Title: Demon Sorcerer of Fire
Formerly Ruled: Hong Kong, China
Imprisoned: Demon Netherworld
Featured in: Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-2005)
Performed By: James Sie
I doubt that there’s a child of the 80’s or 90’s out there that hasn’t seen at least a few episodes of the series featuring a cartoon version of the action star Jackie Chan but to those that haven’t… Jackie Chan Adventures was a series that featured Jackie Chan as an amateur archeologist who, by a severe twist of fate, stumbles upon a magic talisman sought after by a criminal organization known simply as the Dark Hand. In essence, the series focuses on Jackie and his immediate family, those being his uncle and niece, assisting him in finding/securing various magical items/beings throughout the series run.
In point of fact, each season can be, roughly, divided up based on what the theme of whatever items the “J-Team” as they’re eventually named. Though not strictly the main antagonist throughout the series, Shendu is easily the biggest thorn in Jackie’s side throughout the seasons and is oftentimes the driving force behind whatever vexation happens to be plaguing him that season.
Shendu is one of eight Demon Sorcerers, creatures that while not wholly demonic in the literal sense were such by their very disposition. What earns Shendu his title is that he was, essentially, “born” alongside seven others whose dominion was over various elements of life with his own being fire. It is arguable whether or not Shendu is the strongest of the Demon Sorcerers as he was seen cowering before their collected wrath many a time though that was when he had been reduced to a literal ghost of his former self.
Though the Demon Sorcerer of Fire, Shendu has shown a mastery over different powers as well though it is uncertain whether these are his own inherent abilities as a draconic Demon Sorcerer or ones that he created and grafted into his very being. For though he had been nearly vanquished into the Demon Netherworld alongside his brothers and sisters, Shendu managed to avoid this imprisonment and was given another in its place. Cursed into being a statue with his twelve powers transformed into Twelve Talismans of the Zodiac, Shendu was forced to wait nine hundred years before he regained his body.
Before promptly being destroyed and “killed” by Jade Chan, Jackie’s twelve-year-old-niece.
That had to hurt in more ways than one.
The Twelve Talismans of the Zodiac, as their name might imply, are based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac and have a distinctive power. Many of them can be argued as being Shendu’s natural powers as a Demon Sorcerer of Fire but a few could be argued as being a byproduct of the curse. Case in point, the talismans for Rat and Tiger that bring “motion to the motionless” and “spiritual balance” respectively. The moment the Rat Talisman is removed from Shendu’s body, regardless if he possesses any of the other Talismans within himself, he is immediately returned back to the form of a statue.
As to whether or not Shendu is a dragon… It’s kind of left up in the air as to whether or not he is a natural dragon that became a demon or a demon trying to become a dragon. Given that he is from the Orient, particularly China, I sincerely doubt that he was a dragon that turned demonic given how inherently good dragons are in that part of the world. Regardless, Shendu fits enough of the criteria to be labeled as a “dragon” if only so that he could also be called the “Noble Inheritor” of the Dragon Talisman’s power of combustion.
Overall, Shendu was a great villain for the show and one whose character actually develops throughout the seasons to a point where we see him grow and change to fit the current circumstances that befall him. In fact, the one and only thing I ever truly disliked about Shendu was his voice. Originally, he had a thin, raspy voice in his statue form before regaining his body and getting a deep, almost primordial one before being stuck permanently with the rasp for the remaining seasons. It just sounds… not really bad but blast if it’s not difficult to take him seriously at times when he sounds in need of a lozenge.