One of Japan’s most famous children’s mascots has vanished from Twitter, and we only have his final words as a clue.

You may not have realized it, but we’re coming up on a very important date. No, it’s not the anniversary of the date that a Saitama zoo decreed that they would keep up a cardboard cutout of their lovelorn penguin’s anime wife. Nor are we celebrating one year since the broadcast of the animated classic, “Butt Detective”.

No, what we’re talking about is a little more sinister than that. What we’re talking about is the anniversary of the official Hamtaro anime Twitter account’s last known tweet.

Hamtaro is decently well-known in the West, but in Japan and other Eastern countries he’s a truly beloved fixture of children’s programming. Kids and adults alike will tear up the dance floor to the opening theme of his show, and he’s a frequent star in bento box art.

▼ With a theme song this cute, it’s no wonder everyone loves him

The official Twitter for the Hamtaro franchise, @tottokohamutaro, is notable in that it often tweets in character. Sometimes you’ll get sunflower-seed sized bites of wisdom like “Don’t sweat the small stuff, ha-ham!” or he’ll spotlight a fan with a photograph. But on August 8, 2017, the account tweeted this innocent message:

“I’m going out for a bit! See you later! Ha-ham!”

…That was nearly a year ago.

The account has been untouched since then, with not a single squeak from the Ham Ham crew; no Oxnard, no Bijou, no sight at all of the titular hero himself. And with a last tweet like that, how are we to expect anything but the worst?

▼ We at SoraNews24 aren’t saying he ended up like this, but there are a lot of stray cats in Japan.

Japanese netizens were quick to speculate on this recent rodent disappearance, complete with impassioned cries and pleading:

“Where did you go, Hamtaro? We haven’t seen you at all lately!”
“He probably quit to become a vlogger.”
“Do you know when animals start to fail in health, they like to hide in places where they won’t be found by humans?”
“Just where is it that you’ve gone? I loved watching you on TV, I can’t bear this…”
“Come back at once. Everyone’s worried sick, do you hear me?”

But perhaps the most morbid of all of the comments was this one, concerning the lyrics of one of the famous and oh-so-danceable Hamtaro theme songs:

“You know in the Hamtaro TV show theme, the last line is something like “Naturally, you’re sleeping, Hamtaro”. But maybe it should be “you’re playing out there somewhere, Hamtaro”. I hope that’s what he’s really doing, somewhere safe.”

It’s a nice sentiment, but ‘playing out there somewhere’ is verbatim what my mother told me when my own hamster died. Gulp. Come back safe, Hamtaro!

Source: Twitter/@tottokohamutaro via Jin
Top image: Twitter/@tottokohamutaro
Insert image: Pakutaso