Industry News

Tama and Friends are back!

6 Mar - 2019

Much-loved characters return in new movie and special pop-up shops.

Tokyo-based Sony Creative Products Inc. (SCP), which manages licensing in the Japanese market for Tama and Friends, has announced the return of the hit show in movie form for the first time in 26 years. The new film, called Cats Tail’s Tales will be released 10 May 2019.

To mark the occasion, limited-duration pop-up Tama and Friends shops will be opened in JR Akihabara station and Kurume City Plaza in the southern city of Fukuoka and in Tokyo Character Street in Tokyo Station. The three shops will stock existing and specially created new merchandise for the many fans, old and young, of Tama, who are expected to welcome his return in this new adventure.

The new film follows the adventures of three cats, Tama, Dayan and Tobineko, in an omnibus presentation inspired by three successful franchises and shown in three segments. The Tama section brings together the voice actors who appeared in the popular animated series Have You Seen My Tama? in the early 1990s. The Dayan animated character, a curious, adventurous cat, based on a number of popular published stories, first appeared on TV in 2014. Tobineko is a humourous feature initially inspired by a photo collection of jumping cats.

The success of all three shows on Tokyo MX Television and Hiroshima Home Television inspired the idea of bringing them together to make this film, which will be targeted at fans of all ages.

That’s not surprising. Cat-themed content is booming in Japan, and Tama in particular is a strong brand with a long history and many generations of fans. The world of Tama and Friends was inspired in 1983 by a real-life missing cat poster on which was written the phrase ‘Have You Seen My Tama?’ Created by Sony Creative Products Inc, the character soon became a hit in Japan, first through plush and other merchandised goods, and then through an animated series in which Tama and his cat and dog friends find out about the world and learn the enduring values of friendship and teamwork. To this day, Tama remains a widely popular character among Japanese children and adults.

Tama celebrated his 35th anniversary in 2018 and, at a time when nostalgia for 1980s Japanese culture is a strong licensing driver, opportunities for related merchandise products such as stationeries, sundries and apparel using classic designs are strong in Japan. And, of course Tama and Friends stores are opening soon.

Takeshi Nakamura, Global Business Group Licensing Manager, Sony Creative Products Inc., says: “The delightful cat Tama and his funny friends have been part of many peoples’ lives for over thirty years. I’m sure his fans – of all ages – will welcome his return to the screen and, of course, his starring role in three very special pop-up shops.”

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