Doraemon (Japanese: ドラえもん) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Fujiko F. Fujio. The series has also been adapted into a successful anime series and media franchise. The story revolves around a 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).
|Written by||Fujiko F. Fujio|
|Magazine||Various Shogakukan kids magazines|
|Original run||August 8, 1969 – June 23, 1996|
|Anime television series|
The Doraemon manga series was first published in December 1969 in six different magazines. A total of 1,345 stories were created in the original series, which are published by Shogakukan. 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 an English-language release in the United States, but cancelled it 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. It is one of the best-selling manga in the world, having sold over 100 million copies as of 2015.
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." 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. The Foreign Ministry action confirms that Doraemon has come to be considered a Japanese cultural icon. In India, its Hindi, Telugu and Tamil 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. 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. In Epcot, Doraemon toys are on the Japan shop. On August 17, 2015, another English dubbed version distributed by Luk Internacional began broadcasting on Boomerang UK. The film series is the largest by number of admissions in Japan.
Nobita Nobi is a young boy who suffers from poor grades, frequent bullying and negative emotions like sadness and jealousy. Many years in the future, one of his descendants sends the robotic cat Doraemon back in time to protect and guide Nobita. Doraemon has a four-dimensional pocket in which he stores innumerable items known as gadgets, which range from toys and medicine, to technology from the future. Examples include the Bamboo-Copter (Japanese: Take-Koputa), a small piece of headgear that allows flight and the Anywhere Door (Japanese: Doko Demo Doa), a door that opens up to any place the user wishes.
Nobita's closest friend is Shizuka Minamoto, who also serves as his romantic interest and eventually becomes his wife. Nobita is usually tormented by the bullying Takeshi Goda (nicknamed "Gian"), and the cunning and arrogant Suneo Honekawa. A typical story consists of Doraemon using one of his gadgets in order to assist Nobita in various ways, often causing more trouble than he was trying to solve.
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 CoroCoro Comic was launched as the flagship magazine of Doraemon.
Since the debut of Doraemon in 1969, the stories have been selectively collected into forty-five tankōbon volumes, which 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.
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.
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. The first series has ten volumes and the second six.
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. Shogakukan released the first volume in November 2013. 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." 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.
After a brief 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 Asia, this version is sometimes referred to as the Ōyama Edition, after the voice actress who voiced Doraemon in this series.
Celebrating the anniversary of the franchise, a new Doraemon series began airing on TV Asahi on April 15, 2005 with new voice actors and staff, and updated character designs. This version is sometimes referred to in Asia as the Mizuta Edition, as Wasabi Mizuta is the voice actress for Doraemon in this 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. 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 Tokyo to a small town in the state of North Carolina. 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. Initial response to the edited dub was positive. 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 US cast.
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 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.
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 Doraemon franchise has had numerous licensed merchandise. In 1999, Doraemon licensed merchandise sold ¥83.01 billion in Japan, where it was the fifth highest-grossing franchise annually. Doraemon licensed merchandise in Japan later sold ¥50 billion in 2000, ¥36.84 billion in 2001, ¥30 billion in 2003, ¥106.06 billion during 2004–2008, and ¥51.9 billion during 2010–2012, adding up to at least ¥357.81 billion ($4,484.4 million) licensed merchandise sales in Japan by 2012. Global retail sales of Doraemon licensed merchandise later generated $557 million in 2015, and $551 million in 2016. As of 2016, Doraemon has generated at least $5.592 billion in licensed merchandise sales.
Until 2015, more than 100 million tankobon copies of the manga have been sold, and the anime series is available in over 30 countries. The Doraemon 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, and the films grossed over $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office, making Doraemon the highest-grossing anime film franchise.[a] 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.
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. In 2008, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed Doraemon as the first anime cultural ambassador.
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.
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. It also became the largest franchise by numbers of admissions in Japan.
In Pakistan, the series has been targeted by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as having a negative impact on children, because of Nobita's constant reliance on Doraemon's gadgets to solve problems. It also attempts to ban the Hindi dub of the series for teaching kids Hindi words not in Urdu (Pakistan's official language). It also intends to ban 24 hour cartoon channels in general, because of their supposed ruining of children's minds. Legal notice also been served against several companies in India against Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan as having an adverse effect on children.
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. Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro considers Doraemon to be "the greatest kids series ever created".
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.
Doraemon has become a prevalent part of popular culture in Japan. 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.
Doraemon appeared in the 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremony to promote the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In his appearance, he helped prime minister Shinzō Abe by planting a Warp Pipe from Shibuya Crossing to Maracanã Stadium.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Doraemon.|
- Doraemon Official Website (in Japanese)
- Doraemon Movie Official Website (1980–2009) (in Japanese)
- Doraemon Official TV Asahi Website (in Japanese)
- Doraemon Official US website
- Doraemon features for adults (Opens January and closes May every year) (in Japanese)
- Doraemon Secret Dōgu List, a comprehensive list of dōgu featured in Doraemon (in Japanese)
- Doraemon English Comics from Shogakukan; Complete set (in Japanese)
- Doraemon (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia