December 11, 2017

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The Sweet Babboo and Snoopy

Snoopy Museum

By Gabriel Phillips

If an alien creature devoid of emotions came down to Earth tomorrow and demanded that humanity provided him with the greatest example of happiness, for me, I would show him a video of Snoopy’s happy dance.

I’ll admit, I never used to read Snoopy as a kid. It was only through family friends that I actually became accustomed with it at all. We used to stay with them out in the countryside in the days before widespread WiFi or affordable mobile data plans. There, they had collections of Snoopy comic strips that you could spend hours reading. In fact, that’s what I did for most of my time there. There’s a bizarre joy in the simplicity of reading about both Snoopy’s and Charlie Brown’s adventures that can be understood by almost anyone, if through just the neat, simplistic and sweet character design.

The Snoopy museum in Roppongi is an extremely cute building, on a lane just off one of the main roads with various statues of Snoopy in different positions on the outside. Scattered throughout the buildings are walls which are littered with murals that feature jokes and panels with various art styles from the original cartoon strip. Personally, I laughed hardest at one that referenced The Great Gatsby. I’m not sure why, but somehow it resonated class and childishness in one. A difficult to combination to pull off, but nonetheless a successful one.

As you enter the exhibition, you are presented with a collage of comic strips in different positions which far away create an image of Snoopy and Charlie Brown sitting back to back. As beginnings go, it’s really quite sweet. Afterwards, you are guided into a room where you watch an introductory video to the museum which features some of Charles Schultz’s relatives as well as some Japanese celebrities talking about their favourite Snoopy comics.

As soon as you enter, you’re presented with a plethora of original cartoon strips and memorabilia that serve to demonstrate the origins and history of the comic strips and all their products. All the cartoon strips are in English with Japanese subtitles which meant it was an easy and pleasurable trip for me interspersed with outbursts of laughter, though it was usually frustrated by slow readers and a painful silence among the other visitors.

There is rarely a character so joyful and loveable that receives universal affection from most countries across the globe. Partly through its simplicity of drawings as well as its jokes. The Snoopy museum’s raison d’etre is to bring happiness and make people laugh. I am delighted to say that it worked on me.

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