You can wear the latest virtual pet on your wrist!

What popular children’s franchise kicked off in 1996 and involves a cute cast of critters that you have to nurture until they evolve into a different form? No, not Pokémon. We’re talking about Tamagotchi, the craze that swept across the world in the ’90s and filled every kid with the desire to raise tiny digital animals.

Though the trend waned in the following decades, Tamagotchi is a thriving franchise in Japan with plenty of anime, merchandise, and yes, virtual pet keychains to its name. The brand even collaborates frequently with famous franchises so that you can raise your favorite Demon Slayer Hashira, Evangelion characters or even Servants from the Fate series inside a plastic egg-shaped shell.

2021 marks the series’ 25th anniversary, which is why the franchise unveiled some teaser videos implying they were cooking up something super special.

▼ June 16 marked the arrival of this video, where the promo egg finally hatched.

Yes, the latest Tamagotchi has a name, a concept, and a release date! The Tamagotchi Smart comes in two cool colors: Mint Blue and Coral Pink. There will also be a super-rare White version sold as part of a 25th Anniversary Set. You can’t just buy the anniversary set—you need to take part in a lottery for the chance to fork out 7,480 yen (US$68) for the pleasure.

▼ The stylish default colors for the Tamagotchi Smart.

The Tamagotchi Smart comes equipped with a microphone and a touch screen, two landmarks for these virtual pets. This enables owners to feel like they’re directly touching and talking to their dear digital pet, especially as the pets can recall answers given and react accordingly. Basically, the more you chat with it, the better your bond will be!

The Tamagotchi that you raise will, as always, depend on how you raise it. The ten named Tamagotchi included in the Tamagotchi Smart are Mametchi, Poptchi, Awamokotchi, Kuchipatchi, Gaogaltchi, Pyueltchi, Wawatchi, Tuyopitchi, Milktchi, and Karapatchi.

▼ Artist’s rendering of the characters, which typically appear in digital pixel form.

Parent company Bandai Namco will also sell TamaSmart Cards. These are separate purchases that can be plugged into the device to gain access to more potential pets, foods, accessories, and vanity designs, as well as additional minigames. The base device comes with a single dancing game to enjoy alongside your pet, so these cards seem like a great way to add some variety.

▼ The Rainbow Friends (left) and Sweet Friends (right) cards cost 1,100 yen apiece.

Both of the Tamagotchi Smart default colors will go on sale in late November, in keeping with the franchise’s official anniversary date of November 23. They will each cost 6,380 yen. Meanwhile, to try your luck at securing the limited-edition White Tamagotchi Smart you will have to enter the lottery between June 17 and July 2, with the deadline on the last day being 11 p.m. JST.

Can’t get enough tiny, egg-shaped virtual pets? Take a look at our top 5 Tamagotchi types, or how to download a Tamagotchi pet right into your own phone.

Source: Bandai via Netlab
Images: Bandai
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