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"'Wu' means martial arts, which signifies action, 'Xia' conveys chivalry. Wuxia. Say it gently... 'whooshah'... and it's like a breath of serenity embracing you. Say it with force, 'WuSHA!', and you can feel its power."
Samuel L. Jackson, "The Art of Action: Martial Arts in the Movies"

One of the oldest genres in Chinese literature, wǔxiá (武俠/武侠, literally "martial-arts chivalry" or "martial arts heroes", and pronounced roughly woo-sheah in Mandarin) stories are tall tales of honorable warriors (俠/侠 xiá) fighting against evil, whether it be an individual villain, or a corrupt government. Notable for melodrama, spectacular swordplay, and high-flying martial arts where the laws of physics, like gravity, are more suggestions than solid rules.

Although some wuxia stories are set in modern times, or even the future, most take place in the "Martial Arts World" of jiānghú (江湖, literally "rivers and lakes") a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial China.note  The jianghu is a "shared universe", populated by martial-artists and monks, wandering knights and beautiful princesses, thieves and beggars, priests and healers, merchants and craftsmen. The best wuxia writers draw a vivid picture of the intricate relationships of honour, loyalty, love and hate between individuals and between communities in this milieu. It is implicit that law and government are unjust, ineffective and/or corrupt, requiring the xia to settle differences by force moderated only by their chivalrous code, and often forcing them to live as outlaws despite their noble characters. In modern Chinese, perhaps as a result of these connotations of a separate world with its own rules, the term jianghu has taken on other meanings, including the underworld or criminal gangs.


A more romantic term known as wǔlín (武林,literally "Martial Forest") is used when one wants to talk specifically about the world of martial artists and warriors, divorced from the ugly connotations of criminality that jianghu has come to embody. Wulin is basically a majestic way of saying "the World of Warriors".

Modern works often incorporate outside themes and ideas, allowing the genre to develop, and in turn wǔxiá themes and visual styles have strongly influenced Western media, especially in cinema. In a similiar vein to J. R. R. Tolkien and High Fantasy, Jin Yong, Gu Long, and Liang Yusheng proliferated the modern wuxia genre.

In recent years, another genre known as xiānxiá (仙俠, "Immortal Hero") has developed, referred to on this wiki as the Spirit Cultivation Genre. This genre places more emphasis on Supernatural Martial Arts, and specifically on the practitioners becoming progressively stronger over time.


Compare Sword and Sorcery, High Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy, and Swashbuckler. The Japanese equivalent is Jidaigeki, particularly the chanbara subgenre. (Interestingly, the term wuxia was originally a calque of the Japanese bukyo. In Japan, however, the term bukyo has since faded into obscurity). The closest American equivalent is The Western, especially regarding its hazy boundary with Weird West. For the 2011 movie titled Wu Xia, see Swordsmen.

Common tropes include:

  • Academy of Evil: If the story leans heavily toward martial arts, expect one or more of these to exist in the setting.
  • Action Girl: There are plenty of damsels in distress, but female martial-artists have a long history in the genre.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: One of the side effects of having to put an end to a very powerful villain is the loss of a great talent in the world.
  • Ambition Is Evil: One of the stock aesops, especially in stories that deconstruct To Be a Master.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Pretty much a standard feature.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: If the setting involves multiple sects, chances are the head of the sect will be one of the top-tier fighters in the wulin...or at the very least, the main character will expect a tough fight.
  • Ax-Crazy: Some villains in the genre qualify as this.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Wuxia is essentially the source-material for the unarmed combat monk trope, drawn from real-life Chinese monks who practiced martial arts.
  • Battle Couple: In the world of wuxia where both the guys and the girls can kick ass, romances will often take this form.
  • Blood Brothers: The relationship of "sworn brothers" is a central feature of the genre. The "Peach Garden Oath" of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei in Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a particularly famous example.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Indicates that someone has really, really overspent their chi.
  • Byronic Hero: Some stories have "heroes" with barely-controlled vices. Expect them to kill people in a fit of rage, and then lament upon it when their clarity return. This usually exist in older works.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Mostly averted in literature. Although bucketloads of fancy moves and techniques are described and named in wuxia genre, very few characters actually shout them out during fights (although it's more common to do so in film and TV, as it saves time). The names of the moves are generally introduced in the following ways:
    • By a bystander of a fight: "Is that not the [insert move name] of the legends?"
    • By the teacher of that move: "The one I just taught you is no other than the famed [insert move name]".
    • By the narrator themself: "Little do they know that the move they faced is no other than the [insert move name]."
  • Cast from Hit Points/Cast from Lifespan: Some of the more exotic and dangerous techniques literally work like this, usually from requiring extreme amounts of qi, which is literally life force.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The basis of many special powers and abilities is presented as long, arduous training, often from childhood.
  • Chick Magnet: 99% of the male leads of these stories.
  • Chop Sockey: This is a loaded and rather disrespectful term, but may apply in movies depending on the production values.
  • Clothing Combat: The more fantasy-based wuxia are prone to having an Action Girl who whaps people with sleeves.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Any character with any loyalty at all can expect to be tested.
  • Cool Old Guy/Cool Old Lady: Whether it is the old shīfu who teaches the heroes martial arts, or the venerable sage who administers the Secret Test of Character, the tradition of respect for age makes these standard character types.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Secret martial techniques often feature, sometimes simply as the powers of characters, sometimes as goals of quests, sources of jealousy, causes of rivalry etc.
  • Dark Action Girl: And it would be the challenge for the heroes to tame them. Don't expect them to surrender anything, though.
  • The Dark Arts: Any respectable martial arts school will have a sub-style that its students aren't meant to learn, because it will lead them toward...
  • The Dark Side
  • Deadly Upgrade
  • Deceptive Disciple: The student who betrays their master (a very serious breach of filial piety in traditional Chinese belief), frequently becomes the Big Bad or at least The Dragon.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang
  • Driven by Envy: Villains are often motivated by jealousy of heroes' success, favour shown them by masters, beautiful girls, etc.
  • Dueling Dojos: Technically, duelling guǎn, since we're in China.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: And if you're in a fantasy story, expect him to be an Evil Sorcerer as well.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: From unassuming tavern owners and beggars to members of royal houses, old and disabled men to youthful maidens, monks from varying belief systems to soldiers of great empires, this is all over the place, though generally there's some narrative focus other than just the fighting. And if there's someone without martial arts skills, you can expect that they're probably a Badass Normal in one way or another.
  • Evil Chancellor: The "good emperor, evil chancellor" trope appears again and again.
  • Evil Former Friend: Having one seems to be part of being a shīfu. Don't worry, even if you can't win against them, your disciple(s) will take care of the matter.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Expect heroes and villains to be be obsessed with defeating each other, to the point that it becomes the raison d'etre of their life.
  • Genre Turning Point: In film, Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983, Tsui Hark) was the first movie to combine Hong Kong action cinema with western special effects technology, resulting in visually-stunning displays of Supernatural Martial Arts.
  • A God Am I: Some villains will behave like this. It's up to the hero(es) to correct them. Occasionally someone actually is trying to become a god, or in any case immortal; you spend years studying.
  • Gun Fu: For modern settings.
  • Happily Married: Though it often does not last, leading to a Roaring Rampage of Revenge... unless they're a Battle Couple. Not a guarantee, however.
  • Heir to the Dojo: Given the nature of martial art schools in this genre, there tend to be certain characters who are chosen by their master as a successor. Xianxia has another particularly popular variant—characters going into ruins of ancient long-gone sects, discovering and passing some sort of a test in order to gain their "inheritance", ranging from techniques to artefacts to bound servants (bound immortal demons and the like).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Very common, particularly in the context of Blood Brothers (see above).
  • Honor Before Reason: The code of xia embodies this trope.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Anyone who wields a sword or saber will have this.
  • Important Haircut: Hair cutting, or refusing to cut it, has had important implications in Chinese culture and history (as in Serious Business-level important), making this a trope that appears quite often.Context 
  • Improvised Weapon: Chopsticks, furniture, musical instruments, gardening tools, painting brushes. Basically, you name it...
  • In a Single Bound: Anyone who can fight can do this.
  • Instant Expert: Wuxia, particularly those in the Shōnen Demographic, has an enormous gulf between how long learning a new style is supposed to take and how quickly the protagonist actually learns it. Zhang Wuji learns the Heaven and Earth Great Shift in the span of hours, despite the fact that it's meant to take years. It's usually due to some Applied Phlebotinum.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Swordfighting while running up and down the edge of a cliff is considered pretty normal here.
  • Ki Manipulation: Technically qi or chi attacks.note 
  • King of the Homeless: In the stories where they appear, the head of the Beggars' Sect is this; the gang has allegedly been around since the Han Dynasty, and the head of the gang tends to be not only one of the strongest fighters in the setting, but also has access to a very large spy network thanks to many beggars in their ranks. Said beggars themselves are no slouch in a fight.
  • Knight Errant: Every hero in the genre. Indeed, the "xia" part of "wuxia" is often translated as 'knight-errant'.
  • Kung-Fu Sonic Boom: Introduced in the late 90s, this effect is increasingly common in recent series. In the early and mid-90s, they're usually represented by a series of explosions traveling outward from the fighters.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Magic-users are capable of just as much asskicking as everyone else when it comes to kung fu. Unlike the western wizards, who are basically bookworm scholars, wuxia magicians are usually Taoist priests or their equivalent who had to master their bodies before attempting to master magic.
  • Lady of War: Many female xia qualify as this.
  • Lonely at the Top: A problem that plagues every shīfu, good or evil. Some of them will raise disciples just so they can have someone to spar with as equal.
    • This is sometimes a genre flaw, especially in xianxia novels where the protagonists eventually become so insanely strong that they have no equal.
  • Love Dodecahedron
  • Love Triangle
  • Manly Tears: To be shed once someone dies, regardless of alignment.
  • Martial Pacifist: Also pretty much a standard, though less so in xianxia, where it's common to see protagonists search for fights in their attempt to become immortals.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: And sometimes, it's thicker than blood.
  • Master Swordsman: Almost everyone who's wielding a sword will be this.
  • McNinja: Despite being generally set in China, wuxia films commonly feature characters dressed in stereotypical black ninja-like costume and utilizing stealth tactics. However, many are typically not so stealthy; a recurring theme is for one to sneak about only until they reach their intended victim, then straight up burst into the room and engage the target in a Sword Fight.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Played straight and subverted in equal measure. Sometimes mentors will simply declare that they have nothing left to teach the protagonist and fade into the background; other times, they are killed to provoke the protagonist.
  • Noble Demon: Quite common as the primary antagonist or Big Bad, especially in fiction set in Imperial China. As Masters are expected to act with civility and decorum, many villainous characters thus still hold on to a Code of Honour. It is not unusual for the villain to spare the hero simply because the hero is not in the villain's league or because they were a Worthy Opponent. It's equally common for bitter enemies to share tea or wine over philosophical debates before the fisticuffs start.
  • Old Master: Lots of these. Anyone addressed as shīfu will inevitably be one.
  • Omnipresent Tropes: There's a genre typically set in an ancient/medieval time long past, where Sword and Sorcery worlds of adventure are populated by magical creatures and races, wild animals, valiant knights on horseback, wizards and mystics, bandits, barbarians, vagabonds, dragons, lone wolf types, fair princesses, nobles of variable morality, and dark lords seeking power. A hero from a peasant village must rise to overcome the odds and restore justice to the land, and along their journey, they'll meet a variety of unusual characters and often be taught by a mentor figure. Now, are we talking about wuxia or European fantasy?
    • Both developed independently of each other, but due to universals of the human condition, they wound up becoming remarkably similar, with personal qi cultivation rather than divine enchantment being a primary difference with the more common usage of kung-fu also being a major point of contrast. Whereas Western fantasy almost universally leaves hand-to-hand combat to the realm of drunken tavern fights, wuxia add many styles of kung-fu to the mix.note 
  • One-Man Army: Pretty much any character of note can decimate an entire squadron on their own (if they have any kung fu skill).
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You
  • The Paragon Always Rebels
  • Patriotic Fervor: Stories are often very pro-Chinese.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil
  • Pressure Point: Pretty much the Trope Codifier.
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: There are plenty of these, though many suffer from the Standard Female Grab Area problem.
  • Psycho Serum: Usually in the form of pills.
  • Rebellious Princess: Often combined with the Lady of War.
  • Recursive Crossdressing
  • Red Shirt Army: If there's a large group of soldiers, expect them to be this.
  • Rival Turned Evil
  • Roof Hopping: Very, very, very common.
    • Generally in East Asian fantasy, leaping as if weightless has been more common than outright flying, but it's sometimes used as a transition between "normal" jumping and full-fledged flight.
  • She-Fu: Not to be confused with shīfu ("master"), which is pronounced (roughly) "shrfu" in Mandarin.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The relationships between feisty action maidens and heroes can venture deep into Tracy-Hepburn territory.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Most wuxiá stories are deep in the idealistic side.
  • Stock Wushu Weapons: Expect traditional wushu weapons like the jiannote , qiangnote , chuinote , and numerous others to show up in these media.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Especially in xianxia.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Rather common, especially in early Shaw Brothers movies. Cheng Pei-Pei and Hsu Feng donned male disguises in more than five of their films.
  • Sword and Sorcery: Quite literally the Chinese version of this trope, to an almost uncanny degree despite the genres developing entirely independently.
  • Three-Point Landing: Usually not too exaggerated, though common.
  • Training from Hell: Many wuxia heroes typically have to go through this to get badass.
  • Treacherous Advisor: A must-have in stories of palace intrigue.
  • Tsundere: If The Hero is a guy, expect every martial-arts-capable lady he meets to be like this. Every single one of them.
  • Ur-Example: Most modern action shōnen manga, due to being inspired by the very wuxia-influenced Dragon Ball and Fist of the North Star, can trace their roots back to this and xianxia. Many tropes that define shonen—Supernatural Martial Arts, screaming while powering up, bystanders commenting on the main fight, exaggerated senses of honor and friendship, Ki Manipulation, Battle Auras, Golden Super Mode, Calling Your Attacks, and much more—started out in wuxia and xianxia tales hundreds of years ago.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Numbers of overpowered villains introduced early on in a series are usually left in the dust when the main characters get rapidly stronger.
  • Wax On, Wax Off
  • Waif-Fu
  • Wainscot Society
  • Warrior Monk
  • Wire Fu: Used in films to perform exaggerated feats of qinggong ("light body skill"). It should be noted that this is an actual skill, but real-life qinggong doesn't look like Wire Fu—it's much closer in spirit to Le Parkour.
  • World of Badass: Named characters in any work are usually able to kill a normal human in one strike. Not that there's very many muggles, mind you...
  • Worthy Opponent: A wuxia villain is nearly always someone who could have been a hero, but went down the wrong path somewhere.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam was heavily inspired by wuxia. In fact the director, Yasuhiro Imagawa, rather likes wuxia, which also shows up to a greater degree in Giant Robo and less so in Shin Mazinger.
  • Samurai Champloo is an example of this trope, with each member of the Power Trio exemplifying a different sub-trope: Character/Mugan is a Blood Knight who is Walking the Earth; Jin is a Knight Errant & Master Swordsman, and Fuu is on The Quest.
  • The first season of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED can be read as a loose adaptation of Jin Yong's The Heaven Sword And Dragon Saber novel, especially concerning Kira as a rewrite of the kind-pacifist turned Warrior-God Jang Wu-ji, on top of being a loose adaptation of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series with more modern Gundam elements.
  • Dragon Ball, which was loosely based on Journey to the West, is perhaps the most famous wuxia property in the world, despite being a Japanese parody of the genre. Several of its characters are even expies/parodies of characters from major Golden Harvest and Shaw Brothers martial arts films of the '70s and '80s, and some of the plot events and techniques are also either greatly inspired by or directly lifted from those films. The Z portion of the story, meanwhile, is one of the forerunners of the xianxia genre, focusing as it does on martial artists battling gods and beings of similar power.
  • YuYu Hakusho is an example of fusing wuxia with Bōsōzoku protagonists.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has become this through a combination of Writer Revolt and gradual Genre Shift. Also magic.
  • Fist of the North Star has all the elements of wuxia... other than being set in a post-nuclear-apocalyptic Earth where law and order has all but ceased to exist, rather than a corrupt one. Its prequel Fist of the Blue Sky is actually closer in style and spirit to classical wuxia. Being set in Shanghai during the twilight years of classical China helps.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, though originally more of a simple high school fighting shonen/satire, as the plot gradually moves forward it becomes more and more like a modern-day wuxia, as Kenichi becomes increasingly involved in his masters relationships and rivalries, as well as the rivalries/friendships Kenichi himself builds with their rivals and their rivals disciples. The world Kenichi lives in has also been shown to have a well-developed and complicated secret martial arts world, which most of the more "normal" cast are entirely ignorant of at the start, much like the Wulin concept.
  • Ranma ½ is more of a comedic parody, but still retains the elements of everybody using supernatural and fantastic martial arts against a backdrop of ancient Chinese techniques, legends, and curses. The overall aesthetic, underscore (and merchandise) of the manga/anime is Chinese-influenced, and the main character himself, in spite of being fully Japanese, even dresses regularly in Chinese clothing.
  • Sword Art Online steadily begins to adopt elements from the wuxia genre from Fairy Dance onwards, and they become more pronounced from the Mother's Rosario and Alicization onward. These include Dedicated Schools of Martial Arts, Inter-Sword-School Rivalries, Young Prodigies seeking challenges in a Worthy Opponent, Striving To Leave A Legacy of Hope, Rivals Bound By Honor fighting side by side as Brothers in Arms, Ancient Techniques passed down as legacies of friendships, the Training Montage, Close and Loving Friendships Between Sworn Brothers and Sisters, not to mention elegant and balletic sword-battles reminiscent of those choreographed by Kung Fu Film Luminary Yuen Woo-Ping. "Phantom Bullet" is more of a tribute to the post-apocalyptic cyberpunk genre and Star Wars, the latter of which is itself a wuxia saga Recycled IN SPACE!.
  • Two different manga by Oh! Great effectively become this over time: Tenjho Tenge is a straight example, with each of the characters having long histories, internal and external conflicts between bloodlines, clans, teachers, and fighting styles. The other is Air Gear, which does pretty much the exact same formula, except instead of magical kung-fu they use magical motorized inline skates.
  • The King of Fighters has an ongoing manga that is heavily influenced by wuxia manhua, which is perhaps expected giving its artist and writer have a great deal of experience drawing and writing for that particular comic genre.
  • Hero Tales, a manga by Huang Jin Zhou (a unit composed of Hiromu Arakawa, Genco and Studio Flag), is inspired by wuxia drama and novels.
  • Iron Kid is heavily influenced by this and Steampunk.
  • Unexpectedly, Girls und Panzer der Film. All characters are practitioners of a fictional martial art. Everybody is doing impossible, reality-defying, jumps and leaps. The action scenes are deliberately depicted in fast camera. Martial artists band together due to honor and duty. Masked fighters attack as part of an ambush. Heirs to rival martial arts schools have an epic showdown. The fictional martial art is sensha-do, the Way of the Tank. Yes, it's seriously wuxia with tanks.


  • Beware of Chicken takes a xianxia world and sets out to defy or subvert most of the associated tropes, starting with the main character choosing to be a farmer, instead of a cultivator, and going from there. The titular chicken, however, has a more classical attitude, training himself in moon-style martial arts to vanquish evil (foxes, insects, etc), honour his master, and protect the great "Fa Ram".
  • Water Margin, a novel dating from the fourteenth century, is probably the earliest example, although it is clearly based on even earlier folk stories. Especially influential in defining the Jiānghú world.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms, again probably written during the fourteenth century, but based on earlier histories.
  • Journey to the West, still another classic novel, probably fifteenth century in this case, also based on earlier folk stories.
  • The novels and short stories of Jin Yong, Gu Long, and Liang Yusheng, the great masters of modern wuxia literature. Among Jin Yong's works, the following have pages on TV Tropes, arranged in chronological order of publication:
  • One of the legends in Hitherby Dragons is a wuxia parody/homage.
  • Despite martial arts not being the center of their plots, Bridge of Birds and the other Master Li & Number Ten Ox novels by Barry Hughart are set in, "an ancient China that never was", that is a clear homage to Chinese mythology and the wuxia genre. He lists Romance of the Three Kingdoms among his main influences.
  • The Judge Dee novels and short stories draw on many wuxia elements. Ciao Tai is a typical gentleman-outlaw swordsman character, and his best friend Ma Joong is the kung-fu master.
  • The Dragon Series by Laurence Yep.
  • Way of Choices is solidly xianxia.
  • Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi is a very toned down xianxia.
  • Qian Qiu is filled to the brim with xianxia lore even amidst all the subplots involving politics in a Decadent Court and where each character stands in a world filled with Grey-and-Gray Morality.
  • Moribito: A chance encounter with the royal procession and one act of heroism later, Balsa finds herself a guest at the Imperial Court—where the Second Queen learns of her vow to atone for the eight lives she took by saving eight lives in return. After hearing her story, she asks Balsa to take her son and make him the eigth life she saves. Thus begins an epic quest to save a young prince, the mysterious egg inside him, and a country.
  • Jade Dynasty and its adaptations (video game, film, and drama) are all in the xianxia sub-genre.
  • A Martial Odyssey by Kay Tea is a definite xianxia.
  • Novoland is in the xianxia subgenre.
  • The Langya List: Martial arts aren't the story's main focus, but Mei Changsu leads a martial arts alliance and the titular Langya List is a ranking of martial artists.
  • Zen Cho's novella The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a English language homage to Wuxia fiction, and combines the genre with Queer Romance.

    Live-Action TV 

    Manhwa and Manhua 
  • The Breaker, Veritas, Now, and Ping are all Korean manhwa that use wuxia tropes.
  • Ravages of Time, as it is based on The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms.
  • Weapons of the Gods (which the RPG below is based on) and basically all of Wong Yuk Long's works such as Dragon Tiger Gate.
  • The Celestial Zone
  • Chinese Hero, the epic manhua saga by the author of The Storm Riders, starting with Chinese fighters defending Chinese pride against racists in America with martial arts before moving on to other settings.
  • Id uses many wuxia tropes and mixes them with Norse and Christian mythology.

    Music Videos 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The AD&D-derived game Dragon Fist has wuxia as its primary genre, again leaning toward fantasy.
    • 3.5 edition had the Tome of Battle sourcebook, with new classes (similar to the fighter, monk and paladin) which drew on wuxia influences to soften the effects of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. It is often regarded as the best 3.5 book ever printed, though some players derogatorily refer to it as The Book of Weaboo Fightan Magic.
    • 4th Edition mentions this in the Dungeon Master's Guide as one of the various campaign styles you can run.
  • The 69 A.D. juncture of Feng Shui lends itself quite well to wuxia stories, particularly those of a more fantastic bent. As does the 690 A.D. juncture from the 2nd edition of the game.
  • As do the Period Martial Arts and Bizarre Fantasy genres from Hong Kong Action Theatre.
  • As a genre which is focused on awesome stunts, personal interactions, and a small group of people being vastly more powerful than anyone else, wuxia has inspired a number of RPGs:
    • Weapons Of The Gods and its successor Legends of the Wulin are epic systems designed to showcase both the variety of kung fu techniques and the high power level of wuxia - "Ranked Fighters" (AKA Xia) can literally take down dozens of nameless mooks right out the gate, and character abilities deal with destiny, the wills of heaven and hell, and the fate of all of China (though it does have a lot of detail in its musings on cultural detail).
    • At the opposite end of the spectrum, Qin The Warring States has much greater realism. Such tricks as walking on water or disabling two foes with a single sword stroke are exceedingly difficult, and starting characters will have some trouble facing even three or four ordinary thugs. Many brands of Chinese mysticism are also examined, including oddities such as Internal Alchemy.
  • Jadeclaw is essentially a furry wuxia RPG.
  • Exalted: Its stunts, martial arts and Charms are specifically set up to support wuxia-style play.
  • The world setting and short stories connected to Zodiacs are heavily and openly influenced by wuxia, The Western, Samurai and the Viking Sagas.
  • The not-yet-released Far West is essentially a wuxia setting... modeled after the Wild West.
  • Tianxia is a wuxia RPG using the FATE system.
  • Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is yet another example of a game built with all of the conventions of the genre in mind, and it supports more grounded (though still Wire Fu) martial arts action as well as very high-power games like Exalted and Weapons of the Gods/Legends of the Wulin above, or a gradual escalation of power a la Kung Fu Hustle.


    Video Games 
  • 9 Monkeys of Shaolin is set in the Ming Dynasty and follows the usual wuxia themes, with your character embarking on a quest of revenge on the marauders who killed your family by training in the Shaolin temple. A lot of it's themes appears to be lifted directly from old-school kung fu films.
  • Bujingai uses this trope as its primary motif, although it takes place in the future of Japan.
  • The Dynasty Warriors series, obviously, since it's an action-based adaptation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Also notable in that, for someone who's not familiar with the original novel, the feats the characters in the games perform seem absolutely ridiculous, while reading the novel, you can tell that, yes, that's the way they were originally portrayed.
  • Freedom Planet takes place in a wuxia-style setting. It's one of the things that differentiates it from the Sonic the Hedgehog games it was inspired by.
  • Gaia Crusaders have a stage set in China which is lifted directly from wuxia cinema.
  • The Gladiator is a wuxia-themed Beat 'em Up action game, where a band of heroes in the Song Dynasty must stop an evil cult from taking over.
  • Some fighting games have been influenced by this genre. The original Mortal Kombat in particular has a strong wuxia vibe (the setting is very Eastern-themed, despite being developed entirely in the United States) but this was subsequently stripped away in later games.
  • Jade Empire is a Western RPG based on this.
  • Most video games actually made in China tend to have a wuxia theme, likely going on the principle that drives western developers to fall back on Tolkien when designing a Western RPG.
  • Kung Fu Chivalry, a beat-em-up/platformer for Macintosh computers, is basically a wuxia take on Double Dragon. Both player characters can perform In a Single Bound leaps and Ki Attacks, and at least two of the bosses have partial flight abilities.
  • Legend of Kay is the mixture with this, The Legend of Zelda, and furry.
  • Taito's The Legend of Kage and Demon Sword, although the latter also has Western medieval fantasy elements.
  • The Legend Of Silkroad, a Korean-made arcade game set in the eponymous road during the Ming Dynasty.
  • Asura's Wrath is a Sci-Fi meets Hindu Mythology version of wuxia.
  • New Legends combines wuxia with Steampunk. It's the Ming Dynasty, you play as a Warrior Prince out to avenge your father the Emperor against a tyrant who has a Kill Sat.
  • Extremely obscure Playstation offering T'ai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger is a classic Last of His Kind Roaring Rampage of Revenge story, with a bit of Power Copying along the way by learning the techniques of those he defeats. The eponymous T'ai Fu, a Panthera Awesome Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy trying to avenge his massacred clan and their Doomed Hometown, is cast more in a rebellious hero role than the traditional noble martial arts practitioner of most wuxia films.
  • Oriental Legend is another arcade duology inspired by Chinese myths, specifically Journey to the West.
  • Tale of Wuxia - well, it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria copies the setting into Azeroth with all of its fantastic races. A race of stone creatures serves as a reference to oppressive emperors, savage bull men stand in for Mongol invaders, furry hat wearing pygmies stand in for the Nepalese Sherpa and the Pandaren themselves represent the simple scholars, farmers and monks. Then the invasion of Alliance and Horde into Pandaria and a discovery of Titan Lost Technology drives the setting Off the Rails.
  • Blade & Soul is practically Wuxia: The MMORPG.
  • In Live A Live, the Imperial China chapter is supposed to be a wuxia tale, with an Old Master teaching his martial arts to three unexperienced but promising students before two of them are killed by a rival martial arts school. The master and the remaining student then go to the school and defeat the master Ou Di Wan Lee.
  • Swordsman is another MMORPG example, as is an earlier game (Jade Dynasty) by the same company.
  • In Shuyan Saga, wuxia is the focus of the game. Almost everyone seems to be a martial artist of some form or another.
  • The Xuan-Yuan Sword series, a Taiwanese RPG based on wuxia.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kikokugai -The Cyber Slayers- combines wuxia with cyberpunk and send it DEEP to the cynical territory. It's from nitro+.


    Web Original 
  • I Eat Tomatoes specialises in these, with many of his works sharing a universe including Coiling Dragon, Stellar Transformations and Desolate Era.
  • Though they're not particularly looking to use their skills, the protagonists of Feng Ling Yu Xiu are wandering martial artists.
  • Nocte Yin draws many elements from this, especially where the four great martial-art sects are concerned.
  • Forge of Destiny by Yrsillar on Sufficient Velocity Quest subforum, starring a former street rat Ling Qi who was scouted as a potential cultivator and sent to a local sect where her worldview and commoner status clashes (and sometimes endears) with the mostly noble student body.
  • Reverend Insanity by Gu Zhen Ren is a xianxia with a Villain Protagonist who seeks to gain eternal life in a world where people cultivate the dao using gu.
  • Beware of Chicken is a novel set in and written like wuxia, but is more from the perspective of the Muggles that have to live in a world full of cultivators.
  • The Ballad of Edgardo: While not explicitly labeled as such, the story has all the trappings of a wuxia tale.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Martial Arts Heroes


Kung Fu Hustle

1930s Shanghai is in the grip of various gangs struggling for power, with the Axe Gang being foremost. Main character Sing is an ineffectual small-time crook trying to join the Axe Gang. In doing so, he and buddy Bone attempt to command respect from the Pig Sty Alley. Their bumbling attracts the real gang, who are repelled by the unexpectedly skilled fighters: Coolie, Tailor and You-Tiao (fried dough sticks) baker. What results is an Escalating War between the Axe Gang and the (surprisingly strong) residents of the impoverished Pig Sty Alley.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Wuxia

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