Mo Dao Zu Shi – Anime First Impressions

Disclaimer: The article might contain spoilers about Mo Dao Zu Shi

Studio: B.CMay Animation & Film

Episodes: 5/? (as at time of writing)

Producer: Tencent Penguin Pictures

Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Comedy, Historical, Supernatural, Shounen Ai

 

Summary

As the grandmaster who founded the Demonic Sect, Wei Wuxian roamed the world in his wanton ways, hated by millions for the chaos he created. In the end, he was backstabbed by his dearest shidi (disciple) and killed by powerful clans that combined to overpower him. He incarnates into the body of a lunatic who was abandoned by his clan and is later, unwillingly, taken away by a famous cultivator among the clans—Lan Wangji, his archenemy.

This marks the start of a thrilling yet hilarious journey of attacking monsters, solving mysteries, and raising children. From the mutual flirtation along the way, Wei Wuxian slowly realizes that Lan Wangji, a seemingly haughty and indifferent poker-face, holds more feelings for Wei Wuxian than he is letting on. (Source: Exiled Rebels Scanlations)


Our thoughts on Mo Dao Zu Shi

1. You will be mesmerized by the anime’s gorgeous art which includes historical Chinese sceneries as well as gorgeous visual effects! Mo Dao Zu Shi brings a totally different style of animation to the table as seen in the trailer above, incorporating both 3D and 2D animation which is very unlike most Japanese animations that we’re used to.

2. The plot is very interesting and unusual, yet well-developed. While this anime originated from a danmei (BL) novel, the main focus is not on the romance for the anime, but rather the action and unique characters (THE BEST PART). While the novel excludes various scenes and some additional details, the series does not lose its essence which I find impressive.

3. Mo Dao Zu Shi contains the typical clichés of Chinese stories – rebirth/cultivation, which is not actually a bad thing. If you’re new to the Chinese manhua/novel scene, this series is a good way to start off if you want to learn or know more about the typical tropes in Chinese literature.

4. As for the soundtrack, it is simply incredible. It is again, something that Japanese anime fans will not be used to but the use of traditional Chinese musical instruments enhances the experience, and I really love how the opening song (in the video below) is directly related to the series, whereby the main character talks or sings about his struggles.


Trivia

1. This series is extremely popular in China right now as not only does it have a donghua (anime) and a novel, it also has a manhua (comic) and an audio drama!

2. The novel is already completed at 113 chapters (+ 13 extra chapters), but if you’re unable to read Chinese, there’s a group of fan translators working to translate in English for all non-Chinese speaker fans.

3. It is rumored that the Mo Dao Zu Shi franchise will have a total of three seasons for both its donghua as well as the audio drama.

4. The main characters of the series, Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian, are also ambassadors of the ice cream Cornetto in China, and the donghua also includes Cornetto advertisements during the break featuring them.

5. Other than Mo Dao Zu Shi, this series is also known as Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation or the Founder of Diabolism.


Verdict: Watch It!

Even if you’re not a fujoshi or a fudanshi, I seriously urge you to watch this anime as it features a really good plot with great world-building, unique characters, and gorgeous, immersive art. You will find yourself emotionally invested in each and every character, their relationships and the plot.

While the story pacing might be difficult to keep up if you start off by watching the anime, I assure you that this series is entirely worth it and you can always fall back to the original novel for a clearer picture of the entire story as nothing can beat the original. If you’re looking for something out of the usual Japanese anime, this series is worth giving a shot.

 

P.S. Bonus for Mo Dao Zu Shi fans! Do read the description of the video before listening as there might be unwanted spoilers!

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