What’s A Unico?

Hello Kitty

Our middle child has been a huge Hello Kitty fan ever since a pair of shoes was put on their feet at around age two. Darwin went to a Hello Kitty Super Cute Friendship Festival a few years back. We even went to a Hello Kitty Cafe in Tokyo in 2018. We still buy Hello Kitty gifts and that will probably never stop.

But even after sixteen years of enjoying everything Hello Kitty and Sanrio- Darwin discovered a character that they knew nothing about in the Sanrio universe. No, not Dar-Chanrio…

This evening I put on an anime film from 1981. I remember watching it with my little sister when I was a child. As the film credits began- the old Sanrio logo appeared. Darwin was shocked to have not know of this movie (or it’s sequel). Immediately an internet search was underway.

After a dive into the official Sanrio and Hello Kitty sites, no mention of Unico is made. But a search of Wikipedia and a Hello Kitty fan page showed this cute unicorn is indeed a piece of Sanrio’s past.

The discovery of this character was a bit mind blowing. It was almost turning into a “Mandela Effect” moment as there was no record of Unico on the official websites. In all honesty, the first film was nothing special. We will probably watch the second one in the future. I don’t think anything Unico will enter Darwin’s collection.

But I could be wrong.

More Astro Boy

The place- Edmonton.

The year- 1983.

The time- 6am.

Everyday before elementary school, I would watch a cartoon called Astro Boy. I had to wake up super early in order to catch the show because it started at 6am every morning. Except on weekends, when I would catch reruns of The Mighty Hercules on Sunday mornings. Two very different styles of animation and story lines.

My daily viewing of Astro Boy started my day off on the right foot. At the end of every episode, Astro would do a recap with mistakes. The Astro voiceover would then ask if you caught his mistakes. It meant the show required undivided attention. Everyday at school, I blathered on about this cartoon constantly. This evolved into other kids also watching it. Eventually the show became the talk of the playground. We would argue over the “mistakes” and talk about that day’s villain or battle.

As I grew up, I took the lessons that Astro- aka Atom– taught and instilled them into my life. Pure kindness and compassion shown from a robot. Who’d of thunk that an anime machine would forge my pathway through life?

As I got older, I received the collection of 1983 Astro Boy on DVD many years ago. I also received the 2003 series. On a few road trips, my children have marathoned through both series.

Because of my children knowing that it was a childhood favorite of mine, they bought me a couple of characters they found. These were discovered in a gas station toy aisle during one of our road trips. The toys may not hold any real value to anyone else but me. I love my family for always thinking of me.

When I was about 18, I really wanted a t-shirt that I had discovered that depicted Astro Boy in a hologram image that would change depending on the view of him. You could see the inside workings or his outer body depending on the angle. The down side was twofold. First, this was the early 1990’s and the shirt cost $80 (approx. $150 in today’s market). Secondly it was one size too small for me.

During our trip to Tokyo last year, I found the shirt again. My wife told me not to buy it because there is no easy way to care for the decal. Turns out she had also found the shirt and knew it would be perfect for me. This past Christmas, I received the shirt. My inner child bounced with joy.

The original Astro Boy that came out January 1,1963 was the first cartoon to introduce Anime to the world. I have loved anime ever since I first saw Astro on tv in my living room when I was 7. I also wrote about Astro Boy last year. I’ve even expressed sadness over the end of an era for a t-shirt that I loved based on another favorite anime- Akira.

What was you first anime show?

Do you have fond memories of cartoons from you childhood?

Big Mouth

Recently I binge watched “Big Mouth” on Netflix. A cartoon about puberty and the struggles associated with it. I enjoy cartoons that push the limits of humor. The show makes fun of “The Office”, “Seinfeld” and even themselves throughout the episodes.

Some jokes were funny as well as the interaction amongst the characters. The songs are catchy and seem to be where the strongest writing is. The rest of the show is written like a “no reason boner”. Awkward, hard to avoid and oftentimes just irritating. At a time when “Rick and Morty” and “Archer” are on hiatus, I was hoping the show would fill in the void. But it lacked something underneath the writing as the jokes were either obvious or over the top vulgar for the sake of being vulgar.

There have been numerous adult humor cartoons over the past couple of decades that push the limits. Most people think of “Family Guy” or “Robot Chicken” as they push a quick dirty joke. Older shows like “The Quads” tried for the offensive as quick as possible with just the characters alone.

The short lived “Undergrads” built up a story arc in only 13 episodes, but had me wanting more. Unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be. As Netflix decides if it wants to renew “Big Mouth” my suggestion is to hit the audience with better laughs, not just a few giggles. Keep up with the songs and follow through with the story arcs that are going on. 

Maybe season two will be better. You can’t always hit a home run, but getting to third base is pretty satisfying.

Quiet Monday

Tonight is just a quick post.  I’m a tad bit tired from a 12 hour day at work.  But I also want to spend some time with my son watching cartoons before bed.  Sometimes putting time for family comes first.

On Saturday, I spent some quality time with our daughters.  I took them into town to take a guitar lesson followed by a brief lunch date.  Tonight, my wife is taking our daughters out shopping.  Having some one on one time is important.  I’m going to get back to cuddles on the beanbag chair while watching cartoons.  Have a wonderful Monday everyone.