In which mole—PROFESSOR MOLE—character predecessors—I can’t be coherent—but wow!
The other day when I was looking for notepads that Mr. B could use, I also ran across this one for a San-x character I always loved but never fully appreciated until now. And this deserves appreciation–there is a mole involved, after all. So let’s enjoy this Kireizukin Seikatsu notepad from 2009!
The very name of the series is a bit hard to parse at first. So one meaning of きれい kirei is clean, and if a person is fond (好き suki) of being clean and tidy we can combine the words to get きれい好き (kireizuki). But what if someone is the opposite of kireizuki? What if they’re just a kind of messy lazy raccoon who likes to basically just sit around?
In that case, we have a job for Mogura-sensei — Professor Mole! The good professor invented the kireizukin. A zukin is a hood or kerchief, and with the power of science, Mogura-sensei imbues it with a desire to clean (you can see the process below). Add to this the word 瀬活 (seikatsu, which means one’s daily life) and you’ve got Kireizukin Seikatsu — the pun is basically untranslatable, at least after my long day of work, but maybe we can call this simply Kireizukin Life.
Mogura-sensei brings out the zukin (“asleep again…”), puts it on and ties it — and soon our messy raccoon friend is instantly transformed to Kireizukin!
There’s more detail below. Top to bottom:
- Mogura-sensei: “How about cleaning up?” Kireizukin: “It’s too much of a pain…”
- Mogura-sensei: “Can you please pick things up?” Kireizukin: “I’ll do it later…”
- Mogura-sensei: “Go take a bath.”
- By the end, though, Kireizukin might have gone a bit far, wanting everything sparkly as new!
So not only am I just besotted with the cuteness here, but I also can’t help but think some of this seems a bit familiar. Due to their Japanese name and habits (there are few videos more heartbreaking than that one!) it’s not unusual to see a raccoon character with a cleaning theme. But I don’t know — the attitude of pre-zukin Kireizukin reminds me of Ashiaraiguma, and with the zukin they’re a lot more like Kokoroaraiguma, right down to getting hearts cleaned up too. It’s nice to think that at least older characters stick around in terms of inspiration.
I wish there had been more from Kireizukin and friends! You can find their official page here, and I was extra tickled to see not one, not two but three official videos on the San-x YouTube channel! In the first, we learn that the specific zukin alters what’s cleaned–blue is for scrubbing and red is for general cleaning, for example.
- I just like this style very much
- Cute bubbles and laundry stuff galore
- I would take any class the moley man offered
From my small amount of research, I think that there were four lines of merchandise for Kireizukin Seikatsu, the first from Feb 2009 (this notepad is part of that first group); the second from July 2009; the third from March 2010; and then they brought it back one last time in February 2011 with a much more pink, “shabby chic” type design I really like. Here Kireizukin gets the flower print zukin and takes up plushy making, including a polar bear and Hariyama the hedgehog (はりねずみ harinezumi — hari means needle). I’m guessing these changes didn’t have the desired effect on sales or whatnot, because I don’t see any merchandise released after that. What a pity!
If you happen to be reading this and have merchandise for this series you don’t want just happening to be lying around, please get in touch! I can’t resist this degree of moley goodness. I’m now holding out unreasonable hope that as characters like Kogepan and Tsugi no Hi Kerori get some long-deserved new recognition via the Nigichoco plush line….maybe there just might be some new love given to these adorable little ones? They could always go hang out with Kokoroaraiguma and Ashiaraiguma — I definitely wouldn’t complain!