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Japanese children have been growing up with the resourceful robo-cat Doraemon since his creation in 1969. And while the original manga may have ended more than 15 years ago, the anime series and movie installments continue to provide fresh conflict for the funny feline and his human friends.

But with so much material to keep up with, there are bound to be a few contradictions along the way. Recently, the widely understood reason behind Doraemon’s blue coloring was flat-out replaced by an even sadder version of the tale. So, why is it that a robotic cat from the near-distant future is earless and blue?

Story has it that Doraemon used to have ears and was yellow in color. Unfortunately, when he was napping one day, mice came and gnawed at those little listening appendages until they were completely unsalvageable. Apparently, when the bandages around Doraemon’s broken head were finally removed and he saw his circular head in the mirror, the yellow drained from his skin, leaving his body completely blue! It has been that way ever since.

At least, that’s how the story used to go.

According to more recent trivia, Doraemon’s blue color comes at the cost of many tears. In a more recent anime episode, it’s shown that his yellow paint flaked off soon after his girlfriend cruelly laughed at his perfectly round face. Doraemon tried to be resourceful and lift his spirits in the wake of her laughter using a quick and easy dose of “the source of happiness.” However, he made a mistake and accidentally drank “the source of tragedy” instead. The resulting tears shook Doraemon’s body so hard that all of his yellow paint peeled away, revealing that familiar blue color underneath.

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Now, while I’m sure that fans of American comics are used to this kind of retcon (retroactive continuity) in their own fandoms (seriously, how many stories are there for the origin of the Joker’s smiling scars?), for the millions of Japanese people who grew up believing one thing about their favorite future cat-bot, this second origin story is causing a lot of confusion. They’re not sure which canon is the real one! And if the fundamental facts concerning this well-established character’s back story are falling apart so decisively, how many lesser contradictions might have slipped by unnoticed?

Source: Gadget Tsushin via Hachima Kikou (Japanese)
Top image: Meijoyce