Nintendo and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Dress Up

Being led by Japan’s most kawaii pop idol, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Nintendo’s new New 3DS is turning heads with its customizable, cutesy cover plates known as “kisekae plates.”

“Kisekae” literally means to “change clothes,” and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu uses her trademark style to make Nintendo’s message loud and clear.

It’s not just the system dressing up. Joining the party are some of Nintendo’s most iconic characters: Hipster Bowser, Leprechaun Link, His Majesty King Pikachu, and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Kirby. Seriously, who can ignore those adorable Nintendo character makeovers?

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Kisekae Plates

The most recent addition to Nintendo’s portable line suffers from Nintendo’s odd, maybe somewhat unimaginative, naming conventions. However, the Japanese trailer for it definitely makes the system stand out. “きせかえちゃお” or “let’s dress up” is the coined phrase for Nintendo’s latest marketing scheme. “Kisekae” literally means to “change clothes,” and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu uses her trademark style to make Nintendo’s message loud and clear.New_Nintendo_3DS_FaceplatesThe kisekae plates are a feature exclusive to the smaller New Nintendo 3DS. LL (the XL version) owners will still have to depend on limited edition versions to get a “customized” theme. Regular New 3DS owners already have a selection of approximately 40 designs, featuring a variety of Nintendo characters and patterns, to choose from. Prices vary from 1000円 – 3000円 or $10 – $30.

Menu Themes

An intriguing, and surprisingly rarely mentioned, feature of the kisekae plates are their ability to also customize the menu interface. Regular 3DS and 3DS XL owners can also join the fray. Riding in on Nintendo’s wave of customizability  are downloadable custom themes for the menu interface for all 3DS systems.

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In October 2014, a system update will add a new “Theme Shop” to the Home menu. Equipping these different themes will transform the menu background, icons, and folders. It will even change the music and sound effects!

The “New” in New Nintendo 3DS

The New Nintendo 3DS offers a ton of new features: a more powerful CPU (allowing New 3DS exclusives such as Xenoblade Chronicles), a new C-stick and two additional shoulder buttons, Micro SD card functionality, environmentally adjustable backlight, and NFC connectivity (Amiibo support). Oh, and my favorite, enhanced stereoscopic 3D which removes the dreaded “sweet spot.”

Surprisingly, out of all of these features, it is the kisekae plates which are becoming the most noteworthy new addition. More than ever before, Nintendo is allowing players to express their individuality, which is remarkably un-Japanese. Maybe this a sign of changing times in Japan or simply Nintendo’s awareness of a global audience.

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There is no doubt about it, the collaboration between Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Nintendo is some of the best Nintendo marketing we’ve seen since the Wii era. It certainly caught my attention and I love those character redesigns. One day, I’m definitely going to cosplay the very dapper Leprechaun Link.

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