What is Immortality?

Immortality, also known as “Hao Yi Xing,” is a highly-anticipated Chinese live-action series based on the novel The Husky and His White Cat Shizun by author Rou Bao Bu Chi Rou (“Meatbun Doesn’t Eat Meat”), which was recently published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment.

RELATED: Seven Seas Entertainment Licenses THE HUSKY AND HIS WHITE CAT SHIZUN Novel Series

Unfortunately, the fate of Immortality remains uncertain.

Immortality follows the story of Mo Ran, a young cultivator and disciple of a sect called Sisheng Peak, and his powerful and virtuous master Chu Wanning. Mo Ran carries memories from a different life, in which he came to resent and even hate Chu Wanning after his teacher’s inaction caused the death of his beloved martial sister, Shi Mingjing. In this life, Mo Ran must work together with Chu Wanning to unravel a sinister plot in which details begin to surface that his other life never revealed.

The Husky and His White Cat Shizun novel on which the drama series is based tells a poignant tale of love, redemption, and the struggle to break through years of hurt and misunderstandings to reach for a kinder tomorrow. The story has captivated countless fans since it was published in 2017, who all hope that the live-action take on it will be just as meaningful, while also being a feast for the eyes. This is despite some upfront concessions along the way, such as changing the gender of Shi Mingjing, who was a young man in the original novel.

A Happy Husky Fandom Upon Announcement

The initial announcement of the series back in January 2020 was met with much excitement, especially in response to the casting of Luo Yunxi (also known as Leo Luo) as Chu Wanning. Luo Yunxi has professional training in ballet, which lends itself well to the wire acrobatics common in historical Chinese fantasy dramas. He was already known for his performance in Ashes of Love (“Xiang Mi Chen Chen Jin Ru Shuang”), and is a popular fancast for a number of danmei with ancient settings.

Co-starring in Immortality is Chen Feiyu (Arthur Chen) as Mo Ran. Chen Feiyu has also held several lead roles in his career, including in Ever Night (“Jiang Ye”). Chen Feiyu was a popular fancast for Immortality before the official announcements as well.

Will Immortality Ever Be Available to Watch?

One might wonder why the series hasn’t aired by now, almost three years after it completed filming in September 2020. There’s no doubt the fandom and media were and remain eager to see the end result—reflected by the continual leaks of still photos and set videos by both paparazzi and crew members involved with the production, regardless of numerous efforts to deter them. But despite this anticipation, the answer to that question lies with China’s censorship regime.

Instead of using a content rating system like many Western countries, the Chinese government opts to completely ban content deemed obscene and harmful to public morality. The relevant censorship authority must approve all television series, including streaming-only series, before they can air. The rules for television media ban positive depictions of same-sex relationships, which are deemed immoral and harmful to minors. This is why series made in mainland China based on danmei novels, including Guardian, The Untamed, and Word of Honor, adapt their scripts to remove any explicit romance between their leads and depict queer romance only through subtext. The side character Shi Mingjing’s gender change from male in the novel to female in the drama series was also likely made to increase the chance of censor approval.

Chen Feiyu and Luo Yunxi star as Immortality‘s leads, Mo Ran and Chu Wanning.

The Chinese government’s attitude toward “dangai”—drama series adapted from danmei novels—has grown more restrictive with their recent popularity. No dangai series have successfully aired in mainland China since a mid-2021 push by the government to tighten restrictions against immoral and “vulgar” media. This is with the notable exception of Justice in the Dark (“Guang Yuan”), adapted from priest’s Silent Reading (“Mo Du”), which aired eight of thirty episodes in February 2023 before updates halted.

Update: As of July 5th 2023, the live-action adaptation of Justice in the Dark has been removed from all official sites.

What this means for Immortality is that despite the significant investment the production company Tencent put into the show, and the many eagerly waiting fans, the current political climate makes it impossible to know when (or if) the series will be able to air.

Unfortunately, the best we can do as fans is wait patiently until credible sources such as Tencent’s website or Immortality’s official social media accounts post updates about the series. We hope to see a spring when the haitang flowers can bloom!