If you live in, or have visited Japan, or any stateside Anime Convention in the last few years, you’re probably familiar with Gloomy Bear. At first glance Gloomy Bear looks just like any other stuffed bear, until you see the blood.
My first encounter with Gloomy came a few years ago while wandering the aisles of the Gee Store in Akihabara. A friend pointed him out and said “Check this out, this is Gloomy Bear, he’s really mean to this kid, but the kid just keeps on loving him.” The kid’s name is Pity, and he does love Gloomy Bear and, I have to be honest, so do I.
The story goes that Gloomy Bear was abandoned as a cub and is found and taken in by a boy named Pity. Pity loves him and cares for him, raising him from this point forward. At first Gloomy is cute and cuddly but as he grows his more instinctual side takes over and he does what any adult bear might do to a human, he mauls the freaking crap out of him. And so it goes, Pity loves, Gloomy attacks, over and over again.
So you may be asking yourself, “What sick mind created Gloomy, and Why?!” Well, Gloomy Bear was created by Mori Chack a graphic designer born in Osaka, Japan. He created Gloomy as the antithesis of the fluffy cuddly characters that are pumped out by companies like Disney and Sanrio. Chack believes that animals are wild by nature and would not mix well with humans the way they are portrayed to in many cartoons and movies, and frankly, he’s right.
But beyond the logic and shock value of Gloomy Bear there’s just something really cool about him. Even if he’s not covered in blood, just the sight of his claws lets you know who’s boss and that has certainly resonated with people. Sales of Gloomy merchandise have been strong in, and out, of Japan for years and continue to be boosted with new types of bears, including robo-gloomy and camouflage-gloomy, and with notebooks, mugs, giant fluffy wearable arms, etc it just keeps going.
Have you got a Gloomy Bear of your own? What are some of the reactions you get when people “meet Gloomy”?
I keep an original pink Gloomy Bear on my desk at work, complete with blood, because he’s cool and because I love the reactions from co-workers when they realize what’s dripping from him. “Hey cute bear you’ve got th…HOLY CRAP! Oh man that’s awesome!” Yeah, it is awesome, and if you don’t think so, well, you can take it up with the bear.