New 'Haier Brothers' cause controversy in China

2018-09-14 03:18:59 GMT2018-09-14 11:18:59(Beijing Time) Sina English
The original (left) and new versions of "Haier Brother" [Photo/Mtime]The original (left) and new versions of "Haier Brother" [Photo/Mtime]

To many members of the post-1980 and post-1990 generations in China, "Haier Brothers" is an anime icon from childhood.

The two cute boys, one light-skinned and the other tan, symbolize wisdom and power and have taken many children around the world on the small screen to explore nature and find a solution to ecological disasters.

But the energetic pair has stepped into the public eye in a different way, as the production team of Chinese appliance company Haier Group has released two posters of the protagonists from a new edition of Haier Brothers on Sept 10.

The new characters, who wear sleek, futuristic outfits, are a far cry from the original duo who wore only swimming trunks. This has aroused heated discussions on China’s social media platforms.

Many consider the two iconic Haier mascots to be part of their precious childhood memories.

"I cannot accept the new deigns as the two brothers look like dull robots," said Sina Weibo user Xu Xiaoguang, adding "The redesigning of classic characters is negative to Haier Group's promotion."

"Haha, I never expected to see the two boys wearing clothes, it is such a weird feeling. Maybe I am nostalgic," said another Weibo user, Aichide Baobao.

In response to online users' dissatisfaction, the official Weibo account of Haier Brothers said the new edition revolves around the two heroes' adventures in the universe, and they wear space suits for "safety" reasons.

The official account also said the changing design is following trends, and explained the production team has fully considered the aesthetics and preferences of the new generation of children's audiences.

"They have gone to numerous schools in many cities, and incorporated views of children to set the final draft on the characters' images. Although the characters have different styles, the story will always integrate entertainment and knowledge. Children will learn useful facts in the fields of biology, nature, history, geography and anthropology."

Haier Brothers is the longest-running cartoon in China. The show was broadcast on China’s Central Television in 1995 and concluded in 1998.

The heroic Haier brothers have traveled around five continents and four oceans, experiencing 238 difficult and dangerous journeys in 56 countries — a total travel distance of more than 190,000 kilometers, equivalent to nearly five trips around the Earth.

Actually, the redesigning of classic anime characters often sparks controversy.

The Japanese shojo manga series Sailor Moon was adapted into Sailor Moon Crystal in 2014 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the original program.

But many fans felt disappointed to see the main protagonists had V-shaped faces, not the round ones of the past.

Takehiko Inoue's basketball-themed shonen manga Slam Dunk is getting new life this year, thanks to a "restructured" print release.

The Weekly Shonen Jump website released this image of the new Volume 1 cover, which shows an obvious change in the creator’s drawing style as well.

The main character of Hanamichi Sakuragi looks stronger and more masculine with a more clearly outlined face, compared with the classic character image.

Times change, and so do aesthetic standards among the general public. When it comes to redesigning classic anime characters, some may choose to embrace the new images while others will think otherwise.

For those who still harbor fond memories of the original anime characters, that’s not a bad idea.

Source: China Daily

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