As Chinese animation keeps on growing, we normally only get to know the creator or the author whom the donghua had inspired, or the people who give life to the characters that captured our hearts through their fantastic voice acting skills. I, myself had been a huge fan of Zhang Jie in that aspect ever since the first I heard his voice as Ye Xiu on The King’s Avatar, and as Wei Wuxian on the Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation.
Casual donghua viewers often just put the production team together under the belt of its studio and such is the case in me for quite some time as I usually think that the studio represents the entire production committee behind our favorite donghua or anime. However, it is important to go beyond the surface and deep within the production so we can appreciate the talents behind our favorite shows as they’re the huge contributors who are enjoying these various donghua.
In line with this, I would like to introduce 5 rising directors of Chinese animation or donghua (while some already established themselves) that I think viewers should have added on their radar whenever they’re trying to look for a new Chinese anime to watch next time.
For voice talents, whenever we heard the name Zhang Jie or other popular actors, we often get excited to watch any new shows that they’re in, right? So, I hope that such will be the case with donghua directors too, whenever wee a familiar name in the staff list, I do hope it’ll give us some urge to be excited about their upcoming or other works too.
Zhao Yuqing is the director and creator behind one of the most gorgeous donghua of all time and that is The Island of Siliang in 2021. She was a graduate of the Communication University of China and worked as an art designer, director, screenwriter, and editor for various animated projects. As a student, she won the “Poplar Award“, the highest award at the China International College Student Animation Festival for “Nursery Rhymes“, a graduation short film she directed.
She also participated in the production of the 2016 film Master Jiang and The Six Kingdoms. She also joined the production team for Kuiba’s Ten Thousand Urgency and the 2020 film Jiang Ziya (The Legend of Deification) as an art designer.
Next on our list of rising directors of Chinese anime is Xie Zhongli who is the man behind the 2023 sports donghua Left-Hand Layup! Before helming the LHL project, he previously worked on various Japanese anime series such as Boruto, Penguin Highway, Yasuke, One Piece, and Altair: A Record of Battles – mostly as a key animator.
His portfolio also includes working as an episode director and key animator for several donghua like Crystal Sky of Yesterday, Rakshasa Street, and The King’s Avatar Season 2, as well as The King’s Avatar prequel movie.
Xie Zhongli who was born in 1994 was admitted to the animation department of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts as a graduate student in 2016. That is also where he first engaged in animation production which started his career.
For those who had been introduced to Chinese animation by Fog Hill of Five Elements, Lin Hun must have been a name that you’re familiar with. He is the creator, director, and screenwriter for Fog Hill of Five Elements (arguably, the best action 2D donghua we had seen so far).
He is the man behind the Samsara Animation Studio and he was previously involved too in the animated sequence of the finale fights from White Cat Legend. His animation career started with his first passion project, the notoriously canceled Sui Cheng Li Xin: Guiyu Zhou Yuan. He is also the director of the upcoming movie King of Glory: Hundred Miles Keeping the Promise.
I always felt that Dong Yi’s works are rather underrated and some of them had been my favorites for so long. An in-house director for Haoliners Animation League, Dong Yi had been the mastermind behind some of the earlier donghua that we encountered from 2016-2020 such as My Holy Weapon, Fairies Albums, Evil or Live, and Monster List.
Definitely a rising star, Ku Xuan is the author of The Daily Life of the Immortal King novel, and he had been a part of the donghua adaptation since its 3rd season aired in 2022. Now, The Daily Life of the Immortal King Season 4 had been announced by Bilibili and Ku Xuan will start his first directing stint with this masterpiece.
Born in 1996, Ku Xuan was a member of the Shanghai Internet Writers Association. Aside from The Daily Life of the Immortal King, he was also the author of I Put An Eye in Another World and The Only Koi in the Cultivation World.
Last Updated on March 31, 2023 by Yu Alexius