Dec 28, 2020
I’ll try to keep this short, since I never cared about donghua in general and this title is the first I completed and man did it make me want to watch more of it or something similar. I first knew about it some years ago where a tech demo of sorts was revealed showing an amazing fight between two men that controlled fire and ice. Then these three episodes came out this year and sadly that scene is not present in them.
If you are like me and thus are accostumed to japanese anime, the artwork will feel different and refreshing, yet very polished, there are
some intances where the character figures don’t exactly match the backgrounds but they are a few and not very noticeable. The character designs resemble traditional stories a lot, and most characters are tall and muscular manly men and without any facial repetition amongst them, giving it a more than welcomed retro feel to it. The backgrounds are beautiful to look at.
The most important and well known aspect of the show in this regard is obviously the actual animation, which is very weak when the character talk, walk or do simple movements in general, the mouth and eyes movements are kinda sloppy and the same applies to every other bit of body language. On the other hand, during the action scenes, when the show needs to have good and fluent motions, it’s simply spectacular, every single motion is practically perfectly made, and what do you want me to say about the special effects? They reminded me of those used during the most impactful scenes in Demon Slayer, which is always a plus.
There’s also very good camera work, following every fast paced action scene perfectly, unlike, let’s say, Dragon Super Broly, where the camera becomes really crazy at times and don’t let you keep track of some action sequences.
So, great and distinctive artwork, great character designs, mostly good animation and superb special effects which constitute a perfect mix of awesome martial arts with epic super powers. There are some things that could be more polished but as a whole the visuals are an impressive job, especially with very few people working on them.
The sound design is not as good, the music is ok, a generic traditional chinese soundtrack which fits the story and setting well and when it comes to the voice acting, well, I have to admit that I’m not familiar at all with chinese voices and voice acting, but what I heard here felt just right, every character had a fitting voice and good interpretation behind in every scene, from the comical to the tragic ones. The sound effects on the other hand are pretty weak in both the relaxing moments as well as those when there are fights and they make those scenes lack quite the impact.
Even when the show cares mostly about the action, there’s a serviceable plot with serviceable characters behind, nothing groundbreaking of course, it’s just some guardians that can use the elements as their powers that fight against demons that threatens humanity, so it’s basically a combination of The Last Airbender with Demon Slayer, only with manliness and epic fights taken from Asura’s Wrath.
The first episode really lowers your expectations because is mostly silly comedy with wacky facial expressions, which reminded me a lot of Golden Kamuy, but then the second and third became a lot more tragic and serious without ever losing that tone. The power scaling in the show seems to be pretty high as the first demon alone was able to fight toe to toe against the protagonist, and he was incapable of saving most of the people from the village.
And the many deaths shown here weren’t just for showing the horrible powers of the demons, as there are enough scenes with the villagers to make the audience somewhat care about them when they die, although obviously not the point of getting emotionally attached to them, for they lack lot of screen time for that, and the way they die is genuinely tragic and almost heartbreaking.
The demons seem to be evil and kill humans just because at first, but as the last episode reveals, is actually a revenge against them for a horrible thing they did in the past, which in turn was not something done for sadistic pleasure, there’s a very good cause regarding a mortal decease behind that course of action. Very good conflict and very well presented with an appropiate tone.
Now for the negatives which prevent me to rate the show a little higher at least for now, the characters are serviceable as plot devices but none of them have much information revealed about them to let you get emotionally invested, and the plot, on top of simple and straightforward, is just a prologue, a kind of demo for more episodes to come if the small group of people working on it decides it’s worth it to keep going. That’s why it has no actual ending despite hyping you with the different agendas everyone has and the invasion of, I have to say, way less interesting demons, seemingly about to happen.
Besides that, it was a very serviceable promotion that did its job way better than, let’s say, Burn the Witch, for presenting an actually interesting conflict, with a serious tone, and mostly amazing visuals. I really want to see how the story continues, if it does, and if you happened to read this and know more about chinese series that you think are equal or better, please feel free to come to my profile and reccomend them to me, especially if they are similar to it.
Reviewer’s Rating: 5
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