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Series / Thunderbolt Fantasy

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This is the poster of season 1. Click to view poster for season 2. 
Click to view the teaser posters for season 3 
Thunder. Lightning.
Our story begins with that which shakes the heavens and earth.
Like a thunderbolt in the blue sky, a startling fantasy begins to unfold!

Thunderbolt Fantasy: Sword Seekers (Thunderbolt Fantasy 東離劍遊紀)note  is a Wuxia Puppet Show TV series, spearheaded by Japanese screenwriter Gen Urobuchi of nitro+ after he fell in love with the Pili (Thunderbolt) glove puppet show(s) produced by Taiwanese production studio Pili International Multimedia (known in the west as the creators of what became Wulin Warriors) after stumbling upon their works at a Taiwan anime and comic fan convention he attended; Figma creators Good Smile Company assists the show in character creation alongside nitro+'s stable of artists. Hiroyuki Sawano (later joined by Takafumi Wada) scores the show's soundtrack, while T.M.Revolution a.k.a. Takanori Nishikawa sings the theme songs and joins the Japanese All-Star Cast in season 2.

The sprawling series of 3 (of a planned 5) seasons of the TV show and 2 movies is set in a fantasy world of swords, wizardry, and demons in the nation of Dong-Li, which in the past was ravaged by an invasion from the Demon Realm that split it from its neighboring nation Xi-You by the impassible Wasteland of Spirits, full of dangerous dragons and demon-worshipping barbarians. The main cast comprises the illusionist and Gentleman Thief Lin Xue Ya and the wandering and taciturn swordsman Shang Bu Huan who has somehow crossed the Wasteland of Spirits unscathed; Shang Bu Huan's compatriate Lang Wu Yao, a wandering minstrel with an enchanted voice and a magical talking pipa named Ling Ya, joins the main cast in season 2.

Season 1 focuses on Mie Tian Hai and his followers the Xuan Gui Zongnote  seeking out the Tian Xing Jiannote , a mystical weapon said to have actually slain a demon god centuries earlier, but the sword is sealed away and its hilt and crossguard are kept by two guardian priests or Hu Yin Shi, the brother-sister pair of Dan Heng and Dan Fei. When Dan Heng is murdered by Mie Tian Hai, Dan Fei escapes with her part of the sword and crosses paths with Lin Xue Ya and Shang Bu Huan. With Lin Xue Ya's meddling, Shang Bu Huan is made to help Dan Fei retrieve the other part of the Tian Xing Jian from Mie Tian Hai to prevent him from taking the sword for himself. To assist in Dan Fei's quest, Lin Xue Ya gathers a Rag Tag Band of other warriors from his past including the one-eyed sniper archer Shou Yun Xiao and his protege Juan Can Yun, the demoness necromancer Xing Hai, and the assassin Sha Wu Sheng who actually wants Lin Xue Ya dead.

Season 2 finds Shang Bu Huan seeking to rid himself of the Sorcerous Sword Index, a compendium of dozens of magical weapons Shang Bu Huan gathered in Xi-You to prevent them from being used for nefarious purposes. After he believes he has found safe place for it at Xian Zhen Fortress, he is reunited with Lang Wu Yao and Ling Ya who have found him in Dong-Li. But he soon realizes that if his friends have found him, so have his enemies. The Femme Fatale Xie Yingluo, an assassin sent by the evil Huo Shi Ming Huang, has already intercepted the Index, and after a fight gets away with two of its weapons. Elsewhere, corrupt Xi-You Imperial envoy Xiao Kuang Juan has arrived in Dong-Li to convince his counterparts that Shang Bu Huan is a dangerous criminal who must be stopped at all costs. Shang Bu Huan and Lang Wu Yao track down Xie Yingluo for the two swords she stole, one of which is the sentient Seven Blasphemous Deaths who seeks to take over the world, while Lin Xue Ya has his own sights on Xiao Kuang Juan as his new mark, and amongst all of these conflicts the heroes and villains alike cross paths with the ascetic monk Di Kong who seeks meaning in his life.

Season 3 features Huo Shi Ming Huang and his Order of the Divine Swarm joining forces with Xing Hai to fight Shang Bu Huan for control of the Sorcerous Sword Index. Huo Shi Ming Huang wants it so he can take over the human world, and Xing Hai wants it out of the way so she can lead the demon realm into a new, more diplomatic, incursion into the human world. The Divine Swarm's Wan Jun Po and Yi Piao Miao are sent to help Xing Hai track down Shang Bu Huan and his comrades in her Void Junction, a magic location that she uses to grow plants that produce scrying mirrors that are portals to other locations, realms, and times, which she intends to use to bring her sister Zhao Jun Lin back into her physical body.

Two films were released in both Japan and Taiwan (and internationally on Crunchyroll) expanding the Thunderbolt Fantasy universe. Thunderbolt Fantasy: The Sword of Life and Death was released in December 2017 and is split into two halves. The first half focuses more on Sha Wu Sheng and his past with Lin Xue Ya and why he seeks his death; this was based on a light novel Thunderbolt Fantasy Gaiden, which also includes a similar story about Xing Hai's past with Lin Xue Ya. The second half of the film serves as a comedic interquel between seasons 1 and 2, with Shang Bu Huan meeting a man posing as him who has been telling tall tales of the events of season 1 which overstate his own importance in the battle against Mie Tian Hai and the Xuan Gui Zong. The second film Thunderbolt Fantasy: Bewitching Melody of the West came out in October 2019, and focuses on Lang Wu Yao and how he came to be one of Shang Bu Huan's equals and allies in the protection of the Sorcerous Sword Index, along with fellow musician Mu Tian Ming. The film also introduces the sadistic Xi-You Imperial Princess Chao Feng, who gave Xiao Kuang Juan the quest to retrieve the Index for her father the Emperor.

In addition to the Gaiden light novel mentioned above, two manga were released that adapt and expand upon the events of season 1; one of these manga is subtitled Otome Gen'yūki (乙女幻遊奇) and retells the story from Dan Fei's point of view (available for free online). In the build up to season 2, the Takarazuka Revue's Star Group staged a musical adaptation of season 1 to accompany their other original stage show Killer Rouge (Killer Rouge/星秀☆煌紅)note , which toured around Japan and Taiwan in August 2018; Pili even made a Lin Xue Ya puppet dressed up as his Cross-Cast Role actress Yuzuru Kurenai's outfit in Killer Rouge to promote the tour.

Important Note: For the convenience of editing, all names in this work use the Hanyu Pinyin transliterations as used by the English language editions released by Crunchyroll, but without the diacritic marks to mark tones, or English translations from the same source. More details for the names, including the Chinese names with tonal marks and the Japanese pronunciations, can be seen on the character pages.
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This show provides examples of:

    Tropes A-C 
  • Act of True Love: In the manga, even though Juan Can Yun lost Dan Fei's trust after he was forced to abandon her, but he is willing to risk his life to regain her trust by letting her injure him. He even risks his own life protecting her from being crushed by a boulder tossed about by the resurrection of Yao Tu Li.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The manga leaves out some of the live action's character poems, simplifies the action sequences, like Shang Bu Huan's signature move, and removes some directorial focus.note 
    • The manga leaves out Dan Fei fight against Mie Tian Hai and Lin using his illusion on her to fight Shang Bu Huan was cut completely. Instead Shang Bu Huan fights Mie Tian Hai in her place.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The manga shows the Xuan Gui Zong razing the village after Shang Bu Huan leaves and has some Kick the Dog moments for Mie Tian Hai.
    • Some characters have been shown have additional fights between certain characters in the manga which were not in the show.
    • Some of the character's personalities expanded to learn more about them that was not explored or shown much in the show.
    • Flashbacks that were not seen in the show like when Lin was Lian Qi's student and watched his master making the Soul Echo Flute, and the time, Juan Can Yun reminiscing cherish memories with his sworn brother together when he's fighting Yun Xiao.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The manga version presents the Xuan Gui Zong and Mie Tian Hai as more sadistic than their original counterparts.
  • Alien Sky: The season 2 opening shows two moons in the sky above Dong-Li. And an eclipse accompanied by a Godzilla-esque dragon.
  • Already Done for You: While crossing the Wasteland of Spirits, Shang Bu Huan eliminated or weakened many of the area's most dangerous obstacles, making the journey far easier for his pursuers.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Shang Bu Huan travels for parts unknown and is still on his mission to dispose of the legendary swords while Lin Xue Ya is intrigued enough by Shang Bu Huan and the prospect of other villains to defeat so he decides to follow him.
  • Anyone Can Die: Urobuchi and Pili International Media are notorious for killing off main characters in the masses and with little forewarning (to the point where the latter caught the former off-guard), and Thunderbolt Fantasy is no exception. Of the thirteen named characters in season 1, only four survive in the end and a fifth is not revealed to have survived until The Stinger of season 2's finale.
  • April Fools' Day:
  • Ball of Light Transformation: The Xuan Gui Zong and Sha Wu Sheng use "Meteor Walk" to travel long distances in a short time.
  • Blade Enthusiast: Near the end of the first season, Shang Bu Huan is revealed to have a Sorcerous Sword Index scroll in his possession, and that he's been Walking the Earth capturing various magical swords he considers too dangerous to leave in anyone's hands, with various villains proving that he's Properly Paranoid. Downplayed that he isn't an enthusiast, but a self-proclaimed guardian. By the time of the series, he already has 36 swords on his person.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The manga compared to the series has more gruesome deaths. And the series is Bloodier and Gorier than Pili which says a lot.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Some terminologies were Lost in Translation on the Crunchyroll version, such as the bread Shang Bu Huan ate in episode 2 is the Chinese flatbread: Shao Bing , and the Demon Birds the Xuan Gui Zong uses for transport are called Miyoku (魑翼 Chī Yì in Chinese,) which were all mentioned within the Japanese dub but never reached the English subs.
    • The East Asian demographic were not surprised by Lin Xue Ya being a Phantom Thief compared to the western audience since Lin Xue Ya's Art Name in Chinese/Kanji was already a giveaway. Crunchyroll's translation is "Enigmatic Gale," a bit of a stretch to the actual meaning: "Thief of the Wind Dust." It's most likely they mistook Lin Xue Ya's alias as his Art Name, but it's also likely that they translated it that way to cover up the spoiler.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the season 3 finale, Zhao Jun Lin is re-sealed in Seven Blasphemous Deaths for good and entrusted to Lou Zhen Jie who willingly sends himself out into deep space to be alone with his Princess forever in death, much to the immortal Zhao Jun Lin / Seven Blasphemous Deaths' horror. The heroes succeed in sealing the Void Junction, but Lang Wu Yao leaves the group to get Xing Hai's assistance to confront his father the Demon Lord Azibělpher in the Demon Realms. And Wan Jun Po, who had a seemingly successful Heel–Face Turn in the finale goes to attempt to kill the Emperor of Xi-You to stop his evil reign only to find out the Emperor is none other than Huo Shi Ming Huang, the heretic wizard he pledged fealty to in an attempt to take over Xi-You from the mad Emperor's grasps.
  • Bookends:
    • Season 1 begins with Shang Bu Huan taking a paper umbrella from a Buddha statue in order to protect himself from a storm. The final scene has him return a similar umbrella to the same statue, and stride unprotected into an oncoming storm.
    • The Hu Yin Shi ended season 1 guarding a sword containing a Sealed Evil in a Can like they were in the very first scene.
    • Season 2's opening begins with a scroll opening while its ending ends with a scroll closing.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Azibělpher brigns Lang Wu Yao back in time to the fight he, Shang Bu Huan, and Mu Tian Ming had against Huo Shi Ming Huang. Lang Wu Yao can decide to interfere, preventing Mu Tian Ming from being blinded, but that has the effect of preventing Shang Bu Huan from ever travelling to Dong Li and getting involved with the Xuan Gui Zong's attempts to retrieve the Tian Xing Jian, allowing Yao Tu Li to be resurrected and lay waste to the world unhindered as Shang Bu Huan and the Sorcerous Sword Index are all that stands in the way of her defeat. He ultimately decides to let history take its course.
  • Calling Your Attacks: You can't survive a fully hammed wuxia world without one.
  • The Cameo: Super Sonico, Nitro+'s mascot, appears as an actual character (headphones and all!) in the second special.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: While nitro+ did provide a bit more variety with their original 2D character designs, Pili Company's physical puppet renditions are notorious for beautifying Every. Single. Damn. Character, including our token old pops Lian Qi. Seriously, just look at all those lavish eyelashes!
  • Chastity Couple: Dan Fei and Juan Can Yun. They are never seen hugging or kissing before and after being Happily Married. They are only seen Holding Hands instead.
  • Cliffhanger: Season 2 ends with Huo Shi Ming Huang and his organizations are planning to start a full invasion of Dong-Li with the help of Xing Hai.
    • Season 3 ends with the revelation that Huo Shi Ming Huang is the mad Emperor of Xi-You and he still has other members of his Divine Swarm to track down the Sorcerous Sword Index for his mysterious plans.
  • Clothing Damage: Although it rarely or never seen in the show, but the manga adaption does this a lot.
  • Costume Porn: Every single outfit on the show is extremely detailed and looks simply fabulous. It's a Pili show, what did you expect?
  • Company Cross References:
    • The April Fools jokes go over two major crossovers with fellow nitro+ IP Touken Ranbu. See April Fools' Day above for more.
    • 2020 saw Shang Bu Huan and Lin Xue Ya, along with other cast members, participating in Nitroplus' 20th Anniversary Nitro Super Sonic concert and interacting with many of the company's most famous properties. Here, they:

    Tropes D-E 
  • Deus ex Machina: First season finale. Lin Xue Ya suddenly revealing that he's one of the greatest swordsmen in the world, while it comes out of nowhere, is not an example, since it just ends up making things worse... but Shang Bu Huan revealing the Sorcerous Sword Index, whose existence hadn't really been hinted at before, and immediately using it to resolve the plot of the season certainly qualifies.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: The final clash between Lin Xue Ya and Mie Tian Hai was so big that it literally left the planet smoking.
  • Dramatic Wind: A staple of Pili's works.
  • Decapitation Presentation: In the manga, Diao Ming brings Dan Heng's head to Dan Fei as he wants her to sink in deep despair and agony. It implied that Mie Tian Hai was the one who cut off Dan Heng's head.
  • Death Is Dramatic: The only logical exit from this world.
  • Deconstruction: Of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. So you got The Chessmaster assembling a rather strange group of people who really have no reason to get along and even less reason to trust each other. In other fantasy works, they learn to resolve their differences and even have some camaraderie. They don't here.
    • Deconstructor Fleet: The final episode turns many wuxia tropes on their heads, Urobuchi style.
      • The mighty MacGuffin has no mystic battle power of its own and is incidental to the protagonists' goals, plus it is nowhere near unique as a legendary world-saving weapon.
      • The strongest swordsman in the series turns out to be the one who has abandoned the art rather than the one with the most impressive kills.
      • The final battle is resolved by a character who sees all 'legendary' weapons as simple expendable tools instead of devoting the whole series towards mastering one like most of the cast.
      • Both of the series' main protagonists were already leagues beyond all the other characters but simply saw no need to reveal their full abilities until they absolutely needed to.
  • Due to the Dead: Used as a final contrast for how the heroes feel about the two secondary villains of Season 2. Shang Bu Huan gives Xie Yingluo a modest but dignified grave after discovering her body. Xiao Kuang Juan, meanwhile, ends up with his corpse strung from a tree as a gory signpost left by the Big Bad, and nobody is remotely inclined to take him down.
  • Dwindling Party: Lin Xue Ya gathers a group of "allies" to escort Dan Fei to the Seven Sins Tower, and by the end of the series, only Lin Xue Ya, Shang Bu Huan, Dan Fei, and Juan Can Yun remain alive, with Xing Hai's fate unknown because demons can't necessarily be killed.
  • Easter Egg: Three of Shang Bu Huan's 36 swords are swords belonging to characters of Pili's various titles. A fourth sword belongs to a character from the tabletop roleplaying session-turned-anime: Chaos Dragon, for which Urobuchi was both part of the anime adaptation staff and a player in the original TRPG campaign. But this also brings up the issue of whether Shang Bu Huan can really use up his entire sword collection as he plans to do within his journey at Dong-Li.
    • The sword from Chaos Dragon is the Qisha Tianling, known in Thunderbolt Fantasy as the Seven Blasphemous Deaths and a villain of season 2.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: You have a demoness necromancer and a valley full of zombies that serves as the first obstacle for the Seven Sins Tower.
  • Evolving Credits: The second season's opening has a few variables depending on the episodes. As soon as Lang Wu Yao shows up, Lin Xue Ya's battle-ready pose is replaced by Ling Ya's sword transformation, which is then replaced by the Seven Blasphemous Deaths emerging from a pool of blood once the cursed sword takes center stage in the story. Additionally, once Lou Zhen Jie kills Xie Yingluo and takes the Seven Blasphemous Deaths for himself, his clip is updated to his new attire. The ending credits shortens Xie Yingluo's clip and lengthens Lou Zhen Jie's around the same time.

    Tropes F-H 
  • Foil:
    • Lin Xue Ya and Sha Wu Sheng: Both shared bird motifs, sporting elaborate feather accessories, red eye colors, contrasting long ponytail hairstyles, and the name "Setsu" within their Japanese names.note  Sha Wu Sheng is a strong swordsman feared by everyone day-in-out due to his reputation as an antisocial, merciless assassin; but he only targets those who have potential relations to Lin Xue Ya and seems to be a decent person deep down inside.note  He is also one of the the most straightforwardly honest persons of the team aside from Bu Huan, Dan Fei, and Can Yun, who's true to himself and of others; and has no problem in keeping promises and speak out whatever is on his mind. On the other hand, Lin Xue Ya is a friendly and social Non-Action Guy, but with sly intentions hidden from the public eye; his words are not to be trusted, no matter how genuine he may sound like.
    • Mie Tian Hai and Shang Bu Huan: Both are sword collectors, but Mie Tian Hai resides in a castle, dresses himself in jewelry and rich fabrics, and desires swords to basically bolster his own ego while having a total disregard for the lives of others. Shang Bu Huan meanwhile is a wanderer, dresses in basic leathers and furs, and collects swords not for his own sake, but to keep them out of the hands of people like Mie Tian Hai, while choosing a style of fighting that very much forces him to consider the weight of each life he might take. As a bonus, it means he doesn't need a sword because of his skills, while Mie Tian Hai wants a sword to match his abilities.
  • Food Porn: Given Taiwan is best known for their melting-pot of gourmets, it's a no-brainer TBF will give all their might in food promotion.
  • Foreshadowing: This series is relatively full of them.
    • Lin Xue Ya's role as a Phantom Thief is foreshadowed as early as the first episode.
      • Mie Tian Hai stares into the eyes of Can Xiong and seeing both Shang Bu Huan and Lin Xue Ya, he expresses surprise that Lin Xue Ya is "opposing" him, then laughs maniacally.
      • Sha Wu Sheng mentions that Lin Xue Ya "took something very valuable from him", and for that reason, hated him.
      • Near the Demon Spine Mountains, Mie Tian Hai just decides to "amuse himself" and go back to the Seven Sins Tower when he talks about The Chessmaster nature of Lin Xue Ya.
    • Compared to everyone else's weapon, Shang Bu Huan's sword is unremarkably plain and makes a dull wooden "clunk" sound whenever drawn or sheathed.
    • Xing Hai and Shou Yun Xiao siding with Mie Tian Hai is foreshadowed in a scene where Lin Xue Ya notices some Xuan Gui Zong guards cleaning up a table that was set for three of them being Mie Tian Hai of course.
    • The opening sequence prominently features the series' MacGuffin sword being bent like a cheap plastic prop in the middle of a strong gustnado. It may seem like questionable CGI, but the sword gets twisted in the exact same way during the climax of the last episode.
  • A Good Way to Die: In true wuxia fashion, named characters that are fatally wounded will still remain beautiful while making a dying statement and dropping to the ground in slow motion.
  • Gorn: If you are a Mook and going up against Supernatural Martial Arts masters, you will probably die in a gruesome fashion. Contrast with A Good Way to Die if you were fortunate enough to have a name.
    • That second bit is averted with Diao Ming, who has his organs explode out through his back.
  • Gratuitous English: In this show of ornate Taiwanese puppets penned by a Japanese screenwriter, series composer Hiroyuki Sawano manages to put some English into the main Leitmotif "thunderBOLTfantasy":
    The Land is cloaked in deepest blue
    The shadow of eagles across the moon
    Endure the pain, it's easy now
    In words can I say it?
    • The second season opening theme "His/Story" gets half of "thunderBOLTfantasy"'s lyrics as part of its chorus.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Two in season 2:
    • The Emperor of Xi-You, who Xiao Kuang Juan works for and is one of the people Shang Bu Huan is on the run from.
    • Huo Shi Ming Huang, Xie Yingluo's master and the leader of an evil organization in Xi-You, and another villain Shang Bu Huan is on the run from.
  • Hidden Depths: All of the renowned heroes that the co-protagonists encounter (up to and including the main villain!) turn out to be small fry in comparison to what the two of them really are.
  • Homage: In the manga adaption of chapter 4, the scene where Mie Tian Hai kills an innocent young boy seems to be based on one from Tales of Berseria where the main heroine helplessly witnesses her younger brother killed by her former teacher and brother in law in the Japanese version.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Only in the manga, where Lin and the guys (although Dan Fei was listening through the other side), discussing the three requirements they need to pass through the three barriers.

    Tropes I-N 
  • I Have Many Names: Since the story takes place in an ancient Chinese setting, most characters will have at least 2 names for themselves: their given name and an art name. Lin Xue Ya takes the cake in having an extra alias, which gives him three names. What makes it worse is all characters have three different voice overs, giving them at least three different additional readings to compare with.
    • For those who find themselves confused by this, remember: The characters have the same given name and art name (and alias, if you're Lin Xue Ya) regardless of what version of the show you're watching, they're just pronounced and rendered into English differently depending on the version.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: All of the Shen Hui Mo Xie (神誨魔械 Shén Huì Mó Xiè / Shinkai Makai / Magic Weapons of Divine Teaching) are considered to be this in every way, but the Tian Xing Jian is believed by Mie Tian Hai to be the most powerful of them all and that is why he wants it for himself. He surmised this because he has studied the records of the War of Fading Dusk and listened to the communications of the Demon Realm, and the only Demon God not accounted for is Yao Tu Li, who he believes was actually slain by the wielder of the Tian Xing Jian. Throughout season 1, Shang Bu Huan constantly doubts the veracity of the myth, and he is proven right when Mie Tian Hai finally steals the sword and releases a spell that has been keeping Yao Tu Li sealed under the Dan Clan's sacred grounds. Up until this point, Shang Bu Huan's skepticism is seen as unusual in a world of might and magic, until Yao Tu Li awakens and he faces her solo, unsheathing one of the thirty-six even more powerful magical swords he's been keeping hidden the whole time, when he's been using an intentionally dull piece of wood painted silver to look like a sword for the entire season.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Lang Wu Yao was originally just a puppet modeled after Takanori Nishikawa to show off Pili's design work but Gen Urobuchi loved it so much that he incorporated the puppet as a new character in season 2, and had Nishikawa voice him and include his singing in the plot.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: It was raining and Shang Bu Huan needed an umbrella...
  • Ironic Echo: In Season 2 episode 8, Shang Bu Huan gets angry at Di Kong for ruminating on the meaninglessness of his saving lives if they're just going to either die or bring cruelty onto others (referring to an old couple Di Kong was in the company of and saved the husband from illness, and his saving Xie Yingluo, who later went on to kill the former two as blood sacrifices to the Seven Blasphemous Deaths). Shang Bu Huan decides against his better judgment not to kill him, and later spares Xie Yingluo, who is then murdered by Di Kong who has now taken the name Lou Zhen Jie now that he's found meaning in wanton slaughter.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: All girls (and guys) wear bedazzling fancy clothes, and can kick major ass just fine without tripping themselves up.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The series title "Thunderbolt" and T.M.R's theme song "RAIMEI (thunder roar)" both pays tribute to Pili Co.'s company title: Pili (霹靂) stands for "roaring thunder and flashing lightning" in Chinese.
    • Complying to Chinese tradition, all characters go by names that has something to do with their motifs, and or characteristics.
  • Medium Blending: Taiwanese state-of-the-art puppets with CG effects to create additional monsters, perform flashy battle scenes, and render the weather.
  • Mooks: The mask wearing, robed swordsmen of the Xuan Gui Zong. They possess massive amounts of Undying Loyalty to their leaders, considering the Curb-Stomp Battle they witness occur to their comrades and still continue the Mook Horror Show when fighting Sha Wu Sheng and a serious Shang Bu Huan.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Shang Bu Huan, given his laidback attitude, barely moves but he is able to dodge his enemy's attacks and Mie Tian Hai doesn't care if some high power attack comes to him because he could just dodge it.
    Tropes R-W 
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Lin Xue Ya has put together quite a party to take down Mie Tian Hai, to wit: a wandering swordsman who recently arrived from another country; a sheltered warrior priestess; a cynical archer and his Keet sidekick; a demon necromancer who hates him (but is willing to put that aside for the sake of the mission); and a psychopath assassin who also hates him, and is along specifically for the opportunity to kill him.
  • Red Baron: Characters are famously known by names like, the One-Eyed Impaler, the Night's Lament, the Screaming Phoenix Killer, and the Enigmatic Gale.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Xing Hai intends to use these to her advantage in order to thwart any Temporal Paradox or Butterfly of Doom in her goals to resurrect her sister Zhao Jun Lin from her imprisonment in the Seven Blasphemous Deaths. In order to keep the flow of history as it has gone, she notes that no one knew what happened to Zhao Jun Lin's body after her apparent slaying at the hands of early Xi You Hu Yin Shi, so once she is able to travel back in time she will retrieve her sister's corpse and use her magic to bring it back to , travel back to her present, and then use her magic restore Zhao Jun Lin back to her original body.
  • Scry vs. Scry: It's a series filled with Kung fu masters.
    • "The battle will end in nine moves."
  • Secret Test of Character: Both Xing Hai and Shou Yun Xiao deliberately held back during the trials that they were recruited for in order to get a better sense of Shang Bu Huan's skills and motivation.
  • Sequel Hook: Shang Bu Huan still has 35 swords of mass destruction to dispose of. And Lin Xue Ya knows if he advertises that to the world every single villain in Dong-Li and Xi-You will be after them, and will be perfect marks for him.
    • The Movie (#1) shows Lin Xue Ya doing just this, setting up season 2 by revealing the evil organization Huo Shi Ming Huang's scorpion-themed lady assassin Xie Yingluo and the corrupt Xi-You government official Xiao Kuang Juan both preparing a venture across the Wasteland of Spirits to chase after Shang Bu Huan and his Sorcerous Sword Index, as well as his ally Lang Wu Yao and his talking pipa Ling Ya preparing their own journey to get ready to lend their aid.
    • Season 2 ends with Shang Bu Huan being trusted with an additional three legendary weapons on top of the 34 he has left in the Sorcerous Sword Index, and now Huo Shi Ming Huang is planning a full on invasion of Dong-Li with the assistance of a vengeful Xing Hai.
    • The Movie #2 shows us Mu Tian Ming and Tian Gong Gui Jiang as two of Shang Bu Huan's other allies, but with no explanation of why they never caught up with him again, which Lin Xue Ya remarks upon in The Stinger. It also introduces Imperial Princess Chao Feng and her unseen father, who are also likely to show up in season 3.
  • Shout-Out: A flashback via a tapestry to the events of the war with the demons 200 years ago shows a dragon which looks extremely similar to Godzilla Earth from the Anime Trilogy of films, which Gen Urobuchi worked on as a scripwriter.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Almost every battle between two main characters ends with the two duelists clashing in this manner, and only one surviving.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Due to the nature of Japan and Taiwan's cooperative release, all character names and terminologies have three official readings: Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, or Taiwanese Hokkien depending on the voice over adaptation the audience is watching. The official English subs from Crunchyroll keep the Mandarin Chinese character names, translate the terminology, attacks, and "art name" epithets to English, and include translations for the Nenpaku poems.
  • Stable Time Loop: Xing Hai's plan to resurrect her older sister Zhao Jun Lin Invokes this to bypass the hazards of altering history. She would get enough power to go back into time to the moment Zhao died and her soul possessed the sword used to kill her, creating the Seven Blasephemous Deaths. Xing Hai would then retrieve Zhao Jun Lin's fresh body, which fell into the ocean and was never recovered, and return her soul from the future into it. Return to the present with the fully resurrected Demon Princess, and history remains unaltered because her body was never recovered anyway. It goes off without a hitch.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Lin Xue Ya has the right idea to stop the rampaging demon god. Just get a new legendary sword to seal it again! Trouble is, where do you find one in a jiffy? It's a good thing Shang Bu Huan has 36 of those and he's thinking that's a good solution as well.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: In true Wuxia fashion, characters can perform weapon based Ki Manipulation due to their training.
  • Sword Beam: A good portion of swordsmen can pull this off in grand style.
  • Sword Sparks: Littered like fireworks. They're so spectacular, you need to wear goggles to prevent them burning your eyes.
  • Technicolor Eyes: This is the first time Pili Co. has ever given their puppets eye colors in magenta (Dan Fei), teal (Mie Tian Hai), bright red (Lin Xue Ya, Sha Wu Sheng, Lie Mei), and sky blue (Juan Can Yun) to give them a more "anime" edge thanks to the collaboration.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The climax of an episode's fight is accompanied by "thunderBOLTfantasy" playing.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: Expected from weapon designer Makoto Ishiwata, each weapon is direct reflection of its wielder. A behind the scenes video about each character's weapon can be seen here. [1]
  • Transplant: Some of Urobutchi's Red Dragon characters and worldbuilding make it into this series. The Seven Blasphemous Deaths, for example, was made into one of the swords Shang sealed. One of her wielders, Lou Zhen Jie, is revealed to be the true identity of Di Kong.
  • Wham Line: "He was asking for help to swindle one of the Demonic Weapons from a little Hu Yin Shi".
  • Where It All Began: The final battle of season one is set near the Shrine from where Dan Fei was escaping from the beginning.
  • World of Ham: Traditional Chinese puppet shows have been done by male-only actors using hammy tones of speech. The Japanese voice actors followed suit with their dubbing for this series.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Most the villains like Xuan Gui Zong, Shou Yun Xiao, and Sha Wu Sheng are willing or don't care about killing a women whether their good or evil.


Video Example(s):


Wan Jun Po Pt. 2

Wan Jun Po genuinely cares about the well-being of Xi You. He joined the Order of the Divine Swarm because he felt that it was the best option to save Xi You from ruin. His reputation and loyalty to his nation inspire both his men in the Order of the Divine Swarm and the Xi-You Imperial Army to put aside their differences and rally together to take a stand against Zhao Jun Lin.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / AFatherToHisMen

Media sources: