Protagonist XiaoFei used to be an ordinary guy from H city. After the spring water was contaminated with a virus, however, he unexpectedly encountered an unprecedented crisis. The people living in H City became zombies one by one, devouring each other, and gradually evolving. Can XiaoFei escape from H city and meet up with his girlfriend Wei? The story now begins...
Although subject to debate, this anime was one of the main influential works in recent developments in Chinese young-adult animation. On the original airing platform of Tencent, the series quickly rose to prominence, which was quite rare to see around that time given the sheer number of well-developed Japanese animations that are on that site. So, I guess for Chinese viewers it has a bit of historical significance.
Shi Xiong is, at heart, a humorous parody, meant to poke fun at certain qualities of modern Chinese society and the state of the world as a whole. The main character makes up for his lack of character
development with his witty internal monologue, which drips with sarcasm at the end of every second sentence. Given how his cell phone ring tone is "your grandson is calling you", it comes as no surprise that he has quite a definitive personality.
The "zombie" construct is a pretty common one (though perhaps not ones that attend anime conventions and mutate from cannibalism), as is idea of the overpowering antagonist who never seems to die. The story follows the general zombie apocalypse archetype wherein the protagonist tries to survive and save as many people as possible. However, the author does put an interesting spin on everything that does happen - which is often very, very random - so overall the plot remains reasonably exciting. After all, it's not every day that you see a zombie with an obsession with paper currency.
Overall, the quality of illustration is average (still better than most of these current horrendous modern Chinese kids cartoons though, so I guess it was expected given the historical background). The first episode is in a completely different style from the others, so maybe watch the second one if you want an idea of what the art is generally like. I do happen to really like the voice actors though, especially the male lead. He plays the part quite well and adds quite a bit of liveliness to the whole dreary backdrop.
One thing I've noticed about this recent wave of Chinese anime is that they tend to end seasons abruptly at weird places, and Shi Xiong is, unfortunately, no exception. There is a second season of this (which ends at an even weirder spot) that happens to have pretty awkward pacing and is overall a huge disappointment. The conclusion we can draw from this is that, if you're going to watch this series, don't get too invested in it.
Overall, Shi Xiong is a fun series that makes you question the author's sense of moral decency sometimes (some jokes are inappropriate enough that they are now deleted from the online manga due to Chinese government censorship). It's definitely worth watching if you happen to like gore, cute kids dressed as giraffes, damsels in distress, internet language, and middle aged drag queens.