The Continuity is Askew with Stitch and Ai, and that’s OK…

12 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Blink, and not every fan of Disney‘s Lilo & Stitch series will realize this spunky alien is still lurking about in Asia! His adventures in Japan started in 2008 and lasted for three seasons. One-off specials continued his adventures and Stitch! Perfect Memory (2015) suggests there are more adventures to come in space.

Since then, instead of going forward, a look back puts this cuddly alien in China. Central to this series is the importance of family. This latest entry nicely looks at it through a different cultural lens. According to online information, Stitch & Ai (安玲与史迪奇) takes place before he landed in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Dubbed episodes started airing on Disney Channel Asia on February 5, 2018 in English speaking territories in this country. The year prior, the Mandarin dub played in mainland China. The story is better than previous entries such that it introduces aspects of Chinese culture to the world. A look into what Chinese New Year is about has a broader meaning (“Dragon Parade”) and Jumba (Stitch’s creator) makes a beautiful observation about the duality of dragons representing the double helix (“Spirals”). These added details make this iteration a pleasant watch. At the same time, by the end of the series, we get to see how this blue alien hulks out when he sets foot in a big city.

With this chapter in Stitch’s life, aliens want to make use of his abilities to conquer new worlds and he ran away from Lilo to keep her safe. If that is not bad enough, another species is also after him, and neither succeed. After a space battle, this spunky blue vagabond escapes and crash lands in a China, by the Huangshan Mountains. Soon, he meets Ai and JieJie. These two sisters share a similar relationship to Lilo and Nani; they only have each other to look out for after their parents passed. Added to the mix is an aunt who wants them to leave the country life. Her reasoning gets explored late in the series with “The Phoenix.”

This series is following the formula and its doubtful Stitch will wind up with a male comrade. He’s more enduring with a girl in the role and often trying to teach him manners. In this series, Meiying is a rival who does not completely dislike Ai. She does have a few Mertle Edmonds like qualities and is not a total jerk. JieJie also has a reluctant boyfriend, Dahu.

No official word has been made on whether this series will make the journey west. Fans can find the first few episodes posted on Youtube.

When considering the series was produced in English, chances are good for further distribution outside of its intended market. A video release is inevitable. Due to the age of Stitch! the series, this product is hard to find online to purchase. A few places like PlayAsia still list it. Thankfully, Stitch is not completely gone. In North America, neither is he disregarded. With plenty of product available to purchase online through The Disney Stores, his foothold still remains. He’s simply out to conquer the world, one country at a time.

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