Although we talk about anime all the time, Japan is not the only Asian country with a very active animation industry and every year we get more series from Korea and China. Precisely from the latter has come ‘The Heaven Officer’s Blessing’a donghua (animation made in China) based on the Mo Xiang Tong Xiu light novels and produced from Bilibili and Funimation.
Mythology, romance and spectacular animation
The first season of ‘The Heaven Officer’s Blessing’ landed on Netflix in 2021 and consists of 12 chapters and a small special which serves as an epilogue to this first plot arc. In total, it does not reach five hours because they are very short chapters, and since the whole story has continuity and the plot is spinning in each new episode, It’s perfect for hooking up.
This animated series takes us a little deeper into Chinese mythology and the belief that the heavens are organized a bit bureaucratically and there are different gods who are in charge of the various domains. One of these officers in the court of heaven is XieLianthe former prince of the Xian Le Kingdom.
The prince was greatly loved by his subjects and ascended to heaven at a very young age, though sadly he was banished back to the mortal world. His second ascension didn’t last long and earned him an outcast and loser status… so when 800 years later he returns to the heavens for the third time none of his colleagues take it too seriously.
In an attempt to pay off his debts, Xie Lian accepts a mission investigating the disappearance of numerous marriageable girls, only to soon discover that he has also attracted the attention of hua chenga powerful king of ghosts greatly feared in the kingdom of heaven.
‘The heaven officer’s blessing’ is posed as a mystery series with certain touches of thriller and fantasy, where Xie Lian and his companions must solve various investigations. In addition to teasing with the intrigues and secrecy of the officials of heaven, this donghua also raises a romance full of chemistry that ends up hooking you definitively to the story.
Let’s see, if we expect an explicit gay romance in a Chinese animation series taking into account the country’s censorship, I’ll hit you with the cold water jug that we’re not going to have it. And yet ‘The heaven officer’s blessing’ goes to great lengths to make clear to you the nature of the romantic relationship between Xie Lian and Hua Cheng treating it like a tension-charged period drama romance (complete with slow motion and intense close-ups).
And even so, the animated series manages to balance very well the moments of romance with those of mystery and fantastic actionbecause it also has its good dose of confrontations against ghosts and all kinds of creatures in which it even becomes somewhat explicit and crude.
It may be a bit difficult at first to get into the plot of ‘The Heavenly Official’s Blessing’, especially if what you expect is a regular anime. The narrative rhythm is somewhat different (and even frustrating) and the presentation of the characters is somewhat chaotic, especially in the first chapters where it seems that we have to know who is who.
These little problems are solved little by little through flashbacks, where they show us a little more of Xie Lian’s past in the mortal realm and where we realize that certain things are not what they seem (and that the prince is not as goofy as one might suppose despite how incredibly nice he is). it is). Thus, and as we advance with the main plot, the different intrigues that the series raises and It allows us to understand a little better the puzzle of the complicated life of its protagonist.
All this mixed with beautiful visual style, especially with beautifully painted backgrounds and character design and detailed aesthetics. Yes, it has many moments of functional animation and little else, but it leaves us with very powerful action scenes. Not only that, but the most contemplative moments are also very careful to give greater emphasis to the emotions of the characters, which together leaves us one of the most beautiful series that can be seen on the platform.
For now on Netflix, the series is only available in Mandarin with subtitles and there is no news of a dubbing in sight, but if you are not scared of subtitled series, it is worth giving it a try and enjoying its story. It has already been confirmed that the second season is in production so yes ‘The Heaven Officer’s Blessing’ leaves you wanting more, the next batch of chapters should arrive at the end of the year.