Friday, May 05, 2006

The Fur Flies: The Untold Story of the Miffy/HelloKitty Rivalry

They were born under the same sign--Sagittarius, a powerful fire sign--and in the same year, although Miffy would later swear: "Hello Kitty is five years older than me, if she's a day."

The London-born Hello Kitty became a star first, which irritated her rival, who suggested that her rapid success came via the casting couch. "It sure as hell beat the litter box," Hello Kitty responded.

"There's a good reason why she doesn't have a mouth," said Miffy. "It's not very nice! "

Miffy was the more amiable of the two, but both shared the same ruthless drive and determination to ride the Crest of Cuteness. When Miffy, the Holland-born bunny who loved teddy bears and seashells, found her fame and adorability waning, she moved to Sunshine Corners, where Hello Kitty was firmly ensconced as Princess of Sweetness. Miffy then proceeded to take over Hello Kitty's clothing styles, her teddy bears, and her throne. Hello Kitty responded by having more interesting adventures.

"I've flown planes, ridden dolphins, and been a tennis star. What has Miffy done with her pathetic life? Go to the zoo? Cuteness is as cuteness does, toots. I'm a real kitten."

"I have an aunt Alice who is a good cook and an uncle who can fly an airplane," retorted Miffy. "They invite friends over to party. We play games!" Miffy added that she has a grandfather who was good at carpentry and a grandmother who was good at knitting.

The stories are such fun—how Hello Kitty "accidentally" kicked Miffy during a Fun Time Reading Hour at the library (requiring stitches); how only Miffy was nominated for a Caldecott Medal but Hello Kitty arranged to claim the award for the absent "Corduroy"…. This real-life friction comes through in the pages of their books and on their ample

Though they have very different temperaments, HelloKitty and Miffy share strikingly similar pasts. Both live in houses with red roofs with chimneys. Both like collecting little stars, little goldfishes, lollipops and as many ribbons as possible (for decoration!). Both also like to go to parks or forests with friends. Both enjoy visiting the candy store, too. They both love candies.

So, if they are so similar and so cute, why does such a bitter strain remain between them?

"I think it is simply a case of familiarity breeds contempt," reflects Snuffy, a courageous female dog with a strong sense of justice (and a longtime friend of Miffy).

Tippy, a loving and kind-hearted bear who is strong, reliable and always there to help you in times of trouble, has been Hello Kitty's longtime unrequited love.

"If only she could open her heart to rainbows and sparkly moonbeams…perhaps the wounds between her and Miffy will someday heal," laments Tippy. "She claims that you can never have too many friends, but why can't that include Miffy? Miffy is my friend. Miffy is everyone's friend."

So many tears, so many harsh words. After all these years, can Hello Kitty and Miffy settle their differences and become a tag team of cuddly love? The outlook is grim, especially after the scandal behind the 1997 Hello Kitty "shoulder massager" debacle in Japan.

There is, however, talk about a Miffy/Hello Kitty reality series, where the two rivals will share a blue house with a chimney and have to learn how to share, but Hello Kitty has yet to negotiate her contract. Rumour has it she fired her longtime agent, Harold (best known for his purple crayon drawings).

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