Our favourite cat-girl human creature, Hello Kitty, is celebrating her 50th birthday next year, and the festivities have already begun. Sanrio has launched a few fun surprises that will see Kitty take on the digital era, with interactive augmented reality experiences and new adventures into online platforms like Roblox and TikTok – welcome to the future Kitty.
Since her debut in the '70s, Kitty has become one of Sanrio's most beloved kawaii characters, evolving into a symbol of the pink girly pop Y2K aesethic. Since then she's remained a cultural icon in art, fashion and everything in between, and might I say she's looking great for her age. If you want to create your own character that's as iconic as Miss Kitty, check out our collection of the best character design books.
Aiming to capture the attention (and hearts) of a new generation of Hello Kitty fans, Sanrio has announced the launch of several digital promotions, starting with the launch of an AR app. The tool will allow fans to interact with Kitty as she dances around various iconic monuments across the world, including SHIBUYA109 in Tokyo, Big Ben in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, TAIPEI 101 in Taiwan, and the Empire State Building in New York.
The AR animations will also be hitting TikTok, where fans can create their own interactive videos using custom Hello Kitty TikTok filters. Alongside these will be a new account (@this_is_hellokitty_) dedicated to posting short animations of the birthday girl with up to four videos each month.
Most peculiarly, Kitty will be making her debut on the virtual universe game, Roblox, where fans can interact with her at the 'My Hello Kitty Cafe'. A custom photo booth, mini-games, avatars, costumes, and emotes will be available with a distinct "Y2K feel," according to PR Newswire. What can I say, the children yearn for the early 2000s, while I've only just recovered from the plight of low-rise jeans.
To me, it seems that Sanrio is torn between Kitty's iconic Y2K era and an urge to update her identity for the younger Gen Z audience. As an official Gen Z elder, I already see Kitty as a cultural icon, and it only takes one Google search to see her plastered on every plausible piece of memorabilia, to understand why. While Roblox isn't for me, I'm excited to see what future festivities are in store – Happy Birthday Kitty.
Did you know that Hello Kitty isn't actually a cat? It's outrageous, I know. But Kitty isn't the only controversial character design we've seen recently, check out this knockoff Winnie the Pooh animation that's total nightmare fuel.