Welcome to english.eastday.com.Today is
Follow us @
Contribute to us!











Home >> auto >> Article
Chinese characteristics spur boom in youth ACG culture
From:Shanghai Daily  |  2020-08-06 08:29

IT was a nice surprise to see that “A Hundred Scenes of Jiangnan,” a mobile game I’m addicted to, had established a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) study room as its booth at the just-concluded ChinaJoy, Asia’s biggest game fair.

Featuring classic Chinese paintings, ancient architecture, historical figures and traditional culture, the game was downloaded 4 million times within a month of release.

In China, the ACG (animation, comic and game) industry has grown at a breakneck speed in recent years as more and more tech and livestreaming giants noted its potential in generating profits.

According to a report by market consultancy iiMedia Research, there had been nearly 350 million ACG product users in the Chinese market by 2018 and on a Tencent ACG platform more than 80 percent of users were young people born after 1995.

As an ACG fan for more than two decades, I was gratified to see this culture gaining popularity. Most fans born in the 1990s, like me, will never forget the earliest animated films and series we watched, all produced by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio.

When we were children, we had “Black Cat Detective,” “Uproar in Heaven,” “Calabash Brothers,” “A Deer of Nine Colors,” “Nezha Conquers the Dragon King,” “Secrets of the Heavenly Book” and other works on TV, all with nice plots and beautiful images. Traditional Chinese skills like paper-cutting and puppet art were featured.

Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki admired the studio’s ink-wash and brush-painting-style animated movie “Where is Mama” — a story about a group of tadpoles finding their mother.

Each of these cartoons has its own features and moral lessons, which make them suitable for both children and adults. “Uproar in Heaven” reflects the Monkey King’s spirit of protest against celestial authority while “Calabash Brothers” tells the importance of solidarity.

Japanese anime began to be introduced into China in the late 1980s and 1990s. Boys were fond of playing basketball under the influence of “Slam Dunk” and girls were attracted by the young female fighters in “Sailor Moon.” These works brought us a new world with fantastic stories and fine characters. Series such as “Detective Conan,” “Doraemon” and “Chibi Maruko-chan” were all memories of our childhood.

Mythical themes

From the start of the 21st century, domestic cartoons with historic or mythical themes, or educational ones, began appearing on television. But most of them were targeting young children and we didn’t have those like “South Park” or “The Simpsons” that can also be enjoyed by adults. And there were few works with profound connotations like the early animated films of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio.

It was also the case with Chinese comics, which mostly catered to the younger generation at that time.

In the 2010s, some animation series, adapted from comics and web-novels created by domestic cartoonists and authors started to emerge and became popular with young people as well as those in their 30s. Romantic story “Fox Spirit Matchmaker,” martial arts-themed “Under One Person” and popular eSports novel and anime “The King’s Avatar” were among them.

Meanwhile, online games such as “World of Warcraft,” “League of Legends” and homemade “JX Online” — an ancient China-background game series made by Kingsoft which turned online from console game — caught many high schoolers, undergraduates and working men, as well as console games “Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fairy” and “Legend of the Ancient Sword.”

Nowadays, Chinese firms publish numerous animation series, comics and mobile games acknowledged by audiences, readers and players all over the world and have lots of cooperation with Japan and South Korea in ACG. While introducing manga and anime from those countries, China also exports its own animation series and games to them. NetEase’s “Onmyoji,” Shanghai-based HyperGryph’s “Arknights,” Papergames’ “Nikki” series and “Love and Producer” all had positions on Japan’s App Store top mobile games list.

However, such rapid development has triggered problems, such as plagiarizing, poor quality and lack of a rating system.

Without a classified rating system, all the ACG works here have to be “appropriate” for teenagers, leaving adult audiences, readers and gamers high and dry. As an adult ACG lover, I hope we can also have works such as Netflix’s “Love, Death + Robots” and some disclosing the dark side of society like Japan’s.

I think the ACG market should not only be for either children or adults. How to take into account both groups’ needs and work out solutions to reach a balance will be the task of firms involved in the industry, as well as the government, to create a good “ecosystem” for the industry’s growth and make it more brilliant in the future.