Have you ever been bitten by the mysterious “Bottom Biting Bug?” In Japan, many children and adults alike have caught the bug, so to speak, and have fallen for this misbehaving, animated bug known as “Oshiri Kajiri Mushi” since it aired on the “Minna no Uta” programme on NHK last year. PingMag had a chat with Uruma of “UrumaDelvi,” the husband half of the married duo who created the “Oshiri Kajiri Mushi,” about the nation’s favourite bottom biting bug.
Written by Ryoko
Translated by Natsumi Yamane
Would you give us a brief introduction of yourself?
“UrumaDelvi” is an artist duo consisting of “Uruma” and “Delvi”. We participate in a wide range of activities including character and software design of mainly animations. Our best known works are animations such as “Shikato” from the children’s programme “Ugougoruga” and the “Capsule Samurai” from “Eigorian.” For the “Bottom Biting Bug,” we were responsible for the song and the lyrics, as well as the animation.
So how did you come to create the “Bottom Biting Bug?”
I and my wife, Delvi always say silly jokes to each other. As Delvi was washing dishes in the kitchen, I happened to notice her bottom sticking out and joked “Don’t stick out your bottom, or you’ll have it bitten by a “Bottom Biting Bug!” (laugh) That’s where it all came from. We were so excited about that phrase that we immediately drew an illustration of the “Bottom Biting Bug.” By the time we had finished the character, I was unconsciously humming the melody that became its theme music. That’s why the song is only made up of two notes. Come to think about it, the simple structure of the melody might have made it even more catchier for children’s ears.
The first time I saw the “Bottom Biting Bug,” I was astonished by its bizarre habit of biting people’s bottoms, but who or what is this “Bottom Biting Bug?” Does he have a background, like family or friends too?
Oh yes, of course. The “Bottom Biting Bug” actually is a ‘fairy’ who loves biting people’s bottoms. His family has traditionally been living nomadically in the bottom biting business, and his ancestral roots date back to Old Assyria 2000 B.C. As it happens, the main character, Bottom Biting Bug XVIII was born when his parents were staying in Osaka, and that’s why he sings in a weird Osaka dialect. He’s a downright cheerful guy and loves song and dance, as well as funk and rap, which he picked up in Osaka. By the way, funk and rap is my taste for music too. (laugh)
Also, I come from the generation that grew up watching The Drifters’ comedy acts and the anime series Tensai Bakabon, so meaningless funny humour like a basin falling on people’s head and Bakabon’s dad’s stupid jokes are at the grass roots of my ideas. So the notion of a bottom biting bug perhaps comes from there too.
There were so many hits on YouTube with the words “Oshiri Kajiri Mushi” and I thoroughly enjoyed many of them, but the animation aired on the NHK is about the story of the “Bottom Biting Bug,” who returned to Japan after many years, biting the bottoms of dispirited people and reinvigorating them, one after another. Does this story have any message to the viewers?
When I was traveling through islamic countries, I noticed that the people there approached me and talked to me kindly and casually. It really made me feel that being in such environment, full of communion among people warms us inside. But look at Japan now, especially in the capital. There are tired and dispirited faces everywhere. We used to have a kind of “rudeness out of compassion” – like the mums in Osaka chatting happily to just about anyone – but that kind of “warm meddling” seems to be disappearing lately. People are starting to get cautious of one another, becoming timid. We hardly say hello to people any more.
In that animation, we were trying to show that sort of situation in modern-day Japan. The “Bottom Biting Bug” meddles physically and mentally with the tired people of today by biting their bottoms. The bitten people somehow feel rejuvenated. For the “Bottom Biting Bug,” the act of biting people’s bums is done unconsciously, so he frequently gets knocked out by the dispirited yucky bottoms, but he says “Tomorrow’s tomorrow is the day after tomorrow!” and just gets on with his life again!
There is only one purpose for us at UrumaDelvi, and that’s to “try to make the world happy and cheerful.” So we created this work, hoping people would watch the Bottom Biting Bug and feel happier and more cheerful.
I heard that you are a father too. When you create something, do you ever ask for your son’s opinions?
No, I’ve never done that before. As far as my son is concerned, after seeing the making of the “Bottom Biting Bug” for a year and 4 months, he was totally bored of it by the time it went on air. I said to him, “Hey, the Bottom Biting Bug’s starting now” but he only said “Hmm… I’ll watch it later.” (laughs)
A PingMag’s non-Japanese staff member is also a great fan of the “Bottom Biting Bug” and she’s been buying the Bottom Biting Bug’s character goods from the MONO COMME ÇA store nearby. (laugh) She says it’s also drawing attention in Germany but are there any plans for it going international?
We haven’t made up our minds on the international plans but it’s great to hear that foreign people are enjoying it too. Perhaps, the sense of meaningless humour is universal.
How about some candies in this Bottom Biting Bug zipper pouches? © NHK / UrumaDelvi.
And mugs and toothbrushes too! © NHK / UrumaDelvi.
You’ve created numerous hits in the past, but the “Bottom Biting Bug” became a megahit that received an enthusiastic public response. Why do you think this one was so special?
That’s an eternal mystery to me too. I’ve been in this business for a long time now, but it’s simply impossible to predict what people would accept or wouldn’t accept. Perhaps the Bottom Biting Bug just happened to find the right timing to be loved by people. However, I do believe that what I feel and the things I find interesting would be understood and sympathised by people at any time, and that unconscious melodie, like my humming, would inspire people more than the elaborately composed ones.
Finally, do you have any messages for children?
Please keep on having fun, singing and dancing with the Bottom Biting Bug!
Uruma, thank you for the inspiring talk about the Bottom Biting Bug today, we look forward to seeing your future creations too!
UrumaDelvi Exhibition at Shibuya Parco.
Starting from March 1st, it will be touring afterwards Nagoya, Fukuoka and other cities across Japan.
Don’t miss this!