Japanese anime are more well-known than other East Asian-animated series, but that's not to say the latter are not as good as the former. Take Mo Dao Zu Shi for instance. It is one of the highest-ranking Chinese anime or donghua. But is Mo Dao Zu Shi really worth watching? Here's what we think!
Mo Dao Zu Shi: A Popular Action Adventure Chinese Anime
Mo Dao Zu Shi is the non-linear story of Wei Wuxian, the titular Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation.
In a world where magically gifted and trained individuals known as cultivators protect the world from restless, zombie-like dead, Wei Wuxian founded the Demon Sect.
In doing so, he used the zombie-like monsters his people fought to eliminate, committing many taboo acts.
While his intentions were largely good, as he gave his people a fighting chance against the treacherous Wen clan, Wei Wuxian unintentionally caused great pain through the unorthodox path he forged.
This path ended tragically with Wei Wuxian's death at the hands of someone he considered family.
13 years later, he was summoned by a young man who had been horribly abused and dismissed by his clan as mad. Having a body once more, Wei Wuxian must come to terms with his past.
Soon, he reunites with Lan Wangji, a co-student from his cultivator days, with whom he always had a complicated relationship.
The two embark on a journey to untangle a mystery that might shed light on many past events – including the death of Wei Wuxian.
Is Mo Dao Zu Shi Good?
Mo Dao Zu Shi is good and very much worth watching. Here are some reasons to check it out.
A Tragic, Non-Linear Plot
Non-linear plotlines aren't for everyone. But if you're all about shows that slowly reveal their secrets, make sure to give Mo Dao Zu Shi a chance.
At first, Mo Dao Zu Shi seems a bit convoluted, but its cool protagonist will effortlessly guide you through any confusion.
Soon, you will come to care for him and want to find out exactly what happened to him two decades ago, and why.
A Morally Grey Protagonist We Love to Root For
No great plot can stand on its own without equally interesting characters. The show's brilliance largely relies on the main character, Wei Wuxian.
Wei Wuxian's journey from a reckless, fun-loving, and unconventional student to a master of Demonic Cultivation is a joy to watch.
The reason he went down a dark path is initially unclear but progressively makes sense as more plot points are masterfully revealed.
More importantly, Wei Wuxian is a character that actively drives the plot and always has reasons even for his most questionable actions, making him a tragic character.
A Wholesome Queer Relationship
Wei Wuxian's relationship with Lan Wangji would merit its own article, but for this one, it suffices to say that their progression from rivals to friends to more, is fun and occasionally hilarious to watch.
At first, Lan Wangji seems cold and frankly quite annoyed at Wei Wuxian's immature behavior. But it's when Wei Wuxian is in trouble that Lan Wangji's real feelings come to the forefront.
Are There Any Negatives?
Mo Dao Zu Shi is a really great donghua, with amazing characters and plot. But being an adaptation, it does have a couple of shortcomings compared to the Mo Dao Zu Shi completed manhua.
The first season is an almost perfect adaptation of both the web novel and the manhua.
But since no Mo Dao Zu Shi Season 4 was made, the final two seasons ended up being a bit rushed, missing some key plot points or only referring to them in passing.
Boys' Love anime elements were also toned down in comparison to the printed media due to censorship, so if you want the full romance, you had better read the manhua or web novel.
In conclusion, the anime might not be the best of the Mo Dao Zu Shi media, especially compared to the novels and the manhua.
Still, it's definitely a great one to get started. If you are going to watch one Chinese donghua, this should be it!
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