A roly-poly bear with red cheeks and white eyebrows recently appeared on a TV program in China, which can mean only one thing: Kumamoto Prefecture traveled six years back in time and ripped them off!

Lucky Bear is a character which appeared on the Anhui-based television show called Get Lucky! Win! Win! Win! recently, endearing everyone with its cuteness and bright smile. However, images of Lucky Bear have spread online and many are comparing it to Kumamoto’s famous mascot Kumamon.

Sure, there are some differences: Kumamon is black and European-pear-shaped whereas Lucky Bear is brown and Asian-pear-shaped, but pretty much everything else about these two are strikingly similar — right down to the slit-like pupils of their eyes. However, one key detail shows just who is copying who!

As we can see in these images, Lucky Bear’s fabric is rather shoddily draped over it’s wired frame. On the other hand, Kumamon has a more seamless look to it. This must mean that Kumamon is using mascot costume technology that is years ahead of Lucky Bear. Now, this may seem odd since Kumamon was “created” in 2010 and Lucky Bear only came out a few weeks ago, but there is a rational explanation for this.

Clearly, seeing the potential of such a bear, in the future Kumamoto Prefecture will develop a method of time travel to allow it to return to 2010 and create their own version of Lucky Bear. And following Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure rules of time-travel, this has already happened.

This bear they would call Kumamon was aggressively promoted to make sure it gained notoriety in time for Lucky Bear’s appearance. They did this by allowing Kumamon’s likeness to be used by anyone free of charge as long as they promoted Kumamoto Prefecture. As a result, that bear’s smiling face popped up on nearly every conceivable object known to man from doll’s dolls to tatami mats.

So, by the time 2016 rolled around Kumamon had already been crowned the first Yurukyara Gran Prix Champion, been featured on Last Week Tonight, met Keanu Reeves and blossomed into a literal billion-yen industry. It was a scheme so improbable and devious, it’s almost completely impossible to believe, and everyone is buying into Kumamoto’s originality, judging by online anti-Lucky-Bear comments from China and Japan as reported on the website Shanghaiist.

“The real bear is at a disaster area, where people were devastated by a earthquake, and you do this?”
“How shameless can you be?”
“Not only is it an imitation, but it looks so ugly too. Really, I’m dying of shame.”
“We can’t let our Japanese friends know about this!”
“You are still carrying out this blatant copyright infringement? Where are your morals? You’ve already been exposed on Japanese media, you had better shape up.”

As intellectual property laws are woefully not up to date with regard to wormholes, stargates, or any other manipulation of the space-time continuum, Lucky Bear’s only option is to capitulate and promote Kumamoto Prefecture or get slapped with an infringement suit. I guess it’s not so lucky after all.

Source: NetEase (Chinese) via Shanghaiist (English)
Images: NetEase