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Is animated epic Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms still happening? Back in 2014 a jaw-droppingly gorgeous trailer dropped on YouTube for a film titled Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms that promised an animated adventure like no other. Produced by Beijing-based animation studio One&All, the epic five-and-a-half minute long teaser trailer was made all the more impressive by the fact it was hand-animated by just two very talented artists – Li Wei and Pei Fei – despite boasting the quality of a Studio Ghibli film.
Although the plot might have been lost on Western audiences unfamiliar with Chinese lore, Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms was to be based on the classic 16th-century novel Fengshen Yanyi (AKA The Investiture Of The Gods) and its fictionalized version of Zhou Dynasty nobleman Jiang Ziya. The epic novel is a romanticized retelling of the overthrow of China’s Shang Dynasty and is an example of shenmo – a subgenre of fantasy fiction that often interweaves historical events with elements of Chinese mythology.
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The teaser trailer originally promised a 2016 release date but that was quite some time ago. The good news is the long-awaited Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms is still happening - in fact, it’s already been released. That said, it’s undergone quite a few changes since it took the internet by storm.
Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms Was Retitled
In 2017, One&All Animation Studio revealed on its website it was teaming with Beijing production company Enlight Pictures - together with its animation subsidiary Coloroom - to bring Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms to the big screen. In the process, the movie underwent several changes. While it’s still loosely based on Fengshen Yanyi, Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms was retitled as Jiang Ziya: Legend Of Deification. The traditionally animated style of the original trailer was abandoned too in favor of a 3D CGI model.
Some people may not be too taken with the switch from the stunning, traditional animation in the original Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms trailer to the movie’s CGI model but Jiang Ziya: Legend Of Deification does boast a talented team behind it. Alongside Li Wei, who animated the original trailer, the movie is co-directed by talents including Xin Wang, who formerly worked as a cinematic artist for game developers Blizzard Entertainment, and Teng Cheng who directed viral short The Red in 2011.
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Jiang Ziya Was Released In Early October
It might have passed a lot of people by, but Master Jiang And The Six Kingdoms/Jiang Ziya: Legend Of Deification was already released in the USA and UK on October 1, 2020. The animation was a big hit in China but with movie theater attendance at an all-time low in the USA and UK, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legend Of Deification has gone relatively unnoticed. On the upside, it’s received good reviews from those who were able to see it. Animation fans that enjoyed the world of Jiang Ziya: Legend Of Deification will be happy to learn the film is set to form part of a larger cinematic universe based on Fengshen Yanyi alongside the 2019 Chinese animation Ne Zha and a handful of forthcoming releases.