I don’t often find myself fundamentally opposed to snack foods, but I used to be fundamentally opposed to Pocky. The idea of it offended me. Deeply.
I became aware of its existence at around the same time I became aware of the existence of anime. Which also offended me. I tried to get into anime at the behest of some friends who were REALLY into anime. I wanted to like it, for them. They were good people.
I gave anime a chance. Multiple chances. Long ass, drawn out, nothing-has-happened-in-the-last eight-episodes, if-this-is-supposed-to-be-serious-then-why-the-hell-did-that-guy’s-eyes-bug-out-when-he-got-hit-in-the-head-with-a-frying-pan chances. But I didn’t like it.
Anime was something supremely mediocre that people were convincing themselves was really good. When really it wasn’t good, it was just different and those people wanted to be people who were into something different. That irked me, and subsequently I came to hate anything and everything associated with it.
And Pocky was associated with it. It was a snack the fanboys and fangirls LOVED. But they didn’t love it. It was a part of the character they were crafting. It was an accessory to the anime fan costume, if you will.
In hindsight, this misplaced rage was a function of those people having found something they liked and/or identified with that they could get excited about, while I had not.
Nowadays my life philosophy is almost completely rooted in the idea of liking what you like unabashedly. Love writing Golden Girls slash fiction? Adding characters to your DuckTales tattoo sleeve? Painting large scale recreations of Richard Simmons’ Deal-a-Meal cards? Then do it! And go at it with the gusto and enthusiasm reserved only for Labrador retrievers and ADHD kids who have to wear helmets. Because one day you’ll be dead, and it’s the happy distractions between now and then that are important. The most important really.
Having made peace with this concept allows me to unabashedly love Star Wars, which is arguably the mediocre-est of mediocre things. If you’re outside of Star Wars, the whole thing is easily dismissible. If you’re inside it, it’s the greatest thing that has ever been because it has spaceships and lightsabers and lasers and monsters and occasionally hot primary-colored ladies. I love all of it.
Today, we have the latest product at the nexus of Star Wars and food products: Giant Star Wars Lightsaber Pocky. Sadly, the Force was not strong in these Pocky sticks as none of them arrived from Japan in one piece.
This pack comes with six Giant Pocky sticks. Giant indicating that they are longer (9 inches to be exact) and thicker than normal Pocky. They come in three flavors. Each one corresponds to a different Star Wars character. The pink Pocky is strawberry and corresponds to Darth Vader’s lightsaber from A New Hope. The green one is green tea and represents Yoda’s lightsaber from Attack of the Clones. The purple one is grape, and is not Mace Windu’s (!), but represents Luke’s blue lightsaber in A New Hope. Why they didn’t make Luke’s Pocky blue is a mystery, and kind of maddening. To people like me, anyway. (You made it blue on the package, guys!)
The strawberry and grape flavors (and nosegropes) are intensely artificial, and just what you’d expect from a highly-flavored Japanese candy. The grape isn’t bad but it crosses over a little too far into medicine-y territory for my liking. The green tea flavor is not as intense. It’s vaguely vegetal and quite unremarkable.
Overall, I liked the strawberry best. It was the most familiar and least offensive. However, I don’t think these Giant Pocky work as a whole. The ratio of icing to biscuit cookie is pretty good in normal Pocky sticks. Both are well represented and mix to provide a balanced cookie experience during chewation.
However, the ratio in this Giant Pocky is way off. You get the burst of icing but it doesn’t last long, as it doesn’t have nearly the volume to compete with the sheer size of the biscuit cookie. You’re left with a mouthful of cookie that, while decent, is not very interesting. These did not need to be Giant.
A more inspired approach would have been to just have normal Pocky in the four lightsaber colors represented in the films, including a Pocky stick dipped at both ends with the biscuit visible in the middle to represent the always menacing Darth Maul. But what do I know?
The packaging of this product is outstanding, but in the end they came up short on content and execution. Say it with me. Just like the prequels.
May the Force be with you. (I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for three years and haven’t ever written that.)