It’s not a secret that Hasbro’s Transformers franchise is hugely popular in China. The country has helped prop up the live action franchise’s sagging domestic box office take and unsurprisingly, they’ve been rewarded with a bevy of exclusives. It’s actually a surprise that this has taken so long. CCTV Animation and Hasbro Studios have announced Nezha and Transformers (哪吒与变形金刚), a brand new animated project set to debut sometime soon.
Unfortunately, it seems CCTV were so excited about this announcement that they forgot to share any details! Or, more likely, production is so early that they have nothing to share. No plot synopsis, no release window, no key art. Drats! However, we do know CCTV Animation and Hasbro have agreed upon IP ownership, production standards and an air date. To promote the announcement, Hasbro’s Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President Stephen Davis and 10 other Hasbro employees visited the CCTV headquarters.
So, you probably know about the Transformers, but who is Nezha in Nezha and Transformers? He’s a character from one of China’s most well known fables, The Journey to the West. Nezha is usually depicted as a young boy, born to a mother after a 3 and a half year pregnancy. He has special powers that allow him to have three heads and six arms.
The Bejinger noticed some similarities between Nezha and the Transformers franchise:
- Ressurection: Like Optimus Prime’s habit of refusing to stay dead, Nezha also came back to life after dying.
- Transforming: There is more to meet the eye when considering Nezha, who will grow extra appendages to allow him to defeat his opponents.
- Cool accessories: Nezha shows he is ready for merchandising like his toy commercial peers by being equipped with his own set of personalized gear: a fire-tipped spear, a universe ring (which is like a hula hoop he uses to fight), and wind fire wheels that would come in handy for those aerial chase scene set pieces.
Some have already reinterpreted Nezha as a robot before, such as Koei Tecmo in their Warriors Orochi video game series (see above).
This is the first time an animated Transformers show will be produced outside of North America and Japan. In 2013, Hasbro, Paramount and CCTV launched Transformers 4 Chinese Actors Talent Search Reality Show to find talent to star in cameos for the Transformers: Age of Extinction live action film.
Earlier this year, CCTV partnered up with Disney to launch Stitch & Ai. What are your thoughts on these Chinese takes on western properties? Are you excited for Nezha and Transformers? Leave a comment down below!