DSC_2448ⓒSHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

Never heard of Ribon? Well, maybe you’ve heard of Marmalade Boy, Ultra Maniac, Kodocha (Kodomo no Omocha), Neighborhood Story (Gokinjo Monogatari), or Himechan no Ribon (lit. Hime’s Ribbon). They’re all manga that inspired anime adaptations, and they just happened to serialize in Shueisha’s Ribon magazine, which is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. To commemorate this, the “romance bible for girls” is throwing a party over at the Tokyo Skytree. And by party, we mean art exhibit.

Titled the “250-man Otome no Tokimeki Kairō at Tokyo Skytree” (lit. The Tunnel of Excitement of 2.5 Million Maidens at Tokyo Skytree) exhibit, this tunnel circling around the top of the Tokyo Skytree (which, I should probably mention, is really, really high up) is filled with art and memorabilia from some of its most famous series.

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One thing fans from outside of Japan might be impressed by is that the exhibit is filled with English signs and even an English floor guide.

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After going up the tower in an elevator decorated in manga wallpaper, visitors are greeted by a photo spot where they can take a picture in front of the cover from the magazine’s fortieth anniversary issue.

DSC_2469ⓒMEGUMI MIZUSAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

The “tunnel” of the exhibit is filled with panels of the most romantic scenes from Megumi Mizusawa’s Himechan no Ribbon.

DSC_2476ⓒAI YAZAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

If Ai Yazawa’s Tenshi Nankaja Nai manga is more your style, the tunnel has that too.

DSC_2479ⓒAI YAZAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

With each series, you can finish reading the scene portrayed on the wall with the telescope facing out toward the Tokyo cityscape. Peek inside the “Telescope of Romance,” and a kiss is waiting:

DSC_2480ⓒAI YAZAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

DSC_2482ⓒWATARU YOSHIZUMI/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

Wataru Yoshizumi’s Marmalade Boy manga isn’t missing out on the fun, either.

DSC_2486ⓒWATARU YOSHIZUMI/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

DSC_2473ⓒMEGUMI MIZUSAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

By downloading the ARAPPLI app, visitors can become one of three different Ribon heroines. For example, if Pokota from Himechan no Ribbon is scanned, the app will give the visitor the hairstyle of the heroine Hime.

DSC_2500 ⓒMIN AYAHANA, MIHO OBANA, YUE TAKASUKA/ SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

Over at the “Photo Spot to Become a Heroine!” corner, visitors can poke their faces into the covers of Yue Takasuka’s Good Morning Call, Miho Obana’s Kodomo no Omocha, and Min Ayahana’s Akazukin Chacha manga to take pictures as the heroine of each series.

DSC_2510ⓒSHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

At the “RIBON Library,” fans can see how the magazine has grown throughout the past sixty years by looking at the illustrated covers. Although the magazine began with only photograph-like illustrations of Japanese women, the magazine ditched this for manga illustrations as the main draw on the cover beginning at the end of 1968.

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This wall of covers wasn’t easy to put together, either–according to a representative for the exhibit, many of the older covers were not as easy to find to put on display. The large cover on the right in the image above is from the magazine’s twentieth anniversary issue.

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Maybe some of these covers look familiar? Some of the manga from the early 2000s included Mihona Fujii’s GALS!, Arina Tanemura’s Full Moon o Sagashite, and Mayu Sakai’s Nagatacho Strawberry.

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At the end of sixty years, we can see the most recent issues of the magazine. The large cover in the image above is from the sixtieth anniversary issue.

DSC_2542©MEGUMI MIZUSAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

At the “Collection of Supplements,” fans can look back at the history of the many bonuses that have come with the magazines. Because bonuses–also known as “furoku”–are made with paper or other inexpensive materials, it has been difficult to preserve them throughout the years, making this collection something to appreciate.

DSC_2552©MIHO OBANA,AI YAZAWA ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

DSC_2562©MIHO OBANA, YUE TAKASUKA/ SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

名称未設定 1ⓒSHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

At “Handsome Boys Carnival,” fans can take pictures with the handsome heroes of various Ribon manga, including Good Morning Call, Kodocha, and Paradise Kiss.

DSC_2564©WATARU YOSHIZUMI, MEGUMI MIZUSAWA/ SHUEISHA.RIBON

Sometimes, magazines were bundled with calendars featuring illustrations from the manga artists being serialized. Above are the calendars from 1990 and 1993 with images from Wataru Yoshizumi’s Marmalade Boy and Megumi Mizusawa’s Himechan no Ribon.

DSC_2569©AI YAZAWA, YUE TAKASUKA, MIHO OBANA / SHUEISHA.RIBON

The calendars from 1996, 1998, and 1999 feature illustrations from Ai Yazawa, Yue Takasuka, and Miho Obana.

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Even the windows looking out on Tokyo are covered in stickers from various Ribon manga.

DSC_2640ⓒWATARU YOSHIZUMI, KOI IKENO/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

Once you’re done going around the tunnel of sparkles and romance, take a stop at the Sky Tree Cafe for the Ribon collaboration menu. The windows of the cafe are decorated with manga panel decals. The images above are from Wataru Yoshizumi’s Marmalade Boy and Koi Ikeno’s Tokimeki Tonight.

DSC_2623©MEGUMI MIZUSAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

One of the most popular items is the “Pokota’s Favorite Donuts Plate” from Himechan no Ribon. The plate comes with a glazed doughnut with a decoration resembling heroine Hime’s ribbon that she wears, strawberries, and an orange slice.

DSC_2619©MEGUMI MIZUSAWA/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

The tuft of whipped cream that comes with the doughnut is accompanied by mascot Pokota.

DSC_2631©WATARU YOSHIZUMI/SHUEISHA.RIBON ©TOKYO-SKYTREE

And it’s not just the look of the food that matches the original work–the Marmalade Boy “Chicken Marmalade Sandwich” has actual marmalade in it. With chicken, veggies, and cheese served on a white bun, this sandwich was actually quite refreshing.

DSC_2630©WATARU YOSHIZUMI/SHUEISHA.RIBON ©TOKYO-SKYTREE

The orange served with the sandwich comes with a decoration of the manga’s heroine, Miki.

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It might be best to mention while although the manga illustration plates were initially on sale in the exhibit’s shop, they were so popular that they all sold out on the first day. There are currently no plans to sell the plates online.

DSC_2615©KOI IKENO, MEGUMI MIZUSAWA,AI YAZAWA,WATARU YOSHIZUMI/SHUEISHA.RIBON ⓒTOKYO-SKYTREE

Other items include the Tenshi Nankaja Nai “Akira and Midori’s Marble Choco Parfait” and the Tokimeki Tonight “Ranze’s Vampire Tea.” Each dish comes with one of twelve coasters, distributed at random.

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To check out the full exhibit, you can visit Tokyo Skytree yourself. The exhibit opened on January 9 and will continue until March 31, 2017. Tickets–which include access to the other parts of the tower’s upper area and come with a special calendar and stickers with Ribon illustrations (seen above)–cost 3,700 yen (about USD $33) and can be purchased online. If you don’t know Japanese, you can buy a ticket at the tower itself.

Some Ribon manga and anime are available in North America. FUNimation released part of Kodomo no Omocha under the title Kodocha and Tokyopop once published the manga. Viz Media has published a majority of Arina Tanemura’s manga–including Full Moon o Sagashite–as well as Wataru Yoshizumi’s Ultra Maniac, and they also released part of the Full Moon anime on DVD. Geneon once published the Ultra Maniac anime in North America. Nozomi Entertainment recently released the full collection of the Super GALS! anime adapting the GALS! manga on DVD. CMX Manga once released the manga in English.

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