"..." (tribblewing) wrote in doraemon_fans,

Doraemon tackles the dangers of religious ideology?

Among the things I found on YouTube before Otakon was the trailer for Doraemon: Nobita and the Robot Army (1986). I was misdirected by the blurb, "Preview of Century King's latest movie release. Release schedule: May 2006", into thinking the film was licensed for English release, but turns out the CK fansub group used the original trailer to promote their fansub of the movie.

Amazingly, it's available as a torrent and a direct download.

I've seen it 4 times now, and also shown it to the 2nd to 5th graders the day my mother was out for jury duty. But even though the film's for grade schoolers, I encountered problems because of one nude shot that I totally forgot about.

It was interesting *and* frustrating, watching the reactions of the kids. They went from squicked to offended to coming up w/ justifications so they could continue viewing it guilt-free. The scene was an injured female android, Lilulu, getting a change of medical bandages by Shizuka, a human female child. These were bright kids who spent most of the time cynically commenting on the actions of the protagonists, and yet, they couldn't stomach that one scene.

I got them to be quiet when I mentioned that they're missing out on *important* dialogue, since this was an English subbed file. And I wasn't bluffing either. Right after, the background music changed and Lilulu's narration on *robot theology* began...

Li-Lulu: You'll regret saving me.
Shizuka: Why? Because you're a robot? I don't mind at all.
Li-Lulu: Humans will soon be enslaved by Mechatopia.
Shizuka: Enslaved? How terrible...
Li-Lulu: Terrible? Why is this terrible? Robots are the rulers of the universe! This is our destiny, ordained by God.
Shizuka: That's ridiculous! Robots were made by humans, for humans!
Li-Lulu: There's not one human in Mechatopia.
Shizuka: Then how...?
Li-Lulu: Long ago, even before humans on Earth were in existence, there were humans in another galaxy. But God gave up on them. Selfish... greedy.. hating and killing each other... [so] God came to an uninhabited planet, and created Amu and Imu, and said: "Robots! Create a society worthy of being called Heaven!" Amu and Imu hastily made descendant robots. In time, robots that rule and those that are ruled appeared. Aristocrat and wealthy robots started to use slave robots. However, a robot revolution for equality ultimately banned slavery. As compromise, we decided to use humans. Understand now? Robots are God's children. The universe exists for robots!
Shizuka: It's exactly like human history. God will be displeased.
Li-Lulu: What did you say?! Are you saying that robots are mimicking humans?! Take it back!
Shizuka: You shouldn't get up!
Li-Lulu: Take it back! ::shoots at Shizuka with her finger laser and collapses on the floor::
Shizuka: ::runs outside of her bedroom:: I can't do this! You should just break! ::cries:: I wanted... to be friends... ::goes back into the room:: I just can't leave her...

Vocal, knee-jerk declarations were that Shizuka was *stupid* and that Lilulu should *die*, even though the emotional setup of the scene was done to generate a sympathetic response to *both* characters. These were some pretty smart and ruthless grade schoolers. (A following scene had Nobita threatening Lilulu w/ a laser pistol, and the kids were going "Shoot her, stupid!", but Nobita fails his own bluff.)

Later on, Lilulu redeems herself in a speech to the Robot General at the demolished Diet Building, which is my favorite scene. And it's even cooler *because* it's the *Diet* Building! [establishing shot, overhead shot, interior shot] Something I didn't realize before as a kid, and not Japanese either. Funnily enough, I learned to recognize the Diet Building from watching Yami no Matsuei. ^^;

Robot General: Lilulu! What's going on? Explain. Where must we go to find slaves?
Lilulu: I refuse to answer.
Robot General: What? What did you just say?
Lilulu: Enslaving humans... is a mistake!
Robot General: What are you saying?! Humans are the same as trash!
Lilulu: They are not trash! They have feelings as complicated as ours!
Robot General: Silence! Your thought circuit must be broken! God chose us as the rulers of the universe! He wanted us, in place of Humans, to make the ideal Heaven!
Lilulu: You're mistaken! I do not think that it is a Heaven only for robots... but a Heaven for all those that inhabit the universe! Do you not think that we are betraying our God's wishes? It is advised to stop the enslavement mission and pull out!
Robot General: Traitor! Take her to the base and lock her up!

And I'm guessing that I'm the only one who finds Doraemon committing what was essentially a *lobotomy*, on an unwilling robot, to be as *disturbing* as the scene was amusing? The kids kept laughing there, cause the thing *complained* so much...

I wonder what made the fansubbers go for a 20 year-old Doraemon film? I love how apocalyptic this film is, and the plot device that was used to get around it. (Most of the film takes place in a mirror world, *eerily* devoid of human and animal life.) How it felt like the *tone* shifted on me and the characters in it. And how, until they tossed in the deus ex machina, it was obvious (to the audience *and* the characters themselves) that there was *no* way that a robotic cat and 4 kids were going to save the world.
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I'd just like to thank you for writing this. Some - well, many - of the Doraemon long stories were really profound, and this reflected much. The reaction of the children were chilling.
It's interesting to hear the reactions of the children during this film.
If you were to sit in a room full of japanese children the same age, the reaction would typically be very different.