China’s top state run broadcaster is being accused of plagiarising elements of Pokémon and Naruto in its latest children’s anime, not long after it was discovered to have shamelessly copied 5cm Per Second wholesale; the broadcaster obstinately denies the charges, saying there is a difference between “plagiarism” and “imitation.”
Chinese Central Television (or CCTV), under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department, recently began airing 恐龙宝贝之龙神勇士, loosely “Dinosaur Baby Holy Heroes,” but Chinese anime fans soon spotted the fact that the anime was copying character designs, story and music from a variety of Japanese anime, most notably Pokémon, Digimon and Naruto.
The director of CCTV’s Children’s Channel was soon confronted over the issue, but he angrily denied all wrong-doing, saying it was a matter for the studio responsible, and then asking those doubting the work to “consider the difference between imitation and plagiarism.”
With the government having banned non-Chinese anime from TV due to fear of foreign influences and to foster homegrown anime, domestic producers have struggled to satisfy demand, generally producing anime of very low quality, loathed by many Chinese for its highly propagandistic nature.
This difficult position, coupled with the lack of respect for copyright the mainland is notorious for, seems to have led many studios to simply plagiarise Japanese anime, frequently passing it off as “100% domestic,” and often doing so in direct collusion with the state.