Important Importables: Sanrio

August 15, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Sanrio

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Consoles-Other, PCs, Windows, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, GBA, Genres, 2D, 3D, Action, Casual, Children’s, Role-Playing, Sports, Sim

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Everyone has heard of Sanrio, thanks to Hello Kitty. Her fame has made the company a household name. But she isn’t the only famous character the company has created, and Sanrio isn’t just about cranking out assorted Hello Kitty products for cash. (Though it does create a lot.)

Sanrio’s been around for over 30 years, and has accomplished quite a bit in that time. It’s created a profitable line of adorable mascot characters, and successfully branched out into anime series, amusement parks and video games.

Sanrio World Smash Ball SNES

Sanrio itself

Sanrio didn’t always start out as Sanrio. It was originally the Yamanashi Silk Company until the 70’s, when it actually became Sanrio. It always did make little gifts, greeting cards and novelty presents with cute characters and designs though.

It didn’t really start making successful and memorable charcters until after the company took the Sanrio name in 1973. Some of the first few characters may sound familiar, as they’re still part of Sanrio’s stable of mascots. Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, My Melody and Tuxedo Sam.

Sanrio also focuses on other endeavors though, which people may not realize. As mentioned earlier, they’re a huge greeting card company in Japan. It also makes movies, TV shows and original animation videos (OAVs) as Sanrio Films. It even has Sanrio amusement parks in Japan, Sanrio Puroland and Harmonyland.

Cinnamon Roll FuwaFuwa Daibouken GBA

Sanrio’s most popular characters

The most famous Sanrio character, without a doubt, is Hello Kitty. Reportedly inspired by the maneki neko (lucky cat), her face has appeared on countless products around the world. Not to mention her tv series and games have been quite well received. But there are a number of other famous faces from Sanrio’s character line which also enjoy a bit of worldwide popularity. Even Hello Kitty’s boyfriend and pet, Dear Daniel and Charmmy Kitty, have become international stars.

Keroppi and Badtz Maru, the chipper green frog and the surly black penguin, are both reknowned characters. Cinnamoroll and My Melody, puppy and bunny characters, are also quite popular. And Chococat, a little black cat, has always encroached on Hello Kitty’s fame. Even Pochacco and Spotty Dotty, the white sporty dog and the dalmation with a pink bow, enjoyed 15 minutes of fame in the late 80’s and early 90’s. One of Sanrio’s most recent and successful line of characters are Jewelpet, which were designed with Sega and are actually a collective of cute, bejeweled animals.

Onegai My Melody Yume no Kuni no Daibouken DS

Worthwhile Sanrio games

There have been many video games released over the years starring Sanrio’s characters. Most are geared towards children. Even so, there are still quite a few that are very good, and fun for anyone who takes the time to try them.

Here are a few of the most interesting:

  • Hello Kitty Online (Windows PC) – released in 2009 worldwide. It’s a free-to-play massive multiplayer online game.
  • Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams (DS) – released in North America and Europe in 2008. It’s a simulation.
  • Hello Kitty: Happy Party Pals (GBA) – released in North America and Europe in 2005. It’s a mini-game collection.
  • Cinnamon Roll: FuwaFuwa Daibouken (GBA) – released in 2005 in Japan. It’s an action game.
  • Kero Kero Keroppi no Bouken Nikki: Nemureru Mori no Keroriinu (SNES) – released in 1994 in Japan. It’s an RPG
  • Onegai My Melody: Yume no Kuni no Daibouken (DS) – released in 2005 in Japan. It’s an action game with some mini-games tossed in.
  • Sanrio World Smash Ball (SNES) – released in 1993 in Japan. It’s a little like Pong.
  • Jewelpet: Kawaii Mahou no Fantasy (DS) – released in 2009 in Japan. It’s a pet simulation where you take care of a Jewelpet and play mini-games.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports lists some import video game soundtracks you should own.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about the some Japanese summer festivals.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »


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