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A classic gag manga and anime by Akira Toriyama, Doctor Slump chronicles the misadventures of Senbei Norimaki, a semi-competent inventor, and his latest invention, a robot girl named Arale who appears to be an ordinary human... aside from her superhuman strength and space cadet behavior.
Said misadventures usually involve another of Senbei's inventions going awry, Senbei trying to woo Arale's teacher, the lovely Midori Yamabuki, or Arale and her friend Gatchan (an androgynous baby with wings, antennae, and a tendency to eat cars who hatched from an egg) interacting with the other bizarre denizens of their hometown of Penguin Village. Said denizens include the town police force (which includes a guy in a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet, a trigger-happy lady cop, and two officers who keep getting their car wrecked by Arale), Suppaman (a short, pudgy, dim-witted Superman wannabe who supposedly gets his superpowers from pickled plums), King Nikochan (a goofy, would-be space pirate stranded on Earth) and Dr. Mashirito (Senbei's rival in mad science who happens to be a caricature of Kazuhiko Torishima, the editor for the Doctor Slump manga).
This series features examples of:
- Accidental Marriage: Yes this was how Senbei finally got Midori to marry him. He practiced proposing while she was on the toilet. She overheard, next thing you know, the two are hitched. Heh lucky guy.
- Art Shift: As a running gag, Senbei turns much taller, manlier and handsome whenever he's having a "cool" scene. Later, is revealed that he can Art Shift himself at will, but just for a moment.
- Author Appeal: At the end of the series there is a bike trophy story arc that lasts many chapters. Toriyama lampshades this by having his avatar character remark he got very interested in motorbikes and didn't have any other ideas for the story.)
- Author Avatar: Toriyama jokingly inserts himself as a robot with a gas mask. If not, expect to see a bird with glasses or a man with a surgical mask.
- At least once he inserted himself as a xenomorph.
- Said Author Avatar showed up in Blue Dragon Awakened Shadow as a CPU party member, and even gets a bit of metafictional backstory- the robot isn't really Toriyama, but a robot based on Toriyama, who died several years before the story took place, and stipulated in his will that a manga-drawing robot be created in his image as his successor.
- And in Tobal No. 1 as "Toriyama Robo".
- Belly Buttonless: In an early chapter, Arale is worried because she lacks a navel and her classmates find that weird, so she wants one. Except Senbei thinks she wants something a bit lower, which he's never seen because of Japanese censorship. Hilarity Ensues.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: King Nikochan's species have ears for feet and butts on top of their heads.
- Breakthrough Hit: The series earned Akira Toriyama fame as one of the most popular manga-ka in Japan.
- Breath Weapon: Arale's N'Cha Cannon.
- Bungling Inventor: There's a reason Senbei has the nickname "Dr. Slump".
- Catch Phrase: Arale has three: "N'cha!", used as a greeting, "Ho-yo-yo!", used as an exclamation of surprise, and "KIIIIIIIIN!!!", said when she's running.
- Calling Your Attacks: Arale's N'cha Cannon.
- Cameo: P-man, the main character of Toriyama's earlier manga Wonder Island, appears in one panel, and later re-appears when Senbei and Arale go to said Wonder Island.
- Clark Kenting: Suppaman dresses as reporter Kuraaku Kenta. He doesn't even bother to act differently or to be less of a Jerkass.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Arale. Justified as she's a robot without social programing.
- Cloudcuckooland: Penguin Village is definitely this.
- Crossover: With Dragon Ball. An early DB story arc has Goku and friends visiting Penguin Village and meeting the Dr. Slump cast. The two series take place in the same universe, although this fact has virtually no effect on either of them aside from the one story arc.
- Cute Bruiser: Arale.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Well, Arale once hit God with a palm tree. To be fair, he was not "The" God, but a silly divinity who looked and acted exactly like old master Muten from Dragon Ball, minus the sunglasses.
- Everything Talks: Particularly, the Talking Poo.
- Evil Counterpart: Obotchaman was built by Dr. Mashirito to be this, but he ends up being too well mannered and polite to be evil. Abale-chan from the movie special "Dr. Mashirito and Abale-chan" is a more straightforward example, who is essentially Arale in punk gear.
- Executive Meddling: If Toriyama is to be believed, this is how Arale came to be. Originally the comic was just about Senbei and his inventions. But Torishima insisted that Toriyama create a female lead instead. Toriyama did so intend on just making her a supporting character, but she ironically ended up taking over the whole manga anyway.
- Extreme Omnivore: Gatchan.
- The Family for the Whole Family: One chapter of the manga has Arale and friends meeting a group of yakuza which acted like little kids, playing with cards and so on.
- Fan Service: During a baseball game, one female character's pants fall down without any input at all.
- Fartillery : Arale can fly by farting
- Follow the Leader: "Robby The Rascal", another show where a wacky inventor living in a weird village builds a robot with great powers but the mindset of a child.
- Foreign Sounding Gibberish: In the bike trophy mentioned above, one of the contestants is a German biker called Kibalt Skurzen. This troper never heard any German name sounding remotely like that one.
- Gag Series
- Genki Girl: Arale.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: The Malaysian dub, due to the small voice talent pool available in the country.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Tsukutsun Tsun turns into a tiger whenever touched by a girl; he changes back if touched by a guy.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Senbei.
MarthArale Debuted In Smash BrosDragon Ball
- Nice Guy: Obbotchaman.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Kurikinton, the village barber and Taro and Pisuke's father, looks a lot like Clint Eastwood. Lampshaded when it is revealed that he once was a policeman.
- No Export for You: While the entirety of the manga has been translated and released in English, neither of the two anime adaptations have been dubbed in English. It has however been dubbed in Germany, and part of the first adaptation has been dubbed in French as well.
- No Fourth Wall: One chapter involves an invention that can make something on a page real. Arale and Akane fool around with it until Arale casually cuts out the page they're on and puts it inside the machine, creating a space paradox. If that's not enough, character refer to and sometimes interact with the author...
- In another chapter, the characters acquire a camera that takes pictures of the future, wherein the subject would be aged several decades in the picture. At the end of the chapter, Arale takes a picture of the reader, and the picture shows the skeletal remains of the reader holding the magazine that the manga was originally serialized in commenting on how dumb the manga is.
- Non-Indicative Name: Penguin Village, averted in the last story arc when we discover that the mayor is an actual penguin and the only one that appeared in the series.
- Off with His Head: A Running Gag is that Arale keeps pulling her head off, annoying Senbei.
- Obvious Pregnancy: Midori gets so big so fast after it's revealed she's pregnant that Senbei actually gives her a medical examination to try and deduce a cause.
- Older Than They Look: Pisuke is actually 13, even though he looks like he's around 7 or 8.
- It's even worse for him when they take a hold of the camera that views the future mentioned above: we discover that he will look like that even at 30 (complete with the same cat-ears hat!), but with a Hitler mustache!
- Only Six Faces: Lampshaded in an early chapter where Akane is able to impersonate Midori. Toriyama curses his ability to draw only one female face.
- Suppaman, the fly-man from space and Parzan (Tarzan parody) all look the same. This sometimes is commented upon.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Arale is so strong, she can split the Earth into with one punch.
- Relax-O-Vision: How the Malaysian dub of the show censors nudity.
- Robot Girl: Arale.
- As well as a Robot Boy, Obbotchaman.
- Robot Kid
- Sdrawkcab Name: Toriyama came up with the name of Dr. Mashirito, Senbei's Mad Scientist rival, by reverting the order of the syllables in his editor's surname, Torishima.
- Shout-Out: Quite a few. The show satirizes and pays homage to a lot of things, including Superman, Star Trek, Space Invaders and Ultraman, just to name a few.
- Stealth Pun: Arale is riding a pig, and a bystander exclaims "Biker Gang!"
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids
- Take Over the World: Dr. Mashirito.
- Take That: Whenever Toriyama shows his editor, Kazuhiko Torishima in the Omake, he just happens to look exactly like the Mad Scientist Dr. Mashirito.
- The Faceless: One of the contestants in the bike race at the end is a boy who never ever removes his helmet. He's also The Nameless.
- The policeman with a Stormtrooper helmet may also count, both for Faceless and Nameless.
- Ted Baxter: Suppaman, an Affectionate Parody of Superman.
- Time Travel: Thanks to one of Senbei's inventions, the Time Slipper. This is actually how they found Gatchan.
- Toilet Humour: Four words: Poop on a Stick. This was later Lampshaded early on in Dragon Ball.
Mai: (as Pilaf wonders where could be the seventh Dragon Ball) If it's between that hunk's [Yamcha] legs, I'll be pleased to get it.
(Pilaf and Shu stare blankly at her)
Pilaf: I told you before, I hate these dirty jokes.
Mai: (suddenly holding said Poop on a Stick) Yes, I'm sorry.
Pilaf: And I mean that filthy thing you're holding too!!! Can't you see that the author is trying hard to make a decent, high-standard manga?!
- King Nikochan and other members of his species have their butts on top of the head, so they have to avoid farting or else they'll end suffocated by the smell.
- Let's not forget the fly-like alien who picks a nearby piece of dog crap up and eats it ! Needless to say, the other characters (Except Arale) were disgusted.
- Tournament Arc: A very brief and hilarious one near the end of the manga's run. It is even called "Sekaiichi Tournament", foreshadowing Dragonball's own Tenkaichi Tournament.
- Touched by Vorlons: Turbo, Senbei and Midori's son. Accidentally killed, then resurrected by aliens. Ends up with Psychic Powers as a result
- Tranquil Fury : In one chapter, there is a surprisingly serious moment where a bear that Arale and Senbei had freed from captivity and released into the wild was shot by two hunters. Arale, in one of the few times where she is genuinely angry, calmly picks the two assholes up and throws them far away.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Senbei does manage to win over Midori, and he's as surprised as the rest of the cast.
- The Unintelligible: Gatchan.
- Verbal Tic: "No, yes!"
- Weapons Grade Vocabulary: Arale's boisterously loud "HOWDYA DO!" comes out as solid words and is capable of knocking people off their feet.
- Widget Series
- Written Sound Effect: Arale even unknowingly weaponizes it.
- Younger Than They Look : Senbei, who is only 28 despite looking like he's in his mid-thirties.