Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん)

Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん, Kureyon Shin-chan?, also known as Shin-chan) is a Japanese manga and anime series written by Yoshito Usui.



Crayon Shin-chan follows the adventures of five-year-old Shinnosuke "Shin" Nohara and his parents, neighbors, and friends and is set in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

The author died on September 11, 2009 and was announced on the anime on October 16, 2009. The series formally ended on February 5, 2010 but on December 1, 2009, it was announced that a new manga would be published in the summer of 2010 by members of Usui's team.

Basic information

Crayon Shin-chan first appeared in a Japanese weekly magazine called Weekly Manga Action, which is published by Futabasha. The anime Crayon Shin-chan has been on TV Asahi since April 13, 1992, and on several television networks, worldwide. Shin-Chan has 52 episodes. Many of the jokes in the series stem from Shin-chan's occasionally weird, unnatural and inappropriate use of language, as well as from his inappropriate behavior. Consequently, non-Japanese readers and viewers may find it difficult to understand his jokes. In fact, some of them cannot be translated into other languages. In Japanese, certain set phrases almost always accompany certain actions; many of these phrases have standard responses. A typical gag involves Shin-chan confounding his parents by using the wrong phrase for the occasion; for example, saying "Welcome back!" ("おかえりなさい") instead of "I'm home!" ("ただいま") when he comes home. Another difficulty in translation arises from the use of onomatopoeic Japanese words. In scolding Shin-chan and attempting to educate him in proper behaviour his parent or tutor may use such a phrase to indicate the correct action. Often through misinterpreting such a phrase as a different, though similar sounding phrase, or through interpreting it in one sense when another is intended, Shin-chan will embark on a course of action which, while it may be what he thinks is being requested of him, leads to bizarre acts which serve only to vex his parents or tutors even more. This is not restricted to onomatopoeic words, since almost any word can become a source of confusion for Shin-chan, including English loan-words, such as mistaking "cool" for "pool" ("That's pool!" or "プールだぞ!" for "That's cool!").

Some other humorous themes which are repeated in the series are of a more universal nature, such as gags based on physical comedy (such as eating snow with chopsticks) or, as a child, unexpectedly using adult speech patterns or mannerisms. But even there, many of the gags may require an understanding of Japanese culture and/or language to be fully appreciated; for example, his infamous "Mr. Elephant" impression, while being transparently obvious as a physical gag, also has a deeper resonance with contemporary Japanese culture since it references the popular Japanese children's song "Zou-san" (ぞうさん). Shin-chan regularly becomes besotted with pretty female characters who are much older than him, and an additional source of humor is derived from his child-like attempts at wooing these characters, such as by asking them (inappropriately, on several levels) "Do you like green peppers?" (ピーマン好き?). He continually displays a lack of tact when talking to adults asking such questions as "How many people have you killed?" to tough looking men or, "When are you going to die?" to elderly people.

During the beginning of the series, the TV show was mostly based on the storyline in the original manga. As the show progressed, more and more episodes became anime-original. The show works under a sliding timescale where the characters have maintained their ages throughout the course of the show. Though time has passed to allow for the rise and fall of several pop culture icons, marriages, pregnancies, and births of various characters, all the characters still maintain their age at the time of their introduction. For example, if the two major births in the series are taken into account (Shinnosuke's sister and his kindergarten teacher's child), Shinnosuke would be seven years old and in second grade, but he is not.

Yoshito Usui died on September 11, 2009 after a fall at Mount Arafune. After Usui died, Futabasha originally planned to end Crayon Shin-chan in November 2009. Upon discovery of new manuscripts, Futabasha decided to extend the comic's run until the March 2010 issue of the magazine, which shipped on February 5, 2010.

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