You might be aware of this already, but 2020 marks SEGA’s 60th anniversary – and the company has gone to great lengths to celebrate, including building an awesome-looking microsite covering its long history. SEGA recently revealed a new ‘hero’ called ‘Sega Shirou’, a new ‘mascot’ to promote the publisher in adverts – and a new video has included a truly random twist on the character’s backstory.
Many die-hard SEGA fans probably already noticed that ‘Sega Shirou’ had elements of a past character that similarly graced Japanese TV screens to promote the SEGA Saturn console – Segata Sanshiro. The new character’s name, the focus on white attire, the delivery of his catchphrase (“SEGA da yo!” / “It’s SEGA!”)… it all seemed connected in some way.
Today, SEGA Japan released a new promotional video where Sega Shirou – a high school student intent on spreading the good word SEGA to his fellow young friends – is declaring that a bunch of cool accessories he’s rocking are all old SEGA products. But then, he is asked about his past. Sega Shirou wears a judo over his shoulders, like an overcoat – turns out, he is the son of the judo-practicing, human-chucking, SEGA Saturn-carrying hero, Segata Sanshiro!
Watch the full drama – including incredible animations – below:
— セガ公式アカウント🦔 (@SEGA_OFFICIAL) April 23, 2020
Some context for those of you who don’t understand Japanese or are unaware of the sheer cultural impact Segata Sanshiro had on Japanese gamers back in the day; Sega Shirou’s father featured in almost every Japanese SEGA Saturn-related TV commercial, with each advert involving a little bit of character development as the years went by. He ended up being the true ‘face’ of SEGA in Japan for a long time, representing the company’s good fight against the evil forces of ‘apathy’ and eventually rival companies (a not-so-subtle reference to Sony and its PlayStation).
His tenure as SEGA’s promotional icon ended just before the Japanese launch of the Sega Dreamcast in 1998, in an absolutely insane TV commercial that pretty much had nothing to do with any upcoming product (beforehand, Segata Sanshiro would always be peddling some game in his commercials). The premise? A rival company fires a missile at the SEGA Japan office, just before the Dreamcast is ready for launch, and Segata Sanshiro… bravely leaps onto the rocket and redirects it into space, thus averting the destruction of SEGA… but sacrificing himself in the process.
No joke, it’s pretty heavy. Watch it below (the ad itself starts at 9:20, but it’s worth watching the whole video for the other Segata Sanshiro TV CMs):
So yeah. Dude got blown up. And SEGA’s 2020 video references this quite vividly with a cartoon explosion and Sega Shirou’s crying face. Poor little guy. To cap it all off, the video ends with a supervillain appearing out of nowhere, called “Sega Hatanshiro” (or, “Fail, SEGA!”). Now that’s just not on.
We absolutely love the throwback here, and the backstory given to Sega Shirou, even if it is utterly random. It harks back to the day where SEGA in Japan were a little more carefree and rogue with its marketing, and we hope this will continue beyond the company’s 60th Anniversary celebrations. What will happen to Sega Shirou vs Sega Hatanshiro? I guess we’ll find out in the next episode!
NB: Some translations thanks to Sonic JP News