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Disney XD to Run Doraemon Anime in U.S. This Summer

posted on 2014-05-09 00:05 EDT
1st U.S. showing of iconic robot cat to have 26 episodes, 5 times a week, with adapted names

The financial news source Nikkei reported on Friday that the American media conglomerate Walt Disney will begin running the quintessential Japanese anime Doraemon on television throughout the United States this summer. 44 years after the original manga about a robotic cat from the future debuted, the anime has already aired in 35 countries and territories in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. However, this will be the first television showing of Doraemon in the United States.

The manga creator duo Fujiko Fujio (Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko) created Doraemon in 1969. In the story, the robotic cat was sent by a boy in the future to the present day to help the boy's hapless grandfather, Nobita. Doraemon, Nobita, and other children deal with everyday childhood issues, solve (and cause) problems with the gadgets in Doraemon's fourth-dimensional pocket, and embark on escapades through time and space.

According to Nikkei, Disney XD, a children's channel available in 78 million households, will run a total of 26 episodes five times a week. Disney has run Japanese programming before such as Naruto Shippūden, but it will use Doraemon as content for elementary school children in the lower grades.

The three Japanese companies that hold the copyrights — TV Asahi, Fujiko F. Fujio Production, and TV Asahi's anime studio subsidiary Shinei Animation — are producing the English version by contracting it to American studios.

The story and the names of characters and gadgets have been partially changed out of consideration for American culture and customs. Doraemon's owner Nobita is now "Noby," the bully Gian is now "Big G," the flying contraption Takecopter is now the "Hopter," and the magical portal "Dokodemo Door" is now the "Anywhere Door." The recent English edition of the manga also has similar names.

Unlike the unauthorized versions out there, this English version is first being produced so it can run in America with its strict guidelines on violence, depictions of discrimination, and depictions of sexual content. However, it is possible for this version to run in other English-speaking countries later.

Doraemon has already aired in Southeast Asia and Europe. Nikkei reported that along with the NHK live-action television series Oshin, Doraemon has contributed greatly to the sense of affinity and image that other countries have of Japan.

In addition to the television anime that premiered in Japan in 1973, the Doraemon manga also inspired a string of annual anime films. This year, Takashi Yamazaki (Returner, Always: Sunset on Third Street, Ballad, Space Battleship Yamato) and Ryûichi Yagi (Pénélope tête en l'air line director, Moyashimon 3D CG director) are helming the first 3D CG film of Doraemon, Stand By Me Doraemon.

Image © Fujiko Production, Shogakukan, TV Asahi, Shinei, ADK


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