Great Heights and Great Falls: It All Comes With Ambition

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episode Review Title Image

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episodes 8 – 10 Review

Zhao’s character has been a curiosity from the beginning given despite being enslaved he ultimately chose to pursue power within the empire after it was offered to him. His lack of understanding of Yin’s disgust with the idea of serving an empire that wiped out their village was odd to say the least. See, I’d get his character if he knew the empire was evil but had decided that it was worth siding with them for the opportunity to have power. But instead, he’d kind of convinced himself that those getting wiped out deserved it because they were weak and the empire was right all along. It was a little bit odd.

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episode 8 Zhao and Ning

However, despite the Empress’ favour, or perhaps because of it, Zhao wasn’t in the secure position he thought he’d established and these episodes bring that to the front loud and clear. As those plotting around the Empress seek to bring her down, it is only natural that Zhao’s weakness be exposed and Ning, who in episode 7 essentially ditched her sister for the chance to be with Zhao, became the lynch-pin that brought all of Zhao’s ambitions and prior achievements tumbling down.

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episode 9 Cheng

To say that there are some uncomfortable moments in these episodes would be a bit of an understatement, and for once I’m not talking about the cringe worthy CG animation during fight sequences (though there is plenty of that as well). Seeing Cheng enraged that her toy has others he cares about and taking that anger out on Ning, who is without her arms and chained, is pretty horrific. As is Zhao’s decision after he’s been demoted four ranks and ordered to build his ultimate death machine to just suck it up and get on with it. Not one even vague thought that maybe he should use those secret passages Cheng showed off to him to maybe try and rescue Ning. It never even crosses his mind.

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episode 10 Cheng punished Ning

However, the moment that really hits is the water torture. Not only do we get some horrible insight into what is going on in Ning’s mind while the drops of water continue to flow but we also see that Cheng is nearly self-destructing after inflicting the punishment. At least she didn’t delegate the task, which she was well within her rights to, but the previously composed child-ruler is clearly coming unhinged now. None of the three characters have come out of this scheme unscathed and Cheng’s enemies are delighted and becoming more open in their preparations to perhaps take her out.

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episode 10 Ning

All of this is interspersed with cuts to the rebels, who for once weren’t the more interesting story. Instead we get some pretty ordinary action sequences and even after they unveil their new magic armour, it actually just makes the next fight sequence dull to watch. Yin is still a mopey character and while I kind of get her role in all of this, she wasn’t fun to watch and the absence of Ning really hurt her scenes as she no longer has anyone to bounce off of.

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episode 8 Rebels

Still, with three episodes to go there’s quite a lot that can happen and my only real wish is that Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary does come to an end properly because leaving this story hanging will kind of hurt. I’ve really enjoyed the plot and the intrigues even if the animation and visuals haven’t quite been up to the same level of ambition.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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