What Genre is Tian Xia?

Main.WhatGenreIsTianXia History

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(:title What Genre is Tian Xia?:)
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Tianxia is a mash-up of two distinctive subgenres many people consider the
same thing, wuxia and more traditional Kung Fu or martial arts drama.

'''Wuxia''' is a Chinese term, meaning “wandering
warrior” or “knight errant”, that focuses on the trials
and tribulations of transient warriors with great skill
as they deal with the conflicts in the martial arts
world — a violent subculture involving duels, vendettas,
survival and prosperity through martial skill. Even
political intrigues and similar struggles are framed
by conflicts between powerful warriors. Wuxia can
usually do incredible things and often have powers
and skills that seem superhuman, such as making
leaps covering hundreds of feet or knocking volleys
of arrows out of the air mid-flight. Good examples of
wuxia in media are films like ''Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, The Bride with White Hair, Storm Riders, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame,'' and ''Wuxia''.

By contrast, the traditional '''martial arts drama'''
is usually more grounded. The characters often have
powerful fighting skills, but high-flying superpowers
and secret martial arts subculture usually gives way to
a somewhat more grounded approach. Politics, Kung
Fu school rivalries, criminal organizations, and smaller
scale interactions feature more prominently in the
plots of these stories. Comedy is also more common.
The action often favors straight melees and fights over
special effects and superheroic stunts, though even
with few or no wires or computer graphics the action
can still be jaw dropping and seem almost superhuman.
Examples of traditional Kung Fu in media are ''Last Hurrah for Chivalry, Fist of Legend, Five Deadly Venoms, 36th Chamber of Shaolin,'' and pretty much everything Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan ever did.

Of course there is a lot of crossover between these
two subgenres, and that is where we find '''Tianxia.''' The
martial arts action is more like wuxia, it is over the
top, and characters are capable of some pretty crazy
feats, especially once they gain some skill. On the
other hand, the stories revolve around not just the
martial arts world and its inhabitants, but also bandits,
criminals, spies, corrupt merchants and officials. This
means Tianxia characters tend to keep their feet
planted more firmly on the ground even when they
are punching a mountain in space. This also tends
to lead to a very stylized and highly referential feel
that mash-up or mixed genre settings sometimes
have. Good examples of this mix of over-the-top
and down-to-earth are found in Western films like
''Bunraku'' and ''Man With the Iron Fists,'' as well as Chinese films like
''Iron Monkey'' and ''The Duel.''


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