MikkiMausu, thanks for posting that!^^ All I remembered from the original Disney Bear story was the relatively uninspired plot and the longer storybook version that looks like cut-and-pasted clip art with trite character cameos. The artwork on the tag version is actually quite as beautiful as Duffy artwork in Japan, although less detailed and lacking original costumes and characterization. Plus, that tag has a lenticular effect that showed real investment.
Maybe someone really did believe in the Disney Bear at first. Duffy the adventuring sailor was only born because the character was anchored at DisneySEA. Had he not required the connection to the ocean, we probably never would have gotten it. It's truly a serendipitous turn of events. I guess what I find so frustrating is that, now that it's happened, the creative artists who made it all come together aren't being celebrated the way they deserve to be and the quality standards they've set and surpassed in Japan aren't being upheld elsewhere. The artwork in the original story, though, proves that DLR and WDW are more than capable of making beautiful magic with Duffy. It's just a question of whether they choose to or not.^^