Animated series “The Three-Body Problem” crosses 100 million views as criticism mounts

On December 10, around 10 p.m. in China, the animated series based on the sci-fi trilogy “The Three-Body Problem”, which was online for less than 12 hours, exceeded 100 million views on the domestic video streaming platform Bilibili.. At the same time, the number of concurrent online viewers in the platform’s “animation stations” reached a new peak. However, the long-awaited animated work was quickly criticized by many viewers.

The animated series “The Problem of Three Bodies” (Source: Bilibili)

Chinese social media is rife with negative comments, such as “the modeling is not as good as that in regular games”; “The image quality is not as good as the Incarnation [a Chinese animated series]”; “the modeling is fine, but the character movements are not smooth…” These posts offer some insight into many viewers’ first impressions.

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In addition, some have said that the story is not clearly expressed by the new series. Namely, “Project Guzheng” in the first episode of the animated series did not explain the cause and effect of the plot, which confused many viewers who had not read the novel. One interviewee said in a report by Chinese media outlet Ranciyuan: “The reason I’m watching this animated series is because it’s a popular IP in China and abroad. I haven’t read the novel itself and I didn’t expect the perfect delivery of the original novel when I read it. I just want to look at the content of the story. However, I was completely confused.”

Another viewer told Ranciyuan, “I watched the animated version with my friend. She introduced me to the content of the novel five minutes before we started watching it, pausing to share a minute’s worth of background story every three or four minutes while watching the animated series. Even so, after watching it for 10 minutes, I was still confused and eventually gave up.”

“I’ve read the original novel twice, listened to the radio drama version once, and also seen the fan-made animation of ‘My Three-Body Problem.’ The animated series launched this time gives me the feeling that the characters are quite shallow,” commented Li Dongdong, founder of Chinese media outlet Geek Movie.

Although opinion on this animated version of the Three-Body Problem is now fiercely divided, it was a successful project from a data and business performance perspective.

Zhang Shengyan, the person in charge of The Three-Body Problem animation project, once said: “This animation is by far the biggest animation project in Bilibili in terms of time and money.” It was exclusive to Bilibili members from the second episode. According to the current feedback from the public, the work could become the highlight of BilibiliFinancial report for Q4.

In recent years, title sponsorship has become an important yardstick by which to measure the commercial value of films and television works. The animated series The Problem of Three Bodies has four pre-roll commercials, and numerous commercials are embedded in the show, which speaks volumes for the commercial success of this animated series.

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