English: A Chinese Ghost Story
Synonyms: A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation, Little Pretty
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 31, 1997
1 hr. 24 min.
PG - Children
L represents licensing company
Score: 6.811 (scored by 579 users)
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2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
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SynopsisA Chinese Ghost Story is a movie that follows a young man named Ning. After the loss of his girlfriend he works as a debt collector to forget his troubles only to encounter more than he had imagined. Accompanied by his constant companion Solid Gold, Ning ends up in a ghost town and from there the adventure ensues. This movie explores some of China`s myths and fantasies as the viewer is taken through a world of drama, romance, and battles between good and evil.
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Before watching this movie, I made some research on it and "don't expect to understand this one" seemed to be the key phrase. Still, the synopsis was interesting enough and so I watched it anyway (I'm a sucker for Chinese folklore), although just expecting eye candy. In the end, I liked it! Though I warn you in advance: if you are not familiar with Chinese folklore (specially the tale of Xiao Qian and the tax collector Ning), you will find some of the concepts awkward, at best. Like, for example, the idea of ghost busting: if you are not familiar with the myths of supernatural powers possessed by Taoist masters, you will most likely laugh at it while recalling a certain American movie that has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Although it's not mandatory to know Chinese folklore in order to watch (and enjoy) the movie, you will miss out on a great deal if you don't keep up with all the Chinese mythological references (which the movie expects you to know, since it doesn't explain any of them). That said, the story is very singular, although odd and many times incomprehensible.
We follow Ning, a debt collector, and his dog Solid Gold. They're wandering around (seemingly aimlessly) and end up in a ghost town. It's a story of a human falling in love with an enchanting ghost, followed by bizarre giant monsters, with some generic warriors helping along the way. And don't forget all the Chinese mythology references too (eye candy).
Basically, don't watch this for the story if you have a short attention span. Although the creative storyline isn't necessarily directed to adults, it demands the comprehension of those at least 10 and up.
The art is nice. The character designs are Disney-ish in an unique way.
Animation-wise, watching it now, don't expect something grand. The animation is quite good for its time (for the characters and its motions, I mean) but it's outdated (this movie is over 10 years old). That being said, lets also not forget that this is Chinese animation so, obviously, the style is also different. Animation excels in character motions, specially in action scenes, which are greatly done, using very creative camera angles and charming colors. Down side would be the the CG used, which is on the very low quality side. In fact, the use of both 2D and 3D don't go very well together: the 2D is great, the 3D fails.
Character designs are unique to the individuals. A lot of the personality can be deduced from how the characters look like. Of course, most of them are pretty linear, like the "I trust everyone" Ning (you wouldn't expect that kind of personality on a debt collector xD), the "worship me" Evil Mountain, the "I'm awesome" Ten Miles, the "I'm god" White Cloud or the "too good for you" Shine. However, although there is nothing utterly wrong, nothing really stands out in this department.
Sound, sadly, is its biggest failing. The film was originally designed specifically around doing both Cantonese and Mandarin so you'd expect some failure there but, oddly enough, that's not where the failures appear. Actually, both audio languages are quite nice: the Cantonese brings less harsh character voices, since the dialogue sounds more like singing than talking, while the Mandarin is far more serious, with the extra work gone into drama. No, the problem is not the audio language.
We then have a few Disney-ish musical moments throughout the movie, although they sound lovely in both audio tracks. No, the problem is also not in the songs.
Unfortunately, it's the effects that fail the whole sound experience. They are mediocre and banal, at best. I even recognized sounds from a game, as well as numerous other films.
Although the dramatic aspects are well held, very often the sound intrudes on a well animated tense moment, ruining the whole experience.
The English dub is another fail, although not as prominent, because I recognize that it's somewhat hard to translate Chinese into English without it reading rather strange (cultural relativism). Nevertheless, the dialog is incredibly cheesy and, on many occasions, fails to deliver the original meaning of the story. I don't recommend it. The Mandarin and Cantonese tracks are both quite good and, although you are probably used to the clearer Japanese language, Chinese is very melodic so give it a try.
I liked the story and there were a few hilarious moments and awesome action scenes, but that was it. You can tell the movie is very ambitious and wildly imaginative. The love story portrayed is universal enough to be understood by anyone. So, if you can overlook the pathetic CG and the miserable sound effects, this movie will be something worth your time, otherwise, you watch it for the myth references only.
Sadly, it fails to stand out thanks to several factors already stated and though it is re-watchable once or twice (to hear both audio tracks), that is about all. read more
Both talk about ghosts and an incredible adventure to save someone dear to the main characters.
Both are cute movies suited for children that feature an ordinary person accidentally entering the spirit world. They focus heavily on the very traditional Oriental myths & monsters, but gives them a modern twist. Spirited Away is of a much higher calibre than A Chinese Ghost Story animation wise (Xiao Qian is kinda cheesy. The dub version is distracting as it's corny to the point of being comic and ruins the style of the traditional Chinese story, so it probably better to watch it in Mandarin). Xiao Qian seems aimed at a very young audience & had a much lower budget, so it doesn't have the wow factor of Spirited Away. Also, they both feature spirit trains and a domineering old lady boss (with an odd nose).
Both of these movies are based around that country's mythology. Xiao quan is about a boy who falls in love with a Chinese demon. On the other hand Yeowoobi is about a fox demon wanting to become human and falling in love with human boy. Very similar but from different points of view and from different countries.
Both are centered around mythology. Both about a spirit or creature falling in love with a human.
Both are stories about myths, Xiao Qian is a compendium of Chinese myths while Kakurenbo is a Japanese urban legend.
Besides the dark environment with demons chasing the main characters who do not have special powers.
Although the histories are different, Xiao Qian has a romantic history while Kakurenbo has some psychological development.
Both are very cute children's movies, but have the weirdness you sometimes get with 70's anime (despite Xiao Qian being made in '97). The story lines has nothing in common, expect they both deal strongly with mythos and have naive main characters. However, some moment resemble scenes in the different anime. For example - the main character having a moral standoff against a blustering 'antagonists' that turn out to be essentially good & becomes a friend, a female characters who's dreams seem wildly unrealistic & unsuitable to the protagonist (thought they decide to help anyway) and leads them into trouble, little moments of mischief that use the same slapstick or characters 'teleporting' to reappear in odd places. So I recommend them for the similar feel to them.
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