Facebook Twitter RSS

What The Hell Did I Just Watch?: The Best of Japanese Commercials

1) Tommy Lee Jones for BOSS Coffee 

Forget Chuck Norris; we’re all about Japan’s version of Tommy Lee Jones! After American astronauts party too hardily on New Year’s Eve, Tommy Lee Jones uses the power of BOSS Coffee’s Rainbow Mountain Blend to brave the infinite blackness of space. In space, only Jones can hear you scream.

2) Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte – TOAST MEN 

For years, man has dreamed of finding a champagne glass capable of giving stronger, longer-lasting toasts. Thankfully, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte hired a team of French and Japanese scientists to put these glasses to the test. We’ll drink to that!

3) James Brown for Nissin Miso Soup

He’s a soup man! Who would have guessed that “Sex Machine” was, at its heart, an ode to miso soup? Apparently the geniuses in Japan knew that Papa don’t take no miso unless it’s Nissin brand.

4) SOFTBANK – Otosan in “Rejected”

Dogs might be man’s best friend, but Japanese mobile giant SOFTBANK’s mascot Otosan suffers no fools – human or otherwise. After his son gets rejected by his lady love, Otosan offers up some manly wisdom. We’ll have what he’s having.

5) Nicolas Cage for SANKYO Pachinko

Is this a deleted scene from Raising Arizona? Nic Cage is at his Nic Cage-iest in these commercials for SANKYO Pachinko, makers of the popular gambling game machines. The real question is: are those anthropomorphized Pachinko Men real or just in Cage’s mind? At least he’s not driving angry.

6) Bruce Willis for Eneos

Willis really goes the whole nine yards in this commercial for a…credit card? Room full of telephones? Futuristic stun guns? We honestly have no idea what the heck is going on here, but it still makes more sense than the plot of Live Free or Die Hard.

7) Dole Bananas – Dole Guy

We imagine the pitch meeting for this Dole commercial went something like this: “A successful business man, who is at least 60 percent banana, thrills and delights all who come across him by spewing bananas everywhere.” This is the most terrifyingly awesome fifteen seconds of video you’ll watch all year. 

8) Japanese Milk PSA

If drinking milk turned you into the Matrix-like chalk-dodging badass from this commercial, then we wouldn’t even be writing this description right now; we would be chugging gallon upon gallon of milk. The “Got Milk?” campaign should watch this video then rethink their strategy.

9) Takashi Murakami for Louis Vuitton

Legendary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s characters are the basis of this commercial for Louis Vuitton in which a girl using her cell phone is transported into a psychedelic wonderland inside the stomach of a panda. No, you didn’t have a stroke, that’s what actually happens in this commercial. At five minutes, it’s an epic ad, but totally worth the wait. If you’ll excuse us though, we need to lie down; we might be having a flashback.

10) Calbee – Potato Chip Dog

SOFTBANK’s Otosan may be Japan’s most beloved commercial dog, but Calbee’s mascot is certainly the most terrifying dog on television. In an effort to cheer up a heartbroken little boy, the Calbee dog plunges us headlong into the uncanny valley from which there is no return. Also, it advertises potato chips somewhere in there too, but we were too busy trying to bleach our brains.

These are some of our favorite ads to come out of Japan, but there’s obviously hundreds that we couldn’t show due to time and space constraints. What’s your favorite? Did we miss anything? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and share the wealth.