Doraemon '73 (partially found first-adaptation anime series; 1973)
Doraemon is a popular and long-running anime based on the manga of the same name by Fujiko F. Fujio. Its best-known adaptation originally ran from 1979 until 2005, while a reboot, that began airing a month after the first series' conclusion, is still airing to this day.
However, the very first attempt to adapt Doraemon to television had actually occurred in 1973, with a series produced by a company named NTV Video (previously known under the names of Japan Broadcast Film and Tokyo TV Movie). It aired on the (unrelated) NTV network. The series was broadcast from April 1st, 1973 until September 30th, 1973, for 26 episodes. Each consisted of 2 segments, making the series 52 shorts in total.
Broadcast and Cancellation
While the series did well in the ratings and was considered to be extended for another year, it encountered budget issues during its run, compounded by financial problems that the studio had, as well as the president of NTV Video abruptly resigning during the television run. The new president appeared not to regard the anime very highly, while the financial issues lead to the studio going bankrupt and being dissolved. Many of the staff that worked on the show wound up unpaid for their efforts due to this.
With the dissolution of NTV Video, the film reels to the series and other possessions wound up sold off to cover the debt, while other belongings in the studio and production materials were either thrown out in the garbage or destroyed in a kerosene fire. It has been erroneously reported that NTV deliberately organized a "cremation" fire and destroyed all the episodes; however, the production chief Masumi Jun (at the time credited under his real name, Hiroshi Shimosaki) has stated that this wasn't the case and has gone on to attempt to debunk the misconceptions surrounding the series' production and fate. Even so, a significant portion of the anime can be considered lost to some degree.
This version was briefly rebroadcast in 1979 but was abruptly pulled off television by order of Shogakukan, who did not want the new adaptation's reputation to be affected by the existence of the previous one, or for child viewers to be confused with the two different versions. It is possible that recorded videos from this time period may exist in some form.
While Hiroshi Fujimoto (aka "Fujiko F") was disappointed in the choice of studio to adapt Doraemon and the changes made to Nobita and Doraemon's characters, it is said that upon the closing of the NTV studio, he did not hold any hard feelings against the staff and expressed the hope that they could work on a new attempt at Doraemon in the future.
In 1995, episodes 18 and 20 through 26 were found to be stored in Studio Rush (now known as IMAGICA). In 2003, other segments were found by the production chief of the show, Masumi Jun, though two remain without their audio tracks. In 1998, a videotape recording of episode 18B, "Crazy Stomach Clock," was found by a lady named Yoshiaki Ueda. The tape was lent to a friend who went by the alias, Hanaballoon. The person hosted a blog on the 1973 anime, and thus a page that includes audio clips to the tape was made but has since been deleted.
On September 3rd, 2004, an Infoseek blog was created by a Japanese student that would be discussed collecting rare adverts and scarce information at the time. On December 25th, he received an audio recording tape from an anonymous person that contained the opening and credits along with a commercial for Nomura Securities.
Video footage of the opening and ending credits do still exist as well, along with a pilot film that was produced in 1972. These are occasionally shown at Doraemon fan conventions in Japan, but cannot be released legally owing to rights complications due to the production studio being defunct. Some episodes of the series also only survive in still image form. It is unknown what may have happened to the other reels.
When asked about a possible release of the surviving footage, Masumi Jun, Chief Producer of Doraemon '73, responded:
Dear American fans of Doraemon
-Signed Masumi Jun
Thank you for the email. In 1973 we broadcasted NTV Doraemon (NTV Doraemon and Old Dora is what the Japanese call Doraemon '73); for a long time, I thought that it was completely forgotten. So in 2003, I made a website about it. I got lots of emails from people saying that they wanted to see clips from the show. So I made a membership page with a Username and Password and uploaded the Opening and Ending.
Within a few minutes, I had heard that someone with access to the page had uploaded both clips onto another page (2chan). I removed the clip from my site right away. But because I gave it away only for a moment, it is now all over YouTube and other sites.
Due to me uploading it I got in some trouble with the law, I am resolving the issue now, but because of that, I will refrain from uploading the footage online. Though I have made it available at lectures and such for research use.
While Doraemon is still on the air, I am not allowed to release the footage. I hope you understand
Note: All of the titles end with "no maki" (の巻), meaning 'part' or 'chapter'.
Key: Found, publicly available or not, artifacts exist, like scripts or clips, or lost, possibly with images.
|#||Original title||English translation||Air date||Status|
|1||出た！！ドラえもんの巻 / ペコペコバッタ大騒動の巻||Doraemon Came Out!! / The Bow-Bow Grasshopper Riot||April 1st, 1973||Lost, images exist. / Lost, images exist.|
|2||屋根の上のすてきな子の巻 / のび太のご先祖さんの巻||Nice Girl on the Roof / Nobita's Ancestors||April 8th, 1973||In Jun storage. / In Jun storage.|
|3||弱味をにぎれの巻 / キューピッドですきすき作戦の巻||Understand the Weakness / Operation Cupid Love-Love||April 15th, 1973||In Jun storage. / Lost, script and images as well as a 6-second clip exist.|
|4||ねずみに弱い猫もあるの巻 / ガキ大将をやっつけろの巻||Rats Are As Weak As Cats / Defeat the Bully||April 22nd, 1973||In Jun storage. / In Jun storage.|
|5||おせじ鏡の巻 / パパとママの結婚記念日の巻||The Liar's Mirror / Papa and Mama's Wedding Anniversary||April 29th, 1973||In Jun storage. / Lost, images exist.|
|6||のろいカメラの巻 / 宝くじ大当り作戦の巻||Cursing Camera / Lottery Jackpot Strategy||May 6th, 1973||Lost, script exists. / Lost.|
|7||決闘！のび太とジャイアンの巻 / わたしは誰でしょうの巻||Duel! Nobita and Gian / Who Am I||May 13th, 1973||Lost, script exists. / Lost, script exists.|
|8||アベコンベ騒動の巻 / おばけ屋敷の謎の巻||Abekonbe Riot / Mystery of the Ghost House||May 20th, 1973||Lost, script exists. / Lost, script and images exist.|
|9||クイック・スロー大作戦の巻 / のび太は雨男の巻||The Quick-Slow Great Strategy / Nobita the Rain Man||May 27th, 1973||Lost. / Lost, script and images exist.|
|10||ウルトラミキサーの巻 / ねがい星流れ星の巻||Ultra Mixer / Wishing Star, Shooting Star||June 3rd, 1973||Lost. / In Jun storage.|
|11||ふしぎなふろしきの巻 / のび太のおばあちゃんの巻||The Mysterious Cloth / Nobita's Grandma||June 10th, 1973||Lost. / Lost, images exist.|
|12||大リーグ赤バットの巻 / 男は力で勝負するの巻||Red Bat of the Major League / A Man Fights with Power||June 17th, 1973||Lost. / In Jun storage.|
|13||ガチャ子登場の巻 / おしゃべり口べにの巻||Gachako's Appearance / The Talking Lipstick||June 24th, 1973||Lost, images exist. / Lost.|
|14||すきすきカメラの巻 / 天の川でデイトしようの巻||Love, Love This Camera / Date in the Milky Way||July 1st, 1973||Clip in background of Japanese porno. / Lost.|
|15||へんなロボットカーの巻 / ニコニコせっけんの巻||Weird Robot Car / Smiling Soap||July 8th, 1973||Lost, images exist. / Lost.|
|16||おれ署長のだいりの巻 / さあ夏だ！スキーをやろうの巻||My Chief of the Inner Palace / It's Summer! Let's Try to Ski||July 15th, 1973||Lost. / Lost.|
|17||成績表はいやだなあの巻 / 自分のかげをつかまえろの巻||I Hate Report Cards / Catching My Shadow||July 29th, 1973||Lost, images exist. / Lost.|
|18||潜水艦で海へ行こうの巻 / くっるたハラ時計の巻||Going to Sea in a Submarine / Crazy Stomach Clock||Aug 5th, 1973||In Jun and IMAGICA storage. / In Jun and IMAGICA storage.|
|19||キャンプ騒動の巻 / 忘れな草って何だっけの巻||Camp Riot / Who is Going to Forget?||Aug 12th, 1973||Lost, images exist. / Lost.|
|20||クーラーパラソルの巻 / いつでも日記の巻||Cooler Parasol / Always Diary||Aug 19th, 1973||In IMAGICA storage. / In IMAGICA storage.|
|21||宿題おばけが出たの巻 / お天気ボックスの巻||The Homework Ghost Came Out / Weather Box||Aug 26th, 1973||In IMAGICA storage. / In IMAGICA storage.|
|22||ぼくに清き一票をの巻 / まんが家修行の巻||I Have One Vote of Betrayal / Mangaka Training||Sept 2nd, 1973||In IMAGICA storage. / In IMAGICA storage.|
|23||すてきなガールフレンドの巻 / 花いっぱい騒動の巻||Nice Girlfriend / Flowery Riot||Sept 9th, 1973||In IMAGICA storage. / In IMAGICA storage.|
|24||そっくりクレヨンの巻 / 静香の誕生日の巻||Entirely Crayons / Shizuka's Birthday||Sept 16th, 1973||In IMAGICA storage. / In IMAGICA storage.|
|25||宇宙飛行士になりたいの巻 / まいごマゴマゴ大騒動の巻||Becoming an Astronaut / Lost and Confused Riot||Sept 23rd, 1973||In IMAGICA storage. / In IMAGICA storage.|
|26||ネンドロン大騒動の巻 / さようならドラえもんの巻||Nendoron Riot / Goodbye, Doraemon*||Sept 30th, 1973||In IMAGICA storage, audio exists. / In IMAGICA storage, audio exists.|
- Clips from only two episodes, "Operation Cupid Love-Love" and "Love, Love This Camera," have been found online.
- "Nendoron Riot/Goodbye Doraemon" is currently the only full episode to exist online – albeit in audio form only – and is available here:
- MEGA archive of known material/stills – courtesy of Sooper Nintendo
- Another MEGA archive – courtesy of Beautiful Duwang