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Doraemon (ドラえもん?)[3] is a Japanese manga series created by Fujiko F. Fujio (the pen name of Hiroshi Fujimoto) and Fujiko A. Fujio (the pen name of Motō Abiko) 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 schoolboy, 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. In total, 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 both Fujiko Fujio were born. Viz Media bought the license to the Doraemon manga in the 1990s for an English-language release, but ultimately decided not to publish it due to the possible controversy surrounding its content.[citation needed] However, Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur 2006 (The 26th film in the franchise) got a private screening in Washington D.C. in November 2008.

A majority of Doraemon episodes are comedies with moral lessons regarding values such as integrity, perseverance, courage, family and respect for elders. Several noteworthy 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.

Doraemon was awarded the Japan Cartoonists Association Award for excellence in 1973. Doraemon was awarded the first Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1982,[4] 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."[5] Ministry spokesman explained the novel decision as an attempt to help people in other countries to understand Japanese anime better and to deepen their interest in Japanese culture."[6] 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.[7]

Name

The name "Doraemon" translates 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" is from "dora neko" (stray cat, どら猫), and is a corruption of nora (stray). "Emon" is a component of male given names, such as Goemon, though no longer as popular as in the past.[8] "Dora" is not from dora meaning gong, but due to the homophony, the series puns on this, with Doraemon loving dorayaki.

Plot

File:Doraemon first appearance.jpg

Doraemon is sent back in time by Nobita Nobi's great-great grandson Sewashi to improve Nobita's circumstances so that his descendants may enjoy a better future. In the original timeline, Nobita experienced nothing but misery and misfortune throughout his life. As a result of this, Nobita's failures in school and always gets 0 marks in his tests. and subsequently, his career, have left his family line beset with financial problems. In order to alter history and better the Nobi family's fortunes, Sewashi sent him a robot called Doraemon.

Doraemon has a pocket from which he produces many gadgets, medicines, and tools from the future. The pocket is called yojigen-pocket, or fourth-dimensional pocket. Some of the gadgets 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 dōgu has been approximated at 4,500. It is this constant variety which makes Doraemon popular even among adult readers/viewers. In the series, the availability of dogu depends sometimes on the money Doraemon has available, and he often says some dogu are expensive in the future. The more famous ones include the "bamboo-copter", 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 appear also in Fujiko F. Fujio's other works such as 21-emon, Kaibutsu-kun, Kiteretsu Daihyakka, Mikio to Mikio or Pāman.

Although he can hear perfectly well, Doraemon has no ears: his robotic ears were eaten by a mouse, giving him a series-long phobia of the creatures.

The stories are formulaic, usually focused on the everyday struggles of 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 the local neighborhood. After hearing him out, Doraemon often offers helpful advice to his problem(s), but that's never enough for Nobita, who is consistently looking 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 aforementioned pouch to help Nobita fix his problem, enact revenge, or flaunt to his friends. The only main female character is Shizuka Minamoto (源 静香 Minamoto Shizuka?), who serves as a semi-romantic girlfriend of Nobita, but otherwise a supporting, minor character. Nobita's main human friends include Gian, a known mean bad bully and Suneo, a gloating rich spoiled wealthy kid. There are many recurring supporting characters, such as Dekisugi, Nobita's parents, his school teacher, his descendants from the future, and Doraemon's small sister, Dorami.

Nobita usually goes too far, despite Doraemon's best intentions and warnings, and gets into deeper trouble than before. Sometimes, Nobita's friends (usually Suneo or Gian) steal doraemons gadgets and end up misusing them. However, by the end of the story, there is usually retribution to the characters who end up misusing them, and a moral is taught.

Media

Manga

In December 1969, the Doraemon manga appeared simultaneously in six different children's monthly magazines. The magazines were titled 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 which 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:[9] 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. He leaves Nobita.
  • In the March 1972 issue of the magazine Shogaku 4-nensei: Doraemon, for some reason, had to go back to the future but fakes a mechanical problem so that Nobita would let him go. Nobita believes him and promises to wait until Doraemon gets well. Realizing that Nobita can handle his departure, Doraemon tells the truth and Nobita accepts. 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 refuses to stay down. Doraemon finds Nobita passed out with a bloody mouth 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.[10]

One of the most prolific fanfiction endings was by Nobuo Sato. In this ending, Doraemon's battery power ran out, and Nobita was given a choice between replacing the battery inside a frozen Doraemon, which would cause it to reset and lose all memory, or await a competent robotics technician who would be able to resurrect the cat-robot one day. Nobita swore that very day to work hard in school, graduate with honors, and become that robotics technician. In the future, it was revealed that Japan has become a Republic, and Hidetoshi Dekisugi is the President. He successfully resurrected Doraemon in the future as a robotics professor, became successful as an AI developer, and thus lived happily ever after, thus relieving his progeny of the financial burdens that caused Doraemon to be sent to his space-time in the first place. A dōjinshi for this ending was made by a "Tajima T Yasue" in 2005, and it sold 13,000 copies before Shogakukan halted its publication. Tajima apologized to Shogakukan in 2007 and paid an undisclosed amount of money for settlement.[11]

Anime

Television series

After a brief and unpopular animated series in 1973 by Nippon Television, Doraemon remained fairly exclusive in manga form 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.

In the ending of the first series, Nobita finds a box the shape of Doraemon in his drawer. The next day, which happens to be April Fool's Day, Nobita is jeered at by Suneo and Gian, the latter tricking him about Doraemon's return. He happily runs home and asked his mother whether Doraemon came back and finds out the truth. Nobita couldn't stand it and opens the box. Inside of it was a bottle of liquid. He hears Doraemon's voice explaining that the potion is called Uso 800 (Lies 800) it is used to make all untruths the drinker says true. Nobita uses it to play a few tricks on Gian and Suneo, like first taking cover then say that the weather sure is good, which becomes a lie and it started to rain heavily before he said it is raining heavily and the rain stopped. Gian and Suneo was scared away after a few tricks and when Nobita mentioned what is happening. Nobita was very happy at first but quickly loses interest in the absence of Doraemon. As he walks home, due to his earlier questioning if Doraemon returned or not, his mother asked him if he could find Doraemon, he unwittingly said, in great disappointment, the truth about Doraemon never coming back, just like what Doraemon told Nobita before his departure. Since the potion was still in effect, when he arrives his room he finds Doraemon there, and they have a happy reunion, but due to the effects of the potion, all his greets and joyful words have to be spoken in the opposite way like I am so unhappy that we can never be together again.. The extended ending from the animated series was eventually adapted to the first story of Book 7 in the manga series, with a few changes (i.e. Instead of hearing Doraemon's voice explaining the use of the potion, he finds a card inside the box describing the use of the potion).

Celebrating Doraemon's anniversary, a new Doraemon series produced by the same team as the 1979 series (in association with Studio Pierrot), began airing on TV Asahi on April 15, 2005 with new voice actors and staff, and updated character designs.

Feature films

In 1980, Toho released the first of a series of annual feature length animated films based on the lengthly special volumes published annually. The films are more action-adventure oriented and unlike the anime and manga, some based on the stories in the volumes, they 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 such as 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, Nobita and the New Steel Troops: ~Angel Wings~, will be released in both conventional 2D, and IMAX 3D on March 5, 2011. It will be the first 3D film of Doraemon

Musicals

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)」。 Utaiba Doraemon: Nobita to Animaru Puranetto?) was a 2008 musical based on the 1990 anime film of the same name.[12]

The musical debuted at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space on September 4, 2008 running through September 14.[13] Wasabi Mizuta voiced Doraemon.

Video games

There are nearly 50 Japanese-only video games ranging from trap-em-ups to RPG games, that began with the Emerson's Arcadia 2001 system. For a complete list of these games see List of Doraemon media. Doraemon can also be seen in Namco's popular Taiko no Tatsujin rhythm game series like Taiko no Tatsujin (11 - 14 only), Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken, Taiko no Tatsujin Wii, Taiko no Tatsujin Plus, and Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Yokai Daikessen!!. The Japanese version of Microsoft's 3D Movie Maker contained a Doraemon-themed expansion pack.

Reception

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 cartoon character selected, Doraemon was described as "The Cuddliest Hero in Asia".[14]

In 2005, the Japan 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. In Murakami's analysis, he states that Doraemon's formulaic plotlines typified the "wish fulfilment" mentality of 1970s Japan, where the electronics revolution glamorized the idea that one could solve their problems with machines, gadgets, and intelligence rather than hard work.[citation needed]

In 2008, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed Doraemon as the first anime cultural ambassador.[15][16]

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.[citation needed]

Doraemon was awarded the first Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1982, and the first Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 1997.

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.[citation needed]

Doraemon, Nobita, and the other characters also appear in various educational manga. Doraemon is also mentioned in several anime and manga by other mangakas.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

The Japanese guitar company, ESP Guitars, makes a Doraemon shaped guitar.

The music video for the single "From a Distance" off of the Bicycles & Tricycles album by ambient house act, The Orb revolves around Doraemon.[citation needed]

See also


References

  1. "Doraemon". animated-divots.com. Retrieved May 14, 2009. 
  2. "Doraemon". TV Asahi. Retrieved July 31, 2009. 
  3. See name section for explanation of name.
  4. Script error
  5. Yamaguchi, Mari. "Doraemon appointed Japan's first ever cartoon ambassador," China Post, March 20, 2008.
  6. "Doraemon named 'anime ambassador'," Japan Today. March 15, 2008.
  7. Iyer, Pico. "The Cuddliest Hero in Asia." Time (Asia).
  8. Why 'Doraemon' name consist of both hiragana and katakana? Yahoo! Answers
  9. [1][dead link]
  10. "All About Doraemon the robotic cat (Chinese)". Kukudm.com. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  11. 「ドラえもん」最終話、勝手に出版した男性が謝罪, asahi.com
  12. Event information, News about the musical
  13. "Events Calendar". Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space. Retrieved August 13, 2008. [dead link]
  14. Iyer, Pico (April 29, 2002). "The Cuddliest Hero in Asia". Time Asia. Archived from the original on February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  15. "ドラえもん、初の「アニメ文化大使」に任命". (March 15, 2008) AFPBB News. Retrieved February 11, 2010. (Japanese)
  16. Shingo, Takaoka . "Secret power of Otaku culture Spirits". The WASEDA Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2010.

External links

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