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     Tropes that apply to Mo Dao Zu Shi in general 
  • Adorkable:
    • The childishness Lan Wangji displays whether he's sober or drunk (but especially when he's drunk) is as hilarious as it is endearing.
    • It's a given with his kind heart and shy demeanor, and even the fans unanimously agree that Wen Ning is an utter sweetheart.
    • Lan Xichen, when drunk, is essentially a hyperactive and happy goofball.
    • The manhua and some of the donghua's promotional artwork show a younger Jiang Cheng melt in the presence of dogs, and it's sweet to see.
    • Jin Ling's brattiness and his hot-and-cold attitude makes him both hilariously annoying yet also lovable.
    • Not that many get to see Jin Zixuan act as such, until his Tsundere side shows itself. It becomes even more transparent whenever he tries to romance Jiang Yanli or performs romantic gestures for her.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • While they're not exactly scrappies, Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan are two of the most controversial characters of the novel. Even then, it's hard not to feel sorry for them when they got killed by the Wen Sect, with many fans saying while they're far from Good Parents, they didn't deserve to die the way they did. However, there are some who, while they don't take any glee in what happened, don't feel sad about it either and only find the tragedy in Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng's reactions to their deaths.
    • Wen Chao is less of a scrappy and more of a Hate Sink, which only makes sense since he's a villain. But some do feel pity for him in his final moments in the novel. Given what's been done to him, even if he deserved it, it's understandable.
  • Angel/Devil Shipping: XueXiao qualifies for the trope, with Xiao Xingchen as the angel and Xue Yang as the devil.
  • Angst Aversion: Neatly averted, actually. Given how many characters die in the story and the trials and tribulations the protagonists had to go in their younger years, it would be easy to assume you'd be turned off by all the death and tragedy. But the author knows how to pace her story such that every moment will always leave an impact on the reader, whether or not it's expected. Fans even pointed out that multiple rereads of the novel or rewatches of the adaptations doesn't lessen the blow.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: While the franchise is a massive hit in China, it has trouble attracting the same amount of viewers outside the country due to the simple fact that it's officially marketed as Boys' Love (or danmei in China), which is a controversial genre. Despite this, the novel and its adaptations rose to popularity in the West, garnering a fanbase for its intricate storytelling and complex characters.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Yu Ziyuan. One third of the fans like her for being an Iron Lady and a powerful Action Mom; another third aren't as fond of her because of her hatred of Wei Wuxian, which also led her to constantly lash out at either him, her husband, or her son; and the last third see her as an interestingly complex character but also have reservations about how she deals with her family and especially with Wei Wuxian. Everyone does agree, however, that she's not going to win the "Mom of the Year" award any time soon.
    • Consequently, Jiang Fengmian is rather divisive in the fandom. No one's going to argue about the fact that while he's not a bad person, he's in no way a good father. However, there are some who argue as to whether he's still likable in spite of his poor parenting skills or the other way around. And then there's the debate of whether he's worse than his wife or not, which can turn into a lengthy discussion. This is complicated by the fact by Asian standards Jiang Fengmian isn't anything special as a parent, fitting into the actual position and approach to parenting that real-life Asian fathers do; something which is naturally lost on Western audiences as it is outside their own experiences.
    • Jiang Cheng. Everyone unanimously agrees that he's a deeply flawed character. What everyone doesn't unanimously agree on is whether they love or hate him for it. The former find his flaws to be well-written and feel that they add to his complexity as a character; whereas the latter side thinks that he's too flawed to be likable or sympathetic. A third party, however, agrees that they both love and hate him at the same time because of his qualities.
    • Xue Yang is one among the villains of the novel. He's either a layered and twisted villain who has a great amount of depth and a surprisingly tragic background, or he's just nothing but a vile madman who deserves no understanding or sympathy.
  • Broken Base:
    • For some people (specifically in the Western fandom), the Incense Burner extras are this. And that's all we're saying about that.
    • The resolution of Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng's relationship in the end. Either you think that while it's bittersweet, it's realistically the best ending they could ever get; or you think that it's too depressing and they were cheated out of a reconciliation.
    • The fact that Mo Xiang Tong Xiu had stated that Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji are the only characters in the story who are interested in men note . Many fans don't really pay attention to this much and ship who they like, which is something that the author even shrugs off. Even then, there are those who can get testy about it, especially when topics related to the LGBT+ community (specifically those who aren't aware of how different LGBT+ rights are viewed in the East and the West) are involved.
    • It's difficult to find a single word that can succinctly describe the relationship between Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji, and Lan Sizhui. The Eastern fandom widely agrees that from a technical standpoint, both Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji are Lan Sizhui's guardians and as such, Lan Sizhui is essentially their ward. On the other hand, while the Western fandom is mostly in agreement that their relationship is familial in nature, many fans are disputed on whether Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji can also qualify as Lan Sizhui's adoptive fathers, as the role of parents and guardians are, while similar, not entirely the same. However, other fans had pointed out that whatever term is used, it doesn't downplay the significance of the deep relationship that the three share and thus it shouldn't be a point of contention.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Lan Jingyi and chicken, despite the fact that a scene involving both only happened once in the novel.
    • Wei Wuxian and Bichen, for... reasons. See Memetic Loser below.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Regardless of your opinion on Yu Ziyuan, admit it, you cheered her on when she beat the smack out of Wang Lingjiao. What adds to this is how Wei Wuxian deals with her in every adaptation, whether it's making her choke on wood, have her Eaten Alive by corpses, or compelling her to cut and hang herself.
    • Wen Ning dropping the bomb about how Jiang Cheng really got back his golden core. Is it emotionally painful to read? Yes. Is it also immensely satisfying, whether because it's the first time Wen Ning stood his ground on his own terms or because you think Jiang Cheng needed to be taken down a peg? Yes again.
  • Crack Pairing:
  • Death of the Author: You'd be surprised (or not) about how rampant this trope in is all sides of the fandom, such as how several fans read the novel or view its adaptations yet bash Mo Xiang Tong Xiu for a multitude of reasons, all of which are for an entirely different discussion.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Xue Yang is one of the villains of the story, and he's very popular among the fans. To be fair, he's someone the fans either love or Love to Hate. They don't deny how terrible his crimes are, but they also find it hard not to feel for him due to either his past or his complicated relationship with Xiao Xingchen. In fact, he's rather popular among the cast of The Untamed, as several of the actors auditioned to play Xue Yang before they got cast as someone else.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Yi City group (Xiao Xingchen, Song Lan, Ah-Qing, and yes, even Xue Yang). While they only appear for a few chapters and their story is more of a Sidequest in the overall plot, their complex characterizations and tragic backstories still made them easily memorable among fans.
    • Ouyang Zizhen immediately became a fan favorite simply for being an Adorkable Nice Guy and a complete supporter of Wei Wuxian. Fans would also half-jokingly and half-affectionately dub him the "president of the Wei Wuxian fanclub" for the same reason.
    • Luo Qingyang, better known as Mianmian. Her role in the story is very minor, but the readers loves her for being one of the very few who stood up for Wei Wuxian and the only female character who survives the story and gets to have a happy ending.
    • Fairy, simply for being a Canine Companion who contributes to some of the novel's funny moments where they scare Wei Wuxian. Fairy becomes even more popular after The Untamed, since the dog portraying them is very friendly and cuddly.
  • Epileptic Trees: The true circumstances of Wei Wuxian's death is left for the reader to decide, but what's known is that nothing of him was found by anyone after the First Siege has ended. Some fans speculated that his body was thrown in the blood pool alongside the corpses of the massacred Wen survivors, and that it's the first one to emerge out of the pool during the Second Siege when Wei Wuxian's life was in danger.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Wei Wuxian is less of a Villain Protagonist and more of an Anti-Hero. Still, every single fan finds his appearance as the Yiling Patriarch to be extremely attractive, even in moments where he's downright terrifying.
    • This trope is part of why Xue Yang has a sizable fanbase despite being a villain and one of the most violent characters in the novel.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
    • Be careful to not call the novel and some of its adaptations "The Untamed [novel/animation/manhua]", which is the title of the live-action drama. Whether you did it by mistake or not, fans will quickly remind you why that's something you should avoid doing, especially since while The Untamed is mostly loyal to the novel's plot, it still took plenty of liberties that sets it apart from the source material.
      • Adding to the above, if you claim in any way that the novel and its other adaptations is only an adaptation of The Untamed and is not the original canon, expect the backlash to be vicious.
    • Connected to the above is calling referring to the character's titles using the more questionable translations (i.e. "Second Childe Lan" instead of "Second Young Master Lan", "Light-Bearing Lord" instead of "Hanguang-Jun", "Brilliance Overgrowth Lord" instead of "Zewu-Jun", etc.). Make this mistake, and you're likely to be reminded to strictly avoid doing that because of how cringe-worthy it is.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • As the story makes good use of the butterfly effect as one of its Central Themes is that every action has an intended and/or unintended consequence, it's no surprise that fans would want to write about what would have happened instead if a certain scenario had happened differently or if the circumstances were changed entirely.
    • Since the author never showed the events surrounding Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji's wedding, the fans are given free rein to depict how it went.
    • Besides a few certain facts, the novel never extensively narrates what Lan Wangji or Jiang Cheng had been doing in the thirteen years Wei Wuxian was dead. This leads to several fanfics which cover the fans' several takes over what happened in that time period.
    • Many love to entertain the idea of Wei Wuxian forming and leading his own sect, which is dubbed the Yiling Wei Sect by many fans.
    • The novel left the state of Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng's relationship on an open but bittersweet note. Naturally, fans would rectify this with fanworks where the two properly reconcile, or at least gain some better closure, after the events of the epilogue.
  • First Installment Wins: Played with. Mo Dao Zu Shi is Mo Xiang Tong Xiu's second novel, but it is the first of her novels to receive an adaptation. Hence, it's the most popular and well-recognized among her three (currently) published works; albeit Ren Zha Fan Pai Zi Jiu Xi Tong and Tian Guan Ci Fu are also seen as well-written works in their own right and have their respective adoring fandoms as well.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Given the extremely complicated history that Nie Mingjue and Jin Guangyao share with each other, this trope quickly comes into play whenever their relationship is brought up in any way.
    • Played with between Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng. While there are only very few fans who do ship them romantically or sexually, everyone else simply enjoys watching the scenes that hint or show how they mutually hate each other but do not see any Belligerent Sexual Tension in their animosity.
  • Friendly Fandoms: The fans of Mo Dao Zu Shi and The King's Avatar get along really well, since both the animated and live-action adaptations of both shows are one of the first to become mainstream and catch the attention of viewers outside China. That, and several voice actors from the former show were also cast in the latter.
  • Gateway Series: Mo Dao Zu Shi is the other series besides The King's Avatar that got Western fans into donghua. Although whereas The King's Avatar attracted Western viewers due to its focus in real-life gaming without the isekai and fantasy aspects, Mo Dao Zu Shi introduced many fans to xianxia, as well as danmei genres (which is similar to yaoi since they're both Boys' Love, but danmei works differ in how they play their tropes and ship dynamics).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: It has quite a following in Thailand and Vietnam. In Thailand, fictional gay romances already enjoy a lot of popularity while the Vietnamese generally enjoy Chinese historical pieces.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Every instance of people demanding Wei Wuxian stop using demonic cultivation or scold him for not using his sword, whether out of jealousy or actual concern, becomes much more bitter and heartbreaking when it is revealed Wei Wuxian gave up his golden core to Jiang Cheng and is incapable of cultivating as normal. This is true even in-universe in the case of Lan Wangji.
    • Back during their time at Cloud Recesses, a teen Lan Wangji tells Wei Wuxian to "Get out!" after a prank. It is hilarious even in-universe (due to out of character it is) but takes on a bitter tone when you learn that the last thing Wei Wuxian said to Lan Wangji, when completely out of it due to trauma, in his previous life was "get out!" no matter how much he pleaded and begged.
    • After the finale reveals how Jiang Cheng got caught by the Wens, the part where Jiang Cheng asks Wei Wuxian, "Why did you save me?" becomes much more emotionally difficult to read/watch.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Every interaction between Wei Wuxian and Lan Sizhui become this after one reads the finale since the reader is actually seeing A-Yuan and his "Brother Xian" bond once again.
  • Iron Woobie: Wei Wuxian is one of the biggest Woobies of the novel, suffering so much that he doesn't even get a peaceful death. And yet when he gets brought back to life, he rarely shows outwardly just how he shoulders all the pain he went through and the guilt he harbors for all that happened.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Jiang Cheng, without a doubt. No one can deny that he's very spiteful and angry and has committed several horrendous actions, but his backstory does a good job explaining exactly why he's so bitter.
    • Jin Ling. He may be bratty and still has much growing up to do, but he didn't have an easy life due to having neither parents to raise him. Thankfully, he gets better throughout the story thanks to his experiences with Wei Wuxian.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Downplayed, but Wei Wuxian (despite being an Official Couple with Lan Wangji) still tends to get shipped with the other characters, such as Jiang Cheng, Wen Ning, and Jin Zixuan, to name a few.
  • Les Yay: There are some who ship Yu Ziyuan and Madam Jin together. It helps that they're close friends and get along with each other better than they do with their husbands.
  • Memetic Loser: For an enchanted weapon, Bichen has been through a surprising number of frankly embarrassing uses. As a seam ripper to cut pants off corpses, as a shovel, as a dildo...
  • Memetic Mutation: While not as prevalent as in the English side, the Chinese fandom is teeming with memes:
    • Wei Wuxian's Fan Nickname as Wi-Fi - taken from the author notes.
    • Lan Wangji's "Everyday" (天天).
    • Lan Xichen as Brother-Reading Machine.
    • Jiang Cheng's status as a bachelor is memed Up to Eleven - "single dog" (单身狗) sometimes refers to him, since it's a derogatory way of referring to someone who is single.
    • A series of videos on Bilibili sets up the characters singing their POV to the tune of "What Makes You Beautiful".
    • Rabbits. Not only are rabbits a reference to Lan Wangji's pets, they're also a reference to Tu'er Shen, the Chinese protector deity of homosexual love.
    • Poking fun at Jin Guangyao being one of the shortest man in the male cast is a popular subject of fanarts.
    • In the Latin American corner of the fandom, deforming the character's names because of their similarity with words in Spanish. Such as the aforementioned Wi-Fi for WWX, "lancha" (lit. 'boat') for Lan Zhan, "Guayaba" ('guava') for Jin Guangyao and calling Jian Cheng "Juan Carlos" because the initials are the same.
      • Also from the Latin American fandom, calling Jin Guangyao all manner of weird nicknames based on his shortness. Such as "the Murder Flea" or "el Chaneque" (Chaneques being creatures from Mexican folclore that were short and mischievous, appearing near bodies of water to play pranks on anyone who got close. Nowadays the name is used to refer to people who are both short and annoying, or just short).
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • There are members of both the Eastern and Western fandoms who don't take kindly to shipping Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng together, since they're technically foster brothers. There are others who argue that while they are foster brothers and have a brotherly relationship, they are nevertheless not related by blood in any form, and they see each other more as brothers-in-arms than actual brothers. Other than that, tread carefully when you're discussing your opinion about this ship.
    • One of the most popular gags that the fandom likes to bring up is how Lan Xichen is the biggest Shipper on Deck for WangXian. However, anyone who reads the complete canon material will realize that it's actually inaccurate; while Lan Xichen did encourage his younger brother to befriend Wei Wuxian in the past, his opinion of Wei Wuxian became more and more negative over time, and under the misassumption that Wei Wuxian knew of Lan Wangji's feelings but continued to toy with him, called him the only mistake (or the reason behind the only mistake) his brother ever made. While those words were said out of Big Brother Instinct, they're still not the words you'd hear from a Shipper on Deck, right?
    • Many fans run with the idea that Jiang Cheng was the one who took care of Jin Ling since the latter was still a baby. However, many forget that Jin Ling is of the Jin Sect and thus would grow up and spend most of his time in Lanling, not in Yunmeng. While Jiang Cheng undoubtedly helped raise and mentor Jin Ling, he's not his primary guardian.
  • Moe:
    • The bunnies! You will find yourself getting cute aggression over the fluffballs no matter what adaptation you read or watch.
    • Wen Yuan. Every fan agrees that he's adorable and precious in every adaptation. The audio drama added to the cuteness factor by having a real toddler voice him, and The Untamed pitches in by casting an actor who has the most pinchable cheeks.
    • Wen Ning, both as a human and as a zombie.
    • Young Lan Wangji. Just look at him! And if we're being honest, he still has a lot of adorable moments as both a teenager and an adult.
    • While we're at the main characters in their youth, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng were just precious when they were kids, having the squishiest faces and the cutest-sounding voices.
    • Lan Xichen when he's drunk. He's so merry that it's endearing.
    • The papermen Wei Wuxian creates in situations where he needs to sneak around. Admit it, you wished that you could own one of them.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Xue Yang has crossed this repeatedly. Massacring the Chang clan in revenge for one lost pinkie crossed it once. Massacring the White Snow Temple and blinding Song Lan crossed it again. The third time was tricking Xiao Xingchen into killing innocent civilians and Song Lan. Even Wei Wuxian, who had done some unsavory things during the Sunshot Campaign, summarized it best: "Xue Yang must die".
    • If persecuting Wei Wuxian in the Nightless City wasn't enough, then massacring a group of innocents and throwing their corpses in a pool of blood definitely counts for almost everyone of the cultivation world. Besides Lan Wangji, almost no one is exempt from being guilty of this.
  • Narm: While Dub Name Change is inevitable as Mandarin and Japanese are radically different languages, some of the re-translated names are hilarious.
    • Lan Wangji's title of Hanguang-Jun is translated as "Gankou-Kun" in Japanese just sounds funny to fans who are either casual fans of anime or have knowledge about Japanese Honorifics.
    • For English-speaking fans, Wei Wuxian's birth name of Wei Ying being translated to "Gi Ei" is equally gut-busting. Try saying the name under one breath.
    • Filipino fans can't help but laugh at Jiang Cheng's sword's name of Sandu being renamed to Sandoku, since it sounds just like "sandok", the Tagalog word for a ladle.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Lan Jingyi eating chicken then having a chicken wing shoved back into his mouth by Lan Sizhui. See Cargo Ship above.
    • Remember that one time when Wei Wuxian used Lan Wangji's sword as a dildo? It's likely that you do, and the fandom will definitely make sure that you won't forget it.
  • One True Threesome:
    • Many fans tend to ship Lan Sizhui, Jin Ling, and Lan Jingyi altogether rather than ship two out of the three.
    • Likewise, fans also tend to do the same to the Venerated Triad.
    • Depending on who you're asking, Xue Yang, Xiao Xingchen, and Song Lan also get this treatment. Provided the person doesn't protest shipping Xue Yang with either of the other two, as that can be a very contentious issue, especially in the Western fandom.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • WangXian, which is also the name of the song that Lan Wangji composed for Wei Wuxian in-canon. Lan Wangji was clearly Leaning on the Fourth Wall here...
    • ChengXian or XianCheng for Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian.
    • XuanLi for Jin Zixuan and Jiang Yanli.
    • SongXiao for Song Lan and Xiao Xingchen.
    • XueXiao for Xue Yang and Xiao Xingchen.
    • ZhuiYi for Lan Sizhui and Jingyi.
    • ZhuiLing for Lan Sizhui and Jin Ling.
    • XiYao for Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao.
    • XiCheng for Lan Xichen and Jiang Cheng.
    • NieLan for Nie Mingjue and Lan Xichen. note 
    • NieYao for Nie Mingjue and Jin Guangyao.
    • SangCheng for Nie Huaisang and Jiang Cheng.
    • NingXian for Wen Ning and Wei Wuxian.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • While no one's going to disagree that Jiang Fengmian was anything but a good father, there are some fans who tend to demonize him and talk about him as if he spent every day making Jiang Cheng's life miserable and being the root cause for all of his son's and Wei Wuxian's problems, as well as burdening Jiang Yanli with the sole responsibility of being her younger brothers' emotional support. His passivity and his more lenient treatment of Wei Wuxian did have the unintended effect of leaving everyone with some issues, but fans quickly forget that his wife is just as (or even more) responsible for contributing to the Dysfunction Junction that is their entire family.
    • You'd be surprised to learn that Wen Ning has been vilified by a few fans for revealing to Jiang Cheng the truth about his "healed" golden core, with those fans stating that he did that just to be cruel. Except that Wen Ning had kept his word to not say anything to Jiang Cheng for years, and only broke his word after witnessing Jiang Cheng brandish Zidian at an unconscious and bleeding Wei Wuxian.
    • Once again, this is only from the minority, but once in a while you might come upon a post where a fan dismisses Wei Wuxian and accuses the entire story of Mo Dao Zu Shi running on a Protagonist-Centered Morality, simply due to the fact that the story ends in a Bittersweet Ending where Wei Wuxian gets his happy sendoff whereas Jiang Cheng doesn't. They would even go to accuse him of robbing Jiang Cheng of his happy ending, deliberately screwing him over since they were children, as well as not giving a fig about his feelings — all of which sound similar to the lies that the other sects had been feeding Jiang Cheng to weaken his relationship with Wei Wuxian.
    • To an extent, the Wen refugees also get this treatment from the fans who claim that Wei Wuxian was completely in the wrong to leave Jiang Cheng's side to save and protect them. A few would even go so far as to add that even if they're innocent, Wei Wuxian should have let the Jins kill them instead.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Su She. It's up to the reader to decide whether the author deliberately wrote him to be a Hate Sink or not, but no one will protest if someone says that while he serves his role well in the story, he can still be very grating. Even if anyone felt a smidgen of pity when Su She bites the dust, it's only because his death is surprisingly quick and anticlimactic.
    • Sect Leader Yao. He's a very minor character, yet is easily seen as a Hate Sink because no one knows anything about him besides being a brown-nosing bandwagon-rider, a condescending sexist, and having nothing good to say about Wei Wuxian or anything and anyone else for that matter... and that's why nobody likes him. Aside from Jin Guangshan, he's the only other character who makes Wen Chao look outright decent. What's worse is that he's a Karma Houdini who doesn't even get to at least lose an arm (or his tongue, for that matter), although some fans might find some reprieve in the final arc when Jin Ling yells at him to shut his mouth when the bastard chides him for crying.
  • Ship Mates: Majority of the fans who ship WangXian tend to ship XiCheng and/or XiYao as well.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night:
    • XiCheng is a very popular ship in both the Western and Eastern fandoms, despite the fact that that Jiang Cheng and Lan Xichen never had a proper one-to-one interaction and are only seen standing side-to-side in a few frames at best.
    • Even though their only In-Universe interaction had them fighting each other, there's a small part of the fandom that ships Song Lan and Wen Ning, since they're both fierce corpses with tragic backstories. The few fics that feature said ship tend to have the two meeting by chance after the events of the novel.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The argument of whether SongXiao or XueXiao is the better pairing of the two can get heated, especially if you bring up anything that implies either ship having problematic elements, with the XueXiao ship especially taking the brunt of it (although this applies mostly to the Western fandom, due to Values Dissonance). However, there is the third party that decides that nothing's wrong with shipping both.
  • Stoic Woobie:
    • Lan Wangji. Just because his ordeals aren't given as much focus as Wei Wuxian or Jiang Cheng's doesn't mean he didn't suffer any less than them.
    • Song Lan. Out of grief, he drove away his closest friend, which he quickly came to regret, and he dies before he gets the chance to apologize and reconcile with said friend. It doesn't help that his final fate is bittersweet at best, since he's now a mute, sentient zombie who decides to spend his days Wandering the Earth while waiting for his friend to reincarnate. Even if you don't know much about him, you will cry for him.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Considering that Wei Wuxian was established to be a pretty damn god archer, it could have been a good opportunity for him to use a bow and arrow as his other means of fighting.
  • Translation Train Wreck: It's a reoccurring trope in any of the official translations of the novel's adaptations. It involves either incomprehensible grammar, severely erroneous mistranslation of names, titles, and terms, or both. By contrast, the Fan Translation is a lot more accurate (even if some terms of phrases still inevitably get Lost in Translation).
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • There's no denying that Yu Ziyuan did love her children and had somewhat understandable grievances with her husband for his distant relationship with their son. But any compassion that can be invoked from that is outweighed by her extremely horrible treatment of Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng, which makes her come across as hypocritical. Not to mention, the last words she imparted to Wei Wuxian did more lasting damage to her son than she would have ever anticipated. Even those who aren't fond of Jiang Cheng's character acknowledge that they could see where his more unlikable traits came from.
    • Zigzagged with Jiang Cheng, whose past is unanimously agreed to be tragic and sympathetic, and whose character is undeniably flawed and complex in a well-written way. However, some fans are quick to remind others that his past does not give him a free pass on either his present treatment of Wei Wuxian or some of his less morally grey actions.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Simply put, the fans who grew up in the West are likely going to have a lot of problems with the novel given the difference in standards and opinions of how to raise a family, the importance of full consent in a relationship, referring to a same-sex married couple as "husband and wife" note , and several other reasons. While understandable at times, one should be cautious of when the discussion gets excessively heated.
    • One specific instance occurs when the Chinese fans complained about how the artist for the manhua drew Lan Wangji slapping (instead of merely shoving) Wen Ning in a fit of jealousy the first time he got drunk. At first, Western fans thought that they were merely overreacting because the scene didn't go exactly like it did in the novel; but as it turns out, slapping someone has harsher and more demeaning connotations in China.
    • Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji's sexual life has clear undertones of a dominant-submissive dynamic, with Wei Wuxian being the submissive and Lan Wangji being the dominant. While such a dynamic is commonly portrayed in Chinese media, whether in danmei or in other genres, many fans from the Western fandom easily make the misassumption that WangXian's relationship follows the cliches in the yaoi genre that are widely considered to be problematic. However, those who are familiar with the aforementioned dynamic that WangXian's relationship is entire equal, and one is simply the bottom while the other is the top in bed because it's their preference.
  • The Woobie:
    • Xiao Xingchen. It's a fact that he needs a hug and deserves none of the bad things that happened to him, and it all happened because he just wanted to help and do good. It just gets worse and worse for the poor priest until he literally gives up on life and unlike Wei Wuxian, he doesn't get a second chance.
    • Qin Su, definitely. What's worse is that she did nothing wrong and knew nothing about the horrible truth about her parentage.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Xue Yang. No one's wrong in calling him an asshole for what he did to Xiao Xingchen, Song Lan, and A-Qing, and for all the other people he killed. However, it's not hard to feel sorry for him when you know why he became so screwed up, even if you acknowledge that it doesn't justify his actions.
    • Nie Huaisang. No one will deny that his actions are extremely ruthless and got a few people killed, and there would have been more casualties had the protagonists not interfered. However, one must remember that he did it all to avenge his brother, whom he was close to and whose death he had the misfortune of witnessing.
  • Woolseyism: Jinlin Tower. (金鳞台) reads as "Golden Scale Tower", but the Exiled Rebels translation switched to Koi Tower halfway through the ongoing translation, and the translation in the official subtitles of The Untamed went with "Golden Unicorn Tower" (though that could be one of the many results of Translation Train Wreck). To be fair, Jinlin (金鳞) and Jinlin (金麟) have appeared throughout the online edition, which makes it hard to pin down any specific translation since which is an honest transcription error versus which is the name that was meant, is unclear.
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     Tropes that apply to the donghua and audio drama 
  • Adaptation First: Played with. It took a year after the release of the first season for Tencent to start streaming the donghua internationally. However, even months prior, thanks to the help of Fan Translation the donghua had already been drawing in more fans and introduced them to the novel and its other adaptations.
  • Author's Saving Throw: As stated below, the second season of the donghua received some criticism due to its short length, which cramped up some crucial parts of the story such as Wei Wuxian's downfall as the Yiling Patriarch, which is one of the most important plot points of the novel. In the director's livestream on February 16, 2020, Xiong Ke confirmed that Season 3 would be twelve episodes long (whether that's the total or the minimum length is still ambiguous, however) and that the team would take the time it needs to properly adapt the necessary material for the oncoming season — much to the fans' collective relief.
  • Better Than Canon: One of the things that many fans unanimously like about the donghua is that it has the strongest incarnation of Wei Wuxian, since it really drives in why he's the titular grandmaster of demonic cultivation who the other cultivation clans fear.
  • Broken Base:
    • Every fan agrees that they love the audio drama because it's the most complete adaptation of the novel, but there are fans who are torn on their opinions on the donghua, which is the most contested adaptation. Some see it as another great adaptation that, even with its restrictions due to China's censorship laws and its limited episode count and runtime, still does well in translating the source material into an animated format. Other fans see it as terrible because it's not as faithful as the audio drama and rearranged the order of events that played in the past and present time.
    • The casting of Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Wei Wuxian in the Japanese dub of the audio drama. Even with the fact that he's Mo Xiang Tong Xiu's favorite Japanese voice actor and her preferred choice for Wei Wuxian; the fanbase is split on whether he's a perfect casting choice for the character or the complete opposite, with those having the latter opinion stating that while Suzuki is a great voice actor, his voice doesn't fit Wei Wuxian at all.
  • Cant Unhear It: Downplayed, especially when compared to The King's Avatar. Most viewers who are unused to hearing Chinese-dubbed animation are able to watch the donghua just fine because the story is set in ancient China, therefore it's only natural for the characters to speak Mandarin as it adds a layer of authenticity. Additionally, anyone who was initially skeptical about the quality of the voice-acting is usually won over by the cast's powerful performances.
  • Catharsis Factor: The manner in which Wei Wuxian dealt with Wen Chao in the novel might be a little hard to stomach for some readers, to the point that some readers (albeit understandably) feel a bit sorry for the latter. However, the way Wei Wuxian executes his revenge in the donghua leaves all the viewers with no problems in watching Wen Chao get his gruesome comeuppance.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: The flashback featuring a younger Lan Wangji gifting his rattle drum to Wei Wuxian is sweet enough on its own, but Mo Dao Zu Shi Q adds another level of touching to the scene when it reveals that the rattle drum was originally a gift from Lan Wangji's mother.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • While the donghua contains an All-Star Cast of some of the most prolific and well-renowned Chinese voice actors, the performances are highly praised even by fans who either don't speak Mandarin, have never watched a donghua before, or are highly partial to Japanese-dubbed anime due to the voice actors perfectly delivering the emotion and nuance of their characters in every line.
    • That isn't to say that the audio drama is lacking either. Putting aside the fact that it's the more complete adaptation of the novel — it's also on equal footing with the donghua in terms of voice acting chops, which is noteworthy especially since unlike the donghua, they don't have a visual medium to work with.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Su Shangqing, Jin Ling's voice actor in the donghua, expressed his interest in voicing Jin Guangyao if he wasn't cast as Jin Ling. Two years later, he would eventually voice Jin Guangyao in The Untamed.
    • Similarly, in the audio drama, Wang Kai voiced Lan Xichen, who is an overall Nice G Uy and a Cool Big Bro to Lan Wangji. Wang Jai would later go on to voice Jiang Cheng in The Untamed, who is anything but a Nice Guy and has an extremely poor relationship with Lan Wangji.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: Downplayed. Several fans agree that Season 2 is not a terrible season. However, the fact that it's only eight episodes long yet covers so many plot points (particularly from the past events which detail Wei Wuxian's downfall) causes it to suffer from pacing issues and a few rushed plotlines — problems which didn't plague Season 1. It doesn't help that the audio drama and The Untamed had already adapted most or all of the novel's plot, and aren't nearly as restricted as the donghua when it comes to covering the novel's story.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Almost every instance Wei Wuxian would say "Lan Zhan!" sounds endearing to the heart.
    • Any time Wen Yuan speaks or makes any kind of sound will have even the casual fan Squee! from sheer unbridled cuteness.
  • Narm Charm: The Cornetto commercials. Watch them and you'll see why.
  • Signature Scene: For most of the fans who watched the donghua, Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji, and Jiang Cheng's respective introductory scenes are this, especially since the direction, soundtrack, and overall atmosphere during said scenes can already tell the audience a lot about their characters under one minute.
  • Superlative Dubbing: It never becomes a Broken Base, but every now and then there would be discussions about the fans' favorite voice actor for certain characters.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Because the narrative flow of the donghua deviates from that of the novel's, it's inevitable that some fans will have this kind of opinion. Said opinion becomes even more heated after the second season aired, although the complaints stem less from the narrative changes and more from the past events being noticeably condensed and rushed through.
    • Some fans are not happy about the donghua following the same approach the live-action drama used in downplaying the Grey-and-Gray Morality of the story. Other fans are quick to point out, however, that this is due to the strict censorship laws in China regarding morally grey characters; and that the writing team of the donghua is doing their best to keep the theme while being subtler about it whereas the writing team of The Untamed had to remove it almost entirely.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The audio drama isn't the first adaptation to come out, but it is touted by several fans as the best adaptation of the novel, which inevitably casts a shadow over the other three adaptations, especially the donghua.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The animation team did well in blending the CGI into 2D and making it work. Even then, there are a few instances when it just doesn't, with the 3D-rendered Tortoise of Slaughter in the first season as a noteworthy example.
    • The way animals are drawn in the donghua can look unsettling for some viewers, since the animals are drawn with human eyes instead of the standard animal eyes.
    • The donghua also has any of the characters when they were children, as they can look rather odd. It doesn't have anything to do with Off-Model shots; rather, it's more of how their heads are drawn a little bigger than what's normally proportional for the rest of their petite bodies.
    • Whenever anyone tries running in the donghua, the viewer will immediately notice how floaty the characters look since they move as if their feet aren't connected to the ground.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • By BL anime standards, the donghua is the most well-animated. By general anime or donghua standards, it's still one of the most well-animated works of 2018, with fans praising every aspect of the animation from the scenery to the battle choreography to the integration of CGI into hand-drawn animation (despite a few missteps).
    • Even if they make use of only nendoroids, clay, and a few simple props, the stop-motion skits that the animation team would occasionally create is still impressively smooth in terms of movement.

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