First Look: Bilibili’s Animated “Three-Body Problem” Teaser

Get a first glimpse of the animated adaptation of Liu Cixin's famous sci-fi trilogy

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9:00 PM HKT, Tue November 19, 2019 1 mins read

Popular anime-focused streaming platform Bilibili held a big bash in Shanghai at the weekend to reveal some of the projects they have in the works for 2020 and beyond. We’ll have more on that event later this week, but undoubtedly one of the most anticipated moments of the evening was the unveiling of a teaser clip for their animated adaptation of Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem.

This is far from the first attempt at adapting one of China’s most famous works of science fiction — it’s not even the only one currently in the works. But if the teaser is anything to go by, the anticipation surrounding this project is justified.

Two and a half minutes of lush visuals open with an emotive scene featuring an elderly woman affirming her humanity and wish “to build a beautiful world,” before scenes of heavy industrial works lead us out into space….


Produced in partnership with YHTK Entertainment and a company named The Three-Body Universe, Bilibili’s attempt to bring Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy (of which The Three-Body Problem is the first novel) to the screen looks impressive. Hopefully it won’t be plagued by some of the issues that have befallen previous efforts — there’ve been so many aborted and delayed adaptations now that fans regularly talk of a curse.

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And while Bilibili execs were keen to stress that their teased take on Three-Body Problem was progressing, there were audible gasps in the audience when it was announced that we wouldn’t be seeing a final version until 2021. Still, a bit more time to finally read the books, eh?


The (somewhat vague) release date reopens the race currently taking place to get a new adaptation of Liu’s works to the screen in the wake of the huge success enjoyed by The Wandering Earth, also penned by the Hugo Award-winning author. This summer, we reported on a 24-episode series adaptation of The Three-Body Problem novels, a Tencent comic version of the same stories (which we got a first look at two weeks ago), and a frankly over-ambitious-sounding attempt to create a 42-episode TV series around Liu’s Ball Lightning (a story which also folds into the “Three-Body Universe”).

The various projects are all part of the emergence (or perhaps resurgence) of Chinese sci-fi for the screen. With such a rush to crank out science fiction content, there’ll undoubtedly be flops along the way, but here’s hoping the Luhan-led disaster that was Shanghai Fortress is more an anomaly than the norm.

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