This is the story of a time when society was overflowing with these mascots...
Noramimi is a slice-of-life manga by Kazuo Hara, taking place in, well, see above. Mascots are strange and wonderful creatures who are drawn to children, and seek out families to live with, often enlisting the aid of mascot agencies to find the right home.
The story focuses on one in particular, the titular kaminari kozo/"apprentice priest" Noramimi, who hasn't had a kid in ten years, and so freeloads with Office #59 of the Hello Kids Mascot Agency.
The manga was serialized in Ikki from 2003 to 2009, and it was adapted into a 12-Episode Anime in 2008.
This manga provides examples of the following:
- The Ace: Redcheeks.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Taizo, Dottari's kid, seems to have Asperger's syndrome.
- Broken Angel: Noramimi, as a kaminari kozo, once had a horn that could extend long distances. It got broken off, and now he just has a permanent bald spot.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Dottari, Dottari, Dottari...
- Face of a Thug: Scoundrel-type mascots.
- Growing Up Sucks: Traditionally, mascots leave their families as soon as their kids reach middle school. It's considered rather awkward and strange to keep yours for any longer, or to associate with your old mascot once they leave.
- Hidden Depths: Noramimi's bratty, cranky and a bit selfish, but he's also very kind-hearted and diligent.
- Hypocrite: Miss Sarashina gets on to Handa for keeping in touch with Dottari, but lets her old mascot freeload with her when he's between families.
- Identical Stranger: It can happen.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: One story features a plain-jane cat mascot, wondering how she landed her clumsy kid with glasses.
- The Makeover: Many mascots, in an effort to get noticed by kids, drastically change their image and character over the course of their lives (often with the help of agencies). Noramimi's tried at least four different roles, including an alien, a dinosaur, and his current apprentice priest.
- Really Gets Around: Naomi is seen with several boyfriends over the story, and tends to change her image to match them. She eventually settles down.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Mascots can have special, often somewhat impressive powers, yet they haven't changed the world significantly, as one character notes.
- Robot Buddy: several mascots take this form. They aren't actually robots, though, but living creatures who don't actually need to be repaired.
- Shout-Out: The whole premise is a shout-out to Doraemon, but in particular clumsy, glasses-wearing only children are the "perfect tens" of the mascot world. Even they don't know why they're drawn to them.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Noramimi and his mizuame syrup.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Many mascots have rather weak or peculiar powers. As a kaminari kozo, Noramimi used to have an extending horn and can steal belly buttons (which he acknowledges is pretty creepy).
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Mascots are unable to feel romantic love and apparently lack sex drives or anything like that.
- Youkai: Several mascots take this form, and there is some implication that they may be the foundation of youkai stories.