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New Sanrio character lineup Marumofubiyori unveiled at expo

New character Moppu is pictured here lounging with companions Gyoniku, left, and Kanikama, right, at the Sanrio Expo 2017 in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, on Feb. 4. (Mainichi)
A variety of new products bearing Sanrio characters are seen along a wall at the Sanrio Expo 2017 in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, on Feb. 4, such as Pom Pom Purin, My Melody, Kuromi, and Hello Kitty herself. (Mainichi)

Hello Kitty producer Sanrio Co. brought the popular character and her friends together at an expo for businesses that opened in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward on Feb. 6, and introduced "Marumofubiyori," a new lineup of pals featuring a bear who is always wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket.

    Sanrio Expo 2017 is showcasing the products and designs bearing the names and faces of Hello Kitty and her friends set to be released this year by Sanrio. The event is open to the media, potential buyers and business partners. The Mainichi was invited to a special pre-opening event.

    Sanrio's new "Marumofubiyori" lineup announced on Feb. 3 consists of Moppu the bear, who got the nickname for resembling a mop by always wearing a blanket on its head, and two plush companions, a crab named "Kanikama" and a fish named "Gyoniku." According to Sanrio, the bear isn't fond of going outside and lives with an older sister who works at an aquarium.

    A comic strip starring Moppu and co., titled "Marumofubiyori," is set to appear in the July 2017 issue of the popular girls' comic magazine "Ciao," published by Shogakukan Inc.

    Moppu and friends will join the already large lineup of Sanrio's popular characters. These include not only Hello Kitty herself, but also My Melody, Little Twin Stars, Pom Pom Purin, who celebrated his 20th anniversary in 2016, and Cinnamoroll, who celebrates his 15th anniversary this year.

    Another favorite, Gudetama, the lazy egg, also appeared on many of this year's new products, most notably the egg's very own line of soy sauce produced by Shoda Shoyu Co. The character is also featured in a cosmetics line with the Korean cosmetics brand Holika Holika.

    From stationery, apparel and electronics to medical and food products, all the way to collaborations with fashion designers, the exhibition featured the many ways fans can anticipate meeting Hello Kitty and her friends in their daily lives when the new products hit the shelves.

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