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    Cindi and Friends (known informally as simply Cindi) is a Kuboian traditionally animated children's slice-of-life series created and directed by Fyp Housin and produced by Scopescreen Media. The show focuses on Cindi Sophia Roberts, a nine year-old grumpy and pessimistic girl who goes to a social group run in Rainbow Dome Fun Centre, where she helps the other children, as well as the adults, solve any problem that stands in their way. The show has significant educational value, and focuses on improving social behaviour in children, as well as teaching morals.

Cindi and Friends premiered on Nick Jr. Kuboia in 2001, with episodes releasing sporadically over the next two years until the show came to an end in 2003. The show was reran on the channel until October 2005. Reruns were later shown on KT from 2002 to 2008, Playhouse Disney from 2009 to 2013, Tooncast from 2018 to 2019, and Kiddioka since August 2019.

Cindi and Friends is considered a cult classic in Kuboia, as well as some international regions. It has spawned several other media, including a straight-to-VHS educational series, two cinematic films and a series of merchandise.

Premise

Cindi Sophia Roberts is a nine year-old girl who lives with her anxious parents, Kimberly and Styl, and her toddler brother, Tutu. She has never attended school in her life - instead of going to school, she attends a social group specifically for children in her age group who do not attend school. The social group itself is located in a fictional family entertainment centre, Rainbow Dome Fun Centre (normally referred to as simply Rainbow Dome).

Since the group Cindi goes to often runs during a time other children are at school, the actual centre itself is usually unoccupied. Due to the carefree nature of the group's staff members, Cindi and her friends have the tendency to wander off and explore the area. The other children, however, are not as serious as Cindi is, and have the tendency to get themselves in difficult situations. Since Cindi is nearly always the one who helps the others when they need help, she is seen as a heroine of the group, and has received high status due to her heroic deeds. Although Cindi is grumpy, arrogant and sometimes selfish, she commits herself to keeping them safe and making sure everybody is happy.

The owner of the group Cindi attends is Fly, a friendly but lazy caretaker. The only other staff member is Victoria, who is just as incompetent as Fly is. Not including Cindi, there are a total of five other children who attend the group. These include Hyh, an optimistic and energetic boy, Aourine, a loud and bossy girl, Florence, a vain girly girl, Quu, a shy and pessimistic boy, and Tanya, a mischievous and naughty girl. Other characters include Rob, Rainbow Dome's reluctant janitor, Skit, a fast food employee who gives the children food for free, and Todd, Tanya's arrogant father who is jealous of Cindi.

Although there are several fan theories of why such might be the case, it has never officially been explained why Cindi (and the other children) do not attend school in the first place.

Educational value

Many of the show's episodes focus on the relationship building between the children present on the show. and most of the episodes have some sort of educational value to them, often ending with at least one of the children, either directly or indirectly, learning something new. The morals the children learn in early episodes sometimes play a role in later episodes.

Cindi herself does narration several times per episode, often during the beginning, middle and end of each episode. Each episode ends with her reflecting over the events that happened during the episode.

Cast and characters

Main article: List of Cindi and Friends characters

Music

Every episode on the show contains at least one musical note. These are normally heard during the middle or climax of the episode and, like the Super Mario World television series, are usually performed by a group of unseen singers. On rare occasions, the actual characters perform vocals to the songs. The songs themselves are usually related to the episode's premise or theme.

Development

Early history

Fyp Housin created the character of Cindi Roberts in 1997. During the show's early development, it was originally going to be an adult-orientated series. Cindi herself was originally going to be a nasty, corrupt person, who would frequently abuse her relationships with her friends (particularly Hyh). After a few months of drawing up the show's premise, however, Fyp feared that children would watch the series and copy Cindi's behaviour. Eventually, it was decided that the show would be a preschool series, thus Cindi's characteristic were changed so she was still a bit rude, but a much better person than was originally intended.

Cindi and Friends went under a lot of different names during its early development, including Play Date and Rainbow World Adventures. The latter suggests that the series' main setting, Rainbow Dome, was originally called Rainbow World.

Production

Fyp Housin made frequent quality checks to make sure that the show was at a high quality. This included making sure that every episode had a frame rate of twelve pictures per second or higher. Noticeably, all of the main characters on the show are regularly seen with new outfits. This was a step Fyp took as he felt it made the show more realistic. Whilst the pilot episode uses traditional ink, all following episodes use digital ink.

Compared to other Kuboian cartoons of the time, the show's animation was outsourced to only three overseas studios throughout its run: Bazooka Studios in the United Arab Emirates, Magic Team in South Korea, and Cartoon Conundrum Productions in Taiwan.

Marketing and promotion

The series was promoted by Nick Jr. Kuboia as early as June 2001, where a selection of "Coming soon!" advertisements began showing on the channel during advertisement breaks, and information on the show appeared on the channel's website. After the show proved to be popular amongst children, Cindi was featured on a lot of promotional artwork and advertisements for the channel throughout the early 2000s.

Censorship

Like most Kuboian cartoons, the show was censored in most international markets in order to make the show preschool-friendly, as the original version contains alcohol. The international dubs remove the references to alcohol and replace them with water or beverages such as cola, fruit juice and milk.

Since the show has a few mild sexual references, some scenes are removed or altered in order for the show to be suitable for broadcast on preschool channels. These scenes can be seen uncut but reversed on Mini's extremely badly made dub.

Episodes

Main article: List of Cindi and Friends episodes

Series overview

Series Premiere Finale Ep.
1 15th August, 2001 12th December, 2001 18
2 17th April, 2002 12th June, 2002 18
9th October, 2002 4th December, 2002
3 23rd April, 2003 18th June, 2003 18
17th September, 2003 12th November, 2003

Reception

Critical reception

Cindi and Friends has received critical acclaim from critics during its initial run, with praise towards its mixture of education and humour. Reviewers of the show have particularly praised the show's charming music, smooth animation and relationship building between the characters on the show, although some reviewers disliked the character Todd.

The show received a 9 out of 10 rating from comedian Brud McCrew, who said that watching the show "reminded [him] of how fun and exciting being a young child was". He also mentioned that the show was good at making the characters relatable without making them overly stereotypical.

In a mixed review, Common Sense Media gave the show a 3/5 rating, stating that the show does not have many good role models, but is good at discouraging bad behaviour. The website particularly mentioned that the characters occasionally cut each other off and/or talk over each other, something that might be good or bad for a child's development.

On internet database website IMDb, the show holds an average rating of 9.3 out of 10.

Legacy

Cindi and Friends has been called one of the greatest Kuboian television series of all time, as well as one of the best animated series of all time. The show has since received cult status and continues to be enjoyed by many audiences worldwide (albeit mostly in Kuboia and other countries in west Europe).

In 2015, Open Eagle ranked the show #2 in their Top 100 Greatest Kids Show list. In 2018, Canadian organisation WatchMojo.com listed the show at the top of their Top Ten Kuboian Cartoons list.

Cartoon or Kantasy?

Several third-party sources, mostly from the United States and Japan, refer to Cindi and Friends as a Kantasy series. However, the creator of Kantasy, Ashley Maverick, states that for a show to be considered a Kantasy series, it must be fantasy-orientated, something that Cindi and Friends is not, despite using the same animation and design style of Kantasy shows.

Fyp Housin spoke about the controversy in 2008, stating that he doesn't consider Cindi and Friends a Kantasy series, but does not mind people referring to it as such.

Broadcast history

The show first began broadcasting on Nick Jr. Kuboia on 15th August, 2001 - episodes were shown first in the morning, and later in the afternoon. As time went on, episodes began to be shown on the channel more often - eventually, multiple times everyday.

The show eventually started airing on KT in 2002. However, KT aired mostly older episodes, whilst newer episodes (when they were being produced) were airing exclusively on Nick Jr. Kuboia. Cindi and Friends ceased airing on Nick Jr. Kuboia on 30th October, 2005 - because of this, reruns started to occur on KT more often until the channel closed on 16th November, 2008.

Reruns of the show premiered on Playhouse Disney on 5th January, 2009. However, reruns of the show began to decrease on the channel in 2011 until they were dropped entirely in 2013.

From June 2018 to August 2019, reruns of Cindi and Friends were shown on Tooncast. A selection of "Coming soon!" advertisements debuted in February 2018 before the show officially began airing on the channel on 15th June that year. In August 2019, the show moved to Kiddioka.

YouTube

Episodes of the show were progressively uploaded on YouTube throughout the end of 2008 on a channel called CindiAndFriendsTV. However, the channel and all its videos were deleted a few years later due to copyright infringement.

Since June 2018, episodes of the show have been uploaded through Scopescreen Media's official YouTube channel. Many of these have received at least one million views since then. Prior to June 2018, episodes were available on YouTube, but were often recorded from television broadcasts and featured the Nick Jr., KT or Playhouse Disney digital onscreen graphic.

Several clips have been uploaded to Circlia TV's YouTube channel since 2009.

International broadcasts

Kuboia

Africa

  • Boing (2016-present)

Alexonia

Andere

Arabia

  • Spacetoon (2001-2005)
  • MBC3 (2004-present)

Argentina

  • Magic Kids (2002-2006)

Australia

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2004)
  • ABC Kids (2002-2011)

Brazil

  • SBT (2002-2004)
  • TV Cultura (2006-present)

Canada

  • BBC Kids (2001-2005)
  • TVOKids (2002-2010)

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Minimax (2001-2006)
  • KidsCo (2007-2013)

China

  • CCTV-14 (2003-present

Circlia

Conlandia

Croeya

  • Canal+ Kids (2003-present)

El Kadsre

Main article: Cindi and Friends (El Kadsreian English dub)

Eruowood

Floweria

France

  • France 5 (2002-2008)
  • Télétoon (2004-2011)

Germany

  • Super RTL (2001-2008)
  • Junior (2002-2010)

Indosa

Italy

  • K2 (2003-2011)

Japan

The Japanese dub of the show is called Shindi to Tomodachi (シンディと友達). The character voices have been dubbed with new Japanese voice actors, but the original songs are intact and remain in English.

  • TV Tokyo (2002-2004)
  • Kids Station (2004-2010)
  • Tokyo MX (2019-present)

Jetania

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2005)
  • JT1 (as part of Magicloud; 2002-2008)

Latin America

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2007)
  • Tooncast (2010-present)

Middle East

  • MBC 3 (2004-present)
  • Al Jazeera Children's Channel (2005-2013)

Netherlands

  • Kindernet (2001-2003)
  • Nick Jr. (2003-2005)
  • NPO Zappelin (2004-present)

New Zealand

  •  ? (200?-20??)
  • TVNZ Kidzone (2015-2016)

Poland

  • Minimax (2001-2004)
  • Playhouse Disney (2010-2011)

Portugal

  • Canal Panda (2002-2009)

Russia

  • Playhouse Disney (2010-2013)

Scandinavia

  • Playhouse Disney (2009-2011)

United Kingdom

When the show aired in the United Kingdom, it was mostly unedited, with the exception of altering or removing some scenes which were considered inappropriate for British children. CBeebies would typically air the show during Sue's Make and Do Hour (2004) and Discover and Do or Big Fun Time (2007-2008).

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2005)
  • CBeebies (2002-2008)
  • Tiny Pop (2009-2011)

United States

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2003)
  • Noggin (2002-2007)
  • Sprout (2009-2017)
  • Warptoons Network (as part of their Little World block) (2010-present)

YinYangia

Film series

Cindi and Friends: The Best Forever (2004)

Main article: Cindi and Friends: The Best Forever

A theatrical film based on the series, titled Cindi and Friends: The Best Forever was released on 2nd November, 2004, distributed by United International Pictures. The film serves as the finale of the series. It grossed €55 million worldwide on a €12 million budget.

Untitled sequel (2020)

On 2nd November, 2014, Fyp Housin confirmed that a second Cindi theatrical film was in production, with an original release date of 1st December, 2017. However, the film has suffered several delays due to slow production. It is currently scheduled to be released on 20th November, 2020.

Home video releases

Learn Spanish with Cindi and Friends

During the show's lifetime, several VHS tapes in Circlia featured at least 2 Spanish-dubbed episodes of the show with subtitles in both Circle and Spanish. Unlike other tapes from the show, they were released by Stardust Video.

Amusements

Several Cindi-themed amusement parks and entertainment centres were opened throughout Europe in the early 2000s.

Rainbow Dome Entertainment Centre

Main article: Rainbow Dome Entertainment Centre

Based off the show's main setting area, a total of three children's entertainment centres titled Rainbow Dome Entertainment Centre currently exist in Kuboia - one in Fahrbahnin, North Kuboia (opened in 2002), one in Reichetto, East Kuboia (opened in 2003), and one in Meifahrn, West Kuboia (opened in 2015).

Merchandise

A selection of merchandise based off the show, such as toys and puzzles, were produced and released by Block Tree throughout the (mostly early) 2000s. These were sold in shops throughout the world, including in Kuboia, Australia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Some food products themed after the show have been produced since the early 2000s - typically as limited-edition variants.

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