Another long-time staple of story-telling involves a journey. Not merely a journey of distance, but one of emotional growth or of physical prowess or even of understanding your place in the cosmos. And I’m not talking about a trip to the local Starbucks for a $3 Pumpkin Spice latte or even all that walking to hatch an egg for ‘Pokemon Go.’ I am talking time and space and voyages and struggles and trials and tribulations and all that other stuff that makes life more interesting than a $3 PSL at Starbucks. Now, after this rather loquacious introduction, let’s get down to brass tacks.
Today’s show under the microscope is “Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage” (“Spirit Blade Mountain: Feast of the Stardust”). And it starts at the very beginning. I mean at the real very beginning. A falling comet will bring about a great calamity. However, a child is born and is fated by this comet to prevent this catastrophe. But they have to find this child, so the Lingjian Clan resumes its entrance examination process to find disciples. Wang Lu, (right in the middle) possesses a special soul that only appears once in a thousand years, and he decides to take the exam (when he is of age) and goes down the path toward becoming an exceptional sage.
OK, so far, so good, right? Well, things are never as easy as you would hope (and then, you would not grow because of it, right?), but the first few episodes reminded me of “Hunter X Hunter”, in that the test has actually begun, but no one says “The test has begun”. This is done to weed out the weaklings and the posers and the wanna-bes, as we need folks who are dedicated for the years of training it will take to hone your skills. So, we start off with a lot of people and end up with a dozen or so. Up there we have both teacher and student and it is a huge cast, especially with the support crew.
The problem with the show is the time factor. We do not know how long things are taking until someone says, “Well, it’s been two years since you showed up on my door step.” I know that Wang is a fast learner and things take time around here, but it is all treated like a mere bagatelle, so you don’t feel a sense of urgency. He wants to learn it, but there is certainly a difference between learning and understanding. Adding to his concerns is that the people in charge do not apparently grasp the special nature of this special boy. Then it gets mired down in all kinds of levels and martial arts and special moves he has to learn. It just came across as needlessly convoluted, as if he had to be put through more tasks and more level to overcome to be the grandest of the grand, the most glorious of the glorious, and the sine qua non of them all.
But I knew that this wasn’t going to get wrapped up in a mere 13 episodes. He has achieve the training that is required for him (at least, I think he has; you know how some teachers get) and now, it will be put to the test, so he will venture out on another 13-episode sojourn to make it all worthwhile.
This was a show that started out with a lot of promise, but feels a lot like “Naruto”, but without the annoying catch-phrases and the bombasts of the main character. Yet it was just too fluid of a series for me and when we visit the other initiates that made it along with Lu (or Oriku, depending on who’s doing the subtitles), it is more like a ‘Oh, so you aren’t dead’ caliber of revelation. This show can wait for your attention. It felt things were added to make it more of a show, but at an overall detriment to what it tried to achieve.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Goodly investment in design)
Plot 6 (A bit towards the limp side)
Pacing 6 (Sometimes somnambulistic)
Effectiveness 6 (Lost because of the extra add-ons)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 6 (Too slow for its own good)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I am the chosen one.