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Anime: Hamtaro
"It's Hamtaro time! Kush-kush ticky-ticky ho!"

An anime series (Tottoko Hamutaro in Japan) based on a series of children's books about hamsters, Hamtaro and his Ham-Ham buddies lead exciting adventures while his owner Laura is off at school having her own adventures.

It ran from 2000 to 2006 and lasted for nearly 300 episodes, only 104 of which were translated into English and aired on Cartoon Network. It later spawned a spin-off series of five-minute episodes known as "Tottoko Hamutaro: Norisuta Hai!". There were also four movies, none of which made it overseas.

It also spawned six handheld video games which, although largely obscure to those not familiar with the series, were considered to be rather good games for licensed media.

Bizarrely enough, it was initially featured on Toonami, Cartoon Network's block for specifically action-based shows (that can be blamed on Cartoon Network's management at the time). It actually received a Lampshade Hanging in this promo. The show also aired on Fox Kids in Europe.

A new series named Tottoko Hamtaro Dechu has been aired; however, it's only a rebroadcast with a handful of new scenes.

Series contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • Jingle never gets Hamtaro's name right, much to Hamtaro's annoyance.
    • Laura's Grandfather also had trouble getting Hamtaro's name right. He eventually did.
  • All Just a Dream: Several episodes feature Laura in dream-adventures with the hamsters.
  • Alpha Bitch: Sparkle and her owner Glitter. Both soften up a bit and become type-A Tsundere in the later seasons.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English version uses two opening songs different from the Japanese version. However, it does use the tune of the first Japanese ending theme.
  • An Aesop
  • Ascended Extra: Mr. Yoshi went from just Laura and Kana's teacher to a character with a small spread out arc about him and Charlotte's relationship. Maria also became Laura's friend after the latter ran away from home.
    • A few characters of the day show up now and again for cameo or plot reasons.
  • Animal Talk: The hamsters are mostly seen talking with each other. Other animals can't talk. Usually the hamsters have to keep themselves silent around humans.
  • Art Evolution: Very much. This is the first Hamtaro opening. this is the second opening. this is the latest opening from the new Japan-only shorts. The hamsters went from squarish to peanut-shaped before ending up with bodies smaller than their heads.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Laura's parents when they were younger. Comes off as quite the surprise, considering how they border in Sickeningly Sweethearts.
  • Big Eater: Oxnard.
    • In the dub a lot of the ham-hams engage in the entire "insert time here snack".
  • Big Friendly Dog: Laura's dog Brandy is normal-sized, but he has this role in regards to the Ham-Hams. Hamtaro himself often rides on his back.
  • Blush Sticker
  • Cats Are Mean: They are to hamsters, anyway.
  • Chick Magnet: Bijou, her friend Oshare from France, and Sparkle all have crushes on Hamtaro. Unfortunately, he's too damn clueless to notice.
    • And then theres Travis
  • Christmas Episode:
  • Demoted to Extra: Even though they're counted as main characters, Sandy, Stan, Maxwell, Cappy, Panda and even Snoozer shows up once in a blue moon in later seasons. Occasionally they will have episodes and sometimes lines but they're not necessary to the story other than filler.
  • Eaten Alive: One Japan-only season finale had an episode where the hamsters traveled to Lapis and Lazuli's world of candy and were eaten by a worm that lived there. Boss had to free them.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Ook-Ook.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Tux.
  • The Faceless: Due to her shyness, Penelope is only ever seen under cover of a yellow blanket. Subverted in the intro sequence, however, as her blanket flies up to briefly reveal brown and white fur.
    • Subverted in the official guide, which includes an illustration of how Penelope really looks like.
  • Fantastic Racism: In the dub version only it seems like an insult to be compared to or being called a gerbil.
  • Festival Episode
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: On Travis's birthday, one of his friends goes, "Hey, we gotta get you to the girls' bathroom, man!" but only in the dub...and then there's Stan...
  • Happily Married: Laura's parents.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Snoozer, duh.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The ham-hams usually hide in trees, bushes or high atop of buildings but sometimes they hide in places in where a person should really be easy to spot them such as on Brandy's head or on a jungle gym.
  • Iconic Item: A majority of Ham-Hams have iconic items or accessories that they are never seen without.
  • Image Song: The original is full of them, mostly Ham-Hams that are major characters. A few such as Panda or Cappy don't really have their own.
    • The movies give us Tensai Let's Go! Ayayamu for Ayayamu for her image song and the credits song.
    • The dub has their own spin on Kuru Kuru which is Stan and Sandy's song as well as a few of the songs from the Birthday OVA. Strangely enough there's an Italian album that has image songs sung by Cristina D'avena that has songs about several of the Ham-Hams including Panda and Snoozer that never got their own song in the original.
  • Interspecies Romance: Sabu has a pigeon girlfriend named Françoise
    • Penelope's first crush is on Kylie's cousin Ethan, later she moved onto a rabbit from Ethan and Mimi's kindergarten. Later in the series she started to get a crush on Jingle's pig, Herbert.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Howdy.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Boss at times can be quite temperamental, especially if he's thinking about Bijou. However, don't think for a second that he won't go out of his way to help his friends.
    • On the human side, we have Roberto.
  • Kodomomuke: only the hamsters, the humans on the other hand are more for older kids and ect. as what Laura and Kana go through (like Laura's crush with Travis).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The main band of hamsters is 13 strong—and plenty more side-hams show up from time to time, not to mention the humans.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Maria, until Laura befriends her.
  • Lovable Coward: Oxnard.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Stan is a G-rated version, always flirting with the girl-hams, much to his sister Sandy's irritation.
  • Love at First Punch: It's implied that Roberto has a crush on Laura, who actually stood up against him for acting like a jerk. She doesn't romantically like him back, however; she still prefers Travis.
  • Love Dodecahedron: So complicated it has to be broken down into a chart. Talk about Serious Business.
    • The fact that they can make a game called "Ham-Ham Heartbreak", involving fixing 21 stressed relationships among characters from the show, just goes to prove it!
    • In addition, the fanbases also love to spam recolors as OCs, which is extremely similar to the situation in Sonic fandom.
  • Magic Realism
  • Meganekko: Kana.
  • Mondegreen: Likely why Penelope's catchphrase was changed from "Ookyoo!" to "Ookwee!"
  • The Movie: Four of them, in fact. None of them were ever released outside of Japan.
  • The Moving Experience: Twice. Both instances very close to being averted. The first time this happens in Farewell Bijou!, it ended with Maria's parents decided to not move after all on the last day. The second time this happened in the Japan-only episode Tottoko o Wakare! Chika Hausu, which it's Hamtaro who's moving away, but averted in the last minute when the Haruna family decided against moving as well.
    • Averted unfortunately with Travis, who really did move off in the Japan-only episode Tottoko Tabidachi! Haru no Kaze. Poor Laura...
  • Nerd Glasses: Dexter's fur is in the shape of a pair of glasses.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Glitter. Onstage, she's a bubbly J-pop singer with Tastes Like Diabetes lyrics. Offstage, she's a sharp-tongued, egotistical bitch, and tries to drive Travis away from Laura so he can spend time with her.
  • Nice Hat: Cappy.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Arguably Haibi from "Ham-Hams Ahoy!", due to having smaller eyes compared to the others.
    • A majority of the new hamsters seen in the movies.
  • Ojou: Both Maria and her hamster Bijou.
  • Official Couple: Maxwell/Sandy and Oxnard/Pepper. The series finale in Japan ends with the latter couple getting married.
  • Once per Episode: Laura's journal entry followed by Hamtaro's "Heke!" at the end of every episode.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Yamihamuryuku is the main antagonist in Adventures in Ham-Ham Land and is some bizarre cat-looking hamster that transforms into a dragon.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Yosei-san is usually a small fairy that's smaller than baby Penelope but can transform into a doll sized human with hamster ears.
    • Crystal from movie 3 is a Snow Fairy and can also transform into a human with hamster ears.
  • Pandaing To The Audience: Panda's not a real panda, but he's got the markings of one to earn his name.
  • Parental Bonus: Lots, including pretty much everything Stan does, the beach episode if you're into that kind of thing, and many of the human characters interactions, especially Laura and Kana's.
  • Pungeon Master: Howdy.
  • Punny Name: Most of the Ham-Hams' names were puns in the original Japanese version.
  • Real Ham-Hams Wear Pink: Boss is a rather strong and tough ham-ham, but on occasion, he will act disturbingly effeminate. In a later season, he becomes a nurse along with the rest of the girls, complete with fake blush and eyeliner! However, from season 5 onward, he becomes Hero-Ham!
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter And HOW!
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Jingle.
  • Ship Tease: On several occasions.
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Stan and Sandy.
  • Slice of Life
  • The Smart Guy: Maxwell.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Mimi, Panda's owner, is young and innocent enough to be the only human who can talk to the Ham-Hams directly.
    • Laura is able to communicate with them, but only in her dreams.
      • She also can be said to telepathically communicate with Hamtaro during the times where she writes in her diary, as sometimes they respond to each other's thoughts.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Bijou. Her owner is rich thus granting her some luxuries the other ham-hams don't have and she can be somewhat vain on occasion. Most of the time, however, she is very nice and will do her best for her friends even if it means getting her paws and fur dirty.
    • Also Bijou's owner Maria, a softspoken Lonely Rich Kid who becomes friends with Laura.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Lapis and Lazuli in the Japan-only seasons. They were a duo of hamsters who lived in a magical world called Sweet Paradise and often invited the Ham-Hams over. Lazuli was also a scientist and often took up many an episode with an experiment of some kind.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Sunflower seeds. It's also their Trademark Favorite Food.
  • Sugar Bowl: What happens in the later, Asia-only seasons. The hamsters travel to Lapis and Lazuli's world of candy and spend several episodes revisiting it.
  • Surfer Dude: Stan in the English dub of the anime.
    • Broski, however, he is afraid of water to actually surf and just carries around surfboard to impress the ladies.
  • Tagline: Little hamsters, big adventures!
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: How do you tell Stan and Sandy apart? Sandy has a bow right above her tail.
    • Sandy's eyes are shown to be green up close, while Stan's are blue. Her belly is white and Stan's is beige, making them a case of Half-Identical Twins.
  • Those Two Guys/Vitriolic Best Buds: Howdy and Dexter.
  • Title Theme Drop: In both the original and the dub they use the opening theme a lot.
  • Title Theme Tune: And a second credits theme tune too.
    • And a third title theme tune, creating for the opening of the second season, but edited out of most of Cartoon Network's airings.
    • And various international ones, including a quite catchy Italian one.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Roberto.
  • True Companions: The Ham-Ham Club.
  • Twice Shy: Sandy and Maxwell.
  • The Unintelligible: Penelope. She can only say "Ookyoo" or "Ookwee."
    • Ook-Ook, a monkey type hamster can only speak in monkey language.
  • Valley Girl: Sandy in the English Dub of the anime.
  • Verbal Tic: The entire ham-ham language is made up of them. For instance, they say "Krmpkrmp" when eating, "Ticky-ticky" while walking, "Heke" in response to something that confuses them...there's a lot.
    • In Japanese, Hamtaro ends his sentences "Na no da" while Bijou ends her's with "Dechuwa".
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Cats may be mean, but you know what's worse? Chickens.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Hamtaro obviously takes place in a coastal town in Japan, but the dub takes out any references to Japan and dresses it up to be more like a generic coastal town.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Laura's teacher, Mr. Yoshi, has a crippling fear of chickens, and, of course he's in love with a girl whose father is a chicken farmer...and an Overprotective Dad, to boot.
    • The ham-ham's are also afraid of chickens as well as little chicks, but to their credit, the chickens on the show are pretty damn scary. One of the chickens that belongs to said Overprotective Dad has an eye patch for crying out loud.
    • A lot of the conflict between Laura and Roberto can be traced to the fact that he's deathly afraid of mice and other small hamsters. Hamtaro twigged to it immediately but it took a while for Laura to do so.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Parodied with the teacher's girlfriend, Charlotte, who comes from a traditional family and has been raised as one... but acts like a borderline Wild Child cow girl whenever she's out of her Big Fancy House.

The games provide examples of:

  • Bag of Spilling: In the beginning of Ham-Ham Heartbreak, Hamtaro trips and falls into a bucket of water while carrying his Ham-Chat dictionary, smudging up most of the words.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Spat from Ham Ham Heartbreak is very much this.
  • Copy Protection: The second game prevents you from achieving 100% Completion and the third game will lock up at the very start if it detects that you're playing them in either an emulator or on a flash cart. And let's just leave it at that.
  • Edutainment Game: Hamtaro: Wake Up Snoozer for PC/Mac and Hi! Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Challenge for the DS. Also, the bunch of No Export for You games for the Sega Pico and Advanced Pico Beena.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: The second DS game which actually got a quiet US release. Apparently, Alpha Dream/Natsume thinks that no one remembers the hamsters anymore, so they threw in a reintroduction of each of the characters in the opening title cinematic. After all, the show has been off the air in the US for over two years by then, and the last game was released in the US market over 4 years prior.
  • Genre Shift: The first GBC title was a WJT title, essentially a fortune teller/love meter program with a virtual pet function threw in as an afterthought. The second GBC and first GBA titles were of the adventure/RPG genre, the second GBA title was a adventure/RPG+minigames genre game, the third GBA title was a sports title made to tie in with the 2004 olympics, the first DS title was a quiz game, and the second DS title as well as the only PC title was an edutainment title. Yeah.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Ham-Chat words in Hamtaro Ham Hams Unite and Hamtaro Ham Ham Heartbreak.
    • The fourth game takes you into the dark and crazy world of sticker and coloring pages collecting.
  • Honest John's Dealership: A Ham-Merchant in Ham Ham Heartbreak.
  • 100% Completion: The stickers in Rainbow Rescue can potentially take players to the dark, dark world of (digital) sticker collecting.
  • Licensed Game: Well, duh!
  • The Kiddie Ride: Bandai/Banpresto made one in Japan using the same base design as one they used for an Ojamajo Doremi ride. It dispensed candies after the ride ended. Also made were about half a dozen knockoff rides from China. Those are, sadly, much more prevalent.
  • Minigame Game: Both Rainbow Rescue and Ham-Ham Games, though the former also has a story similar to Ham Ham Heartbreak.
  • The Power of Love: Ham Ham Heartbreak makes a game out of it!
  • Ship Tease: ESPECIALLY in Ham-Ham Heartbreak and Rainbow Rescue.
  • Shout-Out: To The Legend of Zelda, in two places. First, the shady Ham-Merchant says 'Buy somethin', will ya!?' like the original Zelda shopkeepers did. The second is much funnier. You collect three marbles throughout the game, one red, one green, and one blue. Then you place them in a pedestal that looks like it has a sword in it. Then you tug on the sword. The 'Opening a Treasure Chest music' from Zelda plays. And... IT'S A SPOON!
  • Toilet Humor: The Go-P verb. First time you see it? When you're facing a tree.
  • Verbal Tic: Ham Ham Heartbreak villain Spat's "pfpth!" His angelic counterpart, Harmony, has "tee hee".
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In the right circumstances the player can bite and scratch other hamsters, and even poke them in the face with a stick; this rarely accompishes anything beyond making them distressed. Bodyslamming is the only way to get certain hamsters to pay attention to you, and you have to outright knock some out of trees and off ledges or other great heights to learn their ham-chat words. The game remarks that you feel bad for it, but if you leave the area and come back they'll be right up there again, and you can keep shoving them without any consequences.
GravitationAnime of the 2000sHand Maid May
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DoraemonKodomomukeKirby of the Stars
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alternative title(s): Hamtarou; Tottoko Hamutaro; Hamtaro
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