Since I was doing a class on comics and their principles regarding form, content, and other visual elements; I am compelled to write about my all time favorite manga (Japanese comic) Doraemon, and the technologies that still relevant in today world.
I think comic still thought of a child thing. Yet, comic fans would disagree with you. There are deep themes, and many other fascinating things inside a comic that other literature forms couldn’t express. Given this manga series was first introduced to the public in 1969, the ideas in this series are well alive today. Doraemon never ages, and never dies–in all sense possible.
Doraemon was first translated, and published in Vietnam around 20 years ago. I felt in love right away the first time I picked up this one when I was around 5 or 6 years old. Author Fujiko F. Fujio is a genius. He has given kids to adult not only a great fun, memories, and also beliefs in the awesomeness of future technology.
Distance–something that the human kind has spent a great amount of knowledge, money, and time to research for the best possible technology that brings people close together: from a train, a plane, a mobile phone, to a possible kinetic machine not so far in near future (hopefully). Yet, physical distance still doesn’t get that much closer for people living half way around the world from each other- a twenty something hours of sitting on the plane, accompany by jetlag, custom lines, and luggages–nah doesn’t sound so good.
Yet, Mr. Fujio has thought of a better way for us all:
Turning a child toy that is easy and cheap to make, he lets the imagination fly! Perhaps these imagination is what others deem comic as a child thing. But think about it! Everyone is a child in a big body. Imagination is what bringing forth reality. If the Wright brothers didn’t imagine they could fly, what would be the ground to push them to make the first airplane? Imagination–it’s all what matters.
He also has this great other door–it opens to every where you want to go to.
Nostalgia, a wonder about what history was like, the worry about what future may hold–it’s all the things that occupy our heads from time to time. Worry free, why? Because Doraemon has this awesome time-machine that is hidden inside Nobita’s desk drawer.
Memory, or the ability to remember something is important. Nowadays, people are taking pills to improve their memories. They have intensive workshops that work on how to best remember things. The abundance of information made available by the world wide web, or everyday interactions doesn’t help us getting better. A familiar scenario is cramping knowledge into your head before a test. Well, there is a better way to do it – very natural, and easy, not time consuming (but you will need a big tummy)!
There are just a few examples. Truth be told, Mr. Fujio isn’t that all optimistic about these inventions either. Doraemon is a representation of technology. He is portrayed at a hero, with many awesome tricks in that little pocket he wears on the tummy. But, there is so much a hero could do. At the end of each chapter, you would see how he portrays the negative setbacks if one is too dependent or have excessive use of that technology. The great door would have glitch: the knob would stuck and you couldn’t go back to where you were. The time machines sometimes would have problems, and would required constant maintenance (sounds like your current car?). You couldn’t eat the toast forever. And that knowledge would be valid until your next trip to the restroom.
Doraemon is not just a comic. It’s a book of the promises technology hold for you. It’s the imagination. Or better, it’s a scrapbook of ideas for scientists, quantum physicists, doctors, engineers, or anyone. The series has become so popular in Asia that it’s part of a culture. Often enough, you would tremble upon Doraemon memes from the Asian community on their Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or other social networking platforms.
The comic vocabularies also get infused into everyday language. For example, you would get compliments referred to the characters from this comic.
I would encourage you to pick up this awesome series (the link will take you to the mangafox.me, where you could read it in English) if you haven’t heard of it. I promise you, it doesn’t waste your time. Indeed, I believe there would be so many things you will keep at heart as time goes by.