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Post Reply The state of the Chinese animation industry
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39 / Inside your compu...
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Posted 5/31/17 , edited 5/31/17
This is my opinion, based only on the donghua that I have seen. It has nothing to do with industry numbers, and I haven't done any detailed research like how much money is made, how many companies are there, et cetera.

This is just about the animation China have been producing.

First, a clarification in terms.

Donghua: Chinese animation, animation made by Chinese team members acting in major roles excluding subcontractors

Anime: In English language discussions, the term is used more specifically than the original Japanese term- For the sake of discussion In this thread, I refer to animation made by Japanese team members acting in major roles, excluding subcontractors



I think the donghua industry had a major breakthrough when 雛蜂-B.E.E- came along. It was localized in Japan and had a Japanese dub, but was criticized in Japan as copying Japanese animation.

The Chinese company which made B.E.E., Haoliners Animation League, later took a different tack and produced animation using its Japanese branch (EMON) with its Japanese staff.

You can see the anime titles by EMON that are streamed on Crunchyroll here:
http://www.crunchyroll.com/publisher/emonjp

[A note about some of these titles... Many are made to promote the original web comic titles to get people in China to subscribe to the comics, and that's the reason some of them are so short- around 10 minutes each]

To me this is a big step backwards, because EMON wasn't really making donghua indigenously but anime with a Japanese crew; While it makes financial and commercial sense for Haoliners as a whole and could net them more money this way, it's bad for the donghua industry because the creative work at Haoliners is being shifted outside of China, to the point that the work wouldn't really even be donghua anymore.

While Haoliners is doing that, the company isn't advancing the domestic animation industry. That task isn't up to Haoliners anymore, and even less so to their Japanese branch EMON. Neither is it up to some other companies that are just doing the same sort of thing (that's the reason The Fate of Arad isn't a donghua either) by making anime with Japanese staff and not donghua with local staff. Yes, some of the source material may be Chinese (e.g. webcomic) but the art direction (however good or bad by our fan standards) and the methodology aren't.

However, recently there was another major industry breakthrough, this time with the arrival of King's Avatar (全职高手, my literal translation "Professional Ace")

To me it's a huge deal not because of how much ass it kicks (there are threads on the Internet, youtube and even CR too for that) but because this is an all-domestic donghua production. With King's Avatar, Tencent Penguin Pictures (obviously with the huge financial backing of Tencent itself along with big money sponsors, at least one of which even had product placements) has finally got China's donghua industry really moving again, in multiple ways:

1. The animation and production quality went way up, hopefully having a resetting-the-bar effect on the industry

2. It has provided a much needed variety in genre, away from the near-omnipresent fantasy/wuxia duopoly in donghua. The story is about e-sports and the Chinese internet cafe culture

3. Again, this is a donghua title and not an anime done by a Japanese branch/company crew

4. It actually has full-length episodes instead of half-length ones (Tencent Penguin produces some other ones but at least in the case of 国民老公带回家 or "Taking home a citizen husband" it's still a half-length even though the animation seems good and genre is romance)

With a big company like Tencent at the vanguard now, I have high hopes. Don't get me wrong- I have nothing against Chinese-backed anime being made by Japanese companies/branches (Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa nai for example, based on the Chinese webcomic) but that's not the way forward for the donghua industry. Donghua has to be made for that to happen.


(ad for King's Avatar: Return To Glory)

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Posted 5/31/17 , edited 5/31/17
I pay my tribute to the Chinese for their intelligence. Japanese animation is also termed Donghua in Chinese though unless you are giving it a different name. Good job for following up on the Donghua production in China. The example you show looks similar to the costumes in a typical Chinese MMORPG where Japanese animation seems more round about and kawaii. I remeber King Of Fighter was quite big in Hong Kong, but I think its origin is still from Japan.


P.S In terms of fashion King of Fighter still looks slightly better @@
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Posted 5/31/17

fredreload wrote:

I pay my tribute to the Chinese for their wisdom. Japanese animation is also termed Donghua in Chinese though unless you are giving it a different name. Good job for following up on the Donghua production in China. The example you show looks similar to the costumes in a typical Chinese MMORPG where Japanese animation seems more round about and kawaii. I remeber King Of Fighter was quite big in Hong Kong, but I think its origin is still from Japan.


The thing is... We are not using "anime" the way Japanese use "anime" as the term... All I'm doing is using "donghua" the same way English speakers use "anime"...

Yeah. When I first saw the game Glory in that donghua I thought it was a first-person version of Lineage or something (I've never played Lineage myself)
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Posted 5/31/17
eh sipping the work outside isn't the worst idea if they are looking for profits alone.
That being said doing it in the country of origin is always the better option if there is more profit to be had and it means higher quality.
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Posted 5/31/17
I've seen part of that The King's Avatar, and while it's good, I don't understand all the hype about it being a "breakthrough" production. In and of itself, I don't think it represents such a major event. But I do wonder if there will be a trend away from anime in the next decade or so. I'm sure Japanese animation will be around for a long time, but I don't know if it will be such a dominant force in the industry.

On another note, I really hope calling Chinese animation 'donghua' catches on. I'm tired of hearing the phrase "Chinese anime" (I mean really, how many people would be more than a little upset if you call The Simpsons "American anime"- it just defeats the point of using the word 'anime' in the English language).
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Posted 5/31/17
Lol, Chinese cartoons
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Posted 5/31/17

Potentsaliva wrote:

Lol, Chinese cartoons


Finally that meme will stick.
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Posted 5/31/17
I love King's Avatar, and honestly, I think the chinese market is really trying to break through, not only with animation but also live action, into worldwide markets lately and the quality is improving because of that effort.

Meanwhile, anime has been on a swift decline as the same old crap gets churned out season after season (or perhaps the best stuff is once again not being licensed...Looking at you CR, funimation, amazon, and netflix... Still no legal hellgirl, ReCreators looks awesome and isn't licensed in the US, and quite frankly, i don't give a damned about the newest iteration of a teenage boy that's set to save the world with his super awesome powers against a cardboard cutout villian while surrounded by a harem of voluptious 12 year old girls... Speaking of which, why do 12 year olds have breasts that size and the bodies of 20 year olds??? Last year I could have sworn they were at least 15...)
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Posted 5/31/17
Serif, you forgot to mention that the story won't even get finished, because it's only being animated to get you to buy the LNs.
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Posted 5/31/17

rokenboker wrote:

Serif, you forgot to mention that the story won't even get finished, because it's only being animated to get you to buy the LNs.


Yeah... pretty much...

I love anime, but I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pissed at many aspects of the industry right now.
Posted 5/31/17 , edited 5/31/17
I wish The King's Avatar had a better Opening/Ending song and OSTs, the story is good though.
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Posted 5/31/17 , edited 5/31/17
I'd love to see donghua and it's a shame that a lot of anime in recent years are outsourced to S. Korea. I hope donghua doesn't do the same and it's not Chinese cartoons that have slow-framed animations, it's Japanimation aka anime. I hope donghua won't have multiple characters floating in the air simultaneously or 5 fingers per hand like on anime.
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Posted 5/31/17
After watching the King's Avatar I am optimistic for it. Some competition for Japan is bound to boost quality anyway so I welcome it.
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Posted 5/31/17
'well a lot of anime artist from Japan are moving to china because in Japan animators get paid way below the poverty rate, and work up to 3 days without rest or sleep.' at that it is predicted that Anime will be no more in 10 years do to the CEO's of such animation groups not paying their artist much, and hording the money for them selves, to the point that they are not even willing to finance new projects... making it imposable to get quality shows now.
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Posted 5/31/17

foraslan wrote:

I've seen part of that The King's Avatar, and while it's good, I don't understand all the hype about it being a "breakthrough" production. In and of itself, I don't think it represents such a major event. But I do wonder if there will be a trend away from anime in the next decade or so. I'm sure Japanese animation will be around for a long time, but I don't know if it will be such a dominant force in the industry.

On another note, I really hope calling Chinese animation 'donghua' catches on. I'm tired of hearing the phrase "Chinese anime" (I mean really, how many people would be more than a little upset if you call The Simpsons "American anime"- it just defeats the point of using the word 'anime' in the English language).


From the POV of industry, the four things I've listed should give more than enough reason to give King's Avatar even more hype than it's already getting (actually, I don't think it's really getting that much hype... I think only limited blog-like outlets and vlogs are talking about it in the English world).

As far as a piece of animation is concerned, other people on the 'net have already spent a lot of time explaining its appeal so I'll just let them do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UBhGp0vBhA

Personally, other donghua series up to KA just didn't measure up... Some of them have animation that's so bad that it breaks my suspension of disbelief. To go from that to KA where I get involved deeply and care about the characters is a big leap. I don't find a lot of donghua characters to be likable, but I find many likable characters in KA- Of course a lot of credit goes to the original author of the novel, but it also speaks volumes regarding the adaptation (the story is being extremely compressed, yet it still manages to be very good).

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