Nothing is Safe From Kawaii! Sanrio Makes Salmon Cutlets & Raw Eggs Cute! Resistance is Futile!
Every Japanese character fan would be familiar with these big names; Hello Kitty, the Little Twin Stars (Kiki Lala) and Cinnamoroll. All these popular cute characters are products of Sanrio. In particular, Hello Kitty is world famous and celebrities like Lady Gaga and the Hilton sisters are amongst the many fans. Kitty’s large red ribbon and simplistic design raised her to be the kawaii representative of Japan.
Hello Kitty is thought to be the most popular Sanrio Character. Yet, this year’s voting results of the Sanrio Character awards shocked many people. Since 1986 on the Ichigo Shinbun, an official Sanrio monthly newspaper, holds the Sanrio Character awards every year. This year, the most popular character was not Hello Kitty, but was My Melody! Hello Kitty had won first place 14 times in the past, which makes her the number one receiver of the first place. However, My Melody challenged Kitty’s number one position after the 23rd competition in 2008.
The big question is “WHY is My Melody popular?” She is not as famous as Hello Kitty, yet My Melody’s kawaii pink rabbit appearance makes people from all generations want to collect the My Melody goods. In Italy, it is said that My Melody goods dominate the top 3 most sold Sanrio products. In San Francisco, My Melody stickers are very popular which shows how My Melody is increasing her popularity abroad. My Melody became one of the most popular characters of Sanrio since the 1996 competition, placing in the top rankings and now, her popularity challenges Hello Kitty.
Sanrio continues to produce new characters. In 2013, Sanrio held a new competition limiting the entry characters to those that theme with food. Kirimi-chan, a character that looks like a salmon cutlet placed 1st place, followed closely by Gudetama, a tired looking raw egg character. The abstract, interesting yet kawaii appearance and setting of these food characters shocked many Sanrio fans. Because of its unexpected appearance, many people still don’t recognize these as Sanrio characters.
Let’s take a close look at Kirimi-chan. Aside from winning 1st place of the food character competition, not a lot of facts about Kirimi-chan are known. Kirimi-chan was born hoping to be eaten with pleasure. She is still waiting to be eaten as a part of a traditional Japanese meal with many of her other food friends by a special someone. The concept of a salmon cutlet is unique and has captured the hearts of many fans from Japan.
Gudetama is another unique character. An egg can be cooked in multiple ways, boiling, frying, scrambling ….. but gudetama wants to remain a raw egg because he’s not motivated to be cooked in any other way. Even if you want to cook the egg the way you want to, gudetama will remain unmotivated and raw. The character’s tired appearance with short side notes like ‘I’m tired’ and ‘ I’m sleepy” relates to many people and has caught attention of fans.
Gudetama also has a twitter account where he posts short animation of himself. His unmotivated anime relates to many working adults, and has lead to 240,000 followers.
Sanrio characters have been loved by Japan and the world for decades. It is because Sanrio never bores us with heated competitions of popularity between characters and introducing absurd but kawaii characters all the time. Sanrio leads the kawaii culture of Japan and it will be interesting to see what they will do next!
Translated by Sakurako Suzuki
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