Here's Why Hero Legends, The Legend of Heroes, Dashing Youth Are Wuxia Series To Watch Out

 Best Chinese drama wuxia 2024

As a die-hard wuxia fanatic, I am always on the lookout for a good wuxia drama. I am talking about the mainstream wuxia, the traditional one where Chinese productions are best known for. 

It's so hard to find one nowadays because the focus of most C-productions in recent years is on the costume romance genre. 

Best Chinese Wuxia drama 2023

But thank goodness this year there are three C-Dramas in the solid wuxia genre that are expected to air. Hero Legends (CCTV/Tencent), The Legend of Heroes (Tencent) and Dashing Youth (Youku). 

Here's why these three are the Wuxia series to watch out this year. Hopefully, the script and the quality of the production won't disappoint.

1. Hero Legends

I've been searching where to find forums and online discussions about Wuxia novels until I found one, and luckily, most members are discussing the source novel of Hero Legends, the Heroic Chronicles by Sun Xiao. 

Cheng Yi as Lu Yun in Hero Legends

Heroic Chronicles, according to those who have read the book, is arguably one of the most critically acclaimed wuxia novels in recent years. 

This novel is considered by many wuxia aficionados to be the best work in contemporary wuxia after Jin Yong (The Condor Trilogy) and Gu Long (Xiaoli Feidao). 

Sun Xiao is a Taiwanese writer and Heroic Chronicles book is his novel debut. He published the book in the span of 10 years with the final chapter released in 2006. Sun Xiao stated that he wanted to reinvigorate the wuxia genre because it has been in slow decline in recent years. 

Heroic Chronicles is not only a story of the heroic adventures of martial arts heroes but is also noted for its complex storytelling of social, political, and humanistic issues.

The martial elements in the book are based on traditional martial arts and they are thought-provoking. 

Hero Legends Chinese drama
Cheng Yi as Lu Yun 

Heroic Chronicles is set in the Ming dynasty period and the story begins when the top army general is accused of murdering the emperor while both are on a military campaign.  

As a result, the general's family is put to death by the new emperor and the general is forced into rebellion. 

Many years later, a secret message is etched on a parchment paper, hinting that the general is innocent of the crime, and the former emperor might still be alive. 

Hero Legends Chinese drama
Cheng Yi and Xiao Shunyao will reunite in Hero Legends 

Heroic Chronicles has four main male characters:

Lu Yun - a poor literary student, righteous, and morally upright. He makes sacrifices for the good of the community. He is an honorable man and his growth in the story is one of the most gripping parts in the plot development. In the drama adaptation this is played by Cheng Yi.

Wu Ding Yuan - a capable police detective and his investigation into a massacre connected to the parchment and his stubborn pursuit of those responsible for the crime would lead him to take on heavier responsibilities. In the drama adaptation, this is played by Wang Qian Yuan.

Qin Zhong Hai - an officer of the imperial army known for his martial prowess and coarse habits. He has a humble beginning and raised by a shifu (martial arts teacher) who is one of the strongest martial artists in the world. 

Although he serves his superior honestly and courageously, he has rebellious tendencies and is not afraid to confront people in power. In the drama adaptation, this is played by Xiao Shunyao, who played Di Fei Sheng in Mysterious Lotus Casebook.

Yang Su Guan - a young and accomplished government official who has an enigmatic character. One day, he can be generous and loyal, the next day, he can be cunning and devious. He has courtly manners, but his heart's desire seems to be more terrifying. In the drama adaptation, this is played by Zheng Yecheng.

2. The Legend of Heroes

This is the most popular of all the wuxia novel adaptations because the source novel has been adapted numerous times in movies and televisions both in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China.

This is a spin-off of the classic wuxia novel, The Legend of the Condor Heroes, which is part of The Condor Trilogy, written by Hong Kong journalist, Louis Cha. He wrote his novels under the pen name of Jin Yong.

Best Chinese drama wuxia 2024
Ci Sha as Guo Jing

The Condor Trilogy consists of The Legend of the Condor Heroes, The Return of the Condor Heroes, and The Heavenly Sword and Dragon-Slaying Saber. Both were published in the 1950s and early 1960s, and have been adapted many times in films and series. 

Read related topics:

The Legend of Heroes has 60 episodes and will be divided into two parts. The episodes are broken into sub-units, you can read it here The Legend of Heroes sub units

It will showcase the backstory of the martial arts greats and minor characters in the Legend of the Condor Heroes, down to the main protagonists - Guo Jing and Huang Rong.

So this version is very focused on the wuxia elements, the origin of the martial arts sects introduced in the Condor Trilogy, and the sources of Guo Jing's martial arts abilities. So there are tons of fight scenes in this drama.

The Legend of Heroes main cast arranged based on their appearance in the episodes:
  1. Zhou Yi Wei as Huang Yao Shi
  2. Gao Wei Guang as Ouyang Feng
  3. Peter Ho as Duan Zhi Xing
  4. Chen Du Ling as Feng Heng
  5. Hankiz Omar as Yi Huo
  6. Meng Zi Yi as Mei Chao Feng
  7. Ming Dao as Hong Qi Gong
  8. He Yu as Chen Xuan Feng
  9. Ci Sha as Guo Jing / Wu Mian Feng
  10. Bao Shang En as Huang Rong
  11. Wang Hong Yi as Yang Kang
  12. Huang Yi as Mu Nuanci
3. Dashing Youth

Among the three, the Dashing Youth cannot be considered a traditional wuxia, but more on the interpretation of wuxia elements in the eyes of the youth. 

This is an IP novel published in 2019 and was adapted into Donghua in 2022. Unlike Hero Legends and The Legend of Heroes that contain the traditional elements of wuxia, Dashing Youth is a fresh take on wuxia to appeal the young generation. 

Nonetheless, Dashing Youth tackles elements we often find in classic wuxia such as the martial arts school, the principles of martial artists, and the jianghu elements. 

It is adapted from the web novel, Shaonian Bai Ma Zui Chun Feng by Zhou Mu Nan, which has a literal translation in English as The Young Brew Master's Adventure.

It is a prequel to Youths and the Golden Coffin, the source novel of The Blood of Youth. So if you love The Blood of Youth , you'll surely like this one. Most reviewers of this novel say the writing is more polished. 

Best Chinese drama wuxia 2024
Neo Hou as Baili Dongjun in Dashing Youth

Unlike Youths and the Golden Coffin where there are several main characters, the plot in The Young Brew Master's Adventure centers firmly on its main character, Baili Dongjun, played by Neo Hou in the drama adaptation.

According to people who have read the novel, Baili Dongjun's character is well-written and consistent from start to finish. The story is set 20 years before the events in "Youths and the Golden Coffin" (The Blood of Youth). 

Bai Li Dongjun is the youngest son of the master of the Hou Mansion in Zhenxi. He is stubborn and not interested to study martial arts or read books.

His only interest is winemaking because of his agreement with his murdered friend, Ye Yun, that he would become the best winemaker.  

But through accidental encounters and unforeseen circumstances. Bai Li Dongjun entered the martial arts school, developed his own martial arts abilities, and became number one in the world.

Dashing Youth Chinese drama
Xia Zhiguang as Sikong Changfeng 

He later met Yue Yao and got reunited with Ye Yun, who was afterall alive and now been renamed Ye Ding Zhi. Under their influence and encouragement, Bai Li Dongjun began to re-examine his identity and responsibilities. 

Years later, Ye Ding Zhi was used by others to launch a war against the Central Plains. And Bai Li Dongjun led a group of heroes to resist. 

Dashing Youth Chinese drama
He Yu as Ye Dingzhi and Neo Hou as Baili Dongjun

Facing his best friend, Bai Li Dongjun did not back down at this time. He wanted to save the common people as well as his own friend!

One of the most endearing parts of the story is Baili Dongjun's friendship with the people he met, especially Sikong Changfeng and Lei Mengsha. 

It also explains why he was so fond of Lei Wujie and Xiao Se from the moment he met them and why he willingly helped them clear the Tower of Ascension in Snow Moon City. 

Drama adaptation cast:
  1. Neo Hou as Baili Dongjun
  2. He Yu as Ye Dingzhi
  3. Hu Lian Xin as Yue Yao
  4. Xia Zhiguang as Sikong Changfeng
  5. Wanyan Luo Rong as Lei Mengsha
  6. Li Hongyi will have a guest role as Xiao Se
So all these notes and background of the source novels make these three upcoming wuxia series the most exciting C-Drama to watch this year if you're a wuxia aficionado.

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