Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend: anime review – drowning in the greenish visual spectacle

Review: Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant 2008 benefits from first class production quality. The show has the trademarks of Doraemon franchise all over it and a really good premise about environmentalism but with poor execution and direction, the movie crashes and burns.

This 2008 feature length film is an extension and re-imagination of an old short chapter of the manga. Nobita brings home a small tree and Doraemon, using his scientifically magical equipment, helps give the tree intelligence and ability to move around. They become friends and the tree is named Kebo. In the end of the chapter, Kebo chooses to leave Earth to join an alien fleet whose purpose is to explore the universe. Well, this movie is pretty much the same except that everything is much more prolonged and this time, in the second half of the movie, we get to see where Kebo goes; the Green Planet.

First of all, Kebo is annoying. He repetitively makes the same squeaky noise that is supposed to make him cute but, instead, results in the opposite. He always purposelessly runs around without taking any significant action. And his being the key to resurrect the Green Giant is never properly explained making the whole ending sequence literally non-substantial; a commotion of visuals and motions.

The second half takes place on the Green Planet. This part is like taking a tour; Doraemon and friends visit the palace then take a walk to many areas of the planet and meets the inhabitants of various species. Children may be thrilled by these wondrous beings and colorful settings but I was upset because there was no sense of direction. Strange new characters, one after another, pop up and disappear with no real meaning to their existences. Worse, even the main characters in Doraemon’s own company like Shitzuka, Tsuneo and Giant seem to be merely tagging along. I don’t recall them doing anything except appearing in the background.

The anime tries to include many themes and fails in all of them. Environmentalism is supposed to be the main thing but the anime does not pay much attention to it. Of course, there are lots and lots of trees and tree people around but the anime never clearly point out to human’s cruel deeds to nature. Thus, the green people’s idea of destroying Earth and punishing human seems too light and lacks good intention. The anti-war theme is also included into the story to a negative effect. During the end when the green giant is released and the green planet’s violent history is revealed, the direction of the movie is abruptly shifted. It’s no longer about environmentalism. It’s about foolish green people repeating their own mistake of using violence to solve problems. The theme of the show is shifted back and forth, interrupting each other, diluting each other and resulting in the viewer’s feeling of getting lost in the forest. What’s more, the Green Giant subplot sounds awfully like Nausicaa rip-off to me.

Jaw-dropping visual spectacle

For the up side, the animation never looks this good. The art and movements is simply a feast to the eyes. What we see is further enhanced by the giant scale musical score that deserves to be witness in theater. I was sad that this epic production quality is significantly dimmed by the poor direction and script of the anime. It was a shame.

Conclusion: Despite all the fondling memories and my immeasurable love for Doraemon, I am still able to recognize a weak movie when I see one.

Rating: C

Facts

Title: Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Genre: sci-fi, fantasy
Release date: 1 March 2008
Running Time: 112 minutes
Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Side note: I’m puzzled that this movie was nominated for Japanese Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. Maybe I missed something from the movie, I don’t know.

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11 responses to “Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend: anime review – drowning in the greenish visual spectacle

  1. Although released in 2008, this brings back nostalgic memories of childhood. Too bad it didn’t deliver though. I hate repetitive squeaky “cute” sounds too. I can’t stand them.

    When a children’s show attempts to deal with major themes, it’s always hard to balance childish fun with mature ideas. That said, this sounds like it didn’t even try too hard.

    • That is really interesting! I always admire Doraemon series for its well integration of mature and universal themes into childish setting. You made me realized that this movie had lost the familiar down-to-earth feeling that was usually found in this franchise. :)

  2. doreamon is a legend that lives on forever in my childish heart.. my favorite anime as always.. very funny entertaining and also a good source of moral lesson :D

  3. How many years Nobita and friends failed at class :D.
    Since high school I wondered, did Doraemon bought all those magical gadget from XXII century.

  4. Pretty much every Doraeman annual feature made in the past decade appears to be made by frustrated Miyazaki wannabe’s. How many times will Nobita and Doraemon have to meet a strong but misunderstood female protagonist locked in an epic struggle against (often male) evil before they realize they are trapped in a mannerism. Sad thing is, Doraemon was a blast when it was all about silly, imaginative, sermon-free adventurism shared by a group of good friends. Thank goodness the features from the 80’s are just a torrent away.

    • ‘frustrated Miyazaki wannabe’
      I love that *thumbs up*

      Though I still think that the remake of the original from the 80’s are pretty great :)

  5. “The theme of the show is shifted back and forth, interrupting each other, diluting each other and resulting in the viewer’s feeling of getting lost in the forest.” <- I like this.

  6. u r the most beautiful in this world doraemon….i love u so much…..

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