Anime has been a staple of Japanese entertainment for decades now. Constantly pushing the artistic prowess of modern-day animation, Japan has had somewhat of an exclusive grasp on the anime marketplace as a whole.
However, we have recently seen a spike in demand for Chinese anime, also known as Donghua, as well as Korean anime, known as hanguk aeni.
This new support, in what some would call, ‘off-brand anime’, has taken the world by storm. Anime is no longer a product of Japan, but a product of the entertainment industry in general.
It is no surprise either, given the popularity of South Korean entertainment, such as the debut of the groundbreaking show ‘Squid Games’ that released on Netflix in 2021. This show paved the way for foreign entertainment to have a place in the U.S. and other countries across the world.
‘Scissor Seven’ is a good example of a Chinese anime that has found success in the U.S.
The show is based on a former number-one assassin who has experienced memory loss and has opened up a barber shop to make ends meet with his two chicken friends. The show shows Seven, the protagonist, grappling between two lives, one that was predetermined, and one that he created for himself.
As you can see, Chinese Donghua shares many similarities in narrative and art style with Japanese anime. The differences may come down to the level of censorship that Chinese art has to withstand.
After all, China has a track record of censoring its own entertainment industry, as well as anything from overseas. So this limited space for creativity could perhaps make it a much more watered-down version of Japanese anime.
Korean hanguk aeni has a very close similarity to Japanese anime due to their very liberal policies on entertainment. They allow for the norms to be pushed regularly, and even celebrated a show that portrayed the murder of individuals for monetary gain with South Korea’s ‘highest national cultural medal’.
All in all, it is safe to say that Japanese anime is here to stay, but it is unsure whether it will remain in the top spot for anime entertainment for much longer. With the rise of Chinese and Korean anime, as well as emerging anime markets in Vietnam and Cambodia, it will be an interesting struggle for power that will take place in the years to come.