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China Focus: New domestic anime film eyeing Chinese adults

Updated: 2013-05-31 10:30

BEIJING -- Hopes are high that homegrown animation "Kuiba 2" can find a cartoon industry holy grail and resonate with adults as well as kids when it is released nationwide on Friday, a day before International Children's Day.

The second instalment in a five-part series produced by Vassoon Animation, "Kuiba 2" has been made to try to help anime pull away from most adults' perception of the genre as puerile nonsense.

It has a plot centering around a figure named Manji who struggles to be a hero but must fight his inner demon. This demon is Kuiba, a destructive force reborn every 333 years to annihilate the world.

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"I've watched a few animations, but this time I was deeply touched by the story's spirit of self-esteem and responsibility, which are great assets for both adults and children," said Xu Xiaoping, the 47-year-old co-founder of private education company New Oriental, after watching an early release of the film on Wednesday.

The film not only centers on inspiring themes of fighting to the last but also explores the father-son relationship and comments on realities, according to Xu.

Wang Chuan, director of the film and CEO of Vasson Animation, China's oldest private animation company after being founded in 1993, called the film a tryout to break with the nation's stereotypical teenager-riveted animations.

The animator pointed out that big-screen cartoons are created for diverse age groups in other parts of the world, as some Disney blockbusters successfully appeal to the whole family while adults are the main market for Japan's animation giants.

However, China's animation industry, although fledgling thanks to a series of governmental preferential policies, primarily focuses on the teen and children's market, Wang said.

In 2008, the central government earmarked 7 million yuan (about 113 million USdollars) to support the development of original animated works. One year later, the financial input had doubled, from which over 100 projects benefited.

As a result, China has surpassed the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea to become the largest animation producer, with annual output of animated works totaling about 220,530 minutes, according to the 2011 Chinese Animation Industry Development Report, China's first authoritative report on this sector.

But quantity is not everything. Statistics published by, one of China's leading video websites, for the first three months of 2013 suggests that animations tailored for kids aged seven-13 accounted for almost half of the overall market, while those fitting other ages account only one-fourth.

"Compared with Western countries and Japan, China's animation has a less extensive audience for it is targeting a lower age, which is a congenital deficiency for the industry's wholesome development," said Zhang Yiwu, a professor with Peking University.

Zhang, however, applauded the effort shown in "Kuiba 2," saying it represents innovation in Chinese anime in that it features a fantasy worldview that is complex for children while having elements amusing younger ages.


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