Back from the future

By Nancy Liu  /  Contributing reporter

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 - Page 11

Following a tour to Hong Kong earlier this year, Doraemon, the earless Japanese cartoon cat from the future, has arrived in Taiwan to celebrate his birthday (albeit 100 years early), stirring up great excitement in the local anime community.

Like all superstars, Doraemon will be making a grand appearance. The blue feline is greeting his fans with 101 life-size figurines of himself and a collection of gadgets only seen in manga series — bamboo-copter, invisible clock, time machine and anywhere door, just to name a few.

Though Doraemon won’t be born until 2112, his popularity has already prompted anime fans all over the world to throw parties for him in 2012, which marks the one hundred year countdown to his birthday. Taiwan, with approximately 500,000 fans, will join the league.

At the “100 Years Before the Birth of Doraemon” celebration at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (松山文創園區), children and adults will have a chance to meet the round bodied robot cat up close and learn about his early life, when he was yellow in color, had ears and higher voice.

Manuscripts of Fujiko F. Fujio, who created Doraemon in 1970, and Doraemon-inspired artworks from 40 designers will also be displayed at the venue.

Doraemon was sent back in time from the 22nd century by a young boy to aid his grandfather Nobita Nobi. Equipped with innovative, high-tech gadgets, Doraemon was able to save Nobi from trouble and make his life easier. Although the episodes are comic, they also convey messages of value, love and education.

Doraemon is more than a cartoon, said Yang Da-de (楊大德), a manager from Gold Media Group, the organizer of the event.

“[Doraemon] always pulls out gadgets from his fourth-dimensional pocket to help Nobi and friends. The manga itself not only portrays friendships but also dreams for a better future,” Yang said.

Forty years after publication, Doraemon’s impact has already exceeded the author’s original expectations. In 2002, Doraemon was named an Asian hero. Eight years later, he was appointed as Japan’s anime ambassador.