If one might say that production of a stop motion short seems to happen at a glacial speed, it’s hard to think of a way to convey the amount of time an entire stop motion television series takes. But if the end result turns out like “Rilakkuma and Kaoru,” it’s worth it. This supercute (yes, all one word in this case) new streaming series on Netflix premiered April 19th, and brings screen-life to one of Japanese stationery company, San-X’s, most beloved characters.
The story features Rilakkuma, “an endearingly lazy roommate,” as Netflix describes him, “who also happens to be a fuzzy toy bear,” during the 12 months he spends living with Kaoru after mysteriously turning up to enliven her mundane life. Besides Rilakkuma, Kaoru also lives with Korilakkuma (a small white bear cub) and Kiiroitori (Kaoru’s pet bird), exponentially increasing the amount of supercute adventures that can go down in this first season.
Rilakkuma’s name is a combination of リラックス rirakkusu, a Japanese transliteration of the English word “relax”, and クマ（熊）kuma, the Japanese word for “bear”. His interests are mostly limited to sleeping and eating, but San-X sometimes encourages fans to emulate Rilakkuma as sort of cure or treatment for stress. Perhaps this explains, at least in part, why we enjoy the series so much.