Beyond the Background: The Forgotten Twins

This is a picture of Hello Kitty, correct?

Mimmy_Image002

Wrong-o! First, weird that this is the 2nd mention of Hello Kitty on this blog in as many days, second, nope, this is not Hello Kitty. This is a picture of HK’s twin sister Mimi White (I’ve also seen her called Mimmy or once even Minny or Missy, but I hate indecision so henceforth I’m just going to call her Mimi to save time). What, you didn’t know Hello Kitty had a sister? Where’s Mimi’s merchandise empire? How do you share a womb with someone for 9 months and then get lost in that other person’s shadow? It’s for these Beta siblings that we devote today’s Beyond the Background to: The Forgotten Twins.
Let’s start with Mimi here: Who is she? What do we know about her? Well, for one thing, Mimi wears a yellow bow on her left ear while Kitty wears a red bow on her right, for another, she seems to be shy and has a slightly less outgoing personality then Kitty does, but they still seem to highly enjoy each others company, which could explain why she isn’t as famous as Kitty is: she seems to have social anxiety up the wazoo.

“My hobbies include playing with my sister, hiding and barely speaking above a whisper. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of IFC’s ‘The Birthday Boys’. Stop staring at me!”

Still, I imagine it must be grating to be less famous and less popular than your twin, perpetually stuck in the shadow of the person who’s your age and looks just like you. To be forever known as “That famous character’s twin”.
Hello Kitty and Mimi
Kitty: Maybe if we stopped dressing alike all the time, more people would notice you.
Mimi: Well, I’m not changing my wardrobe. I like this look!
Kitty: Well, I’m not changing my look either. Looks like we’ve got ourselves a fashion standoff here!
Mimi: Standoff? I hate confrontation! I’ll be hiding in the closet.
Kitty: Geez…
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Why can’t these 2 be famous in tandem, like another pair of twin Sanrio mascots, Kiki and Lala, aka the Little Twin Stars?
Kiki and Lala are a pair of celestial human (I think) children who were big in the 80’s. FTR, Kiki’s the blue haired one at the top, Lala’s the pink haired one at the bottom. True story: when I first heard these characters’ names, I thought Kiki was a girl with short hair, but I later found out that he is in fact a boy. I’ve never met a dude named Kiki, all right? But unlike Kitty and Mimi, these 2 are both the titular characters of their merch line and they’re both famous together as a team. No one twin is more important, prominent or popular than the other, and both are regarded as equally cute.
“‘Cute??'” Whatchu talkin’ bout, dude? I’m a stud!”
“Yeah, right, bro. Face it: your cheeks are just as pinchable as mine. We’re adorable, deal with it.”
 
There are other characters who share Mimi’s plight. Let’s look at Lin-Lin (aka Rin-Rin) from Capcom’s Darkstalkers video game series.
For those who don’t know, Lin-Lin is the twin sister of the Jiang Shi/Chinese vampire/zombie thing Lei-Lei (the more common Western names are Hsien-Ko and Mei Ling, but I refuse to call them that; Ling-Ling and Lei-Lei have more of a ring to them). The 2 of them actually comprise the Jiang Shi together, with Lei-Lei acting as the body while Lin-Lin takes the form of the talisman which adorns Lei-Lei’s hat.

That’s Lin in the corner…”

Because of this, most people assume that Lei-Lei is just 1 person (and we all know what happens when we assume…). We rarely see Lin-Lin in human form in the games, outside of ending cinemas and special moves. For example, Lin-Lin can occasionally separate from Lei-Lei for a super art, and in one of vampire Demtri Maximoff’s special moves, he turns his opponent(s) into female versions of themselves (or cuter versions of themselves for female opponents) right before emptying their tanks and feeding on them; for the twins, he splits the Jiang Shi into tween versions of the twins wearing adorkable pajamas.
Lin Lin & Lei Lei

The twins’ ending from Pocket Fighter

…And their Midnight Pleasure transformation. Aaaaawwwww.

Another forgotten twin is Skeeter, an original character created for Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies. Clearly not wishing to receive the same flack that NBC was getting for there being only 1 female on Smurfs, CBS created the character of Skeeter so there’d be another chick in the nursery besides Piggy. Personality-wise, Skeeter was the anti-Piggy: an athletic tomboy who sounded like Bobby from FOX’s Bobby’s World (not surprisingly, since Skeeter was originally voiced by Bobby creator Howie Mandel, later by Frank Welker when Mandel left the show).
“My brother’s still a nerd, BTW.”
 
Despite being popular with fans, Skeeter never officially made into the Muppet canon; AFAIK, it had something to do with ownership rights. I thought it would have been cool if Skeeter had been the new Muppet player to join the gang in the movie The Muppets, but alas it was not to be. To be honest, I’d have rather gotten Skeeter than Walter.
No offense to Walter fans, but he’s yet another dude. The Muppets need another male character the way Mike Tyson needs another face tattoo.
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Yet another forgotten twin is Mary Test, the quieter of Johnny Test’s genius twin sisters.

Gee, I wonder if this girl likes moons.

Mary is a teenage super-genius with a lab that she and her sis Susan share, where they concoct all sorts of cool stuff from robots to super powers, yet due to her gentler, more soft-spoken demeanor, poor Mary is often lost in the shadow of her bolder, more outspoken twin Susan, the yin to Susan’s raging yang, Mary is too frequently relegated unfairly to be player 2 to Susan’s player 1. She’s even ignored by Susan’s personal stalker, Eugene “Bling-Bling Boy” Hamilton.
“Yeah, seriously, what’s up with that? I know it’s just Eugene, but still it can bug a girl. Am I chopped liver? What’s wrong with me? Do I reek or something? Maybe I should start wearing shorts!”
 
However, in spite of (or perhaps because of) Mary’s ‘secondary’ status, she’s managed to amass a small fan following on the internet. There are even some Mary Test fanfics on fanfiction.net. I kid you not, look it up.
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And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the original forgotten twin, Luigi of the Super Mario Brothers.
 Luigi 2
“It’s a-me! Not-a Mario!”
 
Fun trivia fact: in Japan, Luigi’s original name was Ruichi, meaning”similar”, so he’s Mario’s twin in the truest sense of the word.
For many years, this guy was stuck in the role of Player 2, a perpetual second banana to his older brother, Mario, arguably the biggest game mascot of all.
“Ya think that’s bad? What about us? We get starring roles in Super Mario Bros. 3, we’re real popular with fans, then Nintendo introduces that nimrod Bowser Jr., and now we can’t even be called Bowser’s kids anymore. We’ve been reduced to minions! Freakin’ MINIONS!”
 
“Oooh, Thanksgiving dinner’s gonna be awkward!”
 
But Luigi’s one of the lucky ones; he’s managed to come into his own. He’s gotten a couple of solo game titles, Mario is Missing! and Luigi’s Mansion, he’s snagged himself his own princess, Daisy…
princess-daisy-mario-princess-daisy-princess-daisy-super
“We got to talking at a Less Popular Relatives party and hit it off. What can I say? Second bananas are hot!”
 
He’s gotten his own internet meme….

…And he’s even gotten his own year. Nintendo declared 2013 the Year of Luigi. Now that’s an accolade.

Mimmy_Image002

 “So where’s my year, huh? Let’s get on that, Sanrio! Oh, are you looking at me again? I’m hiding in the umbrella stand!”

Talkin’ Nerdy: Furry Confusion

If you’ve been following the news for past few weeks, you’ve undoubtedly heard or read the declaration made by Japan’s Sanrio company that’s shaken up the nation:

Sanrio’s mascot, Hello Kitty is NOT  a cat!!

“So what happens if I get sick? Do I go to a doctor or a veterinarian?”

In the words of Phillip J. Fry, “I’m shocked! SHOCKED!…Well, not that shocked.
The president of Sanrio goes on to explain that Hello Kitty is not an actual cat, but rather, she’s the personification of a cat. Her actual name is Kitty White. She’s a little girl, but no more an actual cat than Mickey Mouse is an actual mouse. Hello Kitty wears clothes. She stands, walks and talks like a human. She even owns a pet cat named Charmy Kitty.
He almost had up until he said that Hello Kitty owns a pet cat, but more on that later…
So going by that logic, then that means that Gumball Watterson isn’t a cat either, which he isn’t.
Gumball Watterson
Gumball is a human with cat like features. Gumball went “meow!” in one short and was seen hanging out with H-B characters Tom (of Tom & Jerry fame) and Top Cat in one of Cartoon Network’s 20th Anniversary spots, but those are the most cat-like things that Gumball has ever done.
For all intents and purposes, Gumball is an anthro, but definitely more human than animal.
Honestly, I think that fans outrage over this news is no more than a knee jerk reaction. After all, the practice of creating anthropomorphic animal characters who are essentially humans in animal guise is nothing new. Anybody remember this guy?

“Howdy, folks.”

Huckleberry Hound, despite his name and appearance, has done very few canine things in his long career. He was even employed as a dog catcher in one of his original shorts. He must’ve really needed the money.
Heck, among the most famous anthros of all time are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (granted, the Turtles were ordinary animals who were anthropomorphized through mutation, so they now can be thought of as at least part humanoid, although I’m still not feeling the idea of any of the Ninja Turtles dating human women.

“Humans datin’ anthros is sick! It’s an atrocimity!”

 Homophobia, perhaps? Or would the correct term be “bestophobia”? I honestly don’t know what to call sex between anthropomorphic animals and cartoon humans, let alone an irrational fear of such practices. It gets even stranger when you have anthro animals interacting with non-anthropomorphic animals, such as having anthros vising non-anthros at the zoo. Are zoos like insane asylums for cartoon animals? Or how about Mickey Mouse having a dog for a pet and also hanging out with Goofy, another dog?
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As previously stated, the likes of Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty and Gumball Watterson are not real animals, nor are the generic toon animal sprites in the now defunct video game Toontown Online.

“Check us out! In your face, natural order of things!”

…But even those characters are preferable to THESE animated abominations!!
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What has science wrought?!? Someone think of the children!!!
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The characters on PBS’ Arthur aren’t animals; they’re mutant humans with animal heads! The females have full heads of hair. They’re fully clothed. They have completely human anatomies (including human fingers and toes). They don’t even have tails. Sorry, but when cartoon animals are anthropomorphiszed to the point where they have human feet, then it officially has crossed over from being cute to creepy! animal heads on human bodies may seem endearing in a cartoon or a video game, but in the real world, not so much.
If you saw these creatures in your neighborhood, they’d soon be chased out of town by angry villagers wielding pitchforks and torches. Talking animals are fine when not being human is part of their shtick, but keep it in Cartoon Country, please.