If your favourite TV series is in summer break and you do not know what to do, we give you some advice. On Netflix, the second season of The toys that made us has just come out. It’s an extremely interesting series of documentaries (there are eight, about forty minutes each) dedicated to the characters who accompanied our children’s games. And among the protagonists of the new episodes there is also someone we know quite well.
In the first season of The toys that made us, the authors went to knock on Mattel’s doorstep, to discover how Barbie, the most famous doll in the world, was born in an era when toy industry was almost entirely aimed at boys. In the second season, online from May 25, the documentary takes us instead to Japan, with an episode dedicated entirely to Hello Kitty and, more generally, to Sanrio.
If you are among those who think that Hello Kitty was born to remember a sick child, get ready for the harsh reality. The origins of our favorite cat (which is not really a cat) are in fact much more prosaic, but no less interesting and surprising. Did you know, for example, that Hello Kitty was advertised door-to-door in the 1970s in the United States? Or that her love life is closely linked to the idols of the late nineties?
To tell us the story of Hello Kitty, there are those who wrote it, starting with Yuko Yamaguchi, head designer and promoter of the aesthetic revolution that made Kitty so famous in the world. And then the Sanrio marketing managers, who worked to turn Hello Kitty into a global phenomenon, the director of Strawberry News (the official Sanrio magazine) and a super fan like Paris Hilton. Obviously, there’s also Shintaro Tsuji, the founder of Sanrio and the “father” of Hello Kitty. Here’s how Papa Tsuji describes his most famous creation:
There are three messages in Hello Kitty. First is: you should be loved and you need to be nice to others to be loved. And the ribbon represents human connections. We should get along with one another. Also, having no mouth means we need to express with our actions, not only by words.
Hello Kitty and Barbie are not the only protagonists of The toys that made us. The other episodes of the series are in fact dedicated to characters “for guys”, like He-man and Transformers, or toys for everyone, like Lego. There are also two episodes for science fiction fans about Star Wars and Star Trek toys. Have you already seen The toys that made us? Let us know if you liked it in the comments!