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Doraemon Anime's Visual & Script Changes for U.S. TV Detailed

posted on 2014-05-11 20:00 EDT
Chopsticks, yen notes, first-aid kit replaced by forks, dollars, pizza

The Oricon Style website reported on changes that the Doraemon television anime is undergoing before its American television premiere this July. The Disney XD channel will run 26 episodes of the quintessential Japanese anime about a robot cat. The anime has been adapted for America's culture and customs, as well its strict guidelines on violence, depictions of discrimination, and depictions of sexual content.

The adaptation will move the setting from Japan to a fictional place in America. The robot cat Doraemon will still be Doraemon, while Doraemon's owner Nobita is now "Noby," the bully Gian is now "Big G" (Gian's original name is a wordplay on the English word "giant"), and the spoiled kid Suneo is now Sneech to invoke the word "sneer."

Most of Doraemon's signature gadgets have been translated literally: the magical portal Dokodemo Door is now the "Anywhere Door," the flying contraption Takecopter is now the "Hopter," the memorization tool Anki Pan is now "Memory Bread," Kūkihō is now "Air Cannon," and Honyaku Konnyaku is now "Translation Gummy." The recent English edition of the manga also has similar names.

There are also onscreen edits and additions. Om-rice (Omelet with rice) is now pancakes, and chopsticks have been changed to forks.

Japanese yen notes have been converted to U.S. dollar bills.

Japanese check marks have been replaced with American crosses to indicate mistakes on a test, and an "F" letter grade has been added to better explain the "0" mark.

Bandages in one episode ("Henshin! Dracula Set" or Transform! Dracula Set) have been removed, and a first-aid kit has been replaced by pizza.

In the episode "Hashire Umatake" (Run, Bamboo Horse), Nobita's streams of tears have been removed.

Japanese signs have been replaced such as "Gōda Shōten" (Gōda's Shop) to "Goda's Goods."

In the episode "Doraemon no 100-nen Time Capsule" (Doraemon's 100-Year Time Capsule), the contents of the time capsule have been replaced.

Elsewhere, an ishiyaki imo (sweet potatoes baked on stones) stand is now a popcorn truck. Other food changes, such as less sweets (including Doraemon's iconic dorayaki) and more fruits onscreen, have been made due to broadcasting standards to promote healthy eating on children's programming.

Since Doraemon lost his ears, he gets angry when people often mistake him for a tanuki (Japanese raccoon-dog) in the original story. However, since raccoon-dogs outside Japan do not look round and fat as they do in Japanese folklore, Doraemon gets mistaken for a seal in the English localized version.

A unique U.S. opening sequence has been compiled from footage from the Japanese version. To explain the premise of the story, a narration about "why Doraemon came from the future?" has been added. The theme song, other songs, and sound effects have been adapted to be easier for American children to empathize. Dialogue is also not just literally translated, but adapted for entertainment's sake and to fit a natural speaking rhythm. However, Gian's infamous "Ore no mono wa ore no mono, omae no mono mo ore no mono" catchphrase is rendered more or less without changes as "What's mine is mine. What's yours is mine!"

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.

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.

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.

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


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