First Episode Impressions: Mo Dao Zu Shi

Mo Dao Zu Shi is a super popular show right now, based on the Chinese web novel by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. Chinese animated shows have been gaining popularity these recent years, with King’s Avatar and now this one. Fun fact: Wei Wuxian is voiced by the same actor who voiced Ye Xiu in King’s Avatar.

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Synopsis: Wei Wuxian was the powerful grandmaster who founded the Demonic Sect. He finds himself incarnated as the son of a servant. An evil spirit is killing people and needs to be defeated. A mysterious person shows up at the end…

It might be a little confusing at first. I don’t need subtitles, but I found them to go quickly. I read online that someone became interested in learning Chinese because of this show, which speaks a little about its influence.

I became interested in it because it’s a BL series. It’s much more than that. There is a ton of action and a lot of other things going on. I think anyone could like this show, even if they are not into BL. The animation is breathtaking! Some of the background shots look like real life, and I feel like I’m watching a historical drama. Every song is so beautiful. I do think this a high-quality show. You can bet I will be watching the next episode.

A note about BL in Mo Dao Zu Shi: Some people could argue that it is not a BL series because there are no explicit indications of that. From my understanding, there are subtle hints instead, which is due to China’s ban of homosexual relationships depicted in the media.

Back in 2016 when the popular Chinese drama Addicted was released, all the kiss scenes were cut and the show was discontinued. I’m Chinese myself, and I strongly believe that media should not be censored, and everyone deserves the right to be married in China.

Rant: Anime Characters Do Not All Look the Same

A criticism about anime that I often hear is “all anime characters look the same.” No, they do not. Please, you sound stupid when you say that. Let’s examine the definition of anime.

Anime means “animation” in Japanese. In our context, anime is “animation from Japan.” So if you say that all anime characters look the same, you’re saying that ALL animation from a country looks the same. I’ve never heard anyone say that about Western comics, so why are people saying that about anime? A lot of people are used to seeing the following characters:

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Big eyes, exaggerated features, cute girls. Let’s take a look at some other anime:

Ping Pong 

Junji Ito Collection

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Kaiji 

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One thing that Kaiji is great at is showing human emotion. People don’t look pretty when they cry.

Devilman Crybaby 

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Neo Yokio

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I’m not a fan of this art but it’s still anime.

The photos of Sailor Moon and Yu-Gi-Oh look very 2D, but look at this beautiful photo from Violet Evergarden. This photo gives a totally different feeling from the first two photos.

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I’m glad that my university (University of British Columbia) recognizes the value and importance of including anime in academia. I’m happy to have taken a course on Anime and Manga. If you think that “anime characters all look the same,” I encourage you to critically think about this. Honestly, it’s not very hard.