Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no utage
Aired: Jan 9, 2016 to Mar 26, 2016
Opening: Fast End (ファーストエンド) by Soraru (そらる), and Mafumafu (まふまふ)
Ending: Kizuna (絆; bonds) by Kakichoco
Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage (霊剣山 星屑たちの宴; Spirit Blade Mountain: Feast of the Stardust) is an anime co-produced by Tencent and Studio Deen. The anime is an adaption of the xianxia web novel series Congqian Youzuo Lingjianshan (从前有座灵剑山; There was a Spirit Blade Mountain), written by Guowang Bixia (国王陛下), which is a pen name meaning His Majesty the King. The novel ran from June 29th, 2013, until July 26th, 2015.
A manhua version (Chinese manga) of the novel series was hosted on the Tencent comics portal since 2014. The second season of the series is currently airing.
The anime is only 12 episodes, and a lot happens in those few episodes, and a lot is still unrevealed and unexplained. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, the anime was good enough to keep me entertained and wanting more episodes, even when I still have a lot of questions. I finished the whole season in less than a day, because I was hooked from the first second.
In the first episode, the first few minutes are a very short and vague introduction of what the watcher can expect during the anime. A man and a woman discuss a disruption caused by meteors. The scene is both very humorous and mysterious and I like it. After that you’re shown a village, where a ‘time-travelled soul’ was born. And what followed came to be known as the Golden Age of Cultivation.
After that intro, the anime introduces the main character, Ouriku, who somehow managed to find a special ticket that allows him to stay in the VIP room of the inn. There is some contest going on in town, and Ouriku and a bunch of other people want to enter and win it. The challenge is called the Celestial Gathering, and there is a short mentioning of something called a Spirit Base, but nothing is explained about that so far. The Celestial Gathering exists of many different challenges, and if you manage to win all of them, you get to join the sect, the Reiken sect.
In the fourth episode it’s revealed that Ouriku has a Celestial Spirit Base. This is a legendary Spirit Base from ancient times. In fact, his Spirit base is of the rarest kind: the Void Spirit Base. The leaders tell him they cannot use him in their sect because nobody has ever been able to control and use that Spirit Base properly before, and so he will not be useful in any sect, ever.
However, due to Ouriku tricking the sect leaders by using their own words against them, he gets to stay. He is to be trained by Oubu, a flirty but beautiful elder whom nobody in the sect really likes. I think she’s absolutely hilarious. While she is of lower rank, she created the challenges Ouriku and the others had to take. She also created her own technique, Amorphic Bones.
Along the way, two years pass and Ouriku trains under Oubu, but thinks he doesn’t learn anything from her. Eventually, Rei, the innkeeper Ouriku met at the beginning of the story, decides to help him. She teaches him material arts and how to feel and utilize his ki.
Throughout the story, Ouriku learns how to use Oubu’s technique, and how to get stronger. At some point, a new sect has come and promised everyone they could cultivate, by using their life span to break through. Oubu gets in some more trouble and has to fight a high ranking member from another sect in a Shinma Daisei. This demands cooperation and believing in your abilities, and it cannot be broken. Outsiders aren’t allowed to help you and you cannot kill your opponent. Oubu completely destroys the guy because she is fabulous.
The ending of the anime confused me a lot. It was like they stopped in the middle of an episode. The masters introduce new tests to everyone, and you see some of the students walk ahead to take those tests. You also get a scene where Ouriku and Oubu talk about how Ouriku should be more compassionate because he will live hundreds of years, so he will have to properly deal wih life and death. Then a scene where Ouriku and Kaiunho, who showed up again to meet Ouriku, standing on a cliff overlooking a village, and that is literally the end of the final episode. It bugged me a lot because I really got into it and now it has ended, and I still don’t know what is going on.
The voice acting is pretty good. The voices fit the characters well, but something that bothered me is that none of the 12-14 year olds actually sound or look their age. They all sound and look at least 16+ if not older, so every time the character’s real age is mentioned, it’s shocking.
The artwork is decent. The background are amazingly drawn; the water in rivers looks extremely real, and the mountains and forests look very good too. The character art is less good, though. For something made in 2016, the character art is lacking and a little cheap looking. But overall the art is decent.
Something I really like about the anime and characters is that all characters are fully dressed in Chinese clothing. It makes sense because it’s originally a Chinese novel and Chinese manga, but it’s still really cool to see this taking a big role in the Japanese anime as well.
During the first few episodes, Ouriku is extremely OP, unlike a lot of other protagonists who are weak in the beginning and slowly get better. Here, Ouriku starts off extremely well: He is super smart, learns extremely fast and thinks differently from others. His observation skills are great, and even his fighting skills are good. But slowly, throughout the episodes, he becomes ‘less OP’. While he is still really good at pretty much everything he does, you see him struggle to get to the level he needs to be. And watching him fail things was funnier than in other anime, because he is usually good at everything, as opposed to other anime characters, who start out bad and then turn out to be amazing.
As I mentioned, the main character in the series are Ouriku and Oubu. Other recurring characters are Rei, Ouchu, Kaiunho and Bunho. Personally, I love the main characters, as well as Kaiunho, Rei and Bunho. Some other minor characters are hilarious and interesting too, so the cast really helps make the story.
One thing that bothered me about this anime is that a lot of the story got lost. There are a lot of plot holes. Both characters and parts of the story are unexplained, but I have to say that, despite these plot holes, the anime is still very interesting. I enjoyed watching it a lot, and the story is still good enough to keep watching.
On top of the interesting characters, mysterious story and other attributes, this anime is simply hilarious. The characters make a bunch of funny, sometimes sexual, comments and tease each other all the time. Another fun thing is that the anime makes fun of itself and some of te clichés it’s using, which is just really entertaining to watch.
The relationship between Ouriku and his teacher, Oubu, is really funny, too. Actually, any kind of relationship Oubu has with anyone is funny. If the story is not complete enough for you, you can still enjoy the anime for its humor. On a side note, something that makes Ouriku hilarious is that he’s a drama queen, and he writes smut doujinshi about the female elders/masters and female cultivators. In the anime it’s even mentioned that the doujinshi are extremely popular in Reikenzan, but nobody knows who writes them.
I personally really enjoyed this anime, and will definitely watch the second season. The characters are fun, the humor is great and really makes up for the plot holes. The action scenes are pretty cool, and the character art is decent, while the background art is stunning.
I hope they will explain more about the trials and about Ouriku’s Spirit Base in the next season of the anime. I really look forward to seeing more background stories on the characters as well, especially Ouriku, Oubu, Ouchu and Kaiunho.
Did you know:
- The manhua (manga) adaption of the novel was illustrated by Zhuhua (豬畫) and Junxiamo (菌小莫)
- The manhua (manga) is called Spirit Blade Mountain.
- The anime series aired on AT-X, Tokyo MX, KBS Kyoo, Sun TV, and TV Aichi.
- The voice actress who plays Oubu, also voiced Orochimaru (Naruto) and Nico Robin (One Piece) amongst others. The guy who voices Ouriku voices Kanda Yuu (D.Gray-Man Hallow) and Rufus Lore (Fairy Tail), as well as many other roles.