By Xinhua Writers Huang Shuo and Wang Xiaopeng
BEIJING, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- As Japanese animation film "Your Name" entered its fourth week in Chinese theaters, Zheng Zhe decided to see it for a second time.
He saw the film shortly after it released on Dec. 2, said it was worth the time and money. Zheng is among hundreds of thousands of Chinese people who have seen the production.
At entertainment website douban.com, more than 270,000 users have rated the film 8.6, a score reminiscent of some Hollywood classics.
The Japanese animation has topped China's box office for two weeks, earning more than 540 million yuan (about 80 million U.S. dollars) making it the most successful Japanese film to be screened in China.
The success of "Your Name" originates in a large group of young anime fans in China.
"Anime originated in Japan and its accompanying philosophy and life style have certain influence on China," said Zhang Yiwu of Peking University.
To many, Makoto Shinkai, director of the movie, is not a big name, but to Zheng and many other young Chinese he is a cult hero.
"I never imagined that such a film would be screened in China," said Zheng, who has seen three of Shinkai's previous movies.
But it is not just the quality of animation, but the love story told in the film that has attracted so many Chinese fans. One comment on douban.com said the film not only has scenes "as beautiful as computer wallpaper," but has a plot that appeals to all.
A boy and a girl who are complete strangers begin appearing in each other's dreams, the film tells of how the two try to make connections with each other in the real world and finally meet.
At douban.com, the story is described by many as "romantic" with many commenting that the film made them weep in the theater.
"Your Name" is not the first Japanese production to become a box office hit in China.
In 2015, "Stand by me Doraemon," a film adaption of a Japanese animated TV series famous in China for decades, earned about 530 million yuan in China.
Following the success of "Stand by me Doraemon," there has been a steady increase of Japanese productions in Chinese theaters.
China showed around 10 Japanese films this year, most of which are animations, including "Chibi Maruko-chan: The Boy from Italy" and "Boruto: Naruto the Movie."
Japanese animation, the product of abundant industrial resources and mature creativity, is still leading in the world, said Zhang.
Japanese films meet the current demand for a wide choice and animations may remain their mainstay in Chinese theaters for some time to come.
"Japanese animations have a wide appeal to young audiences, and are more easily accepted in China," Zhang said.