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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, and Tooncast since 2018.

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 mature as Cindi is, and have the tendency to get themselves up to mischief or in trouble. 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 and sarcastic, often lampooning the others, 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 unorganised caretaker. The only other staff member is Victoria, a childish and ignorant young woman. Not including Cindi, there are a total of five other children who attend the group. These include Cindi's best friend, Hyh, an optimistic and energetic boy, his sister, Aourine, a 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, and Skit, a fast food employee who gives the children food for free.

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

Main article: List of songs featured in Cindi and Friends

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. The songs are often sung by actors who play some of the characters on the show, such as Charlie Karma, Nanita Freshers, Macie Raven and Ilim Delftware. On rare occasions, the actual characters perform vocals to the songs. Later episodes feature covers of popular songs performed by the voice actors, although some of the lyrics are usually changed in order to make the song more relevant to the show's theme.

The musical notes present in the show often last around two and a half minutes. Music heard throughout the show ranges from bubblegum pop to techno to UK garage. However, the series' main theme, "Come On! (Let's Have Some Fun)", is a bluegrass/power pop song.

Sometimes celebrities who voiced characters on the show used episodes as a means for promoting their singles. A notable example of this includes the episode "Cindi Goes In", which features Charlie Karma's song "No Matter What You Do".

Development

Early history

Fyp Housin created the character of Cindi Roberts in 1998. 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 have three recurring outfits (two winter-based outfits and one summer-based 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 broadcasting on the channel, 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.

Episodes

Main article: List of Cindi and Friends episodes and videos
Series Premiere Finale Ep.
1 12th September, 2001 15th December, 2001 28
2 17th April, 2002 15th June, 2002 18
3
4

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 12th September, 2001. The twenty-eight episodes of the first series were aired progressively over a fourteen-week period, with new episodes airing on Wednesdays and Saturdays - episodes were shown first in the morning, and later in the afternoon. The same structure continued for the second, third and fourth series. 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. When the show aired on Playhouse Disney, episodes were broadcast alongside the interstitials which were originally released exclusively on home video. Reruns of the show began to decrease on the channel in 2011 until they were dropped entirely in 2013.

As of May 2019, reruns of Cindi and Friends are currently airing 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.

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.

International broadcasts

Kuboia

Africa

  • Boing (2016-present)

Alexonia

Arabia

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

Argentina

  • Magic Kids (2002-2006)

Australia

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2004)

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 (2003-2011, 2018-present

Circlia

Croeya

  • Canal+ Kids (2003-present)

El Kadsre

France

  • France 5 (2002-2008)

Germany

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

Italy

  • K2 (2003-2011)

Japan

The Japanese dub of the show is called Child Heroine Cindi Roberts. 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)

Latin America

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2007)
  • Tooncast (2010-2011, 2018-present)

Middle East

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

Netherlands

  • Kindernet (2001-2003)
  • Nick Jr. (2003-2005)

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

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2005)
  • Milkshake! (2002-2009)
  • Tiny Pop (2008-2011, 2014-2016)

United States

  • Nick Jr. (2001-2003)
  • Noggin (2002-2007)
  • 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.

Cindi (2019)

Main article: Cindi (2019 film)

On 2nd November, 2014, Fyp Housin confirmed that a second Cindi theatrical film was in production, with an original release date of 14th December, 2018. However, it was later announced on 27th February, 2018 that the film's release date had been delayed in order to allow more production time.

Home video releases

Learn with Cindi and Friends

Main article: Learn with Cindi and Friends

A series of educational VHS tapes titled Learn with Cindi and Friends was released throughout the early 2000s. They were significantly used in Kuboian and British schools throughout the decade.

Cindi's Rainbow Dome Adventures

Another series of VHS tapes titled Cindi's Rainbow Dome Adventures were released in the United Kingdom throughout 2002 and 2003. Distributed by Video Collection International and HIT Entertainment, these tapes featured two or three episodes of the original series, alongside extras such as music videos and VHS-exclusive interstitials.

Although these were only ever officially released in the United Kingdom, imports have been sold in second-hand shops in Kuboia.

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

Karaoke machines

In early 2002, Scopescreen Media made a deal with Starry Mic to produce karaoke machines promoting the show - a selection of these, titled Starry Mic: Kids' Singalong were released between 2002 and 2004. These feature the six main child characters of the show on the packaging and menus, and the songs available on the machines contain a few songs present in the series.

Block Tree

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.

See also

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