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Huggy, Huggy Hippos

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Due to their soft, rounded appearance, sleepy-looking eyes, and big lips that hide their ferocious tusks, hippopotamuses are usually portrayed in media as cute and loveable Big Fun or Gentle Giants. Oftentimes, they will be Always Female, and depicted as a Big Beautiful Woman. Being noted herbivores helps this perception, too.
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In real life, hippos are aggressively territorial - far more so than any other herbivore and even notably more so than many carnivores - and one of the most dangerous animals on the planet, killing more people in Africa than any other large animal. But since hippos are so cute and dopey-looking, this is rarely acknowledged in Fictionland.

See also Genial Giraffe, Honorable Elephant, Playful Otter, and (despite living in a different habitat), Warm-Hearted Walrus. Not to be confused with Hungry Hungry Hippos, which if anything are slightly more accurate than this actual trope (even if the game relies on this very trope itself, to an extent). Contrast Angry, Angry Hippos, which is much closer to realistic hippo behaviour (even though cute hippos can still be evil).


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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kabae from Aggretsuko is a cheerful pink hippopotamus who loves to chatter and spread gossip, along with being a very good mother towards her children.
  • Yuya Sakaki from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has Performapal Hip Hippo, Flip Hippo, and the spell card Hippo Carnival, which summon candy-colored hippos in various eccentric stage costumes. And those are just the ones that we have in the TCG.

    Films — Animated 
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • The titular Okja is a genetically-modified "superpig" who resembles a gigantic hippopotamus in appearance, and is very sweet and playful.

    Literature 
  • In Richard Scarry's Busytown book series, Hilda Hippo is a big, clumsy but friendly girl who is a close friend of Huckle Cat.
  • Numerous works by Sandra Boynton feature cute and friendly hippos prominently. Notable examples include the children's book "But Not the Hippopotamus", in which a shy hippo wistfully observes other people enjoying company before being invited to join in, and chocolate-adoring hippos as the characters in most of the illustrations in "Chocolate: The Consuming Passion".
  • In Sergey Kozlov's children's poem The Sick Little Hippo, there is an entire family of adorable, cheerful hippos, whose only kid, as the title implies, is terribly sick. The hippo family is so beloved by their neighbors that basically the entire African fauna (up to and including sharks) is on the lookout for the cure.

    Music 
  • The Christmas novelty song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" features a little girl singing about, well... wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas, and imagining it becoming her new friend.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Subverted in the Dinosaurs episode, "Georgie Must Die!" with the character of Georgie the Hippo. On camera, Georgie acts like a friendly and playful Manchild who loves to make children happy, not unlike Barney the Dinosaur, but off-camera, he is really a Manipulative Bastard who only uses children's smiles for his own profits to make money and avoid taxes, and doesn't take kindly to impersonators. Earl ends up exposing Georgie's true colors by disguising himself as Georgie in a homemade costume and getting into a scuffle with the real Georgie during the filming of an episode of his show.

    Toys 
  • Kinder chocolate eggs had many toy animal mascots throughout the years, but the most popular one were the Happy Hippos, who are a gang of cute little hippopotamus babies, who even got their own music albums, puzzles and video games.

    Video Games 
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Captain Blubber is a captain of The Salty Hippo, and he is unlucky, but friendly hippo who generously rewards Banjo and Kazooie after they help him find his treasure in the first game, and in Banjo-Tooie, he runs a (fairly unsuccessful) shop where he sells useful items to the duo that can help them find more collectibles they need.
  • In Jump Start Music, there is a Simon Says Minigame with a friendly hippo who pats her belly to make a simple beat. The player presses the spacebar to make the same beat.
  • Pokémon: Unlike its short-tempered evolution Hippowdon, the Ground-typed Hippopotas is a small, cute hippo with the happy temperament to match (at least in the anime).
  • Murray from the Sly Cooper series is one of the nicest members of the cast, even with his normal Large Ham, Boisterous Bruiser attitude. He is firmly loyal to his friends and often feels bad if things go wrong, even if there was nothing he could have done to stop it.
  • Viva Piñata: The Chippopotamus is a friendly pinata who will happily move into your garden if it meets the requirements. It shows no signs of hostility unless it shares a garden with a Pigxie. That being said, as it is a big pinata, it has a chance of unknowingly trampling over your smaller pinatas.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Pinkfong song "Happy Hippo", the titular hippopotamus is shown to be gentle and ecstatic about his new wings.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: Flavio and Marita, the Hip-Hippos, who are both very friendly if unaware of just how destructive they can be. Aside from the one time someone was dumb enough to insult Marita.
  • Tasha from The Backyardigans is bossy at times, but she's mostly well-meaning and she learns her lesson. She's just as imaginative as the other kids.
  • Subverted in BoJack Horseman with the late-night television host hippo, Hank Hippopopalous. His public persona is very friendly and charismatic, but behind closed doors he's a serial abuser who uses his lovable reputation to get away with harassing his assistants.
  • The Critic: In "A Little Deb Will Do Ya", Jay is annoyed by Humphrey the Hippo, a lovable Barney Expy that is beating his show in the ratings. When he confronts Humphrey at a meet-and-greet (where he's even promoting his single called "Hug Da Police") and trashes him and the show, the various children there defend the hippos honor by giving him chase.
  • Hallie the Hippo in Doc McStuffins is Doc's right hand (wo)man, and assists her with just about all her patients. She is almost always happy and in good spirits.
  • George and Martha stars the titular Funny Animals, a pair of hippos who live together as Platonic Life-Partners.
  • Horrid Henry features a Show Within a Show called "Happy Hippos" which features hippos that are portrayed as being happy and friendly.
  • The Lion Guard: Beshte, the strongest animal in the Pride Lands, is basically Big Fun personified: Amiable, kind-hearted, diplomatic, and understanding.
  • Peter Potamus: One of Hanna-Barbera's stars, the purple hippo was friendly if a bit of a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Pat from Pat et Stanley is cheerful and playful, though he can be a Drama Queen.
  • Tibor the Hippo from Pikwik Pack is kind and reliable, if a bit shy at times.
  • Subverted with a recurring hippo character in Rocko's Modern Life (voiced by Charlie Adler) that Rocko runs afoul of a couple times.
  • Molly from 64 Zoo Lane is a hippo from the titular zoo who is friendly and perfectly willing to tell Lucy bedtime stories.
  • Hippo from Tinga Tinga Tales is quite sweet to her friends and never attacks anyone.
  • The Wuzzles: One of the main characters is Hoppopotamus, a hippopotamus/rabbit hybrid. Even though she has her flaws, she's still overall a friendly and amusing person.
  • The Wild Thornberrys episode "Matadi or Bust" has Eliza trying to free a captured hippo that is secretly being transported by Kip and Biedermann. The hippo is both friendly and dopey. Averted in a later episode where hippos are portrayed as realistically aggressive and territorial, and not cute lazy animals (as Eliza's cousin erroneously thought).

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