Chinese anime’s astro plan ripped off Macross, Gundam and Transformers

Incorporating elements from Gundam and Macross, Astro Plan took the concept of “Chinese bootleg” to a whole new level.

Donghua, or the Chinese equivalent of anime, has become increasingly popular in recent years. Anime cultural products allow the Middle Kingdom to exist more competitively among similar offerings from Japan and South Korea, although these shows have not always been of the highest quality. One infamous donghua in particular was rightly despised upon release.

Astro map was China’s big foray into mecha animation – one that flat out ripped off all of Japan’s hits. Incorporating elements of both Gundam and Macross, Astro map took the concept of “Chinese bootleg” to a whole new level. Here’s a look at this deservedly forgotten series and how donghua has changed for the better since then.


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What was the Chinese Astro Plan ‘Anime’?


Released in early 2010, Astro map was the product of the Xing Yuan Toy Company. Society’s apparent unfamiliarity with animation shows in literally every part of the donghua’s production, but primarily in the creativity department. The story is based on the Sky Arrow flight team, led by Tian Long, who pilot Yi-type transforming fighter units to battle alien invaders bent on exploiting humanity’s resources.

This general plot is basic, but that’s the least of the show’s problems. Astro map was immediately criticized for outright copying designs and elements from the Macross and Mobile Suit Gundam franchisees. This is especially evident with the mecha directly transforming the VF-1 Valkyrie of old. In this way, it could also be considered a theft of Transformers, since the Generation 1 Jetfire was essentially just a repainted Valkyrie. Some have even called the series “Robotech: Astro Mapwhile mocking each other for another misuse of the Macross source material. When combined with the show’s questionable animation and thinly veiled propaganda purpose, Astro map became known for how poorly designed it all was.


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China, Astro Plan and Gundam


Of course, China is no stranger to sometimes shameless scams, especially if they are of Japanese origin. This was certainly the case for the popular Gundam franchise, with a Chinese statue with a supposedly “completely original” design simply repainting the classic RX-78-2 in a garish orange. Japan already had its own live, life-size Gundam, and the Chinese equivalent certainly wasn’t on the same level. The orange monstrosity has also been mocked online, leading to the finished statue receiving a revised design which is a questionable improvement.


Donghua as a whole has also improved and become a bit more mainstream, with many of their stories being both more original and Chinese in origin compared to Astro map. Shows like zombie brother and Heaven Official’s Blessing are both better known and better regarded, allowing Chinese animation to finally flourish amid competition from other East Asian dragon countries. As for Astro map himself, he was quickly pushed aside, his few moments in the spotlight resulting in more infamy than anything else. There were, however, official toys that enthusiasts online said were actually of respectable quality. As for the show itself, it unfortunately took everything from the old pros… except for quality.


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