Film Friday- Dr. Slump

Film Friday- Dr. Slump

Dr. Slump is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was serialized in Shueisha’s anthology magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1980 to 1984, with the chapters collected into 18 tankōbon volumes. The series follows the humorous adventures of the little girl robot Arale Norimaki, her creator Senbei Norimaki, and the other residents of the bizarre Penguin Village.

The manga was adapted into an anime television series by Toei Animation that ran on Fuji TV from 1981 to 1986 for 243 episodes. A remake series was created thirteen years after the manga ended, consisting of 74 episodes that were broadcast from 1997 to 1999. The series has also spawned several novels, video games and eleven animated films.

Dr. Slump launched Toriyama’s career. It was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen and shōjo manga in 1981 and has sold over 35 million copies in Japan. The manga was released in North America by Viz Media from 2004 to 2009. Discotek Media released the first five films in North America in 2014.


The Dr. Slump manga was adapted into two separate anime television series by Toei Animation, both of which aired on Fuji TV. The first, Dr. Slump – Arale-chan, ran from April 8, 1981 to February 19, 1986 and spanned 243 episodes. The second anime, simply titled Doctor Slump, ran from November 26, 1997 to September 22, 1999 and lasted seventy-four episodes

The first anime was released on home video for the first time in 2007, remastered, in two 22-disc DVD sets; Slump the Box N’Cha on March 23, which contains the first 120 episodes, and Slump the Box Hoyoyo on September 14, which contains the remainder. Likewise, the second series was released the following year as Slump the Box 90’s on March 21. The first anime was then released in twenty 2-disc sets (the last was 3-disc) of roughly twelve episodes each, titled Slump the Collection; the first three sets on October 9, 2008, the next five on November 28, the next six on December 21, and the last six on January 30, 2009. The first episode of the original anime was adapted into English by Harmony Gold USA in 1984, but the pilot was never picked up.


Toei has also created eleven animated films based on Dr. Slump, beginning with Hello! Wonder Island on July 18, 1981. They continued to produce one film a year until 1985; “Hoyoyo!” Space Adventure on July 10, 1982, Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: Hoyoyo! The Great Race Around the World on March 13, 1983, Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: Hoyoyo! The Secret of Nanaba Castle on December 22, 1984, and Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: Hoyoyo! The City of Dreams, Mechapolis on July 13, 1985.

In 1993, Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: N-cha! Clear Skies Over Penguin Village and Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: N-cha! From Penguin Village with Love were released on March 6 and July 10 respectively. In 1994, Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: Hoyoyo!! Follow the Rescued Shark… and Dr. Slump and Arale-chan: N-cha!! Excited Heart of Summer Vacation were released on March 12 and July 9 respectively. On March 6, 1999, Arale’s Surprise Burn was produced.

Toriyama’s 2007 one-shot was adapted into a five-minute short titled Dr. Slump: Dr. Mashirito and Abale-chan that was shown alongside the theatrically released One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta. In 2008, all eleven films were released in a remastered DVD box set titled Slump the Box Movies on September 21. On June 12, 2013, Discotek Media announced they acquired the first five Dr. Slump films for release in North America. They released all five in a two-disc DVD box set in Japanese with English subtitles on July 29, 2014.

Video games

A series of three Dr. Slump – Arale-chan video games called Hoyoyo Bomber, Gatchan! Kazi Kazi and Ncha! Bycha, by Animest was released as Game & Watch clones in 1982. A Dr. Slump video game was released in 1983 for the Arcadia 2001. Dr. Slump Bubble Blitz was released for the NEC PC-6001 in 1984 by Enix. An action game, simply titled Dr. Slump, for the PlayStation based on the second television series was released on March 18, 1999 by Bandai. Dr. Slump: Arale-Chan was released on October 30, 2008 for the Nintendo DS. Arale appears in the 1988 Famicom game Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden. In the Nintendo DS game Jump Super Stars, Arale and Dr. Mashirito are player characters, while Senbei appears as a support character. They both return in the sequel, Jump Ultimate Stars while Senbei, Midori, Gatchan, Obotchaman and Unchi-kun are support characters. Arale appears as a playable character in J-Stars Victory VS.

Arale appears in several Dragon Ball video games as well. She and several other Dr. Slump characters appear in Dragon Ball: Daimaō Fukkatsu, she alone is a hidden battle in Dragon Ball 3: Goku Den, and she and Senbei briefly appear in Dragon Ball Z: Super Goku Den — Totsugeki-Hen. Arale is a playable character, and Penguin Village is a playable map, in Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! Meteor for the PlayStation 2 and Wii. In the PS2 game Super Dragon Ball Z, Suppaman appears in the background of the city level; after breaking the porta-potty, Suppaman will roll off on his skateboard. Arale can also be unlocked as a playable character in Dragon Ball: World’s Greatest Adventure for the Wii, Dragon Ball DS 2: Charge! Red Ribbon Army for the DS, and Dragon Ball Fusions for the Nintendo 3DS. Finally, she, along with Gatchan and Senbei Norimaki, appear as non-playable characters in the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows game Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, as does Penguin Village.

Other media

There have been several light novels based on Dr. Slump. The first two, Novel!? Dr. Slump released in July 1981 and Novel!? Dr. Slump Strikes Back released in April 1982, were written by Masaki Tsuji, who also wrote for the anime adaptation. A novel written by Shun’ichi Yukimuro and based on the second movie was released on July 15, 1982. The Sun fell in Penguin Village and Ghostbusters, released on October 1989 and June 27, 1997 respectively, are original works written by Genichiro Takahashi, but draw from the world of Dr. Slump.

A radio drama adaptation was broadcast at around the same time the anime was airing. Arale was voiced by Yuko Hara, keyboardist of the popular rock band Southern All Stars.

In 2014, two commercials featuring Dr. Slump were created by Toei for Suzuki. The commercials advertise the car manufacturer’s Kei SUV Hustler and include new acting from Mami Koyama as Arale and Kumiko Nishihara as Gatchan.

In celebration of the anime adaptation’s 35th anniversary, the Dr. Slump – Arale-chan N’Cha! Best album containing music from the series was released on June 1, 2016.

Arale Norimaki

is a robot built by Senbei Norimaki who looks like a young girl. She is known for her naïveté, energetic personality, lack of common sense, and amazing strength. Senbei tries to convince the other citizens of Penguin Village that she is just a normal human girl, and it seems to work, despite her superhuman athletic ability. Among her strengths, she can use abilities that range from the terrain splitting Chikyūwari to the beam-like N’chahō. However, she is nearsighted and needs to wear glasses.

Senbei Norimaki

is Penguin Village’s goofy genius inventor who is able to invent the most brilliant and ridiculous inventions. As a running gag, his appearance transforms into a more handsome, taller version of himself when he is being serious. He is 28 years old and uses the unusual greeting “N’Cha”, which Arale adopts. After creating Arale, he alternatively tells the village residents that she is either his younger sister or his daughter, depending on the occasion.

Senbei’s name is a pun on the word for a rice cracker and with his family name, Norimaki Senbei, it refers to a rice cracker wrapped in nori seaweed.  In Dragon Ball, he attempts to fix Son Goku’s Dragon Radar. Senbei also makes a brief non-speaking role in the Dragon Ball film The Great Mystical Adventure.

Akane Kimidori

is a rebellious 13-year-old girl who quickly becomes Arale’s best friend. She often plays pranks on Senbei who considers her a bad influence on Arale. She starts dating Tsukutsun Tsun late in the series, and a look ten years into the future shows they got married. She has a brief appearance in the Dragon Ball series.


Taro Soramame

is Arale’s older “bad boy” friend at school. The 15-year-old is usually seen smoking cigarettes and trying to act “cool.” After graduating from high school, he becomes a police officer. He starts dating Tsururin Tsun,whom he eventually marries ten years in the future.  He briefly appears in Dragon Ball, shown on a date with Tsururin.


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