Doraemon (Original Cartoonist: Fujiko F. Fujio)
Doraemon, the round blue cat-like robot with mouse-phobia, is a comic character well-known not only in Japan but all over the world. Originally, in 1969, it started as a manga series created by Fujiko F. Fujio in magazines. The anime series, started in 1979, and the movie series, started in 1980, are still quite popular. Various character goods and educational DVDs are also marketed.
The story is about the daily lives of NOBI Nobita, an elementary schoolboy who is a failure at everything, and Doraemon, who came from the 22nd Century. One day, when Nobita is relaxing in his room, Doraemon appears from a drawer in Nobita’s desk along with Sewashi, a descendant of Nobita. Nobita is told by Sewashi that his descendants are in trouble because of debts left by Nobita. Sewashi brought Doraemon as a caretaker to change Nobita’s future.
The main children characters include Jaian, the bully, Suneo, who is rich and sarcastic, and Shizuka, who Nobita has a crush on. In a typical episode, whenever Nobita becomes a target of bullying or fails in something, Doraemon takes an array of tools out from the 4-D pocket over his belly to help him. Nobita, after his problem is solved, goes too far with the tool, causes trouble and in the end expresses his regrets.
There are many heart-warming episodes as well. In one, Nobita takes a time machine to eight years in the past in order to see his dead grandmother. He has regrets after seeing his former self as a small boy being very selfish to her. Although his first intention was to just see her, he cannot stop himself from talking to her and, finally, letting her know that he is the future fifth-grade Nobita. His grandmother accepts him without even doubting him. This episode is popular among TV viewers and three versions of it have been broadcast.
One big attraction of Doraemon is the convenient “secret tools” that appear in each episode. It is said that more than 2,000 items have been conceived. The most well-known items, such as Takekoputaa, small bamboo propellers that enable you to fly and Dokodemo-Doa, a door that brings you anywhere you wish, are often mentioned by grownups as items they want.
Besides Doraemon, Fujiko F. Fujio released many cartoons for children including “Paaman,” “Espaa Mami” and “Nijuuichi-emon.” He died in 1996.
[From January Issue 2010]