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File:Doraemon.jpg
"You have brought shame upon your family! Have a happy robot cat!"
Shaenon Garrity's summary of the "quintessentially Japanese" premise

Doraemon is one of the longest running Anime series. The title character, Doraemon, is the quintessential example of the Robot Buddy; he is a robotic cat from the future that is sent back to help the socially inept Nobita Nobi through the use of futuristic technology (known as "Dogu" [Japanese for "tools"]) produced from his Fourth Dimensional pocket. Typically, the devices are used to impress his love interest Shizuka Minamoto or humiliate the street Bully, Takeshi "Gian" (Or "Giant" at some translations) Goda. Inevitably, there is some form of Phlebotinum Breakdown, and Nobita must sort through the root problem himself. The overused story arc is somewhat of an artifact of the series origin during the 1970s, criticizing Japanese culture's increasing over-reliance on superfluous technology.

Beside the short episodic comedy manga and anime, The cast of Doraemon often got involved in epic adventures in the semi annual special volume mangas and movies based on them, that's surprisingly, often very well written, well thought, and well animated. The adventures range from time travel adventures, epic fantasy quest with knights and dragons, space operas, to mecha battle.

The movies, sorted chronologically, are:

  • Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur — The cast were stuck in the past and dodging dinosaur poachers as they're trying to get back to the present.
  • Doraemon: The Record of Nobita: Spaceblazer — A Space Western-ish adventure concerning hostile takeover of a planet.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Haunts of Evil — Missing civilization of dog people and Indiana Jones styled adventure in Africa.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Monstrous Underwater Castle — Remnants of Atlantis Civilization, the still existing Mu, and Bermuda Triangle.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Great Adventure into the Underworld— Parallel world where magic flourished instead of science.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars — Space battle with remote controlled toy tanks.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Steel Troops — The only thing that stands between Earth and a massive mech army are the cast of Doraemon and a Humongous Mecha.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Knights of DinosaursUnderworld reptilian people descended from dinosaurs are plotting to take over the above world because they believe their (almost) extinction was caused by primitive mammals which were ancestors to human.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Parallel "Journey to the West" — The historical Journey to the West, with sci-fi elements.
  • Doraemon: Nobita at the Birth of Japan — The kids' desire to create a prehistoric Utopia interferes with a villain from the future's plan to rule it.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Animal Planet — A dimensional portal to the planet of Animals was found, and they're being attacked by mysterious evil aliens.
  • Doraemon: Nobita in Dorabian Nights — The Arabian Nights tales, with sci-fi elements.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Kingdom of Clouds — The kids' desire to create a sky-bound Utopia interferes with the sky people's plan to cleanse the Earth of human, Biblical style.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and Tin-Plate Labyrinth — The cast must save humans from robots Turned Against Their Masters, led by evil Mad Scientist robot king, for those humans relied on robots too long and are too weak to save themselves.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and Fantastic Three Musketeers — Nobita uses the dream machine to have a good dream, unleash evil in the Dream Land, and must return to save it.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Genesis Diary — Nobita played God, created a shitty world, interfered in favor of humans, angered primitive bees, and must go save humanity from the wrath of the evolved bee people.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and Galactic Express — The kids go on a space Mystery Train bound for a space theme park, when a race of alien virus strikes, wanting to take them as host bodies.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Adventure in Clockwork City — Last work of Fujio F. Fujiko.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's South Sea Adventure - a movie focusing mostly focusing on a Pirate adventure.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Adventure: Drifts in the Universe
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Legend of the Sun King - Nobita swaps roles with a Mayan prince who looks just like him
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Winged Braves
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Robot Kingdom
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Wind Wizard
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Wannyan Space-Time Odyssey - The 25th movie in the franchise concerning a Stable Time Loop involving a civilisation formed from abandoned cats and dogs. Contains many Shout Outs to gadgets and scenes in the other movies.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend - The movie focusing on Green Aesop.
  • Doraemon: The New Record of Nobita: Spaceblazer
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Great Merman Sea Battle - A Loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's Tear Jerker Fairy Tale, The Little Mermaid.

Even though it's not really popular in the west, Doraemon is a very influential series in the east. For example, in 2002, Doraemon was featured along Aung San Suu Kyi and Hamid Karzai as one of the 22 heroes featured in a special edition of Time Magazine on Asian Heroes. In a truly surreal moment, Doraemon has been designated by the Real Life Prime Minister of Japan as the Ambassador between the cartoon world and Japan, with the ceremony including a to-scale model of Doraemon.


This series is an example of:

  • The Ace: Dekisugi. Not only he is the smartest kid in the school, he is also relatively athletic and is a Chick Magnet.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: In the anime,Shizaku hair was brown. Even though the manga cover shows her hair as black. Changed back to black in the 2005 anime.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: One of the 2005 anime notable feature. Example is Nobita start off as plain(when he compared himself to Dekisugi) In 2005? Is revealed to have quite nice eyes under that glass.
    • Shizuka start off as quite cute and is much cuter
    • The remake episode of the Lying Mirror pronounce this much more.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Doraemon's dimensional pocket full of "Dogu".
  • Animated Adaptation: Three of them, in fact -- one that is one of the longest running shows in history, and an immediate reboot after it ended that will probably go on to match it. And a 1970s anime that we don't talk about. And 30+ movies (the listing at the top is incomplete).
  • Art Evolution: Oh god yes. Amusingly, one of the reasons they rebooted the anime series in 2005 was to give the character designs a quick makeover. (And to let some of the voice actors retire after 30 years of the same roles.)
  • Author Existence Failure: Fujiko F. Fujio died in 1996. Later works were done by Fujiko Studio, a group of his apprentices.
  • Bad Future: While not as extreme as some examples, if Nobita continues to live his life the way he does now, his life will fall apart so badly that he will end up a penniless laughing-stock, in so much debt that he will need to work for a century to pay it off, and married to Gian's sister..
  • Bag of Holding: Doraemon owns one - Other robots similar to Doraemon also seem to have one as well.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted quite a bit -- Nobita's penis is even visible in earlier Fujiko Fujio mangas. Despite being for children. It is, however, important to note that the manga is completely lacking in Fan Service outside of Parental Bonus -- all nudity is Played for Laughs. Of course, this is Values Dissonance.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: In one Non-Serial Movie, the heroes discover that the anomalies in this region are because of the Triangle being part of an ancient force-field, home to an AI gone insane.
  • Bamboo Technology: "Hai! Takekoputaa!" The iconic take-copter literally means a "bamboo helicopter".
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Guess who? Gian and Suneo, of course.
  • Book Dumb: Nobita can be pretty smart at times, just look at the creative ways he uses Doraemon's tools!
  • The Bible: Referenced surprisingly a lot for a sci-fi title. Most of them revolve around creating Biblical miracles with future technology. And playing God.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Gian, especially later movies where little touching moments can make him cry more than anybody else.
  • Butt Monkey: Nobita.
    • In the movies, if something embarrassing or painful is happening to somebody, you can bet that it's Suneo.
    • Doraemon himself is a Butt Monkey from times to times, especially around the time the series started.
  • Casual Time Travel: Time travel is extremely common place in Doraemon's universe. Apparently everyone can afford a Time Machine in the future. As a result, many lunatics have the idea of using future tech to exploit and alter the past, which calls for the existence of Time Police.
  • Censor Steam: In a twist from the manga's Barbie Doll Anatomy subverting roots, recent episodes do this with Shizuka whenever she's taking a shower. This has not escaped the notice of the series' long time (40+ years) fans.
  • Chick Magnet: Doraemon who managed to capture many cats' heart, Dekisugi, Nobita in the movie for Creme Miyoko and possibly Riruru. Doranichov and finally Wang Dora whose tend to get beat up by Mimiko.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nobita. He sincerely believes in outlandish things such as that Heaven exists and the dinosaurs are still alive. Of course, he is right "every" time...
  • Corporal Punishment
  • Consummate Liar: Lying is second nature to Suneo. He literally cannot go a day without lying about something.
  • Continuity Nod: 40 years of chapters leads to quite a few of these.
  • Cowardly Lion: Despite being generally considered a coward among his friends, Nobita is shown to be quite brave in dangerous situations, mostly in the movies. The Dirty Coward role is given to Suneo instead.
  • Dancing Theme: One of the renditions of "Doraemon no Uta", the opening theme.
  • Disneyfication: Practically, The whole Doraemon series mellowed down Most of The Fairy Tales and Famous Stories They adapted, Most Notably, In "Doraemon: Nobita's Mermaid Legend" movie, The plot was practically more similar to the source than The Disney Movie, but In The End, Sophia and The entire Mermaid Tribe live Happily ever after anyway.
  • Dreadful Musician: Gian has horrible, devastating singing ability. Shizuka plays a violin as bad as Gian's singing.
    • Heck, one episode even has Suneo make up a conspiracy theory about a guy using Gian's voice for assasinating people.
  • Expy: Some of Doraemon's gadgets are very similar to gadgets from other series, either in function or in appearance. For example, the Moshimo Box is a red telephone booth that can essentially jump dimensions.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: All over the place, Most notably "Doraemon: Nobita's Mermaid Legend" follows the Basic Plot/Theme of The Little Mermaid in Sophia's arc to a Happily Ever After.
  • Fartillery: One manga episode deals with Nobita trying to come up with a neat trick for a New Year's talent show. Doraemon gave him a bunch of sweet potatoes that, when eaten, produces melodic 'gas'. Unfortunately, Doraemon forgot to tell him not to eat more than one at a time...
  • Fat Bastard: Gian, who else? He does get some Character Development over the series' run, however, turning into a big guy with a temper, especially in the movies.
  • Five-Man Band: The typical casting in many Fujiko Fujio's series.

And in the Doraemons

  • Fleeting Demographic: Young Children.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: One of the most Egregious examples.
  • Generation Xerox: Every single one of Nobita's ancestors (including his father) is a loser with no backbone who is constantly bullied by Gian and Suneo's. This gets swapped with Nobisuke (Nobita's son), though, as he is the one who bullies Gian and Suneo's sons.
  • Girl Next Door: Shizuka, to all three boys - but especially Nobita.
  • Girl of the Week: The movies, especially later ones, where there will be a token girl even though the main focus isn't on her at all.
  • Green Aesop : Used frequently in the movies. In most stories, and especially in movies, human destroying the environment won't result in a disaster on its own; that would take too long. Chances are, alien civilization will plot to intervene and destroy humans first to prevent said environmental disaster from happening.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper
  • Identical Grandson: Taken to ridiculous extreme. All of the main cast has almost-look-exactly-the-same parents, siblings, relatives, ancestors and descendants.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Almost every civilization Nobita and his friends run across in the movies has some sort of grudge against humans. Usually paired with Green Aesop above.
  • I Am Not Weasel: A running gag when someone first meets him, they think he's a tanuki. This makes Doraemon really mad since he's a robotic cat without ears.
  • Ingesting Knowledge: In one chapter, Nobita eats a special kind of bread that lets him remember anything printed on it.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Nobita's still going to have the same son even though he's marrying someone else. Unless it's a Stable Time Loop.
    • Though some may speculate that Nobisuke doesn't have to be the son of Nobita and his wife].
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nobita (defaults to selfish and lazy), Gian (defaults to mean and bullying). And Suneo to a certain degree.
  • Late for School Nobita, frequently.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Nobita is force-fed future pills that make the consumer unable to resist helping anyone in need. After he spends the entire episode helping other people and running out of time to finish his homework, Shizuka responds to all the good deeds she saw him perform by offering to help him with his work.
  • Lethal Chef: Gian's cooking is just as bad as his singing. Or may be worse. The most common result is food-poisoning. He even accidentally poisoned himself in one episode, much to the relief of his friends.
  • Licensed Game: Unavoidable, but were surprisingly good.
  • Literal Genie: The Anywhere Door can be a bit of this when requesting locations (for example, "I want to go camping somewhere high" will result you stepping out into the air). Several other tools are similar, including one that "makes the listener believe anything" (Nobita uses it to remove Shizuka's nudity taboo -- temporarily.)
  • Long Runners: The manga ran for 45 volumes from December 1969 until 1996, while the anime has run for more than 2100 episodes from 1979 until the present day (plus an unpopular and now-lost series in 1973).
    • On March 25, 2005, the 1979 series ended after 1,787 episodes. Not even a month later, on April 15, a new updated Doraemon anime began broadcasting and has been broadcasting ever since.
  • Magic From Technology: Teleportation doors, talking boxes, etc.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: All three lead boys. It's natural for boys of their age though, and not sexualized in any way.
  • Missing Episode: The 1973 series. The Fujiko duo hated the show and pretty much buried it - apparently it was conveniently "destroyed in a fire" shortly after it was canceled. Some episodes survive in certain people's hands but otherwise the show just plain doesn't exist.
  • Missing Mom: In the 1973 series Gian's mom is dead. Though in the manga and the later series, his mom is still alive. No wonder the authors of the manga hated this show.
  • Monster Roommate
  • Naked People Are Funny: All nudity of the boys, Shizuka's constant bath scenes, and her numerous panty shots... technically not Fan Service, instead they're Played for Laughs. After all, they're just kids.
  • No Ending: Quite possibly, which ends up having the fans create their own endings in doujin comics. One happy ending[1] (which was legendarily Jossed from orbit, with nuclear fire by the publishers due to the art being picture perfect to the original series and th ending being more or less beloved by the entire fanbase) and two Downer Endings, one of which was lifted from St Elsewhere.
    • The Fujiko duo did try to end the series when it appeared that the franchise was losing popularity in the early 70s, resulting in the final story in Volume 6 of the manga. When the franchise suddenly picked up in popularity again shortly after the release of the said volume, they were forced to Retcon that particular story in the first story of Volume 7 of the manga.
    • The 1973 series did have an ending, where Doraemon returned to the future and Nobita promised him to grow up to be successful.
    • The two Downer Endings have been written into fanfiction here and here.
  • No Export for You: Despite being a popular and classic anime series (if not the classic kids anime) that has Outlived Its Creator, the series has never licensed for North American audiences, despite still going for 30 years.
  • Non-Serial Movie: See the list above.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Considering Nobita has a time machine in his desk, this gets occasionally brought up.
    • Once, he reminiced on how much he missed the fun childhood playtimes with his now deceased grandmother, hence travelled back in time to see her again. Turns out he was quite a brat as a kid and frequently threw tantrums at the poor lady.
  • Outlived Its Creator: Fujiko Fujio is a pen-name shared by two artists. One of them is dead. His apprentices have continued writing the story and its spin-offs in his stead.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Sophia and The Whole Mermaid and Merman Tribe from The 2010 Movie, "Doraemon: Nobita's Mermaid Legend".
  • Panty Shot: A Running Gag with Shizuka.
  • Papa Wolf: Gian is very protective of his little sister. If you even think about messing up with Jaiko, you're dead.
    • Doraemon is shown to be this to Nobita in early stories. However, as time went on, the robot got increasingly more annoying with Nobita's tendency to depend too much on his tools. This results in him becoming more apathetic to Nobita and only help him when it is really necessary.
  • Parental Bonus: Lets just say that 40 years later, a lot of Japanese authors and artists have thought up more risqué uses for the tools in Doraemon or other similar gadgets. In fact, an entire subgenre could be considered to have taken it's roots from taking the Doraemon toys and spinning them in a different light.
  • Portal Door
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Suneo, mostly in relationship with Gian.
  • The Remake: For newer audiences and to keep the series alive - with Art Evolution (and, unfortunately, more censorship).
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Doraemon himself, of course.
  • Robot Buddy: The Japanese Trope Codifier.
  • Running Gag: Lots due to the series' long running status. The most well known is Shizuka's inability to have any privacy in the tub, but there are others.
    • In the manga, Nobita used the Anywhere Door to go to Shizuka's house and once again found her in the tub. Instead of Shizuka going outraged as usual, Nobita got annoyed and lampshaded why Shizuka always has to take a bath all the time.
    • Nobita constantly trying to hide the school reports from his mom, with predictable result.
    • Gian getting beaten up by his mother.
    • Suneo being extremely sensitive about his height.
  • San Dimas Time: while never explicitly mentioned, some of the episodes with Time Travelling tend to use this which often leads to some Fridge Logic moments.
  • Schrodinger's Butterfly: "The Reality Pillow"
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Doraemon's purpose for coming to the present time is to change Nobita's attitude, which will lead to the Bad Future mentioned above.
  • Shout-Out: Lots, to its contemporaries and classics alike, and some even to Western pop culture. One notable one is to Galaxy Express 999, whose Cool Train has been outmoded by the Anywhere Door.
    • Another medium-length story have Nobita and Doraemon fight the bad guys from Star Wars, including a Darth Vader parody. A good thing that those space races are much smaller than humans.
  • Shower Scene: As a running gag, poor Shizuka never gets to finish a bath or shower, and takes them all the time. Literally so, as she's tried in other time periods, just to be interrupted by Nobita and Doraemon. Heck, a good percentage of his gadgets have very little purpose other than to peep on Shizuka, teleport to Shizuka, brainwash Shizuka into becoming a nudist, etc etc... Unfortunately, and to the annoyance of quite a few of the fans, said Shower Scenes are now censored. Ineptly. Despite them being completely nonsexual in the original manga and anime.
  • Sidekick Ex Machina
  • Smug Snake: Suneo, mostly played for laughs.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Suneo when he's not behaving like a Jerkass.
  • Stable Time Loop: Doraemon is fond of this. Many times the titular character and Nobita time-travel to fix an event in the past, only to end up being responsible for whatever they are trying to fix in the first place.
  • Strictly Formula: 90% of the TV episodes involves Nobita suffering a predicament, begging Doraemon for a gadget, Nobita abusing said gadget/getting the gadget stolen by Gian and Suneo then suffering the consequences. The fun is in seeing what the gadget is.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Nobita became one in Nobita's Genesis Diary when he decides to create his own world.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Leitmotif of the eponymous "Toy Troops" is one for "Yankee Doodle".
  • Ted Baxter: Suneo fancies himself the most good-looking, intelligent and talented of the gang. Well, at least he's kind of right about the last two things...
  • Tender Tears: Loads and loads in the movies after year 2000.
  • Those Two Guys: Suneo and Gian.
  • Time Travel: One of the only continuously-used gadgets.
  • Time Police: The Time Patrol, the setting's Time Police often act as The Cavalry. With the cast's casual use of time travel, it wouldn't be surprising if The Time Patrol actually put the cast on close watch.
  • Time Paradox: Again, with the casual use of time travel, there are quite a lot episodes dealing with time paradoxes.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Doraemon and Dorayaki
  • Tsundere: Doremi, Dora the Kid, Pippo, Theo, Ichi, Fey and more.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Why doesn't anyone in Nobita's neighborhood find it strange that he is constantly hanging out with a blue tanuki with no ears again?
  • Useless Superpowers: Not really useless, but not really useful on the setting. Even though he's bad at almost everything, Nobita is really talented at shooting and Ayatori (a traditional Japanese game). He sometimes says that he's supposed to be born in the old west. There is even an episode where he was stuck in the old west, and became a sherrif's deputy. The talent is obviously more useful in the movies.
  • The Verse: Surprisingly, a lot of Fujiko Fujio's works seem to share the same universe. For example, Doraemon and Nobita once saved a hotel from bankruptcy. The hotel owners are clearly the ancestor of 21Emon's main character. Sumire Hoshino, an artist that often appears in the series is the grown up version of Pa Man 3, one of Pa Man's protagonist. There's even an episode dealing with Sumire telling Doraemon and Nobita about her faraway lover. Sumire never tells the name of his lover, but there is a picture of Mitsuo Suwa, the original Pa Man and its main protagonist, on her liontin. Mitsuo was sent to Birdman's headquarter to be a full fledged member of the galactic peacekeeping organization at the end of Pa Man.
  • The Virus: The space alien in Nobita's Galactic Express wants to take over a human body.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Much as Gian and Suneo like being jerks to Nobita, they are still his best friends.
  • What If: Several times through Moshimo-box, which is basically a "What if machine".
  • Why Did It Have To Be Mice?: Doraemon, despite being a robotic cat, is scared to death of mice ever since a robotic mouse bit his ears off and caused him to turn blue prior to the series.
    • Dorami, Doraemon's little sister, is afraid of cockroaches.
  • Young Gun: Nobita whenever the cast travel to a Western-y age/planet/dimension/whatever. Boy might be a total loser in other aspects of life, but when the plot requires that someone be shot, he does the shooting competently.

Notes

  1. Doraemon's battery fails, and without his ears, they can't swap it out without wiping his brain. Not only that, the time police have placed an absolute embargo on anyone interfering in any way with Nobita and the now-unconscious Doraemon. Rather than swap his battery, which would effectively kill him, Nobita spends the next 35 years becoming the world's foremost expert in robotics in order to save him, marrying Shizuka on the way. But as his friends figure out, it was all a Stable Time Loop -- the technology that Doraemon was bringing back was way, way too advanced unless something remarkable happens to jumpstart the technology -- like Dr. Nobita Nobi reverse engineering Doraemon enough to fix him.
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