An Animation Visionary in Development Hell
Why a cult Chinese director nearly quit.
Happy Thursday! In this issue of the Animation Obsessive newsletter, we’re covering a topic that’s almost unexplored in English: the Mr. Miao project (2012–2014) by Busifan.
You might not know Busifan’s name. In China, he’s a cult director thanks to his feature film The Guardian (2017). That one is a gorgeous, ultraviolent landmark. Even so, few outside Busifan’s home country have gotten to see it or most of his other work.1
We profiled The Guardian in 2022, and it made us want to learn more about its creator. So, we studied and translated Mee’s Forest (2009–2010), an early Busifan series from the online Flash era. It’s rough around the edges, and obscure even in China, but we fell in love with it. We were thrilled to release the show in English earlier this year.
Which brings us to this issue.
Between Mee’s Forest and The Guardian, Busifan developed an animated project called Mr. Miao that nearly destroyed him. The explosive violence of The Guardian was, in many ways, a reaction to this period. We wanted to know more, but none of Busifan’s work on Mr. Miao was available in English, and its history was murky at best. So, once again, we started to research and subtitle.2 Today, we’re publishing what we’ve found.
Here we go!