Why Heaven Official’s Blessing Is a Show LGBTQ+ Fans Should Be Excited For

Take a tumble of corrupt heavenly officials, some ghost kings, disguises and plots, and one protagonist with awful luck and it's sure to be a good time -- which is exactly what happens in Heaven Official's Blessing, the series from Oct. 2020 that's still worth all the hype. Also known as Tian Guan Ci Fu, this show began as a web novel before being illustrated as a manhua, having an incredibly popular first season as a donghua.

Now, the web novel is being translated into a series of English volumes with huge commercial success. Fans of LGBTQ+ representation won't want to sit this one out either for the way that Heaven Official's Blessing handles queer romance. Its take on the BL genre is refreshing and achingly romantic all at once while providing a solid story that can appeal to queer audiences everywhere.

What Is Heaven Official's Blessing About?

heaven officials blessing hua cheng and xie lian gambling den

The story follows Xie Lian, the luckless Crown Prince to the Kingdom of Xian Le, which has not existed for several centuries. Xie Lian has ascended as a god twice before, granting him immortality, but for years, he has been in exile, roaming the human realm and doing odd jobs. He (mostly accidentally) builds up enough good credit to warrant a third ascension, but all this accomplishes is to make nearly everyone in the heavens angry with him due to the collateral damages of his re-deification.

To pay for a missing palace or two, Xie Lian descends back to the human realm to solve the mystery of missing human brides who never make it to the other side of a ceremonial mountain crossing. Xie Lian doesn't have much in the way of resources, but he does seem to have a benefactor -- one who is accompanied by delicate silver butterflies and terrifies the heavens. Whoever this Hua Cheng is though, nothing Xie Lian has is worth stealing, so it's not worth worrying about... or so he thinks.

Is Heavens Official's Blessing a Romance?

The romance that unfolds between the two male leads throughout the book allows for no misinterpretation. The story does not queerbait the audience but instead presents a steady love story that supports the other elements of the tale. While not strictly focused on the romance, it plays a large part in not only character interaction but in untangling the varied pasts of the characters as well.

Is Heaven Official's Blessing BL?

heaven officials blessing novel cover

Heaven Official's Blessing is the third novel by Chinese author Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, the others being The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System and The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. All three of these novels are epic fantasies involving romances between men. Heaven Official's Blessing is the first to not use explicit sexual intimacy in some sort of culmination of either plot or romance, and it avoids many BL tropes the first two books fall into.

The story lacks a 'seme' and and 'uke' and generally places the characters on equal ground. Both are essentially immortal, as well as faster and stronger than any human. While secrets are certainly kept, it's not to the point of manipulation, and although there are moments of 'dominance' -- Hua Cheng's desire to show off to his crush can manifest here -- neither character is interested in maintaining that sort of relationship, and their ease with each other's presence is part of their initial and then integral charm.

While Heaven Official's Blessing is labeled as a BL title, it therefore doesn't fit into the genre in many ways. This means that if The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System or The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation had too many BL elements for anyone's personal enjoyment, Heaven Official's Blessing may be worth a look. However, for those who enjoyed these first two novels, Heaven Official's Blessing is by the same author and will likely be just as fun.

Why Watch Heaven Official's Blessing?

Because Heaven Official's Blessing avoids harmful BL tropes, it's more accessible to the LGBTQ+ community at large who might have otherwise been put off by unbalanced power dynamics -- especially sexual ones -- and other BL elements that make the genre more of a harmful representation of gay men than anything else. The lack of explicit sexual intimacy also makes this story more friendly to a wider audience of LGBTQ+ viewers while still encouraging healthy relationship behaviors in general. Moreover, the story itself is fascinating and intricate, with many wonderful characters that become more and more complex as events of the present and the past become clear.

Xie Lian is a delight with his shifting moods, his dry humor and his calm acceptance that there is no one unluckier than he, but a joy to follow as he attempts to simply get by and generally be kind to people in a world that seems out to get him. Hua Cheng's need to impress and lavish extravagance upon him is a fantastically entertaining contradiction.

With the release of the trailer for Season 2 of the donghua, fans of the book are already eagerly awaiting the "Ghost City" arc and what will take place, as well as excited to meet some extremely important characters in animated form for the first time. With the donghua, manhua and book to enjoy, Heaven Official's Blessing is certainly a must-watch title for LGBTQ+ anime fans, or indeed anyone at all searching for a quality adventure story with some soul-soothing romance.

Heaven Official's Blessing can be streamed on Funimation or Netflix.

Demon Slayer: Inosuke Tanjiro
About The Author