‘Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku The flower shop’s Emergency SOS is a circle of support ‘Evangelist of love for pushing’ ‘Frusta’ I want to protect the culture

A large number of flowers surrounding the character panel. A stand is taller than a human being. When I go to the stage related to anime and games, I occasionally see such creations. It is a ‘frusta’ that fans give to the performers instead of a bouquet. It has been widely popular as a culture that shows a deep love for ‘pushing’. However, due to the epidemic of the new coronavirus, the management of the flower vendors responsible for production has deteriorated, and it is on the verge of survival. ‘I want to protect the world-class otaku culture.’ With that in mind, I asked one of the craftsmen who issued SOS on the web in my heart. With the news-editorial department, Ikuto Kobe

Closed business is imminent. The store manager’s urgent appeal

‘I’m very embarrassed, but I have one thing I would like to ask you.’ On February 8th this year, a sentence was posted on the web that began with an unusual atmosphere. It was sent by ‘Hananoki’, a flower vendor in Katsushika-Ku, Tokyo. Self-proclaimed as a ‘florist for an otaku’, we have consistently specialized in frusta making since the store opened in February 2015. Frusta is a three-dimensional model that is planned by volunteer fans and requested to be produced by a flower vendor when an event such as a live performance by a voice actor or an idol is held. A large flower arrangement with a height of about 2 meters, with a message board for the performers and a character panel for anime and games related to the performance. Generally, the etymology is said to be flower stand, which is presented when a new store is reopened. However, the reality is similar and different. Sufficient quality cannot be guaranteed without a deep understanding of the needs of the production client. Hananoki has earned the trust of his polite work. However, with the advent of the virus, stage performances with spectators were canceled as a countermeasure against infection. As a result, the number of orders for Frusta dropped sharply, and it hit Hananoki’s management directly. In the text published on the web, it was urgently stated that he would like to raise funds for activity support, saying that the business is about to close.

Watch anime and sound sources before production

‘In the case of Hananoki, all the production is made to order. No one can make the same thing.’ A man talks about his work. After graduating from graduate school, he joined a flower wholesale company as a new graduate. I worked in the flower market and also worked in florist shops and wholesalers. Utilizing the knowledge of flower distribution and sales gained at the forefront of the industry, we are currently engaged in a business specializing in the production and delivery of frusta. At Hananoki, we will shape the frusta based on the request from the client. There are no barriers to the genres we handle, including voice actors and Vtubers, idols, stage actors, and visual kei bands. Since our founding, we have valued responding to the enthusiasm of our clients. For example, for live performances related to anime, you can watch the anime or listen to related sound sources before making it. We also check the official website and the SNS of the voice actors who appear and try to get to know the world view that the client cherishes as much as possible. In addition to incorporating flowers in the image color of the voice actor who appears in the works completed in the past, he also pursued three-dimensional modeling using figures of the characters played by the voice actor. Due to the time and effort required, the price of frusta is often around 30,000 to 50,000 yen, which is not cheap. Even so, the SNS is full of voices from people who have used Hananoki’s services, such as ‘quality that cannot be achieved by other flower shops’ and ‘finishing that is close to the feelings of otaku. I also like otaku cultures such as anime and games, so I can look up related information naturally. When I interact with customers in the form of a collaborator rather than business-like, I am highly satisfied with each other. I think it’s often completed. ‘I haven’t heard much about the creators themselves being otaku at other flower shops. Making frusta from a fan’s perspective makes a difference in the finish. I think it will come out.’

I was shocked by the expression that was close to the work and the fans

However, men did not want to make frusta from the beginning. Since working at the flower market, men have felt the need to increase their interest in flowers. This is because sales of cut flowers are declining and the market size is shrinking year by year. Unless the purchasing base is thickened, ‘flower separation’ will not stop. The sense of crisis became stronger day by day. Meanwhile, a fateful event occurs. The popular anime ‘Love Live !’ Where high school girls become idols. I happened to see an image of a frustum made for a live performance by the voice actor on the net. ‘Until then, I had only seen ordinary flower stands. Every time I saw them at an anime live venue, I thought, ‘I should be able to express more closely with the fans and characters.’ ‘But the love live frusta I saw was a combination of flowers that match the image color of each character, illustration panels, balloons, etc., to maximize the individuality of each person. I wanted to be a person who can make such things. ‘Immediately, I volunteered to help the flower shop that worked on the frusta without pay and learned the production technique there. In 2014, I presented my own work to the birthday live of Yoshino Nanjo, a voice actor. These experiences led men to the path of frusta craftsmanship.’ The images of the frusta we delivered and the thoughts contained in them will be disseminated on SNS through the performers of the event and the participants on the spot. ‘Providing an opportunity to get interested in flowers. I think we have a very wide reach in that respect.’

‘When nerds give back’ More than 500 people support

Men make full use of the store’s official blog, YouTube, and SNS to disseminate information about the frusta production process. Especially on Twitter, I keep posting on a daily basis. The humorous writing style became popular, and it has grown into an account with nearly 10,000 followers. Hananoki’s management seemed to be going well, but the situation changed completely after the outbreak of the new coronavirus. From last spring to last summer, when the first state of emergency was issued, orders for frusta went to zero. Sales compared to the same period of the previous year also fell to about -80-90%. ‘Even if the events are canceled one after another, it is often said that flowers will not be received from the viewpoint of infection prevention. Therefore, we produced a frustum in the atelier and released an album with the photos in the performer’s office. We have continued to make management efforts, such as sending services to the company and selling flower arrangements for anniversaries. ‘However, income did not grow sufficiently, and eventually, the rent for the following month was not even covered. So the man put the opening sentence on the web. ‘A store that gave me precious memories. I want to support it.’ ‘This time when otaku gives back their favors.’ Many frusta fans, mainly Hananoki service users, spread tweets one after another. The number of retweets exceeded 20,000, and more than 500 people contributed during the recruitment period from February 8th to 16th this year. ‘The total amount of support money was more than double the number I thought I would be grateful if I gathered this much. If nothing is done, the culture of frusta will disappear. It is because I was able to share such a sense of crisis with many people. I think it’s the result.’

Frusta is ‘the only thing that shares love’

On April 25, this year, the third state of emergency was issued. In some of the target areas, major movie theaters are closed at the request of the national and local governments. Even so, the number of infected people has not decreased sufficiently, and the deadline, which was originally set at the end of May, has been extended to June 20. Hananoki is still in a difficult situation, including the cancellation of the ordered frusta production request. But men are now renewing their determination to continue their business. For all those who love Frusta, not to mention their supporters, we want to contribute to the uninterrupted and broader, and deeper development of Frusta culture. Because I think so. Hananoki’s SNS has the logo ‘Frusta is love’ as an image for the account. This is the motto of all activities, the man says. ‘To be honest, frusta doesn’t have to be a live performance. If it’s for the performers, it’s better to buy as many CDs and T-shirts as possible. Still, Why do you give it? I think it’s because of your love for the cast and the characters. ‘The one and the only thing that can be shared with the cast, staff, and fans in the form of that love. I think it’s a frusta. ‘When the virus goes away, I want to smile at the frusta at the live venue where” Push ‘appears. The net is full of earnest wishes. The man who received it in the form of a grant said: ‘It’s more than just a thank you. In addition to crowdfunding, we received support in various ways, such as ordering flowers, spreading tweets, and assisting businesses. I hope to be rewarded for my feelings.’

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