Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan is the 10th film installment in the Doraemon franchise, as well as the first one to release in the Heisei era.
Nobita and friends have had it with their busy schoolwork, exams, and wishes to take a retreat for a while. To their surprise, Doraemon is on their side this time, after Nobita's parents, the Nobis, brought a pair of hamsters into the house, given Doraemon's usual crippling phobia of rodents. One thing leads to another and the gang then decides to hop into the Time Machine in Nobita's drawer, Time Travel to the prehistoric period, and live over there for a few weeks.
And then they rescue a young boy named Kukuru (an Identical Stranger to Nobita) who's the Sole Survivor after his tribal home was destroyed by living robots. Before discovering an ancient, sinister conspiracy threatening to rewrite history.
The film was released in Japan on March 11, 1989. A remake is released in 2016.
This movie provides examples of:
- Actionized Adaptation: The 2016 remake have far more action scenes, fights, and large-scale battles than the manga or original anime.
- Adaptation Expansion: The anime series has an earlier short with a similar premise, where Nobita and friends managed to convince Doraemon to bring them into the past to escape their current life, only to run into volcanoes, natural disasters and saber-toothed tigers. No time-travelling supervillains or clay robots in that one, though.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Nobita's pets, being non-existent animals based on myth, couldn't really fit in society, so the story ends with the Time Patrol sending them to an animal sanctuary in the 22nd Century. In the original manga and anime Nobita bids them farewell knowing they're in safe hands, but the 2016 remake have Nobita tearing up and sobbing at his pets leaving him. The feeling is quite mutual, with Pega, Draco and Gri equally upset they're not going to be with their master, with the remake's goodbye at the ending being a lot, a lot more emotional than any previous versions.
- Adaptational Badass: Everyone in the 2016 version.
- Gigazombie from the original manga and anime is a rather generic time-traveling villain, but in the remake he's a megalomaniac who wants to rewrite history and has a nuke at his disposal.
- Tsuchidama puts up a far better fight against Doraemon-as-Dorazombie.
- Nobita in the manga and original anime needs to be saved by the Time Patrol after being stranded in the blizzard, and later reunites with his pets. In the remake he survives through sheer will and awakes before his pets who found him.
- Although Doraemon still loses to Gigazombie in the remake, he trades multiple blows with him before going down, unlike the original movie where he was defeated in one hit.
- Kukuru (and the rest of the tribespeople) doesn't get to do much in the original story's climax, but in the remake they managed a Slave Liberation and battle Gigazombie's Kurayami Tribe, with Kukuru helping the heroes in the finale. He is even the one who sabotages Gigazombie's Time Distortion Nuke.
- Shizuka, Gian and Suneo managed to help in shootouts against Gigazombie's robots with the Instant Adhesive Glue Gun (in the original, Doraemon does all the shooting). Suneo and Gian notably shoot Gigazombie's staff from his hands just in time to prevent him from using it again on Nobita.
- Inverted with the Time Patrol in the remake, who goes from arresting Gigazombie and saving everyone to doing jack squat, arriving after all the action is over.
- Adaptational Species Change: The original version has Gian and Suneo getting attacked by a woolly rhinoceros and later a crocodile. In the 2016 version, the rhino and crocodile are replaced by a steppe bison and a giant salamander, likely to avert Misplaced Wildlife.
- Big Bad: Gigazombie is the ruler of the Dark Tribe.
- Big Damn Heroes: Nobita actually pulls an impressive one at the end; the only character who escaped capture from Gigazombie's minions, Nobita returns with his pets, the pegasus, gryphon and dragon, and epically barges into the Dark Tribe's lair to save all his friends. Including Doraemon who just lost a fight against Gigazombie.
- The Cavalry: The Time Police in the manga and anime (not the remake), arresting Gigazombie, disbanding the Dark Tribe, and saving Nobita and friends after they're trapped by a cave-in.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: In the remake, the Time Police only arrive after the heroes have already defeated Gigazombie.
- Chekhov's Gun: In the remake, Doraemon uses Donburi Powder to hide the time machine underground when they first arrive in prehistoric Japan. During the climax, the heroes use the powder to trap Gigazombie's giant robot elephants.
- Continuity Cameo: In the 2016 remake, the Time Police cadet who apprehends Gigazombie is none other than Inspector Ream from Time Patrol Bon, a 1980s OVA based on another Fujiko Fujio work.
- Creating Life: Nobita, being assign to create "pets" using Doraemon's DNA mixing machine, decide to create a pegasus, a gryphon and an oriental dragon. They serve as steeds and are handy in scaring away minions of the Dark Tribe.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Doraemon vs. Gigazombie, with Gigazombie on the winning side. Why? Because Gigazombie's from the 23rd-Century - a hundred years ahead of Doraemon.
- Deity of Human Origin: The main villain, Gigazombie, was just an ordinary human scientist, albeit one from the 23rd Century. He uses Time Travel to project himself to the prehistoric era, took over the Dark Tribe, and makes himself their ruler as he attempts to enslave entire surrounding tribes to change the world as he sees fit.
- Exposed to the Elements: Most of the movie have Nobita and friends clad in Doraemon's Artificial Life Furs (basically, cavemen clothing) in prehistoric times, including the climax where they're crossing a blizzard in a wintery wasteland. Justified because it's one of Doraemon's futuristic gadgets with a built-in temperature adjustor (and semi-subverted when Nobita, separated from the others during a snowstorm, nearly froze to death if not for the Time Patrol's intervention).
- Face Death with Despair: In the 2016 remake, Gigazombie's dragon Tsuchidama realizes he's about to suffer the consequences of failing to deliver Gigazombie's slaves on time, and immediately panics while pleading for his life. It doesn't work, cue Gigazombie melting Tsuchidama into a mud puddle mid-begging.
- The Faceless: Gigazombie, whose face is always hidden behind his scary-looking tribal mask, which the Dark Tribe worships as a God. It finally comes off whhen the Time Police arrives to apprehend Gigazombie, knocking him flat and the mask off... and it turns out Gigazombie looks like an ordinary schmuck beneath it.
- Famous Ancestor: According to the 5th chapter of Chinpui, Kukuru is the ancestor of Eri Kasuga.
- Foreshadowing: Noticed how Tsuchidama sounds very robotic and has technology that didn't exist the past? These are a hint that Gigazombie is a time criminal who brainwashed the Dark Tribe.
- Identical Stranger: Kukuru is an exact doppelganger to Nobita.
- Lancer vs. Dragon: Gigazombie's subordinate and Voice of the Legion, Tsuchidama, vs. Doraemon-as-Dorazombie in an intense gadget duel halfway into the film.
- Living Statue: The living Dogu statues ruling the Dark Tribe appears to be these... until after Doraemon destroys one and collects a fragment from it, he then discover it to be made of magnetic dust, making them Mecha-Mooks instead.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: The Gryphon sidekick in this film, for instance? It's made by a gadget which can literally create life, by analyzing data from different animals. Nobita decide to insert data from an eagle and a lion at the same time, and cue the baby gryphon's birth.
- Pegasus: One of three pets created by Nobita (the other two being a Gryphon and an oriental-looking dragon) when he's assigned to create animals.
- Pulling Themselves Together: Gigazombie's robots, which initially appears to be clay Dogu statues, turns out to be made of high-tech ceramic magnets - upon being shattered, they instantly reform. The final chase between Doraemon and gang against Gigazombie's robots instead have Doraemon using the Instant Glue Gun to stick them on the spot.
- Robot Master: Gigazombie created his own order of Mecha-Mooks to enforce his rule over the Dark Tribe. Despite looking like ceramic Dogu statues, they're actually mechanical.
- Rock Beats Laser: In the remake, Gigazombie is defeated after he gets hit by Kukuru's stone spear. Justified, because Gigazombie had thought that it was one of Doraemon's mechanical spears, which his anti-machine technology could easily deflect. Also, his Time Distortion Nuke is sabotaged by Kukuru jumping on top of it and bending its antenna until it breaks.Doraemon: Fake history can never win over real history!
- Saint-Bernard Rescue: A strange case where it can be Justified. Nobita and co time-travel to the pre-historic era to stop a time-criminal who has established a personality cult of cavemen, and his temple is in a snowy mountain. A blizzard descends upon them and they faint one by one (what were they thinking?). However, Nobita is rescued by a mammoth that dispenses a strange liquid that resuscitates him, via its flail, in the spirit of St. Bernard dogs. Later, it turns out that that mammoth is actually Time Police robot in disguise, who has been tailing the fellowship to find out the criminal's hideout.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Nobita decides to make a makeshift place to live by using one of Doraemon's gadgets and tries various times to settle his moving house, however, as soon he's installed, he's kicked out and forced to remove his house due to violating land property ownership laws.
- Truer to the Text:
- Both the manga and the remake have Doraemon trading attacks with Gigazombie more than once before being defeated, whereas in the first movie he was taken down in one hit. However, the remake extends the battle even more.
- The manga's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue showing Kukuru becoming the leader of his tribe was not included in the original movie adaptation, but is shown in the remake.
- Villain Respect: Gigazombie allows Doraemon to penetrate the depths of his hideout as a show of respect, and in the manga, he compliments Doraemon's fighting skill, despite delivering a Curb-Stomp Battle. In the remake, Gigazombie is also impressed that the heroes managed to reach his lair in the first place.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: In the remake, the end credits show Nobita and his friends putting more work into their studies and chores after returning home, Nobita's pets living in the future animal sanctuary, and the gang using Doraemon's Time TV to watch Kukuru grow up, become the leader of his tribe, and start a family of his own.