How Rilakkuma Stole Christmas!

Howdy – hope everyone is enjoying December so far!

Check out this holiday Rilakkuma artwork created by my favorite resident Rilakkuma artist, Simon!

How Rilakkuma Stole Christmas

Rilakkuma as the Grinch, Korilakkuma as Cindy Lou Who, and Kiiroitori as the star!

This is based on a famous scene from the 1966 TV special How The Grinch Stole Christmas where Cindy Lou Who catches the Grinch stealing the star from the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.

Here’s the famous scene, for your reference:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - gif

I prefer cute Rilakkuma hehehe

Hope you enjoyed this art project! In other Rilakkuma news, there’s always so many cute releases in the wintertime – here’s just a quick run through of a few that caught my eye!

Mister Donut x Rilakkuma Winter 2015: I absolutely love when Rilakkuma collaborates with Mister Donut, and this season is no exception! This year, the special items are a choice of 2 plates or a donut tree – wow, I think both of those are really great! Even though I’ve only had Mr. Donut food once in my life, I feel a really strong connection to this collaboration, it’s just too adorable!

Mister Donut x Rilakkuma Winter 2015 - cover

Whoa, that donut display tree makes me really wish I baked enough to display my food like that!

Year of the Monkey 2016: In preparation for the next zodiac cycle, this week, San-X welcomed the Rilakkuma Year of the Monkey plushies! Wow, these are super cute – I wish they would make a playset again like they did for the 2014 Year of the Horse release, I would get it in a heartbeat!

Rilakkuma Year of the Monkey 2016 - cover

Rilakkuma and pals dressed as monkeys, holding wind-up monkeys and bananas! They even have little pink rumps hahaha. 1,900円 each.

New Years 2016 Playset: Um WOW I’m really blown away by the incredible detail in this piece! The content reminds me a lot of the Nabe (鍋) set from last year in terms of the detailing and individual ingredients, and the cover design is so similar to the Rilakkuma Store 5th Anniversary plush!

This design has Rilakkuma and pals as part of an osechi (御節料理), a traditional Japanese food to celebrate the new year! Each dish has a special meaning, such as the red sea bream Rilakkuma is holding, which represents an auspicious event. I really want to get this set – I just can’t take my eyes off this jaw-dropping level of detail and design!

New Years 2016 Playset - cover

A beautiful boxed set featuring 15 individual plush components! 10,000円 for the whole set.

Christmas 2015: This year’s Christmas theme is poinsettias, and the title is “Shining Christmas Rilakkuma” – how beautiful! They join the Christmas 2015 Net Shop Exclusive stuffed set, which is themed as a cozy Christmas house. These wonderful designs were already released in early November, but since it’s the season, I thought they deserved the feature! One of the most elegant Christmas designs I’ve seen!

Christmas 2015 - standard

Beautiful poinsettia stoles for the standard release: 1,900円 each

Christmas 2015 - Rilakkuma Store exclusive

The Rilakkuma Store exclusive playset features a Rilakkuma Santa team in their sleigh! Looks like the deer from last year’s Happy Natural time series are back again, hehehe. 12,000円 for the set.

Christmas 2015 - snowbears

Super adorable Rilakkuma snowbears with poinsettia details! 1,480円 each.

Christmas 2015 - headband

And finally, one really cute addition to the lineup: a Rilakkuma Santa-themed headband! 1,850円 each.

What do you think? Any of these designs catching your eye? Personally, I’m super impressed this year!

In other news, I’m finishing up another rotation (obstetrics and gynecology) in two weeks – wow, time is really flying fast!

Interview: Rilakkuma Day Event Planner Michelle Nguyen!

Rilakkuma Day was a special Rilakkuma event held at FAO Schwarz on October 11. This event featured so many cool aspects, such as: a special Rilakkuma photo booth, Rilakkuma prize packs for those who post their Rilakkuma day photos on social media, Rilakkuma freebies, Rilakkuma-themed lolita girls, as well as the latest Rilakkuma goods!

Rilakkuma Day 2014 - Michelle Nyugen

Photo of Rilakkuma Day display at FAO Schwarz taken by Michelle Nguyen!

I was honored to be able to interview Michelle Nguyen, lead event planner from Bubble Punch (the event production company responsible for Rilakkuma Day), to give you the inside scoop on Rilakkuma Day 2014 – enjoy!

What was your impression about the event overall?
The event was a huge success. We had so many fans from so many different places come and visit FAO Schwarz just to see Rilakkuma and get a chance to snap up the latest products! We had trouble restocking the shelves fast enough! We were also really happy that a lot of fans hung out and talked to our staff about their love of Rilakkuma, and it seems like a lot of fans even got together and made new friends there with like-minded Rilakkuma lovers!

What was your personal favorite moment from the event?
When Rilakkuma emerged for the first time in FAO, there was a palpable excitement in the air! People were clapping and yelling and trying to take photos as Rilakkuma slowly walked over to the photo area. It was so exciting and I was very happy with the response.

What aspect of the event did the fans enjoy most?
Meeting Rilakkuma was definitely at the top of all the mega-fans’ lists, I think, as well as buying the newly released products! A lot of fans had fun just hanging out in the store and meeting each other too!

What’s your favorite item out of all of the Rilakkuma products out today?
I love the Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma kigurumi outfits. I wear mine when it’s cold in the house and during Halloween basically every year.

Which one seems to be the most popular product among fans?
The medium sized Rilakkuma plushies were the first to run out!

What’s next for Bubble Punch, Rilakkuma/San-X-related or otherwise?
We have big plans for 2015, but we can’t quite talk about them yet! Stay tuned!

Who is your favorite: Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, or Kiiroitori – and why?
I really like them all… they’re all so unique and weird (if that’s even the right word). I enjoy how they are kawaii characters, but that there’s another layer of awkward laziness to them all. They even fight sometimes, which I think is really hilarious.

Wow! So awesome to hear the medium-sized Rilakkuma were the first to run out – a medium-sized Rilakkuma plush was my very first Rilakkuma product, and launched the whole Rilakkuma obsession for me!

Thank you so much to Michelle for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the Rilakkuma community! We’re all looking forward to see what Bubble Punch will have in store for everyone in the future!

Fellow Rilakkuma blogger Ellie was able to go to Rilakkuma Day 2014 herself; read all about her awesome day over at her blog!

Speaking of which, in her Rilakkuma Day post, Ellie wrote a little bit about how she noticed that AQI (Aliquantum International) has begun expanding their licensed plushie line to include designs and costumes inspired by the existing Rilakkuma lines coming out of Japan like the Heart Bath Series and the Which Color Do You Like? Series – super cool! AQI is the officially licensed manufacturer of Rilakkuma plushies in the US, and sells Rilakkuma products domestically, showing great potential for us US Rilakkuma fans to expand our collections.

So I actually had a short conversation with David Ringer, the CEO of AQI, a couple months ago regarding their plans for the US market – so look forward to a write-up that in the near future (after I get through a bit of my backlog of Rilakkuma plushies to post)! I was originally intending on waiting until I got my own AQI Rilakkuma plush to give a more complete report, but seems like a better idea to share the info now while AQI is on everyone’s mind following Rilakkuma Day!

I’ll work on finding an AQI Rilakkuma for myself soon – seems like medical school doesn’t leave me with much time to go out and shop anymore haha.

In other news, Simon’s got a new tablet, and has started quick-sketching some classic Rilakkuma plushie designs!

I love this art style a lot! What do you think?

Space Series Rilakkuma Plushie – Store Exclusive! + New! Halloween 2014, JINS PC, Lawson Cat Series, & Umeda 6th!

Hello, and 好久不見 – long time, no see!

School has really geared up in the past few weeks, so my apologies for the infrequency. But without further ado, check out the Space Rilakkuma Rilakkuma Plushie – Rilakkuma Store Exclusive!

Space Series Store Exclusive - full

Go to the future, Rilakkuma!

Space Series Store Exclusive - pancake detail

One of my favorite details: a stack of pancakes with a star-shaped butter pat on top – mmmm!

Space Series Store Exclusive - dango detail

Ooooh Rilakkuma is also holding a delicious dango with it’s own planetary ring system and star!

Space Series Store Exclusive - space suit

I think they did such a great job with his spacesuit – usually glittery fabric tends to have a coarse texture, but this one (and all the other plushies in this set) have maintained their soft and smooth texture!

Space Series Store Exclusive - space suit detail

More fantastic details: a cute scarf, embroidered Rilakkuma space insignia, and bear-shaped belt buckle!

Space Series Store Exclusive - tag art

Tag art: Rilakkuma promoting space and time travel!

Teehee I really love this bear! I love all the tiny details they put into each plushie in this series, and can’t wait to see all the cool details for what San-X has in store for us next!

This planetary plushie was released in July 2014 as a Rilakkuma Store Exclusive design for the summer Space Series. Since I loved so many of the designs from the Space Series, I limited myself to just the brown bear from this line – I think even then, Bear Nation has a pretty thriving space program!

In seasonal news, be on the lookout for the new Halloween 2014 designs!

Halloween 2014 - plushie set

Rilakkuma and friends off to the masquerade ball! 1,800円 each.

Halloween 2014 - playset

A beautiful playset! My favorite detail is the kuma ghost in the window (and the giant candy doesn’t look too bad, either). 10,000円.

Fantastic! I really love the direction they took with this year’s line – a masquerade party sounds spooky and fun (I’ve never been to one!). These Halloween bears will be released this weekend on September 6.

But wow, aren’t we just starting September? Preparing for Halloween now seems a little pre-emptive to me (though Halloween costume shops are beginning to pop up around my town), but maybe this is a sign that I should start working on a cool costume. Last year, Simon and I went as eggs & bacon! What do you hope to dress up as for Halloween this year?

Rilakkuma looks like he’s going down the mild-mannered route like Superman with the new Rilakkuma x JINS PC collaboration!

Rilakkuma x JINS PC - cover

Rilakkuma falling asleep with his cell phone!

Rilakkuma x JINS PC - designs

Four awesome designs to match Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori, with unique designs on the temples! 4,900円 each

Rilakkuma x JINS PC - plushies

Awesome miniplushies with their own mobile devices, and a tag with a kuma wearing glasses, too! 1,300円 each.

This is such a cool collab! These glasses are specially designed to protect your eyes from the light from your PC and mobile devices, and the color themes are meant to match Rilakkuma and pals – and don’t they just look so smart in those glasses?

Also, check out this fantastic video short by San-X to commemorate this collaboration!

Hehehe this video reminds me a lot of Simon!

Of course, this isn’t the first time Rilakkuma has donned eye protection – the Aloha Rilakkuma series from last year also featured a bespectacled Rilakkuma!

And for you Lawson fans out there, check out this Rilakkuma Cat Series Lawson Exclusive!

Lawson x Rilakkuma Cat Series - Lawson exclusive

Doesn’t kitten Korilakkuma look so sweet in her basket? Oooh a little plush taiyaki too! 2,700円

So cute! Looks like Lawson specials are starting to develop a pattern of their exclusives being in pot-like containers – last year, it was a pie for the Happy Natural Time Series, and this year, it’s a basket! It’s a cute motif, I think.

Pre-orders for this set are now open, but they aren’t scheduled to be delivered until January 19, 2015 (wah). Conveniently, Lawson specials like this are generally available online, so Tenso might be a good resource for international Rilakkuma fans looking for a good price!

For Japanese movie fans, in a pleasantly surprising twist, Rilakkuma/Lawson are also teaming up with film Clover (クローバー)!

Clover - Rilakkuma

Lookin’ stylish in green!

The movie comes out November 1, and if you purchase a ticket in advance, you can get your hands on this lovely keychain plushie! Wow, I would love for American movies to have promotions like this hehehe

Browsing around the official Clover website, looks like the story revolves around a hotel employee who falls in love with her boss, and it is based on a manga series of the same name – not super sure how the movie has to do with Rilakkuma but haha Rilakkuma does look rather cute in green :)

Last but certainly not least, check out these great designs for the Umeda Rilakkuma Store 6th Anniversary!

Umeda 6th Anniversary - plushies

WOW AND YUM! They’re takoyaki themed! I think Rilakkuma’s ear detail is my favorite part! 1,500円 each.

Excellent! Takoyaki (たこ焼き) is a yummy breaded octopus ball served with sauce and bonito shavings that was first invented in Osaka in 1935!

My family went to Osaka last year and had lots of takoyaki – mmmm! As Umeda is the major business district of Osaka, seems fitting to celebrate the oldest Rilakkuma Store’s 6th anniversary with such a tasty part of its history!

These plushies will be released on September 13 (same day as the Bridal Series). Looks like San-X will be continuing with mini-plushies for its anniversary lines – I have yet to get one of these mini-plushies, but I do have good memories of takoyaki from Osaka, so I might just have to jump for these hehehe.

In other news, I spent my last weekend in Seattle, WA presenting my research at the 29th International Human Papillomavirus Conference! Wow, what an incredible city! I even spied a little Rilakkuma in the artwork at Blue C Sushi!

Blue C Sushi - Rilakkuma

I wish my old phone had a better camera, but here he is! He must be a Fansclub Rilakkuma since he’s getting picked up by a crane!

Hehehe, Rilakkuma follows me around even when I’m out of town! I really love Rilakkuma spotting when I travel!

Nisetsumuri (にせつむり) plushie, a guest blog, and more Rilakkuma Art!

A slight deviation from our regular Rilakkuma program: it’s Nisetsumuri (にせつむり), from Sumikko Gurashi!

Nisetsumuri - front

Hello!

Nisetsumuri - tag

Tag art!

Nisetsumuri - held by bear

The little elastic band means all of my Rilakkumas can hold onto him :D

Tonkatsu - stickers 2

Jennifer also included some incredibly cute Tonkatsu stickers: here are two of my favorites!

Tonkatsu - sticker designs

Here are the rest of the sticker designs – I love how new character Ebi furai no shippo (えびふらいのしっぽ) is included. And… do I see Tapioca in the top right squirting sauce onto Tonkatsu? Hahaha

Hilariously, Nisetsumuri (にせつむり) translates into something like “fake head” or “deceptive head” – because it is actually supposed to be a slug who just wears a shell! What a cute backstory haha.

And Tonkatsu (とんかつ), forever ignored because he’s the fatty end of the pork cutlet, is featured in this sticker set trying to become more appetizing with sauce, I suppose.

This Nisesumuri plushie was released in April 2013, and the Tonkatsu sticker set was released in September 2013! Glad to see such longevity in the Sumikko Gurashi line!

This set was a generous gift by reader Jennifer – thank you so so much for your support and thoughtful gifts, they never fail to cheer me up when school get busy and hectic!

Riding on the wave of Rilakkuma art from a previous post, check out this beautiful rendition of a Rilakkuma 7th Anniversary scene by dulcetart!

Dulcetart - Rilakkuma art

Beautiful!

Really fantastic colors! This is really one of my favorite scenes/series in Rilakkuma history – I even made a GIF of this scene around 3 weeks ago, so perfect timing! Definitely check out the rest of dulcetart’s incredible art at her tumblr!

My Kawaii Life - Guest blog post

How old is my first Rilakkuma?

In other news, I know I’ve never really written about how I got into the Rilakkuma world, so if you’re curious, I did a little guest blog post over at My Kawaii Life! There are also a few snapshots of my apartment Rilakkuma shelf, which is currently overflowing with plushies haha.

Thanks so much for the opportunity, Jen – I’m so honored to have been featured! If you’re interested in cute things of all types (like Rilakkuma), make sure to check out the rest of her amazing blog as well!

Lunar new year is coming up! Can’t wait to celebrate again!

Royal Rilakkuma Art, A Winter Hearts Discovery, & Holiday Wrap-Up!

Hey, check out this Rilakkuma art created by Simon!

Rilakkuma Art - Royal BD Bear

How regal!

Wah super cute, I can’t believe it! Thanks for sending this in, Simon! (First of many more to come, I hope!)

This piece of art is inspired by the Rilakkuma 10th Anniversary Sofa Throne Series and Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Ice-T – ha!

My (M Classic) Rilakkuma plushie sat in as a model for this portrait – he looks a lot like my Fansclub Royal Rilakkuma plushie, too! Super handsome :)

In plushie news, has anyone ordered the Winter Hearts Series? Diligent reader Jennifer noticed that the fur on these plushies is slightly longer and fluffier than that the regular plushies – a happy medium between the regular plushies and the My Only series!

Winter Hearts fur - full

Jennifer’s snuggly Winter Hearts Rilakkuma plushie (right) compared against a super cute Bonjour Series Caravan plushie (left)!

Winter Hearts fur - face

See the difference in the face?

Winter Hearts fur - feet

Super noticeable difference in the feet!

Incredible discovery! Thanks so much for sharing, Jennifer!

I wonder if they’ll be using more of this texture in the future? Maybe they’re testing out this new fur on the market to see how people like it. It’ll be exciting to see!

Also, I’m sure the shaggier fur keeps them nice and warm during this cold winter!

In other news: for Christmas, my mom turned one of my Rilakkuma Lifestyle photos into a blanket!

BD Blanket - 1

Beautiful!

Wow! I think the colors turned out really well – this is definitely one of my favorite photos :) This photo really doesn’t do justice to the massive scale of this blanket – it’s even bigger than my queen-size bed!

I’m so thankful and fortunate to have a family that is so appreciative of Rilakkuma!

This came at a great time because we’re feeling the polar vortex a little even here all the way down in Florida, so it’s nice to have a warm Rilakkuma blanket to snuggle up to!

I hope everyone is surviving the cold!

Rilakkuma News & Korilakkuma plushies!

Whew, my first week of official medical school is over! I love the teaching style so far, and the material is heavy, but manageable for now (or did I speak too soon?). Now that the weekend’s here, I’ve got time to do Rilakkuma things :)

Anyway, the theme of this post is Korilakkuma!

These are actually my sister’s plushies! But they deserve some time in the spotlight too, of course!

Korilakkuma (M) - full

This is a medium sized Korilakkuma! She’s about 34cm – about 1.5x times that smaller collectible bears I usually have!

Korilakkuma (M) - back

No zipper! I’m not used to seeing bears without zippers anymore hahaha

Tokyo Skytree 1st Anniversary - Korilakkuma XL

Also, an XL Tokyo Skytree 1st Anniversary Korilakkuma! I only have the small version haha

Watermelon Korilakkuma and Korilakkuma (M)

These two Korilakkuma’s are about the same size – which means they TOWER over all of my tiny 22cm Rilakkumas haha

Yay! I’m so glad the other members of my family have some love for the other characters in the Rilakkuma crew to balance out my Rilakkuma fanaticism!

We got the (naked) Korilakkuma at Tokyo Station and the watermelon Korilakkuma at Skytree! The watermelon set was released during Skytree’s 1st Anniversary, but they still had a bunch of the XL plushies for sale when my family went in June!

In other news, Rilakkuma and friends were spotted at this year’s 7’s Day!

7's Day - side

Korilakkuma and (another) Rilakkuma are sitting inside, while Kiiroitori stares at a face-planted Rilakkuma?

MX7 - front

The color of the car is the same shade of yellow as Rilakkuma’s ears/paws/soles! Or is it more of a Kiiroitori yellow?

According to Dino Dale Carbonare at SpeedHunters, 7’s Day is the unofficial celebration of the Mazda RX-7 every year on July 7 (7/7) in the Daikoku Parking Area. And while it’s known it’s vast outpouring of MX-7’s, 7’s Day not only celebrates 7s, but anything rotary engine related!

RX-7 owners are a really tight knit community, and they organize this gathering every year just by word of mouth – incredible! It’s so cool to see RX-7 and Rilakkuma enthusiasts intersect :)

Um… not exactly sure why Rilakkuma is face-down on top of this FD, but hey – super cute Rilakkuma spotting, in my opinion!

Also, do y’all think this is the Christmas Net Shop Exclusive for this year?

Christmas 2013 Net Shop Exclusive - teaser

What a great present to receive! They all have little red stoles with white trim!

Looks like it’s Rilakkuma Wonderland themed! They look like mini-plushies, and it seems that their noses are flat too haha

Pretty cute, and looks like they’re playing different instruments from the ones in the summer release? I spy a violin/bass violin-playing Rilakkuma, I think!

Rilakkuma website revamp!

Check out the newly redesigned Rilakkuma website!

It’s Rilakkuma Wonderland themed, and the home page features drum major Korilakkuma leading a marching band of Rilakkumas across your screen!

Rilakkuma Wonderland - march animation

So many little drummer bears!

Be sure to check out the new Rilakkuma Wonderland flash animation, and see if you can spot all the cameos from previous series – I personally love the bunny Korilakkuma peeking out from behind the tree near the beginning when the marching band is first revealed:

Rilakkuma Wonderland - flash frame 1

Can you spot her?

Rilakkuma Wonderland - flash frame 3

Also, y’all were right that drummer Rilakkuma was in mid-chew!

Rilakkuma Wonderland - flash frame 2

Stay to the end and hover over some of the Rilakkumas to hear them play their instruments and more! The Rilakkuma face at the top of the tent lights up with hover too haha

Personally, I think this is one of the most well done flash animations they’ve ever produced! I love that it’s a little interactive :)

I’ll be making .gifs from this to put on the Rilakkuma Gifs tumblr too!

That’s all for now! Just getting ready for Japan now – 2 weeks until departure!