It took brainstorming and compromise, mixed with a lot of trust, love and respect, but after two years of effort,
With a 20-minute pilot and 26 episodes lined up, America was treated to its first taste of the show Monday afternoon when the U.S. version debuted on cable channel Disney XD. It will be broadcast in the channel's
The anime, based on manga written by Fujiko F Fujio, has aired in 35 countries and regions mainly in
This is the first time Doraemon has been localized for a specific audience. Changes include character names, food and item names, other cultural references, and music and sound effects to appeal to a U.S. audience.
Sherman, president and CEO of
"We need to know lots of details and we need to get deep into the show, to what the bones are," he said. "Then we can put the flesh back on and color it for a new audience -- the U.S. audience -- maintaining the original intent of the creators, while making it amazing for the new audience."
Some, though, were quick to note the name change for dorayaki, Doraemon's favorite snack, to "Yummy Buns."
"They're insisting on Yummy Buns despite the disclosing of the actual name in the first episode. Damn #Doraemon," wrote
Sherman said much thought went into the details, like what to call dorayaki. As part of Disney's effort to promote healthy eating, a number of healthier names were suggested and producers decided on "Yummy Buns."
But she also said the potential of expanding Doraemon's reach by introducing the anime in other large markets, especially
"One thing that I want to let our Japanese audience know is that I don't want them to be scared of localization," she said. "I don't want them to be afraid of exporting the material, the amazing property, that we have."
"Japanese titles need another market; they can't only stay in
Moroe, who grew up in
"We know the characters, so right away we knew specifically what kinds of voices we were looking for and the performance level we were looking for," she added.
Bang Zoom held a small audition for the pilot episodes and wanted to keep those voices when the show was picked up, but Okada said it took about four weeks to consider all options in the casting process for the series.
Of the voices in the pilot episodes, only Big G's was changed for the series, though Okada said casting for Doraemon was challenging because Disney had a different vision for the robotic cat's voice.
About 60 actors auditioned for the role of Doraemon. "We ended up auditioning many different actors," she said, "but in the end, we came back to the actor that we originally liked (
Sherman said many things came together to bring the show to
"There was so much love brought to the production," he said. "The producers, writers, voice director, animators in the U.S. who made the necessary changes to the animation itself, the U.S.-based composer and the whole production team at Bang Zoom put themselves whole-heartedly into doing Doraemon justice."
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