Monday, March 20, 2023

Beyond the Boys Love: Exploring Themes and Messages in Chinese BL Anime

Chinese BL anime has grown in popularity over the years, captivating audiences with its beautiful animation and captivating romantic storylines. But beyond the surface level of romance, there are deeper themes and messages present in the genre.

Exploring Themes and Messages in Chinese BL Anime

In this blog post, we'll delve into the themes and messages beyond the boys' love, exploring the cultural significance of BL in China, social commentary, symbolism, and more.

One of the most striking features of Chinese BL anime is its significance within Chinese culture. Historically, homosexuality has been a taboo topic in China, and the government has often been hostile toward LGBTQ+ individuals. However, the emergence of BL anime has provided a platform for queer narratives to be shared with a wider audience. As such, Chinese BL anime has become a powerful tool for social commentary, highlighting issues of discrimination and the importance of acceptance.

In addition to social commentary, Chinese BL anime often incorporates symbolism and allegory to convey its messages. For example, in "Mo Dao Zu Shi," the flowers of the "Yiling Patriarch" symbolize the love and sacrifice between two male characters. Similarly, in "Heaven Official's Blessing," the phoenix and dragon motifs symbolize the connection between the two male protagonists, representing their deep bond and commitment to each other. These symbols not only enhance the romantic storyline but also deepen the meaning behind the narrative, providing commentary on love, sacrifice, and the power of human connections.

Furthermore, Chinese BL anime often explores complex themes beyond romantic love. For example, "The Untamed" deals with themes of brotherhood, loyalty, and power dynamics. The relationship between the two male protagonists, Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji, is not just a love story but also a story of two men who share a deep bond that transcends romance. In this way, Chinese BL anime pushes the boundaries of what is traditionally considered a "romantic" narrative, exploring the intricacies of human relationships and the complexity of human emotions.

It's also important to note that Chinese BL anime doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's part of a larger cultural movement that's changing the way people view LGBTQ+ individuals in China. While there's still a long way to go, BL anime is providing a new narrative that promotes acceptance and understanding. By portraying queer characters as relatable and empathetic, BL anime is breaking down stereotypes and helping to build a more inclusive society.

In conclusion, Chinese BL anime is much more than just a love story between two men. It's a powerful tool for social commentary, exploring complex themes beyond romantic love, and breaking down barriers in Chinese society. By looking beyond the surface level of romance, we can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of BL in China, the social commentary present in the genre, and how BL anime is changing the conversation around LGBTQ+ individuals.

Related Post: Discover the Best Chinese Boys Love Donghua That You Should Watch


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Donghua BL: The List of Chinese Danmei Anime to Watch in 2023

It's 2023 and while the censorship in China still somewhat appears as a hindrance in further producing more danmei stories in Chinese animation or donghua, it feels amazing that we are still able to get a look at the genre from the perspective of an outsider.

Donghua BL Chinese Danmei Anime Mo Dao Zu Shi

I must say that my journey into Chinese animation had been predominantly influenced by BL donghua since they had been extremely popular especially from 2018 until 2020 when I felt like there was a huge surge in the production of danmei in Chinese animation which later on subside as the censorship tightened. In fact, I felt bad that since 2022 we rarely get updates about the productions of the previously announced BL donghua but we can only keep our heads up high and expect something good to be announced sooner or later.

Donghua BL Anime

Nevertheless, if you think that you have watched all the Chinese BL anime so far? Then, why not scroll over our donghua BL list below and see for yourself if you truly have watched them all. Otherwise, I am excited to share that there's more to danmei in Chinese animation outside the shadows of popular shows that often comes to our mind if we talked about bl donghua.

Chinese Donghua BL List

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (Mo Dao Zu Shi)

Alright, it is a no-brainer since everybody might have watched this BL donghua already but I am putting the Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation first in the list as it should be since I think that it is a rite of passage for all donghua fans to check out this masterpiece. This donghua about two old frenemies has captivated us all and brought forth so much popularity for the danmei genre in Chinese animation since it first aired in 2018. Do you like sword fights, exorcism, martial arts, and cultivation cliches? Then, this one is your first choice.

Spiritpact (Ling Qi)

Here comes another donghua about exorcism and probably one of the most heartfelt supernatural rides we could ever have from a Chinese animation. Spiritpact was one of the first Chinese anime series to gain international recognition and popularity, particularly in the BL (boys' love) fandom. The series was praised for its unique storyline, dynamic characters, and beautiful animation.

Scumbag System

Another Chinese BL anime adapted from a novel by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, the author behind the Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. Aside from being a danmei story, Scumbag System is also an isekai where the MC was transmigrated inside the novel he read and possessed the body of the villain. Now, he must do everything to avoid meeting the horrible demise of that character.

Antidote (Jie Yao)

Particularly, this donghua is not a hardcore BL but inclines more to the bromance side of the spectrum and this had been one of my all-time favorite Chinese anime. Antidote is a story of two young men who are struggling with their inner demons and circumstances, and they find solace in the presence of one another despite their differences.

Heaven Official's Blessing (Tian Guan Ci Fu)

Now, let's proceed with the cream of the crop among BL fans. Heaven Official's Blessing is another donghua from the author of the Grandmaster of the Demonic Cultivation, and probably the gayest of all the donghua in this list. Well, I think that simply further adds charm to its story which portrays genuine affection and an emotional ride that transcends all the other BL donghua out there.

Legend of Exorcism (Tian Bao Fuyao Lu)

Here is another BL donghua that deals with exorcism and while the gay part can be subtle, we sure know that it displays passionate affection that builds up among the hearts of the young warriors in this donghua.

Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire (Lie Huo Jiao Chou)

Another donghua with a subtle BL plot, Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire is an interesting ride for those who enjoyed a mystery-crime story with a twist that involves exorcism and supernatural antics.

Thousand Autumns (Shanhe Jian Xin)

Donghua BL Thousand Autumns

Well, this donghua that explores cultivation and the morality of the martial arts world had been one of my favorites. It does not directly depict the special bond between the MCs but it sure connotes through their interactions that usually send us mixed signals.

The Emperor's Strategy (Diwang Gonglue)

Another historical BL donghua that I think people should start watching as it is often overlooked by many viewers. A story of friendship between the emperor and his close friend, who always helped him in any way possible.

Look, I Can See Your Ears! (Wei, Kanjian Erduo La!)

This adorable donghua is a must-watch if you simply want to have some relaxing moments and enjoy a good chunk of humor and romance. The anime combines elements of comedy, romance, and supernatural genres. "Look, I Can See Your Ears!" has been praised for its unique concept, vibrant animation, and charming characters. It's an entertaining and lighthearted watch that appeals to a wide range of audiences.

The Chronologist (Li Shi)

Donghua BL Li Shi

An emotional ride that features good drama with interesting characters. People often overlooked this because of its short run and limited available streaming options for non-Chinese viewers. It follows the story of a young man who takes on the job as the Chinese Almanac Master and has to deal with various gods that oversee certain seasons of the Chinese calendar.

The Land of Miracles (Shen Lan Qi Yu Wushuang)

From the author of Soul Land, this new donghua in 2022 is a huge surprise and it brings a fusion of cultivation and martial arts together with the bromance of two young men from different races.

Berryl and Sapphire (Xiaolü He Xiaolan)

Another adorable BL donghua in this list is Berryl and Sapphire which is adapted from a popular manhua by Ocarina. The donghua depicts their hilarious and adorable interactions as close friends, and at times, as worst enemies.

The Defective (Can Ci Pin: Fangzhu Xingkong)

From the same author as Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire, The Defective is adapted from a novel by Priest. This sci-fi BL donghua will bring us on a futuristic ride with two men with different personalities in a quest to fight against destiny and the unjust world they lived in.

Are You OK? (You Yao)

We have another Chinese isekai anime on the list and it features mild BL that gives us an interesting ride, in fact, its source material features more BL stuff than what we can imagine from the current donghua. Well, it feels like a portal anime with a plot that is inclined more toward the political side.

Epic of Divinity Light (Dinghai Fusheng Lu)

The prequel to Legend of Exorcism took place 500 years earlier. We still have handsome men fighting demons and supernatural creatures but this donghua also tackles the political environment at that time in Ancient China. Although I felt that it is quite discreet than Legend of Exorcism when it comes to the interactions of the characters.

Stars Fall (Ni Zai Xingguang Shenchu)

Alright, so here's a donghua BL from Wawayu Animation, the studio behind Cinderella Chef. This series offers action and drama which were beautifully combined with mystery and sci-fi vibes.

Upcoming Chinese BL Donghua

Meanwhile, we also have here all the upcoming danmei donghua that hasn't aired yet but have been officially announced by their producers as follows:

  • Warm Sun (Nuan Yang) / SAYE
  • Silent Reading (Mo Duzhe)
  • The Revitalization of the Fuyao Sect (Liu Yao)
  • The Defective Lovers (Daihao: Juangxin)
  • AWM: PUBG Mobile (AWM: Jixian Juji)
  • Dragon in Distress (Aoao Dai Bu)
  • Ming Wang Huan Shi Lu


Friday, December 23, 2022

10 Must-Watch Upcoming Chinese BL Anime in 2023

It has been a great year for Chinese animation as we had been delighted this 2022 by many new shows and returning sequels. For BL fans, among the most spectacular ride, we had this year is definitely The Land of Miracles, and the mild bromance we had from Word of Honor, and The Young Brewmaster's Adventure.

Upcoming Chinese BL Anime in 2023

Furthermore, 2022 has brought to us some exciting news and announcement such as the return of some of our favorite BL donghua like Beryl and Sapphire which many fans had been anticipating these past few years.

As the year is almost over, it only means that a new year is coming with new surprises to bring. For BL fans like us, we are simply looking forward to a fruitful new year as we're getting new Chinese anime in 2023 and that's what we're about to discuss in this post.

Beryl and Sapphire Season 2

Coming first on our list is Beryl and Sapphire Season 2 which was announced during the Bilibili annual conference last October 29, 2022. Our favorite duo is coming back and this time, they'll deliver a rather medieval tale with knights and demons together with the usual hilarious and adorable antics they excel at.

Are You OK? Season 2

One of the most hilarious and funniest Chinese anime is also scheduled to return soon and what's even more exciting is that it is also a BL. Are You OK? Season 2 is one of iQIYI's most popular series in their lineup and after some delays, we might get some news about it this 2023.

Legend of Exorcism Season 3

The delightful and interesting historical period drama set in Ancient Tang Dynasty is coming back soon after Bilibili as announced last year. Its 2nd season aired in 2021 and many fans had been waiting for its 3rd season the connection between the boys is getting deeper and more conspiracies are being brought to the surface.

Scumbag System Season 2

From the author of Mo Dao Zu Shi, Scumbag System Season 2 had been one of the most awaited donghua sequels by many fans. There had been some delays due to some issues in the production team, thankfully, the series is still running to have its 2nd season getting a release soon.

Heaven Official's Blessing Season 2

From one novel-inspired donghua of Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, here's another one - Xie Lian and Hua Cheng are expected to return in Heaven Official's Blessing Season 2 after the successful stint of its 1st season in 2020 has been one of the best donghua from Bilibili that year.

Thousand Autumns Season 2

Another familiar title is next on our list and that is Thousand Autumns which Tencent has previously announced in 2021. However, due to the full-scale attention that Shanghai Motion Magic Studio is giving to Battle Through The Heavens, we had to wait for quite some time until the current season of BTTH is over before we get new updates about Thousand Autumns Season 2.

Warm Sun

From the author of Antidote (Jie Yao), this is probably my most anticipated upcoming Chinese BL anime of all on this list. Warm Sun is adapted from Wu Zhe's danmei novel - SAYE.

Defective Lovers

A donghua that was previously announced by Tencent, Defective Lovers is due to give the same feel as Mo Dao Zu Shi and Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire with its mystery and crime-centered plot and adventure.

Link Click Season 2

You might be wondering this donghua is here. Link Click is the best Chinese anime of 2021 for me and it never comes short of many surprises including the mixed signals of soft bromance that we all enjoyed from it. As one of Bilibili's most successful series, it's one of the shows we should all look forward to in 2023.

Silent House

Also known as Ya She, this is another upcoming donghua that gives off BL vibes and bromance affair to me and I am simply excited about what this show had in store for all of us. After all, it is animated by Colored Pencil Animation, the studio behind The King's Avatar Season 2 and its prequel movie.  


Saturday, August 27, 2022

10 Mild BL & Bromance Donghua You Should Check Out Now

Danmei or boys love donghua had been rising in popularity in recent years despite the strong censorship in China. It surely thrives and had become one of the main introductory series for donghua fans outside of China as its fanbase had been growing through the years.

We all know that some of the most popular Chinese anime are danmei or those stories that revolve around an intimate friendship between male characters such as Scumbag System, Legend of Exorcism, and Heaven Official's Blessing to name a few. While there are other titles too that may only show subtle hints about such a relationship and that is what we shall be tackling in this post.

Soft bromance and mild boys love donghua are usually the ones that bring multiple meanings to the surface about the actions of the characters and this is a good ride for those viewers who may not be into BL but still can tolerate a few bromance affairs. Hence, I have listed here 10 donghua with bromance and mild BL antics that you might want to check.

10 Donghua with Bromance and Mild BL Elements

The Young Brewmaster's Adventure

First on the list is The Young Brewmaster's Adventure, a prequel to the Great Journey of Teenagers donghua which was adapted from a novel by Zhou Munan and part of the Song of Adolescence series. It follows the youthful adventure of Su Baili and all the people he met along the way, both new friends, allies, and foes. One thing this donghua excels at is having gorgeous animation and beautiful character designs, especially those good-looking young men.


The Land of Miracles

From the author of Soul Land, Land of Miracles follows the story of two young men from different races but with a destiny to fulfill. Their path is bound to be met and when they do, an exciting and robust bromance took place and a bit of everything any rivals could have, bickering against each other.


Link Click

One of the best donghua of 2021, Link Click follows the adventure of Cheng Xiaoshi and Lu Guang, both have the powers to alter the past and the present, thus, leading to new possibilities. But when things don't go according to their plan, it became a race against time itself to fix the mess they did as it creates paradoxes that give birth to some evil entity. With the announcement of Link Click Season 2, we can only get excited to learn more about the connection between the two main characters and the bonds that connects them.


The Founder of Diabolism

The original danmei donghua that spread the BL fever in 2018 like a wildfire, The Founder of Diabolism or also known as the Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, hides that intimate bond between the MC through an investigative approach and hilarious humor, and absolutely stunning fight scenes in the lower-fantasy cultivation world.


Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire

A righteous emperor who got corrupted and a descendant of a hidden bloodline of a divine beast, Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire brings an urban fantasy story with such a fragile yet intimate connection between the two main characters. It is adapted from a novel by Priest, who's famous for writing BL novels in China.


The Defective

Here comes another donghua adapted from a work of Priest. The Defective unlike its other sisters like Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire, and Liu Yao, took place in a futuristic setting, giving off sci-fi vibes.


All Saints Street

This adorable and short donghua is a furball of sunshine to those who enjoy light stories in a slice-of-life narrative. So we have different supernatural creatures in this donghua living together in one apartment. Despite their differences, they live in harmony albeit they all have their respective motives and in the process, they build a connection of inclusivity.



A personal favorite of mine, imagine being a gangster type of person meeting a runaway rich kid, living together, and forming a deep friendship. Such typical BL antics, right? However, there's more to Antidote than that. It explores several social issues, and in the process brings these two men together where they find solace in the presence of one another, which helps them face their fear and defeat their inner demons. They sure are the antidote to one another.


Those Years I Opened a Zoo

A hilarious yet fantastic donghua that features an MC who inherits a zoo but in the verge of bankruptcy. Now, it is up to him to save it and make it back to business once again, joining him in the process are peculiar entities with which he'll share special bonds.


The Chronologist

Also known as Chinese Almanac Master, this mysterious and heartwarming story explores supernatural antics and a glimpse of the moral standard of humanity. It explores various human connections with the new master of the almanac who can summon gods to do his bidding, but what will he do with a summoned god who seems to have his own ideas to do things aside from what his master wants to do?


These are only some of the best donghua with mild BL elements that you guys might want to check out. If you had seen any of them, please let us know what you think about them and if you have any additions to this list, leave them in the comment section below so we can check them out too.


Thursday, August 18, 2022

What is Danmei? What is Donghua? What’s Danmei Donghua?

 Hey guys, if this is your first time in this blog, you might be wondering what's with the title and why there are unfamiliar words such as danmei, or donghua. Don't worry, you're not the only person on the same page as this had been my thoughts too several years ago and here, I would like to share a short introduction to what this blog is all about and about those two words.

First, let's start with an introduction to the word - danmei.

What is Danmei?

According to, danmei is defined as gay love, or boys love (BL). It is basically the Chinese counterpart of the Japanese yaoi or homosexual relationship. 

It is a Chinese word that literally means "indulgence in beauty", in literature and fictional media, danmei is a genre that explores the romantic relationship between men.

Most danmei are written by female authors and targeted toward heterosexual female audiences, just like the Japanese fujoshi culture, danmei in whatever media they are presented are often enjoyed by female audiences or readers.

What is Donghua?

Next, you might be asking what donghua is. Typically means moving pictures in Chinese, it is often considered by many as Chinese animation. Therefore, every work of art that is animated can be considered as donghua, not just in motion pictures, but sometimes the word donghua also refers to animated produced in China.

What is Danmei Donghua?

Now, what is danmei donghua? It is a Chinese BL anime, a boys' love story presented in animated works produced by people from China.

With the strict censorship in China, you might be wondering how the hell can they produce BL stories out there that won't gain the ire of the government and also please the audiences. Well, danmei donghua had been quite subtle and ambiguous lately, they are typically censored but the essence of the story can still be understood and often left to the viewers' interpretation.

Nonetheless, danmei can be explored thoroughly in other mediums such as web novels which gained popularity even outside of China, some of the popular Chinese BL authors are Mo Xiang Tong Xiu and Priest. In fact, their works had been adapted into donghua in recent years, albeit some modification has been made in order for it to pass Chinese censorship.

My favorite works from them include Heaven Official's Blessing and The Founder of Diabolism from MXTX. While Priest's novels such as Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire, Liu Yao, and The Defective had been a good ride.

Wu Zhe is another Chinese BL author that I love, her works on Saye and Antidote were both special to me. Saye had been green-lit to receive a donghua adaptation from Tencent and Colored Pencil Animation, while Antidote was already adapted into donghua in 2020.

In Chinese animation, we have plenty of BL donghua that gained popularity all these years with the titles that I've mentioned above leading the pack. Nonetheless, there are other boys who love donghua that you should also keep an eye on such as Spiritpact, The Legend of Exorcism, and Epic Light of Divinity to name a few.

What Danmei Donghua Blog?

With all of these things mentioned, I think it is quite easy to figure out what this blog - Danmei Donghua is all about, right? I aimed to share my thoughts on different topics involving boys' love stories in Chinese animation, as well as give recommendations to my fellow fans who wish to delve deeper into it.


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Beyond the Boys Love: Exploring Themes and Messages in Chinese BL Anime

Chinese BL anime has grown in popularity over the years, captivating audiences with its beautiful animation and captivating romantic storyli...