OP: 「Keep the Heat and Fire Yourself Up」by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas
“The Hoshin List”
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.