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Will Japan’s ‘Tsum Tsum’ Characters Translate in the U.S. for Disney?

The Tsum Tsums are coming to America.

Originally launched as an app in Japan, Disney is bringing the animated characters to the U.S. through a puzzle app for English-speaking audiences, as well as a line of stackable plush toys.

Disney Tsum Tsum,” which translates to “Disney Stack Stack,” has players connect as many characters as they can in one minute in a “Tetris”-like format. Higher scores are reached as more Tsums are eliminated. As they progress through the free game, players collect Tsums based on Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Buzz Lightyear, for example (see the characters above, and game’s screen below), which offer special abilities and in-game help.

The game was published by Line, the creator of an app that provides free phone calls and messaging services in Japan. When the “Tsum Tsum” game is connected with a Line account, social features are unlocked like gifting and leaderboard competitions.

“ ‘Disney Tsum Tsum’ has quickly become a phenomenon in Japan, and we are very excited about the Japan-originated franchise now going global,” said Paul Candland, president, the Walt Disney Co. Japan. “’Disney Tsum Tsum’ is both a physical product and a digital game, allowing our guests to enjoy a multi-dimensional experience. We are hopeful that the ‘Disney Tsum Tsum’ franchise will be loved and enjoyed by our guests around the world.”

Since its launch, the “Tsum Tsums” have topped the Apple and Android charts in Japan and has been downloaded more than 14 million times.

More than 1.6 million figures also have been sold since the “Tsum Tsum” plush line debuted at Disney Stores in Japan nine months ago.

“We believe the popularity of this line in Japan is something that can be replicated globally given their fun and collectible nature,” said Paul Gainer, executive VP of Disney retail.

For its introduction in the U.S., the Disney Store will introduce more than 30 different stackable “Tsum Tsum” toys available on DisneyStore.com, in select store locations in North America, and at Disney Parks. The figures, which comes in three sizes and range from $4.95 to $24.95, are available now. Additional characters will be introduced in the fall.

The “Tsum Tsums” aren’t the first Japanese property Disney has imported to the U.S.

Duffy, the plush bear that’s sold at Disney’s various retail outlets, including its theme parks, was introduced at Tokyo Disneyland and has become a retail phenomenon around the world.

“Disney Japan has created some of our most successful and popular digital products and Disney Interactive is proud to be working closely with the team to extend their success globally,” said Jimmy Pitaro, president, Disney Interactive. “This is one of the first times that Disney has introduced a distinctly Japanese product to a global audience, and ‘Disney Tsum Tsum’ offers our guests a unique combination of quality characters, compelling game play and an engaging social experience.”

The “Tsum Tsum” game can be downloaded through Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

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