The Ambiguous Superhero in Wan Laiming’s Havoc in Heaven

Olga Bobrowska “Look how nice it is to be Monkey King. No parents, no control. Just do as he will. And no shifts of WTO (World Trade Organization),” says Guo Binbin, a tragically passionless hero in Jia Zhangke’s film Unknown Pleasures (2002). Binbin is an unemployed 19-year-old who does not dare to kiss his teenaged … Continue reading The Ambiguous Superhero in Wan Laiming’s Havoc in Heaven

Chinese Diasporic Life: A Review of Bao

Shannon Brownlee California-based Pixar Animation Studio is not, at first glance, a likely producer of Chinese animation. However, Bao (Domee Shi, 2018) proves otherwise (Fig 1).[1]As Disney and Pixar’s opening logos appear, they are accompanied – even eclipsed – by the strings of the guzheng, then pipa and erhu, playing a pentatonic theme. The film’s … Continue reading Chinese Diasporic Life: A Review of Bao

The Question of Hong Kong Identity in My Life As McDull

Lokyi Tsoi My Life As McDull is the first attempt to make a full-length animation film of the McDull series, as a collaboration with director Toe Yuen, screenplay writer Brian Tse, and story writer Alice Mak (Fig 1). Released in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year 2001-2002, the film achieved remarkable success, grossing a total of … Continue reading The Question of Hong Kong Identity in My Life As McDull

Visual Effects and the Enchanted Technique of Elements: A Review of Ne Zha

Hang Wu Animation renders visible the nonhuman energy that is otherwise hidden. The visualization of this nonhuman affective energy is exemplified by the animated feature film Ne Zha (2019), which reaches its climax during the fight of fire vs. water between Ne Zha and Ao Bing. As Ne Zha was born with the power of … Continue reading Visual Effects and the Enchanted Technique of Elements: A Review of Ne Zha

Next Gen: Out-of-control “Prototype Memory” in a Futuristic Machine City

Maggie Chunning Guo The animated film Next Gen, released in 2019, presents a series of dualisms, such as stereotypes of humans vs. machines and the dilemma of deleting memories vs. unloading weapons. These confrontations lead to a war between the humans and machines, climaxing in a final fight between the robot “7723” and Justin Pin, … Continue reading Next Gen: Out-of-control “Prototype Memory” in a Futuristic Machine City

Transborder Fairy Tales: Princess Iron Fan and the Discourse of Children

Ying Chen Princess Iron Fanis the first Chinese animated feature film produced by the Wan Brothers at Xinhua studio during the Orphan Island period of Shanghai’s film industry. Adapted from a well-known story in Journey to the West, the film was made as a response to Disney’s first animated feature film, Snow White and the … Continue reading Transborder Fairy Tales: Princess Iron Fan and the Discourse of Children

“Our Comrade Sun Wukong”: On Fantasy and Exaggeration in Mountain of Flames

Linda C. Zhang In 1958, the Shanghai Animation Film Studio released a 35-minute, color, stop-motion puppet animation film, Mountain of Flames (Huoyan shan), directed by Jin Xi. The movie retold a familiar episode from the novel Journey to the West, where Sun Wukong – the Monkey King – must try three successive times to borrow … Continue reading “Our Comrade Sun Wukong”: On Fantasy and Exaggeration in Mountain of Flames

Queering an Icon, Becoming a Demon: A Review of White Snake: Origins

Liang Luo  The 2019 animated film White Snake: Origins (Baishe yuanqi), co-produced by Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros., premiered on January 11 throughout China. It opens with an innovative, hybrid style of ink-painting 3D animation.[1] In the one-minute opening sequence, two snakes who have transformed into beautiful women, White Snake and Green Snake, … Continue reading Queering an Icon, Becoming a Demon: A Review of White Snake: Origins

The Animation that Deconstructs Itself—Liu Jian’s Piercing I and Have a Nice Day

Yiman Wang Liu Jian, a Nanjing-based animator and director with a background in painting, has single-handedly launched the genre of black humor adult animation in China, and further catapulted it into the international limelight with two feature-length works, Piercing I (2010) and Have a Nice Day (2018). Produced by the Le Joy Animation Studio, which … Continue reading The Animation that Deconstructs Itself—Liu Jian’s Piercing I and Have a Nice Day

The Rise of Wolf Culture: Thoughts on Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf

Jianhua Chen; translated by Isabel Galwey The first ten years of the twenty-first century have passed in a snap of the fingers. Many trends have come and gone, but nothing has prevented the onward march of the globalized economy. The world, the globe, and our everyday lives are undergoing historic changes — and so are … Continue reading The Rise of Wolf Culture: Thoughts on Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf