Hamtaro's English Logo
|Written by||Ritsuko Kawai|
|Original run||1997 – ongoing|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Osamu Nabeshima|
|Network||TV Tokyo (2000-2006)|
|Original run||July 7, 2000 – March 31, 2006|
|Episodes||296 (Japanese), 105 (English)|
Hamtaro (とっとこハム太郎 Tottoko Hamutarō?, "Trotting Hamtaro") is a Japanese children's manga and storybook series created and illustrated by Ritsuko Kawai. The manga is serialized in Shogakukan's all girl's magazine Ciao in 1997, focusing on a hamster named Hamtaro who has a variety of adventures with other hamsters, known as "Ham-Hams" ("Hamuchans" in the Japanese version). VIZ Media published the manga adaptations and storybooks in English.
The series revolves around an anthropomorphic hamster named Hamtaro, who is owned by a 10-year-old girl named Laura Haruna (Hiroko Haruna or "Roko-chan" in the Japanese version). Curious by nature, he ventures out each day to make friends and go on adventures with a clan of fellow hamster friends known as The Ham-Hams. The Ham-Hams meet at a special clubhouse built by Boss ("Taisho").
People magazine named this show "[the] Hottest new thing in Hollywood!" due to its rise in popularity among audiences of all ages.
In Japan, Hamtaro aired five anime series', released four movies, several specials, many video game/DVD releases and merchandise. The success was not paralleled in the United States, however, with only the first series, some special episodes, three video games (though two others were released in Europe), and limited merchandise. In 2004, Hamtaro was cancelled in the United States to air the new Gundam series and Dragon Ball Z. On February 23, 2011, it was announced that Hamtaro would be receiving a new series titled Tottoko Hamutaro Dechu. However, upon airing on April 2, 2011 at 9 a.m., it was found to be the original show rehashed with a new intro and new borders. "Tottoko Hamutaro Dechu" was broadcast for the final time in Japan on Saturday, March 30, 2013.
- Shogakukan: Ritsuko Kawai's books, other Hamtaro related titles, Japanese videos/DVDs
- Toho (Toho Co., Ltd.): Distribution of all 4 movies
- Columbia Music Entertainment: Japanese music CDs
- Anime Video Comics: Launched in 2008 with no website. Summit Entertainment, an owner company of Anime Video Comics, releases some episodes.
- Epoch Co., Ltd.: Plushies, collectible toy lines, interactive toys, standalone electronic games (for the Japanese/Asian market only; can also be found in some import stores in North America and Europe)
- Hasbro: Plushies, collectible toy line
- The Learning Company: Hamtaro: Wake Up Snoozer! for the IBM PC/PC compatibles/Apple Macintosh
- Nintendo: video games:
- For the Game Boy Color: Hamtaro (unreleased in the US/rest of the world), Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite!
- For the Game Boy Advance: Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak, Hamtaro: Rainbow Rescue, Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Games, Hamtaro E-Cards for the E-Card reader (Japanese market only).
- For the Nintendo DS: Hamtaro: Nazo Nazo Q (Japanese market only)
- Sega: Arcade painting game, Sega Pico titles (Japanese market only), Cocopad titles (Japanese market only)
- Natsume: Tottoko Hamtaro Ham Ham Challenge Atsumare Hai Nintendo DS game (Released as Hi! Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Challenge! in the US/Europe)
- Banpresto: Arcade kiddie ride
- Smuckers: Smucker's Snackers
- VIZ Media (North America): books, English-language comics, videos/DVDs
- Chuang Yi (Singapore): books, English-language comics
- Seiko: Limited edition watches
- Daewon Media: All market character products from Japan and United States
- The Ambition Company released a spoken word CD of Hamtaro produced by Steve Deakin-Davies
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- Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia. California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-933330-10-4.
- Hamtaro Gets Lost and Other Stories (The Adventures of Hamtaro, Vol. 2) Amazon.com
- The Adventures of Hamtaro, Vol. 3: Jealous Hamtaro and Other Stories Amazon.com
- "Tottoko Hamtarō Dechu TV Anime to Premiere in April".
- Hamtaro Official Japanese site (Japanese)
- TV Tokyo Hamtaro Website (Japanese)
- TV Tokyo Tottoko Hamutaro Dechu Website (Japanese)
- YTV Website Archived 19 February 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Hamtaro (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Hamtaro at the Internet Movie Database