Ask a dedicated, longtime anime fan about visuals of the city of Tokyo, Japan as depicted in any sci-fi genre story, and they might very likely say things to the effect of: high-tech holographic advertising billboards with moving visuals that might be abstract or realistic. Samples of these big animated billboard holograms can be found in classic sci-fi anime films like “Akira” or “Ghost in the Shell” (carried over in its TV series version and Hollywood adaptation). This trend stems from real-life Tokyo having some pretty impressive billboard visuals already. And sometimes, they do cross into the cutting-edge near-future aesthetic.
Look no further than the 3D billboard installed on a building not far from the train station for Shinjuku district, Tokyo. CNN International describes it as a curved LED screen covering part of a building’s top floor, which alternates from looking like the building floor unaltered with tall windows, to a white ledge from where a gigantic black, white and orange cat is perched, seemingly looking down onto the street below and occasionally flicking its tongue out of its mouth. The visual actually changes all throughout the day, making it one of the most dynamic billboard displays ever designed yet.
The funny thing is, it is not even supposed to be active yet. The LED screen paneling on that building may have been fully implemented, but the display was not supposed to activate until next week, July 12. Nevertheless, sharp observers with mobile devices handy have caught the billboard doing “test broadcasts” of the cat, which lasts from 7AM to 1AM the following day. In the morning the first cat visual shows the feline being startled awake from its nook. In the afternoon it is fully standing and meowing, before lying down and sleeping cutely once the night becomes late.
It is all in all a breathtaking experience, and Japanese passersby at Shinjuku (numbered at around 190,000 every weekday) all agree on the impressive visuals accentuated by the cat model’s adorability. Unfortunately, with Japan still battling the COVID pandemic, tourist travel from overseas is a no-go. Fortunately Cross Space, one of the companies that designed the 4K LED 3D billboard, has put up a YouTube live-stream of it for online viewing. Granted, the billboard does show other visuals aside from the cat, so YT viewers might have to wait awhile. And they might; it is a cat video after all.
Image courtesy of PEOPLE