Last month ushered in a new year for Asians and in Chinese zodiac lore, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. Our bento this month is all about Chinese anime, which is called donghua, we look at the Chinese New Year, share yummy dumpling recipes, explore bizarre stories from only in China, look at DMVs (Donghua Music Videos), look at some great donghua recommendations, discuss this month’s anime challenge and that is just the tip of the tiger’s tail, we have lots of more yummy content in our bento for you to bite into. Itadakimasu!!
Donghua, China’s anime, is gaining popularity but it had a rocky start, all thanks to its big foray into mecha animation, Astro Plan. Astro Plan is known in history as the animation that ripped off some of Japan’s greatest mecha, Gundam and Macross. In 2010, as a product of the toy company Xing Yuan, Astro Plan made its presence known. The donghua’s story was about the Sky Arrow Flight Team headed by Tian Long, who piloted transformable Type Yi fighter units to combat alien invaders hellbent on harnessing mankind’s resources.
Astro Plan was criticized immediately because everyone felt that they copied designs and elements from both the Macross and Gundam franchises. It was obvious, the transforming mecha’s design was a direct ripoff from the original Japanese series’. The combination of the show’s questionable animation and propaganda proved to all how ill-conceived the show was. Luckily donghua evolved and improved, bringing original stories to the donghua culture that could compete with the Asian animation scene, as you will see in our top 5 Donghua insert below, it is now a thriving animation culture. As for Astro Plan, its infamy caused it to be tossed aside, an afterthought.
Final Fantasy XIV MMORPG's support continues
Last month it has been announced that Square Enix plans to continue support for Final Fantasy XIV MMORPG for the next ten years. They will also implement the first graphical update with the launch of the next expansion pack. Naoki Yoshida, the producer and director of the MMORPG stated all this on the “Letter from the Producer LIVE” broadcast. Yoshida also added that the first graphical update will include improvements for character and world visuals: “higher-resolution textures, improved material qualities, and better lighting and shadow effects.”
Also announced was that the upcoming 6.1 patch due to be released in April will expand the game’s ‘Trust System’ for the main scenario dungeons ‘A Realm Reborn’ expansion part of the game (allowing players to play those parts solo instead of in co-op). More patches will follow catering for the ‘Heavensward’, and ‘Stormblood’ expansions as well.
Spice and Wolf
In 2008 a fantasy anime premiered that many anime fanatiks took an immediate liking to named Spice and Wolf. In the town of Pasroe, an annual pagan ceremony of harvest is performed, made to honour the harvest goddess, the caretaker of the huge wheat field alongside the city. A trader-in-training just passing through Pasroe, encounters Kenrou Horo, a wolf-girl who just happens to be the goddess of harvest for the town of Pasroe. Through the long years, she feels that the town has abandoned her, so she makes a deal with the trader, Kraft, leaving the village behind and travelling with him as she sets her sights on her home; in the mountains far to the north.
Kraft’s main goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he already has been travelling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. Holo is a pagan wolf-deity girl, over 600 years old. She appears to be an eternal 15-year-old girl, except for a wolf’s tail and ears. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the Church, the true superpower in the world. The show is mainly about travelling, trading and about Lawrence and Horo’s growing relationship. The show soon had a second season due to its popularity.
Now after a 13-year-break it seems Holo and Lawrence are returning for new adventures in anime. It was announced in February as part of the 15th anniversary of the first publishing of the original Spice and Wolf novel which started the franchise. In the past 15 years a lot of new volumes, 23 so far, continued to pop out, the last being in September 2021, and there is a manga series too. There is also a novel sub-series called Wolf and Parchment. The return of a Spice and Wolf anime is a pleasant surprise since 13 years is a long time for an anime to lay dormant so this series might be a reboot instead of a third season. A release date for Spice and Wolf has not been confirmed yet, but it seems we might see the anime later this year.
Pokémon goes open-world!!!
On Pokémon Day (February 27th) the Pokémon Company, as usual, celebrated the day with a video presentation of upcoming Pokémon games. Two games that immediately had the Pokémon community buzzing on all media platforms was the announcement of the Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet games. In their reveal, they mentioned that the games will be ‘open world’. This is a step up from the Generation 8 games Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield which allowed for free camera movement in the Wild Area, which was a single section of the world map, while the surrounding areas had fix-camera.
As usual new Pokémon games come with new Pokémon and this ninth-generation also promises the usual incarnation of the fire-, water- and grass-type starters. The new starters to choose from are Sprigatito, a feline Grass-type, Fuecoco, a fire crocodile, and Quaxly, a duckbilled Water-type with a weird hairstyle (Or is it a feather-style lol). The game is set to be released in the last quarter (or Japanese winter season) 2022.
Only in China
Just like Japan, China has interesting and quirky things that is Only in China. This week we delve into a few interesting rarities from China.
You are reading right. There is a watermelon museum, in Beijing. How random, right? Well if you REALLY have a deep devout love for watermelon, this museum is just the place for you.
Who needs dogs if you can deputise geese. If you are a country or farm boy or girl you may be well aware of how ferocious these avian warrior birds can be. They are territorial and also have a keen danger sense, like spidey-sense on steroids. In Xinjiang’s Shawan country the police decided to ’employ’ these avian warriors and in certain areas in China, geese fully replaced dogs as the policeman’s new best friend.
In China, geese are considered to be very vigilant animals with a sharp sense of when danger is near. The same could be said of geese all around the world but in Xinjiang’s Shawan county, they’ve actually decided to ‘employee’ these geese in the same kind of manner as they would dogs. And be warned, these geese are not the cutesy kind we feed in the municipal parks in the Western world.
Hěn Kú Culture: Chinese New Year
Last month on February 1st was the Chinese New Year. It is China’s longest holiday, New Years’ celebrations last up to 16 days, but actually, only the first 7 are considered a public holiday. In China New Years is also known as the Spring Festival, they call it chunjie (春节) and even if it’s still wintery in China, the holiday marks the end of the cold days, and the Chinese welcome spring and the gifts of spring: planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts. Other Asian countries such as North and Soth Korea and Vietnam also celebrate Spring Festival. The Chinese New Year is worked out according to the Lunar calendar thus the Chinese New Year can start between January 21 to February 20th. This year it was on the 1st of February. Every Chinese LunarYear also correspond to animals, as it is customary to name the year after an animal from the Chinese Zodiac. They are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. This year 2022 is the Year of The Tiger!
The 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs and What They Mean
Year of the Tiger 2022
The Spring Festival was originally a day to pray to the gods for a good planting and harvest season. Like in the movie Mulan they also prayed to their ancestors. Food were also offered to the Gods and ancestors. New Year’s Eve is according to myths also a time to fight monsters. There is a myth about a monster Nian (年) that ‘visited’ the towns on New Year’s Eve. The townspeople would hide from it to prevent becoming its food. One day, one brave little boy decided to fight Nian off with firecrackers and it worked! The next day the townspeople set off more firecrackers in celebration and so it became an annual affair to light up firecrackers, besides it scared off monsters and according to myth’s bad luck too!
As with many cultures, Chinese New Year comes with its own taboos. For one, no showering, sweeping or throwing out of the garbage is allowed on New Year’s Day. Showering on New Year’s means you are washing away your luck! On the other hand, the day before is dedicated to cleaning, it’s a day to sweep away bad luck, and your house will be fresh and clean for New Year’s Day. Hair salons are closed during the entire New Year’s Day since hair cutting is taboo during the festival. It is thought that you’ll be cutting your good luck away. Other taboos include using scissors, knives and other sharp things, arguing and swearing, saying unlucky words, and breaking things.
How Chinese People Celebrate Chinese New Year
China ushers in Year of the Tiger
Recipe of the month: Chinese Dumplings
We at AnimeFanatika are serious Asian foodies and when we crave Chinese or other Asian cuisines we have our places of habit. Takeshi loves Teriyaki Sushi House in Centurion and his favourite dish is called the T9, Ookami on the other hand loves Kung Fu Kitchen at Montana Crossing Shopping Centre and loves their Chicken Sweet Corn Soup as well as Thai Green Curry (Beef).
Speaking of Asian cuisine the Chinese loves eating dumplings during the New Year’s Eve dinner or for the first breakfast of the Chinese New Year. It is a trusted and tried tradition, especially in the northern parts of China. Today we look at two Chinese dumpling recipes!
Traditional Pork and Chive Filling
Chinese Pork Bun Recipe (Baozi 包子)
Top Five Donghua Anime - Ranker
We bring you the top five donghua according to the website Ranker. In Soul Land a young man strives to become a spirit master, in The King’s Avatar a gamer decides to return to his favourite MMORPG with a new avatar sometime after being asked to quit by his team, in Battle Through the Heavens a powerful young boy loses his abilities and fights to get them back, in Quanzhi Fashi a young man gets teleported to a parallel universe where magic is above science and lastly in Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation a man goes on a supernatural journey that may gift him with immortality. We hope you enjoy these recommendations!
Soul Land (Douluo Dalu)
The King's Avatar (Quan Zhi Gao Shou)
Battle Through the Heavens (Doupo Cangqiong)
Full-Time Magister (Quanzhi Fashi)
Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (Mo Dao Zu Shi)
Link of the month
Looking for more donghua recommendations? CBR compiled a list of popular donghua that might be just for you. Some of the titles we have discussed in this bento and their opinion on the recommendations are very interesting and well-written.
We would also like to share a link where you can learn more about Chinese animation.
Anime Challenge March 2022: Spiritpact
Our anime challenge for March is the anime or donghua, Spiritpact. It is based on the Chinese web manhua by Pingzi and published by Tencent on Tencent Comic. The donghua adaptation is written by Reiko Torii and directed by Li Haoling, which was released as a donghua in China in 2016 and an anime in Japan in 2017!
Spiritpact is an action/supernatural anime that follows the adventures of failed exorcist You Keika and the head of a power exorcist family Ki Tanmoku as they take on various challenges in the spirit world, and try to find out more about the bond they share. It all starts with You Keika’s untimely and mysterious death in a junkyard and the pact he makes with exorcist Tanmoku.
AMV of the month: DMV (Donghua Music Video) Edition
This month we bring you DMVs (Donghua Music Videos) to enjoy. Our first video features the song Control (feat. Jex) [NCS Release] by Unknown Brain x Rival with scenes from Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation season 3, secondly, we have I’m A Monster by Godmode ft. Lucha with scenes from Hitori no Shita The Outcast Season 3.
I'm A Monster
Birthday of the month: Meiling Li (Card Captor Sakura)
March 25 we celebrate the birthday of Meiling Li from the Card Captor Sakura anime. She does not appear in the manga and is an anime-exclusive character. She is the first cousin of Syaoran Li and was his betrothed since childhood. Meiling is very supportive of Sakura Kinomoto and is always helping her when Sakura needs her, she played a very large supporting role in the Clow Card Arc of the anime, but a minor role in the Sakura Card Arc as she is seen travelling back to Hong Kong.