ho’s the most dashing, handsome, and charismatic character in all of Chinese anime? Why that would be Karl Marx, of course.
On Monday, the first episode of a new animated biopic series documenting the life of the extremely influential German thinker began streaming on Chinese video site Bilibili. Rather than an old man with a white bushy beard, the episode tells the story of a romantic, earnest, and extremely attractive German teen who is only beginning down his road to the Communist Manifesto.
However, the 23-minute-long episode looks at not only the development of Marx’s political thinking, it also portrays his relationship with wife Jenny von Westphalen, his friendship with Friedrich Engels, and his drinking habit. So far, the episode has tallied more than 3 million views.
The series will be seven episodes long. The second episode is also available to watch, but only to paid subscribers at the moment. Just like Marx would have wanted it.
Backed by a bevy of official Chinese entities, including the Propaganda Department of the Communist Youth League and the Central Office for the Research and Construction of Marxist Theory, the anime was produced in order to (belatedly) commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the man behind the Chinese Communist Party’s guiding ideology. It is called “The Leader” (领风者).
This is China’s slickest stab yet at getting young people in the country to care about Marx and his teachings, but it is far from its first. In recent years, there have been game shows developed around Marxist Theory and, in 2016, there was this rap.