In early 2010, Xbox Japan launched a new mascot, Sanrokumaru (literally, "360"), a businessman with an Xbox logo for a head. A year and a half later, he seems to have vanished. Poof!
As part of a then new commercial campaign, Sanrokumaru was part of the fictional "Xbox Mission Department". In each of the subsequent ads, the businessmen went out and wrangled big name titles for the Xbox 360, such as Final Fantasy XIII.
The adverts, with their dry portrayal of Japanese business culture, do seem reminiscent of SEGA's Dreamcast commercials.
The Sanrokumaru character even inspired cosplayers at last year's Comic Market in Japan.
But by this (northern) summer, the link for Xbox Mission Department website on Xbox.com is no longer operational, and the character is M.I.A. However, there is an asset link that still seems to work. That's strange!
The last commercial on the asset link is from late 2010. The "next game" for the Mission Department still hasn't been updated. Maybe they're still trying to wrangle up a title for Japan!
Or maybe it's that Xbox Japan is more focused on Kinect and Let's Dance.
Kinda hope he comes back - crossing a salaryman with an Xbox logo face was brilliant. Kotaku is following up with Microsoft and will update this post should the company comment.