Square Enix’s Toshiyuki Itahana has come up with a mascot design for Pride Month and is asking it to be named.
Joining this month’s celebration about “diversity and freedom,” artist Toshiyuki Itahana gave life to an art for commemorating that belief. Fans of the Final Fantasy franchise would recall the artist for his contribution in Final Fantasy IX. In addition, he is also the same creator behind the design of NieR’s android twins, Popola and Devola.
Introduced via Twitter last June 1st, the design which shows a vibrant anthropomorphic bird makes for SE’s participation to an ongoing event. The initiative also comes in light after the cancellation of the Pride parade as a result of the pandemic. The notion of which coming from a press release that made circulation to give word to the official creation.
Our #Pride Mascot designed by Toshiyuki Itahana represents diversity and freedom, and we want you to help name them!
— Square Enix (@SquareEnix) June 1, 2021
Nameless, But Not Formless
For the purpose of building community engagement, said mascot was deliberately nameless and is, therefore, asking for a name. The criterion for finding the fitting name was not publicly known. But Square Enix is encouraging everyone to pitch their opinion in the tweet’s comment section, nonetheless.
Despite its unknown status, SE went ahead to employ the design in an official capacity. So much so, in fact, that merch depicting the art have begun appearing in the Square Enix store since the start of the month. The profits, however, will be directed to two LGBTQIA+ organizations, GLAAD and Stonewall.
The Kawaii Factor
Known for his cutesy art style, akin to Chocobo in the Chocobo’s Dungeon series, Itahana made the mascot in a flattering presentation. But as for the actual inspiration behind the choice, the artist tweeted the avian of paradise flower, Strelitzia, as the source.
As is true to the Pride celebration, the mascot’s multi-color element signifies the campaign’s representation of diversity. Meanwhile, the figure wearing a pair of shoes and having wings epitomizing the concept of liberation. Which, according to the creator himself, “allow it to travel anywhere” and, thus, “symbolizing freedom”.
Square Enix is but just one of the handful of companies in the industry with the openness for the Pride campaign. Similarly, Dontnod Entertainment, Behaviour Interactive, Sega, and Xbox, all offer their patronage to it. Each of which in their own unique ways of making the advocacy heard through a large audience. Most notable of which includes efforts that involve giveaways signaling the occasion, donations to various LGBTQIA+ groups, and heartfelt storytelling.
Image used courtesy of Square Enix Brazil