Re: What's the Deal With the Xianxia?

#1
On one hand the Xianxia genre seems actually interesting on paper. A world where everyone is caught in the race to evolve and improve and reach divinity, usually there's monsters, alchemy and Chinese mysticism. Magic martial arts that are practically economical in how their cultivated. When I first saw it I was really interested. So I picked up one story, then another, and another...

On the other hand, every story I read feels so...shallow. For a genre based on Taoist philosophy and hinged on the idea of self improvement there really aren't any characters that ask themselve 'why am I doing this? Is this really the way the world should be?' instead its just 'Oh an upgrade, now I can murderkill even more than I did before'. Rinse and repeat. Usually I'll pick up one story, get invested with the mechanics and drop it simply because there sometimes isn't really a hint a plot that is actually going somewhere(One of the reasons I dropped Savage Divinity when it had alot of pretty good elements going).

I've heard the genre suffer from bouts of 'sociopathic' MC and I agree that the protagonist centered morality is shitty Shounen anime levels, but its more I just find the characters so callous. It also ties back to the lack of self awareness, It's like the characters themselves aren't really apart of or living in the world around them, like they're all video game characters of varying depth.

Re: What's the Deal With the Xianxia?

#2
I think you’re going in with the wrong mindset. I’ve never gone into a Xianxia looking for incredible mechanics, amazing storylines, or to gain enlightenment. I read for face slapping, crazy characters, and faulty logic. Xianxias use terms and lore from certain texts, but that’s about it. Don’t mistake things like Fellow Daoist, the time it takes to brew a cup of tea, can’t see Mount Tai, and 1,000-year ginseng as anything profound.

Xianxia can have deep moments at times, and within the novel, there will be arcs that are very well developed. But I’m there for the bickering and insults.

There are exceptions to this. Some of the Xianxia I’ve read here aren’t like that. But overall, Xianxias are meant to be fast reading fun, just like most LitRPG’s. That doesn’t make them bad. 

Re: What's the Deal With the Xianxia?

#3
In terms of those translated from China, most of them are serialized and, in my opinion, sometimes seem to chase word count more than story depth. I guess you can sort of be relating to the isekai craze in Japan. Since it's so popular, the writers only chase after how many words they can pump out, like Japan seems to keep writing and animating isekai after isekai. I think the long-form content doesn't really make the best story depth at times.

Re: What's the Deal With the Xianxia?

#5

Because reading novels about philosophy, the meaning of life, or the reason that the universe can exist is a very, very redundant and boring. And I say that even though it's one of my greatest passions, enough to have spent hundreds of hours reading books on psychology, sociology and philosophy.

The subject is incredibly interesting, but it's heavy and tiring. In comparison a litrpg/wuxia/xianxia/etc. will often have the philosophical depth of a puddle, but will easily be exciting to read. Why is this? Because they offer a kind of instant gratification.
That's what many webnovel readers are looking for (so the authors offer that, and so do I).

The other big problem is that in order to be able to write with the kind of depth you suggest, you have to be able to immerse yourself in it. You can't write properly about something you're not able to understand or imagine, and that's a hindrance to anything that an author isn't familiar or comfortable with.