Ni Hao, Kai-Lan

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan
Genre Animated series
Created by Karen Chau
Developed by Mary Harrington
Karen Chau
Judy Rothman
Sascha Paladino
Written by Sascha Paladino (Head Writer)
Bradley Zweig (Staff Writer)
Directed by David Marshall
Starring Jade-Lianna Peters
Clem Cheung
Ben Wang
Jack Samson
Khamani Griffin
Angie Wu
Beverly Duan
Terence Hardy
Hsiang Lo
Theme music composer Matt Mahaffey
Opening theme Theme song composed by Matt Mahaffey
Country of origin Canada
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 40 (list of episodes)
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) Harringtoons Productions
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Fresh TV
Original network Nick Jr.
Original release November 5, 2007 (2007-11-05) – November 4, 2011 (2011-11-04)
External links

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan (simplified Chinese: 你好, 凯兰; traditional Chinese: 你好,凱蘭; pinyin: Nǐ hǎo, Kǎi Lán!; Hello, Kai-Lan) is an Canadian/American animated children's television series which premiered on Nickelodeon on November 5, 2007, and on Noggin (now Nick Jr.) on December 15, 2008. It also premiered on the Canadian television channel Treehouse TV.

Ni Hao, Kai-lan is based on the childhood memories of the show's creator Karen Chau growing up in a bicultural (Chinese-American) household. “Ni hao” means “Hello” in Mandarin, and Kai-Lan is the Chinese name Chau was given at birth, which was later anglicized to Karen. It was also based on the classic short series Downward Doghouse.


The setting of the show appears to be China or Ancient China throughout most episodes. However, it's revealed in the Season 1 finale that they all live in California, possibly in Chinatown. It appears most of the characters aren't Chinese. This is not explained. Ni Hao, Kai-lan introduces its viewers to the Mandarin Chinese language, along with elements of Chinese culture and values, multiculturalism (through the diverse backgrounds of Kai-lan's friends), and intergenerational families (e.g., Kai-lan and her relationship with Ye Ye).

Episodes generally feature breaking the fourth wall, 11 minutes of interactivity,[1] a target word that is repeated multiple times,[2] a few words of Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, one or more of Kai-lan's friends having a negative emotional response to some action or activity (problem), Kai-lan thinking out loud (observation), cause-and-effect problem solving, and before saying goodbye (at the end of each episode), Kai-lan says, "You make my heart feel super happy!" Later installments added Kai-lan saying this phrase in Mandarin after she said it in English: "Ni rang wo hao kai xin!"

Major characters


Kai-Lan is the host and main character, a playful, adventurous young girl with a big heart. She speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese, and she is eager to share her language, her culture, and her playtime with her animal friends and the viewers at home. Kai-Lan is a natural leader but she is also thoughtful and caring with a gift for helping her friends when they really need her. Her favorite animal is a dinosaur and in her music group, she plays her tambourine.

Kai-Lan is voiced by Jade Lianna Peters.


Ye-Ye (simplified Chinese: 爷爷; traditional Chinese: 爺爺; pinyin: yéye, "paternal grandfather") is Kai-lan's grandfather and legal guardian. He was born in Hong Kong and lovingly passes on his exciting traditions to his granddaughter. He provides Kai-lan with gentle guidance, leading her to find her own answers, at her own pace. (Kai-lan's parents and other grandparents are not known.) He can play the tuba. He also enjoys picking apples and making dumplings for Kai-lan and all her animal friends. He's known to pop out of places unexpectedly, but the gang just gets used to it after a while.

Ye-Ye is played by Clem Cheung and Ben Wang.


Rintoo is a rambunctious yellow-and-black tiger with a lisp who often acts before he thinks. He likes to play rough but when it comes to his friends, he's willing to compromise. He loves dragons and racing racecars. Even though he is with Hoho most of the time, his actual best friend is Tolee. He plays the xylophone in Kai-Lan's music group. He got hurt twice in the series, one was spraining his ankle on a rock on Halloween, and another was being punched in the leg by Hoho. (He shook that other hit off, however.) He might be a tiger, but he is sweet on the inside.

Rintoo is voiced by Jack Samson.


Tolee is a gray koala who loves pandas and fruit (especially apples, bananas, and pineapples). He is intelligent and always thinks before he acts and sometimes worries too much, but he never lets that stop him from having a great time with his friends. Kai-Lan and her friends can always rely on him for good ideas. Tolee also has a stuffed panda he affectionately named Pandy, and Tolee loves Pandy so much he can't imagine being without him. The unimaginable, however, happens in Pandy's Puddle when he accidentally drops Pandy into a mud-filled puddle, the reason being he was trying to pull up a very large Chinese turnip. Resulting in Pandy having to be put into a washing machine to get clean. Tolee did not like the idea of being without Pandy and cried. But then felt better by having a picture of him and Pandy, and he also made him a card, later, he got him back. He is the vocalist in Kai-Lan's music group. His love for pandas culminated in the two part episode "Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China" when the group traveled to China to meet a whole family of pandas including baby Xiao Xi Gua (Little Watermelon).

Tolee is voiced by Khamani Griffin.


Hoho the white monkey is the youngest of Kai-lan's friends, so when he participates in activities, he often goes first. He's full of boundless energy and nothing makes him happier than being the center of attention. Whenever he jumps a spring sound can be heard. He can often be found jumping on his friends' heads or playing his turntables as the resident DJ in Kai-Lan's music group. The turntables are normally stored in a tree when not in use. Aside from his turntables and his friends, Hoho's favorite thing happens to be bananas. Hoho can sometime have a fiery temper when he doesn't get his way.

Hoho is voiced by Angie Wu.


Lulu is a pink rhino. She has a red balloon tied around her horn that helps her fly in the sky. Lulu is very energetic and sweet. She loves her friends. When her friends are in trouble, Lulu is the one in the group who stays calms, remains positive, and thinks of a solution to the problem. Lulu is always seen as being there to help her friends. Lulu's home is castle in the sky. She is best friends with Kai-Lan. Lulu plays the piano in Kai-Lan's music group. Her favorite fruit is the lychee. Some of Lulu's favorite games include: dancing, playing house, having tea parties, and dressing up like a fairy.

Lulu is voiced by Beverly Duan.

Mr. Sun

At the start of almost every episode, Kai-Lan wakes up Mr. Sun so she can start her day. With the help of the viewer, Mr. Sun rises and showers down smiling sun fuzzies to Kai-Lan and she gets tickled by them. He also knows how to play the French horn, so Kai-Lan and the lady bugs (playing the pi-pa) join him as a little music group at the beginning of Tolee's Rhyme Time and later joins Kai-Lan and her friends in the music show.

The Ants

In one corner of Kai-Lan's backyard is a teeming mini-metropolis of ants called Ant City. The ants serve very important roles in the community: they deliver mail, they build things, and they love to play with Kai-Lan and her friends. San San is their leader along with his two right-hand ants, Bubu and Fufu.

San San is voiced by Zachary Gordon, Bubu is voiced by Luke Manriquez, and Fufu is voiced by Kyla Rae Kowalewski.

Other, grown-up, and minor characters



Cula 4 free-to-air public broadcaster TG4's kids brand Cula 4 airs the show in the Irish language and teaches Chinese to its audience.


Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2008 Artios Award Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Animation TV Programming Sarah Noonan and Meredith Layne Nominated
2010 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Special Class Animated Program Sascha Paladino, Mary Harrington, Jeff DeGrandis and Andrew Huebner Nominated


External links

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