Chinese Cartoons: Top 25

Do you want to plunge into the world of Chinese animation? Especially for you, we have prepared a cool review about Chinese cartoons. Only the best are here. Today Alexander is your guide to Chinese animation. Let’s talk about the development of China’s animation since its inception and about the current stage and new products. Are you ready 你们 准备好了吗? So let’s go, 我们 开始 吧!

We will tell you about the following cartoons:

  • “Princess Iron Fan, 1941” 铁扇公主
  • “Sun Wukong: Trouble in the Heavenly Halls, 1965” 大 闹天宫
  • “Stories of Khoja Nasreddin, 1980” 阿凡提 的 故事
  • Three Monks, 1980 三个 和尚
  • “Nine-colored deer, 1981” 九色鹿
  • “Black Cat Chief of Police, 1984” 黑猫 警长
  • Hulu Brothers 1986 葫芦 兄弟
  • “The Adventures of the Sloppy King, 1987” 邋遢 大王 奇遇 记
  • “Shu Ke and Bei Ta, 1989” 舒克 和 贝塔
  • “Big-headed son, small-headed dad, 1995” 大头 儿子 和 小 头 爸爸
  • “Lotus Lantern 1999”
  • Dragon’s Nest 2014 龙 之 谷
  • “Yesterday’s Crystal Sky 2018” 青 青 空
  • “The Next Generation 2018” 未来 机器 城
  • “On the other side of the ocean, 2016” 大鱼 海棠
  • Big Cat Escape 2018 猫 与 桃花源
  • “Brothers Bears: The Secret of Three Worlds, 2017” »大熊 二 : 三个 世界 的 秘密
  • Jungle Escape 2019 熊 出没: 原始 时代
  • “Flying insects, 2017” 萤火 奇兵
  • Toy Store Mystery 2018 阿唐 奇遇
  • “Where is the dragon, 2015” 龙 在 哪里?
  • “Throne of the Elves, 2017” 精灵 王座
  • “White snake, 2019” 白蛇
  • “The Monkey King 2015” 大圣 归来
  • “Wild Screachers, 2018” 爆裂 飞车


  1. Chinese cartoons – the birth of animation in China
  2. Chinese cartoons in the 50-80s of the XX century
  3. Chinese Cartoons: “Princess Iron Fan, 1941”
  4. Chinese Cartoons – “Sun Wukong: Trouble in the Heavenly Halls, 1965”
  5. “Stories of Khoja Nasreddin, 1980”
  6. “Three Monks, 1980”
  7. “Nine-colored deer, 1981”
  8. “Black Cat Chief of Police, 1984”
  9. “Hulu brothers, 1986”
  10. “The Adventures of the Sloppy King, 1987”
  11. “Shu Ke and Bei Ta, 1989”
  12. Chinese cartoons in the 90s of the twentieth century
  13. Chinese cartoons: “Big-headed son, small-headed dad, 1995”
  14. “Lotus Lantern, 1999”
  15. Chinese cartoons in 2010-2020
  16. Chinese Cartoons: Dragon’s Nest 2014
  17. “The crystal sky of yesterday, 2018”
  18. Chinese Cartoons: The Next Generation 2018
  19. “On the other side of the ocean, 2016”
  20. Big Cat Escape 2018
  21. “Brothers Bears: The Secret of Three Worlds, 2017”
  22. “Flying insects, 2017”
  23. Toy Store Mystery 2018
  24. Chinese fantasy cartoons
  25. “Where is the dragon, 2015”
  26. “Throne of the Elves, 2017”
  27. “White snake, 2019”
  28. Chinese fiction and the best cartoons from China
  29. The Monkey King 2015
  30. Cartoon from China: “Wild Screachers, 2018”
  31. Chinese Cartoon: Jungle Escape 2019
  32. Conclusion

Chinese cartoons – the birth of animation in China

Today, Chinese cartoons are a mix of traditional cartoons produced by large corporations with substantial financial backing for movie theaters on television and online content from free artists.

But traditions are becoming more and more a thing of the past: polls have shown that one of the twenty favorite characters of Chinese children’s cartoons is native.
Chinese cartoons in the mainland of the Republic are significantly different from cartoons that are made in Hong Kong or Taiwan. The censorship of the cultural department vetoes airtime and foreign programs. But in 2005, a three-dimensional Chinese full-length cartoon “Through the Mobius Constellation” debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.

Chinese animation owes its birth to the inventor Ding Huang. In the first century BC, the master built a zootrope – a semblance of an animation device.

Chinese people first heard about 20th century animation in 1918. A film by Max Fleischer “From the Inkwell” was brought from America. The director’s younger brother Dave became the prototype for their famous character – Coco the Clown. In the Celestial Empire, cartoon characters are attracted to advertise goods.

The pioneers in the Chinese animation industry in the 1920s were the Wang brothers, the sons of a seamstress and a silk businessman, who created the first feature film, Princess of the Iron Fan, in 1941. The progenitors of animation in China decided that animation would follow a path of development along a distinctive path. This principle has been followed for decades. The cartoons featured stories from Chinese folklore and comics.

Chinese cartoons in the 50-80s of the XX century

In the early 60s, a popular cartoon character was the Monkey King from the literary classic Journey to the West. Animators Wei and Jiajun invented ink wash-off animation. Chinese ink painting was very labor intensive and faded away smoothly.

The crisis in the animation industry came in the mid-60s. Few artists stayed in the country. Propaganda forced to adapt to the state ideology. All areas of art were subordinated to communist ideals.

By the 70s, the influence of state structures on the cultural life of China weakened. But the palm in creating cartoons with an Asian flavor passed to Japan. In the 80s of the twentieth century, Chinese animation was on the crest of a wave of success. The Shanghai Film Studio has produced over one hundred quality cartoons.

With the early 1990s, technological progress, the Internet and the transition to a partially market economy, allowed animators to become more active. China is influenced by Japanese anime, Hong Kong and Taiwan cartoons. Japan’s popularity is high, but their Asian counterparts are getting up to par.

Chinese Cartoons: “Princess Iron Fan, 1941”

Chinese Cartoons: “Princess Iron Fan”

This is the debut Chinese animated feature film. The cartoon pioneers in China, the Wang brothers, created a storyline from the Journey to the West. A little story about the confrontation between the Monkey King and the Princess. The king needed the fan to put out a fire in the village. The creators were inspired by Walt Disney cartoons and therefore all the characters are similar to their American “colleagues”: Sun Wukong with the features of Mickey Mouse, Princess – Snow White. The artist Wang Hoi painted landscapes based on the paintings of early masters.

Chinese Cartoons – “Sun Wukong: Trouble in the Heavenly Halls, 1965”

Chinese cartoons – Trouble in the heavenly palaces

A cartoon about the agile Monkey King, whose sword breaks during the demonstration of martial arts to his brothers. The hero goes to the Sea Lord for weapons, but the range of the underwater kingdom is too small for him. The lord of the deep sea decided to laugh at the monkey and began to give him impossible tasks. Sun Wukong bypasses all traps with ease and cunning. In the cartoon, there is the theme of a worthy rebuff to those in power.

“Stories of Khoja Nasreddin, 1980”

Chinese Cartoons: The Story of Nasredin

The film of the Shanghai Film Studio released a series of episodes based on the Uyghur folklore about the smart and kind poor man Nasreddin. He makes a witty joke about the landlord and travels the world with a four-legged friend – a donkey. The cartoon educates the young generation to live in justice and with a free heart, to help those in need, to be attentive to people and animals.

“Three Monks, 1980”

Chinese Cartoons: Three Monks

Animated short cartoon. Received the prize of the Berlin Festival and entered the list of the 100 best paintings in China of the 20th century. The folk parable of the three monks was “painted” by the directors Jingda and Xuan. The eighteen-minute cartoon does not end with the traditional ending. Monks face dangers, but they unite in the face of obstacles. The film is interesting for its Chinese originality – painting, mountain panoramas – and comical techniques in the “Western” style. The cartoon has received recognition abroad.

“Nine-colored deer, 1981”

Chinese Cartoons: Nine Color Deer

An adapted story based on the Bensheng Deer King fresco. Directors Jiajun and Telan diligently copied a vivid illustration of the Buddhist legend from the original in the Mogao grotto. When creating animation, the artists restored the color palette. Over time, the fresco faded. The film tells us about a deer who helped people in difficult situations. But there was a traitor – a snake charmer – and the magic deer rewards the enemy as he deserves. The cartoon reveals the theme of human nature. The deer leaves the earth, forcing people to think about their powerlessness against nature.

“Black Cat Chief of Police, 1984”

Black cat police chief

Acclaimed Chinese classics. The five-part cartoon was so fond of young viewers that it did not leave the screens for a long time. And goods with the image of characters were swept off the shelves.

The cartoon is based on the work of the same name by Zhu Zhixiang. To create the image of the protagonist, director Dai Telan specially went to kindergartens, talked with the kids. Their opinion helped to make the cat just like that – smart, honest.

The main character of the cartoon is a black and white cat, he rides through the forest on his motorcycle and fights against forest crime. Heroic appearance, human character traits. Each episode is a short detective story. The cartoon is not just entertaining, it helped young viewers gain knowledge.

“Hulu brothers, 1986”

Hulu brothers

The 13-episode cartoon “Hulu Brothers” is based on the popular myth “Ten Brothers”. Chief director Hu Jinqing reduced the number of characters to 7. Seven baby pumpkins of different colors – yellow, green, orange, red, blue, purple, blue. Each hero has its own peculiarity.

The most incredible stories constantly happen to the characters of the animation, the pumpkin brothers fight a fire-breathing dragon, fight monsters, and never leave each other in trouble. Kind and courageous heroes live in the village, rural life and customs are reflected in the plot. The cartoon is hand-drawn, some of the details were even cut out of paper. Musical accompaniment is recorded on a synthesizer.

“The Adventures of the Sloppy King, 1987”

Adventure of the sloppy king

Every Chinese who lived in the 90s of the last century knows the children’s song “Little Sloth”. This song became the theme song of the cartoon about the sloppy king. The film is based on the comic book.

Screenwriter Ling Shu has created an adventure film about the battle between humans and mice. The main character of the picture is a little boy, having drunk the magic powder, he shrinks and finds himself in the mouse kingdom. The kid is sloppy, learns to wash, does not like to comb his hair. He is wearing a vest and flared trousers. Children fell in love with the cartoon hero.

The action of the picture takes place in the tomb – there are many sculptures inside the ancient structure. The creators of the animation specially visited several ancient tombs in the Shaanxi and Henan provinces. The atmosphere is naturally recreated. The authors distinguished themselves not only by their rich imagination, but also by a certain courage. There is a lot of irony about social values ​​in the cartoon.

“Shu Ke and Bei Ta, 1989”

Shu Ke and Bei Ta are mouse pilots and tankers. These nimble little gray kids know how to fly and control a tank. They fight pirates, find themselves in the most incredible situations, in which they always come to each other’s aid.

Each adventure of little daredevils is interesting and unusual. Shu Ke is smart and quick-witted, but irresponsible. On more than one occasion, his plane was threatened by neglect of safety equipment. Bay Ta is blunt and straightforward. But these kids save humanity more than once and are constantly ready to help others. Zheng Yuanjie’s painting teaches young viewers to fight stereotypes. Together with the mice, they learn about the world. Heroes oppose theft, sloppiness, and, despite their many shortcomings, generally appear in a positive manner.

Chinese cartoons in the 90s of the twentieth century

At the end of the last century, Chinese animation was very productive. In just 10 years, Shanghai Film Studio has produced over 100 high quality animated films. The first Chinese fantasy cartoons are still watched with interest by both adults, whose childhood fell on the 90s of the last century, and modern Chinese children.

Chinese cartoons: “Big-headed son, small-headed dad, 1995”

This is a whole animated series. It has 156 episodes and three seasons. The main characters are an ordinary family. The father is a calm, gentle person with a small head, the mother is good-looking, kind, the son is a fidget with a big head.

The big-headed son is a collective image. It contains the qualities of Chinese elementary school students. The cartoon tells about the life of ordinary people. In each episode – an ordinary situation.

Everyday life, and sometimes banality, hides worldly wisdom. For example, a father who is angry with his son gets into his inner world and sees there a monster – himself. Although the characters are a bit simple, they teach communication between parents and children, respect, understanding. The author of the story, Zheng Chunhua, won two awards for achievements in the field of children’s literature.

“Lotus Lantern, 1999”

Lotus lantern

The cartoon was released by the Shanghai studio after a long silence. The best animators worked on the picture. Directed by Chang Guangxi and Wu Yigong, artistic director Jin Fuzai. The cartoon was voiced by the stars of that time – Jiang Wen, Ning Jing, Chen Peisy, Xu Fan.

This Chinese fantasy in the cartoon tells the story of the daredevil Cheng Xiang, born of a Goddess and an earthly youth. The evil god kidnaps the boy, his mother goddess Mei Ri and the magic lotus lantern. The boy’s mother – an evil kidnapper hides in grief. Cheng Xiang has no choice but to go in search of his mother. And he has to fight enemies. The picture was made using computer technology. The musical side was especially successful. Soundtracks were very popular in the late 20th century. The cartoon itself, too, was even shown in schools.

Chinese cartoons in 2010-2020

Since 2010, a huge number of paintings have been released with an interesting plot, high-quality animation and musical accompaniment. This was a real breakthrough. In collaboration with companies from other countries, animators have studied new genres for themselves and presented the world with unique paintings.

Chinese Cartoons: Dragon’s Nest 2014

Dragon nest

The story is told about the world of elves and people who are forced to resist dragons. After a long sleep, the Black Dragon awoke. Now the two races will have to flee in search of salvation. On the way, the hero will find friends, a loved one and a lot of interesting adventures.

“The crystal sky of yesterday, 2018”

This is a typical anime style painting. It tells about the life of an ordinary high school student who is obnoxious, who decided to take up his mind when a beautiful and intelligent companion Yui appears in his life.

Chinese Cartoons: The Next Generation 2018

Chinese Cartoons: The Next Generation, 2018

A modern cartoon about the future, which reveals the suffering of a girl whose mother is absorbed in new technologies. The interaction of robots and humans is shown in an interesting and unusual way.

“On the other side of the ocean, 2016”

Chinese Cartoons: Beyond the Ocean, 2016

A story about the underwater world, where creatures rule nature. The girl must fulfill the tradition – for 7 days to plunge into people’s lives. This changes her fate, as well as the boyfriend Yoon, who met her. Very beautiful animation that tells about the underwater world. In the name of love, its inhabitant is ready to spend half of her life to redeem the guy’s soul.

Big Cat Escape 2018

Chinese Cartoons: Big Cat Escape, 2018

A domestic cat breaks out of its familiar surroundings on an aircraft. A lot of interesting and dangerous adventures await him.

“Brothers bears: the secret of three worlds, 2017”

Chinese Cartoons: The Bear Brothers: The Secret of Three Worlds, 2017

An interesting team of bears, a lumberjack and a robot goes in search of a fantastic world. A cartoon about friendship, mutual help and adventure.

“Flying insects, 2017”

Chinese Cartoons: Flying Bugs, 2017

In this picture, the world of insects, aliens and robots is mixed. They escape from danger in the form of a Mouse, travel and try to earn recognition from the audience.

Toy Store Mystery 2018

Chinese Cartoons: Toy Store Mystery, 2018

A story about a shop where toys come to life. They keep their secrets and go to get acquainted with the outside world.

Chinese fantasy cartoons

The fantasy category opens up a new, interesting world to fans of this genre. In Chinese cartoons, stories of elves and dragons are revealed with new emotions.

“Where is the dragon, 2015”

Chinese Cartoons: Where’s the Dragon? 2015

The main characters of the film are the characters of the Chinese horoscope. There are 11 of them in the company, but the dragon is missing, which has been lost for 500 years. Now the Ruler orders to find the disappeared talisman, and the rest will have to make every effort to make it in 3 days.

“Throne of the Elves, 2017”


Chinese Cartoons: Throne of Elves, 2017

Lambert receives a letter from the King of Elves, he is expected at the wedding of the princess. This is his hope for a relationship with Liya, because the relationship between elves and humans is frowned upon. The hero plans to perform a feat in order to gain recognition and find his own path of love.

“White snake, 2019”

Chinese Cartoons: White Snake

The white snake is a demon that suffers from inner emptiness. After 500 years, she decided to find a way out after completing the next task. The girl appears unconscious in the family of snake catchers.

Chinese fiction and the best cartoons from China

The Chinese are the best at revealing fantastic themes. And bright and colorful animation helps to reveal the story and show the most unusual events realistically, with full immersion of the audience.

The Monkey King 2015

Chinese Cartoons: The Monkey King, 2015

A film inspired by an ancient Chinese legend. The story of the monkey king, who considers himself equal to all gods. Now the curse was accidentally removed from him and a new story of the hero began. He was saved by a simple human boy, the king was imbued with his troubles and decided that it was necessary to protect the entire human race. But the main danger for them comes from dragons. These are demons seeking to destroy everything past. Therefore, the king needs to restore his strength and fight the evil spirits.

Cartoon from China: “Wild Screachers, 2018”

Chinese Cartoons: Wild Screachers, 2018

The main competition of the world of the future was the battle of robots. They appeared by chance – the discs accumulated the energy of the universe, on their basis and the creation of screchers. Large-scale championships are held. The boys dream of becoming their participants, one day they accidentally open the world to a new struggle and they begin dangerous adventures.

Chinese Cartoon: Jungle Escape 2019

Chinese Cartoons: Jungle Escape, 2019

The bear brothers are friends with the lumberjack and different stories constantly happen to them. Another adventure was getting into the prehistoric world. There I had to meet different animals, study plants, and also find portals that are full of dangers.


The times in which the masters of Chinese cartoons had to work have always been difficult. But along with the world’s leaders in the film industry, China flourished. The golden era ended with the arrival of the Communist leader Mao Zedong as head of state.

A series of ideological and political operations against cultural figures disliked by the party “expelled” the best animators from the country. The economy and political situation did not allow a creative person to live and work under a totalitarian regime. Even so, Chinese cartoons continued to develop.

Gradually, thanks to the reform policy of the 80s of the last century, animation received a new impetus. And now Chinese cartoons pleases children all over the world.

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