When the Royal Australian Mint commissioned Adelaide-based artist Landeg to illustrate a series of commemorative coins for the Tokyo Olympics, nobody expected them to produce government-commissioned fursonas. Yet here we are, and furries are stoked.

Landeg was put onto the project by a friend. The Mint was looking to commission Aussie-themed cartoon characters similar to how the Tokyo Olympics had been using anime-style mascots. Landeg decided to submit their portfolio, which features heaps of 2D art of characters like Sailor Moon and, notably, no sexy anthropomorphic characters.

“I had no idea it was related to anthro art until I actually got in contact with them and started working out the details,” the artist told PEDESTRIAN.TV on Thursday.

“The brief was to basically make an ‘anime style reboot’ of the original Boxing Kangaroo mascot.”

The job was initially supposed to just be promotional art for the coin booklet, including a comic for the inside cover.

“After they saw what I’d made, they wanted to create a second character, Surfing Kangaroo, to celebrate surfing becoming an Olympic event, and the scope of the project expanded,” Landeg said.

“Then the Paralympics wanted to get involved, too, with their mascot Lizzie, and things kind of snowballed from there.”

The mint ultimately ended up plastering Landeg’s so-called “government-commissioned fursonas” on some of the $2 coins themselves. This possibly makes Australia the first country to mint furry-themed currency.

You can cop the commemorative coins at Woolies, or at the Royal Australian Mint’s own website.

It was only a matter of time before the the coin dropped for the furry community, who were quick to embrace these strapping anthromorphic athletes as one of their own.

This came as a bit of a surprise to Landeg, but not an unwelcome one. The artist already had experience tabling at artists’ alleys at anime conventions before, so its not as if the furry community was some kind of unknown entity.

“I just think they’re a funky and largely harmless bunch who hold a refreshing level of respect for artists’ work,” Landeg told P.TV.

On Twitter, they even had to tell their new influx of followers that they’re not usually a furry artist, so as not to get any furries’ hopes up for more art.

Now furries are even making their own fan art of the Aussie characters and, um, woof.

To conclude, this whole debacle has been a but unexpected but by no means unwelcome.

While Landeg isn’t a fan of these specific Olympic Games in Tokyo – “I am no longer jazzed for the Olympics [my work is] attached to due to the global plague we’re all living through but what can you do,” they wrote on Twitter – the artwork for these commemorative coins is undeniably cool and now it’s got its own dedicated fanbase to boot.

The artist told P.TV: “I had a roommate who was a furry, and I sometimes wonder what he thinks of all this.”

Image: Royal Australian Mint