Mattel, the number one U.S. toy company, has landed the master toy license for the Cartoon Network's J-Pop saturated cartoon series Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi. The half-hour series features the animated exploits of J-Pop stars Ami (the peppy positive one) and Yumi (the cool cynical one) bookended by live action musical sequences featuring the pop idols and their band. While anime releases with their opening and closing musical themes have led to a surge of interest in the U.S. in Japanese popular music, the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi series, which debuted last November 19th and has been greenlit for 26 episodes, is definitely a J-Pop breakthrough.
Mattel's initial product launch will feature Ami and Yumi fashion dolls (Mattel is the company that Barbie built after all) as well as the AmiYumi Tour Bus. Mattel will also create plush toys based on the singers' favorite cats as well as musical and electronic toys, games, puzzles and vehicles. Starting in September Mattel plans to launch the toys worldwide, in all markets outside of Japan.