Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Adaptation of Xuan-Yuan Sword, a series of Chinese RPGs. Co-produced with TV Tokyo and several Taiwanese companies. (Information provided by Livechart, currently there is no official synopsis.)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Only one episode in and Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary does, at the very least, make it clear where its story is headed. It seems destined to be one of those ‘classic’ tragic tales of childhood friends separated by a horrific event, assumed dead by each other and ending up on opposing sides of some giant struggle for power. If that’s your jam, then dive right in as Xuan Yuan is ticking off all the check boxes. All the survivors start in horrid conditions; one a slave and the other two homeless, wandering street performers living from meal to meal. One coming into power/good fortune working for the big baddies through their earnest talents and a twist, while another coming to possess some great magical power that’s clearly going to be used to overthrow the big villain of the series. What’s most concerning about all this is that nothing in the first episode seems to promise anything unusual or unique and rather almost guarantees a predictable tale every step of the way.
Tom: Predictable yet competent is how I’d described Xuan Yuan. You can see the twists coming from a mile away, except for the ones you can’t see at all. Xuan Yuan works until it starts getting a bit random, when it can’t figure out how to naturally introduce the idea of magic into a world peppered with engineered war golems. We get forced, awkward scenes where magic just, sort of, pops up. It’s jarring, poorly done and feels altogether random.
Linny: Xuan Yuan freely mixes mechanical power with magical elements in a manner that feels lazy and jarring. Little is done to really explain the state of technology or magic in this world, probably so as to give the show free reign over what can and cannot happen for plot’s sake. What is shown in episode 1 does little to sell or establish this amalgamation of two opposing matters. That should be fine for those who pick up Xuan Yuan for emotional content as it clearly plans to pack a lot of heart in, however predictable that content may be.
Tom: Xuan Yuan stumbles in the back half of its 1st episode however, suddenly throwing a slew of side characters at us, followed by a really awkward scene to end on. At times it feels like the series has information it wants to impart, either necessary or simply a fun little detail, but can’t manage to inject that naturally into the story, making for near random sequences that feel so abrupt they become oddly comical.
Linny: This first episode does a lot of jumping around, as Tom mentioned, and you will likely find yourself struggling to identify the plethora of characters that get shoved into the second half of the show. Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary plows through its plot in its first episode, maybe because it knows it doesn’t have anything that unique to really focus on but in doing so, only alienates audiences more by leaving them confused. It shouldn’t surprise most anime fans to learn that the show is a China produced product as the title is a big giveaway. These shows tend to be more misses than hits and unfortunately, thanks to a somewhat predictable main theme and lack of engaging world building and set up, Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary is likely to end up another causality on the miss list.
Tom: Xuan Yuan might be a decent watch if it looked good. Compounding the fact that its characters aren’t all that memorable, and its narrative is predictable, the show wavers between acceptable art and cringe worthy action. Namely the climatic battle in this first episode feels sloppy, visually boring, and generally dull. Xuan Yuan feels half-baked, which is a shame because beneath it all there’s a decent, if predictable story.
Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.