“Epic of Divinity” Series Review (Ep. 4 to 12)

Bilibili’s classic adaptation of Fei Tian Ye Xiang’s (非天夜翔) web novel “Dinghai Fusheng Lu”, Epic of Divinity Light finally ended on a bizarre note.

Prequel to Bilibili’s widely popular anime “Legend of Exorcism” , Epic of Divinity Light was comparatively lackluster. Despite the abundant flaws, Shanghai Foch Film and TV Culture Investment have tried their level best to rekindle the “Legend of Exorcism” magic. While main leads Chen Xing and Xiang Xu’s amorphous chemistry is refreshing, the storytelling suffers from major pitfalls. You can’t help but compare both the animations and feel slightly disappointed. After the slow paced narrative in the first half, the anime majorly banks on the budding romance between the main leads while leading us to an inevitable yet forgone conclusion. Bilibili’s failure to promote this Donghua might have led to its dull reception. Without further ado, let’s review the anime and figure out if it is worth your time!

The Three Vigilantes Fighting To Save Humanity

While the anime heavily leans on solving the mystery behind the “Zombie Apocalypse”; the first half of the narrative concentrates on the teamwork between Chen Xing, Xiang Shu and Feng Qianjun. The pilot episodes did a good job of establishing Chen Xing’s identity; but we had been left in the dark about Xiang Shu and Feng Qianjun’s true status. The revelation was obviously well crafted and quite shocking. Xiang Shu’s daring entry into the Qingming city’s Imperial Palace unmasks his identity as the Great Chanyu of the Chile Ancient Alliance (a congregation of all members of the Xuanyu tribe). He is greatly revered and also quite close to the Emperor. Feng Qianjun, on the other hand is quite wealthy. His family owns the “Pine House Bank” and it seems like they are planning a rebellion. Feng Qianjun’s brother, Feng Qianyi is also an exorcist. While our main protagonists dig deeper into the mystery of the zombie resurgence, Feng Qianjun provides his valuable assistance. They make a formidable team as Chen Xing and Xiang Shu learn to work together, while Feng Qianjun mostly acts as their backup. Their camaraderie is uncanny; because Xiang Shu is quite mistrustful. And yet Feng Qianjun manages to win his trust with his righteous attitude and honesty; even going to the extent of fighting his own brother to protect his compatriots. Their teamwork is truly exemplary and Feng Qianjun’s undulating friendship with Chen Xing is enviable.

The Unassuming Saga of Love

Xiang Shu is majorly portrayed as a detached individual; he keeps his emotions tightly in control and he is quite difficult to guess his intentions. Our main lead couple is certainly at odds as their journey begins. Xiang Shu is least interested in working with Chen Xing or taking up his assigned job of the “Guardian God”. As they spend time together, Xiang Shu slowly grows more tolerant of Chen Xing’s insistent nature. Jealousy plays a major role in ousting his affections, as Xiang Shu’s possessive tendencies surface. As our couple face major travesties together; Xiang Shu’s hackles raise whenever Chen Xing is in danger. This sparks a timely connection between these two, which helps unlock Xiang Shu’s powers and finally he transforms into the “Guardian God”.

The second half of the anime focuses on the blossoming romance between our ever bickering couple as they return to Xiang Shu’s hometown. While Chen Xing tries his level best to unravel the mystery regarding the “Silence of Magic”, Xiang Shu supports him wholeheartedly. Their camaraderie is intense and Xiang Shu is more open about his affections. He even goes against his best friend Chelaphon to protect Chen Xing. The penultimate episodes gave us some epic romantic scenes, as Xiang Shu takes Chen Xing skiing. He even accompanies Chen Xing into the enemy lands as Chen Xing decides to help the Princess of the Akhiles Tribe. It is obvious from Xiang Shu’s expressions that he is besotted with Chen Xing. Their love shines through and at times it will undoubtedly remind you of Hongjun & Jinglong from “Legend of Exorcism”. Maybe it is the magic that reconvenes from existing in the same universe.

The finale episodes seemed rushed, but they were served with a nice touch of unbridled romance. While protecting Chen Xing from the Zombie Lord, Xiang Shu gets infected. Chen Xing uses his powers to step inside Xiang Shu’s subconscious mind and bring him back from the brink of insanity. The way these two seamlessly work together in channeling the power of the Heart Lantern is exceptional. While they do have abundant differences in opinions, their mutual trust outweighs everything else. Xiang Shu always looks at Chen Xing like he hung the moon and the stars. They truly complete each other and their classic connection is covetable!

A Dash of Intriguing Side Characters

General Tuoba Yan is by far one of the most interesting characters in this universe. He is kind, chivalrous and charming. I’m actually disappointed that his storyline was left unexplored. His compelling interest in Chen Xing is swoon worthy (and also the root cause for Xiang Shu’s jealousy). When Chen Xing and Xiang Shu get caught in a major controversy, Tuoba Yan offers his assistance to help prove their innocence. In the latter half, he travels to Chile Plain to invite Chen Xing back to Qingming City. Xiang Shu doesn’t trust him much and Tuoba Yan’s enemity with Chelophon’s clan remains unexplained. I’m hoping that we get to explore this angle in the next season, if possible.

The most shocking interlude was the revelation of Princess Yannan Zhao’s scheming nature. Again, the reasons for her deception remain unexplained. Although Yannan accepts colluding with the Demon Lord to avenge the destruction of her Yannan clan, I’m pretty sure she was more than just a pawn. I’m speculating about that, because the Evil Lord’s lackey carries her corpse back and pleads with him to resurrect her, because their plan cannot be fulfilled in her absence. How important is Yannan Zhao in the grand scheme of events?

The finale episode document the existence of the Deer God and the Wolf God. As the perfunctory reasons for the “Silence of Magic” are explained, the Wolf God relinquishes his powers to protect Xiao Shan. His true identity remains under wrap and despite being a kid, Xiao Shan easily controls an entire pack of wolves. Stepping into his close friend’s footsteps, the Deer God guards Xiao Shan until Chen Xing’s arrival with Xiang Shu. He later uses the last expanse of his powers to lead Chen Xing and Xiang Shu to safety and entrust them with safeguarding Xiao Shan. The series ends on an odd note, as our main couple becomes adoptive parents to the adamant kid.

Final Impressions

Epic of Divinity Light and Legend of Exorcism have similar storylines, so comparisons are inevitable. While the production value is invariably different and so is the art of storytelling, Epic of Divinity sure has its own unique charm. Both shows focus on the same theme of “Undead Soldiers” or “Zombie Infection”. Since the apocalypse carries forward to the sequel, it means that Chen Xing and Xiang Shu probably failed at deducing a solution to this calamity. In “Legend of Exorcism”, Jinglong develops the ability to access the powers of the Heart Lantern as well as wields Xiang Shu’s powerful sword. Both are handed down to him as heirlooms.

So, what happens to our lead pair in the prequel? Will Chen Xing be able to reclaim the lost spiritual qi of heaven and earth in the short lifespan that he has? Will Xiang Shu be able to protect Chen Xing from his untimely death? What will happen to Xiao Shan in future?

There is no announcement for a possible sequel, so I’m not sure if we will find the answers to these questions. Epic of Divinity is definitely a worthwhile watch, if you are a huge fan of the Legend of Exorcism universe. The handsome main leads will certainly keep you hooked and returning for more!

Rating- 3 out of 5

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