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  1. #1

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    Question Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    LOL, ok, I couldn't resist that pun...sorry.

    Ahem, anyway, it seems like Universal Studios Japan has taken notice of Duffy's success at Tokyo DisneySea and they want a little of that success themselves. So, they have created their very own "Duffy" character. It's not a bear at all. In fact, it's a new Sesame Street character who is supposed to be Elmo's new friend. His name is "Moppy", and it appears the character was developed there, and is a park-exclusive character.



    There is an origin story with Elmo, and Moppy has his very own store where you can...buy Moppy goods! Hmm...and you can have your picture taken with Moppy.

    Here's the press release about the character.

    News & Topics:UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN(R) SITE

    This was done during USJ's 10th anniversary...but I only just now found out about this character.

    Here's the official Moppy site.

    ƒGƒ‹ƒ‚•ƒ‚ƒbƒs[bUSJ

    There are a couple of interesting and innovative things they have done with Moppy. The first thing is that the walkaround character has a heart shaped pad on one paw, and a star on the other. If you place your cell phone on the heart pad, it sends special messages and wallpapers to your phone. The star mark does something too, but I'm not sure what. The second thing is the "lucky mirror" inside the store. Each day a guest is chosen who has looked into the mirror to get a lucky surprise. This can include special passes to attractions to skip the line, or special hat, or whatever the random system gives out.

    Other than those 2 things, this character does seem to be a very similar idea to Duffy, including magically coming to life. I'm not quite sure Moppy will have anywhere near the success that Duffy has, but it's very interesting to see other companies try it. Even Disney tried it themselves with UniBEARsity.

    Personally, I'm not fond of the name...it's generic and seems like a throwaway name. Also, the character itself doesn't look too interesting. They should have let Sesame Workshop design the character. Even Abby Cadabby is cuter than Moppy.

    So...what do you guys think of Moppy? Can He give Duffy and ShellieMay a run for their money?
    Last edited by gurgi; 07-20-2012 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Realized that Moppy is a boy...

  2. #2

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    Moppy is.... ummm... eww. I don't like him/her/it.

    Traditionally, Sesame Street and its characters are specifically aimed ay very young children (ages 2-6), so if they're trying to take on Duffy/Shellie May... yeah, good luck with that. Teddy bears are a little more universally acceptable for adults as well as kids (for the most part).

    But most Gen-X adults today embrace the old school Sesame Street characters (Big Bird, Grover, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Bert & Ernie, etc.) with fondness. And there's nothing wrong with that. I even have volumes 1 and 2 of "Old School Sesame Street" on DVD (back in the 70s and 80s when they didn't dumb it down).

    But I know in Japan they go nuts over anything that's "cute". I don't think Moppy is cute. And a friend of Elmo's? That gets a big PASS from me because I personally can't stand Elmo (I want to wring his little red neck he annoys me so much).

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    As far as I can tell, the palm pads both have the same function: touch to get a message and text mail decorations. Also, I think there is only one winner at the Lucky Spot every day. At 2:00, someone is chosen as the "Lucky Winner." They get to wear the hat, and when staff see them wearing the hat, they do fun things like letting them hurry through lines, etc. I could be mistaken, but I don't think there are any "runner-up" benefits other than the "fun" of measuring your luck for the day. It seems just like you're either the Lucky Winner or you're not.

    I have to say that I am not a fan of either the design or the name. If they wanted to keep it about luck, they could have just called him "Lucky" or even "Lukky," if they really needed to be so blatant. Or, keeping that sickeningly pink color, they might have called him "Gummy" — that's even got the "u!"

    Still, I can't help being impressed with the Lucky Spot/Mirror/Winner/Hat integration. That is truly innovative and would really make for an exciting day of memory-making, assuming the USJ staff really do go all out to make the Lucky Winner (and their "lucky entourage"^^) feel special. It's a really neat idea, and I actually wish the Bear of Happiness & Luck had done it first.

    The palms, too, are brilliant. How cool would it be if Duffy gave out seasonal messages and deco-mail designs when you meet him in the park!? I'd that!! I don't really dig the asymmetry, though. I think I'd be more pleased with the design if he had stars and hearts all over his body (instead of just spots). If there weren't only two of them, but they were a random part of a random mix, I think it might be okay.

    I also think it's funny that his pen has "bear ears," while Moppy has no visible ears at all. I can't understand why, after conceiving of the Lucky angle so well, they didn't go back and redesign the look and name to fit with that. This gap is what calls my attention to the feeling that Moppy started with simply wanting to be a "Duffy-me-too." He could have easily been more than that, with some of these impressive innovations. It's a shame, though, that I just can't see him any other way.

    On the plus side, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," and for all his potential, the main effect Moppy has for me is to underscore the awesomeness that is Duffy.

  4. #4

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    Some of the art is very unattractive (I think the one Gurgi posted is the worst picture, even though it's the one they used in the press release). I think the actual Muppetlike character is kind of cute (I'm a sucker for open-mouthed smiles, and that is one giant smile!). That doesn't mean I'd ever get one, but part of me still wants to hug him.

    Were they saying the actual Duffy-like plush versions are limited edition? I didn't see a price for the standing Moppy on the press release and didn't see him at all on the website.

    Given the pink color and apparent target audience (possibly teen and younger girls, judging by the press release), I'm not quite sure why they made him a boy. Not saying boys can't be pink, and maybe it's different in Japan, but I think very few American boys would be caught dead with such a thing...and I think even fewer American parents would buy him for their sons. Or does the Elmo tie-in mean he has to be a boy, since a female friend for him might be awkward? (In which case, I wonder why he's not red or blue or green or something.) I just don't get why they'd go out of their way to make Moppy so unappealing to the average boy, unless boys really don't like Muppets and plushies? As Aimster said, Duffy has a much wider appeal.

    I'm not loving the name but I'm not Japanese; maybe it tested well with their target audiences? From the post title I seriously thought Universal had a mop character!

    "Lucky" would have been a very nice name, but a pink Pokémon (Chansey) is also "Rakki" in Japanese so I'm not sure if that might have caused problems or not. Then again, it's not like you can copyright a word, and presumably Japan isn't as litigious as ours...

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeee-va View Post
    Were they saying the actual Duffy-like plush versions are limited edition? I didn't see a price for the standing Moppy on the press release and didn't see him at all on the website.
    No, it's the plush strap designed by Becky that's limited edition. Here's Becky in a Lady Gaga-inspired Moppy dress:



    And here's the plush mascot strap she designed:



    It looks like "designed" may just mean sticking on colored rhinestones to achieve maximum garishness. Even Moppy's own eyes appear to be tearing up from the spectacle. I imagine you could get the regular Moppy in the park and adhere your own rhinestones to achieve pretty much the same effect.

    There's not a standing plush, but the standard size "M" one is ¥3000. You can see a very small image on the official site. This image is a little better, but it's of an apparently sold out (?) "S" size:



    They still sell the "S" size for ¥1800 and the "Mascot" for ¥1800, so I don't know what that "Sold Out" is about, except to create hype.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeee-va View Post
    Given the pink color and apparent target audience (possibly teen and younger girls, judging by the press release), I'm not quite sure why they made him a boy. Not saying boys can't be pink, and maybe it's different in Japan, but I think very few American boys would be caught dead with such a thing...and I think even fewer American parents would buy him for their sons. Or does the Elmo tie-in mean he has to be a boy, since a female friend for him might be awkward? (In which case, I wonder why he's not red or blue or green or something.) I just don't get why they'd go out of their way to make Moppy so unappealing to the average boy, unless boys really don't like Muppets and plushies? As Aimster said, Duffy has a much wider appeal.
    All of this is absolutely my thinking, too. "He" instantly looks like a female character, especially when you see the naked walkaround with the other muppets. It really feels like the only reason he's male is because Duffy is. While making him male may have given him wider appeal, the bubblegum vomit design scheme isn't even going to appeal to the widest demographic of girls. The design seems highly targeted and I can't help wondering if the character wouldn't feel more natural as a female fairy or sprite or something.

    Of course boys can be pink, and pink is actually a favorite color of many (perhaps even most) boys in Japan, even though it is also a girl's color, too. (Side note: If you don't already know, do a little research and you'll discover that pink was the traditional boys' color and blue was considered feminine until very recently, even in the West. It changed during WWII and aftermath.)

    Although gender politics and definitions are different in Japan, I think it's equally true that parents are unlikely to buy Moppy for their sons, and also that sons are not going to want him. Following that thought, one thing I've noticed about ShellieMay's very subtle pink is that it is not off-putting to boys and lots of boys like her as much as Duffy. The Duffy design team, even when they went all out last Halloween (the most over-the-top design they've ever done) never, ever cross the line into making Duffy and Shellie into campy characters. Those same "over-the-top" designs also transformed into very quaint, traditional autumn harvest plaids. Understanding the timeless cross-marketing potential of classic design elements and high-quality details, again, is what defines authentic Duffy. Everything else is a pale (or eye-meltingly glaring) imitation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeee-va View Post
    I'm not loving the name but I'm not Japanese; maybe it tested well with their target audiences? From the post title I seriously thought Universal had a mop character!

    "Lucky" would have been a very nice name, but a pink Pokémon (Chansey) is also "Rakki" in Japanese so I'm not sure if that might have caused problems or not. Then again, it's not like you can copyright a word, and presumably Japan isn't as litigious as ours...
    Yeah, I just can't stand the name. It's too bad, too. There was definitely a way to do this that would have made this character fresh, exciting, and undeniably original. The real-world park innovations are seriously impressive. I want to love him. He could have been something that really appealed to the same part of me that Duffy appeals to (well...no, probably not, actually^^) and made me really want to go to check him out at USJ (for sure, definitely^^). But the execution reminds me a lot of how I felt after watching The Princess & the Frog: You can see that the very simple money-grab concept developed into something that had real potential, but the creators never went back to fundamentally redress that simplistic concept and make sure that all elements were refined into something truly beautiful. The result in both cases, to me, borders on (or crosses into) offensive in its audience-insulting presentation.

  6. #6

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    I feel that this Moppy will be a hard sell because unlike the Duffy the nostalgia people hold with a classic teddy bear won't be there. It's hard to relate to a scary pink fuzz ball.

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    Quote Originally Posted by phaster View Post
    …It's hard to relate to a scary pink fuzz ball.

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    I do think this character has a much more limited appeal than either Duffy or ShellieMay. Even if it's a boy, it's clearly aimed at the "office lady" crowd. Maybe that's an outdated term, but from the appearance of the character and the way he's marketed, It seems like they want the single ladies living at home with a big disposable income to be the main target. I think they're (Universal) hoping that these women will buy up anything cute. It's definitely pink overload, in a park where there is already pink...I mean they have a Pink Panther store...so, now there are TWO stores in the park entirely devoted to pink characters...

    At least Pink Panther is classic, and appealing.

  9. #9

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    Now that you have posted pictures of the actual product ... does Moppy have measels?

    Duffeteer Society of Tenders, Artists & Romantics
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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    Not much to say other than....yeesh. That is one scary...thing....O.o

  11. #11

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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    I have one thing to say to this
    Name:  untitle.JPG
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    Re: Universal Studios Japan wants to "Moppy" the floor with Duffy!

    Not really my cup of tea, I love Sesame Street and all the classic characters - even Elmo has a small place in my heart after watching a documentary about the guy who puppeteered him (Kevin Clash) - but to me Moppy looks pretty generic in design.
    The interactive features are pretty cool though, maybe Tokoyo Disney Sea could do costumes or jewellery for Duffy and Shellie May with similar technology? Or they could use RFID in a costume to make parts of the park interactive with the bears when they go past (like the Kim Possible game at Epcot!).
    Doesn't make me want to visit USJ!

    Oh and am glad that USJ are not literally mopping the floor with Duffy - scary thought

    Photos from Flickr

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