It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.
This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!
The Doraemon toys have just been released from McDonald’s this past Friday, in collaboration with the new movie Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes that is currently being shown in theaters across Japan.
There are three types of toys available at this moment, and a different set of three toys will be offered starting March 20. Some of them feature Doraemon gadgets we know well (and wish we owned), and we can see how these baubles may get kids excited!
▼ These are the three toys currently available: the “Anywhere Door Game”, “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger” and “Look into it! Scope”.
▼ And from March 20, these three will become available: the “Run! UFO”, “Exciting! Space Camera” and the “Memory Bread Drawing Kit”.
Here’s a closer look at each of the items.
▼ The “Anywhere Door Game (Dokodemo Door Game)” is actually a miniature pinball machine in the shape of the Anywhere Door, which has to be one of Doramen’s most popular tools. There’s a different game on each side of the door, so you get two games in one toy.
▼ The “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger (Doraemon to Kurukuru Burger)” features the Burger Director character that appears in the new movie. With this toy, when you place Doraemon and Burger Director close to each other, the Burger Director will start spinning.
▼ This “Look Into it! Scope (Nozoite! Scope)” acts as a periscope, and you can look through the lens from the back of the planet on which Doraemon is sitting.
▼ You can wind up this “Run! UFO (Hashire! UFO)” to propel it forward. What’s neat about this toy is that it can detect and avoid obstacles and also avoid falling off the edge of the table.
▼ This “Exciting! Space Camera (Dokidoki! Space Camera) lets you see four different Doraemon movie scenes by looking through the lens and turning the dial on the side.
▼ The “Memory Bread Drawing Kit (Oekaki Anki Pan)” contains five picture cards that you can copy and trace to create 10 different types of illustrations.
In addition to the toys, the Doraemon Happy Meal comes in three adorable types of boxes, which should also put a smile on kids’ faces.
▼ The boxes all look cute, but we think Dorami-chan in the middle looks particularly charming. The boxes with Doramon’s and Dorami-chan’s face have a bit of a pop-up shape on the top.
Well, we think these toys actually look quite nifty, and we can easily imagine kids who’ve seen the Doraemon movie begging their parents to take them to McDonald’s for the trinkets. Hmmm … we wonder how many parents will be forced to make six trips to McDonald’s for all the items.
The Happy Meals are available at prices between 432 yen (US$3.56) and 504 yen ($4.15) depending on the food item you choose, but we expect the Doraemon toys will go quickly, so if you plan on getting your hands on one – or a few – of them, you may want to get to a McDonald’s sooner rather than later!
Don’t you agree that our surroundings influence our mood? Being in a bright, vibrant environment usually makes one feel more positive and happy, and the positive energy in us in turn has the power to influence the mood of others around us.
A small village in Tainan City of Taiwan has been attracting attention online and attracting visitors because of the cheerful vibes that emanate from its brightly colored walls. With walls covered in colorful paintings of SpongeBob, Totoro, Doraemon and other characters and motifs, there’s no doubt this village must be a happy place!
Now more famously known as Cai Hui Cun (彩繪村), which literally means “painted village,” Hujia Village, located in the Shanhua District of southern Taiwan, used to be a quiet, rundown district until about a year ago. Since then it has blossomed into a vibrant tourist spot that continues to see an increasing number of visitors each day, and it’s said that property prices have even risen, thanks to its brilliantly painted walls. What’s more impressive than the numerous wall murals is the fact that this amazing transformation started with a home project that stemmed from the filial piety of five sisters.
According to Yahoo News Taiwan, some time last year, the Li sisters, who spent a couple of their childhood years living in Hujia Village, went back to the village to visit their grandmother. The trip back to the old village brought back fond memories of when their grandmother used to care for them, and that triggered Fan Ting Li’s inspiration to paint the outer walls of her grandmother’s house as a way to express her gratitude to her 86-year-old granny.
With no experience or training in painting wall murals, the Li sisters had a rough start. The elderly woman watched with worry as Fan Ting and her sisters, Hui Qing, Guan Yu, Qing Yan and Wei Zhen, spent long hours under the scorching sun, and asked her “silly granddaughters” to give up on the idea several times, but the sisters were determined to complete their project.
▼ Studio Ghibli murals
Residents of the village gazed upon them with curiosity and doubt at first, but were eventually moved by their passion, and some even volunteered to join them. Their little home project gradually spread throughout the village, and their painting team once grew to the size of 18 members coming from all walks of life, including an eight-year-old elementary school girl.
▼ Western influences
Watching as the voluntary painting team contributed their time, effort and money to beautifying their village, the other villagers too, often contributed to their cause by bringing them snacks and beverages. There have also been private companies that donated items to aid in the decoration of the walls, but due to the residents’ limited funds, they narrowed down their mural locations to the houses of elderly residents who lived alone, hoping to brighten up their days.
▼ Japanese anime characters
Since word of the painted village spread across cyberspace, tourists from near and far have begun visiting the village, not only bringing some liveliness to the once-sleepy place, but boosting profits for local businesses as well. The local authorities have since acknowledged the efforts put into Hujia Village, and have given their word to contribute to the beautifying and expansion of the painted village.
▼ Chinese motifs.
The Li sisters and their team of mural maestros can still be spotted creating more wall paintings in the village on weekends. If you’re interested in stopping by, the location details are below! Although the area has pretty much turned into a tourism spot, bear in mind that these murals are painted on actual residences, so it would only be nice to show some consideration for their residents, just as you probably wouldn’t appreciate strangers littering or creating a racket outside your house.
Tainan City, Shanhua District, 300 Hujia Village (Yang Ming Elementary School)
*Note: The Painted Village is in the vicinity of the elementary school.
▼ Look out for this school as a landmark to guide you to the Painted Village.
Genre streams that is! There isn’t an ’80s movie that is more perfectly matched for an anime makeover than Ghostbusters. The story is flawless, the ghosts would feel right at home, plus all the crazy special effects could be easily accomplished through animation. The fact that they were able to do all of that in a live-action movie is part of what makes it such a classic.
This parody simply nails the movie, but you don’t have to take our word for it, you can see for yourself after the jump.
The YouTube channel Nacho Punch is no stranger to 1980s-style anime parodies, but this one feels just right. Set in Tokyo and drawn in a style of animation perfect for the era in which the movie and original animated series were born, the Tokyo Ghostbusters really shine in their one-minute debut.
▼“Who you gonna call?”
Since this parody is set in Japan, a few of the familiar Ghostbuster details have been changed to fit the Land of the Rising Sun. The team chows down on curry udon and travels around busting ghosts in a Japanese hearse.
The role of Slimer is played by a green version of Whisper from Yokai Watch.
The rest of the ghosts and baddies are assembled from some other very popular youkai (demons/monsters) from Japanese folklore. You can see Rokurokubi (long-neckedyoukai), Kappa, and Karakasa Obake (the one-eyed umbrella).
Just as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man rumbles through the streets of New York City, a giant Doraemon is the oversized terror in this parody. The Tokyo Ghostbusters climb up Tokyo Tower in order to get a better vantage point to fight off the robot cat ghost menace.
It’s a wonder why this mash-up didn’t happen sooner. The cartoon TV series of The Real Ghostbusters did a fine job of expanding on the universe after the movies, but a Japanese anime version done in the 1980s style adds a little more wackiness that is always welcome with the Ghostbusters name. Great work, guys!
The aesthetic quality of a character cake can be judged by the degree of reluctance felt before cutting into it. Some cakes are so well-crafted that taking a knife to them would be nothing other than desecration of art. Conversely, some cakes are so insultingly terrible that basiac survival instincts would compel most people to take knife in hand and stab them out of their misery.
A series of images recently shared on Chinese
Facebook ripoff social networking site Renren suggests character cakes in China fall into the latter camp.
The images below were shared by a RinRin member who writes that she ordered a panda cake for her friend’s birthday, even providing the maker with a photo of how she wanted the cake to look like.
However, the product that came back to her wasn’t quite up to par:
Worried that her friend might be put off by a cake that looks like its silently judging you, the poster took it back to the shop to have them scrape off the frosting and give it another go. This was the result:
While frustrated, the poster feared that asking the shop to fix it a third time might result in retaliation, and she settled on the second cake.
The images that follow suggest that this poster isn’t the only one in China who has had to deal with butchered birthday cakes. But while the quality may be rock bottom, the laughs are top-notch.
▼ Doraemon (?) strike an erotic pose
▼ Doraemon on a sacrificial alter of fruit. Notice the claws.
▼ In China, asking the cake shop to recreate this…
▼ Yields this…
▼ Hello Kitty should be simple enough to draw in frosting, right?
▼ Goodbye, Kitty
▼ This might be setting the bar a bit too high…
▼ Not too bad! But why the candle? Why?
▼ The characters of Chinese animated TV series Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf are always a popular request…
▼ And result in various culinary interpretations
▼ The Pink Panther…?
▼ And a few generic animal cakes
RocketNews 24/Anime News Network:
The financial news source Nikkei reported on Friday that the American media conglomerate Walt Disney will begin running the quintessential Japanese anime Doraemon on television throughout the United States this summer. 44 years after the original manga about a robotic cat from the future debuted, the anime has already aired in 35 countries and territories in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. However, this will be the first television showing of Doraemon in the United States.
The manga creator duo Fujiko Fujio (Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko) created Doraemon in 1969. In the story, the robotic cat was sent by a boy in the future to the present day to help the boy’s hapless grandfather, Nobita. Doraemon, Nobita, and other children deal with everyday childhood issues, solve (and cause) problems with the gadgets in Doraemon’s fourth-dimensional pocket, and embark on escapades through time and space.
According to Nikkei, Disney XD, a children’s channel available in 78 million households, will run a total of 26 episodes five times a week. Disney has run Japanese programming before such as Naruto Shippūden, but it will use Doraemon as content for elementary school children in the lower grades.
The three Japanese companies that hold the copyrights — TV Asahi, Fujiko F. Fujio Production, and TV Asahi‘s anime studio subsidiary Shinei Animation — are producing the English version by contracting it to American studios.
The story and the names of characters and gadgets have been partially changed out of consideration for American culture and customs. Doraemon’s owner Nobita is now “Noby,” the bully Gian is now “Big G,” the flying contraption Takecopter is now the “Hopter,” and the magical portal “Dokodemo Door” is now the “Anywhere Door.” The recent English edition of the manga also has similar names.
Unlike the unauthorized versions out there, this English version is first being produced so it can run in America with its strict guidelines on violence, depictions of discrimination, and depictions of sexual content. However, it is possible for this version to run in other English-speaking countries later.
Doraemon has already aired in Southeast Asia and Europe. Nikkei reported that along with the NHK live-action television series Oshin, Doraemon has contributed greatly to the sense of affinity and image that other countries have of Japan.
In addition to the television anime that premiered in Japan in 1973, the Doraemon manga also inspired a string of annual anime films. This year, Takashi Yamazaki (Returner, Always: Sunset on Third Street, Ballad, Space Battleship Yamato) and Ryûichi Yagi (Pénélope tête en l’air line director, Moyashimon 3D CG director) are helming the first 3D CG film of Doraemon, Stand By Me Doraemon.
Image © Fujiko Production, Shogakukan, TV Asahi, Shinei, ADK
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What do you get when you mix the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games ambassador, the iconic and famous Doraemon, with a fictional doomsday scenario, as foretold by Akira? An eerie crossover that will populate your nightmares for weeks.
This amazing, yet terrifying, video was animated by Aleix Pitarch; you can check out some stills from the video on his Facebook page.
Be it movie, TV show, or book, whenever something achieves a certain level of popularity people begin to create their own stories surrounding them and urban legends are born. Japanese media is no different. Rumors spread and before you know it JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure accurately predicted the September 11 terrorist attack in New York.
The following is a collection of urban legends surrounding some of the most famous works in Japanese pop culture. Remember, most of these are not facts, just theories. Otherwise, about 80 percent of our most beloved anime characters are actually dead and just don’t know it yet.
■ Spirited Away is actually a story about the sex industry
Some folks out there believe that Miyazaki’s Spirited Away fairy tale was either a parable for the sex trade or, in fictional fact, the bathhouse that Chihiro worked at was actually a cover for a brothel. Japan has a particular type of sex industry known as soaplands where women erotically wash the male clientele in a public bath setting.
These subscribers feel that Yubaba is actually the mistress of a house of ill-repute due to the fact that all of the supernatural customers who visit are men. Also, Chihiro is renamed ‘Sen’ when she starts working there. Yubaba renames all her workers – a pretty common practice in the sex trade.
■ The Prince of Tennis shouldn’t call itself tennis
This popular manga and anime series had a long run in Weekly Shonen Jump and has also built up a legendary reputation online for its ridiculously increasingly implausible tennis moves. While it’s all in good fun for the readers, legend has it that an official tennis organization was none too pleased. They wrote an open letter to the magazine complaining, “Please stop using the name ‘tennis.’ This is not tennis anymore. We want you to use something like ‘tenninu’ or ‘ultra-tennis’ instead.”
■ Extended Ending to Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Sometimes when feature films make their way to television broadcasts, parts are either added or cut to fit the time constraints. It was believed that such an alteration was made to the broadcast version of Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
Word had it that an extended ending contained a scene where Pazu visits Sheeta in her hometown and a scene showing Sheeta hiding a crystal in her fireplace. Studio Ghibli officially denied that these ending scenes were made.
It would seem that people got confused by some illustrations used in an Animage manga serialization which contained an epilogue that took place six months after the events of the film.
By the way, Muska’s falling scene when the castle collapses was also once an urban legend but has been proven true.
■ The Minky Momo Earthquakes
There is a belief that episodes of the animated Magical Princess Minky Momo are somehow linked with the occurrence of earthquakes in Japan. The first case occurred in 1983 when a broadcast of episode 46 of the magical-girl series aired. A superimposed warning came up informing that a mild earthquake had struck the Kanto region.
During the airing of the final episode later that year, the Sea of Japan Earthquake struck, claiming the lives of 104 people. Then – as the legend goes – the final episode was re-aired on January 17, 1995 just as the far deadlier Great Hanshin Earthquake hit.
■ JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure predicts the September 11 World Trade Center attacks
Volume 20 of the JoJo series was published in February of 1991 and inside we find a ‘Prophet Stand’ hanging from a telephone pole. The stand is wearing a shirt which reads “911” and in the background a crescent moon hangs and an airplane glides by with a rather sinister grin.
Then in another page the character (kind of) looks at his watch and remarks “Oh, it’s 10:30!” The second WTC tower collapsed at 10:28am. Have fun with that Illuminati believers.
■ The Final Episode of Sazae-san
Some feel that the final episode of this extremely long-running (44 years) animated series will reveal that the entire family had actually perished in a plane crash in the ocean while going on vacation. That’s why everyone is named after things found in the ocean.
And if you think that’s morbid, we’re just getting warmed up.
■ Doraemon’s hidden episode
There is also a theory that the whole Doraemon series is actually a dream Nobita is having while lying in a vegetative state following a car accident. If true that would explain the trippy premise behind a bizarre buried episode that is rumored to exist somewhere.
In it Nobita asks Doreamon to take him shopping in the underworld. The robot cat agrees and pulls out a hoop that takes them down there. While in the underworld, they meet people who are speaking in an unintelligible mumbling. Then they enter a room with a large model of the planet Earth. However, the model cracks open and blood begins to poor out. Nobita and Doraemon are terrified and hold each other while crying profusely. Cut to black and roll credits.
■ The girls in My Neighbor Totoro die partway through the movie
A few frequent viewers of the Miyazaki classic found it was odd that while watching My Neighbor Totoro the two protagonists Mei and Satsuki both lose their shadows. Thus the theory was born that they had somehow died partway through the movie and hadn’t realized it which would explain the encounter with the supernatural Totoro beings thought by some to be spirits of death.
Ghibli made a statement on their blog saying that the omitted shadows were simply a cost-cutting tactic. However, theorists remained unswayed feeling that it was out of character for the famous studio to cut corners like that.
■ Crayon Shin-chan’s Final Episode
Yet another long-running animated series has a dark predicted ending. People are expecting the final episode to reveal that the main character Shinnosuke had actually died when he was five while rescuing his baby sister from being hit by a car.
All of those sassy, light-hearted adventures we’ve enjoyed over the years were actually the creations of his mother going through the grieving process. When the final episode comes we will finally understand that all this time she was just envisioning what her deceased son’s life might be like had he lived. The titular “crayon” is the object that she clings to in memory of her lost child.
Well, on a brighter note: There’s also a theory which is probably 100 percent true that says the recurring character of Shinko-chan, the girl from the future, is actually Shinnosuke’s little sister. In the Japanese language version of the anime, she sometimes slips and says “oni[chan]” (brother) only to quickly catch herself “oni… giri-head” (riceball-head).
■ Goodbye Doraemon
We’ll leave you with one last touching legend about arguably Japan’s most beloved cartoon.
The story goes that on the day Hiroshi Fujimoto (one half of Fujio Fujiko, the writing team behind Doreamon) died, Doraemon unexpectedly appeared on TV at midnight. Alleged witnesses disagree on whether or not the title credits played but afterwards rather than a typical episode of the lovable robot cat and his clumsy pal, all you could see was Nobita walking with his back turned to the camera.
This continued for ten minutes. Then, at the end Nobita said, “I gotta get going now” and the screen faded to black.
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1. “If entire Japanese population is brought down to your intelligence level, the world would collapse!”
Doraemon is blatantly honest.
2. “Only losers who have absolutely no chance in getting girls would use this pathetic gadget. Do you still want to give it a shot?”
3. “I’m afraid Nobita’s brain is retarded.”
4. “You think too much, Nobita. You can’t be the most useless person in the world. There is always someone inferior.”
That makes him feel so much better, Doraemon.
5. ”I’ll diagnose you! Take your clothes off right here!”
Nobita, you perv!
6. “How can they abuse someone as week as you!? Someone so pathetic, so dumb…”
Nobita: “Now you are starting to sound insulting.”
7. To an army soldier in the WWII…
Nobita: “Don’t worry about the war. It will end soon.”
Doraemon: “Yeah, Japan loses.”
8. To a Sea Witch in the Little Mermaid fairytale…
Little Mermaid: “I wish to have human legs.”
Sea Witch: “I will take your beautiful voice in exchange.”
Doraemon: “Mean! It’s only a pair of legs, give them to her for free! Look at this poor little girl, you heartless, stingy bastard.”
9. “My model is the problem. He’s neither beautiful nor cute.”
Nobita blames his lack of artistic skill on Doraemon’s appearance.
10. “Later. I’m pooped right now.”
I know how that feels.
11. Shizuka: “It’s mean to make someone happy and then bring him down, even though it’s true he’s kind of dumb.”
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Shizuka is mean or nice.
12. Nobita: “I don’t want to live anymore.” Doraemon: “Like always?”
Way to help a suicidal pre-teen, Doraemon!
13. Dorami: “What happened?”
Doraemon: “What happened? Oh it’s all because of this idiot Nobita…”
Nobita: “Yes, that idiot Nobita… What!?”
14. “How come you are taking bath all the time? I can’t touch you when you are in bath, do you ever think about how I feel!?”
15. Nobita: “I want a little sister who looks exactly like me and adorable.” Doraemon: “Being both adorable and looking just like you is pretty much impossible.”
16. “I’ll kill you, son of a *****!”
This scene has made such an impression that berserk Doraemon has been turned into a diorama by Epoch. Hardcore Doraemon fans must really love this figure, as it seems to be sold out in every store.
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Here’s a pic of the limited edition Doraemon cap by New Era that I scored in Japan…