Chinese online video platform Bilibili announced a whopping 49-title lineup of new series during its annual Anime Made by Bilibili presentation, which showcases the company’s latest production and distribution initiatives in local animation. The company also announced the premiere date for its latest project, the adaptation of Liu Cixin’s Hugo-winning sci-fi trilogy The Three-Body Problem, which is principally produced and financed by Bilibili, co-presented by rightsholder The Three-Body Universe and animation studio YHKT Entertainment.
Since the project was announced in 2019, The Three-Body Problem‘s trailer has attracted 3 million followers and 40 million views. Bilibili has officially announced that the series is scheduled to debut on December 3. It will also be shown on satellite TV channels and overseas video platforms.
As one of the most popular sci-fi novel series of the past 20 years, The Three-Body Problem trilogy broke language and cultural barriers for millions of readers globally. The news of an animated series has inspired many fan creations; at Anime Made by Bilibili, the company also collaborated with The Three-Body Universe to launch the Three-Body Global Creator Project. The Project invites top animation creators around the world to explore the IP in their unique vision and aims to present a wide variety of art styles through the infinite potential of Three-Body’s animation.
“I am excited to announce that The Three-Body Problem animated series will debut on Bilibili,” said author Liu Cixin. “Animation, like science fiction, is the art of imagination. Imagination is humanity’s most powerful force. I believe in the world of animation, a sci-fi story like The Three-Body Problem can really come alive.”
Other anime series announced at the event include:
- Link Click Season 2, a story of two friends using extraordinary powers to grant people’s wishes that has proven popular among overseas audiences; the first season of Link Click achieved a ranking of #20 on global online anime community/database MyAnimeList.
- The new season of Fog Hill of Five Elements involving cultural elements taken from Classic of Mountains and Seas will soon launch on Bilibili.
- The new season of the Fairies Albums, another Chinese culture-oriented anime.
- A new season of To Be Hero X, a new season of a Bilibili made anime series which has impressed with its ambitious visual effects.
Bilibili’s busy 2022-2023 presentation reflects the recent boom in Chinese animation. Data from market analysis firm iResearch shows that the total production value of the industry exceeded RMB221.2 billion (~$30.3B USD) as of 2021. Carly Lee, Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Directors and Chief Operating Officer of Bilibili, stated that the audience for Chinese animation has grown substantially in the past years.
Bilibili is currently the leading platform for Chinese anime series and a record of over 96 million people watched Chinese anime series on Bilibili in August 2022, double the audience size of just two years ago. Among the viewers on Bilibili, more than 40% come from second or lower-tier cities, and the number of users over 25 years old has increased by 7 million within one year.
“Revenues generated from Chinese anime on Bilibili are estimated to exceed RMB 2 billion in 2022. Anime has become a popular way for the young generation to express themselves,” said Lee. “Anime is also more than just a form of expression. It has become an infrastructure capability for the digital world with wide application in films, games and virtual creator livestreaming. In the future, anime may have the potential to replace other content forms. Bilibili is actively working with leading production companies in the industry to bring more premium quality animation to global audiences.”
Chinese animation has also raised its profile internationally. Bilibili points out that across overseas social media, #DongHua, the Chinese word for anime, has begun to distinguish itself from #Anime and is blossoming into a popular topic. Global platforms are actively introducing Chinese anime titles — 24 series from Bilibili are already available to audiences around the world.
Bilibili is also boosting its overseas production capacity by cooperating with overseas animation production companies, such as Red Dog Culture House and CMC Media have for Fairies Albums and other original productions. The Bilibili-made Face on Lie Season 1, based on a South Korean comic, was launched this April and is an example of the producer-platform’s international IP expansion.
“We have always embraced ‘Made for Global’ as part of our vision,” said Leo Zhang, Vice President of Bilibili. “We are committed to making more original animation with global influence, and we also hope to keep discovering outstanding creators from all over the world to develop diversified cooperation models.”
The presentation also continued to promote Bilibili’s Light Catcher Initiative to further support animators, students and passionate anime lovers who want to work in the industry. Fourteen pioneering animated short films supported by Bilibili have been available on the platform since September this year.
You can stream the full Anime by Bilibili presentation here.