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2017年4月

2017年4月26日 (水)

Chinese-style origins give vitality to domestic animation

China never lacks access to quality animation productions. The difficulty lies in how to translate them successfully and adapt them into the market, but young Chinese animation creators are on the move. Zhang Xingjian reports.

From the Disney-made blockbuster Zootopia to the recent Shinkai-style animation feature Your Name, it is common to see one or two animations arouse a heated discussion among viewers every year, and 2016 was no exception.

These hit animations may shape several vivid characters, have fascinating animation effects or boast an interesting yet rigorous storyline. However, they are seldom made in China. But that trend could be in the past.

At the beginning of 2017, a nine-minute short animation titled Love Sick engulfed the internet. Since its initial release on December 23, the animation has already reached 100 million hits within ten days on Chinese social media platforms, including Vmovie.com, MiaoPai.com and Bilibili.

In addition to its enormous popularity online, Love Sick has been critically acclaimed widely among movie-goers. It has scored a high grade of 8.8 points on Douban Movie, the Chinese version of IMDb. Reputed by quite a few netizens as the first touching animation in 2017 to bring you to tears, Love Sick has swept a wave of Chinoiserie for domestic animation productions Office Furniture.

Originating from Love Pea, a renowned poem written by Wang Wei, as the creation inspiration, overall Love Sick tells a sentimental love story between a notable figure from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) called Wang Chutong and his childhood sweetheart Liu Niang. In the animation, they fall in love with each other but Liu Niang's family forces her to marry a wealthy man, resulting in a failed marriage. After many ups and downs, Wang and Liu meet again and decide to take care of each other in the future as a brother-and-sister relationship, not as lovers.

2017年4月12日 (水)

Post-pop stars

Indie songwriters and performers are grabbing their share of attention and sales as the internet opens up the music scene. Chen Nan reports Dream beauty pro hard sell.

This time last year, Zhao Lei was a relatively unknown indie folk singer-songwriter. His trademark contemporary style, minyao in Chinese, literally meaning folk music or ballads, captivated a small but stable fan base in China with its guitar-driven gentle melodies and poetic lyrics.

Then something unexpected happened.

In early February, he performed on the popular variety show Singer, broadcast on Hunan Satellite TV, in which veteran Chinese singers compete and audiences vote. Dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans, the 30-year-old Zhao performed one of his songs, Chengdu, which relates his memories of the city.

His performance soon brought Zhao wide fame and acclaim. The number of followers on his Sina Weibo account increased by 50,000 overnight and some fans wrote on his Weibo that they wanted to visit Chengdu after listening to the song apartment hong kong.

"Everything took off a little bit faster than we had imagined," says Zhao. "I just performed a song on TV. I didn't want to become a superstar overnight."

Chengdu was released on Zhao's album Almost Grown Up, in October 2016. So far, the album has sold more than 200,000 copies.