The selection of Japanese films was a tad abysmal on this flight, as I had already seen the ones that I felt worth watching back in July. Seems like three months is not enough to replenish the list. Then again, they had 君の名は on since Feb come to think of it (no, it wasn’t on the list on this flight).

I wanted something lighthearted. The 2017 Doraemon film was it, then. This one was called Doraemon The Movie: Great Adventure in the Antarctic “Kachi-Kochi” about Doraemon and Nobita, together with their mates, Shizuka, Suneo and Gian, going on an adventure in the south pole in search of they felt was Atlantis. With any Doraemon story, you’d expect anything impossible to be possible. If you are in trouble, there’s always a gadget in Doraemon’s pocket to save the day.

It turns out the frozen civilisation deep beneath the ice near the coast of Antarctica was not Atlantis after all but the ruins of an ancient race that had long left Earth for a planet 100,000 light years away. You can’t help to notice certain elements in the film feeling somewhat Ghibli-esque (ice monsters and ruins reminiscent of Mononoke Hime and Laputa, respectively, to name two) but one thing came to mind whilst watching the film.

For context, I remembered being told off by my late mom for watching Doraemon on the telly. I was like 18, and the anime was a Malay dub with the highest pitch voice actor ever doing Doraemon. Mom went, “Ini bukan cerita budak-budak, ini TADIKA!” (roughly transl. This isn’t just a children’s cartoon, IT’S FOR KINDERGARTEN KIDS!”). I just couldn’t help but grin sheepishly then. Anyway, this film (and another Doraemon one from a few years ago) was written pretty well. There was time travel involved during their sub-Antarctic hi-jinks and from the timeline of the film, the writers know their stuff when it comes to issues relate to disruption of the space-time continuum. And minor astronomy tidbits like how a star 100,000 light years away looking the way it did 100,000 years ago now would be great for kids to learn from. Hey, I also learnt the concept of snowball Earth from this film today which is a hypothesis where the entire planet was once covered in ice for millions of years before the Cambrian explosion.

Kindergarten fodder this is not. This is not the only Doraemon film/manga I’ve encountered that didn’t have a dumbed down story to it. I’d recommend a Doraemon film to any kid any day.