Some keen-eyed fans have noticed that Tian Guan Ci Fu (Heaven Official’s Blessing) is showing up on Netflix with an expected release of April 9th.
While there’s no official announcement from Netflix, many fans have noticed that Tian Guan Ci Fu now has a landing page on the streaming platform and is currently listed under their ‘Coming Soon’ section. Based on the information presented on that page, it appears the entire first season is going to drop on the streaming platform on April 9th, hopefully including the special episode as well. The series is delightfully listed under “Romantic Anime,” along with other relevant genres, so at least we know Netflix understands what it’s getting and is labeling it accordingly.
TGCF IS COMING ON NETFLIX WTF?!!! pic.twitter.com/4x0hTnlihZ
— 娜娜Nana trying to finish a book here! (@NanaBeingNana) March 25, 2021
There’s no word on what this means for Funimation’s licensing of the series. It’s no longer listed on the anime streaming platform’s series list and can only be found via search, but this isn’t a sign of any changes in licensing and could just be another technical glitch. Previously the series was not viewable through search and could only be found on the series page, which is basically the opposite of our current situation. This change-up led some to believe it had been removed from Funimation at some point, but that’s not the case.
This potential glitch does highlight some of the struggles Funimation has had with the series on its platform. In addition to the search/series list issues, Funimation has also been frequently late with their release of a few episodes and non-communicative with fans about the numerous problems we’ve had with it. Based on these issues, some fans are hoping that Netflix will pick up the simulcast rights for season two, but at this time we don’t have any new information on that front. We don’t know anything about licensing for season two, so everything is still guesswork at this point. I do hope Netflix picks it up, however, or at the very least Funimation listens to the problems we’re having and corrects them.
One issue of note that seems to have carried over from Funimation to Netflix is the labeling of the series as “anime,” thus not distinguishing it from similar animation content from Japan. Tian Guan Ci Fu is a donghua from China and is not technically an anime. Funimation similarly had issues separating it from content from Japan, listing the language as Japanese and reportedly blamed the Chinese name for its initial difficulties showing up in their searches, and now Netflix is grouping it together with Japanese animation as well.
However, while inaccurate, it’s understandable that these platforms need to make some changes now that China is entering the North American animation market in greater numbers (largely thanks to the works of Mo Xiang Tong Xiu). Even here on this website we had to add a new category for donghua and manhua once our coverage of them started picking up. Hopefully, these platforms will make similar adjustments for accuracy. Donghua is gaining popularity and is likely here to stay, so it’s time to make adjustments accordingly. There are a lot of similarities and a lot of crossover, but these are distinct from one another and we should respect that.
I have high hopes for this new avenue for access to the series. It will introduce new fans to it, and also make it easier for current fans of the series to consolidate their streaming platform subscriptions. A lot of people got Funimation or Bilibili specifically for this series, and now we can drop those if there’s nothing else on there for us. You should, however, stream it a whole hell of a lot on Netflix so they know there’s a fanbase for it. Let’s show them how much it’s loved!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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