No way, the Hello Kitty brand is way cool. I have respect for a company that has managed to sell an image just on the basis that it is cute. I think it started the year I was born (1974), and I even had Hello Kitty stuff when I was a child. I remember wallets, erasers, and pencil cases.
I have read a lot about the HK phenomenon and its link to culture, and (yeah, I know loads of people will roll their eyes at this) it is actually very interesting. The company makes sure that the image remains asexual, with very little information released about the character of Kitty, so that people can asign their own value to it.
So if you think Kitty is very kawaii, then it is kawaii.
And some people are using it to be anti-kawaii, e.g. punks will wear it as a badge. Or some animation artists will distort the image.
Or feminists have used it as a symbol for dominated, repressed Japanese women (cute, no mouth=silence).
The list of ways that people have expressed themselves using the Hello Kitty image is endless.
How many other products can claim that?
And it’s been 30 years.
Respect, I say.