JEDDAH: A large segment of Saudi youth and teenagers are so fascinated with the Japanese cartoon films and series known as manga (Japanese comics) and anime (animation) that they are eager to buy models and stickers of related popular characters.
The fantasy world of manga and anime is aimed at children, teenagers and young adults, but the themes can become a little dark.
A Saudi graphic designer, Njood Alkharboush, has created a Saudi brand called Haku which has a Japanese twist.
Alkharboush brought her dream to reality when she designed anime characters with a Khalijee twist inspired by her passion for Japanese anime.
Haku is basically a Saudi brand and an online shop that provides products symbolized in a mixture of Saudi and Japanese culture, offering 12 products including stickers, pins and card games.
“The products imitates the Japanese Manga designed in a Saudi concept in terms of the characters and items,” Alkharboush said.
She has designed a new Poker concept known as “Kotchina” in Arabic by recreating the four characters of the original Poker card game through turning them into a Khaliji anime and changing the outfit into traditional Khaligie clothes (Thobe).
“Each character is available as a sticker and a pin.”
Alkharboush also has her very exclusive collection of pins, including an Arabic coffee cup held by the skeleton of a human hand, a female police car and a “Saudi skull,” a new character of the skull of a man with a long beard and Ghutra.
Haku was launched in early 2018, The project depends on designs that are hand-drawn, using the popular trend related to Saudi-Khaliji culture.
The name of the project refers to a fictional character in the well-known Japanese movie “Spirited Away,” directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Released in 2001, it reportedly made the highest revenue in Japan’s film history and surpassed the most popular
American movie of the time, “Titanic.”
Alkharboush told Arab News: “Haku is my favorite anime character of Miyazaki.
“I started to think seriously of turning my senior project into a real business after I saw the way people were attracted to it and the amount of appreciation and admiration generated.
“Our first clothing line will be launched in early 2019 and our current products are also available in Concept stores in Jeddah, Riyadh. Soon they will be available in Bahrain and Dubai.”
The business aims to bring happiness to people who find joy in little things, inspired by cute Japanese anime and cartoons migrated into Khaleeji culture, said Alkharboush.
“I want all these characters to pop up in people’s way wherever they go with real knowledge of who they are, to reflect the Saudi culture, as the Japanese anime have become an integral part of modern Japanese life and culture.”
Alkharboush encourages all small businesses to believe in themselves, value their ideas and trust in what they are doing, never hesitating to bring their dream to reality.
Such startups would emphasize the importance of the younger generation’s creativity to be spread and help to widen the horizons of the Saudi and Khaleeji culture.
A Saudi company called Manga Productions focuses on producing animations and developing video games with creative and positive content, targeting all local and international groups of society.
Manga Productions seeks to launch several animation and video game projects to promote Saudi ideas and messages internationally.