Donghua, or Chinese animation, has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Donghua often features stunning visuals, complex stories, and memorable characters. One of the things that makes donghua so special is its ability to create unexpected and heartwarming romances.
If you’re a fan of donghua and bromance stories, then you’re in luck! Here are my top 10 donghua with unexpected bromances that will make you excited:
Great Journey of Teenagers
The story of youthful adventure always leads to something exciting, and sometimes, a special bond between souls that share the same frequency and destiny. In the Chinese animation, Great Journey of Teenagers, we follow the story of two unlikely pair who despite their differences, seems to have a shared destiny and develop a brotherhood that goes beyond the average friendship.
Adapted from Zhou Munan’s main novel, Song of Adolescence, this donghua chronicles the adventure of young lands – Lei Wujie and Xiao Se as they venture together into the world of jianghu.
Word of Honor
Word of Honor (Jun You Yun) is a donghua adaptation of a novel by Zhou Munan, set hundreds of years before the events of the Great Journey of Teenagers. While the main story revolves around Su Baiyi’s relationship with the female lead, viewers also enjoy his companionship with Feng Zuojun and Xue Yuling.
Feng Zuojun and Xue Yuling have a usual rivalry that is reminiscent of many beloved bromance duos from other Chinese and Japanese anime. They make a pretty good pair, with Feng Zuojun’s hot-headed personality contrasting nicely with Xue Yuling’s cool and collected demeanor.
Zhou Munan has a knack for writing brotherly bonds that resemble bromance, and the Word of Honor is no exception. The interactions between the characters are heartwarming and genuine, and it is easy to see why viewers have fallen in love with their relationships.
The Young Brewmaster’s Adventure
The Young Brewmaster’s Adventure is a donghua adaptation of a novel by Zhou Munan, and it takes place a few decades before the events of the Great Journey of Teenagers. It follows the story of Baili Dongjun and his generation of martial artists, including Sikong Changfeng, who also appears in the Great Journey of Teenagers.
The donghua is known for its delicate take on a youthful adventure in the martial arts world, as well as the intricate relationships between the characters. One of the most notable relationships is the brotherly bond between Baili Dongjun and Sikong Changfeng.
In addition to the main characters, there are also a number of other characters who have strong bromances, such as the Eight Noble Sons of Beili. This group of young lords includes Lei Mengsha, the father of the Great Journey of Teenagers’ main character, Lei Wujie; as well as Xiao Ruofeng, an uncle of Xiao Se. Other notable bromances include Luo Xuan, Liu Yue, and Mo Xiao Hei.
Yes, this is not boys-love, and certainly not bromance. That is what I have to make clear here, after all, Link Click is one of the best, if not the best Chinese anime right now, and many people are familiar with it. But we cannot hide the fact that its main characters – Cheng Xiaoshi and Lu Guang have a very special connection, they are more than sworn brothers, and the bond they share is enough for them to change fate, trick death, and fight against time itself for the sake of each other. If you don’t call that special connection, I don’t know what we’re supposed to call it.
Tales of Dark River
The Tales of Dark River (Anhe Zhuan) is another Chinese donghua adapted from a novel by Zhou Munan. It is closely related to the Great Journey of Teenagers and The Young Brewmaster’s Adventure, and it follows the story of the assassin organization Dark River.
The leader of Dark River, Su Muyu, has previously appeared in both of the other shows. In The Tales of Dark River, we learn more about his story as he fights for what he believes in as the organization is plunged into a civil war.
One of the most notable relationships in The Tales of Dark River is the bromance between Su Muyu and his best friend and rival, Su Changhe. Their relationship is complex and multifaceted, but it is ultimately one of deep respect and friendship.
There is something special with Dragon’s Disciple, and I felt bad that it is rather underrated as a wuxia donghua. While this definitely features a hetero relationship between our MC and his martial arts master, I often find myself intrigued by the brotherly bond he shared with one of his previous opponents who became his friend later on. Am talking about Zhao Xinglong who seems to be very supportive of Wang Chao’s journey later on.
Nine Songs of the Moving Heavens
If bromance can be described in Ancient China, then I might have Wei Zhuang and Han Feng take that spot. Furthermore, Nine Songs of the Moving Heavens also features some more interesting bromance such as Moya and Baifeng from Nightfall’s assassination leg. Plus the rivalry of Genie and Wei Zhuang also shouts something else, isn’t it?
The King’s Avatar
Not particularly a BL, but with all the connections of characters in this Chinese anime, one can only expect them to have their fair share of bromance behind the scenes. Let me start with the rivalry between Ye Xiu and Han Wenqing. What about Han Wenqing’s bond with his super strict vice-captain Zhang Xinjie? What about Yu Wenzhou and Huang Shaotian? It is simply adorable to follow and watch their interactions throughout the series and that made this very special donghua land a spot in this list.
Purple River is a Chinese donghua that is known for its Game of Thrones-esque political intrigue. The story features a triad of brotherhood, with a subtle but heartwarming bromance relationship between the three characters.
The announcement of Purple River Season 2 has fans excited to see what new developments will unfold in the story. With its complex characters and intricate plot, Purple River is a must-watch for fans of donghua, political intrigue, and bromance.
This is a very special donghua to me and I often list this Chinese bromance anime among my top recommended BL. But with no direct hint at the relationship of the main characters, we can all hope for a bromance vibe instead. It is a story of healing, finding solace in another person’s presence, discovery that someone else can be the cure to your own demons. That is what this adorable and dramatic donghua has to offer.