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A snake, a monkey and robots in disguise
By Xu Wenwen

ATTENTION, animation geeks. The Hangzhou version of Comic Con — the China International Cartoon and Animation Festival — started yesterday. Dress as your favorite character and head on over to rock the party.

The event, which ends on Saturday, is popular with fans of animated films, television cartoons and comic books. Now in it’s 10th year, most festival events take place in Hangzhou’s Binjiang Town.

Just like many sports fans who like to dress up or paint their faces for the big game, many attending the animation festival enjoy dressing up in characters like Shrek, the Monkey King, Superman or even a samurai. People who dress up are extremely popular and will receive many requests to pose for photos.

Transformers exhibition

One of the highlights this year is the Transformers exhibition. It’s the first time life-size Transformers replicas will be shown on the Chinese mainland. Authorized by Hasbro, a US-based company licensed to make Transformers toys, the exhibition covers around 6,000 square meters and includes favorite characters Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and Jazz.

Transformers are mighty robots that can change into cars, trucks, planes, boats and other machines.

The exhibition also includes 3D holographic images of Transformers’ weapons and motion sensing games.

Fans may also enjoy the 3D paintings, which allow visitors to stand in, strike a pose and make it appear as though they are fighting one of the machines.

Of course, Transformers toys are also available, including exclusive 30th anniversary editions.

Date: Through June 2

Address: FORC Zhongnan Shopping Center, 1088 Jiangnan Ave, Binjiang District (Metro Line 1, Binhe Road Station and walk west for 1km)

Admission: 50 yuan per person on workdays, 80 yuan per person during holidays and weekends.

Japanese and Chinese animations

Japan is known for its manga and anime, but few realize the first color animated feature in the country was adapted from the Chinese romance “White Snake.”

Japanese professor Sadao Tsukioka, a leading animation figure in Japan who was an assistant to Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka, has brought a 3,666-piece collection to the China Academy of Art for the festival. Most of the collection entails original paintings of Tezuka’s signature film “White Snake,” a film that inspired Hayao Miyazaki, who created “Spirited Away,” to work as an animator.

The exhibition also includes “Astro Boy” paintings and Tsukioka’s personal collection of original works from Disney movies including “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “101 Dalmatians.”

Tsukioka said it is interesting how animation has evolved in the two countries.

“Before Japan learned so much from China, and today Japan likes to spread animation culture that it is proud of to China,” he said.

The same venue is also hosting a Monkey King 50th Anniversary Documentation Exhibition. It commemorates the film “Monkey King Uproar in Heaven,” China’s signature animation film from the 1960s that was the product of only eight people.

Yan Dingxi, the film’s lead animator, said he would like to see more animators return to painting.

“Hand-painting animation is considered out of fashion by some people,” Yan said.

“But I believe that computer-made animation and hand-painting animation should both be developed because they have different charms.”

Full of Chinese traditional aesthetic values, “Monkey King Uproar” was distributed in more than 40 countries and regions in the 1980s. Its French debut attracted 100,000 people.

The “cultural revolution” (1966-76) delayed the film’s appearance in cinemas overseas as it was made in two parts. The first in the 1960s and the second in 1978.

The exhibition includes original paintings along with paintings of different editions, movie posters and derivatives like postcards and comic books.

Date: Through May 3, 9am-4:30pm

Address: 218 Nanshan Rd

Admission: Free

Other big events

After checking out the main animation festival exhibition area, be sure to drop by the Cosplay Super Gala and Coolmind Fair.

The gala is holding its final competition from today through Friday in which more than 400 groups involving more than 30,000 participants are competing. Competitors hail from countries like the US, the Netherlands, Japan and Denmark.

The cosplay event has been extremely popular, so arrive early if you want a good seat. The action takes place from 9am to 11:30am, and 1pm to 5pm.

Another event drawing big crowds is the Autographed Copy Sale and China International Cartoon Exhibition.

Chinese animators like Xia Da, Wei Ying and Chen Xi will be on hand to sell their books and other works while also giving autographs daily through Saturday.

Taiwanese cartoonist Tsai Chih Chung will appear tomorrow from 12:30pm-1:30pm at Cultural Pavilion in Phoenix International, a venue in Zhuangtang Town. Tsai is best known for his graphical works on Chinese philosophy and history.

Everything from original paintings and books to paraphernalia such as iPhone shells and notebooks are available for sale.

Another highlight is the first China International Cartoon Exhibition, which is showcasing over 500 cartoons from 74 countries and regions.

Works by modern cartoonists like Yuri Kosobukin from Ukraine and Ono Ryoko from Japan will be on display. There will also be creations by the older generation of cartoonists like Feng Zikai, and Ye Qianyu, both influential Chinese painters and pioneering manhua (Chinese comics) artists.

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