Doraemon is one of the longest runninganime series. The title character, Doraemon, is the quintessential example of the Robot Buddy; he is a robotic cat from the future 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.Besides the short episodic comedy manga and anime, the cast of Doraemon often get involved in epic adventures in the semi annual special volume mangas and movies based on them, that are, surprisingly, often very well written, well thought-out, and well animated. The adventures can range from time travel adventures, to epic fantasy quests with knights and dragons, to space operas, and mecha battles.
The list of Doraemon Movies
Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur The cast are stuck in the past and dodging dinosaur poachers as they're trying to get back to the present. Got a 2006 remake as Nobita's Dinosaur 2006.
Doraemon: The Record of Nobita: Spaceblazer A Space Western-ish adventure concerning hostile takeover of a planet. Got a 2009 remake as The New Record of Nobita: Spaceblazer.
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, the still existing Mu, and the Bermuda Triangle.
Doraemon: Nobita's Great Adventure into the Underworld Parallel world where magic flourished instead of science. Got a 2007 remake as Nobita's New Great Adventure into the Underworld - The Seven Magic Users.
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. Got a 2011 remake as Nobita and the New Steel Troops ~Angel Wings~.
Doraemon: Nobita and the Knights of Dinosaurs Underworld 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 is 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 an 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, unleashes 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'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 Island of Miracle ~Animal Adventure~
Doraemon: Nobita's Secret Gadget Museum ~Museum Adventure~
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.
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..
Badass Adorable: All of the Doraemons. But particularly Wangdora and Dora The Kid.
Bag of Holding: Doraemon owns one - Other robots similar to Doraemon also seem to have one as well.
Bamboo Technology: "Hai! Takekoputaa!" The iconic take-copter literally means a "bamboo helicopter".
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 commonplace 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' hearts, Dekisugi, Nobita in the movie for Creme Miyoko and possibly Riruru. Doranichov and finally Wang Dora who tends to get beat up by Mimiko.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: 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...somewhat.
Comic Book Time: The series has outlived one of its creators, and yet poor Nobita is still in the fourth grade.
Consummate Liar: Lying is second nature to Suneo. He literally cannot go a day without lying about something, which bites him in the ass when he was given a device that makes all his lies true.
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.
Darker and Edgier: The Movie titled Doraemon: Nobita and Galactic Express. It is much darker and serious than the whole series overall, with the kids on an adventure quite dangerous and almost lose their lives twice.
Disneyfication: 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 closer 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. And in the movies, his singing drove away a group of sirens, an accompanying whale monster, and, in another unrelated occassion, knocks out two battling giant monsters.
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.
Fanservice: Shizuka in the bath, and the boys get naked from time to time. Never played as actual Fanservice, however, since the series is for children.
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...
Another episode deals with the "Strengthening Gas", a gas that when sprayed on a body part, strengthens said body part. When Giant heard about this, he demanded Nobita spray it all over his body. Unfortunately, after one spray on the butt, the gas ran out. As Giant was about to beat Nobita, he farted, and said fart launched him to the sky.
Generation Xerox: Every single one of Nobita's ancestors (including his father) is a loser with no backbone who is constantly bullied by Gians and Suneos. This gets swapped with Nobisuke (Nobita's son), though, as he is the one who bullies Gian and Suneo's sons. Also, it seems that they all have Nobi somewhere in their names.
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.
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 Doraemon, they think he's a tanuki. This makes Doraemon really mad since he's a robotic cat without ears.
Identical Grandson: Taken to ridiculous extremes. All of the main cast has almost-look-exactly-the-same parents, siblings, relatives, ancestors and descendants.
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.
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 in 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.
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.
No Ending: Quite possibly, which ends up with the fans creating their own endings in doujin comics. One happy endingnote 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. (which was legendarily Jossedfrom orbit, with nuclear fire by the publishers due to the art being picture perfect to the original series and the 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.
At least the former is not as downing as the other, because Doraemon actually came back.
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. It wouldn't have been this way if Ted Turner's purchase of the rights to the series didn't fall through.
Nostalgia Filter: Considering Nobita has a time machine in his desk, this gets occasionally brought up.
Once, he reminisced on how much he missed the fun childhood playtimes with his now deceased grandmother, and 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.
Our Mermaids Are Different: Sophia and the whole mermaid and merman tribe from the 2010 movie, "Doraemon: Nobita's Mermaid Legend".
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.
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 annoyed with Nobita's tendency to depend too much on his tools. This results in him becoming more apathetic to Nobita and only helping him when it is really necessary.
Nobita can act like this towards the young creatures he "adopts."
Paper-Thin Disguise: One of Doraemon's gadgets takes this to the extreme. It's literally just a board that you write someone's name on. Then you hang the board around your neck and anyone who sees it thinks you're the name you wrote. You can even write something generic like "servant" and have it work.
Parental Bonus: Let's just say that 40 years later, a lot of Japanese authors and artists have thought up more risquι uses for the tools in Doraemon or other similar gadgets. In fact, an entire subgenre could be considered to have taken its roots from taking the Doraemon toys and spinning them in a different light.
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 getting 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 results.
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.
Serious Business: Parodied in a chapter when Nobita changed reality so that playing with strings became the Serious Business of the world. There are even world wide tournaments on who can make the the best string figures, which is more popular than any sport. Of course, since Doraemon has no fingers, he doesn't enjoy it.
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 Doraemon's 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.
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 involve 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.
Time Is Dangerous: Time Travel is achieved by going through a tunnel-like space on your Time Machine. Should one get knocked out of the machine and into the tunnel, one will be stranded in time. The problem is, Doraemon's time machine is basically just some futuristic devices bolted to a tatami, so the risk of being thrown overboard is always there. Dorami's is safe, because it's a flower-shaped capsule. Have we mentioned that some bad guys have their own time machine, so you can have a chase in time while you chase in time?
Time Paradox: Again, with the casual use of time travel, there are quite a lot of episodes dealing with time paradoxes.
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 Travel: One of the only continuously-used gadgets.
Useless Superpowers: Not really useless, but not really useful in 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 ancestors 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.
The Watson: In The Doraemons Special series, Nobita's personality can almost be entirely summed up to be this.
What If?: Several times through Moshimo-box, which is basically a "What if machine".
Played with in the Magic World movie. Nobita wishes for a world where magic exists, and he gets to travel there and have adventures. However, things quickly spiral down fast, and Nobita wants to use the What-If Box again to go back to his real world. However, he realizes that that would mean that his new magical friends will be stuck in certain terrible situations, so he relents and decides to solve things the difficult way. An Aesop was had!
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.
You Can't Fight Fate: There is an extremely depressing explanation about why Nobita is so afraid of Giant and Suneo. An episode traces this back to kindergarten times, when Nobita was first bullied by Giant and Suneo. His fearfulness was born and stuck at that moment because he failed to fight them. In order to eliminate this mentality, Nobita returned to the past and managed to bully them back. However, while he bullied them, he was watched by little Shizuka, the girl he likes since he was a kid and his future bride, and as a result he earned her hatred. In the end Nobita has to choose: be immune from Giant and Suneo's bullying, or earn Shizuka's forgiveness? He chooses Shizuka's forgiveness, and that restores his fearfulness of Giant and Suneo for life.
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.