Does this look like the face of a deadly feline assassin? The Daily Mail is reporting that Angel Cat Sugar, pictured above, is poised to dethrone Hello Kitty as the younger, fresher face of Sanrio, Inc.
The article not-so-subtly states, "She is one of the biggest stars in the world, her brand makes £3 billion a year, but it seems at 36 Hello Kitty is the latest victim of ageism. The iconic cat, which has been a favourite with little girls across the world since the 1970s, faces competition from a younger model."
As if! The article claims that shrinking sales in Japan have Sanrio execs concerned and "searching for a new star."
In addition to her kittenish cuteness, Angel Cat Sugar also has a leg-up on the competition because she has a mouth (unlike Hello Kitty), which means she can talk, allowing for more opportunities in movies or television.
So, who is this backstabbing pussycat looking to push Hello Kitty out of the spotlight?
According to her official website, Angel Cat Sugar has "the power to heal hurt feelings and make everyone happy!" Her crew consists of her best friends, three mice (as far as I can tell they're not blind), named Parsley, Thyme, and Basil.
Basil - Female - Precocious, tomboy, troublemaker
Oh wait, that's baby Mickey.
Sugar's dad is a veterinarian named Fennel, and her mother is a nurse named Mint. She is "a little bit shy and prefers to do quiet things like studying, listening to music and reading books instead of running around." She got the name "Angel Cat Sugar" from her mice pals, after they observed her bringing a little wounded bird back to life just by holding it in her arms and patting it gently.
Angel Cat Sugar was created by the mother of Hello Kitty, Yuko Shimizu, in 2002. Her inspiration was a stray cat named Pie Chan.
"Pie Chan was a cat I picked up on the street. I didn´t know whether she had been thrown away or if she was a stray cat. She was a very beautiful cat with gold eyes and white hair. She was also a very kind cat. She had fed two kittens, who had lost their mother, along with her own two babies, treating them as her own. But she suddenly disappeared from me after she finished feeding the four kittens. I looked for her everywhere, but I could not find her at all. I had many cats in my life and she was the one who brought me a lot of memories. When I draw a white cat, I always remember Pie Chan. I wonder if she might be feeding other kittens again somewhere."
While I do think Sugar is really cute, I don't know if she has the same instant appeal of Hello Kitty. She also kind of reminds me of the Hello Kitty Angel line, or even Charmmy Kitty.
It seems like Sanrio has been trying to make her "happen" for awhile now by pimping her out to celebs (there's a celebrity sightings link on her website), but I'm not sure she's unique enough, and her name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue (I kept typing her name as "Angel Sugar Cat").
While I'm interested to see what else Sanrio has in store for Angel Cat Sugar, I don't ultimately see her as a replacement for Hello Kitty. What do you think?