So here's a sentence you probably didn't think you were going to read today: For the latest project involving beloved international icon Hello Kitty, the Sanrio company has launched a new webcomic that recasts Kitty as a strawberry-themed superhero called Ichigoman who fights monsters with the help of her giant robot. And in the first issue, the monster is an angel.

The manga comes courtesy of Toshiki Inoue and Shakua Sinkai (with Kitty's original designer, Yuko Yamaguchi, credited as well), and it's scheduled to update on the fifteenth of every month --- and you can actually read the first installment right now.

 

 

If you're worried about the language barrier, don't be --- for the first episode, at least, the story is presented without dialogue, meaning that those of us who don't speak Japanese can still catch up with the Hello Kitty Mech and its debut adeventure. There is, however, one weird little piece of linguistic trickery going on.

Kitty's superheroic alter ego, Ichigoman, is naturally named for her strawberry theme, with "Ichigo" being the Japanese word for "strawberry." That said, it's hard not to imagine that there's a connection there to Kamen Rider, as the first member of Shotaro Ishinomori's superheroic legacy is commonly referred to as Kamen Rider #1 --- with "ichigo" also being the Japanese word for "#1." It might seem like a bit of a reach, but, well, as Anime News Network points out, there's a motorcycle-riding character named Dark Grapeman (who may or may not secretly be Dear Daniel) that makes the comparison easy to draw.

Personally, I'm hoping that the story runs long enough to introduce Badtz Maru as the leader of Shocker.