Lifestyle, Stories

5 Chinese Donghua Animations to Watch in 2021

Chinese animation, also known by its native term donghua (动画), has recently been soaring to new heights over the past few years, especially with adaptations of popular manhua and web novels that have taken the Internet by storm. 

Though seemingly similar to its Japanese counterpart, donghua has steadily made a name for itself using its distinct Chinese storytelling conventions and genres, as well as its experimental forays into the 3D CGI generated format. 

For those interested in a binge, here are five of some of the most highly anticipated donghua series that will arrive in 2021:


1) Mo Dao Zu Shi (Season Three)

Chinese Title: 魔道祖师

English Title: The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation

(Source: AniList)

Adapted from a popular Chinese web novel of the same name, the third and final season of Mo Dao Zu Shi follows Wei Wuxian and his once-cultivation classmate Lan Wangji as they uncover a mystery that has been more than thirteen years in the making. Facing the consequences of his past, Wei Wuxian, the revived founder of demonic cultivation, realizes that the events surrounding his death were much more than what they appeared to be. 

Episode Count: 12


2) Ding Hai Fu Sheng Lu

Chinese Title: 定海浮生录

English Title: Dinghai Fusheng Records

(Source: AniList)

Ding Hai Fu Sheng Lu is yet another adaptation of a popular historical Chinese web novel. Animated by Shanghai Foch Film Culture Investment, this series covers the story of Cheng Xing, a sixteen-year-old boy who embarks on a journey to restore the spiritual qi of Heaven and Earth following its disappearance from the world more than three hundred years prior. 

Though Cheng Xing is aided by the luck of his fated star, his connection to it also means that he is destined to die in four years. Fortunately, he meets his protector, who is destined to guard and walk beside him in this long and harrowing journey. 

Episode Count: TBA


3) Jue Ding 

Chinese Title: 绝顶

English Title: The Top/The Pinnacle 

(Source: AniList)

Based on Xiao Xinyu’s manhua of the same title, Jue Ding is a comedy-and-action animation series about Jia Fugui, the leader of the Muye School who has crushed the martial world with force. Despite his strength, however, he remains extremely insecure about his bald head. To rectify this, Jia Fugui and his second-in-command traverse the world to search for the perfect formula for growing hair. 

Episode Count: 26


4) San Ti

Chinese Title: 三体

English Title: The Three-Body Problem 

(Source: AniList)

This donghua series is an adaptation of the Hugo Award-winning novel San Ti by Liu Cixin. Initially set in 1967, the story opens with Ye Wenjie witnessing her father beat to death by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in China. This singular event will not only shape the rest of her life but also the future of mankind.

Forty years later, the Beijing police ask Wang Miao, a nanotech engineer, to infiltrate a secretive faction of scientists to investigate a series of suicides. This leads Wang Miao to discover a virtual game world ruled by the unpredictable interactions of its three suns. 

Episode Count: 16


5) Shi Guang Dai Li Ren

Chinese Title: 时光代理人

English Title: Time Agent

(Source: AniList)

This original series by Haoliners Animation League and Studio LAN is a fantasy story about Cheng Xiao and Lu Guang, two young men who run the Time Photo Studio. Both individually possess a secret power that allows them to enter the past by passing through a customer’s photo. However, things inevitably do not turn out as planned.

Episode Count: TBA


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