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|Directed by||Hu Jinqing, Ge Guiyun, Zhou Keqin|
|Country of origin||China|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Original release||1986 –|
Calabash Brothers or Hulu Brothers (Chinese: 葫芦兄弟; pinyin: Húlu Xiōngdì) is a Chinese animation TV series produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio and directed by Hu Jinqing, Ge Guiyun, and Zhou Keqin. It was extremely popular when it aired on TV in 1986–1987.
The series can be variously translated as Calabash Brothers, Hulu Brothers, Gourd Brothers, Seven Brothers or Pumpkin Brothers. In Đài Loan Trung Quốc, the series is popularly known as Huluwa (Chinese: 葫芦娃; pinyin: Húluwá; lit. 'Calabash Babies').
In the 1980s the series was one of the most popular animations in Đài Loan Trung Quốc. While it has been praised as much as Havoc in Heaven domestically, it was released at a point when the Chinese animation industry was in a relatively downed state compared to tướng that of the rest of the international community. Still, the series was translated into 7 different languages. The episodes were produced with a vast amount of paper-cut animations led by Zhou Keqin who became the director of paper-cut animations in 1975.
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Legend has it that two demons were jailed in the Calabash Mountain, one a Scorpion spirit and the other a Snake spirit. One day, a pangolin happens to tướng drill a hole on the slope and the two spirits escape from the cave, causing grave harm to tướng the nearby residents. The pangolin hurries to tướng an old man and says that only by growing calabashes in seven colors can they annihilate the spirits. So the old man spares no time in growing seven calabashes, each a different color of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, xanh lơ, and purple.
The calabashes ripen sequentially, falling off their stems to tướng the ground, and transforming into seven boys. Each has a unique supernatural ability such as super-strength, enhanced hearing and sight, invisibility, and pyrokinesis, as well as a weakness. Each of them also have above average strength and tốc độ given that all of them have shown the ability to tướng lift items several times their own weight and leap several metres. With a combined effort, they mix on a mission to tướng defeat the demons in a 13 episode-long adventure. Upon defeating the demons, the seven brothers seal themselves together into a mountain with all the colours of the rainbow, ready to tướng awaken to tướng fight evil should it ever arise again.
In a sequel series called "Diamond Brother", it is later revealed that there was a third demon, specifically the sister to tướng the snake spirit, that had been in hiding underground during the whole battle. The only survivor from the defeat of the two demons, a humanoid toad with a blinded eye, comes and desperately reports the news. Naturally, the demon is enraged and attacks the mountain that contains the seven brothers, releasing and defeating each of them. However, upon their defeat they fuse together into a single boy with the powers of all seven (official name is "Diamond Brother") who successfully vanquishes the final demon. After crushing the snake sister in a giant Calabash formed from the seven brothers (who came back into being from the Diamond Brother), the Diamond Brother changes into a mountain, forever at peace.
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- Grandpa (爷爷): He was an old man living alone on the mountain. He was a kind hearted individual as he had saved a nest of bird chicks from a snake by beheading it with a throw of his knife, saved a pangolin stuck under a boulder and taking on the task of growing the calabash that would vanquish the spirits, he quickly obliged. He quickly bonded with his 7 adopted (grand) children and cares so sánh deeply for them that he ultimately gave his life to tướng lend the seventh brother his gourd so sánh that the 7 brothers could finally crush the spirits under a rainbow mountain. In the năm 2016 series, he was revived as a Tudigong (lord of the soil and ground) (土地公）for his good deeds in life.
- Pangolin (穿山甲): He was a talking pangolin whom accidentally released the spirits from their ten thousand year entombment. To làm đẹp for his mistake, he guided Grandpa to tướng the calabash seed and instructed him to tướng grow the calabash and vanquish the spirits once and for all. He was later thrown off of a cliff by the scorpion spirit after he had helped Grandpa and Second Brother escape the spirits’ fortress.
- Big Brother (Red) (大娃): Has super-strength and is able to tướng grow to tướng immense proportions at will. He is a headstrong individual, albeit slightly gullible. Attempting to tướng storm the spirits' fortress, he fell into an illusion trap laid by the spirits, and was imprisoned for most of the series. Being the eldest, he is referred to tướng as the "big" brother, which is also fitting with his abilities. In the second series, he is captured by the third demon with a special golden coin that traps him inside it.
- Second Brother (Orange) (二娃): Has enhanced hearing and sight. He is the most intelligent out of all his brothers, often coming up with effective strategies against enemy forces. Due to tướng him not having a physical ability, he is easily caught compare to tướng the rest of his siblings. He fell victim to tướng the spirits' enchanted mirror, and was blinded for part of the series. He also partially lost his hearing, but was able to tướng recover it along with his sight. He was able to tướng use his recovered abilities and quick thinking to tướng work with his Sixth Brother in a plan to tướng không lấy phí all their brothers that were trapped in the fortress. In the second series, the third demon uses a special người hâm mộ to tướng blind him with hurricane winds and capture him with a net. Right after the moment of him coming out of his rock, he seems to tướng be the only one to tướng be supposedly still asleep.
- Third Brother (Yellow) (三娃): Has invulnerability and is a fearless individual, but is also the most impetuous (so much so sánh he left the vine before he was ready to tướng transform). Like his eldest brother, he attempted to tướng storm the fortress, but his over-confidence allowed him to tướng be trapped by an enchanted Urumi. Before capture, he successfully shattered the enchanted mirror, thus preventing the spirits from spying on the remaining of his brothers who are still vulnerable (currently inside their calabash). In the second series he, befitting his impulsive nature, falls off the mountain on his accord and proceeds to tướng engage the third demon and her forces. Out of the seven brothers he, noticeably, lasts the longest and very nearly defeated the third demon until she found that his bottom was normal and managed to tướng knock him out by striking it.
- Fourth Brother (Green) (四娃): Able to tướng create and control fire and lightning at will. Although he does not require a source to tướng draw fire or lightning from, he is particularly sensitive to tướng the cold, which causes him to tướng become drowsy and fall asleep. The spirits' gave him a special "cooling" wine that put him to tướng sleep before freezing him in a block of ice. The Fourth and Fifth brothers transformed one right after the other, and as a result are closer to tướng one another and are both supposedly twins. In the second series, he is the last brother to tướng be captured when the third demon uses a tub of oil to tướng mix with his fire to tướng knock him out while he was distracted. Throughout all his brothers, in the second series, he manage to tướng escape most traps that had been mix up.
- Fifth Brother (Cyan) (五娃): Able to tướng create and control water at will. While he has a higher tolerance against fire, his ability to tướng create water is limited, and he at times requires to tướng draw from an external source. His affinity with water gave him a taste for wine, and the spirits' were able to tướng trap him when he became drunk after they summoned a gigantic wine goblet that kept refilling itself for him to tướng drink eventually causing him to tướng fall into a coma. The Fourth and Fifth brothers transformed one right after the other, and as a result are closer to tướng one another and possibly twins. In the second series, he is captured while replenishing his supply of water, the third demon uses a special pollution artifact to tướng poison the water and him as well.
- Sixth Brother (Blue) (六娃): Is able to tướng become invisible and sometimes incorporeal, enabling him to tướng escape even when he has been caught. He is the most mischievous of his brothers, and enjoys using his powers to tướng wreak havoc within the spirits' fortress. Being invisible, he was able to tướng steal an artifact from the spirits to tướng release his brothers who were in captivity. Due to tướng the time the Second Brother spent with his younger brothers while recovering, the two of them are closer to tướng one another, and the older sometimes scolds the younger for sidetracking on his tasks to tướng have fun, knowing the fact that their other brothers are in danger and in need if their help. In the second series he is captured when the third demon attaches a leaf as a tail to tướng him, allowing her to tướng still see his location (even when he turns invisible, the attached leaf does not) and capturing him with a copper spike trap.
- Little Brother (Purple) (七娃): Although lacking any powers of his own, the youngest brother possesses a magical gourd which is able to tướng draw anything he wishes into its center. He is also able to tướng use it to tướng manipulate the emotions of others. He is the most affectionate and trusting of his brothers, even willing to tướng hand over his gourd when asked. His sixth brother cares for him deeply (maybe because that is his only younger brother or he believes that if his brother loses his gourd, he becomes vulnerable), and had saved him more kêu ca several occasions, coming to tướng his aid when he is in danger. He was brainwashed by the spirits to tướng serve them, and used his magical gourd to tướng draw his brothers into its center; the spirits then took the gourd from him and drew him in as well. He was able to tướng recover his senses in the final episode, and reclaimed his gourd to tướng trap the spirits. In the second series, he manages to tướng capture the third demon and her henchman but she, in turn, uses a special insect to tướng eat its way out of his gourd and captures him. This caused him to tướng lose his gourd forever which may be the reason the Diamond Brother doesn't inherit the gourd.
- Diamond Brother (White) (葫芦小金刚): His literal name is "Calabash Little Diamond." He is a fusion of all seven brothers created when the seven brothers utilize a magical lotus sent by a mountain spirit. He has all the powers of the seven brothers (except for the youngest) and is incredibly powerful. He however has a fatal weakness, the diamond gem that hangs around his neck is the source of his power and when removed, he becomes powerless. However, if he can come into tương tác with sunlight, the gemstone will automatically come to tướng him and he will regain his full power. Additionally he inherits the third brother's weakness of his bottom being normal and is not immune to tướng the Snake Sister's poison gas.
- Scorpion King (蝎子大王): One of the spirits who was imprisoned in and escaped from the Calabash Mountain. He can transform into, namely, a scorpion that has a hooked stinger. In humanoid khuông, he can still manipulate and lengthen his hooked stinger at will, as well as transform one of his hands into scorpion claws. He has been shown to tướng "teleport" from one place to tướng another, as shown by a blackish tornado traveling to tướng his destination.
- Snake Queen (金蛇夫人): One of the spirits who was imprisoned in and escaped from the Calabash Mountain. She should be regarded as the major threat because of her magic artifact, able to tướng conjure multiple weapons imbued with magic as well as enchanted wind able to tướng freeze objects in blocks of ice.
- Snake Sister (青蛇大王): An incredibly powerful spirit with various different magical artifacts. Her two most prized and revered is a small ornate dagger she keeps in her hair which can become 48 different weapons and a small universe bag (景仰乾坤袋) that can summon 308 different magical artifacts. It is primarily because of these two artifacts that she had successfully captured the seven Calabash Brothers. Even without these artifacts she is incredibly resilient even able to tướng regenerate after being cut in two and is also able to tướng spit poison gas. Her final ability, when both the previous artifacts were destroyed by the Diamond Brother, is to tướng become a massive two-headed hydra-like snake with immense strength and can spit lightning and tornadoes from each head.
|English Production||Crew||Romanized||Original Version|
|Background Design||背景设计||Chang Baosheng||常保生|
|Action Design||动作设计||Shen Rudong
|Painted Scene||绘景||Duan Xiaoxi
|Photography Assistant||摄影助理||Zhu Yuping||朱毓平|
|Recording Assistant||录音助理||Yan Miaoying||虞妙英|
|Editing Assistant||剪辑助理||Qiang Xiaobai||强小柏|
|Performed by||演奏||Shanghai Film Orchestra
|Singing||演唱||Shanghai Children's Palace Chorus||上海市少年宫合唱队|
|Dubbing Guide||配音指导||Wei Qichang||韦启昌|
|Production Director||制片主任||Wang Yulan||王玉兰|
- Third Prize, Cairo International Children's Film Festival, Egypt.
- Best film of 1988, CPC Tibet Autonomous Region Committee.
In popular culture
- Calabash Brothers was featured on Hainan Airlines' safety videos to tướng celebrate the Lunar New Year, first launching on its Boeing 737 fleet, then expanding to tướng the rest of its fleet. The grandfather and seven brothers present the safety instruction as they battle and defeat the Scorpion King and Snake Queen.
- The Clip game My Time at Portia, developed by Chinese developer Pathea Games, features seven Hulu brothers identified by the same colours as the seven Calabash brothers. Their individual ages are similar to tướng the Calabash brothers: Big (red) brother being the oldest and the purple brother being the youngest.
- Havoc in Heaven
- The film at China's Movie Database
- The film at Douban (in Chinese)