(Be sure to click ‘cc’ for subs on the trailer)
Wang Ling Kills Giant Frog 3 Times
The first episode of The Daily Life of the Immortal King (Netflix) zips us into the future – the year 4386 on the Cultivation Calendar. With airplanes shaped like flying swords and a sarcastic narrator to pave our way, we discover that society ‘enjoys the convenience’ of cultivation technology.
The commercialistic yet peaceful city of Huaxiu merrily rolls along until the appearance of Giant Frog. Magic Squad, flying the flag of the immortal, arrives to manage the scene.
Meanwhile, a red-eyed kid stops by a convenience store for a pack of Little Racoon Ramen to munch dry. Magic Squad member Zhou Yi, with a notable curl encircling his eye, shouts to the boy to run as Giant Frog looms closer. He scoops the kid out of the line of fire and returns to the fray.
Fast forward to a statue of the warrior now known for defeating Giant Frog, ‘The Hero who saved Huaxiu.’ It stands impressively at the entrance of a high school for budding magicians.
Freshman Wang Ling, with the same eyes as the ramen kid, is immediately picked out by seniors as needing to pay protection money. But class beauty and high force value magician Sun Rong intervenes.
As the rest of the student body looks on in awe, she fends off the bullies and offers a hand. With a mumbled ‘thank you’, Wang Ling pays her the protection money and walks off.
Oblivious to the commotion, an administrator announces a test to – ‘sorting hat’ style – assess the freshmen’s force levels. A projection of Zhou Yi gives us the detail. He notes the best performers will join the Elite Class. A several-stories-high screen calls freshman to the assessment arena.
First in line is Xuan Ku, notably the author of the animation. Live on screen, the rest of the students watch him try to battle the ‘incarnation’ of the spiritual force of Giant Frog. But rest assured, students, as Giant Frog is safely sealed beneath campus.
The challenge is to summon all of one’s spiritual force to hit Giant Frog on the head. Various classmates prepare to show off their skills, including Chen Chao and Guo Hao.
Inside the test area, Xuan Ku takes aim but, deflected, goes flying. He earns an embarrassing spiritual force level of 404. Watching carefully, Sun Rong considers her strategy.
As ranking continues, more freshmen bounce from the Frog to audience jeers. Using a fistful of fire, Chen Chao steps up to earn a value of 938. He’s immediately assigned to the Elite Class.
Under the building, the real Giant Frog chuckles as he continues to absorb small amounts of power from each assailant, nearly ready to make a move. Sun Rong approaches, landing a punch and graceful somersault to the value of 2019.
As the student body celebrates Sun Rong, Wang Ling quietly heads in, mentally aiming for a score of 400. Chuckling, Giant Frog believes he only needs a scoch more to break free, then dramatically recognises the red-eyed Wang Ling by his background music.
We’re treated to a Frog’s eye view of defeat by the child and the consequent saving of Zhou Yi. Back to present, before Wang Ling can even reach him, Giant Frog explodes. On screen, Wang Ling’s score exceeds the number of spaces in an endless line of 9999999999.
While the administrator cries over his lost Froggy, students speculate that likely Sun Rong thwacked out most of its vitality first. Wang Ling believes it’s nothing to do with him, but he’s awarded Elite Class anyway.
Now assigned, the first lesson for the Elite Class is summoning spells. An instructor explains that the strength of the spiritual body you summon is proportionate to your force level. It’s brilliant failure all around as students try the spell.
Sun Rong is the first to manage a creature, mostly skeletal. During Wang Ling’s turn, he somehow produces Giant Frog. Then, presumably by the instructor, Giant Frog suddenly morphs into a green dog. As the other kids fawn, Sun Rong names it Froggy 2 and Wang Ling sneaks away.
The Episode Review
In this first instalment, it’s looking like The Daily Life of the Immortal King will land somewhere between the canny flippancy of The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (Netflix, Crunchyroll, Tubi) and the irreverence of One Punch Man (Netflix, Hulu, Tubi). Laughing at itself and its animator already, this has definitely got potential for some real fun.
As a fan of both Kusuo Saiki and Saitama of One Punch, the sarcasm and self-ridicule pulled us into this Chinese donghua immediately. From the sword-shaped airplane to the narrator voice to the instant and embarrassing defeat of the animator, we can see it’s got some ideas of how to craft an engaging story.
Tackling magic for students a la Harry Potter, ‘cultivation’ is the process of building supernatural powers through practicing martial and mystical arts. The application of cultivation technology is still to be seen. From his display (and the title), protagonist Wang Ling is either hiding some powers or a lucky bumbler or perhaps a bit of both. So far, we’ve seen his unassuming demeanour coupled with a potentially awesome ability. But just because he’s immortal doesn’t mean he’s proficient.
With anime-standard 20-ish minute episodes, it’s quick, it’s sharp, it’s a bit of fun. Let’s see if The Daily Life of the Immortal King will continue to deliver. At The Review Geek, we’re looking forward to the next episode. Shout below if you’re watching it with us!