“ Brand: Sanrio / Type: Wall Calendar „
One of these days I might grow out of liking cutesy childish things, but hopefully not any time soon! I'm a big fan of Hello Kitty and love the huge range of accessories and trinkets that are available. There seems to be a lot of Hello Kitty merchandise available on the high street at the moment, and I received this funky calendar as a gift at Christmas. It was originally selling for £9.99 which is pretty darn steep in my opinion, but now that we are already 6 weeks into the year I have seen them being sold off for half price or less in shops such as W H Smiths. Go and grab a bargain while you still can!
Product description: "Hello Kitty was born in 1974 in London. She is very energetic and loves to play outdoors, in the park or in the forest. But she is just as happy playing the piano and baking cakes.
Hello Kitty symbolises innocence, kindness and above all friendship.
Her favourite thing is to do tea parties and her hobbies include listening to music, reading, baking cookies and making new friends, as she says "you can never have too many friends".
Hello Kitty is a popular cartoon character created in 1974 by the Sanrio Company of Japan. Hello Kitty is a white, mouth less female kitten that lives in a seemingly perfect world. In the mid-1980s Hello Kitty mania swelled and she became one of the most prominent and recognizable Japanese characters on Earth, found on everything from handbags to bath towels. This amazing 2011 Hello Kitty Official Calendar will make your year complete."
Because there are such a vast number of rip-offs and fake Hello Kitty items, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you are buying a genuine authentic piece. The easy way to tell is to check the item you are buying and see if there is a Sanrio mark on it. Sanrio is the company behind Hello Kitty and pals, so if you're looking at the real thing it should have their mark on there somewhere. In this case this is an authentic product and is licensed by Sanrio / Danilo.
The calendar has a large square shape and is quite a decent size for hanging up and displaying on a wall. There is a double page spread for each month, with one page featuring a full colour image and the other page featuring the days and dates. The dates are marked out in small circular dots which means there is not really enough space to be writing in appointments, but is ok for making brief notes. Underneath the dates in a list of public holidays for that month. Each month is introduced by the header "Hello...." January / February / March and so on, in a bold text that makes it stand out.
The printing is of a very high quality with a crisp look and the paper is nice and thick with a good feel to it. They have used quality materials for this product and it should certainly last me through the year. The only problem I've had so far is on the month of January, where my calendar was hanging only from the front page which had been lifted up. After a few weeks it had weakened from the suspension point and the top of the page tore through causing the calendar to fall down. It seems fine now that the page has been doubled up for February, but it probably could have been helped by using a hole punch re-enforcer to keep it in place.
The styling of this calendar is strongly themed and the colour scheme and background patterning runs through the entire calendar, flowing easily from month to month. It has a very bold and strong look that is eye catching and really stands out. It is mainly pink and black coloured with neon acid bright colours which makes it a little more edgy than the typical cutesy Hello Kitty merchandise. This one would be a bit better suited to little punk princesses!
Some of the images and designs used become a bit repetitive throughout and there is not much variety from month to month. There is a comic strip style that runs through the calendar, although it is hard to tell if there is some sort of story going on. There is a lot of busy patterning in the backgrounds and these are simplistic graphic designs such as polka dots, stars, stripes and checks. There is not much detail to the pictures and they stick to a simple clean cut line design. I do like some of the months better than others and I must admit I've had a sneaky peek right the way through instead of waiting to turn the page each month!
Month by month:
January - January features a close-up picture of Kitty's face in a fight style scene with comic style "POW POW POW" wording. The year's only just begun and she's getting herself into trouble already!
February - February features a full picture of Hello Kitty with a cheeky pose, finger to her lips saying "No way!". Maybe she has received a Valentine from an undesirable suitor?
March - March features a split-screen effect with four different images and lots of crazy patterning. This one's a bit eye dazzling.
April - April features a cute looking Kitty face on a candy coloured background with a "Kaboom!" speech bubble. Who knows what devious plans are lurking behind that innocent face?!
May - May features a more involved action scene with Hello Kitty running away calling for help. Silly Kitty, she should be more careful!
June - June features a small comic strip of Hello Kitty getting into even more scrapes. If it is possible, this month is even more pink than the previous ones!
Centrefold - Oo-er! The centre of the calendar features a double page poster with another comic strip. This could be removed from the calendar and enjoyed after the year is over.
July - July features a multi-tonal background with Hello Kitty in a seated pose. This is more like the classic Hello Kitty style.
August - August features a sad Kitty crying and saying "This could be really bad!". I was particularly disappointed with this as August is my birthday month and now I am going to have to look at her teary face when I should be having a good time!
September - September features a pop art Kitty in different colours. This is a cool picture and I think I will keep this one to use separately as a poster.
October - October features a despairing Kitty, who is looking rather tired now. Maybe she is worn out from all these crazy adventures.
November - November features Hello Kitty inside a speech bubble in a similar seated pose that was the picture for July. Come on guys, that's just a bit lazy!
December - December features a black and white comic strip and has some of my fave pics from the whole calendar.
Overall I really like the look of this calendar, but it's not as cheerful and light hearted as I would have expected from a cute character like Hello Kitty. It has a bit of a trippy feel to it with the colours and patterns, and some of the cartoons are a bit dramatic considering it's aimed at children!
I think girls of all ages would love this, especially Hello Kitty fans of course! There are some practical issues but it is lovely to look at and a good fun looking calendar that certainly adds a bit of cheer to my day when I am doing a boring routine thing like checking my calendar. This is a lovely calendar that is well made and looks adorable. It's a perfect gift for any Kitty fan, or buy it now as a reduced price(!) treat for yourself. A nice simple way to brighten up your day, Hello Kitty will see you through the year in style!
My 8 year old daughter's bedroom seems to be slowly morphing over time into a "Hello Kitty" themed room, with bright pink walls and carpet and a bold print Hello Kitty duvet and pillow set, with various accessories and pictures dotted around the room. It wasn't difficult then, when it came to choosing a calendar for the coming year, to see that this bold, bright crazy calendar was perfect for my daughters bedroom, and would look great as well as serving a practical function.
The calendar is nice and big, and definitely makes a statement when on the wall. The calendar opens out so that the top section displays a picture of Hello Kitty, and the whole bottom section is a calendar and organiser, with a Monday to Sunday format. The calendar days are in white circles, or bubbles, and this allows you to write memos or reminders on it. There is not a lot of space on each day, but it is ideal for a child to help them see when things are happening. I notice that on this month (Jan), my daughter has marked out in pen the end of the school holidays, special activity days at school, and planned days out. This helps her to have a visual aid to when things are happening, rather than having to pester me about it! National holidays, like Bank holidays and Christmas, are not marked on the actual date, but rather, in very small white writing on the bottom of the calendar page. This makes the dates quite hard to see at a glance, and I think they would have been better displayed on the actual date, like on a regular calendar, as it is good to see at a glance when Bank holidays are coming up. It is a bit of a design flaw, but only a minor one, as this is a kids calendar, so they won't be as bothered about these things. Each month says "Hello January"...February etc, at the bottom of the page.
With a Hello Kitty theme, there are several styles that the maker of the calendar could have explored, and I think a lot of people may expect a subdued, pastel, cutesy calendar, with various scened on it. This is not the case with this calendar. The whole calendar is themed on a bright pink and black colour scheme, with the odd bit of yellow and green appearing here and there. The background to each page is a different psychadelic pattern mix, which could consist of dots, stars, stripes or checks. The pictures of Hello Kitty herself are very bold, and mainly black and white, apart from a bright pink bow, which gives a strong contrast to the patterned background. The pictures have a very Japanese cartoony style to them, which is fun and crazy. The pictures mainly consist of a large image of her face, with a speech bubble saying something like "Wow!" in bold lettering.
The centre pages of the calendar contain a poster, which you can pull out after you have finished with the calendar. Again, it carries on with the "pop art" theme, and consists of a bright pink background covered in stars, with 4 images of Hello Kitty with various different facial expressions, which are very simply done, but are really good at conveying her emotions! These type of pictures are great for kids to draw and copy, as they are really easy to draw, and we spent an afternoon together copying some of the pictures from the calendar onto paper with our felts and crayons. The images are also perfect for tracing.
The cover of the calendar is shiny, both front and back, and you can see the front cover in the picture above, which gives you a good impression of the style of the calendar throughout. The back cover shows pictures of each months images, which means if you are buying it in a shop you can see what is on each page. However, I bought the calendar from Amazon, so didn't know exactly what to expect, but I was really happy with what I got.
The calendar would appeal to girls from a very young age, right up to the teens, although anyone who likes Japanese style cartoon images would like this, even adults! It really brightens up a room, and is lots of fun. As I have mentioned though, the only real downsides for me are that the bubbles are very small to write down information in, and the national holidays are not displayed very clearly. Some of the pictures are a bit wacky and odd, like some drug induced hallucination, but the whole effect is a stylish, bold and fun calendar to see us through 2011!