YouTube seems to know what I want to see these days, and since I’ve been playing the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat for the past couple days, I was starting to think I would never get any recommended videos that weren’t American history RPF-related. But somehow, a cute little animated trailer snuck through the Hamilton playlist and onto my radar. Little Door Gods is an adorable Chinese animated production that’s oddly, fondly reminiscent of Spirited Away. If you haven’t seen it already, here it is! (And don’t worry, it has English subtitles.)
As the title suggests, Little Door Gods is about door gods. For those of you who have never heard of them, door gods (門神, menshen) are decorations put on the right and left sides of a door, and they’re meant to keep out evil spirits. They’re often found in East Asian countries—however, in Taiwan, though you can find them outside shrines and such, they’ve generally become decorations with no real meaning behind them. (I can, of course, only speak for my family’s experience.) That’s probably why I was so interested in this trailer—using door gods versus belief as a main conflict seemed to me like a fascinating spin on an old idea, even if it was a Chinese animation company pulling the strings. (Sorry, my family is from Taiwan—I gotta poke at China somehow.)
The trailer begins with a broadcast from Spirit Radio in the world of the gods, telling all door gods that the position of door god will soon be extinct because humans have ceased to believe in them. While one door god tries to figure out if they’ll be given new jobs, another door god decides that if humans don’t believe in them, they could be persuaded to—and he exits the world of the gods to go and mess things up in the human world. Rounding out our cast of characters is a little girl who asks her mother what “door gods” are—and who seems like she’ll be our introduction into the gods issue—as well as a flower goddess who laments that humans grow their plants in greenhouses now and also have no more need of her.
Though Little Door Gods is the first feature film from Light Chaser Animation, the animation already seems like they’re old hands at this business. Each character and scene is lovingly rendered in great detail, and everything seems really cute, on top of that. If the plot and Chinese folklore wasn’t enough, the animation alone would be a great reason for me to give this movie a try. Little Door Gods is out January 1st, 2016 in China. So far there’s no news about an international release, but one can hope!