Slew of new animation projects for Bilibili
Streaming platform Bilibili has announced a total of 51 new Chinese animation projects, some of which are based on well-known literary and artistic works like "The Three-Body Problem" and "Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fairy."
Through years of development, Bilibili is now home to a large number of high-quality Chinese animated works and one of the largest Chinese animation production companies.
Among the 430 Chinese animation titles released on the platform up to date, 178 are completed. More than 340 million users have followed Chinese animation works on Bilibili for the latest updates.
In the eyes of Carly Lee, vice chairwoman of the board of directors and chief operating officer of Bilibili, Chinese animation will become a mainstream in China's cultural consumption categories, but the goal should not be limited to the domestic market.
"Animation is the art of imagination, and the love of imagination is shared by humankind," she said. "Animation has the ability to cut through cultural and communication barriers. This year, we upgraded our slogan from 'Made for China' into 'Made for Global,' hoping that Chinese animation will gain popularity around the world."
One of the most eye-catching projects targeting a global audience is the animated adaptation of "The Three-Body Problem," a novel by celebrated Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin.
Liu once said he believes animation is a particularly suitable form of expression for sci-fi content, and Bilibili has released a new trailer for the animated mega production.
The classic video game "Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fairy 4" will also be adapted into an animated production. It will be the first animation work of the Chinese mythology-based gaming and television drama franchise that has been popular for more than 25 years.
Since last year, Bilibili has partnered with international companies, including Funimation, Netflix and Sony Music Solutions, to bring Chinese animation overseas. To date, 24 Chinese animation titles have been launched globally.
"Heaven Official's Blessing," a Bilibili-produced animation adapted from popular Chinese fantasy novels, was the first Chinese animation series to be streamed on Funimation. The title has also been introduced on Netflix.
Funimation also launched "Link Click," another Bilibili-produced animated series that captured the hearts of audiences due to its touching storyline about a small photography shop.
The first seasons of "Heaven Official's Blessing" and "Link Click" had 420 million and 180 million views on Bilibili, respectively. The second seasons of the two titles will soon premiere on Bilibili.
Both have received positive feedback from international audiences based on their artistry, storylines and special effects, changing foreign views of Chinese animation.
Bilibili will also work with the Shanghai Animation Film Studio to produce a new animated series "Yao (demon): Chinese Folktales," which comprises eight demon-related stories taken from Chinese culture.
The sequel to "Fog Hill of Five Elements" will continue to draw inspiration and involve cultural elements from the ancient Chinese text "Shanhaijing," or "Classic of Mountains and Seas."
Many viewers have been impressed by the first season's unique art style that resembles traditional Chinese paintings.
Meanwhile, Bilibili will continue to adapt creative Chinese comics into animation to expand and upgrade existing cultural intellectual properties. The company acquired one of China's largest original comic platforms – U17.com – and will adapt 17 comics from the platform into animation. In addition, it will adapt five animated works from Bilibili Comics, a manhua, or manga, community by the fans and for the fans.
In addition to bringing outstanding Chinese productions to global audiences, Bilibili will continue to cultivate talented Chinese animators.
The streaming platform has launched the "Light Catcher Initiative" to discover and support industry talent.
Talented animators will receive financial and technological support from Bilibili. The program not only covers students and professional animators, but also provides opportunities for people who are inexperienced but would love to use animation in their work.