WcDonald's logo image and a group of anime characters
(McDonald's)

McDonald’s Is Courting Anime Fans (Again) with WcDonald’s

"Welcome to WcDonald's. May I take your order?"
WcDonald's logo image and a group of anime characters
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According to a recent press release, later this month, McDonald’s is turning its iconic arches upside down, but this time, the concept is sooooo much cooler than their International Women’s Day fumble in 2018, when restaurants worldwide flipped their signs so that passersby would see an “M” was a “W.” 

This isn’t the first time that McDonald’s has courted anime fandom. WEBTOON partnered with the casual dining chain in 2023 to celebrate its 9th birthday with fans live at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California. I’ll admit I attended, enthusiastically agreeing to be interviewed by the WEBTOON team about my experience and favorite scrolling webseries.  

Here I am enjoying the the event (not pictured: all the awesome friends I made in line):

A white person stands behind a McDonald's WEBTOON birthday counter
(Rebecca Oliver Kaplan)

“Anime is a huge part of today’s culture, and we love that our fans have been inviting us into the conversation for years,” said Tariq Hassan, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s USA, according to the press release. “The WcDonald’s universe is a reflection of what fans have created. It honors their vision and celebrates their creativity, while authentically bringing it to life in our restaurants for the first time ever.”

One of the most popular fast food chains in Japan (as in, that cute McDonald’s Japan ad that caused quite a stir among conservatives?), McDonald’s has seen the rise of “WcDonald’s” restaurants (or WacDonald’s, Wacdonald, and more), the formerly fictional fast-food chain, originating in the 1981 manga and anime franchise Cat’s Eye and going on to appear in such works as 1989’s Sally the Witch 2, 1993’s Moldiver, 2001’s Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, and more.

Now, the gag is becoming official as WcDonald’s makes a move from fiction to real life—and my law school brain is swimming, wondering about the enforcement of what I assume is a new “WcDonald’s” trademark, considering how McDonald’s went out of its way to create a WcDonald’s website for the special promotion. But I digress. Without further ado, continue reading for everything you want to know about the upcoming WcDonald’s promotion.

When does the WcDonald’s promotion start?

Welcome to WcDonald's: McDonald's Brings Anime Fans' Favorite Fictional Restaurant to Life
(McDonald’s)

As the press release states, “Starting February 26, 2024, anime fans will get to embark on an epic journey at WcDonald’s with the new savory chili sauce, manga-inspired packaging, original episodic shorts, and more.” This will unfold across “more than 30 global markets.”

For diners living in Los Angeles, McDonald’s will open the pop-up WcDonald’s Immersive Dining Experience on March 9 and 10, described as a “multi-sensory” restaurant offering “an exciting fusion of entertainment and food.”

The announcement hints that diners “will be transported into the WcDonald’s universe through 360 projection mapping and immersive tabletop projections inspired by the four WcDonald’s anime episodic shorts — all while enjoying a set menu of WcDonald’s items.” Customers may even notice a WcDonald’s-branded cup holding their drink.

Reservations for the WcDonald’s pop-up will be available via OpenTable beginning February 28.

Who designed the WcDonald’s merch?

In the vein of the Kerwin Frost boxes, the WcDonald’s items will be packaged in bags designed by manga artist and illustrator Acky Bright. Per the press release, “For a limited time, fans will receive manga-inspired packaging featuring WcDonald’s Crew characters, sketched by Acky himself.

“I had a great time partnering with McDonald’s to help make WcDonald’s a reality for manga fans who have a genuine love for the brand,” said Acky Bright. “From the details of the diverse Crew characters to the manga plot itself, I loved being able to use my artwork to bring to life the dynamic, vibrant world of WcDonald’s for people around the world.”

Check out some of Acky’s previous work for McDonald’s below:

What are the WcDonald’s specialty items?

Welcome to WcDonald's: McDonald's Brings Anime Fans' Favorite Fictional Restaurant to Life
(McDonald’s)

The official announcement states, “Fans can animate their taste buds with our new Savory Chili WcDonald’s Sauce, available for a limited time. The unique combination of ginger, garlic and soy with a slight heat from chili flakes packs an energetic blast of flavor in every bite. Mirroring the bold, dynamic spirit of your favorite anime heroes, the sauce pairs perfectly with an order of 10-piece ‘WcNuggets’ (our fan-favorite Chicken McNuggets) or on the side of any of your go-to menu items.”

What is the WcDonald’s anime?

McDonald’s and Studio Pierrot (Mrs. Pepper Pot, Boruto: Naruto Next Generation, Sanrio Boys) will also put out an anime: “Every Monday, from Feb. 26 until March 18, a new short will drop in tandem with new manga on WcDonalds.com, or by scanning the code on the WcDonald’s bag. The shorts will honor four of anime’s biggest subgenres – Action, Romance, Mecha and Fantasy.”

Check them out below:

  • “The Race to WcDonald’s (drops Feb. 26): A rivalry strong enough to withstand the test of time as our two heroes embark on an epic race to WcDonald’s.”
  • “Love from Across the Booth (drops March 4): Our two protagonists discover the WcDonald’s Sauce and WcNuggets aren’t the only perfect pairing.”
  • “WcNuggets Space Frontier 3000 (drops March 11): A team of WcDonald’s pilots must protect the last WcNugget against an ominous force.”
  • “The Wisdom of the Sauce (drops March 18): Three women are transported to a distant land to unravel the mystery surrounding the elusive sauce before it’s gone forever.”

(featured image: McDonald’s)


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Author
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan (she/he) is a comics critic and entertainment writer, who's dipping her toes into new types of reporting at The Mary Sue and is stoked. In 2023, he was part of the PanelxPanel comics criticism team honored with an Eisner Award. You can find some more of his writing at Prism Comics, StarTrek.com, Comics Beat, Geek Girl Authority, and in Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority, which she co-authored with her wife, Avery Kaplan. Rebecca and her wife live in the California mountains with a herd of cats.