While the characters were originally created by American Greetings in 1981 for use on greeting cards, the Care Bears helped me get through childhood. I still own the original stuffed animals and plan on keeping those for a long time and, eventually, give them to my own children. I can still remember my first visit to the dentist in which I took Brave Heart Lion with me because I needed to be brave. I would sleep with Good Luck Bear before a big event (mostly soccer games) when I was in elementary school and I almost always slept with BedTime Bear. When I was 5, my mom made me a Cheer Bear costume because she was my favorite. We went trick-or-treating together (my mom as a pink bunny) and I got mistaken for a baby bunny so many times that I started to cry.
Yes, the Care Bears and I have many fond memories.
Now, the above Care Bear is probably one that you have never seen before and, sadly, for all you none Japanese residents, may never see. Despite the franchise losing popularity, key elements like the Cloudmobiles, Caring Meter, the Cloud Keeper, and even Care-a-Lot castle are all but a memory as they have been replaced by a tree, and the fact that the current Care Bears look nothing like the Bears I have come to love, the Care Bears continue to spread happiness and messages of caring and sharing around the world.
One Bear that is doing this in Japan is Sweet Sakura Bear.
Released in 2009, Sweet Sakura Bear is shy and modest and delivers a unique message created specially to reflect the values and symbols of Japan. The heart-shaped sakura on her belly was inspired by the annual blooming of Japan’s sakura. She strives to teach that each season has its own beauty to treasure and the importance of savoring and appreciating the splendor of every passing moment.
Jun made me very happy by buying her for me♥