I read something today which nearly caused me to blow a gasket: I saw xianxia described as a "type" of xuanhuan. I seriously had one of those head-exploding moments. If you would like to understand the difference between wuxia, xianxia, xuanhuan and qihuan, plus a full listing of all the main categories and sub-categories from qidian.com, check the info after the jump...
Chapter 633 Translator: Deathblade Contributors: Madam Deathblade, anonpuffs Proofreaders: TheFan, Lingson, Courtrecords, Yascob Meme Archives: joeljbright Memes: leoloo, Azusky Sponsors: Ancient Godly Monarch, Hoang Nguyen, Dustin Sutphin, Dang Quang Tran, Annsofie Jacobsen, Brendan Halse, and QD BUI
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A bit further down, you can see all the categories and sub-categories from qidian.com. As you will be able to see from the sub-categories, qihuan (which I've translated as Traditional Fantasy) is based on the typical Western-style fantasy. Xianxia, literally "Immortal heroes," basically involves cultivation to become Immortal (and beyond). Wuxia, or "martial heroes," is the pure martial arts genre, usually set in ancient times, with special powers that exceed reality but do not reach the mythological level of xianxia. So what about xuanhuan? I have xuanhuan translated into English as "Alternative Fantasy." Basically, xuanhuan is a mashup genre where a variety of elements are mixed together into a new (and I would venture to say uniquely Chinese) genre. It does not include xianxia or wuxia, although elements from those genres might be prominent.
Before the list of categories, you can see where all the wuxiaworld stories are listed on qidian.com:
Against the Gods: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) *This is not a qidian.com book. Battle Through the Heavens: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) Child of Light: Traditional Fantasy (qihuan) Coiling Dragon: Traditional Fantasy (qihuan) Desolate Era: Xianxia Gate of Revelation: City/Modern Heavenly Jewel Change: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) Tales of Demons and Gods: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) The Great Ruler: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) I Shall Seal the Heavens: Xianxia Martial God Asura: Alternative Fantasy/Traditional Fantasy (xuanhuan/qihuan) *This is not a qidian.com book Perfect World: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) Renegade Immortal: Xianxia Skyfire Avenue: City/Modern Sovereign of the Three Realms: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) Stellar Transformations: Xianxia Upgrade Specialist in Another World: Adventures in Another World *This is not a qidian.com book Wo Dong Qian Kun: Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan)
玄幻 – Alternative Fantasy (xuanhuan) 东方玄幻 – Eastern Fantasy 异界大陆 – Adventures in Another World 异界争霸 – Power Struggles in Another World 远古神话 – Ancient Mythology
奇幻 – Traditional Fantasy (qihuan) 西方奇幻 – Western Fantasy 领主贵族 – Lords and Nobility 亡灵异族 – Undead and Aliens 魔法校园 – Magic School
武侠 – Wuxia 传统武侠 – Traditional Wuxia 新派武侠 – Modern Wuxia 国术武技 – Martial Arts
仙侠 – Xian Xia 古典仙侠 – Classic Xianxia 幻想修仙 – Fantasy Cultivation 现代修仙 – Modern Cultivation 洪荒封神 – Primordial Gods
都市 – City/Modern 都市生活 – City Life 爱情婚姻 – Romance & Marriage 异术超能 – Abnormal Ability 恩怨情仇 – Grudge & Revenge 现实百态 – Slice of Life 青春校园 – Campuss Life
历史 – Historical 外国历史 – Foreign History 历史传记 – Historical Biography 架空历史 – Unfounded History 上古先秦 – Pre-Qin Period 秦汉三国 – Three Kingdoms Period 两晋隋唐 – Jin, Sui, and Tang Dynasties 五代十国 – Five Dynasties & Ten Kingdoms Period 两宋元明 – Song, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties 清史民国 – Qing Dynasty & Republic of China
军事 – Military 战争幻想 – War Fantasy 谍战特工 – Spies and Secret Agents 军旅生涯 – Military Career 抗战烽火 – War of Japanese Resistance 军事战争 – War
游戏 – Game 游戏生涯 – Game Career 电子竞技 – E-Sport 虚拟网游 – Virtual Reality 游戏异界 – Game World
竞技 – Competition 体育竞技 – Sport Competition 篮球运动 – Basketball 足球运动 – Soccer 弈林春秋 – Board Games
科幻 – Science Fiction 星际战争 – Galactic/Interstellar War 时空穿梭 – Time Travel 未来世界 – Future World 古武机甲 – Mecha 超级科技 – Super Technology 进化变异 – Evolution & Mutation 末世危机 – Apocalypse
灵异 – Supernatural 推理侦探 – Detective & Mystery 恐怖惊悚 – Horror & Thriller 悬疑探险 – Suspense & Adventure 灵异奇谈 – Supernatural & Myths