Chinese Animation

A History and Filmography, 1922–2012


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About the Book

With an output of more than 250,000 minutes annually, and with roughly 5,000 producers and production units, the Chinese are leading the field of animated films. Although it is almost impossible to completely cover 90 years of filmmaking, this book provides a comprehensible introduction to the industry’s infancy, its Golden Age (Shanghai Animation Film Studio) and today’s Chinese animation (in feature films, television series and student films). There are classics such as Princess Iron Fan (made at the time of the Japanese occupation) and the color Havoc in Heaven, both starring the Monkey King Sun Wukong, as well as countless TV stars (Blue Cat, Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf) and many almost unknown works by young filmmakers who are not focusing on an audience of children (like most of the industry output).

About the Author(s)

Rolf Giesen, a former visiting professor of animation at the Communication University of China and president of an animation museum in Changchun, China, has compiled a special effects collection for Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin and has co-written several animation features. He is an expert on early fantasy and science fiction films.

Bibliographic Details

Rolf Giesen

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 107 photos (16 in color), notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5977-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1552-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction and Overview: A Strong Nation of Animation 1
1. The 1920s: The Wan Brothers and the Origin of Shanghai Animation 11
The Films 12
2. The 1930s: Japanese Invaders and the Dancing Camel 14
The Films 14
3. The 1940s: Shanghai, Changchun and Back 16
The Films 16
4. The 1950s: The Classic Period—Watercolors, ­Cut-Paper, Origami,
and Puppet Animation 22
The Films 23
5. The 1960s: Havoc and the Cultural Revolution 33
The Films 33
6. The 1970s: The Aftermath of Cultural Revolution 51
The Films 51
7. The 1980s: Reform Period, Transitional Stage and Decline 54
The Films 54
8. The 1990s: The End of Shanghai Animation Studio’s Monopoly 76
The Films and Series 76
Between pages 80 and 81 are 8 color plates containing 16 photographs.
9. 2000 and On: Relaunching Animation in China 81
The Animated Series 82
The Animated Feature Films 105
Education in Animation 119
Selected Students’ Work and Short Films 124
Selected Animated Science and Educational Films 180
Selected Animated Commercials 181
Mobile Content and Webtoons: A World in Flash Animation 182
Selected Mobile Animation 183
Selected Webtoons 185
Afterword 189
The Digital Future in Cartoons and Interactive Games 189
A New Era 189
Chapter Notes 193
Bibliography 195
Index 197

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “an excellent resource…thoroughly researched…a substantial addition”—ARBA
  • “fascinating…profusely illustrated with posters, stills, and photographs of directors and production crews”—Animation World Network