China screens sequel of phenomenal teen animation "Music Up"

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SHANGHAI, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- China has been screening a sequel to the hugely popular youth-themed TV animation series "Music Up," which inspired an entire generation of Chinese teenagers nearly two decades ago.

The 12-episode "Music Up: Reborn" is essentially a second season of the original show, picking up where the story left off, providing a dose of nostalgia to former fans, while seeking to attract a new wave of viewers.

Starting Friday, the new season was staged on Bilibili, a popular video-sharing platform and stronghold of China's youth subculture, with the first two episodes garnering 2.5 million views within a day.

The original "Music Up" was first screened in 2001, and revolved around a group of middle school students who formed a pop band called "Open," while seeking reconciliation with their parents and teachers, who opposed the move. The animation gained a huge fan base among Chinese people born in the 1980s and the 1990s, as did a novel of the same name. But it also invited controversy with its open depictions of campus romance and idol culture.

Shanghai Animation Film Studio, one of the animation's producers, said the sequel follows the storyline of the first season, depicting middle school life about 20 years ago. The new elements, such as "virtual idol," however, have been introduced to "entertain both the old and new fans."

"We're keeping the original timeline, and by doing so, we try to keep the youth," said Chen Bo, chief producer of the second season. "About 20 years have passed, but the new story takes place after just one winter vacation. It's as if our audience were returning to their puberty."

Many of the comments posted on Bilibili suggest the animation has been welcomed by many nostalgic former fans, who have now left school to take their place in society.

"'Music Up' took the nation by storm because Chinese youth-themed cartoons back then were rare," said one 24-year-old netizen named "Shengshuisiqiaozhong."

"It enlightened many children about music and made them yearn for senior high school life. Many boys of my age began learning guitar and girls started to practice dancing," he said. Enditem

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