OP Sequence

OP: 「Keep the Heat and Fire Yourself Up」by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas

“The Hoshin List”

「封神の書」 (Fuujin no Sho)

General Impressions

I used to have a hobby of reading Chinese web novels, plus I really enjoy reading the manga Kingdom. As a result, Hakyuu Houshin Engi made it onto my radar with its mix of Chinese history and mythology. The premise is totally grounded in Wuxia – a spiritual martial arts fantasy that preceded shounen as a genre. So you can say that Houshin Engi brings shounen back to its classical roots, perhaps offering something different from what we typically get these days. At first, the prologue had me really excited, promising hot-blooded shounen action. Having to defeat 365 evil demons also sets up a tone of adventure that has a clear end goal in mind.
However, after watching the first episode, I’ve admittedly lost interest. Being an old-school Weekly Shounen Jump series, Houshin Engi should be evoking intensely hot feelings of revenge – a lot of which is killed off by awful pacing. My feelings of sympathy towards Taikobo were limited, when he reminisced about losing his family, as well as unintentionally provoking Dakki to commit genocide against his own ethnic minority. And that’s not even considering the other shortcomings on hand. The pacing was far too quick for my liking, and too much information was dumped, leaving me more confused and robbing the series of potential depth. Don’t get me wrong, these concepts are still certainly interesting. Yet Houshin Engi currently lacks the necessary substance that would make them meaningful.
Fans of the original will probably have no issues with being able to enjoy this, due to the background knowledge bringing them up to speed. Those coming in fresh might find themselves struggling to keep up, just like me. But if you really like shounen and action, then maybe Houshin Engi can shape up to be something you’ll really enjoy, provided you don’t think too hard about the plot.

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  1. Dang! I’m surprised someone on RC reviewed this (even if it’s just the first episode)! Houshin Engi was a much-loved manga series amongst my friends and I back in high school (I know, my age is showing), and we were pretty much universally disappointed with the old anime which cut the story short and gave it an original ending. Based on the character designs revealed so far this new anime will go a lot further than the old anime in terms of following the manga’s plot. Even so, I came in knowing there’s no way for them to cram all 23 volumes worth of events and character development into a two cour show; something’s gonna get axes and it shows in the pacing. Funnily enough though, for me this first episode wasn’t too bad. Part of it is probably because it’s been ages since I read the beginning of the manga, and this first episode managed to hit most of the stuff I remember from the first couple of chapters, so I’m not mentally checking off a list of things they cut out. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly they get through introducing the main cast given the episode count resurrections. Hopefully it won’t be too attorcious?

    1. That pretty much explains everything to me. 23 volumes in 23 episodes sounds absolutely ridiculous, but for old time fans like yourself, it’s still gonna be a nostalgia trip that’s better than having no adaptation.

      The biggest parallel I can bring up atm is Dies Irae, which received an adaptation that has confused newcomers, while managing to hit all the sweet spots with the visual novel fanbase. If Houshin Engi is looking to be that kind of show, I might just go back and read the manga.

      1. Yes! Definitely read the manga! I think (part of?) the reason we got a reboot was because many years ago there was a survey by the studio about remaking Houshin Engi. My friends and I signed it and heard nothing for years, so we all assumed nothing came of it. So when this remake was announced last year we were incredibly surprised.

        Personally I think this anime will go a little past half way through the manga, if we’re to judge by the characters who have been revealed in the promos. That’s still 14-17 volumes worth of material, so it’s not gonna be easy to adapt without loosing something along the way.

  2. Well, I remember the old series, and even if this first episode is more or less similar, the pacing is really weird. The old first chapter had a slow start, and if I remember well, Taikobo first kill some random grunt of his list, and then he fought against the one with the lighting rod, with the same result in bothh chapters, and that was the end of that first episode. So, thinking that they will adapt the entire manga, that in the old anime lacked a proper ending, I think the pace will be a little awkward, even for t us who watched the old adaptation.

  3. While this might seem like a superficial way of thinking for a first episode, only thing i cared about was the pink haired girl. At first, she looks cute and all and then turns out to be the opposite while still looking fun.

  4. I remember the anime because of the yuuuge-as gloves and shoes; luckily Fujisaki Ryo grew out of the oversized clothing look of the 90s.

    His most current work is a manga version of Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

  5. The manga was very good, also helps that I’ve read the original Investiture of the Gods, so all the little references and joke hit right on point.

    This anime adaptation. Pass also.


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