Chinese anime, better known as donghua, have undoubtedly been on the rise recently. Most donghua are adaptations of Chinese manga or manhua and are rich in elements of Chinese culture, religion, and folklore.
The donghua industry itself is relatively new compared to the Japanese anime industry that has had a considerable head start and much more exposure.
Donghua are also not readily available overseas, and as such, they have mainly catered and appealed to Chinese audiences.
Recently, however, donghua has begun making its way into international mainstream media. Donghua, such as Soul Land, have caught the eye of international audiences, while others like Scissor Seven have even been licensed by Netflix.
The donghua industry is slowly but surely making its way to being the next sensation in animation.
That being said, here are 10 of the best Chinese anime that every donghua enthusiast should try:
10My Cultivator Girlfriend
My Cultivator GirlfriendAir Date: September 20, 2017 Status: Finished No. of Seasons: 1 No. of Episodes: 15
My Cultivator Girlfriend kicks off when Ma Ying Xiong, a security guard, saves Lu Zi, a female cultivator. Without intending to, he steals a part of her power and enters the world of cultivation.
The show is surprisingly enjoyable for how short it is. Each episode is a mere 13 minutes, yet the donghua delivers with an amazing soundtrack and characters with rich, fleshed-out backstories.
Scissor SevenAir Date: April 25, 2018 Status: Finished Studio: Sharefun Studio, AHA Entertainment, Nurostar No. of Seasons: 3 No. of Episodes: 34
Scissor Seven revolves around Seven, a part-time assassin and hairdresser whose favorite weapon is— you guessed it— a scissor.
Seven decides to become an assassin after failing a course in professional killing and opens a barbershop as a disguise and a way to repay debt.
The show follows his adventures as an assassin as he deals with his mysterious amnesia.
Scissor Seven has been praised for its insane action sequences and on-point humor reminiscent of One Punch Man, a popular Japanese anime.
8Lan Mo’s Flower
Lan Mo’s FlowerAir Date: July 13, 2017 Status: Finished No. of Seasons: 1 No. of Episodes: 9
If you’re a fan of shojo, romance anime, you’re sure to love Lan Mo’s Flower!
Lan Mo’s Flower is a romance anime that revolves around Lan Mo, a teenage girl who finds a magical hairpin with the power to change her appearance. Using the mysterious hairpin, Lan Mo pursues her childhood crush Liu Yifeng.
This anime is yet another short one with only 9 episodes of 13 minutes each. Despite how short it is, the donghua does an excellent job at capturing its viewers’ hearts.
Rakshasa StreetAir Date: April 28, 2016 Status: Finished Studio: L²Studio No. of Seasons: 2 No. of Episodes: 36
Based on a manhua by the same name, Rakshasa Street revolves around Xia Ling, an average university intern.
However, her life changes after she accidentally strays onto Rakshasa Street– a place where humans and spirits coexist, a place only humans with spirit guardians can enter.
The anime explores both Xia Ling’s journey in the present as she discovers Rakshasa Street and the backstory of the human general of Rakshasa Street and his brother involving a great deal of drama.
This show is impossible to put down once you begin watching it. The storyline is very intriguing, with even the subplot being very engaging. Minor animation hiccups aside, Rakshasa street is very well executed despite its relatively small budget.
With its fair share of plot twists, a memorable soundtrack, and a decent amount of action, Rakshasa Street is definitely worth a watch!
SpiritpactAir Date: January 7, 2017 Status: Finished Studio: Haoliners Animation League Korea No. of Seasons: 2 No. of Episodes: 22
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete with something for all the fujoshi!
Spirit Pact is a shounen-ai anime that centers around You Keika, a poor fortune teller and part-time computer mechanic, and Tanmoku Ki, an exorcist from the highest-ranking exorcist family in China.
Shortly after the two meet in a junkyard one fateful day, Keika dies in an accident and turns into a spirit. Ki notices him, and the two form a pact, with Keika becoming Ki’s spirit shadow.
The bond shared between the spirit and the exorcist eventually grows from the initial master-servant relationship to a heartwarming, heavily-implied romantic one.
The show manages to keep its audience engaged from beginning till the end with the perfect balance of humor, action, and easter eggs of popular anime like Attack On Titan.
Full-Time MagisterAir Date: September 2, 2016 Status: Upcoming Season 5 Studio: Shanghai Foch Film, TV Culture Investment No. of Seasons: 5 No. of Episodes: 48
Full-Time Magister follows the life of Mo Fan, an aloof high schooler who randomly finds himself transported to a world filled with magic. Much like his other life, Mo Fan finds himself part of a poor family with a laborer father and a disabled step-sister.
Aiming to support his family by becoming a magician, Mo Fan joins a renowned magic school. Here he learns of his rare ability to use two elemental forms of magic.
Full-Time Magister is fast-paced and fairly straightforward, making it a perfect binge-watch. It is essentially the journey of an underdog with rare abilities as he competes with his peers and attempts to prove himself.
With action, humor, and romance all balanced in perfect proportions together with a likable, determined protagonist, make Full-Time Magister a very charming donghua.
4Fog Hill Of Five Elements
Fog Hill Of Five ElementsAir Date: July 26, 2020 Status: Upcoming Season 2 Studio: Nice Boat Animation, Samsara Animation Studio No. of Seasons: 1 No. of Episodes: 3
Fog Hill Of Five Elements takes off when Su Xiao An ventures into the mountains on an errand for her father, the head of Di Shan village.
She loses her way and accidentally runs into Wen Ren Yu Xuan, a seemingly ordinary duck keeper who helps her find a shortcut to get home before dusk.
However, when she reaches her village, she finds it under attack from three monsters. Just as one of her uncles is about to be killed by one of the monsters, the seemingly ordinary Xuan steps in and burns the monster away with a brilliant blast of flames.
Xuan turns out to be the Fire Axis, one of the five emissaries that guard the entrances to the fog hill and keep dangerous monsters at bay.
Words cannot do justice to how visually stunning and underrated this anime is! The fight scenes are rendered smoothly and are an absolute spectacle to behold. The art style itself is beautiful, and the anime is peppered with scenic shots of the landscape.
With an intriguing plot that leaves you with questions every step of the way, even three episodes in, it’s evident Fog Hill Mountain is a masterpiece in the making.
3The King’s Avatar
The King’s AvatarAir Date: April 7, 2017 Status: Finished Studio: B.CMAY PICTURES No. of Seasons: 2 No. of Episodes: 27
If you’re a gamer or an otaku, King’s Avatar is probably a donghua you’ll thoroughly enjoy!
King’s Avatar revolves around ‘Glory’ a massively popular MMORPG, and Ye Xiu, a pro gamer who has dedicated a decade of his life to the game earning him the reputation of being the best player ever.
However, he is soon forced to retire after a spell of poor performances. He then opens an internet café and creates a new character to inconspicuously enjoy the game and return to his former fame and glory.
Ye Xiu is very charismatic, confident, and, not to forget– immensely attractive, making him an instant fan favorite. Considering the mind-blowingly mesmerizing animation and character designs together with the fairly unique plot, it isn’t hard to see why this donghua is a fan favorite.
Soul LandAir Date: January 20, 2018 Status: Airing Studio: Sparkly Key Animation Studio No. of Seasons: 8 No. of Episodes: 159
Tang San’s adventures begin when he chooses to leave behind his life as the Tang Sect’s most prestigious disciple to obtain the sect’s forbidden lore. After obtaining the knowledge, Tang San takes his own life but is reincarnated in Soul Land.
Here, everyone has a spirit that they cultivate to become a Spirit Masters. Aided by his strong spiritual powers and the knowledge from his previous life, Tang San sets out to master cultivation to the fullest.
Soul Land is, without a doubt, one of the best donghua currently, evident from the massive viewership the anime has amassed. The series has an exquisite, compelling plot with lovely, detailed animation to support it.
There’s never a dull moment with this mysterious and thrilling donghua, and if supernatural powers and martial arts sound good to you, you’re sure to love it!
1The Grandmaster Of Demonic Cultivation
Grandmaster Of Demonic CultivationAir Date: July 9, 2018 Status: Upcoming Season 3 Studio: G.CMay Animation & Film No. of Seasons: 3 No. of Episodes: 35
From the same studio that produced Avatar The Last Air-Bender and King’s Avatar, The Grandmaster Of Demonic Cultivation is based in a world where cultivators can even attain immortality.
The plot centers around Wei Wuxian, a man both feared and despised for cultivating the demonic path. After being backstabbed by a close ally and killed, Wei Wuxian reincarnates as Mo Xuanyu, a lunatic and reject.
Soon after, he meets a famous cultivator named Lan Wangji– one of his archenemies.
Together, the two work to uncover various mysteries– including the death of Wei Wuxian himself. Though it may seem like a typical fantasy anime, the plot, animation, visuals, voice acting, and music in this donghua are all simply top-notch!
Full of thrilling action, humor, mystery, and a fair amount of flirtation between the two main characters, it isn’t hard to see why this donghua is as popular as it is.Originally Written By Epic Dope