experiment will be out in Japan on the Nintendo 3DS on 12th December


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  • Arcana Wiz

    and i was sure that japan couldnt surprise me anymore.

  • You just don’t appreciate true beauty in its purest, most fungus-like form.

  • British_Otaku

    Half of Square Enix went “200K? That’s all?” (Tomb Raider) while the other half wondered how Gyrosetter wasn’t a hit while this is…

    In all seriousness, it looks bizarre and interesting.

    I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot if it gets a demo or goes on sale on the e-Shop. In the last Japanese Nintendo Direct, Iwata broke out a calendar I saw as “This is how the 3DS has Japan on lock for the rest of the year”, surprised this didn’t make the cut.

  • JustThisOne

    I… I think it’s kind of cute. It’s a sort of morbid curiosity. It’s why Alpaca Nii-san is as popular as it is in Japan. You keep feeding it more alpacas with only one question fueling your quest, “What the hell could you possibly turn into next?”

    And y’know what? Games like this always come out with a real interesting answer.

  • Ben Lyd

    …I want a Japanese 3DS now.

  • Audie Bakerson

    I don’t think a Fennekin can produce hallucinations.

    • Jordan Carrey

      Sure it can. It can cast psybeam and cause confusion.

    • PreyMantis

      Its final evolution is a psychic; you never know…

  • Minos

    I don’t even understand why FPSs are so popular on Occident… So, if you expect me to understand this….

    Anyways, let us trow a theory:

    Japan loves to collect things, this looks like a collective driven game so it sells decently.

    There, that is all I got.

    • leingod

      I don’t understand that either. The FPS thing.

    • Shippoyasha

      FPS’s popularity in Asia is a direct influence of the military otaku fandom really. Simulation of real gun battles with airsoft guns, watching military based anime or TV shows (like maybe 24. That show is pretty huge in Japan) or movies. As much as Westerners look up to the wild and crazy anime/manga culture, there’s a Japanese fandom that admires the military tech and guns of foreign lands. It’s even better that stuff like gun violence isn’t a common occurrence in Japan so there’s way more people who only get a romanticized, fantasized view of the military.

      All that said, I don’t begrudge anyone liking FPS games. I just dislike it when people exclusively buy FPS without supporting any other types of innovative, different gaming experiences.

    • NoOneSeesWhatWeSee

      I am thinking it is machismo and the current “patriotism” in war with middle Eastern Muslim countries.

      Many Americans fancy themselves as heroes, protecting their country from a ‘Muslim menace’. I’m not trying to be shocking, I think that the popularity of first person shooters right now and racism towards Muslims is very much tied together. And simply put, Japan doesn’t have the kind of Islamophobia that the West does.

      Though that wouldn’t explain why first person shooters were also popular here in the 90s, before the war and “patriotism” became big, and joining the military again became a fashionable thing.

      I would say that the United States has a long gun history. And bizarrely enough, the right to bare arms is one of the rights that many Americans hold most sacred. As you can see still the extreme reaction towards any kind or form of “gun control”. Guns are illegal in Japan, but not in America. Where again, even the lightest of gun control, like keeping them out of the hands of convicted violent criminals, is frowned upon. America seems to have a long standing fascination with and love for guns.

      That doesn’t explain quite how FPS games are still more popular in Europe than Japan, though. If I had to guess, it would be how much Western developers work together by virtue of English as a common language. I think that American values have influenced European game development a lot. And that American and European development has had a kind of synergy that Japanese development hasn’t had with either one. Guns may not be popular in Western Europe, but American video games, are.

      I think there’s also the fact that Japan seems to romanticize
      swordsmanship more than America. Even in games like Mega Man where the character has a gun(as an arm, Mega-Buster, ect.), his gun is used in a “sword-like” fashion, where finess and skill are important. And the gun becomes a part of Mega Man, rather than just a tool. Swords are romanticized in Japanese fiction because of the idea of “becoming one with a weapon”. Whereas in the West, weapons are more likely to be seen as “just tools”, and little more, and the sword a poor and archaic tool.

      Also, Japanese games, it seems like, try to go for form rather than function, and try to do something cool, rather than something that works. Leading to a lot of Japanese games being fanciful and fantastic or use things like ‘ki’ or ‘magic’ to make excuses, while a lot of Western games can be cut and dry and boring in their aspirations for realism. In fact, Star Wars is kind of ‘Japanese’ in many respects like that. Going for a sword and psuedo-Eastern social concepts and organizations(like the Jedi), even in a sci-fi setting.

      I also just think that the West is just more closed minded to “cute” and “girly” things than Japan, or several Eastern countries that “cute culture” is spreading to like South Korea and Taiwan. America has had a very strong macho culture for a long time. The separation between girls toys and boys toys couldn’t be more pronounced. And the same cultural mentality carries on into adulthood, women are expected to like clothes and men are expected to like violent sports like football. Many Americans consider harmless cute and wholesome things “overly childish and girly”. Whereas cuteness is fairly accepted in some Asian countries as a male pasttime. Certainly in Japan where even police stations get a cute makeover. That’s not to say that Japan is ahead socially by any means in terms of gender, if anything their country is far behind Western countries like Finland or Norway.

      However, they’re certainly ahead on the cuteness front, as a form of accepting femininity. Cuteness is a form of femininity that Japan has embraced and I think will lead to more liberation for women for any country that embraces it. In America, by contrast, far too many reject cuteness because they value masculinity before all else.

    • NoOneSeesWhatWeSee

      I have a pretty good hypothesis, if you’d like to hear it.

  • Junko Enoshima

    *ahem* SEAMAN

    • Longsun_Zhao

      Seaman is a thing of beauty, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Junko Enoshima

        oh, right

        sorry :(

  • Bakano

    Reminds me of Chulip :3

  • mockturtle

    The only part that confuses me is how those PS1-era pre-rendered backgrounds are acceptable.

    Other than that, I’d buy it.

    • tubers

      True. It’s not like the processing power went to the 3d models (lol not even dynamic ground shadows).

      It’s likely budget and some might feel positively nostalgic about it.

    • Suicunesol

      Proof that you don’t need PS3-era pre-rendered backgrounds to have success?

      • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

        You don’t need it but you do. It’s called evolution or else we’d still be playing pong. Let me remind you Nintendo was the pioneer of coming with next gen hardware once upon a time. The SNES trashed the Genesis technically speaking and so did the N64 with the PSX~.

        Funny how all that stopped mattering to people once Nintendo started coming out with consoles that have sub par graphics~.

        Let me say this again: graphics matter. Telling yourself otherwise is to live in denial~.

        • AkuLord3

          And you know what matters more…GAMEPLAY cuz you can’t play Graphics. If YOUR telling yourself otherwise is living with rocks for brains…no…rocks brains wouldn’t be that dumb.

          • Honestly, it depends on the person and the game if graphics dont really matter.
            Take Mega Man. You can make him 8 bit and be outdated and still deliver an incredibly solid experience.
            But for an RPG or something of the like nowadays presentation can have a strong impact on how the story is delivered.

            Though, generally speaking, I agree it’s better to focus on interactivity rather than pure presentation ;)
            Honestly, I see nothing too much wrong with pre-rendered backgrounds here with all that said…

          • Rogerrmark

            Pre-renderized scenarios work just fine,imo.

            Chrono Cross scenarios/FFIX are really pretty games.

          • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

            Since we are talking about IQ and whatnot, it’s “You are”, not “YOUR”. Graphics are a pillar of the equation, whether you like it or not, and gameplay is as important, but not more~.

            Same goes for story and music. They are all part of the equation and they all have the same weight. Bottomline is: a garbage looking game is still a garbage looking game. In this day and age we shouldn’t encourage companies to give us that, we should ask for better or else, again, we’d all be playing Pong~.

          • Trepie

            What you don’t seem to understand though is that different people value different parts of a game differently. Not everything has the same weight.

            Personally, I couldn’t care less about graphics. Why aren’t I playing Pong, you ask? Because the gameplay is just as dated as the graphics, let alone the lack of story or whatever else. I still go back and play older games that I missed, and generally I tend to like them a lot more than I do newer, better looking games. That’s not to say I dislike all new games, either. But the graphics play a very little part for me.

            Currently I’m having a lot of fun with the new Pokemon. I was playing GTA5 a while back (though despite the amazing graphics, I didn’t think the game was that great). I’m looking forward to eventually getting a PS4 as well. And I still need to get to work on my backlog and play some older PS2 games.

        • Romancer Ecclesia

          I agree. I can see where you’re coming from. That said, story+gameplay still holds as number one for me. Just a personal preference.

          • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

            They all matter, some people seem extremely eager to jump on the hate ship and misconstrue what I posted for me saying graphics > all. That is hardly the case. But at the same time, I don’t believe graphics are irrelevant~.

      • mockturtle

        For the record, I wasn’t trying to be shady and knock the game’s graphical style. Nostalgically, it is kind of cool. I’m just saying that we know for a fact that the 3DS is capable of way more, which is why I’m surprised that they decided to go that route. But, clearly, it’s working for them, so…

    • leingod

      Aren’t those pictures you take with the 3DS camera?

    • brian

      PS1 era pre-rendered backgrounds normally look a lot better than those in most modern games.

  • Because Japan loves silly faces, thats why it sold so much.

    Its basic math.

  • GOTY

  • fireemblembeast

    Still better than what is popular in the West >_>

  • SMT

    me like, funny game

  • Renaldi Saputra

    well, you know, Japan loves weird things..
    so this is unsurprising..

    if you remember Cho Aniki, then.. well..

  • Richard N

    Reminds me of a bad trip I had back in highschool. Which, is pretty much what I can say about every weird game that’s from Japan.

  • Just Tim

    Personification of non-living things is not new, you know.

    Toy Story and Cars are two examples, and they’re BOTH PIXAR!

    • brian

      Airplanes or Planes?
      Because that movie Planes is technically non-Pixar.

      • Just Tim

        Thanks for the correction, Brian.

  • new_tradition

    So something akin to Mr. Potato Head?

  • Rogerrmark

    This game looks very fun and creative,would play.

  • Kalis Konig

    Kid in the beginning has a face that only a female titan would love.

  • I WANT THIS GAME. I want it ever so much.

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