Are Unicorns The Most Popular Animal of Kawaii?

Unicorns – we all love them! They are fun, they are whimsical and nothing short of colorful. The mystical unicorn has been made very real in our society because, with them, fantasy comes alive. And with fantasy, fun grows. So why do we have so much fun with these cuties?

Unicorns in Ancient History

Some of the first stories of these beautiful horned horses involved stories of being alongside a beautiful human maiden or even goddess. If you have ever visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY then you may have already seen evidence of this in the old European art. So how did these glowing white beauties become part of our modern ‘kawaii’ culture?

Some people may say it’s because they are magical. Some sources dating all the way back to Aristotle’s time (Greece in 384-322 B.C.) quote him potentially talking about a “he-goat” (horse-like creature) with “a prominent horn between its eyes.”

In our modern culture, the ‘magical’ quality is a positive one. However, in ancient culture, there were several literary references to this beautiful creature being evil or dangerous. For instance, in the middle 300s, A.D. Latin philosopher and compiler [G.J.] Solinus describes the animal this way: “The unicorn is a monster, a cruel animal with a horrible bellow, a horse's body, elephant's feet, a swine's tail, a stag's head and a sharp, piercing horn in the middle of his forehead; he cannot be caught alive."

Isn’t it amazing how negatively this horn-bearing beauty used to be regarded, compared to now? It is hardly imaginable. They are so lovely to behold and so sweet!

The Magical Unicorn

Why are they magic? Legend says it’s in the horn. Which makes sense, because without the beautiful horn decorating their face, they’d be another horse. So what’s in the horn then? Some sources call it the ‘Alicorn’ and it holds mystic properties. For example, when cooked (for alchemy, a medieval type of science) they give off a sweet aroma. Also, the magic horns were thought to protect the holder against poisonous substances by destroying them immediately.

However, as unicorns became more popular and beloved throughout Europe, Asia and Egypt, the notion of hunting them for their horns was frowned upon and actively trying to gain one was losing popularity (though talking about them did not).

Different Types of Horns

The typical modern illustrations of unicorns that we see today show either a rainbow horn, or a golden one, though there are still variations. There was a time that it was believe their horn colors had meaning, often to do with age or gender. Lighter colors were sometimes equated with young ones (colts or phillies) and the older ones (stallions and mares) would have darker, thicker ones. Females also had smaller, less threatening ones while the males had larger and sharper ones. Perhaps for self-defense or to defend his family. All unicorns are believed to be able to emit magic.

unicorn headband

Magical Style Unicorn Headband from Papercute

Today’s unicorn lore shows them with much smaller and way less scary horns, which is part of their kawaii-cute charm (especially the colorful, sparkly ones). It is so nice than we have grown to include these wonderful (albeit fictional) animals into cultures around the world.

Inclusion and Popularity in Culture

There is a chance we can thank musical groups such as The Irish Rovers for their song “The Unicorn”, because it not only helped explain why we don’t see them around like we do horses, but also endeared us to these creatures all the more by breaking our hearts a little.

Now that for centuries, we’ve seen the transformation from ‘cruel beast’ to ‘beloved mystical companion’ (and now, internet meme), we can say we’ve witnessed something truly magical. Much like mermaids, unicorns are never unattractive and always make a wonderful muse for artists and happy collectors alike. They’re real to us because we want them to be.

Just go to Pinterest and type in the word unicorn and you’ll see hundreds of awe-inspiring images. Type in ‘kawaii unicorn’ and you’ll get a real treat. Don’t be surprised if you see some awesome stuff made by Papercute while you’re at it.

So now that they’re uber-popular, let’s look at some recent examples of popularity.

Starbucks Unicorn Frappe

Most recently it’s been all over the news and the internet explosion: Starbucks Coffee came out with a sour-sweet and multi-colored concoction for people to enjoy for a limited time. Although people flocked to try it, many admitted to feeling a little disappointed. Regardless, that was a brilliant marketing move for the coffee shop to kick off Spring. Even celebs like Katy Perry helped increase its instant spread in the media.

starbucks unicorn frappe

The insanely popular Unicorn Frappe

Celebrities Loving Unicorns

Ke$ha – In addition to her well known thigh tattoo, this singer loves her a good, cute unicorn! And her quirky music videos have helped to popularize them.

Taylor Swift – She famously dressed as a unicorn (with wings like a Pegasus) for Halloween 2014, and her costume is still just as trendy today! She also rocks unicorn fashion the rest of the year as well, being seen in unicorn tops.

taylor swift unicorn

Taylor rockin' a cute Unicorn tee

Miley Cyrus – Well, her style is always going off the charts in one way or another, but she’s been known to do a concert with a big gold horn and multi-colored clothing as a tribute to unicorns, and it makes her even more interesting!

The above are just a few of the many beautiful celebs who love these colorful animals.

Movies and TV

The Last Unicorn – a cartoon film from 1982, it’s still a classic for hardcore unicorn fans to this day. Many modern unicorn art and apparel works have been inspired by this enchanting film.


Kleo the Misfit Unicorn – this was an animated television series that ran from 2002-2006 on the Family network, as well as other wholesome cartoon channels. It still comes on in reruns for true fans of cute cartoons and magical creatures and can be found on YouTube.

Legend (live action starring Tom Cruise, 1985) – this movie features a good side and bad side (much like Star Wars) and when someone selfish from the bad side cuts the horn off a unicorn, it turns their enchanted forest world upside down. It’s okay, it does have a happy ending.

Unicorns in Modern Fashion

Unicorns are believed to be shiny, sparkly and generally ‘rainbow’, which is evident in unicorn-themed beauty products and fashion items. That’s why we are sharing some exciting news with you: Papercute is launching some very cool (and super kawaii) headbands stylized with a beautiful plastic horn in the middle, surrounded by gorgeous flowers. These fashionable headbands are already proving very popular across facebook and Instagram, so get your headband quickly while they are still around!

star headband

Model is wearing a star headband. Stars and rainbows are equated with Unicorn magic.

unicorn horn headband

New! Unicorn Headbands available only from Papercute. They come in 3 styles and 4 colors by popular demand.

No matter how old you are, what your gender is, or in what part of the world you live, never stop believing in unicorns. Never stop believing in magic.

Make sure to follow @paperxcute on Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest in kawaii fashion trends!

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