SUITA, Osaka Prefecture--What catches your eye most might be the white tiger, the crocodile crawling up the side of the tank, or simply a cute female office worker sitting on a tree stump.
These are just some of the large and colorful models installed at the Nifrel Aquazoo here to entertain children until Sept. 3.
The office worker figure is a large version of the "Fuchico on the Cup" capsule toy series, which consists of the tiny female figurine in various poses that can be attached to the rims of glasses, cups and other items.
Inspired by the Fuchico toys, Nifrel staff members came up with the idea of hanging various models on the tank rims to generate an interest in animals. Capsule toy maker Kitan Club Co. supervised the project.
The idea is that Fuchico is the curator charged with taking care of the animals at the aquazoo.
Of 14 varieties of capsule toys exclusively sold at Nifrel, Fuchico and six others were singled out for the display, with the figurines up to about 30 times bigger than their original sizes. Made from fiber-reinforced plastic, the figurines are available for close-up photos and you can also touch them.
On display in the "Abilities" area on the first floor are figurines of a saltwater crocodile (about 150 centimeters long) and a blue-bodied Napoleon fish (about 70 cm long). A veiled chameleon (about 65 cm long) is seen hanging from the rim of a hermit crab tank in the "Waterside" area on the second floor, while a capybara and a ring-tailed lemur also welcome visitors.
Nagi Maruyama, 1, from Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, was examining a large model of a veiled chameleon with interest.
"It’s cute to see (the figurines) placed everywhere," his 31-year-old mother Hidemi said. "My son seems to be intrigued."
"It is also fun to see the figurines alongside the real ones," said Yasuyuki Tai, 46, a publicist at Nifrel. "We hope (visitors) will become fond of creatures at Nifrel after seeing the figurines."
The aquarium is in the city’s Senri-Banpaku-Koen district and the official website is at (https://www.nifrel.jp/en/).