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Aji WOW: Kirbyman

Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' () means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.

This time: Kirbyman!

Kirby 25th anniversary goods are everywhere in Japan right now (autumn/winter 2017). Loads of companies are pushing Kirby merch - you name it, there's probably a version on sale with Kirby faces plastered all over it.

Convenience store chain Lawson is going all out, with Kirby foods and exclusive items. One of the highlights for hungry gamers is the Kirbyman. (There's also Kirby-shaped sweet mochi. But could I find that stocked anywhere? Like hell could I.)

The Kirbyman is not a superhero. Sorry. It's a manjuu steamed bun. Kirby + manjuu = Kirbyman. It's filled with a pasta-sauce looking blend called 'Maxim Chicken Tomato'. I feel like 'Maxim Tomato Chicken' would've made more sense, but oh well. There are 2 varieties, with different Kirby faces, but the flavour's the same.

One Kirbyman cost me just under 200 yen - the only bun more expensive at the time was the 'mushroom & chicken gratin'. I'd expected it to be even higher, honestly, especially because it's a limited edition. The price, and the fairly low 179-calorie count, came as a nice surprise.

Here's the promo pic by Lawson:

Awww, isn't that cute! And here's what the Kirbyman looks like in real life:

That's a difference, huh?

Like Kirby aged a few decades sitting in the Lawson manjuu steamer sauna. It's got wrinkles and a dodgy eye! The promo Kirby looks taut, and bouncy, and youthful. A little pink fountain of youth. This real version looks like I picked the very last one left in the world. I pity whoever bought the rest after me.

Oh well, I'd bought it and taken it home already by the time I took that photo. Next came the painful task of chopping off part of Kirby's head. To inspect the filling, of course. I may be picky about my food reviews, but I'm not a total monster.

Terrifying. As you can see in horrific detail from this close-up shot, part of Kirby's eye fell off while I was cutting. Adding injury to insult there. Sorry...

The tomato chicken's fairly generous, decent chunks of meat wrapped in plenty of sauce. And it tastes good! Chicken and tomato's always a reliable combo. Nice, inoffensive, decent. Not too dry, and not spicy either. A hot snack as satisfying as completing a level.

Kirby's steam-aged face was a bit chewy, though. Luckily the pink and black bits are just dyed, and the bun doesn't have a weird flavour to match the middle.

Verdict: 7/10. Not maxim enjoyment, but it got inhaled anyway.

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