Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi
is an Annie Award
-nominated American animated television series
produced by Renegade Animation
for the Cartoon Network
. The show was created by Sam Register
, who also serves as the series' executive producer.
According to Register, the target audience of the show is boys and girls from six to sixteen years old. However, the show also has a following of fans of the real-life Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura who make up the J-pop duo PUFFY, known as "Puffy AmiYumi" in North America. Register, a fan of the band, wished to spread its fame to other parts of the world and thus produced the cartoon.
The series features the adventures of animated versions of the band. It has been immensely popular in Japan since making its debut in 1996. The group now has several U.S. albums to its credit—including a 2004 companion album to this program—and was known to viewers of Cartoon Network in the USA for performing the theme to the animated series of Teen Titans comics.
The cartoon was produced entirely in the United States (the only series that does this full time) using a combination of Macromedia Flash
and traditional cel animation
. Each program was 30 minutes long (with commercials) and featured three seven-minute segments that borrow inspiration from Japanese animation
During the first season, the show included short clips of the real Ami and Yumi making childish commentary (in English and nonsubtitled Japanese) at the beginning and end of each episode. They only performed short clips at the beginning of the show during the second and third seasons. Starting with the second season, the duo was sometimes shown holding title cards introducing the cartoon segments. At the end of the episode "Sitcomi Yumi", Ami and Yumi watch TV and see the animated Kaz with the real Ami and Yumi.
The real Puffy AmiYumi performs the cartoon's theme song (which is also in Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese in the respective regions), and many episodes feature one or more of the duo's songs playing in the background, along with music by their Puerto Rico muse Andy Sturmer.
The animated Puffy AmiYumi travel all over the world in their tour bus. While appearing the same size as a regular bus on the outside, it appears to have enough internal space to house the girls' rooms (including full-sized beds), Kaz' room, their equipment, and several televisions and computers, among other things. In the episode "Domo", Kaz refers to an upstairs area. It also seems capable of running on autopilot, as many episodes have Kaz, Ami, and Yumi sitting in the rear cabin of the bus while traveling. Several times, the rear door has been opened to receive packages, which a boy on a scooter usually delivers.
Though the characters speak English, the script occasionally intersperses their vernacular with Japanese speech, especially when the characters react to events that they find to be surprising. Calling out "Tasukete!" instead of "Help!" is commonly used. While Kawaye and Young speak fluent Japanese, DeLisle learned how to speak some of the language in the series thanks to both her castmates (this is also evident in the episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy titled "My Peeps").
Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi
depicts characters with the same name and profession as the actual Puffy members but with different appearances and exaggerated personalities as well as the tendency to break the fourth wall
- Ami Onuki (pronounced /ˈɑmi/), the older one of the duo is depicted as a peppy, optimistic, and cute girl with rose hair and eyes. She favors bubblegum pop and wears a 1960's go-go dress, also sporting a flower in her hair and white knee-high go-go boots. As the optimist, Ami always looks on the bright side of things and finds a solution to every situation (being two years older and more mature). Janice Kawaye provides Ami's upbeat voice.
- Yumi Yoshimura (pronounced /ˈumi/), the younger of the duo, is depicted as a cynical, sarcastic punk rocker with lavender hair and blue eyes. She dresses in a heavy metal/grunge/goth style with studded necklaces and bracelets, a light purple T-shirt with a skull that has the same facial expressions as she does and seems to have a mind of its own, a black miniskirt, purple bike shorts, and black army boots. Being younger, Yumi is also more impetuous than Ami and rushes headlong into a decision before thinking. However, Yumi has a mature side, too, and sometimes reasons with Ami's childish obsessions, although she herself is two years younger. Yumi is voiced by Grey DeLisle.
- Kaz Harada is the duo's well-intentioned yet money-grubbing manager, whose successes are usually balanced out by his foolish decisions. His appearance and name are based on Puffy AmiYumi's real-life manager, Kaz Harada. Veteran character actor Keone Young provides his voice. He is also a huge fan of sumo wrestling, as seen in the episode "Sumo Kaz". When asked his opinion on his animated likeness during a panel at the 2005 Otacon event, the real Kaz Harada admitted that he had never actually seen the show.
- Jang Keng and Tekirai are Yumi's and Ami's pet cats, respectively. Jang Keng is a black cat and Tekirai is a fluffy white cat. The girls adore their cats, but Kaz is a constant victim of their mischief. Ms. Kawaye voices Tekirai ("Teki" for short) while Mrs. DeLisle does Jang Keng (sometimes called "Jengo").
- Harmony is the self-proclaimed "Number One Fan" of the girls and of Kaz by the end of the episode "Dis-Harmony" and in "Fan Clubs". She is a six-year-old psycho girl who is so obsessed with the duo that she follows it around the world, annoying Ami and Yumi to no end. The character is voiced by Sandy Fox.
- Eldwin Blair is a sinister land developer, and the antagonist in the two episodes in which he appears. He usually tries to tear down beloved places for his own selfish needs.
- King Chad is "a bad boy super hunk", as once described by Ami and Yumi. He is obsessed with the card game Stu-Pi-Doh! (a parody of Yu-Gi-Oh!) and thinks highly of himself. In "Janice Jealous", he had a girlfriend named Janice who shared his interests in video games, yo-yo tricks, and comics. True to his name, King Chad wears a fur-lined cape and gold crown, and sits on a beautifully-adorned throne. In the episode "Janice Jealous", the character King Chad goes out with is based on Janice Kawaye, Ami's voice actress. She also voiced the character Janice, although according to the creators of the show, "the real life Janice Kawaye is a thousand times nicer than the animated one".
- Wall is a hulking yet slow-witted man hired by Kaz as the girls' bodyguard. He is overprotective, pummeling anyone with whom Ami and Yumi attempt to make contact. Kaz later hired him as a bouncer for a party he was throwing and, more recently, Ami had him try being a roadie.
- Domo is Kaz's dog. He looks much like his owner, even sharing a similar style of glasses (Kaz is the only one who doesn't see the resemblance). Like Kaz, he is constantly in conflict with the cats, especially since he enjoys eating their food.
- Talent Suckers are a vampire rock trio from Transylvania who first appeared in the eponymous episode, "sucking" Ami and Yumi's talent from them. They returned in two other episodes. The straight man of the trio is Vlad, a tall vampire who speaks with a Transylvanian accent. The second band member is a short vampire, Nicolai, who is easily made nervous. (A running gag has Vlad slapping Nicolai back to his senses.) The third Talent Sucker is Mitch, a vampire who does not talk, but instead grunts and groans.
- Atchan is a character Ami and Yumi met at Camp Youwannasushi. He thinks he is a superhero. He is based on Vo Atsushi, the lead singer of the J-Pop band New Rote'ka and one of Yumi's real-life friends. Before becoming a superhero, Atchan's face resembles Mac from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. After he declares himself a hero, his looks change to look more like Kamen Rider's. He has a painted star over his right eye resembling that of Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley.
- Julie is Yumi's friend in the episode "Julie AmiYumi" (not aired in the USA). She is a former band member who plays a keyboard guitar and is deranged. She treated Yumi nice, but was always mean to Ami, it was revealed that she was trying to take out Ami and Yumi as revenge for them stealing the stardom which she believed to be rightfully hers. She has a cult following among fans and is one of the show's most popular characters. Fans began to believe that she got her green hair from the late drummer, Crazy Sticks, who was believed to be her father.
"Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi" premiered in the USA on November 19
. Since Cartoon Network is available worldwide, the show is dubbed into several languages and aired on a variety of international neworks, as well as on YTV
On October 2, 2006, Cartoon Network put the show on hiatus for budget problems. In Japan & Latin América all 39 produced episodes have been televised. It is unclear if the five remaining notseen episodes will be seen in the US or if there will be any more external support for the series, such as additional DVD releases. It is also unknown is Season 3 will air in Australia. The US Cartoon Network website has removed all mention of the show, though the UK and Australian websites have not.
In Japan, the show began airing on Cartoon Network in English with Japanese subtitles in 2005. A dubbed version began airing on TV Tokyo's Oha Star block on October 6, 2005 and started to air on January 8, 2006 on Cartoon Network Japan.
The series has been nominated three times for the Annie Award
. Two of them came in 2005 and one came in 2006.
|| Category |
|| Character Design in an Animated Television Production for Shakeh Haghnazian |
| Production Design in an Animated Television Production for Michael Giaimo (for first episode) |
|| Best Production Design in an Animated Television Production for Michael Giaimo |
- A "falloon" (a float with balloon elements) of Puffy AmiYumi's cartoon tour bus (complete with the supporting characters in puppet form), the cartoon version of Puffy AmiYumi as a balloon, and the real Puffy AmiYumi appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2005. A video of this Macy Parade Float in Chicago can be viewed on SUMO.tv
- A line of toys intended for girls was produced by Mattel (makers of the popular Barbie doll and Hot Wheels cars) and released for the 2005 Christmas season.
- Two DVDs, Let's Go! and Rock Forever, featuring various episodes of the show, were released on November 29, 2005.
- In September 2005 console, handheld and PC games based on the show were licensed to D3Publisher of America (D3PA). Currently a Game Boy Advance game called Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Kaznapped! has been released. A Nintendo DS game titled The Genie and the Amp was released on June 27, 2006. Kaznapped! has also been released in Japan.
- The American costume company Rubie's produced a line of Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi costumes and accessories for girls for Halloween 2006.