Friday, January 2, 2009

The History of Malaysia Animation!!


Malaysian animation field has grown so well from the past of few years. There are many Malaysian films today are using animation to make it more interesting such as Cicakman, Brainscan, Susuk, Antoo Fighter and many more. 3D animation also has grown larger these days and more importantly, the Malaysian peoples with all ages have accept our animation. Some of the animation that has attracts Malaysian are Upin dan Ipin, Kacang, Saladin and Geng:Pengembaraan bermula...(coming soon).

Year by year, there are large numbers of graduates entering the industry. There also many of animation school and course are made through the Malaysia. However, Malaysian animation is still at the crossroads. The delay of approving contracts by the government-owned TV station caused some producers to fold up or downsize. In the same time, many foreign animation, films, and TV series are flooding our TV channel. How could this happen while our products still floating nowhere?

As a Malaysian, we must support our local products first no matter animations, films, TV series and also musics. Action is urgently required to prevents Malaysian animation from stagnating. In this post, I will give expose about our animation history in order to for us to more appreciate our animation industry and people before us who are fighting to make animation are accepted in this country. I hope with this expose, we can continue the journey of making animation more development in Malaysia.

The Beginning

Wayang Kulit(shadowplay) are said to one of the earliest animation in Malaysia. It is a puppet with articulating arms and manipulated by the Tok Dalang(storyteller). Wayang Kulit give the inspiration to a German animator, Lotte Reiniger to do her film, THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED.

However, animation in Malaysia are formaly began in 1946 after the establishment of Malayan Film Unit(now Filem Negara). It is first was made only for government documentaries and advertisement. In 1963, the first short animation, HIKAYAT SANG KANCIL, was made handled by Anandam Xavier, a set designer who was intrained in animation. He planned, animated and did all the background with only one assistant, Goh Meng Huat. The animation was completed in 1978 but screened in 1983. The successful of this animation led to making other 5 short film that is:
  3. GAGAK YANG BIJAK (1985)
The 2 commercial animation studios are then was established, FilmArt(1984) and Lensamation(1987), led to the training and creation of many animators. A number Japanese animation were post-animated at Lensamation. Live action features films began to include animated titles and animation sequences. At this time, all animation are done manually.

The Turning Point

When Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister, came in 1981, he immediately initiated the push for the use of digital technology. This resulting in the producing of the long-form animation industry came in 1994 to promote locally-made animated TV series. The aim was to cut down on foreign imports as well as increase local contents. The first TV series
animation was screened in 1995, that is
Usop Sontorian.
In less than 10 years, the industry has produced numerous animation TV series, feature films and telemovies. 50% of these animation were animated with the direct-to-system method(drawing directly into the computer).

List of animation produced in less than 10 years:
  1. SILAT LAGENDA (1998; first feature film)
  2. PUTEH (2001; film)
  3. KARTINI (1997; telemovies)
  4. NIEN RESURRECTION (2000; first 3D)
  5. SKYLAND (2001; 21 episode 3D animation TV series)
A number of Malaysian cartoonist had their characters tuned into animation:
  1. LAT - Kampung Boy (developed in US and animated in Philippines)
  2. IMUDA - Mat Gelap ( first combination of live action and animation)
  3. NAN - Din Teksi
  4. UJANG - Usop Sontorian (first TV Series)

However, Malaysia still lacking an adult audience because, as usuall, Malaysia people mindset is still regarded as local animation are catering only for children. Even if the animation for adults could be done, there is no market locally. Both Silat Lagenda and Puteh lost money. Local Animation films, like serious local live action films do not sell in Malaysia.


Animation in Malaysia have grown so big day by days. As a Malaysia we must support our animation industry and not just to 'judge the book by its cover'. It is not wrong to watch and love foreign's animation
but we must love our animation also. We are the new generation who are responsible to make our animation better and well-known in other countries. Lets together build up the world new empire of animation for Malaysia.

Animation for Malaysia

*Source are taken and edited from the paper version of workshop titled 'From Mousedeer to Mouse: Malaysian Animation at the Crossroads' by Hassan Abd Muthalib.


Flashout said...

Good info and review. I m with you.. seem like the Gov its not doing much on our local productions and animation. Not to mention the media also.

Do you know that our local TV media are not willingly to buy our local produce cartoon/ animation? Thats why most of the company are not selling it to oversea.

I m doing my own animation studio also.

Anonymous said...


i'm intrested with ur post about animation, i'm doing studies in animation also but more about design studio for animation(building and architecture)..to do the design i need make some research about animation in malaysia.since ur post taken and edit from hassan abd muthalib. how can i wnt to have this paperwork for my reference or did u have any contact with this person. kindly contact me thru sayamarashahlan@gmail. tq for ur co-operation.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Azizah Najib said...

assalamualykum, bro.. a very good info.. nk tny, cane ley dpt artikel dr hassan muthalib ni ye? da puas cari, smua tak dpt access dr jurnal.. hopefully bro dpt bantu.. sy buat kajian about malaysian animation jugak.. tgh cari maklumat sejarah.. mohon bantuan bro.. please!

Nur Syazwan Arasy Norazmy said...

Waalaikum salam Cik Azizah. maaf di atas ke lewatan, lama dah tak aktif blog ni. Saya dapat dulu sewaktu menghadiri talk daripada Tuan Hassan Muthalib sendiri sewaktu tahun 2008 anjuran The One Academy. Saya cuba cari semula artikel tu kalau masih simpan lagi... Kalau ada nnt saya hubungi Cik Azizah. Jika apa2 sila email saya di nursyazwan786@gmail.com sebab saya jrg bukak blog. terima kasoh