Movie-goers get up close to Doraemon and its cartoon friends at the premiere of the animated film "Doraemon the Magic" in Beijing on Sunday, January 20, 2008.
Once a pan-Asian phenomenon, Japanese cartoon cat Doraemon made its return to China in an animated film that premiered on Sunday, and will be released on Tuesday.
The blue, moon-faced robot cat led its long-familiar friends in greeting audiences of mostly children at the premiere in Beijing.
"Doraemon the Magic" is the second Doraemon film to be screened in China, where small screens and comic books were first dominated by the enchanted robotic cat who possesses magical abilities over a decade ago.
In its homeland of Japan, the comic character has spawned nearly 30 films since 1980. However, it was just in the past summer that Doraemon made its big-screen debut in China. The "Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur" movie brought in 23 million yuan (US$3.17 million) at the Chinese box office.
(CRI January 21, 2008)