Heaven Official’s Blessing, also known as Tian Guan Ci Fu, is a Chinese anime written by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (same author that created Mo Dao Zu Shi). The anime is 11 episodes long produced by Bilibili and Haoliners Animation League. It was released on October 31, 2020, what a spooky day! If you know Mo Dao Zu Shi, it has also been a big hit from animation series to their Chinese live-action drama, The Untamed.
Xie Lian, the crown prince of Xian Le Kingdom, successfully ascends to Heaven during his third trial in spite of successive demotions. However, he accidentally breaks the Gold Palace of heavenly officials. With no human worshiping him, Xie Lian has to descend to the secular world to exorcise ghosts, which may help him sustain his divinity.–Funimation
Heaven’s Official Blessing is adapted from a popular BL novel. I really enjoyed the manhua, and I was excited to hear that it would receive a anime series. I would like to discuss some of my thoughts on the anime and the manhua in this post!
Art and Music:
The manhua’s art is just so beautiful and detailed. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend taking a look at it as well. Compared to the manhua, the anime has a much simple design, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. As for the music, the OST is great and I especially love the opening that matches the historical feel of this show.
First off, the beginning introduced us to Xie Lian ascending his third trial. Soon he was sent to the human realm to deal with a ghost bridegroom in order to earn merit credits to pay off his debt. It seems that brides were being kidnapped by a supposed bridegroom. Xie Lian’s debt was accumulated after the copper bell crashed when announcing Xie Lian’s ascension. So he sets out on his mission and later received two helpers, Nan Feng, and Fu Yao.
In the Yu Jun Mountain’s ghost bride arc, there were a couple of changes. One difference is that the anime added a couple more scenes such as the ruckus outside the restaurant that Xie Lian and the two assistant officials were at. In the anime where they met the Ying, she was trying to stop a group from using her miss as bait for the ghost bride bounty, and Xie Lian stepped in to help her. Afterward, her skirt was cut, so he tried to give her his jacket. Just like in the manhua, she thought he had other intentions and slapped him.
The difference in the manhua was that they didn’t have all that ruckus outside the restaurant, and they met Ying in the temple while she was praying. Later when she comes to thank him, she explains how her skirt was slashed from trying to help the bandaged child in the mountains. Xie Lian’s neck injury opened from that incident revealing the curse shackle marks on his neck. Both adaptations still led to a slap to our poor Xie Lian with a different sequence of events, and each had its extra details. I think their versions of Ying’s introduction was different to introduce the bandaged child at different times. Ying mentions the group hunting this child to turn in for bounty in the manhua. In the anime, the child is introduced later as the group is hunting him.
Xie Lian looks so pretty in those wedding clothes! There it is, the famous umbrella scene. I love both adaptations of this scene honestly and look at those beautiful butterflies as Hua Cheng disappears. In the anime, they also added additional details as they revisit Xie Lian’s past as the prince of Xian Le, and we see him saving a falling kid with one eye bandaged. I think this hints that the child is Hua Cheng, but this scene was not shown in the manhua.
I appreciate the anime adaptation for showing scenes of Xuan Ji and General Pei to help us visualize their relationship better. As for the manhua, General Pei Junior or Pei Xiu just explains it briefly while taking Xuan Ji away. General Pei did not want a committed relationship, but Xuan Ji fell deeply in love with him. On her own will, she tried to betray her own country and even broke her legs to stay by his side. It’s hard to say who’s in the wrong, but I do feel bad for Xuan Ji’s unrequited love.
After they handled Xuan Ji, Xie Lian went to build his own temple and met San Lang. He ended up staying with him at the temple, and helping him with the chores. Soon, they went to check on the situation in Banyue Kingdom with the assistance of Fu Yao and Nan Feng again.
During Banyue Arc, the content was pretty much the same except for the art. I definitely feel like the manhua art contributes well to the atmosphere, and depicts San Lang as a much cooler person. In the anime, the way he pouts and behaves makes him seem more of a younger brother type of person. Another example is when San Lang and Xie Lian first met, and the different design of the ghosts that came on the ghost festival day. Manhua version were headless ghosts that carried their heads, while the anime one was more censored. On their way, they met merchants and were attacked by scorpion snakes. My favorite scene was when Xie Lian blocked the snake for San Lang and got poisoned. These are just cute moments of them together!
When they went to Banyue to search for the Shan Yue herbs antidote to cure the scorpion snake’s venom, they discover that the herbs were feeding off human flesh. One of the humans that was being consumed by the herb appears differently from both adaptation as well. I think the one in the manhua looked much more frightening with the way it got crushed by the general in the end.
Who knew the story behind the Banyue Kingdom was different from what we expected. I really enjoyed this arc, and the twist with General Pei Junior’s involvement was shocking. I didn’t expect him to be part of this, but he had gone through discrimination due to his status in his human life. Ban Yue was also bullied for being born half Yong’an. Being Ban Yue’s childhood friend, they both planned out how to prevent further casualties of the war between Banyue and Yong’an. This led to her opening the gates leading to her people’s massacre. It is also revealed that she knew Xie Lian, but the way he died was… funny yet pitiful lol.
I also noticed that the anime censors San Lang’s face when he was in his real form as Hua Chang while readers can see Hua Cheng’s face in the manhua at this scene. Furthermore, Ban Yue looks pretty different in both adaptations, but her appearance in the anime makes her look more childlike whereas the manhua version looks more mature.
Episode 12 Special Episode
Episode 12 was slated to be released on February 16, 2021. Just to clarify, this episode is not an extra or anything like that, it directly relates to the show with what happens after episode 11. It certainly satisfied my expectations because we got to see Hua Cheng’s true form, and Xie Lian knows San Lang’s real identity now! Their flirting was cute, and it was what we fans could ask for. I assume the kid Xie Lian said those lines about living for him was Hua Cheng perhaps. Another touching part in this episode was when Hua Cheng stated how no one is more sincere than him. At the end, Xie Lian is seen carrying a ring so I wonder will we find out what that ring is in the next season. Banyue also made an appearance in this episode, but I hope she can meet General Pei Junior again.
Overall, I loved this series and they are such a cute couple! I hope there will be a second season soon featuring new characters. If you are a fan of MXTX’s work, then I recommend to check out their other creations, Mo Dao Zu Shi and Scumbag System as well. What did you like about this show? Let us know in the comments below!