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

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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, 4 OVAs, and 4 Movies. It later spawned a spin-off series of five-minute episodes known as "Tottoko Hamutaro: Norisuta Hai!". 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. Yet the show aired on Fox Kids in Europe.

A new series named Tottoko Hamtaro Dechu has been broadcast, however it is just a rebroadcast of the first show (there is some new content in Dechu however).


Series contains examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: All the episodes featuring Laura in a Fairy Tale-like setting with the Ham-Hams.
  • 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
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension --> Happily Married: Laura's parents.
  • Big Eater: Oxnard.
  • 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: Two of them, in fact!
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Hamtaro, Oxnard, Panda, Snoozer and Cappy are all voiced by women. Boss averts this trope in most languages.
  • Disguised in Drag: During Sparkle's brief marriage to Omar, Boss (at Hamtaro's request) has to fill in for her position in order to make Laura not suspicious about Sparkle's disappearance.
  • Everything's Better with Chickens: Oh so completely inverted.
  • 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.
  • Festival Episode
  • Flanderization: Sparkle started off as a mean popular girl, but in the Japanese episodes and Rainbow Rescue, she was flanderized into a hot-headed Smug Snake and a Scrappy since people didn't like her for being rude to Bijou. She did take a level in kindness and got Rescued From the Scrappy Heap in the end of A Valentine Battle where she, Bijou and Oshare make amends with each other and in Ham-Ham Games, she mellowed out.
  • 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...
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Penelope briefly befriends Marly from the Chicky-Chicky gang in one episode. Perhaps in homage to this, Marly join Penelope in Bird-Back Riding in Ham-Ham Games.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Snoozer, duh.
  • Iconic Item: Oxnard never goes anywhere without his lucky sunflower seed.
  • 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.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The series have been off the air for ages, and many of the episodes were not released to DVD. And then those DVDs are no longer manufactured pretty hard to track down new (Amazon has a few new condition copies of the volumes scattered around the marketplace, but good luck finding all of the volumes in new condition). Also applies to the Second season theme song which is only aired a few times in the series' entire run. And let's not get started about the episodes that have not been exported out of Japan in the first place...
  • 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.
  • Love Dodecahedron So complicated it has to be broken down into a chart. Talk about Serious Business. To simplify
    • Bijou is in love with Hamtaro who is oblivious to it, while Boss is in love with Bijou with her not noticing. Both Hamtaro and Boss also have moments that are standing between friendship and teasing later in the series, something that even the latter's devil takes a notice of.
    • Both Howdy and Dexter tries to court Pashmina, with Pashmina simply treating both of them as good friends, though she also gives them their Valentine presents every year.
    • Penelope likes Tonkichi, though given her age, this falls under Precocious Crush.
    • Both Maxwell and Sandy are obviously in love with each other, but are unable to completely spit it out until "A Little Love Story" where it's implied that they've become an Official Couple.
    • Oxnard and Pepper are also in love with each other. They even marry at the end of the series!
    • 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!
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In-universe, Howdy and Oxnard both portrayed the main villain of their respective drean episode narrated by Snoozer.
  • Meganekko: Kana.
  • The Movie: Four of them, in fact. None of them were ever released outside of Japan.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: 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.
  • Nerd Glasses: Dexter's fur is in the shape of a pair of glasses.
  • Nice Hat: Cappy.
  • No Export for You: The later seasons of the TV series and the spinoff TV series in it's entirety. Also, all the movies and half of the OVAs, of which some were tie-ins with the games.
  • Non Standard Character Design: Arguably Heidi from "Ham-Hams Ahoy!", due to having smaller eyes compared to the others.
  • 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 an Episode: Laura's journal entry followed by Hamtaro's "Heke!" at the end of every episode.
  • Parental Bonus: Lots, including pretty much everything Stan does, the beach episode if you are 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; Hamtaro literally means "trotting hamster".
  • 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 four onward, he becomes Hero-Ham!
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter And HOW!
  • Rule 34: Yes, it exists..., however most of it is based on the humans, if you are into that kind of thing
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Jingle.
  • Screwed by the Network: The second opening theme song only aired a few times (counting reruns) in the US, by accident. Yeah, Cartoon Network hates it for some reason.
  • Ship Tease: On several occasions.
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Stan and Sandy.
  • 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.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Sunflower seeds. It's also their Trademark Favorite Food.
  • Sugar Bowl: What happens in the later, Asia-only seasons. The Ham-Hams going to a magical world of candy.
  • The Smart Guy: Maxwell.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics:How do you tell Stan and Sandy apart? Sandy has a bow right above her tail.
  • Those Two Guys: Howdy and Dexter.
  • Thicker Than Water: In one episode, Marly, the smallest member of the Chicky-Chicky gang, befriends Penelope, but chooses (though not without some hard feeling) to rejoin with his group after the gang's ceasefire with the Ham-ham goes awry.
  • 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.
  • Troubled but Cute: Roberto.
  • Twice Shy: Sandy and Maxwell.
  • The Unintelligible: Penelope. She can only say "Ookyoo" or "Ookwee."
  • Vague Age: The ages of the Ham-Hams aren't stated and seem to vary, with only Penelope that is explicitly a child while Oxnard is implied to be of marriageable age for a hamster judging from the final episode.
  • Verbal Tic: The entire ham-ham language is made up of them. For instance, they say "Krum krum" when eating, "Tiki tiki" while running, "Heke" in response to something that confuses them...there's a lot.
    • If memory serves, "Tiki tiki" was more along the lines of a slow walk, whereas running would be accompanied with "Bada bada bada".
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Cats may be mean, but you know what's worse? Chickens.
  • White Furred Pretty Girl: Bijou.
  • 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 rodents....like hamsters. Hamtaro twigged to it immediately but it took a while for Laura to do so.
  • Writer Revolt: Hamtaro's placement on Toonami lead to a number of jokes by Williams Street.
  • 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:

  • Card-Carrying Villain: Spat from Ham Ham Heartbreak is very much this.
  • Copy Protection: The second game prevents you from achieving Hundred-Percent 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • No Export for You: The first Game Boy Color game and the first DS game. Also, the fourth game, Rainbow Rescue, received a release in Europe and Japan, but not in the US.
    • Introducing TwitHamtaro(translation), yet another Tweeter app for the iPhone, with a Hamtaro skin! Want it? Sorry, it's only available on the Japanese iTunes Store, and thus only to those lucky enough to have a Japanese address and credit card!
  • One Hundred Percent Completion: The stickers in Rainbow Rescue can potentially take players to the dark, dark world of (digital) sticker collecting.
  • The Power of Love: Ham Ham Heartbreak makes a game out of it!
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Averted. The various Hamtaro games for Nintendo consoles have a reputation for being very good for what they are. That's because they were made by Alpha Dream (known for the Mario&Luigi series) and published by Nintendo. And because half of them were adventure games in a time when few companies were making them, boosting them to the top of their genre easily!
  • Ret-Gone: The second DS game opted to use the Japanese opening theme, even for the US release of the game, retconning out the English second season theme song.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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 accomplishes anything beyond making them distressed. Body slamming 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.
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