Chinese animated film, The Legend of Hei is a prequel to the popular cartoon series, The Legend of Luo Xiaohei. The film depicts a spirit that could transform itself into a cat and human form. These spirits live alongside human beings but they aren’t aware of it. After industrialization and human expansion, the mutual space for spirits and humans collided. While many spirits accepted the change and adapted the human society, many were there who didn’t like the human trespassers. The film follows the mentioned conflict.
‘The Legend of Hei’ Summary
The opening montage establishes a jungle cat, Xiaohei who loses his home and mother due to human deforestation. Hei is forced to live in dark city lines, stealing food to survive. Home is everything Hei dreams of.
In a violent encounter with alley boys, another spirit named Stormend saves Hei and also gives him food and shelter. Living with Stormend and his friends, Hei feels like home, a feeling he has been chasing for a long time.
Stormend is attacked by a spirit law enforcer, Infinity who is a human but much more powerful than any spirit. Infinity chases Stormend and his friends to take them back to the Spirit Guild. They are convicted of harming human beings and thus are answerable to the guild.
However, Infinity fails to capture Storment but he finds something unusual about Hei. He takes him in captivity and decides to take him to the guild. During the journey, Hei and Infinity develop a strong bond. He shares his motive with Hei to capture Storment, telling him about Storment’s hatred towards humanity. In the meantime, Storment orchestrates a vile plan to track Hei and use his power to destroy the human settlement.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘The Legend of Hei’ Ending Explained
What is exactly Hei’s power? Hei is a metal type, much like Infinity himself. Hei can also transform itself into a beast cat in moments of danger and move, mold, and attract metal easily. But Storment wanted Hei for one of the secret powers he held, The power of The Zone.
According to Infinity, each spirit has the power to create a spiritual space in his mind where he/she is a god. But Hei is different. Hei has the power to create a spiritual space in the real world and expand it ranging to miles (covering a whole city). Storment lured Hei so as to influence him and use his Zone to create a secluded spiritual space in the center of Quzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China where humans couldn’t thrive.
Storment and his friends had a place to live until human societies expanded and deforestation destroyed their habitats. Soon these humans started hating these spirits (much like animals) for intervening in their daily lives. Storment wanted to rage a battle against them but the guild of spirits decided otherwise. They left humans in peace and decided to live in hiding. Storment didn’t agree with them and had been scheming a plan to take his home back.
In the opening sequences, it was Storment who hypnotized humans to attack Hei, in order to influence a quicker friendship with Hei. But when Hei refuses to comply with Storment’s dreadful plan, he takes away Hei’s power and leaves him dying. Infinity never knew that Storment can steal power from other spirits and this revelation makes him a real threat. Storment uses Hei’s power to create a Black Orb in the center of the city while the spirits from the guild try to evacuate humans from it, or Storment will kill them all.
In the final battle to save humans and Hei, Infinity fights against Storment until Hei arrives surprisingly. They didn’t know that Hei holds two spiritual spaces and that’s why even when Storment stole one from him, he still has one. The duo defeats Storment and in the end, he sacrifices himself on the spot he always called home. He creates a beautiful garden around his memorial, that humans won’t be able to cut off.
Infinity finally takes back Hei to the guild but Hei couldn’t accept the separation. He cries out to Infinity calling him master and pleads to take him as his disciple. Hei finally realizes that Home isn’t always a place but sometimes it’s another human being with whom you want to be.
The best part of The Legend of Hei is that it runs very smoothly without burdening you with details or heavy supernatural elements. Thematically it explores the loss of lives (of nonhumans) by human expansion and greed. But on a whole, it depicts a balanced exploration. Storment was an extremist but the guild believes that humans aren’t evil. They are both good and bad and much like the spirits, they are complex beings. It is hard to make a distinction and therefore both humans and spirit should try to live together in mutual understanding. That is the only option. Symbolically, the spirits in the film represent animals and other beings other than humans and thus, metaphorically it delivers a message to sustain peace and acceptability.
The cute but impacting bond between Infinity and Hei is worth applause. Their journey might make your heart weary. Infinity, undoubtedly, is the most promising character of the film. He is not human and he is not a spirit, thus he symbolizes a bridge between the two. His presence lays down a link between the two worlds which is the need of the hour.
The Legend of Hei is captivating and emotionally impacting. If you are looking for a simple animated film that leaves you with a mark, then this is your title to binge.
The Legend of Hei is a 2020 animated film directed by Mtjj (as MTJJ Mutou). The film is available for Video On Demand.
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