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Animation / Qin's Moon

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Qin's Moon (秦时明月; pinyin: Qín Shí Míng Yuè, meaning: The Bright Moon of the Qin Era; also called The Legend of Qin) is a Chinese CGI anime of the Wuxia fantasy genre created by Star Q, it began airing in Chinese New Year of 2007. It's based on a series of novels by Wen Shi Ren. The novels have also been adapted into two live-action series (The Legend of Qin and The King's Woman) and an animated film (The Legend of Qin 3D: Ancient Dragon Spirit).

The story is set during the Qin Dynasty, and follows the adventures of a young boy named Jing Tian Ming and his protector, the master swordsman Ge Nie. As they travel, they come across and become companions to the Mohists. The Qin Empire hires Ge Nie's arch-nemesis Wei Zhuang to hunt them down. The first season featured 10 episodes, the second 18, the third 34, the fourth (depending on which version you watch) 37 or 38, and the fifth 75. Each season gets longer and goes through significant Art Evolution, and there will be at least seven seasons. Qin's Moon also has a Super-Deformed Spin-Off series, several Manhua adaptations, 3 OVAS, a Movie, a web game, and two mobile RPGs. In March 2016, a prequel series of Nine Songs of the Moving Heavens has started airing on a bi-weekly schedule.

Qin's Moon has drawn connections to popular Japanese animation such as Naruto, as well as wuxia films such as Hero and the House of Flying Daggers. The series has most recently reached its fifth season, but has yet to be licensed or released outside of China.


The series was temporarily on Crunchyroll at 2011 before being taken down. However it's still available at Tudou and Youku; and a fan-subbed version can be found on Youtube. Season 5 is currently being subbed by a different group of fans and can also be found on Youtube.

Contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Shaoyu is the star student at the Confucian village, number one in archery, horseback riding, reading, swordsmanship...he's also great at making new friends, and very strong.
  • Action Girl: Duanmu Rong, Snow Lady, Crimson Snake, Priestess of Birth, Priestess of Death, Shi Lan, Nong Yu, and Miehun and Zhuanpo of the Six Sword Slaves.
  • Anachronism Stew: Ancient Chinese history is blended together with fantastical steampunk elements and magic.
  • Animal Motifs: White Phoenix and birds (mainly blue jays and white feathers), Hidden Bat and bats, Crimson Snake and snakes, Dark Wolf King and wolves, Zhao Gao and the Luo Wang group and black widow spiders.
  • Advertisement:
  • Art Evolution: And how! Just as an example, season 1's White Phoenix was made with 5000 polygons. Season 3's is made with 20,000. Season 4's is made with 50,000. And in season 5?.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Key Mohists get one to two episodes devoted to their backstory, namely Snowlady, Iron Hammer, and Gao Jianli in the beginning of Season 3; Chilian also gets one for her relationship with Wei Zhuang during Season 4.
    • White Phoenix and Priestess of Birth both have specials dedicated to their whole pasts.
  • The Atoner: Ge Nie who is supposed to have killed Jing Ke, is introduced in the series taking care of Jing Ke's son.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Shaoyu's halberd, which looks and is awesome but is far too big and heavy to carry around all the time.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • The Moon Goddess is the right hand woman of the Eastern Emperor and is possibly one of the most threatening enemies in the show.
    • The Confucius household managers, Fu Nian, Yan Lu, and Zhang Liang are all high ranking Confucians, and Pao Ding has said to Dao Zhi that they're much more powerful than just being casual bookworms. Although so far only Zhang Liang has been shown fighting, he had no problem fighting off a gang of Mooks with a half-sheathed sword.
    • The Mohist head is capable of facing off against Wei Zhuang.
    • In Quicksand, Wei Zhang is stronger than any one of his underlings, all of whom are skilled fighters in their own right.
  • Badass Pacifist:
    • Yue'er, she definitely cannot fight for herself, but that does not stop her from piloting Master Ban's mechanical Bird, solving puzzles in the Mohist Forbidden Grounds and helping Tian Ming and Shaoyu pilot the mechanical White Tiger.
    • When Yan Lu, who refuses to commit violence, is dragged into a duel, he forces a draw using a sword he can't see and without receiving or dealing any injuries. Also, he's one of the three Confucius household managers and about the only person capable of reigning in Zhang Liang.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Ge Nie and Wei Zhuang of all people when rescuing Dao Zhi and Pao Ding.
  • Battle Couple: Gao Jianli and Snowlady return from a mission together at the end of Season 2, work together against Shadow Bat in the beginning of Season 2, and are otherwise presented as a team. Shaoyu and Shi Lan are also shaping up to be this in Season 4.
  • Berserk Button: Don't eat Tianming's roasted pheasant. Don't break Jing Ke's wine jar or drink all of it. Don't ever call Gongsun Ling Long fat, ugly, or aunt.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The series absolutely loves this trope.
    • Ge Nie saves Tian Ming and Shaoyu from the Unparalleled Demon by throwing his sword at him, killing him.
    • When Ge Nie finally arrives at the Mohist great hall in the Season 2 finale, everyone watches, with Zhang Liang going so far as to say that the Mohist City has hope, now that he is here.
    • White Phoenix saves Crimson Snake from getting killed by Shen Qi.
    • Zhang Liang rescues Tian Ming and Shaoyu from getting captured by Star Wraith, fighting against a couple of Mooks in the process.
    • Ink Crow interrupted Ji Wuye from killing White Phoenix and Nong Yu in and helps them escape from the palace in Birdsong in Hollow Valley.
    • Shi Lan arrives at the Mohist's hiding spot while it was getting invaded by the Yin-Yang Theorists and Meng Tian's army and teleports them underground.
  • The Big Guy: The Unparalleled Demon for the Quicksand assassins, and Iron Hammer for the Mohists
  • Birds of a Feather: Ge Nie and Duanmu Rong are both very calm and cold. They're also an example of Opposites Attract, with her as a divine doctor, and he a swordsman. Also, Gao Jianli is a musician with a "Cold Water Sword," and his love interest is Snowlady, a dancer.
  • Bishounen: White Phoenix, White Phoenix, White Phoenix. Also Zhang Liang, younger Wei Zhuang, Ink Crow, and Long Ju, which was lampshaded by Tian Ming when he took off his helmet.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The series has a large use of Bloodless Carnage. (With Ah Gang's death being an exception) But in Season 5, the first episode shows an assassin's hands getting cut off onscreenand an imposter!Li Si getting impaled into a pillar with a visible stain of blood on it after he escapes. It gets worse from there...
    • Birdsong In Hollow Valley shows a lot more blood than the rest of the series before Season 5, mainly Ji Wuye's piercing arrow going right through Ink Crow's chest and later Ink Crow's No Holds Barred Beat Down on Ji Wuye.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tian Ming gets picked on by other characters, crashes into places, and makes a lot of laughable mistakes. To a lesser extent, Dao Zhi, Hidden Bat, and Gongsun Ling Long have shades of this.
  • Celibate Hero: Ge Nie, according to the official materials, doesn't want his life as a swordsman to hurt the ones he loves. It doesn't work (see Official Couple below).
  • The Coats Are Off: Wei Zhuang takes off his long black coat when fighting Ge Nie; he puts it back on when facing anyone else.
  • Combat Medic: Duanmu Rong is a genius doctor, but she can also fight pretty well with her silver needles.
  • Cool Big Sis: Duanmu Rong is one towards Yue'er.
  • Cool Old Guy: Old Man Ban (also Master Xu, and the Daoist Xiao Yao Zi)
  • Cool Sword: A lot of them. Gao Jianli's is literally "cool," and can create icicles.
  • Creepy Child: Star Wraith.
  • Curtains Match the Window:
    • Long Ju has red hair and red eyes.
    • Wei Zhuang has silver eyes and white hair.
  • Cute Mute: Priestess of Birth never speaks, and Yue'er seems on her way to becoming one.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Gao Yue, Ge Nie, Snowlady, Crimson Snake, Wei Zhuang, Iron Hammer, White Phoenix...actually, it'd be easier to list who doesn't have a dark and troubled past.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season 5, where one scene shows a horse getting beheaded, a soldier attempting to rape a girl in the middle of searching for casualties of a village, a prison guard that Dao Zhi pretends to befriends get stabbed to death helping him escape, Fu Su gets poisoned, Shi Lan being choked to death by her brother, and it goes on.
  • Death by Origin Story:
    • Nong yu and Ink Crow in White Phoenix's past.
    • Ah Jing and Ah Gang in Iron Hammer's past.
    • Kuang Xiu in Gao Jianli's past.
    • Ji Wuye in Crimson Snake's past.
  • Declaration of Protection: Gao Jianli lets go of his earlier hostility and vows to protect Ge Nie when the latter falls after his battle with Wei Zhuang. The other Mohists follow his lead and stand beside him afterwards.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Duanmu Rong towards Ge Nie, Snowlady towards Gao Jianli in her backstory.
  • Demoted to Extra: Yue'er in Seasons 3,4 and 5; although she's officially the female lead, she gets less screen time than most of the side characters. Ge Nie also takes much less prominence than he did before, as the focus shifts to Tianming and the Agriculturalists.
    • The Mohists get this as well for the second half of season 3 and most of season 4, except for Master Ban, Pao Ding, and Dao Zhi, although this is justified as they all become wanted criminals and have to hide, and they have limited access to the outside world. However at the beginning of season 5, they start appearing more regularly.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Crimson Snake and Snow lady have one in season 3.
  • Distressed Damsel: Yue'er at the end of season 2, being forcefully taken away from Tianming by the Moon Goddess.
  • Distressed Dude: Dao Zhi gets subdued and captured by Zhang Han at the beginning of season 5.
    • Subverted. It's actually a ruse so the Mohists can locate Pao Ding's prison.
    • Long Ju makes his debut in season 5 being captured along with this tribe members.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Dao Zhi towards Duanmu Rong. Initially, Shaoyu is this when he's trying to make friends with Shi Lan. Gao Jianli was also very persistent when he was chasing Snowlady.
  • Downer Ending: Almost every season, where each ending gets worst than the previous one. Season 2 ends with Yue'er being kidnapped by The Moon Goddess, Duanmu Rong falling to a deep coma, and Tian Ming stabbing Ge Nie in the back. Season 3 ends with Tian Ming, Shaoyu, and Shi Lan getting attacked by the Priestess of Death and the guards in Sanghai, Tian Ming finally sees Yue'er again only being unable to even cry out her name, and later cries on Shaoyu's shoulder when he can't do anything to save her. Finally, season 4 ends by having all of the Mohists' hiding spot being discovered by Meng Tian, forcing them to escape, only to run into the Quicksand when they leave the secret passageway. The flower that teacher Xun provided that could cure Duanmu Rong's coma gets destroyed. Pao Ding gets captured by Zhao Gao. Tian Ming, Shaoyu, and Shi Lan are separated from the Mohists, and eventually crash land on the Mirage.
    • In Lady Xiang Descends, Lord Shun never returns to his wife, and Lady Xiang, still not revealed if she is E Huang or Nuying reveals her true colors as a full blown Yandere and kills the protagonist so he can never leave her.
  • Dramatic Thunder
  • The Empire: Qinshihuang's empire, no less!
  • Evil Red Head: Zhao Gao is on his way to being this, though his character design was already a giveaway.
  • Eye Catch: At the beginning of season 3, the show shows a brief clip before commercials come in.
    • Season 3's Eye Catch shows Shaoyu and Tian Ming fighting off a couple of Mooks then it shifts to Yue'er praying.
    • Season 4 shows White Phoenix, Crimson Snake, Priest of Birth, and Priestess of Death. An army of Qin soldiers, a gate opens to show Zhao Gao behind it. Then it transitions to Ge Nie and Wei Zhuang facing on, then Tian Ming, Shaoyu, and Shi Lan fighting against the Six Sword slaves, then to Yue'er praying.
    • Season 5 has a fan unfolding showing a different group each episode (Episode 1 shows the Yin-Yang Theorists, episode 3 shows the Quicksand, episode 4 shows the Mohists etc.), then it flips to show the Qin empire. Wei Zhuang and Ge Nie about to face off, A Yin-Yang theorist, then it shifts Yue'er summoning a fire while Tian Ming, Shaoyu, and Shi Lan appear in the bottom charging towards the screen.
  • Flirting Under Fire: One-sided from Dao Zhi towards Priestess of Birth. She's more interested in trying to kill him.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's a historical fantasy. The directors will follow the basic turns of history - Shaoyu (the future Xiang Yu) will overthrow the Qin dynasty ending up with Shi Lan, who was revealed as the Consort Yu, Gao Jianli will eventually be blinded and later killed, and Long Ju will die in battle.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a fork in the road when the trio (Shaoyu, Tianming, and Yue'er) are walking through the Mohist sacred grounds. Tianming and Yue'er choose to go down the "Paladin" path, Shaoyu goes down the "King" path. In history, he goes on to become Xiang Yu, the Western Chu Hegemon King.
  • Glass Cannon: Ink Crow was able to give Ji Wuye a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, but this was after he was fatally wounded by his piercing arrows.
  • Going Down with the Ship: The Mohist head says that "the captain is the last to leave the ship," and dies as the mechanical pieces goes to pieces around him. Tianming tries to invoke it when they're running from the Qin forces (as usual) towards the end of Season 4.
  • Handicapped Badass: Ge Nie is just recovering from an almost fatal battle with 300 soldiers of Qin, a recent poisoning by Chilian, and then a stab in the back by Dark Kirin. when he fights Wei Zhuang in Season 3. He still manages to hold a sword to Wei Zhuang's throat.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Quicksand, by the influence of Zhang Liang, become allies with the Mohists against the Qin Empire.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tianming and Shaoyu, Zhang Liang and Yan Lu, White Phoenix and Ink Crow when they were still serving the Han General
  • Historical Domain Character: Shaoyu, Shi Lan, Zhang Liang, Han Xin, Xun Zi, Long Ju, and the entire Qin Empire.
  • Historical Fantasy
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • At the season 2 finale, Duanmu Rong blocks White Phoenix's feather to protect Ge Nie.
    • A soldier assigned to guard Dao Zhi's cell in the Gnawing Teeth prison dies in the process of helping him escape and hopefully allowing him to return to his kingdom. Although it turns out Dao Zhi lied about originating from the same kingdom as him just to Troll him.
  • Hypnotizethe Princess: Crimson Snake does this to Yue'er, the princess of Yan in Season 1.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Dao Zhi wears bronze weights on his legs. It's serious business when he takes them off.
  • Idiot Hero: Tian Ming
  • Ill Boy: Tian Ming, having a curse mark on his nape.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Duanmu Rong shot down three of White Phoenix's birds with her needles. Likewise, Yan Lu deflected a pebble that Zimu flung at Tian Ming by flicking another pebble at it.
    • Zhongli Mei can hit targets around corners with his arrows.
  • Jerkass: Confucius Disciple Zimu. He bullies Tian Ming, gangs up on Shi Lan and The Unparalleled Demon, and lies to Fu Nian to get away with things. Tian Ming wasn't surprised to see that he keeps the same behavior towards his friends too.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Crimson Snake, seductive, often accompanied by poisonous snakes, and uses a Whip Sword, is the Dark Feminine to Snow Lady's Light Feminine, an elegant dancer who fights with dancing scarves.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: As expected of a show whose 3rd season is titled "A Hundred Schools of Thought."
  • Magic Dance: Snowlady's most famous dance is actually an attack that's supposed to bring death. It's how she kills the noble Yan Chun in her backstory episode.
  • Magic Knight: Xiao Yao Zi, and the Taoists in general.
  • Meaningful Name: Multiple. Asides from the epithets for the members of the Quicksand assassins, Gao Jianli's sword's name is Shuihan, meaning that it's the "Cold Water Sword." Iron Hammer's weapon is an... iron hammer. Xiao-yu's name means "little rain in the sky" (because that's what it was like when she was born). Gao Yue experiences more of a Meaningful Rename, though being called "Moon" in a series called "Qin's Moon" is already pretty significant.
  • Mind Rape: Multiple examples of this. The Moon Goddess to Tianming, Star Wraith to that random Mo family mook, Chilian to Xuenu, Chilian to Yue'er in the first season...
  • Mind Screw: The OVA, Lady Xiang Descends, is full of this.
  • Mood Dissonance: Happens often. Mostly it's when light-hearted music plays during what would otherwise be a very serious scene.
  • Mood Whiplash: In Gao Jianli's past, he and Jing Ke are sitting by a log, all bloodied and battered up, mourning the death of Kuang Xiu. Jing Ke then tries to comfort him by offering some of his wine, only for Gao Jianli to drink all of it, causing Jing Ke to whine about how he has no more wine as the nearest wine shops are hundreds of kilometers away.
  • Morph Weapon: Tianming's Fei Gong, which can morph into a variety of things, including a sword, a clawshot, a giant wheel, a shield, a pogo stick...
  • Mystical White Hair: Snowlady has this. Wei Zhuang too, though his is more of the other variety. Season 5's new character, Xiao Meng, has white hair along with several streaks of navy blue.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Gao Jianli drinks a lot of very strong wine, but it doesn't show. Subverted with Jing Ke, who is clearly drunk when he and Gao Jianli first meet (though this may also be a double subversion, since it doesn't stop Jing Ke from beating up a room full of assassins).
  • Not So Different: Tianming realizes that he and the Mechanical Unmatchable Demon are this when he finds the former assassin in a gully, and can't bear to hurt him. Later, they become friends. Wei Zhuang also tries this on Ge Nie at the end of their battle in Season 3.
  • Odd Friendship: Wei Zhuang, amoral leader of the Quicksand assassin group, and Zhang Liang, a Confucius scholar and stalwart ally of the Mohist rebels, have an extensive backstory together and get along as well as Wei Zhuang ever gets along with anybody.
  • Official Couple: Ge Nie and Duanmu Rong, to the point that Star Q calls them Qin's Moon "number 1 official couple." They're described as reciprocating love and respect on the official relationship chart. Snowlady and Gao Jianli also qualify, noted as "lovers" on the said official relationships chart. Star Q has fun with this and releases wallpapers on Valentines day and Tanabata.
  • Off-Model: The Super-Deformed Spin-Off has loads of them. Examples include White Phoenix randomly being replaced by Ge Nie for two shots, White Phoenix having brown hair, Duanmu Rong and Yue'er randomly being replaced by Crimson Snake, The Unparalleled Demon's whole jaw going missing for a single frame, and this isn't even all of them...
  • Old Master: Master Guigu (who taught Ge Nie and Wei Zhuang), Master Xiaoyao of the Daoists.
  • The Only One Allowedto Defeat You: Subverted, then played straight. Wei Zhuang has no problem sending members from his assassin group after Ge Nie (Unmatchable Demon, Black Wolf King, Chilian, White Phoenix, Dark Kirin...), but once he's actually facing Ge Nie in the Mohist great hall, he declares that he is the only one who can kill Ge Nie.
  • Poisonous Person: Chilian usually comes in with a few snakes nearby, and it turns out her blood is a deadly poison.
  • Professional Killer: The entire Quicksand Assassin group. May have also been part of Ge N Ie's job under Qin.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Wei Zhuang, Zhang Liang, Snow lady, Yue'er after becoming Jiru Qianlong all have waist length hair.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Crimson Snake and Duanmu Rong. The former wears red, is a poison master, uses seduction techniques, and is otherwise very "hot." Duanmu Rong has a theme color closer to blue, is famed as a doctor who can cure any poison, and is also something of an Ice Queen. Could also apply to Crimson Snake and Snowlady, who both have tragic pasts. Usually, though, it's Crimson Snake and Snowlady (who wears a lot of blue) who face off, as Duanmu Rong is a non-combatant.
    • Tianming (red) and Shaoyu (blue) qualify as well.
    • Also Dao Zhi is the red to White Phoenix's blue.
  • Reforged Blade: Yuanhong (Ge Nie's sword, "Rainbow of the Pool") was once Canhong, which belonged to Jing Ke. Canhong was refined and reforged into Yuanhong when Jing Ke's assassination attempt failed.
  • The Reveal:
    • A minor one, if you're familiar with Chinese history. Shi Lan is that Mystical Waif's tribal name. Her real name is Xiao'yu... like the Beauty Yu, who was Xiang Yu's consort.
    • Also in Season 5, the mindless zombie-like Mook Tian Ming, Shaoyu, and Shi Lan are fighting is revealed to be Shi Lan's older brother.
  • The Rival:
    • Ge Nie to Wei Zhuang. Their sect revolves around this concept, with the mandate that only one of them can go on to change the world.
    • White Phoenix is this to Dao Zhi. They're often competing against each other on who's the fastest.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The crown prince of Yan hires Jing Ke to assassinate the man who would become the Qin emperor.
  • Scenery Porn: This series has a lot, ranging from the Mohist's Machinery City, The Confucius School, and Sparrow Pavilion. This all gets taken Up to Eleven in season 4 and 5, where every other frame could be used as a wallpaper.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Zhang Liang, occasionally mischievous and rebellious, is the manly man to Yan Lu's sensitive guy, who is more quiet and kinder. It shows a lot in wallpapers.
  • The Smart Guy: Zhang Liang.
  • Super-Deformed: The spin-off series and the first mobile game are drawn this way.
  • Super Speed: Both Dao Zhi and White Phoenix are very fast. White Phoenix is obsessed with his "games of speed," and being the fastest in general.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Shi Lan dresses as a boy while working as Pao Ding's assistant.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Wei Zhuang and Ge Nie.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Duanmu Rong (Tomboy) and Snow Lady (Girly Girl).
  • Trainingfrom Hell: Implied to be part of Chilian and Wei Zhuang's backstory, and one of the reasons why Chilian's blood is poisonous. Also, in Season 3, Tianming finds out that the Mohist head is Yue'er's father.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Shaoyu, Tianming, and Yue'er were this in season 2, though the boys would argue about which one is The Hero. By Season 4, Shi Lan has replaced Yue'er as the girl in their Power Trio.
  • The Voiceless: Priestess of Birth, who almost talked in her OVA only to be unable to. Kuang Xiu and the Six Sword Slaves also don't seem to have any speaking lines at all.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: Black Unicorn's reputation as the Quicksand Assassins' top assassin comes from this ability. It's great material for a very creepy scene in season 4.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Tianming is crying over his apparent uselessness when Ge Nie comforts him and says he really appreciates Tianming's ability to keep smiling... after all, it was because of Tianming that Ge Nie held on after he was injured in Season 1.
  • Whip Sword: Chilian has one which Wei Zhuang gave to her. It seems to be the same one Zi Nu used.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Tianming's mother, Li Ji, was supposed to be this. So far she has only been seen in a brief flashback in season 1.
  • World of Badass: Being a Wuxia genre, of course there'll be a lot of badasses! The Mobile RPGs turns this Up to Eleven where nearly every character, even the ones that don't fight, are recruitable party members.
  • World's Strongest Man: Shaoyu and Iron Hammer have a weight lifting competition when Shaoyu first arrives at the Mohist mountain. They lift a giant bronze tripod; Iron Hammer defers to Shaoyu, since he was only able to lift the tripod when he was eighteen, and Shaoyu is only fourteen. Justified, since Shaoyu (Xiang Yu) was historically known to have possessed inhuman strength.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Moon Goddess and The Priestess of Birth have purple hair. White Phoenix, Xiao Ling, Kuang Xiu, Tian Ming's mother and Canon Foreigner Xiao Li have blue hair. Xiao Meng on the other hand has white hair with navy blue streaks.
  • Young and in Charge: Xiao Meng is the grandmaster of the Taoist Heaven Clan despite being only eighteen years old. Also Tian Ming gets promoted to leader of the Mohists in season 3, though due to his age and inexperience the Mohists consider him such in name only and give him no actual authority.


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