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Tamagotchi is a series of handheld virtual pets by Bandai.

The first toys were sold on November 11, 1996. The company did not expect much and so produced them in small number, but then the toys became a big fad. By the time they were producing enough to meet demand, the popularity had died down and Bandai ended up suffering financially. In 2004, they relaunched the toys with new infrared technology, allowing two Tamagotchi toys to communicate, letting them play games, exchange gifts, and even marry and produce children.

The relaunch has proven to be successful, spawning countless other Tamagotchi-related material. Two anime movies (one got dubbed), two anime series (a series of shorts, and a half-hour anime series, which is currently running; both have been dubbed at one point), music, a line of Nintendo DS games, and even two department stores in Japan. In its home country, Tamagotchi enjoys success to this day. In other parts of the world, however, the franchise has lost its popularity, slinking back down to post-1998 levels.

The Digimon franchise was Bandai's effort to create a Spear Counterpart to Tamagotchi, in order to tap into the male market. It... succeeded, shall we say.

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