“Forever from now on, Doraemon and I won’t stay together,” said Nobita after drinking Liar Liar Liquid.
Seemingly, most people in Asia grow up with the same Doraemon—the time-travelling blue robo-cat from the 22nd century—through manga or TV. Now, 45 years after the since the creation by duo manga artist Fujiko Fujio (Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abito), Doraemon gets a 3D CG treatment, leaving its traditional 2D anime style in a nostalgic drama Stand by Me Doraemon, a tribute movie to commemorate Fujiko F. Fujio’s 80th anniversary.
Different from other Doraemon movies or OVAs—which brings Doraemon and friends to some different worlds—Stand by Me focuses on what happens on daily base, serving as a soft “reboot” to the origins of the characters. Stand by Me combines episodes from manga and anime, such as All The Way From Country of The Future, which tells a story of how Soby a.k.a Sewashi sends Doraemon to assist his clumsy grand-grandfather, Noby a.k.a Nobita; Romance in Snowy Mountain and Nobita’s The Night Before The Wedding, which wraps a Doraemon-aid time-travel story that inspires Nobita, also Goodbye, Doraemon, a melancholy story in which Nobita gets parted with Doraemon.
The story smoothly goes from the first encounter, then, leads to how Doraemon helps Nobita with his daily problem involving Giant a.k.a Big G, Suneo a.k.a Sneech, Dekisugi a.k.a Ace, and most importantly, Shizuka a.k.a Sue. Each fragment is constructed so thoroughly everyone might enjoy it easily; although, in the mid-act, the time-travel matters might be a little perplexing to audiences, especially kids. However, for people new to Doraemon, this movie will be a touching welcome to the adventure of Doraemon, Nobita, and friends. For people who grow up with Doraemon, this is more than just a sentimental nostalgia with the titular childhood friend in a up-and-down emotional jet-set; it’s a master-class of retelling Doraemon.
The decision to make it in 3D-CG is, obviously, a clever movement. It enhances the audience’s experience in watching the titular story from a completely different perspective. The transformation of the characters and how they blend with their new CGI-based environment is smooth; lessening nothing, but adding us with new POV of how things work in Doraemon’s world. The most obvious enhancements is how we can see Doraemon’s gadget been operated with a different perspective; the Anywhere Door and the Hopter looks so playful in this new perspective. The 3D-CG visual really gives an insight that this is not just an ordinary Doraemon story, it’s something beyond.
Although the poster and the trailer somewhat shows how sentimental this movie is, Stand by Me Doraemon is not merely an animation with penchants of being a tearjerker. It’s a timeless tale, a roller-coaster of emotion, and a new perspective at once; all in the light of Doraemon.
VERDICT: It might make you laugh or cry, but there’s something deeper than just some emotion escalation in Stand by Me Doraemon—there’s simply a connection to everyone who grows up with Doraemon.
Stand by Me Doraemon (2014)
Drama, Animation Directed by: Takashi Yamazaki, Ryuichi Yagi Written by: Takashi Yamazaki based on manga character by Fujiko F. Fujio Voiced by: Megumi Oohara, Wasabi Mizuta, Yumi Kakazu, Subaru Kimura, Tomokazu Seki Running Time: 95 mins