1

In the anime, primarily ep2 when Kirino first come to Akihabara, I noticed many of the brand name or billboard was altered, リバティー/Liberty was changed into ワバチィー/wabaty, タカラダ/Takarada to タカダ/Takada, ガシャポン to ガチャポン, Laox to Taox, Labi to Labla, Gee! to Guu!, McDonald's to McDoneld's etc.

example

I wonder why they made such changes. They could have kept all the brand and billboard the same as they are in real life, but instead, they made so many subtle changes (while the maid cafe remains almost entirely intact).

Since many of these easter eggs are placed in a very obvious position, and animating such a complicated background asks a large amount of effort. I don't really believe these are purely the animator having fun. Are there any other reasons? Like copyright or advertising?


P.S. I am asking this for my essay, so please do think of it

P.P.S. image retrieved from this website.

P.P.P.S. feel free to leave any other thoughts about this

6

TV Tropes has an entire page dedicated to this phenomenon: Bland-Name Product.

obvious brand name parodies are obvious (source: Ouran High School Host Club)

Replacing brand names is a fairly common phenomenon in media. As Dimitri mx mentions, this is probably because the studios want to avoid using trademarks to play it safe. This is why parody names like "WcDonalds" and "EcDonalds" are so common in anime.

Toradora casts a snarky lampshade on this practice:

"Sudoh-bucks" / "Why hasn't this place been sued yet?"

Sometimes the anime actually does use the real names, if they get the product placement properly arranged behind the scenes. For example, this was the case with Pizza Hut in Code Geass. (Hence the "Pizza Hut supports the Rebellion" memes.) For more detail, see Have there been any anime with actual product placement?

However, taking the steps to formally arrange this kind of thing requires more effort and comes with more risk, so I can see why anime productions tend to go with the less risky parody names.

For example, consider High Score Girl. This manga got into legal trouble because it directly featured lots of 90s video game content, even though its publisher, Square Enix, took steps to secure formal consent for the use of the games' characters from the various companies. In 2014, SNK Playmore launched an IP violation claim against Square Enix because of this manga, which resulted in the recall of all the volume and digital publications of the manga. It took about a year before the two parties reached a settlement and the lawsuit was withdrawn.

This case had more to do with copyright than trademark, but it's still a good example of the kind of trouble that could come arise if you're not careful enough with handling the intellectual property of others... High Score Girl really did include a lot of stuff though, so this was a particularly complex case. For reference, here's the copyright notice in volume 1 of the manga:

lots and lots of (c) company names

So many...

  • That is incredible! But also made me thinking: if an anime contains bland-name and actual name at the same time, does that means the actual name indicates (or very likely) a partnership between the product and the anime? – Amarth Gûl Mar 3 at 16:00
  • Probably, or else they're poking fun of the practice like in Toradora. Is there such an instance? – ConMan Mar 3 at 22:58
  • @ConMan Yes, right in Oreimo: the Cure Maid Cafe. The billboard made no changes in brand name, and the leaflet closeup is using the actual location of Cure Maid Cafe. – Amarth Gûl Mar 5 at 17:46

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