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Tweet of the Week #116: Pui Pui Molcar Driving Twitter Wild

Why is a Japanese children's cartoon about guinea pig cars so popular?

By 3 min read

Take a break from 2021 and escape into a world where cars are cute and fuzzy guinea pigs, exploring the world with big round eyes and innocent faces. That’s the premise of the latest Japanese stop motion animation, ‘Pui Pui Molcar,’ broadcasted by TV Tokyo.

The storyline explores all the situations cars face daily—traffic jams, road littering—teaching young (and not so young) viewers some life lessons. The name is cute too. “Molcar” is a combination of the Japanese word for guinea pig モルモット (morumotto) and “car.” “Pui Pu” (プイプイ) is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sounds guinea pigs make.

The children’s show is stealing hearts all over Japan and is a big hit in Taiwan too. The animation’s official account already has over 280,000 followers and grows with each episode. Maybe it’s a sign that cute things help relieve stress! The show’s characters, Potato, Shiromo, Choko, Abby and Teddy, have even inspired creativity online.

The #モルカー hashtag

https://twitter.com/_iyuha/status/1351122638568042500?s=20

最近さいきんすっかりハマってしまったPUI PUI モルカーのシロモちゃん!可愛かわいすぎて羊毛ようもうフェルトでつくった!

針金はりがねれたのでポーズや表情ひょうじょうけられます。シロモちゃんえらい沢山たくさんレタスべてね…

“Recently, I’m completely into Shiromo, from Pui Pui Molcar! It’s super cute and made from wool felt.

Since I’ve put some wire in it, I can make poses and facial expressions. Shiromo eats a lot of lettuce.”

From DIY puppets to fancy bento boxes, tweeps are sharing amazing things with the hashtag #モルカー. Shiratama, more exactly “shiratama zenzai”, is a sweet winter dish made with azuki red bean soup and mochi (rice cake) dumplings. User miso_haru_  loved Pui Pui Molcar enough to turn the mochi into tiny guinea pigs.

白玉しらたまモルカー…!!

“Shiratama molcar!”

Guinea pig mania

10年じゅうねんぶりぐらいのキャラべん

モルカーのつもり♡

“My first character bento in almost 10 years. For the purpose of making molcar!”

念願ねんがんのモルカークッキー…

“My dreamt Molcar cookies…”

You can find many more cute tweets with the hashtag #モルカー. If you’d like to see the show yourself,  BANDAI NAMCO Arts Channel shares new episodes weekly for international viewers, but they’re only available for a week until taken down and replaced by the latest episode.

Understand the slang verb ハマる

Gemu ni hamatte yofukashi shite iru.

If you’ve never heard the verb ハマる, fear not. It’s slang and slang expressions tend to change over time. Still, it’s one of those words that good to know if you want to speak Japanese. Plus ハマる isn’t impolite. You can use it freely in conversations.

はまる originally means “to fit into,” “to be fitted for a job” or a “door fitting in a door frame.” But over time, a new meaning appeared: “to be into (something)” or “to be addicted (to something).” Basically, addicted, or to geek out over a new passion. In this case, the verb is most often written in katakana (ハマる). A good formal synonym to know is 夢中むちゅうになる, or literally “to be taken by a dream.”

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
ハマってしまる hamatte shimaru can’t help but be into
可愛かわいすぎる kawaisugiru too cute
針金はりがね harigane wire
10年じゅうねんぶり jyuunen buri ten years ago, it’s been ten years
ぐらい gurai almost
つもり tsumori purpose (for), intention (with)
念願ねんがん nengan heart’s desire, dream
夢中むちゅうになる muchyuu ni naru to be into something

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