Princes. Ghosts. Demons. This one was right up my alley. On April 9th, Netflix released a new anime called “Heaven’s Official Blessing”, based on a Chinese web novel of the same name by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. I had no idea it was a web novel at the time until I looked up more information on it, so this review will be entirely based on the anime and not the web novel. Spoiler free.
Xie Lian is the Crown Prince of the Xian Le kingdom. He ascended to the heavens and became a god at a very young age, loved and admired by all. After 800 years, he ascended to the heavens for a third time and is now the laughingstock of all three realms. When he decides to go to the mortal realm to build a shrine for himself, he is tasked with taking down an angry spirit that’s been terrorizing a nearby village. On that mission, he meets a mysterious man who saves his life from demonic forces. When he meets another odd gentleman named San Lang, Xie can’t help but wonder if this man shares the same identity with the one that saved him from the wicked spirits.
There’s mainly only good things to say about this anime. For starters, the animation just stunning. The simplest things look beautiful; a shadow on the ground, the reflection in water or even the way light dances on a surface, it’s breathtakingly gorgeous. I’ve never seen anything like this in any of the anime I’ve watched over the past few months. A lot of hard work went into making sure that the animation felt genuine and you can tell it paid off. A favorite of mine is when fabric blows in the wind. It flows so smoothly and the movements are so clean. Props to the animators for being able to create such fluid movements.
Music plays a huge part in any show or movie, and Heaven’s Official Blessing is no different. There’s something about the Chinese folk music that makes it feel authentic. The flutes. The pluck of strings. There’s just no way to describe how the music made me feel other than calm and relaxed. Even the opening and closing credits were gorgeous. The vocals were soft yet powerful at the same time. Flawless even.
There’s also a lot of jumping back and forth between the past and present, which may confuse some viewers if they aren’t paying close enough attention to what’s happening. But for the most part the plot is fairly interesting as we see two men bond and learn more about each other while saving people from evil spirits. If you love gay panic like I do, this is a panic fest from start to finish. I was on the edge of my seat thinking Xie and San were going to kiss….but I guess they’ll get to that in season two (at least I hope so. They’d make such a cute couple).
I’d give this anime an 8.5/10. I wasn’t a huge fan of the constant back and forth between present and past but I kept up with it. Other than that, fantastic series. I highly recommend it so give it a shot if you’re interested. Available to stream on Netflix, Bilibili, YouTube, Funimation and AnimeLab.