A Lavishly Animated Epic: ‘The Legend of Hei’ Reviewed

by Tito W. James

The Legend of Hei takes place in a world where creatures from Chinese mythology live in secret apart from humans. With human consumption of resources many magical creatures are left homeless. One such creature is Hei, a cat boy, with hidden powers. The story follows Hei on a journey to find a new home in a rapidly changing world.


Many of the characters adopt a formal stoic warrior attitude. So much so, that most of the dialogue sounds similar.


The Legend of Hei is an excellent urban fantasy story with a Chinese cultural twist. The characters are nuanced and the conflict between the human and magical world isn’t a cut and dry case of good vs evil.

The animation in the film blends painterly 2D animation with the depth of 3D composited environments. This gives the fights a level of depth, fluidity, and dynamic movement.


I anticipate that The Legend of Hei is going to become a favorite in Anime Clubs across many college campuses. The gorgeous animation, epic fights, and touching narrative makes The Legend of Hei a pivotal film in Chinese animated history. Those that have been keeping up with Chinese animation are in for some welcome cameos and easter eggs. In short, The Legend of Hei is fantastic and another great reason to give Chinese animation a chance.

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