Utaka Kokudo Ferry was a ferry company connecting Uno-city in the main island of Honshu and Takamatsu-city in the fourth largest Japanese island, Shikoku. The company had been suffering from a steep drop of passengers due to the government-directed discount of the highway tolls since March 2009. In April 2011, a manga artist/game creator Akira Yamato heard of the financial crisis of the local ferry and decided to donate his original moe/bishoujo characters, "Utaka Three Sisters" to them. The company gladly accepted his offer and had used the sisters for PR and sold their character goods such as stickers and T-shirts since then.
Unfortunately, even with the help of the sisters, the company couldn't stop the downturn. They finally closed their business as ferry company after 51 years yesterday on October 17th. The third sister Marin Utaka said in her last tweet, "It's all over now.... My last job is done. Thank you very much everyone who got on the final ship with us in the rain. I come to understood Utaka Kokudo Ferry
has been really loved by so many people." According to the character designer Yamato, the three sisters
will go to the space if there is no offer for them.
(from left) Marin, Karen, Ion
© Kokudo Ferry CO.,LTD.