Doraemon volume 1 cover
|Genre||Comedy-drama, Comic science fiction|
|Written by||Fujiko Fujio|
|Magazine||(various Shogakukan's kids magazines)|
|Original run||December 1969 – 1996|
|Anime television series|
Doraemon (ドラえもん Doraemon ) is a Japanese manga series created by Fujiko Fujio, which later became an anime series and an Asian franchise. The series is about a robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a pre-teen boy called Nobita Nobi (野比 のび太 Nobi Nobita ).
The series first appeared in December 1969, when it was published simultaneously in six different magazines. A total of 1,344 stories were created in the original series, which are published by Shogakukan under the Tentōmushi (てんとう虫) manga brand, extending to forty-five volumes. The volumes are collected in the Takaoka Central Library in Toyama, Japan, where Fujiko Fujio was born. Turner Broadcasting System bought the rights to the Doraemon anime series in the mid-1980s for a US English-language release, but canceled it without explanation before broadcasting any episodes. In July 2013 it was announced that the manga would be released digitally in English via the Amazon Kindle e-book service.
Most of Doraemon episodes are comedies with lessons regarding values such as honesty, perseverance, courage, and respect. Various environmental issues are often visited, including homeless animals, global warming, endangered species, deforestation, and pollution. Miscellaneous educational topics such as dinosaurs, the flat Earth theory, wormhole traveling, Gulliver's Travels, and the history of Japan are often covered.
Awards for "Doraemon" include the Japan Cartoonists Association Award for excellence in 1973, the first Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1982, and the first Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 1997. In March 2008 Japan's Foreign Ministry appointed Doraemon as the nation's first "anime ambassador." Ministry spokesman explained the novel decision as an attempt to help people in other countries understand Japanese anime better and to deepen their interest in Japanese culture." The Foreign Ministry action confirms that Doraemon has come to be considered a Japanese cultural icon. In 2002 the anime character was acclaimed as an "Asian Hero" in a special feature survey conducted by Time Asia magazine.
The name "Doraemon" can be translated roughly to "stray." Unusually, the name "Doraemon" (ドラえもん) is written in a mixture of two Japanese scripts: Katakana (ドラ) and Hiragana (えもん). "Dora" derives from "dora neko" (brazen or stray cat, どら猫), and is a corruption of nora (stray). "Emon" 衛門、右衛門 is a component of male given names like Goemon, though no longer as popular as in the past. "Dora" is not derived from dora 銅鑼, meaning gong, but due to the homophony, the series puns on this, with Doraemon loving dorayaki.
Doraemon is sent back in time by a young boy named Sewashi Nobi to improve the circumstances of his great grandfather, Nobita, so that his descendants may enjoy a better future. In the original timeline, Nobita experienced nothing but misery and misfortune manifested in the form of poor grades and bullying throughout his life. This culminates in the burning down of a future business he sets up which leaves his family line beset with financial problems. In order to alter history and better the Nobi family's fortunes, Sewashi initially wanted to send a super-robot to protect Nobita, but with his meager allowance he could only afford an imperfectly-made factory-rejected toy: an anthropomorphic robot cat called Doraemon.
Doraemon has a pocket from which he produces gadgets, medicines, and tools from the future. The pocket is called yōjigen-pocket (literally "fourth-dimensional pocket"). Some of the gadgets (dōgu) are based on real Japanese household devices with fanciful twists, but most are completely science fiction (although some may be based on folklore or religious stories). Thousands of dōgu have been featured in Doraemon." The number of gadgets has been approximated at 4,500. It is this constant variety which makes Doraemon popular both among children and among adults. In the series, the availability of dōgu sometimes depends on the money Doraemon has available, and he often says some dōgu are expensive in the future. The more famous ones include the "bamboo-copter" (which is very similar to the one that appears on the older series of Beany and Cecil), a small head accessory that allows flight; the "Anywhere Door," a door that opens up to any place the user wishes; and the "Time Machine." Some of the recurring dōgu also appear in Fujiko F. Fujio's other works, including 21-emon, Kaibutsu-kun, Kiteretsu Daihyakka, Mikio to Mikio, and Pāman.
Although he can hear perfectly well, Doraemon has no ears: his robotic ears were eaten by some robotic mice, giving him a series-long phobia of the creatures.
The only main female character is Shizuka Minamoto, who serves as a friendly and romantic interest for Nobita. Shizuka is intelligent and is Nobita's best and closest friend, and loves him second most (after her parents). Nobita's main enemies are Takeshi (nicknamed "Gian," from the English word giant), a consummate bully; and Suneo, who is cunning and arrogant. There are many recurring supporting characters, including Dekisugi, the student who always gets the best grades in Nobita's class; Nobita's parents; Gian's mother; Gian's sister Jaico; Gian's school teacher; Gian's descendants (from the future); Mii chan (Doraemon's cat girlfriend); and Doraemon's sister Dorami.
The stories are formulaic, usually focusing on the everyday struggles of the fifth grader Nobita, the protagonist of the story. In a typical chapter, Nobita comes home crying about a problem he faces in school and/or in the local neighborhood. After hearing him out, Doraemon often advises him, but that's never enough for Nobita, who consistently looks for the "quick, easy" way out (which offers insight to the viewers as to why Nobita's life turned out the way it did). Finally, after Nobita's pleading and/or goading, Doraemon produces a futuristic gadget out of his pocket to help Nobita fix his problem, enact revenge, or flaunt to his friends, especially Shizuka.
Unfortunately, when he has the gadget, Nobita usually gets into deeper trouble than before, despite Doraemon's best intentions and warnings. Sometimes Nobita's friends (usually Suneo or Gian) steal Doraemon's gadgets and end up misusing them. By the end of the story, the characters who do wrong are usually punished.
In December 1969 the Doraemon manga appeared simultaneously in six different children's monthly magazines. The magazines were entitled by the year of children's studies, which included Yoiko (good children), Yōchien (nursery school), and Shogaku Ichinensei (first grade of primary school) to Shogaku Yonnensei (fourth grade of primary school). By 1973 the series began to appear in two more magazines: Shogaku Gonensei (fifth grade of primary school) and Shogaku Rokunensei (sixth grade of primary school). The stories featured in each of the magazines were different, meaning the author was originally creating more than six stories each month. In 1977 CoroCoro Comic was launched as a magazine of Doraemon. Original manga based on the Doraemon movies were also released in CoroCoro Comic. The stories that are preserved under the Tentōmushi brand are the stories found in these magazines.
Since the debut of Doraemon in 1969, the stories have been selectively collected into forty-five books published from 1974 to 1996, which had a circulation of over 80 million in 1992. In addition, Doraemon has appeared in a variety of manga series by Shōgakukan. In 2005 Shōgakukan published a series of five more manga volumes under the title Doraemon+ (Doraemon Plus), which were not found in the forty-five Tentōmushi pipi volumes. Many other series have since been produced, some not from official supplies.
Doraemon was discontinued in two media because readers were advancing in grades and an ending was believed to be needed. These two are not reprinted.
- In the March 1971 issue of the magazine Shogaku 4-nensei: Because visitors from the future were causing too much trouble, the government in the 22nd Century passed a bill to ban time-travelling altogether, meaning Doraemon would have to return to his time era. After explaining this to him, he leaves Nobita.
- In the March 1972 issue of the magazine Shogaku 4-nensei: Sewashi realizes that Doraemon being in with Nobita would cause him to become overly dependent on Doraemon, so he arranges with Doraemon and has him fake a mechanical problem so that Nobita would let him go. Nobita believes him and promises to wait until Doraemon gets well, and Doraemon confesses about his sickness. Realizing that Nobita was thinking of the same thing and can handle his departure, Doraemon returns to the future.
The third ending was actually meant to be the official ending due to low TV ratings and the Fujiko Fujio duo being busy with other works, but Doraemon did not leave their minds and restarted in the next month's issue. In 1981, this episode was made into anime (called "Doraemon Comes Back") and in 1998 this was released as an anime movie.
- In the March 1973 issue of the magazine Shogaku 4-nensei," Nobita again returns home after losing a fight against Gian. Doraemon then explains that he has to return. Nobita tries to have Doraemon stay but after talking it over with his parents, he accepts Doraemon's departure. They take a last walk in the park. After they split up, Nobita encounters Gian and gets into a fight again. After a long duel with Nobita trying to win at all costs so that Doraemon can leave without worries, Gian gave up (which gave Nobita the win) because no matter what, Nobita refused to stay down. Doraemon finds Nobita unconcious and takes him home. Sitting beside the sleeping Nobita, Doraemon returns to the future. This story was reprinted in the last chapter of the manga Book 6.
When the Fujiko Fujio duo broke up in 1987, the very idea of an official ending to the series was never discussed. Since Fujiko F. died in 1996 before any decisions were reached, any "endings" of Doraemon are fan fiction. However, it is apparent from many episodes and movies where Nobita travels to the future that in the end he does marry Shizuka, leads a happy life, and separates with Doraemon, although Nobita and his friends fondly remember him.
In July 2013, Fujiko Fujio Productions announced that they would be collaborating with ebook publisher Voyager Japan and localization company AltJapan to release an English language version of the Doraemon manga in full-color digitally via the Amazon Kindle platform in North America. Shogakukan released the first volume in November of 2013. This English version incorporates a variety of changes to character names; Nobita is "Noby," Suneo is "Sneech," and Gian is "Big G," while dorayaki is "Fudgy Pudgy Pie."
After a brief and unpopular animated series in 1973 by Nippon Television, Doraemon remained fairly exclusive in manga from until 1979 when a newly formed animation studio, Shin-Ei Animation (Now owned by TV Asahi) produced an anime series of Doraemon. This series became incredibly popular, and ended with 1,787 episodes on March 25, 2005.
Celebrating the anniversary of Doraemon, a new Doraemon series began airing on TV Asahi on April 15, 2005 with new voice actors and staff, and updated character designs. Currently the old series is being broadcast in India on the Tv Channel Hungama TV and Disney Channel.
In 1980, Toho released the first of a series of annual feature length animated films based on the lengthly special volumes published annually. Unlike the anime and manga (some based on the stories in select volumes), they are more action-adventure oriented and have more of a shōnen demographic, taking the familiar characters of Doraemon and placing them in a variety of exotic and perilous settings. Nobita and his friends have visited the age of the dinosaurs, the far reaches of the galaxy, the heart of darkest Africa (where they encountered a race of sentient bipedal dogs), the depths of the ocean, and a world of magic. Some of the films are based on legends such as Atlantis, and on literary works including Journey to the West and Arabian Nights. Some films also have serious themes, especially on environmental topics and the use of technology. Overall, the films have a somewhat darker tone in their stories, unlike the manga and anime.
The most recent Doraemon film, Doraemon: Nobita no Himitsu Dōgu Museum, was released on March 9, 2013. With this film, Doraemon has surpassed Godzilla in terms of overall ticket sales for a film franchise as Toho's most lucrative movie property. The 33 year series (1980-2013) has sold a combined 100 million tickets vs. the 50 year Godzilla series (1954-2004), which sold a combined 99 million tickets.
There are a total of 63 Japanese-only video games ranging from platformer games to RPG games, which began with the Emerson's Arcadia 2001 system. Doraemon can also be seen in Namco's popular Taiko no Tatsujin rhythm game series like Taiko no Tatsujin (11 - 14 only), Metcha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Nanatsu no Shima no Daibouken, Taiko no Tatsujin Wii, Taiko no Tatsujin Plus, and Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Yokai Daikessen!!. The Chinese version of Microsoft's 3D Movie Maker contained a Doraemon-themed expansion pack.
Doraemon the Musical: Nobita and the Animal Planet (舞台版ドラえもん のび太とアニマル惑星(プラネット)｣。 Butaiban Doraemon: Nobita to Animaru Puranetto ) was a 2008 musical based on the 1990 anime film of the same name. It debuted at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space on September 4, 2008 running through September 14. Wasabi Mizuta voiced Doraemon.
The manga has sold more than 100 million in Japan.
Awards and honours
On 22 April 2002, on the special issue of Asian Hero in TIME Magazine, Doraemon was selected as one of the 22 Asian Heroes. Being the only anime character selected, Doraemon was described as "The Cuddliest Hero in Asia". In 2005, the Taiwan Society of New York selected Doraemon as a culturally significant work of Japanese otaku pop-culture in its exhibit Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture, curated by renowned artist Takashi Murakami.
On September 3, 2012, Doraemon was granted official residence in the city of Kawasaki, one hundred years before he was born.
Part of Japanese society
Doraemon is a term of common knowledge in Japan. Newspapers also regularly make references to Doraemon and his pocket as a something with the ability to satisfy all wishes. Other characters in the series are also referenced frequently on TV shows with similar looking casts. Some magazines have used the analogy that America is the Takeshi of the world and Japan is his sidekick Suneo.
Doraemon is a cultural phenomenon in Japan and can be seen in many places. For example, Doraemon is used as a promotional character by Art Hikkoshi Center (アート引越センター Āto hikkoshi sentā ), by a moving company, and by Cocos, a restaurant chain.
Doraemon also appears in appeals for charity, the "Doraemon Fund". Doraemon toys and novelties are also often found in Japan, with literally thousands of items for sale. Doraemon, Nobita, and the other characters also appear in various educational manga. Doraemon is also mentioned in several anime and manga by other manga artists.
Doraemon is referenced in the current Blue Man Group show running in Tokyo. The Blue Men play a short snippet of the show's theme song, and one dons Doraemon's beanie.
The Japanese-American guitar company, ESP Guitars, makes a Doraemon shaped guitar. Mamotte! Lollipop referenced Doraemon in a chapter about a bath house. The music video for the single "From a Distance" off of the Bicycles & Tricycles album by ambient house act, The Orb revolves around Doraemon.
Sumo wrestler Takamisugi was nicknamed "Doraemon" because of his strong resemblance to the character.
The video game series Dangan Ronpa features a character named Monobear, whose voice actor provides the voice of Doraemon series. As a result, there are several references to the character within the game. Most notably, in Super Dangan Ronpa 2, the main antagonist has an alternate personality that changes from the game's art style to mimic Doraemon's.
In late 2011, Shogakukan and Toyota joined forces to create a series of live-action commercials as part of Toyota's ReBorn ad campaign. The commercials depict the characters nearly 20 years older. Hollywood actor Jean Reno plays Doraemon.
- List of non-Japanese Doraemon versions
- List of Doraemon media
- Kiteretsu Daihyakka, a similar manga by Fujiko F. Fujio
- Dorabase, a spin-off about robot cats who play on a baseball team.
- Nintama Rantarō
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- Event information, News about the musical
- "Events Calendar". Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space. Retrieved August 13, 2008.[dead link]
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- (Japanese)Shingo, Takaoka . "Secret power of Otaku culture Spirits". The WASEDA Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
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- "Anime star Doraemon to have own museum". The Independent (London). 29 August 2011.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Doraemon.|
- (Japanese) Doraemon Official Website
- (Japanese) Doraemon games Official Website
- (Japanese) Doraemon Movie Official Website (1980 - 2009)
- (Japanese) Doraemon Official TV Asahi Website
- (Japanese) Doraemon features for adults (Opens January and closes May every year)
- (Japanese) Doraemon Secret Dōgu List, a comprehensive list of dōgu featured in Doraemon
- (Japanese) Doraemon English Comics from Shogakukan; Complete set
- (Italian) Doraemon nel Paese Preistorico (Nobita no Kyouryuu - Hiroshi Fukutomi, 1980)
- (Vietnamese)Doraemon truyện Doremon
- Doraemon (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia