Alleged copycat cartoon triggers criticism of Chinese animation industry (

30 July 2011 14 h 20 min 13 comments

SHENYANG, July 30 (Xinhua) — China’s Internet users have accused a soon-to-be-released domestic cartoon series of copying a Japanese one.

In   2011-07-30

The series, called “High-speed Rail Man,” tells a story about a young man who fights the forces of evil to protect train passengers.

Both the plot and the frames in the series were found similar to those of the anime “Hikarian” produced in 1998 by Tomy, a Japanese children’s merchandise and entertainment company, after Internet users compared the frames disclosed in the 6-minute trailer and those in Hikarian.

In response to the accusations, Feifan Creative, the series’ producer based in China’s northeastern Shenyang City, released a statement on Monday, saying production was not yet finished, and would be further modified. An administrative officer surnamed Sui of the company said it was common that animations looked alike. “Our high-speed train has a streamline design while the Japanese express is flat headed. Also, there are big differences in animation designs,” he said.

“It’s such a pity that China is only producing copycats, while Japan and the United States have made animation a pillar industry,” posted a cartoon fan Zhu Yipping. Another Internet user called “Chenzhuoshunjian” expressed his anger. “Poor technology and poor plots are forgivable, but plagiarism to such an extent is irritating. I’m so angry.”

China is a large animation producer. It made 220,500 minutes of animation in 2010, ranking first in the world, according to the Annual Report on the Development of China’s Animation Industry published earlier this month. However, experts are concerned about the originality of China’s animation industry.

Wang Lei, assistant dean of the Animation School of Communications University, said the industry lacks qualified writers and directors. “It takes a college graduate 10 to 20 years to become a real artist. However, Chinese companies do not offer them such environments for growth,” said Wang. “In addition, Chinese animation studios only spend one third of the their budget on script writing and character designs when producing their new animation, far less than their American and Japanese counterparts”, he said.

… / …

Tony Wong, a famous Hong Kong cartoonist, said it will take time for mainland animation producers to form a unique style after a long time of imitation. “It took three to four years before we had our own style, the cartoons from the mainland will also have similar process,” said Wong.

Internet users also appealed for a revival of the Chinese school of animation which was widely recognized for its unique ink painting technique and a taste of traditional Chinese drama by the world in the 1950s and 1960s. Cartoons made by ink paintings such as “Tadpole to Find Her Mother” and “Reed Pipe” received huge worldwide acclaim. “Animation studios should really stop copying others, and learn from ink painting cartoons,” said a microblog user named “hundansi.”

SOURCE: (30/07/2011)


. “Tale of two trains: ‘Copy and paste’ from a Japanese TV series?” (China Daily, 27/07/2011)

. “Alleged copycat cartoon draws criticism” (CNC, 31/07/2011)

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