Hamtaro

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Hamtaro
The American Hamtaro logo.
とっとこハム太郎
(Tottoko Hamutarou)
Genre Kodomo, Adventure, Comedy.
Manga: Probably Tottoko Hamutarou
AuthorRitsuko Kawai
Publisher-
Serialized inCiao
Original run- – -
Volumes5
Anime : Tottoko Hamutarou
Directed by Osamu Nabeshima
Animation by {{{animator}}}
Music by {{{composer}}}
Script by {{{writer}}}
Studio Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd.
Network TV Tokyo
Cartoon Network
Original run July 7, 2000 – March 31, 2006
No. of episodes 224 TV episodes, 4 OVAs and 4 movies.

Hamtaro (とっとこハム太郎 Tottoko Hamutarou) is an anime about the adventures of a hamster named Hamtaro and his hamster friends. Tottoko Hamutarou first started out as a children's picture book, written and drawn by its creator Ritsuko Kawai. Ritsuko Kawai eventally began on a Tottoko Hamutarou manga which has been serialized in Ciao, a Japanese magazine.

The series was eventally produced into an anime, and aired on TV Tokyo from July 7, 2000 until the series' conclusion in March 31, 2006. By it's end, Tottoko Hamutarou had about 224 TV episodes, a couple of OVAs, four movies, and six Nintendo video games(all for the handheld systems).

As of April 5, 2006, Tottoko Hamutarou was able to 'continue' on in a seperate anime produced by a different company. The five-minute series is known as Tottoko Hamutaro: Norisuta Hai!. Like the original Tottoko Hamutarou series, Tottoko Hamutaro: Norisuta Hai! has inspired another Tottoko Hamutaro Nintendo video game for the Nintendo DS.

Contents


Overview

The inside of the secert, underground Ham-Ham Clubhouse.
Enlarge
The inside of the secert, underground Ham-Ham Clubhouse.

Hamtaro is about a golden hamster named Hamtaro whom moves with his owner, Laura Haruna and her family, to a new neighbourhood. Hamtaro then finds a way to escape his hamster cage and safety of his family's house, and already starts to meet various other hamsters. In the second episode, Hamtaro and some of his hamster friends decide to form a club just for Ham-Hams (Hamuchans in the original).

From there, Hamtaro and his friends share many adventures. The genre of this anime could be considered to be a "Slice of Life", as there is really no actual plot. Nearly all the episodes hold a life lesson at the end, mostly things like being nice, saying sorry, keeping promises etc.

Genres and Age Ratings

Age Rating: All ages, nothing really objectable. The series is mainly the adventures of hamsters solving problems, and teaching life lessons... making it a good series for young children.

There are romance too, alhough nothing sexual, passionate or anything higher than just having crushes. Most of the relationships aren't very focused on... except for the relationship between Hamtaro and Bijou, Maxwell and Sandy and Oxnard and Pepper. There is no kissing, just mostly blushing and holding paws. In the later seasons(which is not in America), romance seems to be focused a litle more.

Violence is not a big issue. There is some episodes where there is fighting going on. Nothing like punching, blood or killing. None of that. Such scenes are usually in the 'dream episodes', where the ham-hams fall asleep a dream up a new adventure. The 'violence' is usually just zapping eletricity to destroy buildings, or using 'tickle attacks'.

The most 'violent' episodes would have to be episode 26, where Boss is the Evil Ham Wizard.. and zaps buildings to destroy them. Hamtaro rides on Brandy the flying dog, to slash his sword at him atleast two times. The other episode is episode 78, where Count Howdy tricks Laura into coming into his castle and be forced to hear his bad jokes and like them. After Detective Hamtaro figures out what is going on, Howdy is enraged and transforms into an armored form of him. Here he rides on a horse and attempts to stab at the hamsters with a spear. However he is stopped by some ribbons and given a tickle attack.

Genres: Kodomo, Adventure, Slice of Life, Romance(in some episodes), Action(in a few episodes), Comedy.

Primary Characters

A screenshot of the American opening theme, featuring the entire hamster primary cast.
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A screenshot of the American opening theme, featuring the entire hamster primary cast.

Tottoko Hamutarou has many characters, espically those based on hamsters. Many of the characters are minor, and don't appear in a lot of episode(but usually appear more than once). This list contains the primary characters that are seen more often. The others will be listed under their respective catagories.

Hamutarou ((ハム太郎 Hamutarou. Also sometimes ハム太郎くん Hamutarou-kun) / Hamtaro He is the main character of the Tottoko Hamutarou anime, books, manga, video games, OVAs and the movies. He loves to make new friends and often hangs out in the Ham-Ham Clubhouse. He doesn't know of Bijou's feelings toward him.

Ribon (リボンちゃん Ribon-chan) / Bijou Bijou is a hamster who used in live somewhere in France with her owner, Maria. Maria and her family have since moved into a mansion in Japan. Bijou apparently seems to have a crush on Hamtaro, and dosen't know about Boss's feelings.

Koushi (こうしくん Koushi-kun) / Oxnard Oxnard is Hamtaro's best friend, and the pet hamster of Kana Iwata who is Laura Haruna's best friend. He is a chubby hamster who likes to eat sunflower seeds. He also loves a hamster named Pepper, who is owned by Kana Iwata's older cousin.

Taisho (大将君 or タイショーくん Taisho-kun) / Boss Boss is a gruff field hamster, who owns many underground tunnels. His house is also underground. In epsiode two, the hamsters all pitched in to turn his house into the Ham-Ham Clubhouse(doubling as his house and a club). Boss is in love with Bijou, who doesn't know his feelings. He tries to tell her, but he keeps messing up.

Maido (まいどくん Maido-kun) / Howdy Howdy's owner is Goldie, a woman who owns a small market store. His Japanese family seems to be very keen in their Japanese culture. In the American dub however, Howdy and his human family are protrayed as western folk with western accents. Howdy loves to tell jokes and thinks he is funny, alhough he is not and no one laughs at his jokes. He is in love with Pashmina, and is rivals with Dexter for her affection.

Megane (めがねくん Megane-kun) / Dexter Dexter's owner is Curtis, a 'gentleman' who owns an eye glasses store. Like his owner, Dexter is very formal and loves eyeglasses. Dexter is in love with Pashmina, and is rivals with Howdy for her affection.

Mafura (マフラーちゃん Mafura-chan) / Pashmina Pashmina is a girl hamster. She is never seen without the pink scarf she always wears. Pashmina once mentioned that her owner knitted it for her with love. Pashmina is best friends with Penelope, and the two can never be seperated. Unfortunly her caring toward Penelope, gives Dexter and Howdy a chance to babysit Penelope for the sole purpose of 'impressing' Pashmina. Pashmina is in no interest to be in a love life with anyone.

Chibimaru (ちびまるちゃん Chibimaru-chan) / Penelope Penelope is a baby hamster, she is always seen with a yellow cloth over her head. It was proven in some offical drawings that she looks like Maxwell under her cloth. Penelope can only say "Ook-wee'" and "Ook-you", a baby talk that hamsters say when they don't know how to speak yet. Penelope is Pashmina's best friend, and is often babysat by her.

Torahamu-chan (トラハムちゃん Torahamu-chan) / Sandy Sandy has the markings of a tiger, hence her name. Her personality can only be described as a 'valley girl'. Sandy has a obsession with gymnastics, and is often seen with a dancing ribbon. She is the twin brother of Stan, and often gets angry at him whenever he tries to flirt with girl hamsters. She has a huge crush on Maxwell.

Torahamu-kun (トラハムくん Torahamu-kun) / Stan Stan is Sandy's older twin brother. He likes to make music by shaking his maracas, but often he keeps them around with him to flirt with girl hamsters. His flirting often gets Sandy, Boss, Dexter and Howdy angry at him and is quickly stopped. He has also been seen riding his skateboard.

Noppo (のっぽくん Noppo-kun) / Maxwell Maxwell is the most intelligent among the ham-hams, and is often seen carrying a 'reference book of everything' with him. The hamsters often come to him when they are in need of advice (alhough they usually go to Snoozer or Elder-ham). Maxwell has a huge crush on Sandy, and there are atleast two episodes that focus on their relationship in the series.

Panda (パンダくん Panda-kun) Panda is named after the fact that he looks like a panda. He is very talented in crafts and building things, and has built many things including chairs and more. His most hardest work was building the Ham-Ham Park, a miniture theme park just for hamsters. Alhough he did needed some help.

Kaburu (かぶるくん Kaburu-kun) / Cappy Cappy is a young hamster, who is obsessed with hats. His owners really love him, to the point of building small furniture models for his cage. Cappy's life was once saved by Boss, and so he admires Boss very much. Cappy's favorite hats is a green swimmer's cap, and red cooking pot.

Neteru (ねてるくん Neteru-kun) / Snoozer After the completion of the Ham-Ham Clubhouse, Snoozer appeared inside the clubhouse(also Boss's house) from seemingly nowhere. Snoozer loves to sleep and does it 24-7, hence the name Boss gave him. The ham-hams once tried to solve the mystery of where Snoozer came from, but instead met a look-a-like named Omar. To this day, no one knows where Snoozer came from. Snoozer has been known to give helpful information in his sleep talk, whenever the ham-hams need it.

Tongari (トンガリくん Tongari-kun) / Jingle Jingle is a wandering ham-poet. He speaks in rhymes, poems or riddles.. often while playing the red guitar that he always has with him. Jingle first met Hamtaro, Oxnard and Penelope.. and eventally the others in a later episode. Jingle's best friend is a pink pig, whom he rides on to travel. He also has been seen riding a pidgeon/dove named Françoise(who is a friend of another hamster, Sabu) in the Hamtaro movies. Jingle usually only appears in the movies to give advice, and nothing more.

Haruna Hiroko (Sometimes also Roko-chan) / Laura Haruna Laura is a fifth-grader, and Hamtaro's owner. Hamtaro and Laura really love eachother like any loving family would. Often some of the problems in the episodes, are involing Laura in one way or another. Hamtaro wants to help her, and so the other ham-hams usually pitch in. Laura's best friend is Kana Iwata, Oxnard's owner. She also has a crush on a student from her class, a boy named Travis.

Kana Iwata Kana is Laura's best friend and Oxnard's owner. He is an outstanding artist, and her hamster is the subject of many of her works. Kana also has an older cousin who is the owner of a farm. Her cousin owns a hamster named Pepper, who is in love with Oxnard.

The Children's Picture Book and Manga

Tottoko Hamutarou first started out as a picture book for children. The manga came out next and was serialized by Ciao magazine. Ritsuko Kawai, creator of Hamutarou, was the author and artist of both works.

Ironicly, the anime is not an adaption of the picture book nor the manga, and the manga isn't a sequel to the pictue book. The manga is actually considering to be a retelling of Hamtaro's life story. The anime however does have a lot of things the manga had, such as the Ham-Hams and some human characters. It just isn't the entire adaption of the manga.

Volume one of the translated picture book. Also one of the most earliest styles of drawing Hamtaro that Ritsuko Kawai did.
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Volume one of the translated picture book. Also one of the most earliest styles of drawing Hamtaro that Ritsuko Kawai did.

In the children's picture books, Hamtaro tells the tale of from starting out in a pet store, to being adopted by a little girl name Yukari. Each short chapter tells about a new day in Hamtaro's life, often where he escapes the cage and goes off adventuring inside the house. Unlike the anime or manga however, the picture books revolve around Hamtaro and Yukari instead of other hamster characters.

There are guest starring hamsters too, but ones not in the manga nor the anime. In one chapter of volume 2 or 3, Hamtaro meets a white hamster. Although she is not Bijou. During that chapter, Hamtaro starts to visit her a lot. The two soon have a litter of little baby hamsters. But again, the manga and anime is simply a retelling of Hamtaro's life. Hamtaro does not have a litter with another hamster in the manga or anime.

The picture books have been translated by Viz, and four volumes are out. The books are now quite rare and probably out of print.

There are two known mangas based on Hamtaro. One has an unknown name and the other is called "Tottoko Hamutarou: Tottoko Ehon Dechu."

In the manga with the currently unknown name, it tells the story of Hamtaro living with many hamsters, in a model of a human house. They are apparently being cared by an old man, who owns the house model and seems to adopt them out. A young boy who looks like a young Travis, happens to adopt Hamutarou. Unlike the picture book, this manga happens to tell random stories and are usually not involved with the boy's house. This is the manga that introduces all of the ham-hams, and Brandy the dog. A girl who looks like Laura Haruna is also in this manga. The artwork is not that of traditional manga, but rather the style is quite different. It is very similar to the artwork of the picture book, and the pages are not drawn as comic panels.

In "Tottoko Hamutarou: Tottoko Ehon Dechu" manga, the story is a lot similar to the picture books. And again like before, the artwork is also similar and nothing is actually drawn in comic panels. But unlike the other manga, this one has color in all of the pages. Hamtaro is actually born in a girl's house. The girl looks a lot like Laura, but her name is actually Anna. There is no other hamsters similar to the ham-hams in this graphic novel. And Anna doesn't own a dog. Her grandfather is actually the owner of a dog, who looks a lot like a Border Collie.

Out of the two graphic novels, it could be quite obvious that the anime is based on the manga with the unknown name. Both graphic novels are Japan only.

Trivia

  • The character Hamutarou's birthdate is August 6th. The anime refers to his birthdate in many cases. In the TV series, clocks nearly always read 8:06 AM or PM, no matter how early or late it looks like outside.
  • Most of the background music was re-used from the anime series, Monster Rancher.
  • Several fan artists of the anime have created 'Ham-Humans' or Gijinkas of the hamster cast. An artist by the name of Chicko is the most well known, who has drawn the ham-hams in preteen or teen human ages.
  • Hamtaro toys can be seen on an office computer in the Jackie Chan film, New Police Story.


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