Jul 22, 2021
Xing Wu Shen Jue (Star Godly Martial Arts Technique) started out with an interesting power system of multiple parallel cultivation methods of which the rarest one, the star method, has affinity with the protagonist. At first, Ye Xinghe appears to be a humble protagonist with an altruistic goal, having chosen to sacrifice his own dignity for the well being of his family in an opening scene. He realizes that a wealthier clan could easily cause trouble for his family business even if he beats up a fellow student in the short run. That kind of foresight is delightful in a protagonist. Unfortunately, that was bait
and switch marketing material, since some time half-way into the show, he flips. The original protagonist being withdrawn and careful turns into an edgy asshole that openly invites conflict and humiliates the enemy, and insults his friends with his awkward communication skills. Nothing causes this change. It just happens. And it calls into question the very premise of the show.
Of course, that doesn't stop his harem from carrying on as if it's business as usual, with girls lining up, begging to be with him, and him brushing them off without even a conversation. But he has no trouble playing up ecchi tropes, where Ye Xinghe "accidentally" touches these female characters, or trips and falls on them, or is put into contrived situations where he must give them mouth to mouth CPR to "save" them, etc. And predictably, these damsels in distress gets mad, slaps him, and then want to marry him.
Each character, villain and protagonist alike, seem immature and lack the confidence to properly communicate. And what's more insulting is that some of these characters are supposedly adults, while others are supposedly multiple levels above a protagonist that doesn't even know how to fight 5 episodes ago, and now he's sweeping women off their feet. It seems in bad anime that no matter how strong a woman is, even if she could do back flips and dispatch enemies like nothing, she still has to trip and fall into the arms of a man. It's like fanservice to incel fantasy.
To be clear, nearly every cultivation power fantasy or isekai has a protagonist that gains levels at incredible speed. But usually, they remain relatively stable in character, whether they start out as arrogant assholes, or they remain committed to their values. In Xing Wu Shen Jue, Ye Xinghe isn't some master transported to an isekai; in fact, just episodes earlier he is confused as to why his cultivation improves on a much faster pace, and why he has more energy than others. There is no scene where he realizes his power in order to propel a change in character. He just suddenly gains confidence, like his character changes to fit the role the author expects to push the plot forward. The change feels so dissonant and inauthentic.
Moreover, plot developments are less than exciting, with each potential thread fraying before any result. It feels like Ye Xinghe and company are just strung along to where they need to be, and perhaps that's why the forced character change was necessary. At one point, there's a fellow student that is murdered on a camping trip, and it becomes an intriguing murder mystery. How is the thoughtful and timid Ye Xinghe going to solve it? By randomly overpowering everyone and defeating his teachers in battle of course. It's just so ridiculous that nothing after that had credibility.
If you are to start watching the show at around episode 25, the show would probably be average. It would have all the same cliches as all the other shows: an unlikely bet to save the family clan, and a tournament arc. Except the protagonist seems like an 8th grade syndrome asshole with eyeliner given the powers to meet his perversity. He still mistreats women all the time. Even if it gets alright in a second season, you should probably still figure when push comes to shove, the author wouldn't be able to hold his own weight.
Reviewer’s Rating: 4
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