Stitch & Ai

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Stitch & Ai
Stitch & Ai English title card.png
Apparently, separating Stitch from Lilo to appeal to other markets was so nice, they did it twice. Thanks, Disney...
Genre: Science fantasy
Adventure
Comedy
Running Time: 22 minutes
Country: China
United States (assisting staff)
Release Date: Mandarin dub: March 27 — April 6, 2017
Original English production: February 5 — 27, 2018
U.S. release (excluding "The Phoenix"): December 1, 2018
Created by: Anhui Xinhua Media
Panimation Hwakai Media
Distributed by: Disney Media Distribution
Starring: (English cast listed)
Ben Diskin
Erica Mendez
Laura Post
Lucien Dodge
Jess Winfield
Cherami Leigh
Xanthe Huynh
Richard Epcar
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 13
Previous show: Stitch! (by release)
Lilo & Stitch: The SeriesBTSW (chronological order; canonically)

Stitch & Ai (Chinese: 安玲与史迪奇; pinyin: Ān líng yǔ shǐ dí qí; literally: 'An Ling and Stitch') is a Chinese animated television spin-off of Lilo & StitchGMW and the third television series in the Lilo & Stitch franchise, after Lilo & Stitch: The SeriesBTSW and Stitch!. It was produced in English with the assistance of American animators, including those from Lilo & Stitch: The Series. The thirteen-episode series features a Chinese girl named Wang Ai Ling in place of the original 2002–06 Western continuity's Lilo Pelekai and the anime's Yuna Kamihara, and is set in Huangshan, Anhui.

The series first aired in China with a Mandarin Chinese dub from March 27 to April 6, 2017. The original English-language version first aired from February 5 to 27 in 2018, in Southeast Asia on that region's Disney Channel. Twelve episodes of the series later received a free digital streaming release in the United States via DisneyNow on December 1, 2018, although it was later removed from the service in June 2019.

Bad Qualities

  1. For the second time, Disney produced a work separating Stitch from Lilo Pelekai and puts him in another country for the sake of using him to enter other animation markets where the work is set. So despite the unpopularity of Stitch!, they continue to abuse Stitch anyway by making more unnecessary Lilo-free spin-offs.
  2. Some of the new human characters are bland carbon copies of the ones in the previous canonical works.
    • Wang Ai Ling, the titular human protagonist, is basically Lilo Pelekai, with the only differences from Lilo being the fact that she is Chinese and has different interests (e.g. Ai loves Chinese drums, like how Lilo loves hula), but has none of the character flaws or internal conflicts that makes Lilo so charming and relatable. Even Yuna Kamihara at least had a distinct personality from Lilo.
      • The show's production team tries too hard to make Ai as likable as possible; she even kisses Stitch twice in the show.
    • Ai's older sister, Wang Jiejie, is basically Nani Pelekai, but a bit more of a pushover.
    • Jiejie's boyfriend Qian Dahu is basically David Kawena, Nani's fiancé, but with an element of Moses Puloki (Lilo's kumu hula, or hula teacher), since he teaches Ai's drumming class.
  3. Cheap pandering to fans of the original Lilo & Stitch continuity with cheeky references to elements and characters in past works, such as the Ice Cream Man, a frog that narrowly avoids danger, Stitch getting his hands on a hedge trimmer (which is similar to the chainsaws he's known to love), and even the intro of this series features bars where the characters run in like in the intro for Lilo & Stitch: The Series. As nice as the callbacks are, they are rather distracting from the show's other flaws.
  4. The animation, while not terrible thanks to the show having American Disney animators on hand in its production, is rather sub-par compared to the original films and first series, as it replaces the frame-by-frame animation of the original with Toon Boom Harmony-like motion tweening. It even uses 3D models for characters at times instead of only keeping it to the vehicles, and these instances can be blatantly obvious (such as when Stitch floats down to Ai on Earth after having re-entered the atmosphere, itself a bizarre scene).
  5. The voice acting is not as good as in the originals.
    • Ben Diskin and Jess Winfield reprise their roles from the English dub of Stitch! as Stitch and Dr. Jumba Jookiba, respectively. Diskin, while still otherwise a great voice actor elsewhere, tries too hard in trying to better replicate Stitch's earlier pre-anime speech (e.g. taking a little too long even for Stitch's flawed English speech to say "We... are... family."), coming across as forced and monotonous for the most part and still lacking much of the charm that Chris Sanders brought to the character. And while Winfield has made some improvements in his Jumba voice, he still needs a lot of work done there to be a proper suitable replacement for the late David Ogden Stiers.
    • Erica Mendez comes across as too high-pitched and childish sounding for Ai, and as a result it is obvious the character is not voiced by an actual child.
  6. None of the first 625 genetic experiments, not even franchise mainstay Reuben (X-625) or fan-favorite Angel (X-624), make any appearances at all in this show.
  7. The new experiments, which are primarily based on Chinese mythological creatures here and are made during the events of this show, don't really look like they fit in with the classic experiments for the most part. Several of them look like they're just various mythological and real life creatures come to life; one of them is basically a recreated rhino. And those that do resemble the classic experiments a bit better look over-designed.
  8. Stitch's "Metamorphosis Program" and his giant monstrous transformation are by far the worst new abilities introduced to Stitch in the franchise, worse than the "Neo-PowerChip" of Stitch! ~Best Friends Forever~ (the third season of Stitch!). In this show, Stitch can apparently actually mutate himself with various abilities, which include having quills (that look similar to his retractable spines) sprout around his neck, growing out patagium that allow him to glide through the air as if he were a flying squirrel, and most significantly, the ability to grow into a giant, kaiju-like beast with four laser-firing tentacles sprouting from his back. Although they do technically fit him in that Stitch is supposed to be the "ultimate destructive monster", they are rather pointless as we already know how destructive Stitch is (to which the answer is a resounding "yes"), yet apparently he isn't destructive enough in his normal form. The abilities themselves are also rather stupid-looking, gimmicky, needless, superficial, and revisionist additions that add no substance to the character or personality of Stitch. In fact, they are a betrayal to the spirit of Stitch and how franchise creator Chris Sanders envisioned his iconic creation.
    • Tony Craig, the director of the show who was also one of the executive producers of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Stitch! The Movie, and Leroy & Stitch, claimed that the monstrous form is what Stitch was supposed to become the entire time, but it's just that Lilo and Ai's love "suppressed" it up to that point. But this reasoning is weak and false, considering that neither Craig nor the writer of this series, Marc Handler (a veteran of Asian TV animation, who was new to the Lilo & Stitch franchise at the time of the show's production), had a hand in the character's creation, and that the original opening scene of Lilo & Stitch showed the then-Experiment 626 having already caused chaos and destruction in a city populated by aliens, all while still in his familiar small, true alien form, proving that Sanders never envisioned Stitch having the ability to grow into a beast.
    • Additionally, this is the third television series in a row where Stitch expands his size. Even if the method of growth is different from the previous two shows, the premise of a macro Stitch is now overused and has worn out its welcome.
  9. The United States release of Stitch & Ai excluded the ninth episode ("The Phoenix") from legal release, meaning that American audiences got an incomplete release of this show. Additionally, it has since been removed from DisneyNow, meaning that Americans no longer have a legal means of watching it, whether or not they want to do so.
  10. The series likely seemed to be a franchise killer for the Lilo & Stitch franchise, as to date there has been no second season or even any announcements of new shows since it ended.
    • That seemly was until reports came out that the Walt Disney Company is developing a live-action remake of the original film, exclusively for Disney+. Plus, in January 2020, another Lilo-free spin-off debuted in Japan, this time a bizarre manga called Stitch & the Samurai where Stitch and other familiar alien characters end up in feudal Japan. Thus, it seemly isn't over yet for the franchise's future, either bad or not. However, it is currently unlikely that a new animated television series continuing from Leroy & Stitch, with Lilo as a lead and Stitch still living with her and Nani, will happen, no matter how much the fans want that to happen.

Good Qualities

  1. The art style and backgrounds in the show legitimately look gorgeous, thanks to American Disney animators assisting in the show's production and successfully reusing the earlier traditional cel-animation style, bringing out the beauty of the famous Huangshan mountains.
  2. Unlike Stitch!, the character designs of the humans and non-experiment aliens are actually faithful to the original continuity, even if the show is more of an alternate continuity.
  3. This dream eater experiment is actually a good design for an experiment and looks like it fits in with the classic experiments.
  4. The show features a nice, respectful portrayal of local Chinese culture (even if the show definitely had to appease the strict Chinese censors as much as possible in their portrayal here).
  5. Cobra Bubbles makes his first appearance in over a decade.
  6. Although it is a bit disappointing that he is no longer part of the main cast, Gantu stays in the Galactic Council as Captain of the Galactic Armada this time.
  7. Since the show was produced in English, the mouth movements are, indeed, based on English speech; as a result, there are no mouth flaps for English-speaking viewers in the show.

Trivia

  • Despite popular claims, Stitch & Ai is actually set in a separate timeline from Stitch!.

Comments


avatar

Seadragongamer1928

8 months ago
Score 1
I never knew that this was a thing tbh
avatar

KCTV

8 months ago
Score 1
Lots of people don't. Heck, to this day there's a lot of people who don't even know that the Stitch! anime existed either, and that one's well over a decade old now.
avatar

The7Guy

22 days ago
Score 0
I was lucky enough to know what this show was, but I didn't even bother to watch it

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