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Bilibili is Making a Huge Chinese Anime Push

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Chinese video hub Bilibili has unveiled 33 new homegrown anime titles, as part of its “Made by Bilibili 2020-2021” event, which announced the streaming site’s main programming for the coming year.

“Locally-produced work is no longer a niche sector,” said Bilibili Vice Chairman Li Ni. “It’s an established trend. This year, we launched 106 works, and users’ watch time has increased by 98 percent.”

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Li also announced a strategic cooperation with Light Chaser Animation Studios, the young production house behind hits such as White Snake and New Gods: Nezha Reborn. Bilibili will produce some of the anime titles on its own, including a spin on action-comedy Detective Chinatown, an adaptation of the novel The Longest Day in Chang’an, and comics The Long Ballad and Zi Bu Yu.

Detective Chinatown is already a popular movie franchise in China, while The Longest Day in Chang’an was a hit live action TV show in 2019 and was picked up by Amazon Prime.

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At 2019’s equivalent conference, Bilibili teased the launch of an animated work based on Liu Cixin’s sci-fi novel The Three-Body Problem, and said that it would be released in 2021, however updates on the project have since been scarce. This year another award-winning sci-fi novel, Heart of the Galaxy, will receive the animated treatment.

A dominant force in China’s youth entertainment market, anime-focused Bilibili has seen viewership of Chinese animated films surpass the number of users watching Japanese productions, originally its main content stream. The total value of China’s animation industry in 2019 reached 194.1 billion RMB (about 29.4 billion USD), and the total number of online viewers reached 400 million. 

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“Bilibili’s ten-year ambition between 2014 and 2024 is to become a Chinese anime hub, driving the Asian animation industry and leading the way in both output and viewership in the next decade,” Li said. “After 2024, we hope that Bilibili will be able to support and witness the birth of new Chinese anime superheroes and blockbuster animation hits. That’s the only way we can keep exporting high quality animated works to the global market.”

Cover image: Heaven Official’s Blessing

Jocelyn Yang
    Jocelyn Yang is a student journalist at Emerson College and serves as an editorial intern at RADII. Her primary field of interest is writing about Chinese and American cultures. Follows her on Twitter @_jocelynyang_.