Frame by frame, Chinese anime blatantly plagiarizes Japan’s Hikarian: Great Railroad Protector

Frame by frame, Chinese anime blatantly plagiarizes Japan’s Hikarian: Great Railroad Protector

September 28, 2012Jing Gao3 Comments, , , , , , ,

It may be offensive to review how China lags far behind and yet is so eager to imitate Japan at a time when anti-Japanese sentiments have swept China, but a video that compares scenes of the Japanese anime “Hikarian: Great Railroad Protector” with a Chinese cartoon called “高铁侠”, which literally means ‘High-speed Train Hero’, can surely make most viewers laugh and may help diffuse the tension.

Any one that see clips of the two anime put side by side may agree that the two look strikingly similar, and even the plot and the characters are exactly the same, except that the Chinese knockoff, produced in 2010, is so much coarser than the Japanese original released in 1996.


Below: screencaps of the side-by-side comparison. Top left: China’s High Speed Train Hero; Bottom right: Japan’s Hikarian.

hikarian01 hikarian02hikarian03 hikarian04hikarian05 hikarian06

This is another blatant copy of foreign works on screen. In January, 2010, Ministry of Tofu broke to the English-speaking world the news of state broadcaster China Central Television passing off scenes from Tom Cruise’s Top Gun in its coverage of a military drill.

A former employee of Feifan, the Chinese animation company that stole the idea from Hikarian, ranted about the absurd plagiarism in his blog. According to him, government subsidies are the main driver of the catch-as-catch-can animation industry that often produces unoriginal and unappealing works.

“In China, an animation production company with an annual output of 2,000 minutes (of works) can receive a subsidy of 1,000 yuan (US$150) per minute. The bigger the annual output, the higher per-minute subsidy you receive,” he wrote in the post.

“In 2011, Feifan produced 10,000 minutes of animated works,” he went on with his tirade, “Anyone that has worked in the industry knows how to make sense of it. An annual output of more than 10,000 minutes means churning out 40 episodes of 20-minute-long anime series every month. To put that into perspective, if Feifan were a Japanese company, it could undertake all new episodes in the entire country… with no pressure.

“In this case, no matter how many unpaid interns Feifan has or how low the salary of a full-time employee is, it cannot possibly meet the requirement, so how did they tackle  this problem? Our genius boss came up with a great idea: he finds old classics and transfer them directly into 3D works shot-for-shot. This is how he created the legend.”


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