Gudetama

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Gudetama
Gudetama TV Anime Films character
First appearance2013
Created byAMY
Voiced byYet to come
In-universe information
Aliaslazy egg
SpeciesEgg
Genderall
NationalityJapanese

Gudetama (Japanese: ぐでたま) is a cartoon character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio.[1] The name Gudetama is formed from two parts: the first is the ideophone gudegude (Japanese: ぐでぐで) which is used to evoke the impression of something lazy and lacking energy. The second part is from the Japanese word tamago (Japanese: たまご) which means egg.[2] Therefore, Gudetama can be translated to English as "lazy egg". Gudetama's personality and appearance matches its name, as it is a depressed egg.[3]

In contrast to other positive and active characters in Japanese kawaii culture, Gudetama's vocal protestations against its lot in life would seem to make it an uncharacteristic hit with supposedly stoic and hardworking Japanese people, and are alternately readable as signs of millennial disenchantment with work, as well as symptoms of depression. But its laziness and depression are the main reasons why it became a symbol of Japanese kawaii culture and its popularity continues to spread worldwide.[4] Since the creation of this cartoon character, Gudetama has a media franchise including a toy line, comics, animated series, clothing apparel, product line, and other media.

Originally targeted at the preadolescent market, teens and adults related to Gudetama's feelings about the difficulty to survive in modern-day society.[3] Accordingly, the target group of Gudetama expanded to millennials and exports to China, Singapore, UK, and Korea began. Within two years of Gudetama's introduction, Sanrio has shipped nearly 2000 kinds of themed products in Japan from pencils to suitcases.[5] Meanwhile, Gudetama has its own Twitter account with 1.04 million followers, which is the most for all Sanrio characters.[6]

Background[edit]

Gudetama was created by then-26-year-old Sanrio designer AMY, real name Emi Nagashima (永嶋 瑛美, Nagashima Emi). The creation of Gudetama was inspired by an egg she was preparing for dinner after a long day at work. To her, the yolk seemed cute because of its droopy demeanor.[2] She felt that the yolk looked quite like today's young people – feeling tired about life. Therefore, she designed an egg character and built its personality to attract millennials.[7]

In 2013, Gudetama took part in a food-based competition held by Sanrio to inspire its designers and test out new characters.[8] Gudetama came in second, with the winner of the competition being a cheerful salmon fillet named Kirimi-chan. Even though Gudetama was less popular than Kirimi-chan in the beginning, it gained more fans and a higher market value than the salmon character.[9]

The Gudetama animated series made its debut appearance in 2014 in a TBS TV program called Asa Chan! (あさチャン!, lit. "Morning chance!"), a morning family news section that airs from 5:25 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.[10] Each episode of the Gudetama series and game segment only lasts for approximately one minute, and in 2017 Gudetama had nearly 1000 episodes.[11] To be more specific, Gudetama appears at about 6:54 in the morning every Monday–Friday and also appears in five-second news updates at 7:00 a.m. Asa Chan! viewers can also participate in a game called "Gudetama Chance!". Audiences can earn points by using their remote controls to select the correct card on the television. Those who collect at least 100 points between a particular time can receive a special present.[12]

Appearances and characters[edit]

Gudetama[edit]

Gudetama is normally a yolk of a raw egg with a butt crack with a darker yellow color. It has a head with no neck and a body with limbs, but no fingers or toes. Its eyes are drawn like two ovals, appearing lazy. It has a mouth with a tongue but no obvious teeth. Gudetama has no gender because it is an unfertilised egg. Often depicted laying on an egg white as a bed, while also using bacon as a blanket. Additionally, there are many other depictions of Gudetama corresponding to the various ways of cooking eggs.[13] Gudetama commonly appears as an unpeeled egg, scrambled eggs, a fried egg, a boiled egg, a sliced egg, an egg salad sandwich, eggs benedict, custard, mayonnaise, a century egg, and pastries made with egg. Gudetama also sometimes appears as eggs other than chicken eggs. Rarely, Gudetama manifests as non-food objects that contain eggs or happen to be the color of an egg yolk. Some methods of cooking cause cooking cause Gudetama's personality to change (see below). Gudetama can only be seen or heard by people who are feeling listless. Soy sauce is its favorite food and is one of the few things that can make it motivated. It sometimes uses its chalaza as a weapon by throwing it, but it usually doesn't do anything.

Rock[edit]

Rock (Japanese: ロック) is an egg fried with oil, so it has a gold crispy coat with the same face as Gudetama, with a faint star outline over one eye. It loves playing rock music, a hobby that forms after it is cooked with hot oil.

Hard-Boiled[edit]

Hard-Boiled egg (Japanese: ハードボイルド) is cooked as its name suggests, after boiling in hot water for more than 15 minutes. He is depicted as jaded and sometimes menacing, with "You'll get burnt!" for a catchphrase. Its face looks more like a mature adult with thick eyebrows.

Ikura[edit]

Ikura (Japanese:イクラ) is salmon roe. Because they appear in large numbers and all look the same, they often ask the question "What is individuality?" (Japanese:個性ってなに?).

Quail[edit]

Quail (Japanese: うずら) is the egg of quails, whose size is about a quarter of a regular egg. The quail yolk looks the same as Gudetama except the size, but the eggshell is colored in grey with black spots on the shell. Because its size is small, its voice is too small than no one can understand what it is talking about.

Guretama[edit]

Guretama (Japanese: グレたま) is an egg that has become spoiled. Guretama is a yellow grey color, is usually surrounded by purple stink clouds, and has an irritated expression. He is grumpier and more aggressive than Gudetama.

Ganguro[edit]

Ganguro (ガングロ) is a fried egg that became burnt, causing them to look like they are wearing ganguro-style makeup.

DJ Gudetama[edit]

DJ Gudetama (Japanese: DJぐでたま) a rapper egg born from being wrapped in plastic wrap. Delivers rhetorical despair to a rap beat. Rhythm is good, but the lyrics are backwards. It always lays on its music player and wears disco glasses.

Gyudechama[edit]

Gyudechama (Japanese: ぎゅでちゃま) is entirely different to Gudetama even though they both are yolks. It shaped almost the same as Gudetama, but it is colored with a lighter yellow and has pink cheeks. And its face is traditionally cute face of Sanrio style, which looks energetic and positive to the world. Compared to Gudetama, it appears to be more like a kid with no worries, with Gudetama being more similar to adults of this generation.[14] However, it is frequently shown that Gyudechama is just Gudetama exerting effort to appear upbeat to get soy sauce, before running out of energy and reverting to its lazy, depressed form.

Shakipiyo[edit]

Shakipiyo (Japanese: しゃきぴよ) is a chick returned from an unusually mixed fertile egg. He is covered with hairy yellow feathers with a pink egg shell as his pants. He believes he can fly (although Gudetama says that he can't fly, given the fact he's a baby chicken), and he is a positive and hot character. Gudetama feels oppressed and harangued by Shakipiyo's hyperactivity.

Human characters[edit]

Satoru

A university student who is a friend of Gudetama. Lazy and listless, he nevertheless resents being compared to Gudetama.

Yuri

Satoru's younger sister who is also friends with Gudetama. She spends a lot of time cooking to impress her senpai, Yuto.

Nisetama

Nisetama (Japanese: ニセたま, "Fake egg") is not an egg, he is a mysterious person with a thin face and orange whole body tights. He is good at movements like contemporary dance and he also performed the Gudetama themed dance.  By contrast, he is very cheerful and always encourage Gudetama to think positively about its life.

Inoue

A director who is trying to find the mysterious Gudetama, but to no avail due to the fact that he is too hardworking.

Dazai

College student who is disappointed both by everyone and in himself. Deems most things to be "shameful."

Yuto

Ditzy friend of Satoru with a surfer accent, he seems unable to see Gudetama, and so he often blames Satoru for Gudetama's mischief. Object of Yuri's affections.

A-Pyon

Popular with the boys, her beauty hides an insufferable quality. Frequently while attempting to do something cute, Gudetama will puncture her bubble with a biting quip, causing her to erupt.

Shiho

Co-worker with Satoru and the object of his affections, she is cute, but takes no notice of him.

Culture[edit]

Cosplay of Gudetama at Comikaze Expo in 2015

The culture factor associated with the popular trend of Gudetama can be conclude as two types: kimo-Kawaii culture and Food culture of Japan. These two cultures can explain the unstopping trend of Gudetama and reasons behind its popularity.[5]

Food culture[edit]

Gudetama is created based on an egg, while most characters in western are human characters. This is due to the difference between Western and Japan culture, food is treated in a higher situation in Japan than in western countries. Before Gudetama, various egg-based characters like Datemakiman (rolled sweet egg man), Chawanmushimaro (steamed egg pudding), and Tamagoyakikarou (fried egg retainer), famous food characters like Anpanman, a red bean superhero always says "Eat my face!". It is a combination of cuteness and humor, which also succeed in the previous days.[2]

In general, eggs in Japan have a rich social resonance, while new workers are always called "Tamago" or eggs, especially in work contexts. Nagashi Emi also says that the origin of Gudetama is the start-up breakfast for Japanese workers: tamago kake gohan (raw egg on white rice). To be more specific, eggs have rich symbolic and metaphoric potential in terms of the millennial workers that inspired its creation. Gudetama is only the yolk, not the entire egg, implying the selective nature of employment and capitalist valuation, which demands the best of people and discards the rest. Just like eggs, people in today's society are valued for what they can contribute to the society. Therefore, Gudetama has a strong social resonance and thus is able to earn people's love globally.[15]

In 2020, Nissin Foods released a limited-edition version of Top Ramen featuring Gudetama.

Kimo-Kawaii[edit]

Differing from other positive and adorable characters in Kawaii culture, Gudetama is more likely to be a symbol of Kimo-Kawaii (which means "gross-cute" or "creepy-cute".) Like other Kimo-Kawaii characters, Gudetama is the combination of cuteness but gross in some content.[16] Gudetama's kimo-kawaii shows through its depression, which causes it to constantly complain about its hard life.[15]

As for its art style, Gudetama is marked by its simple line drawing, in keeping with the motivation of anime for children, but which also allows easy mass production. The simplified facial expression of Gudetama, with slits for eyes and open mouth, make it seem like a ghost or lost soul from a Christian standpoint, which is why some westerners brand it as kimo-kawaii.[15]

Media[edit]

TV series[edit]

Gudetama series is broadcast in a morning news section on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings) called “あさチャン!” from Saturday to Monday.[10] Each episode only lasts for approximately one minute and up to 2017 it had nearly 1000 episodes. There are special stories about festivals.[2]

Music[edit]

The alternative rock band They Might Be Giants made a song called "Gudetama's Busy Days".

Video games[edit]

“Gudetama Tap!” is a game created based on the theme of Gudetama, it is a casual game or a collecting game.[17] The game is simple but requires long waiting time, while this game is mainly about use various recipes to cook different kinds of Gudetama. A recipe requires long hours to wait can cook rare Gudetama, and players are aimed to collect all kinds of Gudetama as they can.[18]

Gudetama show

Theme activities[edit]

The increasing love of Gudetama among children and young people in this generation leads to an increasing number of Gudetama-themed activities held around the globe.
In 2019, a small island in Sentosa got more than 800 Gudetama inflatables which were used to celebrated the annual Sentosa Funset.[19]

Products[edit]

Originally targeted at preadolescent market, it expanded to millennials with exports to the China, Singapore, UK, Korea, amongst others. Within two years after the introduction of Gudetama, Sanrio has shipped nearly 2000 kinds of themed products in Japan from pencils to suitcases.[6]

The Gudetama Airbus A321-200

High-end[edit]

In November 2016, EVA Air launched a new Sanrio-themed airplane with a Gudetama theme. It is an Airbus A321-200 which can carry 184 passengers: 8 business seats and 176 in economy. It flies between Taiwan and Tokyo. Pillows and chairs are painted with the picture of Gudetama with sunglasses on its hands, illustrating a leisure atmosphere of traveling.[20]

Cosmetics[edit]

In 2016, a Korean cosmetics brand called Holika Holika created a Gudetama themed cosmetics series. There are 11 products in this series, featuring faces of Gudetama on the products. [21]  Gudetama along with other Sanrio characters also appears on skincare products by the Creme Shop.

Establishments[edit]

Food from VILLAGE VANGUARD DINER x Gudetama OKAWARI

There are Gudetama themed restaurants in Japan, China, Singapore, and London. The restaurants are decorated with the style of Gudetama and provide various egg dishes with the face of Gudetama to the customers. In 2014, Village Vanguard Diner Lumine Machida opened a limited time Gudetama-themed café, offering themed cakes, burgers, pudding, etc.[22]

In 2016, Shoryu Ramen created a limited edition menu with dishes cooked to look like characters from the Gudetama series. Gudetama's face was painted on the bread of burgers and most of the dishes had egg as an ingredient.[23]

Clothes[edit]

In March 2016, Stayreal collaborated with Gudetama, and listed a few limited edition T-shirts, caps, cups, masks, etc.

In April 2019, Stayreal had a second collaboration with Gudetama, adding the female brand Rockcoco. The collaboration was centered around the theme “Lazy is the new busy”.

Seibu 30000 series gudetama small train

UNIQLO has collaborated with Sanrio to include Gudetama T-shirts.

Anwar Carrots has released Gudetama collaboration items such as bum bags, hats and shirts.

Train[edit]

In 2018, Seibu Railway created a Gudetama-themed train.[24] This train ran along Shinjuku Line and the Haijima Line from mid-August to November. It was then on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line until the end of December. The entire train was painted in yellow, with Gudetama's face on the front and back. Inside the train Gudetama was poking their head from the sides of seats and from above the racks. [25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Signing into eresources, The University of Sydney Library". login.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  2. ^ a b c d Hongo, Jun; Steger, Isabella (2016-01-02). "If Hello Kitty's Too Cheery, This Yolk May Go Over Easier for You". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  3. ^ a b "One of Japan's most popular mascots is an egg with crippling depression". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  4. ^ "Why the Lazy Egg, Gudetama, Is the Internet's Greatest Star". First We Feast. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  5. ^ a b Bonnah, Theodore (2018-03-06). "Kimo-kawaii Catharsis: millennials, depression and the empty healing of Sanrio's Gudetama". Japan Forum. 31 (2): 187–210. doi:10.1080/09555803.2018.1441170. ISSN 0955-5803. S2CID 148924770.
  6. ^ a b "10 Weird Facts About The Egg With The Butt: Gudetama". TheGamer. 2018-11-11. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  7. ^ "女子美術大学 【好き】は【力】". 女子美術大学 【好き】は【力】 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  8. ^ Abad-Santos, Alex (2017-04-03). "How Gudetama, a lazy egg yolk with a butt, became an unstoppable cultural phenomenon". Vox. Retrieved 2019-04-14.
  9. ^ "食べキャラ総選挙 ~食うか食われるか真剣勝負!~". 2015-09-26. Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  10. ^ a b TBS. "あさチャン!|TBSテレビ". TBSテレビ (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  11. ^ Machado, Leonor Sá (2018-10-17). "6 Interesting Facts About Gudetama, the Lazy Egg". Macau Lifestyle. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  12. ^ "Sanrio's Gudetama TV Anime Shorts to Premiere on Monday". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  13. ^ "ぐでたま | キャラクター | サンリオ". www.sanrio.co.jp. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  14. ^ "ぐでたまたち | キャラクター | サンリオ". www.sanrio.co.jp. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  15. ^ a b c Bonnah, Theodore (2019-04-03). "Kimo-kawaii Catharsis: millennials, depression and the empty healing of Sanrio's Gudetama". Japan Forum. 31 (2): 187–210. doi:10.1080/09555803.2018.1441170. ISSN 0955-5803. S2CID 148924770.
  16. ^ B, Rachel (2013-06-18). "Kimokawaii: Both Cute and Gross at the same time". Tofugu. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  17. ^ Pollack, Hilary; Studarus, Laura (2018-05-30). "The New Gudetama Game Made Me Realise that the Lazy Egg Is a True Millennial Icon". Vice. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  18. ^ Studarus), 劳拉·斯图达拉丝(Laura. "这款手游让我意识到懒蛋蛋才是这一代人的代表 | 异视异色|VICE中国|全球青年文化之声:世界在下沉,我们在狂欢". www.vice.cn. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  19. ^ Lim, Sean (2019-03-15). "It's cuteness overload: There are over 880 Gudetama inflatables at Sentosa now – and it won't cost a cent to see them". Business Insider Singapore. Archived from the original on 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  20. ^ "Relaxed Sanrio character brightens new plane from nose to tail". Tourism News | eTN.travel. 2016-12-01. Archived from the original on 2019-05-11. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  21. ^ "[MAKE UP] Holika Holika x Gudetama Collection!". UnitedKpop. 2016-09-27. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  22. ^ "最大5時間待ちの「ぐでたま」コラボカフェ第2段が1月26日(月)~ ヴィレッジヴァンガード ダイナー町田ルミネ店にオープン". valuepress (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  23. ^ "Shoryu Ramen x Gudetama | Eat and Drink". London On The Inside. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  24. ^ "スマイルトレイン10th×ぐでたま5th記念キャンペーン‐西武鉄道". スマイルトレイン10th×ぐでたま5th記念キャンペーン‐西武鉄道. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  25. ^ "Ride with Gudetama, Japan's famous lazy egg, in Tokyo". Ikidane Nippon. Retrieved 2019-06-05.