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Obscure Sanrio characters you may not know about

by Gaby Agbulos

IN the Philippines, you’re sure to have seen at least a restaurant or shop randomly decked out in all things Hello Kitty. Or you probably know someone who collects trinkets of this cute character. 

Wherever you may have first encountered her, Hello Kitty seems to have become a staple in Filipino design over the years, as seen in the Hello Kitty jeepney or even the Hello Kitty cafe at Uptown Mall in BGC.

The obsession has since extended to Hello Kitty’s crew. When different Sanrio characters like Kuromi and My Melody started popping up on sites like TikTok and Twitter, Filipino Gen Zs were quick to jump on the trend. From collecting plushies to dressing up as the characters, the love that the younger generations have shown for the Sanrio crew has been intense thus far.

This love, however, seems to be largely limited to the main Sanrio characters. When you see Sanrio items for sale on Shopee, for example, you only ever see Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, Kuromi, My Melody, Keroppi, Pochacco, Badtz-Maru, Cinnamoroll, and the Little Twin Stars. 

But there are more of them. In the official character ranking of Sanrio, there are about 90 characters to vote for. And that’s not even all of them! In total, there are over 450 Sanrio characters many still don’t know about. 

If you’re hoping to further deepen your love for Sanrio and all its quirky characters, here are some that you may not know about yet.

  1. Hagurumanstyle (39th)

We all know that Sanrio has its fair share of dogs and cats, but did you know that they have teeth, too?

Ranking 39th on the overall ranking results, Hagurumanstyle is made up of not just one, but a whole group of teeth. They have arms and legs, but aside from their mouths, they have no other facial features present. 

Each tooth has an entirely different personality, and are “salarymen teeth.” As teeth, they work hard each day to care for themselves and keep clean. They have meetings and fire the teeth they feel are no longer needed (bye-bye wisdom teeth,) and their Twitter account is filled with cute messages and tooth-related puns.

At present, it seems that Hagurumanstyle hasn’t gained a lot of popularity outside of Japan – and even in Japan, they fall rather low on Sanrio’s character rankings. There also isn’t a lot of merchandise for them available, be it online or even in official Sanrio stores. 

One reason for this may be the fact that they’re marketed more towards mothers, as well as adults and other salarymen like themselves, hoping to represent what it’s like to be an adult in a unique way.

Regardless, they do have a certain charm that you don’t feel with the numerous cutesy animal characters Sanrio’s popular for. 

  1. Fresh Punch (52nd)

Many are still confused as to what exactly Fresh Punch is since the only information available about it online states that it’s a design collection from Sanrio. On the official website of Sanrio, its character introduction states that it is a “fashionable pattern design” that’s marked by candies and different lipsticks.

Whether it’s a lifeless, inanimate object or an actual character that’s able to move and talk is the question (though we’re pretty sure it’s the former rather than the latter.) 

But since it’s a part of Sanrio’s character ranking – and even ranked pretty high at 52nd out of 80 other characters – then it’s still technically a character. And an underrated one, at that. 

Some Sanrio fans hope to see more of Fresh Punch in the future, regardless of its lack of popularity. Many find its color scheme to be very calming, and people have even gone to Twitter to try to garner more votes for the character in the hopes that it may help Fresh Punch to win Sanrio’s character ranking once and for all.

  1. Shinkansen (56th) 

Aside from teeth and fresh punch, Sanrio also has locomotives for characters! One of them is Shinkansen, a group of trains with smiles on their faces. 

There are 14 of them in total, and they’re all described to be rather energetic, with a love for racing. These trains go through tunnels, bridges, mountains, and a multitude of other places throughout their day.

On the official character ranking, Shinkansen was voted 56th in total, and there honestly isn’t a lot of information available about the character at present. But while you may not be able to buy merchandise of them online, there’s still the choice of riding the Hello Kitty Shinkansen if ever you’re planning to visit Japan.

Hopefully, more attention will be given to this quirky troupe of bullet trains in the future, because many people online have labeled them to be the cutest, most underrated Sanrio characters out there.

  1. Umeya Zakkaten (64th)

While it’s not new information that Sanrio has its fair share of human characters, too (like the ever-so-popular Little Twin Stars) it may come as a shock to find that one of its characters is a little old lady that goes by the name of Umeya Zakkaten.

Umeya Zakkaten is more than just a sweet old lady, though. She runs a grocery store in Hello Kitty’s world and is most known for her kindness toward the elementary school children that she encounters. Most of her free time is spent helping these kids, drinking tea with friends, or manning the store with the help of her cat, Tora. 

The official Sanrio website states that the character is skilled in playing temari, beanbags, and marbles. She lives next to two other grandmas: Grandma Yone and Grandma Chakichaki, who are both colorful characters in their own respects.

Unlike the other Sanrio characters on this list, Umeya Zakkaten has actually appeared in several Sanrio films, such as Pokopon no Yukai na Saiyuuki, which aired back in 1990 and is an animated Pokopon version of the Chinese novel Journey to the West. 

Even though she’s been featured in some of the Sanrio films, she ranked only 64th in the most recent character ranking. Hopefully, more people will become more familiar with the sweet Umeya Zakkaten. Who knows? Maybe one day she’ll even make the top five alongside Kuromi, Cinamoroll, and the rest of the gang.

  1. Dreamtale Kubear (80th)

Meet Dreamtalekubear, a pink little bear described as stylish and positive by its fans. How this cute little bear managed to rank last in a competition against teeth and a literal train is a mystery to them.

Similar to the other characters on this list, there’s little to be known about this pink furry friend. While it’s often shown to be pink, it also comes in different colors like blue, purple, yellow, and pastel pink (as opposed to its usual hot pink hue) At present, the only traits that it seems to have is it’s both fashionable and positive.

Many believe that the bear’s color often depends on what it’s feeling, or on the current season. No matter the color though, one thing that remains consistent is the heart-shaped nose and the respective K and B embroidered into its ears. While there’s no information on the official Sanrio sites with regard to what the K and B stand for, it may be for the “Ku” and “Bear” in its name. 

If you can’t seem to find any merchandise of the little bear, maybe you can settle for having a cute cursor of them each time you open your computer. With each click of the mouse, you can be reminded of the positive message that Dreamtale Kubear shares: that no matter what, your dreams can always come true.

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