Sega Toys will be launching the Zhu Zhu Pets line of robotic hamster toys in Japan this April, and the company aims to develop a manga version this year and an animated version in the spring of 2011.
Zhu Zhu Pets is the first phase of Sega Toys' initiative to introduce popular overseas toys in Japan. The American toy line has been a hit for the Missouri-based toy company Cepia, which shipped 12 million of the toys since last spring. Sega licensed the rights to sell the toys not only in Japan but the rest of Asia, with an emphasis on China and the Southeast Asian countries. The company projects that its overseas sales will grow three times bigger — to 15 billion yen (about US$170 million) — from this fiscal year to the March 2012 fiscal year.
Sega is offering the licensing rights to Japanese publishers and other companies, with the aim of launching a manga series in a children's magazine this year. It then aims to broadcast an animated project next spring. Sega also plans to release the manga and animation projects overseas, including in America. The country where the animation will be produced has not been specified.