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A long running Cash Cow Franchise mascot in Japan.

Created by Yuku Shimizo 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.

Contrary to popular belief, she does have a mouth, it's just like Dilbert's: very small and not drawn often. Usually. It's more commonly seen when she's animated, just like Dilbert's.

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.

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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 Britain were trendy in Japan, so her backstory depicted her as a 3rd grade student living outside London.

In Japan, she has merchandising all over the place (usually pink), including Fairytale Wedding Dresses. Think this is a joke? See here.


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    Works That She Has Appeared In 
Anime & Manga
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, China is fond of Shinatty-chan, a Hello Kitty rip-off.
  • Kitty also 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.
  • Also, she appears in the eyecatches of Onegai My Melody.
  • 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. It's actually both reasonably good and fairly well-reviewed, and employs tropes such as Good Angel, Bad Angel as part of its stories.
  • She had a brief cameo in The Fantastic Adventures of Unico.

Comic Books

  • Parodied in the "Swell" issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic series, which has "Vampy Kitty" dolls that are actually part of a demonic The Worm That Walks gestalt entity, with a huge misogynistic streak.

Literature

Film

  • In Iron Man 3, Tony proudly wears a Hello Kitty wristwatch loaned to him from a young friend. Smooth as ever, he chats up women with his "limited edition" watch.

Live-Action TV

  • In Breaking Bad, when Saul gives Jesse a Hello Kitty-designed phone in Season 5B.
    Jesse: Seriously, Hello Kitty?
    Saul: Seriously? It's free.

Music

  • Nekomura Iroha, a Vocaloid from AH-Software, was created in cooperation with Sanrio for its 50th anniversary. Iroha's costume is Hello Kitty-themed, and she is described as a Hello Kitty fangirl.
  • Was the namesake of a 2013 Avril Lavigne song about her Occidental Otaku-ness...that became extremely controversial (and critically panned overall) due to debates on where to draw the line at cultural appropriation when it comes to Japanese culture (particularly Kawaisa) and female Western celebrities.

Video Games

Web Original

Webcomics

  • Mentioned in the original Axis Powers Hetalia webcomic. 4000-year-old China takes a Hello Kitty head from Japan home, thinking it's cute, and shows it to his boss...who promptly declares she doesn't have a mouth and tries to draw one on it. China's reaction is hilarious. Later, a Hello Kitty ripoff in China would become "Shinatty-chan".
    • Himaruya mentioned that he'd seen Hello Kitty ripoffs in China, and not only did they have visible mouths...the smiles were oddly nihilistic. "It's like Hello Kitty if she had murderous intent."
  • The monster in the darkness of The Order of the Stick uses a Hello Kitty umbrella.
  • The handbag given to Sniper to aid him on his quest in Romantically Apocalyptic bears a suspiciously similar design. It turns out not to be much use.

Western Animation

  • Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater ran for 13 episodes back in '87. This show made the voice acting debut of the one and only Tara Strong.
  • In the South Park episode Make Love, Not Warcraft, Butters mentions "Hello Kitty Island Adventure" as his favorite computer game.
  • In The Simpsons episode 'Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo', a Hello Kitty factory can be seen (and heard) from the family's room.
    • In the MMORPG episode, Marge decorates Bart's dungeon with Hello Kitty merchandise via expansion pack, which causes him to kill Marge's character.
  • Danny Phantom has a parody called Sayonara Pussycat.

    Tropes Exhibited by Hello Kitty Herself 
  • 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...
  • 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.
    • Furry Tale Theater. Hoo boy. The only Hello Kitty series to have a set of villains, and the stories are compressed version of films like Star Wars and E.T..
    • The crossover merchandise with rock band Kiss could very well count, when compared to typical Hello Kitty merchandise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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