List of Sanrio characters

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Various Sanrio characters, from left to right, top to bottom: Bad Badtz-Maru, My Melody, Cinnamoroll, Charmmykitty, Hello Kitty, U*SA*HA*NA, Shinkansen, Keroppi, Pochacco, Little Twin Stars, Pompompurin, Corocorokuririn, Minna no Tabo

This is a list of characters from Sanrio, a Japanese company specialized in creating kawaii (cute) characters. Sanrio sells and licenses products branded with these characters and has created over 450 characters.[1] Their most successful and best known character, Hello Kitty, was created in 1974.[2] Most Sanrio characters are anthropomorphized animals, a few are humans or anthropomorphized objects.

Sanrio began creating characters to increase sales of its merchandise.[3] Typical merchandise featuring the characters include clothing, accessories, toys and stationery. The characters subsequently appeared in media such as books, animation and video games. Beginning with Jewelpet in 2008, Sanrio started collaborating with Sega Toys in creating characters intended to become media franchises.[4] Notable designers of Sanrio characters include Yuko Shimizu, original designer of Hello Kitty, Yuko Yamaguchi, lead designer for most of Hello Kitty's history and Miyuki Okumura, original designer of Cinnamoroll.[5][6][7]

Sanrio hosts two theme parks in Japan featuring their characters, Sanrio Puroland in Tama, Tokyo, and Harmonyland[8][9] in Hiji, Ōita, Kyūshū. Since 1986 Sanrio has held the annual Sanrio Character Ranking poll where fans can vote on their favorite characters. It began in the Strawberry Newspaper (ja:いちご新聞) published by Sanrio in Japan, but now voting also takes place online.[1]

Besides their own original characters listed here, Sanrio also owns the rights to the Mr. Men characters and Japanese licensing rights to the Peanuts characters. The characters listed here are shown with the year in which they first appeared.

1970s[edit]

Coro Chan (1973)[edit]

Coro Chan (コロちゃん, Korochan) is the first original Sanrio character.[10][11] Introduced in 1973, he is portrayed as a gentle and laid-back bear.[12][13] Designed by Yuko Shimizu who is also the original designer of Hello Kitty.[10] According to Sanrio's backstory, Coro Chan is a cousin of Hello Kitty's bear friend Thomas.[14][15] His name comes from the croquettes on his cheeks, which he might eat when he gets hungry.[12][16][10] Per official profiles, he lives in Windermere in England and his birthday is November 8.[16]

Hello Kitty (1974)[edit]

Yuko Shimizu created the original design of Hello Kitty in 1974

Hello Kitty (ハローキティ, Harō Kiti) is the best-known of Sanrio's characters. She is depicted as a white cat with a red bow and no visible mouth.[17] The original design for Hello Kitty was created by Yuko Shimizu in 1974.[5] However, the lead designer in charge of creating new design themes for most of Hello Kitty's history, since 1980, has been Yuko Yamaguchi.[6][18][5] The first Hello Kitty item, a vinyl coin purse, was introduced in 1975.[19][20]

Official character profiles list Hello Kitty's full name as Kitty White (キティ・ホワイト, Kiti Howaito), born in the suburbs of London, England, on November 1. Her height is described as five apples and her weight as three apples. She is depicted as a bright and kind-hearted girl who is good at baking cookies and likes to play the piano.[2][21][17] Hello Kitty is portrayed with a large family including her twin sister Mimmy, who wears a yellow bow, papa George and mama Mary.[21][17]

Originally Hello Kitty was only marketed towards pre-teenage girls, but beginning in the 1990s, the brand found commercial success among teenage and adult consumers as well.[22] The brand went into decline in Japan after the 1990s, but continued to grow in the international market.[6] By 2010 the character was worth $5 billion a year and The New York Times called her a "global marketing phenomenon".[6] By 2014, when Hello Kitty was 40 years old, she was worth about $8 billion a year.[23]

UNICEF has appointed Hello Kitty children's ambassador and the Japanese government appointed her ambassador of tourism.[22] The Hello Kitty media franchise has grown to include several animated series, video games and other media productions. A variety of products have featured the character over the years and as of 2008 there were over 50,000 different Hello Kitty branded products.[22]

Aside from the core Hello Kitty characters, several spinoff characters have been created: Hello Kitty's boyfriend Dear Daniel in 1999, Charmmy Kitty, Hello Kitty's pet cat, and Sugar, her pet hamster, both in 2004, and her superhero alter-ego Ichigoman in 2011.[18][24]

Little Twin Stars (1975)[edit]

Little Twin Stars (ja:リトルツインスターズ, Ritoru Tsuin Sutāzu) also known as Kikilala (キキララ, kikirara) in Japan[25] are a pair of angel-like characters. The younger brother with blue hair is Kiki (キキ, Kiki), and the older sister with pink hair is Lala (ララ, Rara).[26] Originally designed by Yōko Matsumoto (松本庸子) who also designed My Melody.[27] They were initially created for a 1975 Christmas promotion and their birthday is December 24, Christmas Eve.[28][29][30] Drawing inspiration from Christmas and winter themes, early sketches had the characters wearing warm coats and winter scarves, before Matsumoto settled on stars as the motif.[28][31] Because they came from the sky, she gave them white angel style clothes.[28] In their first publication the characters were unnamed, and their names originate from a survey in the Strawberry Newspaper (ja:いちご新聞) where readers could send in their suggestions.[32][33][34]

Early Little Twin Stars branded products, like those for other similar Sanrio characters of the era, were items marketed to young girls, like stationery and accessories.[35][36] In the late 70s Sanrio also began publishing picture books with Kiki and Lala, illustrated by Matsumoto and others.[37][38][39][40] Since the inception of the Little Twin Stars new designs have continually been created, following trends of the times.[35][41][42] In the original 70s designs Kiki's hair was brown and Lala's yellow. In the 80s the designs became more pastel colored, and this is also when their hair colors settled into being predominantly blue and pink. In the 90s their faces were modernized, and designs were rendered in 3D CGI, and in the 00s there was a retro return to the styles of the 70s and 80s.[35][41][42]

In 2015, EVA Air introduced a special livery Boeing 777-300ER, "Shining Stars", dedicated to the characters. The plane is mainly used on routes from Taipei to Houston and Singapore.[43]

Little Twin Stars have previously been included in video games with other Sanrio characters, but in 2018 the first mobile game app featuring them exclusively was released for iOS and Android. Titled Kiki & Lala's Twinkle Puzzle (キキ&ララのトゥインクルパズル) it is a tile matching puzzle game and was developed by Imagineer. It incorporates illustrations from a 70s picture book with the origin story of the characters.[37]

My Melody (1975)[edit]

My Melody (ja:マイメロディ, Mai Merodī) is white rabbit character. She is depicted as always wearing a red or pink hood that covers her ears. According to official character profiles her birthday is January 18 and she lives in the forest of Mariland with friends like My Sweet Piano (a sheep), and Flat (a mouse).[44] When My Melody debuted, she was portrayed as Little Red Riding Hood.

My Melody can be found on children's toys and merchandise (from jewelry to household goods). My Melody was first released in 1975 and the first related merchandise was released at the end of that year. At first she was mostly marketed toward young girls, but like Hello Kitty her popularity has increased within women and men of all ages, especially in Asia.

In the late 1980s, My Melody's popularity waned, and the only goods produced were stationery and candy. According to a reader survey published in Strawberry News (a magazine published by Sanrio) in 1996, My Melody came out amongst some of Sanrio's most popular characters and as a result, due to popular demand, standard merchandise started re-appearing beginning in February 1997 featuring the original red hood. Goods with the pink hood were re-released in 1999 and as of 2000 there were goods released with multiple color hoods.

On April 3, 2005, an anime series based on My Melody and her friends and produced by Studio Comet started to air on TV Osaka and TV Tokyo television stations, called Onegai My Melody (おねがいマイメロディ), which aired from 2005 to 2008. This anime also spawned a video game for the Nintendo DS titled Onegai My Melody: Yume no Kuni no Daibouken (おねがいマイメロディ~夢の国の大冒険~). The game relies heavily on a feature of the Nintendo DS console which requires the player to blow air into the microphone of the unit. The player guides My Melody through timed levels by jumping and using her umbrella to float around and avoid enemies. The game also features unlockable content as well, such as music, images, and mini-games.

My Melody also appears in the Sanrio Digital and Dream Cortex series, The Adventures of Hello Kitty & Friends. She, however, is mouthless there, and her rival Kuromi doesn't make an appearance.

In 2007, a second game was released for the Nintendo DS titled My Melody Angel Book ~Denshitechou & Enjoy Game~ (マイメロディエンジェルブック~電子手帳&エンジョイゲーム~). The game's primary function is as a day planner designed for young girls to keep track of appointments, class schedules, and mini diary entries.

On March 1, 2008, Mattel released a Barbie doll named "My Melody". The My Melody Barbie doll featured a Barbie doll inspired by the My Melody character, with the character's face included in different parts of the doll's fashion and accessories. In an homage to the character's rabbit ears, the doll's hair is styled in pigtails.[45]

On March 26, 2008, a Japanese music compilation album titled "I Love 30 - My Melody" from Tearbridge Records was released with My Melody wearing the original red hood drawn in various artwork styles by Groovisions. Rei Sakuma has been the regular voice of My Melody in Japan since 1989.

My Melody has also been turned into a Pullip doll with two versions; originally released in 2008 and the latest one in 2016.

In 2014, Sanrio celebrated the character's 40th Anniversary by creating a special line of merchandise where she is given a different hood where her ears are dropped down and wears either a bonnet or a flower pin and sometimes depicted with eyelashes. Sanrio Puroland honored the 40th anniversary of the character by creating indoor ride called "My Melody Drive" where visitors are visiting Mariland and encounter My Melody and her friends including Kuromi who attempts to ruin her day.

My Melody is also seen in collaboration goods with other non-Sanrio series, such as one with Sailor Moon in 2017.

In 2019, My Melody became a radio DJ on TOKYO FM with a show called "My Melo Therapy" (マイメロセラピー) where she answers questions from listeners and offers advice.[46] A book with advice from the show was released in 2022.[47][48]

In the 2020 web series Hello Kitty and Friends: Supercute Adventures, My Melody is one of the main characters where she is voiced by Michelle Marie.[49]

In 2010 The New York Times said that My Melody was "moderately successful" in terms popularity, but showing no signs of reaching the global popularity of Hello Kitty.[6] My Melody was number one in the Sanrio Character Rankings in 2010 and 2011.[50] In 2019 she was Sanrio's second most profitable character, after Hello Kitty.[51]

Spinoff characters from My Melody include My Sweet Piano, one of her closest companions, Kuromi, her rival, and Little Forest Fellow, a relative.

The Strawberry King (1975)[edit]

The Strawberry King (ja:いちごの王さま, Ichigo no ōsama) is a humanoid character with a large red strawberry for a head.[52] He was created as an alter-ego for Sanrio founder Shintaro Tsuji, and has the same birthday as him, December 7.[10] Official character bios describe him as "the king of the beautiful and peaceful Strawberry Kingdom" who "spends his days bringing messages of peace and friendship to all".[53] The Strawberry King rarely appears on merchandise.[54] But every month a message from the Strawberry King (similar to an editorial) has been published in Sanrio's Strawberry Newspaper (ja:いちご新聞).[55] A book with a collection of some of these messages was published in 2007.[56][57]

Button Nose (1978)[edit]

Sanrio's Strawberry House store was based on the fictional home of Button Nose

Button Nose (ja:ボタンノーズ, Botan nōzu) is a human character.[58] She is the protagonist of Button Nose, the first anime television series produced by Sanrio.[59][60] Button Nose is portrayed as a sweet and lively girl who makes strawberry jam and likes cookies.[61] Sanrio's profiles say her birthday is January 5 and that her real name is Trish, but she is called Button Nose because her nose is small and round.[61][62] The original design for Button Nose was created by Masayo Hirose (広瀬昌代) and the character was introduced in 1978.[59][63][58]

In 1983 Sanrio built the Strawberry House (ja:いちごのお家) store in Tokyo.[64] The store is shaped like a strawberry and was based on the fictional home of Button Nose.[65] It was originally planned to be in place for a limited time, but due to positive customer response the store remained in operation until 2011.[64] The anime series Button Nose, which began in 1985, was the first television anime series produced by Sanrio.[59][60] The series places Button Nose in a fairy tale and science fiction setting, where she turns out to be descended from royalty.[59]

Tuxedo Sam (1979)[edit]

Tuxedo Sam (ja:タキシードサム, Takishīdosamu) is a plump blue penguin character who is drawn wearing a bow-tie and a sailor hat. According to official character profiles he was born on May 12 in Antarctica.[66][67] In 2010 The New York Times described this character as "moderately successful" in terms of popularity but showing no signs of reaching the global popularity of Hello Kitty.[6]

1980s[edit]

My Sweet Piano (1980)[edit]

My Sweet Piano (マイスウィートピアノ, Mai Sūīto Piano) is a spinoff character from My Melody. She is depicted as a pink female sheep who is gentle and pampered and loves to talk and hang out with My Melody.[68] She was introduced in 1980 as a friend of My Melody.[69] She was originally known as "Hitsuji-san", which roughly translates to "Miss Sheep".[70] Sanrio asked readers of its monthly Strawberry Newspaper (ja:いちご新聞) to suggest a name for her, and the selection of the name "Piano" was announced in 2005.[70] The first solo merchandise with the character under the full name "My Sweet Piano" was released in 2008.[70] As of 2019 Piano was a meetable character at Sanrio Puroland.[71][72]

Piano started out as a supporting character in the 2005 anime series Onegai My Melody where she only spoke by baaing and bleating. She is voiced by Junko Takeuchi in the series. Piano also appears in the 2020 web series Hello Kitty and Friends: Supercute Adventures where she's a background character debuting in Season 2.[73]

Minna no Tabo (1984)[edit]

Minna no Tabo (ja:みんなのたあ坊, Minna no Taabou) is a human character. According to official character profiles his birthday is on May 5 (Children's Day) and he is a happy and energetic boy who likes sports. He is depicted surrounded by family and many animal friends.[74][75] He was originally designed in 1984 by Akiko Shimasue (島末彰子) for use on greeting cards.[76][77]

A series of books featuring the character, called Tabo no Kotoba (たあ坊のことば, Tābō no kotoba), has according to Sanrio sold over 500 000 copies in Japan.[78] The first book in the series, Minna No Tabo's Sai Kon Tan (今も昔も大切な100のことば みんなのたあ坊の菜根譚) by Sanrio founder Shintaro Tsuji is based on the 16th century Chinese compilation of aphorisms Saikontan by Hong Zicheng.[78][79] Minna no Tabo placed first in the Sanrio Character Rankings in 1988 and 1989.[80][81]

Zashikibuta (1984)[edit]

Zashikibuta (ja:ザシキブタ, Zashikibuta) is a pink pig character who is sometimes drawn wearing a green scarf. According to official character profiles his birthday is February 2 and he lives in France with a mouse friend called Tabby.[82][83] He is sometimes depicted with a sketchy look. Zashikibuta was number one in the first ever Sanrio Character Rankings in 1986.[84]

Hangyodon (1985)[edit]

Hangyodon (ja:ハンギョドン, Hangyodon) is a fish character who was born on March 14 in China. He is depicted as a character who likes joking around but also feels lonely, and whose plans of heroism often go awry.[85] Designed by Hisato Inoue (ja:井上・ヒサト) who also designed Bad Badtz-Maru.[86] Hangyodon is one of the members of Hapidanbui, a group Sanrio created in 2020 to promote older characters.[87][88] In 2022 Hangyodon entered the top 10 of the Sanrio character rankings for the first time in 34 years, placing at number 8.[89][90]

Keroppi (1988)[edit]

Kerokerokeroppi (ja:けろけろけろっぴ) also known as Keroppi Hasunoue (はすの上 けろっぴ, Hasunoue Keroppi) is a frog character with large eyes and a V-shaped mouth.[91][92][93] "Kero" means "frog's croak" and "Hasunoue" means "on a lily pad".[94] Keroppi is portrayed with a large family and many friends who are frogs. He is also friends with Denden, a snail, and Teruteru, a teru teru bōzu.[95][96][97] Originally created as part of a promotion for the rainy season, the first Keroppi items were released in 1988.[98][99] Designs in Japan commonly include puns on the Japanese word for frog, kaeru (かえる) which has many homonyms.[100] According to British newspaper The Independent, the popularity of Keroppi was close to that of Hello Kitty in the early 1990s, "particularly in the UK", but then went down.[22] Keroppi was number one in the Sanrio Character Rankings in 1990.[81]

Keroppi has appeared in video games, including Kero Kero Keroppi no Bouken Nikki, Kero Kero Keroppi no Daibouken, and Sanrio World Smash Ball!. He has also appeared in several animated series. In Japanese, Keroppi was voiced by Yoshiko Matsuo. In English, he was voiced by Jill Frappier in Keroppi and Friends, Kira Vincent-Davis in Hello Kitty's Animation Theater, Sarah Hauser in The Adventures of Hello Kitty and Friends, and Georgie Kidder in Hello Kitty and Friends Supercute Adventures.[49]

Pochacco (1989)[edit]

Pochacco (ja:ポチャッコ, Pochakko) is drawn as a white dog with black floppy ears, but no visible mouth.[101] Pochacco's name means pocha pocha (chubby). Per official character profiles he was born in Fuwafuwa Town on February 29 in a leap year.[101] He is often portrayed dressed in athletic attire, with a sporty and playful personality.[102][103] He was designed by Minoru Onoue (おのうえ稔) who also designed several other Sanrio characters like The Vaudeville Duo and Picke Bicke.[104] When Pochacco was first released he was not drawn wearing clothes and his behavior was more dog-like. His popularity increased after the design was changed to show him wearing shirts.[105] Pochacco was number one in the Sanrio Character Rankings from 1991 to 1995.[106][84][81]

1990s[edit]

Pekkle (1990)[edit]

Pekkle (あひるのペックル, Ahiru no Pekkle) is a duck. He is a small white duck with a blue T-shirt with the letter P on it. Pekkle's birthday is July 27 and he was first released in 1989.[107] Pekkle appeared in four OVAs in the early 1990s.[108]

Spottie Dottie (1990)[edit]

Spottie Dottie (スポッティドッティ, Supotti Dotti) is a Dalmatian dog character. Official profiles say she was born March 21, lives in New York City, likes fashion and is friends with a cat named Sassy.[109][110][111][112] In 2010 The New York Times described Spottie Dottie and the character Pandapple as "flops" for the Sanrio corporation in terms of popularity.[6]

Monkichi (1991)[edit]

Monkichi (ja:おさるのもんきち, Osaru no Monkichi) is a monkey character drawn with a curly tail and prominent round eyes. According to official character profiles his birthday is January 13 and his full name is Oyama No Monkichi, which translates to "Monkichi of the Mountains".[113] He is portrayed as a happy character who likes jokes and poems and wants to become a comedian or a poet.[114][115]

An animated OVA called Osaru no Monkichi no Kin no Ono Gin no Ono (おさるのもんきちの金の斧銀の斧) was released in 2001.[116][117]

Patapatapeppy (1992)[edit]

Patapata Peppy (パタパタペッピー, PataPataPeppī) is a horned owl character drawn with a sketchy look.[118] He was designed by Matsubayashi Atsushi (松林あつし) who subsequently left Sanrio and started his own studio.[119][120] Per official character profiles his birthday is August 26 and he was born in the Northern woods. He is often depicted carrying a cherry in his mouth as it is his favourite food.[118][121]

Bad Badtz-Maru (1993)[edit]

A Uni Air plane painted in a Badtz-Maru motif, 2016

Bad Badtz-Maru (ja:バッドばつ丸, Baddo batsu maru) is a male penguin character drawn with spiky hair.[122] Designed by Hisato Inoue (ja:井上・ヒサト) who also designed Hangyodon.[86] In Japanese, "badtz" (batsu) is a term for "X", the cross signifying a wrong answer. "Maru" means circle or "O", and signifies a right answer. Thus, his name figuratively means "wrong-right", and is frequently represented by "XO". Badtz-Maru is depicted with many different facial expressions and poses, but a common expression is of pulling one lower eyelid down and sticking out his tongue, a gesture equivalent to blowing a raspberry.

Per official profiles Badtz-Maru's birthday is April 1 (April Fool's Day).[122] He is portrayed as surrounded by friends and family, such as Hana-Maru, a friendly white seal, Pandaba, a female panda who wears a red bikini skirt and likes Badtz-Maru, and Pochi, a baby alligator, Badtz-Maru treats like a pet dog.[123][124][125]

Badtz-Maru has gone through many product lines since his release at Sanrio in 1993. He has been portrayed as an astronaut, motorcyclist, DJ, camouflage monster, basketball player, boxer, and many others. His products range from typical stationery supplies (e.g. pens, notebooks, erasers, pencil cases, etc.) to more novelty items (e.g. CD players, guitars, license plate frames, etc.)[citation needed]

Badtz-Maru was number one in the Sanrio Character Rankings in 1996.[126] He was the official mascot for the 2006 FIBA World Championship of basketball, which was held in Japan.[127] Uni Air and EVA Air began flying with airplanes painted with Badtz-Maru motifs in 2016 and 2017.[128][129]

Picke Bicke (1994)[edit]

Picke Bicke (ピッケビッケ, Picke Bicke) is a mouse character. According to official character profiles he was born January 1 in the year of the rat, and can fly by flapping his big ears.[130] He was designed by Minoru Onoue (おのうえ稔) who also designed Pochacco.[104]

Chococat (1996)[edit]

Chococat (チョコキャット, Chokokyatto) is drawn as a black cat with huge black eyes, four whiskers, and like his counterpart Hello Kitty, no mouth. His name comes from his chocolate-colored nose.[131][132] According to official character profiles, Chococat's birthday is May 10 and his whiskers are able to pick up information like antennae, so he is often the first to know about things.[133]

Chococat was originally pictured with a blue collar, but he has since been depicted wearing different colored collars, scarves and even a Hawaiian lei. Sanrio has also produced Chococat products that portray him in different colors like brown and pink.[citation needed]

Chococat is one of the characters in the 2020 web series Hello Kitty and Friends: Supercute Adventures, voiced by Michelle Marie.[134]

Chococat was the third most successful Sanrio character in 2005, after Hello Kitty and Cinnamoroll.[135]

Pompompurin (1996)[edit]

A Pompompurin Café in Singapore, 2017

Pompompurin (ja:ポムポムプリン, Pompompurin) is a golden retriever dog character first introduced in 1996. According to official character profiles Purin was born on April 16 and his friends include a hamster called Muffin, a mouse named Scone, a squirrel named Bagel and a bird named Custard.[136][137][138]

Sanrio produced two OVAs with Pompompurin in 2001, Pomupomupurin no Usagi to Kame (ポムポムプリンのうさぎとかめ) and Pomupomupurin no Kitakaze to Taiyō (ポムポムプリンの北風と太陽).[139][140] Two Pompompurin video games were released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2016 and 2017.[141][142]

A Pompompurin Café was opened in Harajuku in Tokyo in 2014.[143] Subsequently, several Pompompurin Cafés were opened in other locations.[144][145][146] Pompompurin was voted most popular in the Sanrio Character Rankings in 1997, 2015[147] and 2016.[148]

Corocorokuririn (1998)[edit]

Corocorokuririn (ja:コロコロクリリン, Korokorokuririn) is a golden hamster character who is drawn wearing a flower as a hat.[149][150] He is portrayed as having seven hamster children with a female hamster named Sakura.[149] In addition to his family, Kuririn is depicted with many friends. In total, there are 86 different hamster characters.[150] The character was created at a time when hamsters were popular as pets in Japan.[151][152] The original designs were created by Koji Ito (伊藤 康二, Itō Kōji) and the character was introduced in 1998.[153][152]

Kuririn, Sakura, and their children were modelled on real life hamsters that were kept at the office of Sanrio.[151][152] Kuririn's fictional birthday, February 4, was based on the date the hamster was brought to the office.[152] New owners for the real life hamster offspring were solicited from among readers of Sanrio's Strawberry Newspaper (ja:いちご新聞) who also coined some of the names used for the fictional hamster children.[151][152] A manga called Kuririn Diary (クリリン日記, Kuririn Nikki) was published in the Strawberry Newspaper and online.[151][152] The manga blends reality and fiction by including photographs of the real hamsters with drawings of the fictional characters.[152]

Dear Daniel (1999)[edit]

Dear Daniel (ja:ディアダニエル, Diadanieru), full name Daniel Starr (ダニエル・スター, Danieru sutā) is a cat character who is depicted as Hello Kitty's boyfriend. His character profile describes him as born in London on May 3. He was a childhood friend of Hello Kitty's, but traveled with his parents and was away from her for a long time. He is portrayed as fashionable and sensitive, good at dancing and playing the piano, with an interest in photography, and dreams of being famous.[154][155]

Designed in 1999 by Yuko Yamaguchi who has been the lead designer of Hello Kitty since 1980.[156] Yamaguchi was inspired to create a boyfriend for Hello Kitty in the late 1990s when the Japanese singer Namie Amuro talked publicly about having a boyfriend, something that was considered controversial at the time.[157][158] The character's name was inspired by the British film Melody from 1971, where the romantic lead is called Daniel.[159]

2000s[edit]

Cinnamoroll (2001)[edit]

Cinnamoroll (シナモロール, Shinamorōru) was created in 2001, with character designs from Miyuki Okumura.[7] The main character, who is known by the names Cinnamoroll and Cinnamon (シナモン, Shinamon), is depicted as a white dog with a curly tail that resembles a cinnamon roll, and long ears he can fly with. Per official profiles his birthday is March 6.[160] Other characters in the series include Cappuccino (カプチーノ, Kapuchīno), with a mouth that looks like a cup of cappuccino, Chiffon (シフォン, Shifon) with ears that are fluffy like a chiffon cake, Espresso (エスプレッソ, Esupuresso) with a Mozart hairstyle, Mocha (モカ, Moka) with chocolate-brown fur, and Milk (みるく, Miruku), a white baby puppy.[161][162]

An anime film featuring Cinnamoroll called Cinnamon the Movie was released in 2007, and a manga series by Yumi Tsukirino called Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll (ふわふわ♥シナモン, Fuwafuwa ♥ Shinamon) was published between 2004 and 2008.[163] Several video games featuring Cinnamoroll were released for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS.[164] In addition to this Cinnamon has appeared as a supporting character in several other animated series and video games from Sanrio.

Cinnamoroll expanded into two side series: Cinnamoangels (シナモエンジェルス, Shinamoenjerusu) in 2005 and Lloromannic (ルロロマニック, Ruroromanikku) in 2007.

Cinnamoroll was the second most successful Sanrio character in 2005, after Hello Kitty.[135] Cinnamoroll was voted number 1 in the Sanrio Character Rankings 2017–2018, and again in 2020–2022.[165][166][167]

Usahana (2001)[edit]

Usahana (ja:ウサハナ) (also stylized as U*SA*HA*NA) is a rabbit character drawn with different colored ears, one pink and one blue, and a flower on her head. According to official character profiles her birthday is August 7 and her full name is Hanachan.[168]

In the Toei Animation anime Usahana: Dream Ballerina (ウサハナ: 夢見るバレリーナ, Usahana: Yumemiru Ballerina) from 2006, Usahana dreams of becoming a ballerina.[169]

Pandapple (2002)[edit]

Pandapple (パンダップル, Pandappuru) is a panda character who is drawn wearing a red apple hat and a shirt. Pandapple is often depicted accompanied by a caterpillar. Per official profiles his birthday is June 2.[170][171][172] In 2010 The New York Times described Pandapple and the character Spottie Dottie as "flops" for the Sanrio corporation in terms of popularity.[6]

Charmmy Kitty (2004)[edit]

Charmmy Kitty (チャーミーキティ, Chāmīkiti) is a white Persian cat character that is depicted as Hello Kitty's pet. She resembles Hello Kitty but has more cat-like behavior and features. According to Sanrio's profile, Charmmy Kitty was a gift from Hello Kitty's papa, and since her real birthday is unknown, they celebrate the day Hello Kitty received her, 31 October.[173] She is described as docile, obedient and fond of shiny things. Her necklace holds the key to Hello Kitty's jewelry box.[174][175] Charmmy Kitty and Hello Kitty's pet hamster Sugar were created in 2004 when the popularity of pets went up in Japan. The characters were aimed at the teenage market.[173] Designed by Yuko Yamaguchi who has been the lead designer of Hello Kitty since 1980.[156] Her name comes from the word "charm".

Sugarbunnies (2004)[edit]

The Sugarbunnies (シュガーバニーズ, Shugābanīzu) are twin rabbit characters Shirousa (シロウサ, Shirōusa) and Kurousa (クロうさ, Kurōusa) who are depicted making sweets and pastries. According to official character profiles they were both born on May 26 and live in the fictional magical world of Bunniesfield.[176] They were designed by Kazumi Fukasawa (深沢和美).[177][178]

In 2007, Sanrio created an anime series based on the franchise which aired on TV Tokyo and Kids Station on April 3, 2007, and ended later that year with 27 episodes. After the anime's success, the series gained two sequels in 2008 (Sugarbunnies: Chocolat!) and in 2009 (Sugarbunnies: Fleur), each having 27 episodes.

After the success of the franchise, Sanrio created more rabbit twins who each specialize in their own jobs, see Sugarbunnies characters.

Cinnamoangels (2005)[edit]

The Cinnamoangels (シナモエンジェルス, Shinamoenjerusu), also known as Cinnamon Angels in English,[179] are a spinoff from the main Cinnamoroll series. They are a trio of girl puppy characters consisting of Mocha (born February 20), Chiffon (born January 14) and Azuki (born September 25). According to their fictional story, Mocha founded the group because she wants to become a TV idol.[180]

Cinnamoangels have their own manga series called Puri Kawa Cinnamo Angels!! (プリ☆かわ☆シナモエンジェルス!!, Puri Kawa Shinamoenjerusu!!) which was published as part of the Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll volumes.[181][182] Sanrio has also released several music videos featuring the trio.[183][184]

Kuromi (2005)[edit]

Kuromi (ja:クロミ, Kuromi) first appeared as the rival of My Melody in the anime Onegai My Melody. She is depicted as a white rabbit wearing a black jester's hat with a pink skull on the front and a black "devil" tail in the place of a normal rabbit's tail.[185][186][187] Kuromi has also been portrayed as the leader of a biker gang known as "Kuromi's 5" whose members wear black and ride their bikes around in a menacing fashion.[188][189]

Goods featuring Kuromi first appeared in Japan in 2005. She has three image songs all sung by her voice actress, Junko Takeuchi.[citation needed] In the 2020 web series Hello Kitty and Friends: Supercute Adventures, Kuromi is one of the main characters where she's voiced by Jenny Yokobori.[49]

In 2021 Sanrio began a marketing campaign for Kuromi in Shibuya and on social media using the slogan "KUROMIfy the World".[190] In 2022 Kuromi beat her rival My Melody in the Sanrio Character Rankings for the first time, placing at number three, while My Melody placed at number five.[191][192] Because of her appearance and personality, Kuromi has become popular with the Punk, Scene, Emo, and Goth crowds.

Tenorikuma (2005)[edit]

Tenorikuma (ja:てのりくま) (Japanese for "bears that fit in your palm") are a group of red panda characters who are portrayed running a coffee shop called Tenorikuma.[193][194] The main manager character is Latte, who is depicted with a heart on his ear. Maple is the only female character and Latte's love interest. There are several other red panda characters who all wear different colored scarves. Other characters include Mister Steam who is a cloud of steam and Muddler-san who is a spoon.[195][196]

A picture book called Tenorikuma Chisana Coffee Break (TENORIKUMA 小さなコーヒーブレイク) was released in 2005.[197] A manga series by Yumimi (ja:ゆみみ) called Puchitto! Tenorikuma (プチっと! てのりくま) was serialized in Nakayoshi magazine from 2007 to 2008. One volume of the manga was released in 2008.[198][199]

Masyumaro (2006)[edit]

Masyumaro (ja:マシュマロみたいなふわふわにゃんこ, Mashumaromitainafuwafuwanyanko) is a white kitten character with light brown spots around the ears. He is depicted as residing in Paris, France.[200] Designed by Kazue Yamada (山田和恵) who also designed Bonbonribbon.[178] He is featured in two promotional videos, Boku Masyumaro (My Marshmallow) and KIRAKIRA Sute-ji (Stage Glitter).[201]

Lloromannic (2007)[edit]

Lloromannic (ja:ルロロマニック, Ruroromanikku) is a spinoff from Cinnamoroll. The name is "Cinnamoroll" in reverse and Lloromannic is described as a world on the other side of a mirror that is the opposite of the cute world of Cinnamoroll. The Lloromannic characters are Berry (ベリー, Berī) and Cherry (チェリー, Cherī) who are depicted as two demons who came from the Lloromannic mirror world but now live in a haunted mansion on the outskirts of Cinnamoroll's town.[202][203][204] Designed by Miyuki Okumura who also designed the main Cinnamoroll series.[178]

Berry and Cherry show up in the anime Onegai♪My Melody Kirara★ as narrators. Two short videos have been released on YouTube: "Trick" and "Friend"; Cherry's origin.

Jewelpet (2008)[edit]

The Jewelpets (ジュエルペット, Juerupetto) are a group of animal characters created in 2008 as a joint-venture between Sanrio and Sega Toys.[205] There are 42 characters in the franchise and each of the animals are named after famous Birthstones, Minerals and Jewels. They each have a different kind of sparkling jewel for their eyes, used for casting special magic called "Jewel Flash". According to fiction, they belong to magicians and live in a mystical place called Jewel Land, attending a school to learn more about magic and each of them are paired with their own human partners. The main Jewelpets in the series are Ruby the white Japanese hare (whose birthday is July 29), Sapphie the blue and yellow Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (whose birthday is September 1), Garnet the pink Persian cat (whose birthday is January 8) and Labra the pink and white polar bear (whose birthday is December 27).

In 2008, Sega Toys collaborated with Sanrio to release a line of plush toys featuring the characters from the series which contains a special password to access the Web-Gurumi website. This is somewhat similar to the toy franchise Webkinz, as it also shares some similarities to the secret codes to access the Webkinz World website, causing some controversies between the two companies. Later on April 4, 2009, its first anime series was produced by Studio Comet and started to air on both TV Osaka and TV Tokyo, replacing Onegai My Melody Kirara★ in its timeslot. The anime focuses on the heroine Rinko Kōgyoku and her Jewelpet partner Ruby. A second series titled Jewelpet Twinkle☆ (ジュエルペット てぃんくる☆, Juerupetto Tinkuru☆) premiered later on TV Tokyo from April 3, 2010, to March 26, 2011, with 52 Episodes. The second series premiered later in Spain as part of the Boing programming block. A third series titled Jewelpet Sunshine (ジュエルペット サンシャイン, Juerupetto Sanshain) premiered on April 9, 2011.[206] A fourth series titled Jewelpet Kira☆Deco—! (ジュエルペット きら☆デコッ!, Juerupetto Kira☆deko—!) aired on April 7, 2012.[207]

A full-length feature film titled Jewelpet the Movie: Sweets Dance Princess (映画ジュエルペット スウィーツダンスプリンセス, Eiga Juerupetto: Suuītsu Dansu Purinsesu) which was directed by Hiroaki Sakurai (Director of Daa! Daa! Daa! and Cromartie High School) and distributed by Toho, was released on August 11, 2012, in Japanese cinemas.

A second Jewelpet feature film titled Jewelpet Attack Travel! (ジュエルペット あたっくとらべる!,, Juerupetto Atakku Toraberu!) was announced in 2019[208] and originally scheduled for a February 2020 release in Japan, but did not get released until 2022 on NicoNico.[209]

2010s[edit]

Wish me mell (2010)[edit]

Wish Me Mell (ウイッシュミーメル, Uisshu mī meru) is a character series which was released on December 27, 2010.[210][211][212] Wish Me Mell, the main heroine of the series, is meant to be a character that expresses the feelings every one has, simply stating "Thank you", "I am sorry" or "I like you!", connecting hearts in the process. The series is targeted towards females aged 15–20, who are too shy to express their feelings towards others.[citation needed]

Wish Me Mell is portrayed as living with her friends in the fictional magical world of Merci Hills (メルシーヒルズ, Merushī hiruzu) where everyone is living happily while their feelings are connected towards each other and words like "thank you" can bring warmth to everyone's hearts. Wish Me Mell and her friends are depicted as being guided by the Rainbow Fairy, Ciel, who gives them missions and advice.

Go-chan (2011)[edit]

Go-chan (ja:ゴーちゃん。, Gō-chan.) full official name GoExPanda (ゴーエクスパンダ). He is the mascot of TV Asahi and debuted in 2011. Per official profiles his birthday is May 5.[213][214] Designed by Yuko Yamaguchi who is also the designer in charge of new Hello Kitty designs. Two anime films with Go-chan have been released.[215][216]

Ichigoman (2011)[edit]

Ichigoman (イチゴマン, Ichigoman) is a superhero alter ego of Hello Kitty.[217] The name "Ichigoman" translates to "Strawberry man", and the character is depicted with strawberry ears and a red superhero suit. According to Sanrio's backstory, Hello Kitty finds a smartphone shaped like a strawberry, and when she holds it up and shouts "Power the Kitty" she turns into Ichigoman to fight evil. Darkgrapeman and Honeymomo, who are both skilled in martial arts, join Ichigoman in the fight.[217][218]

Designed by Yuko Yamaguchi, lead designer for most of Hello Kitty's history, the character first appeared in 2011 in an exhibition with Yamaguchi's art.[219][24] Yamaguchi said she hoped Ichigoman would reach a male demographic.[220] An anime short featuring the character was released in 2012.[219] A web manga called Power the Kitty Ichigoman (パワーザキティ イチゴマン) began in Japan in 2016. The manga is written by Toshiki Inoue and illustrated by Shakua Sinkai. It depicts Ichigoman dealing with an alien invasion and piloting a giant robot.[24][221] Four tankōbon volumes of the manga have been published by Shueisha, with a fifth volume released digitally.[222][223][224][225]

Bonbonribbon (2012)[edit]

Bonbonribbon (ja:ぼんぼんりぼん, Bonbon ribon) is a pink rabbit character who is drawn wearing several ribbon bows. Designed by Kazue Yamada (山田和恵) who also designed Masyumaro.[226] According to official profiles Bonbonribbon's birthday is August 8 and she is a fashionable girl who likes to sing and dance, and wants to become an accessory designer. Her mother is portrayed as a fashion designer who designed the ribbon on Bonbonribbon's head.[227][228][229] A video game called Bonbon Ribbon: Tokimeki Coord Kirakira Dance was released in 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS.[230][231]

Gudetama (2013)[edit]

Food at a Gudetama themed pop-up cafe in Japan, 2015

Gudetama (ぐでたま, Gudetama) is a Sanrio character who debuted in 2013. The character is an anthropomorphized egg yolk whose main trait is laziness.[232] Designed by a Sanrio designer who goes by the name Amy, real name Emi Nagashima (永嶋 瑛美).[232][233] The name Gudetama is derived from the Japanese words for lazy (ぐでぐで, gudegude) and egg (たまご, tamago).[234][235] Gudetama is often depicted reclining on an egg white or as an ingredient in a Japanese dish. The character debuted following a contest run by Sanrio to introduce new characters based on Japanese food, in which Gudetama came second to Kirimichan.[236][237] There have been a number of Gudetama themed pop-up cafes serving egg-related dishes in Japan.[238] Gudetama merchandise is also available, ranging from stationery to confectionery to toys.

There are two Japanese video games with Gudetama on the Nintendo 3DS, released in 2015 and 2016, and a Gudetama-themed Tamagotchi from 2017.[239] The mobile game Gudetama Tap! was released in 2019 and is a casual collecting game.[240] A series of animated Gudetama shorts were aired daily on the Japanese channel TBS between 2014 and 2020.[236][241] Each episode of the series is only about one minute long, and as of 2019 there were over 1200 episodes.[236][242] In December 2022, a live-action/CGI hybrid series called Gudetama: An Eggcellent Adventures was released to Netflix worldwide with a total of 10 episodes. The series involves Gudetama and the chick character Shakipiyo searching across Japan for their mother.[243] As of 2019, Gudetama was Sanrio's third most profitable character, behind Hello Kitty and My Melody.[51]

Kirimichan (2013)[edit]

Kirimichan (ja:KIRIMIちゃん., Kirimichan) is an anthropomorphized slice of salmon fillet.[244][245] Depicted as a happy character who wants to be eaten, Sanrio's profiles say that Kirimichan is "a star in the sliced food world" and instead of a birthday, that the character "was first filleted on August 31st".[244] According to official profiles, Kirimichan's closest friend is Kamaboko-chan, a slice of kamaboko (a type of fish cake.) The character is portrayed surrounded by many sliced food friends like Saba-kun (a mackerel fillet) and Tai-kun (a sea bream fillet.)[246][244][247][248]

Kirimichan was designed by Ai Setani (瀬谷愛) who also designed Rilu Rilu Fairilu.[249][250] Setani wanted to make something different from the usual Sanrio cuteness, and the character was inspired by a salmon her daughter liked when she was three.[251] Kirimichan was originally created in 2013 as part of a in-house competition at Sanrio to create food based characters, and was then selected as the winner in an online poll.[252] The egg yolk character Gudetama placed second in the same poll.[236]

The first items with Kirimichan were released in 2014.[253] In addition to typical merchandise like bags and stationery, actual salmon fillets and salmon flavored candy branded with Kirimichan on the packaging have also been sold.[251][254] A theme song and a music CD with the character, performed by voice actor Tsubasa Yonaga (ja:代永翼), were released in 2014.[246][255] In 2015 the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries appointed Kirimichan as "Ambassador of Let's Eat Fish" in an effort to encourage people to eat more fish.[256][257]

Plasmagica (2013)[edit]

Plasmagica (プラズマジカ, Purazumajika) is an all-girl fictional band who debuted in Sanrio's iOS game Show by Rock, which is geared towards young boys.[258] The band is formed by strange corporation president in order to grow to become the best rock band. In the game, they all battle all the bands of Midi City to become the best in the world and aim to be music millionaires.[259] Plasmagica is composed of 4 Mumon girls, the cat girl Cyan (シアン, Shian) (Guitar and Vocals, voiced by Eri Inagawa), the rabbit girl ChuChu (チュチュ, Chuchu) (Guitar and Vocals, voiced by Sumire Uesaka), the dog girl Retoree (レトリー, Retorī) (Bass and Vocals, voiced by Eri Kitamura) and the sheep girl Moa (モア, Moa) (Drums and Vocals, voiced by Ayane Sakura).

Hummingmint (2014)[edit]

Hummingmint (ja:ハミングミント, Haminguminto) is a female fawn character who, according to her backstory, lives in a forest in Scandinavia, and was born March 10.[260][261] The Hummingmint designs were inspired by Scandinavian textile design and marketed to mothers with young daughters.[261] In 2015 Sanrio posted an 8 episode digital picture book with stories of Hummingmint in the Forest of Discovery (はっけんのもり, hakken no mori).[261]

Aggressive Retsuko (2015)[edit]

Aggressive Retsuko (アグレッシブ烈子, shortened to Aggretsuko in English) is a female red panda character. She is portrayed as an administrative assistant in a Japanese business, relieving the stress of an oppressive and frustrating working life by drinking and singing angry death metal in a karaoke bar.[262][263] A short TV anime series was created in 2016, which explores her daily life in the workplace with her co-workers. This series was later expanded with a 15-minutes per episode Netflix series, released worldwide in 2018.

Cogimyun (2015)[edit]

Cogimyun (ja:こぎみゅん) is a Cogimuna (コギムーナ) wheat flour fairy character who is white and fluffy and floats in the air.[264] She is portrayed as a character who is sensitive and easily falls apart into a small heap of flour.[265] Who, despite being made of wheat, wants to be an onigiri rice ball because that is her grandfather's favorite food.[265][266] She lives in a world of everyday realism and deals with ordinary hardships like money troubles.[267] She has a pet fried shrimp known as Ebifurai (エビフライ) or Ebi-chan (エビちゃん).[265][268] Per official profiles her birthday is on May 7 (Powder Day).[264]

In 2017 a series of Cogimyun anime shorts began streaming on AbemaTV. It follows Cogimyun as she starts taking care of the Cogimucorpo apartment building after her grandfather goes travelling.[269] The series features many different flour based food characters, like Gyoza-kun (ぎょうざくん) the Takoyaki Sisters (たこやきシスターズ) and Udon-san (うどんさん.)[268] The voice of Cogimyun is provided by the voice actor Hanayu (ja:花柚).[270] The model Ryuchell made his voice acting debut as Choco Cornet (チョココロネェ) one of the residents in the apartment building. The series theme song is performed by Sonoko Inoue.[269]

In 2019 live streaming appearances with Cogimyun began on Line Live.[266] The same year a manga series featuring Cogimyun began publishing in Ne~Ne~ (ja:ね〜ね〜) magazine.[271] Also in 2019 the Sanrio Boys franchise added a new character called Yasuhiro Koga who is a fan of Cogimyun.[272] In 2021 a new character was introduced called Cogimyon (こぎみょん.) He is depicted as Cogimyun's little brother, who came to life when her tears fell on a ball of wheat clay.[273][274][275][268] Cogimyun has gone up in the Sanrio character rankings since first placing 28 in 2018, and as of 2022 she ranked number 9.[276][277][278][279]

Little Forest Fellow (2015)[edit]

Little Forest Fellow (ja:リトルフォレストフェロォ, Ritoruforesutofero~o) nicknamed Melo (めろぉ, Mero~o) is a rabbit character that is a spinoff from My Melody. He is portrayed as a distant relative of My Melody, and the red hood he wears was a gift from her.[280][281] My Melody is also a rabbit character, and one of the Sanrio character editors mentioned that they could be brother and sister but the manager disagreed with the opinion of the editor.[citation needed]

In April 2017, Melo began hosting a radio show called "めろぉのフレンズソング" on the internet radio network TS ONE.[282] The radio show plays soothing music while various Sanrio characters make occasional appearances.

Sanrio Danshi (2015)[edit]

The Sanrio Danshi (サンリオ男子, Sanrio Boys) is a group of characters. They are portrayed as high school-aged boys who met due to their love of Sanrio's mascots.[283] The fictional story depicts the group as beginning with the unassuming Kōta Hasegawa (長谷川康太), who loves the character Pompompurin, coincidentally running into the My Melody-loving Yū Mizuno (水野 祐) and bonding over it. Together with Hello Kitty fan Shunsuke Yoshino (吉野俊介), Cinnamoroll fan Seiichiro Minamoto (源誠一郎), and the Little Twin Stars fan Ryō Nishimiya (西宮諒), they become friends and learn to not be embarrassed about their love of cute things.[284]

The Sanrio Danshi group is marketed towards girls and has a character Twitter account showing depictions of their daily lives, which according to Sanrio reached 100 000 followers within two months.[285][286] There are also two manga adaptations by Mai Andou, one in Sho-Comi,[287] the other on the MangaOne app.[288][286] The group received an anime adaptation in January 2018.

Rilu Rilu Fairilu (2016)[edit]

Rilu Rilu Fairilu (リルリルフェアリル) focuses on Fairilu, young fairy characters. It is the second joint multimedia project between Sanrio and Sega Toys, after Jewelpet in 2008, and followed by Beatcats in 2020.[289] A Rilu Rilu Fairilu anime series began in 2016.[290] Designed by Ai Setani (瀬谷愛) who also designed Kirimichan.[249][250]

The Fairilu are portrayed living in the fictional realm of Little Fairilu and learning about themselves and the world around them. According to the storyline, they are born with a special item called a Fairilu Key that unlocks a corresponding door, and finding this door helps a Fairilu to mature. Fairilus are depicted as multiple species, each themed after something in the mythical or natural world, such as insects, plants, or mermaids. The most common types are Flower Fairilus, of which the primary character Lip (リップ) is descended from.

Marumofubiyori (2017)[edit]

Marumofubiyori (ja:まるもふびより) is a group of characters. Moppu is a white bear character who, according to official character profiles, got his name because he wears his blanket everywhere, trailing it behind him like a mop.[291][292] He is depicted with friends including Kanikama, a toy crab that is a reliable character, and Gyoniku, a toy fish that has a mysterious antenna.[291][293][294]

In 2017 Sanrio began streaming a series of Marumofubiyori anime shorts on YouTube.[295][296] A manga titled Marumofubiyori Shirokuma Moppu no Yurufuwa Diary (まるもふびより しろくまモップのゆるふわダイアリー) was published in Ciao magazine between 2017 and 2019.[291][297] A full color collection of the manga was released in 2018.[298]

Mewkledreamy (2017)[edit]

Mewkledreamy (ミュークルドリーミー, Myūkurudorīmī) is a group of characters. The main character Mew (みゅー) is a purple stuffed cat, depicted wearing a pink bow. The characters were designed by Mayumi Yanagita (栁田真弓).[299][300][301] An anime series based on the characters, titled Mewkledreamy premiered in 2020.[302] The anime was made by J.C.Staff and was originally aired on TV Tokyo.[303] A second season, titled Mewkledreamy Mix!, aired in 2021–2022.[304][303] A tie-in manga adaptation began serializing in two of Kodansha's magazines, Otomodachi and Tanoshii Yōchien, in April 2020.[302]

2020s[edit]

Beatcats (2020)[edit]

Beatcats (ビートキャッツ, Bītokyattsu) are a group of cats, each of a different color. They are a Virtual Dance & Vocal Unit and were created as a joint venture between Sanrio and Sega Toys. The third collaborative effort after Jewelpet and Rilu Rilu Fairilu, it is the first Sanrio franchise released as a musical group.[305][289] They made their debut in October 2020.[306] Their birthday is February 22.[307]

Hapidanbui (2020)[edit]

Hapidanbui (ja:はぴだんぶい) is an all-star type group of pre-existing Sanrio characters that were popular in the 80s and 90s.[308][309] The all male group consists of Pochacco, Tuxedo Sam, Keroppi, Bad Badtz-Maru, Hangyodon and Pekkle.[308][87] The name Hapidanbui is short for happī ni naritai danshitachi, bui ji kaifuku o nerau (ハッピーになりたい男子たち、V字回復をねらう)[308][88] which roughly translates to "boys who want to become happy aim for a V-shaped recovery". The Hapidanbui characters have gone up in the Sanrio Character Ranking since Sanrio created the group and began promoting them.[88]

In 2020 a manga series called Bokutachi Hapidanbui (ぼくたち はぴだんぶい) began in Sanrio's Strawberry Newspaper (ja:いちご新聞). A fanbook which includes the manga was released in 2021.[87][310]

JOChum (2022)[edit]

JOChum (ジェオチャム, Jeiōchamu) is a collective name of characters developed by Sanrio and the Japanese boy band JO1.[311] The project was announced in June 2022 with each stage of development was shared through the group's official YouTube channel.[312][311] The eleven characters were created based on drafts sketched by the group's members as their alter ego.[312][311] The name JOChum is a combination of the group's name JO1 and the word "chum" which means a companion or a roommate. All characters are depicted as living in a three-story house, owned by Landlord (大家さん, Ōkasan), whose design looks like the CEO of JO1's management company, Choi Shin-hwa.[311] JO1Chum was officially launched in November 2022.[313]

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Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]