“I hope senpai notices me today” t-shirt review from Choizilla


Choizilla is the brand name and persona of London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Michelle Choi. Established in 2014, Choizilla has toured many conventions on the Japanese interest circuit – MCM London Comic Con and Brighton Japan Festival, to name a few – bringing manga drawing workshops, fashion know-how and spreading illustrative cheer to the masses. In her own words:

Choizilla is a design-lovin’ dinosaur made of plants. I love logical design. I love structured graphic design. I love to think and plan before I design.

The phrase on this t-shirt is “I hope senpai notices me to today”, so I’ll explain that first for the uninitiated. Most commonly associated with manga books and anime cartoons, the catchphrase “I hope senpai will notice me” rose to meme fame through use as captions on Tumblr. A ‘senpai’ (or ‘sempai’) is someone who has a higher social status in a particular field, such as a mentor. To be noticed by a senpai would mean to have earned their respect in a way that they would admire.

The t-shirt was successfully funded through Kickstarter, achieving a remarkable £1,556 of an intended £1,200 goal from 127 backers. The funds went towards production and shipping costs, with rewards ranging from the t-shirt to limited edition bundles of goodies.

I’m not a graphic t-shirt person – with an ample bosom, the message can get lost. Though all the words couldn’t be seen fully from any angle, the sharp lettering of a dark font on a pure white background still make this a great and readable t-shirt. Although not stated on the t-shirt or the website, the material feels as though it is cotton and it’s soft with a good stretch to it. I chose a medium and the fit was comfortable.

There is a printed tag on the inside neck of the t-shirt, with the brand name, the size of the t-shirt and a little message. I’m not sure if the message changes by size or by t-shirt, but it’s an unusual addition that marks the brand as fun yet distinctive.

The envelope was bright yellow, another standout from the usual plain white or brown packaging of other t-shirt companies. With charming illustrations surrounding the address, there’s a real personal touch of design added. Someone took the time to draw a quick doodle on the envelope before popping it off in the post, making the delivery special and much more individual. Included with the t-shirt was a lovely thank-you message and a bright yellow business card with a punky pirate anime character and the company name, and social media links and contact details on the reverse.


Unfortunately, no care instructions were included on the t-shirt, in the package or on the website’s product page for the t-shirt. If you’re paying £12 for any t-shirt, you’d want to know how to look after that t-shirt to preserve its quality. It’d be so easy to bung this in with a regular wash but with such a great quality graphic print, the t-shirt would not last against continual high heat temperatures. However, handily recommended in the t-shirt’s reviews, one customer notes that “you have to be careful with ironing it, turn it inside out and put it in a low heat”.

The website for Choizilla has a solid contemporary look, admirably sticking to just a few colours to make the products stand out. From the newest products to product reviews, everything is laid out clearly and displayed uncluttered. As Michelle points out that she “loves logical design”, this really comes across in the easy-to-use functionality of the website.


This t-shirt is priced at £12, which is very reasonable given the quality of material and quality of the print. A quick perusal around the Apparel section shows that this particular t-shirt is the cheapest of the range offered by Choizilla.

The precise care and attention allowed to the t-shirt, the packaging and the website is consistent throughout and this delights me so much. The t-shirt is currently the third most popular item sold by Choizilla. The cost of the t-shirt did surprise me, especially for such a great quality. And maybe this is because it was funded by Kickstarter backers. It is an amusing t-shirt for the meme-minded and brings potential return customers to the website to see more of the great alternative products that Choizilla offers.

And yes, my senpai did notice me (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

You can visit Choizilla at their website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and on Twitter at @HEY_CHOIZILLA.

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