This Shanghainese native, unlike many other Chinese, actually prefers not to use many of the cartoon icons when chatting with others via MSN Messenger. The use of cartoon icons could be considered an internet phenomenon younger generations of Chinese. At first it started with Yoyo&Cici Monkeys (悠嘻猴), a launch by Chinajoy at the beginning of 2006 driven by commercial purposes. Later in 2006, the cartoon Onion replaced the Yoyo&Cici Monkeys to be the most popular internet icon. Ironically, the creator of Onion forbade others to use the character for commercial use. Now these bunnies known as Tuzki (pictured) among Chinese netizens have captured my heart.
Simplistic, noseless and mouthless, these bunnies have been hot on Chinese internet, particularly with QQ and MSN users since the beginning of 2007. Wang Momo, a student in animation department of Beijing Broadcasting Institute created this popular lagomorph.
Life Week’s interview with the animator can be viewed on Wang’s blog. Wang stated that she created this character to be able to write her diary in a graphic form. Her friends and classmates always nicknamed her “rabbit” as well. The first Tuzki was very simple, and just waved his arms and shook his head. Then she created more pictures and small animations for this character based on her real life experiences. To date, Tuzki has 39 different expressions. And thanks to the 150,000,000 Tecent QQ users and 20 million MSN messenger users in China, the popularity of Tuzki also generates income for this young woman. She is now designing Tuzki posters and postcards, which will take the rabbit beyond the definition of an internet idol.
This last question of the Life Week interview is quite interesting,
LW: It seems our life is rampant with a variety of cartoon images, for example, last year the Netizens were still crazy about the Onion, it’s almost overnight that Tuzki has replaced Onion. What’s your opinion of the situation of Tuzki for next year? What if something else replaces it?
Wang: There used to be many popular cartoon images on the internet, but they all enjoyed a short life. On one hand it’s because the artist’s enthusiasm and inspiration doesn’t last very long, which decreases the quality. On the other hand, new or more outstanding images have popped up, which soon won favour among Netizens. I’m still confident in Tuzki. At least next year, I will still keep painting and improve the quality of Tuzki series. I can’t predict the future of Tuzki, but the fact that internet cartoon idol is competitive only stimulates me to work more and outdo myself.
This Shanghaiist loves Tuzki, it’s so much cuter and original than the suicide rabbit, and it is what the Chinese animation industry needs.