Bear Hugger, as depicted in Punch-Out!! for Wii.
|First game||Super Punch-Out!! (arcades)|
|Designed by||Eddie Viser (Punch-Out!!, 2009)|
|Voiced by||Richard Newman (Punch-Out!! (Wii))
Peter Oldring (Punch-Out!!' (anime))
Bear Hugger (ベア・ハッガー Bea Haggā ) is a fictional character from the Nintendo-produced Punch-Out!! video game series. He is a Canadian boxer who hails from Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada, and is the boxing champion of Canada. He first appeared in Super Punch-Out!! for the arcades, and again in Super Punch-Out!! for the Super NES. Most recently, he appeared in Punch-Out!! for the Wii. In the latter game, he was designed by Eddie Viser, and voiced by Richard Newman. He is depicted as a stereotype of Canadian people, depicted as having an obsession for maple syrup and a love for the wilderness. He is powerful, yet also fast. He is bald, and has a thick, brown beard and mustache. He also has a tuft of chest hair, and wears overalls.
Since his appearance in the arcade Super Punch-Out!!, he has received mostly positive reception. He was described as a favourite of the series by IGN and Official Nintendo Magazine. In discussing stereotypes in Punch-Out!!, GamesRadar editor Brett Elston listed ice hockey, an affinity for nature, maple syrup, and his husky stature as stereotypes utilized in his character. Fellow GamesRadar editor Tyler Wilde jokingly stated that Canadians only drink maple syrup on special occasions. Editor Scott Jones stated that Bear Hugger drinks alcohol between matches, misinterpreting the maple syrup jar as a "jug of booze."
Concept and appearances 
Bear Hugger is a Canadian boxer. He first appeared in Super Punch-Out!! for the arcades, and then again in Super Punch-Out!! for the Super NES. He most recently appeared in Punch-Out!! for the Wii, where he was designed by Eddie Viser and voiced by Richard Newman. He has several Canadian stereotypes, including also being a Lumberjack by trade, a love for maple syrup, ice hockey, and the wilderness. He is bald, and has a thick, brown beard and mustache, as well as a tuft of chest hair. He also wears overalls. As seen in one of the cutscenes, Bear Hugger does boxing training with bears. He also uses a squirrel in his boxing. Eurogamer described Bear Hugger's attack style as using "sheer force to send opponents to the mat." In their walkthrough, IGN noted that he was fast considering how large he was.
In related game Frank Bruno's Boxing, the character was renamed Canadian Crusher.
Since appearing in Super Punch-Out!! for the arcades, Bear Hugger has received mostly positive reception. He has been described as a favourite of the series by IGN editor Levi Buchanan, a statement that Official Nintendo Magazine editor Tom East echoed. University Chronicle editor Joe Brown commented that fans of Super Punch-Out!! for the Super NES would be familiar with Bear Hugger. Bucks Herald editor Damien Lucas agreed, stating that anyone would recognize him. GameSpy described him as "one of the wackiest opponents you'll ever see." Operation Sports editor Christian McLeod stated that Bear Hugger was "no pushover." The Escapist editor Greg Tito commented that he giggled every time Bear Hugger called player-character Little Mac "hoser." In discussing King Hippo's girth, GamesRadar editor Chris Antista commented that King Hippo weighed as much as Bear Hugger and Mad Clown (although the major difference between the characters is that you cannot hit King Hippo in the face, and the latter two are only able to be hit in the face and not the midsection; Bear Hugger in fact laughs at Little Mac and blows a raspberry at him in Super Punch-Out!!). In their list of the seven best second quests, GamePro listed the Title Defense mode of Punch-Out!! for the Wii, stating that losing to the "squirrel-assisted" Bear Hugger would demonstrate the difficulty and creative talent of the developers. Allgame editor Skyler Miller commented that while he was humorous in Super Punch-Out!! for the Super NES, he wasn't quite "out there" compared to boxers from Punch-Out!! for the NES.
Canadian stereotyping 
Bear Hugger has been described as a stereotype of Canadian people. In discussing stereotyping in Punch-Out!!, GamesRadar editor Brett Elston stated that Bear Hugger embodied several Canadian stereotypes, including being husky, loving the outdoors, ice hockey, and drinking maple syrup. Canadian GamesRadar editor Tyler Wilde jokingly stated that the stereotypes were "absolute malarky," stating that they only consume maple syrup on special occasions, and even then, only from "goose-shaped goblets carved from pine wood." Editor Scott Jones commented that Bear Hugger's Canadian origins predisposed him to consume the "big jug of booze" with which he is portrayed; however, the jug actually (or at least ostensibly) contains maple syrup (cf. the character shift in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! from "Vodka Drunkenski" to "Soda Popinski").
IGN editor Craig Harris called him "over-the-top," describing him as a "fish-loving lumberjack." Kotaku editor Michael McWhertor praised the stereotyping of characters in the series, stating that it was improved in the Wii Punch-Out!!. He further stated that Bear Hugger was "extremely Canadian." GameSpot editor Tom Mc Shea described Bear Hugger as a "400-pound Canadian with a love for maple syrup and tiny woodland rodents." The Globe and Mail editor Chad Sapieha commented that the roster of fighters in Punch-Out!! "would send chills down the spine of any potential pugilist," mentioning Bear Hugger as one of these boxers, calling him an "ostensibly Canadian Bear Hugger, a syrup-swilling lumberjack by trade." In discussing the increase in stereotyping in the Wii Punch-Out!!, Wired editor Chris Kohler described Bear Hugger as a "rotund Canadian strongman" who "drinks from a jug of maple syrup."
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