Chinese animators have been drawing inspiration from Chinese mythology ever since the country’s first animatedfilm, Princess Iron Fan in 1941, and in recent years its animated-film industry has released several hit films based on classic Chinese tales, such as Monkey King: Hero is Back in 2015, Big Fish & Begonia in 2016, and White Snake in 2019.
Nezha has earned rave reviews and is rated higher than Monkey King: Hero is Back. It is also China’s first 3D animated feature film released in IMAX format.
In the novel Nezha is born during the Shang dynasty (circa 1600BC to 1050BC) and is famous for fighting against the Dragon King. The third son of garrison commander General Li Jing, he can never please his father and eventually commits suicide.
However, compared with the original novel and past animated versions, the relationships between the characters are given modern meaning.
In the past, Nezha was known for his fight against patriarchy and autocracy. In this film he is fighting prejudice: Nezha is hated, feared and shunned as the reincarnation of a devil. But Nezha believes his fate is not predetermined and that he can choose to be a demon or a god.