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Sylvanian Families (シルバニアファミリー Shirubania famirii ) is a line of collectible anthropomorphic animal figures made of flocked plastic. They were created by the Japanese company Epoch in 1985 and distributed worldwide by a number of companies. Several TV series and video games based on the figures have also been created. The characters, grouped into families, originally depicted woodland creatures such as rabbits, bears, beavers, hedgehogs, and mice, later expanded to other animals such as cats, dogs, penguins, monkeys, koalas and meerkats. They remain a quintessential part of the 1990s boom in craze (or fad) toys. The word 'sylvan' means 'of the forest'.
Sylvanian Families is apparently set in a 1970s British country village. The majority of the families are rural middle-class, with many of them owning localised but successful family businesses, or having white-collar jobs as doctors and teachers.
They can live in large, multi-storey houses, or own dwellings based on the premise of a kind of holiday home. They can also indulge in many stereotypically middle-class leisure activities such as sailing or horse-riding, and often host garden parties or go on short holidays.
Most families consist of a father, mother, sister and brother, and continue to add family members from there on such as grandparents and babies.
At the beginning of production, in 1985, Sylvanian Families were released in both Japan and North America, albeit with different packaging and minor differences to the characters themselves. In 1987, the success in these markets led to expansion into Western Europe, beginning with the UK subsidiary of Tomy acquiring exclusive rights for the brand in the UK. Tomy introduced Sylvanian Families into the UK market in 1987, and it quickly became a bestseller.
By 1988, Sylvanian Families had become a major success around the world, spawning an animated series, and winning the British Association of Toy Retailers award for "Toy of the Year" three years consecutively, in 1987, 1988 and 1989. There was also an animated series shown in the 80s that was popular in Spain and the UK and was also shown in the early 1990s in the US on Nick Jr.
In 1993, Tomy, who had been distributing the toys worldwide, lost the rights to the name "Sylvanian Families" in Canada and the USA. Tomy reintroduced the line under the new name Calico Critters.
The Calico Critters line is currently distributed in the US and Canada by International Playthings, LLC.
Decline and reinvention 
By the end of the 1990s, Sylvanian Families had been discontinued in the UK, although they have since been reintroduced by Flair. Subsequently, Sylvanian families have been reintroduced in Australia and are becoming more widely available. Tomy stopped selling Calico Critters, but a new company, International Playthings, picked up the line.
In 2007, Sylvanian Families in the UK celebrated their 20th anniversary with a selected number of new items. The best selling was an Otter boat, and a reintroduced Dalmatian Family who now wore party hats that read "Happy 20th!".
1987 animated television series 
|Genre||Animated television series|
|Country of origin||USA/France/Japan|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Producer(s)||DIC Enterprises, Inc.|
|Running time||30 mins|
|Distributor||Coca-Cola Telecommunications (now Sony Pictures Television)|
|Original channel||First-run syndication|
Sylvanian Families is an American animated television series, co-produced in France and Japan.
- Jean Ann Wright Episode one The Wheel Thing/Muddy Waters (1987) segment
- Steve Robertson[disambiguation needed] The Wheel Thing/Muddy Waters (1987) segment
- John Vornholt The Wheel Thing/Muddy Waters (1987) segment
- Phil Harnage The Wheel Thing/Muddy Waters (1987) adaptation
Voice cast 
- Brian Belfry
- Len Carlson
- Lisa Coristine
- Jeri Craden
- Diane Fabian
- Michael Fantini
- Catherine Gallant
- Tabitha St. Germain (as Paulina Gillis)
- Ellen-Ray Hennessey
- Jeremiah McCann
- Frank Proctor
- Chuck Shamata
- John Stocker
- Tara Strong (credited under maiden name "Charandoff")
- Cree Summer
- Thick Wilson
- Noam Zylberman
- Kerry Shale (Only Voices Herb Wildwood)
- The Evergreens - Forrest, Honeysuckle, Ernest, Primrose, Preston, Ashley, Dusty and Poppy
- The Babblebrooks - Rocky, Crystal, Cliff, Pearl, Bubba, Breezy, Sandy and Coral
- The Thistlethorns - Chester, Willow, Lester, Prissy, Barry and Heather
- The Chestnuts - Durwood, Pansy, Grover, Myrtle, Hoss and Charity
- The Wildwoods - Herb, Ginger, Smokey, Flora, Rusty, Hollie, Barkley and Juniper
- The Slydales - Slick, Velvette, Buster, Scarlett, Skitter and Lindy
- The Timbertops - Taylor, Rose, Gruff, Fern, Bud, Daisy, Burl and Blossom
- The Waters - Wade, Nancy, Roger, Misty, Bucky and Bubbles
- Gatorpossum (Packbat's Minion)
- The Slydales
- The Woodkeeper
Grace, Bridget, Donny, Jonathan, Katie, Joey, Jack, Lisa, Charlie, Maria, Jessica, Penny, Chrissie, Robby, Sara, Sid, Jamie, Tracy, Diane (Di), Jerry & Susan, Amelia, Mikey, Lori, Evan, Andy, Debra.
|1||"Grace Under Pressure / Cooking Up Trouble"||1987|
Grace wishes she was less clumsy. In the Sylvanian world she assists Durwood and Ashley with both babysitting and mail delivery, while Packbat awaits to hinder their process.Bridget wishes she could each lots of sweet food. In the Sylvanian world she assists Hollie and Rusty with Grandma Pearl's bad cooking, which Gatorpossum substitutes for himself trying to spoil the Ginger Festival.
|2||"Dam Busters / School Daze"||1987|
Donny wishes to be a strong guy. In the Sylvanian world he assists Preston and Grandpa Ernest with their new invention. Meanwhile Packbat sends Gatorpossum to destroy a dam to flood the Sylvanians.Jonathan wishes never to go to school again. In the Sylvanian world he plays hookey with Rusty and Lester, while Packbat gets Buster to help destroy the school, but Mr. Thistlethorn thwarts the attempt.
|3||"Double Trouble / Outfoxing the Foxes"||1987|
Katie wishes she was happy again. In the Sylvanian world she assists Ashley and Breezy with babysitting, but later Packbat kidnaps the lot of them. They all get loose and lead Packbat into a trap.Joey wishes he was wise to others' tricks. In the Sylvanian world he helps the Wildwoods with their carrot picking, but Buster and Scarlett keep snatching them. Joey comes up with a plan to save the carrot vault from Packbat's plunder.
|4||"Know It All / Beauty and The Beasts"||1987|
Jack wishes people would stop telling him off. In the Sylvanian world he helps out assist Bud to thwart the Slydales' beehive theft, but Jack is pretty hasty. With some advice from Mrs Timbertop, Jack and Bud put an end the beehive theft.Lisa wishes she was beautiful. In the Sylvanian world she goes with Rusty to the beauty contest, but Packbat captures her followed by Rusty and Scarlett. After their escape, Lisa wins the beauty contest.
|5||"The Bear Facts / Fraidy Cats"||1987|
Charlie wishes he could be a detective. In the Sylvanian world he investigates a bank robbery blamed on Mayor Gruff and he finds Slick, Buster and Skitter guilty of the heist.Maria wishes she were not afraid of the dark. In the Sylvanian world she helps Daisy and Holly prepare for a party, but Gatorpossum captures them. Maria releases them and they all manage to thwart Packbat's plan to spoil the party.
|6||"Daddy's Little Girl / Fool's Gold"||1987|
|7||"The Wheel Thing / Muddy Waters"||1987|
|8||"There's No Place Like Home / Tough Enough"||1987|
|9||"Hip to Be Bear / Feud for Thought"||1987|
|10||"Stand by Your Dad / My Brother's Keeper"||1987|
|11||"Really Amelia / Boy's Intuition"||1988|
|12||"Here Come the Brides / Hoppily Ever After"||1988|
|13||"Founders Keepers / Little Ms. Woodkeeper"||1988|
1988 stop-motion animated series 
- The Lucky Mascot
- Lucky Clover
- Fun at the Fair
- The Camping Holiday
These characters appear in the stop motion animated series but not the animated series.
- The Treefellows-Aristotle, Arabella, Winky, Blinky and Grumpy
- The McBurrows-Digger, Heidi, Muddy, Molly, Monty and, Mo
- The Oakwoods-Ollie, Betsy, Barnaby, Bluebell, Abbie and Acorn
2007 Original Video Animation series 
|Genre||Slice of life|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Akira Takamura|
|Produced by||Kōji Kawaguchi
|Written by||Hiroko Odaka|
|Music by||Koichiro Kameyama|
|Released||June 20, 2007|
Sylvanian Families was later adapted into three 3DCG Original video animations produced by Kōji Kawaguchi and Yumiko Muriai and directed by Akira Takamura. Each of the stories were written by Hiroko Odaka and music composed by Koichiro Kameyama of Project.R fame. The OVAs are animated by Dyna Method in cooperation with Itochu, Epoch, Nippon Columbia and Shogakukan and were released in June 20, 2007 in DVD. Each of the DVDs feature an English-language track and subtitles.
The OVA's opening song is titled Sylvanian Families (シルバニアファミリー Shirubania famirii ), performed by Hitomi Yoshida and the ending theme is titled Aim for Tomorrow♪ (明日になぁれ♪ Ashita ni nāre♪ ) by Tomoko Kawakami, Akiko Hasegawa, Kōki Miyata, Fushigi Yamada, Kaori Mizuhashi and Maya Okamoto.
Voice actors 
- Tomoko Kawakami - Milk Usagi-chan / Rebecca Periwinkle (OVA 1)
- Akiko Hasegawa - Kurumi Risu-chan / Greta
- Kana Ueda - Shima Neko-chan / Asparagus
- Kōki Miyata - Maron Inu-kun / Dennis Huckleberry
- Fushigi Yamada - Kuma-kun / Piers
- Chinami Nishimura - Kitsune-Kun / Buster Slydale, Milk Usagi-chan / Rebecca Periwinkle (OVA 2-3)
- Kaori Mizuhashi - Kitsune-San / Scarlett Slydale
- Maya Okamoto - Milk Usagi Okasan, Kurumi Risu Okasan, Chocolate Usagi-chan
- Megumi Matsumoto - Kurumi Risu-Kun / Douglas
- Makiko Ōmoto - Shima Neko-Kun / Rumpus
- Hyo-sei - Cotton Usagi-kun / Gromwell
- Ai Maeda - Cream Neko-chan
- Kiyoyuki Yanada - Maron Inu Sensei / Headmaster Huckleberry
- Kōichi Yamadera - Kurumi Risu Otosan / Ken
|01||"Heart Pounding Mischief Magic"
"Dokidoki itazura majikku" (ドキドキいたずらマジック)
|June 20, 2007|
Buster Slydale is hosting a Magic Show to entertain and impress the kids in Sylvania by performing all sorts of tricks. Both Rebecca Periwinkle and Greta liked it, except her friends Dennis, Asparagus and Piers. Her friends explained to her how annoying he is on playing tricks to them. But Rebecca thinks that he didn't mean no harm, however Danny thinks that Rebecca is just too forgiving until Buster shows up. Rebecca talked to him thoroughly about his tricks and he forgives her by giving Rebecca a Kaleidoscope. But as soon as she's done using it, she found out that he tricked her as Buster leaves. A while later, the 5 Sylvanian kids think about which prank they should use to Buster until Asparagus, came out with an idea to outprank him.Meanwhile at Mr. Periwinkle's photo shop, Dr. Slydale is discussing with him about his troubles with the other kids while remembering their old days on how they pull pranks. Dr. Slydale however is getting worried about his son that his tricks would do more harm than good to the point on losing his friends.
|02||"The Longingly Princess"
"Purinsesu ni akogarete" (プリンセスにあこがれて)
|June 20, 2007|
Greta is dancing with a prince in her dreams and she is about to receive a kiss. But the clock strikes twelve and left her, she then is annoyed on the sounds of loud ringing bells until she woke up from her sleep. She saw a strange contraption her father built in her room as she's dumped out of bed, rather mad. The rest of her morning routine is not as good as she expected, getting into serious trouble. Downstairs, Greta's parents were both in the kitchen as another invention prepares their breakfast as Douglas arrived, still sleepy after being woke up by the machine. Greta came next and had an argument with her father regarding his inventions, stating it's not making her happy as she leaves in anger. A while later, Rebecca, Greta and their other classmate discussed about what happened that morning. Rebecca was happy that Greta's father is an inventor but for her, it just causes her trouble. They then discussed about the annual play and Greta should play as the princess, in which she is worried.At school, Scarlett is showing of her dress as she will wear it if she's picked as the Princess for the school's annual play. The classmates were amused as Rebecca and the others arrived and heard that Willow wanted to play for the part. As the bell rings, the children went to their seats as their teacher came in and discussed about the play, titled "The Princess who Ran Away from her Castle". With a few more discussions, one of the kids voted that Greta should play as the princess as everyone agrees. Greta however, think it's the start of her worries.
|03||"The Gift of the Shooting Star"
"Nagareboshi no okurimono" (流れ星のおくりもの)
|June 20, 2007|
One night in Sylvania, everyone witnessed a comet passing through Acorn Mountain as they saw it sparkle and burst out some small stars. The next day at school, the kids were discussing about the comet they say until Rumpus appeared and told them the legends of the Silvery Comet, in which its fragments can grant anyone their wishes. However Gromwell thinks it's just fiction while the others are excited about the legend and and wanted their wishes to come true. Rumpus decided to explore the mountains by himself but the others wanted to come along to see it for themselves. As both Rumpus and Gromwell got a disagreement with each other regarding the legend and how will it grant their wish until Rebecca told him to come with them to see if the legends were true.Later on that night, Rebecca and Oliver discussed with their parents regarding the comet and the wishes. She asked her father about his wish and he told her that his wish came true: To get Mrs. Periwinkle to marry him. The other kids were also preparing themselves for the expedition tomorrow. As the day comes, Rumpus was disappointed on each one of them on how they prepare as they go to the mountains. However not knowing to them that the Legends were beyond true.
- Houlton and Short, p. 370.
- Damian Inwood. "Pi Theatre, Independent Vancouver Theatre >> The Baroness and the Pig". Retrieved October 30, 2011. "That’s what Vancouver actresses Diane Brown and Tabitha St. Germain do with the delightful black comedy, The Baroness and the Pig. (...) St. Germain – better known to Vancouver audiences as Paulina Gillis – plays the Baroness as a naïve gentlewoman, full of prissy mannerisms and twittering, bird-like movements."
- Houlton, Delphine; Short, Brian (1995). "Sylvanian Families: the Production and Consumption of a Rural Community". Journal of Rural Studies 11 (4): 367–385.