The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Doraemon - Nobita and the Animal Planet (stage version)
(C) Third Stage
Original by Fujiko F. Fujio
Stage play by Shoji Kokami
Premiere: 2008
Length: 2 hrs.
Acts, scenes: Two acts
Cast: main cast of 5 plus animals from the Animal Planet and aliens from Nimuge Planet, etc.
Japanese Drama Database
Doraemon - Nobita and the Animal Planet (stage version)
Doraemon - Nobita and the Animal Planet (stage version)
Doraemon - Nobita and the Animal Planet (stage version)
Doraemon - Nobita and the Animal Planet (stage version)
(C) Third Stage
Play of the Month Play of the Month
Doraemon - Nobita and the Animal Planet (stage version) by Shoji Kokami (0riginal by Fujiko F. Fujio) 
    Fujiko F. Fujio is one of Japan’s most famed and well-loved manga authors. Since its first episode in 1969, his popular Doraemon series has extended to an unprecedented 1,400 episodes in manga comics, TV programs and animated films that are loved not only in Japan but by fans around the world. Now for the first time, playwright and director Shoji Kokami has adapted Doraemon for the stage with the human actors.

    Doraemon is a robotic cat come back in time from the 22nd century, and in a typical Doraemon episode he helps his good friend, a primary school boy named Nobita, out of difficult situations using secret devices from the 22nd century that he pulls out of his “4-dimensional pocket.” Aided by Doraemon’s secret devices, Nobita, his trouble-making friends Gian and Suneo and the angelic girl Shizuka-chan go through episodes combining the everyday of primary school children with science-fiction adventure.

    Beginning with the Doraemon character, played by an actor inside a character suit, all the characters and animals that appear in the play are played live by actors. With the exception of the main characters Doraemon and Nobita, all the other characters are played by actors performing multiple roles, without distinction of the role’s orientation of good or bad, friend and foe. Also employed in the staging are traditional style kuroko black-hooded stage hands who appear on stage to bring in props or create a variety of effects such as standing as a group with tree-pattered panels for a scene where Nobita becomes lost in the woods, or rippling a water-pattern sheet to make a flowing river effect in a scene where the characters cross a river, or waving a fishing pole with a flying saucer on the end in a scene with a space craft.

    The original script for Nobita and the Animal Planet was written for one of the ongoing series of full-length Doraemon movies. It deals with the theme of environmental preservation from a unique perspective by employing the device of space travel to planets in outer space.

    One night in a dream, Nobita enters a pink mist and eventually finds himself lost in a strange forest. There he finds living together in harmony a variety of animals that speak like humans. The next day when he tells his friends about this amazing place, no one will believe him. That night, determined to find out the truth about his dream, Nobita enters the mist again with Doraemon following him, and together they search beyond the mist and eventually meet a young dog named Chippo. This Chippo tells them that they are on Animal Planet, a post-human animal world that evolved after human society collapsed due to environment destruction and other forces. This animal world is a far more advanced, environment-friendly civilization that uses solar and wind energy to produce electricity and produces food synthetically from light, water and air. On this planet there are no armies and no countries.

    The next day, Nobita invites Shizuka-chan to join him and Doraemon on another visit to Animal Planet, and they are followed secretly by the mischievous Gian and Suneo. As before, they search through the mist but end up this time on a barren moon (Nimuge Moon) inhabited by human-form aliens….

    Some time after returning to Earth, Nobita and his friends receive an SOS message from Chippo. They depart immediately on a rescue spaceship, and when they arrive on Animal Planet they find destruction everywhere. In order to save Animal Planet, Nobita and his friends vow with Chippo and his friends to use Doraemon’s devices and all their wits to fight against the enemies that have come from Nimuge Moon to destroy the planet. Thus, their real adventure begins.

Profile: Born: 1958
Born in Ehime Prefecture, Kokami was one of the standard bearers of the Shogekijo boom of the eighties. In 1981 he formed the theater group Daisan Butai, which gained popularity with their playful works and ability to capture the feel of the times. In his well-known work Asahi no yo na yuhi o tsurete (With a Sunset Like the Morning Sun), the men waiting for Godot play with some men who are developing the ultimate game. He won the 1995 Kishida Drama Award for Sunafukin no tegami (Snufkin's Letter). Kokami is currently focusing on writing and directing for his new troupe Kyoko no Gekidan, made up of young actors, and his production company Kokami@network. As well as staging plays, he is also involved in a wide range of activities including writing essays and books on theater, appearing on radio and TV, and directing movies. In June 2007, an English version of his play Trance was staged in London with an all-British cast. Kokami is a member of the selection committee for the Kishida Drama Awards.