Such classic toon characters as Underdog used to be staples of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but these days new animated favorites are taking over. In addition to a giant hot-air balloon modeled after Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, the 79th annual will feature a floating performance by the title characters of Cartoon Network’s Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi.
Before becoming animated in their own weekly cartoon series, Puffy AmiYumi gained fame in Japan as rock phenomenon. Now they’re taking their act to the streets of Manhattan on a custom-built float where they will perform live to an audience of more than 50 million viewers as giant puppets of their animated alter egos dance in the background.
The Thanksgiving Day event will mark the beginning of the property’s holiday licensing and merchandising campaign, headlined by a global partnership with toy giant Mattel. Among the company’s mass-produced offerings will be fashion dolls in the likeness of Ami and Yumi will sing and speak in both Japanese and English.
Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi will appear on DVD On for the first time on Nov. 29 with Warner Home Video’s simultaneous releases of Let’s go! and Rock Forever! The franchise will also cross over to the interactive realm, where Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi:Kaznapped for Gameboy Advanced will be released by D3 Publisher of America.
One of Cartoon Network’s top performing programs, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi chronicles the adventures of rock stars Ami and Yumi as they tour the world in the Puffy Bus, a veritable condo on wheels with an ever-changing interior. The half-hour show, which features live-action bookends with the real-life Ami and Yumi, will begin airing five nights a week at 9 p.m. ET/PT starting Nov. 28.