A couple of months ago my boyfriend and I stumbled upon a game at the Nintendo Switch e-shop and decided to download the demo to try it out. It ended up being one of the funniest experiences we’ve ever had.
We had no idea what the name was, what it was about, and how to play the game. Everything was in Japanese and we guessed all the way through the whole demo.
And we had the time of our lives, even having no clue what was happening.
A couple of weeks ago I finally found out the characters names and was able to start my (possibly very unhealthy) obsession over these new cute friends.
I changed my laptop’s and phone’s wallpapers, started looking for stuffed animals, and actually bought a game in Japanese that I will never fully understand.
Today I want to share with you guys my newly-born, undying love for Sumikko Gurashi, the most kawaii characters I’ve met in a while.
But Really Though, Who Are These Guys?
Sumikko Gurashi is a set of characters by San-X and the literal translation would be something like “Living in the Corner”.
If you often find yourself looking for corners to sit everywhere you go, like on a restaurant or a bus, and feel more comfortable while away from others in the safety of public spaces corners, than you can relate to how these sweeties are and act.
There are many characters in this series, but a few of them stand out. Let’s meet them, shall we?
- Shirokuma – A shy polar bear who left the North Pole because he doesn’t like the cold. You can find him relaxing in a corner drinking hot tea;
- Penguin – A penguin with an identity crisis who thinks he is a Kappa (Kappa is one of the most famous Yōkai. I’ll write a post just about Yōkai in the future for those of you who don’t know what they are ♥);
- Tonkatsu – The end of a fried pork that was left behind because it was too oily. It’s made of 1% meat and 99% fat. He’s constantly trying to trick other people into eating him by covering himself in sauce, climbing into a bentō box and plopping a little mustard ball on his head;
- Neko – A shy and timid cat with self-esteem issues. He doesn’t like his body shape and can be found hiding in corners eating cat food and cat grass;
- Tokage – The last of the dinosaurs. He pretends to be a lizard so that he is not captured. The only one that knows his secret is Nisetsumuri;
- Ebifurai no Shippo – The tail end of a shrimp that was too hard to eat. For that reason, he and Tonkatsu are good friends that understand each other very well. He also tries to trick people into eating him by covering himself in tartar sauce, hugging a cherry tomato and climbing into the bentō box;
- Zassou – A very optimistic weed. His dream is to be a part of a beautiful bouquet one day. He is the most cheerful of the batch and good friends with Neko, who often waters and takes care of him;
- Nisetsumuri – Actually a slug carrying an empty shell, not a snail. He’s very sorry for tricking everyone! It was never his intention.
Some Other Friends You Might Have Heard Of
San-X, like Sanrio, is a Japanese company that created many famous kawaii characters. Even if not as big as Sanrio, there are many cute little fellows you might know. These are some of them:
- Rilakkuma – A lazy and relaxed brown bear whose interests are limited to sleeping and eating;
- Mamegoma – A very friendly miniature seal that can fit in the palm of your hand. I absolutely adore it and before Sumikko Gurashi, was unhealthily obsessed with it.
- Tarepanda – A super lazy panda that mostly moves by rolling around. His favourite food is mochi.
- Monokuro Boo – A black pig and a white pig. They come to show that kawaii doesn’t have to be colourful, and black and white can be just as cute as our pastel colours.
The Best Mario Party Is Not a Mario Game
Getting deeper into the game we played, that I now know is called Sumikko Gurashi Sumi Pack He Yokoso, the gameplay is as simple as it gets.
Even without understanding a word of what was going on, we were able to play several times just fine, mostly guessing on the menus and hoping for the best.
The game itself plays very similarly to a Mario Party game, especially Mario Party 9, for Wii. The players individually roll the die but walk together through the board. Depending on the tile you land, you might receive or lose coins, play a minigame, or change the score completely (again, because it is all in Japanese, I can’t say exactly how things are changing).
The winner is the player who has collected the most coins. You mostly get them on the board or from minigames, but like Mario Party, at the end they award coins for different reasons which I will never know, so the outcome is always a surprise.
I honestly feel like we had much more fun than we normally should on a game we don’t understand a single word. It’s much more laid back that Mario Party and the minigames are truly fun. The winner at the end feels very randomly picked and not at all connected to ability or who was better at the minigames, but we might be missing some crucial info that would explain all the game mysteries.
That being said, the ending didn’t get in the way of the fun at all. I would say it actually made us laugh and enjoy ourselves even more. ^.^
Wanna Take Them Home?
San-X Sumikko Gurashi Super Squishy Plush Set
Surround yourself with all the cuteness! Including the 5 main characters of the series, this set is 100% authentic and very high-quality.
They are made of soft squishy plush and will be delighted to stay in that corner you were not sure how to fill.
Give them a loving home right here.
Sumikko Gurashi Friend Terrarium Complete Set of 6
If you are a fan of figures like I am, you will love this Terrarium Kit. With 6 different scenarios, one for each of our cuties, you can kawaii-fy all the corners of your room!
They are very small, chibi, and take no time at all to put together. It’s very well crafted and will look amazing in any bookshelf, dresser or nightstand you put them on.
Get the complete set here.
San-X Sumikko Gurashi Shirokuma of Friends Plush Doll House “Ice House”
Even if Shirokuma hates the cold, he still looks adorable in winter clothes. This beautiful plush dollhouse features Shirokuma and a blue Penguin, both with removable cozy winter coats.
Everything in this kit is soft, kawaii and huggable. Be it for playing, leaving as decoration, or as cuddly soft toys, this is a wonderful addition to your home.
And, if you have small pets like hedgehogs or hamsters, the little house is perfect for chilling with your baby on the couch. 😉
These sweet darlings are waiting for you right here.
Sumikko Gurashi is Love, Sumikko Gurashi is Life
Apart from the obvious fact that they are absolutely adorable and lovable, at the end of the day any company that creates a character based on an oily piece of leftover pork earns my respect. I remember when I first met the characters and just called them what I thought they looked like: Polar Bear, Cat, Duck, Fried Chicken, Quagsire (best Pokemon ever, Google it if you don’t know which one it is ♥).
And honestly, finding out that Fried Chicken was, in fact, a piece of fried meat (so close, though, I am very proud of myself. 😉 ) made me like the series even more. This is one of the things I love the most about Japan and their culture, they are so creative, everything is different and unique. When I stumble upon things like that, it warms my heart and makes me giggle so hard, and I rest assured knowing I will always have my needed dose of nonsense if I know where to look.
Which one of them is your favourite? Have you heard about any San-X character before? Talk to me in the comments below and show me some new things to obsess about. ♥