Maru the Cat: In Profile, and in Boxes
Maru (Japanese for round) is a straight variety Scottish fold from Japan who achieved internet stardom via Youtube back in 2008 when millions of viewers discovered him sliding across the room and into boxes. Since then he has become an unknowing international celebrity who charms the world with his antics: he is most famous for hopping in and out of boxes, rolling around in sinks and bathtubs, dressing up, exploring his home, and playing with his owner and various toys.
Although Maru's owner's face is never seen and her voice is never heard, her hand has appeared many times to taunt Maru and to pet him from behind the camera she wields. Maru's home is apparently affluent, sporting many rooms, hardwood floors, couches, a full kitchen, and some semblance of a yard for him to play in - all high-end luxuries in a country such as Japan. The equipment used to film Maru has been high quality since the beginning as well, suggesting that Maru lives a life of pampered adoration.
Maru in Media
Maru's primary form of exposure is his Youtube Channel, mugumogu. His owner updates with a new video about once a week. The editor (probably his owner) is also semi-fluent in English and translates all descriptions and titles into English for those who can't read or understand Japanese. Currently there are over 200 videos of Maru on Youtube, and his channel is the seventh most subscribed to in all of Japan.
Many photobooks of Maru have also been published, most under the moniker "I am Maru", or "Maru Desu" in Japanese. Thus far only the first one has been translated into English and released in the English speaking world. A DVD of some of Maru's "greatest hits" has also been released in Japan, and there is currently a 2012 calendar available.
As an engaging character, Maru's success in Japanese media (and of course, beyond) is understandable. Many people appreciate a cute, playful cat with a curiosity-streak that can't be beat. Maru's positive personality infuses his viewers with warmth and produces smiles all over the world. Even the most hardened of cat-loathing hearts have been thawed by Maru's recorded antics. When the Great Tohoku Earthquake struck Japan in March, 2011, many concerned fans flooded Maru's owner with questions regarding not only her safety but also Maru's. Thankfully Maru was safe, although preparations were made for an evacuation.
If there is any cat in the world that can bring a smile to somebody's face and brighten their day, it's Maru. If there is any cat in the world who exudes such friendliness that it's apparent anyone who wanted to could pet him, it's Maru. While other internet-famous cats have come and gone, Maru has carved himself a very lucrative niche and now enjoys the love of millions around the world - and he doesn't even know it!
Have you heard/seen Maru before? What is your favorite Maru video?