Western Animation: Shaolin Wuzang

A French-produced animated series. Also known as Shaolin Kids.

Many centuries ago, in imperial China, a demon named Heihu is terrorizing the province of Henan. His followers, thugs calling themselves the "Black Foxes", plunder and raze villages, making life miserable. The population turns to the three knights of Shaolin for help, who succeed in sealing Heihu away in a magical prison. The Black Foxes eventually break up, and the land is at peace once more.

Fast forward a thousand years to the early 17th century, where Heihu's prison has finally weakened, allowing him to escape. He possesses a nearby woman who happens to come across his prison, then immediately sets out to restore his power. Gathering a new legion of Black Foxes, he turns his sights to the Books of Power — sacred artifacts containing the secrets of the gods. Nobody knows where the Second Book of Power is located, but the first is kept at the Temple of Shaolin. He succeeds in stealing it away, despite attempts to stop him.

Well aware of the situation's graveness, the grand master Sanzang consults the spirits of the past grand masters of Shaolin. They tell him that only three people will be able to defeat Heihu for good: the reincarnations of the three Shaolin knights who succeeded against him one thousand years ago. Sanzang finds the three of them — and they're just kids. They're going to need years of training before they're ready to take on Heihu, but it's the only way. Their names are Hua, Tang, and Cheng; they are the Shaolin Wuzang.

This show provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Hua.
  • All There in the Manual: It's never actually mentioned in-series when the show takes place, but the official website (which is in French) says that it takes place in the 17th century, that Heihu was active during the Sui Dynasty, and that he escaped during the Ming Dynasty. Given his thousand year imprisonment, that puts his escape at somewhere from 1600-1618. We don't know how long after that till he makes off with the First Book of Power, but it's mentioned that he'd been gathering followers at an alarming rate, so at the very least, he's not one to dally.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Tang's sword.
  • Animal Battle Aura: A rare and advanced ki ability involves manifesting an animal made of energy from your aura, which can then attack your enemies. It is demonstrated by Master Sanzang, who manifests a lion, and by Tang and Cheng, who manifest a dragon and tiger, respectively.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Hua. Even in her winter clothes.
  • Big Bad: Heihu.
  • Big Good: Sanzang. He's the head of the temple and the one who set the three kids on track to their destiny.
  • Big Eater: Cheng.
  • The Chosen One
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Master Luong-Doi. Incredibly absent-minded, but a powerful warrior when he's got his act together.
    • Wan Shun, the seemingly cowardly fortune-teller, who was actually part of a ruse to try and retrieve the First Book of Power. By the end of the episode, he becomes one of the few people to know who the trio really are.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Tang has done this against Black Foxes a couple of times by cutting their belts and making their pants fall down.
  • Demonic Possession: The woman who becomes possessed by Heihu.
  • Dramatic Wind: Often.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Wuzang have accessed special abilities when they're in distress. Cheng and Tang have manifested Animal Battle Auras, and Hua has manifested a pink force field bubble and control over water.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Heihu.
  • Eyecatch: Two, both of which feature Cheng making the show's title appear by throwing flames around. Note: nowhere in the actual series does he demonstrate this ability. Although, since his tiger aura appears in fiery colors, one could argue that he would eventually develop this ability, just as Hua sometimes showed the ability to control water.
  • Faceless Goons: The Black Foxes, who all wear identical clothes and masks.
  • Farm Boy: Cheng. And although it almost never comes up with her, Hua would count as a Farm Girl (the general idea, if not literally).
  • Fatal Flaw: "Your Worst Enemy" is about the trio facing theirs. Tang's is Pride and judging based on appearances. Hua's is recklessness and charging ahead without thinking. Cheng, not thinking about long-term consequences, fails to take his studies seriously.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Tang. The trio regularly encounters mystical stuff, which he writes off as "scientifically impossible".
  • Flynning: Tang, whether he's fighting an enemy or an ally. Is probably strongly tied to the fact that it's a kid's show, and good guys aren't allowed to actually hurt anyone.
    • He even goes so far as to correct his opponents form while fighting them.
    Tang: Too high, too low, too slow, too soft- your form is appalling!
  • Future Me Scares Me: In "The Wheel of Time", Tang and Cheng end up in a possible future where Hua was captured by Heihu's forces and turned onto their side.
  • Game Face: When Heihu gets really angry, the black mask that forms his face will contract and turn yellow-green.
  • Hime Cut: Hua, although she wears it up most of the time.
  • Ki Attacks: As an incredibly advanced ability.
  • Kid Hero
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Tang, in most fights. Most often 3 and 7 from the page.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Both averted and played straight.
    • The Mystic Bow of Yi makes any arrow strike its mark, even another arrow shot from it.
    • Cheng averts this, being a notoriously bad shot.
      Tang: Well if your arrow hadn't hit his backside—
      Cheng: It. Was. The. Wind.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: In the credits. There's a picture of Tang and Hua dueling with swords in a bamboo forest and standing on the sides of the bamboo (see herenote ). There's another picture of Cheng and Tang dueling on the top of rock columns.
  • Jumped at the Call: Hua jumped at the chance to become a knight of Shaolin and learn kung fu.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: The kids don't know about their Secret Legacy or their status as the Chosen Ones. Sanzang does, and chooses not to burden them with it. He's even brought a few others into the loop, who have promised to keep it secret.
  • Love Triangle: One episode has an upcoming dance — both Tang and Cheng get the idea to ask Hua to it, and they spend the rest of the episode competing against each other to see who gets to ask her first. Later it turns out she already agreed to go with someone else.
  • MacGuffin: The Books of Power.
  • Making a Splash: Hua has done this when under great stress. Her evil future self is also shown doing this.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Black Foxes.
  • Megane: Tang.
  • Mind over Matter: Done by Heihu and Sanzang.
  • Mooks: The Black Foxes.
  • Old Master
  • Only the Pure of Heart: A magic mirror that will only unlock its secrets if someone with a pure and innocent soul looks into it. For the impure, it releases a monster. Heihu kidnaps an innocent young girl to try and unlock it, but the trio manage to rescue her. Heihu, having grabbed Hua during their fight, tries making her look into it — this unleashes the monster, and she uses the opportunity to escape.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Heihu. He can throw fireballs, create giant fire snakes, and turn ordinary orange flames into his signature ghostly blue.
    • Cheng is seen doing this in the eyecatches, as mentioned above.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: "Shadow Thief"
  • Purple Is the New Black: Hua's hair, though it's shown as black in the credits.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Hua was raised by her grandmother. Her parents died of an epidemic.
  • Royal Brat: Tang. He's the son of a governor and frequently brings it up.
  • Scenery Porn: The credits.
  • Secret Legacy
  • Secret Underground Passage: The Shaolin monastery has these.
  • Set Swords to Stun
  • Shirtless Scene
  • Stay in the Kitchen: In the first episode, Hua deals with this attitude from her grandmother and some of the Shaolin students, who say that kung fu isn't for girls.
  • Sword Drag: Tang in the trailer as he runs along the rooftop.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Cheng. One example of this is in the trailer/opening when a volley of arrows is fired at him.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Cheng and Tang, respectively. The tiger and dragon are their Animal Battle Auras, and they frequently clash over their personalities and upbringings — Cheng is a laid-back farm boy, and Tang is an uptight intellectual from a higher class.
  • Walking Wasteland: After Heihu is first freed, the environment turns a sickly yellow-green and the surrounding vegetation withers and dies.
  • Whip It Good: Hua.
  • You Go Girl: Hua, after facing opposition, becomes the first girl to train at Shaolin temple.