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 has starred in various Sanrio OVAs in both the '80s and the '90s. More notable ones would be the Sanrio World of Animation OAVs (in which were compiled into a TV series in the US during the '90s. The Hello Kitty OVAs were released in Video and DVD in Japan. But as of 2012, they're all out of print. Good luck looking at the original episodes in Japanese online.
- In 2011, she surfaced in a two-DVD set called Growing Up With Hello Kitty that aims to teach children about things such as good manners, playing nicely with friends and other pro-social lessons, and is an English dub of the second wave of Hello Kitty To Issho educational videos (the earlier wave, released in 1994, never recieved an English dub). It's actually both reasonably good and fairly well-reviewed, and employs tropes such as Good Angel, Bad Angel as part of its stories.
- Her own series of video games, including:
- 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.
- Darker and Edgier: The OVAs that were released in the '90s had a lot of recognition over the character's development. Some of them goes 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.
- Fleeting Demographic: Young girls and teenage women. And sometimes.......otakus.
- Funny Animal: Technically subverted, as Word of God is that she's just a girl who looks like a cat rather than an actual anthropomorphic cat.
- 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.
- Genki Girl: Kitty, again.
- Girly Girl: Mimmy.
- 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.
- Implausible Deniability: Somehow, she is not a cat simply because she doesn't walk around on all fours.
- Job Song: In "Eating Nicely", the utensils sing about their job of "delivering" food.
- 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.
- 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."
- No Mouth: Subverted, Kitty's mouth does usually pop up in animation.
- 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. Her Potty Failure is not onscreen, but you can tell because, in the next scene, her clothes are in the washer. Mimmy and Fifi only do the first, as 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.
- 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.
- Yes, Virginia: 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.