Winter Comiket 89 has come and gone, but in the hubbub surrounding the world's largest doujinshi fair, a clever promotion leveraged the popularity of post-modern magical girl anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica to sell coffee at exorbitant prices.
During the festivities, otaku were lining up at vending machines outside local Lawson convenience stores for the chance to purchase a canned coffee drink for 1000 yen ($8.32 US) apiece. Since canned coffee normally sells for about 100 yen ($ 0.83 US) per can, why were anime fans willing to pay 10 times the going rate? For the merch, of course!
Each can of the special edition, café au lait flavored beverage produced by Wonda Coffee came complete with Puella Magi Madoka Magica-inspired artwork and 1 randomly determined can badge from a series of 5 total.
Since there was no way of knowing which badge would come with any given can, and since the badges themselves were only obtainable through this promotion, dedicated Madoka Magica fans had no choice but to purchase multiple cans in order to collect all the badges. An average of ten purchases (10,000 yen or $83.23 US) were needed to complete the set.
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.