Best-selling animation producer Aiken Zou talks about creating a global phenomenon


06:12

“There is a real opportunity to shake things up,” Aiken Zou, producer of “Scissor Seven,” the first-ever Chinese animated series to air via Netflix Originals, told CGTN in an exclusive interview ahead of the launch of its final season on the world. banner.

The popular Chinese animated series just launched its third season on streaming giant Netflix on October 3, about eight months after its national release in late January. So far, the new season has racked up 360 million views on Chinese video streaming platform Bilibili, over 10.25 million followers and 1.72 million comments with a remarkable score of 9.8 (out of 10 ).

Directed and written by rising host He Xiaofeng, “Scissor Seven” depicts the story of the main character Wu Liuqi, also known as “Seven” in English, an amnesiac assassin working undercover as a hairdresser, who attempts to track down memories lost after an injury and embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

Poster for the third season of “Scissor Seven”. / AHA Entertainment

Poster for the third season of “Scissor Seven”. / AHA Entertainment

“The market has evolved considerably since ‘Scissor Seven’. It has become more inclusive and therefore attracts more and more designers who each offer unique styles, especially younger ones with a broad aesthetic, ”said Zou, CEO and founder of Beijing-based AHA Entertainment.

“We have actively continued to cooperate with Netflix because we are extremely confident in the quality of our content. [‘Scissor Seven’]”, said the producer, adding:” We are convinced that it will be understood and loved by foreign audiences. “

The third season of “Scissor Seven” has racked up 360 million views on China’s online video streaming platform Bilibili. / Bilibili

The third season of “Scissor Seven” has racked up 360 million views on China’s online video streaming platform Bilibili. / Bilibili

Prior to streaming, they submitted “Scissor Seven” for partial screening in several industry showcases, including the Tokyo International Film Festival and other events in Europe and the United States. “Although we intentionally left out the captions, we still found that audiences in every country responded enthusiastically and laughed in unison.”

The anime show received rave reviews from professionals and fans alike. Its first season was screened at the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 2018, and became the first Chinese production to compete in the festival’s TV and cinema category, considered the Oscars in the international calendar of the festival. animation.

“It’s not rocket science: they watched it, they laughed and they were moved – that’s the key. If the work moves viewers, it opens a way for cooperation,” Zou said, speaking about takeaways from his Netflix experience.

Aiken Zou, producer of the animated hit “Scissor Seven”, talks to CGTN. / CGTN

Aiken Zou, producer of the animated hit “Scissor Seven”, talks to CGTN. / CGTN

The seasoned producer also shared her take on the domestic animation industry and revealed that she knows many young creators who are stacking up internationally, but still metaphorically starve for lack of money. exposure to their short films, as was the case with the director of “Scissor Seven” He.

“Animation production is a long-term endeavor. Cooperation with a specific director can stretch over several years,” Zou told CGTN.

Noting that several prominent Japanese works have become household names after initially struggling for exposure, she is not sure that the mainstream Chinese commercial market would have had the same degree of patience.

“I think the business side can be particularly cruel to creators, who remain a relatively vulnerable group,” she noted, and in that sense, called for more patience and support for creators of anime.

Posters of the three seasons of “Scissor Seven” on Netflix. / AHA Entertainment

Posters of the three seasons of “Scissor Seven” on Netflix. / AHA Entertainment

“The jobs can be pretty solid, but if they don’t have the time and space to breathe, they can very easily die on the vine,” she said, adding: “Create a feature job requires tons of support. “

Touch the viewer on a human level

Led by He, who was born and raised in Foshan, South China’s Guangdong Province, “Scissor Seven” encompasses local cultural characteristics and traditions, as well as many of China’s most captivating elements. , including Cantonese-style architecture, Chinese martial arts, traditional cuisine and clothing.

“The finished product is complete Chinese art, but the designer’s unique style also incorporates an extremely important international aesthetic,” Zou said, adding that some American and European teams are newly intrigued by Eastern cultures. “They are more careful.”

Poster of the animated series “Scissor Seven” to celebrate the third anniversary of its release. / AHA Entertainment

Poster of the animated series “Scissor Seven” to celebrate the third anniversary of its release. / AHA Entertainment

The award-winning animation first aired in China in 2018 and then made its worldwide debut as a Netflix Original in January 2020. The three-season franchise has reached audiences in 190 countries and regions around the world. with some 29 linguistic subtitles to date.

The irreverent animated comedy, mixing funny lines, touching stories, stunning visuals and beautiful folk music, amassed a large following at home and abroad.

Zou believes that a successful work, capable of resonating with viewers, whatever their nationality, should express shared values ​​that touch the viewer on a human level.

“It is no coincidence that the underlying theme of the work is victory over prejudice and hatred through love and tolerance. It is a powerful and universal concept that reaches audiences all over the world. world.”

Reporter: Hong Yaobin

Video Editors: Zhang Dian, Hong Yaobin

Cameraman: Gao Shengwei

Cover Image Designer: Yu Peng

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