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A Complete Guide on How to Navigate Through the Mo Dao Zu Shi Universe

Mo Dao Zu Shi (MDZS), or the Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, is one of those franchises that will plunge you into a whirlwind of fan fiction with no exit sign. The best part? You won’t even complain. 

Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (MXTX), the series creator, has conceived a fictional world that is so detailed that you will feel like these heavenly places really do exist.

On the other hand, her characters portray human follies so realistically that you can’t help but doubt humanity itself. 

MDZS started off as a danmei novel in 2016, and since then, fans have been showered with a wide range of content.

Apart from the novel, it has manhua, audio drama, and donghua (Chinese equivalent to anime), out of which the donghua has been completed, with the third and final season airing in 2021. 

Since fans could not get enough of the action, supernatural, and romance, the creators decided to release a live-action TV series that debuted in 2019. It has also released two spin-off movies and another special TV series.

With so much happening in this realm, it is easy to wander off from the correct watching or reading order. To guide you through this personal hellhole, I have listed the correct order with which you should enter the franchise.

First is the release orders of all the adaptations, and then we will move on to the recommended order.

1. Donghua

The chronological order for the donghua is shown:

  • Mo Dao Zu Shi: Qian Chen Pian (Season 1: 2018)
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi: Xian Yun Pian (Season 2: 2019)
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi: Wan Jie Pian (Season 3: 2021)
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi Q (Spinoff: 2020)
A Complete Guide on How to Navigate Through the Mo Dao Zu Shi Universe
Mo Dao Zu Shi | Source: Fandom

MDZS Q is optional, but if you want Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian’s shenanigans in cute chibi forms, then you shouldn’t skip it.

2. Live-Action

I. TV Series

  • The Untamed (2019) 

II. Special

  • The Untamed Special (2019)

III. Movies (Spin-Off)

  • The Living Dead (2019)
  • Fatal Journey (2020)

The main series is 50 episodes long. For those who get bored quickly and cannot devote that much time, you can watch the 20 episodes special edition, which is just a condensed and remastered form of The Untamed. Both the films should be watched after the main TV series.

3. Audio Drama

MDZS’s audio drama is true to the novel and is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than you think.

  • Season 1 (2018) (12 episodes)
  • Season 2 (2018) (16 episodes)
  • Season 3 (2019) (17 episodes)

4. Novel

  • Mo Dao Zu Shi (2016) (126 Chapters/ Complete)

5. Manhua

  • The Master of Diabolism (2017 – ongoing)

6. What is the Best Way to Enjoy Mo Dao Zu Shi?

It could be an overwhelming task for a newbie to comprehend what’s best to start with in a franchise this big.

If you are a beginner, I recommend you to experience the series in this order:

  • Donghua / Manhua
  • Live-Action Series and Films
  • Light Novel / Audio Drama

You should start with the three-season donghua or the manhua. The main reason behind it is that there are many clans and characters who can be best remembered if you can visualize them. If you start with the novel, there is a chance that you will keep forgetting the names.

the untamed trailer 陈情令
The Untamed Trailer

Next, you can move on to either the live-action or the novel itself. The live-action has many canon divergent elements, so make sure you are not confused about the main plot while watching it. 

Skipping The Untamed would be a fatal mistake and something I will never recommend. Wang Yibo and Xiao Zhan have immortalized their respective characters, and without their portrayal, I can’t even imagine Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian.

The Untamed is a plethora of feelings and emotions to be experienced, and you will emerge drenched in tears and emotionally invested in the characters.

Next, you can either read the novel or listen to the audio-drama as their stories are the same. After this, the next step is a deep dive into the world of MDZS fanfics, but that is a talk for another day.

7. BL Meter of Mo Dao Zu Shi Adaptations:

If you want to get involved in the MDZS universe based on the yaoi content, then this list will help discern the best option for you. If sorted from highest to lowest BL content, the list goes like this:

Novel > Audio Drama > Manhua > Donghua > Live-Action

The original novel is definitely the most sexually explicit. MXTX does not shy away from giving the lovebirds what they deserve. The main storyline reaches its finale in chapter 113, and another 13 extra chapters are added, which might satisfy your yaoi hunger.

A Complete Guide on How to Navigate Through the Mo Dao Zu Shi Universe
Mo Dao Zu Shi | Source: Fandom

The next most faithful adaptation is the audio drama which follows the novel to a T. So, of course, it also includes all the explicit content. 

Although the manhua has shown some light affectionate scenes, I am not sure how far it will be able to portray the depth of it. It is currently ongoing, so that adds another layer of difficulty.

Both the donghua and live-action adaptations are heavily censored. Still, you should watch them for Wei Wuxian’s ‘brighter than the sun’ smile and Lan Wangji’s quiet yearning. 

8. Where to Read Mo Dao Zu Shi Novel Online?

There is no official website to read the novel and the manhua. The fans, however, have done a great job in translating the original works, but I would only urge you not to go for the pirated sites and respect the writer’s work.

Are you frowning down in sadness? Because that’s not the end of your wish to read this fantastic novel.

The good news is, Seven Seas Entertainment is publishing Mo Dao Zu Shi, and the first volume is set to release in December 2022. It will be available only in the USA and Canada for now, and the pre-orders have already skyrocketed.

9. Where to Watch the Donghua with Subtitles or Dubbed?

The donghua currently streams on WeTv, Tencent’s streaming platform for foreign viewers. WeTv Channel is available on Youtube and is streaming Mo Dao Zu Shi with subtitles for free.

The download option is not available on WeTv for people thinking of downloading and watching it offline. 

10. Where to Watch The Untamed with Subtitles or Dubbed?

The live-action TV series, The Untamed is now streaming worldwide on Netflix and WeTv.

You can watch the show with the preference of both the subtitles and dub versions. Netflix also offers a download option for its users, so all you need is a Netflix subscription, and you can watch the way you want. 

11. Where to Access the Audio Drama?

There are no legal streaming platforms where you can enjoy the audio drama of Mo Dao Zu Shi. 

Instead, you can buy and listen to the audio dramas from the Maoer FM website. It is cheap and also a chance for you to honor the works of the creators.    

12. How Much Time Will it Take to Complete the Donghua, Audio Drama, and the Live Actions?

You will be spending 14 hours and 45 minutes to complete everything related to donghua, i.e., the three seasons and the chibi special series.

To complete the live-action TV series, movies, and special series, you will take 57 hours and 3 minutes to complete everything, which is roughly two days of binge-watching. 

Mo Dao Zu Shi 魔道祖师 Season 1
Mo Dao Zu Shi Season 1

The audio drama takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete all three seasons.

Let me give you the run time of each installment in this franchise –  

I. Donghua

  • Mo Dao Zu Shi: Qian Chen Pian (15 Episodes) – 375 minutes 
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi: Xian Yun Pian (8 Episodes) – 192 minutes
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi: Wan Jie Pian (12 Episodes) – 288 minutes
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi Q (30 Episodes)– 150 minutes

II. Live-Action

  • The Untamed – 2250 minutes
  • The Untamed Special – 1000 minutes
  • The Living Dead – 83 minutes
  • Fatal Journey – 90 minutes

III. Audio Drama

  • Season 1: 360 minutes
  • Season 2: 480 minutes
  • Season 3: 510 minutes

All combined, the donghua, live-action, and the audio drama,  you are looking at a runtime of 96 hours and 18 minutes, i.e., four days of binge-watching.

13. Conclusion

Mo Dao Zu Shi is a beautiful accumulation of magic, supernatural beings, sword fights, and characters with whom you will fall in love without fail. With a rich fanfiction base, this series is virtually never-ending. (I would love to recommend some to you)

A Complete Guide on How to Navigate Through the Mo Dao Zu Shi Universe
Mo Dao Zu Shi | Source: Fandom

The donghua and the live-action are must-watch to appreciate MDZS’ beauty fully. You can skip any special or extra series if you wish, but believe me, the enticing world created by MXTX won’t let you. 

All in all, I have fallen in love with this franchise and am dragging you in it with me. Whether you start now or later, you are sure to wonder how you’ve lived so far without it. 

14. About Mo Dao Zu Shi

Mo Dao Zu Shi is a novel by Chinese author, Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. It has received a donghua, web-series as well as audio drama adaptations. It is a well-known BL series.

Wei Wuxian, the founder of the demonic cultivation sect had was resurrected after 13 years of his death. However, the world still lives in terror of his powers and considers him to be evil.

After Wei Wuxian returns, he meets Lan Zhan, a cultivator with whom he had a close relationship. Together they will solve the mystery behind Wei Wuxian’s return as well as a grand plot behind many deaths.

Originally Written By Epic Dope

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Aaheli Pradhan

Aaheli Pradhan

A grandma by heart who loves to knit, sketch, and swing in parks. Binge-reads a massive amount of manga from psychological to shounen-ai. Either awkward or salty, there's no in-between.

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