Move over Hello Kitty, there's a new adorable Japanese character in town for full-grown adult Angelenos to obsess over. L.A. was super excited to welcome Rilakkuma, the cuddly, lazy bear and his friend Mamegoma the seal as they made their U.S. arrival Thursday night at the official Rilakkuma Weekend V.I.P. Launch Party. The event, held at Space 15 Twenty's Umami Burger, kicked off a weekend of Melrose pop-up shops, parties and promotional specials from the eatery (through August 22nd) as part of the San-X Rilakkuma Weekend.
Guests at Thursday's party indulged their inner child with delicious burgers, rainbow sprinkled sweet treats and a meet and greet with a real life Rilakkuma. Some really got into the spirit of things, like the Harajuku girls with multicolored hair who donned princess-like party dresses and Rilakkuma bear hats, kind of like the Japanophile's answer to Comic-Con. As demanding as it is being the guest of honor, the life size plush bear cub took time out of his busy schedule to pose with fans for photos. With the introduction of the Rilakkuma posse, it looks like the Sanrio crew is about to have some steep competition.