Every 333 years a disaster is born onto the world of man and beast. In this fictional world, this disaster is known as "Kuiba". In our world, this disaster is probably one of the best domestically produced Chinese animations in ages.
Originally released in Chinese theatres in 2011, Kuiba and was touted as the one of the major advancements in Chinese animation and animated story telling. The second Kuiba film came out this past spring. The other three for forthcoming.
Breaking up the main story into five parts (and thus, five films), Kuiba tells the story of a world of man and beast, a world of mana and giant mana using space cannons. Kuiba's animation style screams Japanese/Pan-Asian. The art style features big eyes and simple lines; it's something Japanese animation watchers will be accustomed to.
However, in terms of story, Kuiba has some uniquely Chinese features. The story, not to give too much away, starts with the tale of the eponymous Kuiba, which is this giant destructive force that emerges every 333 years. Which each generation of Kuiba, the destruction created is devastating to the world. While Kuiba is a force, it is also epitomized as and referred to as a demon.
To prevent the world from falling apart, an alliance of countries and "gods" are formed. This alliance is created to destroy Kuiba. In the opening segments of the movie, the third incarnation of Kuiba is destroyed. Even though Kuiba is destroyed, he is to be reincarnated. It's like clockwork.
To prevent his reincarnation, the heavenly forces locate and find the points of Kuiba's reincarnations and mana blast the hell out of these locations, killing a would-be reincarnated Kuiba. On their third attempt, they miss obliterating the sixth generation Kuiba completely, and they instead send him off far away from his ordained birthplace.
This is now where Kuiba gets interesting. Kuiba, the terror force, is instead reincarnated and lives as a child learning under a would-be demon hunter sworn to destroy him.
Cartoonish antics ensue, character development happens, and we learn that Kuiba isn't all that bad, especially since he's just a child with no idea that he's the monstrous Kuiba. It's even ironic that Kuiba is being raised by a demon hunter as a demon hunter and is taught midway that he must hunt and destroy, well, Kuiba.
Through the mix, there are a series of characters introduced in the series. All of which makes sense since the movie is supposed to be a five part series. It's not often that I say this, but Kuiba was a delight to watch. It has elements of the iconic classic The Journey To The West in the same sense that Dragon Ball has elements of it. Kuiba as a child reminds me very much of the headstrong, naïve, and kind Son Goku. Some of the various characters that show up also resemble tropes found in Dragon Ball. Also, pretty much everyone and their mothers fight using Qi powers. They can blast buildings and each other using energy blasts from their bodies.
Kuiba, as a whole reminds me of Dragon Ball, Tenchi Muyo with a mix of Saiyuki Reloaded. But it works. The whole thing is an interesting concept for a Chinese animation to be broken down into five theatrical releases. Currently Kuiba parts one and two are both available online in Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. There has been talk that the movies will be officially licensed in the US. There hasn't been word on when Kuiba part three will be released. Can't wait.