Xie Lian, the crown prince of Xian Le Kingdom, successfully ascends to Heaven during his third trial despite of successive demotions. However, he accidentally breaks the Gold Palace of heavenly officials. With no human worshiping him, Xie Lian has to descend to the secular world to exorcise ghosts, which may help him sustain his divinity. During his adventure, Xie Lian encounters two heavenly officials and a mysterious young man in red. Four as a team, they experience lots of weird and bizarre events and gradually get to know the dark past of the seemingly glamorous Heaven.
Eh, to be honest, it isn't that great. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but not gonna lie here, it's not that great, at least not as great as everyone is raving about. I was never a huge fan of the original novel, but some of the problems of the original are exemplified even more here. Let's start with the good stuff: the animation is really pretty. I love the art style, and the animation is super smooth and the subtle clues included in the animation is enough to make these kinda bland characters feel a lot more 3 dimensional. Sometimes the CG is pretty shaky and worryingly bad, but at other times it's included almost as well as MDZS is. The music and soundtrack is also impeccable. The songs are all beautiful in their own right, and the vocals and instrumentals haunt my dreams. There's not a huge variety, as most of the songs are romance songs, but they're all so good that I can ignore it. Some characters and plot points I love a ton. The lady in green and black that show up in episode 7 and 8 are mysterious and may lead to some great character development. Nan Feng and Fu Yao are amazing support characters, as well as being funny, cute, and integral to the plot as well. The monsters are really well animated, and some of the themes of this novel also run through the donghua too quite well, arguably better than the original because the original really didn't flesh out the themes that much. Sometimes, I really do like Xie Lian and San Lang. They're cute at times, charming even, and sometimes the things they say and their actions have genuine emotional impact. I really don't care for their characters most of the time, but at some points, the jokes they make or the sequences they do really hit me Now onto the stuff I don't like. First of all, the story is very "monster of the week." In MDZS, the story has a natural flow and progresses in a natural way, but that can't be said for Heaven Official's Blessing. In between arcs, we get these really fan service and pointless scenes of XL and SL at Puqi Shrine essentially doing nothing. It's like they go on a mission, solve a random mystery, fight some monsters, and then they return to XL's home/shrine and everything returns to the status quo. It doesn't have that same tension and flow as MDZS, because we kind of already know that XL is going to get out of the situation and return back to his shrine for more domestic fan service and trash collecting. Now, because I’ve read the novel, I know everything that is going on, but for those that have not read the novel, the storytelling would be atrocious. None of the xianxia/fantasy elements are explored or explained. The settings are hardly developed on after the arc is over, and the character development is pretty much nonexistent. Although I loved Nan Feng and Fu Yao from the novel, and still enjoy them here, their constant use as comic relief and only that gets really grating pretty quickly. XL and San Lang have some character development, but not enough to convince me worthy of an entire 1st season. And info dumps everywhere. I usually don’t have as much of a problem with info dumps, but this anime/donghua does it ALL THE TIME. Explanation needed? Flashback/exposition dialogue info dump. Backstory needed? Flashback/exposition dialogue info dump. Literally the only way this show knows how to explain is by flashback info dumping, which is what the novel does too, and it gets kinda annoying. There's a lot of fan service in this anime/donghua. It's not as rampant as the novel, but it really is there. There are fans out there that don't mind it, but it really serves to show how much this donghua puts romance over plot and characters, at points neglecting the plot for more fan service, which feels really jarring to me. MDZS had some hugging and implicit fan service, but at the same time, those are sort of afterthoughts from the main plot. In Heaven Official's Blessing, the romance is the main plot, and considering how much I don't care for the main pair, is an issue for me. Others may not have that issue though And also I have a ton of issues with the main pair. San Lang is probably the worst out of the two, as he is not only shallow and one dimensional, but also a Mary Sue. His entire life revolves around XL, and besides loving XL and being a total asshole, he has no other character traits. No other character traits besides being a Mary Sue. He is all knowing, all powerful, and good at literally everything but handwriting. This really deflates the tension as you know he'll have the answers to everything, and he's also capable of scaring ghosts away with just a single glance, and you really just begin to wonder "why are we going on these missions anyways if San Lang can just beat everyone up and that's it?" Also, he falls in love with XL enough to live 800 years for him, despite only being caught by him once and barely ever interacting. The logic feels kinda shaky to me... Xie Lian is slightly better. He has some character depth, but none of the forms of media have made me convinced that he loathes himself and he's really that deep. I enjoy his inner conflict about putting himself in danger, but he again feels like a Mary Sue. He has no weaknesses besides being "too nice" and "not valuing himself enough." He has this solve all problems pet ribbon, Ruoye, and is also very smart, strong, and kind. He is literally a flawless human being and besides being "kinda insecure", he has no moral wrongs. I wish we got more internal dialogue/monologue of him thinking about how he deserved to be alone for 800 years and the self loathing the novel really wants you to believe, but it really isn't there most of the time. Let's end on a positive note though, the side characters are super endearing. The emotional arcs that truly hit the hardest are still yet to come (no I'm not talking about book 4, I'm talking about Qingxuan's arc), and more and more amazing characters will continue to be introduced. While I didn't like the original novel, I think the donghua has potential, and I hope it realizes that potential by toning down the fan service from the novel and using better characterization.
S3 Review no. 13 (short, simple and sweet, salty, spicy) Let’s start this off by saying it’s the first time I’m watching a chinese show. On top of that, I stumbled on this show as I was trying out this season’s anime, so I had no clue what it was about. I was just trying out stuff, dropping the unbearable ones, keep watching the bearable ones. This show somewhat managed to keep my interest. You probably already know that, but this show has homosexual romance. I myself am not homosexual (at least so far, maybe I’ll come out of the closet one day :)), yet I don’t care if a love story is about two men, two women, a dog and hamster, a couch and a pillow or a lava lamp and grain or rice, as long as it is a story well told. That being said, the story is not perfect, not by any means. So, the setting may be familiar to people that watch chinese shows, but it wasn’t to me. There are these… beings I guess? Gods, or semi- gods or people that ascend to god status or whatever, they live in heaven, they send their underlings or descend themselves down to earth to help people, in return people worship them, the more people they have as followers, more temples the build to their name, more offerings they get, and higher their status rises. Heaven is like a society, there are clans, standings, promotions, positions etc. Our MC is a strange fruit, he is like Heaven’s black sheep, he doesn’t do things the typical and he has screwed up many times in the past as we gradually find out. Now he is trying to solve some cases, release some ghosts that hunt the living, and build his following. Eventually he meets a mysterious guy, the romance starts to unfold. Its obvious that he is someone who he shouldn’t be with, but love is blind right? Or so they say at least…. So, the romance is good in this show, it is not eye popping, it is not cheap, it is not fan servicing ecchi shit. The story is kind of interesting, there is the romance, there are ghosts, mystery, the stories behind the ghosts, so what’s the issue here? Well, the most prevalent problem is the pace. It is sluggish. Really sluggish, so even though the story is told in an interesting way, its all too god damn slow, and the result is you get this “fillery” feeling watching the show. Another issue is the setting itself, the powers everyone’s got, like nothing is clear or explained, ofc I don’t mean I’d like it to be like shounen and have people standing still explaining everything for minutes (although there is a lot of talking and explaining anyway, just not about powers), but I just ain’t got a clue about what one can or cannot do in this world, what I can expect or can’t expect, so when it comes to action and fighting, everything is kind of flat. Now, characters, well… The main duo is good, you gradually learn more about them, their relationship gradually develops, they are interesting characters and you want to know more about their past and their future. That being said, every other character is like… what was this guy’s name again? Or wait, he is that guy, so who is that other guy? I mean beside the leading couple, there are two lets say main-secondary characters, two assistants that are send from heaven to help our MC, and honestly, I still can’t even tell them apart. Now, presentation wise, this show is a treat for the eyes. Mind you that there is not much fast paced action, so it doesn’t look that outstanding, but it’s beautiful and crisp, Even the cgi is ok. I enjoyed the art style a lot. The character design not so much. I mean yes, they are fuckable alright, but they all look alike. Like the generals, lieutenants or whatever they are, they all look kind of the same. Even the main couple, if they wore the same clothes, you could probably only tell them apart from their height. Music is also very good, it ain’t memorable or anything, but it fits, and its pleasant for the ears. Now what I can’t fucking stand at all, and it was the biggest hurdle in my enjoyment of the show, the voice acting. And I don’t mean the voice actors are bad or anything, because I really can’t tell. Its the chinese language man...(whichever dialect that is in the show). My ears can’t stand it. I’m sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings by saying that, but depending on the person not every language is pleasant to their ears. Chinese is amongst the languages that my ears are allergic to. Now, is it worth a watch? Meh… it depends, it’s not for everyone, certainly it’s not my style, but if you like the themes it presents, then you'll certainly like it. I am not a big fan of romance shows, nor ghosts, nor I enjoy really slow paced stories. Yet I stuck through the season, for a couple of reasons. It wasn’t a great season for anime so it was better than the rest, storytelling was kind of interesting and was really looking forward to watching the opening every week. I doubt that I’ll watch the next seasons (if those come to be) unless the competition is bad like this season’s was. So, I don’t recommend this show unless you like its themes and don’t mind its slow pace, but I do recommend watching the opening at least, its very nice.
Now, as an original novel fan I am going to move aside my instinctive fangirl away and critique this anime on what it may look like to a person who has never heard of the novel. First the animation. when episode 1 came out I was like, okay, if hoaliners keep this up, its gonna top mdzs. Ep 1 was too good to be true. But then ep 2 came out with the corpse brides moving in a weird 2D animation style, I thought, WTF. While some parts are an example of near-perfect animation, other places make me go like...eh. Not to mention there had been talks of a plagiarism incident in ep9. Next the sound effects. I think the sound effects are the best part of the anime. The background music keeps changing constantly with the mood and it make the emotions almost boom out the screen. Srsly, the sound effects throughout the anime killed me. Next the story and the characters. Now, for people who haven't read the novel, the anime plot will appear pretty random and without a goal. I guess it cant be helped unless S2 comes out and things start gaining a pattern. But as i novel reader, i think the anime did a good job of sticking to the plot unlike MDZS. BY changing the plot, they made MDZS more exciting but, its also the reason why we didn't see a MDZS S3 this year. THere's only so much of the charm of the story u can maintain by changing it the way mdzs was changed. I am keeping high hopes for S2 which has already been confirmed. Also, Hoaliners always had a bad habit of spicing things up too much and it shows clearly in TGCF lol. Overall its a very interesting watch and its definitely recommended for everyone.
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