The wide-world of anime-related merchandise just wouldn’t be complete without Ramune. Over the years, the alien-looking glass bottles have been decorated with labels from Pokémon and One Piece. Last spring, Viz Media added Naruto-themed bottles to that list.
Though Viz Media posted a list of retailers that sold the drink in North America to their Facebook, the Canadian locations were limited to one vendor, JFC International (Canada) Inc., the company handling the distribution in both Vancouver and Toronto.
I lucked out as the Konbiniya Japanese Centre on Robson Street had started stocking them. I grabbed an armful as each bottle bore a different design. There’s Naruto battling Sasuke, Naruto with rasengan, a partial Team Seven with Naruto, Sakura and Kakashi, and group shot of Naruto and his fellow ninjas. Aside from the colourful labels there’s nothing different about the pop inside which still has the classic bubble gum flavour.
Same flavour, different bottle.
For those unfamiliar with Ramune, it’s a Japanese carbonated soft drink sold little glass bottles that are sealed by a glass marble. A plastic plunger is attached to allow the marble to be pushed in so the contents can be consumed. To allow the liquid to flow, the bottle’s neck is pinched so that the marble can rest, sort of resembling the face of an alien when viewed from a specific angle. There are a variety of flavours, but bubble gum is the most common.