Innovative animation film empowers century-old Chinese classics
“Yao-Chinese Folktales”, an animated series featuring monster-like characters, has won praise online for adopting traditional Chinese culture and aesthetics in its animation and storytelling in a way that has resonated with many.
Jointly produced by Shanghai Animated Film Studio and streaming site Bilibili, “Yao - Chinese Folktales” has garnered over 26 million views and a score of 9.6 out of 10 on rating site Douban since it aired last Sunday.
The eight-part series was inspired by various classics from traditional Chinese literature and showcases a range of artistic styles such as paper cutting, watercolor painting, and computer graphics.
The first episode is based on the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” with characters preparing to capture a Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk.
首集《小妖怪的夏天》，改编自《西游记》（Journey to the West），讲述小猪妖计划抓唐僧的故事。
Its plot, which depicts one of the characters being punished after their leader was dissatisfied with their work, has resonated with a wide audience, reminding them of their own dilemmas and hardships in the workplace.
It’s not a surprise if you found that the eerie-looking fox spirit in "Goose Mountain" bears an uncanny resemblance to the crippled A-Guai in "The Legend of Sealed Book", an animated film by Shanghai Animation Film Studio, as the episode’s director Hu Rui is a huge fan and tried to pay homage to the 1980s classic.
The new series is part of the growing trend of Chinese animation turning to ancient legends and folktales for inspiration.
Domestically produced animated films featuring classic figures such as “Monkey King,” “Ne Zha,” and “White Snake” have proved to be big hits in recent years, with the latest release “New Gods: Yang Jian” amassing 550 million yuan ($80 million) in ticket sales last year.