Review of Stand by Me Doraemon (2014)
Seen in 2022.
A cinematic reboot, for a new generation, of a franchise that started in comics in 1969 and has since proliferated. The old character designs look bad in this all-3D-CG uchronia, and it’s still based very much on play and wishful thinking, with moral lessons quickly forgotten. Honesty about personal failings is the most refreshing element of the franchise, and it’s not a bowdlerized Grimm fairy tale with anthropomorphic animals and musical sequences like Disney.
It’s a fun detail that although the Doraemon franchise itself is a staple of indoctrinating young Japanese into gadget consumerism, the characters live in a suburb without commercial posters. There’s a sequence in this movie that takes place in an hyperurban near future, but even that urban landscape is free of commercial branding, certainly compared to real Japanese cities. The whole franchise is similarly contradictory about its values.