Animated Karl Marx brought to you by China’s propaganda machine

Society & Culture

The much-anticipated Karl Marx anime is finally here. Yesterday, China’s leading video-streaming site, Bilibili, released the official trailer (in Chinese) of the first episode of The Leader (领风者 lǐngfēngzhě), an animated series detailing the legendary life of Karl Marx, the German philosopher, activist, and writer of the Communist Manifesto. The show will be available for streaming on January 28.

The seven-episode anime portrays the father of Communism as a tall, lean, and conventionally good-looking man with an undeniably high degree of charisma, rather than providing the better-known image of an older man with a bushy beard. According to Bilibili’s official description, the series chronicles the life of Marx by highlighting some key elements of his life, such as his “rebellious romance with Jenny von Westphalen,” his “difficult friendship with Friedrich Engels,” and his “significant contributions to the working-class revolution.”

karl marx

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A quick glance at the show’s promotional materials reveals that it was not made just for entertainment. Several government-associated agencies, including the Central Office for the Research and Construction of Marxist Theory, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the Propaganda Department of the Communist Youth League Central Committee, were all involved in the production. The timing of its release certainly seems to make it clear that it’s intended to celebrate Marx’s 200th birthday.

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Despite its apparent connection with China’s propaganda organs, judging from the trailer, The Leader appears to be surprisingly well produced and highly engaging. The first scene from the trailer features Karl Marx standing on a podium and preaching his radical ideas to a crowd of people.

Brace yourself, follow the link above, and press the “play” button. The anime is bound to be an entertaining watch.