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Many overseas anime fans don’t get their first introduction to the medium until they’re in their teens, and most are initially startled by how much more comfortable Japanese animation is than its western counterpart when it comes to depicting graphic violence in shows aimed at that age set. Still, it’s not like every popular cartoon in Japan is a gore fest. For example, perennial hit Sazae-san has over 7,000 episodes, and not one of them features its middle-class family maiming each other by firing energy blasts from their hands or the beam rifle of a giant robot.

Likewise, the Doraemon franchise, about a young boy and his loveable robot cat companion, is relatively free of dismemberment…but not entirely, as this video of one of the characters losing a key body part during a live performance shows.

Being one Japan’s most enduringly popular and family-friendly anime, the producers of Doraemon sometimes organize events where the cast appears on-stage in costumed form. YouTube user mae taka was recently in attendance at one such show, in which the anime’s human children are preparing a surprise birthday party for Doraemon.

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But while bespectacled Nobita, girlish Shizuka, and pompadour-sporting Suneo all seem to be keeping the secret under wraps, Gian, seen on the far left in the above shot, almost spills the beans! Chastised and flustered, the series’ on-again-off-again bully bows his head in apology. But while his classmates may be willing to forgive him, the cosmos is not, and thus swift and merciless retribution is coming for Gian, as zeroed in on in this tweet from Moshoko.

The full video is even more surreal. We hope we’re not spoiling the illusion for anyone, but the Dorameon characters seen in the video aren’t real people. They’re performers wearing oversized headgear. As such, their expressions can’t change, even when their classmate’s head suddenly falls off like he’s been decapitated by an invisible ninja. Nor can they alter the dialogue of their pre-recorded conversation, so they go on chatting excitedly about singing Happy Birthday at the upcoming party while Gian runs around with a stump where his head used to be, made somehow unsettling in its own unique way by the complete lack of blood.

▼ The ultraviolence starts just after the 4:00 mark.

Thankfully, the absence of panicked crying suggests that the children in the audience weren’t too disturbed by the wardrobe malfunction. Still, this is an interesting preview of what a gritty reboot of Doraemon could look like, one in which Nobita exchanges his robo cat companion for dangerous psionic powers, and also where his timid passivity towards Gian’s bullying is replaced with an irrepressible lust for murderous vengeance.

▼ “Who’s crying now, Gian? WHO’S CRYING NOW?!?

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Source: Twitter
Top image: YouTube/mae taka
Insert images: YouTube/mae taka