A cool replica of the Catbus and sisters Satsuki and May from the hit anime “My Neighbor Totoro” took first place in the citizen sculpture competition at the 2023 Sapporo Winter Festival.
The event, which was organized for the first time in three years, had 58 entries.
The “My Neighbor Totoro” snow sculpture received 1,129 votes in a public poll held on the festival’s final day, Feb. 11.
It was created in Sapporo by a team from Toko Electrical Construction Co.’s Hokkaido branch.
The team had previously won second place with a snow sculpture of the anime character Totoro.
“We created our sculpture for this year in the hope of bringing smiles to children and tourists from overseas,” a team member said.
In late December, the team began preparations for the competition. Forty employees from the company took part, including several from outside of Hokkaido.
Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, the competition had been canceled the previous two years.
This year’s contest included several virus-related rules.
Instead of the typical five days, entrants were allowed three days to build their sculptures. Furthermore, the number of team members that may participate in the actual manufacturing was limited to five.
“I was initially worried if we could finish the work in a shortened period of time,” the winning team leader said. “But we could make a more elaborate sculpture than our previous one. We paid close attention to details to make our Catbus look like the Catbus in the anime from every angle.”
The youth division of the Sapporo painting contractors’ cooperative union won second place with 458 votes for its sculpture of Anya in a fox dance from the anime “Spy x Family.”
Kitakitsune won third place with 358 votes for their sculpture of baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani.
The top three winners are automatically accepted into the event the following year.