Unless you’ve got five year olds you won’t have heard of Hasbro’s next big thing on YouTube. Hanazuki
So far, so Disney Junior. However, Hanazuki has an unusual twist. She must use her emotions to succeed. And not just the nice ones we like talking to children about — happy, joy, love, peace and so on — no, she also takes on some dark emotions too: anger, sadness. What results is a show with more substance than it really has rights to.
As is the way of these things, Hanazuki had an app launched this month and will have a range of toys to go with it coming in the Autumn. I had an early look at them (thank you Hasbro) and have to say I’m impressed.
The main toy (for tech loving parents) is the light-up Moodgleam bracelet. By attaching other collectable figures to this it changes colour. Not only that though, connect it to the app and those toys unlock characters in the game. You can also use the bracelet to control the current mood of the planet in the game, which in turn effects the game’s balancing of resources. I know it’s aimed at five year olds, but I’ve had a lot of fun with it too — can you tell?
The show itself will have more episodes arriving on YouTube on May 19th and a new season promised for 2018.
The bracelet is also designed to help children pick a mood colour for their day. Again, this may seem trivial but actually creates an unusual context in which families can have meaningful conversations about difficult emotions.
It goes without saying that this is a commercial franchise designed to sell toys to children. But in my eyes it’s a really good one, and one that offers a considerable amount of value on many levels.