I have 20 teddy bears, including five small ones so it’s an understatement to say that I don’t love them. That’s why when two super cute plush bears appeared on Office Girls, it made me love the drama all the more, if that was possible at all since I already adore it.
A friend on Weibo was the one who pointed out they were Rilakkuma bears. Rilakkuma? Nanda sore? Then I found out that it’s a character licensed by San-X, the rival company of Sanrio, and that aside from Rilakkuma, there is also Korilakkuma appearing on Office Girls.
The name Rilakkuma (or Rirakkuma in Nihongo) came from the words “relax” and “kuma” (bear). Rilakkuma debuted in 2003 and as of last year, was said to be the fifth most popular character in the land of kawaii.
I don’t know if it was a stroke of genius or merely a business tie-up with San-X, but Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma are very similar in characters with Qin Zi Qi and Shen Xing Ren so putting them on the show adds a new dimension to the characters.
Rilakkuma has been lying around Xing Ren’s house since the drama started, which is kind of similar to how the bear mysteriously appears in the apartment of Kaoru, also an office lady, in the Rilakkuma story. Korilakkuma, on the other hand, was bought by Zi Qi at a shop in Danshui after his first “date” with Xing Ren. She gave it to him instead because he seemed to like it so much.
Rilakkuma is described as a happy-go-lucky, lazy bear who loves to relax and lie around, doing things at his own pace. Very Qin Zi Qi deshou? Korilakkuma on the other hand is quite naughty and loves to play pranks on Rilakkuma. This somehow reminds me of the playful relationship between Qin Zi Qi and Shen Xing Ren though it was more QZQ who loved to prank on SXR.
It’s so cute how the bears have woven themselves into the Office Girls narrative especially when either Zi Qi or Xing Ren talks to the bears (Rilakkuma for her, Korilakkuma for him). Even if they are usually seen lying around or being hugged by Qin Zi Qi in his sleep, the kuma pair has become part of the story.
When I was in Taipei two months ago, Rilakkuma was everywhere, from Ximending to the nightmarket as game prizes. Of course there were San-X shops selling the real thing and I was lucky to stumble into one so I brought home my own Rilakkuma-Korilakkuma/QZQ-SXR bears.
Trivia: Rilakkuma has a zipper on his back while Korilakkuma has a red button on her front.
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