Sylvanian Families (シルバニアファミリー) is the name of a line of video games and anthropomorphic collectible toy plush figures, created by Japanese company Epoch in 1985 and distributed worldwide by a number of companies. The characters, grouped into families, feature woodland creatures such as beavers, hedgehogs, mice and bears. They remain a quintessential part of the 1990s boom in craze (or fad) toys.
At the beginning of production, in 1985, Sylvanian Families were released in both Japan and North America, albeit with different packaging and minor differences to the characters themselves. In 1987, the success in these markets led to expansion into the UK and Ireland. By 1988, Sylvanian Families had become a major success around the world, spawning a spin-off animated series, and winning the British Association of Toy Retailers award for Toy of the Year three years consecutively, in 1987, 1988 and 1989. There was also a cartoon TV series shown in the 80s that was popular in Spain and the UK, and was also shown in the early 90's in the US on Nick Jr.
By the end of the 1990s Sylvanian families had been discontinued in the UK and France, although they have since been reintroduced by Flair. Subsequently, Sylvanian families have been reintroduced in Australia and are becoming more widely available. Tomy stopped selling Calico Critters, but a new company, International Playthings, picked up the line. In 2007, Sylvanian Families in the UK celebrated their 20th anniversary with a selected number of new items. The best selling was an Otter boat, and a reintroduced the Dalmatian Family who now wore party hats that read "Happy 20th!".
DIC Entertainment currently has no plans to release the animated series on DVD at this time.