Thursday, January 25, 2007
THE HEAVY BURDEN OF SQUARE PANTS
Poor SpongeBob. He can't go anywhere in Japan anymore without being snapped up and hung from keychains and fashionable young arms, flaunted on shopping bags in the heady company of Hello Kitty and that other new face, the blue dog.
Time was - and not too long ago - when no one here in mangaland had ever heard of SpongeBob SquarePants, or would want to. He was practically seafood, for cute's sake! He had that spaced-out smile and his own cartoon, lived in an undersea pineapple and was starkly non-Disney, which was a big plus, but even so... Then he made the big mistake of going to Viacom and getting carefully orchestrated for Japan.
Some creations get the bad breaks; I've been fortunate. Even though my name is Bob and I wear pants, I've managed to stay under the radar and avoid keychains and the sides of shopping bags, haven't popped up in knickknack stores here in Japan for 30 years because I'm not cute, I'm not a sponge unless I'm broke, and my pants aren't square. Also, I have always refused to live in a pineapple. But just in case, I'm staying well away from Viacom. No one will ever say of me: "I thought it was a piece of cheese at first."
Posted by Robert Brady on Thursday, January 25, 2007