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Article:    Hamtaro! The Show, Books, Toys, More.

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The Show

The relatively new Japanese cartoon, Hamtaro, first aired in August 2002. A story about pet hamsters who have a secret life of their own, Hamtaro is adorable and sweet, and our prediction that it was "destined to be a very popular show for little ones" has certainly come to pass. While it won't be another Pokemon (its audience is more limited), judging by kids' reactions to the first episode (and their continued fascination with the show and characters), Hamtaro is a winner. 

The human main character, a ten-year-old girl named Laura, has just moved into a new home along with her pet hamster, Hamtaro (pictured along with his Ham-Ham friends at right). While Laura explores her new town, Hamtaro escapes from his pet cage and meets the neighborhood hamsters (the Ham-Hams). There's Boss, Cappy, Snoozer, Bijou, and more.


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In the first episode, Hamtaro meets the timid, nervous, and apologetic Oxnard. Shortly thereafter, Boss emerges menacingly from his tunnel--he's a field hamster who's been around (he doesn't have an owner to give him a home or food, he explains). Although gruff and tough, Hamtaro (and little viewers) soon discover that he's really quite nice. In fact, he has a crush on a sweet little French number, Bijou. After a fumbled serenade, will Bijou fall "head over paws" for Boss? Or will she fall for Hamtaro instead?

A Cartoon Soap Opera?

With a 10-year-old girl as the main character, Hamtaro seems to be aimed at a young female audience. However, little boys should enjoy Hamtaro as well. The cartoon emphasizes the social interactions of both Laura and her new friends as well as the group of hamsters. The hamsters, each of which has a well-defined character, have budding (and sometimes competing) friendships and love interests. 

The social aspect of the show makes it a little like an animated children's soap opera. And, it's probably just as addictive!


~~~Hamtaro Merchandise~~~

Books, toys, and even a GameBoy Color game starring Hamtaro have recently been released. First out was The Official Hamtaro Handbook, pictured at left. Through this fun guide, kids can get acquainted with each character -- Bijou, Penelope, Pashmina, Panda, Howdy, and more -- through biographies; learn the "language" (the hamsters speak English, but they have some special expressions); play with stickers; and learn about the episodes. See our full review

[For more information, or to order: The Official Hamtaro Handbook at]

More books include Hamtaro storybooks, a Hamtaro Pop-Up Playset (shown at right) that allows children to play with the hamsters in a simulated house setting, and Hamtaro Origami set. We looked at both of these books. They both keep kids busy "creating", but the Origami book is on the difficult side. Although the origami projects are supposed to be comparatively easy, our younger kid testers gave up on them. Even our 12 year old had a hard time completing them. The Hamtaro Pop-Up Playset, however, is certainly a fun papercraft for kids. Like many paper crafts, they don't always last long in many households, but the process is very enjoyable.

[For more information, or to order: Hamtaro Pop-Up Playset at]

Kids will love the Hamtaro and Bijou plush toys--they're adorable. These stuffed toys come in one of two sizes, regular or jumbo. There are also mini plush dolls of a number of Ham-Ham characters available.

[For more information, or to order: Hamtaro Jumbo Plush: Hamtaro at]

The first Hamtaro video game was released for GameBoy Color last fall and is called, Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! The game is still available. Kids need to find the Ham-Hams and return them to the Clubhouse for a surprise from Boss. In order to accomplish their goal, they need to learn Ham-Chat, a secret Ham-Ham language. We have a full review of this cute, but challenging, game. 

[For more information, or to order: Hamtaro: Ham Hams Unite! at]

Released in April 2003 is a Hamtaro game for GameBoy Advance, Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak. The story line is fun--kids need to restore love between Ham-Ham couples (not all male-female, so perhaps we should refer to them as cover Ham-Ham "pairs"). This game stars the lead male and female characters of the show, Hamtaro and Bijou. There are certainly many similar elements to the game as the Ham-Hams Unite game (it picks up where it left off, kind of), the graphics are better (naturally!) and the story is also original. New Ham-chat words are featured, and there is a photo studio where children can bring their lead characters for dressing up. Players also prepare the gems they've collected (they collect more when the bond between Hamtaro and Bijou is strong) in the "rubrub" room, and then create jewelry accessories with them. This is a very cute game, but it is very challenging for young fans of the show! Best for older fans.

[For more information, or to order: Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak at]


coverNew: Now available! An educational software game for kids starring Hamtaro. This CD-ROM is age-appropriate for the target audience of the Hamtaro show and educational too! Called Hamtaro: Wake Up Snoozer!, this CD-ROM features educational games in the areas of math, logic, language arts, and phonics, as kids go on an adventure to find the sweet baby Ham-Ham, Penelope. See screenshots from the game.


Videos and DVDs of the show have also been released. See Hamtaro Videos and Hamtaro DVDs.

Many Hamtaro fans will want to re-enact and invent some of their own stories through play with Hamtaro figurines. We just love these figures and sets! They are a huge, huge hit with young children, whether they have seen the show or not.

Set #1 contains Hamtaro, Bijou, Oxnard, Howdy, Pashmina, Sandy, Dexter, and Cappy; while Set #2 includes Hamtaro, Pashmina, Jingle, Penelope, Maxwell, Panda, Snoozer, and Bijou. Each set also includes accessories. Search to buy: Hamtaro Toys



The Ham-Ham House is designed to be used with the Hamtaro figures and sets shown above. This approximately 10-inch high playhouse features rooms for kids to play with their little Ham-Ham toy characters. Our kid testers really enjoy this house--they used the figure sets (8 in all) shown above to "furnish" the house with a sink, bed, fridge, and so forth. We have some complaints: the house could have been a little bigger! Unless you own only a few sets, it gets overcrowded fast! Also, we wish the back of the house closed so that kids could easily store the tiny pieces inside. The little swing that attaches to the house is quite sensitive (the figures flop out of it easily). Be aware that there is only one figure (Hamtaro) included in the set, and furnishings need to be purchased separately. However, kid testers really enjoy the set-up and details of the house. It comes with stickers of things like a rug, portraits of Ham-Hams for the walls, and so forth. There are places for the Ham-Ham figures to sit, and they can even be placed on the sides of the walls so that it appears they are climbing the wall of the playhouse. 

[For more information, or to order: Ham-Ham House at]


Two different Hamtaro posters are now available for purchase at Note that some of the characters' names are in Japanese on the first poster. The second poster is the newest:

Buy This Poster At

Buy This Poster At

Get Acquainted with the Ham-Hams

Currently, the best way to get acquainted with the Ham-Hams is through the official web site. There, kids can meet all the characters, read short bios, print out coloring pages of the Ham-Hams, and learn about the episodes in the series. And, of course, the cartoon itself is available on the Cartoon Network daily (YTV in Canada).

A terrific site for Hamtaro fans can be found at, a Nintendo site which has recently been updated extensively as a result of the new GameBoy Advance Ham-Ham Heartbreak game release. See screenshots from the game and play some online games: find gems on the site and bring them to the Rubrub room for polishing, make a Hamtaro scene (complete with backgrounds and virtual stickers), and participate in Ham-jams. Very fun and colorful site. 



Search for all Hamtaro products at

Hamtaro Products




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Search for all Hamtaro products at

Hamtaro Products


Ham-Ham House

This approximately 10-inch high playhouse features rooms for little Ham-Ham toy characters to play in.





In Canada, you can buy Hamtaro books, book/toy sets, games, and software at

Hamtaro: Ham-ham Heartbreak (GameBoy Advance)

Hamtaro: Ham Hams Unite! (GameBoy)

The Official Hamtaro Handbook

Hamtaro Punch-Out Activity Book

Hamtaro Origami Book

Hamtaro Pop-Up Playset

The Official Hamtaro Trading Card Game...



August 2002/December 2002/April 2003 update/August 2003 update/November 2003 update

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