Iconic Japanese Cartoon ‘Doraemon’ Acquired by Disney

TV series and film series have been popular in Asia for 40 years.


HONG KONG – Walt Disney is to begin broadcasting Japanese cartoon “Doraemon,” the first time in the iconic series’ history that it will play in English in the U.S.

Some 26 English-dubbed episodes will play, five times a week, on the Disney XD satellite channel starting from an unspecified date in the summer. Target age group is elementary school children.

The series is owned by TV Asahi, Fujiko F. Fujio Production and TV Asahi subsidiary Shinei Animation. The deal was struck with TV Asahi, which handles the U.S. rights.

The show, featuring a cat-like robot sent by a boy from the future to the present day to helps his grandfather solve his daily problems, was initially launched in 1969 as a manga comic. The first TV series was launched in 1973 and has played in 35 territories, particularly in East Asia, where it has a huge following.

Unlike previous episodes, which have shown in North America in Japanese or as pirated version, the new series is being produced with the U.S. market in mind. It is expected to adhere to U.S. broadcast requirements on violence, discrimination and depiction of sexual content.

The manga series has also inspired a series of 36 nearly annual feature movies. The next one “Stand By Me” has been announced as the first to be made in 3D — and also the last in the series. It will release in Japanese theaters on Aug. 8.