Chinese animation paying tribute to Kobe Bryant applauded by basketball fans
The animated TV show Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Dunk for Victories has won approval among viewers and basketball fans for its storyline paying tribute to legendary basketball players including Kobe Bryant who died last year.
The current series was produced by Creative Power Entertaining Company (CPE). It contains a total of 60 episodes and mainly tells an inspiring story about a team of five sheep who meet strong opponents but work in unity and resolutely pursue their basketball dream.
Basketball is a fresh theme for the series, and also something of a risk as few sports-themed animations have been produced in China due to the concern about appealing only to a small group of viewers. However, the director Huang Weiming told the Global Times that he was confident in his team.
The show soon ranked at the top on many streaming platforms when it premiered on January 22, and it has had 210 million views on Tencent Video and Mango TV as of Monday.
Most of the viewers are from 4 to 8 years old, according to reports, but the show has also captured the hearts of many older basketball fans.
Fans took to social media and discussed who the cartoon’s characters are based on, with NBA stars including Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Dennis Rodman and LeBron James being mentioned.
They also said the show reminded them of many unforgettable NBA moments, and that one part was clearly a tribute to Kobe Bryant. The show earned a high score of 9.4 out of 10 on China’s review site Douban when the finale was released on Friday.
“Many people still think that cartoons are only watched by children, but we want to show that viewers of all ages can enjoy them. At the same time, sports-themed cartoons can also encourage children to develop their own hobbies,” Huang Junming, another director working on the show, told the Global Times.
He said that jersey numbers and sneakers in the show were carefully chosen to pay tribute to basketball heroes. He also said that many of the production staff are basketball fans, and that their basketball knowledge contributed to the show’s quality.
“Based on the huge success of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Dunk for Victories, we will accelerate the speed of our global distribution in 2021,” Ding Dan, deputy director of the distribution department at CPE, told the Global Times on Monday, adding that they have talked with major broadcasters and distributors in Turkey, Spain, North America, South Africa and Asia.