Doraemon: Gadget Cat From The Future
Japanese Publisher: TV Asahi Corporation
US Publisher: Bang Zoom Entertainment
Currently Airs On: Disney XD
[Editor’s note: Please welcome Drew back to the column as your regular manga addicted columnist is away at Anime Fest for the weekend.]
Doraemon. Chances are if you have taken one step outside of North America and into Asia you will notice this cartoon blue cat, with his belly pocket and missing ears, is everywhere and on every type of merchandise possible. Yet aside from being the multi-billion dollar giant, Doraemon had been one of those properties that had eluded the North American market for years. And not just years. I mean, years and years. Originally created in 1969 as a manga by comic creating duo Fujiko Fujio, with the anime series first appearing briefly in 1973, followed then by a lengthy 1000 episode-plus run from 1979-2005, and now at current with an anime running from 2005-present (not to mention the numerous feature films on top of this long TV history), it somehow never hit the mark here. Some folks have the theory that it was on purpose, as Disney helped shutter it from release all those years so they’d have no competition with Mickey Mouse, arguably the largest animated merchandising character of all time. Some say the original licensors were just too protective, and so when Ted Turner tried to adapt it in the 1980s for release on American cable, he ultimately gave up in frustration. Numerous theories aside, one thing is true: 45 years after the creation of its manga, Doraemon has finally come to the West, airing on Disney XD, with a localized for North American audiences English-Dub, under the title Doraemon: Gadget Cat From The Future.
Doraemon: Gadget Cat From The Future is, as you may have heard, the kind of English dub that does the material justice that you can actually get behind. For those unfamiliar with the plot, Doraemon is a robot cat sent from the future to take care of Noby and improve him from being such a goof ball, so that his descendants may have a better life, too. Doraemon has a pocket which he can pull numerous futuristic gadgets out of to help Noby, and a majority of the plots are the hysterical misadventures centering around what the gadget does as Noby and his friends use/misuse that gadget.
Surprisingly, the dub as mentioned taps perfectly into the humor of the show, with famous English dub voice actors Mona Marshall as Doraemon and Johnny Yong Bosch as Noby.
The big changes from the Japanese version are changes in several character names to make them more western-friendly, as well as some editing onscreen to the visuals, by the Japanese animators themselves, to help translate better to westerners. These animation edits are very minor and are things like spaghetti being drawn over ramen, or since it airs on Disney, maybe getting rid of blood dripping out of a character’s nose if they are hit in the face with something. The editing changes are so minor and well done you would never notice, and although I am sure some Doraemon-purist may complain about that, in this world of mass marketing and Disney trying to turn Doraemon into a powerhouse here like they did with Mickey so many years ago, this makes perfect sense, and is such a minor foot note that it doesn’t affect the anime at all.
Doraemon: Gadget Cat From The Future is a fantastic all-ages comedy anime that anyone can get into. Currently it airs at both 12:30 AM and PM, on Disney XD, as well as on their Disney XD on-demand channels to catch up easy if you miss an episode that week. Worth checking out the coolness that has been denied from us for so long.