There is something uniquely, heart-meltingly soothing about the act of a baby or small animal nibbling on your finger. It’s one of the cutest, sweetest things ever — a blessing of pure cherubic warmth. I get that, I really do. And I’m reminding myself of that over and over as I watch GIFs of this animatronic cat plushie play-bite a disembodied human digit on a loop, and try not to scream like Marilyn Burns’s Sally getting her finger gummed by Leatherface Sr. Sr. at the end of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
Its downturned mouth; its stoned, droopy eyes; its robotic, emotionless glub-glubbing. I hate it. I fear it. I... also kind of love it? World, meet Amagami Ham Ham.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it — The stuffed animal developed by robotics startup Yukai Engineering has quickly earned a reputation at CES 2022 for being what many outlets are calling the weirdest gadget at the show this year. Now, I’m not there in person due to that whole pandemic thing going on, so I really can’t confirm that there aren’t weirder objects on display (there probably are, somewhere) but it’s safe to say Amagami Ham Ham is up there. We’ll let the website’s slogan speak for itself:
A nibbling mouth / insert your finger and / oh, it feels good.
If that message has been made stranger in the process of translation from Japanese to English, well, you’d never know it going off the accompanying shots of the plushie in action. The toy comes in two designs: calico cat and Shiba Inu.
The idea behind it is pretty simple and, I’ll admit it, wholesome in nature. Play-bites from cute things make us feel good — Amagami is a cute thing that can give you endless nibbles, and, thus, endless warm fuzzy feelings. Honestly, they’re pretty charming when they’re just sitting motionless. I mean, just look at them!
But also... just look at them...
Amagami can have a little human flesh... as a treat — Yukai Engineering knows exactly what it’s doing with this unsettling, adorable monster and for that, I have nothing but respect. A few years ago, Yukai had everyone at CES talking about its equally bizarre Qoobo — a faux fur-covered pillow with a wagging tail. It made people squeal in horrified delight... and then became impossible to get due to the overwhelming demand at the onset of the pandemic. Initially priced at around $150, Qoobo is now reselling for more than double that. Petit Qoobo, released after the first as a smaller, more affordable option, is now selling for as much as the original. Don’t be surprised if we see the same happen with Amagami Ham Ham.
The company hasn’t released any pricing or availability details just yet but if the timeline of its predecessor is anything to go by, we’ll probably see Amagami hit the market in the next few months. Better set up those drop alerts now.