Anyone keeping track of Light Chaser Animation’s next production New Gods Yang Jian will be glad it’s getting a global release just in time for Chinese New Year 2023! It originally debuted in China back in August, to steller reviews and beating out Minions: Rise of Gru.
GKIDS released an American-side trailer yesterday, and it puts the focus back on the titular hero when compared to the other teasers offered so far.
People who read Creation of the Gods or Journey to the West (Amazon USA links) know this hero is named Erlang Shen, a god of justice. This immortal has superhuman strength and a third eye, which allows him to see the truth. This includes seeing through the deception made by magic and outright verbal lies. In this film, it looks like he’s chosen to seal away his gift than to use it. That’s because, like Superman, he can use it emit a ray of fire (laser) at his enemies! It’s too powerful and quite often, he’s been holding back. This immortal knows when to pull his punches, and as for how he feels when serving the will of others, his superiors, it seems he has reservations.
When he used his abilities in a huge battle to bury Lotus Peak under more than one mountains worth of rock, perhaps he became even more aware of the dreaded power he wields, and thus decided to leave heaven.
The teasers and trailers released by both studios showcase just how powerful this character is. Not only does a separate video reveals Monkey King is part of the narrative, but also we discover Yang Jian must search for his long-lost nephew. But this figure has lost some of his mojo since closing this third eye. Not only does he need to regain his honour, but likewise help with the rebirth. It seems Chinese Heaven is in turmoil again, and the gods dispersed to eke out a private life elsewhere.
And as for how Yang Jian connects with Nezha Reborn (movie review), the latest teaser suggests we’ll have a tale set not only in the historical past but again in the future that is New Beijing (or Shanghai). This genre deserves it’s own name when considering how the architecture is neither classical nor futuristic in its design. Neopunk, perhaps?
As for whether we’ll see Nezha in this work, I’d say it’s very likely. This New Gods franchise is very different from the Fengshen Cinematic Universe. It’s also very easy to confuse the two because of the titles. Thankfully, the characters presented are very different personalities. While the future of this other universe is in question according to Doris V. Sutherland’s article for Women Write About Comics, I remain hopeful the third film will be made to at least wrap that narrative up (i.e. meet Monkey King).
But in the meantime, to see how this universe is continuing will require many to wait for the America side release January 20, 2023!
Official Synopsis for New Gods Yang Jian
Thirteen years after Yang Jian (known to some as Erlang Shen) imprisoned his sister beneath a mountain, the once powerful god now scrapes by as a penniless bounty hunter. When a mysterious woman hires him for a new job, Yang Jian soon finds himself chasing down a familiar figure. He must stop Chenxiang, his long-lost nephew, who is in search of the magical lotus lantern that will free his mother, even if it will bring catastrophe. As Yang Jian confronts the actions of his past, he must face a host of dangerous vigilantes seeking the same treasure with the power to alter the balance of their worlds.