Doraemon World 2012 was held at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands Malaysia from the 23rd of January until the 5th (last Sunday). Didn’t know about it or was busy during Chinese New Year and wish that you could’ve gone for it? Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. You can practically read and see everything on this entry. Some of the people I know who went for this so-called extravaganza told me that they felt cheated by the production – well I can fully relate.
There were four phases – the first phase consisted of five rooms, four which you can see in the images below. Due to the lack of space in every room, visitors had to queue up to enter in groups. I don’t know whether the staffs were lazy or were afraid to keep too many people waiting for their turns, but the group I was in had quite a large number of people and the visiting time given for each room was too limited, resulting difficulties of getting a good photograph with the plastic life-size figures of the characters without having other people in background, and the never-ending camera flashes. I cannot imagine how much worse it could had been if I went on a weekend. I was immediately disappointed as soon as I entered because none of the rooms was impressively done. The backgrounds were just painted wooden boards and not everything was arranged according to the popular Japanese manga/anime series, not even the iconic room of Nobita.
Visitors were allowed to walk around and explore freely from second phase onwards. They called this section the Doraemon Town, I call this the “cardboard world” – see the images below and you’ll know why. Besides the background, almost everything seemed cardboard-ish here. Visitors here could take pictures with the cardboards around, hug the plastic life-size figures of Doraemon, shop for some Doraemon merchandises, top-up their Touch ‘n Go cards, and also purchase overpriced unauthentic Dorayaki cakes. The dumbest part here was that visitors were prohibited from taking pictures of the playground with their own cameras and had to pay another RM25 for a photograph with the poorly built setting (the three concrete pipes are obviously way larger than this in the comic/cartoon). Suneo (Sinyu) mascot was running around doing his best to entertain the crowd, which made me wonder why was there only Suneo. I was already speechless by this point.
|Clockwise from top left – assigned photographers preventing me from taking a picture of the Doraemon playground setting; a higher ranked staff spoiling my photograph of the playground with her fugliness; cardboards!; more cardboards!|
|Clockwise from top left – Nobita’s school; bigger view on the “cardboard town”; one of the plastic life-size figures of Doraemon; Iris Loong with the cardboard figure of Shizuka‘s mum and resident.|
Before the entrance to third phase, a row of original Doraemon comic strips were hanged on one of the walls. The next phase was the Doraemon Gallery, a museum of Doraemon’s popular gadgets. No offence but they looked like the works of college art students. None of the displayed items were produced to demonstrate anything at all, not even to move a little. It was like looking at bootleg replica toys that may be available on Ebay. View at the images below and tell me if I’m too harsh.
|Clockwise from top left – argh I lost to Doraemon in paper-rock-scissors!; the row of original Doraemon comic strips; Iris posing in front of the entrance to the Doraemon Gallery; Time Furoshiki and Ankipan.|
|Clockwise from top left – one of the original Doraemon comic strips; Iris and the yellow Doraemon with ears; Galliver Tunnel; Shitsunai Ryokoki and Take Copter.|
|Clockwise from top left – (mini) Dokodemo Door; Big Light; Kamisama Robot; (mini) Doraemon Time Machine|
The final phase of the woeful carnival was a little outdoor funfair they called The Fun Factor, which consisted of game booths, foods and some stage activities. The light rain at that time could had made the experience even more unpleasant than it already was. Nothing here was free and all payments must be made using Touch ‘n Go. The games were not cheap (RM5 for one play) and none of prizes were easy to win. Then on stage, there were mascot version of the Doraemon main characters performing a dance routine. The costumes were nicely made (the Doraemon one could blink its eyes!) and the people in them did a lively and adorable job, although they weren’t playing the roles accordingly (I don’t believe Doraemon ever jumped while smiling and flapping his arms like retard). They also had some of the people from the audience to go on stage to participate in a simple dance contest which none of them gotten anything from it at all, not even the winner.
|Clockwise from top left – game booths at The Fun Factor; me having a go at the Gian’s Strength game; Doraemon and the other mascots performing a dance routine on stage; Iris posing around the game booths|
Before the exit of Doraemon World 2012, there was the Doraemon Mall where official Doraemon merchandises were sold. There was also bigger one at First World Genting Indoor Theme Park. The stuffs weren’t cheap. I bought an official Doraemon t-shirt there for RM49.90. Apparently, some of the limited edition items were sold out on the first day of the event itself.
|Clockwise from top left – Doraemon soft toys; the limited edition Doraemon Touch ‘n Go card; the Doraemon mall within Doraemon World 2012; the Doraemon mall at First World|
The admission tickets were priced at RM30 for children and RM35 for adult (came with free limited edition Doraemon Touch ‘n Go card preloaded with RM5). The press release said that the re-creation of the Doraemon Town was going to be life-sized, the Doraemon Gallery would display all of Doraemon gadgets and that Doraemon World 2012 would include a musical. Did I misunderstand or am I right to say that I was cheated? Did the producers quietly swallowed half of the budget? ‘Cause it certainly didn’t seem like a RM1.5 million production to me. As a huge Doraemon fan, I was utterly upset with this heartless profit-driven gimmick.