Little videos about talking eggs and a burnt red bean bun, from Japan
October 24, 2015 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Hello Kitty's newest friend is an egg named Gudetama, who is unmotivated because he realizes he only exists to be eaten. He has a twitter account (really, he does). Each episode ends with the gudetama song and dance, and there is a handy playlist of 18 short shorts with English subtitles. If you want some more talking food, try some KogePan, or burned bread (unofficial fansite), which also has a handy playlist of the 10 episodes, but organized in reverse order. (KogePan previously, but the links are dead.)
posted by filthy light thief (55 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
He has a twitter account (really, he does).

My rush to make an ethics in game journalism joke about eggs and Twitter is halted by just how weird that video is.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on October 24, 2015


I guess the yolk dance is at the end of all of them.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally thought this would be about the Gudetama Custard Pastry - which looks pretty fun to eat.
posted by idiopath at 10:27 AM on October 24, 2015


Those videos are very disturbing.
posted by octothorpe at 10:29 AM on October 24, 2015


When I was a small child, someone read me a book called something like The Happy Hamentaschen, about an anthropomorphized cookie who was so happy because some person was soon going to eat him up! I was totally disturbed by this: not only was the poor little guy going to be eaten, but he also was so brainwashed that he actually thought it was some sort of honor to die that way. I'm much more on board for anthropomorphized food that feels existential angst over its inevitable demise than anthropomorphized food that can't wait to be a willing faux-human sacrifice to my taste buds.

Anyway, I think cartoon food may be a thing in Japan, because my nephews are obsessed with Anpanman.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:32 AM on October 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Reminds me very much of Mameshiba, the talking beans. I think Lentil is my favorite.
posted by taterpie at 10:35 AM on October 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


The world is a better place for this existing. Weird and awesome.
posted by chimaera at 10:36 AM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is the greatest thing that has ever existed. You have no idea how much I identify with that egg!
posted by atropos at 10:37 AM on October 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I agree, atropos. I've gone from never hearing of this little egg to wanting a tattoo of him in the last ten minutes.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:51 AM on October 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


I think cartoon food may be a thing in Japan, because my nephews are obsessed with Anpanman.

You are very correct. In my search for information on anthropomorphic food, I found this article: The Delicious History Of Japan’s Anthropomorphic Kawaii Food Characters, which notes that Hello Kitty was also joined by Kirimi-chan, "a delicious salmon fillet."
This might be surprising if your concept of cartoon characters is based on American models. Sure, all kinds of improbable things exist in American cartoons that we don’t think twice about. Walking, talking animals – that’s so normal it’s boring. Sponges that wear pants, whatever. But not usually a fillet of fish that gets on Twitter and says “Please eat me, I’m delicious.”

But for the last few decades at least, cute characters that are live, walking, sometimes talking, foods, have been totally normal in Japan. And it turns out they have historical precedents that go WAY back.
That article notes Anpanman is the granddaddy of talking food in Japan, starting in manga in 1973.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:52 AM on October 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kirimi can be watched here (YT) in case you feel compelled to see what an anthropomorphized salmon fillet looks like (as I was). Linked video does not disappoint.
posted by kisch mokusch at 11:18 AM on October 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


I recently had a pack of some new sour Hichew flavor, and all the individual piece wrappers had creepy little sketches about the hichews coming to terms with getting eaten. My favorite/least favorite is the one where the human says "it's less that I can eat you, and more that I want to eat you".
posted by Itaxpica at 11:38 AM on October 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


Thanks for this post. I learned about this guy first on AskMe and immediately my life was better. Sanrio has a special kind of genius.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:38 AM on October 24, 2015


I'm partial to Takoyaki MantoMan
posted by KernalM at 11:39 AM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, American culture has a long-established practice of "Suicide Food" (previously here), which is obviously more motivated than Gudetama.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:39 AM on October 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


When I was a small child, someone read me a book called something like The Happy Hamentaschen, about an anthropomorphized cookie who was so happy because some person was soon going to eat him up!

There's a fabulous book by Daniel Handler called The Latke That Couldn't Stop Screaming, which is pretty much about the exact opposite.
posted by Itaxpica at 11:43 AM on October 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


I watched a video of an egg that said "I can't do this" and a piece of salmon that sang. WTF.
posted by infini at 11:45 AM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's hilarious, Itaxpica. I wonder if he, too, had a traumatic childhood exposure to the fucking happy hamantaschen book.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:47 AM on October 24, 2015


MetaFilter: Unmotivated because they realize they only exist to be eaten.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:50 AM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


That article notes Anpanman is the granddaddy of talking food in Japan, starting in manga in 1973.

The creator of Anpanman, Takashi Yanase, was a wonderful human being, a true mensch (and of course a marketing genius).

He said he created Anpanman because he knew what it was like to be hungry during the war, and that providing food for people was the most basic symbol of humanity.

We went to Yanase birthplace in the hills of Shikoku last year. It's a very beautiful place and there is a great museum devoted to Anpanman and Yanase there.

Yanase and people of his generation represent every thing that is good about post-war Japan.
posted by Nevin at 12:00 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]




My Halloween costume for this year is all figured out! Just need to get the dance down and I'll be all set.
posted by Fig at 12:18 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


that feels existential angst over its inevitable demise

Don't you mean eggsistential angst?
posted by FJT at 12:52 PM on October 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


"He's whiny, always has a face of despair, and according to the Sanrio release on the little guy, is "unmotivated." His attitude is related to the fact that he only exists to be eaten."

Makes sense to me.
posted by kenko at 1:05 PM on October 24, 2015


oneswellfoop: Well, American culture has a long-established practice of "Suicide Food" (previously here), which is obviously more motivated than Gudetama.

Thank you! I was thinking about that post, but I couldn't remember enough terms to find it.


kisch mokusch: Kirimi can be watched here (YT) in case you feel compelled to see what an anthropomorphized salmon fillet looks like (as I was). Linked video does not disappoint.

I'll see your animated salmon fillet and raise you people dancing in salmon costumes, both as a full-body costume, and as a face-framing hat/ helmet/ thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:07 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


And then, of course, is the pig-waiter, taking the order for the meal that will be made from his body in Douglas Adams' The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe.
posted by acb at 1:37 PM on October 24, 2015


That was even better than the animation! What foodstuff is the salmon's little friend? I'm running under the assumption that it is a sliced horseradish.
posted by kisch mokusch at 1:48 PM on October 24, 2015


people dancing in salmon costumes

Not anglerfish?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:28 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I can't.
posted by davidmsc at 2:59 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sartre meets Sanrio!
posted by gemutlichkeit at 3:15 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Have we really not discussed Gudetama before? Because I've been following him on Twitter for like a year, I thought he was old news...
posted by maryr at 3:22 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


> "Suicide Food"

Just today we drove past a Hot Dog Man, which seems to be an unbranded trade mascot that stands for pork hot dogs, halal hot dogs, and hot dogs in Belgium and Berlin.

Which led to a conversation about why the sight of a hot dog garnishing itself with ketchup and mustard is grotesque while the sight of happy pigs gleefully touting pork BBQ is quaint and charming.

Maybe it's because the pigs have achieved an ecstasy that transcends pain, realizing their ultimate fulfillment is through their martyrdom, and their lasting gift to the world is scent and taste of their flesh and the image of their blissed-out face on the cusp of their apotheosis. Though that still doesn't explain Hot Dog Man.
posted by ardgedee at 3:33 PM on October 24, 2015


That's a thinly-veiled metaphor for the millennial Japanese generation's poor career prospects, is what that is.
posted by subdee at 3:39 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Millenials thinkpeice!
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on October 24, 2015


I, too, relate to the egg.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:51 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


@Artw They're a bit old at this point, but here's a couple from neojaponisme:

A No Tenko Japanese Youth (2005)
The Kids are All Wrong (2008)

The young un(der)employed are called "freeters" or "NEET"s (not in education, employment or training).
posted by subdee at 3:52 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also in Hello Kitty news, she's working with Kikkoman on some limited-edition soy sauce now.
posted by Rash at 4:05 PM on October 24, 2015


As someone who once dressed as Anpanman for Halloween and was an ardent four-year-old Shokupanman/Dokinchan shipper* I must protest at the lack of links to the theme song.

Although in retrospect my favorite thing about the show is that the cowboy character was a hamburger and the samurai was an onigiri.

*"So there's this anthropomorphic slice of bread who's a superhero, and a giant germ lady who's a villain, and they have this whole Romeo-and-Juliet dynamic going on..."
posted by bettafish at 4:09 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry. Maybe I'm just cranky and old, but this seems like a cheap ripoff of Mameshiba.


posted by Muncle at 4:26 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


You can adequately simulate the experience of going to a stationery shop at an average Japanese mall by putting Gudetama or Mameshiba or any other Sanrio or Sanrio-style character videos on repeat while you try to focus on anything else
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:28 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


As soon as I first laid eyes on Gudetama, I was in love. This, I thought, was a character that really gets me. It's been a real struggle to restrain myself from purchasing every bit of Gudetama merchandise I see.

As long as we're talking about weird Japanese Mascots, my local favorite is Katsuo Ningen, who has a severed fish head for a head. Also mentioned in that article is Okazaemon, who also has some interesting things going on with his head.
posted by davejh at 4:37 PM on October 24, 2015


I was wondering if foop was going to bring up Suicide Food! Ah, these are nice, and at least a couple are going into DANGER RADIOACTIVE.
posted by JHarris at 4:53 PM on October 24, 2015


I had a Japanese friend - she was an exchange student of a family friend, and so - she gave me a mug that was so emblematic of me. I cherish it.

It's a dog. Sitting in a chair, with a remote, watching TV. And the dog looks so defeated. And the text says...

"Life is so hard. It's breathe... breathe.. breathe... all the time."

I think I love Gudetama as much as I love that mug.
posted by symbioid at 4:54 PM on October 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I have just this very hour come back from Japan, where – coincidental to this post – I conducted an exhaustive review of Gudetama merchandise.

From that review I have this warning to potential online buyers: there is a SIGNIFICANT inconsistency in the quality of the rendering of Gudetama's butt in the three-dimensional merchandise.

To explain: you'll notice from some of the pictures that Gudetama has a butt.

However, the attentiveness with which the butt has been conveyed varies significant from product to product. For example, many of the foam keychains have a satisfying cleavage that accurately captures the butt. However, many of the felt or stuffed products either use two-dimensional Y-shaped stitching to convey the butt, or worse yet a print of a y-shaped mark to convey the butt, or worse yet simply omit the butt altogether.

This butt variability can occur even within specific product models: while the stuffing and stitching combination of a particular Gudetama may result in a plump and rounded butt in one figure, the "identical" model beside it may have a flat and affectless butt, due no doubt to the low quality assurance standards of the butt manufacturing process.

Other products fail to capture the butt on a conceptual or metaphysical level. You may think tamago-sushi Gudetama is cute, but that adorable nori strip may actually be concealing a butt - or lack thereof. Similarly, some of the saucier poses actually obliterate the butt, while others simply hide the, leaving the delightful surprise for you to discover on closer inspection or manipulation. In short, if you opt for any pose that hides the butt, you are rolling the dice with a butt.

That said, there is some good quality merchandise out there that will give you the butt you're looking for - you just have to be careful and ask the right question. If you're buying online, or without actually physically inspecting the merchandise, consider asking the following questions of the seller:

- Does it have a butt?
- How big is the butt?
- How plump is the butt?
- Is the butt hidden, via pose, egg white or accessory?
- If so, is the butt easily accessible?

Hopefully these tips will help you avoid heartbreak over the smooth and characterless behind of a buttless Gudetama. I honestly thought that Sanrio would be on top of this kind of thing by now, but I guess these are the times we are living in.
posted by ordinary_magnet at 5:22 PM on October 24, 2015 [53 favorites]




Thank you, ordinary_magnet! Now I know exactly what guidance to give my Secret Quonsar.
posted by atropos at 6:39 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


What foodstuff is the salmon's little friend? I'm running under the assumption that it is a sliced horseradish.

It's Japanese fish cake, also called narutomaki! It's a pretty common ramen topping.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:52 PM on October 24, 2015


(Although looking at it again it's more properly Kamaboko, of which narutomaki is a close relative)
posted by Itaxpica at 6:56 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also mentioned in that article is Okazaemon yt , who also has some interesting things going on with his head.

Someone please loop Hotline Bling over this and send it to the other thread immediately, thx.
posted by maryr at 9:25 PM on October 24, 2015


ordinary_magnet, when reviewing the merchandise did you find that there were any models where the butt was round and made you think, perhaps, you might be interesed in a XXX showdown? Because I know the number for a guy you could contact to kick those nasty thoughts.
posted by maryr at 9:27 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


The one with the shell where the guy doesn't help the poor little eggy - is that supposed to test whether I'm a replicant or something?
posted by knuckle tattoos at 9:34 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm confused, is Gudetama literally friends with Hello Kitty, or is that just some cutesy way of saying these are two weirdass characters from the same company? Because I really need Hello Kitty interacting with this morose ovum.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:42 PM on October 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I watched a video of an egg that said "I can't do this" and a piece of salmon that sang. WTF.

You've been living in the city too long. You forget what real food looks like, or the struggle to find meaning in the repetetive tedium of eggsistence.



sorry
posted by krinklyfig at 10:48 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh. My. God. This is my new favorite thing - it's so me. I want all the gudetama!

I love KogePan as well (I have a Keychain of him somewhere).
posted by littlesq at 12:06 AM on October 25, 2015


Speaking of Gudetama swag, there is a Gudetama selfie stick
posted by KernalM at 7:08 AM on October 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


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