Segata Sanshiro: The Legendary Unknown


Most video game consoles find a mascot to represent the company and sell their product—this idea is nothing new. Established franchises tend to take the stage and sell based on brand identity. However, not every mascot originated in this way. In fact, one of my favorite advertising campaigns of all time involves the use of a completely unknown actor to sell its product. The video game console is the Sega Saturn and the mascot I speak of Segata Sanshiro.

I first encountered this mysterious character when I was watching a subtitled Dragonball Z on VHS about seven years ago. I was really excited about the upcoming brawl between Majin Buu and Vegeta, but that momentum was slowed by a very odd commercial. In the commercial, a man was kicking a soccer ball at a goal. The goalie, a large man in a karate gi, gave a shout and lifted one side of the enormous goal. He lifted the goal onto its side so that the ball passed by the net. The voice announcer then launched into the promotion for a soccer game, but I paused the tape to absorb what I had just seen. I was in total awe of this odd man and the catchy music that accompanied his appearance. It wasn’t until many years later that I rediscovered this odd fellow and learned more about him. Continue reading “Segata Sanshiro: The Legendary Unknown”