Why has martial arts culture become popular again in the past two years

If an ACG enthusiast from 3 years ago travels to the present and intends to experience the current pop culture products, he may find a rather unexpected fact:

“Why are there more martial arts works now?”

Yes, as far as the game field is concerned, martial arts products have increased a lot in the past two years. On the one hand, with the improvement of game development capabilities, domestic teams can gradually make some decent 3D martial arts action games; on the other hand The atmosphere of the martial arts culture seems to have become stronger, so that some sandbox-style retro martial arts works have sprung up like mushrooms after a rain.

Correspondingly, in a recent live broadcast of “Shadow Blade 3”, which had just been publicly tested, it was announced that it would be combined with the animation “Five Elements in the Fog Mountain”, the manga “Dartman”, the console game “Nioh”, and four major museums. (Sanxingdui cultural relics, Goujian sword of the King of Yue, Western Han Dynasty Zhiyuan Susha Zen clothing, Qin Shijiao) linkage.

If it were not for this linkage, I might not have noticed that the newly born martial arts culture has begun to return to the public eye and be loved by the younger generation again.


A few years ago, martial arts was still a subject that made people “sorrow for their misfortunes and anger them without fighting”.

In the field of fiction, the classic works of several masters are well-known, but the martial arts novels are not capable of making new blood, and their popular basis has been quickly replaced by fantasy web articles in the Internet age. In the new generation of cultural carriers such as web dramas and animation, martial arts also “naturally” give way to more spectacle, special effects, overhead, and idolized fairy tale works-after all, computer CG production is more convenient. But the slick martial arts movements are still so troublesome. The former “new martial arts” has become “old martial arts”. The setting sun, the lonely smoke in the desert, and the dusty aesthetic tendencies are also overwhelmed by the exquisite, bright, and idolized aesthetic of a thousand people, unable to attract a new generation of young audiences.

The martial arts in the game field is also a hard-hit area. Unlike novels and TV dramas, martial arts games have not been replaced by fantasy immortals, and still occupy a large proportion. The problem is that the quality is uneven and the quality generally lags behind the times. At that time, martial arts belonged to a category with a broad and relatively sinking user audience. As a subject matter, martial arts provide more skins, while the core is the traditional MMO or turn-based RPG. At the same time, the hard-core action “Sword 2” and “Meteor Butterfly Sword OL” are both smashed to varying degrees. , Even Jiansan, who was successful later, had a rather difficult time in the first few years of going online.

As for the stand-alone game circle, the attitude towards martial arts is much harsher than it is now. You know, 5-10 years ago, a topic that was repeatedly mentioned in the domestic game circle was: “Does martial arts hinder the development of domestic games”, and “Can domestic games have less martial arts themes”, and so on. Stand-alone enthusiasts who have been influenced by foreign masterpieces hope that domestic manufacturers can also make richer themes and types, instead of spinning around on the conservative third. As a “traditional theme”, martial arts can easily be regarded as one. A symbol of conservation and backwardness.

In short, the former martial arts can be said to be troubled internally and externally. There is competition for more popular themes outside, and the lack of strength of martial arts works inside. It is no wonder that many people will say that “wuxia is dead”.


But in the past two years, the situation has begun to change.

When “Dartman” was released in 2019, the official slogan was “Chinese comics that made a sensation in Japan.” Because it has been reported three times by NHK TV in Japan, and it is described as a “world-class Chinese comics boutique”. Since then, “Dart Man” began to enter the field of vision of more readers.

As a hardcore martial arts manga, you can feel the quaint, forbearing, silent, and wandering martial arts intentions when you open “The Darling Man”. The coherent shots show the blood of the people.

A score of 8 or more in the entire series of Douban proves the reputation of “Dartman”, but it is not easy for black and white hard-core comics to find readers in the color man. It is similar to “Shadow Blade 3” which is also a martial arts theme. Linkage, it is possible to open up the audience on both sides and find more martial arts enthusiasts.

If we say that the previous excellent martial arts works are still in the emerging stage. So in 2020, “Five Elements in the Fog Mountain” can be said to have stepped on the pulse of the times.

There is no need to introduce much about this sensational animation work last year. Of course, strictly speaking, “The Five Elements of Wushan” is not a traditional martial arts work. Its setting is actually a “high magic” world. But compared with the opening animation of Destroying the World, what really makes people call it “tap water” in seconds is mainly the cold and neat moves in the second half of the first episode.

This red tasseled gun inevitably reminds people of the classic play in “Kung Fu”-not the last Tathagata palm, but the confrontation between Goro’s gossip stick and two piano players. Modern CG technology is just right in this scene. Amplifies the charm of classical martial arts.

Compared to the special effects that are too hard, this kind of freely retractable fighting is actually more pleasing. Not only can it present an orderly beauty visually, the two sides will come and go, resolve each other’s offensives, and seek a chance to set the world, and also make the battle more logically credible. This kind of combat thinking is also reflected in “Shadow Blade 3” linked with “Five Elements in the Fog Mountain”.

In terms of visual presentation, the two linked works also adopted similar techniques. The scene rendering of “Five Elements in the Fog Mountain” uses a lot of elements of national style meticulous brushwork, like a picture scroll full of ancient meanings, seven-point ink three-point color, containing the sky and the earth in a piece of paper, and the bullet screen you watch frequently floats by. “Each frame can be used as wallpaper”; and the scene design in “Shadow Blade 3” also borrowed heavily from traditional Chinese painting and art techniques, such as the scatter perspective of the game scene composition in “The River on Qingming Festival”. The natural scene of “A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains” with mineral pigments, combined with animation film and game development, presents players with an artistic conception that fits the imagination.

“Shadow Blade 3” and “Five Elements in Mist Mountain”


Whether it is anime works such as “Darts” and “Five Elements in the Fog Mountain”, or the game “Shadow Blade 3” linked with them, they all have something in common: let the younger generation experience the competitiveness of martial arts works after the reinvention.

Since these works have gradually shown the breath of generations, I will summarize them as “new martial arts” for the time being, which is relative to the past “new martial arts”.

There were two golden periods of martial arts culture. The first is the “new martial arts literature”, represented by Jin Yong, Gu Long, Liang Yusheng, Wen Rui’an, etc. in the 1950s and 1980s. It is different from the old school martial arts literature of the 1930s and 1940s. The series of creations mainly focus on virtual world views or romances. History is a fantasy novel describing “people in the rivers and lakes”. The second is “New Martial Arts Movies”. From the 1970s to the beginning of this century, a batch of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” by Hu Jinquan, Tsui Hark and Li Ang, mainly based on the Hong Kong film industry, continued the “New Martial Arts Movies with the spirit of “literature” are the visual continuation of “new martial arts literature”.

“New Martial Arts Literature” and “New Martial Arts Movies” established the martial arts culture in the minds of the Chinese from both internally and externally. They also caused a storm of martial arts around the world. Chinese Kungfu is one of the most important export images of Chinese culture. First, many Hollywood directors (Quentin, Wen Ziren, etc.) are deeply influenced by martial arts culture and visual symbols.

But as mentioned in the previous article, in the new century, the niche of martial arts has been replaced by more popular fantasy web articles, and has entered a long period of silence. It was not until these two years that it gradually found a new position.

The so-called “new martial arts” can be roughly summarized as: in recent years, a group of new creators have emerged in the fields of animation and games. Most of them have grown up under the influence of the “new martial arts” and have absorbed the Internet era. Aesthetic elements. With the maturity of creative ideas, new forms of martial arts works can be created under modern technology.

The common point of these works is to pass on the core and aesthetic taste of martial arts culture to the young audience of Generation Z. The background of the times they live in is that young people’s recognition of the nation and the country is increasing day by day. Generation Z is keen to consume products with more local cultural attributes. Compared with the internal and external troubles of the previous years, the current martial arts has the motivation to make progress internally and market demand externally, and the situation has been greatly improved.


In fact, in the past, martial arts works were not seen by the market, not only because martial arts themselves were not moving forward, but also because martial arts works needed a higher level to do well. Compared with the fantastic fairy and fantasy, the cultural atmosphere of martial arts is more serious, and the corresponding basic production skills are stronger. In previous years, the level of production in the industry could not meet the demand for excellent martial arts works.

Take the film and television industry as an example, many CG studios have emerged in recent years, and the special effects outsourcing industry has become more mature, but martial arts instructors and action stars are still old faces. In the field of games, martial arts themes and action game types often go hand in hand. However, it is only in recent years that Chinese developers have fully understood the basic judgment and impact of ACT. In the past few years, it was difficult for even major domestic manufacturers to make action games that feel qualified. .

Some people may still remember that there was an action martial arts game called “The Remnant of the Wind”. In 2012, if you dare to do this kind of game, you are already considered a crab-eater, so that it is officially called “China’s first large-scale single-player Kungfu action game” To publicize, we can see how blank this field is.

Today, with the improvement of productivity and aesthetics, martial arts finally bred works that fit the times. They are more mature in technology and implementation, so they have revived this subject that already has a high reputation and sense of identity. These works also have a considerable degree of cultural dissemination power, and can be exported overseas like “new martial arts literature” and “new martial arts movies”, crossing cultural barriers.

To a certain extent, the development of domestic martial arts games is somewhat similar to the development of Japanese games. In the last console generation cycle (almost 10 years ago), the development of Japanese-style games encountered obvious bottlenecks. There were drawbacks in the development concept, as well as technical and technological problems. At that time, Japanese-style games were almost lost. Regarded as a symbol of backwardness, the aesthetic focus of the industry has almost shifted to the West. But in the end, the Japanese developers who stepped out of the gloom made excellent works such as “Sekiro” and “Nioh” that were successful worldwide, re-enabling the world to realize the charm of Japanese games. The traditional Japanese culture even feeds back the West, allowing European and American developers to make “Soul of Tsushima”, a “Japanese-style game” that even Japanese people love.

This is probably one of the reasons why “Shadow Blade 3” chose to link with “Nio” this time. Different routes lead to the same goal. As long as the Easterners master the productivity, they will eventually make products with more cultural influence. Now, we are doing linkage and we are doing mobile games, but in the near future, we may eventually have to make our own “King King”.

Source: Game Research Society
Original address: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/y7OoW9zCr95afU9PmL89ZQ


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