Having learned the dramas of Xianxia and Wuxia, let's move on to the dramas of Xuanhuan!
it isMAXIMUMrecommended that theater lovers read the introductory articles in this order to avoid confusion:
(1)Introduction to the dramas of Xianxia
(2.)Introduction to Wuxia Dramas
(3.) Introduction to the dramas of Xuanhuan
(The 1st and 2nd articles contain detailed explanations oncultivation,martial arts,life energy/Qi, and more.)
As we arrive in the modern era where electronics are essential and the internet is all the rage, the dramas of Wuxia, Xianxia and Xuanhuan have changed slightly. It is not uncommon to see xianxia elements in a wuxia drama, wuxia elements in a xuanhuan drama, and the list goes on and on. Most people aren't sure where the barrier that separates one genre from another begins. This article will introduce you to the Xuanhuan genre, give you some Wuxia vs Xianxia vs Xuanhuan comparisons, and give you some Xuanhuan drama/movie recommendations.
Note:When I wrote my xianxia and wuxia articles, I wasn't sure if I would write a third introductory article. Although it is listed as Xianxia's recommendation,Fight Break Spherefalls into the Xuanhuan category. (The reason is that Xianxia is more like Xuanhuan than Wuxia.)
Xuanhuan (玄幻), directly meaning mysterious fantasy, is a specific genre of Chinese fantasy that incorporates magic, adventure, and also some Western influences. Because this genre is not as well known and understood as the other two genres, people often confuse Xuanhuan dramas with wuxias or xianxias. But in reality, although the Xuanhuan genre contains wuxia and xianxia elements, it is a different Chinese drama genre. Though Xuanhuan can't keep up in the popularity contest, it has some amazing drama up its sleeve.
Other names for Xuanhuan: Fantasy, Eastern Fantasy, Dongfang Xuanhuan.
As mentioned above, Western influences play an important role in the Xuanhuan dramas. As Chinese fantasy novels gained more attention, many authors began adding new elements to their works, including Western and some other global influences. Of these three Chinese genres, Xuanhuan is the newest, with its first novel being published in 1994.A step into the pastby the author Huang Yi contains martial arts and ancient military details as well as science fiction (time travel). Some attitudes have also leaned more towards the western/non-Chinese world. Xuanhuan novels are all the rage now, many people read them online and even critics give them high praise. Even Xuanhuan Donghuas or Chinese cartoons are very popular, with quite a few having drama versions. Let's hope that the Xuanhuan dramas will follow the same successful path.
However, time travel is a rather difficult cdrama subject, since after the ban not many dramas were able to convey it as openly as they wanted.
Another unique element in the Xuanhuan genre (not necessarily just drama) is the particular way it is ranked. In the celestial realms, xianxia dramas can identify characters as celestial emperor, divine god, high god, high deity, etc., but the ranking is much more laid out for xuanhuan works. It is common for people to be ranked or demoted from level 1 to 10 and sometimes even higher. Power and rank are very important in many Xuanhuan works, both for the story and for the characters.
This genre and article will inevitably generate some confusion and questions, with the most prominent question most likely being:What is the difference between Xianxia and Xuanhuan?
As already mentioned, Xuanhuan dramas are a mixture of Chinese mythology and Western influences. Xuanhuan is very similar to Xianxia as Xianxia plays a very important role in the creation of the Xuanhuan genre, but the most obvious differences are the absence of Daoism (aka Taoism) and immortals, which are always present in Xianxia dramas. Taoism is one of the most important elements in a xianxia work as it is the roots for yin and yang.
Daoism is a Chinese philosophy that helps one find meaning in life. Although not universally considered a religion, many people follow this philosophy written by Lao Tzu.
Xianxia and Xuanhuan dramas both use spells and magic, but Xuanhuan dramas generally have less magic in relation to Chinese mythology and much more western influence. (see images at right) Cultivation also features prominently in Xuanhuan dramas, but these two genres view cultivation in slightly different ways. While cultivators in Xianxia dramas strive for immortality/ascend to higher realms, in Xuanhuan dramas cultivators focus on increasing their powers to become the strongest. Cultivation in all three species is also very useful for stabilizing unstable qi in the body. (Qi is the life force in a living being.)
As seen on the right, the spirit beasts and spells are coming inKontinent Douluolook a little different than the typical spells and magical elements you would see in a xianxia drama.
Dance of the Phoenix
Fight Break Sphere
As said above, the lack of immortals is one reason that defines Xuanhuan dramas. But that doesn't mean that there are absolutely no gods or goddesses in the works of Xuanhuan. Though there may be gods, most of them attained this title through years of cultivation, slowly cultivating their power to increase their rank and strength.
InThe great ruler, Luo Yi did not become a goddess by cultivating into an immortal and ascending to heaven, but rather by cultivating her power until she reached the amount of power required to attain that rank.
Xuanhuan dramas can also have a certain way or way of cultivating. InKontinent Douluo, Cultivators are soul masters who increase their power by killing soul beasts. InFight Break Sphere, cultivators increase the amount of Dou Qi in their bodies to gain rank and power. InKampfuniversum, self-cultivation aims to increase one's qi.
Something of Tang San's soul comes inKontinent Douluo.
Wuxia dramas are known for their martial arts, as are Xuanhuan dramas. martial arts or kung fu (功夫), is an integral part of Chinese culture and is found in all three included genres, Wuxia, Xianxia, and Xuanhuan.
But although Xuanhuan dramas also have martial artists and sects and may be set in Jiang Hu or the Pugilistic World, the mainDifference between Wuxia and Xuanhuanis the lack of magic and spells in wuxia dramas that many xuanhuan dramas have. Martial artists in Xuanhuan dramas not only practice their martial arts skills, but also improve their cultivation to reach a higher level or rank, with some different dramas having their unique rankings.
Martial artists in Xuanhuan dramas share many of the same principles as those in wuxia dramas. They can also follow the code of chivalry, which requires heroes (侠) to stand up for what is right, right wrong, and live with righteousness.
To summarize things:
Von diesel drei Genres (Wuxia, Xianxia, Xuanhuan) ist Xuanhuan das jüngste.
Xuanhuan is a genre with a mixture of wuxia and xianxia elements, as well as western influences.
There are martial arts in most Xuanhuan dramas, but cultivators also practice other magic and spells.
While the Xianxia dramas have a strong focus on immortals and Daoism, in the Xuanhuan dramas, Daoism is non-existent.
Many Xuanhuan works, not just dramas, use unique ranking systems.
Here are some Xuanhuan recommendations:
Some of these dramas have Donghua adaptations, some of which are very popular in China (and overseas). They are included along with the dramas for future reference. Novels will be provided if donghuas are not available.
Fight Break Sphere S1
Raised by his father, a blacksmith, Tang San later attends Nuoding Academy to fulfill his dream of becoming a soul master. He has many adventures with his newfound friends. Soon he and his classmates get caught up in a political power struggle. Fighting to protect himself and his friends, Tang San strives to become a powerful soul master.
(Donghua:land of souls)
MDL rating:8.4 (3,302 users)
After the death of his mother, Xiao Yan is determined to avenge her death and bring justice back to the militant world. His lack of talent is embarrassing for his family, but his determined personality says otherwise. With the help of an elder and his friends, he embarks on many journeys and grows stronger along the way.
(Donghua:battle through the heavens)
MDL rating:8.2 (2,152 users)
Lin Dong is introduced to the art of cultivation by a mysterious seal. He travels from country to country and becomes one of the most respected and powerful cultivators. On his journey he meets two young women and they work together to restore peace to the land after discovering the demon clan's devious plan to take over the world.
(Donghua:Wu Dong Qian Kun)
MDL rating:7.6 (896 users)
The great ruler
god of lost imagination
The world of fantasy
The evil deity is waiting for her chance to be resurrected as a being. Five thousand years later, it finds its chance and transforms into the nine evil eyes. Meanwhile, Mu Chen meets Luo Yi, the goddess of the Luo God Clan. They become friends and work together to fight the evil deity, restore peace to the world, and avenge the lives lost.
(Donghua:the grand lord)
MDL rating:7.6 (531 users)
Qin Wentian is sent to Bai Manor by his adoptive parents. He has an arranged marriage with Bai Qiuxue. Unbeknownst to the Qins, the Bai family has their eyes on a better match for their daughter, but Wentian stands in their way. The Bais plot his assassination, and he flees for his life, fleeing to the Jiuhua sect where martial arts masters live.
(Roman:Ancient divine monarch)
MDL rating:7.4 (220 users)
Qin Lei, a young man with amnesia, is inadvertently involved in a conspiracy. He embarks on a journey to find out his origins and past and to find new friends. With his friends, they travel through the spirit realm, learning life lessons while improving their cultivation and power. Together, the teenagers help guard the spiritual domain.
MDL rating:7.8 (533 users)
Some more Xuanhuan recommendations:
Hanson and the Beast
A Chinese fairy tale
The magician and the white snake
Wu Xin: Der Monsterkiller
Dance of the Phoenix
Special thanks to @Wanderer,@Samand @neutralizingfor their help in finding dramas and movies and for better understanding of Xuanhuan dramas! And thanks to everyone who encouraged me along the way!
These three genres are very difficult to fully understand, especially Xuanhuan, but you will start to understand (and hopefully love) them as you watch more of these works!
I do not own any of the photos/posters used other than the Xuanhuan banners. Some photos are screenshots, others were found on the internet.
What is the difference between wuxia Xianxia and Xuanhuan? ›
The difference between wuxia, xianxia and xuanhuan come from their main story, and elements around the novel stories. Wuxia novel majority is telling about a life of martial hero, Xianxia novel telling about an immortal hero, and xuanhuan novel is telling about a story of hero in fantasy world.What is the Xuanhuan genre? ›
Xuanhuan (玄幻 xuánhuàn) – literally means “Mysterious Fantasy”. A broad genre of fictional stories which remixes Chinese folklore/mythology with foreign elements & settings.What is the difference between wuxia and Xianxia? ›
Wuxia is alternate history while xianxia draws upon Buddhism, Taoism, and traditional Chinese medicine to fuel its world-building. The definitions have blurred in common usage, so it might be easier to think of xianxia as the fantasy sibling genre to wuxia.What is the best xianxia drama? ›
- Love Between Fairy and Devil (2022– ) ...
- Battle Through the Heavens (2017– ) ...
- The Daily Life of the Immortal King (2020– ) ...
- The Outcast (2016–2023) ...
- Ashes of Love (2018) ...
- Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom (2017) ...
- Heaven Official's Blessing (2020– ) ...
- Douluo Dalu (2018–2023)
Other variants of similar Chinese high fantasy exist as well; xuanhuan (玄幻, "mysterious fantasy") generally refers to high-magic fantasy works that dispense with Taoist elements and have a less realistic setting; and qihuan (奇幻, "strange fantasy" or "exotic fantasy") are Chinese works set in a more explicitly Western- ...What is Qihuan vs Xuanhuan? ›
Unlike traditional fantasy/qihuan, xuanhuan is based on fantasy but combines elements from science fiction and wuxia. They could also be adaptations of movies, anime, or games similar to fan fiction. Xuanhuan pushes the boundaries of speculative fiction by being a melting pot of the wildest fantasies.How do you explain wuxia? ›
Wuxia is a genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. It is exemplified by stories that combine martial arts, spiritual growth, and supernatural abilities. The wuxia genre was developed in the Song dynasty (960–1279) and matured in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).What is the difference between wuxia and kung fu? ›
Wuxia is in the main a Mandarin genre, while kung fu is a Cantonese one ('kung fu' in fact is Cantonese and the use of the term automatically acknowledges that kung fu is acknowledged as a Cantonese, thus Southern, tendency in the martial arts).Is the untamed wuxia or Xianxia? ›
Despite being termed as "xianxia" drama, The Untamed includes many elements of traditional wuxia dramas, fused with a new style. Using traditional wuxia values such as "chivalry and courage", it allows the younger audience to better relate to the drama.Is Kung Fu Panda a wuxia? ›
Following the adventures of the titular Po Ping (primarily voiced by Jack Black and Mick Wingert), a giant panda who is improbably chosen as the prophesied Dragon Warrior and becomes a master of kung fu, the franchise is set in a fantasy wuxia genre version of ancient China populated by anthropomorphic animals.
Is Mulan a wuxia? ›
Disney's live-action Mulan is an original film that leans into the wuxia genre, but still has some things in common with the 1998 animated classic.What era is xianxia based on? ›
Xianxia novels originated during the Three Kingdoms, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties (220 — 589), from the popular Tales of the Miraculous and Records of Anomalies of this period. Long stories as a genre, however, have been popularized in recent decades.What is the most watched Chinese historical drama? ›
- 6 Princess Wei Young.
- 5 Empress of China.
- 4 Eternal Love.
- 3 Scarlet Heart.
- 2 The Untamed.
- 1 Nirvana in Fire.
- Falling into your smile. ...
- Love between fairy and devil. ...
- Thousands years for you. ...
- Find Yourself. ...
- Well intended love. ...
- Love & Redemption. ...
- Unrequited love. ...
- Hello, the Sharpshooter.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is an homage to both “wuxia” dramas and Jackie Chan movies, ripe with both the traditional mythological elements of Chinese culture and traditional martial arts, and the modern grittier bus chase scenes that harken back to “Police Story.” The film tells the story of Shang-Chi ...How old is the wuxia genre? ›
Even though the term "wuxia" as the name of a genre is a recent coinage, stories about xia date back more than 2,000 years. Wuxia stories have their roots in some early youxia tales from 300–200 BC.What is the best wuxia? ›
- 7 The Bride with White Hair. ...
- 6 The Swordsman Trilogy. ...
- 5 Kung Fu Hustle. ...
- 4 A Touch of Zen. ...
- 3 New Dragon Gate Inn. ...
- 2 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. ...
- 1 Hero.
*In a nutshell: "xianxia" is a Chinese genre blending martial arts with magic and mythology in an often fantastic setting. This is the genre in which Cradle would fall.What is a xianxia story? ›
'Xianxia' (meaning 'immortal heroes') is a fantasy TV genre based on Chinese mythology and the concept of chivalrous spirit. In recent years, Xianxia dramas have become a huge pop culture phenomenon in China.When was wuxia banned? ›
Indeed, until 1980, wuxia was banned on the Chinese mainland and heavily censored in Taiwan. Only in Hong Kong was it free to flourish, both on the page and on the screen.
What are sects in wuxia? ›
They are recluse organizations that purely cultivates their martial path rather than dealing with the political nuances of ruling and subordinating other lesser powers.What are the four great classic novels in Chinese literature explain? ›
What Are China's Four Great Classical Novels? Chinese literature contains four masterpieces known as the Four Great Classical Novels (四大名著). Journey to the West, Outlaws of the Marsh, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Dream of the Red Chamber were written during the Ming and Qing dynasties.Do Chinese still practice kung fu? ›
Chinese Kung Fu (Martial Arts or as popularly referred to as Gongfu or Wushu) is a series of fighting styles which has developed over a long historical period in China. Nowadays, it is regarded as a traditional sport gaining more and more popularity and even stands as a representative for Chinese culture.Does the Chinese military use kung fu? ›
Sanda is a fighting system which was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon the study and practices of traditional kung fu and modern combat fighting techniques; it combines boxing and full-contact kickboxing, which includes close range and rapid successive punches and kicks, with wrestling, takedowns, ...What time period is wuxia? ›
What is Wuxia? Simply put, Wuxia (武侠) is a Chinese pop-fiction genre featuring the lives and adventures of Chinese martial artists, otherwise also known as pugilists. The stories are always set in historical China, typically between the Tang and middle Ching dynastic periods (approximately AD 618 to AD 1800).Is The Untamed LGBT? ›
Starring Wang Yibo as Lan Wangji and Xiao Zhan as Wei Wuxian, The Untamed is a disgustingly beautiful gay love story that remains rivaled by none. Fans all across the globe erupted in celebration on social media platforms as the news broke that their beloved WangXian had reached such an incredible milestone.Does The Untamed have a kiss scene? ›
Since censorship won't let the main pairing kiss, the drama also declines to show its heterosexual pairings kissing (the single, one-second kiss in the entire drama has the dubious honour of going to a random old clan leader and his concubine). But the producers turned to subtler means too.
Wǔxiá (also Wu Xia) (traditional: 武俠, simplified: 武侠; Mandarin Pronunciation: Wǔxiá, Cantonese Pronunciation: mów hàb), literally means "martial arts chivalry" or "martial arts heroes", in Chinese. Wuxia is a distinct genre in Chinese literature, television and cinema.What is the Chinese fantasy genre called? ›
Xianxia – is a type of Chinese martial arts novel genre developed from the wuxia genre that is heavily influenced by Daoism and Buddhism (definition taken from Wikipedia). Basically, I translate it for others as Eastern Fantasy.What is the Japanese equivalent of wuxia? ›
The Japanese equivalent is Jidaigeki, particularly the chanbara subgenre. (Interestingly, the term wuxia was originally a calque of the Japanese bukyo. In Japan, however, the term bukyo has since faded into obscurity).
What animal is Tai Lung? ›
In Kung Fu Panda, there was Tai Lung (voiced by Ian McShane), a leopard raised and trained in kung fu by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), who sought revenge for being denied the role of Dragon Warrior.Why is Mulan not allowed in China? ›
China blocked the release of Disney's animated “Mulan” for eight months in the late 1990s after the company backed Martin Scorsese's “Kundun,” a film seen as sympathetic to the Dalai Lama. The animated “Mulan” bombed in China as a result.What ethnicity is Mulan? ›
Mulan is a young Chinese woman who breaks tradition and joins the Imperial army, accompanied by a her guradian dragon, Mushu, to battle an invading army.What Chinese religion is in Mulan? ›
The film Mulan is historically accurate in its portrayal of Daoist ideas, the expected behavior of women according to Confucianism, and Confucian relationships.How does Xianxia work? ›
Xianxia novels regularly feature characters who have already reached the peak of cultivation, achieved immortality, and turned into gods. They often give out advice, create mischief, and direct characters to a specific path. In rare cases, they take direct action in the story.What is Xianxia genre tropes? ›
Also known as Xianxia ("Immortal Hero"), a Spirit Cultivation story is about characters with the ability to improve their own power through meditation and training, all with Wuxia-themed abilities and settings. Expect lots of Supernatural Martial Arts.What are the 4 periods in the Chinese literature? ›
Chinese literature has its own values and tastes, its own reigning cultural tradition and its own critical system of theory. Chronologically, it can be divided into four main periods: classical, modern, contemporary and the present-age literature.Who is the most popular Chinese actor in China? ›
Famous Chinese Actors || Wang Yibo 王一博 Wang Yibo is a new upcoming famous actor in China. As one of the most handsome actors in recent years, his looks and acting skills have also brought him great fame.What is the most popular Chinese drama on Netflix? ›
- Ashes of Love.
- Falling Into Your Smile.
- Who Rules the World.
- Love Between Fairy and Devil.
- Meteor Garden.
- The Princess Weiyoung.
- Boss & Me.
- Use For My Talent.
What you can benefit from watching Chinese TV shows (especially TV series) is that it allows you to get used to different accents and gain a deeper understanding of different people's speaking habits. Generally speaking, Chinese people prefer to watch comedies, or at least TV dramas with happy endings.
What is the most romantic city in China? ›
Shanghai's neighbor, Hangzhou is the capital and the largest city of Zhejiang province. Hangzhou is well known for it's West Lake, which is the main attraction for tourists who wants to enjoy the charm of this city.Which Chinese drama has the most episodes? ›
1. The Untamed. The series that's taken the drama-loving world by storm, this boy love novel turned tv series focuses on two soulmates who travel in a fantastical world, solving murder mysteries in a bid to find the true culprit.What is the best Chinese love story? ›
- Accidentally In Love (2018)
- My Amazing Boyfriend (2016)
- The Romance of Tiger and Rose (2020)
- Unexpected (2018)
- Nice To Meet You (2019)
- The Starry Night, The Starry Sea (2017)
- Stay With Me (2017)
- Our Glamourous Time (2018)
- 8 Love O2O.
- 7 Meteor Garden.
- 6 The Princess Weiyoung.
- 5 Accidentally in Love.
- 4 The Prince of Tennis.
- 3 My Sunshine.
- 2 Who Rules the World.
- 1 The Rational Life.
Despite being termed as "xianxia" drama, The Untamed includes many elements of traditional wuxia dramas, fused with a new style. Using traditional wuxia values such as "chivalry and courage", it allows the younger audience to better relate to the drama.Is Shangchi a wuxia? ›
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is an homage to both “wuxia” dramas and Jackie Chan movies, ripe with both the traditional mythological elements of Chinese culture and traditional martial arts, and the modern grittier bus chase scenes that harken back to “Police Story.” The film tells the story of Shang-Chi ...Is MDZS wuxia or xianxia? ›
The series depicts a fictional Xianxia world where humans attempt to cultivate to a state of immortality, known as Xian (Chinese: 仙).What are the 6 realms of Xianxia? ›
In a Xianxia world, there are six realms for deity (Shen), immortal (Xian), human (Ren), spirit (Yao), demon (Mo), and ghost (Gui) to live in.What martial art is Shang-Chi based on? ›
Western Representation of Chinese Kungfu
A key element of Shang-Chi is its thrilling action and martial arts scenes, which feature Chinese Kungfu and traditional 'cold' weapons used in battles, including swords, spears, bows, battle spades and whips.
The wuxia genre is popular in Chinese culture because it is the unique blend of martial arts philosophy of xia (俠, "chivalry", "a chivalrous person") developed throughout history, and the country's long history of wushu. In Japan, samurai bushido traditions share some aspects with Chinese martial xia philosophy.
How is Shang-Chi related to Avengers? ›
During the Marvel NOW! relaunch, Shang-Chi joins the Avengers after being recruited by Captain America and Iron Man. During the events of Infinity, Shang-Chi and the Avengers join the Galactic Council to fight against the Builders and their crusade against all life in the universe.How did Lan Zhan recognize Wei Wuxian? ›
Perceptive and intelligent from a young age, Lan Wangji recognizes Wei Wuxian from a single song. He notices small but important details, such as the maple leaves that indicate another exit from the cave of the Xuanwu of Slaughter, and that the Water Ghosts have led them to the center of Biling Lake.How old is Mo Xuanyu when he died? ›
He is 26-27 in the novel. he was taken to the Lanling Jin sect at 14 just after the death of Jin Zixuan (so 12-13 years before the revival of wwx). In cql it is much, much less clear. there's the 16 year death of wwx, and no mention of how old mo xuanyu was when he was taken to the lanling jin sect. T_T.Why is MDZS called The Untamed? ›
The official English name The Untamed comes from the alternate portmanteau of the protagonists' names, Wei Wuxian (魏无羡) and Lan Wangji (蓝忘机). Using the Chinese characters from their names can spell 'wuji' (无机) — this is a homophone of 'wuji' (无羁) which translates to 'untamed.Is wuxia banned? ›
Wuxia fiction was banned at various times during the Republican era and these restrictions stifled the growth of the genre. The Communist Party also banned wuxia, literature, calling it “decadent” and “feudal.” In spite of this, wuxia prevailed in other Chinese-speaking regions, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong.