The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2016: Review

(image credit: as marked)

Interestingly, I never reviewed this either. Or at least, I didn’t care to go back, lol. I just didn’t feel like doing that at that time. I don’t know. I guess I might as well since I had some notes and all. How was it? Mixed feelings throughout actually. I guess it was inevitable–due to the fact that this wasn’t the first version ever to be made. But there were some things that stuck out, which were hard to ignore. I’ll start with the usual, of course, before diving in deeper.

Main Cast:

  • Li Yi Tong (李一桐) as Huang Rong (黄蓉). She was adorable. If you could say that about Huang Rong, that was. She could be so mischievious at times too. If you read the novel or watched past adaptations, you get the idea. I don’t need to say it anymore. But what made her different and stood out for me was how the production team didn’t cut back on her martial arts scenes. I don’t know. In the past, only one person who portrayed Huang Rong made an impact for me during fight scenes and that was Athena Chu. (Yes, I loved Barbara Yung and she’s irreplacable and made an impact and was also my favorite Huang Rong but the production team cut back and downplayed her fight scenes so she didn’t shine in that area for me. There was a lot of awesomess about her, so that part could be overlooked.) Yes, I said it. But Athena’s fight scenes (especially the part they snuck into the enemy’s camp to investigate at the beginnning and she used various martial arts techniques to fend off her opponents. That was one of the scenes that defined her character but past adaptation had failed.) Anyway, back to Li Yi Tong’s scenes, I loved her martial arts scenes even more. Although, the production team did exaggerate at some parts, but it actually enhanced Huang Rong’s martial arts skills and made up for all the versions that downplayed her skills. I meant we heard from other characters about her background and having inherited all her father’s skills–and much more. Yet it was like she didn’t get the chance to demonstrate her skills. This one, it gave Huang Rong plenty of space for that and Li Yi Tong carried out her role wonderfully throughout. She was witty, she was intelligent and could be so cunning time called for it. Other times when she was with Guo Jing, she let her innocent and gentle side came out, which was a nice touch because it showed a different side of her when she was with the one she loved.
  • William Yang Xu Wen (杨旭文) as Guo Jing (郭靖). He was surprisingly impressive. Yes, it was mostly because he was brand new (or almost) at that time. No one really knew what to expect of him. Yet he delivered. He became my second favorite Guo Jing. Yes, I’m picky. Granted, Guo Jing is really hard to portary. He could be so noble and firm in his beliefs (mostly influenced by his upbringing) but could be so clueless about other stuff. It could be said that he was just simple-minded, uscheming and had a kind heart. William did really well potraying those characteristics. What made him a success for me was how he managed to portray the character in a normal sense, not slow his motor skills. What do I mean by that? Some of the past adaptations seemed to let on that just because Guo Jing was a toned down character and simple-minded (unscheming), he should be slow when it came to his motor skills too. (Well, unless it was during the fighting scenes, of course.) That was not the correct approach–just because some people thought that was how a simple character should be. William portrayed it in a way that was much more normal for Guo Jing’s age, considering how he was indeed exploring the various environments when the others led him back to the mainland. Then there were lots he had to learn about human mind, instead of his somehwat safe bubble since little. His reactions were normal and relatable, not just super slow and disorganized like some had portrayed previoulsy. So, yes, I credited him and the production for noticing those details and wanted to humanize his character even more instead of the robotic ways some had chosen to portray the character. Some ended up abandoning the approach halfway, which made the character even more contradictory thus failing. (That was why, aside from Felix, I hadn’t liked anyone who potrayed this character before.) The little details mattered. That was why William became my second favorite after watching.
  • Zoey Meng Zi Yi (孟子義) as Mu Nian Ci (穆念慈). Unfortunately, she was a major disappointment as Mu Nian Ci. I actually liked her style at first with her powerful moves and her vibrant appearance at times. I felt it was a different type of character since to be honest, I never thought Mu Nian Ci could be a sexy type of character before and she brought that forward. It was a different feeling and I won’t stomp on that bit. However, her lack of participation in the main plot made me frustrated. Not like I wanted her to steal everyone’s spotlight by appearing at the wrong time—unlike a certain adaptation, but she was so inactive with helping Huang Rong and Guo Jing that I wondered what her role was in there. That scene when Guo Jing was attacked in the palace? She ended up running away and committing suicide instead of confronting Yang Kang and helping the other two. Sure, it was devastating for her to find out the truth about the man she loved, but I felt her lack of reaction made it frustrating. What about her friendship with the other two? Not to mention Guo Jing was on the brink of death. They actually somewhat reinvented her character, I wished they had thought it through carefully, considering how well they did to uplift the other two with some details I had mentioned.
  • Chen Xing Xu (陈星旭) as Yang Kang (楊康). He wasn’t bad, but wasn’t the ultimate Yang Kang either. Yeah, I guess having Michael in the production made it a tad unease. I thought his best scenes were after he thought he lost Nian Ci and then eventually scheming against everyone, including Wanyan Honglie. He possibly gave his stepfather the creeps too sometimes because how the man stared at him from time to time, wondering what was going on in his head. It was near the end how he was going to go to the max with his evil plots. Because the rest didn’t make he feel he was Yang Kang. Just a casual villain. 

Supporting:

  • Five Invincible Beings
    • Michael Miu as Huang Yao Shi. LOL! When the news came out, I laughed for half an hour straight. Okay, exaggerating here BUT seriously! He was Yang Kang in the past, so it took a lot of convincing to see him in the role of Huang Yao Shi. (Initially, because I changed my mind when I finally watched.) If I had to admit, he was the handsomest Huang Yao Shi. (Yeah, I said what I said, NOT sorry.) Okay, for real, though, it wasn’t surprising that Michael pulled it through with his acting chops. He might not be your typical Huang Yao Shi that you had in mind, but he sure delivered with his own version and made it convincing. His attitude was sure stingy and could be arrogant at times, lol. But he delivered.
    • Hei Zi (黑子) as Ou Yang Feng (歐陽鋒). I thought he would have nailed this character without a doubt. But I was wrong. Considering how he had several similar roles where he was quite stingy and stubborn. Basically, hard to get along with and all. Perhaps, the scriptwriters wanted to dial it down a bit and make it different. Yet, it was the wrong call. Because he seemed much more reserved and polite that it made him less powerful in the grand scheme of things. Why would he be polite to those Jin royalties? He was a famous martial arts master after all. Wherever he went, he caused fear and havoc. He didn’t need all the decorum act. Yet those scenes where he was actaully polite to those people made me feel unease. It was so out of his character for someone like Ou Yang Feng. If he was being polite, it was just a facade. Like how he would do with the five invincible beings on the same level as him (because he was testing the water and didn’t want to rock the boat with them until he could beat them all). Yet this one showed genuine respect for some parties that made it hard to endure. To top it off, it seemed like he was getting chummy with the others whom the Jin royalties recruited to help their agenda. It was unbelivable. Seriously. (Yeung Chak Lam still the best, lol. Sorry, but he totally nailed the role.) But maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on the actor himself here. It was possibly due to the fact that the scripwriters wanted him to be different yet missed the mark on their experiment.
    • Ray Lui as Reverend Yi Dang (一燈大師). After having seen him portrayed Bodhidharma, I had no doubt about it and he delivered. I know it has been a really long time since that past role. But this was considered a safe role for Ray. So, I didn’t think he needed a crash course or anything, lol.
    • Zhao Li Xin is portraying Hong Qi Gong (洪七公). I surprisingly liked him much more than I expected. Mostly, because I didn’t know what to expect with some pictures and initial trailers. I really liked his humor, his mischievousness but also his serious side. The actor did really well to make the character likable and lively all around.
    • Han Dong as Wang Chong Yang (王重陽). It was a brief and interesting appearance. He delivered. It wasn’t that hard, lol. But he made the character seemed serious and respectable enough for what was relevant to the story.
  • Seven Freaks of Jiangnan
    • Wang Kui Rong (王奎荣) as Ke Zhen E (柯鎮惡). The leader of the group.
    • Ji Chen Mu (姬晨牧) as Zhu Cong (朱聰). The brain of the group.
    • Wang Chun Yuan (王春元) as Han Bao Ju (韓寶駒).
    • Ma Jing Jing (马京京) as Nan Xi Ren (南希仁).
    • Xin Peng (信鹏) as Zhang A Sheng (張阿生).
    • Long De (龙德) as Quan Jin Fa (全金發).
    • Xiao Yin (肖茵) as Han Xiao Ying (韓小瑩). The only female member of the group.
  • Mi Lu as Mei Chao Feng. She delivered her character well. No doubt about it.
  • Zong Feng Yan (宗峰岩) is Wanyan Honglie (完颜洪烈). I thought he did a good job for his role. He was convincing.
  • Liu Zhi Yang (刘智扬) as Ou Yang Ke (歐陽克). I got used to his image as I watched further into the series. I realized that since he came from a different place, it made sense that he was dressed differently. However, his character, that was a different story. All right, the background story was the same for the most part. It was different in a sense that it allowed us to see more into his character than what was on the surface. We got to see his vulnerable side and his emotional state with his abandonment issues and his struggles growing up. I welcomed those different interpretations. It made sense, considering where he came from and how he must have suffered because of his uncle’s techniques, etc. Yet that sort of presented this tricky situation and became a double-edged sword in the grand picture. How? It became an excuse for his behaviors later and how it projected this rapists apologist vibe major time. How in the world did I jump to such a conclusion? Ou Yang Ke was a serial rapist. Yet having him so relateable distracted some viewers major time and sympathized with him, even siding with him in some situations. There were comments circulating about how Huang Rong was cruel to him. It was disturbing, to say that least. Once again, I need to clarify that I’m not picking on the actor. I felt he did a good job portraying this adaptation’s version of the character and I could feel his pain at times with being abandoned by his father when little and was forced to be tough. However, the scriptwriters glossed over the fact that all the women that he kidnapped and raped didn’t do a thing wrong. He was a dangerous person, why should Huang Rong show him mercy? If he captured her, she would be Victim # who knows what. (Which didn’t make sense during the ship explosion incident that she entrusted her master to him. It was a ridiculous bit. It showed Huang Rong’s vulnerability at that point and she wasn’t thinking straight but I didn’t like that bit.)
  • Ning Wen Tong as Zhou Bo Tong (周伯通). I thought he was funny at first and didn’t mind his over the top jokes. It was his own portrayal. However, I felt the script failed when he said that they might as well give the manual to Wanyan Honglie. Even that was a ridiculous comment no matter who said it, because although Zhou Bo Tong loved jokes and all, he was patriotic in his own way, knowing what was important and serious. He wouldn’t insist they hand the manual over. 
  • Zhang Kai Yi (张楷依) as Ying Gu (瑛姑). She was so beautiful and fitted the role so well. I actually really enjoyed watching her. Yeah, I know she went overboard with some stuff, but honestly, try to lose a kid and no one was on your side regarding situations, you would go psycho too. I seriously was floored that Huang Rong (regardless of versions) wasn’t on her side regarding what happened. Just because Yi Dang repented didn’t make things better (and possibly because he was her father’s friend). But seriously, Huang Rong was one of those characters that went against the general public’s opinions. Sure, it wasn’t Yi Dang’s fault technically because he didn’t attack the kid (and he indeed was in a hard situation, knowing possibly the enemy created a trap for him) BUT he didn’t save an innocent child when it called for it. He put his pride above all else. (So yeah, he was lost in my book anyway–regardless of version.) Anyway, back to Ying Gu, I felt she was once again blamed (just like Xi Ruo) because she was a beautiful woman. Sure, she committed infedility BUT it wasn’t like she could leave the royal palace and divorce the king and get out the relationship. (It was all right that the king had lots of wives though, let’s overlook that bit. Yeah, sarcasm here. I don’t care if they didn’t show every one of the king’s wives in here, you have to be crazy to think he was one loyal king to have only one wife.) You must be like, “But two wrongs don’t make a right.” If there weren’t so many double standards going on, I would have reconsider. But this? Also, Zhou Bo Tong was a coward and I hated him even more in this version than ever. He ran away and left her just like that because he couldn’t deal with his own problems. (Sure, it was fun watching him at times but to think about it more seriously, he wasn’t that likable either if considering all angles.)
  • Xia Zi Tong (夏梓桐) as Sha Gu (傻姑). The actress was convincing in her role. She was kind of adorable too.
  • Tay Ping Hui is Temujin (鐵木真) aka Genghis Khan (成吉思汗). No one could beat Paul Chun in the role, but Tay Ping Hui came to a close second with his portrayal.
  • Dai Wen Wen (代文雯) as Hua Zheng (華箏). It was really hard to like her, regardless. I did consider all that they’d been through. But seriously, not much difference. Technically, she was the legit wife and Huang Rong was the third-party. However, the fact that Guo Jing never liked her and treated her like his sister and only reconsidered because of his supposed duties and gratitude toward her father said it for me. Sure, it wasn’t her fault she liked him, but the advantage was in her court when her father was so powerful.
  • Fu Tian Jiao (傅天骄) as Jebe (哲別). Guo Jing’s archery master.

Others:

  • Shao Bing as Guo Xiao Tian. Guo Jing’s father. Not much to say really except he sure was unlucky, lol. Shao Bing portrayed him well as an honest and patriotic character though.
  • Zeng Li as Li Ping. Guo Jing’s mother. I like Zeng Li, really like her as actress and thought she did quite well in this role. However, character-wise? NOT really. Am I being petty because of how the plot favored her and paved her out to be an enduring mother, bringing up her son without needing to remarry? No, I just never liked her because of how hypocritcal her character turned out to be. Yes, I said it. I actually wrote the character analysis for Xi Ruo first before circling back to this one. Given the situation, do you think she wouldn’t choose the same thing as Xi Ruo? I swear! You’re all like, “But you don’t like what ifs and thought it was unfair if the plot picked on Xi Ruo.” Yes, I do. But there was a pattern to based it on. She didn’t have a problem with pushing her son to marry Hua Zheng. It was all right that she liked Hua Zheng as a person, but wanting to push her son just because she liked Hua Zheng? Was it to repay all those gratitude? But seriously, if given a chance and if Genghis Khan had picked her, would she turn him down? She might not love him, but she could have done it out of gratitude, just like how she pushed her son to do so. (Of course, things change later, but seriously.) Stop making it like the hero’s mom was all superior to the villain’s mom just because. AND I’m not trying to pit the two women (Li Ping and Xi Ruo) against one another by doing the comparison or getting into this ridiculous debate that probably no ones cares about (because it is all fictional), but the plot did that.
  • Li Zong Han as Yang Tie Xin. Yang Kang’s father. I never really liked him regardless, so not much to say really. It was interesting to see him portraying this character though.
  • Crystal Liu Qian Han as Bao Xi Ruo. Yang Kang’s mother. I surprisingly liked her a lot more in this version. I thought it was a matter of perspective and I welcomed it more, actually. Some of the past versions made her out to be the villain straight away, no thought process whatsoever just because she followed another man. Yet, this one allowed us more time to explore her character individually than was just the surface of the plot with laying out the sequence of events unfolding. I thought the scenes of how they gave equal time to both of the widows and to-be-mothers’ struggles and journey after the tragedies made it better. Yes, some of the past adaptations also did that, but they highlighted and elevated Li Ping more because she was the hero’s mother. However, this one showed us how vividly Xi Ruo felt after the tragedy and the hardships she went through. She didn’t ask for all of the tragedies either, how the world was she supposed to know she saved the wrong person and thus unleashed a chain of events unknowingly? They glossed over the fact that she was also a vulnerable, pregnant woman all alone as well, NOT just Li Ping. Just because one was considered stronger physically didn’t mean that the other deserved all the hate because she was less capable. So, she remarried, but her thought process at that point was to protect her child. The safety of the baby was her priority and she might or might not made the best choice by following that dude. But she was in a very vulnerable state. Also, other versions totally hating on her for being beautiful (thus causing tragedies like that stupid old saying I hate). It wasn’t her fault she was beautiful. Besides, her beauty wasn’t forever, she’ll grow old one day too. Oh yeah, anyone felt like they should blame the dude who couldn’t control himself thus causing all these tragedies? Or her husband for knowing she was beautiflu and married her? (If she was so much trouble, why don’t you pick someone you don’t consider “beautiful” then? Then no tragedies. Yes, I’m on a roll, I’m not letting anyone off. Also, I’m sorry you’re so perfect, you know exactly what to do at the exact moment if you were to be thrown into the exact obstacle as hers.) If you’re like, “But they did condemn Wanyan Honglie.” Um, they hated him because he was part of the Jin empire and wanted to take over the Song dynasty. They didn’t focus as much on how he should be blamed for lusting after Xi Ruo, not being able to control himself. Yes, they did acknowledge he caused the deaths of Guo Xiao Tian and Yang Tie Xin (initially), but still acted like Xi Ruo was “the beauty causing the tragedies.”

Relationships – Friendships, romances, etc.

  • William Yang/ Guo Jing and Li Yi Tong/ Huang Rong. They were so adorable and I loved them from the start. They were probably my favorite Guo Jing and Huang when focused on and I actually rooted for them throughout. (Once again, loved Felix and Barbara, but I actually loved watching Yang Kang and Nian Ci more in that version, lol. Don’t ask, blame Michael and Sharon.) Everything they went through–although the majority were almost the same because the creators of the series needed to stick with the original story, but some of their additional scenes were so cute. I could watch them forever, which is unrealstic, I know. But they were one of the rare few on screen couples of recent that made me feel excited to ship any pairing–for that matter, lol. Their chemistry were seriously off the charts for me. I looked forward to all their scenes together and hated that they had to be apart at any moment of the plot (didn’t matter if I knew that was how it was supposed to be). What was even more adorable? Not sure who posted it (possibly the production team or the actor/actress themselves), but there was there were several pictures floating around capturing a scene they were getting ready for the shoot. William helped Yi Tong combed her hair and all. It was so cute!
  • Chen Xing Xu/ Yang Kang and Zoey Meng/ Mu Nian Ci. I don’t know. I saw some off screen pictures of them at different promotional events and they looked quite compatible, but on screen, not so much. It was possibly because they made her look older or something. NOT saying she’s old, lol. The image for her in there made her much more mature than his image in there. When I brought it up, someone said it was possibly they showed how she had traveled far and wide with her godfather and had endured a lot hence showing her more matured and experinced versus his having been in a royal bubble for all his life. That made sense and gave me something to think about. Anyway, together? Sometimes, I was convinced. I don’t know. (Once again, blame Michael and Sharon, lol. They made a strong impression on me ages ago and even overrode my focus toward Felix and Barbara, so what made you think these two could convince me otherwise?) I thought their acting individually and how they showed they cared about one another was convincing. But together, it seemed only so and so. Maybe it would have nice to see them in a modern background? LOL! Just a thought.
  • The friendships between all the four major characters. I thought they had more foundation in here thus making the betrayals of later more heartbreaking. There were some scenes that was extended and showed us how the four of them shared a bond before things got even more serious with all the conflicts and complications that forced them all to pick sides. It was also interesting that they developed a separate friendship for Huang Rong and Nian Ci as well, not just somewhat interacting because their signicant others were sworn brothers. Well, they didn’t have a problem at all in some of the past adaptions. But sometimes the elders made it harder by pitching them against one another. Their genuine friendship in here made me felt their characters were also independent from their significant others as well, allowing them their own space. Like they weren’t mentioned just because of the other two characters. That was also one of the top reasons why I felt it was a joke regarding Nian Ci’s inactiveness in defense of Guo Jing and Huang Rong as said above. Perhaps, the writers gave up near the middle after they were done developing the initial scenes? I don’t know. I know, they had to make it different and gave us something else to think about. Yet it was hard to swallow.
  • Shao Bing/ Guo Xiao Tian and Zeng Li/ Li Ping. Despite my criticisms of her character and all, I loved them as a couple. They sure had chemistry and showed their bond well during their brief appearances together.
  • Li Zong Han/ Yang Tie Xin and Cyrstal Liu Qian Han/ Bao Xi Ruo. They matched and seemed like a model couple and all.

Discussions:

  • Tribute to TVB’s ’83 version? I’m guessing but it seems so. Because they used to the theme song for the other version as a basis. They made it a softer version with music only. It was suitable though and a nice touch. One of the rare remixes that I liked.
  • The parents’ stories were brief. Despite some extensions of scenes and exploration of characters added here and there, I felt it was nicely brief. Because TVB’s ’83 version sure dragged it out with the parents later on and the unnecessary back and forth. This being the umpteenth adaptation sort of helped pushing it forward and not dwell too long. But It was nice that they stuck through with making it brief instead of dragging it out on purpose so the actors and actresses had more scenes.
  • Guo Jing actually apologized to Huang Yao Shi after the misunderstandings were resolved. I don’t remmeber what happened in the old versions anymore. Possibly he did and Huang Yao Shi just brushed it off as one of those polite stuff that he rather do without. But this one made it tenfold more sincere when Guo Jing tried to apologize for all the terrible stuff he did during the misunderstandings.
  • Mu Nian Ci fallen down a cliff and still managed to NOT miscarry. Um, okay, I have to clarfiy, I have nothing against Little Yang Guo, okay? But that was one of the most unbelivable scenes ever. It was really hard to overlook. You know how high that cliff is? So yeah. That one dude fell off to his death while trying to grab onto Huang Rong’s condor. How could Nian Ci survived? You could say she fell where the trees were so she must have been saved by the branches versus the other dude falling down the rocky area. Even if she had fortunately survived, how could she not miscarry?
  • Comments. This was one of the sole reasons why it took me forever to watch this. I didn’t finish until two years actually, lol. Because it got locked and then I sort of came back when it was unlocked. When I watched it while it was airing, I couldn’t turn off the comments at all and it was flying across the screen. It was so annoying. But those comments are seriously ridiculous and a good reason as to why I stop searching around for discussions in recent years. Why? Um, an example would be people picking on Guo Jing and Huang Rong for holding hands all the time when they were together. (If it was up to me, I would have cut all scenes without them and have them hold hands all throughout, lol. So, who needs the haters? LOL!) The thing was the people who picked on Guo Jing and Huang Rong for holding hands were the same ones who cheered for Yang Kang to impregnate Nian Ci so Yang Guo could come into existence. NO, I’m not jealous with them for cheering for their favorites. BUT seriously, read the line carefully again. It’s WAY up there and much more intimate than the whole holding hands bit. Seriously. I initially didn’t want to put this in here but had to get that off my chest.

Recommended? I think it’s up to you. Considering how this is the umpteenth adaptation now, I think it’s reasonable to opt-out, lol. It actually rings true for other series as well, lol. It’s all up to preference. I would say there were ups and downs of this version, like others as well. But the most important thing is you have to like the cast to enjoy it. Or you can just skip around, lol.

Year 2016 in Recap

Year 3 in doing this. I really want to keep doing this, but I felt that 2016 had been a complete letdown on my part. Granted, it was a terrible year on many levels. It had affected me so much, draining me emotionally that I didn’t feel like keeping some kind of streak anymore. I only did some posts when I felt like it. Then I also tried to pick myself up by the end of the year by trying to release songs translations back-to-back at times, not even saving them for later so cushion posts could do the honor. I just didn’t feel like updating a lot of things. At first, I had prepared a post about a particular pairing, but I felt like I’m better than that. Not to mention how I wouldn’t want to cause even more misunderstandings between fans. At times, it’s very hard to restrain. But in the end, real-life got in the way. I took the actions that wonderful couple took, instead of arguing with senseless people who are full of evil thoughts for them. Yet I will say that can’t be epic like them so maybe one day I will break out of my silence to go at it in one post to unleash all the bottled-up frustrations. Because I know one of those days I will just blow up.

Total Posts in 2016: 77 (6.5% of all time).

January: 18 (23% of the year)
February: 3 (4%)
March: 1 (1%)
April: 3 (4%)
May: 9 (12%)
June: 7 (9%)
July: 14 (18%)
August: 3 (4%)
September: 3 (4%)
October: 6 (8%)
November: 2 (3%)
December: 8 (10%)

Notice that I took the poll out for the stars. Partially, it was due to what happened earlier this year. The other part was because I felt kind of wrong with teasing readers about possible updates if they voted more or whatever. I’m grateful to those who participated and continue to follow my blog–even in silence. I appreciate the constant likes and all as well. I really do. It’s just that I don’t want to be leaving you hanging on that. Sure, I will continue to update for my favorites from time to time, but that will depend on how long before I take care of some real-life matters.

Books Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

I think the year reached a new low for fan fiction updates because of my distractions of other stuff. I can’t promise it’ll get any better this coming year. I’m sorry that I made those of you who are reading those stories wait for too long. But I can promise you that I will finish regardless of obstacles since I don’t usually scrap stories away when it’s well on its way. I’ll try to do a separate fan fiction update later this year to clarify some matters.

  • Payback – Chapters 4-5

Songs Translations:

Using Rebirth to start the year didn’t help at all. Despite the fact that I was having high hopes at that time. The year continued to dive with a lot of forced positiveness. But what else could I do, right? Hopefully the coming year will be better.

So, what now? I don’t think there is any other choice except to move forward. I want to keep being positive, ignoring trolls in general, and just focus on my own matters. I want to get back on writing posts about Jun Ya and Xiao Xiao Yu. I have been active on Xiao Xiao Yu for the first part of the year and then somehow faded. But I did update more on Qiao Qiao in the later parts of the year. I just have to continue on that track. Not to mention getting back into fanfics, because I seriously miss them. Focusing on just real life stuffs really suck all the energy right out of me. I’ll try to work on a balance. Somehow. Because I seriously miss this blog. What I did do though was letting this blog becoming somewhat official with its own domain. Yes, that was a mini-Christmas present for myself since I managed to find a deal. Oh yeah, how could I forget Janine? Although I did update on her this year, I was somewhat neglecting her and only updating randomly. I also want to get back to Penny. More importantly, I want to actually watch and finish reviewing some dramas I’ve been holding back on.

This might possibly be the last year I do this type of update since I don’t find the fun in it anymore. Maybe resorting back to the typical data from WordPress next year. Not sure. But we’ll see.

The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2016: The Five Invincible Beings

Okay, back with another update. This time on the legendary five invincible beings in the story. Sorry for the terrible translation but it’s hard, lol. But here goes.

Many have known already but Michael Miu is portraying Huang Yao Shi (黃藥師), Huang Rong’s father. He definitely kept up with the time, dyeing his hair and all, LOL!

Hei Zi is portraying Ou Yang Feng (歐陽鋒).

Ray Lui will be Reverend Yi Dang (一燈大師).

Zhao Li Xin is portraying Hong Qi Gong (洪七公).

Lastly, Han Dong will be Wang Chong Yang (王重陽). Yes, he ended up being part of the cast yet it wasn’t what some of us initially thought with rumors and all. But not too bad, right? And here’s a bonus, Ning Wen Tong as Zhou Bo Tong (周伯通):

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.

The War of Beauties

(image credit: as marked)

Initially, I started this ages back when I was hunting down for Han Dong’s dramas. Yet I had to halt because I ended up seeing some spoilers. After calming down a bit, I decided to brave it anyway. However, I had to make sure about twenty times (exaggerating somewhat but it was closer to there) that it wasn’t a certain someone’s drama. YES, when it comes to catfight related dramas and dramatic soaps, I tend to double-check and triple-check just to be sure.

Honestly, I came into this just wanting to watch Han Dong and Loura Lou. However, I felt this was one dramatic experience that I definitely wouldn’t want to watch ever again. It wasn’t that terrible as in the sense of quality. It was well done on some levels with the scheming and the backstabbing, which seemed scary and sadly true in cases seemed during those times. What I meant as never wanting to watch again was because of how heavy the drama was. People are like going “duh” at this point, but I swear, it was presented with a lot of stuff that I thought could do without. Like most dramas nowadays, every single formula got tossed in just to extend the episodes. Sometimes I didn’t see the purpose. Mostly, it was just “wash, rinse, repeat” routine throughout. So I didn’t think it should be 48 episodes. Especially when it focused on the household conflicts for about 99.9% of the time and then rushed near the end to add in some patriotic aspects to wrap up the story. In case anyone wanted to argue that the title was after all The War of Beauties so it made sense with the conflicts within the Bai household, that was just the English title, the Chinese title was different.

There were also rushed scenes of people repenting in the end as well. The most unconvincing was probably Old Madame Bai’s apology narration before she died. Seriously, the majority of the family conflict was conjured and/or manipulated by her throughout. Yet she apologized at the end during the short thoughts? Really? She was seriously let off so easily, considering how she had thrown everyone’s lives off completely by the end. If it wasn’t for her wanting to get some connections for the business of the shop by making Gan Sheng marry Fu Fang, their lives would be different. Then she told her scum servants to drugged Fu Fang all these years so Fu Fang couldn’t get pregnant. That led to Fu Fang’s resentment in herself and eventually others. The pressure was too much hence seeking out advice from her mother (who had plenty of experiences in the manipulation department just like her mother-in-law) and that had unleashed a chain of events onward. Sure, in many situations, it was Fu Fang’s choice. She was an adult after all and should be responsible for causing so much pain and suffering throughout. That was my initial thoughts as well. However, having all the pieces of the puzzle at the end, I realized I should pity her more than condemn her. She was so stuck that she had to choose other alternatives or be taken down. Her actions–guided by whatever reasons–had caused Gui Qin’s death and the children of Mei Xiang, Qiu Lan, and Cai Wei’s. Those events finally caused others to fight back–one way or another–then led to her child’s death. But whose fault was that from the beginning? Even Cai Wei, who was so kindhearted and pure at the beginning got tainted by the end, realizing she couldn’t survive in such an environment hence fighting back as well. Did I like it that she finally got a chance to fight back? Of course, it was way overdue considering how much she had suffered and tried very hard to keep peace with everyone. Something had got to give. Gui Qin was just too kind and ended up paying with her life. She was actually the most innocent hence her death being more frustrating. Mei Xiang–driven by revenge–ended up going mad. I was furious with her when she attacked Cai Wei, causing the final strain between Cai Wei and Gan Sheng to forgo her revenge plan. But in the end, I think I pitied her more. She was already past insane. Losing her son and having to keep waiting for a chance was too much. Perhaps, the person I sympathize with the least–among the wives–was Bi He. Sure, I got it that servants back then weren’t treated with much thought and it was tenfold scarier living in the Bai household because servants died left and right–whether through abusive torture techniques by Old Madame Bai or it was because they had to be scapegoats for their masters. But what Bi He did was unnecessary that I felt hard to forgive. I didn’t care if she repented in the end. It was too late. Unlike Qiu Lan, she didn’t lose anything to start with, what was her excuse in attacking Cai Wei? (Well, having Fu Fang breathing down her back to get the plans going was motivated enough but since she was soooo smart–or so she thought–why didn’t she find another way to escape it?) Qiu Lan misunderstood that Cai Wei had caused her child’s death–superstitious or not, but she had suffered hence being driven to the extreme. What was more, I thought she deserved to have a light ending. She was probably the luckiest among the wives because she was finally able to get away from the madhouse. She also had a chance to reunite with her childhood sweetheart, Chang Sheng.

Back to the ending, I felt really frustrated with it. Not only because of Old Madame Bai’s brief apology with her thoughts but because of how no one knew how much she did throughout. Gan Feng never knew that she manipulated Mei Xiang into killing off Fu Fang’s child. He didn’t know that it wasn’t because of Gan Sheng. The brothers’ conflict was never resolved. Sure, they were all captured in the end and were forced to get along–if briefly. Yet they never knew the truth. Ma Guo An’s words weren’t for anything. They didn’t trust him anyway so it didn’t matter. The most satisfying was probably Ma Guo An’s death though. He totally didn’t see that coming. He thought he got away, but he didn’t.

The ending actually had a lot of deaths (obviously, duh, I know) and it was paved out quite tragic for those cases. Yet it only stirred up things in a controversial sense, not closing the story the proper way. Sure, in life, sometimes conflicts were never resolved and people die hating one another because of some misunderstandings. Then there were cases like these where one could never have a chance to say anything to one another. But they managed to throw in the parts with various parties interacting and making peace, why didn’t they let Gan Sheng and Gan Feng make peace too? Or was that too wrapped up? I swore Bi He and De Gui had their moments, which I didn’t think Bi He deserved yet they included that too. So why not?

What saved the ending was actually Qiu Lao Qi sweeping in to save them. He first appeared in the earlier parts of the series during Gan Sheng and Cai Wei’s first trip out. Although he was a bandit and seemed to be ruthless and bordering on the despicable side at first YET he kept his words. Or perhaps he thought Gan Sheng was as crazy as him so he decided to release them all and agreed to Gan Sheng’s terms. I felt that at least he was straightforward about being a bandit rather than acted all good like some people. After all, I guess Gan Sheng’s loyalty to him was worth it. Once again, Jackie Lui’s performance was amazing despite his short screen time.

Whose death was the most tragic? It was actually Xiu Fang’s death. I initially didn’t like her at all, because of how snobby she was and how she had joined forces with her sister to bully Cai Wei when she entered the Bai household. Although she often threw tantrums at first, her character faded into the background, because she didn’t have the cunning fiber in her to compete with the others. Defeated, she sought out Cai Wei to actually understand Gan Feng instead of trying to attempt at another scheme. That was, of course, briefly before she and the others found out about the affair between her husband and her own sister–whom she wouldn’t dream of in a million years with having any association with Gan Feng. She was interestingly like Qiu Lin in a sense that she was used to using her power to achieve versus the scheming bit, but realized, in the end, Cai Wei was a good person hence becoming allies with Cai Wei as well. That was so unexpected but so welcoming since she ended up helping Cai Wei in ways others couldn’t. To be honest, I didn’t expect her to die. I thought she would have fled home to seek her parents for some justice. That was my assumption based on reading some spoilers. But then I understood why she couldn’t go back home when that truth about Gan Feng and her sister’s affair came out. Her father only wanted to use her–like how he did with her sister–to forgo his plan in taking over the Bai family’s business. So why would he care? Her mother would be too scared of him to speak up for her anyway. Not to mention how she learned that her father had forced Gan Feng to marry her so how could she use her family pressure to force him even more and causing him to hate her even more? Even though Gan Feng had the right to get mad about the whole scheme from her father, but I felt it was too cruel saying those words on Xiu Fang’s death bed. Sure, he clarified what was going on and after how he just lost his child and all, he had every right to be mad and fight back, but I thought since Xiu Fang did try to be a good wife after listening to Cai Wei and no longer causing dramas around the house, he would at least treat her with some decency, not give her the cold treatment all the time. He didn’t need to accept her or be with her, but he could have made an effort to be nice or at least make it easier for her to live within the household. Sure, that would be hard on him, but I thought it was already hard on her trying to change her attitude and make him happy by cooking for him and more. (And I didn’t totally agree with Cai Wei when she chided him about how he’d changed and was becoming cruel. Although she didn’t know it was because of his mother’s manipulations that had caused a lot of things, she knew that his child just died and he became more bitter because of it, not caring for anyone anymore. So yeah, it wasn’t like I was picking on him on purpose.)

What about the others? Gan Feng actually was quite pitiful as well. In a way, he was like Fu Fang, being used by his mother to extend her power. Sure, she wanted what was best for her son, but he said he didn’t mind or care since Gan Sheng was his brother after all. His mother manipulated events into happening, forcing him to attack his brother and hating his brother until the end. He had his moments and hot tempers, but he had the right to be upset with how his life was turning upside down when he returned. He didn’t need his mother to conjure up dramas for him. What I felt was the most unforgivable about him wasn’t his affair with Fu Fang, but it was his attempt to save Cai Wei but had condemned her to a death sentence hence causing her child’s death too. It was the part where he and Cai Wei got staged and framed for having an affair, which led to her punishment and the ultimate damage with Gan Sheng’s trust. (I did curse Gan Sheng to death so he wasn’t let off easily, but this section is about Gan Feng so I want to focus on that for now.)

Who was the most loyal in here? Yes, there were a lot of loyal servants in here and other friends. There was no doubt Gui Qin was a loyal friend. De Gui seemed loyal to Gan Sheng yet later got pulled into other schemes. Then there was Mei Xiang’s maid, Chun Xiao, as well. Yet who I admired most was Cui Ping. She was like a little sister to Cai Wei. She never abandoned Cai Wei regardless of how bad things were. She and her mother actually–for the later parts that her mother joined her in the Bai household too. They were like the true family in here. They stuck together throughout. It was good to know that they survived the tragic events of it all. Also, it was a happy note to know that Cui Ping and Da Shan ended up together after all. I thought they were cute that one time. Of course, that meant I was so glad Da Shan made it through.

What about the main couple who was the sole reason why I dived into the drama in the first place? I initially felt sorry for Gan Sheng for having to face a lot of pressure. He indeed faced a lot of pressure. I pitied him for being forced to marry Fu Fang because of business connections. His other wives were either by obliging to Old Madame Ma’s request or by accident. I felt bad for him that he couldn’t be with Cai Wei only. However, I changed my view later when he supposedly was intelligent in many ways yet still fall into the traps of others, especially Bi He. Sure, he claimed many times that he didn’t want things to go on further with people fighting and all. Yet there were some things he could control. Then I felt like there were things he was good at saying and made others pity him yet he couldn’t fully carry out. Or he had overestimated himself so he didn’t realize the outcome until it actually occurred. Like how he claimed to love and trust Cai Wei YET when the test was there, he totally failed. What was most frustrating was how he kept falling into Bi He’s trap–even after he realized what kind of scheming person she was–like mentioned previously. Only in episode 39 that he finally managed to gain back somewhat of the momentum by giving Fu Fang the ultimatum, telling her not to cause any more trouble. He also told Li Chun to tell Bi He to stop all the fuss and that if Bi He was unwell, she should seek out the medics, not him. Although he wasn’t cleared of being a drama king quite yet. He acted like an asshole when Cai Wei told him she wanted to leave the Bai household. All right, I know that it hurt like hell that the one he loved said she wanted to leave him. YET Cai Wei was right. Where in the world was he when she needed him the most? When she was framed and things were going to hell? In the midst of all the tragedies, her father and Gui Qin died respectively and she was left behind trying to hold on, where in the world was he? He dared to say he was innocent? Even if he was hurting because of the misunderstandings but he did promise to protect her. So it was like I said, he overestimated himself and promised left and right without a care in the world–until things happened, that was. It wasn’t until around episode 46 that he realized what Cai Wei said was true regarding living within the Bai household and all. Again, I swore it wasn’t anything new with how messed up the house was and not so peaceful at all. He knew from the start, so I didn’t care when he acted like a madman. It was still unforgivable that it shall take another chaos for him to get it.

What about Cai Wei? There were many things admirable about her. She was probably one of the strongest characters in here. She was very smart and understanding of many things. Though she was seen quite feisty in helping some of the townspeople in unmasking some con men in the markets, after she entered the Bai household, she really knew her place. She didn’t want to rupture the atmosphere or cause trouble for others. It fitted with her personality since she was already so smart, she knew that her so-called mother-in-law hated her and know she should act proper to win the other wives over. What couldn’t be helped was how her righteous personality would override and cause more trouble for her, like how she had defended Gui Qin hence bringing trouble upon herself. But I felt it was worth it because Gui Qin had saved her life previously so it would be suitable that she stand up for Gui Qin and rescue her from Qiu Lin’s bullying. And her reactions to many things around her sure surprised me from time to time, especially how she ended up exposing the person who was trying to put some rats into the kitchen to sabotage her. Of course, she couldn’t investigate further with the person behind the schemes, but she managed to exude some power to deal with the situation. It showed that she wasn’t so helpless, needing rescuing all the time. However, what bugged the world out of me was her shielding the whole investigation regarding her father from Gan Sheng, causing her downfall in the later episodes. How frustrating was that? Even if Gan Feng had a point with how they should investigate first, etc YET Gan Sheng was her husband after all, and knowing her history with Gan Feng, she shouldn’t let others have a chance to harm her even more. Even though she understood afterward and realized Gan Sheng was right about how they should communicate with each other at all times, it was too late, because those tiny slips had allowed others to harm her. I know it sounded like I expect her to be perfect, but I felt she was WAY smarter than that. Even if it was her father’s situation and she just wanted to focus on that matter, but she should realize what she was getting into when she was sneaking around with Gan Feng when investigating. She redeemed herself during episode 19 onward, finally pulling herself up with the determination of avenging her father and Gui Qin. I gladly welcomed her return since she’d been passive for too long. Well, she had to try and behave within the household or try to merge in YET I didn’t like how she kept giving in to others yet kept getting shoved around. Her master plan proved that she was WAY capable yet didn’t want to resort to it unless she had to. Her efforts paid off since all the misunderstandings and conflicts were resolved by episode 42. At least what was of the past. Episode 44 came around and I wanted to toss something at the screen even more, considering how things were turning topsy-turvy again. Yet after I calmed down, I realized that must be resolved too in order for them to move on. That final conflict made them stronger, in the end, not falling into the trap of that one dude who tried to con Cai Wei into thinking that Gan Sheng had already left first.

Gan Sheng and Cai Wei’s conflicts finally dissolved around episode 46 when Cai Wei helped Gan Sheng with the overthrow scheme. That moment reminded me of the good old days of how they worked together to resolve different conflicts at the shop and other medic related discussions. I once again wanted the series to stay on the side of medicine-related stuff instead of the constant conflicts within the Bai household and all the catfights. It wouldn’t be realistic if they all got along, etc. However, I was so sick and tired of the whole back and forth scheming or fighting within the house. It was like SUPER repetitive so I prefer the focus on the medicine side. Even if I would have to deal with Ma Guo An and the other people, it would be way better. Or is it just me with being sick and tired of all the soaps of recent years and wanting to see other stuff?

The conversation between Cai Wei and Fu Fang when they were imprisoned sort of summarized the whole story. Yet it was much needed because they were finally able to make peace between the two of them. It was essential that Cai Wei pointed out that Fu Fang had the right to want her husband’s attention and love. Fu Fang also had every right to be jealous. It wasn’t that they were blaming society for anything to get away with what they were accountable for. But they did have a point with how men were allowed so many wives yet women were stuck in their position without a say. It was the truth, the cruel truth.

Recommended? Um, 48 episodes! Even if it was like 30 mins or so each episode, but I swore the intensity of it all was so much. I did get it that it was about the conflicts within the Bai household and all those wives, and then some other side dramas. Yet it all depends on what you like to watch. (Obviously.) I hang on because I actually liked the chemistry between Han Dong and Loura. And the reason why I dived into the drama in the first place was because of them.

Year 2015 in Recap

 

Oh joy, I’m bringing this back since it’s another year of madness. How did it go? Let’s check the number first, lol. Yes, before I start bragging and realized it wasn’t worth bragging over, lol. But before I actually go into the stats, I would like to thank The New World and iHero for making some of the impossibles happen. Because if it wasn’t for the dramas, I wouldn’t have updated so much or kept it so consistent for the better half of the year. Also, anyone wanting to check out the stat report from WordPress, click here.

Total Posts in 2015:

365 (35% of all time). Yes, I took the challenge of trying to keep up posts for 365 days SO had to brag here. It wasn’t easy and some posts were less impressive than others. However, I think it was already tough that I managed it all year long. For this year, will I be continuing on this pattern? I want to but I would say no. Since quality trumps quantity so I’ll still be updating, still be my random self at times, but I won’t force it as an everyday thing. If it happens, it happens. Now, moving on to the breakdown of different categories.

 

Times Updated on People on the Poll:

284 (78% of overall). I took out Ady and Hu Ge early on so I didn’t feel like I needed to include them in this section. Anyway, because I did the 365-day challenge, everyone benefited–one way or another. However, Achel had a surge, leaving Jun Ya behind with only 22 posts, because Wallace, Joanne, Bianca, and Jacky ended up having more posts than him for the year. That knocked him off top 5 for the year yet didn’t damage his overall record too much. Talking about that, he was the reason why I held off so long of not publishing this post since I needed to calculate some of the posts again. Yet I decided to gamble and take out some and possibly double back next year to correct it all. Oh yeah, I didn’t count general updates for some people, especially those with higher numbers already.
Wallace Huo: 26 (9% of the year)
Janine Chang: 16 (6%)
Vic Chou: 12 (4%)
Joanne Tseng: 25 (9%)
Nicholas Teo: 18 (6%)
Xiu Jie Kai: 12 (4%)
Angela Chang: 12 (4%)
Zhao Jun Ya: 22 (8%)
Yvonne Yao: 7 (2%)
Penny Lin: 16 (6%)
Achel Chang/ Zhang Xin Yu: 34 (12%)
Sophia Chou: 6 (2%)
Ruby Lin: 16 (6%)
Van Fan: 9 (3%)
Eric Suen: 5 (2%)
Bianca Bai: 25 (9%)
Jacky Chu: 23 (8%)

Books Reviews:

Music Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

I will say that I was both proud and also a bit ashamed because I was cheating for several dramas by inserting placeholders. I was trying to motivate myself to watch faster and/or fill the spaces yet things got in the way and I fell behind once again.

Fan Fiction:

Songs Translations:

I think that it was too obvious that it was a Phil Chang year for me. Yes, I love that guy. Okay, mostly his songs, lol. But he is funny. Getting back to this, totally outdone myself on some levels. Overall, I translated 51 songs. OMG, that’s like a major achievement for me in this area. The previous year, I only did 12, but that was because I didn’t really take it as a challenge. I think this number will drop the upcoming year since I won’t be forcing myself to update every day.

Chinese: 46

Vietnamese: 5

Side Updates:

130 posts – My randomness seriously has gone way past normal. I didn’t count some of the side stuff. But The New World and iHero obviously dominated the scene for the beginning of the year.

For this year, I hope to bring out more quality posts, like I said earlier. I also hope to finish up the placeholder posts that I haven’t previously. Wish me luck and see you all next year!

The Four 2013: Review

(image credit: as marked)

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How was it? It started out quite well, actually. Then the ending sort of killed it. Or more like the last ten to fifteen episodes. It just dragged on and on and got repetitive with some craziness that seemed endless. Otherwise, it would have been quite good. Too bad.

Main Cast/ Characters:

  • Hans Zhang (张翰) as Leng Xue (冷血). This is my first time ever watching Zhang Han. I must say that after watching this, he has become my second favorite Leng Xue. (The ultimate favorite is Law Lok Lam, lol.) He exuded the coldness quite well. (Or was he naturally that way? Joking, lol.) But when he opened up later and learned how to joke, he was really funny and cute. I liked both sides of him. Even at times when he didn’t mean to joke, he cracked me up with his attitude at times. His story, like others, didn’t lack exaggerations. Leng Xue was actually raised by wolves YET they managed to go all out with weaving such a story. Good one. LOL! Yeah, that was sarcasm. But anyway, not bad, just some parts could be done without, especially the love triangles.
  • Yang Yang (杨洋) as Wu Qing (無情). Strikingly handsome and graceful. He was supposed to be in a wheelchair but then I looked past that, considering how in the past adaptations, they did make his character not in wheelchairs so I had those adaptations to get used to already, lol. His wheelchair was supposed to be super cool too so it wasn’t like he was a weakling or anything like that. Anyway, in here, I loved how Wu Qing was able to control his fan so gracefully–with it dividing into pieces to attack others and then returning in whole again. It was really exaggerated but it demonstrated how strong his inner energy was hence being able to control it so well. It also fitted in with Wen Rui An’s exaggerations in the books at times and how he emphasized the importance of inner energy. As for Yang Yang, he was major eye candy all right. However, I felt the whole opening his eyes really wide at times was kind of repetitive for me. Other than that, he was fine as Wu Qing. In fact, he exuded the pureness aura although he had been through a lot. (And was I the only thinking it was ironic that he didn’t care for Chu Li Mo at first when she liked him yet later ended up liking her when she was already with Leng Xue? I meant it wasn’t like he was mean to her at the beginning since he was the only patience one willing to teach her stuff and look out for her YET he didn’t really care past that. But later when he realized how much she helped him and didn’t mind him having Ru Yan in his heart and having a piece of his past with him, he began to see her in a different light. He was also struggling at times, seeing how Leng Xue and Li Mo got along, etc. Then he reminded himself Leng Xue was his good brother, he shouldn’t think that way.)
  • William Chan (陳偉霆) as Zhui Ming (追命). Hilarious and charming. I just didn’t like the hair they did for him. It made him look like some middle-aged woman. (Mean, I know, but it looked that way.) After getting past the hair (although still super hard), his character was really fun and lovable. Sure, he got into some randomness too and I didn’t even know why he liked the spoiled princess so much but then I reminded myself that feelings were feelings. Aside from that, he was really curious and had his own radar hence being to detect and solve cases, just like the others. What was funnier was how in the novel, he was supposed to be the oldest YET he looked so young in here. Still, because of his portrayal, he had become my second favorite Zhui Ming. (My ultimate favorite is Lu Xing Yu.)
  • Mao Zi Jun (茅子俊) as Qie Shou (鐵手). Um, not sure how to describe him because he didn’t seem to shine like the others. I meant when he was together with the other three, he was awesome with his moves and all too, but when he was alone, his story bored me. The childhood story was tragic and all. I totally felt for him. I meant the romance and others. I felt like they (the writers) sort of toned down on his character or something. He did indeed had his own story but I felt like it leaned more toward romance than letting him show off his skills. He did have them, but it wasn’t shining as much as the others. Something was missing. I didn’t have a problem with the actor.
  • Howie Huang (黄文豪) as Zhu Ge Zheng Wo (诸葛正我). The guards’ boss. He was supposed to be super wise and all. He was their leader after all. But I think they sort of stretched some plots too much, especially later on hence making him not as sharp as he should be. Yet I enjoyed his role nevertheless. I will admit that I didn’t like the idea of him allowing Chu Li Mo to join the guards and then promoting her so quickly. I felt he was moving too fast with his decisions regarding that. I understood why he allowed Chu Li Mo to be by Leng Xue’s side so she could calm him down later. Yet too much attention on her had caused many troubles for her and the massive bullying and jealousy from the others. I felt it was better to just let her be by Leng Xue’s side and be invisible. Even if she was still being bullied by others, at least she wasn’t targeted for being a favorite of Zhu Ge’s. In a way, he was happy to have found his shi mei’s daughter and was trying to help her with her acquired abilities YET I thought that was enough with helping her train, no need to make her stick out like a sore thorn to the others. (I liked her and all, but I just didn’t want more trouble for her from other parties, that was all.)
  • Mickey He (何晟铭) as An Shi Geng (安世耿). The image they gave him made me feel like he was a eunuch more than a prince, lol. Mean but yeah. Then, later on, I realized he was dressed in that way and dancing because he was mimicking his deceased lover. His story was indeed tragic and I was actually rooting for him to overthrow the king, but I gave up on him when he destroyed Wu Qing and Ru Yan. Hey, he couldn’t see the connection between his and Wu Qing’s? What he did wasn’t any different than the king. Yet I guess he had gone nuts by then so he didn’t care about anyone but himself. He was already repressed with not being acknowledged by the royal family so I think losing Die Wu was the final straw. Aside from that, like Mickey He singing the sub-theme.
  • Janine Chang (張鈞甯) as Chu Li Mo (楚离陌). I’m a Janine fan so she was the reason I had started watching in the first place. She was quite talented in here and indeed one of the reasons why she was chosen by her father to be placed on the list and then eventually sent to the palace for the king. When I say ‘talent’, I didn’t just mean her ability to read minds and communicate with animals as well, but I meant her various talents that were required of the female population back then. Then there was her intelligence as well. Her character didn’t disappoint at first, but the plot, later on, stretched so much that her character had lost ground. That made her less awesome in a sense, reducing her firm standing at times regarding matters. Okay, I know in a way, it seemed like she was being ungrateful and didn’t keep her words (or so some people would think) with Ji Yao Hua about staying away from Leng Xue after Ji Yao Hua saved her from that one serial rapist. (Which I don’t remember anymore if she had promised or not, or it was left unfinished for her to think about it.) Yet I liked how strong and persistent she was in not giving up on Leng Xue (aka not treating him like an object to be tossed back and forth between them) and how she said love couldn’t be treated in that way. (Forgot the exact word but it was the part where she was hesitating and saying if she should follow Ji Yao Hua’s request, etc.) What made me lost it somewhat was when she was captured near the end and begged Ji Yao Hua to let Leng Xue go and how she wished she hadn’t appeared in their lives or Ji Yao Hua and Leng Xue would’ve been together. She didn’t beg at first but did cave in later. I do understand she was just trying to protect Leng Xue and redeemed herself (realizing how much she had hurt Ji Yao Hua and only wanted Ji Yao Hua to stop hurting others), BUT that had made it pathetic. Why did she need to beg? (I agreed with Leng Xue’s decisions more even if it had appeared cruel in a sense. Like he said, they’d known each other–he and Ji Yao Hua that was, so how could she disappoint him like that? He meant it on the level of not trusting him or the rest of the others at the Shen Hou place.)
  • Jia Qing (贾青) as Ji Yao Hua (姬瑶花). Like I said in the other posts, I felt it was really off with her character and I tried super hard later on to ignore it, but it didn’t really work for me. Even when the story was getting quite long-winded and inconsistent at times and I no longer cared to pay attention anymore, I felt like they should just scrap her character altogether or something. Okay, okay, that was mean. Considering how Jia Qing had earned my support for her after watching these past few years. But like I said before (and quite annoyingly as some of you might realize) with how her character was actually associated with Wu Qing’s character in the novels and NOT Leng Xue so that was why I was just plain annoyed and didn’t care for her as much as I should be. After putting all those aside (temporarily), I think I did feel sorry for her. An Shi Geng really roped her in with destroying her path and making her go on the road of no return. But that didn’t mean that I side with her regarding the Leng Xue situation. Not because I shipped the main couple, but it was more like I never cared to pity the other character just because she liked the main lead and didn’t get her feelings returned. (It goes back to the whole thing with watching modern dramas and rolling my eyes when people think since someone did so much for so and so, the other person should end up with that someone. In short: prize-winning strategy.) The inconsistent with some parts of the plot made it harder to sympathize with her also, considering how one minute she was sooooo righteous and being a model person BUT the next minute she wanted to take the easy road (or played favorites with some people and didn’t care to catch this one girl cheating while doing the exam–even if she knew the difficulties and/or pressures the other girl had to endure YET there were other ways to help, like train the girl well NOT tolerate cheating, etc). In a way, it was just that she was torn and it was one of the reasons why An Shi Geng used that to lure her to his side. Yet what got me scratching my head was how she seemed to let go of the whole trying to win Leng Xue over already and even told that one lady not to kill Chu Li Mo YET later she went all out and acted like Leng Xue abandoned her and called Chu Li Mo a whore? Really? I got the part where she lost her father so she was devastated and had no hope. Yet how did that change so fast? Was there a cut somewhere that I didn’t see? An Shi Geng tempted her with the pills and then the next time she appeared, she was already working for him. Were the pills responsible too? (Okay, okay, love doesn’t make sense and make people do crazy stuff YET some of the stuff made her character inconsistent so it was hard to sympathize or like her.) What got me even more pissed off at her was how she blamed Zhu Ge Zheng Wo for pushing her further and siding with Chu Li Mo. He treated her like his daughter and trusted her and shielded her from the other guys’ wrath yet she did that to him? Okay, some of the scenes she did not witness firsthand YET she admitted to An Shi Geng that Zhu Ge Zheng Wo treated her like a daughter so An Shi Geng didn’t need to worry about her being discovered, etc.  So yeah, some of these totally threw me off and I didn’t care anymore. Not to mention the whole wearing red outfits when she turned badass. Really? It’s soooo overused of recent. (And for the record, red outfits in association with badass characters had been used in the past as long as I could remember watching stuff in the ’80s and ’90s so someone didn’t invent the trends recently SO don’t act like Jia Qing had copied her. I’m not being contradicting by making fun of the whole red outfits trends one moment and then turning around to defend Jia Qing in another. What I mean is I’m so sick of it being used over and over again of recent. I also want to clarify that it has been around as a symbol of badass characters WAY longer already.) Despite all the gaps and confusion, I still felt Jia Qing did a good job. It was just that the plot made me feel annoyed and was unable to look past the whole novel links. (Because as hard as it is to believe, I actually loosened up regarding novel links in some situations.) I think that if they hadn’t included the love triangle, I would’ve liked it more. There were already too many romances going on in here. It would make her character better if they just let her have her own story with her father and how she was tempted and maybe betray them too but later realized she was wrong. Or was that too bland for some people? And what irked me more was how she was the big boss in the novel yet was reduced to just some small follower of An Shi Geng. It was all right that they didn’t want to make her 100% villain, but seriously? Oh, another thing was, I think they sacrificed some of Qie Shou’s awesomeness and scenes because they focused all the other conflicts and time on her. Yes, here I am picking on her character again. But seriously, I felt after all the series was called The Four, NOT Ji Yao Hua, so I have the right to protest, for Qie Shou’s sake.
  • Emma Wu (吳映潔) aka Gui Gui (鬼鬼) as Lang Yi Yi (凌依依). Although she was really lively and vibrant, I couldn’t even get into her character until almost at the end of the series. I didn’t even know why she was in here and I felt her character was really annoying. I will say Gui Gui was pretty and had a cute image in here, but it was the character that irked me. What irked me even more was how she kept getting into senseless arguments with Zhui Ming and wouldn’t leave him alone at times, nagging him about stuff. I only liked her character when she was torn with leaving at times and feeling she didn’t match with Qie Shou. Then there were some scenes near the end where she helped take care of Zhui Ming when he was poisoned and turned into a kid. There was also the part where she convinced Princess Zi Luo not to chase after the guys anymore and let them go do their own things–without having to worry for the girls, etc.

Others:

  • Hao Ze Jia (郝泽嘉) as Nu Nu (奴奴). Leng Xue’s childhood friend–although she treated him like her master instead of on the same level later on when she met him again. She was loyal to her people and was quite stubborn at times. Yet in the end, she had chosen to protect Leng Xue. He declared her his sister later on and tried to protect her yet she was too impulsive to trust his words. It was understandable since their whole tribe was destroyed. Yet she had entrusted her faith in the wrong party and paid heavily. Regardless, it was tragic how things turned out.
  • Creese Li (黎一萱) as Die Wu (蝶舞) and Nan Gong Ru Yan (南宫如烟). Portraying two roles, but as Die Wu, we only learned of her through the eyes of An Shi Geng (via flashbacks). As Ru Yan, she appeared first in Wu Qing’s flashbacks and then later in the present time. Both of her characters attempted suicide, only one was successful. Not much was known of Die Wu, except for flashbacks throughout and An Shi Geng’s words, so there wasn’t much to go on. But her ending was seriously tragic. Ru Yan was seen gentle the majority of the time and seemed to be quite talented in Wu Qing’s flashbacks. An Shi Geng actually managed to rescue her and tried to turn her into Die Wu since she looked like Die Wu. She didn’t care to acknowledge him even after surviving. How could she when the only reason she had for living was death threats against her parents and the rest of her family? The time she was restricted, there wasn’t much development for her. (Obviously, I know, eye-rolling moment, right?) When she was finally rescued by the others and reunited with Wu Qing, I really liked her for her braveness and understanding nature. No wonder she captured Wu Qing’s heart.
  • Yang Ming Na (杨明娜) as Jiao Niang (娇娘). Elegant and graceful in her own way. She was also funny at times too. But she also had her wise moments. She often tried to help with solving conflicts–both among her siblings trying to fight for whatever reason (and the seriousness behind it all) and when she had to resolve the silly fights between the younger generation.
  • Wang Hai Yang (王海洋) as Yu Chun Tong (于春童). Traitor. Either when he was working as a constable or when he followed An Shi Geng, he betrayed them eventually. He was despicable and probably could be someone viewers hated without caring much. He got what he deserved and I didn’t care for him.
  • Jiang Yu Chen (姜雨辰) as Princess Zi Luo (紫罗公主). I found her irritatingly annoying at first. Not because she chased Leng Xue and ignored Zhui Ming in totality. I just found that she was soooo spoiled and hated her for causing so much trouble, wanting to go along and eventually got kidnapped and they had to rescue her and all. Yet later, I realized that at least she was honest with her goals and what she wanted. What was more, she didn’t want to pressure Leng Xue into marrying her with some deals. At first, I thought that was her and I felt like she had gone past beyond restored as a likable character. But her explanation later on and how she found out the real reason Leng Xue agreed to marry her, she severed their ties. It was also because she realized she didn’t like him the way she thought but was just worshiping him because everyone dubbed him as a hero.
  • Wang Shuang (王双) as Mu Xue (慕雪). Mo Er Chi’s sister. At first, I liked her and how she got along so well with Chu Li Mo like they were sisters and made Li Mo felt like she could stay there. However, I seriously got annoyed with her in the later parts of the story when she kept nagging Wu Qing and tagging him. Yeah, I got it, she was worry for him and only wanted him to go on living, not dwelling on his past. However, she kept forcing him to acknowledge some stuff that was annoying. Why make him forget his past? It was a part of him. Instead of letting him have his own space, she totally invaded it and forced him to acknowledge her existence. Perhaps that was the difference between her and Li Mo–with Li Mo wanting him to remember and not minding that he had such a past with Ru Yan versus how Mu Xue was even on the verge of jealousy with Ru Yan and even Li Mo later on. Also, she wanted to follow them that one time when they were chasing down An Shi Geng. It wasn’t like they were together so she wanted to tag along. She just wanted to be with him. He told her it was dangerous and all YET she didn’t listen. (I understand why Leng Xue wanted Li Mo to follow since he lost her one time already, not wanting to separate from her ever YET Wu Qing and Mo Xue weren’t together, how could she keep pestering him like that?) Ironically it was after her death that he acknowledged her and was depressed again. Even though it was clarified (or seemed to hint at the end) that he didn’t love her, just felt super guilty because she died saving him. (‘Cause he was seen holding Ru Yan’s old keepsakes again.)
  • Liu Xin (刘鑫) as Liu Chun Ping (刘春萍). Annoying and lame. I didn’t know why her scenes were there with her obsessing over Wu Qing and Leng Xue when they could use that to focus on other main events. Again, not targeting the actress but the character and how the writers had paved the plot.
  • Zhou Shao Dong (周绍栋) as Prince Xiang (襄王). He was just plain not bright. Got it that he wanted to protect An Shi Geng because of An’s tragedies of not being acknowledged by the royal family, but he was so easily tricked. Or perhaps that was why. But I didn’t think much of him. Glad that he didn’t become too much of the problem later on, realizing what was going on and how it would affect the majority of the citizens, etc.
  • Benny Qian (钱泳辰) as Yan Zhao (燕赵). One of the Four Evils.
  • Zhou Mu Yin (周牧茵) as Tang Chou (唐仇). One of the Four Evils.
  • Ma Wen Long (马文龙) as Tu Wan (屠晚). One of the Four Evils.
  • Cheng Cheng (程诚) as Zhao Hao (赵好). One of the Four Evils.
  • Marco Li (李耀景) as Wen Ru Yu (溫如玉). Another villain role and this one was minimal. He seemed to be very ruthless yet ended up being killed off by An Shi Geng, which wasn’t too much of a stretch but I guess kind of lame in a way.
  • Ma Kui (馬騤) as Wen Wu Chang (溫無常). Wen Ru Yu’s son. Wasn’t surprised he got offed by one of Wen Ru Yu’s disciple. He had it coming–with the other guy’s jealousy and all.
  • Hanson Ying (应昊茗) as Mo Er Chi (莫尔赤). Mo Xue’s brother. Didn’t care much for him although they did create some funny moments at first. I thought he was the comedian in here YET he ended up being one of the scariest beings in here, killing off his family so he could guarantee his thrown and eliminate all threats (even his father and little brother).
  • Liu Si Tong (刘思彤) as Bian Hong Yao (卞红药). Chu Li Mo’s mother. I thought she would never appear but will only be mentioned throughout. Yet she was a piece of the overall puzzle. It explained a lot of tragedies in the past. But what was a stretch was how she was still alive after all these years of being frozen up. Okay, other factors in here were bending the word ‘exaggeration’ too, but this stuck out with me the most. Not that I wanted her to die, but it seemed too much of a stretch.
  • Yao Yue Li (岳跃利) as Chu Yan Liang (楚颜良). Chu Li Mo’s father. Weak and annoying. Didn’t think much of him. If it wasn’t for him, Li Mo wouldn’t end up being chased and targeted throughout. He had a choice to put his daughter on the list or not, but he chose to just so they could immerse in richness? I can’t remember if it was mandatory or not anymore, but I felt utterly annoyed with him for it.
  • He Jia Qia (何佳恰) as Ah Qi Nuo (阿绮娜).
  • Michelle Bai (白冰) as Nine-Tailed Fox (九尾狐). I actually felt sorry for her. She only wanted to save her husband yet paid with her life in the end. There were things she didn’t want to do, like how she actually imprisoned that one servant girl she tried to impersonate (not kill off) so it showed she wasn’t all bad. Like said before, she only taken a chance with saving her husband. Like many in here, she was deceived and used by An Shi Geng. Yet I sympathized with her the most. (Aside from Nu Nu that was.)
  • Han Dong (韩栋) as Zhang Sheng (张生). Nine-Tailed Fox’s husband. Interestingly funny to see Han Dong in here. Yes, this was before he had a popularity surge, but still funny to see him as just a minor character. He delivered quite well–even with limited time.
  • Zhang Meng (张檬) as Hui Lan (蕙兰). One of the brides that got her husband stolen from her on the night of their wedding. What was even more tragic was how she got killed off because she was helping others. Enjoyed her brief appearance.
  • Zheng Shuang (鄭爽) as Wen Bing Er (溫冰兒). OMG, I didn’t realize that was Zheng Shuang. She looked different from Legend of the Ancient Sword. Even though I watched Legend of the Ancient Sword after this but she looked so different so I didn’t make the connection until I check the cast list again to do this review. I really liked her character in here although she only appeared a bit. She was impressive and simple. I guess because I liked her green outfit and how she wasn’t in your face type of character. She was just there to help and contributed to the story.
  • Huang Ming (黄明) as Du Gong Zi (杜公子). The guy Princess Zi Luo used to rile Zhui Ming up when they were in disagreements.
  • Zong Feng Yan (宗峰岩) as Wu Hen Gong Zi (无痕公子). Serial Rapist. Wow, just wow. I didn’t know why they created his character and just plain kill him off right there. Like a mini case and showed how Ji Yao Hua wanted to just kill Chu Li Mo right there (and how she was torn, etc). But other than that, it seemed like just one of those side characters that could do without for the plot.
  • Wang Kui Rong (王奎荣) as Prince Zhu (朱王爺). Leng Xue’s adopted father. I seriously was convinced he was involved with killing all the people of Leng Xue’s tribe. I totally fell for it. Although, I know An Shi Geng couldn’t be trusted but Prince Zhu made it suspicious at times. It wasn’t until later when he was finally controlled and imprisoned that I was a bit more convinced he wasn’t at fault.

Friendships / Romances / Others:

  • The Four Guards as Good Brothers. Regardless of their attitude or randomness at times, they really lived up to being brothers. They were really loyal toward one another and would put that on top of anything else. Like that one time Zhui Ming insisting on saving Wu Qing, not chasing after the princess, etc. Even if he knew that they should save the princess first (because of the law of the land and how the royal family was important, etc). Then there was how they all supported one another throughout.
  • Hans/Leng Xue and Janine/Chu Li Mo. They were sooooo addicting to watch. To be honest (possibly brutality honest), they were the only couple I cared for in here from the start. It was just that they were more intriguing to watch for further developments. It was just that the others annoyed me at one point or another. Anyway, I was trying to see how they would finally stop fighting. It wasn’t like they were bad, but it was because they were clashing at times. I really liked how Leng Xue got out of his shell near the end. It was so cute. I also liked how she tried to find out what was wrong with him, not blindly believing that he had changed. She finally left him alone, but it was because he didn’t want to tell her, not because she hated him for abandoning her. Then later when Princess Zi Luo declared that he was free from the marriage deal, he chased after her and she made him yell the love declaration so loud, lol.
  • Howie Huang and Yang Ming Na. Collaborated once as husband and wife in the XAJH. Although there wasn’t much about them in here, I loved them together. They were the other couple that I liked. Even if they were an older couple and possibly many do not care for. But I enjoyed their moments. Somewhat cute yet still retained a sense of maturity, not trying to make them all mushy like the younger couples in here.
  • Yang Yang/Wu Qing and Ceese/Ru Yan. Seriously, their story was soooo tragic. They had their cute moments but I felt they were the most mature couple, having been through so much already. Too bad it had turned out that way for them.
  • William/Zhui Ming and Jiang Yu Chen/Zi Luo. Again, I didn’t care much for them at first but did like his character a lot. Later on, though, she was paying back major time for her past tortures of him. It was hilarious to watch and I felt they were so cute.
  • Mao Zi Jun/Qie Shou and Gui Gui/Yi Yi. Like I said many times before, I didn’t care much for them. Not until later when their stories got more complicated. The struggles between him trying to get her to stop the other thing was taking too much time as well. It wasn’t until Zhu Ge Zheng Wo stepped in and sorted it out for them that things moved along, lol. Zhu Ge knew all along and wanted them to resolve their own matters, but he didn’t realize they were that slow hence giving them some pointers. So after that, it went smoother and how nice it was to see her character evolved and his being able to focus on the main situation again. Sure, they could be cute, but I think their story needed to be worked out better.

Discussions and other rantings:

  • Was Chu Li Mo a third party? This was emphasized throughout the story. Well, it was more like from the girls following Ji Yao Hua. Their wild imagination was really on high during the beginning of the story. Even if ranking with Chu Li Mo’s real identity and how she was nowhere near the comparison of the backgrounds of both the princess and Ji Yao Hua, but that didn’t make it their advantage over Chu Li Mo. Considering how Leng Xue wasn’t into that stuff. He was after all a prince himself. Yet he didn’t look down on others because of that ranking. He rated them on a different scale. Not to mention how he was much too serious the majority of the time. Hey, his nickname said it all. But back to the main question, was Chu Li Mo a third party in Leng Xue and Ji Yao Hua’s relationship? I seriously didn’t think Leng Xue and Ji Yao Hua had anything going on–even WAY before Chu Li Mo came into the picture. I meant sure, they were good comrades and had gotten along quite well over the years they’d known each other. Leng Xue sure was protective of her at times too, because of how her old wound had affected her health and all. But I think she was in the siblings’ zone already. If he had ever liked her, he already reacted. Because he was a straightforward type of person and he was quite possessive. (So not a good trait, lol.) BUT that was too obvious with him being sooo protective and possessive over Chu Li Mo in the later parts of the story. Even if others had decided that he and Ji Yao Hua were a couple in the past, it didn’t affect him. Some people might claim that not explaining might just equal to admitting. But he didn’t care to say those stuff to everyone. If they wanted to assume, just assume. His most obvious reactions were directly toward Ji Yao Hua. So it wasn’t like he was leading her on or anything. He always treated her like a sister. That was it. And he did try to explain to Ji Yao Hua at one point, saying that he wanted to say it out a long time ago already YET she stopped him and said she understood. Of course, she only wanted to preserve some dignity and didn’t want to hear him say it out so thoroughly (which was understandable). Then in the later parts when he was poisoned, Leng Xue had emphasized many times that he didn’t want Yao Hua to keep taking care of him like that, because it was also torturing him that he couldn’t do anything for her in return. In a way, I felt he was taking care of her like a little sister and was protective of her since whenever because of that connection. It was like he only had her as a sibling for a while, then along came Chu Li Mo and he fell in love and wanted to focus on Li Mo AND then his sister was envious of the attention she no longer got so there it went. It felt that way to me. I’m not trying to convince anyone to ship Leng Xue/Li Mo. I just felt that Ji Yao Hua’s feelings toward Leng Xue were always one-sided so the whole whore-calling was soooo immature.
  • The ending. I think I declared it one of my favorites of recent series too early. Because the last ten episodes were excruciatingly painful to watch. Or was that the last fifteen? ‘Cause I swear some stuff could be cut out. Like everyone had something to say at times. It was dragging out too much. I don’t mean discussions to solve cases, but if there were side situations, everyone had to say it. Or some side nagging with whatever the situation was. It was driving me insane. This, like recent series, was definitely character-driven and not plot-driven.
  • Hans Zhang vs. William Chan. Okay, some people were fighting because of how Zhang Han seemed to be in the limelight and William not so much. Or more like their characters. This series was filmed in the same year as Legend of the Ancient Sword. I read somewhere this one might have been filmed first. (NOT sure, I wasn’t paying attention to the other one at first, only followed this one at that time.) Around that time, Zhang Han was really popular (still is) and so he had many projects and more opportunities. William didn’t become SUPER popular until after Legend of the Ancient Sword was broadcasted. So stop fighting.
  • More cases, please. Seriously, I was intrigued at first, like really pulled in. But the cases sort of deteriorated and gave way for many catfights and unnecessary side stories so that had lost my interest later on. Yet I tried to hold on for the main plot to see how it was going. Not to mention how some of An Shi Geng’s flashbacks were taking up too much time. It was getting quite repetitive. In fact, most of the flashbacks were driving me insane. It took too much time. Maybe if they cut some of those out and included more explanation for what they did later on, it would be better. Because they did have quite a few story arches that seemed like good ideas but weren’t executed as nicely as should be.
  • The costumes and hairdos. Seriously, some were all right. But others got me yelling “What in the world?” at other times.
  • Fighting techniques. Seriously, these past years, I think I’m beginning to stop caring about them being lazy and taking the easy way out. But this is one of the rare ones that I could sort of make up some excuse for them. Mostly because Wen Rui An’s martial arts emphasize a lot on being able to manipulate inner energy and all. So I would say it wouldn’t be too much since he did exaggerate a lot in some fighting scenes and its descriptions. So I won’t pick on the production team for that.

Funny Moments:

  • The majority of Leng Xue and Chu Li Mo scenes. They were a riot to watch, clashing so much from the start yet developed into a much cuter relationship. Then one of the epic moments must be where Princess Zi Luo wanted Chu Li Mo’s room because it was the one next to Leng Xue’s room. Leng Xue walked in on their conversation and asked what was wrong. After knowing the situation, he told Chu Li Mo to listen to the princess and let her have the room. Chu Li Mo asked where would she be sleeping. He told her in his room, LOL! That was a riot! Loved him for that! Not that he was going to do anything since he was a gentleman after all. But he wasn’t caring for those catfights or BS, even from the princess.
  • Zhui Ming scenes. He was a riot all right. So dramatic and so playful. I totally enjoyed his crazy moments, even if it was outright sabotaging others when he was in disagreements with the princess. Maybe it was William. Not sure. But yeah, loved those moments of his.
  • Zhui Ming and Qie Shou scenes. They were seriously too funny together. I enjoyed those scenes even more than when they were with their significant others. They were a riot with being too nosy and trying to get into everyone’s business when they were at Jiao Niang’s place. Like when they interrogated Wu Qing and tried to find out what was going on, etc. Wu Qing bumped their heads together (literally) and told them that they were too nosy. LOL!

Recommended? I think you could watch it for your favorites. ‘Cause I enjoyed it somewhat but the later episodes dragging on (as said many times in this review) totally got me disappointed. It was definitely killing the pace.

The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2015

This is just in the air right now, lol. I saw it on their list as ‘in preparation’ but it was there since 2014. But of course, it makes sense that it would be a long preparation, considering how they’re planning to have the same team as DGSD and DOMD do it. (Check here and scroll all the way down to the list of adaptations to see that someone already filled out the placeholder for it.)

Possible cast so far? I managed to find a clip of Zhang Meng being interviewed and she hoped to work with Han Dong. My thoughts? Um, how about no? I loved them together in DOMD, but I don’t think they’re suitable to portray Guo Jing and Huang Rong. The production team should find actual suitable candidates instead. I liked some of their past decisions, but if they end up casting Han Dong and Zhang Meng, they have to really convince me. Han Dong, though I love him, had already pushed it as Xiao Bao (age-wise). I also have a hard time imagining Han Dong portraying a dumb character. Okay, Guo Jing’s just too honest at times, but next to Huang Rong, he seems soooo dumb, lol. Han Dong doesn’t have the dumb face, lol. He just looks too smart and cunning. (Xu Zhu only appeared a bit versus Guo Jing role so I sort of went along with it when watching DGSD, lol. Not to mention, Han Dong can’t just wrinkle his face all the time for the Guo Jing role.) As for Zhang Meng, I might change my mind later if they do a good job with the image and see how her acting goes this time around.

If Huace must use someone within their company though, I think Jia Qing would fit the role of Huang Rong perfectly. I’m not kidding. I have seen a lot of Jia Qing’s performances in the past few years. She really could pull off various roles and she could be quite cunning and/or mischievous as needed. Not to mention playful. She, of course, could also be quite serious as well. It would be awesome also if the plot is right. (I do understand if they do go ahead with this adaptation, it would be like the umpteenth time for this novel so I will try to understand their stretch, considering how I didn’t mind–as much–their exaggerations in the past two Jin Yong adaptations that I ended up watching.)  Don’t ask me who’s a suitable candidate for Guo Jing, because it is indeed very hard. Good luck!

EDIT (9/15/15): I just thought of something, Maybe Zhang Han could be Guo Jing. He looked quite good with her in The Four (even if I wasn’t in favor of the pairing in there, mostly due to plot). He could pull it off.

Pink Collar Lady: A Han Dong and Jia Qing Reunion

Also known as Tian Tian Xiang Ni (天天想你), this drama reunites Han Dong and Jia Qing since DOMD.

In this drama, whether they successfully become a couple or not, it is still unknown. (Or at least I didn’t go read spoilers, lol.)

Because pictures could be so misleading at times, especially how both of the male leads were shown having wedding scenes with both female leads.

But I’m actually excited to watch this. (Okay, sort of.)

What I’m even more excited about is seeing Enson in the drama. He had posted a picture like months back with Han Dong. Just anxious to see what type of role he will portray.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.

The Deer and the Cauldron: Review

Like I said in the other post, one has to get past the first episode before deciding to actually continue or not. I continued on because that was me. After all, I did wait for more than a year so it was hard to just let go. Besides, I was curious about what else was placed in.

This one actually continues the trend from DGSD in that it captured the story by the active participation of the characters during the actual events instead of playing on the recounts of other characters. Like how it was with the Zhuang family’s tragic event, they actually let the scene unfolded with how Ao Bai actually went through the whole process of presenting the case to the king too, not just some side discussions and then there were recounts later on. (Okay, bad example since in other adaptations–or the ones I did actually watch, they showed the events unfolding as well but only some glimpses here and there.)

Main Cast:

  • Han Dong as Wei Xiao Bao (韋小寶). After the first episode and then eventually the second, third, and fourth episodes, I decided to give up on him being Xiao Bao. NOT saying I totally hated it. I just feel that I’ll just watch him but his own version of Xiao Bao or more like Da Bao (大寶), lol. Because he was far from ‘xiao’, both age-wise and height. Yet Han Dong did make it bearable at times and enjoyable at others. So I don’t think his acting was terrible because his character in here was indeed like Xiao Bao in the novel on some levels, but considering the age of Xiao Bao in the novel, it just didn’t cut. So yes, after a while, I have to abandon the novel and just focus on him. So when I got past with looking at age and height, I was totally blown away with Han Dong’s portrayal. I will admit that he sometimes exaggerated with the humor. But the rest of the time, I can’t stop laughing or keep watching on to the next episode. It was like addicting for me in that sense, trying to see what else he could do. (Even knowing what scene would take place next, it was still addicting.) What got me laughing so much was how they changed some of his styles and made him used some deeper words to mock the people who came to cause trouble at the Shaolin Temple than his usual obnoxious self would use at other times. Then there were also some of his behaviors, not so over like how he was seemed so upset the majority of the time regarding some matters. Sure, he had his moments, but it was like the essence of the character from the novel coming out in here. There was a mixture of seriousness and humor–like it was appropriate at times. I like how he handled the situation with Jiu Nan Shi Tai, whether she deserved his pity or not. Yet he was sincerely helping her and trying to protect her (after the initial con), not just wanting to lure her away to save the king. He also worried for her. And oh yeah, I just loved his taunting expression. It made you want to smack him in the face too. At other times, you couldn’t help but want to side with him. He was just too slick and amusing on many levels.
  • Wei Qian Xiang as Emperor Kang Xi (康熙). He indeed exuded a very royal image in here and was charming as Kang Xi at times and strict enough as others for the role of Kang Xi. He could also be humorous when the time called for it. One of the most touching scenes with him was the part where he got to see his father again, talking a bit and saying goodbye for the last time. I also liked how he sort of still treated Jian Ning as his sister and pleaded with the empress to spare her, telling the empress he would have some sort of solution to the situation so Jian Ning wouldn’t go storming in to keep bothering her (the empress).
  • Wei Xiao Bao’s 7 Wives: Yeah, he has 7. Everyone who read the novel knows.
    • Zhang Meng (张檬) as Shuang Er (雙兒). Very disappointed in her hair. YES, even if it was on screen, I can’t even get over it. It made it even worse because I could say it was the angle of the pictures at times when they released the stills. But it didn’t get any better on screen. I rather watch her at parts where she posed as the guy since I wouldn’t have to see the hair. Well, the back part wasn’t as bad, but the front part would be better off as curls, not that hideous bit. Whoever thought it was cute to do that to her hair must be crazy. What else? They got creative with her character. It wasn’t the first time they switched up Shuang Er and gave her more stories. They went all out and made her somewhat of an undercover agent at the king’s uncle’s place. Then later, she stayed to assist Xiao Bao from time to time. It was bugging me at times with the inconsistent appearances like how it bugged me with Jian Ning’s appearance too early. But I warmed up to it later, so PHEW. I would hate to not enjoy watching Shuang Er and it would be a pity since I had loved seeing Zhang Meng as Shen Xian Jie Jie. What I really loved was the part about her posing as the ghost, it was hilarious and cute. But what got me laughing, even more, was how they made her not one of the servant girls for the Zhuang family yet she was the daughter, really? Then it got annoying again since she was appearing at the wrong time, especially the part where Jiu Nan Shi Tai appeared and it led to the part that it was focused on him and A Ke, etc, they made Shuang Er appear again and even the princess. So it was WAY off for me. And it was exaggerating things. Sure, I loved Shuang Er, but things could be just too much. What was that with the wedding and all? Then he wasn’t afraid of the princess anymore that he wanted to offend her? (Really?) Um, I got it that they had to change Shuang Er up since they did change her character to being the daughter of the Zhuang family, but it seemed like less appealing than before for some odd reason. YET, yes, I wanted to delete the previous parts, but I couldn’t do it, SO I will say YET after I took a break and calmed down, I continued to watch on and actually got sucked into the story. It was possibly because of the scene in the rain and the song, etc.
    • Wu Qian (吴倩) as Mu Jian Ping (沐劍屏). Funny at first yet it made her somewhat of a fierce person later on as she appeared more. I didn’t mind that. But what I minded was how it made her having some side romance with Feng Yi Fei. Luckily, it showed that she wasn’t just obsessed with him but she knew that he’d lied to her about stuff and was actually able to stand up for herself. What was even cuter and made me remember some scenes in the novel was how she wasn’t a doormat or too obedient to Xiao Bao’s words at times. Like how when they had the encounter in the palace, at last, she was really fighting him. It wasn’t until she realized he would help her and saved hers and Fang Yi’s lives that she was a little gentler to him, etc.
    • Zhao Yuan Yuan (赵圆瑗) as Fang Yi (方怡). The switch had me disappointed too because like I said in the other post, I sort of have the image of Zhao Ke as Fang Yi in my mind already. However, that totally changed when Zhao Yuan Yuan appeared as Fang Yi. She was indeed strong and powerful and suitable as Fang Yi. I thought she really brought out the character quite well. I totally forgot who was supposed to be cast as Fang Yi in the beginning. What was surprising was she made me love the character Fang Yi, which was super rare (as I mentioned before in the character introduction post). What made somewhat of a difference in here and was a bit interesting was how she acknowledged early on that Xiao Bao was actually a kindhearted person, even if his mouth was running at times. (YES, she said it after Xiao Bao left that one time to think of ways to sneak her and Mu Jian Ping out of the palace, etc.) What was puzzling was how they sort of cut short the part where Fang Yi was involved with the schemes of trapping Xiao Bao and luring him to the Dragon Island. Not like I wanted it to drag out. But I was just wondering if because they had to film some scenes again that they decided to cut it or if their initial intention had been to cut that bit of the story short and focus on the other parts of the plot. Maybe, maybe not. But in a way, I was glad. Even if they sort of took the easy way out. Yet maybe they were saying like Fang Yi wasn’t able to control a lot of things. Like how she and Mu Jian Ping didn’t really get in an official goodbye with Xiao Bao either, except for just standing there and staring at him, etc. The later parts didn’t let her off, considering it was already once too many times. It made sense and in a way, she wasn’t so passive about it. She did regret it but wasn’t becoming all pitiful either. It sort of made me respect her more than just plain play the pity card like some past versions. I don’t know. It felt fake for some reason, but this one, she wasn’t too trying to be pitiful in front of him when the actual confrontation came forth. (Well, the scenes where Hong An Tong was around was different since she was still supposed to be scared.) Or should I say some past adaptations either made it too pitiful and tried to say it was okay (even if we understood her situation), letting her off too easily OR just plain made her too WAY over? So I thought the mixture in this adaptation made it my favorite.
    • Viann Zhang (張馨予) as Su Quan (蘇荃). They had to make her look older than Han Dong, which was a bit hard, lol. Yet it wasn’t too bad. As long as she looked older than the other girls, it was fine. She was seriously beautiful as Su Quan and also quite brilliant and powerful in her own way. Yet when she finally followed Xiao Bao, she seemed gentler, which made sense as well. Yet she didn’t lack in intelligence because the other wives needed her to calm them down when they were too rash with their decisions at times.
    • Loura Lou (娄艺潇) as Princess Jian Ning (建宁公主). Hilarious! She was sadistic all right. Yet Loura made it really funny and addicting to watch even. She was sure full of tricks. They focused on her a lot in here but for once, I didn’t mind. Although she wasn’t supposed to appear so early like that, I soon forgave them because of Loura’s portrayal. She sure made me want to keep watching Jian Ning and what she might be up to next. They also got Jian Ning in on many schemes, like sneaking out to see Wu Ying Xiong’s face (with the suggestion from her royal maid). It was just too hilarious to watch. It made me even more impressed with Loura’s acting. Strangely, she was the only one that I didn’t mind appearing too much, although I did say I was annoyed with the whole way off with the wedding scene regarding Shuang Er and Xiao Bao, for some reason, I wasn’t that annoyed with her. Perhaps it was Loura’s portrayal. Sad, but yeah. Also, I loved that they included that she also got a chance to say goodbye to her father for the last time, even if he wasn’t her father. I mean since she was already appearing so early and all, it made sense to get her involved in those scenes too. Even if she seemed cruel and obnoxious at other times, but I thought it made sense to miss her father and demanded to see him and say a few words of her own before they return to the palace.
    • Mona Wang Ya Hui (王雅慧) as Zeng Rou (曾柔). So cute! Anticipated her appearance right from the start. So when she was around, loved her. She appeared on some parts that were off too, but I didn’t mind. I probably am appearing to be quite mean for picking on ZM/SE rather than Loura or Mona, but it was hard not to since it was too much out on the tangent with the wedding and all. Anyway, she was less active at times but there wasn’t time so I had to forgive them. The later scenes after she had followed Xiao Bao already called for a little more time so it was nice seeing her interacting with the others without being monitored by her seniors, etc.
    • Jia Qing (贾青) as A Ke (阿珂). She didn’t disappoint. Finally, a version that I could love A Ke from the beginning without getting petty about picking on her. There were many things that made more sense with the expansion of her story. The fact that they incorporated how she found out about Zheng Ke Shuang made it less like she was just following Xiao Bao just because of the baby. Well, she realized many things too, but I liked this version better with how she realized how scary Zheng Ke Shuang was, and tried to escape on her own. Even if she was unsuccessful, but she sort of saw his true self exposed to the point of unbelievable, wondering how she could have fallen for him in the first place. The scene of how she tried to inform Xiao Bao of Zheng Ke Shuang’s intentions though too late was also convincing. She exposed him to the max, which made sense with her personality, always straightforward and it fitted with her boiled up anger from inside as well. After being trapped for too long, she had to get it all out to the others, not just trying to score points with anyone or sliding by.
  • He Zhong Hua as Chen Jin Nan (陳近南). Wei Xiao Bao’s master and the leader of the Heaven and Earth Society. Um, he wasn’t supposed to appear at that one part and then on some other occasions. It was once again off. But since fighting was involved, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. Regarding the actor, because he’d been in too many villainous roles, it was sort of hard to adjust, lol. However, in the later parts, I got used to him. He brought forth a different feeling to the character and was convincing enough in that sense.

Supporting Cast:

  • Samson Lai (賴水清) as Ao Bai (鰲拜). Once again the director took on an important yet short-lived role. However, he extended it a bit so it seemed like the character Ao Bai was fierce and ruthless and wanting to take the power from the king AND not just mentioned briefly at certain scenes. It was like the director refused to die so soon, lol. But I was laughing so hard at their attempt to come up with all the ways to attack him and take him down. And then eventually, realizing he was unstoppable, but not really.
  • Ji Chun Hua as Hai Da Fu (海大富). He was hilarious at times later. He was still creepy and cunning and unpredictable, but it made more sense that he tried to keep it under wraps with his investigations so he wouldn’t appear as suspicious. I found it funny that he was laughing at Xiao Bao too about Xiao Bao having to sew the handkerchief for the princess.
  • Michelle Yim as the Empress. Very beautiful and suitable for the role. Loved how they focused on her costumes, etc. Michelle didn’t disappoint at all with her acting. Whether she was posing as the fake empress or when she had acted as the real empress.
  • Li Qing Xiang (李慶祥) as Suo E Tu (索額圖). Xiao Bao’s sworn brother. At first, I thought he was too serious. Yet I realized it was suitable because of how things were with taking care of stuff for the emperor. Later on, when they went to Ao Bai’s resident to collect all the possessions, his humorous side shown.
  • Anthony Lau (劉永) as Duo Long (多隆). Also Xiao Bao’s sworn brother in here. He wasn’t supposed to be yet they added this bit (or was that in version 3?). They made him funny–as suitable alongside Xiao Bao.
  • Liu Zhang Sheng (刘长生) as Xu Tian Chuan (徐天川). One of the wise elders. Could be hot-headed at times,  but only regarding his situation.
  • Min Zheng (闵政) as Feng  Zi Zhong (风济忠). Supposedly a spy for Emperor Kang Xi so he knew a lot of stuff going on at the Heaven and Earth Society. However, in here, he was portrayed as a person of the Heaven and Earth Society yet wanted the leader’s spot hence conspiring with many others, like Ao Bai for instance. Still, later, he was also revealed to be a spy for the emperor. Or did he switch sides in here? It was getting too confusing with people’s motives so yeah.
  • Liu Chang De (刘长德) as Feng Yi Fei (风逸飞). Feng Zi Zhong’s son. A made-up character? I swear I don’t remember him. At first, I was annoyed with him appearing and all since he didn’t exist anyway. But then he appeared less so I didn’t gripe as much anymore.
  • Liu Wei (刘威) as Qian Lao Ban (錢老本). Hilarious. Got into a bunch of schemes with Xiao Bao when he was trying to send Xiao Bao messages via hidden letters, etc.
  • Galen Yu (余家伦) as Taoist Xuan Zhen (玄真道人). Intelligent and knowledgeable. Often the voice of reason and calmness among the group. Yet ironically, he was later stopped by others with his somewhat rash behaviors. Wasn’t too bad.
  • Wu Li Peng (邬立鹏) as Mu Jian Sheng (沐劍聲). Not really making an impression for me. He seemed too plain for some reason.
  • Wu Hua Xin (吴华新) as Liu Yi Zhou (劉一舟). Cowardly all right.
  • Ren Xi Hong (任希鸿) as Wu Li Shen (吳立身). Righteous and loyal to Xiao Bao after Xiao Bao saved him that one time.
  • Lu Yong (卢勇) as Hong An Tong (洪安通). They made him not only fierce, crazy, scary, and cruel in here yet also somewhat of a pervert. Yet I didn’t mind since just plain pile it on, lol.
  • Wang Yi (王怡) as Mao Dong Zhu (毛東珠). The fake empress aka Princess Jian Ning’s real mother.
  • Lin Yi Zheng (林以政) as Shou Tou Tuo (瘦頭陀). Princess Jian Ning’s real father. He was too funny for me to take seriously. But I guess that was the point at some parts.
  • Gu De Chao (辜德超) as Pang Tou Tuo (胖頭陀). Easily conned by Xiao Bao after his initial schemes with the others.
  • Han Yin Long (韩银龙) as Taoist Wu Gen (無根道人). One of the people from Dragon Island. One of the hilarious scenes I remember of him was how when Xiao Bao was trapped on the ship and he had to keep guard, making sure Xiao Bao didn’t make any rash moves. He kept saying “Don’t know” whenever Xiao Bao asked him a question. Sure took patience.
  • Feng Jin Gao (冯进高) as Wu San Gui (吳三桂). He looked fierce and cunning all right.
  • Jia Qing as Chen Yuan Yuan (陈圆圆). A Ke’s mother. Portraying another role in here, but it made sense since A Ke looked like her mother. Other versions had let the actress who portrayed A Ke portray her so why not? Also convincing, considering how Jia Qing had portrayed double roles in the past.
  • Samuel Koo/Gu Bin (古斌) as Wu Ying Xiong (吳應熊). I swear when he first appeared until several episodes later, I kept blurting out loud that I know him from somewhere but can’t seem to pinpoint exactly. It bugged me so much that I had to halt the drama like three more episodes later to check his profile. Then I realized who he was. Long Tian Xing from True Love 365. YUP! I remember liking him in there. So, of course, he looked sooo familiar. It was just that ancient setting versus modern. So now that I got my answer. It was a shame, but I thought he really suited the character of Wu Ying Xiong.
  • Lin Jiang Guo (林江国) as Zheng Ke Shuang (鄭克塽). Um, although Xiao Bao called him “White Face Dude” (literal translation here), I wasn’t sure if he was darker than Xiao Bao at various points. Mean, but I was serious, I was pondering. Anyway, despicable all right, and crazy like his master too.
  • Meng Fei (孟飞) as Feng Xi Fan (馮錫範). Zheng Ke Suang’s master. I had to get used to him being the villain. Those who watched really old movies/TV dramas know him to be taking on more righteous roles–whether just honest or at times playful. Yet I haven’t watched him for a long time now so I guess whatever, lol.
  • Wang Wan Juan (王婉娟) as Jiu Nan Shi Tai (九難師太) aka Princess Chang Ping (長平公主). The actress who portrayed her was seriously beautiful. They made her less fierce in here. Well, she could be fierce, but possibly trying to not go on a tangent for her too so made it less crazy on some parts.

Other Characters:

  • Jin Song (晋松) as Mao Shi Ba (茅十八). They made him appear a little more in here at the beginning and extended his scenes a bit. It was refreshing in a sense yet once again exaggerated.
  • Wang Lin (王琳) as Wei Chun Hua (韋春花). Xiao Bao’s mother. Hilarious all right. It was driving her crazy at the end with Xiao Bao’s drawings so she blurted out about him not learning how to read and write so they had to guess with the drawings.
  • Wang Wei (王薇) as Yin Hu (銀 狐). Her role seemed to reduce in appearance after they swapped out Zhao Yuan Yuan for her to take over. Yet it wasn’t too much since her character didn’t exist anyway so it wasn’t like it was too much of a loss.
  • Louis Tang (唐谨) as Wen You Yi (温有义). Hilarious.
  • Hou Rui Xiang (侯瑞祥) as Wen You Dao (温有道). Same, fun while his scenes lasted.
  • Roy Liu (劉德凱) as Shun Zhi (順治). Emperor Kang Xi’s father. Short-lived role but in a way, it was all right.
  • Ashton Chen (釋小龍) as Master Jing Yuan (静圆法师). He was actually the monk responsible for training a group of kids special techniques to fight Ao Bai. It was fun seeing Xiao Long in a monk role once again and associating with Shaolin as well. I was laughing too hard because they got so creative yet it wasn’t too bad. They raised Shaolin up to another notch regarding martial arts and all.

Couples/ Friendships/ Other Relationships, etc:

  • Han Dong and Wei Qian Xiang as friends or enemies or just plain simple thinking at one time. Minus the fact that they were supposed to be the same age so Han Dong looked odd alongside Wei Qian Xiang, I could accept this collaboration. They were indeed hilarious at times. Then as the plot moved on, I got used to them more and more as a team. It was indeed funny at times and hectic at others. I could feel the conflict within them, considering their roles as supposed emperor and just another person under his rule. Yet it wasn’t so. They tried to stay friends at times yet it was hard, considering how Xiao Bao already know Xiao Xuan Zi was the king. It was also a constant struggle with Xiao Bao trying to stay true to the Heaven and Earth Society versus the king. One of the hallmarks of their relationship was the scene in Xiao Bao’s cell where he begged the king not to kill his other wives and kids as well. He called out Xiao Xuan Zi yet wasn’t abusing it. It was a last resort for him in desperation. Finally, the king agreed. So he thanked him, addressing him as the king again. Then what lifted all the intensity of the past scene was how Xiao Bao thought they were all dead and launched right into cursing the king for not keeping his words and the king appeared and asked if he was done. He was far from done, lol. He wondered if the king got killed off by the Heaven and Earth Society already and said it was deserved, considering how the king didn’t keep his words, lol. Hilarious all over again and indeed it was hard to kill his childhood friend so the king let Xiao Bao go but with another duty, just not keeping him under close scrutiny anymore. To the public, Xiao Bao was already dead so there was no point, just let him be with his family and protect the royal spot.
  • Han Dong and He Zhong Hua as Chen Jin Nan and Wei Xiao Bao aka master and disciple. At times, Xiao Bao was really sucking up with his master and trying to get out of the old man’s maintenance. However, I think the best part that captured their bond as master and disciple was Chen Jin Nan’s death scene. I have to say that scene sold me more than how some of the past adaptations had it. At this point, not only dialogue was well performed but also how the two actors acted the scene out. I felt it was too routine with the other adaptations. This one sort of made me feel it was real. The music also aided the cause. And for once (or probably stretching it by now, lol) but I liked how they didn’t make Chen Jin Nan chide Xiao Bao for lack of trying to learn martial arts or other things. Yet he just said that regardless of whether Xiao Bao knew those or not, Xiao Bao was still his good disciple.
  • Han Dong and Zhang Meng as Xiao Bao and Shuang Er. Under her character discussion alone, there were mixed feelings, obviously. Yet I think that I got over some of those exaggerations later on. Like I said, it was the scene in the rain with him chasing after her and telling her that he had liked her a long time already, etc. It was really touching. The song helped also. Although they didn’t have as much chemistry as him and some of the others in here yet their story made up for it. It really got me sucked into it, which I swear I’m very stubborn (as seen with past comments). Yeah, so I got sold with their story and sort of forgave them for extending that bit. They went even further by saying how it took Shuang Er for Xiao Bao to be so rash as to point the knife at the king. It was in his desperation but it showed how much he cared for Shuang Er to do such. Even the king was shocked (which made sense), considering how Xiao Bao had never gone against him like that.
  • Han Dong and Loura Lou as Xiao Bao and Jian Ning. Already convinced of their chemistry in The War of Beauties, I wasn’t surprised that they once again shined as a couple. This time, their roles were totally different, especially her since her character had changed 180 degrees. I still loved watching them and was surprised that I liked watching them more than him with some others in here. Even when she was so obnoxious and out of line. Yet what I found cute with how he still tried to cheer her up near the end of the series. That was the part where she was saddened because the empress didn’t seem to care for her. He made up a lame excuse but still attempted to cheer her up. Sure, it made sense if he were to ignore her like some previous version where she was cruel. Yet I felt this one, he was fair to everyone, even Jian Ning. What I found cuter was how she kept tugging on his hair each time they were discussing stuff around the house.
  • Han Dong and Wu Qian as Xiao Bao and Ping Er. Cute. I didn’t know how they would fend though I did like the beginning story of how they met. Well, it was quite accurate with the novel so it helped. But their chemistry was still unknown to me until later. I found it was enough, not trying to be so dramatic on purpose.
  • Han Dong and Zhao Yuan Yuan as Xiao Bao and Fang Yi. Their story wasn’t really emphasized at the earlier parts of the story yet later it extended a bit to make it less frustrating of how Xiao Bao just forgave her like that. He brought up the past several times yet it was all for fun. Interestingly, the others sided with her, lol.
  • Han Dong and Viann Zhang as Xiao Bao and Su Qian. I think the addition of the side story of how Xiao Bao and the others saved her and gained her trust after the whole Dragon Island fiasco sort of add to the story, not just how he suddenly gained a wife because of the other incident. I felt it was hilarious too that she suddenly called him “Hubby” when he went against Hong An Tong.
  • Han Dong and Mona Wang as Xiao Bao and Zeng Rou. Was so ready to enjoy their collaboration again since I did love them in DGSD. She had fewer scenes with him versus the others, or it felt like so. But there were so many things going on already, so I didn’t mind that. I enjoyed how they were once again paired off.
  • Han Dong and Jia Qing as Xiao Bao and A Ke. Considering how their relations were in DGSD, I found it hard to imagine at first. But in here, they just jumped right into their characters that their interactions were addicting to watch. I was wondering when was the turning point and felt like that flowed nicely as well. Like I said in the character discussions, I liked how they made A Ke discovered more about Zheng Ke Shuang, not until like WAY later. That had seemed rushed for me with some past adaptations. So I liked this bit. I forgot what happened in the novel and will have to check. But this one totally won me over.

Likes:

  • The Continuance of Active Storytelling. It’s the technique I talked about at the beginning of the review, like how they would present the scenes and let it play out without too many recounts, making us see how each character had reacted during those times. I actually like this more than the passive recounts that it’s hard to grasp at times. Then the whole filling the gaps and explaining stuff at times made it more convincing in a way. Yes, I was sort of feeling like “What?” at times because of certain lapses here and there, but other parts made sense.
  • Music. Like how DGSD was, I liked how they worked on the music for this one as well. Loved the main theme and ending theme as well. Both were unique for its purpose, plus the song “I Really Am Not Perfect” during the rain scene between Xiao Bao and Shuang Er was really sad and touching.
  • Accuracy. Okay, take out the additions of stories, the essential scenes were seriously dead on. They even fine-tuned it a bit so it was even more flowing. I loved that. It amazed me even more.
  • Population. Seriously, sometimes in some adaptations, I feel like it was so weird. I didn’t watch the previous version, but some past ones have it so that it seemed like Xiao Bao was always by himself, especially when he was going out of the palace to do stuff for the king. Okay, NOT the later parts, but some parts when he was still posing as a eunuch. This one, it seemed like he had people with him, like the scene where he went to confront Wu Ying Xiong about the weapons and all. (And I’m not picking on the parts where he sneaked out to see the people of the Heaven and Earth Society, lol. Since it was essential that he went alone on those missions.)
  • The fact that Xiao Bao seemed to care about all the wives–and they learned to get along later on. Yeah, it was hard to be all fair, considering how many wives he had. However, this one, he tried to be as fair as possible. Even if he joked at times and brought up the past, but he still made extra effort to treat everyone the same. Plus, how all the wives got along with one another and at times even ganged up on him. It was a riot. Serves him right, I guess. Sure, they were somewhat scattered at first, but later they even helped one another with stuff or tried to work with each other to save Xiao Bao.

Discussions:

  • Should Han Dong and Wei Qian Xiang swap roles? This was actually addressed by many before when the cast was announced. I just want to revisit this again after having watched it already. Going into it, I was so seeing how Han Dong’s age and all were affecting it. However, when I watched on, I think Wei Qian Xiang was already good as the emperor. NOT saying that Han Dong wouldn’t look good being royal and all, but I felt Wei Qian Xiang fitted the role as the emperor so well in this case. If only Han Dong had taken on this role ages back, it would be great. Yet I liked their collaboration together so if it was years ago, maybe Wei Qian Xiang wouldn’t get this role? The gap in life and whatnot, but Han Dong didn’t disappoint me in acting, only appearance-wise that had worked against him.
  • Exaggerations/Additions. Um, mixed feelings throughout. At first, I was like: Really? YUP, I was that technical. I soon loosened up around episode 2. Although I was still saying “Really” throughout but I wasn’t as picky anymore. It wasn’t like I gave up on it. But I decided to see what else they could come up with. After all, some of the stuff they cooked up was actually hilarious, not always throwing in soapy stuff like someone and expect people to endure it. (Well, some people like those stuff but I don’t, NOT especially when it wasn’t supposed to be a soap.)
  • Cuts. (Added February 24, 2017.) For once, I wished they had cut out the part where Xiao Bao raped some of the girls that led to other complications and how they ended up becoming his wives for real. YES, it seemed like I just plain slid past it when I did the actual review. I seriously didn’t want to put in negativity and/or hostility into the review. But I felt like I had tried to ease out of it just for the sake of peace–even if just discussing some plot. I felt I needed to go back and address it. Like I said, in the past when I watched different versions of it, I didn’t think much and thought that it was just following a scene from the novel. Yet when I finally snapped out of the robotic mood, I was just really disturbed by it. Yes, I will say I let that slide and used it as an excuse because of Xiao Bao’s background and how his rights and wrongs were morphed at times–like he’d done some stuff with cutting corners and wasn’t that spot on with the whole traditional heroes anyway. But I felt I needed to address this fully. Although some of the girls already liked him anyway–and others were accidents. But I felt I shouldn’t let him escape this one, regardless. Considering how all the women present were unconscious AND I have to say especially because they were unconscious. That scene was placed in for comedic effect, but I didn’t think it was a laughing matter with taking rape so lightly. Even if that didn’t happen, I think eventually A Ke would warm up to him. And Su Quan didn’t deserve to be raped–regardless of how cruel she was along with her husband during some torture scenes (that had been cut back in here but it was in the novel and some previous versions)–and the way it was going on with this version, it was obvious she would eventually end up with him anyway. Although Jin Yong’s original intent in writing the novel was to mock and/or create a parody within the wuxia realm, I thought some stuff could get so far–or way too far.

WHAT?!?!

These are the moments I swear I don’t know what possessed them to put it in.

  • Mu Jian Ping and Feng Yi Fei? Like really? I liked the extension of her story so she had her own side one. Yet with Feng Yi Fei? Really? But like I said in her character section, lucky it wasn’t just some obsession only. It wasn’t like she was that easily conned.
  • Shuang Er became the Zhuang family’s daughter. And what was weirder was how her mother said that she sent Shuang Er to accompany Xiao Bao because she wanted to forward the cause of their revenge. What? YUP, her mother said to her that it was Emperor Kang Xi’s fault and Ao Bai’s death was just part of it as a cover-up. So having Shuang Er follow Xiao Bao was to have a better chance to kill Emperor Kang Xi. Nice? Yet later when I thought of it, it sort of made sense for this version. I meant not that I liked the change, but since they made Shuang Er the Zhuang family’s daughter already, of course, she can’t just follow Xiao Bao like that, under the circumstances. So they had to add in the bit about her following Xiao Bao because of alternate motives. Since it was easy for her as a servant girl to follow Xiao Bao was part of the whole gratitude thing, but now that she was the Zhuang family’s daughter, how could she follow a guy around like that?

What about the ending? Seriously, I was stumped. I meant I was unfamiliar and somewhat troubled by how it was Shuang Er undoing his plan with trying to flee safely. Yet it seemed forgivable because the nature of Shuang Er’s background had changed and then how the story was led on with the king having to do with the deaths, but it was just a misunderstanding. The touching bit with the farewells with his wife sort of made up for it. Then the funny scene with thinking they were all dead already so Xiao Bao scolded at the king. It sure let up some hectic feelings of the previous episodes. What was funniest wasn’t the part where they all resided at that one place in peace. YET what amused me was how the setting of where they resided. I wasn’t feeling amused because of how things turned out since it wasn’t a bad ending. I liked how they were residing at a place that they wouldn’t be disturbed anymore. But the setting was where Han Dong’s character Wu Tao in Sheng Yi Da Dao Gong resided at. Nice?

If you want to watch and judge for yourselves, click here. (Note: Some episodes got mixed up or got cut off, might want to find other sources for those instances.)

*Images were captured by DTLCT

Year 2014 in Recap

You know what? I’m beginning to feel like the year in review from WordPress doesn’t even justify my accomplishments, especially this past year. So I decided to go all out on the rebellion and make my own post. It might not look as glamorous as WordPress’s version but at least it doesn’t make me look that lazy, lol.

Starting off with some general stats.

Total Posts in 2014: 139 – Yes, posts ONLY. But the number would have gone up if I counted the pages since I usually use ‘pages’ for fanfic updates, except if it’s a one-shot.
January: 19
February: 16
March: 13
April: 14
May: 6
June: 12
July: 8
August: 10
September: 7
October: 9
November: 8
December: 17

Times Updated on People on the Poll: 63 – Looking at the breakdown, it goes to show that I update on whoever I feel like, not having to do with the who is leading the polls, etc. It’s nothing new, it’s like what I said before. It’s not that I placed in the poll just for kicks or just messing with people. But it’s more like I was curious (like I mentioned in the past already) and try not to put myself on pressure as to update according to votes. What I do feel bad about is not updating on Vic and Janine or Nic more like I should have.
Wallace Huo: 8
Ady An: 1
Hu Ge: 1
Vic Chou: 4
Joanne Tseng: 4
Janine Chang: 2
Angela Chang: 1
Xiu Jie Kai: 1
Nicholas Teo: 1
Yvonne Yao: 3
Zhao Jun Ya: 16
Achel Chang/ Zhang Xin Yu: 5
Sophia Chou: 3
Van Fan: 1
Eric Suen: 3
Penny Lin: 3
Jacky Chu: 10
Bianca Bai: 1

Music Reviews: 13 – Not bad, right? I managed to empty the majority of the list I had up. So it’s something to celebrate here.

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries: 22 episodes and 6 reviews – I could have done better here but still not too bad.

Fan Fiction: It has been a sad case here since I don’t know when. But I really do apologize for all those waiting for certain stories that have been lagging for the past few years now. It’s just that I didn’t find inspiration to do work with it and didn’t want to end up ruining it more than I already did.

  • Slanted Thoughts 2
  • The Dating Game 45 – Mad progress on this saga, right? Sadly, it could only be said for this one, lol.

Songs Translations: 12 – Hey, it’s a record here! I’m serious! Translations are hard! It’s harder for my case since I’m still learning in some areas.

Chinese: 9

Vietnamese: 3

Side Updates: 41 posts – YUP, these have been occupying my time as well. At times, I cheated and posted pictures only, but I swear, some of them were kind of too secretive to talk about. Or some were adaptations that I hadn’t read about yet.

  • Fu Rong Jin: 5 – It’s going to show like next year, right?
  • Favorite Scenes Saga: 1 post, but I did have a lot to work on so it wasn’t like I was slacking on purpose
  • Worth Watching Saga: Managed to publish all 3 I have in the background for the recommendation posts. Plan to launch another one this upcoming year.
  • Seasons in the Sun: 5
  • Love Knows No Distance: 2
  • Gold Pretty Girl/Dan Shen You Yue: 3 – Seriously, been waiting for this to air.
  • Dong Jiang Heroes: 6
  • Never Ending Love: 2
  • Royal Tramp/ The Deer and the Cauldron 2014: 4
  • Yuan Yue Wan Dao: 1 – Seriously, when is this airing?
  • Shen Yi Da Dao Gong 2013: 4
  • Throwback Thursday Saga: 3
  • Reasons to Stay Positive Saga: 2

What do I want to focus on for this next coming year? More on Couples posts and pages. Not to mention the “Special Profiles” pages that I had suddenly abandoned. There’s also the “All About” saga that I halted all of a sudden as well. So are these my New Year resolutions? No. I seriously don’t want to force myself into that, considering how this is just a blog to share all the randomness that I like. So putting pressure on that would lose the purpose of the blog itself even more. I’m just bringing it up because I want to say I’m not abandoning those completely yet. Although what I would want more is to finally finish some fanfics that I have been lagging since whenever. Wouldn’t that be something?

All right, have a great year next year, everyone! Happy blogging or stalking if you don’t blog! (LOL) See you next year for another random update of the wrap-up from me!