While Hello Kitty has been a constant fixture in pop culture since the 70s, I’ve never really looked into it because I was too wrapped up in my Star Wars and Star Trek action figures and reading The Warlord and Turok: Son of Stone comics to pay much attention to ‘cute’ stuff. I have so many friends of all ages who continue to just love Hello Kitty that I finally decided I needed to learn something about her other than how cute she is. I wanted to see just how she became so entrenched in geek and pop culture. Because Viz Media recently began a new series of Hello Kitty graphic novels on their Perfect Square imprint, I now have the opportunity to delve into the world of Hello Kitty and find out just what all the fuss is about.
I really didn’t know what to expect so was surprised (no pun intended) when I cracked open Hello Kitty Vol. 3: Surprise! and discovered there were no words other than titles and exclamations and that it was a collection of short stories from several authors and featuring various artistic styles. The first story, Fintastic Day At The Beach, was visually noisy with close frames on the characters and because I wasn’t familiar with the style, it took me a few moments to look it over and really start picking out the unfolding story. Without the use of words, Hello Kitty relies completely on its visual storytelling and with the exception of that first story, I think the creative team did a great job. I didn’t dislike the first story but it didn’t strike a cord with me (it did make me want to slap one of the characters though).
I did however find the rest of the stories entertaining and in some cases, heartwarming. As the title suggests, the common theme in each story is some sort of unexpected event or discovery (SURPRISE!). Of the 10 stories in this volume, my favorites were UP and Ghost Story.
In UP, Hello Kitty is reading a pop-up book with a tree coming out of it but its no ordinary pop-up book. She decides to climb the tree and has an adventure discovering the inhabitants of it. Being a book nut myself, I can really identify with opening a book and finding a world to explore within it but what really grabbed me in this story was the art work. Unlike the other stories, this story is completely illustrated (with the exception of Hello Kitty herself) with what appears to be construction paper cut outs. It really gives the story more visual depth and I found myself going back to this story repeatedly just to look at the brilliant cut outs.
In Ghost Story, a lonely skeleton takes advantage of Halloween to dress up like a ghost and go out to enjoy the festivities.
Hello Kitty Vol. 2: Delicious! is a foodie’s delight. Every story features a food theme. My favorite stories in the collection are Sweet Dreams and Banana Split!
In Sweet Dreams, Hello Kitty dozes off while playing a Candy Land type of game and dreams of being in a world made of candy. When she wakes up, she immediately schedules a dentist appointment.
In Banana Split! Tim and Tammy, have been eating bananas but run into a problem when they get to the last one. After trying to come up with ideas to decide who gets to eat it, they finally agree to share but its too late as someone else ate it while they were busy debating.
The books are full of beautifully illustrated, lighthearted stories that are safe for any age child or adult and are printed in a high quality paperback binding. I’m sure any Hello Kitty fanatic will be pleased to add them to their collection.
You can purchase Hello Kitty online at Amazon or find it in your local bookstore.