Anime Studio Challenge: 2:10 Animation's Wo Shi Jiang Xiaobai (+ OVA) (Review)

The next producer / studio on the list is an actual studio – 2:10 Animation.
And if you couldn’t tell from the name of the anime, it’s a Chinese studio!

The anime is called Wo Shi Jiang Xiaobai.
For some reason, on MAL the English translation of this is “I’m Joybo”.

I’ve got a few words regarding that later though.
So let’s get into it.

Spoiler-free as usual.

Synopsis

I’m not going to spoil anything here. In fact, the synopsis on MAL in my opinion actually spoils some things. Even if they become apparent relatively early on, the fact is that this anime is designed to unravel as you go, so knowing ANYTHING important going in can change that experience.

The very basic premise is this: Xiaobai is a seemingly regular guy that works in the editorial department for a well-read magazine. However things are about to really change for Xiaobai when a certain author comes to town. Friends, the past, and the present all unravel to reveal a great story of highs and lows, drama and emotion.

Not Very Descriptive There!

Yeah, it’s tough to really sell this one without giving anything away. I can see why MAL included what they did in their synopsis.

Luckily, I can spend more time to at least give you all an idea of how the anime is like. So hopefully that won’t matter.

Wo Shi Jiang Xiaobai is a drama anime. It’s a slow burner, and takes a couple episodes to get going, but it’s that kind of anime that once the story hooks into your brain, it doesn’t let go until the very end. Seriously, I wasn’t expecting to be pulled into this anime as much as I was.

After the first couple of episodes, this anime is relentless. Just when you think things have settled down, another piece of information is introduced, and then things pick up again. And on and on it goes. Plus, I felt like there were so many twists so to speak that even though I could predict many of them, I could not predict them all. It really has a lot to offer in that sense.

In fact, the ending was just open-ended enough that I had to continue onto the OVA for some answers! And the OVA was good too. I now see that there’s a second season, but I think everything wrapped up nicely enough with the OVA so I decided to stop here.

The Animation

So this is a Chinese anime, and the animation is not like anything I’ve seen before. It’s sort of this 3d animation, but not. Half-3d? I don’t know, hopefully the screecaps I put in this post can give you an idea of what it looks like. It’s not as distinct or detailed as the typical anime I think.

In addition, because it’s something I wasn’t used to watching, for the first couple of episodes I found myself really analyzing the animation. While it’s mostly fluid, when you really focus in on it you will notice that it’s not 100% fluid animation. Which I guess means it’s probably animated at a lower framerate than what the human eye can see or whatever.

However, after the first 3 or so episodes, for some reason or another, the animation just began to work for me. I stopped focusing on the animation itself, and started just watching the anime. And in the end, the animation actually ended up having it’s own charm that I actually didn’t mind.

In addition, the backgrounds of many shots were beautiful.

Chinese VA

Alongside the animation, the one other foreign element of this anime for me was the Chinese voice acting. Normally, I’m a Japanese VA only guy. However, the anime studio challenge was meant to challenge that when I came across the odd Chinese anime or whatever, and so that’s what happened here.

Once again, it was very similar to the animation in that it took a few episodes to get used to it. And once again, once I did, it was totally fine. In fact, I actually really liked it at times, because it had a much different feel than what I’m used to.

I know that Japanese VAs tend to be overdramatic, and it’s what I’m used to. But hearing a cast of more calm, level voices was pretty nice. Xiaobai’s voice was pretty good, I ended up liking how normal it sounded.. in terms of volume and emotion.

The one drawback I will bring up with the voice acting though was that many times certain voices, such as Xiaobai’s, sounded like they were mumbling. I know I don’t speak Chinese, and I’m just reading subtitles anyways, but I still like to follow along with the words being spoken. One character in particular sounded like he was always speaking with his teeth clenched, which seemed bizarre to me.

But then, maybe this is all normal for the language, I don’t know.

Names

This is the one pet peeve I had, and I don’t know why it is the way it is, but the way the names were translated bothered me. Basically the translator decided to use English names instead of just the character’s actual Chinese names, meaning that what was spoken didn’t match the subtitle.

The name Xiaobai was often pronounced by characters as “Xiaobai” but then the subtitles would just say “Bo”.

Another name, which I don’t know how to spell out, sounded like “Xe Li”, but the subtitles would just say “Rey”.

Just names like that. Not a huge deal, but when names are spoken as often as they are in this drama anime, it got a little annoying for me is all. Clearly this isn’t the anime’s fault though. I wanted to point it out anyways because I don’t think there are many translations out there, if any others, so most likely if you were to watch this anime these are the subtitles you’d end up with.

And I’m guessing that something to do with the translation is also the reason why the English name for the anime somehow gets “Joybo” from Xiaobai? I don’t know for sure though, but I don’t see why we can’t just keep and use the Chinese names. It makes following along easier when the words spoken match the subtitles for names I think.

Rating

Wo Shi Jiang Xiaobai was surprisingly a great anime. I didn’t expect much here, and for the first few episodes I really was just feeling nitpicky about the animation, VA, pacing, et cetera. But man, this anime really picks up and it gets really good!

I’m giving Wo Shi Jiang Xiaobai a 8 / 10.
A great drama anime, and an interesting experience.

I think this is one of those “hidden gem” anime, honestly.
A slow start and it takes a little getting used to, but once you get past these issues the anime becomes very enjoyable.

And that’s my review for 2:10 Animation’s Wo Shi Jiang Xiaobai, plus the OVA. There is a second season but I’m not really sure what direction the anime could possibly go in after this, although I’m sure they manage to throw in some more twists somehow.

Maybe someday in the future I’ll go back and watch the sequel, but for now I’m content with how things end after the OVA episode.

I didn’t expect to face a Chinese anime right away, but it was a nice experience. I used to dislike listening to Chinese VA, just like I dislike English VA, but thanks to hearing the Chinese narration / voices from Total War: Three Kingdoms enough, I’d gotten past that for the most part. I actually think I’d prefer Chinese VA to English even, for anime.

We’re basically halfway through the “#” section of anime studios / producers which is great. For some reason a studio / producer called “Sunrise Beyond” is in this section, when it clearly doesn’t belong there!

That does it for this post, see you all soon enough with more from the challenge.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Anime Studio Challenge: 2:10 Animation's Wo Shi Jiang Xiaobai (+ OVA) (Review)

  1. Hi, thanks for this wonderful post. I’m glad there are other anime bloggers out there who had seen this one. It’s a cute story albeit a very dramatic one. It’s actually one of my top 10 Chinese anime of all time so far. Yes, I really felt what you said about the twists. There’s just too many surprises that when you think you’ll know what will happen next but you’ll still get yourself surprise. It’s really good both the 1st season and OVA. While there’s a season 2, I only watch the first episode and I think I’d stopped there since I am not emotionally prepared for another dramatic maelstrom. Plus, the soundtrack are really great.

    Liked by 1 person

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