M for Manga: Why are Japanese cartoons so popular among Indian kids?

Nobita and Doremon
Replicas of popular cartoon characters Nobita (L) and Doremon

He studies in 5th grade. He is kind, honest but is a shirker and considers himself unlucky. He isn’t athletic as well. It’s tough for him in class, as he is the butt of all jokes and is also unable to reveal his crush for the most studious girl in class.

If we tell you in which school this 5th grader is studying, you might be able to guess instantly whom we are talking about! Because there are so many such 5th graders around us. But hey! This boy isn’t an Indian, he hails from Japan. He is Nobita—the hero of that decade-old cartoon running in your living room.

It’s been years since Indians have embraced Doremon, the Japanese robot and the hero of everyone’s favourite Japanese cartoon. The popularity of Japanese cartoons like Doremon and Shinchan shows the similarity of culture, ethos, and middle-class sensibilities between India and Japan.

How Nobita’s story got Doremon’s name?

Doremon cartoon and series is actually the story of Nobita. But Doremon is the hero of the story. Nobita who lives in the 21st century is often rescued from his follies due to the timely intervention of the 22nd-century blue robot shaped in the form of a cat called Doremon. It was Nobita’s grandson who appointed Doremon as Nobita’s guardian to save him from sticky situations as he knew that it will eventually affect his life. Though he is a robotic cat, he is petrified of rats. There is a reason for that. Doremon who exists in the 21st century is still traumatized by the memory of a 22nd-century robotic rat biting his ear off. There are various little types of equipment from the 22nd century in his 3D pocket. These pieces of equipment can really find a solution to Nobita’s problems. But because of its misuse, Doremon finds himself landing into trouble due to Nobita’s problems.

The only bright spot in Nobita’s life is Shizuka who is the girl of his dreams. Doremon’s main aim is to make Nobita smart and capable enough to marry Shizuka and return back to the 22nd century.

Mischief maker called Shinchan

After Doremon, Crayon Shinchan is the most popular Japanese cartoon series. Shinchan is only 5 years old and is an absolute brat. The minute he opens his mouth, he can land in trouble. He likes to say the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate time. Then there are other forms of mischief. The series revolves around the various troubles created by Shinchan in his family.

What is Manga

Manga in Japanese means comic or graphic novel. Japanese love their comics. Therefore Manga is a known name among animation lovers all over the world. What makes Manga unique is not just its simple content, but its presentation and illustration detailing are what makes it so popular.

Doraemon is written and illustrated by Fujiko F. Fujio, the pen name of Japanese manga artist Hiroshi Fujimoto. In the comic book that came in 1969, there were 1345 chapters in 45 volumes. After the death of Fujimoto in 1996, the original cartoon series came to an end. From 1973, it came out as an animated TV series. There have been around 43 animated series headlining Doremon so far. Doremon is also the most popular Manga series. In 2008, the Japan Foreign Ministry declared Doremon as the Anime Ambassador of the country.

The creator of Shinchan is Yoshito Usui, a Japanese Manga artist. From 1990 till the death of Yoshito in 2008, the original Shinchan came out. From 2010, it was the team from Yoshito Usui who resumed the cartoon of Shinchan. The animated Televised series of Shin Chan which started in 1992, continues to be screened at various Television networks all over the world. Around 29 animation films headlining Shinchan have been released so far. His next film will be released in April. 

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