Do not read past this point unless you have watched the entirety of Thunderbolt Fantasy. If and when a sequel comes out keep in mind that I mean season/series 1 released in 2016.
One of the reasons why I enjoyed Thunderbolt Fantasy so much was because there were two characters whose identities I did not completely know until the final few episodes. These characters were kept mysterious despite every thing that happened and the only thing that made me wonder who they were was the fact that characters hinted at who one was and for the other they themselves wondered. Otherwise I would have simply written these two characters off as flat.
The two characters I am talking about are of course Gui Niao and Shang Bu Huan. All we knew about Gui Niao at the beginning was the fact that he was a mysterious stranger who enjoyed smoking his fancy pipe and who pulled Shang Bu Huan into the quest. He also seemed to have a lot of strange and bizarre acquaintances who all had a bone to pick with him.
With Shang By Huan all we knew was the fact that he was a stranger who essentially wandered into the quest to take back the sacred sword handle and who knew nothing about the land he found himself in. He also seemed quite arrogant which could cause someone to misread his character which is interesting because he could have easily been mistaken for a villain if we didn’t know who that was from the start.
Both of these characters hid their identities from the start. Gui Niao was an expert thief who was well known by everyone. Shang Bu Huan was a travellor who collected magic swords in the hopes of destroying them and who ran away from his homeland after people tried to steal the swords away from him. This is interesting because as we watched this anime we didn’t know who the protagonist and another major character were at all until close to the end.
This works in a way to get people watching the anime invested in the show. Watchers may wonder who these characters are, what their intentions are, and the tiny bits of foreshadowing can either lead them in the right direction or they can cause misinterpretations where you may think that a character is this way when they are really that way. People will keep watching the anime after watching the first episode because they can see that barely anything has been revealed about these characters and if they keep watching they will get more hints as to their identities.
Also since this was an original anime and not an adaptation there was no manga or light novel which could allow someone to find out who a character was prematurely. Of course I don’t know how closely it is based on Taiwanese culture so I don’t know if a myth from that country could make it easier to know who one of these two characters is.
And now that I know who these characters are I will still watch a sequel series when it comes out because I know that I will find something else I find interesting about this show not that I have covered every thing I found interesting about the first series.
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