There’s Some Culture in My Anime: Watermelon

©2012 YUKITO AYATSUJI • KADOKAWASHOTEN/ TEAM ANOTHER

Given enough time streaming, you start to notice trends in anime. They aren’t always big moments, like blood spurting out of noses or triangle-shaped rice snacks. But you see them enough that you know these things are embedded within the culture of Japan. And today, after seeing a countless number of beach episodes, I just have to ask…

What is the deal with anime watermelon?

©2012 YUKITO AYATSUJI • KADOKAWASHOTEN/ TEAM ANOTHER

Every beach episode ever includes someone bringing a watermelon and everyone gawking like they’ve struck gold. And while watermelon sounds like a refreshing summer treat, the grandiose appeal doesn’t make sense to me. Growing up in the MidWest USA, watermelon is readily available to me nearly 24/7/365.

It’s about as big a deal as a banana. So what’s the appeal?

First off, while I can grab a 15 lb watermelon for $4, you’d likely spend upwards of $30 in Japan for the same melon. The watermelons in the picture below are about the size of a cantaloupe, yet cost $15. So just in terms of price, it’s a big deal to give/bring someone (or a group) a watermelon.

But on top of the cost, the taste is apparently off the charts. Don’t get me wrong, watermelon is delicious. But according to the many accounts I’ve read, Japanese watermelons are sweeter, in a good way.

The Shaped Watermelons

I know this wouldn’t be an article about Japanese watermelons if I didn’t mention square watermelons. They are unrealistically expensive, selling at upwards of $200. They’re truly just for show at this point, and to be honest with you, they bore me.

Feast your eyes on these.

Source: 「もっと」いい家を建てよう!

Yes, that is a pyramid, calabash, and heart-shaped watermelon. I can see how the calabash one would work. But Pyramids? How the hell? That is not a small watermelon. Of course, the cost of these is all insane. The shape is just for (an admittedly awesome) show and doesn’t effect the taste. If you want taste though, you’re gonna have to spend some big bucks. I present to you…

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