DVD Review (Posted on 09-05-2013)
I've been collecting, in addition to playing and eventually produce a web series reviewing them, video game RPGs. I ran into HamTaro for the Nintendo Game Boy Color, and at first glance, it was such a cute game. However, like I was with Pokémon, I found the anime series which I decided to plunge into, to get a better feel of the story and the characters before playing the game.
Being that it's a children's show, I fell in love with the hamsters immediately. With this anime series, let alone this DVD volume, it'll make you go out and adopt a hamster for a pet.
Prior to the menu screen are promos of everything HamTaro and one on Codename: Kids Next Door
. The menu doesn't have any background music. This may be a relief to some, or most, despite having to figure out a choice on what to check out without rushing. Also includes English subtitles.
First episode is all about introductions. Having moved to a new house, HamTaro escapes his cage and climbs onto Laura, his owner, and her new curtains. He starts chewing it up when Laura caught him and states he always gets into trouble when she's not around (keep that thought). When Laura's mom walks in, she suggests Laura takes a break and obliges by walking to the kitchen with both her mom and dad. HamTaro again escapes from his cage and explores Laura's new room and part of the new house all together. Laura runs back into her room and tells HamTaro she's going out for a bit, as she assumes HamTaro is inside sleeping.
While the family were gone, HamTaro finds his way outside! And then he slides down a water chute, leading to the ground landing on Brandy the Dog's head. Brandy is one lazy pup as HamTaro greets him a good morning. Looking over yonder, HamTaro wants to explore the world, until he finds another hamster in the bushes. He decides to chase him, until the poor hamster asks HamTaro where his beloved sunflower seed went leaving them both to search for it. As soon as they found it, HamTaro introduces himself as he meets Oxnard—the sunflower seed junkie who can't function throughout the day without that delicious treat. After celebrating, Oxnard lands on loose ground until it gave way and HamTaro is also caught in, both falling inside. They're both approached by a beast...of a hamster, as HamTaro (adorably) sniffs it. It's Boss, as HamTaro and Oxnard landed in his habitat. However, Boss decides to give them both a tour of his residence. He invites the two inside his house, having built the entire place without the aid of an owner. Boss also states he has a huge crush on a female hamster by the name of Bijou. Struggling to try and tell her how he feels, HamTaro suggests he should sing for her! Meanwhile, Laura and her dad walk on as Laura decides to check the Hobby Store. Cutting back to the Ham-Hams, the trio run into the luxurious residence where Bijou is, as they climb onto a tree only to see her through the window. Unable to find the words to say, HamTaro jumps in and help Boss with an original song; Bijou likes what she's seeing!
Shopping through the store, Laura runs into a notebook with a hamster design on the front. She meets a girl named Kana, who also happens to be a hamster owner—the owner of Oxnard! On the other hand, the trio finish their jig as they all get rewarded with sunflower seeds from Bijou; she enjoyed the little show. Unfortunately, her owner ambivalent to Bijou's viewing caused her to close the window and the curtains. After a nice day meeting new hamsters, HamTaro rushes back just in time when Laura and her parents arrive home. Laura shows HamTaro her new notebook as it reminds her of the little hamster. She starts writing on her journal about her day and her moving to a new house (blogging?), as HamTaro cozies up to Laura wanting to get some sleep. The episode ends with credits and a brief look at the next episode.
Second episode starts with Laura having a "clothing crisis" not able to decide what to wear on her first day at school. Now that she's running late, she waves bye to HamTaro storming off her room. HamTaro begins thinking how Laura will do first day at school, only to come to a realization that she might go hungry! Off HamTaro goes, as he escapes his cage and out the house he goes, and greets Brandy the Dog of course. HamTaro wants to do a good deed for Laura but is unsure of where her school is. In the background is Boss training Oxnard, military style, both bumping into HamTaro. Without a choice, HamTaro decides to join in and train with them. After running and jumping, HamTaro and Oxnard looked pooped out when they see an appearance of more Ham-Hams! They introduce themselves: Howdy, Dexter, Pashmina and the super adorable Penelope. On the other hand, Laura introduces herself to the class which includes the Japanese bow
! Kana applauds only to get weird stares from other classmates. One guy decides to also applaud to cause a chain reaction: the rest of the class applauds welcoming Laura to the class. She sits right next to Kana, being glad they're in the same class.
As Boss continues to train the Ham-Hams, rain begins to kick in as the gang stay dry under a tree. If it moves, chase it: the Ham-Hams encounter a vicious cat who starts chasing the hamsters, all running for cover. As the cat chases Boss, HamTaro and Penelope, Penelope trips and falls as HamTaro jumps in to prevent the cat from kidnapping it. HamTaro then gets the cat to continue chasing it, until he tricks the cat into getting it to fall into the river. The hamsters all gather up and run for cover, as the cat climbs back on land in defeat. Boss was so proud of HamTaro that he invites the whole gang to his house to celebrate HamTaro's bravery! On the other side, while Laura and Kana chat, she glances at a guy who walked past her. Having looked away, the guy stares right back at her. Back to the Ham-Hams, Boss walks in only to find a sleepy hamster napping on his dinner table. Looking around, Pashmina suggests to Howdy and Dexter that everyone should tidy up the place. Howdy talks about his friends knowing famous hamsters, like "Hamlet" and "Hammingway" and that tidying up the place would attract more hamsters making Boss the most famous hamster alive ("Hammingway" is a play on the famous writer's name Ernest Hemmingway
). All the hamsters pitch in as they work together to give the home a makeover—a clubhouse where hamsters can hang out. Back at school, the students play soccer as the ball goes to Kana then kicks it to Laura. Laura busted an awesome pass to the guy in her team to score a goal. That very same guy was the one she kept staring at, as he compliments her for the awesome pass. Laura becomes petrified in love! In the classroom, two girls approach Laura and Kana talking about their hamster-designed notebook only to state they too are hamster owners/fans. One girl is the owner of Pashmina and Kylie is the owner of Penelope.
As the hamsters leave, they all agree to meet at Boss' pad tomorrow. As Boss walks in, he still finds the sleeping hamster and decides to call him "Snoozer" because all the lazy hamster does is sleep! HamTaro back in his cage still wanted to save Laura from hunger. Having found Laura back home in her room, she tells HamTaro about her first day at school, making new friends and a guy she's now crushing on. Laura continues writing on her journal summarizing her wonderful day, as HamTaro looks on stating he had a wonderful day too with the Ham-Hams.
Finally, the third episode sought the parents letting Laura know that they'll be busy at work leaving the house to her for a bit. The moment Laura leaves, HamTaro is off again and meets with his new Ham-Ham friends. Oxnard is having a tough start despite not being able to find his sunflower seed. HamTaro helps Oxnard find his seed only to find that he sat on it the whole time! Oxnard is happy again. Excited about hanging at Boss' pad, Pashmina introduces new Ham-Hams: Maxwell, Panda, Sandy and Cappy—Cappy who came in and scared Boss out covering himself with a cooking pot. All hamsters run into Boss' new clubhouse as they all introduce themselves, which includes Howdy holding an abacus
. HamTaro then introduces Snoozy—the sleepy hamster who's philosophical. At school, Laura received her math test thinking she got a 10%, but when she moved her thumb and it was 100%. One of her classmates reminded her it was an open book test and that majority of the class also received an A+ (reality is unkind, isn't it?). Down below, Panda finishes building their own clubhouse desk, having stated that he lives with carpenters. In the middle, Oxnard and Howdy begin fighting over a truck! The truck gives way and splits in half, leaving Oxnard in tears.
"Which just goes to show you being a bully doesn't get you anywhere. You need to have respect."
Howdy, you just got told, buddy.
Not wanting to learn a lesson, Howdy begins chasing Dexter. They run over Cappy, destroy Panda's newly built desk leaving him to chase the two, run over Pashmina, run past Snoozer and HamTaro running with the trio to break up the fight. Boss is at his recliner, sniffing the beautiful flower he picked from Bijou's house, reciting poetically at expressing his true heart toward Bijou. Suddenly, the quadruple bump and run over Boss having wrecked the beautiful rose he had, making the place a huge mess. Angrily, Boss kicks everyone out of his house, leaving everyone to walk away bummed and in regret.
Laura decides to break the good news to her parents, tagging Kana with her, but they both were too busy at work to talk. As they both went home, HamTaro sits in his home inside his cage trying to find a way to apologize to Boss and the situation of the Ham-Hams. He was happy to see Laura and Kana who showed up in her room, as Laura shows HamTaro her A+ paper. HamTaro couldn't interpret but he was glad Laura was happy and wanted the paper to scrunch up and make something out of it, as a gift of apology to Boss. Laura decides to take Kana out to eat then play afterward.
Silently, Boss sits in his recliner having an epiphany. Snoozer breaks a message:
"Everybody needs somebody."
It sure makes sense. After all, Boss "needs" Bijou, so I don't see why he doesn't need the fellow Ham-Hams.
Immediately, Boss runs outside and climbs atop a tree to call on all Ham-Hams. HamTaro makes his way outside and finds his hamster circle! They all feel the same in wanting to apologize and make up for what happened earlier. The Ham-Hams find Boss stuck in a tree as HamTaro comes to the rescue. Trying to grab a hold of Boss, the branch gives way and they both fall! The Ham-Hams created a bed of leaves for both Boss and HamTaro to land on safely...and does! Boss admits to missing the group inviting the Ham-Hams back to his pad once again! After hanging with the fellow Ham-Hams, HamTaro walks home being glad that Laura and the parents are back home, finally getting to break the good news about her test score (walking past him, why didn't HamTaro greet Brandy?). Laura summarizes her day writing about it on her journal, as HamTaro too had quite a day himself.
You guessed it: this is the first anime I've watched, and reviewed, outside of Pokémon
. Being that it's for kids, I think adults will enjoy this too. The story is very simple and you'll grow to adore these cute hamsters. If it weren't for me finding the beloved handheld RPG on the Game Boy Color, I wouldn't have pushed the effort to discover this amazing series, even though here in the US, TV networks have no qualms about dropping TV shows to replace it with a "better" series. I understand business is business, but great shows like this only tell me the absurd marketing in the broadcasting world. That must explain why excellent shows, in this case certain anime shows, don't get light from the US. There's a ton of explanations for that, despite the copyrights, the purchasing of episodes, the English dubbing/translations and a quintillion other reasons. There's a whole lot of great anime films/series from Japan that may never cross over to the US, which saddens me just thinking about it. Other that that, during its tenure here in the US, you will enjoy this.
Having dug up some family-friendly anime—alternatives coming soon—you will never go wrong with this series at all.
Creating a canvas is also something you can't go wrong with! Make yours at CanvasWorld
© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Originally Published by
Character Business Center,
Main Title Theme Song
Lyrics, Composition and Music Arrangement by
Craig F. McCaw & David Iris
Ending Theme Song
Lyrics: David Iris
Composition: Motoyoshi Iwasaki
Music Arrangement: Motoyoshi Iwasaki
Lyrics, Composition and Music Arrangement by
Tom Keenlyside, John Mitchell & David Iris
Shogakukan Music & Digital Entertainment
Sound Recording Director
Sound Recording Production
Half H-P Studio
TMS Entertainment, Ltd.
Original Production by
TV Tokyo MediaNet
Shogakukan Music & Digital Entertainment
Audio Post Production Supervisor
Keith A. Goddard
Featuring the Voices of:
Don Brown Lanie McAuley
Ted Cole Seren Pendleton-Knoll
Trevor Devall Matt Smith
Paul Dobson Tabitha St. Germain
Daniella Evangelista Moneca Stori
Noel Fisher Chantal Strand
Saffron Henderson Brad Swaile
Ellen Kennedy Sam Vincent
Terry Klassen Natalie Walters
Jocelyn Loewen Cathy Weseluck
Jillian Michaels Brittney Wilson
Kathy Morse Chiara Zanni
Assistant Recording Engineer
Additional Sound Effects
Keith A. Goddard
English Version Produced in Association with
The Ocean Group