This paper critically unpacks the reinvigoration of mythological narratives with traditional Chinese cultural elements on 哔哩哔哩Bilibili using the animated series 中国奇谭 Zhongguo Qitan ‘Yao-Chinese Folktales’, specifically focusing on the narrative 小妖怪的夏天 Xiao Yaoguai De Xiatian ‘Nobody’ (Lit. ‘A Little Monster’s Summer’) as the case study. The article explores Bilibili’s unique digital ecosystem and user-generated content, shedding light on how they shape the reinterpretation and recreation of narratives with traditional Chinese cultural elements. An in-depth analysis is conducted on various fan-maderecreations, from alternative endings to fan videos, critically examining how audiences connect with ‘Nobody’ through nostalgic personal memories, societal commentary and creative expression. This study seeks to reconcile the divide between participatory culture and mythological storytelling. By doing so, it underscores the significant role that digital platforms, like Bilibili, play in reinvigorating narratives with traditional Chinese cultural elements. The research findings unveil innovative insights beneficial for stakeholders seeking to gain traction in the Chinese market through culturally attuned content. More than just underlining the transformative influence of these digital platforms, the study also contributes to the ongoing discourse on the need for more diverse narratives in global storytelling, as opposed to the ‘universal’ paradigms centred on the Hero’s Journey perpetuated from the West. Ultimately, this article provides a nuanced understanding of the elements that resonate with audiences within the Chinese sociocultural context.
- user-generated content
- narratives with traditional Chinese cultural elements
- cultural resonance
- digital platforms