The seventeen-minute-long episode of Love, Death & Robots “Good Hunting” allows us to examine the dynamics of cultural identity, race, and the reclamation of agency in an alternative history of a colonized China amid technological advancement. The dynamics of power and privilege and the racialization of indigenous people in the episode help us understand the broader implications of colonialism in terms of representation and stereotyping.
The influence of the Western colonizers in China is seen through the rapid technological advancements of the city which has resulted in the dominance of industrialization and the displacement of traditional folklore and magical creatures with magic draining from the world. This shows how indigenous folk had been separated from their culture because the motive of this technological development was never to benefit the local places that were being exploited rather it was for the benefit of the colonizers. This ended with the marginalization of the local people and separation from their own cultural identities.
Yan, the Huli jing is a supernatural being from Chinese Folklore, is presented as an exotic and seductive figure from the eyes of the colonizers which serves as symbolism for how Asian woman have been racialized and sexualized by making them appear as alien and other worldly. The power dynamics between the colonizer and the colonized are visible in the British’s disregard for the cultural beliefs and practices of the Chines which reflect the racial hierarchies and power imbalances between the two.
However, through Yan the episode achieves its aim of portraying elements of resistance and reclamation of agency. After being a victim to the marginalization of her racial group and gender, she stops suppressing her cultural identity and uses it to get revenge for all the wrongs done to her. The episode acknowledges the struggles faced by people of minority groups but also reminds us of the importance of embracing our cultural identities by challenging oppressive systems.