Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cute Shit: Isopods

Recently I was reminded of the successful explosion of the isopod phone case last year by a reference to the fact that they're still around, and started Googling. 
Aside from the also very successful isopod plush toys that were originally $60 and sold out within hours at the Numazu Deep Sea Aquarium (among others that followed suit), there are also larger, more pillow-like versions now.
As the Amazon description of them says, "This giant isopod doll has become less grotesque than real ones".

Here's a real one.

Aww! This picture and the video it came from made their rounds online pretty thoroughly

So did these Doritopods. Om nom nom

NOM NOM NOM

So, what the fuck is a giant isopod? VICE Japan is here to help:


Interesting, right? And sorry, Mr. Lead Aquarist, I really want to buy at least that adorable $2 mini isopod plush I saw there. Animals by themselves are great, but there's nothing wrong with a little gimmick and fluff, especially in this ridiculous country.
The Buzzfeed article that picture of the fisherman with the isopod on his arm came from is also fun.

Okay, so, these giant sea bug dudes are arthropods, related to crustaceans, and most people probably recognise some of their smaller cousins, pill pugs, potato bugs, or roly-polies as we called the little ones we had where I grew up:


Those cutsey nicknames are just nicer ways of saying "wood lice", 
but these are still pretty cute too, right?

Oh come on, we can all relate to this feeling.

And wait! Don't forget about the Kaiju skin parasites in Pacific Rim, which had a high black market value and were clearly just giant isopods:



Okay, okay, fine. You're probably still like, "this is not cute at all, this is horrifying", and I guess I kind of agree in some cases. Smaller sea-dwelling isopods, for example, act more like traditional parasites than their big doofy scavenging cousins, and sometimes wreak havoc on fish farm populations.

"Hey, you have something stuck to you. Omg wtf. It's really big. There's more than one."
"WHAT ARE YOU SERIOUS GET THEM OFF!"

Really not feeling it? Fine. You can eat them! The Japanese have weirdly decided to turn them into crackers, not unlike the jellyfish they turned into candy.


But, okay, okay, the merch is cute. IT IS! 
Don't believe me? Well, I saved the cutest pictures for last:

These are the ones that sold like hotcakes. I want one, but 50 or 60 bucks is just.. 
Too much.


Here's the pillowy but less-detailed one that Strap-ya sells.


Hey, there's an iPhone version! It's your lucky day, Apple enthusiasts!


And here's the original one I want, assuming I can eventually get a freaking phone contract here. It's a timeless classic, don't you think?

Finally, you can learn more about these weird giant sea bugs by checking out this handy, informative article, even if you don't think they're cute at all.