In the unpredictable landscape of Chinese entertainment, The Spirealm 致命游戏, which stars dual male leads Xia Zhi Guang and Huang Jun Jie is another drama adapted from a novel in the Boys’ Love (BL) genre. iQIYI airdropped the series on February 2 only to face a swift exit when the episodes were subsequently taken down.
A VR game designer facing professional challenges, makes a life-altering decision to quit his job. Serendipity strikes when he receives a game from abroad. However, a car accident thrusts him into an unexpected reality – a corridor adorned with 12 gates. Guided by a mysterious figure, he navigates this perilous realm, embracing the welcome of an enigmatic world.
Cancelled as Quickly as It Aired
The drama clearly had a release strategy, that saw it doing away with the web novel’s original title Kaleidoscope of Death 死亡万花筒 and cleverly retitling the live action as The Spirealm. iQIYI, perhaps attempting to navigate censorship and banking on lesser regulations for short dramas, opted for a unique approach. The show aired as a short drama with episodes less than 20 minutes long. However, it also appears the material is long enough that the show ended up with a whopping 78 episodes. It seems the strategy worked for a little while since the short drama did air while other web dramas adapted from BL continue to be been left in limbo, unable to air.
Unfortunately, The Spirealm’s attempt also turned out to be a fail since it took less than 2 hours for the premiere to be cancelled and the episodes taken down. The speed at which it vanished left viewers bewildered. Some viewers lamented that they didn’t even get a chance to finish one episode. While some who claim the “acting is bad” joke they can’t even properly critique since the show’s gone.