TITLE: Doraemon – Gadget Cat from the Future Vol. 1
YEAR: February 2002
COMPANY: Shogakukan English Comics
Story & Art by Fujiko F. Fujio
It was back in 1969 when Fujiko F. Fujio created the popular manga series “Doraemon”. One of the best-selling manga in the world, “Doraemon” has sold over 100 million copies as of 2015.
Fujiko F. Fujio is actually a duo of two Japanese manga artists: Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko, who became partners in 1951 and adopted the name Fujiko Fujio in 1954. The two ended their partnership in 1987, so there are individual works released under two different names, Fujiko Fujio A (for Abiko) and Fujiko F. Fujio (for Fujimoto).
While “Doraemon” may not have had the promotion as it does in Japan or in another countries, those into Japanese pop culture know how popular the character is, as Doraemon is a popular character in Japanese pop culture, as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny is to American culture.
“Doraemon” has had success in comics, animation, films, video games and is no doubt a merchandise powerhouse that people of all generations still continue to purchase to this day, despite Fujiko F. Fujio’s passing in 1996.
In 2002, Shogakukan English Comics released “Doraemon – Gadget Cat from the Future” which was a way for manga readers to learn English, but also helps those wanting to learn Japanese.
The word bubbles are translated in English, but above each panel is the Japanese kana of what was said in English.
A total of 10 volumes were released of “Doraemon – Gadget Cat from the Future” and six volumes of “Doraemon Selection”. And for this review, I am reviewing “Doraemon – Gadget Cat from the Future” vol. 1 from Shogakukan English Comics.
The manga revolves around a pre-teen boy named Nobita Nobi. Nobita is not good with anything…sports, socializing, if anything, he’s quite lazy and naive.
But one day, Nobita is shocked when a robotic cat from the future named Doraemon and a male teen from the 22nd century come to visit him. Doraemon explains that teen is Sewashi, the great-great-grandson of Nobita.
Of course, Nobita doesn’t believe it at first, but Sewashi explains to him that he is unlucky and would make things rough for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren due to his unlucky nature. And so, he is leaving the robotic cat Doraemon to stay with him and help him.
Sewashi does give Nobita a hint of his future, that he would marry his childhood bully’s sister, Jaiko which shocks Nobita, consider he dislikes both Gian and Jaiko.
And so, Doraemon lives with Nobita in hopes to make his life better.
But due to Nobita’s laziness, each time Doraemon comes up with a gadget to help him, Nobita finds a way to misuse it and cause problems for himself and Doraemon.
Can Doraemon ever help Nobita to be a better person?
I’ve been a fan of “Doraemon” for many years and surprisingly, back when I got into Japanese pop culture, “Doraemon” is among one of the big name characters that there was sparse information of.
I am not surprised, considering Doraemon is considered a children’s character, along the likes of Anpan Man and I suppose one can equate it to Americans who grew up watching or reading Mickey Mouse books or animated films or probably even more fitting are the “Peanuts” characters, as we watch Charlie Brown often being helped by his friends or Snoopy.
But Nobita is more of the naive, clumsy and lazy type. Each time you hope he grows up or matures, he often does something idiotic and misuses any positive device that Doraemon brings to him.
Overall, “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” is a magnificent manga for those who love cooking, cooking competitions and underdogs faced with the challenges of taking on the top chefs at a prestigious cooking academy. Highly recommended!
One chapter features Doraemon giving Nobita a pencil that will help him do his homework and get good grades. But Nobita misuses it and starts doing people’s homework and brags about how smart he is but in truth, the pencil is doing the work. And sure enough, Nobita’s bragging is overheard by Gian, who wants to steal the pencil for himself.
Another thing that Doraemon does is give Nobita a special bread that captures pages from a book and when he eats it, he retains knowledge of that page. But when he starts neglecting his studies because he becomes overdependent on the bread, needless to say, eating too much starts to affect Nobita.
These are just a few things in the chapter but for the most part, “Doraemon – Gadget Cat from the Future” is an entertaining manga and the fact that people can learn English or Japanese from the book through manga is fantastic!
“Doraemon” is a delightfully fun manga series and I could only hope Shogakukan does more, as so far, they have done English comics of “Doraemon – Gadget Cat from the Future” and “Boku no Hatsukoi wo Kimi ni Sasagu”. If you want a lighthearted manga series and if you are a Japanese person learning English or a person that reads English and wants to learn Japanese through manga, definitely give these Shogakukan English Comics a chance!