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Perhaps Hello Crab was a secret best left undiscovered.

As one of the most enduringly popular characters in Japanese pop culture, Hello Kitty has been influenced by (and sometimes even started) a number of effective merchandising strategies. Two of particular significance are the gotochi trend, in which souvenirs and trinkets are given a unique twist saluting the local community, and character kigurumi, in which a fictional character is depicted wearing some kind of cute bodysuit costume.

Both of those strategies are in play with a line of petite Hello Kitty figures that can hang from the end of your drinking glass, with Kitty-chan wearing a variety of kigurumi representing the wildlife of Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island.

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Available only at stores in Hokkaido, and with a manufacturer’s suggested price of 500 yen (US$4.50), each box contains a figure of Sanrio’s most famous cat dressed as an animal indicative of Hokkaido, with the possibilities including a squirrel, bear, owl, fox, or rabbit. There’s also a sixth, “secret” animal alluded to on the package.

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Following another common Japanese marketing technique, you won’t know which figure you’re getting until you purchase the box and open it up. So to make sure she got something she wanted, Japanese Twitter user @chocolatesity decided to pick up four boxes. The luck of the draw being what it is, three of those ended up being rabbit Kittys, but seeing how cute that particular version is, that doesn’t seem so bad.

But waiting inside the fourth box was the secret design…

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crab Kitty!

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At first, it’s hard to pin down just what makes Hello Crab so much freakier-looking than Hello Rabbit, but in the end, I think we can say it’s the legs. Sure, ordinary Hello Kitty may walk abound on two feet like a human, but if she wanted to, there’s nothing stopping her from moving about on all fours after slipping on a rabbit suit.

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The crab Kitty not only has far more limbs than a cat does, but its legs are arrayed in such a way that it would be impossible for Kitty-chan to have stuffed herself into a suit of that shape. No, the only explanation is that this is a figure of a vicious, carnivorous crab who has swallowed Hello Kitty whole, but simply not finished digesting her yet.

▼ Apparently Hello Kitty goes great with shredded daikon radish.

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If you’re interested in trying your luck at getting/dodging a bullet in avoiding crab Kitty, the Hokkaido animal series of Hello Kitty figures can be ordered in blocks of 12 here through Amazon Japan.

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s now pondering whether Hello Kitty crab would taste more like seafood or cat.

Source: Spotlight, Hokkaido Fan Magazine
Top image: Twitter/@chocolatesity
Insert images: Amazon Japan, Twitter/@chocolatesity (1, 2)