Video Creator Turns “The Three-Body Problem” Sequel “The Dark Forest” into Viral CGI Animation

The online series was purportedly made for free, prompting animators to rethink the future of the industry.

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3:59 PM HKT, Wed June 26, 2024 1 mins read

Video creator “ “刘师兄_liujun” has gone viral on Bilibili for remaking beloved Chinese sci-fi novel The Dark Forest, sequel to The Three-Body Problem, into a CGI animation series. The whole series has so far received over 15 million views. The newest episode, which was uploaded on June 23rd, has received more than 1.2 million views alone. On June 25th, the series was ranked as the no. 2 trending video on Bilibili.

The Dark Forest is part of critically acclaimed Chinese novelist Liu Cixin’s trilogy “Remembrance of Earth’s Past,” sometimes better known by the name of its first installation, The Three-Body Problem.

The trilogy has attracted significant attention and a large audience within China since the publication of the first book back in 2006. The novels have also gained high profile Western fans such as Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg, and their profile has only risen since Netflix released a live action adaptation earlier this year.

This newly released animated series is noted for its life-like 3D models and use of the original soundtrack from the audiobook of the novel. However, what triggered shock waves among viewers and the animation industry is that the series cost nothing to make. As indicated in the title of each video, the entire production has no budget and is created by a single amateur animator without any external financial support. Traditionally, the animated film industry has been known for the significant investments required, and the sheer amount of time and dedication that teams of animators must put in to complete a project. This creation, therefore, challenges the traditional mode of animation production, raising questions about the future trajectory of the industry for both regular viewers and professional animators. The series also stands in clear contrast to Netflix’s television show of the trilogy, which cost more than 144 million RMB (20 million USD) to make.

Banner image via Bilibili.

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