Interesting blog post from I Miss Bionix blog about a forgotten dub of the anime series Doraemon who's very popular in Japan.
Since its debut in 1970, Fujiko Fujio’s Doraemon has become one of the most enduring pieces of Japanese pop culture. You can find the titular gadget cat on just about any piece of merchandise you can think of, buoyed by a seemingly endless supply of anime episodes and theatrical features. He even served as an ambassador for Tokyo’s Olympic bid. This success, however, has not translated to the English world. Even amongst anime fans, the character might be recognizable, but few could tell you his story.
Multiple attempts have been made to try and introduce the character to English audiences in the western world. The biggest push to date occurred within the last decade, when the Japanese rights holders commissioned a dub of the ongoing 2005 anime series to air on Disney XD in the United States. With a localization (that at times was overzealous ) produced by Bang Zoom, the anime finally debuted on July 7, 2014. A year later, a more faithful Hong Kong-based production began airing on Boomerang in the United Kingdom. However, neither attracted an audience large enough for the franchise to thrive. After a second season on Disney XD, Doraemon was done in the United States. The British run failed to make it that long.
One of, if not the, earliest attempts at bringing Doraemon over occurred decades prior. In 1985, Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) acquired 50 episodes of the 1979 series with the intention of airing it in the United States. However, this never came to pass. That move wasn’t out of place for the company at the time. It had commissioned Cinar to produce an English dub of Tsuburaya’s live-action Ultra Seven, that it then shelved for years. It was similarly reluctant to air G-Force, the second adaptation of Tatsunoko’s Gatchaman anime. Turner also played some role in the English production of Nippon Animation’s The Bush Baby, despite there being no documentation of it ever running on any of their channels. They had a habit of picking up shows and then changing their minds.
This Doraemon incarnation did make it to television … in Barbados. For years, locals have been reminiscing on forums and comment sections about Albert and Sidney, an English version of Doraemon that aired in the late 1980s to early 1990s on public broadcaster CBC TV 8 (no relation to the Canadian company). With little to substantiate either’s existence, there wasn’t much thought given to the possibility of Albert and Sidney being the Turner project.