There’s hardly any donghua series that’s witnessed such high levers of international popularity among female audiences as Mo Dao Zu Shi (魔道祖师).
There are two different English titles for this masterpiece: The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation and The Founder of Diabolism.
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s high time you familiarized yourself with this stellar xianxia, danmei (BL) title, which focuses on the budding romance between two cultivators: Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. Seemingly polar opposites, these two exceptional characters will charm viewers without a fail.
Wei Wuxian — the titular grandmaster of demonic cultivation — is a peculiar merry-go-lucky man whose character is in sharp contrast with his propensity for diabolism… the curiosity that is explained in the course of the series.
Lan Wangji, on the other hand, is a study in decency and proper cultivation, with only one ‘flaw’ (as defined by others) — his affections toward the troublesome Wei Wuxian.
The Founder of Diabolism donghua series is based on the eponymous novel by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (MXTX), who has so far published three danmei titles, the remaining two being The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (人渣反派自救系统, Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong) and Heaven Official’s Blessing (天官赐福, Tian Guan Ci Fu).
MXTX’s works — The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation included — are rich in details and cultural references, abundant in Chinese folklore and myths, hence, they’re definitely recommended as a reference for scholars in Chinese culture.
Albeit The Founder of Diabolism novel is rather spicy, with a couple of explicit extra chapters, don’t expect too much skinship from the donghua series. China has strict censorship laws, after all.
Where Can I Watch Mo Dao Zu Shi?
The Mo Dao Zu Shi novel has been treated to a donghua series that has three seasons (July 9, 2018–October 16, 2021), a chibi donghua series titled Mo Dao Zu Shi Q (July 31, 2020– January 29, 2021), and a live-action web series (The Untamed).
You can watch them here:
- Mo Dao Zu Shi Season 1, 2, and 3 @WeTV (requires a subscription)
- Mo Dao Zu Shi Q @WeTV (requires a subscription)
- The Untamed @Netflix (requires a subscription)
- The Untamed @the WeTV English YouTube channel (free)
- Mo Dao Zu Shi Q (requires a subscription)
Introducing Seven Seas Danmei
All three MXTX’s novels have been translated into English, first by fans and thereupon by Seven Seas Entertainment (SSE). The SSE has its curious Danmei label set up and has been licensing more and more Chinese BL titles of late.
Note: A fourth MXTX’s novel titled Si Shen Mei You Xiu Xi Ri (死神没有休息日) — which roughly translates to “There Is No Rest for The Death God” is apparently underway. There have been some reports about censorship issues delaying the project but no official announcements by the author have surfaced as of yet. Hopefully, it will see the light of day eventually.
MXTX’s books are detailed and thoroughly enjoyable on many levels. Not your typical danmei plots, either! Rather safe to give them a go if you’re a fan of Chinese culture.