Little Door Gods

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Little Door Gods
Little Door Gods poster.jpeg
Directed by Gary Wang
Written by Gary Wang[1]
Distributed by Alibaba Pictures[2]
The Weinstein Company (US)[3]
Release date
  • January 1, 2016 (2016-01-01)
Running time
107 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin
Budget around US$12 million[4]
Box office US$147 million[5]

Little Door Gods (simplified Chinese: 小门神; traditional Chinese: 小門神), also known as Door Guardians, or The Guardian Brothers in the US,[4][3] is a 2016 Chinese animated fantasy comedy film directed and written by Gary Wang, produced by Light Chaser Animation Studios and distributed by Alibaba Pictures.[2] It was originally released on January 1, 2016 in China.[6] An English-language version that is 20 minutes shorter premiered September 1, 2017, on Netflix.[7][8]


Note: This is a summary for the Netflix version, which is 20 minutes shorter than the original Chinese release.

A long time ago, Guardian spirits helped humans with their problems. Humans would leave posters of the spirits on their doors to allow the spirits access. As time moved on, humanity grew less dependant on the spirits until the connection was eventually forgotten by all but a few.

Rain and her mother Luli go to visit her grandmother's shop, which is a traditional soup shop that has been using the same recipe for generations. It bears a poster of Shen Tu and Yu Lei on the doors. Rain explores the shop and plays with her grandmother's music box while her grandmother talks about her own grandmother meeting the spirits. The family sits down to have soup together. The grandmother looks sad, but gives her family a small smile.

The grandmother is revealed to have died, and her last wish was for Rain and Luli to look after the failing soup shop. They light a lantern and attach the music box to it. It floats into the spirit world, where it gets caught in the branches of the Ancient Tree in Shen Tu and Yu Lei's yard.

Yu Lei spots it and is excited that a human needs their help, but Shen Tu stops his brother from touching the music box, citing that it is dangerous to touch human things and illegal to go to the human world. They argue, Yu Lei being upset that they are doing nothing to help the humans, while Shen Tu tries to placate him. An old spirit named Backett interrupts them, agreeing that times have changed and humans have moved on, but he also longs to be helping humans like they used to instead of being on strike.

Dean, assistant to the mayor, and the mighty babies shows up and announces that they must all gather to meet the mayor immediately and that there will now be a 12:00 am curfew inspection to make sure that no spirits sneak off to the human world. They all go the meet the mayor, who gives a speech on how now that they are on strike they have broken away from being slaves to humans and soon all portals to the human world would be removed. There is a dance party, but Yu Lei refuses to participate. Another spirit named Bloom attempts to get Yu Lei to dance with her, but he runs off to hide by Colossus, a giant spirit who reveals that he is running a secret errand in the human world. The mayor ends the dancing, and announces that a spirit has broken the law and visited the human world. Beckett went down and helped an old woman who fell in the street get up. His robes are taken from him and he is banished.

Yu Lei and Shen Tu walk Beckett out of the palace. The old spirit says that he was waiting for the strike to be over, but he just couldn't sit by while humans were suffering. Times may have changed, but he hadn't. While he is lamenting, he touches a wall, scraping away so of the paint. He reveals that the wall used to be a mural, and uses magic to restore the original painting. He tells the brothers the story of the Nian, and ancient evil that humans and spirits had to work together in order to stop. It was too powerful to be killed, so instead was broken into three pieces and sealed away. Yu Lei decides that if the Nian is released, there will be no choice but for humans and spirits to work together again. He announces that he plans to release the Nian. Beckett him that this is a very dangerous path. But he will help because Yu Lei's heart is in the right place. Beckett gives Yu Lei a magical leaf that will help him find the seals.

In the soup shop, a regular customer comes in but instead of ordering is dragged away by his grandson, who is tired of the menu staying the same and wants to try the new restaurant that opened next door. The man who runs it is Mr. Rogman, who gives a promotional speech and gives the grandson a balloon and a toy to come eat.

A cement mixer blaring music parks outside the soup shop, disturbing the few customers. Two men get out of the truck and lean against it. Liu goes outside and asks them to leave. The men become hostile and start approaching Liu when Mr. Rogman shows up and fights the men off and orders them to leave. He follows Luli into the shop and tries to convince her to sell his restaurant to him so they can expand it into a large, modern shop. Rain offers him a bowl of soup that she has loaded with spice. Mr. Rogman drinks it and becomes desperate for some water. He drinks the dish water and starts spewing out bubbles and runs out of the shop into his own, where the two men from the cement truck are waiting. After drinking water, he yells at the men for not looking touch enough. He watches Rain as a group of children ignore her and snickers.

Later that night, Rain sits on the curb by a puddle. A group of children run by and Rain calls to them. They stop and splash her, making fun of her for being the poor soup girl. Rain goes inside and tells her mother, who was looking sadly at the little money they made that day, and Rain announces wants to go back home, that the soup shop is not theirs and that they should leave. Her mother points out that the shop has been int he family for generations and that all will be well in the end. Rain declares that she hates this place and runs out into the night.

In the spirit world, Shen Tu is trying to stay awake by baking cookies as he waits for Dean to show up and do the midnight inspection. He and Yu Lei are still arguing over whether or not they should be helping humans. Dean does the inspection, but also brings an announcement from the mayor that their portal must be destroyed, or they will be banished. Yu Lei decides that he has had enough and, despite Shen Tu trying to make him stay, enters the human world.

Rain is rescues a frog from a stray dog. The dog turns on her and she runs away. As she flees, more strays join. She is eventually surrounded. Yu Lei shows up and rescues her. He tells her he is a guardian and she asks if he's like a Jedi. He gives her the magical disk he fought the dogs with to keep her safe, and Rain goes back home to her worried mother.

Yu Lei follows the magic leaf to a river, where he finds Colossus guarding the seal. Colossus says that the mayor ordered him to protect it, as breaking it would interfere with the mayor's plan. As much as Colossus wants to team up and help Yu Lei, he doesn't want to get in trouble. He pretends to fight Yu Lei so he can say that he 'tried' to protect the seal while actually assisting Yu Lei. After 'losing' the fight, Colossus runs off. Yu Lei pulls all the water from the river and finds a fish at the bottom. The fish is actually a dragon, and it takes all the water from the river as well as Yu Lei's youth and power. Rain, dragged to the lake by Yu Lei's disk watched the dragon fly off.

The next day none of the taps in the shops work. Luli asks if Rain knows anything about this, and Rain claims that she doesn't because she was home all night. Mr. Rogman shows up and tells Luli that all the taps don't work and that the river has run dry. He offers to supply Luli with water for her soup, as he keeps extra water on hand for emergencies. He provides her water that he has added something to, which causes all of Luli's customers to get diarrhea. A health inspectors comes by, saying he had received a tip, and shuts down the shop for selling rotten soup.

Colossus goes to Shen Tu's house and tells him about the fight with Yu Lei. Worried, Shen Tu enters the human world where he also rescues Rain from a pack of wild dogs. Rain makes the connection with him and Yu Lei, and takes Shen Tu to the health inspector's so they can beg for the restaurant to be reopened. The health inspector mistakes Shen Tu for a friend and agrees to do another inspection and if they pass he will reopen their soup shop. Rain takes Shen Tu to the shop and Luli makes him change clothes to help with the cleaning. When his outfit is changed, his appearance on the door also changes. Rain sees this and watches Shen Tu perform magic to help clean the shop. The Health Inspector arrives and goes through the shop. He finds insects, which he tracks to Mr Rogman's place next door. He opens the shop and finds Mr' Rogman and his lackeys in a filthy kitchen. Mr Rogman's place is shut down.

The soup shop fills up with customers and Shen Tu feels great about helping and he wonders if Yu Lei was right. Rain confronts Shen Tu about being a guardian and he explains he is looking for Yu Lei. The disk triggers and leads them to Yu Lei.

Yu Lei, who is now much older, follows the leaf to a statue which is being guarded by Bloom, who barely recognizes him with his change in appearance. She's annoyed that he doesn't pay attention to her in the spirit world. She is guarding the seal because it is a job, and if he breaks it she will lose her job. Bloom gets angry that Yu Lei is so self centred and focused on what he feels is right without thinking about other spirit's opinions. Yu Lei declares that he is right because he is the only one taking action. They fight and Yu Lei faints.

Shen Tu and Rain arrive. Bloom and Yu Lei are sitting by the base of the statue. Bloom tells Yu Lei to stop trying to change the world. Yu Lei takes advantage of her inattention to break the seal. Bloom is sucked into a vortex. All her petals attack Yu Lei, who is protected by Shen Tu. The ancient tree spasms and insects swarm in town.

Yu Lei has aged even further, and Shen Tu argues that he needs to stop. Yu Lei claims that aging is the consequence he has to bear, but Shen Tu points out that other people are suffering as well and Rain tells him about almost losing the shop. Shen Tu tells Yu Lei it has to stop. Yu Lei says it doesn't and then runs off. Rain picks up a handful of petals left by Bloom.

Shen Tu and Rain decide that they have to stop Yu Lei to prevent him from breaking the seal. Shen Tu takes the disk that Yu Lei gave Rain and vanishes. Rain is upset at being abandoned. Shen Tu comes back home to find that the ancient tree is crushing all the lanterns.

Back at the soup shop, flower petals end up in the soup. The customers who eat it love it and they make money. Luli is excited but Rain is upset that they don't have any more petals and that Shen Tu is gone. Luli decides to try new soup recipes. The restaurant becomes extremely busy. Rain makes guardian posters for other children, who become her friends.

Yu Lei finds the final seal in an old building that is full of statues that looks hundreds of years old. There are statues of him breaking both seals, and a statue of Shen Tu and Yu Lei. Yu Lei gets upset. An old man approaches Yu Lei, saying that he made the room for Yu Lei. He points out that Yu Lei is now old, weak and abandoned. The old man also wants to free the Nian and that the Nian chose Yu Lei to free it because he was strong enough to survive being consumed as he broke the seals.

Mr Rogman sneaks into the soup shop looking for the soup recipe. He steals the spices and tampers with the soup pressure cooker. Rain catches him, but he ties her up.

Shen Tu is back in the spirit world, where Dean confronts him about Yu Lei being gone. Dean tears the poster portal and Shen Tu knocks him out and locks him and the mighty babies in an urn. Shen Tu fixes the portal, but can't find the correct door because there are so many posters now.

Mr Rogman interrogates Rain for the soup recipe. Shen Tu fights off Mr Rogman and throws him in the river. They follow the disk to go find Yu Lei, but the pressure cooker is still at the risk of exploding.

The old man reveals that the Nian has guided Yu Lei to this place and asks Yu Lei if this is what he wants. Yu Lei says it is and the old man reveals the final seal. Yu Lei realizes that he is severely weakened and has been losing his own spirit in his quest. He attacks everything in the building, but is soon out of energy. The old man tells Yu Lei that he is weak and needs to leave. Yu Lei goes to cut the statue of him and his brother, but won't cut the statue of his brother. Shen Tu and Rain arrive. Shen Tu admits that he was wrong, but also that Yu Lei was wrong and that they need to move forward. Yu Lei admits he's been blinded and goes to leave. Shen Tu grabs Yu Lei's sword, but accidentally breaks the third seal. The ancient tree starts to shake and people in town panic as the sky gets weird.

Rain and Yu Lei are injured when the building collapses. Yu Lei is unconscious so Rain gives him back his disk and faints. Yu Lei wakes up only to collapse again. Shen Tu rouses him, and they can see the spirit world beginning to fall. They bring Rain to Luli Rain wakes up as the shop explodes. Shen Tu, carrying Yu Lei jumps into the posters just as everything explodes. Dean escapes the urn he had been sealed in just as the brothers show up. Before he can confront them, a root from the tree crashes into the house. The tree starts pullings itself out of the island and a giant cloud with a face attacks the town. It goes to the soup shop, but was scared away by firecrackers. The town attacks with fire crackers. The mighty babies are knocked off the island and into town. Rain gets them to help with the fireworks.

The tree turns into the Nian and Yu Lei admits that he screwed up. The mighty babies show up with fire works and attack the Nian tree. This reveals the heart if the Nian, which is a rock that Yu Lei used to touch to control the tree. Yu Lei throws his disk at the rock, cracking it. The island keeps falling and the rock needs one hit to finish breaking it. Shen Tu uses the music box to do it. This causes the Nian to die and the island to rise back into the spirit world. Back at the spirit world, it turns out that the two guardians of the seal, one of them is Bloom, has lost their memories on how they broke the seals.They were being returned to the queen to regain their memories. Shen Tu wakes up to find a young Yu Lei on the island. They create a restaurant for the spirit world and Beckett joins them. The human world is happier knowing that the spirits are watching, and Mr Rogman's lackeys are now repairing the stove in the soup restaurant.

Voice cast

Original Chinese cast

  • Gao Xiaosong as Shen Tu
  • Show Joy as Laohu
  • White. K as Yu Lei
  • Ji Guanlin as Huaxia
  • Cindy Yu as Raindrop
  • Bi Xiaolan as Ying

English language cast


The film earned US$10 million on its opening weekend.[2]


  1. ^ "Watch the First Trailer for China's 'Little Door Gods'". Cartoon Brew. September 24, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Tartaglione, Nancy (January 3, 2016). "'Star Wars', Local-Language & Family Pics Lead; 'Sherlock' Shines In Korea – Intl B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Weinstein Co. Launches Mizchief Label For Children's Animated Features". Cartoon Brew. August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Amid Amidi (March 11, 2015). "'Door Guardians' Teaser Shows Off China's CGI Capabilities". Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "小门神 (2016)". (in Chinese). Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  7. ^ "Weinstein Co. Releases 'The Guardian Brothers' On Netflix". Cartoon Brew. 4 September 2017.
  8. ^ "The Weinstein Co. Releases 'The Guardian Brothers' on Netflix | Rotoscopers".
  9. ^ "The Weinstein Company Announces Animation Label Mizchief". August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017.

External links

  • Little Door Gods on IMDb
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