When I visited Hong Kong a few months ago, I reported back on the Disney products I saw there–many of which involved extremely cute, Asianized versions of the characters. I was sort of embarassed (OK, totally embarassed) to admit it, but I liked them.
Now those cute characters are invading the U.S., under the inevitable name of “Cuties.” (Cutie Minnie also seems to be known as “Go Minnie”–Disney appears to be marketing her as a Hello Kitty alternative.)
I saw some Cuties clothing during a recent trip to Disneyland, and this site offers a variety of items.
How come I’m not appalled by this development? I like simple, clean graphic design, for one thing, and the Cuties certainly provide that. (On some strange level, they feel like they reach back to the early, simple, appealing 1930s designs.) Also, I’m intrigued by Asian culture, especially when it riffs on American culture. And it’s not like more typical modern Disney merchandise is graphically appealing–a lot of it is just plain ugly. So going another direction doesn’t feel sacreligious.
Or maybe me liking them is just evidence that I’m going soft in my old age.
In any event, I’ll sure take these characters over the Loonatics.