Doraemon, a character from an immensely popular comic book and a TV series of the same name, is the centerpiece of a new series of stamps released Friday in Japan to the kind of clamor usually reserved for pop singers and sumo wrestlers.
Doraemon looks like an earless blue cat, but is, in fact, a robot from the 22nd century sent to assist a likeable fourth-grade knucklehead named Nobi Nobita.
Doraemon, himself, is something of a bumbler, but has a front pocket from which he manifests all kinds of wondrous gadgets from the future.
Among them are a Wherever Door (which allows Nobita -- his first name -- to walk through it to wherever he wants to go), an air gun (a tube attached to the finger which produces a blast of air that knocks people over) and the Gulliver Tunnel (which allows Nobita to shrink).
Doraemon first appeared around 1970, and it is clear from his reception Friday that the Japanese think he's still worth standing in line for.