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Doraemon fans wowed by drone show in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

Doraemon fans wowed by drone show in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour
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Doraemon fans wowed by drone show in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, but some complain duration too short

The world’s first drone show featuring the beloved Doraemon Japanese cartoon character wowed crowds lined along Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour on Saturday evening, but some spectators felt let down that the 15-minute display included advertisements.

Although cloudy weather had left some wondering whether the show would go ahead, the drones lit up and flew into the sky at 7.25pm, accompanied by an announcement.

“It was all right, just as I had expected, but the 15 minutes included the beginning and the ending,” Franco Kum, 62, said. “By 7.40pm, I was already seeing the formation of sponsor logos.”

The retailer said he hoped the show could last a few minutes longer, adding the drone formations were simpler than those he had seen on mainland China.

“I don’t know what limited [the organiser]. I expected more 3D formations,” Kum said.

The show began with a two-dimensional Doraemon emerging from his gadget Anywhere Door, sparking cheers from the crowd. With an announcement of his return to Hong Kong, the character proceeded to summon his human companions with a new gadget, the “100% friend summoning bell”.

In the finale, the robot cat emerged in a giant three-dimensional form, rotating slightly to accommodate viewers standing along the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade.

The show ended with drones forming a QR code, which could be scanned for information about coming events featuring Doraemon, as well as logos of Prudential, the lead sponsor of the show, and organiser AllRightsReserved.

Ten-year-old Hillary Kwan told the Post that she was disappointed the sponsor logo was bigger than the 3D Doraemon figure.

Hillary said her favourite part was female protagonist Minamoto Shizuka, also known as Sue, speaking, but later complained: “My neck hurts.”

Her mother, Canise Lam, 42, said she could not see the formations easily from where they stood, leaving only the bottom part of the two-dimensional formations visible.

The drone show lights up Victoria Harbour. Photo: Jess Ma

Louisa To, a hospital administrator, said her nine-year-old son had to crane his neck to see the drones.

But the mother in her 40s said she had still found the formations beautiful, especially the 3D Doraemon.

Fans flock to the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade to watch the Doraemon drone show. Photo: Dickson Lee

Cat Chong, who brought a tripod and a camera to film the show, was delighted to see the 3D formation.

“I’m satisfied with the formations. They were very pretty, their angle was just right [for my position],” Chong said.

Despite grumbles about the length of the show and difficulties in scanning the giant QR code, Chong said she still came away with a positive experience.

The last major attraction to feature Doraemon in Hong Kong was also organised by AllRightsReserved in 2012 and involved 100 sculptures placed outside Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The drone show featured some of Doraemon’s famed gadgets such as the Anywhere Door that allows travel to anywhere. Photo: Jess Ma

Saturday’s drone show was a prelude to the largest exhibition yet of the character set to run from July 13 to August 4.

Hong Kong fans of manga series will be able to get up close to 135 large-scale models of Doraemon and enjoy an animated short film incorporating signature elements of the city at an exhibition this summer.

The city is just the first stop in a world tour to mark what would have been the 90th birthday of creator Fujio, who died in 1996.

More than 100 people lined up in Causeway Bay at around noon as organisers handed out free balloons to promote the drone display.

Tickets for the first week of the paid area of the coming exhibition also launched at 11am on Saturday.

The organiser has already sold out of the 3,000 limited edition packages that came with souvenirs priced at HK$320 (US$41) each.

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