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Mikan-Seijin or “Alien from the planet Tangerine” is an anthropomorphic tangerine (often mischaracterized as an orange) created by Kazuma Shirasaki in 1989 and licensed in 1992 for use in a number of short animations on “UgoUgoLuga” (Fuji Television Network, Inc.) [via The Foreign Correspondence Club of Japan]
Today the character is still very popular on Fuji TV and new Mikan-Seijan flash animations can be viewed on fujitv.co.jp.
The Original Shorts:
Screen Mates were self-contained EXE programs for Windows that consisted of a library of icons that were mapped to different movements giving the effect of animation similar to early animated GIFs. But the difference was that Screen mates would walk around your desktop, on top of your windows. They were similar in form to the DigiPets popular at the time. Interest has been steadily decreasing since at least 2004.
For more old-skool Screen Mates, check out this old Tripd page.
For the newest Mikan desktop pet AdobeAIR app, check out AIRmikan.
What is interesting about the meme is that it caught on with Youtubers, despite a relative lack of exposure to the source material. There is little evidence of any known phenomenon related to Mikan-Seijin amongst American Japanophiles that has been documented online.
Instead of the name Mikan-Seijin, most Youtubers refer to the character as Orangeman, or OMGTSN.
It seems that video mashups of Mikan-Seijin paired with the theme from the 80’s Nintendo game Bubble Bobble first appeared in 2008. THIS VIDEO IS CITRUS is the most popular Mikan-Seijin video that contains the Bubble Bobble Theme and is likely the source that influenced others to do the same. Although it should be noted that many Mikan-Seijin videos DO NOT contain the Bubble Bobble theme.
(View counts are accurate as of July 11th, 2009)
THIS VIDEO IS CITRUS: Uploaded September 7th, 2008. Has 49,000 views.
O IS FOR ORANGEMAN: Uploaded July 28th, 2008 and has over 29,000 views.
HAB AH: Uploaded August 22, 2008 and has 6247 views.
ORANGEMAN ADVENTURES: Uploaded January of 2009. Has just over 1,000 views.
SOMEBODY STOP THIS VIDEO uploaded February 06, 2009 and has 9141 views.
Search Trends and multiple names
A Google Search for the term “mikan-seijin” only returns about 2000 results, which may indicate that the character is relatively unknown outside of Japan.
There is not enough search data to return any results using Google Insights for any of the following terms.
- Extraterrestrial oranges
However, there is search volume significant to show a trend for the term “Orangeman” but it reflects searches for the predominantly North Irish and Scottish Protestant fraternal organization known as Orange Institution; of which its members are known as Orangemen.
Conclusion: The first time that Mikan-Seijin became known on any scale on the English-Speaking internet was in the form of orange.exe. Because of the disagreements about the name, there is no definitive way to search for relevant information about the popularity of the meme. But it exists none-the-less.
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