White Snake: Origin is the first Chinese animated film since who knows when to be released with English dubs in North American theaters

In the best distribution deal for a Chinese animated film in a long time,    White Snake: Origin, has been picked up for North American distributor GKIDS.  The distributer has previously distributed Ponyo, The Breadwinner, Howl’s Moving Castle, and most recently The Secret World of Arrietty, and currently has distribution writes to all the Studio Ghibli films.  Both English-dubbed and Chinese-subbed versions of the  film is tentatively set for a fall release in North America.   Synopsis from GKIDS, with Madame White Snake’s English name being translated as Blanca:

From Light Chaser Animation, one of China’s premiere animation studios, comes a visually stunning new take on a classic legend. One day a young woman named Blanca is saved by Xuan, a snake catcher from a nearby village. She has lost her memory, and together they go on a journey to discover her real identity, developing deeper feelings for one another along the way. But as they learn more about her past, they uncover a darker plot of supernatural forces vying for power, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Conceived as a prequel to one of the most ancient and enduring stories in Chinese history, White Snake presents a sumptuous tale of trickster demons, deadly mythical beasts, assassins, wuxia action, and the promise of eternal love.


Promotional song by Zhou Shen:

Chinese trailer:

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11 thoughts on “White Snake: Origin picked up for North American release”

  1. I might be an outlier here but I actually kind of like Blanca. The name reminds me of Blanca in The House of Spirits, which is one of my favorite books and has a similar theme with respect to the cycle of life. Plus, it means white in Spanish and is a name, so it’s a solid choice if they felt like they needed to give her a new name.

    1. but what does this ancient Chinese legend have to do with the Spanish? Imagine the uproar if African characters in Lion King were given Spanish names. Unless it’s a dubbed version for the Spanish market, it makes no sense.

      1. Blanca is also a viable name in English. I think they just wanted a pair of English-sounding names that meant white and green. I’m of the school of thought that if you can preserve the meaning of the name while keeping it a name, then it’s fine to translate it. For example, Zhu Bajie is translated as Pigsy, 大莲 as Lily, Cinderella is translated as 灰姑娘, Jon Snow is translated as 雪诺.

        Not sure what would happen with the Lion King but the female lead’s name in Aladdin got changed from badroulbadour to Jasmine and most people seem fine with that.

  2. At times like this I wish idarklight was just trolling us readers with those name choices 😅

  3. They didn’t translate A’Xuan’s name because it’s difficult to do so as “宣” (xuan) means to declare (publicly), to announce (according to Pleco). However, I believe they should have let all the names remain in Chinese because the translations sound tacky (Xiao Qing is called Verta), and the names aren’t even that hard to pronounce, even this is going to be marketed to kids (but I doubt that because there was a love scene).
    I really don’t like the tendency to change cultural elements in Asian works that are introduced to the American public to “accommodate” its culture.

    1. But if this is going to be marketed to kids, I guess the American distributors would delete that scene.

      1. It depends. If the film distributor goes for a “G” rating then they would have to cut out the intimate scene. However, if they choose the PG-13 rating then the scene should be left as is.

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