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Doraemon (Japanese: ドラえもん) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by the manga writing team Fujiko 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 pre-teen boy named Nobita Nobi (野比のび太 Nobi Nobita?).

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 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 Fujiko Fujio was born. Turner Broadcasting System bought the rights to the Doraemon anime series in the mid-1980s for a United States English-language release,[3] but canceled it without explanation before broadcasting any episodes. In July 2013 it was announced that 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.

Awards for Doraemon include the Japan Cartoonists Association Award for excellence in 1973, 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 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 India, its Hindi, Telugu, Tamil translation has been telecasted, where the anime version is the highest-rated kids' show; it won the best Kids' Show award at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards India.[7] In 2002 the anime character was acclaimed as an "Asian Hero" in a special feature survey conducted by Time Asia magazine.[8] An edited English dub distributed by TV Asahi aired on Disney XD in the United States that started on July 7, 2014 at 12:30 PM, 11:30 AM (Central). On August 17, 2015, Boomerang UK started to broadcast the English dub of Doraemon. The film series is the largest by number of admissions in Japan.

Name

The name "Doraemon" can be roughly translated to "stray." "Dora" derives from "dora neko" (brazen or stray cat, どら猫), and is a corruption of nora (stray). "Emon" 衛門、右衛門 is an archaic component of male given names like Goemon. "Dora" is not derived (directly) from dora 銅鑼, meaning gong, but rather a pun on that and the fact that Doraemon loves dorayaki. The name "Doraemon" (ドラえもん?) is stylized as an unusual mixture of Katakana (ドラ 'dora') and Hiragana (えもん 'emon').

Plot

Doraemon is sent back in time by a young boy named Sewashi Nobi to improve the circumstances of his grandfather, Nobita, so that his descendants may enjoy a better future. In the original timeline, Nobita experienced nothing but misery and misfortune manifested in the form of very poor grades and bullying throughout his life. This culminates in the burning down of a future business he sets up which leaves his family line beset with financial problems. In order to alter history and better the Nobi family's fortunes, Sewashi initially wanted to send a super-robot to protect Nobita, but with his meager allowance he could only afford an imperfectly-made factory-rejected toy: an anthropomorphic robot cat called Doraemon.

Doraemon has a pocket from which he produces toys, medicines, and tools from the future, all of which are referred to as 'gadgets' by Doraemon. Some of the gadgets are based on real Japanese household devices with fanciful twists, but most are completely science fiction. Thousands of gadgets have been featured in the series with such as the "bamboo-copter", a small head accessory that allows flight and the "Anywhere Door", 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. Nobita is usually tormented by the bully 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.

Media

Main articles: List of Doraemon media and List of non-Japanese Doraemon versions

Manga

See also: List of Doraemon chapters and List of Doraemon Plus chapters

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.[9] Since the debut of Doraemon in 1969, the stories have been selectively collected into forty-five books published from 1974 to 1996. Shogakukan published a master works collection consisting of Twenty volumes between July 24, 2009 and September 25, 2012.[10][11]

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. On December 1, 2014, a sixth volume of Doraemon Plus was published. This was the first volume for eight years.[12]

Ten volumes of the series were available in a bi-lingual edition by Shogakukan English Comics.[13]

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 Doraemon manga in full-color digitally via the Amazon Kindle platform in North America.[14] Shogakukan released the first volume in November 2013.[15] 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."[16]

Anime

Television series

Main articles: Doraemon (1973 anime), Doraemon (1979 anime) and Doraemon (2005 anime)

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.[17] This series became incredibly popular, and ended with 1,787 episodes on March 25, 2005. 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. 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.[18] 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, and items such as yen notes being replaced by US dollar bills. Confirmed cast member of the new American adaptation include veteran anime voice actress Mona Marshall 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.[19] The series began broadcast in the United Kingdom on Boomerang from August 17.[20]

Feature films

Further information: List of Doraemon films

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.

Video games

For more details on this topic, see List of Doraemon video games.

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.

Musical

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.[21] It debuted at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space on September 4, 2008 running through September 14.[22] Wasabi Mizuta voiced Doraemon.

Reception

More than 100 million copies of the manga have been sold.[23]

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.[24] In 2008, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed Doraemon as the first anime cultural ambassador.[25][26] 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".[27] 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.[citation needed]

Jason Thompson praised the "silly situations" and "old fashioned, simple artwork", with Doraemon's expression and comments adding to the "surrounding elementary-school mischief".[13]

On September 3, 2012, Doraemon was granted official residence in the city of Kawasaki, one hundred years before he was born.[28]

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.[29] It also became the largest franchise by numbers of admissions in Japan.[30]

Legacy

A Fujiko F Fujio museum opened in Kawasaki on September 3, 2011, featuring Doraemon as the star of the museum.[31]

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.[32] ESP Guitars have made several Doraemon guitars aimed at children.[33][34]

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.[35]

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. Other characters in the series are also referenced frequently on TV shows if their cast resembles them.

Doraemon appears in appeals for charity. TV Asahi launched the Doraemon Fund charity fund to raise money for natural disasters.[36]

Doraemon, Nobita, and the other characters also appear in various educational manga.[37][38] Doraemon is also mentioned in several anime and manga by other manga artists.[citation needed]

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