If you’re keeping up with this season’s anime, perhaps Itazuraguma no Gloomy (GLOOMY The Naughty Grizzly) caught your eye. After all, it’s hard to ignore a cute, cuddly-looking pink bear with blood on his claws… If this season's anime is the first time you’re hearing about Gloomy, you might wonder what would cause someone to create such a thing in the first place! It can be hard to enjoy an anime when you feel like you’re missing key context. With that in mind, we’re here to shed light on the delightful mystery that is Gloomy Bear, and discuss his most recent incarnation in a series of anime shorts. It’s the Gloomy you know and love from the turn of the century – now in a modern gory animated glory.
If you’re looking for the riveting backstory to how this cute, murderous bear came to be, it is this: a young boy named Pitty takes in a little bear cub and raises him as a beloved family member. However, Gloomy is still a wild bear and attacks Pitty who never seems to learn and just laughs off being maimed. And that is it. Over and over, Gloomy and Pitty go from peaceful coexistence to predator and prey. Originally, these two characters were just illustrations on postcards designed by commercial illustrator Mori Chack
Gloomy and Pitty are the direct response of a sarcastic man to Disney and Sanrio characters. The adorable, friendly way animals and humans coexist in these worlds is a betrayal of the true, feral nature animals display even in captivity. Chack wanted to create characters that he felt showed a much more realistic relationship between a wild animal and a human while still aesthetically looking very cute. Being such a departure from both gruesome realistic depictions of violence as well as the fantastical illustrations of humans and wild creatures, Gloomy’s popularity rose amongst teens, kawaii culture fans, and musicians.
GLOOMY 20-Year History
The Gurokawa (creepy-cute) aesthetic developed around the time of Gloomy as others began creating illustrations, clothes, and stuffed animals of grotesque yet adorable characters – seen in J-fashion brands such as ACDC RAG, HYPER CORE, and the like. It gave rise to a whole fashion subgenre that can still be seen today as people mix edgy and gory elements with cute, girly coordinates. Things like eyeballs with bows, zombified versions of cute animals, and blood splatters as decoration are commonly seen with this aesthetic and a giant, pink, blood-stained teddy bear fits right in!
GLOOMY the Naughty Grizzly’s Appeal
Gloomy isn’t the first iteration of a cute animal being violent for entertainment. Happy Tree Friends is a great example of violent cute cartoons the internet ate up. These little woodland creatures going about their daily lives which somehow leads to violence and bloodshed. As the show became more fleshed out and characters became more distinct, more could be said about these strange animals and the series ran for 5 seasons. Gloomy has less in the character and narrative department, but his appeal as a cute bear with his brutal nature shining through is still entertaining!
Gloomy is a cute but not necessary reminder that wild animals should not be made pets. Most of us already know this, but we can appreciate the cute aesthetic of Pitty doting on his vicious pet and the pink monster attacking him. With only 1-minute-long episodes, there’s no reason you can’t jump in and get caught up! Gurokawa aesthetic fans will appreciate that there was no blood lost even after all this time! Maybe we’ll see some branching out with new fun scenarios and perhaps a wild bear buddy for Gloomy to play with to breathe new life into the story. Comment letting us know when you first heard of Gloomy!