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On a recent trip to Korea, I walked by a doll store that had a very strange poster posted on the window. A couple of drawn mug shots of an extremely fat rabbit who was "wanted." Under it was written:
Name: MashiMaro
Stature: To be short...
Weight: To be weighty...
Now, I was totally confused after reading this. What was MashiMaro? Apparently, some person made a few flash movies on the internet and it just struck a chord with some of the younger people in Korea. The flash movies are really very strange, and I'm surprised that such a mainstream following in Korea came from just a few flash movies (Just 7 of them!). I had younger cousins who were practically begging me for the dolls I had bought. I came back to the USA with a few MashiMaro dolls, keychains, and a few shirts. It's not every day you see fat rabbits with broken beer bottles or using a plunger on a stopped up toilet. I figured I might as well buy them while I had the chance.

I can't quite explain what the flash movies are like here (they're quite strange), but if you want to see for yourself, here's a URL (Korean text support required, /msg me if they ever become broken):
http://my.dreamwiz.com/changul25/swf.htm
A pudgy rabbit created by Korean artist Jae Kim. The name MashiMaro is derived from his marshmallow-like appearance. If you pronounce MashiMaro with pseudo-Japanese inflections it will make more sense.This is also interesting because Korean culture is usually more influenced by Japanese pop culture than the other way around.

The animated shorts are pretty funny and fixate on strange, recurring props. The toilet plunger seems to be the main (often attached to the head of one of the other characters) one but toilets, beer bottles, and poop are other recurring themes.

The episodes (seven so far) all seem to revolve around MashiMaro stealing food from other animals either by fooling them or threatening them. He spits, breaks bottles over his head, and actually craps in a pond when a fish upsets him. In one particularly bizarre and inexplicable episode, MashiMaro explains a shadow on the moon by producing a toilet, using it (during which his face turns purple), and violently plunging it when it won't flush.

You can see him in action at http://www.mashimaro.co.kr in Flash animations. The site also sells a boatload of merchandise (surprise!) including a toilet seat depicting the little guy smashing a beer bottle over his head.I already ordered one. There are also several products depicting him wearing a Santa hat while riding a sleigh that is, of course, a toilet pulled by a bear with several plungers stuck to his head. I assume these were intended for the Christmas season but lingered on because a) they sold well or b)it makes as much sense as any other aspect of MashiMaro.

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