The first ever attempt to narrate the history of Vietnam in animation is now showing on Vietnam Television (VTV).
Hao khi ngan nam (literally, Thousand-year Spirit), a 2D-animation series made by Truong Thanh Media, is broadcast on VTV1 at 9:55 pm every weekday.
With the exception of the 20th century with its wars with the French and Americans, the country’s history and historical topics are yet to be properly explored in film, literature or other art forms.
Hao khi ngan nam covers Vietnamese history from the period of the Hung Kings to the end of the Le-Trinh Dynasty. Each five-minute episode is about a historical figure, event or story.
The opening episode about Kinh Duong Vuong, the first king of the Vietnamese who, according to legend, established Vietnamese territory circa 2879 BCE, aired last October.
The series has aired its 78th episode about Mai Thuc Loan, who led a peasant’s revolt against the Chinese Tang Dynasty’s occupation of Vietnam and proclaimed himself king in 713 CE.
Truong Thanh Media said it had long been thinking about the idea of making a historical film, and it took shape in 2010 when Hanoi was celebrating its 1,000th birthday.
The producer hopes to create a warehouse of historical props and costumes used in the series for future historical projects. Animators often create their drawings based on real physical objects.
It might also publish a history picture book for children.
Though the series’ historical content may not be perfect because certain periods are not fully documented and historians disagree about certain issues, Truong Thanh said it consults reputed experts to provide a basic, systematic view of Vietnamese history.
The film is doing fine on Youtube, generating a few thousand views for recently posted episodes, and over 14,000 for the first one.
The first episode can be watched here in Vietnamese:
The latest episode can be watched on the film’s website.