Hello Kitty is a long running Cash Cow Franchise mascot in Japan.
Created by Yuko Shimizu and licensed by Sanrio, this little cat has been marketed in America just as long as she has been in Japan. For many of us, this was our first taste of anime chibi art, and we didn't even know it yet. Unlike American cartoon animal mascots (like Snoopy, Garfield, or Mickey Mouse), she started out as a marketing icon, with actual media (including quite a few cartoons and Video Games, including an MMORPG) all coming later.
One explanation given by Sanrio spokespeople for why she doesn't have a mouth is because they want people to "project their feelings onto the character" and "be happy or sad together with Hello Kitty." The other explanation given by Sanrio for being depicted without a visual mouth is that she speaks from the heart; as Sanrio's goodwill ambassador to the world, she isn't bound to any particular language.
One of the most heavily merchandised things on the planet, creating all forms of insane craze in Singapore and Philippines when Hello Kitty dolls were attached to Happy Meals. Strangely enough, her biography states that she was born and raised in London. Then again, the character was originally a British fashion label. At the time of her creation, foreign countries like the UK were trendy in Japan, so her backstory depicted her as a 3rd grade student living outside London.
- Kitty and Mimmy's New Umbrella, a 24 minute stop-motion short released in March 1981 which marked Hello Kitty's animation debut. It's also Sanrio's first ever animated project focused on a Sanrio character. Some home video releases would pair this with Unico: Black Cloud and White Feather (which was also Unico's animation debut).
- Kitty has starred in various Sanrio OVAs in both the '80s and the '90s. 13 of these OVAs, including two from the Sanrio Anime Festival, would air in the US and Canada as a TV series called Hello Kitty & Friends. These were released in Video and DVD in Japan.
- Kitty and her sister Mimmy are supporting characters in the 1990 OVA Sam and Chip's Great Messy Race. The film stars Tuxedo Sam and Chip racing against various Sanrio characters with Dachonosuke as the main announcer.
- Hello Kitty to Issho, a series of educational videos made between 1994 and 1998. 12 episodes were dubbed into English and released as a two-part DVD called Growing Up with Hello Kitty in 2011. It's actually both reasonably good and fairly well-reviewed, and employs tropes such as Good Angel, Bad Angel as part of its stories.
- Hello Kitty's Paradise, a series of animated shorts that originally aired between 1999 and 2000 as a part of the children's block of the same name in Japan.
- Hello Kitty Stump Village, a 2005 Stop Motion Japanese/South Korean co-production. What sets it from other series starring Kitty is that there is no dialogue between the characters; instead a narrator describes the events of the episodes.
- Hello Kitty: Ringo no Mori, a series about Kitty and Mimmy's adventures in the apple forest. It had three seasons called Fantasy, Mystery, and Parallel Town respectively. It aired between 2006 and 2008 in Japan.
- The Adventures of Hello Kitty & Friends, an All-CGI Cartoon produced by Sanrio Digital and Hong Kong company Dream Cortex in 2008. Like Growing Up with Hello Kitty, it was also about teaching kids life lessons. It was promoted frequently on the SanrioTown website.
- Kiti to Issho ni Manabi, Kangaete Iku, another educational series. It was streamed on Hikari TV in Japan in 2017. An English dub was released in 2018 on DVD by Sentai Filmworks under the name of Hello Kitty and Friends: Let's Learn Together.
- In 2017, Sanrio created a new children's block called Sanrio Characters: Ponpon Jump. It included two anime series named Hello Kitty to Pinky to Rio no Fushigina Kagi no Himitsu and Hello Kitty to Pinky to Rio no Youkoso! Ponpon Town. Both were animated in 3D and introduced two new characters named Pinkylilrose and Rioskypeace.
- An upcoming live-action/CGI hybrid film by Warner Bros., Newline Cinema, and Flynn Pictures Company. Warner Brothers alongside Newline Cinema also have the film rights to future works starring Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters.
Live Action TV
- Daisuki! Hello Kitty, Sanrio's first children's block which aired on TV Tokyo between 1993 and early 1994. It mainly consisted of programs starring various Sanrio Characters as their appeared at Sanrio Puroland/Harmonyland.
- Asubou! Hello Kitty which was a continuation of Daisuki! and featured similar programs.
- Her own series of video games, including:
- Hello Kitty no Hanabatake and Hello Kitty World (1992) for the Famicom
- Hello Kitty no Tanoshii Butoukai (1993) for the Sega Pico
- Hello Kitty: Big Fun Deluxe (1994) for Windows 3.x systems
- Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy, also known as Hello Kitty's Cube de Cute in Japan, for the GameBoy Color (July 1998) and Playstation (1999)
- Fairy Kitty no Kaiun Jiten: Yousei no Kuni no Uranai Shugyou (December 1998), Hello Kitty no Sweet Adventure: Daniel-kun ni Aitai (July 2000), Hello Kitty to Dear Daniel no Dream Adventure (April 2001), Hello Kitty no Happy House (2002), for the GameBoy Color.
- The Simple 1500 series of games - Hello Kitty Bowling, Hello Kitty Illistration Puzzle, Hello Kitty Trump and Hello Kitty Block Kuzushi (2001) for the Playstation
- Hello Kitty: Miracle Fashion Maker (October 2001) and Hello Kitty: Happy Party Pals (October 2005) for the GameBoy Advance
- Hello Kitty Roller Rescue for the GameCube in North America, Playstation 2 in Japan and Europe, Xbox for Southeast Asia, and the PC in Europe
- Hello Kitty Online, an MMORPG that was created in 2009, but stopped updating in 2012 and shut down in 2017.
- Hello Kitty Seasons (2010) for the Wii
- Loving Life with Hello Kitty & Friends (2011), a Nintendo DS game. Notable for featuring Ruby, Garnet, and Sapphie from the Jewelpet franchise making their western debut.
- O Mundo da Hello Kitty, an animated web series co-produced with Brazilian studio Plot Kids and originally uploaded on Sanrio's Latin American Youtube channels between 2016 and 2019. A version dubbed in English is currently streaming on Sanrio's Southeast Asian channels.
- Hello Kitty & Friends: Supercute Adventures, another web cartoon starring Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters. It is currently ongoing and can be watched on the official Hello Kitty & Friends Youtube channel. Notable for being the first Hello Kitty series originally dubbed in English since The Adventures of Hello Kitty & Friends.
- Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater ran for 13 episodes back in '87. The series was also the only western-produced work featuring Hello Kitty and other Sanrio Characters until March 2019, when Sanrio alongside Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, and Flynn Pictures Company announced on making a English language Hello Kitty movie (New Line Cinema and Flynn Pictures Company also has the movie rights to other Sanrio Characters). This show made the voice acting debut of Tara Strong.
- Action Girl: Kitty is very fond of this, as contrast to Mimmy's Girly Girl.
- Art Evolution: Her design evolves within each generation. Her current design is done by Yuko Yamaguchi.
- Big "WHAT?!": Hello Kitty reacts to this in "Going To The Bathroom", when finding out Fifi went home.Mimmy: Fifi went home, Kitty. She says maybe we can play later.
Kitty: WHAT?! Ah!!
- Crossover: A few plushies have Kitty dress up as famous fictional characters like Tony Tony Chopper (Likewise, there's a plushie of Chopper wearing a HK hat), Chun-Li, Akuma, Asuka Langley Soryu, Sonic the Hedgehog...
- Not to mention the (in)famous HK X Kiss merch line.
- Takarazuka Revue + Hello Kitty + a dark, depressing musical about Austrian historical figures that got the Lighter and Softer treatment = Hello Kitty in Crown Prince Rudolf's costume.◊ For the anniversary of the Mayerling Incident, which was the date Rudolf killed himself and his 17-year-old mistress Mary Vetsera in a Murder-Suicide pact. Fun.
- To celebrate its 45th anniversary alongside Gundam's 40th anniversary, Sunrise animated 3 short episodes of Kitty interacting with Amuro Ray.
- Kitty appears in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania as a DLC playable character.
- Darker and Edgier: The OVAs that were released in the '90s had a lot of recognition over the character's development. Some of them go to the line on Kitty and Mimmy barging into adult matters.
- Demoted to Extra: Mimmy gets very little merchandise, despite being almost identical to Kitty, which would allow companies to use the same molds with only a minor change. Even Ty, which has the Beanie Baby license and has made a rather unbelievable number of variations of Kitty herself, has yet to make Mimmy despite how easy it would be to just sew a bow on the other side.
- Most of Kitty's friends and classmates have suffered from this in recent years. Special mention goes to Cathy, a bunny character who landed Sanrio into legal trouble with the creator of Miffy due to their similar designs. As a result of a court battle that ruled in favor of Miffy's creator, Cathy was retired in 2011. She was fully replaced with another friend of Kitty named Daisy, who's much smaller than her.
- Pretty much every character who wasn't apart of the Kitty family in the Ringo no Mori series has fallen under this trope.
- Amy, Eric, and Harry, the kids of the Berry family. Their first and only appearance is in Let's Learn Together.
- Pinky and Rio, who were introduced in the Ponpon Jump 2017 TV block and haven't been seen since it ended. Although, unlike other examples, they are officially considered Sanrio characters of their own and have their own page on the Japanese website.
- Downer Ending: In the end of episode 4 of Hello Kitty Stump Village, she gets her heart broken by her friends...literally.
- Fleeting Demographic: Young girls and teenage women. And sometimes.......otakus.
- Free-Range Children: Kitty has been shown in various works doing things such as walking around town, taking trains and buses, driving cars and planes, running stores and cafes, hosting carnivals and amusement parks, and even saving the world from an invasion of evil block aliens, all while still being a little girl and without supervision.
- Free-Range Pets: Charmmy, her pet cat, has also been shown roaming around with no supervision, particularly in her OVAs . In fact, Charmmy and Kitty are almost never seen together.
- Furry Confusion: She's a cat....and she has a pet cat called Charmmy. ......what?
- Furry Denial: It has been stated by her creator that Kitty isn't an actual cat, but a little girl... Who looks like a cat. That said, they later clarified she's not a human either.
- Genki Girl: Kitty, again.
- Girly Girl: Mimmy.
- Hot Drink Cure: In the episode "Mom Loves Me After All", Kitty's grandmother wraps her in a blanket and gives her a hot drink after helping her dry off from the rain.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Kitty and Mimmy are both twins, well rather identical to be exact. The only difference to tell them both is their ribbons: Kitty wears hers on her left ear, and Mimmy is the opposite.
- Job Song: In "Eating Nicely", the utensils sing about their job of "delivering" food.
- Kids Hate Vegetables: In the series Growing Up with Hello Kitty, the episode "Eating Our Vegetables" reveals that the twins hate tomatoes and bell peppers, their classmates all hate various vegetables, and none of them like bell peppers. However, the twins' mother always looks sad whenever they don't eat their vegetables, so they decide to force them down anyway.
- A Lesson Learned Too Well: In "Replying Properly", Kitty learns to always answer when called, but then answers when someone calls her name during hide and seek. Also, in "Going to the Bathroom" she learns the importance of going to the bathroom before leaving the house or before bed, but then goes to the bathroom before everything.
- Lost Aesop: The episode "Replying Properly". It begins with an obvious Aesop of "always reply when someone calls your name", but then it turns into "slang is bad" (like when Mama says, "Shouldn't you say 'yes' instead of 'uh-huh'?"), which escalates when a monster appears who gets bigger when he hears "Yeah, what?", but smaller when he hears "yes". Then, Hello Kitty answers when someone calls her name during hide and seek at the end.
- Merchandise-Driven: As one of the biggest franchises on the planet, Kitty has been seen on everything, from fashion and cosmetics, in anime and video games, to books and school supplies, and even in vibrators, of all things.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: Much like any other Sanrio series.
- Never Say "Die": Surprisingly subverted in "The Sleeping Princess" from Hello Kitty and Friends, where Kitty herself warns the Big Bad that the princess will "die of sorrow."
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: She's been a third grader since 1975.
- No Mouth: Subverted in her earlier animated works. Played straight in works made after 2005, like Ringo no Mori, The Adventures of... and Supercute Adventures
- Out Sick: In "Changing Our Clothes", Mama is out of commission because she has a cold, so Papa has to cook the food, but he doesn't know how. He also doesn't know how to dress the twins, so they decide to figure out how to do it on their own.
- Potty Emergency: In "Going to the Bathroom" from Growing Up with Hello Kitty, Kitty has a couple due to not wanting to stop what shes doing to go. The first time it happens, her Potty Failure is not onscreen, but you can tell because in the next scene, her clothes are in the washer. Mimmy and Fifi both have their own ones early on, but both go to the bathroom when they need to.Kitty: Ohhh, BUT I REALLY HAVE TO GO!!!!!Mimmy and Fifi: (gasp)Kitty: (cries) MOMMA!!! (The scene then cuts to a washing machine with Kitty's clothes in it.)
- Real Name as an Alias: Word of God states the twin's real names were Kitty White and Mimmy White.
- Santa's Existence Clause: The Christmas Episode of Hello Kitty and Friends, titled "Santa's Missing Hat", has Kitty and Mimi get into an argument with their friends over whether Santa exists. Then the hat on their school's Santa decoration gets blown off, and Kitty and Mimi get lost as they go out to find it. Santa appears to them and gives them a magic reindeer sled toy to get back home; they meet their friends after Christmas Eve Mass and tell them what happened, but they still don't believe Santa is real until they see him flying in his sleigh that night.
- Series Mascot: To the point where most people, in the west at least, don't know that other Sanrio characters exist and even sometimes refer to Sanrio as the "Hello Kitty company".
- Sleep Aesop: In "Sleeping by Ourselves", Kitty and Mimmy learn to read their own bedtime stories so that their parents don't stay up too late after Kitty learns the affects of not getting enough sleep.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Largely falls into Funny Animal and Civilized Animal.
- Tomboy: Kitty's this to Mimmy's Girly Girl.
- We All Live in America: Kitty is supposed to be British and living in London, but many official works and merchandise show her engaging in American and Japanese cultural traditions, such as wearing a kimono during New Years', celebrating Independence Day and Thanksgiving, etc. English dubs of Kitty's anime give her an American accent instead of a British one.