Instagram and SNS are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding good art and following talented content creators. We’ve certainly taken note over the years, whether it’s stylish paper cutouts or capturing Japan’s hidden side. There's a lot worth enjoying.

More recently, we noticed some moving work by Instagram illustrator tacomaru (IG: tacomaruchandayo). She recently posted this work:

"Three apples. She is a ballerina kitty."

The wide-eyed figure is like a young female counterpart of Hello Kitty. As you can see, there are three apples in the picture—a sly tip of the hat. Hello Kitty, for those unaware, is known to have a height of "five apples" and a weight of "three apples."

Followers reacted to the cute illustration:

  • “A ballerina kitty?! It sounds sweet!”
  • “This makes people who love cats happy.”
  • “Wow, Hello Kitty! I want to see other Sanrio characters too!”

Indeed, Hello Kitty is famous, but Disney animated movies are also popular around the world. As Japan is no exception, I suppose it is hardly surprising that tacomaru incorporates the classic characters into her creative work.

Reproduced with permission from tacomaru (IG: @tacomaruchandayo) {image cropped}

“Keeping a secret from the prince.”

If you view the whole image, you'll see that tacomaru’s take on the Disney princess Cinderella is a bit risque. I feel like this is a scene from the fairy tale's sequel. After settling down with the prince, Cinderella can spend a little more time lounging around the house and enjoy being herself.

2,293 people liked her Instagram post and reacted:

  • "I've never eaten chocolate-mint ice cream, so I want to try it this summer. This Cinderella is too pretty and what she’s wearing is so shiny! How moving.”
  • “Wow, it’s too cute.”
  • “She looks like a girl at the beach.”

Indeed, the artist’s rendition is something of a modern take. Pretty cool.

A Studio Ghibli couple

tacomaru has released other modern-day takes on animated characters. This couple, for instance, is from the Ghibli movie Kiki's Delivery Service.

“Cheese! Kiki's Delivery Service with a winter theme.”

It looks like things are heating up between the two. As I recall, they didn’t even hold hands during the movie. This selfie is a bit more intimate, however.

Her followers reacted:

  • “Awww!! My heart skipped a beat! They are so cute.”
  • “I love this couple.”
  • “Wow, it’s their latest digs and they look as cute as possible!”

Indeed, tacomaruchandayo does a good job playing off followers' sense of nostalgia. Many commenters admit her work is moving for them. Fans also found another illustration to be particularly striking, especially given the pandemic:

“(To those who couldn’t enjoy a typical summer last year) When I lamented that summer was over and we hadn’t done anything, my husband told me that, ‘Summer will also come next year’, and he’s right. Recently, it has been warm, and I suddenly remembered this. There are once-in-a-lifetime summers, and there are summers you look forward to next year. [Boy: Our summer will come next year.]”

As you can see, this couple is wearing Yukata, which are unlined cotton summer kimono worn in casual settings such as during summer festivals and trips to the shrine. Typically, couples in Japan celebrate summers as best they can. However, the pandemic forced many to cancel plans in 2020.

Indeed, it's a bummer to have such a quiet summer. However, this post helps me remember these tough times won't last forever.

Many followers found similar encouragement from this post. They reacted:

  • “I hope next summer will be nice and Japan can hold the Olympics.”
  • “It’s a great thing to have fun spending summer together.”
  • “I want to make a boyfriend like him by next summer. Lol”
  • “Awwwww! This is the best.”
  • “Your husband is nice. I want to enjoy fireworks and festivals this summer.”

If you'd like to see more of tacomaru's work, you can follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Fans can also place orders directly with the artist, so why not spend a bit for an original piece of your own. Enjoy!

By - Luke Mahoney.