Hello Kitty with Puzzles and Dragons (2014) – Yuko Yamaguchi

Noah Weaver

Who’s who’s in Graphic Design Part 2 (projects)

Yamaguchi Piece 2


(Hello Kitty, Gungho Collab, 2014)



In 2014 Hello Kitty and Friends (Sanrio) and Puzzles and Dragons (Gungho) had a multiplatform collaboration (Gungho Admin). Puzzles and Dragons is a mobile based puzzle solving game where players clear candy-crush-esque boards to match combos and power up “monsters” that the player has assembled on the team. These monsters range from mythological references, to real world creatures, to other company productions such as Hello Kitty.

There are two main components in Puzzles and Dragons the dungeons and the rare egg machine. The dungeons are multi-sectioned and multi-floor-based challenges, built in a style to where to complete the dungeon fully (and receive a reward), players have to beat enemies that get progressively more challenging. The rare egg machine is a gacha-based way that players receive powerful in game characters. Players used collected in-game currency, magic stones, which they then use to “pull” a character from the machine, the potential characters available to be received are totaled up to 100% total of pulling, and then divided individually based upon their rarity, popularity, or strength (normally these go hand in hand). There is a guarantee that you will get a character from the list, however there is no guarantee that the player will receive the character they want, so they have to roll/pull multiple times to get the character they want. The in-game currency, magic stones, can be purchased with real world money.

Yuko Yamaguchi has been the shaper of Hello Kitty for the past 40 years, the head of the Sanrio character design team, and overseer of collaborations. In an interview, Yamaguchi said that when it comes to collaborations, Hello Kitty needs to have some form of benefitting from it, because that is “just good business” (Sakurai, Kohji). Yamaguchi was wise to choose this collaboration with Gungho because it benefits both companies and Hello Kitty in multiple ways.

People who enjoy hello Kitty will download Puzzles and Dragons to play with their favorite characters in a different format. People who enjoy Puzzles and Dragons could potentially play the promoted Hello Kitty World, or become more interested in Hello Kitty, or have a new way of expressing their already formed love of Kitty. By collabing with one another, Puzzles and Dragons, a game with over 52 million downloads worldwide, and Hello Kitty, a beloved known franchise that has over 1 billion dollars in sales, both have forms of gains. Gungho gains new players through Hello Kitty fans, most will only play a short time, but some will stick around. Sanrio, and Yamaguchi gain the digital platform Puzzles and Dragons has in the gaming market. In addition to that, Hello Kitty, which is normally seen as a thing for girls, is breaking out of her associated “norms” and gaining new people who are interested in her and will buy her products. Players who really want the special Hello Kitty character will have to roll multiple times and hope they get lucky (with the less than 2% chance of being rolled). Most likely they’ll have to spend more money on stones to get her, which goes right into the pockets of Gungho and Sanrio.

Yamaguchi has realized an important thing; collaborations are important to the lifeblood of a company. They stir up new interest, provide something for the customers to get excited about, and introduce new things to people. Beneficial to everyone involved if successful, which Yamaguchi always ensures it is.



Cited Sources

Gungho Admin. “Hello Kitty And Friends Now Available In Puzzle & Dragons.” GungHo, Gungho, 27 Jan. 2014, www.gunghoonline.com/news/hello-kitty-and-friends-now-available-in-puzzle-dragons-2/.


Sakurai, Kohji. “Interview: Third Hello Kitty Designer Yuko Yamaguchi [1/2]: Featured News: TOM 

Shop: Figures & Merch From Japan.” Featured News | TOM Shop: Figures & Merch From Japan, 1 Jan. 1964, www.otakumode.com/news/53856f4a935d07d66400069c/Interview-Third-Hello-Kitty-Designer-ko-Yamaguchi-1-2