(Photos Courtesy of Shirogumi Robot, Shin-Ei Animation)
It's not an exaggeration to say that the earless blue cyborg-cat Doraemon is a Japanese institution and that when the movie Stand by Me Doraemon hits cinemas worldwide this month, it will captivate many.
Fans of all ages filled the media premiere at the Blitzmegaplex cinema in Grand Indonesia, Central Jakarta, and actively joined the quiz session preceding the screening.
The movie opened in the country on Dec. 10 only at Blitzmegaplex cinemas but presale tickets were sold out six days previously.
The film was released to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Fujiko F. Fujio ' the moniker of duo Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko. They joined forces in 1954 and created Doraemon in 1969.
They worked together until 1987 but even after Fujimoto died in 1996 the friendship of Doraemon and its human companion Nobita was continued by syndicated manga-writing teams.
As part of the commemoration, 100 secret gadgets of Doraemon are on display at Ancol Beach City Mall in North Jakarta for 100 days, which will run until March.
Doraemon's gadgets, all kept in his kangaroo-like belly pocket, are loved by many fans because there is always a bit of crybaby Nobita in all of us.
Fifth-grader Nobita Nobi, or Noby in English, is an underachiever but does not lack friends and shows his love to classmate Shizuka Minamoto, or Sue.
Things don't go as expected, which leads to him becoming very dependent on Doraemon and the gadgets.
The gadgets are the highlight of the first-ever 3D computer graphic movie by Japanese filmmakers Takashi Yamazaki and Ryuichi Yagi.
The breathtaking scenes of riding through a time tunnel and flying through the Tokyo sky using the so-called 'bamboo-copter' can be seen as a way of Japan reclaiming its rights to the animation genre.
Yamazaki, who is also the scriptwriter, has not added anything new to the story, the plot of which is a combination of previous anime movies, including Doraemon: All the Way from the Future World, Romance on a Snow-covered Mountain, Nobita's the Night before a Wedding and Goodbye, Doraemon.
It wraps up the original tale of the most-popular series, which was started with Nobita's great-grandson Sewashi, who sent Doraemon to help Nobita find happiness so that his future family could live a better life.
The story is unexpectedly emotional but fun at the same time, with a wink at adult fans while entertaining the newbies.
Stand by Me Doraemon raked in a total of US$81 million after its release in Japan in August, twice its production budget of $35 million.
The movie is said to be the final story of Doraemon and Nobita, but another Doraemon animation film is set for release next year. Titled Doraemon: Nobita's Space Heroes, it will also be produced by Shin-Ei Animation under director Yoshihiro Osugi.
Let's just hope for more sequels to come that allow fans to experience the magical everyday life of Doraemon and Nobita.