Contemporizing the National Style in Chinese Animation: The Case of Nezha (2019)

Thomas William Whyke, Joaquin Lopez Mugica, Melissa Shani Brown

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, the authors explore the popular animation Nezha (2019), examining the idea that it typifies the ‘national style’. Expanding the work of other scholars who have demonstrated the changeability of the ‘national style’, here they examine this notion in regard to the way in which Nezha (2019) represents ‘Chineseness’ at this particular socio-political moment. Methodologically, they focus their analysis largely upon the film’s narrative and aesthetics, drawing on a number of reviews as counterpoints for the way in which it was interpreted to situate it in popular discourses. The authors argue that Nezha (2019) presents a national image in which traditions and modernity are interwoven, and the focus upon the ‘technological’ – its digitality – constitutes a refiguring of animation in China as symbolic of modernity. Narratively and aesthetically mediating between the past and the present, Nezha (2019) embodies a ‘national style’ which is on one hand hybrid in its inter/nationality, but also culturally delimited in terms of which cultural heritages are held up as emblematic of the nation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-174
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Chinese animation
  • digital technology
  • Gen Z
  • media archeology
  • modernity
  • national identity
  • national image
  • national style
  • Nezha (2019)


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