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Mo Dao Zu Shi is still a Xianxia story, after all.

Warning: Spoilers Off applies to these pages. Proceed at your own risk.


Novel

Pre-Time Skip

  • Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan standing up to Wen Chao when Mianmian is chosen as bait for the Tortoise of Carnage. It certifies that Lan Wangji is truly a selfless hero, and that underneath Jin Zixuan's snobbishness lies a noble Hidden Heart of Gold. Of course, we can't forget when Wei Wuxian follows suit by mocking Wen Chao.
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  • Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji fighting the Tortoise of Carnage and winning. Keep in mind that the two don't have their swords and are wounded, but come out on top simply with a bit of planning, some Razor Wire and a cursed sword.
  • Wen Ning helping Wei Wuxian rescue Jiang Cheng and giving them a safe place to hide is both this and heartwarming, since going against his fellow clansmen and hiding their targets right under their noses takes a whole lot of guts, something that Wen Ning is noted to lack.
  • Even though it's a dark moment for Wei Wuxian, there's when he swears to Wen Chao that even if he dies, he'll come back as a ghost and haunt him and the Wen Sect until they meet their end. And he definitely keeps his words, just not in the way that either were expecting...
  • While it deviates from the novel, the scene in Episode 14 where Wei Wuxian arrives in Chongyang is as nightmarish as it is awe-striking. It's only a minute long and nothing actually happens yet, but it leaves one hell of an impression.
    • Episode 15 then expands on that with Wei Wuxian commanding the Army of the Dead to kill every Wen in sight (with the exceptions of Wen Chao and Wen Zhuliu) before slowly descending from above and personally torture the aforementioned two himself.
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    • While it was the start of a painful and eventually-tragic path for him, it's hard not to cheer him on when he destroys Wen Zhuliu's Golden Core and terrifies Wen Chao by properly revealing his face before impaling and tearing apart Wen Chao with resentful energy.
  • Wei Wuxian creating the Stygian Tiger Amulet from the cursed sword at the Xuanwu Cave. While it would eventually kickstart all the horrible events that followed, the scene was another glimpse at just how much power Wei Wuxian wielded.
  • Even if Jin Zixuan had proved himself to have a Hidden Heart of Gold early on, it's hard to deny that he had it coming when Wei Wuxian beat his face in for driving Jiang Yanli to tears (even if it was due to a misunderstanding that Jin Zixuan isn't at fault for).
    • The donghua seems to downplay this by having Wei Wuxian punch Jin Zixuan only once before coldly telling him to piss off. However, those actions alone were more than enough for Jin Zixuan to have a Jerkass Realization, unlike in the novel where it required outsiders explaining the situation and a maddened Wei Wuxian beating him up and screaming at him for Jin Zixuan to fully realize his mistake. Sometimes, less is more.
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  • Jiang Yanli herself gets one when she — ever so politely — dresses down Jin Zixun and the other cultivators that mocked Wei Wuxian during the hunt on Phoenix Mountain. Better yet is that no one is able to refute any of her arguments. Even if she didn't share her younger brother's skill in cultivation, her ability to reason while standing her ground would already make her a great sect leader.
  • While it brought about tragic and disastrous consequences, it's hard not to cheer Wei Wuxian on when he shows that he's not having any of Jin Zixun's bullcrap and bluntly calls Jin Guangshan out on trying to fill the Evil Power Vacuum that the Wen Sect left behind.
    Wei Wuxian: Sect Leader Jin, let me ask you something else. Do you think that, because the Qishan Wen Sect is gone, the Lanling Jin Sect has all right to replace it? Everything has to be given to you? Everyone has to listen to you? Looking at how the Lanling Jin Sect does things, I almost thought that it was the Qishan Wen Sect's empire all over again.
    • Lan Wangji gets a bit of his moment when Jin Guangyao criticizes Wei Wuxian's bluntness, to which Lan Wangji responds by curtly asking if Wei Wuxian was wrong. Jin Guangyao, who's as silver-tongued as they can be, admits that he's not wrong.
  • It's also a tearjerker, but the way Wei Wuxian resurrects Wen Ning in the donghua will give one goosebumps, being powerful enough to even stop the rain for a few seconds while he channels new life into the latter.
  • Even though they ended up being overruled and ignored, the bravery Lan Wangji and Mianmian showed in defending Wei Wuxian in front of several other cultivators is nevertheless commendable. Even the Venerated Triad, despite thinking that she vouched for the wrong guy, respected Mianmian for the way she stood up to her sect.
  • Despite barely recovering from his wounds and sharing his spiritual energy with Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji remains strong enough to fight thirty-three elders from his sect and come out the winner. It may not be the highlight of the flashback, but it's still a small detail that should be pointed out.

Post-Time Skip

  • Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi's fight against the ghost arm terrorizing Mo Village — a first glimpse at the action aspect of the series. They don't win, but they were able to put up a good fight and hold on long enough until Lan Wangji arrived in the nick of time.
  • While he slightly lost his touch with his flute-playing due to being dead for thirteen years, with a choppily-hacked flute Wei Wuxian (and by extension, Wen Ning) managed to subdue the ghost arm when it caused more trouble in Dafan Mountain.
    • It's underrated, but there's Lan Jingyi speaking up to Jiang Cheng, who's feared by almost everyone for his temper. He doesn't hesitate to point out that there's no sense with hitting Wei Wuxian with Zidian a second time to prove he's not really possessed, and in the donghua, even adds to Lan Wangji's defence that demonic cultivator or no, Wei Wuxian still saved their lives.
  • Everyone agrees that Wei Wuxian is at his most powerful in the donghua, which the second season proves as fact several times. While he was Willfully Weak in the first day of his resurrection, he shows that he hasn't rusted at all with his demonic cultivation. Case in point, he managed to bind a mutated Measuring Snake and break an ancient spell that was outright stated to be impossible to tamper with — and both times he wasn't exhausted at all. The only time he ever got taxed was when he transferred Jin Ling's Curse Mark onto himself, but that wasn't a result of overusing his powers.
  • While he argues with his uncle more often than not, even as he fears seriously angering said uncle, Jin Ling chooses to go behind Jiang Cheng's back and save Wei Wuxian as repayment for the latter saving his life at Xinglu Ridge.
  • Xue Yang deserves some credit for going toe-on-toe with Lan Wangji, the second strongest cultivator of his generation, for hours on end. Wei Wuxian even needed to distract him just so that Lan Wangji could land a decisive blow on the delinquent.
  • Lan Wangji silencing Su She and the latter's disciples when they continue to mock Wei Wuxian. Admit it, it felt very vindicating.
  • Wei Wuxian using nothing but his smarts and words to expose Su She in front of all the cultivators present during the Second Siege. Bonus points for him keeping his calm the whole time, even when almost everyone else in the room (barring Lan Wangji and the juniors) is itching to kill him.
  • The entire fight against the undead horde in the Demon-Slaughtering Cave.
  • Lan Sizhui and Ouyang Zizhen politely Shaming the Mob after they escaped the Burial Mounds by pointing out that had it not been for Wei Wuxian, none of them would even be alive. Sure, it doesn't stick for long, but at least even for just a minute someone was able to shut the stupid old men up.
  • While the scene is more of a tearjerker, Wen Ning still deserves props for summoning the courage to defend Wei Wuxian from Jiang Cheng by revealing the truth behind how he got back his golden core. Even when he's being repeatedly yelled at and shoved back, Wen Ning refuses to budge.
    • One must remember that he is loyal to Wei Wuxian, and thus does anything he says. Yet, even when Wei Wuxian explicitly told him not to, he chose to tell the truth to Jiang Cheng on his own volition — a first sign of him truly becoming his own person; which is something that Wei Wuxian also encouraged from him.
    • One must also remember that Jiang Cheng willingly took part in the murder of the last of Wen Ning's family. Even if you take Jiang Cheng's past into account, it doesn't change the fact that he participated in a slaughter of innocents. Of course, Wen Ning isn't vengeful enough to want Jiang Cheng dead in return, but it's hard to deny that his standing up to Jiang Cheng and not holding back with revealing the Awful Truth counts as some cathartic payback.
    • Special attention has to be brought to Wen Ning's short, if painfully blunt, "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jiang Cheng. All his life, Jiang Cheng has been belittled by everyone, including his own mother, as always falling one step behind of Wei Wuxian in terms of combat, cultivation, and overall talent; which is undeniably a Kick the Dog moment on their part. But when Wen Ning's saying that similar phrase, the meaning is completely different: Jiang Cheng may now be superior to Wei Wuxian in those aspects but when it comes to where it really matters, Jiang Cheng will always lose. The novel's ending even reflects this: Jiang Cheng's selfishness and anger granted him determination and power but also misery and grief, which he will take a lot of time to reconcile with; while Wei Wuxian's love and selflessness — in spite of his losses — ultimately brought him his long-earned happy ending.
  • Whether Nie Huaisang really masterminded everything is ultimately ambiguous; but if you choose to see Wei Wuxian's theory as the truth, then Nie Huaisang's entire Batman Gambit to take down Jin Guangyao as revenge for murdering Nie Mingjue is impressive. All the more so, since he pulls it off by doing what Jin Guangyao did when he plotted his brother's death: masterfully playing the innocent fool, using his knowledge of the people he knows to manipulate events to his advantage, and laying low for a long time until he finds the right moment to strike. And unlike Jin Guangyao, there's no solid evidence left for anyone to convict Nie Huaisang of anything.

Meta

  • Overall, the cast for the Animated Adaptation deserves praise for their voice acting. Most viewers who were introduced to Mo Dao Zu Shi through the donghua and haven't been exposed to Chinese voice-acting before are eventually won over by the second half of the first season due to the powerful and emotional performances of the voice actors, especially those of the three main leads.
  • It's more of a funny kind of awesome, but Wei Wuxian's audio drama voice actor (Lu Zhixing) deserves all the praise for nailing Wei Wuxian's entire Freak Out! upon encountering a dog in the Cloud Recesses, in a single take.
  • The entirety of the audio drama adaptation managed to clinch the top 1 spot on MissEvan, including the third season even before it aired.

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