Doraemon

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Doraemon
Doraemon volume 1 cover.jpg
Volume 1 of Doraemon
GenreComedy,[1] science fiction[2]
Manga
Written byFujiko Fujio
Published byShogakukan
English publisher
21st Century Publishing House (bilingual English-Chinese)
Shogakukan (bilingual)
ImprintTentōmushi Comics
MagazineVarious Shogakukan children's magazines
DemographicKodomo
Original runAugust 8, 1969
(adverts)
January 1970
(first full story published)
June 23, 1996
Volumes45 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Related works
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Doraemon (Japanese: ドラえもん [doɾaemoɴ]) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Fujiko Fujio (the pen name of the duo Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko).[3] The series has also been adapted into a successful anime series and media franchise.[4] The story revolves around an earless robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a boy named Nobita Nobi (野比のび太, Nobi Nobita).[5]

The first full story in the Doraemon manga series was published in January 1970. A pre-advertisement for the manga was published in six different magazines in December 1969.[6] A total of 1,465 stories were created in the original series, which are published by Shogakukan. It remains as the best-selling manga for children and one of the best-selling manga in the world, and has sold over 100 million copies as of 2015.[7]

The volumes are collected in the Takaoka Central Library in Toyama, Japan, where Fujiko Fujio was born.[8] Turner Broadcasting System bought the rights to the Doraemon anime series in the mid-1980s for an English-language release in the United States,[9] but cancelled the plan without explanation before broadcasting any episodes. In July 2013, Voyager Japan announced the manga would be released digitally in English via the Amazon Kindle e-book service.[10]

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.[11] In March 2008, Japan's Foreign Ministry appointed Doraemon as the nation's first "anime ambassador." A Ministry spokesperson 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.[12][13]

The Foreign Ministry action confirms that Doraemon has come to be considered a Japanese cultural icon.[12] In India, its Hindi, Tamil and Telugu translation has been telecasted, where the anime version is the highest-rated kids' show; winning the Best Show For Kids award twice at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards India in 2013 and 2015.[14] In 2002 Time Asia magazine acclaimed the character as an "Asian Hero" in a special feature survey. An edited English dub distributed by TV Asahi aired on Disney XD in the United States started on July 7, 2014. On August 17, 2015, another English dubbed version distributed by LUK Internacional was broadcast on Boomerang UK. The film series is the largest by number of admissions in Japan.[15][16]

Plot[edit]

Doraemon, a cat robot from the 22nd century, is sent to help Nobita Nobi, a young boy who scores poor grades and is frequently bullied by his two classmates, Takeshi Goda (nicknamed "Gian") and Suneo Honekawa (Gian's sidekick). Nobita Nobi and Doraemon develop a strong bond with each other.[4]

Doraemon is sent to take care of Nobita by Sewashi Nobi, Nobita's future grandson, so that his descendants can get a better life. Doraemon has a four-dimensional pouch in which he stores unexpected gadgets he uses to help Nobita. His most important gadgets include- Bamboo-Copter, a small piece of headgear that can allow its users to fly; Anywhere Door, a pink-colored door that allows people to travel according to the thoughts of the person who turns the knob; Time Kerchief, a handkerchief that can turn an object new or old or a person young or old; Translator Tool, a cuboid jelly that can allow people to converse in any language across the universe; Designer, a camera that produces dresses; and many more.[17]

Nobita's closest friend and love interest is Shizuka Minamoto, who eventually becomes his wife in the future.[18][19] Gian and Suneo often bully Nobita, but are also shown as Nobita's friends in certain episodes, and especially in the movies.[20] In most episodes, a typical story consists of Nobita taking a gadget from Doraemon for his needs eventually making problems worse than they initially were.[21][22]

Creation and conception[edit]

Doraemon was originally conceived by Hiroshi Fujimoto following a series of three events. When searching for ideas for a new manga, he wished a machine existed that would come up with ideas for him, he tripped over his daughter's toy, and heard cats fighting in his neighborhood.[23]

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" (どら猫, stray cat), and is a corruption of nora (stray),[23] while "-emon" (in kanji 右衛門) is an old-fashioned suffix for male names (for example, as in Ishikawa Goemon).[24]

The work is mainly aimed at children, Fujiko chose to create the character with a simple graphic style, based on basic geometric shapes such as circles and ellipses, to give Doraemon a notch. Interesting and hilarious edge. The regular and continuous anime series makes it easy for readers to understand the story. In addition, blue - a characteristic color of the main character Doraemon has been chosen as the main color in magazine publications, which used to have a yellow cover and red title.[23]

Fujiko completely avoided violence or pornography in the manga, considering it inappropriate for the young readers. However, he incorporatd many environmental issues with stories in which the main characters are involved in helping animals or criticizing human misconduct.[25]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

The first appearance of Doraemon, who came via the time machine.

In December 1969, the Doraemon manga appeared in six different children's monthly magazines published by Shogakukan. The magazines were aimed at children from nursery school to fourth grade. In 1977 The CoroCoro Comic was launched as the flagship magazine of Doraemon.[26]

Since the debut of Doraemon in 1969, the stories have been selectively collected into forty-five tankōbon volumes that were published under Shogakukan's Tentōmushi Comics imprint from 1974 to 1996. Shogakukan published a master works collection consisting of twenty volumes between July 24, 2009 and September 25, 2012.[27][28]

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 original volumes. On December 1, 2014, a sixth volume of Doraemon Plus was published. This was the first volume in eight years.[29]

There have been two series of bilingual, Japanese and English, volumes of the manga by SHOGAKUKAN ENGLISH COMICS under the title Doraemon: Gadget Cat from the Future, and two audio versions.[30][31] The first series has ten volumes and the second six.[30] In addition, 21st Century Publishing House (二十一世纪出版社集团) released bilingual English-Chinese versions in Mainland China.[32]

In July 2013, Fujiko Fujio Productions announced that they would be collaborating with ebook publisher Voyager Japan and localization company AltJapan Co., Ltd. to release an English-language version of the manga in full color digitally via the Amazon Kindle platform in North America.[33] Shogakukan released the first volume in November 2013.[34] This English version incorporates a variety of changes to character names; Nobita is "Noby", Shizuka is "Sue", Suneo is "Sneech", and Gian is "Big G", while dorayaki is "Yummy Bun/Fudgy Pudgy Pie."[35] A total of 200 volumes have been released.

The manga has been published in English in print by Shogakukan Asia, using the same translation as the manga available on Amazon Kindle. Unlike the Amazon Kindle releases these volumes are in black and white instead of color. They have released four volumes.[36]

Shogakukan started digital distribution of all forty-five original volumes throughout Japan from July 16, 2015.[37]

Anime[edit]

After a brief first attempt at an 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 animated second attempt of Doraemon.[38] The series ended with 1,787 episodes on March 25, 2005. In Asia, this version is sometimes referred to as the Ōyama Edition, after the voice actress who voiced Doraemon in this series.[39] The majority of Doraemon stories are shown to be comedies with moral lessons regarding honesty, perseverance and courage to name a few. The manga series is also aimed towards children generally, hence why the manga has been published simultaneously onto many children's magazines.[citation needed]

Celebrating the anniversary of the franchise, a third Doraemon animated series began airing on TV Asahi on April 15, 2005, with new voice actors and staff, and updated character designs.[40] This version is sometimes referred to in Asia as the Mizuta Edition, as a tribute for the voice actress for Doraemon, Wasabi Mizuta.[39]

The logo of the 2005 anime series

On May 12, 2014, TV Asahi Corporation announced an agreement with The Walt Disney Company to bring the 2005 series to the Disney XD television channel in the United States beginning in the summer of that year.[41][42][43] Besides using the name changes that were used in AltJapan's English adaptation of the original manga, other changes and edits have also been made to make the show more relatable to an American audience, such as Japanese text being replaced with English text on certain objects like signs and graded papers, items such as yen notes being replaced by US dollar bills, and the setting being changed from Japan to the United States.[44] Confirmed cast member of the new American adaptation include veteran anime voice actress Mona Marshall of South Park fame in the title role of Doraemon and Johnny Yong Bosch of Power Rangers and Bleach fame as Noby. The English dub is produced by Bang Zoom! Entertainment.[45] Initial response to the edited dub was positive.[46] The Disney adaptation began broadcast in Japan on Disney Channel from February 1, 2016. The broadcast offered the choice of the English voice track or a newly recorded Japanese track by the Japanese cast of the 2005 series.[47]

In EMEA regions, the series is licensed by LUK International.[48] The series began broadcast in the United Kingdom on August 17, 2015, on Boomerang.[49]

Feature films[edit]

In 1980, Toho released the first of a series of annual feature-length animated films based on the lengthy 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 depths of the ocean, and a world of magic.[50][51][52] Some of the films are based on legends such as Atlantis, or on literary works including Journey to the West and Arabian Nights.[53][54] Some films also have serious themes, especially on environmental topics and the use of technology.[55] The films often have a darker tone in their stories, unlike the usual manga and anime.[56][55] As of 2021, the franchise has released 40 non-CGI movies[57][58] and 2 additional CGI movies.[59][60]

Video games[edit]

There are 63 Japanese-only Doraemon video games, ranging from platformer games to RPG games, beginning with the Emerson's Arcadia 2001 system.[61] Doraemon can also be seen in Namco's 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!!.[62][63] The Japanese version of Microsoft's 3D Movie Maker contained a Doraemon-themed expansion pack. The first Doraemon game to receive a Western release was Doraemon Story of Seasons (2019).[64][65]

Musical[edit]

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.[66] It debuted at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space on September 4, 2008, running through September 14.[67] Wasabi Mizuta voiced Doraemon.[68]

The second stage play, titled Doraemon: Nobita and the Animal Planet, also ran from March 26, to April 2, 2017.[69]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

As of 2015, more than 100 million tankobon copies of the manga have been sold in Japan.[70] In addition, 40 million copies have been sold overseas in Vietnam as of 2006,[71] adding up to more than 140 million copies sold in Japan and Vietnam as of 2015.

The Doraemon anime film series sold more than 103 million tickets at the Japanese box office by 2015, surpassing Godzilla as the highest-grossing film franchise in Japan,[72] and the films grossed over $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office, making Doraemon the highest-grossing anime film franchise.[a] With the 2013 film, Doraemon: Nobita no Himitsu Dōgu Museum, 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.[73] It also became the largest franchise by numbers of admissions in Japan.[74]

The anime television series is available in over 30 countries.[75][76] It is a major part of many Chinese people's childhood.[77] The Doraemon anime series is India's highest-rated children's television show as of 2017, with a total of 478.5 million viewers across Hungama TV and Disney Channel India.[78][79] It was also available in neighbouring Pakistan, where the Hindi-dubbed version was aired until 2016 (Hindi and Urdu are mutually intelligible).

In Vietnam, the manga was initially published in 1992 by the Kim Đồng Publishing House. Even though the franchise had an immediate success selling over 40,000 copies, the publishing house was brought under fire for publishing the comics without acquiring necessary copyrights.[80][81] The issue was resolved in 1996 and the money generated was allocated to the Doraemon Scholarship Fund. Over the years the manga has seen a linear growth in sales, with over 40 to 50 million copies being sold in 2006, a record-breaker in the country.[71] The 1979 anime series has been dubbed into Vietnamese and broadcast on VTV1 and VTC1 in the 2000s, before moving to HTV3 in 2010.[82] Doraemon is now a cultural icon in Vietnam, having featured in many cultural events along with creator Fujiko F.Fujio being awarded the Culture Fighter Award by the Ministry of Culture.[83][84]

Merchandise[edit]

The Doraemon franchise has had numerous licensed merchandise. In 1999, Doraemon licensed merchandise sold ¥84.21 billion in Japan, where it was the fifth highest-grossing franchise annually.[85] Doraemon licensed merchandise in Japan later sold ¥50 billion in 2000,[86] ¥36.84 billion in 2001,[87] ¥30 billion in 2003,[86] ¥28.24 billion in 2004,[87] ¥24.96 billion in 2005,[88] ¥21.78 billion in 2006,[87] ¥17.6 billion in 2007,[89] ¥13.55 billion in 2008,[87] ¥16.98 billion in 2010,[90] and ¥34.92 billion during 2011–2012,[87] adding up to at least ¥359.08 billion ($4.5 billion) licensed merchandise sales in Japan by 2012. Global retail sales of Doraemon licensed merchandise later generated $557 million in 2015,[91] and $551 million in 2016.[91] As of 2016, Doraemon has grossed at least $5.608 billion in licensed merchandise sales worldwide.

Critical response and accolades[edit]

Doraemon was awarded the first Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1982. In 1997, it was awarded the first Osamu Tezuka Culture Award.[92] In 2008, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed Doraemon as the first anime cultural ambassador.[93][94][95]

On April 22, 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".[96] 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.[97]

Jason Thompson praised the "silly situations" and "old fashioned, simple artwork", with Doraemon's expression and comments adding to the "surrounding elementary-school mischief".[31][98]

On September 3, 2012, Doraemon was granted official residence in the city of Kawasaki, Kanagawa, one hundred years before he was born.[99]

Controversies[edit]

Doraemon has been blamed for having a negative impact of children, due to the controversial traits of the characters in the anime. The character has received criticism in Chinese media outlets where they considered Doraemon to be a politically subversive character and that it was a tool of Japan's “cultural invasion".[100][101][102]

In 2016, politicians and activists argued for a ban of the anime in India and Pakistan, stating that it was polluting the mind of children.[103][104] In India, legal notices were served against several companies in India, targeting Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan, as having an adverse effect on children.[103] On August 3, 2016, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly calling for a ban on the series,[105] since kids were more exposed to Hindi than their mother-tongue - Urdu.[106][107][108][109] The bill was accepted by the assembly and the anime was banned in the country.[108]

Cultural impact and legacy[edit]

Shuttle bus featuring Doraemon to Fujiko F. Fujio Museum in Kawasaki

A Fujiko F. Fujio museum opened in Kawasaki on September 3, 2011, featuring Doraemon as the star of the museum.[110][111] The National Museum of Singapore held a Time-travelling exhibition in 2020 as a tribute to the manga.[112][113] TV Asahi launched the Doraemon Fund charity fund to raise money for natural disasters in 2004,[114] which included the main cast of the manga, who have also appeared in various other educational manga.[115][116] ESP Guitars, have made several Doraemon shaped guitars.[117][118] In 2020, Mumbai’s Sion Friends Circle group distributed food and books to kids of the city, using mascots, one being Doraemon, to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.[119] The other mascot used was Mickey Mouse.[119]

As one of the oldest, continuously running icons, Doraemon is a recognizable character in this contemporary generation. Nobita, the show's protagonist, is a break from other characters typically portrayed as special or extraordinary, and this portrayal has been seen as reasons of its appeal as well as the contrary, especially in the United States.[120] Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro stated in an interview that he considers Doraemon to be "the greatest kids series ever created".[121]

In late 2011, Shogakukan and Toyota Motor Corporation joined forces to create a series of live-action commercials as part of Toyota's ReBorn ad campaign. The commercial depicted the characters nearly 20 years older, where Hollywood actor Jean Reno played Doraemon.[122] Doraemon has become a prevalent part of culture in Japan.[56] Newspapers also regularly make references to Doraemon and his pocket as something with the ability to satisfy all wishes. The series is frequently referenced in other series such as Gin Tama and Great Teacher Onizuka.[123][124] In 2012, Hong Kong celebrated the birthday of Doraemon 100 years early with a series of displays of the character.[125]

Doraemon appeared in the 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremony to promote the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[126][127][128] Many prominent figures have been nicknamed after the cast of Doraemon. Politician Osamu Fujimura is known as the "Doraemon of Nagatacho" due to his figure and warm personality.[129] Sumo wrestler Takamisugi was nicknamed "Doraemon" because of his resemblance to the character.[130] Former FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu was referred as "Nobita",[131] a character from Doraemon series, and he also claimed it back in a 2016 interview, where he also called Lionel Messi "Doraemon".[132][133][134] There was also a short sitcom series made by Crackòvia back in 2015 with a reference to Bartomeu as Doraemon.[135] In 2015, a group of people belonging to a drought-affected northern-Thailand village used a Doraemon toy to complete a rain-ritual to reduce controversies that would occur by using real animals.[136] In January 2021, Italian fashion house, Gucci released merchandises featuring Doraemon.[137][138][139][140]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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