Our reporter also spotlights some of her favorites from across the kawaii eras of Hello Kitty, whose 50th anniversary celebration is next year.

It was only within the last week that McDonald’s Japan began offering a very special item in its Happy Meals. Diners can now obtain one randomly selected toy from a collaborative line of Hello Kitty plushies to celebrate the Sanrio mascot’s upcoming 50th anniversary. Our office was able to receive all 50 versions of the plushie as part of a press campaign, which left our Japanese-language reporter Ninoude Punico in particular feeling like she had just won the lottery. She promptly proceeded to take inventory of them all and choose her personal favorites.

▼ Commercial for the new McDonald’s x Hello Kitty collaboration

The first rollout of the plushies is happening now between December 15 through December 21. It features a a mix of 25 nostalgic designs, including classic Hello Kitty getups from her earliest years as well as other perennial favorites like Kimono Kitty.

● 50th anniversary limited edition Hello Kitty
● McDonald’s manager limited edition Hello Kitty
● Milk Hello Kitty
● Birthday bear Hello Kitty
● Black and white Hello Kitty
● Pink apron Hello Kitty
● Pearl Hello Kitty
● Summer Hello Kitty

● Kimono Hello Kitty
● Tennis Hello Kitty
● Ballet Hello Kitty
● Matsuri (festival) Hello Kitty
● Blue sea Hello Kitty
● Marine look Hello Kitty
● Wedding dress Hello Kitty
● Nurse Hello Kitty

● Pink ribbon Hello Kitty
● Rainbow fairy Hello Kitty
● Navy skirt Hello Kitty
● Colorful bear Hello Kitty
● Dalmatian Hello Kitty
● Strawberry retro Hello Kitty
● Botanical Hello Kitty
● Colorful bunny Hello Kitty
● Mini penguin Hello Kitty

The second rollout of 25 designs will be available between December 22 through 28. This round features even more nostalgic designs, plushies made from fashionable fabrics, and the fan-favorite Mermaid Hello Kitty.

● McDonald’s GEL (Guest Experience Leader) limited edition Hello Kitty
● McDonald’s first-generation uniform limited edition Hello Kitty
● Christmas Hello Kitty
● Normal Hello Kitty
● Baby Hello Kitty
● Honeybee Hello Kitty
● Strawberry bear Hello Kitty
● Pink quilted Hello Kitty

● Striped flower Hello Kitty
● Wings Hello Kitty
● Aqua blue Hello Kitty
● Flower fairy Hello Kitty
● Pink ninja Hello Kitty
● Strawberry Hello Kitty
● Violet dress Hello Kitty
● Honeybee bear Hello Kitty

● Heisei gyaru Hello Kitty
● Glasses Hello Kitty
● Houndstooth pattern Hello Kitty
● Teddy bear Hello Kitty
● Cheerleader Hello Kitty
● Tartan pattern Hello Kitty
● Mermaid Hello Kitty
● Popcorn machine Hello Kitty
● Itamae (sushi chef) Hello Kitty

After documenting all 50 of the plushies individually, Ninoude then began to pick out some of her favorite groupings and unique designs. She couldn’t help but pay a special homage to some of the earliest designs, including the original Milk Hello Kitty from 1974 that first graced the side of a vinyl coin purse the following year. Tennis Hello Kitty and Baby Hello Kitty also hold a special place in her heart.

She personally loved some of the designs from the early Heisei era (1989-2019) such as Pink quilted Hello Kitty and Pearl Hello Kitty, which both sport lovely flowers on their heads instead of the trademark bow.

Of special interest were the Heisei gyaru Hello Kitty, which showcases a distinctive schoolgirl style in Japan circa 1990s-early 2000s, and Summer Hello Kitty, which features a heavily tanned, hibiscus-wearing mascot reminiscent of another fashion trend from the same time.

Another unique inclusion is a mini-series of three plushies donning McDonald’s Japan uniforms: McDonald’s manager limited edition Hello Kitty, McDonald’s GEL limited edition Hello Kitty, and McDonald’s first-generation uniform limited edition Hello Kitty.

Ninoude couldn’t help thinking that the special 50th anniversary limited edition Hello Kitty is going to be one of the most coveted of the lineup, with the doll clutching a McDonald’s milk in one hand and the words “The Future in Our Eyes” written on the back of her head.

One thing she noticed was that the largely pink Tartan pattern Hello Kitty is the only plushie with two tags. The extra tag on this one notes that this particular Hello Kitty pink Tartan pattern is formally registered in the Scottish Register of Tartans. How cool is that!

Lastly, Ninoude’s personal favorite one is Popcorn machine Hello Kitty, with her blue uniform and bright pink popcorn bag.

She also wanted to share a few other good things to keep in mind for anyone looking to build a small collection of 50th anniversary McDonald’s x Hello Kitty toys. The plushies are about the size of an adult’s palm but small enough to make you want to display more than one at once.

All of them come with a small fabric strap that doesn’t provide a lot of elasticity.

Consequently, when attaching the plushies to a bag, it might be a good idea to use a carabiner to soften any direct jostling. Another potential use is to hang them as ornaments on a Christmas tree.

Finally, Ninoude notes that you really can’t go wrong with any of the 50, so place your order for a Happy Meal and look forward to whichever one you get.

Perhaps the best news of all is that after the two rollouts, beginning on December 29, all 50 versions of the plushies will be possible to score in Happy Meals for a limited time. If that isn’t the sweetest follow-up to the fast food chain’s Spy x Family collaboration earlier this fall, then we don’t know what is.

Reference: McDonald’s Japan
All images © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]