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Anime / Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West

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The crossover between Doraemon and Journey to the West audiences never knew they want... but here we are.

Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West is a 1988 anime film and part of the Doraemon movie series.

Nobita and friends are in the middle of rehearsing their school play, Journey to the West when Nobita, daydreaming himself to be Sun Wukong the Monkey King, randomly wonders if the events of the novel did happened in real life. Despite Shizuka and Dekisugi telling him Journey is based on a highly fictionalized account of history, Nobita decides to travel back to the Tang Dynasty in 630 AD and find out the truth himself.

After a run-in with what he thought was the real Sun Wukong in ancient China, Nobita ends up rashly making a bet with Suneo and Gian to prove Sun Wukong exists for real, prompting Doraemon to use his new gadget, the Virtual Reality Video Game Simulator to create a mock-up based on the events of Journey... which unfortunately leads to demons from the simulation escaping into the real world when Doraemon forgot to seal the Simulator's exit. As the demons took over the Tang Dynasty, upon returning to the present the gang realize the entire world has changed from the simulator's demons conquering China and the rest of the world in the past.

This is notably the only entry of the first 24 movies that doesn't have a Manga counterpart from the Doraemon's Long Tales series, due to health issues suffered by Fujiko Fujio at the time of the movie's release. Though, screenwriter Ryo Motohira did mention that the movie's script is based on Fujiko's idea to amalgamate elements of Journey into the Doraemon verse.

Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West contain examples of:

  • Adaptational Wimp: The Red Boy, one of the most cunning, powerful and dangerous enemies of Sun Wukong and friends, has been reduced to a weak, powerless ordinary human-demon hybrid named Lin Lei that doesn't even have his ability of flight, martial arts or breathing fire from the novels.
  • The Atoner: Lin-Lei genuinely regrets selling out Tang Sheng, his master, to the demons, being working on the order of his parents the Bull Demon and Princess Iron Fan. Especially when Tang Sheng, tied up and about to be boiled alive by the Demons, expressed forgiveness towards Lin Lei telling him not to blame himself. Leading to Lin Lei reforming and releasing the heroes in secret.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Demon bats from hell are among the demons released by the malfunctioning VR video game, with entire flocks of them roaming around Tang Dynasty-China and modern day-Tokyo.
  • Bat People: Besides flocks of bats, the lowest-ranked demon mooks are human-bat hybrids.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The final battle against the Bull Demon quickly becomes this when the Demon, in a fit of rage, knocks over the vat of burning oil meant to cook the heroes, who then spills into the hall's carpets and burns up.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Doraemon and gang's antics and escapades in Tang Dynasty China turns out to be what actually inspired the Journey to the West myth in Chinese literature. Also, Dorami is apparently Guan Yin.
  • Big Bad: The Bull Demon is the first of many monsters escaping from the VR Video Game, and is the leader in their conquest over humanity.
  • Bindle Stick: Tang San Zhang and his pilgrims travel around while carrying whatever meager belonging they have in pouches hung on sticks.
  • Booby Trap: The underground cave leading to the Bull Demon's hideout is filled with traps, including pitfalls, collapsing ceilings, spiked walls, and the like. The gang having the reformed Lin-Lei leading the way make things slightly easier.
  • Canon Character All Along: Lin-Lei is actually the movie counterpart to the Red Boy from the novel.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some covers and promotional materials depicts Doraemon in pilgrim outfits similar to those worn by Nobita and friends when they're posing as Sun Wukong and gang, an attire Doraemon is never seen in at any point of the film.
  • Evil Is Bigger: The Bull Demon, a mountain-sized behemoth towering over all his underlings and quite clearly the one in charge. Even his wife, Princess Iron Fan, is barely as tall as the Bull Demon's boot!
  • Horned Humanoid: Much like in the myths, most of the named demons have horns, including Golden and Silver Horn, the Bull Demon, the lesser bat-people minions… this even seems to apply for demons posing as humans in the present, with demon!Dekisugi suddenly sporting a single horn at random.
  • Imagine Spot: The film opens straightaway with Nobita as Sun Wukong beating up demons (that looks suspiciously like Suneo and Gian) before confronting Doraemon-as-Vairocana (spoofing the iconic moment from Journey when Sun Wukong boasts of his ability to fly out of the Buddha's grasp only to utterly fail) and getting cast out of heaven. Then he wakes up, the following scene revealing Nobita had dozed off in the middle of their rehearsal of Journey while portraying a tree.
  • A Molten Date with Death: The eventual demise of Princess Iron Fan. As the Cave of the Bull Demon fills up with lava, Iron Fan gets knocked into the molten pool.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: Doraemon's futuristic VR Video Game, which allows its players to experience simulated adventures as any fictional characters they want - the catch-all being that the game's entrance needs to be closed at all times, otherwise the game's characters will escape into reality and take over mankind.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Played around, when Nobita Time Travels to Tang Dynasty China and sees Wukong, who's an identical doppelganger of Nobita because that Wukong is actually Nobita's future self. Later on Nobita under the disguise of Wukong unintentionally flies past his past self, without realizing himself calling from behind. At no point do either Nobitas get to interact.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The attempts of Doraemon and Nobita to prove to Suneo, Gian and Shizuka that Sun Wukong does exist using the VR Video Game Machine ends up biting them back when Doraemon forgot to seal the machine's entrance, causing demons from the Journey to the West simulation to escape into the Tang Dynasty. These demons then conquer the world shortly after the gang hops back on the time machine; when returning to the present the gang realize the world's population have been replaced by demons, including their parents, teachers and fellow classmates, and humans are long extinct.
  • No-Sell:
    • Silver Horn managed to use his iconic Magic Gourd on Doraemon and suck him into the gourd. But as it turns out, the Gourd only works on organic flesh and blood beings, NOT robot cats from the future, so Doraemon simply escapes with the Anywhere Door five seconds later.
    • Doraemon tries using his Cloud-Making Machine to create thunderclouds over Bull Demon at the end, who had empowered himself with the fire of Mount Flames. Bull Demon simply grabs a cloud right above him and squishes it into puffs of vapour.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Wukong!Nobita defeats the Bull Demon when remembering the Ruyi jinggu bang's ability to extend to any length and size as needed, orders it to grow just as the Bull Demon is reaching out to grab him. The Demon ends up being skewered through the chest into the cavern ceilings, and remains trapped as the whole place burns up in flames.
  • Rash Promise: It's part of what Nobita's known for, after all. When Nobita insists to Suneo, Gian and Shizuka that Sun Wukong does exist, he made another pointless bet that if he failed to provide proof, he'll let them use Doraemon's gadgets for two entire weeks. Without getting Doraemon's consent, as always.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: After returning to modern-day Japan from the Tang Dynasty, Doraemon, Nobita and friends still remembered their original timeline, even though the demons they accidentally released in ancient China had changed history completely, with everyone they knew in the original timeline now replaced by demons. Justified since it was their original selves that went in and out of the time machine, hence they're not affected by the shift.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The very premise of the story - the present had changed after Doraemon's VR Simulator accidentally released demons in ancient China and took over the humanity, and the gang must return to where they left off in order to put the timeline back on track.
  • The Shadow Knows: Although the alternate, demon versions of Nobita's parents, Tamako and Nobisuke, assumes a human form most of the time, their shadows will reveal their identities, as seen when Demon!Nobisuke is reading the newspaper and his horned shadow is reflected as a silhouette.
  • Spit Take: During Nobita and Doraemon's first dinner after returning to the present, they're oblivious to the fact that Nobisuke and Tamako (like the rest of the world's population) have been converted to demons in the interim, until Tamako cheerfully admits she's making everybody's favorite snake soup. Cue Doraemon choking and coughing up his meal.
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: For most of the film, audiences are treated to those usual silly, over-the-top antics you'd expect to find in every Doraemon film. But then there's Tokyo suddenly falling under the control of demons, Dekisugi, Tamako and Nobisuke growing horns, and Sensei Hulking Out into a scary-looking demon from out of nowhere. The last one which makes Nobita, Shizuka, Gian and Suneo - the only students NOT affected by the ripple effect due to the time traveling back and forth - to collectively run out of the school in panic and realize something's gone terribly wrong after their previous time-travel visit.
  • Taking You with Me: As Doraemon activates his 22nd-Century Virtual Game Set to recall Golden Horn back into the machine, Golden Horn tries dragging Gian, who's fighting him, together. He failed however, Gian managed to grab the simulator's side and the gang helps him out.
  • Thirsty Desert: Where most of the story is set, on the Northern Chinese desert. Nobita's first arrival through the time machine have him running into Lin Lei, about to die of thirst; and later on when the gang takes over the roles of the original Journey characters they have to cross the same desert while complaining they need a break.
  • Token White: Played around with Lin-Lei, the only Caucasian follower of Tang Sheng. It turns out he looks different from the other characters because he's Princess Iron Fan's son, and a demon like his parents sent to infiltrate human society.
  • Unwilling Suspension: The entire gang, including Tang Sheng, are hung above a vat of boiling, bubbling oil to be cooked alive by the Bull Demon, who is lowering Doraemon into the liquid to have the robot cat as his first meal. But Dorami interrupts in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Weapons That Suck:
    • The Magic Gourd used by Silver and Golden Horn from the myths is featured here as well, which they tried using on Doraemon and gang. Unfortunately for the demons, it doesn't work on 22nd-Century robot cats.
    • The VR Video Game Simulator where the demons are spawned from operates on the same principle, where demons from the VR world recalled by it will be sucked back through it's portal.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The end credits show the gang reuniting with their parents, having restored their original timeline.