|Dr. Slump character|
Arale from the 1981 Dr. Slump - Arale-chan anime
|First appearance||Dr. Slump Chapter 1: "The Birth of Arale" (1980)|
|Created by||Akira Toriyama|
Mami Koyama (first anime, Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Super)
Yuko Hara (radio drama)
Taeko Kawata (second anime)
Julie Maddalena (Harmony Gold)
Meredith McCoy (Funimation dub of Dragon Ball)
Brina Palencia (video games)
|Relatives||Senbei Norimaki (creator/brother)
Midori Norimaki (sister-in-law)
Turbo Norimaki (nephew)
Nitro Norimaki (niece)
Arale Norimaki (Japanese: 則巻アラレ Hepburn: Norimaki Arare?) is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Dr. Slump manga series, created by Akira Toriyama. She is a robot built by Senbei Norimaki who looks like a young girl. She is known for her naivety, energetic personality, lack of common sense, and amazing strength. Senbei tries to convince the other citizens of Penguin Village that she is just a normal human girl, and it seems to work, despite her superhuman athletic ability. Among her strengths, she can use abilities that range from the terrain splitting Chikyūwari (地球割り, Earth Chop) to the beam-like N'chahō (んちゃ砲, N'cha Cannon). However, she is nearsighted and needs to wear glasses.
Toriyama claimed that when he told his editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, that he wanted to make a manga about a doctor, Torishima told him to add a robot. Toriyama originally wanted a very large robot, but as it would not fit in the panels, he instead made it small. When his editor rejected that idea, he made the robot a girl knowing Torishima would find her "cute." He also stated that Senbei was supposed to be the main character, but his editor told him to make it Arale instead, which Toriyama agrees turned out better. Torishima later elaborated on this, saying that Arale was initially only a guest character for one chapter. However, because he really liked Toriyama's girl characters the editor wanted her to be the main character. The artist felt differently because Weekly Shōnen Jump is aimed at boys. The two made a bet; Toriyama created a special issue with a female lead, and whoever's story took higher in the magazine's reader poll would win. Torishima won, but because he is stubborn, Toriyama refused to change the Dr. Slump name.
Toriyama purposefully gives his protagonists plain appearances as he prefers to focus on the story. He believes that having weak-looking characters turn out to actually be strong is more interesting; Arale and Son Goku are prime examples of this.
Like the names of many other characters, Arale is a pun on the name for a bite-sized rice cracker (arare), and with the family name ("Norimaki Arale") it refers to a sort of arare wrapped with nori seaweed. Initially, her glasses were just a gag, with Toriyama wanting to remove them as they made her more difficult to draw. However, they became a trademark of Arale's and readers who had to wear glasses wrote him saying that by Arale having them it made them feel better about themselves, so he ended up keeping them. Arale is usually shown with purple hair, although it is dark brown in the 1997 anime.
In Dr. Slump
Arale poses as Senbei's sister or daughter, depending on who Senbei is talking to. The Norimaki family only grows from there when Arale and Senbei discover an egg when traveling to the past. The egg hatches into a small winged creature that they nickname Gatchan. Then Senbei marries the girl of his dreams (Midori Yamabuki) and they have a son named Turbo. As if the house was not full enough, Gatchan inexplicably splits into two separate entities.
The Dr. Slump series is a self-proclaimed gag manga with no ongoing plot. The entire series is about Arale's humorous exploration of the dynamics of life and the adventures Senbei and his inventions send them on. Arale has unique phrases she often uses, such as "N'cha" (んちゃ, a greeting she picked up from Senbei), "Bye'cha" (バイちゃ, "goodbye"), "Hoyoyo" (ほよよ) to express bewilderment, and yelling "Kiiin" (キーン) when she runs with her hands out.
In other media
Arale appears in Toriyama's Dragon Ball when Son Goku chases General Blue all the way to Penguin Village, she then defeats Blue with one kick and one headbutt after he paralyzes Goku. She is also able to ride on the Kinto'un, which indicates her as being pure of heart. In the anime adaptations, Arale is first seen in a picture on the wall of the capsule house Bulma creates in Dragon Ball episode 2, again on the television that Kame-Sennin is watching in episode 16, and on a poster in Son Gohan's bedroom in Dragon Ball Z. She also appears in The Great Mystical Adventure film, and her face was shown in the eighth Dragon Ball Z movie. Arale makes a brief cameo appearance in episode 43 of Dragon Ball Super.
Arale is also a playable character in the crossover video games Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars, both for the Nintendo DS, and J-Stars Victory Vs for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. She is also playable in several Dragon Ball video games, including Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! Meteor, Dragon Ball: World's Greatest Adventure and Dragon Ball DS 2: Charge! Red Ribbon Army.
In 2014, two commercials featuring Dr. Slump were created by Toei Animation for Suzuki. The commercials advertise the car manufacturer's Kei SUV Hustler and include new acting from Mami Koyama as Arale and Kumiko Nishihara as Gatchan. In 2016, Ayami Nakajo portrayed Arale in a commercial for G.u. clothing. It shows Akane Kimidori (Yuki Uchida) and Peasuke Soramame (Kengo Kora) bewildered when Arale trades in her trademark overalls for a pleaded skirt.
Arale is voiced by Mami Koyama in the first Dr. Slump television anime, and by Taeko Kawata in the second. Yuko Hara, keyboardist of the popular rock band Southern All Stars, voiced her in the radio drama. In Harmony Gold's English-language dub pilot episode for the first anime, she is voiced by Julie Maddalena. During her appearance in Dragon Ball, Meredith McCoy voiced Arale for Funimation's English dub. She is voiced by Brina Palencia in the English version of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
In 1982, Arale came in 12th place in Animage's fourth annual Anime Grand Prix for Favorite Character. Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network wrote that among Dr. Slump's cast, Arale is the standout; "The way she laughs and runs and raises unwitting hell are all unforgettable."
When asked in 1987 who would win if Arale and Son Goku were to fight, Toriyama said Arale was stronger. Masashi Kishimoto, creator of Naruto, gained an interest in drawing during his childhood from drawing pictures of Arale.
In popular culture
Japanese comedian Hōsei Yamasaki dressed up as Arale, doing her signature "Kiiin" and "N'cha" for Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! Cosplay Bus Tour series. Because of failing to complete his task (getting spaghetti for the entire cast) he then had to fly to Italy to get Spaghetti for the entire cast and crew, dressed as Arale all the way.
The 2004 episode "Bogus Booty" of Samurai Champloo has a scene where Mugen impersonates Arale's signature run by sticking his arms out and making the sound "Kiin".
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