Who knew?! It turns out that Israel is the setting and main character in an anime web series. “Israel, Like!” as the show is known, was created by the Embassy of Israel in Tokyo.
It was released in November of last year – as part of a campaign to heighten potential Japanese tourists’ curiosity about the Holy Land.
Ruth Kahanoff, the Israeli ambassador, explained that it was an attempt to “use anime to reach the Japanese audience, especially youth, and display the Israel beyond the conflict.”
The series’ debut episode introduces Japanese sisters Saki and Noriki, who travel to a Disney-like version of Israel (there’s no mention of war, Arabs or the West Bank) after having fallen in love with a Max Brenner chocolate bar.
They notice a few only-in-Israel quirks and wind up getting wasted at a Tel Aviv bar. In episode 2, the sisters visit the Dead Sea, eat falafel and apparently get caught up in some drama related to sister Noriki’s screwed-up marriage.
The third episode features a spike in dramatic value as Noriki disappears and Saki is befriended by a handsome young Japanese speaking, anime loving dude named Itay.
The whole series is sprinkled with appearances by Shalom Chan, the mascot of the Israeli Embassy in Japan, who pops up to give the viewer factoids about Israel. The Embassy reports that there will be seven episodes in total.