Tamago Onsen (Onsen Tamago (Hotsprings Egg)) (usually referred to as simply Tama or Tama-chan) is a Hot Springs Turtle that, due to his popularity, serves as the unofficial animal mascot of the Love Hina series alongside Liddo-kun. He was originally given as a present to Keitaro Urashima and Naru Narusegawa by Mutsumi Otohime at the end of their trip through southern Japan, however, he has since been adopted as a pet of the entire Hinata Inn residents.
Able to fly, capable of reaching a top speed of 60kph, Tama can also write, practise mathematics, is skilled in self defense and can communicate with other humans either through repeated motions or through Turtlese.
Tama was initially supposed to be a cat; the pet of Haruka Urashima's child, the cat was always chasing a hamster around on the ground floor. The cat, the hamster and Haruka's child were cut, but the name moved to the turtle.
During the period in which chapter 26 of the manga was released, Ken Akamatsu issued a name-suggestion competition in Shonen Magazine. With the winner having their suggested name being used as the name of then-unnamed Tama.
Other names suggested were: Mew, Mew-Mew, Luna, Kamyu, Gameboy, Polna FF, Nabe, Gonzales, Chippokon, Pa , HinaP, Melon, Hikaru Kameda, Turtle RX78, Hinako, Ai, Gamara, Aya Otohime, Kyutaro, and Minami.
Applicants who suggested the name Onsen Tamago:
Naoyuki Wada (Kanagawa)
Applicants who suggested the name Tamago:
Daisuke Itou (Tokyo)
Applicants who suggested the name Tama:
Hideki Takahashi (Sitama)
Tama has one theme from the Love Hina anime series, "Tama's Theme", which is available in the Love Hina Original Sound File soundtrack.
Negima! Magister Negi Magi
Tama makes numerous cameos throughout the Negima manga series (such as in page 6 of chpt 16, and page 9 of chpt 85) and on various presentation art for the Negima manga and anime.
- Ken Akamatsu explained in his notes that Tama, Kuro, Shippu, and Leon were inspired by the "Four Legendary Animals of Japanese Mythology"; Tama was inspired by Genbu, Kuro by Byakko, Shippu by Suzaku, and Leon by Seiryuu.
- Although he is male, the Hinata girls all prefer to treat Tama as a girl; dressing him up and confusing his attractions.
- Tama and Kuro can lift 50 kg.
- Kaolla Su has formed an obsessive rivalry with Tama; frequently attempting to eat him and creating various preemptive weapons, such as the Mecha-Tama, for her "final showdown" with the Hot Springs turtle.
- Tamago is strong enough to carry a human while flying for a short distance.
- Inspite of her stoic demeanor, Motoko Aoyama has an irrational phobia of turtles in general and has panic attacks if Tama is anywhere close to her. This is due to an incident in her childhood where she walked in on her sister and her future-husband having sex and the fact that the head of a turtle resembles an erect penis.
- Before it was named "Tamago Onsen" by Mitsune and Kaolla, Keitaro simply referred to the turtle as "Turtle".