Modern animation in China has largely been dominated by foreign imports. Anime like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece are extremely popular. However, China's own animation industry is slowly getting better; here is a list of some of their best home-grown cartoons.
Rainbow Sea [星游记]
Released in 2011, Rainbow Sea is a fairly new and popular Chinese animation. Unlike most Chinese series that have hundreds of episodes, the show currently only has 52 episodes spanning two seasons. The plot is a fairly simplistic one, which transposes space travel with the Chinese classic, Journey to the West.
Though the name and the theme may be very Journey-esque, Rainbow Sea has its differentiating points. Instead of bringing back holy scriptures, Rainbow Sea is a Sci-fi fantasy where a young man goes on a journey to find his father.
Kui Ba [魁拔]
The story of Kuiba is kind of epic, or rather, it's meant to be epic. Split up into five films in total, of which two have been released, Kuiba is what many in China have touted as the future of Chinese animation.
The story starts with the tale of the eponymous Kuiba, which is this giant destructive force that emerges every 333 years. With each generation of Kuiba, the destruction created is devastating to the world. While Kuiba is a force, it is also epitomised and referred to as a demon.
While at times Kuiba may seem reminiscent of a Chinese Dragon Ball, it's a good step forward for domestic Chinese animation.
Happy Town [幸福小镇]
The only true comedy on this list, Happy Town is akin to FLCL-meets-ridiculous-slapstick-humor. Keep in mind that the only relation to FLCL this show has is that the female character looks a bit like Haruko.
This show, while not particularly good, is on this list because it seems to appeal to Chinese audiences. Focused on the exploits of a young witch who landed in a town on an island with anthropomorphic animals, Happy Town is filled with very base and simple Chinese humour. It's a great show for people learning Chinese as it provides an insight into what Chinese people find funny.
The Legend of Qin [秦时明月]
The first of two 3D computer-animated series, The Legend of Qin, also known as Qin's Moon, is China's first martial arts fantasy-based 3D cartoon. The story follows the adventures of a young boy who sets out to become a hero during the tumultuous times of the founding of the Qin Dynasty, China's first Dynasty.
While The Legend of Qin might seem dated now, the series has been running since 2007, and a new movie will be released in January to breathe new life into the series.
Sha Len [侠岚]
Debuting with The Legend of Qin, Sha Len has also lasted quite some time. Similar to The Legend of Qin, Sha Len also uses the Wuxia, or martial arts fantasy theme.
The series is basically about a group of supernatural martial artists fighting demons and saving the world. The plot and the characters are pretty straightforward, but it's an easy watch. While not as engaging as Kuiba or Rainbow Sea, Sha Len has a huge world with lots of characters and individual stories to follow.
*Edit*: Kotaku reader Kaploy9 has posted trailers of the cartoons, some with their English translations! Thanks Kaploy9!
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