Fifty years ago this year, a blue robot cat from the future descended on Japan, setting in motion the establishment of a bona fide pop-culture legend: Doraemon.

Doraemon has entertained generations of children in the intervening years, both in Japan and overseas, through manga, anime, video games and a mind-boggling array of toys and other merchandise.

I am a recent convert to the joys of this particular character, having been prompted to dig into him a little after watching a television show over the new year that looked at how the franchise had, to varying degrees of imagination and accuracy, predicted a number of future inventions.