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Anime, China Style: “They Spent $2 Million On This Rubbish!”


Chinese are aghast at the pathetically low quality of a recently unveiled Chinese anime movie which boasted a budget of some 12 million yuan, causing many to wonder just how their anime industry will ever catch up to those overseas.

The criticism centres on a “historically themed” anime movie recently unveiled in China, “The Legend of the Hero” (“戚继光英雄传”), the trailer of which is viewable online.


Although for once free from plagiarism accusations, the movie has attracted a storm of criticism for its “pathetic” production values, not least because the studio responsible was boasting of having spent some 12 million yuan producing it.

Poor quality animation and art, constant use of the same footage, and overall slipshod production values have all caused particular umbrage, which spread online rapidly through the likes of Sina Weibo and soon had the producers scrambling to defend their work.

Figures in the Chinese animation industry have panned the work as embarrassing even by Chinese standards:

“The level of Chinese anime is widely acknowledged as being very low, but even by those standards this is atrocious.”

Even the local government has distanced itself from the series (despite being named in the credits), after being accused of having funded or subsidised it:

“The 12 million yuan figure is something they announced themselves, we don’t really know how they spent the money. We did not fund the project in any way.”

The studio responsible says the title is only for children so the quality hardly matters, although it does not address the rather glaring cost-performance issue:

“This work is aimed at children, not adults. The criticism online is irresponsible and dogmatic.”

Critics in China (and latterly, Japan) have been unsparing:

“This is Flash animation level stuff.”

“This has to be the worst anime in history.”

“How did they spend 12 million on this rubbish!?”

“Half of the production budget probably ended up being embezzled, that’s all.”

“Only half? More like 90%?”

“80% went on bribes?”

“There’s no way you could make a feature production for so little in any case. Maybe a TV drama or sitcom…”

“It really does look like a Flash title though. Although most of China’s Flash anime are probably better…”

“Looks like South Park.”

“It reminds me of Amepigu…”

“If it is aimed at children, who cares if it is rubbish?”

“Aimed at children and ripping off children are two different things.”

“On the opposite end of the spectrum, look at the amount of effort they put into the ED for Precure season 2…”

“How did they spend so much on this…”

“And they had access to top staff from an art college too… they need to think long and hard about why they couldn’t make anything decent.”

“This cost more to make than Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress…”

“Average incomes in China are about 1/6th or 1/7th of those in Japan, so the equivalent Japanese budget would actually be much higher.”

“In Japan this budget would still produce a major title.”

“It might pass if it was all made by one guy.”

“It would compare favourably to something on the Cartoon Network, I guess.”

“Their ‘it’s just for kids’ excuse for it being so bad is pretty poor…”

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