Quality animation not just fantasy
Updated: 2013-06-04 08:55
By Hao Nan (China Daily)
Though the industry "in a trough" nationwide, the Chengdu-headquartered company has an all-new series ready. Photos Provided to China Daily
Hengfeng creating fresh plots, images and new story lines
Xiong Weihua, founder and chairman of Chengdu Hengfeng Animation Co, says his dream to present the fine aspects of Chinese culture to the world through his company's cartoons is starting to come true.
"We are dedicated to creating original Chinese cartoons and working in the green, low-carbon, innovative economy," Xiong said in an interview with China Daily in late May.
In 2006, the State Council announced support for the development of the country's animation industry. The company emerged in response to the demand.
"The Chinese government is now encouraging development of the cultural creative industry and animation is a core part," he noted.
Chinese cartoons were splendid for several decades, but the industry has hit a trough, he noted.
"Many people criticize Chinese animations because they lack attraction in plots and picture quality, and also few are suitable for adults to watch," said Xiong.
The problems are caused by several factors, he noted.
"Some animation producers are short of investment and technological support, and some are only interested in instant profits," he explained.
In contrast, the chairman said Hengfeng Animation will settle down to listen carefully to voices of wisdom from a country with an ancient civilization and "step into a hall of traditional culture".
The company is starting to nurture its own brand through "100 percent of effort and the pursuit of 100 percent effects", he said.
In 2009, Hengfeng released China's first high definition 3D cartoon called Galaxy Heroes, which has now been broadcast in more than 30 countries and regions.
The 52-episode series depicts stories in bucolic Fruit-Veggie Planet, which falls into a crisis after a wizard from the Dark Planet steals a gene map for wicked experiments.
Energetic and young Melissa and her three partners managed to rescue the gene map after a range of investigations, adventures and battles, saving the planet and becoming heroes of the galaxy.
The four main characters are a personified tomato, pineapple, chili and pepper.
The company is now busy making another 3D animation - Vegetable &Fruit Baby.
It will run for five seasons, with the first recently finished.
"Fruit and vegetables as main characters are rarely seen in animation across the world and we chose that approach for good reason," said the chairman. "Japanese animators exemplified by Hayao Miyazaki are outstanding at depicting people, and the US animated cartoons are good at animals and monsters, with the best representative the Walt Disney products," he noted.
Xiong added that fruit and vegetables also conform to the theme of "green, healthy and harmonious" condensed from China's 5,000-year-old civilization.
In his new world, pineapples, bananas, chili, potatoes, strawberries and other vegetables and fruit babies live happily in a green and vital town.
But the Cabbageworm that lives in Dead Tree Castle plans to seize the town's possessions and keeps sending his fruit fly men to harass the town with endless schemes and intrigues, which are finally beaten back by the brave babies in the town with their innocence.
The company has also released a 90-second animated film on Chengdu that will be shown at the upcoming Fortune Forum.
Designed and realized by five young girls, the short film integrates the ancient cultural elements of Chengdu such as hot pot, chilies, tea, pandas and Sichuan opera with modern buildings and emerging industries under the title Spicy City of Leisurely Lifestyle.
Due to its acclaimed creations, the company made the list of Top 5 National Animation & Comics in 2011.