Douluo Continent

captured by DTLCT

I started this out of curiosity. Well, I somewhat wanted to watch it because of Xiao Zhan. However, that didn’t motivate me as much since I put it on my list and wanted to keep it there while I took a break from ancient series. However, seeing Calvin sort of sealed the deal for me, lol. Yes, it moved up from the list thanks to Calvin. And if you want to read my thread, go here. Anyway, I thought it was interesting at first and laughed so hard with the humor thrown in to move everything along. It was addicting in a sense. However, it went downhill somewhere along the way. I didn’t mind since some of the cast and characters made it worthwhile and the humor came back along the way to ease the tension a bit–if only temporarily. The main focus of finding out the mastermind behind all those schemes kept the story going. That was the main reason I ended up sticking around. I wanted to find out what was the story behind so many layers of deceit too. Yet, the ending killed it major time. I will save that for later as to why, because I’ll start with my usual characters’ discussions before diving into the other parts of the story itself.

Main Cast:

  • Xiao Zhan (肖戰) as Tang San (唐三). He showed another level of acting chops that made it addicting to see what else he was capable of as the story moved along. Tang San was in a way, a hot-headed person although he had a kind heart overall. He started out quite naive and inexperienced, considering how he lived in a secluded place since little. It made sense. When I say naive, I didn’t mean he wasn’t smart. He was seriously a smart person, but his thoughts were quite simple–once again, because of where he lived since little. As he traveled along and met others, he became more experienced and his thoughts sharpened–mostly thanks to his master. The journey he went through allowed him to deal with various situations. His emotional state at each part was depicted very nicely by XZ. One could feel for him each time he found out something or was trying to work through the obstacles. In other words, it was really convincing. His playful side? I had already seen that side of him in The Untamed, so it was really easy for him, no challenge there. It was just nice to see his character having a mixture of personality to it, not one-dimensional as the main lead, so that was good. Side note, anyone felt like XZ’s image as Tang San in here made him resemble Ekin Cheng? (It did to me at various points, especially Ekin’s image in The Zu Mountain Sagas.) The one downside of Tang San–aside from his hotheadedness at times–that I felt kind of a shame was how there was a lack of scenes where he was alone. What in the world do I mean? He barely had scenes alone because he was always with some of the other characters. I know the theme emphasized throughout was teamwork, etc., but a character had to grow on their own and being able to handle challenges by onself as well. So, I thought one of the rare scenes that defined his character was the part where he went against Shi Nian. That was seriously awesome because he managed to deduct from all the details to unveil the latter’s trap. Although he needed his mom’s help during the battle, that at its heart was a battle of the mind and he didn’t fall for it–nor gave up control. It showed he had traveled a long way and was able to stay calm and work his way out of that mind control scheme. Definitely signs of growth and strength and much more.
  • Wu Xuan Yi (吳宣儀) as Xiao Wu (小舞). At first, I thought she was really cute with her rabbit ear and how she seemed to have such a simple view of life. I guessed immediately that she was a soul beast. Honestly, it wasn’t that hard. They didn’t need to drag it out for me. It seemed like a liao zhai formula poking into this one. But in the context of the story, it was obviously different. The definite sign was how concerned she was for the soul beasts–even if it could be explained she had a kind and gentle heart, she reacted too strongly at times when it was mentioned about the soul beasts being slaughtered and how she was trying hard to find a way so both soul masters and soul beasts could co-exist. The even more obvious sign was how she could communicate and talk to the soul beasts and wasn’t the least bit scared of them. Once again, it could be explained she had some special abilities and/or skills to help in that area. However, why would the soul beasts trust a mere human like that? They had good reasons to be suspicious and defend themselves. So, it made a lot more sense that she was a soul beast hence both of the kings of the Star Forest trusted her and much more. Along the way, I just became annoyed with her to the point that I tuned her out mostly. Yeah, I’m heartless like that. But I felt it unnecessary that she kept engaging into all these side fights or seemed to crave for ’em whenever they were at a new place or something. Accepting challenges was one thing or if the other party initiated the fight, it was fair game. But that part where she just went and attack the Tian Dou Empire people like that? It was uncalled for. It showed her care for Tang San, but in the name of team spirit that they often chanted, she lost grounds major time. (So I didn’t like it that Tang San encouraged her on with his chant about how wrong Yu Tian Heng was to attack her. Hello, Yu Tian Heng warned her several times to leave and not cause trouble there. Yeah, I know, those kids were in love, so they threw reasons out the window, but still not cool.) Also, she never freaking listened or broke her promise each and every time. Yet it was dismissed and viewed as because she cared for Tang San so it was all right. It was getting ridiculous and I just didn’t want to bother anymore. It was explained in the brief parts of the ending by her that she was scared hence not telling Tang San stuff, but seriously, I thought it was still not right. Sure, it wasn’t like they could do anything at that point when they were restricted by Bi Bi Dong, etc. I got the fear and all. But it was Tang San, someone she claimed to care about and trust. She could lie to the world all she wanted–because they proved untrustworthy when it came to unknown variables within the soul masters stuff, but hiding stuff from Tang San? He never hid stuff from her. Trust is a two-way street. I thought her character reminded me madly of Ling Er in Chinese Paladin. Because the majority of the story tried to build a case for her character but she wasn’t special per say. Don’t talk about her abilities, the majority in here had their own strengths and weaknesses, so it was automatically viewed as awesome with all those skills they had regardless of other variables. So yeah, it didn’t impress me one way or another except boosting up her character as cute or should be important, etc. Once again, I don’t know why I need to clarify this, but this is NOT an attack on the actress. It’s just talking about her character here. If I was talking about the stars themselves, I would say so.

Supporting:

  • Calvin Chen as Yu Xiao Gang (玉小剛). I remember Calvin sharing pictures of him in costume. However, I never made the connection that it was for this one. I haven’t watched Calvin in ages, lol. Sorry, that made him sound old, lol. But more like I just lost track of his works and ended up writing more fanfics of him than actually watching. So yeah. His character in here was a nice change for me, comparing to his past idol dramas’ characters. It wasn’t like I disregard his efforts in those previous works. But I felt this was different in a sense that it challenged his acting even more. I often seen him in sunshine roles. If not those, at least, it aimed to be lighthearted. So this one, it transcended his acting to another level. After all, it was somewhat enlightened level master. He was still funny at times, but this role was considered to be of a more mature side. He was probably my favorite character in here. Yes, I said it. So, of course, there will definite be bias shift and I could go on for days in regard to his character. But I probably will not here, lol. It would be too long. But I loved the intelligence and wisdom his character brought forth in this one. Well, that had come from a lot of pain and suffering too. But he was seriously a genius. It ddin’t matter if he lacked the soul rings or whatever. He was the definition of working smarter and not harder. Because he could outwit people numerous times without needing to use his strength. What was more, he had such a cute Mutant Soul to help him. Luo San Pao was sooo cute yet appeared so little later that I miss that little dude. Poor him also, kept being called a “pig” when he was a dog, lol.
  • Qiu Xin Zhi (邱心志) as Lan De (蘭德). I haven’t seen him for a while now because I sort of gave up on some of his repetitive royal roles or maybe too glamorous ones. I felt this role was refreshing in a sense because he seemed not so stylish or polished anymore. It gave off a different vibe. He did brilliantly with depicting the humorous side of the character as well as the serious side as well. It was funny seeing him flipping out at times when it came to the finances, but he kept to his principle and didn’t join those big schools, etc. in their ways. So that was admirable all right. Oh yeah, he could just fly to any place he wishes so that was somethig.
  • Gao Tai Yu (高泰宇) as Dai Mu Bai (戴沐白). I didn’t like his arrogant ass at all at first. But when more details revealed itself, it made a lot of sense. So I cut him some slacks. He did learn to get along with the others eventually and opened up to them. It was hard, considering how he grew up with his psycho brother and had to watch his back constantly. He was taught at a young age to be independent and be the strongest. It was hard for him to adapt. It was also hard to let go of his pride. But he went a long way to undo those toxic mentality from his kingdom and managed to reach another level by trusting those around him.
  • Liu Mei Tong (刘美彤) as Zhu Zhu Qing (朱竹清). Dai Mu Bai’s fiancee. She projected some sort of mystery at first from her intro scenes, so I was looking forward to seeing more of her story development. I guessed she was somehow romantically linked to Dai Mu Bai yet didn’t get the context of the story. That was indeed different than the other stories in here. However, it was somehow hilarious to see Dai Mu Bai being troubled by her presence. It was later revealed that she had a similar background as Dai Mua Bai in that she also had a crazy sibling, trying to compete with her. Her sister was seriously crazy, masking the front with caring for her and wanting to protect her from Dai Mu Bai or others yet only wanted to spy on her and get the upperhand with different situations. It made sense she wanted to become tougher to face future obstacles. She also learned alongside the others as the journey continued on. It wasn’t like she was outright hostile toward others. She had an attitude, mostly toward Dai Mu Bai at first. Yet later, it gradually improved. She wasn’t stingy either because she was able to warm up to the ones who treated her nicely or kindly. She wasn’t arrogant in the sense that she thought she was better than everyone either. She knew she had skills yet also knew there were better soul masters out there. I guess, in short, she was a balance to some of the characters in here who belonged on one side or the other of the scale. She was also quite bright as well, figuring out the various techniques as she went through different trials.
  • Liu Run Nan (刘润南) as Ou Si Ke (歐思客). Lan De’s adopted son. He was hilarious from the start. I knew he was in cahoot with that first test, lol. He seemed like a silly, goofy type. Yet he could be so considerate toward others and had a kind heart. He was so passionate about his inventions and actually had a different life goals than others. At least, that was what he chanted at first. Later, it was revealed because he thought his talent wasn’t really a talent or seemed useless during challenges hence not wanting to pursue that path. He was happy to learn that he could be a great asset to the team hence continuing to train and accompany the others through the final competitions.
  • Ding Xiao Ying (丁笑瀅) as Ning Rong Rong (寧榮榮). I didn’t like her at all at first. Yes, surprising, but true. I just didn’t like her spoiled brat attitude-although the actress looked really cute when she showed up at their school. However, her character grew on me and somehow, her personal journey and growth was equally admirable as the others. Sure, she did side-step at times (along with the others) and had to be reminded to take it down as well with the confidence/arrogant boundary. However, she learned to get along with the others and treat them like a team as well. They had not only became friends but almost like family. She seemed fierce at times yet had a soft heart too when it came to caring for others. I thought the actress did a nice job in showing those various emotions and the character’s growth. You could see her arrogant side, her playful side, her cute side, etc. It was all different and addicting in a way to see what else she could do.
  • Ao Zi Yi (敖子逸) as Ma Hong Jun (馬紅俊). Lan De’s disciple. He had a tragic past and had to learn to live a normal life again after the others rescue him from himself and that one dude at his village. He was sheltered for most of his life and had difficult (for obvious reasons) to mingle with others at first. However, he had a chance to start over and ended up progressing much more than he could ever imagine. It was funny that Lan De accidentally overheard him discuss this whole business plan and ended up recruiting him as a disciple, lol. Even Ou Si Ke was shocked that he didn’t get special treatment, lol.
  • Huang Can Can (黃燦燦) as Hu Lie Na (胡列娜) / Qian Ren Xue (千仞雪). Bi Bi Dong’s daughter. She took on the identity of Hu Lie Na upon her mother’s request to conceal her real identity. For whatever reason, we do not know. But it could be said from her point of view (and probably true too, considering what we learned at the ending scene) that she was just another pawn to her mother’s grand scheme. At first, I did not like her at all. Dai Mu Bai’s words to Tang San described accurately how I felt about her. There was this creepy vibe about her that was nerve-racking. It was easy to tell that she wasn’t just there because she liked Dai Mu Bai and wanted to get to know him. Her actions were too suspicious already. One would have to be crazy to buy it. Then it was revealed later that she had the skills to morph into someone’s appearance and become them. It took all these magic madness to another level all right. I didn’t like her scheming ways regardless of her reasons or whatever she cooked up to convince others. However, upon learning how much she did in order to be acknowledged by her mother, it was heartbreaking. Sure, she did a lot of terrible stuff and hurt many people, but she was really pitiful. She did them randomly to seek approval from her mother. It reminded me of the Scorpion King from Word of Honor–even though the relationship dynamic was a little different. One couldn’t help but feel for them. Her character indeed was quite complex as the plot moved forward. I felt the actress did quite well at various points of the story. She showed the cunning, scheming nature quite convincingly. Also, the obvious contrast when she almost turned into a child again, just wanting the love of her mother–something she probably won’t ever have.

Others:

  • Kenny Bee as Tang Hao (唐昊). Tang San’s father. OMG, I totally didn’t recognize him although I felt he looked familiar. He appeared a little bit here and there. Then bam, he appeared to save the day just like that. It was like, hello, should have made him the main guy if it was that easy. Just saying? Yes, I’m still bitter about the ending being so anti-dramatic regarding the supposed important final battle, so yeah.
  • Zhu Zhu (朱珠) as Bi Bi Dong (比比東). Martial Soul Hall’s leader, Qian Xun Ji’s wife, Qian Ren Xue’s mother. She was ruthless and relentless in her ways yet acted like she was some victim in all of it and had no choice but to do such. I didn’t mind that she was ambitious and wanted to be a top soul master or whatever. That was most of the soul masters’ goals in here. However, she took it to another level, sacrificing the one she suppoedly love for power and then turned around to act like he was in the wrong to reject her proposal of turning him into a famous itellectual figure among the lands. Really? Then yeah, killing her husband and treating her daughter like trash. Yet somehow, she justified all of that behaviors because she said she wanted to become a powerful soul master. Really? Of course, the manipulation was top-notch too. How could anyone forget that anyway?
  • Wang Yi Fan (王亦凡) as Ye Zhi Qiu (葉知秋). Cang Hui Academy’s student. He was under Shi Nian’s mind control hence committing some of the cruelest act ever by carrying all the commands along the way.
  • Guo Zi Yu (郭子渝) as Gui Dou Luo (鬼鬥羅). The mastermind behind the schemes in order to assassinate Bi Bi Dong. He wanted to do all of that to avenge Qian Xun Ji’s death. He claimed his loyalty to the previous leader of the Martial Soul Hall only, considering how things turned out. However, Bi Bi Dong found out a long time ago and just wanted to use him to gather all her enemies up in one place to get rid of them once and for all. Too bad that everything he went through was all in vain. He wasted a lot of time and energy just to fall into Bi Bi Dong’s trap.
  • Ren Qing Na Mu (仁青娜姆) as Du Gu Yan (獨孤雁). She was soooo cute. At first, I didn’t think much of her except for a random character they encountered along the way. However, she played a larger part in the story. Well, not that large, but was tied to some of the grand scheme in that they wanted to use her grandfather’s power hence forcing his hands via poisoning her. I loved her feisty nature and her witty responses to her grandfather. It was hilarious to see how she used some crafty tricks to get him to save Tang San–or at least try to find him, etc. It was hilarious seeing that someone finally could get him to change his mind about matters. She said that she had someone in mind already and was teasing them about Tang San, so I was guessing Yu Tian Heng, lol. But of course, we didn’t get to see that either. It would have been fun to elaborate a little more.
  • Li De Xin (李德鑫) as Yu Tian Heng (玉天恆). Yu Xiao Gang’s nephew. I almost forgot his link to Master in here. However, I felt his character was someone whom I wanted to know more about. Of course, because of the relevancy of the story, time didn’t allow for that. I wonder if there was more info on him in the novel.
  • Wang Gen (汪亘) as Xue Beng (雪崩). Tian Dou Empire’s student, also a descendent of the royal family. His name meant avalanche (so yeah, his parents totally set him up for failure here). Anyway, not only was he arrogant but also a sore loser. He dared to challenge people yet couldn’t take the loss so he went into full tattle-teller mode and ruptured up the whole place just because. He was the only one that Xiao Wu fought that I didn’t have a problem with. ONLY because he was the one picking the fight with them all of a sudden.
  • Du Jun Ze (杜俊澤) as Dai Wei Shi (戴惟仕). Dai Mu Bai’s older brother. When he appeared in the story to cause trouble, I finally understood where Dai Mu Bai’s attitude and his overly condescencision came from. With a brother like this, it was a miracle he hadn’t gone insane. He had to watch his back at all time. Because this guy was the definition of arrogance in here. Like if you open up a dictionary, you see his face next to the word “arrogance” or something.
  • Wang Qiao (王俏) as Zhu Zhu Yun (朱竹雲). Zhu Zhu Qing’s older sister. Same vibe as Dai Wei Shi. I swear they were more like siblings than their siblings, lol. Or was that too much if they were under the same roof?
  • Bao Bo Yu (鮑柏宇) as Xue Qing He (雪清河). The crownd prince of Tian Dou Empire. He was quite bright for a young prince. He was probably trained by kingmakers, but he fitted with his role–unlike most spoiled royalties seen around. He knew what was happening all around him, not just taking in nice words from others only. The young actor was good in exuding those characteristics. And then the part where he was supposedly a fake. Nicely done.
  • Anthony Bao (包小松) as Prince Xue Xing (雪星親王). He was also quite arrogant. That was until he got brought down by Qian Ren Xue posing as the young prince. I guessed it was because he wasn’t completely dumb, so his trap was a little more elaborate than some of the others. Yet it was funny while it lasted, seeing him trying to throw his power around and then bam, he was gone. Just because of a misstep, that was.
  • Liu Jiao Xin (刘交心) as Du Gu Bo (獨孤博). Du Gu Yan’s grandfather. Where to begin? He came and went as he pleased. He lacked social skills and his attitude was terrible. His only weak spot was his precious grand-daughter–who knew that and took full advantage of him. In some ways, he deserved it, lol. He did break a bunch of promises to Tang San, so it was payback in some ways. He was hot-headed at times but not too unreasonable. He did learn to get along with others–somehow–and Tang San’s personality and patience helped. He was actually quite smart, considering how he helped Ye Zhi Qiu break the mind control thing and all.
  • Zhang Wen (张雯) as Liu Er Long (柳二龍). The third member of the old Golden Iron Triangle. She appeared almost toward the end of the series and helped them with some of the trials they went through. She was crazy obsessed for Yu Xiao Gang. Seriously, mixed feelings on that front. Because it could create humorous effect. But also somewhat awkward too. But her skills was undenialable though.
  • Shen Xiao Hai (沈曉海) as Ning Feng Zhi (寧風致). Rong Rong’s father.
  • Zhou Xiao Chuan (周小川) as Chen Xin (塵心) aka Grandpa Sword (劍爺爺). He was hilarious. I thought he would be some fierce force at first, but he created a hilarious atmosphere all around later on. The fact that he didn’t care for Rong Rong’s father’s BS stories about protecting her was equally hilarious as well. He was wise for his age as well, reminding the latter they used to be young once and wanted to travel the world and also becoming the best soul master, etc.
  • Guo Jia Nuo (郭家诺) as Shi Nian (時年). The leader of Cang Hui Academy. His special skills was mind control so he took full advantage of that to control his students and eventually all those around him to push forward the grand scheme of Guo Dou Luo. He finally met with his fate when his trap backfired.
  • Wang Lu (王露) as Huo Wu (火舞). Team member of the Flaming Fire Academy (熾火學院). She alerted Tang San about the missing teams, leading to their investigation into the situation. She was actually quite smart and reasonable. She trusted the Shi Lan Ke Academy because they weren’t controlled or influenced by the other powerful groups involved. It was a good call since that allowed the others to uncover more behind the schemes. Too bad, somehow, they didn’t show for sure if she and her teams and the rest of the other schools were actually safe or not. At least toward the end.
  • James Wen as Ju Dou Luo (菊鬥羅). I recognized him right away. Or at least made the connection. But I couldn’t be too sure because I had only seen James in an ancient setting like once before. So, I had to go look it up. But it was indeed him. It was kind of funny seeing him in here since I didn’t realize he was also part of the production. Anyway, how was his character? It was interesting at first. Then it died down. I meant, I didn’t expect him to hog the scenes and made it unbearable to watch. But as for his character, someone who recongized Dai Mu Bai’s talent, the least he could do was show some sense of integrity or a change of heart. Yet he remained disapointtingly dispecable even till the end. Like he was all right with the world falling apart and Bi Bi Dong controlling it. As long as he was comfortable in his position, that was it. Yes, selfish was all that he was. Okay, maybe I’ll give him arrogance too. But that was the majority of the soul masters in here–whether they were capable or not. But as for James, it was fun to watch him portray this role. A different side of him, kind of a laid-back character with a mixture of creepiness at times too.

Relationships – family, friends, romances, etc.:

  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Wu Xian Yi/ Xiao Wu as a couple. They spent A LOT of time together in here, so I didn’t think anyone would think they got robbed of time spent together. Well, if you did, I don’t know what to say, lol. I usually don’t force couples–unless the storyline is unconvincing that I make jokes about it. So, this time, it’s no different. They weren’t my favorite couple in here. But as long as their feelings were mutual, good for them.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Kenny Bee/ Tang Hao as father and son. There was no denying their bond. They were with one another since he was little. How could anyone deny that? Their strong bond was what made it all so confusing and heartbreaking when Tang San thought it could be his father who was responsible for all the pain and suffer. However, it also became a strong advantage for Tang San because that one guy tried to pose as his father and mind-trick him yet failed because of the special object that meant the world to them.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Calvin Chen/ Yu Xiao Gang as master and disciple. I was a little surprised that Tang San chose Yu Xiao Gang as his ultimate master. I meant regarding the circumstances and all, I wouldn’t blame him if he had high ambition and wanted to pick someone else in the future. It was expected the way things were within the land. Yet Tang San was determined to stick with the person whom taught him many things along the way already. He didn’t care that people were making fun of his master or whatever. All he knew was that the person who had been by his side and helping him when his father was absent from the scene.
  • Calvin Chen/ Yu Xiao Gang and Qiu Xin Zhi/ Lan De. They were a riot. They were friends yet kept sabotaging one another through words or strange bets, lol. Lan De always gambled or made bets yet when he lost to Master, he went into a rant about setting good examples for the students, lol. It was like, “Dude, what are you talking about? You’re the definition of bad examples here.” But during serious times, they also joined forces to deal with those obstacles. They knew one another ages already, so it wasn’t going to affect them with a little joke here and there.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Gao Tai Yu/ Dai Mu Bai. Perhaps, in those conventional wuxia, they could be considered as “knowing the hero, respecting the hero” type of relationship. Sure, they clashed somewhat at first yet learned to get along and eventually formed a bond–like how most of the team members did. Yet they were almost like brothers near the end, willing to trust one another and working together for the best of the team, not thinking with an individuality mindset anymore. Well, Tang San didn’t want to steal anyone’s limelight or anything. He was quite humble–for the most part. But he had to learn to rely on the others too, not just bearing it all by himself.
  • Gao Tai Yu/ Dai Mu Bai and Liu Mei Tong/ Zhu Zhu Qing as a couple. I felt they could be considered the model couple for the show. Serious, each show has one and they were it for this show. Because they started out really rough, not really getting along. Yet, they learned to trust and respect one another over time and had some proper dialogue as well. That built well into that one trial they had to go through near the end and merging their talents for the final battle. It wasn’t because they needed to win kind of thing. But it showed that they had gone a long way and had connected on a spiritual level as well.
  • Liu Run Nan/ Ou Si Ke and Ding Xiao Ying/ Ning Rong Rong as a couple. I would never thought of it in a serious manner, considering how it seemed so one-sided with Ou Si Ke waiting on her hand and feet at the beginning. Later, it just became a recurring comedic act and a consistency with how he often chased after her or tried to care for her, etc. Yet, it really showed during the part where they thought she got kidnapped by some mysterious force. It was hilarious yet also touching with him running in there, not caring if he got hurt, etc. She was able to see how serious he was too, not fearing death. Even if she knew Grandpa Sword well, but to think that Ou Si Ke went all out on tricks to save her was something quite risky. She took him more seriously after all. It wasn’t like they didn’t get along at that point of time already. But it was that moment she realized he meant it, not just the usual crazy, silly things he thought up to get her attention. Final answer? I swore they were the supposed cute couple in here. Completely unexpected, but they had taken that spot for me as major characters.

The ending? So, how did I feel after finishing it? Or should I say, “How many shades of disappointed was I after reaching the end?” Because seriously, I was disappointed–and temporarily somewhat shocked. I meant they built all this hype and intensity around it, hinting there was going to be some big reveal toward the so-called final battle YET it turned into a 2-second battle and that was it? Next time, something big happens, maybe they should just invite Kenny Bee to take care of it. Since he sure took care of it super fast and all. I didn’t want it to drag out anymore, but possibly they needed one or two more episodes to wrap everything up. Or were they planning to do a sequel? I know it was part of a saga, so it couldn’t cut into other works like that. However, if they weren’t planning on doing the sequel, maybe add a little more detail for people who never read the novels to swallow the ending better. Like after the battle, Tang Hao would just abandon everyone there and take care of Tang San and that was it? Yeah, I know that part was essential. But they needed to show how all the impacted parties fended afterward. It was explained or mentioned somewhat during the graduation ceremony what their future plans were. However, there were some additional variables that presented themselves after the battle, so it would make sense to focus on tying up those loose ends. Sure, we could guess for ourselves that they cleaned up, went home, and rest or recover until they were well enough to travel again. However, if anyone expected me to believe the other five wouldn’t go check on Tang San and Xiao Wu to make sure everything was indeed all right, they must be nuts. Sure, Tang Hao could have said something like, “I have to bring them somewhere, you guys clean up and rest first.” But that was a lot of assumptions on our part with all the details. How about Yu Xiao Gang’s reactions to what happened? He was still wounded from the past and as much as I don’t want to admit that he still cared for that evil witch, he still did. So, how could they just forget about it? There had to be some more aftermath as they go back to the lodging place and rest. Of course, there wasn’t much to do anyway since they couldn’t change the past, but there has to be some talk between him and Lan De or someone else to signify how they all felt about the craziness of the mystery that finally revealed itself. How about Bi Bi Dong’s daughter, Qiao Ren Xue? She just left? It wasn’t like she was going to kill her mama to avenge her papa. But maybe some type of closure for her and her future plans. And then what about what happened with Tian Dou Empire after she turned it upside down with her schemes previously? The most crucial thing that the production team completely forgot to cover too was the rest of the sects who disappeared. Yeah, Bi Bi Dong previously said she would release them after the mastermind dude revealed himself and they handle those stuff, but she couldn’t be trusted, hello. Was anyone checking on them? Were they dead for real this time? At least, give us a clue. That was one of the main focuses coming into the battles too. How could it be disregarded like that? Oh, what about the thing with Bi Bi Dong being able to force their martial souls out? No one explained that either. It was said vaguely by her that she had risen to another level hence knowing how to do it. But come on now! Again, we had to assume a lot with the other things in order for the ending to make sense. Well, it did make sense with Tang San and Xiao Wu. But regarding the rest of the characters, not so much. It was like “team spirit” and “go team” throughout and then bam, they just forgot to talk about the rest of the team when the ending rolled around? Fans of Tang San and Xiao Wu would have liked it too to see how it turned out and when the two would meet again, considering how she agreed with Tang Hao that she would leave him and learn to become stronger before returning to his side. So yeah, if there was an extra episode or two, it could show them meeting up in life again. Or was this all an attempt to direct everyone to read the author’s works to find the actual answers? Because that worked. I already placed it on my to-read list.

Recommended? I would say probably if you’re a fan of the cast or the novel. I don’t think anyone would be as stingy as me with picking on those details I mentioned so it might be even more enjoyable or lovable to you.

The Untamed

image credit: as marked

Yes, I watched it. It was on Netflix, so that was convenient. I knew it was adapted from a danmei novel, but of course, had been changed because of certain rules, which I won’t get into it. (NOT my place to say anything anyway, considering how I was just watching. I have no right to say anything in that matter.) Anyway, it was surprisingly addicting, because I actually spent several days watching it in one go versus my dizzy drama jumping at times. Overall? Not bad, but I felt some stuff could do without, because after a while, it got a bit repetitive, which didn’t allow for a satisfying ending. Well, in some ways, it was satisfying. But in others, I felt they could have elaborated more. Or was that how it was in the novel? I need to hunt it down later to read. So my impression and opinions of it will only be based on the series for now. I’ll probably double back later to discuss if I do read it. (Because those of you who follow me know both my to-watch and to-read lists are WAY too long.)

Monday, December 27th, 2021: Finally hunted down the novel to read so will adjust comments accordingly as I explore more about the details in the novel itself.

All right, let’s get into it, huh?

Main Cast:

  • Xiao Zhan (肖战) as Wei Wu Xian (魏无羡) aka Wei Ying (魏婴) aka Wiling Patriarch (夷陵老祖) and Mo Xuan Yu (莫玄羽). This was my first time ever watching Xiao Zhan although I know who he is. So, this was me going in blind and leaving up to fate, lol. But I was seriously blown away by his performance. Yes, I was surprised. I meant there are a lot of popular artists recently that I couldn’t keep track anymore. So, that was why I didn’t expect much and was just curious about the series in general. But he was seriously good. The first scene of the drama was so intense that I wondered how he could become that way when the flashbacks showed him so carefree. But that was just a tiny picture. Yet XZ’s acting was solid throughout, showing the different contrast of his innocent and carefree side versus the dark side when he embraced the alternative method. No one could blame him for that one (if they weren’t maniacs like the majority of the so-called good characters in there). However, that was really something. How could one not love Wei Wu Xian? His carefree nature, his outspoken views, and his relentless righteousness. Perhaps, that was why the other characters hated him. They were jealous of his ability to do as he pleased or taking the right actions at the appropriate time. They didn’t have his bravery or guts, so they were jealous of him hence wanting to extinguish him regardless of reasons. They didn’t have a good reason for hating him anyway. And the evil forces? They just couldn’t control him, so they chose to get rid of him–with whatever way they could find to try.
  • Wang Yi Bo (王一博) as Lan Wang Ji (蓝忘机) aka Lan Zhan (蓝湛) aka Light Bearing Lord (含光君). This was also my first time watching Wang Yi Bo and I also know who he is. Considering how I was somewhat stalking some of his other works too, but still haven’t watched. How was he? He was surprisingly good as well. I think I saw some trailers or a certain drama where he portrayed a playful character and was really lively. It was definitely a contrast comparing to this one that I almost thought I had mistaken and had to check again to make sure I have the right person in mind. But it was indeed him and his range were quite impressive as well. He carried through his character quite well. Lan Zhan grew up knowing only what was taught and expected of him. But then he seemed to step outside and learned more about the grayness of life, not just plain black and white–or how those people claimed they were. He still kept a kind and pure heart, but he also learned to detect those disguises people wore. It was indeed quite fascinating watching him grow through time.

Supporting:

Gusu Lan Sect (姑蘇藍氏)

  • Liu Hai Kuan (刘海宽) as Lan Xi Chen (蓝曦臣). Mixed feelings. Sure, I got it. Meng Yao was his friend. He did have a point that they should have proof with stuff and how Meng Yao helped them at various points. But I just didn’t feel for him like how I felt for some characters in here. I appreciated his honesty and fairness at times versus his uncle, but he wasn’t a memorable figure who broke past the barriers of separating himself from the despicable hypocrites in here. So yeah, it wasn’t much to go on for me.
  • James Huang (黃子騰) as Lan Qi Ren (蓝启仁). Lan Zhan and Lan Xi Chen’s uncle. I didn’t like him at all throughout–regardless of his reasons. He was the definition of hypocrite in here. What made it worse was how he seemed to turn a blind eye to it all when it was one of the other sects doing the terrible deeds, etc. Sure, he was still disturbed, but it was like he didn’t seem to react that strongly–unless it was Wei Wu Xian or something. Like he had something to prove.
  • Zheng Fan Xing (鄭繁星) and Kevin Jiang (姜奕廷) as Lan Zi Zhui (蓝思追) aka Lan Yuan (蓝愿) aka Wen Yuan (温苑). Ah Yuan so was cute as a kid. He was equally cute in the later years. It was hilarious watching him and somewhat heartwarming too.
  • Guo Cheng (郭丞) as Lan Jing Yi (蓝景仪). He was somewhat short-tempered. But I found it was normal, considering his age. However, I guessed in regard to the Lan sect, it was unusual or even uncalled for. But he was a hilarious character regardless.
  • Carman Lee as Lan Yi (蓝翼). I almost didn’t recognize her. Well, it has been a long time since I watched anything of hers so yeah, that was on me, really, lol. But I enjoyed seeing her in here at the beginning part. She had a mysterious background and indeed played an important part in the grand picture. And she had rabbits! Well, seriously, this role of hers reminded of her role as Xiao Long Nv ages back, lol. It was a nice reminder because of this role. Her background was equally awesome and her grace was visible through her brief appearance. Andy may I say those assholes totally let a bunch of men in here off for a lot of stuff but when it came to what she did in the past, they were all like, “Don’t be like her”? (Or was their model woman like that was the mean girls’ club Mrs. Jin and Mrs. Jiang? Or perhaps, the author wanted to highlight and expose their hypocritical nature by letting us see for ourselves.)

Lanling Jin Sect (蘭陵金氏)

  • Shen Xiao Hai (沈曉海) as Jin Guang Shan (金光善). Hypocrite and disgusting existence of a human-being. Yet acted all high and mighty toward others. If he was so superior and thought Meng Yao was unworthy of his family name, why did he get involved with a prostitute in the first place? If he was so high and mighty, why did he go to the brothel in the first place? The point? He totally deserved his ending. Yes, I said it. It was disgusting, to say the least. But the only people I felt bad for were the prostitutes who had to deal with that situation and lost their lives. They were just trying to survive because of their unfortunate circumstances. What was these Jin family members’ excuses for being such scumbags?
  • Hu Xiao Ting (胡小庭) as Mrs. Jin (金夫人). Hated her too. She looked down on others with her arrogant attitude and her assumptions of others. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her or her husband, so yeah. It was a really low bar anyway. She acted like she was some royalty like the rest of her family. She had no freaking damn right to criticize anyone, especially Wei Wu Xian. If she wanted to look for flaws, look no further than her husband. Or because she hated her life and herself so much that she didn’t want to admit it hence directing it toward making others’ lives miserable?
  • Zhu Zan Jin (朱贊錦) as Meng Yao (孟瑶) aka Jin Guang Yao (金光瑶). I actually felt bad for him at first with all the bullying he endured and how all those assholes acted like they were high and mighty because of their background. However, that ended when he decided to target Wei Wu Xian like the rest of the jealous assholes in here. It wasn’t because of my bias toward WWX that I stopped caring for him either. But it was because he targeted people who didn’t do anything to him. Yes, that was my problem. WWX never acted superior to him or whatever, so why was he doing that? So, yes, I sort of got it that he wanted to make those who hurt him pay and all–even if that wasn’t the best way or whatever. But at least, he had a legit reason for his anger and hate later on. But escalating and pulling all those schemes? He just wanted power and fame and fusing his greed just like any of the “good, model” fake assholes in here. So yeah. I completely rooted the day of his downfall.
  • Cao Yu Chen (曹煜辰) as Jin Zi Xuan (金子軒). I didn’t like him at all in the beginning. Then continued to escalate my dislike for him as the series grew. I didn’t care if he had principle or not. He was still a spoiled asshole through and through. It was always about him deciding because oh yeah, men had a lot more say back then. So he automatically shoved his way into making all the decisions about his relationship with Yan Li. Like it was all right that he scolded her, bullied her, neglected her, and eventually realizing her good side and wanting to get together with her. AND if she didn’t oblige, it was her fault. I didn’t care for all those technicalities with how he changed later or was even able to see her good side, etc. The thing that remained unchanged was he got to decide all the variables while she just had to agree because she already liked him anyway so it was just a matter of him accepting her. I don’t like seeing people needing to jump through unreasonable amount of hoops like a prize-winning strategy to get with a girl. But seriously, this guy needed to jump through several billion more for me to be satisfied. Because he could just do somewhat of a half-ass caring deed, then she was convinced. Really? Not to mention how he had his mama as his backup too, so more pressuring her to give in. AND if she didn’t, she was the monster. Major eye-roll here. I didn’t want to him to die, really. That just complicated things even more. But I wanted him to suffer more, that was all. And when I finally read the novel, he was even worse than was let on. His sole objection to the marriage with Yan Li in the first place wasn’t because it was “arranged marriage” like the series emphasized many times. The real reason was because the Jiang weren’t powerful enough and also because Yan Li was considered plain in people’s eyes (aka NOT as beautiful nor talented nor rich enough background like other girls of her same age, etc). The point? He thought Yan Li wasn’t worthy of him or his family. But because his mom and Yan Li’s mom were besties, so he was not being able to oppose it. I guess if the series piled on by showing too much of his arrogance, the audience would end up hating the actor even more, so they dialed it down and justified it with him feeling helpless about the whole arranged marriage hence lashing out.
  • Yao Shu Hao (姚書豪) as Jin Zi Xun (金子勋). Another annoying character from the Jin family member. But what did you expect from this family anyway, right? I didn’t care for him one way or another anyway. He was just another useless character used to fuse the intensity of the plot. So it didn’t matter for me if he lived or died. It was just how the plot was. His arrogance knew no bounds, like the rest of his family. So yeah, I saw it coming with his downfall. He got manipulated because he thought he was all that.
  • Jin Lu Ying (金璐瑩) as Qin Su (秦愫). Perhaps, she was the only one that was somewhat related to the Jin family that I emphasized with. Because she was seriously innocent. She was conned and manipulated and later lost her life because of what happened. It was indeed very, very tragic. What happened to her made Meng Yao completely irredeemable to me. If it was true that. She was the only one who never looked down on him nor treated him like less than human–unlike the majority of the others in here who knew about his background. He was a complete scumbag for putting her through such pain and suffering.
  • Qi Pei Xin (漆培鑫) as Jin Ling (金凌) aka Jin Ru Lan (金如兰). Jin Zi Xuan and Jiang Yan Li’s son. He was the only tolerable one within the Jin family for me. At first, I didn’t like him either. It was mostly because of his family and how arrogant he seemed. It fitted in with the rest of his arrogant family. But during scenes when he was roaming around on his own to investigate matters and even interacted with some others, I liked him a little more. Sure, he was spoiled for numerous reasons. But he wasn’t unreasonable to the point of infuriating, unlike the rest of the Jin sect.
  • Wang Yi Fei (王藝霏) as Luo Qing Yang (罗青羊) aka Mian Mian (绵绵). I really liked her for her bravery and speaking up at the right moment, not just doing that for convenience’s sake. I didn’t lump her in along with the other Jin members because she was just a disciple, not having real power in the grand scheme of things. However, that was what made her admirable. She was willing to speak up because that was the right thing to do. I wouldn’t blame her if she had stayed quiet during that meeting since those hypocritical assholes were really scary. I actually feared for her life afterward. However, I was still very glad she said something and even clapped her on.

Qinghe Nie Sect (清河聶氏)

  • Wang Yi Zhou (王翌舟) as Nie Ming Jue (聂明玦). I actually had a little hope that he might be different at first. But he became someone who wasn’t any different than the majority in here. His inability to see through the actual black and white versus what was on the surface made it equally frustrating while watching the others. He could call Meng Yao a manipulative maniac all he wanted, no one was going to deny that. But he went too far when he even brought up Meng Yao’s familly background, which was something Meng Yao couldn’t change. That was the low part. One could say who cared about Meng Yao’s feelings because he was evil anyway. But that was the whole point that had fused his hate from the start. Condemn him for his actions all you want, but to poke at something he can’t control? Not to mention how Nie, himself, also thought he was superior to people as well, which made him unlikable regardless of how righteous his image seemed to project. It was just a bunch of fancy words or masquerade for the others to have high regard of him. He was equally power hungry as the others, so it was pathetic to see him making excuses for his actions or words as well.
  • Ji Li (紀李) as Nie Huai Sang (聂怀桑). He was one of the rare characters within those complicated sects that I liked. Despite his incompetence at first–or so with how he purposely let others think of him as such, I found him more relatable than most of the characters in here. He just wanted to live the usual normal life yet was dragged into all these unnecessary fights and power grabs. It was indeed frustrating yet he used humor and lightheartedness to pull through at various points. The fact that he enjoyed Wei Wu Xian’s company and wasn’t shy about that made it even more humorous. He wasn’t fake about it either since he indeed welcomed WWX schemes at times like sneaking out or getting certain prohibited items for them. It was one of those obnoxious stunts they wanted to pull just because. It was the feeling of being young. Even when he finally became the leader of his sect because of his brother’s passing, I didn’t blame him for being inactive. Could you blame him? He was just trying to stay out of trouble, considering how all those other sects’ continuous fights over power because of greed. There were rarely real heroes in here. So while the others laughed or criticized him for being a coward, I thought he was just trying to survive to the best of his abilities. The big reveal toward the end was indeed a good one. Because it showed how capable he was if he was ambitious enough. One shouldn’t underestimate someone else’s abilities. He just wanted to live a normal life, but he was forced to take actions when his brother was killed just like that. So I totally sided with him on taking down Meng Yao later. He was probably the only one who didn’t care for the power. His talk with WWX and Lan Zhan at the end summed it up. He didn’t want those things anyway. He just wanted justice because it seemed like the so-called good sects didn’t want to bother with the truth. So he exposed them all. I think he was one of the characters that the series robbed of screen time, because he was seen often with WWX aside from Lan Zhen and Jiang Cheng during the times they were at Gusu hearing the lectures (as the novel reavel and highlighted some of the mischiefs the guys got themselves into). It was such a shame that he wasn’t seen much anymore because they needed to cut back because the production team decided to up the scenes of useless characters more.

Qishan Wen Sect (岐山溫氏)

  • Xiu Qing as Wen Ruo Han (温若寒). Once led his sect to bring down a certain someone in the name of trying to extinguish the forces of evil yet succumbed to the Stygian Iron’s power as well. Hey, if he wasn’t already filled with greed and a lust for power, he wouldn’t be affected anyway. So stop acting like it was the piece’s fault.
  • Wang Rong (汪融) as Wen Xu (溫旭). Like father, like son. No need to say more. The typical song of the Wen family. He was just a little smarter than his brother, that was all.
  • He Peng (賀鵬) as Wen Chao (溫晁). A typical cruel bully yet turned into a coward when faced with a more powerful force. I had no sympathy for him. Who would? I thought there should be even more punishment coming his way. Like play the cat and mouse game with him a little longer. After all, he was the mastermind behind unleashing Wen Zhu Liu on several people thus causing them to lose their power core.
  • Zoey Meng Zi Yi (孟子義) as Wen Qing (温情). I didn’t know what to expect of her character. She seemed mysterious and had a personal goal in mind. I didn’t know how it was going to play out either with her being so close to those psychos. But it wasn’t like anyone was safe. However, her character grew on me as the story developed more. She was indeed placed into a very hard spot. She had to take care of her innocent brother and the rest of the clan. I didn’t agree at first when she thought Wen Ruo Han was someone she owed gratitude to since he was responsible for waking up the evils upon the hills after all. But I realized I should cut her some slacks because of the situation she was put in. She indeed proved to be more capable than her outer appearance and also showed bravery more than the majority in here. It was indeed tragic that she had to die in the hands of those hypocrites. As for her acting, I was surprised. I have watched several of her dramas already, but I felt she was coming back to the right path for some reason in this one. Even if she lacked screen time but somehow she did better in a sense of portraying her role. Because in LOCH, she had a major role but failed to impress for me. Maybe it was the pressure or something, but I felt it was too trying. This one, it seemed to show more depth with her acting.
  • Yu Bin (于斌) as Wen Ning (温宁). He was so cute and lovable. It was such a tragedy that he was used and manipulated time after time by various parties in here. He had such a pure heart and just wanted to be with his family and particularly tried to help his sister with what he could. They were seriously living in such a wrong place and wrong time. I was so glad he made it until the end, because he seriously deserved a fresh start after all that he’d been through.
  • Feng Ming Jing (冯茗惊) as Wen Zhu Liu (温逐流) aka Core Melting Hand (化丹手). This guy had a lot of audacity when it came to excuses. Well, he even changed his family name in order to kiss up to the Wen family, so yeah, it wasn’t surprising with all the things he did to justify his actions. Anyone felt like he should have suffered more and much longer? Because I felt it was still too easy on him with how it all turned out.
  • Lu En Jie (卢蒽洁) as Wang Ling Qiao (王灵娇). Hated her. Anyone think she and Yu Zi Yuan (Mrs. Jiang) were twin sisters? Maybe they were long lost siblings or something. Or if not, maybe long lost mother and daughter, considering their ages. Because if you take out their opposite backgrounds (rich, powerful family versus rising up to the top from servant satus), they were exactly alike, looking down on others and all. Their arrogance knew no bounds and their obliviousness also was quite top-notch. They were equally selfish and power-lust. And how could I forget the fact that she mentioned how “servants should behave like servants”, Yu Zi Yuan had agreed with her (and that was after she–Yu Zi Yuan–looked at WWX briefly). So, they seriously had the same mentality. Also, what was the difference between them anyway that with how they tried to snatch men for Mrs. JIang to exude royalty or superiority above Wang Ling Qiao? (NOT defending this witch here, but I don’t see the difference with them, seriously. One used seduction to grab Wen Chao’s attention and eventually got the brief power and attention until her downfall. The other? She had her parents’ power thus forcing Jiang Feng Mian into the marriage. They were both tenfold more despicable and disgusting than all of the prostitutes in here that was looked down upon by different sects and people in here. Why? The prostitutes had no choice and because of their circumstances, they had to survive somehow. They, at least, put up a sign, unlike some people who acted like royalty but were even worse. Yeah, you can be shocked and disgusted with my interpretation and analysis, but what I find more disgusting are those who were let off by their actions because it was wrapped up in a nice package because of their good background. Interestingly, Wang Ling Qiao was mocking Mrs. Jiang for how she scored her husband, not realizing the irony. They both used their own tricks to get what they wanted. And I’m not condemning people because they have wants and needs either, but the condescension toward others made them hypocrites and despicable, so I wanted to break it down and pointed out the obvious. Also, no, I’m not letting Jian Feng Mian off, scroll down.)
  • Zhang Bin (張彬) as Wen Mao (溫卯).

Yunmeng Jiang Sect (雲夢江氏)

  • Lu Jian Min (陸劍民) as Jiang Feng Mian (江枫眠). I say he had immense patience and was surprised he called off the arranged marriage thing, which was totally the right call. Too bad for his fate. As for his favoritism toward Wei Wu Xian, I didn’t think it was favoritism per say. Maybe just different perspective, but I thought he felt guilty for not being there for his friends at the right moment hence showing special attention and being extra caring toward WWX. The poor little guy was an orphan when he took him in after all. Can you blame the man for trying to show sympathy for the little kid who lost his parents at such a young age? It was ridiculous to think he didn’t care for his own kids. What did his wife wanted him to do? Abuse the kid and treat him like a slave, like how his wife would treat others? Perhaps, his problem was his inability to communicate properly with his son hence causing a lot of frustration and resentment. He obviously would leave the sect to his son, there was no doubt about it. Yet his wife kept harping on the power grab and whatnot that it was driving me off the wall. It made me suspicious if those rumors and what those gossipy assholes said were true about her forcing his hands to marry her ages ago. (The answer: It was in the novel, but it was much worse. Her parents were powerful force in the area, much more powerful than his parents BUT seemed to take a liking to Jiang Feng Mian, thinking he was a good match for their daughter. So, they used their power to force his hands. He rejected them politely at first and then agreed later because WWX’s mom already gotten together with WWX’s dad. Perhaps, lost love–mostly his one-sided love toward WWX’s mom–clouded his judgment and he gave in in the end aka marrying the witch. But his one mistake was touching her. Just leave her on her own, saying how he already fulfilled his end of the deal with marrying her, didn’t say anything else. OR was he afraid she would tattle-tell to her parents on him, like, “He didn’t f*ck me?” Sorry, if you think I’m too vulgar or it’s appropriate to say those things. BUT I think it was all on him if he touched her and regretted it later. It was all on him. As much as I hated her ass, he didn’t get to walk away with the victim card just because. The other possible reason? He probably feared her family hence needing to fulfill some stuff in this business transaction. Yes, I didn’t think much more about their so-called marriage other than a business transaction. Especially, the power imbalance of the two sides at one point. No wonder he wanted to end the cycle of arranged marriage by dissolving the other one to free Yan Li. Too bad, he couldn’t save his daughter, no matter how hard he tried. You can hate my interpretation all you want, I’m sick and tired of people romanticizing and making excuses for arranged marriage. It’s nothing more than a business transaction.)
  • Zhang Jing Tong (張淨桐) as Yu Zi Yuan (虞紫鸢). Hated her. I don’t care what her gripe was anymore. She was just another bitter, arrogant person in here. Not to mention how she was best friends with Mrs. Jin as well. So that showed you how arrogant and condescending she was all in one picture. She looked down on others, wanted to exude her power at all time and thought nothing of anyone who wasn’t part of her royal family. She was one of the top-notch hypocrites in here too. One minute, she was scolding her husband for being a coward for listening to the Wen sect’s order and coming to that one class the Wen held, the next she blamed Wei Wu Xian for causing the sect’s doom. Seriously? Pick a lane lady. She accused her husband of having an affair with Wei Wu Xian’s mom and having Wei Wu Xian hence the favoritism, etc. But he could always accuse her back of cheating on him because their kids didn’t take after him at all. Yeah, my petty ass hated her regardless of how she sacrificed herself to let them escape, etc. Or more like she was upset because Wei Wu Xian stole her thunder by doing the right thing first AND she just sat around in her royal castle while things happened hence her chance of fame and glory were gone. Again, completely hypocritical. Or possibly how she was super jealous of WWX’s mom hence picking on him nonstop. I’m not saying WWX was completely innocent at times since he got into a lot of mischief too. But it was like she didn’t care to look past all of that to see he had a good heart in general. So yeah, she just became another character in this whole madness, nothing special. She could have become an awesome character because she seemed to be a powerful female figure, which was rare back then, but she abused her power just like any other so-called good characters in here. Call me cold-blooded or whatever, but I had no sympathy for her or her ending. She totally took advantage of that scene to beat the crap out of WWX because she was just sadistic like that. She had a chance to kill the other witch but didn’t do it fast enough so that resulted in another chain of events too. Yes, I blamed her and I don’t care one bit to tear her down to the last bit. It was either a plot flaw or a character flaw, but with such an arrogant attitude, her downfall was inevitable. And when I finally read the novel, wow, the character came on the screen so accurately and vividly like in the story. So, I clap on the production team and thus the actress for doing a good job. Because her arrogance was exactly like how it was told in the novel. But as I read the novel longer, I changed my mind about letting her die alongside her husband like that. Why didn’t the writers make it that she had to survive and serve under the other witch for as long as the other witch found it amusing and all? It would be harder for her to live, but I want to see her humiliated because she was so royal and looked down on others without a thought–as said above. She should get a dose of her own medicine. Also, she thought she was some royalty because of her background and all, but she wasn’t any different that some other spoiled brats out there. Oh yeah, regarding how she blamed WWX for causing troubles and dooming the sect, have she ever thought the Wen clan wouldn’t let their place live peacefully anyway? It was eventually their turn, regardless of how small their sect was comparing to some other major powers. It was still a threat if they were to stay in power at a certain region. WWX was just use as a scapegoat to start some kind of feud right there. If not for that, it was something else. But yeah, WWX was the problem, according to her and her royal son.
  • Wang Zuo Cheng (汪卓成) as Jiang Cheng (江澄). He totally took after his mother. No doubt about it. The stingy attitude, the pettiness, the hypocritical trait, you name it, he got it. At first, I didn’t really have a problem with him per say. Since he faced a lot of pressure, trying to live up to his father’s expectations. He was also at the same time stuck between his parents because of how they couldn’t seem to get along, etc. However, he lost me with his hypocritical nature at first and then some more later. Why did I say he was a hypocrite? He scolded Wei Wu Xian for all the mischief WWX got into but ended up reaping because of those acts anyway. He had no problem accepting those prizes WWX brought back because WWX broke curfew or rules, so he might as well sit down and shut up about those criticisms. Examples? Wine incident, he totally took the wine. Fishes? He totally ate them too. One could say he was just concerned and overly worried, making sure nothing happened, but if he was so strict on his principles, he shouldn’t have caved. And the fact that he wanted to be a hero was also a joke. He chided WWX for all the messes WWX got them into just like his mom or when WWX stuck up for the innocent faction of the Wen clan, he was annoyed more than help. Seriously? He only wanted to be the hero on paper, for fame, NOT wanting to do the right thing when it called for it. It was disclosed at the end that he used himself to help WWX get away that one time hence resulting in his golden core being destroyed and it was indeed very tragic how the chain of events had led to that point, but I can’t really sympathize with him or like him as a character when he never stuck up for WWX when it mattered. He let outsiders influence his decision and also see WWX with other people’s eyes. It was like he never understood WWX at all, despite them growing up together. After all, he did get his glory and fame in the end, so why should I feel sorry for him? Oh yeah, don’t even get me started on how he was jealous of WWX because of Wen Qing. He dared to ask her why she didn’t approach him first? Would he have helped? Based on his cowardly attitude of not wanting to offend those high school bullies that are only “righteous” in names, yeah, he wasn’t going to do anything anyway. Just because he finally conspired with WWX to trick the other sects into thinking they had a fallout didn’t mean I would let him off. Should I give him a medal? He didn’t want to get involved in the first place. Again, hero on paper, not wanting to do the hard thing. If he were to stand on the side–regardless of what those yoyos say and speak up in front of everyone, then I would cut him more slacks. But no, he wanted to keep his safe spot. So, yeah.
  • Xuan Lu (宣璐) as Jiang Yan Li (江厌离). Mixed feelings throughout. I know, people are all like, “How could you not love her?” I was never a fan of pushover characters and she was the definition of it. I actually liked her in flashbacks more than when they were all grown up. She showed great courage and feist as a young girl. All grown up? Was it because of some typical rules and decorum or whatever that had caused her to change and that she was forced to? Because she was just too boring for me. Sure, she was a great older sister figure for both Wei Wu Xian and Jiang Cheng, but I think her character went straight downhill when she met with Jin Zi Xuan and kept tagging him like a pest. I disliked his arrogant ass a lot, but she didn’t need to give him more ammunition for his attacks. She was a daughter of a powerful figure after all, she could have tons of people lining up at her door, requesting her hand in marriage. But no, she just had to fall for the most egoistical, arrogant asshole in the entire universe. I blamed that on her mom for sealing her fate like that since she was taught to obey on command like a robot and the evil witch was the one who did the whole arranged marriage thing. Her character almost became redeemable for me at the part where there was the hunt being organized and all. She totally rocked at that moment for standing up for Wei Wu Xian, someone she claimed to be her brother. Yet she completely failed with the landing when she caved to Mrs. Jin’s request of returning with the latter. Really? Girl, I was rooting for you. Then you blew it. And I didn’t know how and why she was at the scene and ended up taking the stab for WWX, but she wasn’t supposed to be there. Or had she gone mad hence diving into such a dangerous place at that time? It was like whoever set up the plot wanted another extra soapy formula to add to WWX’s guilt or something. It was ridiculous. It was also one of the mystery I wanted resolved by the end but it didn’t happen. We all know Meng Yao manipulated the flute play and all, but there were still many unanswered questions. The actual characters needed to know about that, not just us audience connecting the dots on our own.

Yi City Arc

  • Song Ji Yang (宋繼揚) as Xiao Xing Chen (晓星尘). A righteous person and one of the true heroes in here. It was such a tragedy with how he was brought down.
  • Li Bo Wen (李泊文) as Song Lan (宋岚). Another person who deserved a hero title in here. Too bad, right? Luckily, he was able to survive after all that happened and continued to carry on his heroic deeds later on.
  • Wang Hao Xuan (王皓軒) as Xue Yang (薛洋). Is it messed up that I enjoyed watching him more than half of the characters in here? It was probably the mystery of how he was involved in the grand picture aside from his taunting acts. Was he despicable? Yes. Was he annoying? Yes. But I felt he brought more to the story than the majority in here. Having a link to the Stygian Iron piece helped. But there was also his own motive as well. After all, background was only background. Over half of the characters in here had complicated links to one another. But the essence of his character was what mattered. He was a bitter, turned cruel person because of childhood traumas. So he only knew how to cook up schemes and harm others as he saw fit. Yet when he finally met and got to know Xiao Xing Chen, he realized something else too. Through all his messed up schemes against Xiao Xing Chen, he somehow developed a strange friendship with the latter. Perhaps, he craved the companionship after having to put up a shield for so long. But in some ways, it created this conflict within him. Yet in the end, his psychopath side won. Because no matter how Xiao Xing Chen changed him or his perspective, Xue Yang just couldn’t be saved. When all things failed, he chose to take the extreme approach.
  • Krystal Chen (陈卓璇) as Ah Qing (阿箐). I felt unease about her character at first. Like with the way she was carrying on with her con, she was going to get in trouble. And she did. Yet she was affected by Xiao Xing Chen and seemed to had a second thought about it all. Luckily, the thing about her was she saw right through Xue Yang. Too bad, she couldn’t get the upper hand on that or help them both escape their fates. However, she was already so brave. It was tragic with how things turned out with her. It was also ironic that she pretended to be blind at first but became blind for real later. I guess, it was Xue Yang’s twisted way of fulfilling her wish? Like she was wishing for it.

Others:

  • Feng Cong (馮聰) as Su She (苏涉). A despicable, coward. He thought he was all that and wanted to be a hero yet didn’t pass the test. He still had the audacity of being jealous of Lan Zhan, which was like ten shades of pathetic. Seriously. He had no right to be bitter toward anyone but himself.
  • Liu Ting Yu (刘庭羽) as Bao Shan San Ren (抱山散人). Mentioned a lot throughout but only appeared several times in flashbacks? I forgot already since a lot of things happened throughout.
  • Cao Jun Xiang (曹峻祥) as Ou Yang Zi Zhen (欧阳子真). Oh, he was hilarious. A very brave lad who went against his father and the other elders’ wishes. It was hilarious to see how he made all these smart comments about them.
  • Yu Zi Kuang (於子寬) as Xue Chong Hai (薛重亥). Xue Yang’s ancestor.

Relationships – family, friends, romances, etc.:

  • Xiao Zhan and Wang Yi Bo as Wei Wu Xian and Lan Zhan. Their friendship was what kept the series going, to be honest. Well, they were the main leads after all, so if they failed on that, it would have been a really awkward series, lol. As actors, their chemistry was very good hence making their interactions as characters shone through. Watching them trying to get along at first and then escalating to be soulmates was an amazing adventure. Who would have thought one day Lan Zhan would die for Wei Wu Xian, right? Or vice versa. Those weren’t the only times their scenes were enjoyable either since–mostly thanks to WWX’s obnoxious nature, they had a lot of fun scenes too. It wasn’t like Lan Zhan didn’t know how to have fun. He was just forced to comply to a ridiculous amount of rules. He totally got corrupted by WWX though, lol. But their friendship was addicting to watch.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Wei Xu Xian, Wang Zuo Cheng/ Jiang Cheng, and Xuan Lu/ Jiang Yan Li as Yunmeng Golden Three. I would say their bond was all right. The reason for just “all right” and not outrageously awesome like how the majority of fans came to love them and dubbed them as so? It was a good concept for the start of the story and made me curious as how they started all these years. Because it was only highlighted at some points, a typical story arch for various wuxia in a sect. So yes, it did pull me in. But later turned into a disappointment with Jiang Cheng’s jealousy and insecurity. Then they were back together. But it just felt forced in the a sense because we all knew they were brought together by chance. But one thing was really clear was how Yan Li was the glue to this bond. If she wasn’t around, they might as well not talk to one another. Sure, the young Jiang Cheng showed some traces of wanting a friend–despite his fierce attitude toward the young WWX. Yet I felt the consistency with Jiang Cheng was always needing a nudge from someone to actually do the right thing. So yeah, it just wasn’t happening for me in that sense. Well, the obvious sign was how WWX was obviously soulmates with Lan Zhan, but maybe Jiang Cheng could try harder to understand WWX, because they grew up together after all. But it was always about his comfort and if he needed WWX or not. There was no doubt Yan Li put a lot of effort into making their bonds work and showed a lot of patience and care for them. Yet the bond just failed when the writers turned her character into a complete pushover. Yeah, I know, the point of her character was a gentle and caring figure for these two lost souls. YET they could at least make her a little more consistent and boost her up by not forcing her to rely on her marital status. It was typical with her wanting to get married and have a good family life, etc. But sorry, I can’t relate with how it turned out that she ended with that dude. Maybe as a start yes, but maybe make her character grow more and see past that, allowing her to meet someone that deserves her? I know it’s hard to believe, but I started out really liking her character. It just turned into frustration after knowing how she couldn’t escape from that path. It was a waste of good character because of terrible development–or lacked of.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Wei Wu Xian and Meng Zi Yi/ Wen Qing. Their friendship was something to consider in here. At first, there was this tension, because no one knew what she was up to, really. It was reasonable to be cautious around her. Yet he kept his head cool for the most part. She was also cautious around him and didn’t want to get involved more than necessary, considering how the psycho Wen dude warned her (read: threatened) numerous times using her brother and the rest of her clan to keep control of her. Yet, thanks to Wen Ning, many things changed. They were forced to get along at one point and somehow, she ended up helping him with one of the biggest conspiracies ever. Then later, he helped her and her clan to find a new home–if it could be called that. He did sacrifice a lot for them. She knew that. She was grateful. There were a lot of unsaid things between them, but in the end, he knew he made the right call by helping her, her brother and the rest of the innocent Wen clan.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Wei Wu Xian and Yu Bin/ Wen Ning. I really liked their bond as well. Wen Ning seemed to have this strange attachment to WWX that it was cute. Possibly because he never had anyone else to hang out with, considering their situation. Possibly wanting an older brother figure–although he cherished his sister so much. Wen Ning’s loyalty toward WWX was actually quite touching. One might say because he was so simple-minded hence not realizing the impact or seriousness of the situation, but it wouldn’t take much to be a decent human being and back someone up. Seriously. Because Wen Ning looked up to WWX, he didn’t mind being ordered around at times and getting into all these weird schemes cooked up by WWX. It was hilarious but also sad. Still, some wonderful memories they had though. It wasn’t like WWX was taking full advantage of him either. He did care for Wen Ning a lot, like a little brother. Hell, he did sacrifice a lot for Wen Ning and the rest of the innocent Wen clan. So, that said a lot.

Discussions:

  • Wuxia done right. Despite all my rants at various points, I felt this could be considered an actual wuxia, unlike how most had tried to pass as so in the past few years. The majority of the series released trying to pass as wuxia seemed like glamorized idol dramas to me, so I didn’t really take it seriously as a wuxia. But this one, even through all the frustration, it was obvious they put in a lot of effort in making it a serious drama. Like the way they approached it, it reminded me of some traditional wuxia of the past. The majority of the cast did really well with their acting and was convincing in their characters.
  • The soundtrack. The music in here was seriously beautiful with the flute and zither involved. It was so amazing and also one of the major reasons I stuck around. The songs were addicting and suitable for the theme of the story. The majority of the main cast got their own song. So that was unique in a sense.
  • The costumes and hairstyles. It was beautiful–for the most part. It seemed to be well thought out and fitted the characters nicely. The various combinations and all. At least, I could say for the majority of the key characters. There were indeed lots of sects and clans in here. Yet they managed to distinguish all of those and also take in the regular citizens’ clothing as well.
  • Location. I must admit the majority of the locations chosen were really nice. Well, obviously not the case for those devils’ lairs. But talking about when WWX or LZ were out and about–either apart or together–and roaming to different areas. It paved way for some nice adventurous feelings. I appreciate the natural scenery instead of the staged built ones. Although I know it took a lot of effort to find the right one and at times, weather could affect their options too. But I really liked it when natural scenes were involved.
  • The plot. I thought it was a 50/50 for me. I meant, I understood why they had to show so much of the events leading up to why and how Wei Wu Xian became that way, but some parts were quite repetitive (like mentioned above) and seemed like it was piling on his tragedies too much. Eventually, I ended up hating almost everyone except for Wei Wu Xian, Lan Zhan, and Wen Ning. Seriously, that extreme. I felt the stories of sixteen years later was a little more enjoyable. Maybe because some new characters were introduced, unlike how it kept surrounding some of the major sects that only involved super hypocritical characters. The fact that the majority of the so-called righteous sects spend their time gossiping over Wei Wu Xian, Meng Yao, or whoever else they found wasn’t up to their standard was really pathetic as well. And the fact that righteousness seemed to be lost on the majority of the population just cranked up my frustration several notches. It was like all these sects and groups spouted those words throughout and their talk about extinguishing evils, blah blah blah, were just a bunch of talks and all for nothing. They just didn’t care about it per say. Or just chanting it for the sake of an excuse with their own agenda–whether fame or power. I know those idiots were lost cause already. What frustrated me even more was how Jiang Cheng kept asking why Wei Wu Xian did those things that he did. It was like he didn’t understand the basic concept of righteousness or something. Or why it was the right thing to do. Sure, it wasn’t wrong to want his family to be safe and cared for their own sect only. But didn’t he say he wanted to be a hero? Being a hero was about making tough decisions and doing the right thing at the right time. It was righting injustices, not walk away from them. He might qualified as a hero figure up front with appearances at all, but he failed majorly on the action bit.
  • Did Wang Yi Bo/Lan Zhan get rob of his scenes? Yes, I’m going there since that was one of the topics discussed at one point. I would say no. It had to do with how the plot was crafted more than him being robbed of scenes. I rather he not appear as much but was productive in a sense of the overall storyline than having him appearing all the time and NOT doing anything helpful. Looking at you, Yan Li. Yes, I’m picking on her again. And once again I do understand she was an emotional support system for Wei Wu Xian and Jiang Cheng. After she died, their friendship collapsed completely and it was another wedge into their relationship. But seriously, she wasn’t a helpful character in other sense. And no, this is NOT picking on Xuan Lu–in case fans are yelling at me for not seeing her good side. I don’t know who she is before this because once again, there are too many potential young rising stars nowadays for me to keep track of it all (so this comment isn’t meant to be snappy, just hard to keep track of everyone for me). This is me talking about the character itself and how dragged out and repetitive some formulas had turned her character annoying indirectly. Or maybe just cut back on Jin Zi Xuan and make him even less significant than he was. Because their ongoing conflicts and eventually getting together went almost like an 8-o’clock soap. It was a never-ending soap that I could do without. Maybe if it was cutback, then Wang Yi Bo could appear more. Seriously. Yet people are over there picking on Meng Zi Yi/Wen Qing. She actually appeared less than a fraction of the 50 episodes–and did a lot more contributing to the plot than some other characters. Was it a really bad call of the production team (IF it was indeed true) they wanted to pair her with Wei Wu Xian? Yes, in the name of trying to stay faithful to the novel as much as possible and getting around the rules. Yet it made more sense to have her around than half of the characters in here. Those who are protesting if Yan Li and Zi Xuan didn’t get together, there would be no kid, etc. Come on, she could have gotten with anyone and the result would be the same. The plot could always be tweaked and manipulated so it cuts out unnecessary characters. The result could still be the same with her death being the final wedge between Wei Wu Xian and Jiang Cheng. To be honest, I didn’t think Jiang Cheng cried that much for Zi Xuan’s death. Zi Xuan was the ultimate unnecessary character and didn’t contribute much to the plot anyway, except making it more repetitive and increase more episodes. The other characters already hated Wei Wu Xian regardless of how it went down with the Jin family situation. They didn’t need any more excuses to extinguish WWX and snatch the Stygian pieces. Oh yeah, you know who should appear more but didn’t? Ji Li’s Nie Huai Sang. Although, it could be argued that he appeared less on purpose to conceal his identity and his plans, but it would have made sense if he appeared more.
  • The ending. I was halfway satisfied with the ending. Because they didn’t let Meng Yao off. However, some of the questions weren’t answer or weren’t exposed to its max either. Like how it wasn’t Wei Wu Xian’s fault that Jiang Yan Li died. I meant how it seemed he lost control, but it was actually because Meng Yao had manipulated the situation hence causing her death. It was mentioned that he (Meng Yao) had controlled Wen Ning to kill Jin Zi Xuan, so that was supposed to imply that it happened later on too. However, I wanted it to be fully stated so everyone was clear on that. Even if Wei Wu Xian had lost control for real, seriously, that woman had no business being there YET she somehow just showed up there, causing things to be even more complicated. Seriously. Yes, I’m repeating it here but it had to do with the ending, so putting it in again. Sounds annoying that I keep repeating it? Imagine how it was like with the repetitive plot throughout in regarding to their never-ending dramas. Not to mention Jin Ru Lan’s reactions to all of it. There’s no correct way to react to his parents’ death or show pain and anger. However, what puzzled me was how he didn’t seem to take actions toward Meng Yao as he would have WWX. Or was that because WWX was a servant of his mom’s house so considered to be NOT important? I know it wasn’t exactly like that. But I couldn’t help but be bitter that he didn’t do more, like poke a sword into the other guy’s stomach, maybe. Like how he’d done to WWX previously. I would say the person who was actually responsible for his parents’ deaths should receive the deserved backlash. Yet there they all were, almost disappointed that it wasn’t WWX so they could contniue to hate him like previously.

Novel vs. Series: (*Added around December 2021 because I already the novel.*)

Eventually, some of my rants got super repetitive–like the subplots in here, lol. So I decided to compile it here instead. Will fix and then erase elsewhere. Until then, it’s a work in progress.

  • Accuracy. I would it was 70% accurate. Whichever scenes they (the screenwriters) chose to be accurate, the scenes totally jumped out from the novel with its vivid details. Other times? It just seemed like a lot of episode fillers to extend the episodes and allowed some of the cast members more scenes for the sake of fan satisfaction. NO, I’m not picking on the cast, I know they worked really hard to make it happen. But to me, it’s always about plot. Plot was always the key. If they lost the plot, it didn’t matter how long some people appeared, it was just dead air. When I finally touched the novel, I also realized why some parts were so repetitive. If the screenwriters didn’t include some repetitive stuff, it would have been around 30 episodes. Because the story was told from Wei Wu Xian’s perspective, so if there were flashbacks or whatever, it was from his point of view. Then some gaps and details were filled in when other characters around him told their stories. I understand how hard it was to transfer those details onto the screen, allowing it to make more sense for viewers and trying to smooth some details out. However, with the author’s vivid details into the story, they could have edited out or skip unnecessary details, NOT make it worse by being so repetitive with some side stories. What they did right–and I will give them credit–was an attempt to filll in the gaps for the main story with explaining the background of the Stygian pieces and all. It gave a more detailed account at times and did help with the mystery of the overall story. That expansion was indeed quite welcome. Too bad. I guess they had to satisfy people who liked the romances by pushing forward the suppossed “model couple”, so yeah. Still too bad.
  • What was the same? What was different?
    • The opening scene was actually the part where Wei Wu Xian was resurrected after many years later. But it made sense to start at that intense battle and then lead viewers into the story.
    • Jiang Yan Li and Jin Zi Xuan didn’t appear as much in the novel. The screenwriters extended a lot of their scenes and gave them their own story hence cutting into Lan Zhan and Nie Huai Sang’s scenes. So, who did the audience and so-called fans of the novel blame for Lan Zhan’s scenes being less? Meng Zi Yi, which made perfect sense to me, right? (Yes, sarcasm here. NOT trying to get everyone to hate Xuan Lu and Cao Yu Chen here, but if anyone wanted to get mad at the screenwriters for extending a certain scenes, it should be the supposed golden couple and their sappy, useless story, NOT more relevant characters who contributed more to the story.) Anyway, it turned out, I was actually really good at guessing with who the relevant characters were. What I meant was my comments regarding how I wished Huai Sang had more scenes. The screenwriters had a good excuse to let Huai Sang appear less aka allowing some mystery into his character until the final reveal. But dragging on the other soap for so long? Unforgivable.
    • Wei Wu Xian and the others never met Xiao Xing Chen and Song Lan before like how the series connected their stories at the part where more information was revealed about Wei Wu Xian’s mother’s. Wei Wu Xian only knew about the two when Lan Zhen told them the story about the two’s friendship. He eventually found out more about the two when entering that one city where Xue Yang set up all those traps and found out what happened through his connection with Ah Qing via the communication link technique he set up between them.
    • Wei Wu Xian’s memory was beyond terrible. Trust Lan Zhan when he cricitized WWX about it in the novel. It was indeed terrible. He didn’t even remember Wen Ning at first when they met again during the time they bumped into each other at the Jiang’s sect’s place and WWX was trying to find out more info within the Jiang’s place after it was taken over by the Wen clan. The series tried to give WWX more credit than that and made XZ so lovable by remembering Wen Ning and protecting him all the time. Yet that wasn’t so. Well, no one could blame WWX for not caring who Wen Ning was at first, because the series included Wen Ning more at the beginning than the novel, so it was hard to ignore him and it would be too weird if WWX didn’t remember him. In the novel, WWX actually met Wen Ning when they attended this one archery contest together, not how it was at Gusu at the beginning in the series. Sure, they did meet when WWX saw Wen Ning practicing his shooting skills, but the location and time was different. Probably the series wanted to introduce all the major characters at the same time, so they pulled all of them together at that Gusu lecture. It wasn’t like he treated Wen Ning terribly since he did stand up for Wen Ning at that archery conest and even encourage him on. He just forgot because of the circumstances at that time. Also, Yilang was the official place that WWX met Wen Qing, although he knew who she was. It was mentioned that she was highly regarded in Wen Ruo Han’s mind hence allowing her to follow him to different events at times. It was also mentioned that WWX thought she was quite talented. Their official meeting (after Wen Ning helped save Jiang Cheng and brought WWX and Jiang Cheng to Yilang) allowed them to interact even more and eventually conspired with one another to help with the surgery regarding the golden core. There were also other times that WWX didn’t remember other characters around him. It wasn’t because he was looking down on them. It was just that he didn’t remember. So those characters thought hat he didn’t care for them or was trying to mock them, so that fused their hate toward him even more. Lan Zhan was actually the person who had a good memory, aside from the super villain in here, obviously. So it balanced them out. It wasn’t to say that WWX wasn’t smart, he was. It was just that sometimes he could be so forgetful.
    • Wen Qing was actually the definition of tough love in here. If anyone wanted to prop Mrs. Jiang up for that role or that dude Nie Ming Yue, it would be laughable at best. Because I swear, making excuses for those two was hilariou to say they meant well, even if they had sharp tongue. Or say Lan Zhan’s uncle, perhaps. Sorry, but they could not match that role like Wen Qing was in the novel. Sure, she had her moments when it allowed for it in the series. But I think they (the screenwriters) also cut her character back to prop up other unnecessary characters. Wen Qing was quite smart and assertive, but she really did mean well for Wen Ning’s sake. Who could blame her for her protectiveness toward Wen Ning? Considering how he was so kindhearted yet also so simple-minded. Wen Qing was right when she scolded WWX for giving her that evil look, because she didn’t do anything to harm him or his sect. (He later remembered that she was never involved in those killings.) However, she also outlined the reality to them that she couldn’t stop Wen Chao if she tried. He was a maniac, on top of that, there was Wen Zhu Liu.
    • The majority of the characters in the novel were exactly like in the series with their condescension and superiority complex. They acted like it was in their rights to be waited on hands and feet and disregard others’ suffering or even care to empathize at all for anyone around them. Yet they thought they were rigtheous beings. It was all talks, really, and also beyond pathetic. It probably made sense during the times back then with how “class” determine status and power. But it was really infuriating to see that all went along with it, so oblivious to everything around them. Then they gaslighted WWX and acted like he was the one in the wrong for helping the weak and protecting the poor. Also, the so-called righteous sects in here spent about 99.9% gossiping about others and NOT doing anything productive to help mankind in general. They just sat on their royal thrones and judged others, NOT realizing they were the real problems. Not to mention they had their own little cute club that they thought if anyone wasn’t cool enough–or tried to question their motives, they would move their forces toward that person and terminate them without a thought. It was a group mentality kind a thing, like stronger in the number. Interestingly, Jiang Cheng in the novel was right when he said to WWX that those people didn’t care what WWX thought or what was the truth version, they just wanted absolute submission to them. If you listen to them, you got everything you could ever wanted. However, if you opposed them, there was hell to pay. Even if I still didn’t like Jiang Cheng as much in the novel, but he wasn’t as oblivious as it seen in series. By extending his story arch to include some kind of romantic feelings toward Wen Qing–even if brief, the screenwriters killed his characfter in that sense and made him overly jealous in that area as well. Yes, he was envious of WWX at times (thanks to his evil mother for keep grinding that into his head and driving a wedge between him and WWX even more) but he also understood the situation more than let on. He was also scared of those yoyoos and their group pressure mentaility. (And the reason why I coldn’t get behind Jiang Cheng regardless of which version? He captured a lot of people who he thought was WWX returning via those people’s bodies AND abused them, even killing them because he felt like it. He abused his power because he could like the majority of the sects in there. So, he had no right to scold others, especially WWX. NOT saying WW was perfect or whatever, but when he harmed others and exuded his cruelty like that, he withdrew his right to criticize others about “cruelty” or whatnot. So, only Lan Zhan had a right to say anything regarding what happened.)
    • The ending was equally confusing and not as satisfying for either the series or novel. Yes, since I criticized the things they did to kill the plot, I have to point out that the novel did make it hard for the screenwriters as well. Okay, it wasn’t that confusing per say in the novel. It was just that, the series tried to follow the novel with its thought process and tried to say that it was chaotic with a lot of factors coming into play, so some of te things Nie Huai Sang supposedly did was just pure suspicions and conjectures based on Wei Wu Xian’s thoughts. That was why there wasn’t a clear answer either at times in the series. So, I guess it wasn’t the screenwriters’ fault that some of the stuff weren’t clarified in its absolute. However, the series gave a more solid ending because they allowed Wei Wu Xian and Lan Zhan that last meeting with Nie Huai Sang in front of that stone where the rules of Lan sect got updated. (It was mentioned in the novel that the old dude added even more rules at the end of the novel but they didn’t appear in front of those people again.) The conversation verified that Nie Huai Sang indeed set the events into motion and all. However, he also clarified that he wasn’t power lust or even wanted whatever status it was that they suspected he was after. He just wanted justice for his brother’s death–even if he took a lot of risks with the Lan sect’s junior members and their safety, etc.

Conclusions? This was the danmei version of Xiao Ao Jiang Hu. Yes, I wrote it in a tweet, but I want to elaborate more here. Why did I say that? This wasn’t meant to accuse anyone of plagiarism, lol. But the concept of the friendship and ongoing relationship between Wei Wu Xian and Lan Zhan throughout reminded me of Qu Yang and Liu Zheng Feng. Of course, you have to flip their instruments and the side they represented. Aside from the two main leads’ tie, some of the characters and the plot details made me think of XAJH even more. How? The obvious one was how hypocritical the supposedly good sects and clans were. It was a major theme of XAJH and how it got you thinking that sometimes black and white weren’t all that clear. Just because they claimed so on the surface did not make it so. The majority of those sects were also involved in various power grabs and greed. They used righteousness as a masquerade for their actions and justified their behaviors throughout. That sounded very generic, considering how that was often the basis for the majority of wuxia works. However, there were other signs. Jiang Yan Li and Jin Zi Xuan were Yue Ling Shan and Lin Ping Zhi for me. Even if Wei Wu Xian only treated Yan Li as his sister, I swear it looked like that. Of course, Yan Li wasn’t a spoiled brat like how Yue Ling Shan was, but I think that had switched to Jin Zi Xuan. You tweak a little and get the idea. If you ever wondered what happened if Yue Ling Shan and Lin Ping Zhi could have kids–instead of what happened in XAJH, look no farther than Jin Ru Lan, lol. Wen Qing was Ren Ying Ying for me, but of course, Ying Ying was much more powerful than that in the other one. Yet the context was somewhat the same. I could go on forever, but I don’t think I should, lol. This review is already long as it is. Maybe one day when I feel up to it, I’ll do a rundown of all characters in both works in a separate post, lol.

Recommended? I would say it’s worth checking out. It depends on if you like this type of story. You have to really like the cast to enjoy it though since it’s super long. I just have immense patience in regard to the plot, lol.

Top 50 Actors and Actresses of 2021 – 7 Months

(image credit: as marked)

This list combines both female and male artists.

Translations:

1. Simon Gong Jun / Cung Tuấn 

2. Allen Ren / Nhậm Gia Luân

3. Xu Kai / Hứa Khải

4. Li Qin / Lý Thấm

5. Xiao Zhan / Tiêu Chiến

6. Zhu Yi Long / Chu Nhứt Long

7. Wang Yi Bo / Vương Nhứt Bác

8. Zhang Zhe Han / Trương Triết Hạn 

9. Shawn Dou / Đậu Kiêu

10. Cheng Xiao / Trình Tiêu 

11. Johnny Huang / Huỳnh Cảnh Du

12. Yang Zi / Dương Tử

13. Zhou Dong Yu / Châu Đông Vũ

14. Victoria Song / Tống Thiến 

15. Dilraba Dilmurat / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba

16. Yu He Wei / Vu Hoà Vỹ

17. Yang Yang / Dương Dương

18. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh

19. Liu Xue Yi / Lưu Học Nghĩa 

20. Zhang Yun Long / Trương Vân Long 

21. Ju Jing Yi / Cúc Tịnh Y

22. Zhai Xiao Wen / Trạch Tiêu Văn 

23. Gina Jin Chen / Kim Thần

24. Lay Zhang Yi Xing / Trương Nghệ Hưng

25. Tan Song Yun / Đàm Tùng Vận

26. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch

27. Lan Ying Ying / Lam Doanh Oánh 

28. Zhao Lu Si / Triệu Lộ Tư

29. Jackson Yee / Dịch Dương Thiên Tỉ

30. Steven Zhang / Trương Tân Thành 

31. Wang Jun Kai / Vương Tuấn Khải

32. Tamia Liu Tao / Lưu Đào

33. Song Ya Xuan / Tống Á Hiên 

34. Luo Yun Xi / La Vân Hy

35. Cheng Yi / Thành Nghị 

36. Janine Chang / Trương Quân Ninh

37. Roy Wang / Vương Nguyên

38. Vin Zhang / Trương Bân Bân

39. Leo Wu Lei / Ngô Lỗi 

40. Jenny Zhang Jia Ni / Trương Gia Nghê 

41. Deng Lun / Đặng Luân

42. Yao Chi / Diêu Trì 

43. Sun Yi / Tôn Di

44. Ou Hao / Âu Hào 

45. Esther Yu / Ngu Hân Thư 

46. Liang Jie / Lương Khiết 

47. Ma Jia Qi / Mã Gia Kỳ 

48. Liu Yu Ning / Lưu Vũ Ninh 

49. Bai Jing Ting / Bạch Kính Đình

50. Liu Yao Wen / Lưu Diệu Văn 

Top 50 Actors and Actresses of 2020

(image credit: as marked)

This list combines both female and male artists.

Translations:

1. Zhu Yi Long / Chu Nhứt Long

2. Xiao Zhan / Tiêu Chiến

3. Wang Yi Bo / Vương Nhứt Bác

4. Dilraba Dilmurat / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba

5. Allen Ren / Nhậm Gia Luân

6. Jackson Yee / Dịch Dương Thiên Tỉ

7. Tan Song Yun / Đàm Tùng Vận

8. Yang Zi / Dương Tử

9. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh

10. Li Qin / Lý Thấm

11. Ju Jing Yi / Cúc Tịnh Y

12. Zhao Lu Si / Triệu Lộ Tư

13. Roy Wang / Vương Nguyên

14. Luo Yun Xi / La Vân Hy

15. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch

16. Deng Lun / Đặng Luân

17. Wang Jun Kai / Vương Tuấn Khải

18. Li Xian / Lý Hiện

19. Li Yi Feng / Lý Dịch Phong

20. Zhang Ruo Yun / Trương Nhược Quân

21. Lu Han / Lộc Hàm

22. Lay Zhang Yi Xing / Trương Nghệ Hưng

23. Victoria Song / Tống Thiến 

24. Zheng Shuang / Trịnh Sảng

25. Yang Chao Yue / Dương Siêu Việt

26. Jiang Shu Ying / Giang Sơ Ảnh

27. Yang Yang / Dương Dương

28. Hu Ge / Hồ Ca

29. Huang Zi Tao / Hoàng Tử Thao

30. Guan Xiao Tong / Quan Hiểu Đồng

31. Cheng Yi / Thành Nghị 

32. Cai Xu Kun / Thái Từ Khôn

33. Vengo Ko / Cao Vỹ Quang 

34. Jin Dong / Cận Đông

35. Cecilia Liu Shi Shi / Lưu Thi Thi

36. Esther Yu / Ngu Hân Thư 

37. Steven Zhang / Trương Tân Thành 

38. Song Wei Long / Tống Uy Long

39. Alan Yu / Vu Mông Lung

40. Tiffany Tang Yan / Đường Yên

41. Tong Li Ya / Đồng Lệ Á

42. Regina Wan / Vạn Tây

43. Ireine Song / Tống Y Nhân 

44. Gina Jin Chen / Kim Thần

45. Chen Shu / Trần Sổ 

46. Zhang Yi / Trương Dịch

47. Timmy Xu / Hứa Ngụy Châu 

48. Wang Kai / Vương Khải

49. Pan Yue Ming / Phan Việt Minh 

50. Li Yi Tong / Lý Nhứt Đồng

Top 50 Actors and Actresses of 2019

(image credit: as marked)

This list combines both female and male artists–and it’s top 50 so some from the other lists might not make this one.

Translations:

1. Zhu Yi Long / Chu Nhứt Long

2. Deng Lun / Đặng Luân

3. Yang Zi / Dương Tử

4. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh

5. Jackson Yee / Dịch Dương Thiên Tỉ

6. Xiao Zhan / Tiêu Chiến

7. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch

8. Wang Yi Bo / Vương Nhứt Bác

9. Dilraba Dilmurat / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba

10. Ju Jing Yi / Cúc Tịnh Y

11. Yang Yang / Dương Dương

12. Hu Ge / Hồ Ca

13. Li Xian / Lý Hiện

14. Luo Yun Xi / La Vân Hy

15. Li Qin / Lý Thấm

16. Wang Jun Kai / Vương Tuấn Khải

17. Luo Jin / La Tấn

18. Lay Zhang Yi Xing / Trương Nghệ Hưng

19. Tiffany Tang Yan / Đường Yên

20. Jin Dong / Cận Đông

21. Li Yi Feng / Lý Dịch Phong

22. Angel Wang / Vương Âu

23. Cecilia Liu Shi Shi / Lưu Thi Thi

24. Victoria Song / Tống Thiến

25. Alan Yu / Vu Mông Lung

26. Tamia Liu Tao / Lưu Đào

27. Zheng Shuang / Trịnh Sảng

28. Liu Hao Ran / Lưu Hạo Nhiên

29. Guli Nazha / Cổ Lực Na Trát

30. Wang Kai / Vương Khải

31. Angel Zhao / Triệu Kim Mạch

32. Guan Xiao Tong / Quan Hiểu Đồng

33. Roy Wang / Vương Nguyên

34. Zhang Ruo Yun / Trương Nhược Quân

35. William Chan / Trần Vỹ Đình

36. Xu Kai / Hứa Khải

37. Huang Zi Tao / Hoàng Tử Thao

38. Jiang Shu Ying / Giang Sơ Ảnh

39. Ray Ma Tian Yu / Mã Thiên Vũ

40. Li Yi Tong / Lý Nhứt Đồng

41. Xing Fei / Hình Phi

42. Yang Chao Yue / Dương Siêu Việt

43. William Feng Shao Feng / Phùng Thiệu Phong

44. Vin Zhang / Trương Bân Bân

45. Yukee Chen / Trần Ngọc Kỳ

46. Zhu Ya Wen / Chu Á Văn

47. Lei Jia Yin / Lôi Giai Âm

48. Jiang Xin / Tưởng Hân

49. Lu Han / Lộc Hàm

50. Wendy Zhang / Trương Tử Phong