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Arabs loved anime even before it went mainstream

18 Oct 2019
Teenage detective Shinichi Kudo is seen as a modern Sherlock Holmes. (YouTube)
Teenage detective Shinichi Kudo is seen as a modern Sherlock Holmes. (YouTube)
 In Takarajima, 13-year-old Jim Hokins gets swept into an adventure to uncover a legendary treasure. (YouTube)
In Takarajima, 13-year-old Jim Hokins gets swept into an adventure to uncover a legendary treasure. (YouTube)
 Grendizer is a super robot anime television series. (YouTube)
Grendizer is a super robot anime television series. (YouTube)
Naruto Uzumaki is a hopeless idiot but his dream is to become the leader of the village. (YouTube)
Naruto Uzumaki is a hopeless idiot but his dream is to become the leader of the village. (YouTube)
Updated 18 Oct 2019
18 Oct 2019

Aseel Bashraheel

Before anime became mainstream, Arabs were exposed to it with shows dubbed into Arabic. Many grew up entranced by the opening songs and heartfelt voice acting of these shows:

‘Detective Conan’

A modern Sherlock Holmes, teenage detective Shinichi Kudo is leading a busy life-fighting crime. But one day, while visiting an amusement park with his childhood friend Ran Mouri, he investigates a crime and is confronted by the masterminds, two members of a criminal group called the Black Organization.

The members try to kill the young detective with a drug, but it ends up shrinking him, forcing him to create a persona of himself in the body of a child. He hunts the members to find a cure to return to his original body.

‘Captain Tsubasa’

Tsubasa Ohzora has been enamored with football since the age of 2. He moves to Nankatsu with his mother at the age of 12, where he discovers camaraderie, rivalry, and the life of competitive football as he continues to grow as a human and athlete. The show aired from 1983 to 1986, and inspired professional footballers to pursue association football, such as Spanish players Andres Iniesta and El Hombre Linterna.

‘Takarajima’

Through a series of events, 13-year-old Jim Hokins gets swept into an adventure, along with some of the most dangerous pirates, to uncover a legendary treasure. His best friend and father figure then reveals his true intentions and commandeers the ship, revealing his identity as a merciless pirate, leaving Hokins betrayed and confused. But they must find a way to work together to retrieve the treasure.

Amani Al-Ghoraibi, who enjoyed “Takarajima” as a kid, said: “I like the art style. It’s much more different than today’s cartoon art style. I appreciate the fact that it’s all hand-drawn. With these kinds of cartoons, there’s always a purpose or message behind each episode, leaving something meaningful and precious with you for years. The voice acting and the intro songs were beautiful because dubbers worked so hard to make it realistic and meaningful for audiences.”

‘Grendizer’

Duke Fleed is the crown prince and sole survivor on planet Fleed after an attack instigated by the ruthless King Vega. He manages to escape to Earth in a spaceship called Grendizer, where he meets Dr. Umon and starts living like a human. Years later, Duke Fleed is forced to fight back when King Vega picks Earth as his next conquest.

Nejwa Knight, a mother of four, said: “Characters were multi-faceted. They had realistic good or bad points. Each episode had a full story, not just a good-vs-evil fight. Some characters were duped into battle or fought for something they believed in. There was so much effort put into these old cartoons, which makes them withstand the passage of time.”

‘Future Boy Conan’

A major war shakes Earth, and a destructive weapon far more devastating than any nuclear bomb wrecks half the planet, threatening its inhabitants’ extinction. Some people try to leave Earth, but their spaceship crashes and they wind up on the small Remnant Island.

A boy called Conan is born and raised there by his grandfather, and they are the only survivors. One day, a girl named Lana crashes on the shore, and Conan’s adventures begin as he gets carried into the complexities of the aftermath of war as he tries to help Lana find her grandfather.

‘Naruto’

Naruto Uzumaki is a hopeless idiot, but his dream is to become the leader of the village of Konohagakure. When he was born, he had the spirit of a demon fox sealed inside him, but that does not stop him from persevering to become the nation’s greatest ninja, making many a friend and foe along the way.

Ahmed Baleegh, 12, who has been watching “Naruto” since he was 6 with his older sister, said: “I saw her watching it when I was younger, and I was immediately hooked because of the fight scenes and every character’s special fight moves. It’s also very funny at times.”

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