Hawaii soldier featured in Army’s new anime recruiting campaign

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 4:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The US Army is now using animation to reach Generation Z youth who have been raised on the internet and social media.

It’s new recruiting tool on YouTube is called “The Calling.”

“I was very impressed. I felt like they told my story really well,” said 1st Lt. David Toguchi.

He’s featured in one of the short animated films that reveal the struggles and triumphs of young soldiers who answered the call to service.

As a child, Toguchi dreamed of being an Army helicopter pilot. He lived on a military base in Hawaii and had a bird’s eye view of Army choppers..

“They are awe-inspiring,” he said. “When you see a helicopter flying, you can’t help but look. I remember being a child and one of my neighbors was a pilot.”

The Army produced five animated films showing why the soldiers answered “The Calling,”

U.S. Army Spec. Jennifer Liriano’s parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic. Army 1st Lt. Rickie Plaisir grew up in Haiti. Cpl. Emma Malonelord admired humanitarian efforts. And 1st Lt. Janeen Phelps left a promising singing career to serve her country.

“We really want America’s Army to reflect America,” said Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, chief of Army Enterprise Marketing.

The last Army ad campaign’s use of computer generated imagery broke from the look and feel of traditional Army advertisements. “The Calling” takes it a step further.

“In order to get a young person’s attention, you’ve got to show them something they weren’t expecting,” Fink said.

The Army selected the stories from 100 soldiers’ submissions. Toguchi hopes the videos inspire youth to enlist, and to dream.

“I hope young people will have the same confidence in themselves to chase after the dream regardless of the outcome,” he said.

To see all the videos and learn more about “The Calling,” click here.

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