Sorry for the interruption in service - I was somehow becoming a Space-Zombie: a zombie from space with no useful powers to speak of. I'm gonna try and catch up now - this Tuesday post from the following Saturday.
Aka: A Kitty-chan I can finally appreciate.
Hello, I live in Japan and I believe you may be aware of the Prime Minister here: Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty (Kitty-chan to her friends, and everyone's her friend, by which I don't mean she's a slut or anything) is so big in Japan, she practically is Japan. Interestingly her backstory states that she's from England (because English people are impeccably cool), but despite that I've never really cared for her. Maybe it's because the idea that she herself has a pet cat, Charmy Kitty, is deeply creepy. She rules Japan with an almost infinite variety of merchandise: there is a Hello Kitty for every region, for every city, for every notable area within a city, for every tourist attraction. There must be plenty of people trying to get every Kitty iteration there is, and I would imagine it's a genuinely sisyphean task.
Previously, the most interesting Hello Kitty I had seen was Hello Kitty Susukino. Susukino is a famous nightlife area in Sapporo, and one of Japan's first red-light districts. Hello Kitty Susukino is tarted up a bit too much, either carrying a miniature dog or winking at the viewer. Sexualizing Hello Kitty just seems like a bad direction to take things.
Violence on the other hand - that I can go with. I'll assume that most people have heard of Gloomy Bear too, he's a more cult-cute character here: a cute bear that is actually still a bear, and thus savages his owner all the time. I've always found the concept pretty awesome, and have heard that Gloomy is meant to poke fun at all the cute animal characters living in harmony in Japan's Kawaii Universe, since really they should all be savaging and devouring each other. And bears should be mauling people. Whoever wrote the Wikipedia page on him reckons: "The design is an antithesis to the excessively cute products produced by Disney, Sanrio's Hello Kitty, and other companies." This is pretty awesome then:
Gloomy X Hello Kitty. I first saw it in Tokyo, where they have the original pink version of Gloomy, and I was pretty impressed with that. But this is much cooler than that - this is the lavender coloured Gloomy X Hello Kitty in Hokkaido.
There's good old Mori Chack, the creator of Gloomy Bear guaranteeing... something perhaps. They had a whole bunch of stuff, from mugs to big stuffed toys but I just picked up some small things I thought I might actually use. Let's have a close up of that charm, Kitty swingin' her big ol' bloodstained claws:
But isn't this a bit much? Would Sanrio really allow their number one property to be transformed into a rampaging, gore-drenched grizzly? To be honest, I would certainly hope so. But in a slight let-down for me, those who are concerned about Kitty's pacifist reputation can breathe a sigh of relief:
It's not blood, it's only ketchup.