It’s that time of year again: time to find out which of Sanrio’s many adorable characters reigns supreme in the eyes of fans. If you’ve been paying attention for the last two years, the answer won’t surprise you… but the race to third place might.
The annual Sanrio Character Award counts up millions of votes to determine which of the company’s more than 450 eligible characters is the fan-favorite each year. This includes not only big-name characters like Hello Kitty and Keroppi, but also lesser-known characters like KIRIMI-chan. and crossover characters like yoshikitty. Nearly 26.5 million people cast their votes for the 2022 poll, totaling up to 124% of last year’s turnout.
Taking the top spot for the third year in a row is Cinnamoroll, with nearly 2.9 million votes. The hat-trick coincides with the character’s 20th anniversary:
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Coming in second is Pompompurin, who has held a spot in the top three for the last eight years running. He racked up nearly 2.4 million votes:
In a surprising twist, Kuromi took the third-place spot this year… surpassing her rival My Melody for the first time ever in the rankings:
Pochacco and My Melody round out the top five.
Sanrio’s collaboration with Seishun☆Shuwashuwa Club mascot Syuwatti took first place in the poll’s “Partner Division,” which ranks the many collaborations between Sanrio characters and the mascots of companies and local governments. Their collab with musical group MSS Project came in second, followed by Cinnamoroll’s team-up with Welcia pharmacy mascot Uetan.
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Starting June 16, Sanrio shops across Japan will be offering thank-you gifts in the form of limited-edition tote bags filled with character goods, as well as a 15cm sticker of Cinnamoroll’s victory art.
More gifts and collaborations are planned for the summer. Japanese emoji app Simeji has made stickers of the top three characters available from now until July 3, and Tanita will be offering digital scales emblazoned with art of the top ten most popular mascots.
Character merch lotteries are also expected to kick off at 7-11 and Ito-Yokado stores across Japan this autumn.
© ’22 SANRIO S/D・G S/F・G SP-M
Source: Anime! Anime!
Kara Dennison is the book reviewer for Sci-Fi Magazine and a regular features writer for Otaku USA Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @RubyCosmos, and read more at KaraDennison.com.