Tottoko Hamutaro: Anime Dechu! (lost "Hamtaro" anime series; 1999)
|Magazine ad for VHS of the anime|
Most anime fans probably know the series Hamtaro, the anime about the cute little hamster owned by a 5th-grade girl named Laura/Hiroko and who goes on adventures with his hamster friends. However, before the actual series premiered in Japan in 2000, there was a short series that was released on VHS in 1999 called Tottoko Hamutaro Anime Dechu! (とっとこ ハム太郎 ヤニメ でちゆ), (not to be confused with the 2011 Hamtaro re-airing known as Tottoko Hamutaro Dechu).
All that is known about this anime is as follows:
- It is based on the original manga by Ritsuko Kawai and has no relation to the final series (in other words, it is not considered a pilot).
- Hamtaro was voiced by Naomi Nagasawa instead of Kurumi Mamiya. He is also the only hamster to speak in the series.
- Hamtaro is owned by a girl named Natsumi and not Laura/Hiroko.
- The VHS release contains 4 episodes of the anime, and it's unknown if any others were produced or not.
- The VHS was apparently not publicly available and was only given/sold to members of the production team at Shogakukan, the company who created Hamtaro, which makes it especially rare. The original cost was apparently 1200 yen (approx. $10).
- The episodes used songs that would be used later in the final series, including “Let’s Draw Hamtaro”, “Let’s Play Again Tomorrow” and “Techitechi March” .
- The anime's existence was brought into knowledge by this Twitter post: https://twitter.com/ermame26/status/841543418195017729