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YMMV tropes that apply to either Mo Dao Zu Shi as a whole or the other adaptations of the novel go here.


  • Actor Shipping: Not exactly, but several fans enjoy seeing the interactions between Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo due to their chemistry on and off-screen and how well they understood the characters they played. For similar reasons, the second most popular actor pair after them is Song Jiyang and Wang Haoxuan, followed by Liu Haikuan and Zhu Zanjin.
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  • Adaptation Displacement: While the original novel is already a massive hit in China, you'd be surprised to learn that there are still many fans who don't know that The Untamed is only but one of the many existing adaptations of the novel.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Jin Guangyao. Was he a Manipulative Bastard from the beginning? Was he sincere about anything he said in the temple? Did he ever care for Lan Xichen at all? Opinions vary wildly.
    • Nie Huaisang. Some people think he's a basically decent man who was forced by circumstances to become a Manipulative Bastard. Others think he's another Jin Guangyao.
    • The scene where Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli visit Wei Wuxian in Yiling plays out almost exactly like it does in the novel, but there are subtle additions and changes that add a different context to the scene. Did the two visit Wei Wuxian with the ulterior motive of convincing him to leave the Wens and return to Lotus Pier, hoping that showing him Jiang Yanli in her wedding robes and giving him the honor of choosing Jin Ling's courtesy name — which, even though they also did out of their love for Wei Wuxian — would make it easier for them to sway him? Or did they have no such intentions but are nevertheless sad to say goodbye to him again once they have to go back home?
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: While many fans were definitely curious about how the series would fare long before it aired whether it's in the optimistic or the morbid way, nobody expected it to become the widespread multinational hit that it became in the span of less than two months.
  • Cant Unhear It:
    • If you're informed on who voices who before watching The Untamed, hearing Jiang Cheng talk in the series can be unsettling since you're also hearing Lan Xichen from the audio drama, and their temperaments couldn't be any more different.
    • Likewise, it would be even more unsettling to hear Jin Guangyao talk when you realize that he shares the same voice with Jin Ling from the donghua. You might as well be listening to a grown-up and evil version of Jin Ling.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Nie Zonghui, Nie Mingjue's right-hand man who appears only in the second film of the series.
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  • Epileptic Trees: Some speculate that due to the canon-divergent plot, the series is essentially one giant fanfic that Wei Wuxian had written.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: The Untamed is NOT the original story to which the novel and the donghua are adaptations of. This is especially egregious since a simple research would prove that the novel was published in 2015, the donghua aired since 2018, and the live-action drama aired in 2019. For extra good measure, the manhua was released in late 2017, while the audio drama was released around a month before the donghua aired.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Because the earliest fans of the The Untamed were Chinese entertainment consumers, they were also fond of the Korean pop group, EXO which had a strong Chinese fanbase due to its old Mandarin subunit, EXO-M. Much of the cast for The Untamed are also EXO fans with lead actor Xiao Zhan citing Sehun as his favorite EXO member. The Chinese fanbase for The Untamed gets along very well with the EXO fanbase but it has generated some drama in the international The Untamed fanbase as EXO's fandom rival BTS is far more popular outside of China. Some fans of Chinese entertainment (known as 'C-ent fans') completely disavow any connections to K-pop fandoms for how loud and arguably disrespectful they are (particularly those on Western "stan Twitter") and do not like K-Pop fans being involved in C-drama or C-Pop fandoms.
  • Genius Bonus: In ancient China, clothes were always fastened left over right. The only clothing fastened right over left was burial clothes for the deceased. In Episode 19, Wei Wuxian wears his robe fastened right over left, foreshadowing that he has suffered a fate worse than death: losing his golden core.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Really popular in Thailand. So much so that it became a trending Twitter topic in Thailand and even a fan-meeting with the actors visiting Thailand happened.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Months before The Untamed had aired, many were skeptical on whether Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo would do the protagonists justice, especially as they only had one other major acting role beforehand. After the series aired, everyone agreed that they are the quintessential choices for Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji, respectively. Xiao Zhan was able to encapsulate every aspect about Wei Wuxian in both facial expression and physical movement, and Wang Yibo perfectly captured Lan Wangji's duality of cold stoicism and passionate emotion. The fact that both won awards for their performances just hammers in this trope.
    • Wang Zhuocheng as Jiang Cheng also deserves a mention. Everyone already thought that he was a great choice to play the character from his looks alone, and he proved them completely right. Even with the occasional overacting (specifically when crying is involved), no one disagrees that he did justice in portraying Jiang Cheng, and in some ways even made the character appear more sympathetic and likable to the audience.
    • When it comes to voice actors, Lu Zhixing and Bian Jiang had already proved themselves before in the audio drama and the donghua, respectively. However, Su Shangqing — who some might recognize for his previous casting in the donghua (see Cant Unhear It above) — surprises the audience with how well he can change his range when he migrates from voicing a Royal Brat with a Hidden Heart of Gold to voicing a nigh-sociopathic Manipulative Bastard, allowing him to complement an already excellent performance from Zhu Zanjin.
    • Nobody likes Wen Chao, but everybody loves the way He Peng played the character and praised him for capturing every despicable aspect about the character perfectly. On a lesser note, many have said the same about Lu Enjie in her role as Wang Lingjiao.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the novel, Nie Huaisang praised Wei Wuxian's idea of harnessing resentful energy due to its practicality and its benefits. In the donghua, Nie Huaisang is voiced by Liu Sanmu, who would then be the dub-over actor for Xue Yang in The Untamed.
    • For the Western fandom, there's the added subplot of Lan Wangji breaking into the forbidden archives to find other songs that can help Wei Wuxian combat the adverse effects of demonic cultivation. This is because a fanfic published months prior to the release to The Untamed had already done this.
    • In Goodbye My Princess Zhu Zanjin (Jin Guangyao) plays a scheming government minister who arranges the death of his rival. Replace "government minister" with "Chief Cultivator", and that also describes his character here.
    • In Dance of the Phoenix, which aired a year after The Untamed, Wang Haoxuan (Xue Yang) plays a character who dresses all in black and plays a flute. Cue the jokes that Xue Yang is pretending to be Wei Wuxian. And as if Dance of the Phoenix wasn't already funny/strange for The Untamed fans, Guo Cheng (Lan Jingyi) also appears in it.
    • Liu Beichen is the voice actor of Su She, a clan leader working as The Dragon of the Big Bad, in the live-action series. Then one year later, he voiced a sect leader yet again in another adaptation of one of Mo Xiang Tong Xiu's novels, but this time his character serves the role of the Big Good.
    • Meng Ziyi (Wen Qing) and Wang Zhuocheng (Jiang Cheng) went on to play two of the main characters in the 2020 series Legend of Two Sisters in the Chaos.
  • Hype Backlash: Over time, the opinion of long-time Mo Dao Zu Shi fans towards The Untamed began to sour, although this has less to do with the drama always being talked about and receiving constant praise, and more to do with how the overall fandom as slowly began to treat The Untamed as the "true canon story" of Mo Dao Zu Shi in spite of its several deviations from the source material brought about by censorship.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks: In a way. As stated below (see They Changed It, So It Sucks), one of the fans complaint's about how the series adapted the novel's plot involves the Yi City arc being rushed. Consequently, the fans' main gripe with the The Living Dead is how it basically recycled the plot of the same arc but with a completely different set of characters who aren't even from the novel — to the point of stating that it would have been better if the production crew had just made it into a half-recap, half-expansion movie about the Yi City storyline.
  • Memetic Mutation: Mermaid Xue Yang. explanation 
  • Narm:
    • While it's standard fare for Chinese drams, expect some moments of overly melodramatic acting every now and then, whether it's from the background characters, the supporting cast, and on the rare occasion even the main cast.
    • The frequent T-posing that the characters do when they fight or jump from long distances looks too silly and memetic to take seriously.
    • If there's anything most fans can agree on, it's that a lot of the action scenes can be funny to watch, especially the battle in the Nightless City.
    • It's difficult to deny that the official English subtitles (whether from WeTV or Viki) often contain very cringe-worthy translations. One of the most infamous examples is translating the word gongzi to "childe" instead of "young master" or "master" note .
    • Wei Wuxian being thrown into the Burial Mounds is just bound to make the viewer laugh rather than scream in fear. For starters, the green-screen effects are blatantly obvious; and there's how he was dropped from at least an airplane's height.
    • The scene where Qin Su confronts Jin Guangyao over the lies he's told her doesn't really leave the proper impact on the audience, mostly because Jin Luying (who plays Qin Su) is notably stiff in her acting, barely emoting in a moment where Qin Su is canonically described to act hysterical.
    • The fact that almost every character almost always hold their swords even when they're not fighting, instead of attaching their swords to their waists or carrying them behind their backs, can be this mainly because of how inconvenient it is.
  • Narm Charm: The commercials (i.e. Coke, Olay). It's jarringly hilarious but remains fun to watch because it reminds many fans of how Cornetto is often advertised in the donghua.
  • Older Than They Think: Many who are introduced to C-dramas through The Untamed typically express surprise that the entire drama is actually dubbed, with all the dialogue spoken by voice actors instead of the original actors. However, this is actually a common trend in C-dramas, partly to get rid of any issues of differing dialects. But the main reason is because plenty of dramas are being shot at around the same time in the same filming studio, hence the dubbing is necessary.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The red-clothed female ghost that Wei Wuxian summons to scare Wen Chao and fight Wen Zhuliu made herself extremely memorable to fans, even though she appears for only one minute in the entire show.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • It would take a while for fans of both Mo Xiang Tong Xiu and priest to realize that the female ghost in Episode 20 is played by the same actress who would go on to play Chen Qingxu in the Live-Action Adaptation of Sha Po Lang.
    • In yet another Live-Action Adaptation of Priest's novels, while his appearance in The Untamed is short, fans become surprised when they learn that Wen Xu is played by the same actor who portrayed Han Ying in Word of Honor.
  • Scenery Porn: Many the location sets in the show are gorgeous to the last detail, even if it falls victim to Special Effects Failure once in a while.
  • Special Effects Failure: It's a Chinese drama, so sub-par CGI effects are par for the course.
    • While this series is generally rife with Scenery Porn, it's obvious at times that the characters are standing in front of a green screen.
    • The Tortoise of Slaughter is worse-looking than how it was rendered in the donghua, especially since it looks unconvincing when other characters are trying to attack it.
    • Anyone can see that the eyeballs planted in Wang Lingjiao's treasure stash are a pair of completely fake googly eyes.
    • The dog in the dungeon looks menacing at first, but when it reappears it's clearly fake. Especially obvious in how slowly its eyes close and how long it takes to collapse after the needles hit it.
  • Squick: The makeup team does a good job in making cracked skin (a sign of zombification in the series) look appropriately unsettling. There's also what they did with Wen Chao's wounds, and then there's the Hundred Holes Curse. Brrrr.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Played with, since both movies aren't directly linked to each other and occur at different periods in the story's timeline note . However, fans are quick to say that Fatal Journey is the superior web movie compared to The Living Dead, as it actually focuses on the canon-original characters (specifically, the well-beloved Nie brothers) and provides them with more screentime and character depth. Even the one Canon Foreigner introduced in the film immediately became an Ensemble Dark Horse in his own right, in contrast to the three Canon Foreigners in the first film who — while not necessarily badly written — are mostly forgettable, especially since their story is almost a rehash of the plot of the Yi City arc.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • This was the fans' initial reaction when they heard that The Untamed wouldn't be adapting the romance between Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji, but after the first six episodes aired this opinion died down since even without the romance, there's still a ton of subtext (and that's still an understatement) in the live-action drama coupled with the great chemistry between both the actors and their dub-over actors.
    • If there's one thing the fans can agree on, it's that while the Yi City arc isn't adapted poorly, per se, it is undoubtedly rushed — which comes as a disappointment due to the entire story being one of the standouts of the novel.
    • A lot of fans who had already read the novel prior to watching The Untamed aren't happy about how the Grey-and-Gray Morality theme is heavily toned down, such as making Wei Wuxian entirely blameless and making some of the villains even more evil than they were in the novel. Some fans are more understanding, however, since Chinese censorship laws target not only the portrayal of any blatant (or even subtle) homoromanticism but also morally grey characters and storylines.
  • Translation Train Wreck: Not as bad as, say the Live-Action Adaptation of The King's Avatar, but the official WeTV subtitles of The Untamed has a lot of gramatically-incorrect or poorly phrased translations to be found. While this is downplayed in the Viki and Netflix subtitles, the problems still exist.
  • Values Dissonance: A post collected various misconceptions that many viewers have over the plot and core relationships of The Untamed, all of which are alarmingly erroneous — such as Lan Wangji ending up as Wei Wuxian's enemy or Jiang Yanli being Wei Wuxian's love interest. To anyone who's already read the novel, the theories definitely seem completely silly and far-fetched. However, this post explains why such misconceptions exist (it must be noted that the misinterpretations came from mostly Eastern viewers) and how the production crew of The Untamed uses them to their advantage.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • Majority of the CGI effects in the series are subpar, to say the least, but you'd be surprised to learn that the scene where the characters release sky lanterns doesn't involve any lanterns in the actual shooting.
    • While it's not exactly up to the standards of Hollywood blockbusters, it can't be denied that the quality of the special effects of the spinoff movies are a huge step up from that of the series itself.
  • Win the Crowd: Months before The Untamed aired, people were skeptical that the series would do justice to the source material, whether in terms of the script or the acting. Then when the first four episodes came out, the initial consensus was lukewarm, but the reception got increasingly more positive as time went on. While it's definitely not the most faithful adaptation of the novel and has some pacing and script issues, it's nevertheless entertaining to watch. Part of the fun is seeing how the actors portray their characters and how some of the pivotal scenes in the novel are played out or given more detail. It helps that the team behind The Untamed made sure to put their own spin on said scenes rather than mimic how they're adapted in audio drama and the donghua, and are also very respectful to the novel.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • While it depends on the viewer's sense of fashion, many do share the opinion that most of Lan Xichen's wardrobe looks like he's wearing curtains for robes.
    • Depending on who you're asking, there are also some fans who don't like how the crew decided to give both Nie Mingjue and Wen Ruohan a mustache, pointing out that they look more silly than intimidating and would actually come across as more properly imposing if they didn't have the facial hair.

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