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Japanese movie-goers are currently enjoying the third live-action Rurouni Kenshin film. The franchise is now a certified two-decade hit, debuting as a manga in 1994 before its 1996 anime adaptation and recent film trilogy, and it owes much of its success to the popularity of main character Himura Kenshin.

What makes Kenshin so compelling is that despite his formidable swordsmanship, he’s portrayed as consistently kindhearted and good-natured. In certain scenes, he comes off as downright cute, but Kenshin has never been quite as adorable as this stuffed animal of Hello Kitty cosplaying as the scarred warrior.

At theatres in Japan, you can purchase a wide variety of items to enhance your movie-going experience, and we’re not talking about the draft beer that most concession stands offer. Inside the lobby of most Cineplexes, you’ll find a store selling merchandise from currently showing films. Posters and programs are the most common items, but for Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, which opened last weekend, you’ll also find this plushie of Hello Kitty sporting the floppy hair, scar, and garb of Kenshin (plus her own trademark hair bow).

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Of course, every great hero needs a powerful villain to square off against. One of Kenshin’s most powerful foes is Shishio Makoto. Bloodthirsty and power-hungry, Shishio’s body is covered with burn scars, which are concealed by the layers of bandages wrapping him from head to toe.

And yet, somehow, Kitty-chan manages to make even that ensemble look cute.

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Large versions of the Kenshin Kitties go for 4,100 yen (US$38). Smaller versions can be had for 1,500 yen, which means that passing on the big version should let you pick up both stuffed animals, plus a notebook, and still have enough cash left over for some popcorn as you watch the newest movie.

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Sources: Hello Kitty Japan Facebook page, Twitter, Eiga.com
Images: Hello Kitty Japan Facebook page
[ Read in Japanese ]