TW TV Series Worth Watching

I actually started this list like 2 years ago, but didn’t want to post it just yet. Now, I thought what in the world, just go ahead. AND this is not an attempt to convince or manipulate people into watching it. Just something to share and add to this random blog. Some of them I attached links because I’d actually done the reviews for them at one point. Some are actually under its own categories so I won’t link it. Others? Might do discussions in the future but not sure.

This is the Taiwanese drama list – as the title indicated. I will post up the Mainland China and Hong Kong ones separately.

Ancient Dramas:

Gu Jian En Chou Ji 1984 (孤劍恩仇記) – Many people might not remember this one, but it was really good – despite being one of those with ‘lame’ settings in the days when Taiwan productions weren’t that convincing yet. But they had a great cast and the plot was really good for this one.

Bao Qing Tian 1993 – Who could forget this one, right? It was quite popular during its run, and the episodes got extended. One of the few shows that got extended but wasn’t unreasonable.

Ji Gong 1995 – Really funny but had a lot of underlying messages. So zen, so witty yet could be so crazy too.

Madame White Snake 2013 (白蛇外傳) – 40 episodes, but each episode was only about half an hour or less. It was enjoyable and sort of a parody to the “Madame White Snake” stories.

Shi Gong Qi An 1997 – It was so addicting, following the success of the whole Bao Qing Tian sagas. This also retained a lot of comedic moments to aid the plot along, so it wasn’t as depressing, but it wasn’t corny either.

Modern Dramas:

Angel Lover – 40 episodes later and I was still wanting more. Kudos to the production team for that. There were a lot of meaningful messages placed in without making it too corny. The people in here experienced very real problems in life and needed some guidance to get through and start anew, etc. The soundtrack was awesome also.

Black & White – Though when it came down to it, it was a 50/50 toss since the ‘romance’ part bugged me to death, must admit it was a really big production and they honestly put a lot of effort in the cases AND action scenes. NOT to mention the whole ‘conspiracy’ and the huge cast involved–regardless of grand names or not.

Bump Off Lover – I was really surprised it was that serious and dark–and was actually that good. It made me changed my views regarding TW dramas of recent and also of Angela. (YES, I wasn’t that into Angela until after I watch this one.) Probably one of those close to realistic dramas of recent years. Some elements might seem so exaggerated, especially with the twins being so different–as some people pointed out. YET it wasn’t impossible because of the catalysts involved.

Endless Love (愛∞無限) – I was surprised since I was just watching out of curiosity and because I want to support Will.

Devil Beside You – YES, for one of those rare times, I actually agreed with the general public about it being good – AND it had to do with both the storyline and the actors/actresses who portrayed the roles. I never read the actual manga SO do not know how accurate it was but the drama was good enough for me.

Home Run – One of those short and nice dramas from PTS.

Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu – Again, NOT because I’m following the crowd, but more like I really agreed with how the plot was. Didn’t read the manga either but found it pretty good for the most part. I really felt the whole school atmosphere and typical rivalry between dorms, etc. It was madness but also interesting and meaningful if the surface was stripped down.

I Do? – A surprisingly good one though it had some of the usual cliches plotlines Interestingly enough, it was also an adaptation from a certain romance novel. From what I heard, it had strayed from the novel (as usual) but still retained some essence of the storyline, making it bearable.

Just Singing And Dancing (K歌·情人·夢) – Regardless of what happened with the ratings (which I didn’t get why but I reminded myself I no longer care to figure it out, except for daily dramas that made more sense), this was a really nice one. Focused mostly on music. Yeah, it did repeat the formula with different members of the band trying to conquer some inner demons, etc. But it wasn’t too soapy. It kept it real for the most part about family conflicts as well. The singing and dancing at random times didn’t seem to be realistic with life, etc BUT it put a lot of artistic elements into it. They used new and old songs and remixes to make it even more interesting.

Liu Mang Xiao Zhang – Many people will disagree with me since it seemed to be non-existence. YET I felt it was one of those really up there because it was really short and made its point. The characters were nicely written – though the plot could be silly at times. But it was a romantic comedy at heart, right? I’m not placing it in because two of my favorites are in it BUT because it really made an impact for me with the storyline. (Click here and here for more discussions regarding the drama.)

Love Together (愛讓我們在一起) – Despite some of its frustrating parts (and most dramas have those), I felt it was pretty good. Maybe what made it convincing was the maturity of the cast involved.

Mei Ren Long Tang (美人龍湯) – I was more than surprised. I meant I only wanted to watch because of not being able to get past a Mike drama for a while now. This seemed hopeful, but I wasn’t expecting much. Yet Mike really surprised me in this one with his really good acting (past the usual cool, handsome guy exterior). The rest of the cast were as convincing. The story wasn’t that unbearable either since some of the frustrating moments moved faster than usual, which was a good thing. I liked how the pieces of puzzles were placed in and then resolved along the way. It wasn’t too dramatic yet wasn’t too boring either.

Peak Times – A BIG surprise for me. I only wanted to check it out half because of curiosity and half because of Eric Huang and Cecilia Han Xue. But I found myself pulled in by the excitement at first. Then the suspense dragged me along for the rest of the time.

Rookies’ Diary – I didn’t put it in because many of my favorites are in here. BUT because I felt it was very informative regarding military procedures. I learned a lot. And I do know there were fictional elements in there (DUH, I know) and possibly added to accompany the plot. Yet it was really inspiring. AND what made me love this even more was seeing how they had continue with mentioning some characters from part 1 in the sequel without needing to ‘kill’ or ‘cut’ them off completely. Sure, they had to severe the ties for one of the main leads to explain why he wasn’t around anymore. BUT the rest of the relationships didn’t change, i.e. Wu Yong/Xia Zheng Feng didn’t end up with someone else just because Xiao Yan/Xiao Xiao Yu wasn’t around anymore.

Sisters (姊妹) – YES, it was 60 episodes long. Yet I felt it was worth it since they explored a lot of relationships throughout the drama and focused mostly on sisters’ relationships (obviously), but it was different in a way, especially the ending. I felt the ending had actually helped a lot with convincing us of real life situations because not everything was about ‘happily ever after’ or ‘everything could be worked out so the main couple could reunite once again’. (Sorry, I’m rolling my eyes now.)

The Magicians of Love – Ignore the fact that it was a SETTV drama and that it had many silly attempts to extend the episodes for ratings (YEAH, typical SETTV move), it had some foundation. Not to mention how the message of breaking past obstacles to reach one’s goal at the end seemed quite addicting at times. The characters weren’t flawless because they were actually human beings so it was that spot that made it somewhat more realistic than seeing the typical heroes and heroines like in the other dramas.

The New World – Excellent planning and directing where puzzles were concerned and how the plot was crafted. However, what disappointed me was the ending. Some of the characterizations were nicely written and were worth it. However, the suspense that was built up since the beginning and along the way was all for nothing after all. Yes, it was that frustrating and I probably won’t ever get over it. Yet I must admit, they did a good job in some areas. The romance side, it was kind of messy and dragging in some areas and wasn’t enough balance for me. So what was the point of placing it in? I think  considering how I placed in some other dramas that probably frustrated me too, I think this one was a push forward for suspense drama. It could have been short like Xiao Hai Da Ren with some cuts here and there, then it would be  good. Yes, this was from the same team whom made Xiao Hai Da Ren.

Wayward Kenting – This is truly a classic. YES, one of those rare times I actually use ‘classic’ since I’ve been so sick of people using it at every chance they get to mock other dramas. Director Niu really brought to life some of the daily problems the characters were experiencing and made it so mesmerizing and addicting to watch.

White Robe of Love – Not because I’m an Adylan fan. But because I found it interestingly addicting as well. It seemed somewhat silly at first but was real enough through its depiction and how it was laid out. It didn’t reek of the typical ‘idol dramas’ elements. (As interestingly most Dylan dramas aren’t.)

Xiao Hai Da Ren – OMG, surprisingly amazing. This is one of those reasons why I think dramas DO NOT even needed to be dragged out to be good. The way it was presented was very convincing and restored my faith in TW dramas in general. NOT that I want to completely put other dramas down, but this one proved that if they wanted to do something serious without all the dramatic sequences added to just ‘entertain’, they could.

Yuan Lai Wo Bu Shuai – Some people must have dropped their jaws by now. BUT I have to say that this drama reminded me somewhat of the university days and just school days in general. Crazy conspiracy and wild theories students tossed around. Sometimes it wasn’t as dramatic as implied in the drama YET it made sense because if you’re in that particular group, you automatically focus on just that group only. School gossips and many more. Then it was also about friendships, etc. A typical comedy that needed to look beyond those obvious scenes to enjoy.

*NOTE*: This post will be updated from time to time. Therefore, it will be included in the ‘Helpful Posts’ section to make it easier to locate – IF anyone’s interested in following. Also, keep in mind that I back-watch from time to time, some might NOT be on the list yet. Others, call it a difference of opinions – IF I didn’t put it on there.

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Gu Jian En Chou Ji 1984: Part II

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

Go here for part 1.

About 8 years later, Jun Wu Chou was still searching for his godson Si Ma Jun. Luck was not on his side, considering how he kept getting into traps that Qiu Dong Li created while hiding in his rat hole. Also, there was the whole idea with Yao San’s persistent in hiding from Jun time after time.

Yao San was working at a wealthy resident as a servant, trying to take care of Ah Jun who was ten years old. Ah Jun grew up to be a very smart kid and was very caring toward his Uncle San. Because the many traps they fell into with using real names or relying on relatives since the very first day, Yao San had changed his surname to Liu (劉)–as also Ah Jun’s surname. So they were known as Liu San (劉三) and Liu Jun (劉俊) to the wealthy family whom they resided at and served under.

Aside from helping his Uncle San with the labor when Yao San fell ill one time, Ah Jun also continued to practice his family’s saber skills–to which Yao San managed to take the Si Ma’s Saber techniques manual with him upon his departure from the inn years ago. One day when Ah Jun was doing his cleaning duties, he spotted some suspicious activities within the household and went to snoop on them. He eavesdropped and heard about the family’s conflicts with Si Ma Xiao and Jun Wu Chou. (This family was actually the family that Si Ma Xiao went to that one night after the day duel and avenged Jun Wu Chou’s siblings’ deaths.) Ah Jun did not know of his real family background so he was just snooping with much curiosity. However, he was discovered later by the head servant. He was questioned by the head of the house (the old granny whom he thought was very nice since she had allowed Yao San some time off to rest while Ah Jun took over the house duties). Upon hearing that Ah Jun heard everything they talked about, including their plots against Jun Wu Chou, the granny immediately took it into her hands to eliminate Ah Jun to avoid the secrets from leaking out. Luckily, Ah Jun was able to fend himself off with his saber skills but he was no match for the granny. As he waited for his fate to be bestowed upon his shoulders, Jun Wu Chou arrived to save him from harm. (Since Jun had passed all the assassins that the granny stationed at various points to kill him.)

Jun Wu Chou tried to persuade the granny to end their grudge because Si Ma Xiao had already died ten years ago and how Jun himself had already let go of his hate toward the granny’s family. The granny did not hear of it but continued to battle with Jun. She was defeated by Jun and closed her eyes to accept her fate of death but Jun stopped and told her that he would not kill her. She realized how heroic Jun was and decided to let go of the whole matter also. After the granny and her grandkids left the scene, Jun then turned to Ah Jun and questioned his name to which he only introduced himself as ‘Ah Jun’ and mentioning about his ‘Uncle San’. Upon hearing those similarities in names, Jun went on to question Ah Jun about his Uncle San when he was distracted by some noises. He told Ah Jun to wait for him while he went and investigate the matter. Ah Jun was very fond of Jun at that point though he just met Jun but knew from Jun’s actions that Jun was a real hero–as he put it. He waited patiently for Jun to come back but Yao San woke up at that time from his nightmare and went to check on Ah Jun. He heard from Ah Jun that Jun was there already and that Ah Jun was supposed to wait for Jun. Yao San–frightened upon hearing that Jun would be back–dragged Ah Jun away from the scene and said that they had to hide. Lucky for them that Qiu Dong Li was using the noise as the decoy to lure Jun away from the scene so he would be able to go after Yao San and Ah Jun. Yao San and Ah Jun hid in time and managed to escape from their fate. However, Yao San fled the house also so Jun was not able to find them again when he returned. Though Ah Jun was very admirable of Jun, he was also very obedient to his Uncle San so he had no choice but to follow Yao San once again.

Since Jun was not able to find Yao San and Ah Jun anywhere, he went back to ask the granny and asked about their identity. Through the granny’s description, he knew it was indeed Yao San, but it was too late. He once again missed his chance. (And at this point I wanted to strangle whoever wrote the script since Jun Wu Chou could not be so naive as to just leave the kid there and go check stuffs out, could he? Yes, it wasn’t safe to have Ah Jun tag along if there was danger, but he needed to rule out the possibility that someone could harm Ah Jun when Ah Jun was standing right there.)

Yao San–though still suffering through the fever–continued to drag Ah Jun forward. They traveled further and further into the woods and ended up lost. During nightfall, Yao San fainted and Ah Jun was left alone to run for help. He was finally received by a pair of mother and daughter upon hearing his outcry. (The mother’s surname was Guan – 關.) The mother knew about medicine so she was able to cure and tend to Yao San. Her daughter was actually around Ah Jun’s age–maybe just a year younger or so. While living at the house, Ah Jun and the little girl (Xiao Zhen – 小真) got along very well since she never had any friends before, considering where they resided at. Xiao Zhen later begged her mother to let Yao San and Ah Jun stay with them since they had nowhere to go anyway. Ms. Guan agreed, but Yao San wanted to leave since he did not want to bring trouble to them. After some more persuasion, Yao San finally agreed for Ah Jun to stay but he wanted to find some other place to work and stay at since it would not draw attention to Ah Jun. Ms. Guan agreed and helped Yao San find a job in town through her good friend at an inn.

While that was going on, Jun Wu Chou came upon a group of people when he was on his way to search for Yao San and Ah Jun. They told him they would help him find his godson if he followed them. He agreed and went with them. They ended up in this secret hideout and these people were actually from a sect called ‘Tian Long’ (天龍 – Heavenly Dragon). They tested Jun with several trials–of which included martial arts and chess skills. (It was both testing his physical abilities and intelligence.) They soon realized he was very capable and presented a young kid to him. Jun knew right away that the kid was not Ah Jun. He turned to the Tian Long Sect members for an explanation and they told him that the kid was General Zhou’s nephew and that they were responsible for protecting him thus far. It was now Jun’s turn to do it since he was able to defeat them all. Jun suddenly remembered of what Si Ma Xiao told him and realized that he was able to fulfill Si Ma’s request–although it was more of their doing in trying to search for him than the other way around. Still, a promise was a promise.

After Jun accepted the others’ request of protecting the kid, the sect members revealed to him that the kid was actually a girl instead of a boy because they spread the rumors on purpose to distract the enemies. The girl’s name was Zhou Xiao Ya (周小雅). She was a bright kid although just barely ten. That night, she asked Jun if she could be his daughter because she had heard many stories of his heroic deeds. He agreed upon seeing how sincere she was. (The funniest thing when I was watching this part was I was thinking how he was searching for a little boy but now it turned out to be a little girl.) The next day, the Tian Long Sect members asked Jun to be their leader since they still have that position empty all the years after their past leader died. Jun turned it down, saying how he was not capable but the others insisted that he took it because he was able to defeat them all from the previous day’s tasks. Jun finally accepted after many more words of persuasion. However, he told them that he would only take it up temporarily and would step aside when they find someone from within the sect to replace him.

The story went back to focus on Ah Jun once again with his life at Ms. Guan’s house. Ah Jun continued to practice his saber skills and tried to help Ms. Guan as best as he could. They were living like a family under the same roof. Ah Jun was living almost like a normal kid. He treated Ms. Guan like his mother and Xiao Zhen like his little sister. Yao San visited them from time to time when he was able to ask for leave.

One day when Ah Jun was going into town to sell wine in Ms. Guan’s place since she was ill, he encountered a drunk man and saved him from being beaten to death. (He had stolen wine from some of the shop-owners, therefore, he was being chased down and attacked.) Ah Jun tried to shield the poor man from harm and stopped the fighting. He almost got hit but one of the shop-owners persuaded his friends to leave since he said Ah Jun was just a little kid. After they left, Ah Jun tended to the man. The drunk man was actually Ding Wu Jian. He was still a madman and heavily relied on wine to survive–or probably was still trying to drown away his sorrows and forget his past. Ah Jun finally helped Ding back to Ding’s home after giving him all of Ms. Guan’s wine. Ding actually lived in a small cave. Ah Jun pitied him greatly upon seeing the condition of Ding’s habitat. He asked Ding if Ding was just staying alone but Ding said that he was staying with Rou Rou. Ah Jun went on to ask where Rou Rou was and Ding told Ah Jun that Rou Rou went out for a bit. Afterward, Ding went to sleep after finishing the last of Ms. Guan’s wine as well.

Seeing that it was getting late, Ah Jun wanted to leave. However, he decided to wait for Rou Rou to come back before departing since Ding looked very pitiful. While waiting, Ah Jun cleaned up Ding’s cave and also managed to sneak in some saber practice using a small stick in place of a saber. At sunset, Ding finally woke up and was very much sane. He saw Ah Jun practicing the saber skills and recognized that of Si Ma’s saber skills. He then asked Ah Jun of his identity and Ah Jun told him the truth that Ah Jun himself knew of. Ding told Ah Jun to attack him. At first, Ah Jun was reluctant considering how he witnessed Ding’s weak state several hours ago. However, he agreed after seeing how persistent Ding was. Ding easily pushed Ah Jun aside with several attacks. He was able to recognized of Ah Jun’s potential in martial arts but knew that Ah Jun lacked in the inner energy big time. He asked Ah Jun if Ah Jun wanted to learn from him. Ah Jun–though young–was able to recognize of Ding’s capabilities too, especially witnessing Ding’s skills of diving from his saber skills. Ah Jun agreed so Ding was somewhat happy that he was able to find a person to pass his skills to. He then told Ah Jun to come back the next day with another bottle of wine and he would teach Ah Jun more of his skills. Ah Jun told him that he wanted to wait for Rou Rou to come back before leaving. Upon hearing Rou Rou, Ding went mad again. He was able to restrain himself and told Ah Jun to come back tomorrow with the wine bottle. Ah Jun had no choice but to obey.

When Ah Jun arrived home–aka Ms. Guan’s house, it was getting quite dark already. He was questioned by Ms. Guan of possible troubles but he hid the information about running into Ding since he had promised Ding not to tell. Ms. Guan knew Ah Jun was hiding something from her but did not question him any further. She told him to go outside and eat dinner with Xiao Zhen while she rested. So it went on several days with Ah Jun continuing to bring wine for Ding and learn skills from Ding. Though he felt guilty about taking Ms. Guan’s wine, but he had promised himself to pay her back later with his hard work. Ms. Guan finally recovered and followed Ah Jun one day when he was going to Ding’s cave. While Ding was lecturing to Ah Jun about a new skill, he sensed someone’s presence and rushed out of his cave to confront the eavesdropper. Ah Jun ran out in time to see it was Ms. Guan and told Ding to let her go. Ah Jun continued to explain that it was her wine that Ding was drinking and she was the one taking care of Ah Jun all along. Ding questioned Ah Jun about keeping promises because he thought Ah Jun had spilled the beans. However, Ms. Guan spoke up to clarify that she was following Ah Jun and that Ah Jun never let anything slipped. Ding believed her and released her from his grasp. It was then that Ding told Ms. Guan of his and Ah Jun’s agreement with martial arts in exchange for wine. Ms. Guan was glad that he was teaching Ah Jun yet was worried at the same time since Ding had his moments of madness if he was not drinking. There was also the whole idea of him drinking too much that it could lead to his doom. She went to confide with Yao San since it concerned Ah Jun after all. Yao San trusted her judgments and agreed with Ah Jun learning from Ding. When he asked Ms. Guan of Ah Jun’s master’s name, he wondered silently if it was fate leading to that turn of events. He also worried about the future when Ah Jun would one day meet Jun Wu Chou once again–though he really wanted for Ah Jun to have the capability to avenge Si Ma Xiao’s death.

Ah Jun continued to learn from Ding from then on without anyone spying on them or other underlying secrets. Learning from Ding became a routine of Ah Jun’s life. He was a smart kid so he was able to master Ding’s skills rapidly. More time passed as Ding continued to sharpen up Ah Jun’s skills with mastering the skills of Si Ma’s saber, Jun’s family’s swords, and also his own survival techniques that he once taught Jun Wu Chou.

Gu Jian En Chou Ji 1984: Part I

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

I recently re-watched this series after haven’t watched it for over ten years now and I must say it was an interesting journey because I watched it with much more observation this time around.

The story was about the five families assigned to guard a certain treasure that was hidden for emergency crisis, such as the fund for war against the Mongolians. The five families were Jun, Qiu, Si Ma, and two of the other ones. Of the five families, the Jun family kept the map while the Qiu kept the little knife that was supposed to be the key to reading the map. Without both items, one or the other was useless by itself.

In the process of guarding the treasure, conflicts arose within the five men representing the five families–as it was expected when treasures were involved. Somehow, they all died because of those conflicts. Out of the five families, the Qiu’s son, Qiu Dong Li (秋東籬 – portrayed by Steve Ma Jing Tao) had already betrayed his own country by serving under the Mongolians. He also caused a misunderstanding between the Jun and Si Ma families by spreading the rumors that Si Ma Xiao (司馬嘯 – portrayed by Chen Xing) had killed Jun Wu Chou (君無愁 – portrayed by Liu De Kai)’s father. Qiu intended for both Si Ma and Jun to fight to death, eliminating his ultimate threats so it was easier to manipulate the rest of the jianghu world in following the Mongolians.

Upon hearing that Si Ma Xiao was present at this one inn, Jun Wu Chou came to challenge Si Ma to a duel. They did not have to fight if it wasn’t for Qiu’s scheme again by swapping the letters Si Ma sent to Jun to explain of his reasons and to dispel the rumors. Si Ma was not a coward but it was because he suddenly feared of losing his family after his wife just gave birth.

Seeing that it was unavoidable, Si Ma took up the challenge and fought with Jun for five days. Within those five days, they became the best of friends and even ended up becoming sworn brothers in the end. They even had an agreement if one died, the other would carry out some unfinished business for him. Si Ma wanted Jun to promise that Jun would take care of his wife and son if he were to die. He also made Jun promised to take over the duty of taking care of General Zhou (周)’s nephew–to which he was supposed to find. Jun’s unfinished business was finding the enemy who had killed his brother and sisters and avenged their deaths. (This was actually carried out by Si Ma one of the nights after the day’s duel. He actually used very fast horses for the journey and was able to come back the next morning and in time for the next duel.)

On the fifth day of the duel, Si Ma and Jun swapped their saber and sword–respectively–to change their methods since they wanted to seek feedback on their learned skills from one another from the past four days. After a few more rounds of fighting, it was apparent that Si Ma had mastered Jun’s swords skills–though he had used less force or Jun would have lost his left hand already. Jun’s admittance of defeat and admiration for Si Ma’s skills was short lived since they returned to the subject of Jun’s father’s death. Si Ma then found out that the letter he sent to Jun did not come through. Si Ma asked Jun about the letter but Jun denied having received it. However, that was also cut short because Si Ma soon felt the poison seeping in and died instantly. Jun checked Si Ma’s saber again to find poison on it as well as on Si Ma’s wound. Jun then turned to Qiu Dong Li and his men to demand an explanation for the incident. Qiu denied and even swore that he had nothing to do with it. He insisted on investigating the matter for Jun–just to escape from Jun’s grasp.

Jun did not have any more time to argue with Qiu since he was brought back to tending to Si Ma’s wife. She requested to go back to her room before coming back to discuss some matters with Jun. She knew that Jun was not to be blamed since the poison was actually on her husband’s saber. After repeating of Jun’s promise about taking care of their son–Jun (俊 – which means handsome), Si Ma’s wife committed suicide with Jun’s sword–which was still laying by her husband’s body all the while. Jun was too late to stop her since she had slashed her throat. However, Jun did discover that his sword also had poison on it.

Jun rushed upstairs to find Si Ma’s son whom Si Ma’s wife had placed in her room earlier to discover that the room was empty. What happened was one of the waiters from the inn named Yao San (姚三) had carried the baby away since he found out about Si Ma’s death. (Si Ma Xiao had helped him and his family paid off some debt so he was very grateful of Si Ma and was willing to repay one day.) Though he was the one who saw the greedy medic sprayed poison onto the sword and saber the previous night, he still blamed the whole incident on Jun because if Jun had not demanded a duel, the whole incident would not happen. Jun rushed downstairs to find Qiu and his men still around. Qiu had set up a scapegoat to take the fall for the one who schemed against Si Ma and Jun. Jun did not any time to waste since he wanted to find Si Ma’s son immediately, so he rushed off after having found out that Qiu had killed the scapegoat already. (Qiu had faked the other man’s death to convince Jun and told the man to go into hiding for a while.)

While Jun was on his way to find Si Ma Jun (司馬俊) and the waiter–Yao San, he encountered many of the hitmen sent by Qiu to get rid of both Jun and the baby–to avoid troubles in the future. Jun only vaguely suspected Qiu since he knew that Qiu was a despicable type–and was jealous of Si Ma’s skills, but did not think that Qiu was already working for the Mongolians.

Anyway, Jun and Qiu’s men continued to chase after Yao San and the baby Si Ma Jun. Time after time, Jun or someone would appear to rescue Yao San and Si Ma Jun in time. Yao San’s father was killed by Qiu’s men since he did not open his mouth to expose his son’s whereabouts. Yao San’s sister was soon killed as well since she was trying to protect Yao San and Si Ma Jun–by using herself as a decoy. Yao San also lost a hand and was forced to jump off the cliff by Qiu’s men. (Jun was not around to save Yao San from the cliff incident because he was stopped by another swordsman who heard of Jun’s skills and wanted to challenge him to a duel–which caused a delay for Jun to come in time.)

After having learned that Yao San and Si Ma Jun had encountered their worst fate, Jun returned to where the swordsman was and carried out his promise with the swordsman. Jun did not forget to inform the swordsman of Yao San and Si Ma Jun’s fate either–which the swordsman was full of remorse but was not able to do anything else to mend the situation. (The swordsman was known as Ou Yang Bu Sai.) Jun and Ou Yang found a place where they had their duel–to which Ou Yang lost. He was shattered because he did not believe he would lose to Jun just like that. He left and was not seen for the time being.

Jun continued on his journey in an attempt to find Yao San and Si Ma Jun again–though the chances were slim. He got himself tangled into some conflicts because he rescued a young woman named Yun Yun (雲芸 – portrayed by Chi Qiu Mei). Her father was killed because he did not give in to the enemies’ request of handing over his famous sabers. Jun and Yun Yun traveled through the night and ended up at a lake. Jun then handed the sabers back to Yun Yun since it was her father’s. However, she tossed them down the lake after an outburst, claiming that it had caused her father’s death, therefore, she did not want to keep it. She then apologized for her outburst and gave Jun a souvenir since he had saved her. She also made a request that he shall accompany her back to her hometown since she wanted to bring her father’s ashes back there. She stopped herself and said she was too demanding since he had already helped her so much. He stopped her in her tracks and agreed to accompany her on the way.

Along the way, they were stopped various times and were told that they should follow another path instead. The order was issued by a young master by the name of Nan Gong Sheng (南宮胜). After many battles between Nan Gong’s men, Yun Yun was abducted and Jun was on the journey to find her once again. As time passed, many pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.

Ou Yang’s identity was also revealed and the reason behind his wanting to have a duel with Jun was uncovered. He wanted to be the best swordsman in the world. But moreover, he wanted to prove to his soulmate, Shan Shan (珊珊), that he was the best. Ou Yang was devasted of the defeat and was using wine as a release for his failure. Shan Shan soon pulled him out of it by her encouraging words. He soon discovered a new way to win Jun–through Shan Shan’s dance movements, so he was on his way to find Jun once again. To Ou Yang’s disappointment, he lost again to Jun a second time and sulked his sorrows over wine once again. Shan Shan once again rescued him with her encouragements–and then more of scolding. Ou Yang and Shan Shan soon joined forces with Jun to help Jun in solving the mystery surrounding Jun. (Shan Shan also wanted to solve the mystery of her father’s death.)

Nan Gong Sheng’s identity was also elaborated. He was actually working under Yun Yun to create a trap for Jun. Apparently, Yun Yun’s real name was Xiao Yu. She was under the commander of her father to get rid of Jun. (Yes, she was on the Mongolian side.) To everyone’s surprise, Nan Gong soon found out that Jun was a very righteous man and a noble swordsman. He began to feel conflicted time after time when he was plotting against Jun. He finally broke away from Xiao Yu’s grasp after learning that she had many pursuers who were willing to die for her–like himself. Unwilling to be made a fool of and feeling the loyalty to Jun’s friendship, Nan Gong finally chose to help Jun uncover the truth behind Xiao Yu’s plot.

Another unexpected thing happened since Xiao Yu found herself falling for Jun and did not want to kill him anymore. She ended up wanting to recruit him to join the Mongolians instead. Jun denied her request and even turned down her love for him. Yes, he was reminded of his past lover Rou Rou (柔柔 – portrayed by Wu Feng) when he first met her and seeing her kindness as Yun Yun, but he was not blinded by it that he would betray his country. Xiao Yu, feeling both frustrated and humiliated, sent out the order to make Jun suffer. She captured him many times–mostly using underhand tricks but he soon escaped because he had learned how to survive through different skills that he was taught.

After many failed attempts to kill Jun, Xiao Yu finally joined forces with Qiu Dong Li (who had been hiding in the dark the whole time to observe the scenes between Jun and Xiao Yu hoping to reap without taking any actions). They both thought up of various traps to capture and kill Jun. Qiu resorted to using his old trick of trying to frame Jun for robbery and murder, getting him in trouble with one of the most powerful clans of the jianghu world. However, with the help of Ou Yang, Nan Gong, Shan Shan, and Miss Tang (whom Jun met along the way when Qiu and Xiao Yu were creating misunderstandings between her family and Jun earlier but was cleared of already), Jun was able to clear his name. Xiao Yu threw in a final blow at Jun by bringing out Jun’s brother Ding Wu Jian (丁無劍 – portrayed by Long Guan Wu) after realizing that the plan of framing Jun had failed, causing Jun to be shocked of his appearance since Jun believed that Ding had died already. Jun called out “Da Ge” (大哥 – Eldest Brother) upon seeing Ding but Ding told him that, “I’m not your brother.” Jun insisted that Ding was and that Ding will always be his brother. They exchanged a few words before Ding requested a duel between the two. Jun was not able to turn down the request since Xiao Yu had poisoned everyone present and said that if Jun did not agree to the duel, everyone would die. Jun had no choice but to agree.

The conflict between Ding and Jun was due to their parents’ generation. Ding and Jun were actually cousins more than brothers, but they lived under the same household hence the whole ‘brothers’ thing. Ding’s father eloped with one of the housemaids because the other Jun elders did not approve of such relationship (due to high-low class differences between the two). Ding’s father–aka Jun’s uncle–was considered dead to the family after the incident. However, Ding’s mother brought him back to the Jun household after Ding’s father’s death. Ding’s mother was also very ill at that time and only wanted someone to take care of Ding. The elders of the Jun family did not care to acknowledge her words and told her that Ding did not belong there, saying how they would not know if the kid was really a ‘Jun’ or not. Ding’s mother begged them to take Ding in and that Ding could take her surname instead. After saying those words, Ding’s mother committed suicide. The Jun elders finally fulfilled Ding’s mother’s request and took Ding in. That was how Ding was not a ‘Jun’ although his father was. Having witnessed his mother’s tragic death at such a young age, Ding kept to himself and did not care to acknowledge the others during his stay. Although the young Wu Chou was very friendly and kind toward Ding time after time, Ding did not open up to him at all. Things changed when Rou Rou came into the picture since her nice and kind nature had affected Ding, making him more alert to his surroundings. The three became the best of friends. Ding even taught Jun some of the most fierce techniques of learning different martial art skills as well as survival instincts. He also taught Jun the swords techniques he discovered that was used to defeat the Jun family’s swords techniques. Although Jun was very smart, he was not as good as Ding.

The bond between Ding, Jun, and Rou Rou ended the day Ding learned that Jun and Rou Rou were getting married soon. One day when some people came to cause trouble for the Jun family, Ding jumped out to rescue Jun and also used that opportunity to challenge Jun to a duel. Ding stated that he was more capable than Jun of leading the Jun family, but the underlying reason was because of Rou Rou–and probably something he wanted to do for his mom. After Ding left, Jun and Rou Rou tried to think up of a way to stop the duel from happening. Rou Rou was very smart and had seen through Ding’s real reason for the duel. She told Jun to meet her in her room the next day since she had a plan. Jun asked of her plan but was told to wait for the following day. Jun had no choice but to do just that. The next day when Jun came, Jun only spotted the letter Rou Rou left behind for him, stating that she had left with Ding to an unknown place to live together. Jun was heartbroken and used wine to erase his misery but failed. Soon, the Jun family met with more troubles so the elders of the Jun family told Jun to put aside his love problems and focus on their family crisis. Jun woke up from his trance and concentrated in mastering his skills and continued to lead the Jun family. He later heard of the rumor that Ding killed Rou Rou somehow and had also died afterward.

The mystery of how Ding was still alive was solved through Ding’s conversation with Xiao Yu. Apparently, the real reason why Rou Rou ran off with Ding was because she wanted to save Jun, knowing that Jun was not a match of Ding’s if they were to go forth with the duel. She wanted to prevent the tragic event from happening. Ding and Rou Rou lived quite happily at a small hut in the woods for the first several years but Ding later discovered of Rou Rou’s distant behaviors. He soon found out that Rou Rou was missing Jun and the real reason of her running off with him. He used wine to erase his sorrows but failed (like every single guy in this series who attempted to erase their sorrows with wine). Rou Rou questioned Ding of his behavior and tried to stop him from drinking. However, Ding turned mad and confronted Rou Rou of the real reason why she was willing to live with him. He threatened to go find Jun and carry out his words of dueling with Jun. However, Rou Rou tried to stop him and told him that he was drunk and was not himself. Both because he was mad and because he was very drunk, he pulled out his sword and killed Rou Rou, which he soon realized and regretted. It was too late since she died that night. Before she died, Rou Rou made Ding promise her not to harm Jun. Ding went mad afterward and left the place after burying Rou Rou. He was later rescued by Xiao Yu’s father when he was injured at one time and vowed his loyalty to Xiao Yu’s father. He also became Xiao Yu’s master from that point on.

Xiao Yu held the final piece of the puzzle that many, especially Jun, wanted to know of the outcome. She was reconsidering over her behaviors toward Jun and found it ironic that she was stuck in between her master and Jun–like how Rou Rou was stuck in between them when she was still alive. She felt that the duel was unavoidable–though she was the one who wanted it to be that way so she could get rid of Jun. However, after hearing the story of how Rou Rou had sacrificed for Jun, Xiao Yu was having second thoughts about the whole matter. She knew it was too late to stop Ding so she went to Jun and persuaded him to leave so he did not have to fight Ding. Jun denied her request because he had to save all the people who were poisoned.

In an attempt to stop the duel from happening, Ou Yang and Nan Gong tried to sneak into Xiao Yu’s place to find the remedy to the poison. They were stopped by Ding and had to flee the scene. (Ding had no intention of killing them anyway.)

The day of the duel finally arrived and Jun met Ding at the location at the exact time. Their duel became intense after several strikes because Ding was eager to get it over with. Ding finally used his fiercest technique toward Jun–to which Xiao Yu jumped in and received the stab. The scene of Xiao Yu jumping in to shield Jun from harm reminded Ding of how Rou Rou had sacrificed for Jun, causing him to go mad once again. He ran off yelling out that he had killed Rou Rou while Jun tended to Xiao Yu. Xiao Yu took the last few minutes of her life to tell Jun about Rou Rou’s sacrifice for Jun, clearing up Jun’s misunderstandings of Rou Rou and Ding. She told Jun that she wanted to be remembered just like Rou Rou.

Qiu benefited the most with Xiao Yu’s death since the Mongolian leader whom he served under–aka Xiao Yu’s father–had to rely on him since Xiao Yu was dead.

After they cured the ones who were poisoned, Jun and his friends parted ways. Jun said that he would once again go search for Yao San and Si Ma Jun since he learned that both were still alive. (It was because of Qiu’s carelessness in trying to create a realistic story when setting up a trap one time that he disclosed too much information, causing Jun and the others to be suspicious that it was true of the matter.) Miss Tang (who preferred to be called Xiao Jin Dao – 小金刀 or Little Golden Saber) wanted to follow Jun on the journey. Jun agreed upon seeing how persistent she was in helping him. Ou Yang and Shan Shan were heading back home to settle down but told Jun that if he ever needed them, they would appear within a blink of an eye to help him. Nan Gong said he would go back to his house and gather up his men to join forces with General Chang (常). Each with a different goal in mind, they separated.

Along the way, Jun and Xiao Jin Dao had to fight off Qiu Dong Li’s men once again. Yao San was on the run once again upon hearing of Jun’s presence drawing near. Xiao Jin Dao soon left Jun since she no longer wanted to follow him, knowing that her love will never be reciprocated. (She just hoped that one day she will be remembered and that was good enough.) She wished him luck, knowing he was more than capable of taking care of himself with his skills.

Go here for part 2.