Since I was a child I loved Hello Kitty. I remember saving up my money and going to a store called “It’s a Small World” that was in our nearby mall. That’s where I’d spend all my savings on little Hello Kitty trinkets like pencil cases, pens, notebooks, stickers, and lip glosses. Apparently, some things never change. You can still find me buying Hello Kitty stuff 30 years later, but now you’re more likely to see me buying trinkets of a different variety….Gudetama! (pronounced 'goo-de-tama')
Gudetama is in the Hello Kitty (Sanrio) family, and he is the “lazy-egg”. His name comes from “gude-gude” meaning “lazy” in Japanese and “tamago” meaning “egg”. And boy is he lazy! According to the Sanrio website…he lacks ‘Spunk,’ but by my own interpretation….seems not just lazy, but clinically depressed. Maybe that’s why I like him so much!
He always seems defeated, knowing that in the end he will be eaten. He is depicted in all things “egg” such as raw egg, cooked egg, egg on rice, egg omelet, egg with bacon (sometimes as a blanket), eggnog, egg sushi, pancakes, ice cream….anything involving an egg as an ingredient. He is always too tired. In his videos and tweets he sometimes he can’t even finish a sentence without just giving up. He’s pretty hopeless, yet somehow he makes it work. If you knew an actual person with the personality of Gudetama, you’d probably hate them because they’d just be too sad to be around. But when it’s a cute cartoon egg…the lack of motivation and utter pessimism is adorable!
Because the character is from Sanrio, it is available on everything….luggage, t-shirts, water bottles, stickers, pens, notebooks, bento boxes, even toilet paper (which I have, but find it to be too cute to actually feel comfortable using for its intended purpose). His popularity continues to grow and has created a market for things like pop-up cafes featuring Gudetama foods, and the Gudetama Airline exhibit that I went to visit. Technically it is geared for children…but my love of Gudetama is so strong that even rooms full of children couldn’t keep me away. So there I was along side lots of children getting my picture taken with Gudetama props (even one that featured his famous egg yolk butt!).
Gudetama has what I’d call a “side-kick”. His name is Nisetama-san. The Sanrio website says that “he is a young man that encountered Gudetama too frequently and fell into a state in which he dreamed of becoming a Gudetama. This dream turned delusion and has run rampant in his mind such that he himself has morphed. He appears using the very latest social networking services, advertising products and generally having a very fun time. Nisetama-san tends to have a very jolly disposition. He is especially good at contemporary dance-like moves.”
These dance moves are highlighted in the Gudetama song and dance that he is always shown doing at the end of Gudetama’s videos (see video below). I for one think that he’s just the companion character to help be the “upper” to Gudetama’s “downer”. Nisetama-san’s activeness and “jolly disposition” may be just enough to keep Gudetama’s overall hopelessness from causing fans to fall into a deep depression!
Personally, I can’t get enough Gudetama! It is to me now what Hello Kitty was to me when I was younger, a super cute “spirit animal” (I know an egg doesn’t fit the traditional sense of the word….but you know what I mean). I still buy the trinkets. I have useful things like cell phone cases, bags, glasses, and chopsticks. But of course I have plenty of other not so ‘useful’ things as well, but they bring me joy and I guess that alone qualifies as a ‘use’. Who would have thought that a sad little egg could bring so much joy? Sanrio…that’s who!