Two years ago, I came across these cute cat-themed doughnuts from Floresta, a doughnut shop chain in Japan. I had no idea how much the world of cute animal-themed doughnuts had grown since then until I read this recent post on Kotaku. The answer: It has grown so very much.
The kingdom of animal doughnuts—or doubutsu doonatsu (どうぶつドーナツ), "animal doughnuts" in Japanese—includes far more than just cats: you've also got bears, pigs, frogs, owls, dogs, cows, and then some.
Former Floresta employee Ikumi Nakao, who helped create the animal doughnuts, opened her own animal doughnut-centric shop Animal Doughnut of Ikumimama last June. If you live in Japan and can't get to the shop in Kawasaki, you can order them for delivery online.
Unfortunately, the trade-off for cuteness may be flavor. One of my friends who recently visited Japan tried an animal doughnut at Floresta and said it didn't taste very good. Have any other SE'ers tried Floresta or Ikumimama?
The popularity of cute animal doughnuts cannot be contained within the realm of the edible. Last August marked the release of Donyatsu, a manga series focused on a cat doughnut-looking creature named Donyatsu ("nya" is "meow" in Japanese) and other animal pastry-looking creatures. This past June, the manga got turned into an anime series. It's...it's something. Watch the animated shorts below:
Donyatsu Episode 1
Donyatsu Episode 2
If anyone who understands Japanese can fill us in on what the story is behind Donyatsu, do tell.
Update: SE'er (and former SE intern!) Emily Koh tweeted this translation to me:
1st story is about playing catch with Japanese word game shiritori, but Bagel just sucks at throwing balls.
2nd story is Donyatsu and Bagel are too engrossed in video games and Ronya gets mad bc they promised to go shopping.
Ronya is all, "Oh, BOYS! Hmph," and finds the easiest way to bring them to the dept store. Amazing. Hahaha.
With the release of manga and anime also comes merchandise—figurines, cell phone accessories, notebooks, stickers, and more. Serious fans surely can't miss out on the limited-edition, combat-ready, gatling gun-toting Donytasu.
But wait, the world of non-edible cat doughnut products has returned to the world of the edible! There are now doughnuts based on Donyatsu characters (aka Donyatsu doonatsu). Yes, doughnuts based on an anime based on doughnuts. These doughnuts will be available for a limited time starting August 15 at SBY in Shibuya 109 in Tokyo and Osaka for ¥200 each.
And now, some of my favorite Animal Doughnut of Ikumimama photos, just because.
About the author: Robyn Lee is the editor of A Hamburger Today and takes many of the photos for Serious Eats. She'll also doodle cute stuff when necessary. Read more from Robyn at her personal food blog, The Girl Who Ate Everything.