Miffy (or in the original Dutch Nijntje (pronounced "nine-cher") shortened from "konijntje" which literally means "little rabbit") is a long running series of young children's books drawn by Dick Bruna starring the title character. First published in 1955, Miffy has sold over 85 million books worldwide in over 40 languages. Bruna retired in 2014 and the rights to Miffy are not being transferred. Unless Bruna comes out of retirement no more Miffy books will be written as Bruna has stated that even after his death the rights are not to be sold.There have been two television adaptations: a traditionally animated one in 1992 and a stop motion series between 2003 and 2007. A full length animated movie was released in cinemas in 2013Extremely popular in its home country, with dedicated shops and part of the Centraal Museum in Amsterdam permanently dedicated to the franchise.
This series provides examples of:
- Art Evolution: Very gradual: the character design from 1955 is nearly the same as the one used in the last books. See here◊. The very early version is slightly different as at this point Miffy was supposed to be a stuffed toy rather than a "real" rabbit.
- Follow the Leader: Hello Kitty is often accused of this, being drawn in a similar style. There have been various legal clashes, but Bruna and Sanrio ended these after the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster and donated the money they would have spent on legal fees to disaster relief.
- Long Runner: Miffy celebrated her fiftieth birthday in 2005. The last book was released in 2011 for a fifty six year run.
- The Merch: Miffy branded merchandise is very popular with both children and adults.
- The Perfectionist: Even though each book contains only 16 illustrations in a simple line style and sixty four lines of text, it took Bruna months to write and illustrate each one, and there have been less than thirty overall.
- Status Quo Is God: Gradually subverted: new characters were occasionally introduced over the series run and in 1996 the series had a permanent change when the death of Miffy's grandmother was the subject of a book.