Fighter of the Destiny


I finally got around to watching this awhile back, but haven’t posted the review yet. I also need to clarify that I didn’t read the novel so I will just base my review on what’s in the series. I actually tried to read the novel but got impatient and then flipped to the end a bit. I ended up hunting down for the summary of some characters instead and understand a bit about the situation of the adaptation. But back to the series. How was it? I’ll save the rants for below.

Main Cast:

  • Lu Han (鹿晗) as Chen Chang Sheng (陳長生). He was really likable and relatable as a protagonist. I felt there were many sides to him that it was enough to be an interesting main lead. He had serious moments (plenty, considering his death always looming) and funny scenes–where he interacted comfortably with the others. I liked his intelligence and his kindness toward others. Sure, he had moments where he was super stubborn, but that was what sold me on him, considering most main leads nowadays were just too good to be true. I felt his rouge sides added to the character, but how there was a balance to his character so it wasn’t too over either–like trying too hard and then failed. What I also liked was his sword, lol. Super cool and convenient for road travel. He could store everything in there. This was my first time watching him and I must say I was surprised. Not that I doubt his capabilities of being the main lead. It was more like I only heard of his name but never watched him before. I was glad to finally watch him in this series.
    • Yang Ceng Xi (杨曾曦) as Childhood Chen Chang Sheng (幼年陳長生).
  • Guli Nazha (古力娜扎) as Xu You Rong (徐有容) aka Holy Girl (聖女). I don’t know what to say about this character except extreme frustration throughout. Okay, I have a lot to say yet I had to calm down for a bit to be able to write this review. First off, as the main lead, I felt she was really robbed–regarding the script. Sure, she appeared a lot. But I felt the writers played her major time. She was so bland that I felt I couldn’t justify half of her actions. Sure, she was after all their Holy Girl and had to act appropriately according to the rules, whatever. But I felt, later on, her contribution to the plot was so weak. I wished she had a solid story so it convinced me why she was the main lead. I didn’t need her to jump in and save the day all the time. That would be unrealistic. Yet I felt aside from the scene where they conspired to save Chang Sheng out of that maximum security prison, she didn’t have other scenes where she stood out. Sure, she fought along their side and contributed to help think of plans, but I felt it was still weak. It was still a part of her duty sort of thing. I liked her stubbornness and how she wouldn’t marry QSJ just because the others wanted her to. I liked her rebellious schemes later on–when she finally agreed to join in with the others to break Chang Sheng out (like said before). But why wasn’t she given anymore subplot to convince of her importance? It was 50+ episodes and she only stood around the majority of the time and discussed stuff and be lovey-dovey with Chang Sheng at other times? I got that she was smart in her own way and I liked that she had her reasons for not wanting Chang Sheng to become too obsessed with the constellations. But what else was there for her? Even her scene where she sabotaged Nan Ke’s wedding became a plot for QSJ to turn around. Really? I felt she just became a plot device so QSJ could shine somehow or just a reason for CS and QSJ to disagree–although I do like Chang Sheng a lot. But it didn’t make it any less of frustration to see the main girl so inactive. Aside from that, I felt that Nazha had improved so much with her acting since The Classic of Mountains and Seas. I’m proud of her. It sounds confusing, considering how I criticized the character so much yet I felt Nazha did a good job with portraying such a role, showing the depth of her character with whatever was given. She exuded the Holy Girl vibe very well and was quite articulated. Her ability to express with her eyes also improved immensely as well.
    • Lu Chen Yue (吕晨悦) as Childhood Xu You Rong (幼年徐有容).
  • Janice Wu (吴倩) as Bai Luo Heng (白落衡) aka Luo Luo (落落). She was my favorite female character in here. I was surprised. I thought I would dislike her because of a possible role in the triangle. But I felt she had exceeded all expectations. She was lively and fun. Not to mention so loyal and caring and lovable. There were so many sides to her. She was sort of spoiled too–somewhat–but she was still likable in many ways. I cried many times for her and felt that Janice did a very good job. I liked her since watching DOMD and felt she acted quite well in there. She took her acting to another level. I think her performance was what made her character so likable and enjoyable to watch. It was really sad to see her acting so passive toward the others later. I thought it would be for the best later since she had to move on anyway. But it was really tragic. The transition of her character also proved Janice’s acting was quite convincing.
  • Joseph Zeng (曾舜晞) as Tang Tang (唐棠) aka Tang San Shi Liu (唐三十六). He was hilarious. I loved how he was Chang Sheng’s first friend since arriving at that place. I thought he would be arrogant and look down on Chang Sheng, but he wasn’t so. He was quite grounded for a somewhat spoiled young master. He loved to show off and was very proud of his inventions. Yet he was surprisingly likable. Sure, he did have his crazy moments and was mad at Chang Sheng over some misunderstanding too. But I thought I forgave him since he did leave that one group to join Chang Sheng’s school to show his support. When things mattered, he did back Chang Sheng up. Not to mention, all of those inventions. It was too cool. Anyway, he was my second favorite male character in here.
  • Amelie Xu (许龄月) as Mo Yu (莫雨). I didn’t like her at all–if that was too cruel to say. Yet it was too hard to like her. It wasn’t because she sided with QSJ regarding the triangle either. Partly, but like how the rest of that place totally looked down on others–it was like a rule or something, you have to look down on outsiders to be called one of them. I could respect it that she finally admitted it that Chang Sheng had a good side but she was still siding with QSJ regarding the triangle. Yet what I found ironic for the majority of the series was how she didn’t see it that she was forcing You Rong YET she didn’t like the empress’ nephew either (who hit on her multiple times during the earlier parts of the series). I felt bad for her that she had become that way near the end. It was sad for her and Tang Tang yet that didn’t make her a top character for me either. Hey, I found it super hard to like You Rong too so it wasn’t like I was just picking on her.
  • Gao Han Yu (高瀚宇) as Xuan Yuan Po (轩辕破). He was probably my favorite male character in here. After having watched him in SCI Mystery, I was ready to see another role of his. In fact, that was the reason why I moved on to watching this series earlier than expected. (Yes, my list’s still super long and I don’t know if I could finish it in this lifetime, really.) I had followed it while it was airing but didn’t think to watch it so soon. Anyway, back to GHY, definitely a different role from SCI since his IQ was brought down even more, lol. But he was a really lovable character. He was funny–without knowing possibly. He was seriously loyal and caring toward his friends. It was hilarious. I also liked his crush on Luo Luo and felt it was too bad they couldn’t be together either. Well, he was going to guard her temple later so it wasn’t for nothing. But still sad. The saddest part was how he was crying–or on the verge of crying–knowing that she would forget him too eventually and seeing how it was already happening to Chang Sheng. What was even funnier with him was how he loved to eat but also could cook up a storm. It was a nice touch since in other series, we only get to see those loving to eat and pig out from others’ cooking. Yet he was able to do both. Anyway, GHY’s acting was quite good in here. I think I like him even more in here.
  • Chen Shu (陈数) as Tian Hai You Xue (天海幽雪) aka Holy Empress (圣后). Mixed feelings throughout. Sometimes, I got it from her speeches or her intentions that she was looking at the bigger picture and caring for her citizens. Other times, I just thought she was crazy.
  • Eddie Cheung (張兆輝) as Yin Xing Dao (寅行道) aka Royal Scholar (教宗大人) aka Red Robe (紅袍). Um, I have flashbacks of the ’90s when Eddie was portraying villainous roles all over again, lol. His schemes were elaborate and he was smart enough to stay in the background. However, I felt his intelligence could only be so much. Why? Seriously, he wanted to become king and all but ended up having to control the constellations as well? Um, not too smart there. Aside from that, I didn’t doubt Eddie’s acting.

Supporting:

  • Yao Di (姚笛) as Nan Ke (南客). I didn’t like her but had to admit her character got some mystery and depth to it. Even if she was from the opposing side, I actually admired her stubbornness at times. I hated her stupid jealousy rants but felt she had a better story than oh-say the main girl. Yes, I kept going back to that, but I seriously don’t get why You Rong got the short end of the stick like that. Anyway, I thought the actress did quite well–like some others did in here. She showed her emotions nicely.
  • Johnny Zhang (张峻宁) as Qiu Shan Jun (秋山君). Seriously, right from the start, I didn’t like him. It wasn’t because of his involvement in the triangle. But I’m known to not root for the too-good to be true guy. He was so bland and flaky that I found hard to relate to. People who are way above others/on top of the world would fall the hardest when meeting with obstacles and he indeed fell hard. The fact that he only got more interesting once he turned was really sad. I felt his saving point was the actor’s acting. Because he was so convincing in those scenes, the struggles and the unwillingness to let go of many things in his life. And then there went the reason why I was so mad at the writers. They managed to conjure up such a story for GSJ and couldn’t come up with an ounce of a decent plot for You Rong? Seriously? Even Nan Ke got some depth to her character–aside from the senseless jealousy.
  • Archie Kao (高聖遠) as Jin Yu Lu (金玉律). It was really interesting to see Archie in an ancient setting, lol. I wasn’t used to it but found his character likable. Archie didn’t disappoint in the acting department–obviously. I sometimes felt really bad for him for having to chase down Luo Luo time after time. Later, it was revealed their relationship wasn’t just that of master and servant but there was something deeper. He treated her like family and even promised to stay by her side in the future. Too bad he wasn’t able to fulfill that promise. It was really tragic with his death. I shed a few tears. One of the most tragic deaths of the series.
  • Lin Si Yi (林思意) as Little Black Dragon (小黑龙) aka Zhu Sha (朱砂). I loved her. She was hilarious. At times, she was so stubborn but she was quite likable. One of my favorite scenes was when she used one hand to hold her food and the other hand to lift the door for them to flee. It was awesome. She was after all a powerful dragon. The other character in here who was obsessed with food, lol. I don’t think I could blame her since she was trapped in that place for so long.
  • You Jing Ru (尤靖茹) as Qi Jian (七間). I didn’t care for her sect nor the rest of the members, but she was an exception. Not just because they were isolating Chang Sheng because they were taking their senior’s side, but how they were looking down on Chang Sheng and others in general. Anyway, she was different for me because–although she liked Qiu Shan Jun–but she had a likable persona to her since she appeared. It was like something I was looking forward to finding out more–or if she would appear more than some of the cast in here. It was a different character, so I was curious. She turned out to be quite righteous and reliable later. I didn’t just like her because she later followed them and aided them greatly–that was a bonus, but I liked how she was different from Nan Ke (aka someone else who liked QSJ but reacted differently). She wasn’t jealous of others who liked QSJ or the one QSJ liked. She was grounded in that way and was smart and determined in many areas. Although the others treated her with caution, wanting to protect her at times, but she proved herself to be quite capable.
  • Fu Li Jun (冯荔军) as Gou Han Shi (苟寒食). I had to make an exception from that one sect for him too. Sure, I got that he was worshiping QSJ too–it was hard not to, but I liked that he knew how to think for himself, not acting as a crowd to bully Chang Sheng. Initially, he wanted to show loyalty for his senior, but later interacting with Chang Sheng, he learned to respect Chang Sheng. I felt he was actually a true hero among the members of his sect, NOT QSJ. I’m not saying that because I sided with Chang Sheng regarding the other triangle, but I felt Gou Han Shi was a hidden hero, not showy but genuine.
  • Liu Kai Fei (刘凯菲) as Zhou Yu Ren (周玉人) aka Black Robe (黑袍). Zhou Du Fu’s younger sister. That was as major surprise. I meant with her relation to Zhou Du Fu. It was interesting how she collaborated with the Red Robe dude and then later wanted to switch sides. It made sense since they wanted to survive or at least take down whichever side they felt was more of a threat. But just found that really interesting. I had some suspicions during the scenes where they were in the tomb like she had a special relation to Zhou Du Fu, but didn’t realize it was that close.

Others:

  • Eric Tsang (曾志偉) as Taoist Ji (計道人) aka Shang Xing Zhou (商行舟). Chang Sheng’s master. I thought he was a funny master, considering how it was Eric and all. But I felt he totally played Chang Sheng major time. Yes, he seemed to have his reasons back then, but it was sooo messed up to inflict such tragedies into Chang Sheng’s life. But I guessed since he had no one, it was so easy to influence and change his life however. I felt Chang Sheng was already so forgiving with the situation. I wasn’t grateful that he sided with them later and not with his junior. I felt it was overdue that he did something.
  • Fu Jia (付嘉) as Yu Ren (余人). Chang Sheng’s senior, the real son of the Holy Empress. I seriously didn’t think much of him so it was a surprise that he turned out to be the real son. I didn’t mean I looked down on him or anything. I liked that he was Chang Sheng’s good senior and always supported and encouraged Chang Sheng on throughout. However, I thought he was just another character. Well played.
    • Liu Ruo Gu (刘若谷) as Childhood Yu Ren (幼年余人).
  • Wang Ce (王策) as White Emperor (白帝). Luo Luo’s father, also the king of the demon clan.
  • Gong Bei Bi (龚蓓苾) as White Queen (白后). Luo Luo’s mother, also the queen of the demon clan.
  • Xue Jia Ning (薛佳凝) as Mo Yu’s mother (莫雨母亲).
  • Zhai Tian Lin (翟天临) as Zhou Du Fu (周独夫). Interesting character yet there were many things I still wanted to know about him.
  • Ren Shan (任山) as Tian Hai Cheng Wu (天海承武). Tian Hai You Xue’s older brother. Didn’t think much of him except he was there to cause conflicts.
  • Que Zhe Ming (曲哲明) as Tian Hai Ya Er (天海牙儿). Tian Hai Cheng Wu’s son, Tian Hai You Xue’s nephew. I felt his character was as useless as his father. It didn’t really contribute anything except side dramas.
  • Quan Pei Lun (权沛伦) as Guan Fei Bai (關飛白). It was indeed a shocker for him when his senior turned and killed him, which he realized wasn’t intentional but it was too late.
  • Xiao Yu Liang (肖宇梁) as Zhuang Huan Yu (莊換羽). I didn’t care for him throughout, considering how he was super jealous of Chang Sheng and still dared to act all righteous. He was a coward and despicable. So it was strange to see him trying to help Tang Tang that one time and then died in the conflict. It was strange. Did he repent when I blinked? Because by that time, I was getting really impatient to see the series wrap up.
  • Maggie Siu (邵美琪) as Xun Mei (荀梅). Short appearance, but sort of interesting to see.
  • Wang Gang (王岗) as Tang Qiu  (唐秋). Tang Tang’s father. Mixed feelings.
  • Zhang Jia Ding (张嘉鼎) as Tang Hai (唐海). Tang Tang’s adopted brother. I didn’t like him at all. It didn’t matter what his excuses were and his actions throughout. He didn’t gain any sympathy from me. It was sort of funny seeing how Tang Tang kicked him to Kingdom Come, lol.
  • Hao Shuai (郝帅) as Xiao De (小德). A general of the demon clan, wanted to marry Luo Luo. I was suspicious of him at times. Or because of his mysterious nature. But anyway, I guessed it was all right. At least he didn’t cause trouble or linger too long.
  • Yu Yang (于洋) as Shuang Er (霜兒). You Rong’s servant girl. Couldn’t really like her either although I know she couldn’t really be blamed since she can’t really control her own life.
  • He Zhong Hua (何中华) as Emperor of Zhou Dynasty (太宗). Only seen briefly at the beginning of the series and soon passed away.
  • Gao Yang (高洋) as Goddess of the demon clan (神女). A somewhat important role that influenced both Chang Sheng and Luo Luo’s destinies later.
  • Wu Ze Jin Xi (武泽锦熙) as Medicine Furnace Boy (药炉童子). Hilarious. I enjoyed his scenes. He was what made some of the scenes light up even more.

Likes:

  • Cast. The majority of the cast did quite well.
  • The music. Always loved listening to Zhang Jie for theme songs so it was enjoyable for me. The rest of the soundtrack wasn’t bad either. It fitted with the series in general.
  • The majority of the friendships/bonds in here. Although some characters I cared for more than others, I had to admire them for their loyalty and support when things mattered.

Dislikes:

  • Flashbacks. Seriously, this is the problem with the majority of series nowadays. Once again, I loved the music and liked hearing the songs. But I found at times, the flashbacks were unnecessary–except to promote the songs and possibly extend the length.
  • Length/Pace. Seriously, flashbacks contributed to the problem. On top of that, they didn’t know how to focus on the right story.
  • Organization. It was a mess. The jump back and forth between scenes wasn’t well planned. I meant there were some subplots that dragged on and on, then later it jumped to the another subplot. It made us forgot what in the world happened with the other one. I wouldn’t want them to jump so dizzily from one scene to the next but at times when they show what was happening here vs another, it was really slow. Then at another time, they just glossed over essential details.

Recommended? I think it’s considered average. It could be a good series, but the length killed it. It should have been 35 episodes. Because of the reasons I listed above, the length was unbearable in many ways.

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Legend of the Ancient Sword 2: Review

(image capped by DTLCT)

I actually watched it straight from Youku while it was airing/streaming yet I was so caught up with so much real life stuffs that I didn’t have a chance to review it. I actually worked on it a little at a time though. How was it? It didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, it exceeded my expectations.

Main Cast:

  • Aarif Rahman (李治廷) as Xia Yi Ze (夏夷则) aka Li Yan (李炎). 3rd Prince. I found him so boring initially, mostly because he was tied to the palace schemes and at times seemed too good to be true. However, his character grew on me. I also felt quite frustrated with the tragedies he had to go through. I was so pissed when that one flaky Taoist dude cursed him, thus the inevitable in the end. At times, he could be so scary yet who could blame him? After all that he’d been through. I liked it that he was being firm with his father and not returning. He couldn’t just forget what happened like that. He was already letting go of the past–sorta. Other times, especially when he was with Ah Ruan, he was quite sweet.
  • Ying Er (穎兒) as Wen Ren Yu (闻人羽). I really liked her character and it was really relatable to me. I felt she was very righteous and responsible. She was at times a perfectionist and was being too hard on herself, but I understood why. She was trained so strict and was put in an important position. I understood why she wasn’t as cheery as the rest of them at times yet at others, she couldn’t help but want to do some carefree activities too. She learned to open up to the others along the way. In fact, she was seen quite innocent at times (like how she didn’t really experience a normal life like some of them had since little) and her little smiles at times. I felt those moments, Ying Er was really cute.
  • Fu Xin Bo (付辛博) as Yue Wu Yi (乐无异). I liked him immediately upon his appearance. I don’t know, he was a really fun character. I can’t believe this was my first time watching him–although I heard of him for a long time now, he was really good. I liked watching how Wu Yi grew throughout. He was really spoiled and naive at first. Yet he learned a lot later. It wasn’t like he was looking down on others, but he was spending recklessly. He lived in a bubble with his parents spoiling him with many luxuries. His saving point was indeed his kindness and sincerity toward others. His passion for inventions was kind of lovable in a way, because of his perseverance.
    • Huang Tian Qi (黄天崎) as Young Yue Wu Yi (少年乐无异). Fascinating to see the child star grew over the years and now portraying another role in part 2.
  • Coco Jiang (姜雯) as Ah Ruan (阿阮). She was so cute. From the posters, I saw her in several serious poses, I thought she was going to be a serious character. I was wrong, but I was glad. That meant she was different from Ren Yu. She was adorable, because of her lack of experience in a lot of matters. She was learning a lot. I found it really funny how she associated food with the festivals that people celebrated. Sometimes, she could be so stubborn yet that was admirable too. Once she made up her mind, others weren’t able to change it. Even if they meant it out of goodness or was worried for her. Sure, she overused her powers and ended up exerting and hurting herself along the way, but her braveness wasn’t lacking. What I also really liked about her was how they didn’t make her a weakling that needed rescuing. Sure, the others all loved her and wanted to protect her as part of their family or much more, but she wasn’t incapable. She was powerful in her abilities.
  • Shao Bing (邵兵) as Shen Ye (沈夜). Mixed feelings. At times, I could understand why he wanted to take care of his own people. Yet I couldn’t really relate to him because of the harm he caused to others. I also felt sad for how much he’d been through, but also couldn’t forgive him for all the killings and sacrifices.
  • Ken Chang (張智堯) as Xie Yi (谢衣) and Chu Qi (初七). Ken actually got to act in three different roles in this one. One as an immortal (or supposedly) and two other as AI/robots. I thought he did quite well. It did show a difference between those roles. Because he was a bigger part of the cast this time around, I felt he had more ground for his acting skills–even although a lot of people preferred his immortal image more from the first part.

Chang An (長安):

  • Zeng Li (曾黎) as Fu Qing Jiao (傅清姣). Wu Yi’s adopted mother. I really liked her from the beginning–with her overly protective behaviors and also her stubbornness and what could be fierce at times as well. It was hilarious to watch. Yet I was a tad ticked that she let Ren Wu go alone that one time. Sure, I got it that she was thinking of Wu Yi and their family but it was too frustrating. I liked it that she addressed it later and apologized, not just brushing it off like it never happened.
  • Hu Bing (胡兵) as Yue Shao Cheng (乐绍成). Wu Yi’s adopted father. He seemed like a weakling and pushover at the beginning when his wife was upset and he was just going along with her words. However, when the time called for it, he was very capable. I felt he truly showed that he cared for his family and didn’t need to exude some fierce attitude toward them to prove anything. He spoke up or took actions when it mattered.
  • Jin Qiao Qiao (金巧巧) as Hong Shan (红珊) aka Consort Shu (淑妃). Yi Ze’s mother. I felt really sad for her. She seriously chose to follow the wrong person. She ended up being a sacrifice for all those power lust battles among the royals. Yes, she knew what she gave up and what she was getting into when she followed the king, but I seriously feel so sad for her. She just became a footnote in the end during his conversation with Yi Ze later. That was why I felt glad Yi Ze didn’t forgive the king.
  • He Zhong Hua (何中华) as Emperor Sheng Yuan (圣元帝). Yi Ze’s father. Weak and irresponsible. Yes, he could conjure up all the excuses and the talk about the big picture of whatever. I don’t care. He just wanted to protect himself and what was beneficial to him.
  • Wu Chun Yan (吴春燕) as Princess Zhao Ning (昭宁公主). Yi Ze’s half-sister. Mixed feelings throughout. I felt like she was funny when she first appeared and didn’t mind her spoiled nature too much. She was a princess after all. I tolerated her attitude toward Ren Yu because I knew she was jealous and again, she couldn’t help it, she was a princess. Yet what I couldn’t really forgive of her was the part where she went through with the forced marriage and then had to be talked into reason again by Yi Ze. I didn’t think that she did the right thing in the end hence releasing Wu Yi. Hello, she caused the problem in the first place. She was delaying the course of their journey and more crucial matters they needed to take care of. I forgave her previously for her princess attitude because she didn’t know but after having been outside with them traveling for a while, I felt I was done with it. Sure, it was hard for her to let go of her childhood friend and someone she came to love, but I didn’t want to pity her anymore. It was enough. However, I didn’t expect her to die so tragically. She was annoying at times, sure. But I didn’t realize she would die, even if I saw it (like other viewers) that she fell to her death. I thought there was some sort of miracle or possible way to resurrect her later.
  • Guo Xiao Feng (郭晓峰) as Reverend Qing He (清和真人). Yi Ze’s master. Mixed feelings. I didn’t know what to make of him at first. Although he was protecting Zi Ye and helping him, I agreed with the other reverend about letting Yi Ze choosing his own path. His over-protectiveness was touching on some levels but wasn’t doing Yi Ze any good.
    • Wu Bo Lun (吳博倫) Young Reverend Qing He.
  • Guo Zi Yu (郭子渝) as Li Miao (李淼). 2nd Prince. Yi Ze’s half-brother, Zhao Ning’s older brother. Hated him throughout. The only part I didn’t get was how he had a weak spot for his sister. I got it that it was his sister after all yet I wasn’t so convinced on that, considering how he sacrificed the others too. He even threatened their father and imprisoned him. It wasn’t just about him being possessed for the later part of the story either. He was seriously evil and scheming at the beginning already. It didn’t make a difference. I felt it was sort of letting him off too easily by saying he was possessed later. Well, Yi Ze and the others did feel a difference before and after he was possessed. But that was really letting him off easily. He suddenly grew a heart afterward? Yes, he went crazy because of Zhao Ning’s death, but was that enough? Perhaps, because he was always bragging about his intelligence and capabilities versus the others?
  • Li Yi Xiang (李易祥) as Ming Chuan (明川). Shen Ye’s minion, was sent to the palace as a spy.
  • Ren Peng (任鹏) as The Oldest Prince (大皇子). Yi Ze’s half-brother. He only appeared a bit at the beginning when Li Miao was scheming against Yi Ze and was said to be in a coma.
  • Ji Dong Ran (季東燃) as Jin Sheng (金生). Li Miao’s lackey. I hated him so much it wasn’t even funny. Did he meet with his punishment later?

Tian Gang (天罡):

  • Hou Xiang Ling (侯祥玲) as Cheng Ting Jun (程廷鈞). Ren Yu’s master. Typical strict master, but was indeed very caring toward his disciples and had a great sense of loyalty toward his people.
  • Ryan Yao (姚远) as Qin Yang (秦煬). Ren Yu’s senior.
  • Zhang Wen (张雯) as Yi Qing (逸清). Ren Yu’s senior.

Drifting Moon City (流月城):

  • Dylan Kuo (郭品超) as Tong (瞳). A medic/inventor yet wasn’t the typical kind ones. He was intelligent and scheming. He also had the ability to extract other people’s memory from their mind to track information. In a way, he was quite scary and Shen Ye even admitted it near the end, stating that if it wasn’t for his illness, he could have led their clan. Yet Tong, himself, said that Shen Ye also had his illness yet was able to lead them. Tong didn’t mind being under Shen Ye’s commands. He probably preferred it that way, hiding and keeping his identity a mystery from others. He actually understood and recognized some of the ongoing issues and the consequences yet had allowed for Shen Ye to proceed forward with it anyway. It was based on what he said at times, especially that one conversion with Xie Yi once upon a time and also with Shen Ye before the final battle.
  • Oliva Yan (闫笑) as Hua Yue (華月). The first created “puppet” created by Shen Ye’s father to accompany him and only listened to him regardless. In a way, she was really pitiful. Yet in other ways, she was responsible for a lot of problems, like most of the characters within the Drifting Moon City.
  • Wu De Xin (吴得心) as Feng Ya (風琊). Was killed by Chu Qi later.
  • Zhang Ru Yi (张如意) as Cang Ming (沧冥). The leader of Drifting Moon City, also Shen Ye’s beloved. I was intrigued by her since the beginning and was eager to learn of her past. It was as tragic as some people within the Drifting Moon City and how she sacrificed herself once again at the end.
  • Zhao Yi Xin (赵宜鑫) as Shen Xi (沈曦). Shen Ye’s sister. The child star was really good with her acting. She made me feel for her sickness and also felt the difference in the change when she was possessed. It was very sad and touching with the story and interactions between her and her brother.
  • Xu Ge (许歌) as Li Zhu (离珠).

Juan Du (損毒):

  • Yang Hao Yu (杨浩煜) as Tu Xiu (屠休).
  • Jiang Hao Yan (姜浩严) as An Ni Wa Er (安尼瓦爾) aka Wolf King (狼王). Wu Yi’s half-brother. I actually quite liked him, regardless of his rouge nature. He was very protective of his people and bore most of the responsibilities in making sure they were having a good life. He also wanted to restore their dynasty and return to its glorious past. Although not obtainable, I respected his dedication. He was also a tough and caring older brother at the same time.
  • Wang Xi Wei (王希維) as Mu Sha (穆剎). Mixed feelings. I knew she cared for the Wolf King and did it out of concern, but sometimes I felt annoyed with her for almost killing Wu Yi.
  • Wes Zhao (赵威霖) as Jia Pa Er (加帕爾).
  • Liu Zhuo Ting (刘倬廷) as Zha Mu Na (扎木那).

Others:

  • Fan Jun Liang (范俊良) as Yu Qi (禺期). Han Guang Sword (晗光剑)’s spirit, also the creator of the Zhao Ming Sword (昭明剑). I liked him since the beginning and really liked his witty responses to Wu Yi’s questions at times. I looked forward to moments where he appeared to troll Wu Yi. It was hilarious to watch. In fact, I liked their interaction and weird friendship over Wu Yi and Yi Ze–among the guys. At times, I wished he appeared more but I also wondered if that would take away from his character (if it dragged out too much).
  • Xue Cun (雪村) as Yuan Er (元二).
  • Zhang Ye (張野) as Tuan Zi (團子). A panda demon. He was soooo cute. I cried buckets when he died. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he would make it, considering how they were almost done with the series–more or less.
  • Wang De Feng (王德枫) as Twelfth (十二).
  • Chi Zhi Qiang (遲志強) as Shi Bai Zi (石白子). A tree demon. I thought he was evil at first. I don’t know. He was acting strange, considering how he was exchanging looks with his companions. Yet it turned out they were just trying to hide their identities from others for their own safety.
  • Xie Wen Xuan (謝聞軒) as Pi Chen (僻塵). A fox demon. She was suspicious at first–to me. Yet later, I understood why she and Shi Bai Zi were rightly concerned about revealing their identities. Considering the situation and how humans view demons, they had to protect themselves.
  • Wen Wen (溫雯) as Zhen Ji (楨姬). A cat demon. Creepy. I knew something was up from the start. Well, the setting was a dead giveaway.

Discussions:

  • The comparison between parts 1 and 2. I seriously do not want to go there. But I’m so jumping in this time, considering how I watched both throughout and still remember the majority of the plots. Usually, the first part would be much better, but sometimes there would be exceptions. I think this was one of them. I’m so serious here. I loved the cast of part 1 too and if it wasn’t for part 1’s success, there wouldn’t be part 2. However, when part 1 first came out, people were criticizing it too and didn’t think much of the cast. So? Are we continuing that tradition by bashing what comes after? I can’t stop that, but just putting it out there. Anyway, as much as I loved part 1 for its extensive cast, costumes, and the majority of the story, I also felt a lot of frustrations toward it. The ending of part 1 totally got me choking. Not just because of the deaths involved, but also because of the forced marriage situation that previously dragged the series down for like 10+ episodes. Yes, they were in Qin Chuan for so long that I was only half watching at that point. The pace for the 2nd part was much faster and much more bearable. In fact, I thought the pace was about right for part 2. Although sometimes, I felt it was a bit empty with the lack of the major characters but I thought the events happening drove it forward. There were a lot of side characters and there were many touching scenes along the way. I’m not talking about the number of episodes for each part here, because I know both parts were only 2 episodes apart, but I’m talking about the feeling of the pace and way the stories were crafted. The cast for part 1, although I loved the majority of them, I felt that Qiao Zhen Yu and William Chan were the best in there (acting-wise) for the male leads–followed by Ma Tian Yu. As for the female side, Zheng Shuang and Jia Qing (who was not even the main cast), followed by Gillian (who won out for me because of her double role–even if just one character but there was the person posing as her). Yang Mi, although I loved her since watching Liao Zhai, it was a safe role, nothing too special–or breakthrough. So I felt the main cast of part 2 was better in that sense, they were consistent throughout. I felt just because they weren’t as popular did not mean they sucked at acting or whatever. Ken Chang actually did better in part 2 than part 1–although many felt his character for part 1 was better. That was just outer appearance (though I felt he was dashingly handsome for part 2 as well).
  • People criticizing Ying Er for not being as cute as Yang Mi. I just said above that I loved Yang Mi since Liao Zhai. So, not bashing her. But wrong comparison. Coco Jiang’s character, Ah Ruan, could be compared with Yang Mi’s Qing Xue, not Ying Er’s Ren Yu. So if people wanted to pick on that, please choose the right one. Or if you want to compare Ah Ruan to Xiang Ling, suitable–but I have to say both were equally cute in their own way. Ren Yu was different from Qing Xue, that was what made her unique. If they were to make Ren Yu like Qing Xue, would others pick on it by saying Ying Er was trying to copy Yang Mi? Can’t win.
  • People saying how Reverend Zi Yin and Tusu were a better/deeper pair of master and disciple than Xie Yi and Wu Yi. I think it had a lot to do with watching the first part already and loving it, which I know it’s typical. However, I don’t think one should dismiss Xie Yi and Wu Yi so quickly. Both Tusu and Wu Yi were saved by their masters at the beginning. Their master’s lack of presence in their lives was similar in a sense as well. What was even worse for Wu Yi was how he realized the Xie Yi he reunited with later wasn’t really Xie Yi. Yet what I liked about their relationship was how it gave me a feeling of old wuxia stories–how the main character had to seek out the skilled martial arts master and pass the tests before being accepted. It gave me that old feeling so I liked it. Also, the care wasn’t lacking either. It was touching in many ways–whether how the real Xie Yi treated Wu Yi or the later Xie Yie did. They both tried to protect him and taught him things. It might start out with an obsession for the inventions that he wanted desperately to become Xie Yi’s disciple, but their bond became stronger later.
  • The Ending. It was bittersweet. Ah Ruan’s death was definitely a big hit for the ending. However, it was somewhat expected, considering what the majority of the ones who helped them said about Ah Ruan’s condition and warned her not to use her magic anymore. It was hard for her not to interfere with what was going on, especially the final battle. It was too important not to get involved. Not to mention Ah Ruan’s caring nature–regardless of who was in trouble, not just those who were close to her.

So after all that, recommended? Definitely for me. For me, the plot is the most important and then characters, etc. If you don’t feel like you could enjoy it for whatever reason, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can always watch cuts of your favorites and be done with or MVs, lol. Those are fun.

Legend of the Ancient Sword 2: Airing


Yes, the drama is finally airing! If you want to watch the trailers, go here and here.

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 what else was placed in.

This one actually continue 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 hate 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 awhile, 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 style 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 was 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 love 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 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 like 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.
  • Wei Xiao Bao’s 7 Wives: Yeah, he has 7. Everyone who read the novel know.
    • 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 think 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 story. 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 of 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 love 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 stuffs 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 think 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 but 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, but 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 think 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 on 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 like 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 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 stuffs 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 to 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 stuffs 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 the 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 3 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 think 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), but 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 lost.
  • 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 supposedly 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 go 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 shine as a couple. This time, their roles were totally different, especially her since her character had changed 180 degrees. I still love watching them and was surprised that I like 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 stuffs 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 for 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 with 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 less 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 much 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 stuffs 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 like 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 that one song 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 stuffs for the king. Okay, NOT the later parts, but some parts when he was still posing as an eunuch. This one, it seemed like he has 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 have. 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 stuffs or tried to work with each other to save Xiao Bao.

Discussions:

  • Should Han Dong and Wei Qian Xiang swapped roles? This was actually addressed by many before when the cast was announced. I just want to revisit this again after having watched already. Going into it, I was so seeing how Han Dong’s age and all was affecting it. However when I watched on, I think Wei Qian Xiang was already good as a 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 stuffs they cooked up were actually hilarious, not always throwing in soapy stuffs like someone and expect people to endure it. (Well, some people like those stuffs 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 stuffs 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 but I thought some stuffs 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 like the extension of her story so she have 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 like 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 the bit about her following Xiao Bao because of alternate motive. 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

The Deer and the Cauldron: The Character Yin Hu

So yes, the great mystery of how the production team approach this was finally answered. They swapped Zhao Yuan Yuan out after she took over the role of Fang Yi, which is a good thing because how could they explain why two characters were portrayed by one person. Well, it’s not unusual for one person to portray two roles in a drama. But nowadays, it’s hard to do that without explaining it at all, especially when Yin Hu seemed to be an important role by Ao Bai’s side (even if made up). So Zhao Yuan Yuan was swapped out and actress Wang Wei (王薇) had taken over the role of Yin Hu, which could be seen when she appeared in the first episode alongside Ao Bai and the rest of his guards, etc.

Back to the series, how is it so far? It’s hard to tell what would happen in the future. But for now, I think everyone has to get past the first episode before deciding to go on or not. Okay, maybe not everyone, but for me, I had to to bite my teeth down for the first episode and see what else would happen. Indeed, the pace is a bit faster for the first part so I’m glad. They did change some details. Yet I think after stepping into the mentality a bit, it’s acceptable for me. I will admit that Han Dong’s just too tall for the role and is much older for the role of Xiao Bao. But I don’t think he’s that terrible for the character itself. His acting is convincing at some parts and makes me think of how Xiao Bao should be. Aside from the two points mentioned already, he makes it hard to hate. I just feel like I need to get used to the dubbing for the character since it seems a bit over at times.

Will do a more extensive review later, like how I usually do for dramas, so yes, my rant is far from done. I’m just trying to focus on the production itself right now.

On the other hand, someone did a really cute drawing of A Ke.

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