Little Cherry is a Chinese franchise of comics and animated adaptations. Active since the late 1990's, it centers on a young girl called Little Cherry (小樱桃, Xiao Ying Tao) and her family and friends.
Little Cherry is the chief intellectual property of the Zhengzhou Xoyto Comics Company from the Henan province. (Xoyto is also an abbreviation of the character's name). The cartoonist Yangshang Jun is the creator of the IP and co-founder of the company. (A Chinese article about her involvement with Little Cherry as of 2007) According to an old summary, the company claimed to be the first private cartoon company in China, and another one (in English) claimed the Little Cherry comics became the most popular in the nation and had praise from government leaders. As typical with other comics from China, Little Cherry is obscure in the English-speaking world.
Little Cherry comics were released in newspapers, magazines, and books. By some point in the 2010s, it's probably down to a monthly magazine for girls. Speaking of animation, the first cartoon is made of Adobe Flash and was released for web viewing in 2003. The majority or so can be viewed here (some have English subtitles), and they're generally not family friendly. In 2008, a TV animated series debuted on CCTV and features a major retooling of the characters. Most subsequent comics have character designs similar to the show. By then, the franchise probably aimed solely to children. Episodes can be seen on Youku and other Chinese video sites.
Little Cherry, at least the 2008 animated version, has a negative reputation for allegedly plagiarizing Chibi Maruko-chan for such reasons as similar titles, characters and premises. There are articles in Chinese media that compare the two as an example of Chinese animation plagiarism. It's easy to find web results of Chibi Maruko-chan by searching the name of Little Cherry in Chinese.
- The 2003 Flash internet shorts
- The 2007 Chinese New Year shorts series (release status unknown)
- Season One of the television show (小樱桃第一部) (2008)
- Season Two (小樱桃第二部) (2009)
- Season Three (小樱桃第三部) (2009); this season includes fantasy elements
- Humorous Collection (小樱桃之幽默宝典最终) (2010); episodes contain skits
- Wugang Legend (小樱桃之舞钢传奇) (2011); includes fantasy and Chinese folklore elements
- Little Fireman (小小消防员) (2014); a fire safety show
- Where Are We Going, Dad? (爸爸去哪儿) (2014); a sixty minute long collection of five segments based on a popular reality show of the same name
Little Cherry provides examples of:
- Adaptation Dye-Job: The protagonist's mother had black hair. In the 2008 cartoon, she has brown curly hair.
- All Just a Dream: One of the flash shorts contains a parody of Titanic (1997) which ends after Little Cherry kicks Lazy away from the floating wooden board and himself getting eaten by a shark. It's revealed that they're in a group who are watching the actual movie, and Lazy tries to wake Little Cherry who is crying.
- Art Evolution: Immensely so, Little Cherry had numerous designs through the years. One of the most noticeable style changes was her wide head during the early/mid 2000s.
- Blush Sticker: Little Cherry almost always has these. This also applies to some other characters.
- Bondage Is Bad: In one of the flash shorts, Xiao Yang Laoshi decides to dress in S&M gear and wield a whip so she can try to overcome her students' disobedience in an evil manner.
- Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Little Cherry looks very different in her oldest designs (top-left in image). She wore a hair band and less of her hair (brown instead of black) was seen.
- Frankenstein's Monster: There's a blue one in The Little Match Girl adaptation. The cover of one comic volume has him with a natural human skin color.
- Girlish Pigtails: Little Cherry's main hairstyle.
- In-Series Nickname: Little Cherry is nicknamed "Taotao" by characters such as her mother and Lazy.
- Intra-Franchise Crossover: Pre-2008 comic art of Little Cherry occasionally appear in the TV show, such as bottle packaging and a stamp.
- 1 Million B.C.: One flash short at least has a prehistoric setting. Here, Little Cherry is a sculptor in her tribe who doesn't replicate the cannibalistic Lazy respectfully. Lazy also gets stomped by a dinosaur twice.
- Rule 63: The twenty fifth episode of the third season includes a sequence lasting through the episode where all or most characters are gender-swapped.
- Shout-Out: The May 2017 magazine cover parodies My Neighbor Totoro.
- Toilet Humour: In episode 9 of season 3, Lazy gets eaten by a giant monster tortoise despite his friends trying to save him. Lazy, who is still alive, farts for his freedom and the monster spits him out and faints. After Lazy finishes rolling and stands up, his pants drop to the ground and his underwear is shown to be wet, disgusting Little Cherry.