Wang Ling Kills Giant Frog 3 Times -| Review Score – 5/5
Fair and Just Class: President Election -| Review Score – 5/5
How to Make an Origin Fostering Pill -| Review Score – 5/5
What Should I do When the Goddess Forces Me on a Date? -| Review Score –4.5/5
The Three Brothers of Shadow Stream -| Review Score – 3.5/5
B++ is the Best Language in the World -| Review Score – 4/5
18 Tips for Maintaining a Spiritual Sword -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Blade and Soul -| Review Score – 4/5
The Masters of Shadows -| Review Score – 4/5
Kidnapping -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Sun Rong’s Unique Skill -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Dog is Man’s Best Friend -| Review Score – 5/5
Combustion! -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Accident -| Review Score – 5/5
The Hopelessness of the Immortal King -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Here at TheReviewGeek, we delighted in The Daily Life of the Immortal King (Chinese name: Xian Wang de Richang Shenghuo). Of the 15 episodes, most were exploding with fun with only an occasional dip off the rails. Cleverly, the storyline benefits from explainers and details dropped in like bombshells via a dry and unruffled narrator.
Set in the futuristic world of budding high school cultivators honing their powers, it deftly borrows from existing stories while telling its own tale of the daily trials of bullies, competitions, making friends and relating to parents. While none of the characters are run-of-the-mill kids, Wang Ling is a law unto his own, with powers much greater than comprehensible.
To keep from being forced to ‘demonstrate’ and possibly damage the universe, he keeps his head down, masking his abilities so well his classmates see him as without. Where students are compared by power in the upper 100’s, Wang Ling is known as ‘Force Value Five.’ Yet even without trying he still manages to collect a few reliable mates.
What started as a Chinese-language light novel by author Kuxuan (枯玄), then became a manhua series, the Chinese equivalent to a manga and evolved into its current state as a donghua (anime). For the dedicated, the light novel currently has 2083 chapters, 1176 of which have been translated into English with more on the way. The manhua appears to be up to chapter 88.
What makes this really enjoyable is the lovely human story about friendship and responsibility. While our immortal king tries to sit still, there’s a wild ride happening around him that sometimes doesn’t land quite as he’s anticipating. It’s fairly energetic, as if the animators are aware of only having a short window to tell each chunk of story. You can practically taste the energy drink in the room.
The story, characters, backstories and especially that narrator round out the package. Charmingly, the blanket of irreverence is also a device to fill in some of the blanks and a double-nod toward poignant moments. While we’re given everything – we learn early on about Wang Ling’s power – the mystery lies in the 16-year-old king’s inner secrets that we discover as he begins to trip over them.
Here and there, some instalments focusing on various enemies feel more like a bridge rather than a gripping piece of story. While the pace works at keeping momentum, it sometimes feels like the story is getting away, blazing by without having landed a rich moment.
Author Kuxuan is clearly an anime fan, as he tips his hat to a number of star works, probably more than we noted. He uses classic anime technique and storytelling – but infused with a Chinese-coloured view of both the future and of ultimate power.
It’s interesting how some futuristic anime presume either world dominance and/or specifically carved out balances of power among a few leading players, such as with Code Geass (Crunchyroll) or The Irregular at Magic High (Hulu, Crunchyroll). In this, even though our lead holds the world in his hand, there isn’t an indication of what the world or the country looks like beyond ‘Huaxiu’ or if there is anything beyond.
The similarly named Huaxia refers to a federation of tribes in Chinese history dating back to 475–221 BCE (Before Common Era). Known to have heightened self-awareness, the Huaxia are marked out as ‘civilized’ compared to tribes of barbarians existing during that period.
Borrowed for the title, Xian, meaning immortal or transcendent, refers to one who achieves divinity through (spiritual) cultivation or practice. The subtle and chill Xian by Wei En Bo is that repeat-play-worthy opening tune that perfectly represents our ‘hero on the down low.’
Unsurprisingly, some of the standouts of the piece were Wang Ling moments, making you love the kid – like his first smile, running like an airplane and befuddlement in his new world, particularly over the 10 Yuen. Froggy had some great moments too, where he gave up his own interests out of respect for the greater power of Wang Ling.
Hilariously, the narrator kept us captivated with pretty much every word uttered as he informed and explained. Without that ever-present character, we would have needed to do a lot more fandom research. But more importantly he kept our eyes on the prize rather than trying to figure it all out.
At the close of Season 1, so many things were resolved yet others left still in question. We’re gratified there’ll be a season 2. Since it appeared on Netflix in some countries, let’s happily presume that the acknowledgment of a season 2 is because Netflix is already in and we can sit back and await it sometime in the near-ish future. Here’s a trailer to get you ready. Even without translations or a glimpse of Sun Rong, it looks like Wang Ling has again captured the attention of someone powerful, so more action to come. Think that Shadow Faction chauffer is involved?
All in all, a rapid-paced super-fun watch with One Punch Man and Saiki K nods as well as other genre grazes along the lines of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. You’ll zip thru the 15 20-ish minute episodes and like us, be waiting the for not-soon-enough to come next season.
Thanks for watching along with us. If your thinking on this is completely different, we’d love to hear how and why. Scribble your thoughts below. Cheers!