A Look at the Title: The Alchemist God (+ Minor Story Explanations Post)

A Look at the Title: Alchemist or Cultivator?

A short while ago, hiyono pointed out to me that:

After reading the latest chapters, I think I’m starting to think that “Alchemist God” is a bit too limiting of a translation of this title. In full, the series is 煉神領域, which is more like “The Refining God’s Domain”.

If we look at the author’s description of the series, it includes the following lines: “炼制极品灵药、炼化终极武魂、觉醒旷世绝学,天下震惊!” Notice the two distinct usages of 煉. Furthermore, while early on, the series focused on alchemy (煉藥), more recently, we find that he is mastering many more crafts than just alchemy, again implied by the intro (觉醒旷世绝学).

If we factor in that refining (炼器术) is one of the three skills that he was unable to delete, then I think it’s meant to imply that our protagonist is a “god” of far more than just alchemy – he’s basically a god of crafting.

In hindsight, the name Alchemist God was undoubtedly a rash decision, but that is no one’s fault.

The character 煉/炼 has many definitions depending on context:

The first points to the usage of fire or heat to refine a material’s purity, hardness, and concentration. IE: Smelting steel, refining oil, hammering metals into shape.

The second has a few specific meanings that are similar in idea.

  • 提炼: to extract (using a physical or chemical process to remove a certain material from compounds or mixtures.)
  • 精炼: to purify (as in extracting the essence of medicinal herbs: medicine cores)
  • 炼金: Alchemy (as in concocting mystical items. IE Immortality pills) Also, FMA = 鋼之鍊金術師 or Steel Alchemist

The third is 修炼, which refers to the cultivation and tempering of the human body and mind. This is the definition when I use words like practitioner, cultivation, refining (spirits), and training.

  • In this case, refining beast spirits and spirit stones is considered a process to better oneself. Thus, it is part of the cultivation aspect instead of using the smelting definition.

The next one is 炼性, which refers the tempering of one’s nature or temperament as it was taught in Daoism.

The last one I’ll mention is 炼养. It means to cultivate and maintain a good health.


From this much, it would be fairly easy to see how the title of Alchemist God is somewhat lacking as a cover-all name for what it represents. However, due to the precedents set by the original translator and the familiarity that most readers have with the current title, I feel as though it would be negatively received if I change it now (RIP Ascension of TAG). I will put up a poll regardless and see what you guys think.


Next up, some small clarifications and explanations that readers might have overlooked:

  • To those wondering why and how Lin Mu Yu or anyone else is able to tell the age of wild spirit beasts, I must remind you that there are visual ques on the animals that denote their age. For example, some beasts might have lines similar to the ones in the measurement crystal that denote their age numerically. In contrast, with the swift wolf, its eight tails marked its 800 years of existence.
  • Because one’s martial spirit is linked to one’s mind and body, cultivation affects both sides equally. Think of it this way: Heaven Sealed Physique is what the Shattered Cauldron World (TAG’s world) labels someone who lacks an innate martial spirit like Lin Mu Yu. It highlights the fact that Lin Mu Yu was still a normal human, thus lacked something so very common in the SC World.
  • The “Refining Skill” from the prologue is what I presume to be the Refining Cauldron. The cauldron itself had only been shown to have one use so far, that is to house beast spirits to be refined by the Cauldron’s Smelting Flames. (/spoiler) However, in the future, it will enable much more in terms of crafting (/spoiler end).
  • More to come. Please ask in the comments any story-related questions you might have. (No spoilers or spoiler-related questions)
Advertisements

17 thoughts on “A Look at the Title: The Alchemist God (+ Minor Story Explanations Post)

    • Without going into any detailed spoilers as this is a major plot point later on, I’ll point out the other use of 炼 in the series’ description refers exactly to this. “炼化终极武魂” essentially means something like “cultivate/refine the ultimate martial spirit”.

      In whole, that line from the intro I quoted earlier reads, ““炼制极品灵药、炼化终极武魂、觉醒旷世绝学,天下震惊!” Roughly translated, this is: “Crafting transcendent concoctions, cultivating the ultimate martial spirit, reviving forgotten arts, startling the world!”

      Like

  1. Is cultivating your martial spirit and cultivating yourself different things or the same (like in Douluo Dalu)?

    If they are the same, then why can MC cultivate, even though he is supposed to have “Heavens sealed physique” or something?

    His spirit is an item from the game, that he refined in a special way. Is there anything preventing him from getting some good item and repeating the process. I would understand if the author gave us a reason, like “only 1 spirit per person”, however no such reasons were mentioned (at least I don’t remember it happening) and our MC didn’t even try.

    Like

    • In this series, those two things are related, but not the same thing. The special abilities and cultivation level of martial spirits directly affect combat prowess, but every practitioner also has their own level of cultivation and abilities that are independent of their respective spirits. It’s a very similar system to the one used in Douluo Dalu.

      Like

  2. Hi,
    some points from me to clarify the meaning.

    As you said, the skill he could not delete was “Refining Skill” in the Prolouge. So now the biggest questions is, how far can you use the Refine Skill for something in crafting. With alchemy you need to refine the herbs/plants and mix em, so for it the refining is the biggest part. The same could be said for cooking, as he could refine the ingredients.

    If you look at smithing/tailoring/construction for example, you can refine the raw materials, but after that it gets hard to get a good product with “just” (it´s not just with alchemy, i know) mixing them together, to get a good product. So does he actually go and start to produce something of these branches of crafting?

    If not, i would suggest something with Refining Master/God in it as title, as he should be able to refine almost anything, see his refinging of beast spirits and herbs. And if you want, you could even see his picking up marterial art skills so fast, as refining something.

    So to make my point again, the biggest questions is, does he actually craft something else besides potions and poisons? Because if not, than we should go the “Refining XXX” road, if yes, we should go the “Crafting XXX” road.

    Like

    • Remember in Chinese mythology that magic items need to be “refined” too.

      In that case it is a process that starts off like binding of magical items in Western magical systems, but then goes on to continually improve the item once it is bound by using the binders spiritual power to enhance the item.

      This is also typically how magic items are made in the first place in Chinese myths. Sorcerer gets some magic material (meteor iron, lump of crystal, magic herb etc.) then [shapes/mixes/molds/engraves/etc] it into the desired end product – then spends time infusing the item with their own spiritual power.

      So crafting any magic item is considered to be “refining” as they are improving the item by refining it with the power of their souls.

      Like

  3. I’m thinking that “The Refining God’s Domain” both sounds good, and conveys what i’d call an acceptable amount of the scope of meaning the original chinese did.
    TL;DR Changing the title to “The Refining God’s Domain” seems like a good idea to me based on a ariety of factors
    TL;DR Do the thing with the words and the stuff.

    Like

  4. I would welcome a change of title to something more accurate. Better to change it at this stage rather than speak of precedents after 100 chapters. It would be more of a shame to continue with an inaccurate title compared to the trouble of getting used to a new title.

    Like

  5. off topic question:
    do any of you guys know of a light novel similar to this setting where in they cultivate or refine or evolve their spirit using beast spirits or stones? something like soul land and this novel

    Like

  6. Keep it. There’s no way to translate names properly, and since significant part of the story is about his godly skill in alchemy there is no need to change it.

    Like

Comments are closed.