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Doraemon (manga)

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Doraemon mangacover

The cover art for the Japanese "Doraemon" Vol. 1.

The original Doraemon manga series was created by Hiroshi Fujimoto under the pen name of Fujiko F. Fujio, and began publication from December 1969 to 1996, being publicized into many of Shogakukan's children's magazines. This was the public introduction of Doraemon along with many of the franchises' other main characters. The comic would go on to become successful enough to start a full franchise after a highly successful anime series began to broadcast, which then led to the character of Doraemon himself to come to be considered as a cultural icon of Japan.

Core Plot

Nobita's failures in school and subsequently, his career, have left his family line with endless financial problems. Thus, his great-great-grandson, Sewashi (a clumsy and very unlucky forth-grader), sends a blue robotic cat called Doraemon to Nobita's generation to help improve Nobita's circumstances. In doing so he hopes that Nobita and all of his descendants will be able to enjoy a better future.

The stories in the manga are formulaic, usually focused on the everyday struggles of Nobita himself as the protagonist of the story. In a typical chapter, Nobita comes home upset about a problem he faces in bed or in the local neighborhood. After Nobita's pleading or grinding to Doraemon, he then produces a futuristic gadget to help Nobita fix his problem, enact revenge, or flaunt to his friends.

Nobita usually goes too far, despite Doraemon's best intentions, and gets into deeper trouble than before. Sometimes, Nobita's friends (usually Suneo or Gian) even steal the gadgets and end up misusing them. However, by the end of the story, there is usually retribution to the characters who end up misusing the gadgets and a moral, although sometimes cautionary lessons are taught.

Genre/Audiences

As with the 1979 anime episodes, the majority of Doraemon stories are comedies with moral lessons regarding honesty, perseverance and courage to name a few. The manga series is also aimed towards children generally, hence why the manga has been published simultaneously onto many children's magazines.

Series Finale Rumours

Since the late 1980's, there have been three often-quoted urban legends on how the Doraemon series was going to end.

Spoiler alert!
F0gyunzm from the left Doraemon, Nobita, Giant, Suneo, Shizuka, Sophia This section of the article contains details concerning the progression of the plot, namely its result. If you haven't experienced it yet, and you don't want it to be spoiled for you, skip this section!

The Optimistic Ending

Doraemon Unofficial Ending

The last page of the unofficial ending.

The first and the more optimistic ending was made public by Nobuo Sato several years ago, as a doujin (a fan-made story). Doraemon's battery power would run out and Nobita was given a choice between replacing the battery inside Doraemon, which would cause it to reset and lose all memory of Nobita and their adventures or await a competent robotics technician who would be able to resurrect the cat-robot one day. Nobita swore that very day to work hard in school, graduate with honors and to become that robotics technician. He then later successfully resurrected Doraemon in the future as a robotics professor, became successful as an A.I developer and then lived happily ever after, thus relieving his progeny of the financial burdens that caused Doraemon to be sent to his space-time in the first place. Click here to see it.

The Pessimistic Ending

The second, more pessimistic ending suggests that Nobita Nobi was suffering from a mental disability and that all the characters (including Doraemon) are simply his delusion. In real life, Nobita would be a sick and dying little boy who imagined the entire series on his sickbed to help him ease his pain and depression. The idea of this story ending the series outraged a big majority of devoted fans. It caused so much outrage and controversy that many Japanese fans even staged a protest outside the headquarters of Shōgakukan (the publisher) of the series after learning about this suggestion. The publisher then had to issue a public statement that the idea of this ending wrapping up the series was false.

In fact, it has been proved that this ending actually correlates to the ending for the American medical drama series "St. Elsewhere", which ended in 1988. 

The Third Ending

The third ending idea suggests that Nobita fell and hit his head on a rock. He fell into a deep coma, and eventually into a semi-vegetative state. To raise money for an operation to save Nobita, Doraemon sold every single one of the tools and devices in his four-dimensional pocket. However, whilst enough money was raised for it to happen, the operation failed. Doraemon at that point still had one gadget that he didn't sell and decided to use it as a last resort. He used it to enable Nobita to go wherever he wanted, whichever time era he wished to go and in the end, the very place Nobita wanted to go was heaven.

The majority of these ending suggestions were fictional, except the third ending. The third ending was actually meant to be the official ending to the series due to the 1973 anime's low TV ratings and the Fujiko Fujio duo was busy with other works. But the duo changed their minds as they were still firmly thinking about Doraemon and from then they restarted from next month's issue.

When the Fujiko Fujio duo broke up in 1987, the very idea of an official ending to the series was never discussed. Since Fujiko F. died in 1996 before any decisions were reached, any "endings" of Doraemon are fan fiction. However, it is apparent from many anime episodes and movies where Nobita travels to the future that in the end he does marry Shizuka, leads a happy life and separates with Doraemon, although Nobita and his friends fondly remember him.

The Doraemons

The series still continues with some new, country based, Doraemon. These new versions of Doraemon have their own nationality and special weapon, they are: Dora the Kid (West-America version, expert at shooting with Air or Shock Gun) Doranichov (Russian version, can turn into a werewolf and spit out fire) El Matadora (Spanish version, uses Hirari Manto) Wang Dora (Chinese version, expert at martial arts) Doramed The Third (Arabian version, uses magic) and Dorarinyo (Brazillian version, uses Soccer Balls). The first six volume focuses about the Doraemons, while the special focus on Nobita's adventure with Doraemons gang. The series also introduce various new characters and stories, such as the spanish version of Gian and Dorami and Kid's relationship.

The series consist of:

Volume 1 - 6 (first series)

Special Volume 1 - (currently) 15 (made in Indonesia)

Chapter of The Doraemons Manga

Awards

  • Shogakukan Manga Award for Children's Manga, 1982
  • The first Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 1997

Chapters

Volumes

Tentōmushi have published 45 volumes of Doraemon from 1974 to 1996.

In 2005, Shōgakukan then published 5 more volumes under the title "Doraemon+ (Doraemon Plus)", which had stories that Tentomushi didn't publish in any one out of the 45 volumes they published.

Bilingual Releases

Doraemon has even been published in three bilingual volumes. The first version is bilingual in English and Japanese called "Doraemon: Gadget Cat from the Future" (Shogakukan English comics; 2002-onwards), the second version is bilingual in English and Yue Chinese (published by HKComics) and the third version is bilingual in English and Vietnamese (from Kim Dong Publisher). The latter two are called "Doraemon: Study English" in the English language.

Spin-offs

  • The Doraemons, a spin-off about Doraemon and his friends from Robot School
  • Dorabase, a spin-off about robot cats, identical to the ones in both Doraemon and The Doraemons, who play on a baseball team

Gallery

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