Hagi Wagi as a forerunner of war: why a friendly hug toy became a cannibal monster

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Hagy Wagi as a forerunner of war: why a friendly hug toy became a man-eating monster

Hagy Wagy's toy became fantastically popular in February 2022, right before the war – and this is symbolic

I bought a keychain in the form of a blue cat with big eyes and a wide smile on the layout. Milota. The younger, seven-year-old Vanya: “Dad, do you think he's funny? This is Hagi Vagi. He has terrible teeth behind his smile, he can eat. Personally, I don't like him.”

I immediately remembered that in the summer in Transcarpathia, in the mountains near the waterfall, the same plush toys were sold, but with a terrible grin. I was surprised by the monsters: is it strange that they are sold to children? And the price is hefty. “Because it's a trend,” the sellers explained with a laugh. “It's Hagi Wagi. We are afraid of them ourselves. But the children take it.” It turned out that this is a character from a computer game – a hugging toy, which suddenly became a monster that is trying to devour everyone. Symbolically, he recalled the friendship with our northern neighbor, who on February 24 suddenly found behind his arms – an animal grin.

Focus deals with the history of a popular meme that may well claim to be the symbol of 2022.

I bought a Haga Waga keychain because I didn’t recognize it that “Carpathian” monster: here he smiles with his mouth closed.

Hagi Wagi as a forerunner of war: why a friendly hug toy became a cannibal monster

Hagi Vagi as a forerunner of war: why a friendly hug toy became a cannibal monster

When I got online, I was struck by the popularity of the blue monster: Arestovich has tens of thousands of views on YouTube, Nevzorov has hundreds, and Haga Vagi has millions! Moreover, he appeared only in October 2021, as a character in the computer horror game Poppy Playtime, released by an American indie company.

Huggy Wuggy – from English. to hug – “hug”. That is, it was originally conceived as a hugging toy.

According to the plot of the game, the main character, a former employee of the Playtime Co. toy factory, decides to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his colleagues. There is no one at the factory, only pools of blood here and there. In the hall there is a three-meter toy hugging Hagi Vaga and smiling with a red mouth (exactly like on the keychain I bought). Hagi Vaga has a key in her paws. You take the key and it gives you the opportunity to get a VHS cassette from the safe, which tells what happened at the factory.

However, as soon as you start watching, you suddenly notice that Hagi Wagi has disappeared from his seat in the lobby of the company. He starts chasing you with his mouth open … and he has three rows of teeth there, like a shark. If he catches up, he will hug you to death. Moreover, it can even chase through ventilation pipes – this toy creature is soft after all.

It turns out that it was Hagi Wagi who ate all the employees. On the wall of his bloody inscription “I'm sorry, but I'm hungry.” Does he regret his behavior somehow?

The main shifter of the game: the cuddle toy, designed to love, turns out to be a toothy, insatiable monster.

Hagi Wagi as a forerunner of war: why a friendly cuddle toy became a man-eating monster

Hagy Wagy as a forerunner of war: why a friendly hug toy became a cannibal monster

Hagy Wagy's video was posted on Tik-Tok and went viral. Then an animated film appeared on YouTube, which talked about the history of the factory and the origin of the monster – the cartoon immediately exceeded 10 million views.

The cartoon said that two hit toys were made at the factory: a beautiful, big-eyed Poppy doll and a huggy Hagi Waga. But this production had another secret goal – to achieve immortality in the laboratories. (Yeah, forever fall into “toy” infantilism).

One of the employees was lured into a career promotion for participating in a secret scientific experiment. He was crossed with Hagi Wagi (according to one version, his brain was transplanted into a toy). The experiment was successful, but the employee turned into a monster: he broke the doors of his solitary cell and began to devour everyone. That's why the factory is so empty. But Hagi Wagi is not alone – Poppy doll is also included in one of the boxes. Moreover, according to one version, it is she who is behind all this nightmare, although she pretends to be a victim who needs to be saved …

Hagy Waga's plush toys began to be actively bought in order to make videos with them. Some nonsense like “Hagy Waggi is doing exercises” or “Hagy Waghi saddled a cat” easily gain a million views or more.

A female version of Hagi Waghi has appeared – pink Kisi Misi, and a few more of their “relatives” : colorful Lilly Milly, orange Vank Punk, etc. Now they are filled with all the toy and souvenir shops.

Parents sounded the alarm, but psychologists reassured them: after three or four years, Hagi Vagi is not dangerous for children – allegedly, kids, on the contrary, learn not to be afraid: after all, Hagi Vagi is “tamed”. Previously, children were not afraid to fall asleep in beds with bears and wolf cubs, but these are predators!

Hagi Wagi as a forerunner of war: why a friendly hug toy became a cannibal monster

Hagi Vagi as a forerunner of war: why a friendly hug toy became a cannibal monster

It is curious that the first surge in the popularity of Hagi Vaga and a number of articles about him appeared in February 2022 – just before the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war. But Hagi Vagi really in some way symbolizes the development of relations between our countries. Despite the occupied Crimea and the aggravation in the Donbass, many Ukrainians believed in the remnants of friendship between our “brotherly” peoples. Moreover, Putin and Lavrov, two months before the large-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into our country, assured that there would be no war. But their “hugs” ended in a treacherous attack and an attempt to eat up Ukraine.

So Hagi Vagi can quite rightly claim to be the symbol of 2022.

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