Doraemon turned a cultural icon by mastering each style

On April 7, the world tragically misplaced Motoo Abiko, a mangaka of almost 70 years and one half of the comedian book-writing duo recognized collectively as Fujiko Fujio, the creator(s) of Doraemon. In the course of the 52 years since its creation, the titular robotic cat, who travels from the long run to assist out a 10-year-old boy utilizing an array of sci-fi innovations, has turn into a Japanese popular culture icon. The Japanese Ministry of Overseas Affairs truly designated the character an “anime ambassador,” and Eiichiro Oda even cited the manga as an inspiration for Satan Fruits in One Piece.

However there’s one other a part of Doraemon’s legacy that hardly ever will get talked about. Ever because the first Doraemon story was printed in December 1969, the franchise has turned out films and TV episodes in nearly each style ever, and at any time when it did, it completely crushed it. Listed below are a number of alternative examples of Doraemon’s versatility throughout genres:


Picture: Dora-World

Doraemon is basically the right encapsulation of widespread types of Japanese comedy like manzai, the Japanese double-act stand-up that often encompasses a pitiful “humorous man” because the figurative punching bag. It’s not the kindest type of comedy and sometimes depends on meanness, from how the story’s different essential character — the good-hearted however lazy/sneaky 10-year-old Nobita Nobi — is consistently the butt of each joke all the way in which to the franchise’s premise.

Doraemon is shipped to the previous by Nobita’s grandson to cease him from ruining his life by falling into poverty and, apparently equally importantly because it’s introduced up rather a lot, marrying a fats lady. Sure, she wasn’t Nobita’s real love or no matter, however the story makes darkish comedy of an individual risking erasing themself from existence as a result of their grandma didn’t conform to conventional magnificence requirements.

Subsequent up, farts. Fart humor has existed in Japan for nearly 1,000 years, with artwork items generally known as He-gassen or “fart competitions” (which depict, effectively, their titles) going way back to the twelfth century. Farts are additionally a giant a part of the favored Japanese youngsters’s character Butt Detective, who incapacitates his enemies with flatulence. Doraemon equally didn’t draw back from booty-tooty tales, like “Melody Fuel,” the place Nobita ingests Doraemon’s particular potatoes that will let you actually discuss (and likewise sing) out of your ass. Solely Nobita in fact eats too lots of them and blasts/farts off out of his buddy’s home just like the world’s grossest rocket. There’s most likely an “Apoollo 13” joke in right here someplace. And talking of which: puns.

Complete library wings may very well be full of books concerning the significance of puns in Japanese humor. And lots of of them must point out Doraemons Pun Gun, which may flip any object into no matter wordplay you shout at it, like when one character turns a vampire statue right into a vampire cucumber with the pun “Dracucumber!” Wait … does that imply that Doraemon invented the prototype thought for Pickle Rick from Rick and Morty? In any case, whereas not each joke in Doraemon will give you the results you want, the manga and anime are invaluable compendiums of gags that tickle the Japanese humerus.

Science fiction

Doraemon and pals eat a huge pile of memory bread, which looks like bread with images imprinted on it.

Picture: TV Asahi

As Arthur C. Clarke famously mentioned: “How inappropriate to name this planet ‘Earth,’ when it’s clearly ‘Ocean.’” And as Arthur C. Clarke famously and extra aptly mentioned: “Any sufficiently superior expertise is indistinguishable from magic.” Doraemon actually took that idea and ran with it up to now and quick, it broke the dimensional barrier till it arrived in its personal bizarre little world of creativeness that no different comedian or present might ever contact.

Doraemon’s futuristic, principally magic devices are the calling card of the collection, and whereas loads of them are fairly primary (like a propeller hat that basically makes you fly or a door that may transport you wherever), some are extremely inventive. (One, the What-If Telephone Sales space, is principally a sensible model of the What-If Machine from Futurama, solely invented a number of a long time earlier.) So you’ve got stuff like Abekonbe, which reverses the perform or attribute of an object. For instance, if you happen to handled an eraser with it, the eraser would immediately flip paper black. Cigarettes would turn into longer the extra you smoked them. If the gadget by some means affected the complete planet, the identify “Earth” would immediately be far more applicable, and so forth.

Then you’ve got Reminiscence Bread, which appears to be like like a slice of atypical wheat loaf that you simply press in opposition to, say, a guide. You then eat the ensuing toast and achieve all of the information that it’s absorbed from a supply of data, which is able to stick with you till you … expel the bread. Or how concerning the Something-Controller, a steering wheel that you would be able to stick on something to show it right into a automobile via the magic of science? On the present, they use an previous sofa, however there may be a lot extra you are able to do with it. Suffice to say, within the improper (or “proper,” relying on how a lot you need to see the world burn) palms, the time period “muscle automotive” might immediately purchase a complete new which means/invent a complete new class of psychological harm. And since we’re on the topic…


On April 13, a diver in Enoura (Kanagawa Prefecture) found a sunken Doraemon statue on the backside of Sagami Bay, which, in a Darkish Souls-esque online game, would clearly materialize the cursed Drowned King when touched or one thing.

This dead-eyed nightmare gas reminds us that regardless of its lighthearted tone, Doraemon does have the potential to be scary. And, every now and then, it’s lived as much as that potential. Within the 2007 film Doraemon: Nobita’s New Nice Journey into the Underworld, there’s a subplot a couple of mom who discovers that her youngster is terminally ailing, which is such a sudden tonal flip from farting your self off the bottom that it’s sufficient to offer you emotional whiplash. To avoid wasting her daughter, the lady summons a strong demon and sells her soul to him in alternate for a remedy, being became a demon herself within the course of.

All through the film, the demoness, who’s misplaced all reminiscences of her human life, comes near nearly killing her youngster plenty of instances till the kid’s cries briefly deliver her again, in the end liberating her from her demon kind. Then, as her spirit prepares to ascend, her daughter tries to hug the mum or dad she thought she’d by no means see once more however doesn’t make it in time as a result of who mentioned you may have good issues? Undoubtedly not Doraemon.

Admittedly, the story isn’t something too terrifying — not like the Dictator Change, a gadget that first made an look in a 1979 episode of the anime and which has the facility to … erase an individual from existence, together with different individuals’s reminiscences of them. Simply push it and the goal has the cosmic flame inside them extinguished, being forged into oblivion and not using a second’s discover and leaving completely nothing behind. And bear in mind: A ten-year-old boy has entry to it. That’s strong horror materials.


Nobita and his grandmother kneel at a table in Stand by Me Doraemon 2.

Picture: Netflix Japan

Within the 2000 quick film Doraemon: A Grandmother’s Recollections, Nobita travels again in time to as soon as once more see his late grandmother and … that’s it. There’s no menace or villain to beat, no twist ending the place Nobita advises grandma to not ignore the “unfastened tiger” warning a number of weeks from now in order that she doesn’t die. It’s only a story of a child who actually missed his granny, so he put the legal guidelines of physics in a headlock and noogied them till he bought a number of extra moments together with her, and that was greater than sufficient.

Grandmother’s Recollections packs in a stunning quantity of philosophy into its half-hour run time. The film is in the end about how life solely has which means as a result of it ends. Sure, there are loads of issues we miss out on after we die, however the finality of life is why we create and kind shut bonds and love with all of our hearts. As a result of that’s how we depart items of ourselves on this planet, which is able to stay after our our bodies are gone. Except somebody makes use of the Dictator Change on you, that’s.

Whereas Doraemon is primarily geared toward youngsters, it might and does often supply one thing for adults. The 2020 film Doraemon: Nobita’s New Dinosaur, through which Nobita takes care of two dinosaur hatchlings, is one other nice instance of that. It could have been really easy to go the E.T. route and make the film about a little bit child attempting to cover his sci-fi pals from his dad and mom. As an alternative, we bought a narrative of Nobita turning into a mum or dad to the dinos, attempting to do what’s finest for his “youngsters,” panicking after they get sick, sacrificing for his or her happiness, and feeling their ache after they fail. It’s a remarkably layered, dramatic story of what it means to have youngsters. There aren’t that many franchises that may ship grownup messages like that and present a little bit child almost reaching escape velocity by butt-burping.


Nobita and Shizuka’s wedding in Stand by Me Doraemon 2.

Picture: Netflix Japan

Doraemon: A Grandmother’s Recollections was truly tailored twice, with the storyline being reused within the 2020 film Stand by Me Doraemon 2, the place the grownup Nobita has managed to alter his future and is about to marry the love of his life: Shizuka. Let’s discuss a little bit extra about her. She is a novel cartoon love curiosity as a result of she truly has a character. In most animated exhibits geared toward youngsters, the love curiosity is often blander than dry rooster on cardboard as a result of they don’t seem to be truly an actual particular person. They’re a purpose or a reward for the primary character, with little or no company or a character past “has pulse; possibly likes the protagonist.”

Not Shizuka, although. She’s studious, courageous, and type to those that need assistance, but in addition nonetheless a child susceptible to jealousy, outbursts of anger, and the like. Nevertheless, younger Nobita has an idealized view of her, which is comprehensible since he’s a child. However as an grownup, that may not fly. Grownup Nobita’s relationship with Shizuka must be … extra. And that’s exactly what Stand by Me Doraemon 2 is about. Right here, younger Nobita travels again in time to see his grandmother, however whereas all that’s taking place, the grownup Nobita will get chilly toes on the day of his marriage ceremony to Shizuka and bolts. Why? As a result of after a long time of placing her on a pedestal, he has a second when he asks himself: Is he adequate for her? Is Shizuka solely marrying him out of pity? In brief, he sees her as an individual, not his reward.

The movie’s remaining message isn’t revolutionary, however it isn’t surface-level both. The film explores how one can know somebody all of your life and nonetheless not be 100% certain of their inside self, as a result of that’s simply how people work. It additionally emphasizes the significance of shared experiences and the way they will turn into a basis of a long-lasting relationship. Similar to the muse for the success of the Doraemon franchise is its mastery of…

Motion and journey

Doraemon and crew looks very surprised by what they see from their pirate ship in Doraemon: Nobita’s Treasure Island.

Picture: Amazon Prime Japan

Even when the Doraemon franchise had the fartiest gags, the science-fictioniest innovations, the deadest demon dad and mom, or the cryingest reunions between grandmas and grandsons, that most likely nonetheless wouldn’t be sufficient to make the Doraemon movies the large pop-culture occasions they’re at present in Japan.

So, what retains individuals coming again to the Doraemon movies? The motion, as a result of it’s all the time totally different, however all the time large in scale and ingenious. The most recent installment of the collection, Doraemon: Nobita’s Little Star Wars 2021, options large area battles and a worldwide revolt on an alien planet. The 2018 film Doraemon: Nobita’s Treasure Island was conversely a pirate-themed journey. The film earlier than it, Doraemon the Film 2017: Nice Journey within the Antarctic Kachi Kochi, was about discovering a misplaced historical metropolis within the South Pole, and it doesn’t finish there. No matter type of action-adventure you’re into, there’s an opportunity Doraemon has a film about it. Large robotic fights? Doraemon: Nobita and the Metal Troops. A suspense-mystery set on a practice? In area? Executed. Doraemon: Nobita and the Galaxy Tremendous-express. Do you … need knights on dinosaurs? You then’ll need to take a look at the kind-of-unimaginatively-titled Doraemon: Nobita and the Knights on Dinosaurs.

The most effective half is, none of these films rely solely on their premises, as a substitute setting up fascinating character tales round them. Little Star Wars, for instance, has scenes of a kid attempting to sacrifice their life to protect life and freedom, whereas Treasure Island is a narrative about an individual being pushed mad with grief after shedding a beloved one. Youngsters won’t discover or take care of these particulars, however they’re important to creating the motion in Doraemon films greater than only a gimmick.

Perhaps that’s in the end the legacy of Fujiko Fujio and Doraemon: all the time going that further mile till your mind stops caring that these superbly crafted tales that span each style revolve round a bobblehead, earless robotic cat from the twenty second century. And when a collection could make you droop your disbelief a lot, you understand that you’ve got one thing timeless in your fingerless ball palms.

Stand by Me Doraemon and Stand by Me Doraemon 2 can be found to observe on Netflix. Many episodes of the present could be discovered on YouTube.

Artificial: Vik Information

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