Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Encyclopedia Drew and the Mystery of the Knock-Off Clock

(A narrative of obscured origins.)

Where to begin?

I have websites saved on my list of Google bookmarks that I cannot remember saving. Nor can I remember why I found it necessary to save these sites for later viewing. Like this: the Wikipedia page for the fictional card game Cripple Mr. Onion, which I saved on December 13, 2006. I have no clue why. I don’t play cards and I have almost no awareness of the works of Terry Pratchett, from which the game originated — and, for all I know, remains.

Other things have meaning, but I can’t remember why or how the entered my life. This post concerns this type of mysterious bookmark — specifically one concerning Cinnamoroll.

A quick Google search tells me — and likely you too! — that Cinnamoroll is a Sanrio character, which apparently means he exists in the same universe as Hello Kitty. I have almost no understanding of the Sanrioverse. In fact, the closest my personal universe has ever come to treading into this land of things anthropomorphic, big-headed, and relentlessly cheerful was a girl in my seventh grade class who had a Sanrio-themed pencil set. She was mocked ceaselessly, even after the pencil set stopped going to school with her.

Regardless of whether I acknowledge the Sanrioverse or not, Wikipedia tell us that Cinnamoroll is “a white puppy with long ears that enable him to fly, blue eyes, and a plump and curly tail that resembles a cinnamon roll. He starred in his own anime movie which was released in autumn 2007. Some people mistake Cinnamoroll for a rabbit because of his long ears and rabbit-like looks. Cinnamoroll was created in 2001.”

Somehow, I or someone who knows me stumbled onto a YouTube clip of a Japanese commercial for a Cinnamoroll toy. Now, I am not an eight-year-old girl, but to this day the toy looks like one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

Call it good marketing. I don’t know if it’s the jingle or the fact that doll seems to be powered by, among other things, a motorized ass, but I can’t help but think this toy must be amazing. If it had been available to a younger me, I would have demanded it and then told no one that I had it. Its mechanobutt would drive it to countless flips and twirls in my room — my own private dancer. Also, in my imagination of how this would go, it would sing the song from the commercial and move in time with it.

Somehow — whether before The Age of Cinnamoroll or during, I’m not sure — my house came into possession of an alarm clock that looks a hell of a lot like Cinnamoroll, though just enough unlike him that its creators would avoid a lawsuit. The alarm clock lives in Aly’s room, though knock-off Sanrio appliances aren’t really her thing.

One day last summer, while I was home and bored, I took photos and videos of various strange things in the house and included in the long list of subjects was the Pseudo-Cinnamoroll alarm clock. As a YouTube user informed me via comment, the clock is Korean, not Japanese, thus more points in favor of the theory that it’s a knock-off.

The video has been viewed 435 times since I posted it in July. This itself I find strange, that 435 people would sit through even a short video of an alarm clock making noise. But I must remind myself that people will watch anything on YouTube. Even the video I took to document our downstairs neighbor covering A Taste of Honey’s “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” which I posted under the title “not worth your attention, this video” and with no tags, still managed to get sixteen views. (Yes, she had no idea I took the video. No, you can’t see her in the video so I don’t think it’s creepy. Yes, all the sound was recorded from within the walls of my house, which means she was singing too loudly. And no, she doesn’t do a very good job, but that wouldn’t stop her from singing the song as loudly as she could — often repeatedly but sometimes alternating with “Son of a Preacher Man.”) No comments have yet clarified whether the character is supposed to be Cinnamoroll or just something that happens to look just like him.

I am personally unable to say which came first — the Cinamoroll clip or the clock — but both have been languishing on the Google bookmark list and I felt they needed to be freed and shared with the world. Spencer or Aly could probably talk me through how the house apparently became fixated upon them for a period, but until then, they shall remain parts of one of the stranger and more Asian-influences Encyclopedia Drew mysteries yet.

EDIT: The story has been clarified, not that any of you all were on the edge of your seats. Aly received the clock from a roommate some time before she moved in here. The Cinnamoroll video was found in an effort to look into what character the clock was ripping off. While Spencer was in Hong Kong, he took some photos of licensed, legal uses of Cinnamoroll’s image. He — she? — apparently shares equal standing with Hello Kitty nowadays.

Previous Encyclopedia Drew mysteries:

1 comment:

  1. My wife has some Cinnomaroll stuff, but I've never seen a motorized toy at an American store. That probably either didn't make it out of Japan, or it's one of those commercials like "Guess Who" where the toys are shown doing things they can't really do. For what it's worth, Cinnamoroll was originally marketed in the States as "Baby Cinnamon," but there was apparently some kind of legal complication over that name.