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'Tamagotchi - Lost in Space' movie coming 12-15

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Police, Bandai pact for toon promo
Tamagotchi feature will be released Dec. 15
TOKYO -- Producer Bandai Co. and distrib Toho are partnering with the Osaka prefectural police to promote Bandai's toon based on its Tamagotchi virtual pets.

Titled "Eiga de tojo Tamagotchi uchu de maigotchi" (Appearing on Film: Tamagotchi -- Lost in Space), the first stand-alone Tamagotchi feature will be released in Toho theaters on Dec. 15.

As part of marketing efforts, Osaka cops will offer discount coupons to the pic to subscribers to a police email list for crime info.

In addition to offering the usual screensavers, key chains and other tchotchkes, the company is partnering with a Hiroshima egg producer to hawk Tamagotchi-labeled eggs.

Launched in 1997 and experiencing a new boom with the release of the Tamagotchi Plus series in 2004, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi virtual pets now come in 66 characters in 20 "families" and have nearly 70 million "owners" worldwide.

On Nov. 23 Bandai will release Famitama, the newest entry in its Tamagotchi Plus series, that will allow users to raise three or more Tamagotchi eggs to adulthood.

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