Doraemon (pronounced 'doh-rah-eh-moan') is one of Japan's best-loved characters. Everybody from little kids to grown adults watch his animation show. He's a robot cat from the future with a magic pocket full of cool gadgets. See the appeal?
Photo by MJ/TR
Doraemon (どらえもん) lives with a boy named Nobita Nobi (野比のび太). His wacky gadgets help Nobita deal with bullies, avoid studying and doing homework, and overcome all sorts of other problems that plague boys everywhere. The only trouble is that his gadgets always take on a life of their own, and then there's trouble. And there's always an important lesson in the end.
Doraemon was constructed by the Matsushiba Robot Factory on September 3rd, 2112. However, he was considered defective because of several malfunctions. He was struck by lightning and this sent him back to the present, where he first appeared to Nobita by popping out of his desk drawer at school and warning him that in 30 minutes he'd be strangled and roasted alive.
His gadgets, toys and tools come from the department stores of the 22nd century. It's estimated that there have been around 4,500 of them since the beginning of the series (this is one of the main reasons for the show's popularity). Whenever needed, he pulls them out of the 4-dimensional pocket on his belly (四次元ハット, yonjigen hatto). They include:
どこでもドア – dokodemo doa This is a pink door that will take you anywhere in the universe that you want to go. Just stand in front of it, make a wish of where you'd like to go, step through and you're there.
(タイムふろしき – taimu furoshiki) This is a red cloth with little clocks all over it. You wrap it around something and that thing becomes older or newer, depending on the side. Nobita used it to make older appliances newer and sell them in one episode.
Small Light and Big Light
(スモールライト) and (ビッグライト) The Small Light is a flashlight that shrinks whatever object or person you shine it on. The Big Light works the same way but enlarges whatever you aim its light at. The Gulliver Tunnel (ガリバートンネル) is similar. It shrinks or enlarges you depending on which side you enter.
(暗記パン – anki pan) Images are imprinted on the bread and when someone eats it, they form false memories in their mind.
(変身ビスケット – henshin bisuketto) Animal crackers that turn you into the animal when you eat them.
(空気ピルトル - kuuki pisutoru) This is a tube that you slip over your finger and it knocks your opponent over with a powerful blast of air when you say, 'Bang!'
Anything Mind Gas
(強力ハイポンプガス – kyouryoku haiponpu-gasu) When you spray something with this gas, the thing becomes attracted to you and will flee from anybody else.
(のろいのカメラ – noroi-no-kamera) Take a picture of someone with the Voodoo Camera and it makes a voodoo doll of them.
Photo by Telstar Logistics
What If Phone Booth
(もしもボックス - moshimo-bokkusu) Ask into the phone about some unreal condition using 'What if…' and you enter that world.
(ふわふわ薬 - fuwafuwa kusuri) Take some of this stuff and your body weight becomes light enough that you can float in the clouds. Too much can be dangerous though.
(ユメテレビ - yume terebi) When you have trouble falling asleep, you can watch other people's dreams using the Dream Reader.
(タケコプター) The Takecopter is a propeller that you attach to any part of your body with a suction cup that lets you fly.
Although Doraemon TV shows and movies have appeared in countries outside of Japan, he has yet to make his English-speaking debut. Kids in the world's English-speaking countries will just have to wait until the day they can experience the wonders of Doraemon's 4-dimensional pocket.