Follow TV Tropes


Manga / Doctor Slump

Go To


A classic gag manga and anime by Akira Toriyama, Dr. Slump chronicles the misadventures of Senbei Norimaki, a semi-competent inventor, and his latest invention, a Robot Girl named Arale who appears to be an ordinary human... aside from her superhuman strength and space cadet behavior.

Said misadventures usually involve another of Senbei's inventions going awry, Senbei trying to woo Arale's teacher, the lovely Midori Yamabuki, or Arale and her friend Gatchan (an androgynous baby who hatched from an egg with wings, antennae, and a tendency to eat cars) interacting with the other bizarre denizens of their hometown of Penguin Village. Said denizens include the town police force (which includes a guy in a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet, a trigger-happy lady cop, and two officers who keep getting their car wrecked by Arale), Suppaman (a short, pudgy, dim-witted Superman wannabe who supposedly gets his superpowers from pickled plums), King Nikochan (a goofy, would-be space pirate stranded on Earth) and Dr. Mashirito (Senbei's rival in mad science who happens to be a caricature of Kazuhiko Torishima, the editor for the Dr. Slump manga).

The original manga ran from 1980 to 1984 in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, comprising 236 chapters. It also spawned an animated adaptation, as well as several sequels and a remake. These include:

  • Dr. Slump — Arale-chan: The animated adaptation of the original manga, running from 1981 to 1986 on Fuji TV, comprising 243 episodes. It generally follows the plot of the original manga, though it introduces much extra material. Like the manga, it gets a three-episode-long cameo in the Dragon Ball anime, which aired in the same time slot after it ended. The first five theatrical movies of the franchise (which premiered while the show was still airing) are based on it.
  • The Brief Return of Dr. Slump (Chotto Dake Kaette Kita Dr. Slump): A full-color sequel/partial reboot to the original manga, written by Takao Koyama (series organizer and scriptwriter for Dragon Ball Z) and illustrated by Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru (character designer for same). It ran from 1993 to 1996 in V-Jump, and was collected into 4 volumes, which are now out of print. Set several years after the end of the original series (but with some differences, such as Dr. Mashirito being inexplicably alive), it has more wacky hijinks in Penguin Village and also introduces Nitro, the young daughter of Senbei and Midori first glimpsed in the manga's "future". The four movies released in 1993–1994 are based on this continuity.
  • (New) Dr. Slump: An animated remake of the original manga, airing from 1997 to 1999, taking the timeslot of Dragon Ball GT. Character designs are updated to Akira Toriyama's mid-'90s design sensibilities (though he himself only designed the new version of the Norimaki family's house), the voices are all different from the first anime, and Arale has brown hair. A single movie based on this version was released in 1999. A manga adaptation (scripted by Takao Koyama & Yoshimi Narita and drawn by Tadayoshi Yamamuro) ran concurrently in V-Jump, and actually included several plot lines not used in the anime.
  • Dr. Mashirito — Abale-chan: A one-shot sequel to the original manga (and the only one written by Akira Toriyama himself) that ran in the April 2007 issue of Monthly Shōnen Jump. It's set about a year after the events of the original series. Dr. Mashirito's son attempts to exact revenge by designing an Arale-lookalike with an "evil" personality, but she turns out merely to have a bad attitude. This was more-or-less immediately made into a 5-minute animated short that accompanied the One Piece movie The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta, released the same month.

The first animated adaptation in particular was spectacularly popular, and kicked off what's been called "Toriyama Time" on Fuji TV — Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. were held by either a Dr. Slump or Dragon Ball series from 1981 to 1999, a period of over 18 years. (And then that was succeeded by the first 63 episodes of One Piece, extending its status as a "Shōnen Jump Anime Block" to nearly 20 years.) There have also been several novels, as well as a radio show starring the keyboardist from the band Southern All-Stars, but we'll leave things here for now.

This series features examples of:

  • The '90s: The 1997 remake is this writ large, which is perhaps why it feels more dated than the first series, despite being much newer. The original anime (and manga) just feels timelessly bizarre, even though it leans quite a bit on '70s and '80s pop culture.
  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: The "Who's the Strongest in the World?" tournament arc uses this to enforce Arale's involvement in said tournament. Early on in the arc, Arale finds two kittens along the roadside and wants to take them in, but Senbei, who absolutely hates cats, refuses to allow them in the house, so she takes them to Obotchaman for him to care for them. Upon Obotchaman telling Arale that he doesn't yet have the spare money to buy cat food for them, Arale, remembering the tournament that's seeking participants at the time and that the first-place winner would be granted $4,000, decides to enter it to allow them to buy cat food for the kittens. She eventually does manage to win the tournament, albeit with Obotchaman's help without anyone else knowing or finding out, and so the kittens are fully adopted into Obotchaman's household for the remainder of the series' run, Demoted to Extra though they are.
  • Accidental Marriage: Yes, this was how Senbei finally got Midori to marry him. He practiced proposing outside the can while she was inside. She overheard, next thing you know, the two are hitched. Heh, lucky guy.
  • Accidental Pervert: Obotchaman had landed in a bathtub while Mrs. Tsun was still in it. Their reactions were both of shock.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The 243 episodes of the first anime expand many manga chapters with additional scenes and details, other than adding many plotlines which were absent in the manga. As a result, the characters are fleshed out more (always in a comical manner, obviously).
    • Senbei and Midori were mainly acquaintances in the manga, until their Accidental Marriage. In the anime, they actually become close friends because it explores their interactions much more. You can even say that several episodes before their marriage, they were almost dating.
    • Obotchaman gets many episodes focusing on his point of view and his love for Arale, which were not in manga. Also there's an entire episode about all Penguin villagers choosing a name for him, after he decides to change his original name Caramel Man 004. (In the manga, his name was chosen off-panel from among submissions by *Shōnen Jump* readers as part of a contest.)
    • Many secondary characters get more A Day in the Limelight. Senbei's robot maid Akiko comes back in one of the later episodes, one of Skop's relatives comes to Penguin Village in a later episode, etc.
    • Several of the last few episodes focus on Toriyama and his colleagues acting as the villains because they want to end the story at any cost. This story arc was not in the manga.
  • A Lesson Learned Too Well: The chapter "Citizen Arale" starts with Midori telling her class to "bring a lost item to the police" as part of her lesson on "how to be good citizens". It ends up Gone Horribly Right, as Arale spends the whole episode taking everything she considers "lost" to the police station, starting with a book Midori drops, and it only escalates from there. By the time the chapter ends, she has brought to the police loads of poop she finds on the roadside, plus every car, house, and mountain she sees and takes to the police, making the police station and its surrounding area look like a junkyard as a result.
  • Aliens of London: Nikochan speaks in Nagoya dialect, despite being from another planet. Even more confusingly, his lackey doesn't.
  • All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu: The Tsun family are from China, however the only ones who practice Kung-Fu are Tsukutsun and Tsuntsunodanoteiyugo, although Tsururin has her own methods of defense.
  • All Cloth Unravels: In the anime adaptation of The Story of Donbe, Aoi Kimidori is seen talking to Kurikinton Soramame when Donbei ties a thread of her dress to a car which takes off and unravels her dress in front of him causing her to get embarrassed and slap Kurikinton.
  • Amicable Exes: Played for Laughs in an episode of the 80s anime. In the episode the Prince Monster had asked his servants to look for a human girl to be his girlfriend, they went to the Penguin Village and found Arale, whom they took to the castle of the Prince Monster, who ended up liking him a lot. But unfortunately Arale did not meet the ideal qualities that he had of a human girl, such as her beautiful song. In the end he likes her even though Arale destroyed the castle with his N'cha cannon, causing Prince Monster to break up with her, but they seem to be on good terms as he gives Arale his autograph.
  • Amusing Injuries: Like in any Tex Avery short, nothing seems to be able to kill anyone, not even a direct shot to the forehead.
    "It'll heal again!"
  • Art Evolution: Arale was initially drawn like a proportional early teenager, but gets progressively rounder and shorter in the space of a few chapters. When one reader pointed it out in an "ask the author" section, Toriyama Handwaved it by showing Arale's original appearance as one of multiple bodies she can use.
  • Art Shift: As a running gag, Senbei turns much taller, manlier and handsome whenever he's having a "cool" scene. Later, is revealed that he can Art Shift himself at will, but just for a moment.
  • Author Appeal: At the end of the series there is a bike trophy story arc that lasts many chapters. Toriyama lampshades this by having his avatar character remark he got very interested in motorbikes and didn't have any other ideas for the story.
  • Author Avatar:
    • Toriyama jokingly inserts himself as a robot with a gas mask. If not, expect to see a bird with glasses or a man with a surgical mask. At least once he inserted himself as a xenomorph.
    • He showed up in Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow as a CPU party member, and even gets a bit of metafictional backstory—the robot isn't really Toriyama, but a robot based on Toriyama, who died several years before the story took place, and stipulated in his will that a manga-drawing robot be created in his image as his successor.
    • Toriyama's assistants Hisashi Tanaka ("Hiswashi") and Takashi Matsuyama also appear as straightforward caricatures of themselves.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Tsukutsun gets a motorbike with high horsepower from his father to use for the motorbike grand prix near the end of the original series. The problem is that it's too big for him to even get on, much less to ride it. He ends up riding a bicycle for the race instead.
    Tsururin: Dad, your inventions have never helped, yes.
  • Babies Ever After: In one chapter of the original series, Obotchaman travels to the future with a time machine and discovers that he and Arale will be married with a baby robot built by Dr. Senbei (both Obotchaman and Arale are Ridiculously Human Robots). In the final episode of the remake there is the same scene (with their baby ten years in the future), except that the moment is shown in the epilogue rather than as a result of time travel. Also, the same episode ends with the birth of Turbo, Senbei and Midori's son, and the epilogue shows they will have other children.
  • Back for the Finale: Just about every character who showed up in the series at one point, only to become Out of Focus after said character's chapter(s) ended, appears at the Grand Finale to help Arale give the final sendoff for the series, with a Borrowed Catchphrase to boot.
  • Badass Adorable: Arale obviously, but also Gatchan, Obotchaman and Turbo Norimaki.
  • Badass Family:
    • The Norimaki family, the children more so than the parents. Arale has Super-Strength and Super-Speed, the Gatchans are very powerful, eat everything, and can shoot rays from their antennae, and Turbo is a Child Prodigy with powers like teleportation, flight, and telekinesis. Even the parents are pretty awesome, with Senbei being a Gadgeteer Genius who has built a spaceship, a time machine, and Arale herself among other things, while his wife Midori has impressive athletic skills in the anime.
    • The Tsun family are this too. Tsukutsun can turn into a tiger, both he and his mom practice kung fu, Tsururin has telekinetic powers, Tsuruten is able to build a spaceship.
  • Bad Santa: Played with, depending on the episode, though technically there's one for every Christmas Episode (see below).
    • Parodied with Senbei. He's not evil, though breaking into others' houses makes him a nuisance, and no one appreciates his "present of choice" (his autographs).
    • Downplayed in the second Christmas Episode. The "Santa" in question is a martial artist who does his best to fulfill his duty, but his method of delivering presents makes him a more violent example than Senbei (Senbei flees from others; this one knocks them out).
    • Played straight with Dr. Mashirito, who uses Caramel Man #8, his Santa-Claus-shaped robot doll, to deliver a bag full of bombs in an attempt for take out the Norimaki family.
  • Baseball Episode: Episode 155-156 has an improvised Penguin Village's baseball team (consists of all the youngest characters of the show, included naturally Arale and Gatchan) invited to a challenge against the big city team.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn:
    • The three girls in Arale's group of friends. Tsururin is the Beauty (being considered pretty by the boys), Akane is the Brains (street smart, usually the leader and the one who comes up with all the ideas), and Arale is the Brawn for obvious reasons.
    • Zig-zagged with the three boys (before Obotchaman joins the gang). Peasuke is the Brains (being the most reasonable), Taro likes to think of himself as the Brawn but he's not, and Tsukutsun is the most attractive and the strongest, which would make him both Beauty and Brawn.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • In an early chapter, Arale and Gatchan encounter a bank robber fleeing from police pursuit, who takes them to his hideout with the intention of keeping them as hostages. Given the facts that Arale is a Nigh-Invulnerable Robot Girl with more than enough Super-Strength to uproot a house and Gatchan is an Extreme Omnivore who treats guns as little more than pistol-shaped candy bars, the bank robber's plans aren't expected to go well. Sure enough, the chapter ends with him crying his eyes out, lamenting that the cops aren't around to arrest him now that he wants to turn himself in and fearing for the prospect of encountering Arale and Gatchan again.
    • When the Norimaki family dines at a fancy restaurant, at the waiter's recommendation, they order the full course for everyone in the family of six, with the condition being that the whole order is free if — and only if — everyone consumes their own dish, which the waiter privates notes that no one has ever managed. To the shock and horror of the owner and the staff, everyone in the Norimaki family manages to finish every bit of the full course (having the Gatchans around certainly helps) — not once, not twice, but thrice. The chapter ends with the next night, in which the restaurant owner puts up a "Closed Tonight" sign at the door just as the Norimaki family arrives at the restaurant.
    • Near the end of Tori-Bot's visit a decade in the future in Penguin Village, he wonders what's become of him and has a brief Imagine Spot in which he lives a rich life with some pretty girls catering to him, so he looks around for any signs of his future self, only to find out that his future self is a homeless bum begging for money at the street-side, much to his horror.
    • At the end of the story arc involving the princess, Akane requests that the princess swap with her temporarily, as Akane wishes to know what being a princess feels like. The princess agrees, having taken a liking to the peaceful scenes of Penguin Village. What Akane doesn't realize until she's already in the princess' homeland is that she can't stomach the food being served there.note 
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Biker Boy's only story-line after his introduction involves him trying to woo a female race car driver, who tells him that she'd become his betrothed only if he manages to best her at racing. When his initial attempt at beating her at racing fails, he encounters Arale running by him and, in a moment of inspiration, enlists her help by having her looking like a motorbike while he rides her for a rematch race. It works, and the chapter ends with the Biker Boy and the female racer becoming married.
  • Bifauxnen: Vandora, the main villain of the ninth film, is most of her wearing an elegant tuxedo.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: King Nikochan's species have ears for feet and butts on top of their heads.
  • Bowdlerize: The Harmony Gold dub of the first episode had some scenes altered. (Cutting out Senbei dressed as a school girl when shopping for Arale clothes, and Arale slipping a grenade in Senbei's mouth was changed to a "hot pepper in tabasco sauce.")
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Arale's "Bye-cha!", used as a farewell, is used at the end of the Grand Finale of the original series.
    Arale: 1, 2,...
    Everyone who showed up in the series: BYE-CHA!!!
  • Brainy Baby: Turbo becomes this after being killed by aliens and then revived by them, gaining Psychic Powers and a genius-like intellect in the process.
  • Breath Weapon: Arale and Obotchaman's N'Cha Cannon.
  • Bungling Inventor: There's a reason Senbei has the nickname "Dr. Slump".
  • The Bus Came Back: Some characters who become Out of Focus after their own earlier storyline(s) have been concluded show up later on, however briefly.
    • In the original manga, Senbei and Arale encounter Chivil (who appeared much earlier to try to collect souls, with no success, and ends up being another one of Arale and Gachan's playmates instead) on the way to Hellnote  Chivil then secretly creates a small portal that allows Arale and Senbei to return to life.
    • Turd leaves Penguin Village after two chapters.note  He comes back in a much later chapter of a three-part story arc (in the original manga, anyway) to give a brief summary of The Story So Far while holding a sign that reads "I have nothing to do with the story."
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Passing the second checkpoint of the bike trophy Grand Prix requires touching a large poop. While everyone else has a moment of hesitation towards it (they still do it in the end, mind you), Arale, who has been playing with poop with regularity, gives it one hearty pat and moves on without hesitation.
  • Butt-Monkey: Senbei himself is the most obvious example, but other characters also fall into this from time to time, especially the two police officers who always get run over by Arale while driving their car.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Arale's N'cha Cannon.
  • The Cameo: P-man, the main character of Toriyama's earlier manga Wonder Island, appears in one panel, and later re-appears when Senbei and Arale go to said Wonder Island.
  • Canon Discontinuity: As much as the series as a whole employs Negative Continuity to clean up Arale's messes, the '90s anime in particular goes quietly ignored by both the fandom and the creators. All merchandise (and the lone new chapter) released afterwards is based on the original series and its iconic style. Possibly the only place you'll find the '90s characters is in the Dragon Ball Heroes manga, which is set in a far future (and potential AU) of Dragon Ball.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Senbei creates an anti-gravitational device to help the Tsun family return to China, but it fails because Senbei doesn't realize there's a flaw in said device that causes it to not function for long. He then spends nights fixing the device, before telling Tsuruten the news after the repair is done. Unfortunately, Tsuruten doesn't believe him.note 
    • Self-enforced on Obotchaman's first day at the high school. When he's initially introduced in the class, he blurts out his Robot Kid existence. Faced with the bewildered expression from Arale's classmates, he rushes to Arale, who whispers to him that no one else knows about the truth of their origin and that it's supposed to be a secret. Obotchaman promptly rushes to the front of the class and claims that the whole thing he said was a joke, which everyone in the class sans Arale accepts without question.
    • When a female vampire seduces Senbei in the hope of draining some blood out of him, Midori walks in and spots them (said female vampire is near Senbei's neck and about to sink her teeth into him). She proceeds to declare that she would divorce Senbei, taking Turbo with her in the process and refusing to believe in Senbei. It's only in the following chapter, when Turbo manages to find a copy of Dr. Slump detailing the events of the previous chapter and show it to Midori, that Midori finally believes in Senbei's innocence.
    • After Senbei and Arale are transformed into flies due to the morph gun and one of the Gachans eats said morph gun before it can be used to turn them back to normal, Senbei flies to Turbo to request for him to build another one. Midori spots him, starts swatting him before Senbei can complete his request, and continues to do so despite Senbei shouting truth at the top of his voice. Luckily for Senbei, Turbo hears him and stops Midori with a shout of his own before she can deliver the fatal blow on Senbei, from where he shows Midori the truth with a magnifying glass.
      Senbei: I told you it was me!
      Midori: I'm sorry, but your voice was so quiet that I could barely hear you.
  • Casting Gag: As Midori was modeled after Marilyn Monroe, in the 1st anime and the original 5 movies, she was voiced by Mariko Mukai who's best known for being the Japanese dub voice for Marilyn Monroe.
  • Catchphrase: Arale has several: "N'cha!", used as a greeting; "Bye-cha", used as a farewell; "Ho-yo-yo!", used as an exclamation of surprise; and "KIIIIIIIIN!!!", said when she's running. She also uses "cho" instead of kudasai or chōdai when making requests.
  • Christmas Episode: Three of them, with a Bad Santa in each example.
  • Clark Kenting: Suppaman dresses as reporter Kuraaku Kenta. He doesn't even bother to act differently or to be less of a Jerkass.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Penguin Village is definitely this.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Arale. Justified as she's a robot without social programing.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Some characters often serve as this to Arale. Most frequently Senbei and/or Akane.
  • Creator Cameo: So often that it's not exactly a cameo anymore.
  • Crossdresser: Senbei ends up crossdressing many times due to Rule of Funny, like playing the female lead in parodies of Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. Even the first chapter has him briefly Disguised in Drag.
  • Crossover:
    • With Dragon Ball. The Red Ribbon Army story (particularly the latter half of the General Blue section) arc has Goku landing in Penguin Village and meeting the Dr. Slump cast. The two series are thus said to take place in the same universe, although this fact has virtually no effect on either of them aside from the one story arc. However, it does mean that Arale has appeared in several of the DB fighting games (since they count that arc).
    • Many years later, Arale appears in Dragon Ball Super, having a brief cameo in Episode 43 before a proper crossover story in Episode 69.
  • Cute Bruiser: Arale, a tiny Robot Girl who's more than able to punch adults of all kinds without any efforts. Ditto with Obotchaman, as he's himself a Robot Kid like Arale.
  • Cute Glasses Girl: Arale. In fact, her glasses became such a distinguishing feature that in Japan, she was the inspiration behind the phrase "Arare Megane" (Arale Glasses).
  • Cutting the Knot: Upon seeing the track layout for the bike Grand Prix, Senbei and Charmy both think to themselves that it'd be faster to drive straight through the checkpoints instead of taking the winding paths among them. It works for them when going to the first checkpoint but gets themselves eliminated from the race while trying to do so in the jungle before reaching the second one.note 
  • Demoted to Extra: Some characters are much more involved in the original series than in the remake, such as Akane's sister Aoi, Tori-bot and the other Toriyama's Author Avatar caricatures, or baby Turbo who becomes a Last Episode, New Character in the remake, while he's introduced earlier in the original story.
  • Denser and Wackier: Inverted. While the 90s remake is still wacky, it comes off as tame compared to the original anime which is much more absurd and crazy in comparison.
    • The remake tries to avoid the World of Technicolor Hair trope, so all the characters with unnatural hair colors are "normalized" (Arale goes from purple-haired to brunette, Gatchan goes from green-haired to blonde, Suppaman goes from blue-haired to black-haired).
    • Senbei always has the same appearance, and never transform into his Sexier Alter Ego.
    • There's a character who is supposed to be a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Skop of the original series. The storyline is almost the same, a New Transfer Student who is frustrated with being Surrounded by Idiots, but the ending is different: Skop eventually Took a Level in Dumbass and starts goofing around with the other characters, while his remake substitute doesn't.
    • The fictional representation of the author Akira Toriyama (and his various alter-egos) provides the plot of several episodes in the original series, while in the remake he's not as prominent (only Tori-Bot is seen occasionally) and doesn't interact much with the main characters.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Well, Arale once hit God with a palm tree. To be fair, he was not "The" God, but a silly divinity who looked and acted exactly like old Master Roshi from Dragon Ball, minus the sunglasses.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: Arale can punch so hard, the Earth cracks and splits in half.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: A comedic example being a gag manga; Midori had no qualms about physically punishing her students for bad behavior. She beats up Taro when catching him smoking on school grounds. She also spanks both Akane and Arale after discovering them with alcohol at lunch; of course, Arale isn't phased by Midori's spanking due to her Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
    • Aoi, who forms the Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling pairing with series regular Akane and is Promoted to Parent to Akane but otherwise a Flat Character, gets A Day in the Limelight in one chapter where she drives in town with Arale in tow. Said chapter starts with her showing how bad her driving is, as her stopping her car ends with said car rolling over. In the remake, where Aoi is even more Out of Focus, Mrs. Tsun takes her place in the same storyline.
    • Arale herself also proves to be a lousy driver. When she gets her driver's license, she offers to take her family for a ride. It doesn't last long because the ride ends with Car Meets House.
    • This is justified, as Penguin Village, where the series take place, has absurdly lax qualifying standards for obtaining driver's license, which is illustrated when Taro takes Arale to the local License Bureau to obtain their respective driver's license. note  Such "standards" make bad driving a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Norimaki Senbei and Norimaki Arare are both types of rice crackers.
  • Everything Talks: Particularly, the Talking Poo.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Obotchaman was built by Dr. Mashirito to be this to Arale, but he ends up being too well mannered and polite to be evil. Abale-chan from the movie special "Dr. Mashirito and Abale-chan" is a more straightforward example, who is essentially Arale in punk gear.
    • Senbei is a benevolent morally ambiguous scientist. Dr. Mashirito... is much less benevolent. Also, they both made their own Robot Kid, but Senbei treats Arale like a daughter, while Mashirito treats Obotchaman as a pawn for his evil schemes and gets rid of him when he didn't need him anymore.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Gatchan can eat anything except rubber.
  • Face Fault:
    • In chapter 44, a zoo worker is annoyed that he keeps face-faulting at Arale and co.'s antics and makes various attempts at having them do one.
    • This trope happens a lot throughout this series. For example:
      • When Senbei compliments his own genius regarding his own creation in the pilot chapter, Arale causes him to face-fault by complaining to him that she can't fly.
      • Near the end of the original series, Arale is tasked with making a speech. She takes the microphone... and asks if mayors are strong. Everyone else — other than Arale herself and the Gatchans — face-fault.
  • The Faceless:
    • One of the contestants in the bike race at the end is a boy who never ever removes his helmet. He's also nameless.
    • The policeman with a Stormtrooper helmet may also count, both for Faceless and Nameless.
  • The Face of the Sun: Here the sun is a living entity who smiles, talks and even sleeps. We even see it rising from the ocean horizon with a snorkel.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: One chapter of the manga has Arale and friends meeting a group of yakuza which acted like little kids, playing with cards and so on.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fantastic Aesop: Senbei goes pranking the villagers after he manages to invent a functional Time Stopper (thanks to helpful modications to the blueprint from Turbo, without Senbei knowing). However, this short story arc ends with Senbei aging prematurely — by 40 years — as the result of his overuse of said device. He somehow manages to return to his current age by the next chapter, though he'd never mess with the idea of stopping time again.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: In Chapter 89/Episode 61 1981 Anime/Episode 22 1997 Anime Dr Goat shrinks Senbei, Arale and Gatchan to very small proposition with the Big Small Ray Gun and have Midori swallow them and fighting the mosquito.
  • Fartillery: Arale can fly by farting in one chapter.
  • Fetch Quest: The last checkpoint of the bike grand prix is a scavenger hunt, where each contestant has to draw a note from a box and bring the item of choice to the judge to be allowed to proceed. The difficulty level ranges from relatively easy (Midori's is a dragonfly while Tsukutsun has to bring a drawer) to hard (Obotchaman has to bring a whale — that would have been impossible if any contestant besides Obotchaman himself or Arale picked it).
  • Fiery Redhead: Akane in the 1997 remake.
  • Flanderization: Arale starts out looking more like a normal 13 years old girl instead of the small chubby little kid everyone remembers (she even manages to pass herself off as Akane for a while). She's also less of a Cloudcuckoolander in early stories.
  • Forced Transformation: The morph gun that Senbei invents can cause this effect on its target. It's also the reason that Senbei and Arale are stuck as flies in a three-part story arc.note 
  • Foreign Sounding Gibberish: In the bike trophy mentioned above, one of the contestants is a German biker called Kibalt Skurzen, which doesn't sound like any actual German name.
  • Foreshadowing: Some characters, like Suppaman, shows up as background characters before they're properly introduced.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Out of the four prominent female characters, we have the naive one (Arale), the snarky tomboy (Akane), the pretty one (Tsururin), and the admirable Team Mom (Midori).
  • Gag Series: The fun is just watching their off-the-wall antics without regards to continuity.
  • Genius Bruiser: Arale and Obotchaman are strong enough to split the earth in two with one punch and smart enough to solve advanced math problems.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • While Arale is usually hopelessly naive and clueless about everything, she's by far the smartest student in her class and particularly a math prodigy (her math skills are a Running Gag). She also can remove a frog's appendix and build a sexy spare head all on her own.
    • Senbei himself can be considered one. All his silliness aside, he can build androids, spaceships, a time machine and all the craziest inventions he can think of. Unfortunately he seems to create gadgets at random, with most of them being less useful than just using a more mundane item.
  • Genki Girl: Arale, with a dose of Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids and definitely Cloudcuckoolander. She's as energetic as she is powerful.
  • Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing: The main characters. Arale is fun-loving and perpetually happy, while Senbei is moody, irritable, and often annoyed by Arale's Genki Girl personality.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
  • Groin Attack: By accident, since this IS a Gag Series.
    • At the start of the series, when Senbei has finished building Arale's body, he tells her to raise her hand to test out her body. She raises her hand in a fist... and strikes him in the crotch. Ouch.
    • In Donbe's introductory chapter, he tries to scare Arale by turning into a wall in front of her at one point. Too bad for him Arale runs through him. When he changes back, he's holding himself between his legs.
  • Grumpy Old Man: One such person appears during the bike Grand Prix as a checkpoint challenge; each contestant must make him laugh to proceed in the race, and whatever method that makes him laugh won't work again.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Midori often has such an effect on the men of the village (whether they are married or not). Although it should be noted that she's not the only one, several women get this reaction from men throughout the series. In fact, Arale herself caused this in the manga Dr. Slump Returns with her new adult body.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Played for Laughs where one episode has a vampire named Trampire go to the Norimaki household where she tries to suck Arale's blood but can't due to her being a Ridiculously Human Robot, causing Arale to get up half-asleep and fire her N'Cha Cannon at the wall, scaring Trampire away.
  • Hot Teacher: Arale's teacher Midori is the most desired woman in town, and Senbei falls for her immediately, remaining in love with her to the point of obsession.
  • Humiliation Conga: Kibault suffers from this throughout the bike grand prix.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Turbo, Obotchaman, and the Tsuns are all major characters but they don't appear until the second half of the manga, and only after Senbei and Midori get married.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • Nonko and Anko, two girls from the city that look like Akane and Arale (Nonko has a different hairstyle while Anko is a brunette). When Anko loses her lens (after being shocked seeing a living poop), she is obliged to put on her glasses and is mistaken for Arale by Senbei that takes her to the Norimaki Residence. While searching for her friend, Nonko meets Arale and mistakes her for Anko. Nonko realizes that Arale is not Anko only when in the plane back to their home.
    • A princess, who gets stranded in Penguin Village while escaping the pursuit of a dictator, who intends to kidnap her as a political ploy, bears a strong resemblance to Akane. Said dictator kidnaps Akane upon spotting her, forcing Tsukutsun to rescue her with the aid of Arale and the Gatchans.
  • Invisible Streaker: In an early chapter, Senbei turns himself invisible, then starts removing his clothes to complete the process...but then decides to leave his underwear on, just in case. This results in a pair of floating boxer shorts running around the town.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Tsukutsun Tsun turns into a tiger whenever touched by a girl; he changes back if touched by a guy.
  • The Kiddie Ride: Arale-chan on a time machine. It appears to be a very early ride by Banpresto.
  • Landing in Someone's Bathtub: In "Gatchan You're Great", Obotchaman falls in Tsuntsunodanoteiyugo's bath.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Despite this manga being a Gag Series, this trope shows itself from time to time.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Later chapters are very different from early chapters. Especially with Senbei being married and much more Out of Focus, as well as introducing new teenage characters who serve as love interests to focus on the romantic life of Arale and her friends.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Arale and Obotchaman's powers include Super-Strength and Super-Speed.
  • Local Hangout: The Pot. Aoi works there, and many other characters drop by there from time to time.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Senbei. Tsuruten Tsun is even worse than him.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • In the second chapter, Senbei takes Arale to school and meets Midori. He falls for her at once.
    • Taro towards Tsururin. When Taro sees her for the first time while wearing pajamas and barely awake, he immediately dashes back inside his house and freshens up before formally introducing himself.
  • Made of Iron: Arale, literally, though Senbei was once woken up with a live grenade exploding in his mouth, and only lost a couple of teeth.
  • Mad Scientist: Senbei is a more benign version. Mashirito, on the other hand...
  • Moment Killer: A chapter taking place after Senbei and Midori's honeymoon is all about this.note 
  • Neat Freak: Charmy.
    • In his initial introduction to Taro, he refuses to shake hands with Taro because Taro can't recall whether he had washed his hands earlier that day.
    • When Penguin Village is "peaceful" again (in reality, the village is almost a Ghost Town because Charmy believes All Crimes Are Equal), the "job" Taro is given at the police station amount to cleaning duty. Taro isn't pleased about it.
      Taro: (thinking to himself) Arale! If you can hear me, get Charmy!
    • Finally, his reaction to Arale approaching him with a poop in a stick in hand is initially to Freak Out, before trying to shoot her — "trying" being the operative word here, as he's out of ammunition at this point, forcing him to run away from her.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Either averted or parodied, as this IS a Gag Series.
    • Averted when Senbei uses his Time Skipper to go back in time (three days in the past) to meet his past self in order to gain an insight on how to repair Arale.note 
    • Parodied when Obotchaman uses the Time Machine he borrows from Turbo to find out what happens to himself and Arale ten years from now. There's no inherent danger in meeting his future self, but he still does his best to keep it on the down-low to avoid weirding his future self out. Luckily, his future self is at home and never sees him.note 
    • Parodied again when Tori-bot uses the selfsame Time Machine to visit Penguin Village ten years from now and find out what becomes of his future self near the end of his travel. Again, there's no inherent danger in meeting his future self on its own, but his experience bums him out when he discovers that his future self turns out to be a panhandler begging for money at the street-side.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
    • Out of Arale's friends, Peasuke is nice (meek and reasonable), Akane is mean (a snarky and devious prankster), and Taro is in-between (besides his Small Name, Big Ego, he's mostly friendly).
    • Among the girls in the group, Akane is the mean (joker and rebellious), Tsururin is the in-between (friendly in general but very aggressive when they make her angry), and Arale is the nice (kind and innocent).
  • Nice Guy: Arale is a friendly (if annoying) girl, and all her friends and family members are good-natured people as well, although Senbei and Akane are more in Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory. Obotchaman, Midori, and Turbo are probably the nicest of all.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Kurikinton, the village barber and Taro and Peasuke's father, looks a lot like Clint Eastwood. Lampshaded when it is revealed that he once was a policeman.
    • Two character resemble Marilyn Monroe: Murasaki Kimidori, one of Akane's Invisible Parents, and Midori, a Hot Teacher who's also the target of Senbei's Love at First Sight.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • One chapter involves an invention that can make something on a page real. Arale and Akane fool around with it until Arale casually cuts out the page they're on and puts it inside the machine, creating a space paradox. If that's not enough, character refer to and sometimes interact with the author...
    • In another chapter, the characters acquire a camera that takes pictures of the future, wherein the subject would be aged several decades in the picture. At the end of the chapter, Arale takes a picture of the reader, and the picture shows the skeletal remains of the reader holding the magazine that the manga was originally serialized in commenting on how dumb the manga is.
  • No Navel, Novel Birth: In an early chapter, Arale is worried because being a robot menas she lacks a navel and her classmates find that weird, so she wants one. Except Senbei thinks she wants something a bit lower, which he's never seen because of Japanese censorship. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Penguin Village. Averted in the last story arc when we discover that the mayor is an actual penguin and the only one that appears in the series.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up:
    • Averted in the original series, which also generally averts Status Quo Is God. Arale and her friends go from middle school to high school and Taro graduates from high school and becomes a police officer. In the sequel Dr. Slump returns, Turbo goes from a baby to a little boy, and it's stated that Arale is now 17 (to everyone's astonishment, since she looks even younger than the 13-year-old girl she was supposed to be initially, and she can't physically grow up because she's a robot).
    • Played straight in the Dragon Ball Super crossover in 2016. The Dr. Slump cast already met Goku as a kid in the first Dragon Ball series, but when they meet him again as an adult in Dragon Ball Super, they apparently didn't age at all, having the same appearance of the original series (Dr. Slump returns is treated as Canon Discontinuity). Justified with Arale because she's an android, not so much with the rest of the cast.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Midori gets so big so fast after it's revealed she's pregnant that Senbei actually gives her a medical examination to try and deduce a cause.
  • Off with His Head!:
  • Official Couple: Senbei and Midori is one, hooking up midway in the series. Also Arale with Obotchaman, where it was shown in the future that Senbei had built a baby robot for the both of them. And the secondary couples like Taro/Tsururin, Akane/Tsukutsun, and Pisuke/Hiyoko are all confirmed to be Happily Married in the future.
  • Older Than They Look: Pisuke is actually 13, even though he looks like he's around 7 or 8. It's even worse for him when they take a hold of the camera that views the future mentioned above: we discover that he will look like that even at 30 (complete with the same cat-ears hat!), but with a Hitler mustache!
  • Only Six Faces:
    • Lampshaded in an early chapter where Akane is able to impersonate Midori. Toriyama curses his ability to draw only one female face.
    • Suppaman, Bubibinman (the fly-man from space), and Parzan (Tarzan parody) all look the same. This sometimes is commented upon.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: One night, Arale eats a cricket in her sleep. The next morning, she's become studious, calm, well-behaved, and much smarter. The entire village freaks out.
  • The Peeping Tom: In Turbo's own introductory chapter, Senbei takes him to drive around in-town. He stops at one point to gawk with binoculars at a girl undressing from afar, forgetting to keep Turbo in the seat belt, causing Turbo to crawl out of the vehicle and wander away. By the time Senbei puts his binoculars away to check up on Turbo, Turbo is already nowhere in sight. He's in the process of being Touched by Vorlons while the aliens that accidentally struck him dead try to revive him.
  • People Puppets: Tsururin used her powers on Taro to beat up a thug at school at one point.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Arale is so strong, she can split the Earth into with one punch. Same with Obotchaman.
  • Pictorial Letter Substitution: The title logo has a subtle one where the handakuten in the last katakana of "スラン (Slump)" is replaced with a heart (and in the 1997 revival, a mechanical nut).
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • An early chapter starts with Arale telling Senbei that her teacher is coming over. Thinking the teacher in question is Midori, Senbei spends the whole chapter freshening himself up and tidying up the house. The chapter ends with a different, male teacher dropping by to make a request for Senbei to repair his pocket watch, causing Senbei to Face Fault.
    • When King Nikochan and his assistant request for transportation to go home after Arale introduces them as "aliens", Senbei makes and gives them a car. It's only after Arale explains to Senbei that King Nikochan and his assistant are from outer space that Senbei realizes he should have made a spaceship for them instead, by which point they've already driven away for a while.note 
  • Pooping Food:
    • Bubibinman, a fly-like alien, picks a nearby piece of dog crap up and eats it! Needless to say, the other characters (except Arale) are disgusted.
    • The early part of a chapter involves Arale giving ice cream to Senbei after Senbei complains of the summer heat. Senbei enjoys it... until Arale reveals the procedures she utilizes for the homemade ice cream Senbei is having — namely, having Gatchan, who is a Nigh-Invulnerable Extreme Omnivore, consume the ice cream ingredients, stay inside a freezer until Gatchan is cool enough, before pooping on an ice cream cone. Senbei reacts with perfectly understandable disgust from such information.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Anko and Nonko (two girls very similar to Arale and Akane) seem to have this kind of relationship between them, since they are very close and in the episode in which they appear they hug each other in almost every scene, even in the anime it is implied that they live together in the same apartment.
  • Relax-o-Vision: How the Malaysian dub of the show censors nudity. To wit, the dub does a smash cut to a panoramic view of the village for a the duration of the scene.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Turd, Arale's dog, was hit by a fighter jet/car hybrid and subsequently kicked by the driver, Senbei lifts up the vehicle and destroys it.
  • Robot Me:
    • A two-episode Story Arc starts with Senbei being invited to a TV station in Metropolis Island for a segment about scientific inventions and asking him to bring a personal invention of his. Senbei goes to the station in question with a new look (which all villagers seeing him complain how dull the appearance is) without divulging anyone about what the invention is until near the end of the arc that the invention he has brought along is himself — it turns out that he has made a robot that looks just like himself and he has been controling it remotely the whole time.note 
    • One episode later on has Turbo build a robotic duplicate of himself that accidentally wanders into town. Said robot causes panic among everyone wherever it goes.
  • Robot Girl: Arale. One of the earliest (and youngest) examples.
  • Robot Kid: Arale and Obotchaman.
  • Robo Romance: Arale and Obotchaman are two androids created by different scientists, who gradually become closer until we finally find out that they are both destined to become a happily married couple in the future and have a baby created by Senbei.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Meek and well-mannered Robot Kid Obotchaman is the male counterpart to hyperactive and mischievous Arale.
  • Sdrawkcab Name:
    • Toriyama came up with the name of Dr. Mashirito, Senbei's Mad Scientist rival, by reverting the order of the syllables in his editor's surname, Torishima.
    • Makusa, who runs the takoyaki stand / sweets shop. He's a caricature of Akira Sakuma, who collaborated with Toriyama on his Crappy Manga Laboratory series.
    • The name of a Notzilla that participates in the "Who's the Strongest in the World?" tournament is "Allizdog".
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The Author Avatar writer jokingly calls himself and the manga stupid quite often.
    • When said Author Avatar uses Time Travel to visit Penguin Village a decade in the future, he finds out that his future self has become a beggar, much to his horror.
  • Serious Business:
    • For Arale and Gatchan(s) (and everyone else who gets involved), games can be this even without causing any property damage, as demonstrated in the chapter where Turbo's status as a Brainy Baby who can fly is officially discovered in-universe. note 
    • Dining out in a fancy restaurant, as one chapter involves the Norimaki family doing so after Midori gets a large teacher's bonus and Turbo's status as a Brainy Baby who can fly is officially confirmed to Senbei and Midori.note  This gets lampshaded:
      Butarebu: For the people of Penguin Village, a restaurant is a big deal.
    • Riding a motorbike is this for Biker Boy, because he'll die — literally — if he stops riding for too long. As a result, he does everything on the go, eating and pooping included.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
    • The show satirizes and pays homage to a lot of things, including Superman, Kinnikuman, Star Trek, Space Invaders and Ultraman, just to name a few.
    • A pudgy, dumb, incompetent, violent, mean and revengeful version of Superman named Suppaman lives in the village. He does not get along with Parzan.
    • One of the cops of Penguin Village is a Stormtrooper.
    • In the first page of a chapter shows up a chibified, googly-eyed Gundam RX78-2 flying after a butterfly with a bug-catcher. This is particularly interesting because Toriyama drew it before "SD Gundam" was even a thing.
    • Dr. Mashirito's first robot was a mix between Mazinger Z, Astro Boy, and Tetsujin-28go.
    • Spock is one of Arale's classmates. Replaced in the remake with a boy that resembles a human version of Freeza.
    • Godzilla, Gamera, King Kong and other kaijuu make regular appearances.
    • One chapter of The Brief Return of Dr. Slump has Senbei playing Dragon Quest V.
  • Sigil Spam:
    • Any given thing is practically guaranteed to have its name spelled out in gigantic letters, made all the more ridiculous for the fact that they live in a small village where everybody knows each other and there's only one of each business to begin with.
    • Car logos are everywhere, on everything. This has less to do with any particular meaning and more to do with the simple fact that the author loves cars. You might think that the word "ABARTH" accompanied by a scorpion on a shield has some hidden, cryptic meaning... but nope, it's just the name of a company that makes and customizes cars. Toriyama even bought his own Autobianchi A112 Abarth during the series' run.
  • Slapstick: This is a Gag Series, after all, and all characters suffer physical comedy at some point. Here are some examples:
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Senbei, who claims to be the most brilliant scientist in the world and also considers himself handsome, despite being short, fat, and unattractive.
    • Suppaman, an Affectionate Parody of Superman... well, maybe not so affectionate, given how he's portrayed as a Jerkass with no real superpowers.
  • Stealth Pun: Arale is riding a pig, and a bystander exclaims "Biker Gang!"
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Arale, a robot that can split the earth with a single punch, and was built just because Senbei could.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Downplayed, if need be, due to Rule of Funny.
    • Senbei uses his mechine everywhere he goes in the chapter "Mr. Handy". A month later, this dependence causes him to neglect his personal hygiene so that he smells bad, as well as neglecting his exercise to the point of him being so plump that Arale rolls him around like a ball.
    • In a chapter later on, Senbei dreams of himself and Midori going on a date after picking her up, and he has a Catapult Nightmare reaction every time the Dream Sequence doesn't go his way, followed by him acting on it. While it starts out reasonable enough (freshening up and dressing up to make himself more presentable in the Dream Sequence), it soon spirals out of control (yelling at other characters who "ruined his date" during the Dream Sequence), culminating in him jerking awake one more time and charging into the local police station to beat up the cops for his dream date gone wrong (the cops stop them with poop-on-sticks in the dream), which gets him landed in jail.
      Senbei: Um, might I use the restroom?
      Gyaos: *in bruises* QUIET!!
    • Due to the well-established reputation of Tsuruten's willingness to grope beautiful, even if married, women, Midori understandably keeps her guard up when he visits the Norimaki residence and Senbei's sympathy towards him, when he complains of some Amusing Injury he suffers at her hands, is limited.
      Tsuruten: Your wife has sprained my fingers...
      Senbei: I'm sure you deserved it.
    • Donning a Santa Claus costume with a bag of items doesn't automatically mean a free pass into someone else's house, which Senbei finds out to his cost, as he's treated like a random burglar. It's even worse for a martial artist who does this, as said martial artist breaks down locked doors and knocks out anyone who, woken up by the commotion, goes to investigate the source of the noise, earning the ire of nearly everyone in Penguin Village, who converges the next day to beat up "Santa".
    • Because of Toriyama's track record of cheating his way into winning the very tournament he hosted in the past, Senbei is suspicious of any tournament Toriyama hosts and has to be reassured that he won't pull the same stunt again before joining a tournament in earnest.
    • On the other side of the spectrum, the first tournament Toriyama holds (which he eventually cheats his way into winning anyway) nearly didn't happen because the villagers considered the winning price too minuscule ($25 initially; he bumped it up to $30). Drawing from this, he ensures that his future tournaments would offer much more sizable rewards to entice potential participants.note 
    • Even the best sharpshooter is rendered powerless if the opponent is Immune to Bullets or said sharpshooter has used up all of the available ammunition and has nothing else for backup plan.
      • The bank robber who lures Arale and Gatchan, both of whom are Nigh-Invulnerable, into his hideout, ends up running away from them in terror, especially after Gatchan devours his gun.
      • When Tsukutsun is up against a man packing guns early in the "Who's the Strongest in the World?" tournament, Tsukutsun can only dodge his opponent's shots. Once he manages to dodge all of them and readies himself to fight back, however, his opponent is reduced to publicly giving up and admitting defeat, especially after Tsukutsun shows off his martial arts skill by smashing a nearby tree trunk.
      • When Charmy encounters Arale for the first time, his reaction to her poop-on-a-stick, after the initial shock, is to shoot her with his gun. Too bad for him he's out of ammunition at that point, forcing him to try to get away from her.note 
    • Bad customer services can cause your business flow to dwindle, which happens to The Pot under Akane's management, if Tori-Bot's experience there during his visit to Penguin Village a decade in the future is any indication.note 
      Akane: I'm getting no customers lately.
      Tori-Bot: *thinking to himself* I think I know why...
    • As Taro and Arale find out when they go to get their respective driver's license, the qualifying standards for a driver's license are absurdly lax.note  While this ensures that just about everyone who applies gets to pass, which Taro remarks on, it also makes the possibility that someone who gets the license Drives Like Crazy very real — in Arale's case, her taking her family out for a ride ends with Car Meets House.
      Taro: That's what I was afraid of.
    • Charmy's obsession in reducing crime rate causes him to arrest almost everyone in Penguin Village for minor or non-existent "crimes". By the time the crime rate reaches his desired level, Penguin Village is nearly a Ghost Town while its prison within the local police station is massively overcrowded.
    • No matter how much of a Badass Biker you are, there's only so much distance you can travel while steering/riding nonstop before your vehicle of choice gives out on you due to it running out of fuel. This happens to Charmy when Arale chases him while he spends a whole night riding on his motorcycle nonstop in his attempt to get away from hernote , and again to Biker Boy late in the Grand Prix near the end of the race, forcing Biker Boy to go to the nearest gas station to fuel up, resulting in him losing out on his chance at winning the race.
    • At the scavanger hunt section in the bike Grand Prix, Kibalt is tasked with finding panties of a beautiful girl. He asks a beautiful girl at a bus stop to give him her panties — too bad for him no girl in her right mind would give her own panties to a random stranger making that request out of the blue in broad daylight; in his case, she responds to his demand by conking him on the head with the nearby bus stop signpost.
      Kibalt: Yow yow yow! That hurt!
    • As the result of the motorbike Tsuruten assembles being Awesome, but Impractical (see entry above for details) and time contraint prevents Tsuruten from inventing another motorbike in time for Tsukutsun to use for the bike Grand Prix, Tsukutsun has to enter the biker race with a bicycle. While he's able to qualify for the race, being a Badass Normal that he is, it doesn't come easy for him: He has to pedal as fast as he can just to stand a chance (and, even then, he's the tenth qualified participant for the top ten speedracers), almost always lags behind the other racers despite him pedaling as fast as he can, and spends every moment throughout the race catching a breath when he's not pedaling.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Subverted. In an episode where Arale and her friends go to Water Strider Island to rescue Chin Tiku Lin, Tsukutsun's old friend, Akane becomes jealous thinking that there was something between them, and she gets even more angry when she sees that Chin Tiku Lin doesn't want to shake her hand. In the end it is revealed that Chin Tiku Lin is actually a boy, only that he dresses as a girl because his father raised him as one because he wanted to have a girl, and the reason he didn't shake hands with Akane is because he suffers from the same problem as Tsukutsun and transforms into a dragon every time a girl touches him.
  • Take Over the World: Dr. Mashirito.
  • Take That!: Whenever Toriyama shows his editor, Kazuhiko Torishima in the Omake, he just happens to look exactly like the Mad Scientist Dr. Mashirito.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • The "Who's the Strongest in the World?" tournament has some examples of this.
      • Played for Drama when Arale joins it, with everyone around her believing that she's a shoo-in for winning the tournament. Imagine their surprise when Dr. Mashirito, who also joins the tournament, harms and seemingly defeats her in their respective final match. That said, Obotchaman, despite his self-reasurring words that Arale would win the tournament, eventually goes to watch the tournament at the last minute without anyone noticing, and sees abovementioned scene between Arale and Dr. Mashirito. He then heals Arale and, now geniunely enraged, fills in by disguiseing himself as Arale before he proceeds to fire his N'cha cannon that blasts Dr. Mashirito into smithereens, followed by him running away to not blow his cover, shortly before the recovered Arale walks back to the tournament and receives the championship rewards with herself not knowing how she won.
      • When learning that Arale has joined the "Who's the Strongest in the World?" tournament, Senbei and Tsukutsun, both of whom having signed up for it as well, determined that being second place wouldn't be too bad, since they're aware that they're no match for Arale and the participant getting to second place would be rewarded with $1,000. Unfortunately for them, they're both defeated before getting to be second placenote .
      • Seibei gets one more dose of this trope when his opponent turns out to be a young, beautiful female wrestler. As soon as the match starts, he runs to the wrestler expecting some physical contacts that he can enjoy under the premise of a match... only for the wrestler to knock him out with one karate chop to the forehead before his hands even manage to touch her.
      • A boxer who participates in the tournament expresses confidence that he can win, even when it turns out that his opponent is a Notzilla. He's quickly proven wrong in a rather literal Curb-Stomp Battle, as one foot stomp from said Notzilla has him Squashed Flat and out of commission at once.
    • During the bike trophy Grand Prix:
      • At the qualifying round of the biker trophy grand prix where each contestant must run the course alone. Kibault, upon seeing Biker Boy's race-car-driving wife cheering for Biker Boy after having finished his round, asks her what she sees in him. When she responds with "speed", Kibault reacts dismissively, beliving that Biker Boy is no match for him at speed racing. Cue Biker Boy finishing his own round with a record showing that he does it with slightly less time than Kibault, much to Kibault's surprise.
        Biker Boy's wife: You were saying?
      • Near the end of the bike trophy Grand Prix, Biker Boy claims "This match is mine!" upon feeling confident at the favorable circumstance of the race — only for his motorcycle to run out of fuel mere seconds afterwards, forcing him to rush to the nearest gas station to fill up.
  • Time Travel:
    • Thanks to one of Senbei's inventions, the Time Slipper. This is actually how they found Gatchan.
    • In the original series, Turbo creates a different time machine, allowing for traveling to more precise time period (by date, hour and minutes, rather than by year like Senbei's Time Slipper above). Obotchaman and, later, Tori-Bot, use Turbo's invention to visit Penguin Village a decade in the future, and it's through their travels that the paired characters' Happily Married status is confirmed, both in-universe and out.
  • Toilet Humour: A lot.
    • Four words: Poop on a Stick. This was later Lampshaded early on in Dragon Ball.
      Mai: (as Pilaf wonders where could be the seventh Dragon Ball) If it's between that hunk's [Yamcha] legs, I'll be pleased to get it.
      (Pilaf and Shu stare blankly at her)
      Pilaf: I told you before, I hate these dirty jokes.
      Mai: (suddenly holding said Poop on a Stick) Yes, I'm sorry.
      Pilaf: And I mean that filthy thing you're holding too!!! Can't you see that the author is trying hard to make a decent, high-standard manga?!
    • King Nikochan and other members of his species have their butts on top of the head, so they have to avoid farting or else they'll end up suffocated by the smell.
    • Bubibinman, a fly-like alien, picks a nearby piece of dog crap up and eats it! Needless to say, the other characters (except Arale) were disgusted.
  • Tournament Arc: A very brief and hilarious one near the end of the manga's run. It is even called "Sekaiichi Tournament", foreshadowing Dragon Ball's own Tenkaichi Tournament.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Turbo, Senbei and Midori's son. Accidentally killed, then resurrected by aliens. Ends up with Psychic Powers as a result
  • Tranquil Fury: In one chapter, there is a surprisingly serious moment where a bear that Arale and Senbei had freed from captivity and released into the wild was shot by two hunters. Arale, in one of the few times where she is genuinely angry, calmly picks the two assholes up and throws them far away.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: It is implied in the manga that Taro seems to have been smoking cigarettes since he was five years old, while Akane, who is only thirteen at the beginning of the manga, has a notorious fondness for alcohol to the point of carrying it in her canteen to school, which has led to her being punished on more than one occasion. If it weren't for the fact that this manga is focused on comedy, these would be pretty serious topics to address.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • Senbei does manage to win over Midori, and he's as surprised as the rest of the cast, given how he proposed pretty much by accident.
    • Tsuruten Tsun and his much-more-attractive wife have already been married for years prior to their own introduction.
  • The Unintelligible: Gatchan.
  • The Unreveal: In the "ask the author" section, Tori-Bot asks the Gatchans questions concerning them. While Tori-Bot claims "mystery solved" following Gatchans' answers, no one translates said answers, so the readers gain nothing for it.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Played for Laughs, Tori-bot's last question in the "ask the author" chapter is why Arale has never been devoured by Gatchan(s), to which Arale responds that she's made of rubber. Then Arale returns the favor by asking him what he's made of, to which he says that he's made of steel-metal alloy. Unfortunately for Tori-bot, the Gatchans are still nearby and feeling hungry and aren't averse to eating steel-metal alloy; when the Gatchans are satisfied, all that's left of him is a single, twitching arm.note 
  • Verbal Tic:
    • "No, yes!"
    • A lesser-known example is "certainly", certainly!
  • Villain Song: Dr. Mashirito was given one in Hoyoyo Space Adventure. It starts ominous at first, but it changes to a very cheesy 80's rock song.
  • Warm-Up Boss: For the participants of the bike grand prix, Daigoro Kurigashira, who guards the first checkpoint, counts as this. While each participant must perform the task that is written on a piece of paper placed on his desk at the checkpoint, the punishment for failing it amounts to a one-minute delay, after which the participant gets to continue racing, if with a slight disadvantage due to said one-minute delay. No such leniency is granted for the participants at any other checkpoint.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: Averted with Arale. Played straight when ordinary humans are involved, though...
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Arale's boisterously loud "N'CHA!" comes out as solid words and is capable of knocking people off their feet.
  • What Does She See in Him?:
  • We Want Our Idiot Back!: In one of the early chapters, the clueless and cheerfully destructive Arale accidentally eats an insect and suddenly turns into a calm, studious, and reasonable girl. Arale's friends and the other villagers miss her old personality (it helps that Penguin Village is a mostly anti-intellectual Cloudcuckooland and studying is considered a weird thing in Arale's school), so when they find a way to change Arale back to "normal", they throw a party to celebrate.
  • When I Was Your Age...: Played for Laughs in one chapter when Senbei watches Turbo flying away with the Gatchans to play.
    Senbei: Nobody flew when I was a kid...
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Senbei has two such problems.
      • He's no fan of dogs due to a "traumatic" incident he had from a dog in his childhood.note 
      • He doesn't like cats, either. Arale joins the "Who's the Strongest in the World?" tournament because he adamantly refuses to allow her to adopt the two kittens she finds in a box along the roadside, Obotchaman is willing to adopt the kittens but doesn't yet have the necessary funds to buy cat food for them, and the first-place winner of said tournament gets $4,000, which Arale hopes to win to provide the funds needed for the cat food purchase.
    • Taro is afraid of the ghosts. Peasuke exploits it to exact his revenge on Taro after Taro blackmails him into giving his own allowance to Taro when Taro wants extra money to take Tsururin on a date, by calling Arale and telling her that Taro is going to take her to the haunted house, resulting in Arale and Gatchan tagging along Taro and Tsururin on their date, while Taro is scared witless throughout the haunted house tour — the only one among the four of them to act this way.
  • Written Sound Effect: Arale even unknowingly weaponizes it.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The chapters where Obotchaman and Tori-Bot use Turbo's invention to visit Penguin Village a decade in the future serve this purpose.
    • Obotchaman encounters Future!Taro, who works as a cop, on his way to the Norimaki household. Late in the story-line, Taro decides to become a cop after high school and succeeds in doing so.
    • When Tori-Bot asks Future!Arale about Dr. Mashirito, she shows him by pointing at a spot on the ground where a bolt lies. That's precisely what becomes of Dr. Mashirito after the "Who's the Strongest in the World?" tournament, which commences shortly after Tori-Bot's Time Travel chapter takes place, ends.
    • The characters who have been hitherto paired romantically, whether explicitly or implied, are shown in those chapters to have been Happily Married, with some of them having a baby each for good measure. In the present time, none of them have ever broken up.
      Tori-Bot: *thinking to himself* Haven't these rubes heard of "dating around"?
  • You Don't Look Like You: In the remake. The most notable examples are Taro, Akane, and Midori.
  • Younger Than They Look: Senbei, who is only 28 despite looking like he's in his mid-thirties.

Alternative Title(s): Dr Slump