CHINA

A glaring case of plagiarism on Chinese TV

On August 22, Chinese broadcaster CCTV released “Soul’s Window”, a much-trumpeted “original production” aimed at a child audience. But Web users haven’t fallen for it.

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Image posted here.

On August 22, Chinese broadcaster CCTV released “Soul’s Window”, a much-trumpeted “original production” aimed at a child audience. But Web users haven’t fallen for it.

Same set, same features, same hairstyles – manga fans were not fooled. Several scenes from the 52-episode cartoon were copied directly from "Byousoku" (Five Centimetres per Second), a popular Japanese animated film by Makoto Shinkai released in 2007.

CCTV, China’ state-owned television network, says it was not aware that the production violated copyright. China’s propaganda department, which co-produced the cartoon, had billed it as an educational programme. “Soul’s Window” was supposed to teach children a lesson in ethics.

Replying to the accusations, the cartoon’s producer, Lanhai, recognised that roughly 1 percent of the 2,500 scenes mirrored parts of “Byousoku” and offered an apology. The company said it would launch an inquiry in order to “identify those responsible and draw lessons from this case".

“Drawing inspiration from other works is part and parcel of manga history”

Simon Scaraffiotti is a sales representative and a fan of mangas.

The world of mangas is constantly awash with claims of plagiarism. But we need to distinguish between drawing inspiration and outright plagiarism.

Drawing inspiration from other works is part and parcel of manga history. At the start of the century, manga authors drew heavily on Western cartoons and feature films. Later, modern-day manga style travelled back to the West, where it inspired local cartoonists.

Asian authors often add their values to existing stories. In this case, we can talk of inspiration.

Different mangas are often built around common themes. In the shonen style, for instance, the storyline generally follows the initiatory journey of a young boy who eventually finds his purpose in life

In cases of plagiarism, on the other hand, virtually everything is similar, including the narrative, the characters and the scenery.

Disney has been accused of plagiarism by fans of “Kimba The White Lion”, which some say “The Lion King” copies, and the studio's “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”, which is strikingly similar to the Japanese animated movie “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”.

In “Soul’s Window”, only a few details have been changed. Japanese schoolgirls' skirts have given way to Chinese skirts. It’s always fascinating to see that one can plagiarise so blatantly. We all know that manga fans have a sharp eye and that it’s hard to avoid being caught."

Screen prints posted here.

The plagiarism scene by scene

Posted on YouTube by MrUhoiiotoko