Cartoonist edits work after viewers criticize villain's outfit looking like PLA uniform

By Zhang Han Published: 2020/4/27 4:18:20

Photo: Weibo

A Chinese animation project has removed content after viewers reported that one of the villains was dressed like a PLA soldier from 1964. Netizens and industry insiders are calling for a fault-tolerance to encourage artistic creation. 

The animated series, The Outcast, was adapted from a comic series drawn by Mi Er, first published in 2015. The story is centered on a college student who learns a special martial arts technique from his grandfather, which unravels his grandfather's story. The technique he mastered was sought by people with ulterior motives.

An older villain from the second season wore a green outfit, and a cap that had a red star on it, similar to the 1965 version of the Chinese People's Liberation Army uniform. 

The production team removed the content on Tuesday after viewers reported the illustration might jeopardize the PLA's image. 

The team has checked with original cartoonist Mi Er, who said he drew the outfit after old clothes his family had and did not consider the implications. The team will remove the contents to revise relevant episodes and be more careful about plot and setting, it said on Weibo on Monday.

The animation version is available after rectification, but episodes of the comic have been still suspended as of press time. 

The use of military uniforms should be accurate in artistic works, no matter if it's a film, TV drama, or animated series. Netizens reporting the problem may be concerned that such images could damage the PLA image, a Beijing-based cultural critic who spoke under condition of anonymity, told the Global Times on Sunday.  

Military-themed works occasionally make uniform mistakes as production teams fail to consult with experts. 

Considering this recent incident was accidental, the public should have a greater fault-tolerance and not stick like a limpet to encourage artistic creation, the critic said. 

Li Yang, who manages a Beijing-based comic studio and is also one of the writers, told the Global Times that his team only had five people, including himself, two plot writers, two cartoonists, and a part-time publicist.  

Such a small "workshop" model means creators lack the sensitivity or capability to check everything, and many cartoonists work alone at the beginning, Li said.

But Li noted industry practitioners should be more cautious and understood the importance of not drawing content that could mislead younger fans as most of their readers are in high school. 

The Outcast has corrected its mistakes. I'm looking forward to the next season to be online as soon as possible, said one netizen on Weibo.  

"We should not be too picky about such an outstanding domestic work as Chinese comics and animation are still developing in both an aesthetic and commercial sense," said another netizen comment. 

Fans of the series also suspected the report was made by a competing production team, and one asked, "Who would suddenly find fault in work published long ago?" 

The third season of The Outcast was scheduled to be released on Friday, but revisions of past content could cause delays and impact readership.  


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