2023-06-09 13:20:54

Overview of the Magnolia Awards Nominations: Mysteries and Romance in the World of Animation


As AI-generated artwork stirs up the realm of anime, the debate around whether artificial intelligence will replace traditional animation has sparked curiosity among people. Yet, regardless of how the future unfolds, the unique human qualities of sensitivity, imagination, creativity, and empathy will always be irreplaceable. The greatest allure of animations lies in their ability to construct a myriad of mysterious, romantic, and fantastical new worlds, expressing emotions of love, hatred, joy, and sadness through the medium of art.


The nominations for the animation category of the 28th Shanghai TV Festival Magnolia Awards were recently announced, revealing ten animated works that embody fresh creativity and rich emotions from both China and abroad. Together, they have opened for the audience the gateway to a world of wonders.


Delving into Local Culture

Exploring Universal Expression


From the lovable and clumsy Po from KUNG FU PANDA to the optimistic Moomin family from MOOMINVALLEY, from the courageous Yang Zirong who stepped out of the classic novel TRACKS IN THE SNOWY FOREST to the extraterrestrial version of ROMEO AND JULIET in THE SMEDS AND THE SMOOS, each of the animations nominated for the Magnolia Awards has garnered a huge following in the television market worldwide.



KUNG FU PANDA: DRAGON KNIGHT tells the story of a wandering Po joining forces with a British knight to thwart the enemy’s conspiracy and save the world. New faces join MOOMINVALLEY SEASON 3, but mischievous Stinky always manages to create various troubles, leaving the Moomin family in tears and laughter. TRACKS IN THE SNOWY FOREST revolves around the story of Yang Zirong and a group of courageous and meticulous scout heroes who took the Tiger Mountain by wisdom. THE SMEDS AND THE SMOOS embarks on an extraordinary interstellar journey, where two young extraterrestrials from rival tribes fall in love and elope despite their families’ objections.



Approaching these works, the familiar characters, stories, and settings seem to transport the audience into a parallel anime world, captivating them and leaving them reluctant to return. Behind these super IPs lie the creative paths of generations of animators exploring “the universal expression of local culture” in their creations. KUNG FU PANDA combines the values of individual heroism from the West and collectivism from the East, emphasizing the importance of unity and collaboration. Meanwhile, “Moomin”, a cherished cartoon figure in Finland, represents the Nordic philosophy of daring adventure and the pursuit of romance. The story of TRACKS IN THE SNOWY FOREST has become widely known throughout China, with the heroic figure Yang Zirong inspiring multiple generations. In THE SMEDS AND THE SMOOS, derived from Shakespeare’s masterpiece, we can still see how the British regard this world literary figure as a symbol and source of pride in their culture. 



It is on this fertile ground that the animators’ creative spirit takes flight to surpass the classics, infusing their works with a sense of audacity and confidence.


Unleashing Youthful Passion

Hitting the Pain Points


Youth anime themed around the brave pursuit of dreams and inspirational growing-up stories have always dominated the anime world, and this is once again validated in the Magnolia Awards nominations. From the groundbreaking young martial artist Li Xingyun to superpower boy Mob who battles evil creatures relentlessly, from the extraterrestrial visitor “Immortal” on a quest to discover the meaning of life to Fadi, a boy using music to dissolve prejudice in the world, these passionate young characters paint a vivid spectrum of youth with their boundless energy and tireless endeavor.



THE DEGENERATE-DRAWING JIANGHU S5 tells the story of Li Xingyun, who finds himself in a turbulent era and leads a group of degenerates to dismantle malicious plots. The tale showcases the distinctive attitudes of young martial artists towards youth, love, betrayal, and loyalty.



TO YOUR ETERNITY focuses on a mystical “stone ball” capable of transforming into anything in the world and thus immortal. When it transforms into a human, it embarks on a search for the meaning of life, which is destined to be a lonely journey with no end.



MOB PSYCHO 100 III continues the tale of Mob, a psychic who battles supernatural monsters while learning to grow in the spiritual consulting agency.


THE CASE weaves an adventurous and romantic story from the perspective of Fadi, a boy who carries his beloved violin on a journey over mountains and seas, believing that music can dissolve hatred in people’s hearts and destroy prejudice in the world.


Maintaining curiosity about the unknown world, refusing to give up on dreams easily, and fighting against villains until the end... Aren’t such courage and passion in the world of anime exactly our aspirations and yearnings in real life? Exceptional animators always skillfully project the pain points of society onto the virtual world, and ultimately nourish reality itself. They inspire people with the courage and strength to pursue a better life. And that, precisely, is why passionate youth anime continues to lead the global animation market.


Rebirth of Chinese Animation

Igniting Cultural Confidence


In recent years, as a wave of outstanding domestic animations successfully “sailed abroad,” the “rise of Chinese animation” has gradually shifted from anticipation to a new normal. In this year’s Magnolia Awards nominations for the animation category, nearly half are Chinese productions. Besides the aforementioned TRACKS IN THE SNOWY FOREST and THE DEGENERATE-DRAWING JIANGHU S5, another two titles have also been wildly popular on the domestic animation market: YAO-CHINESE FOLKTALES inspired by traditional Chinese folklore and WHITE CAT LEGEND 2 blending ancient-style detective stories with the cat-lover culture.



YAO-CHINESE FOLKTALES, which has garnered widespread acclaim online, consists of eight independent stories rooted in Chinese traditional culture. From historical legends to future imaginings, from hometown sentiments to cosmic exploration, from caring for life to pondering human nature, this series paints a vivid world brimming with Chinese-style imagination, showcasing the charm of Chinese culture transcending time and space.



Similarly, WHITE CAT LEGEND 2 is set in the prosperous Tang dynasty. It follows the thrilling adventures of characters in the Dali Temple as they defy fate and uphold their inner sense of justice under the leadership of the white cat official, Li Bing. Notably, this series also collaborates with recent critically acclaimed Chinese animations such as DAHUFA and FOG HILL OF FIVE ELEMENTS, illustrating the shared commitment and unwavering confidence of Chinese animators to strengthen and expand the market.



As an increasing number of high-quality Chinese animations emerge, the world is shown the original aspirations and unwavering pursuit of Chinese animators. They use strokes to tell captivating stories of Chinese culture, infusing the Chinese animation industry with boundless imagination. Chinese animation, rising from its glorious history, will become another dynamic medium for young Chinese people to showcase their cultural confidence.


Undoubtedly, the STVF is becoming a global stage for showcasing the creativity and imagination of outstanding animated films. Through the selection of “Best Animation Film” and “Best Animation Script”, intriguing and entertaining stories, along with vivid cartoon characters, will capture the attention of more audiences. The STVF will continue to drive the innovative development of the global animation industry, providing a broad platform for animators worldwide to explore and exchange ideas and advance together. Which animation will take home this year’s Magnolia Awards? Stay tuned for the award ceremony on June 23rd!

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