It can take a while to wrap your head around the concept of “character goods” in Japan. It’s a term used to refer to licensed merchandise such as notebooks, stickers and figures featuring the likenesses of fictional characters. What sets character good apart from plain old cartoon or movie merchandising, however, is that its characters generally don’t appear anywhere else, and are created solely for the purpose of having an excuse to produce their associated knick knacks.
It’s a tradition that was firmly established by Hello Kitty, and carried on by newer characters such as Rilakkuma. A blending of the words “relax” and “kuma” (Japanese for “bear”), Rilakkuma is exactly what you’d expect, a bear who loafs around, usually depicted in the prone position.
But what if the world had greater things in store for Rilakkuma than just yawning and eating stack after stack of pancakes? If humanity needed a savior and destiny called, could he be bothered to pick up the phone?