Douban 9.6, what’s so good about the 2 episodes of Fengshen’s “Chinese Strange Tan”?

Recently, a domestically produced animation is like a dark horse, and it has become a trending topic on Weibo and on Douban.

It is "China's Strange Tan", reminiscent of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio's classic animation film "The Book of Heaven".

"China Strange Story" is a collection of animation works jointly produced by Shangmei Factory and Station B. It consists of 8 independent stories rooted in Chinese traditional culture. It is currently broadcasting 2 episodes, with more than 25 million views, and about 49,000 people on Douban Score 9.6 points.

In the domestic animation industry, it is needless to say that Shangmei Factory has high artistic achievements and unique style, but because of the changes of the times and the gap in talents, it has fallen into the dilemma of "the old man is too old, and he can still eat".

As soon as "China Strange Story" came out, did the Shangmei factory in childhood memories finally come back?

Note: The following contains spoilers!

Collection of Monster Stories, "Domestic Love Crash"

The theme of "Chinese Strange Story" is monsters. Monsters have rich meanings in traditional culture. They are not necessarily just fierce and grotesque images. They represent abnormalities, unknowns, getting along with and confronting human beings, or they may be the other side of human beings.

The creators write semi-propositional compositions under the big framework, and the 8 stories have different styles and cores. Because "Love, Death and Robots" is also composed of short animations with independent stories and various types, some people call "China's Strange Story" "Domestic Love Crash".

"China Strange Tan" updates an episode every Sunday at 10 o'clock on station B, and currently only 2 episodes have been updated.

Let's take a look at the first episode "Little Monster's Summer". What is special about it is that it lowers the field of vision and tells the story of ordinary little monsters in the background of Journey to the West. It does not mention people everywhere, but there is a sense of sight of human society everywhere.

The protagonist, the wild boar demon, is a low-level monster in a small mountain. The king, like other monsters, regards Tang monk meat as the ultimate dream. Hearing that Tang monk and his disciples will pass by here in a few days, he asked his men to prepare weapons, cauldrons, and ingredients Wait, those who perform meritorious service can still have a sip of soup.

It's a pity that the little demon in the temple is very windy, and the pool is shallow and full of kings. This small hilltop undoubtedly reveals the worst appearance in the workplace——

The phenomenon of seniority is serious, and monsters who are not high enough are not worthy of wiping the king's armor.

With an idea, the wild boar demon plucked the fur of the crow monster to make the bow and arrow more accurate, but his immediate boss, Coach Xiong, accused him of "you are teaching me how to do things".

The crow monster is bald, and the boar monster is also bald. Its mane was used by the Minotaur to wipe the pot. The two monsters are brothers who "take the blame" together.

Originally, it was said that the Tang monk meat would be stewed in a pot, and the little monsters could still drink the soup, but the king changed it to be roasted and eaten. He needed to collect two thousand catties of hickory trees from scratch, and the firewood he had worked so hard to save was given to a monster by the wolf boss. Laws burnt, energy and time wasted.

Changing orders from day to day, flattering superiors and bullying inferiors, and being unrealistic, how can it be possible to accomplish anything? This is destined to be a failed round-up, the monsters are preparing in full swing, it seems that Tang Monk's meat is already in the pocket of the king, in fact, the small mountain is not even a ninety-nine or eighty-one difficulty, and Bajie's nails are enough to smooth it out. They are just nobodies sitting in the sky.

▲ The English translation is Nobody.

The theme of "Nobody Knows" runs through the whole story. In the end, the wild boar demon reported to the four masters and apprentices to ambush them carefully, but was knocked unconscious on the ground with a stick. Fortunately, the ending quickly reversed. The wild boar demon did not die. This is just Monkey King Using the blindfold method, Monkey King also pulled the wild boar monster up and gave it three life-saving hairs.

Sun Wukong didn't show his face from the beginning to the end, and there were very few scenes, but it made people feel that the great sage is that great sage. The faces of the big figures are always blurred, which also implies that the wild boar demon is at the bottom and can only look up and imagine the situation at the top.

Although some people say that it is better for the wild boar demon to be killed, and the irony is stronger, but the ending of not being killed can reflect that the Monkey King "has known the greatness of the universe, but still pities the green grass and trees", let alone Monkey King's sharp eyes and keen five senses , shouldn't be unable to hear the wild boar demon's shouting.

If "The Summer of Little Monsters" is a realistic story with neat structure and exquisite details, the second episode "Goose Goose Goose" is blank and freehand, fantasy and weird. a short film".

"Goose Goose Goose" is adapted from the prose "Yangxian Scholar" written by Wu Jun, a Liang writer in the Southern Dynasties. A brief description of its main plot is as follows:

In order to send two geese to Goose Mountain, the salesman met a lame fox. The fox invited the salesman to drink and spit out his sweetheart, the rabbit demon. After the fox fell asleep, the rabbit spit out the wild boar demon , The wild boar demon spit out the goose demon again, and the goose demon actually moved the shopkeeper. Sweethearts also have sweethearts, nested layer upon layer without knowing each other, and in the end everything comes down to Mr. Fox's mouth.

What is the connotation of this story of illusions emerging from illusions and being born again and again? The director did not give a standard answer. "The heart is changeable" is the basic framework of the original story. In fact, any theme that feels reasonable is fine. Some people say it is the self and the self, some people see that desires are hard to fill and worry about gains and losses, and some people lament that in the You don't know yourself in the cage, which is the beauty of blank space.

The strange novels of the Southern and Northern Dynasties have such characteristics. They simply tell a story without making judgments or depicting psychology, giving people unlimited room for imagination. Just like the goose demon disappears in the end, the earrings turned into birds in the hands of the shopkeeper, floating among the mountains and mountains, lost but not found, and besides the melancholy, there is the relief of "the birds return each other".

The changing size relationship in "Goose, Goose, Goose" is also very interesting. On one side, the fox is hiding in the goose cage, and the sweetheart is placed in the confidant. On the other side, the salesman becomes bigger than the mountain after getting drunk. The goose mountain is not big, and the goose cage on its back is not small.

This is reminiscent of Zhuangzi's "Xiaoyaoyou". Whether it is a small animal such as a scorpion or a dove that is not good at flying, a roc that can fly to an altitude of 90,000 li by the wind, or a Liezi who can walk against the wind, everyone Waiting for something but not being free seems to be an interpretation of the theme.

There is also an interesting setting in the animation. "Goose Goose Goose" itself is a silent film, and the second-person subtitles are used to advance the plot, allowing the audience to enter the salesman's perspective. It seems that we are the protagonists in the story, which strengthens the whole emotional experience.

Regardless of the story or the artistic conception, "Goose Goose Goose" is worth pondering. The benevolent sees the benevolent and the wise sees wisdom. From the different understandings of you and me, you can see the appearance of all living beings.

Aesthetics of local taste, generations of Ye Qinghui

In addition to the core of the story, the art style and production techniques of "Chinese Strange Tan" are also worthy of attention, and the form and content have always accompanied each other.

The background of "The Summer of Little Monsters" is a style of ink and wash combined with light and shadow, drawing on the connotations of Chinese splashed ink and green landscapes. Director Yu Shui also introduced several more difficult shots in Zhihu.

The shot of the Minotaur grabbing the wild boar monster to wash the pot involves a large perspective. The deformation and expression of the wild boar monster when it is rubbed, and the transformation of the structure of the cow's arms and hands during the movement are not low difficulty.

The slow-motion picture of the Tang monk, master and apprentice walking forward is not easy. On the one hand, slow motion is more difficult to draw in two-dimensional animation. Express the character of the four masters and apprentices.

There is also a smooth transformation of the wolf demon in the climax scene. This is a hand-painted ink style frame by frame, and the workload is very huge.

The dubbing and soundtrack of "Little Monster's Summer" are also very sophisticated. For example, when the wild boar monster ran towards Monkey King, he didn't make a sound when he shouted the second sentence. The thrill of singing.

The unique audio-visual language of "Goose Goose" is even more memorable.

Its content is adapted from Zhiguai novels, and the art style is also close to Zhiguai novels, like ink and sand paintings, black and white gray plus bright red, both weird and smart, and the characters with dark circles are Gothic aesthetics display.

Especially Mr. Fox, who looks a bit like a handsome man in an opera, with red chalk and pink hair, hairpin flowers on his temples, his face changes slightly scary, and he is cute when he is drunk.

Behind the high-level aesthetics is the hard work. "Goose Goose Goose" uses the most detailed sketch-like painting method to restore the effect of early film films. Director Hu Rui said that there is no trick to moving this style, and it can only be hand-painted and colored frame by frame. "You can only watch, sometimes it is very good, and sometimes it makes you desperate."

According to the PV and preview of "Chinese Strange Tan", there will be animations of various art styles and production techniques, including traditional two-dimensional, paper-cut, and even stop-motion animation, as well as modern technologies such as CG and three-rendering two.

To some extent, the bold exploration of "Chinese Strange Story" has inherited the style of Shangmeichang.

Te Wei, the first factory director of Shangmei Factory, put forward the slogan of "exploring the road of national style". Animation "Pig Bajie Eats Watermelon", ink animation "Little Tadpole Looking for Mom", hand-painted two-dimensional animation "Havoc in Heaven", puppet animation "The Story of Avanti"…

The domestic animation industry is known as the "Chinese school", which is an internationally renowned animation genre, referring to a group of distinctive Chinese characteristics that "started in the 1950s, matured in the 1960s, and harvested in the 1970s and 1980s." "Animation works", which amazed Japanese animators such as Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.

In other words, the Chinese school is the animation works that we watched on TV when we were young. Now "China Strange Story" has some shadows of the past again, making people feel that this is the Chinese story told by the Chinese.

Inheritance and innovation, tradition and modernity

According to the Fan Support Club of Shanghai Film Studio, Shanghai Film Factory is the producer of "China Strange Story". Each story is produced by each studio, and Shanghai Film Factory also participates in and conducts maintenance. Therefore, "China Wonder Story" can be said to be a joint venture between Shanghai Film Factory and A result of multi-factory cooperation.

Although Shangmei Factory is more like a gatekeeper this time, "China Strange Story" has caused a sensation in a short period of time, and it is still inseparable from the "golden signature" of Shangmei Factory.

When it comes to domestic animation, we can hardly forget the glorious past. Shangmei Factory, officially established in 1957, has created more than 500 works such as "Snow Child", "Havoc in Heaven", "Black Cat Sheriff" and "Calabash Brothers", which have accompanied generations of Chinese people.

It's a pity that after the 1980s, the trend of the animation market changed rapidly. Due to the development of the times and the fault of talents, the once glorious Shangmei Factory gradually declined, and it was even questioned that it was living on its laurels, and there were no more classics.

In fact, in recent years, there have been many excellent domestic animations.

The animated film "Luo Xiaohei Zhanji" also explores the relationship between demons and people; "Under One Man" takes root in the metaphysical soil of the country, and sets up an interesting combat system; "Five Elements in the Fog Mountain" has a unique ink painting style, and the play is smooth and gorgeous , and the world view of yin and yang and five elements, mutual generation and mutual restraint, based on tradition and integrated into modernity.

What impresses me most about "Chinese Strange Tan" is also the inheritance and innovation of domestic animation.

Hu Rui, the director of "Goose, Goose", is a fan of Shangmeichang. He especially likes works such as "The Proud General" and "The Book of Heaven". I humbly add that there is a difference between the two.

The lame fox boy in "Goose, Goose, Goose" is Hu Rui's private goods. He used this image to pay tribute to the lame fox Aguai in "The Book of Heaven". In the original book, the lame boy didn't say he looked like a fox, nor did he eat goose, but Aguai loved to eat roast chicken, so the fox boy ate the goose, which added a bit of evil spirit.

The story of "Goose Goose Goose" itself has also been adapted in modern times. In the original book, the shopkeeper is a bystander, seeing the spit out sweethearts, he just said "good" again and again, but in the animation, the shopkeeper became a participant, and had an emotional exchange with the goose girl who appeared at the end.

The shopkeeper became a part of the nesting doll, and Mr. Fox showed a smile when he parted from the shopkeeper, as if he knew everything that happened. When the story is told in the second person, we also feel lost along with the salesman.

Hu Rui also mentioned in the interview that he originally wanted to use a mezzo-soprano voice-over for the narration, but finally chose a simple subtitle form. These subtitles are like task guides that appear when playing games, especially in line with the basic life experience of contemporary young audiences, so there is no need to use redundant expressions.

Yu Shui, the director of "Little Monster's Summer", also said in the behind-the-scenes special that the most difficult thing in this film is how to not only reflect the Chinese aesthetic style, but also achieve the tonality that contemporary young people like. It is also how to inherit and innovate.

In terms of inheritance, we can see many details, such as the smoke from the Minotaur grabbing the wild boar demon to wipe the pot. Used it in this game.

The innovation is even more obvious. The director discussed the fate of ordinary monsters in the background of "Journey to the West", which is familiar to Chinese people, and also used the workplace relationship in the monster world to reflect the present. If there is Zhihu in the demon world, the wild boar demon should write an article "What is it like to be an ordinary monster in "Journey to the West"?"

In addition, the wild boar mother who asks her children to drink more water is like a parent whose children are working hard outside and worrying about the holidays, adding warmth to the story; Net sense, very close to the times.

The two works we have seen so far have both the national style of Shangmeichang and a contemporary temperament, which is refreshing in the current domestic animation.

There are only 8 episodes in "China Strange Story". This kind of unit short film collection is more like an exploration, not yet systematic, and not as mature as Netflix. It is not appropriate to rashly say that the rise of domestic animation is not appropriate, but it is worth seeing the breakthrough. As for the celebration, I just hope that the surprises of domestic animation are not short-lived, but like flowing water, and the contention is endless.

It is as beneficial as autumn frost, and it can eliminate evil disasters. Work email: [email protected]

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