Rouge Tears by Luo Yong Juan

(Uploaded by: 飛翔鹿)

Song Title: Rouge Tears (胭脂淚)

Music by: Shu Shi Hao (舒世豪)

Lyrics by: Zhang Tao (張濤)

Bold = Chinese
Blue-Violet = Pin Yin
Red-Violet = English
Orange-ish Red = Vietnamese

那離愁 深秋 再回首
na li chou   shen qiu   zai hui shou
That sorrow of separation has been recalled by the end of autumn
Nỗi sầu ly biệt kia đã được khơi lại vào cuối mùa thu
離別恨 己過幾秋
li bie hen   ji guo ji qiu
That resentment of separation, having endured several autumns already
Nỗi hận ly biệt kia đã trải qua bao nhiêu mùa thu rồi

上紅樓 交杯酒 執子之手
shang hong lou   jiao bei jiu  zhi zi zhi shou
Appearing at the red mansion, exchanging cups of wine with crossed arms, holding hands
Lên lầu hồng, uống rượu giao bôi, tay trong tay
jin wo na ke xiang si dou
Holding tightly on to that lucky red bean
Nắm chặt những hạt đậu tương tư đó

心有千千結 不忍吐離別
xin you qian qian jie   bu ren tu li bie
The heart contains thousands of knots, unwilling to utter out the word of farewell
Lòng chứa đầy muôn ngàn cái kết, không nỡ thoát ra lời ly biệt
zhi qiu neng yu ni hua jian cheng die
Only beseeching that we could turn from cocoons to butterflies together
Chỉ cầu được cùng anh từ kén biến thành bướm

相見難 這般愁斷腸
xiang jian nan   zhe ban chou duan chang
Seeing each other is hard, this sorrow is heartbreaking
Gặp nhau khó, nỗi sầu này như là đoạn trường
天上人間 兩茫茫
tian shang ren jian   liang mang mang
Heaven and earth are vast and obscure
Thiên thượng và nhân gian mênh mông

淚成霜 花殘 獨留暗香
lei cheng shuang   hua can  du liu an xiang
Tears turn into mist, flowers withering, leaving behind only a mysterious scent
Lệ thành sương, hoa tàn, chỉ còn lại một mùi hương huyền bí
對鏡梳妝 淚千行
dui jing shu zhuang   lei qian hang
Facing the mirror and applying make up, tears flowing endlessly
Đối diện tấm kiến trang điểm, lệ chảy không ngừng

此情成追憶 綿綿無絕期
ci qing cheng zhui yi   mian mian wu jue qi
This love has turned into a past memory, continuously stirring up without dissipating
Tình này đã biến thành hồi ức, mãi mãi không kết thúc
若離別 此生無緣
ruo li bie   ci sheng wu yuan
If we separate, then that means we’re not fated to be together in this lifetime
Nếu ly biệt, kiếp này coi như vô duyên

不求殿宇宏 不求衣錦榮
bu qiu dian yu hong   bu qiu yi jin rong
Not beseeching humongous mansions nor luxurious outfits
Không cầu mong cung điện rộng lớn, không cầu mong áo gấm quang vinh
但求 朝朝暮暮生死同
dan qiu   zhao zhao mu mu sheng si tong
But only beseeching to be with you day and night, in life or death
Nhưng chỉ nguyện cùng anh sớm tối sống chết có nhau

心有千千結 不忍吐離別
xin you qian qian jie   bu ren tu li bie
The heart contains thousands of knots, unwilling to utter out the word of farewell
Lòng chứa đầy muôn ngàn cái kết, không nỡ thoát ra lời ly biệt
zhi qiu neng yu ni hua jian cheng die
Only beseeching that we could turn from cocoons to butterflies together
Chỉ cầu được cùng anh từ kén biến thành bướm

心有千千結 不忍吐離別
xin you qian qian jie   bu ren tu li bie
The heart contains thousands of knots, unwilling to utter out the word of farewell
Lòng chứa đầy muôn ngàn cái kết, không nỡ thoát ra lời ly biệt
zhi qiu neng yu ni hua jian cheng die
Only beseeching that we could turn from cocoons to butterflies together
Chỉ cầu được cùng anh từ kén biến thành bướm

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

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!

Liao Zhai 3

Since I was on a Liao Zhai binge, I had to hunt this one down and watch too. Too bad that other stuff got in the way so I was off track with this. Now back to watch properly.

Hua Bi (畫壁)

  • Roy Qiu as Meng Long Tan (孟龍潭). First time watching Roy properly since other ones, I skipped around or gave up. But he wasn’t bad.
  • Zhang Pei Ran (張沛然) as Zhu Xiao Lian (朱孝廉). Hilarious despite his playful nature. What made his character redeeming for me was his extreme loyalty to Long Tan. Yet I still didn’t think he deserved to be saved at all. Yes, cruel but seriously? I agreed with the monk how he revisited the snake demon time after time so it wasn’t anyone’s fault for lack of trying to tell him to stay away. (Especially how the monk had emphasized many times already.)
  • Gong Mi (贡米) as Meng Fan (夢凡). A fox spirit. She was nice and kind and was one of the good demons within the portraits. She didn’t want to harm others but couldn’t do much because of that one powerful dark demon. Yet she tried to help many times.
  • Ben Ng (吳毅將) as Qing Shui Ju Shi (清水居士). Long time haven’t seen him. But he was indeed quite awesome with his portrayal in here. His story was so shocking (but not unrealistic) and how he learned his lesson (after a tragedy) was really moving.
  • Wang Yuan (汪芫) as Meng Su Niang (孟素娘). I didn’t think much of her from the start except that she was sure a doormat for her husband to do whatever. Taking in the fact that women back then didn’t have much say in anything at all, I didn’t care for her either. I just felt a bit sorry for her for having to marry such a person. It got even more annoying that she later kept chiding the monk about justice and righteousness when she wanted him to save her husband. However, in the end, I think I admired her determination the most. Regardless if Xiao Lian deserved such a wife or not.
  • Zheng Yi Tong (鄭亦桐) as Meng Yan (夢艷). A snake demon.
  • Wang Yan Su (王妍蘇) as Shen Yue Jiao (沈月嬌). Cruel all right. She defined the cruelty and despicable nature in here. At first, I thought it was the actress that couldn’t act hence the wandering eyes at times when she communicated with Long Tan. Yet it wasn’t so. Those were little traces telling the audience that she was up to something. She was a mastermind of it all. Even scaring her father with her thinking and scheming ways.

OMG, could this get any sadder? I watched the stories out of orders so this one was the third story that I watched. It was like sooooo sad. Although Zhu Xiao Lian finally learned his lesson and promised to listen to his wife from now on and protect his family YET the main couple? Okay, Long Tan had nothing else to live for in the real world and he rather stayed with Meng Fan yet it seemed endless with how they had to deal with the demon. The monk decided to go back in and help them but still. Not to mention how things weren’t really solved in the real world. Like how they weren’t able to expose the pair of cruel father and daughter and some other conspirators. Only some of them knew what was going on. Yeah, it was indeed true how it seemed impossible to go against some really strong forces within the royal courts and all. But this was Liao Zhai after all. There had to be at least a better explanation for it. Yeah, the injustice in life happened and it wasn’t new. But that was just too frustrating. Oh yeah, Long Tan’s father died for nothing!

Gongsun Jiu Niang (公孫九娘)

  • Akina Hong as Gongsun Jiu Niang (公孫九娘). She had the right image to be the main lead. The background story aided her character greatly. She was gentle and graceful enough at times as well. However, I think the plot made her character fell short of being awesome for some reason.
  • Tony Sun as Du Huai Sheng (杜懷生). He was too naive for his own good at times, thinking he could just use his power as an official to bring down Hu Xiao Tian. However, he did have the stubbornness to continue on with trying to bring the latter down.
  • Doris Lai as Hu Cai Ling (胡采靈). Supposedly spoiled, rich girl. However, she was shown to have a good heart from the start. She was also quite mischievous in her ways yet she wasn’t too over with other people. Very cute in her own way. I really liked Wei Ru’s portrayal in here and one of her roles that I watch till the end to this day. I was actually quite impressed with her when she was possessed and acted quite strangely, looking all suspicious–not like the usual loud Cai Ling. What was more impressive was the moment when she found out she’d been used as an excuse so the others could enter her house and search for the other guy and then carrying out the rest of the revenge plot. It was indeed quite tragic and shocking for her. Her reactions were justified. Those moments made her performance even more brilliant. It really tugged at the heart with how much she had to endure just because her father was the big, bad dude.
  • Zhang Dong Sheng (張東升) as Hu Xiao Tian (胡嘯天). Despicable scum. It was obvious to hate on him since he was the villain. But what was strange was how he caved into his daughter’s demands. Well, it was his daughter after all. But still. He did slap her that one time, which showed that he was just putting up an exterior or try to. Or he couldn’t believe his daughter would betray him. Regardless, he didn’t deserve an ounce of sympathy after what he did to many, not just Jiu Niang’s people.
  • Du Yu Ming (杜玉明) as Ling Yang Zi (凌陽子). A Taoist who had gone haywire. He thought he was getting rid of ghosts and demons and putting balance to the world. But he was scarier than the ghosts and demons he tried to exterminate.
  • Zhang Jin (張進) as Zhu Kang (朱康). Creepy. He was Huai Sheng’s friend and later got used by Ling Yang Zi to search for Jiu Niang’s corpse to perform the rituals.

What should I say about this? I swear this one was my third most anticipated story. However, it was disappointing on some levels. Maybe it was me being impatient but I felt the story was too slow. I didn’t mind that Akina looked sort of older than Tony in here since I still felt their chemistry was refreshing. However, it seemed anti-dramatic in many ways. The revenge plot was enough to drive many characters on. Yet it sort of stopped there after a while and then picked up again by the end of episode 4 and then going into episode 5. I felt that Wei Ru’s character, Cai Ling, was the saving point of the story. I was already prepared for her character to be bad or even aiding her father when she learned of the truth about him. Yet she wasn’t so. Yes, she was spoiled and loud, etc. However, she had a good heart, wanting to help others despite her constant tantrums toward her father at the beginning. I felt she was funny in many ways, not annoying like I would often think of overly loud characters. It would be interesting to see Tony and Wei Ru pair up in the future (if ever possible again). Anyway, back to this story, it was soooo sad to see how things turned out in the end yet it had to be that way in a sense. Many things had happened, so how could it turn back to a better time for them both? Even if the story let them both move on–or perhaps her, they still couldn’t be together. What happened to Cai Ling, in the end, could be said to be karma YET she was the one receiving it. It wasn’t her fault, so why did she have to go through so much? That guy sure knew how to pave the future for his daughter. Cutting all her paths and only caring for himself. Now that he was gone, there were too many backlashes to ever move on from that.

Mei Nu (梅女)

  • Stephanie Hsiao (蕭薔) as Pan Xue Mei (潘雪梅). I can actually say that I watched her act growing up. LOL! Not trying to say she’s old, but it says something. She proved her strong acting in here with her various personalities. It was so convincing that when she was Xue Mei, I sympathized with her and felt she was a very cute, nice and gentle girl versus when she was Zhan Min later on with her attitude. It wasn’t Zhan Min’s fault, but the demon’s fault for being so convincing–and Yun Ting didn’t seem attentive enough to her. However, I felt like she was annoying in a way with her not being able to see past some stuff, just taking one person’s side just because he knew how to flatter her. What was even more convincing with Stephanie’s acting was the part where she was still the somewhat dumb Zhan Min, wanting to be a waiter.
  • Frankie Lam as Feng Yun Ting (封雲亭). I also grew up watching Frankie, lol. Frankie once again proved his solid acting in here. There was a phase I will admit that he was going through (with TVB) that he seemed somewhat bland taking on repetitive roles (but it wasn’t his fault since TVB sort of wanted to recreate some sort of phenomenon but failed). He gained my attention again for delivering a solid performance in here. Many might think there wasn’t much. But there was this naturalness in his acting in here that I missed dearly during the last few years at TVB. (At least the years he was still active.) So yes, finally a role worth watching for.
  • Siu Chuen Yung (邵傳勇) as Han Ji Zu (韓繼祖). He usually portrays jerks or on the side of villain roles. (Or whenever I saw him in some dramas.) He portrayed Yun Ting’s best friend in here. Convincing in a sense of being funny at times and being plain annoying when he was possessed (and did struggle to fight with the demon to regain his body).
  • Cheng Yong (程雍) as Wang Zheng Xiong (汪正雄). Despicable slime. He and his goons were responsible for Xue Mei’s death–or part of it.
  • Hou Jie (侯傑) as Ni Ren Nu Yao (泥人女妖). Ugh, it’s no surprise that he was the most hated one in here. Duh, right?

OMG, this story compensated for some of the other ones. Although there were some frustrating moments near the end, the ultimate ending compensated for it. The beginning was tragic and then the sweet moments between Yun Ting and Xue Mei (even if subtle at times since she had to focus on avenging her death as well as others). The ending got me laughing so hard I forgave them for the other stories’ bitter outcomes. Seeing how Ji Zu struggled to call Yun Ting ‘Father-in-Law’ was a riot. Funny how things turned out, right?

Jiang Cheng (江城)

  • Jia Qing as Jiang Cheng (江城). Jia Qing’s acting in here was really top-notch. The quick switch in characters and how she was possessed from time to time showed her acting talent. She was very convincing.
  • Li Wei as Gao Fan (高蕃)/ Lin Feng (林峰). There were mixed feelings throughout. However, I think he did enough for this one. He actually looked quite suitable in ancient attires.
  • Victor Chen (陳司翰) as Wang Zi Ya (王子雅). At first, I didn’t like him at all. Especially disliked him even more after the meds in the wine incident. Although Xiang Lan was lucky enough not to drink it and all and the plan blew up in his face, but I still thought that was a despicable move. However, later, I was less against him. Mostly because of his loyalty to Gao Fan and didn’t get all jealous because Xiang Lan might have liked Gao Fan. He also was a scaredy-cat but had tried to help as best as he could. So in a way, he was a comedian for the story.
  • Wang Gang as Priest Nie. Having seen him portrayed too many villainous roles, it was hard to get used to seeing him in this role. However, he didn’t appear much so that helped, lol. But indeed, he did show his capabilities throughout. Maybe he had underestimated the snake demon. In the end, he managed to put a stop to it all. He also wasn’t too arrogant about it but had advised others to do more good deeds, etc.
  • Zhang Bo Jun (张柏俊) as Gao Fan’s father. I felt bad for him. At first, I wasn’t into it since I hated how he kept forcing Gao Fan to marry to forgo his connections, etc. However, when he finally caved in, he was indeed confused. Yes, the majority were confused and upset (rightly so) by Jiang Cheng’s behaviors. Yet he didn’t deserve all of those traumas. Luckily he–along with everyone else–learned the truth behind it and managed to move on. Unfortunately, Jiang Cheng’s father didn’t get to see how they’d finally figured everything out and their lives were back to normal.

I thought this story was decent. There were mixtures of romances and the conflicts with demons or the so-called fantasy world. Being six episodes helped the story along. Other characters worth mentioning were Xiang Lan and Judge Ma. I thought that Judge Ma (Zi Ya’s uncle) was a villain at first. Mostly because of his sneaky ways. But after seeing how the locals were so into burning Jiang Cheng and not really understanding the demon stuff and all, I totally got why he wanted to hide his practices from them. The hilarious scene must be how he tried to apply the supposedly ‘magic water’ to see demons and ghosts and all. He ended up as a joke to the whole town (or at least the ones who came to see the cases). Xiang Lan, I kept suspecting her mysterious ways at first. But when she let Gao Fan see the truth, it all made sense. Well, as much as it could in the nature of the story. She was cute and likable in her own way. And lastly, Li Wei and Jia Qing sure made a cute couple. I was surprised. Jia Qing had good chemistry with most of her co-stars and this one was quite refreshing. (Or at least I thought so.)

Geng Niang (庚娘)

  • Jess Zhang as Geng Niang (庚娘). Loved her in here. She was not only kind and gentle but smart. She just seriously incurred such bad lucks.
  • Ehlo Huang as Jin Da Yong (金大用). Um, I liked him with all the past lives and then the current one. Yet he sure moved on fast after Geng Niang’s death. Yeah, it was cruel to let him just live a miserable life always moping over Geng Niang yet seriously? He seemed to love her so much and had fought for their lives in the last few minutes, wanting her to run first. (Even if we take out the part where the dragon girl didn’t interfere, the majority was accurate.) So I was disappointed, but luckily Ehlo’s acting didn’t disappoint at all.
  • Berg Ng as Wang Shi Ba (王十八). Haven’t seen him in ages and he sure still lived up in the acting department.
  • Sun Jia (孫嘉) as Xiao Niang (肖娘). When she entered the scene, I suspected her immediately because of her wandering eyes. Yet she ended up being a victim as well. She decided to commit suicide later to end the cycle of having to keep witnessing different schemes of her husband, Wang Shi Ba.
  • Du Jun Ze (杜俊泽) as Wang Shi Jiu (王十九) / Shang Zheng (尚正). At first, I was really annoyed with him. The righteous talk and all but it turned out he was avenging his brother. That sure changed things. The flashbacks didn’t help at all–although I knew he didn’t know what his brother had done to Geng Niang’s family. It wasn’t until he listened to the dragon girl’s story and then eventually realizing that people had also sacrificed in saving him that he understood. He blamed himself but also the fates for being so cruel. It wasn’t until Geng Niang chose to sacrifice herself to let their fates returned to its course that he began to see things differently. In a way, it was a relief that he remembered both versions of what happened, so he could really understand what was going on and appreciate what Geng Niang did. (Well, technically if the dragon girl hadn’t intervened, things wouldn’t turn out that way YET what was different was how it happened so he understood why his brother had reaped what he’d sown hence not blaming Da Yong.)

This story was one of the most anticipated for me. Mostly because I’m a major fan of Ehlo. It was interesting to see him collaborate with Jess. They were surprisingly compatible in here. Loved their relationships throughout and I so felt for the green dragon when she was upset over what had happened. So I didn’t blame her at all when she interrupted the flow of nature or whatever it was to help Geng Niang. It was so frustrating how such good people keep incurring such fates. I didn’t accept the ending for Geng Niang–even if that meant every other person’s fates were back to their original course. How could such a gentle and kind person have to go through so much? The fact that they ruined Da Yong’s character didn’t even justify the means. So yeah, he had to move on sooner or later. Yet he sure moved on fast after Geng Niang’s death. Seriously? The explanation was how Geng Niang had incurred bad karma in some other past life hence having to endure the three tragic lives (or something like that). Yet they don’t remember after reincarnation anyway, why continue to torture them like that? So did Geng Niang end up being a fairy or what? If yes, then okay, I could consider that ending. But again, seriously?

Bai Qiu Lian (白秋練)

  • Fiona Sit as Bai Qiu Lian (白秋練). At first, I felt she was somewhat interesting and then it seemed to be kind of bland. But later, I quite liked her because of how she liked Mu Chan Gong but didn’t force her way into his heart. Sure, she was around, but she didn’t force it (despite her sister’s urging). She also tried to save Xiao Mei, which was admirable.
  • Jin Jia (金珈) as Mu Chan Gong (慕蟾宮). At first, I didn’t really like him since he was too emotional and caused his lover, Xiao Mei, to suffer even more than before. Later, it was revealed he wasn’t that useless of a character. However, he still was not forgiven in my book since Xiao Mei had suffered so much.
  • Mao Lin Lin (毛林林) as Bai Qiu Ju (白秋菊). Cute and funny. Lively and mischievous. There were many funny moments with her and Zhen Jun. I especially like those scenes of hers. Yet what I disliked about her was forcing Mu Chan Gong to acknowledge her sister. Yes, I know she was thinking for her sister, but wasn’t that like what the Dragon Prince did to her sister? Like forcing marriage upon Qiu Lian? What I also disagreed was how she dragged Mu Chan Gong to see her sister that one time, stating that he kept thinking of Xiao Mei and not caring about her sister. Seriously, Chan Gong and Xiao Mei knew each other since ages back, so how could she use such words? It wasn’t like Chan Gong had abandoned Qiu Lian or anything like that.
  • Wang Xiang Hon (王翔宏) as Zhen Jun (真君). Funny! He was super hilarious. He kept misunderstanding the Bai sisters of doing evil yet later realized his mistake, seeing there were exceptions. His final determination in not lumping all demons together into the bad category was during the Bai sisters’ mother’s death. He tried to amend his actions.
  • Zhang Ming Ming (張明明) as Crown Prince Long. Liked Bai Qiu Lian and used his father’s power to force her into marriage. Despicable like the other dude who forced Xiao Mei into marrying him.

How was this one? I say it was in the middle. There was a mixture of happiness and sadness. Yet what was most tragic was Xiao Mei’s fate. She suffered so much, more than anyone could see. Then she sacrificed herself for them all.

So wrapping up, what was the best story? I say it was Mei Nu for its story, pace, acting, and ending. Yes, that was how I rated ’em all. Jiang Cheng ranked second–despite the fact that her father died. It was a minor detail I was willing to forgive and I had to take what I could get. Not to mention, they already wrapped up quite well. Third was Geng Niang–after I calmed down and thought about it more. Then Bai Qiu Lian–although there were some parts I was frustrated with but thought the pace wasn’t bad. That left Gongsun Jiu Niang and Hua Bi, which Hua Bi had to be shoved to the last slot. Why? As said already, although I liked the chemistry between Roy and Gong Mi, the pace wasn’t too bad, and the story was unique enough YET what killed it was the ending. It got me choking and it just never recovered from there. I just felt so sad for Long Tan and Meng Fan. Gongsun Jiu Niang lost on pace major time, but the ending made up for it. Yes, it was tragic and very sad for Cai Ling BUT the others got their revenge. It wasn’t all for nothing like I felt with Hua Bi. (Although to be fair, Xiao Lian did learn his lesson and all, but what about the other two? Don’t they deserve better?)

I liked the majority of the pairing and how some were especially refreshing. One of the reasons why I like watching Liao Zhai saga because it created the opportunity for some stars from different regions to collaborate. My favorite pairing though had to be Frankie Lam and Stephanie Hsiao. At first, it was Ehlo and Jess, but they lost points with me because they didn’t end up together. Well, NOT at the last bit. Although after I calmed down, I accepted their ending more, I still felt so sad for them. Second favorite would be Ehlo and Jess. Yes, I decided to place them second after having watched all stories already. Third would be Jia Qing and Li Wei, loved their chemistry–as said before. I was surprised. My last favorite pairing would be Roy and Gong Mi. They were compatible and their story was touching–despite the tragic ending. Tony and Akina did have chemistry and I so felt for them, but they didn’t click for me as much. Just personal preference. And I didn’t feel anything for Fiona and Jin Jia–although I liked them individually.

Liao Zhai 2

(Uploaded by: chiffon168)

Ending Theme Versions:

Featuring Luo Sha Hai Shi and Yan Zhi: Here

Featuring Yi Ning and Fen Die: Here

Featuring Lian Xiang and Yi Qian: Here

I said that I would do an overall analysis on this one so here goes. I thought this set of stories was quite lacking compared to part 1. Don’t say ‘Duh’ ’cause honestly, it wasn’t a whole story to be on the same scale with the whole ‘sequel’ thing. YES, it was a sequel, BUT because it was not just one story and then this was following it in that matter to be counted that way. It would be more accurate to say that this was another set of stories that followed the previous set of stories. I remember not watching only one story from the last one ’cause I already watched another adaptation elsewhere hence not watching it because it was basically the same with a different cast. However, this one was quite fresh with the set of stories but some of them seriously failed to capture the main points and let it drag on so it was quite disappointing. I will list the order of the stories to which I feel it deserved its place and then provide the reason as to why.

Yan Zhi – I can’t believe this had become my favorite and also earned the first spot. I was really, really surprised that the story was soooo good. Possibly because it stood out from the rest so it seemed really good to me in the end. Because I thought it was average at first but analyzing it more later, it was the only one that I seemed to write an in-depth summary about. It actually had a good theme, a solid story, and was not dragging at all. Things kept happening to drive the plot forward, not letting it dwell on one or another thing for too long. There were frustrating parts, but it soon passed and gave way for other things. It was also my first time watching Cecilia Han Xue and really liked her in here. My second time watching Yan Kuan and really liked his performance, feeling he deserved this lead role.

Lian Xiang – Though I felt the story was strange with them at times and I thought I wouldn’t like the way how things were with them but I finally understand why it must to be that way. One thing drove the other forward and many events were unavoidable. I actually felt that their chemistry wasn’t bad. I actually accepted the ending though it was not a happy one. It did not have to be that way. A possibly typical battle between good versus evil but it was all right. At least it did not drag out to the point of unbearable. There were also enough actions going on to drive the plot forward, keeping it mysterious with providing us with pieces of the puzzle slowly until the end.

Ying Ning – The story became somewhat dragging and repetitive toward the middle and somewhat in the ending parts but I forgave them because somehow the story still made sense. I actually liked the chemistry between June and Zhao Yi–like I said in the other review. It was really cute between them at first and then there was some bitterness. Not too bad at all.

Fen Die – What made this one standing fourth though it was supposed to be one of my most anticipated was its stupidity with dragging on and on about believing too much what the dreams were implying. YES, it could be true and could hint at the future. BUT I felt Fen Die relied so deeply on the dreams to tell her things or let her decide that it was way too pathetic for me to endure. Eddie and Esther still had great chemistry but the story was a bit weak to endure. Not to mention how the ending was a bit weak–to say the least. Though it was a happy ending and it did show how Wang Feng was able to see through their true love and let go but it was too much of a rush.

Yi Qian – Kind of refreshing idea like I said in the other review with the reversed role of letting the girl accepting the guy. However, the plot became sort of weak in the later parts. Though there were some comedic moments, it could not make up for the ending. Too fast and too ‘whatever’  to forgive.

Luo Sha Hai Shi – It was way too obvious from the individual review that I didn’t like it. Or more like I was really disappointed in it. Regardless of how it became so tragic (as most Liao Zhai stories should be) near the end, I could not make myself move it up from the list. It was too dragging to endure. Not to mention though it was a happy ending, it was just too much of a disappointment with the plot and characterization as I said before in the other review.

Just to end this on a positive note, I really liked the ending theme song used for this part. Does that even count? LOL! The song is called “White Fox“, which really suited this kind of theme with the mystical settings.

Seriously though, it would be nice to collect and watch and skip around and then snap some caps to do nice wallpapers or other types of graphics with since the costumes were nice–for the most part. And the scenery was equally mesmerizing. If only they had worked more on the plot development because like I said before, there were a lot of good ideas yet wasted with repetitive scenes or draggy formulas. So recommended or not? If you’re curious, go ahead and hunt for it to watch. Or you could be collecting because you like the artist mentioned. BUT I wouldn’t recommend it for the plot. The good thing is I saw on YesAsia you could buy the stories separately so you could try it out for yourself without having to buy the whole set of stories.

Liao Zhai 2: Luo Sha Hai Shi

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This was, of course, my most anticipated story among all in here, considering how I’m a major fan of Eric and while following the shooting of it, it seemed quite intriguing. It was really, really, really disappointing on all parts with characterization, plot, and possibly acting. I’ll start with acting first. Michelle was better with tragic scenes or when she didn’t try to act playful and young. ‘Cause she went quite overboard that I was cringing from time to time seeing her trying too hard. What happened? Maybe she was trying to do it for this role BUT her experiment failed. It was better that she just didn’t do those exaggerations and just act normal. Eric, on the other hand, I felt he brought out his character well though his character wasn’t perfect. That was the nice way to put it though since I really hated the wishy-wahsy nature of his character. It made everything so frustrating to watch, plus Michelle’s exaggeration. As for the plot, it was minimal but what made it worse was the way it was written with trying to drive the plot forward. The wishy-washy thing with Eric’s character and not being able to decide on anything made the plot even worse ’cause the progress was so lagging. I liked the refreshing chemistry between Eric and both girls and sometimes, I would prefer Eric with Cheung Sai than Michelle for some reason. BUT of course, I wouldn’t mind either. Just that the characters need to improve. I did not blame Cheung Sai’s character for pushing Eric at times and even bring out the hammer, wanting Michelle to leave. ‘Cause Eric was so undecided and wanted both girls–OR probably he was confused. Then later when he realized who he liked, he couldn’t let go of Cheung Sai. So that was a mess all right. Like I said above, draggy. I wish they focused more on the fairy matters and the fighting. I don’t know.

Why am I so harsh on it? I expected A LOT more than this. A LOT!

To switch gears, was I the only one who thought that Eric’s outfits seemed like ten times better than Michelle’s? OR were they trying to create a dragon-like image for her? I don’t know. I thought they could have done better. I liked both of Eric’s outfits, the blue flowery one and the green one with the leaves. Those were really nice. That was about it.

As for the ending? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry because I thought it would have an equally tragic ending as the other ones–aka not letting Ma Ji and Xiao Qiao end up together. But then it turned out differently. Though it was a happy ending, I swear it didn’t make up for the poor plot and characterization throughout. The moral sucked major time also. What the heck was that? It was like they needed a villain at the end so they made it like Qing He was in the wrong and tried to convince her. It was pathetic because the message of living a happy life was not backed up properly. What would anyone do if they were misled and felt like they were cheated and robbed? SO do I agree with the ending? Yes on the finding happiness and what one wanted the most. And that Ma Ji was finally able to realize how all of those statuses didn’t matter and having witnessed how that one Zhao dude went crazy over his lost chance and how he’d lost his fortune because he didn’t win. BUT it did not make up for anything. I didn’t care if Ma Ji and Xiao Qiao weren’t perfect. But I felt it was going in the wrong direction with how they made Qing He out to be the villain. She was hurt and was fighting back, that was all.

Favorite character? Must be Xu Biao portrayed by Guo Ding Wen. I know, I know. He could be considered the evil disciple who tried to chase Xiao Qiao (Michelle) down and helping his master with the dragon hunting task. YET he was very clear as to where he stood on the whole thing. Xiao Qiao saved him so he gave Ma Ji (Eric) some information to help Xiao Qiao in running away. Then he drew the line with them after the scores were already settled. I didn’t blame him for acting on his master’s orders either because he had done all he could to repay Xiao Qiao. Not to mention the memorable ending. I swear he totally made up for everything in the end because he was the one to save the day with helping Ma Ji rescue Xiao Qiao. It was good to know he had a background story also–and it wasn’t draggy at all. Just a summary of his character through his own story-telling but it made a lot of sense. It was WAY better than dragging it out and dramatizing everything like how they did with the rest of the story. Another reason I didn’t know why they were able to pull this off but dragged out the other things for so long.

Most pitiful character? Qing He. I know, people usually lean toward the main couple after they were together, etc and went through a lot of trials together already. And not to mention how she was hunting Xiao Qiao down near the end too. But I honestly felt sorry for her. It wasn’t her fault that she was misled into believing that Ma Ji honestly loved her and yet he abandoned her just like that. She seemed spoiled OR whatever with her attitude at times. But I could totally sympathize with her. Just because she was from a wealthy family didn’t mean she didn’t have feelings. Yes, sounded too much like ‘poor rich girl’ but I didn’t think she deserved to be misled, used–among other things. And so what if she was thinking like the others who thought about marriage, status, and all those riches? So what if she didn’t ‘love’ him correctly like some of us might want to criticize her for? IF Ma Ji hadn’t made all those promises in the first place, she wouldn’t have sunk so slow. OR if she was the one making the despicable moves, then she would deserve the outcome. So, it didn’t matter if she was being stubborn clinging onto someone who didn’t love her. Take it that she was throwing a tantrum or was just mad for being tossed around and being misled. Not trying to take her side on purpose, but I honestly felt like why was it always right for the so-called ‘good people’ to get mad at others BUT the so-called ‘villains’ can’t? LAME-O! I swear Cheung Sai brought the character out very well, making it believable but I thought Qing He should be pitied more than being hated. (I swear Xiao Qiao had no right to yell at her either. Though it wasn’t her fault Ma Ji loved her BUT she had no right to scold Qing He for turning into that hateful being.) AND let’s not even forget that Qing He did tell Ma Ji to leave her, not to pity her anymore when she knew she was really sick YET he kept insisting that he really loved her AND promise to take care of her for the rest of her life (or be by her side for the rest of her life)–even if she couldn’t live for so long. SO, who was the one that drove Qing He to insanity? HELLO!

So I wouldn’t even recommend this one for Eric fans. Unless you want to see for yourself. And we all know I have a weird point of view so my accounts can’t really be trusted at times.

Liao Zhai 2: Yi Qian

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This was probably my second most anticipated story in here. However, like several stories in here, it was another letdown. Though it wasn’t that terrible, it was like it did not measure up to what I expected it to be. There was a strong foundation with how the story was build up at first yet it strayed from the original theme and made it senseless along the way. Though I did enjoy Benny’s performance as the god dog or his story while in the human realm, it was hard to imagine his chemistry with the main girl. Blame it on Benny for having such a baby face so it was a bit hard to see too much of chemistry between them. Wasn’t too bad but still not the best. Also, I hated that the ending wasn’t satisfying at all. Though I kind of liked the comedy around how Benny’s character couldn’t return to Heaven yet and how his master was really pissed off. But I felt that the cat got off so easy. Yes, the other family killed his family and he was seeking revenge but it did not explain how he was able to use all sort of means to get what he wanted. He even wanted to kill the girl who saved his family and was nice to the animals throughout. He also wanted to kill Benny so it was not like he was just seeking revenge. But he was going way overboard. So why in the world was he spared? I felt the ending with how the ultimate Buddha let him follow and serve was kind of too easy. It was incorporating elements of Journey to the West into the story or something. Like how it was their fate that the cat had come down to the human realm to cause disruptions and then the cat was caught and had to return to Heaven. Too easy.

Not sure where this story stood but perhaps fifth? I actually have to give them credit for reversing the roles a bit this time around. What I meant was seeing how when human and non-humans fell in love or something like that, it was usually the guy was the human and having to accept the fairy or demon girl. This time, it was reversed and I will say it was different. Aside from that, that was it.

Liao Zhai 2: Fen Die

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It was in the third place when I was anticipating the series but it eventually tied with the first place, considering how my fond of Eddie and Esther’s pairing up grew over the years. And this story was a tad disappointing though it combined the mystery element with all the fairy stories. Really funny and cute at first. Yet there was this repetitive formula like the previous story. I don’t know. Though it was still six episodes YET there was something lacking. It was like there wasn’t enough energy into it though I loved how Eddie and Esther were in here. I also liked the various guest stars appearing.

What was disturbing was it seemed cute that Fen Die and Yang Ri Dan were fighting at first and then he helped her conquered her fear of nightmares. They eventually found out that they were being tested and had to win the bet to stay together BUT that was frustrating on many levels though I knew it was just some obstacles they had to face. It was like Fen Die loved Ri Dan dearly yet she was too trusting of Wang Feng. It made sense that she did not remember but her strong reliance on her dreams made it too much of a joke. Because it could not reflect on the reality that much, could it? I bought into the idea of her fear of being punished because of the love between a fairy and a human being more than the whole nightmares projecting the truth. Since the other one, of course, it was illegal. BUT relying on dreams to live? COME ON NOW. While I was watching it the whole time, I thought if Fen Die was in our time (aka the modern time), she would’ve been locked in some asylum already for being so crazy. Honestly! Though it made sense that Wang Feng was touched by Fen Die’s willingness to keep her promise and somehow learned to let go and uniting Fen Die and Ri Dan again, I just can’t buy it. I meant it made sense but it was too rushed. They made it too dragging in the other parts SO it didn’t leave time enough to convince me. I understood the message it was spreading, but it wasn’t convincing in that sense.

What was I actually convinced of then? Eddie and Esther’s chemistry of course. Was there ever a doubt? It was really cute and funny at times like I said before. Then there was also the touching scenes of them parting from each other near the end. It was really worth a few tears. Definitely a different kind of feeling from Chinese Paladin yet it was as tragic. The story for this one just needed a stronger foundation and better flow since it did not linger at the right places. At least not to me.

Liao Zhai 2: Ying Ning

(image credit: net)

For being just six episodes, this was like a never-ending story. Not that I didn’t like the chemistry between June and Zhao Yi. I found them really entertaining to watch–whether they were the bickering couple–or the cute one. Yet what made the story lacking was its repetitive formula with how Ying Ning just never learned. I did understand that she was kind and not scheming unlike various characters in here. But it was the trouble with her downfall. She created just too many opportunities for others to hurt her. I guess what made her a fairy was her kind heart and forgiving nature, etc BUT I just can’t stand it anymore. The formula was repetitive. Though Zi Fu was very intelligent in his own right, he was trapped within a group of people who were too wishy-washy. He was the only determined one yet others think he was cruel. I had to agree with him regarding some people’s deserved fate regardless of how cruel it seemed to be. They were the ones who acted out that way, so why should they be pitied? They did bring it upon themselves.

Just when I was clapping them on regarding how Zi Fu pretended to lose his memory again to expose his brother and step-mother, the others had to interfere AND create an opportunity for future troubles. It was just too repetitive and frustrating. That was the thing with trying to keep it lenient just because of family relations. It was just another excuse and like an immune spot SO the other party could hurt you even more.

What made it even more frustrating while watching was seeing the character Ji Lan stirring stuff up but kept being forgiven for what she’d done. IF Zi Fu had known, he wouldn’t be as lenient. But Ying Ning–like I said before–created the opportunity for her or something. Ji Lan was just so despicable, thinking that she was so good. Zi Fu never liked her regardless of whether Ying Ning appeared or not. It was a stupid excuse like any sore loser out there would make up regarding those situations, saying how “If so and so didn’t exist, I would have a chance.” Oh really? You had your chance ages ago AND nothing was moving either. She was just plain pathetic, to say the least. Why didn’t she just admit she was just plain jealous? She had to give all the stupid reasons and saying how Ying Ning did not deserve those things. Ridiculous!

Gordon Liu’s appearance was random all right. Not too random in the context of the plot. But still a bit random. He had to take on a badass role again. Oh well…

Aside from all those things, I thought Zhao Yi was really good in acting since he managed to convince while he was the clever and stern Zi Fu as well as the innocent and simple-minded A Fu when he lost his memory. June did a great job also, trying to exude her innocent side at first and then her serious manners later on as the story progressed. Though I said liked the chemistry between June and Zhao Yi, I must say that my favorite character must be the Lightning God portrayed by Zhou Hao. He was so strict and fierce at times but he was the only one who truly cared for Ying Ning and wanted to protect her from getting hurt, from getting punished, etc. He was like an older brother figure to her.

The ending? It was satisfying all right since it made up for everything that was ever so frustrating in the first place. Interesting how they made it so that it was fast YET satisfying. Kudos to Gu Ren (the old servant) and the Lightning God for wrapping it up so nicely! And the touching parting moment from Ying Ning and A Fu. Let’s just say that it had a good beginning and ending–for the most part.

Liao Zhai 2: Yan Zhi

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Yan Xia and Yan Zhi were a pair of sisters who had a restaurant called ‘Tian Xiang’ (天香樓), which was recognized as the best around. Yan Xia was in charge of greeting customers and occupying their times with stories while Yan Zhi was in charge of cooking the many delicacies. Yan Xia was known as beautiful and gentle while Yan Zhi was supposedly ugly and anti-social. Yan Xia was very protective of her sister, Yan Zhi, and even wanted to find the best match for her sister. Upon venturing in the woods one day, the sisters encountered E Zi Chuan, a scholar on his way to the royal palace’s exam (the one that would allow one to advance in different official ranks, etc). It was later revealed he had other motives when rescuing the two sisters, injuring himself in the process and was brought back to their restaurant. He was actually trying to make it on time for the exams, but he was given instructions by his grandpa to search for the one who had the protective seal on her and also the powerful pearl that the rock demon was looking for. He soon found out through different tests that it was Yan Zhi yet it was not an easy test for him. (It was a relevant piece of information since a Taoist had put a seal on Yan Zhi and was able to stop the inevitable from happening to her ten years ago, but had predicted that she would encounter another obstacle ten years later.)

Zi Chuan soon learned that Yan Zhi was not a weakling or the quiet type like she had perceived at first. She was quite fierce with him after learning that he had tricked them and even stole some food from her kitchen. However, she was not unreasonable either since she still asked her sister for pardon and let him stay to help her around the restaurant. On the other hand, Yan Xia was finally meeting a match worth marrying, Shu Jie Lang. Yet she did not know that he had an agenda of his own with being so close to her. He was none other than the rock demon that Zi Chuan and his grandpa had been searching for.

Thinking that they could finally shed off Shu Jie Lang’s mask, Zi Chuan and his grandpa followed him into the woods one night and a battle ensued as they discovered the rock demon was feeding off a girl at that time. After realizing that they were no match for the demon, Zi Chuan and his grandpa fled the scene to which they were chased and eventually ran into the town’s constable. While Zi Chuan was yelling out for help, his grandpa stopped him from revealing their secret. However, the other guards found the girl’s body and immediately reported it to the constable to which he had both grandpa and grandson arrested for murder. An investigation was launched and the constable discovered some suspicious items in Zi Chuan’s belonging at Tian Xiang Restaurant. He took the items back to the cell where Zi Chuan and his grandpa resided and questioned them some more–to which Zi Chuan’s grandpa fended off the suspicions again. It was then that they discovered another body around town so the two suspects were released. That night, Zi Chuan and his grandpa kidnapped Yan Zhi with the intention of wanting to explain everything to her, seeking her help by letting them stay with her so it was easier to investigate. At first, she wasn’t convinced but later realized that Zi Chuan wouldn’t lie to her so she agreed. She then brought the two back to Tian Xiang Restaurant and persuaded her sister in letting them stay. Yan Xia did not trust the two and thought her sister was easily deceived but the constable appeared at that time, clearing their names and vouched for their innocence. Though the grandpa was grateful to the constable for backing them up, Zi Chuan knew the constable only wanted to keep them to find more information.

One day, Shu Jie Lang wanted to take Yan Xia on a boat ride date. Thanks to Zi Chuan’s grandpa, the date was avoided, allowing Zi Chuan a chance to follow Shu Jie Lang to find a lead. Zi Chuan soon discovered that the constable was following him from behind. On the other hand, Yan Zhi, not able to stay put, followed Zi Chuan and ended up helping him divert the constable’s attention from them. Once again, Yan Zhi helped Zi Chuan track Shu Jie Lang since she was more familiar with all the locations around town. They ended up being lost in the woods with fog surrounding them. They had to rest and wait for the fog to clear before going forth. That night, the rock demon finally attacked. Zi Chuan was defeated by the rock demon and the rock demon was moving in for the kill when Yan Zhi picked up the special magic coin sword to attack the rock demon, attempting to save Zi Chuan. Because of that, Yan Zhi received another scar on her face–this one being more obvious than the previous one. However, Zi Chuan was able to find a remedy to patch up the damage. After some hardships, Yan Zhi’s face was restored–even the scar from years ago. With all the efforts, Zi Chuan and Yan Zhi’s feelings had grown–for the better, of course. Even Grandpa was happy so it wasn’t just about them. Grandpa’s happiness wasn’t just because of Yan Zhi’s recovery but they also found the seal that was hidden on her years ago, allowing them to discover more regarding the powerful pearl that was on her also. They also learned that the Taoist who saved Yan Zhi’s life and placed a protective seal on her years ago was none other than Zi Chuan’s father. Zi Chuan realized the importance of practicing the skills and ended up taking a more active and responsible role as a Taoist, succeeding under his father as the next leader of their sect, Xiang Nan.

While that was going on, words had spread around town regarding Yan Zhi’s recovery and how her beauty was beyond imagination, drawing even more attention. That also stemmed some jealousy from Yan Xia–though subtle. At that time, Constable Ye (the same constable that had been investigating about the rock demon case) wanted to cancel the yearly beauty pageant for the female population’s safety. (It wasn’t just a typical beauty pageant since the winner was responsible for going up the mountains to this one temple to ask for the town’s fortune and well-being for the upcoming year.) YET Shu Jie Lang and Yan Xia still wanted to go ahead with it. And in the end, Shu Jie Lang won and they had to proceed with the plan but had to heighten the security.

Moving on, the public pressure had been hectic, causing Yan Zhi to seek for a hiding place. She ended up in Zi Chuan’s room–on his bed to be exact. Just at that time, Zi Chuan went back to his room and bumped into her–literally. He immediately told her to get out because it would lead to a misunderstanding (aka he wouldn’t want to get killed by her sister if someone walked in on them). So Zi Chuan took her to the roof to talk matters over. After a while, Grandpa walked in on them, teasing them some more before they launched into their discussion with making the next move, preparing for the security issues during the beauty pageant. After some ideas being tossed around, Yan Zhi finally thought of a plan but did not reveal it to Zi Chuan or Grandpa.

The next day arrived and Yan Zhi got her chance to carry out her plan, which was pretending to seduce Jie Lang so she could get close to him, forcing his demon form to appear in front of them all. However, both Yan Xia and Zi Chuan saw the action at the same time, causing more misunderstandings. Yan Zhi had no choice but to reveal the whole story to Yan Xia but of course, Yan Xia did not believe her, stating that Yan Zhi was just making an excuse, trying to hide the fact that she was stealing Yan Xia’s boyfriend. After tossing Yan Zhi out, Yan Xia wanted to go visit Jie Lang. That also led to her discovery of Jie Lang’s actual demon form because he was trying to cure himself of Yan Zhi’s previous attack. (More like the protective seal on her that had injured him.) The demon did not harm her. In fact, he offered to fulfill her wish of everlasting beauty if she would slash Yan Zhi’s face to destroy the seal, allowing him a chance to steal the powerful pearl on her. Yan Xia returned home to find Yan Zhi worrying for her, causing her to feel guilty of her plan. She bumped into Constable Ye the next day out in the streets and they had a talk. It also helped her to sort out her feelings. She returned home that night feeling much better about the whole thing, abandoning her evil plot altogether. OR so it seemed because she awakened from a nightmare that she had gone ugly to the point of terrifying. That was her new determination and she sought out the rock demon and joined forces with him, guaranteeing her forever beauty.

With the help of Yan Xia, Jie Lang was able to gain ultimatum over Zi Chuan, even killing Grandpa. Though Yan Xia was not able to separate Zi Chuan and Yan Zhi, she was able to aid Jie Lang in other means, causing the worst. They had no idea Yan Xia had destroyed their special magic coin sword on purpose the previous night and also switched their special ink to dog blood. Not to mention, Yan Xia was responsible for injuring Yan Zhi the previous day. Zi Chuan could not stop blaming himself for his grandpa’s death, thinking it was his lousy skills that had caused the old man’s death. But Yan Zhi soon discovered the dog’s blood and informed Zi Chuan, persuading Zi Chuan to continue on, thinking of methods to uncover Jie Lang’s mask. Due to his stubbornness and rash behaviors, Zi Chuan fell into Jie Lang and Yan Xia’s trap, causing him to be imprisoned. However, Zi Chuan was able to draw some magic words on Yan Zhi, wanting her to test Yan Xia to see if Yan Xia had been possessed. Upon Yan Xia’s deceptive words, Yan Zhi abandoned her plan and they proceeded with the beauty pageant the next day.

Zi Chuan escaped from prison the next day through the invisibility trick, going up the mountain to where the demon was supposed to strike. Constable Ye was also in hot pursuit, but while he and Zi Chuan were arguing and sorting things out among themselves, they saw a light appearing from the sky a distance away. It was a sign that the protective seal had been broken. It was Yan Zhi breaking it herself because she wanted the rock demon to restore Yan Xia’s beauty for her. Apparently, Yan Xia was touched by Yan Zhi’s many attempts to save her that she could not go forth with the plan in harming Yan Zhi causing the rock demon to punish her. The two men immediately rushed up to the mountain to find the two sisters struggling with the rock demon. Zi Chuan took over the battle against the rock demon, stopping him from getting the powerful pearl from Yan Zhi. After some more struggling, the rock demon managed to take the pearl out, ready to down it in order to gain human form forever. But before he was able to swallow it in full, Zi Chuan managed to put a protective seal over the pearl, causing the rock demon to swallow both the pearl and the seal, exploding into pieces. As they did a little celebration and gathered everyone up to escape from the scene, the rock demon managed to restore itself again, collecting every piece that made up his rock body. Zi Chuan was trapped under a big rock statue at that time since the ground was shaking, but he was able to yell out his command to the others to catch the pieces, stopping the demon from forming again. The rock demon laughed on, mocking their lame attempts YET he had no idea Yan Xia had caught one in all their attempts. She swallowed it, not letting the demon restore in full. While he tried to acquire her body to take the piece back out, she yelled out a command to Zi Chuan to destroy her body in full–even the rock particle that was in her, sabotaging the rock demon’s final chance. Yan Zhi did not understand at first since Yan Xia was using some vague words as her commands but Constable Ye was able to comprehend the situation. Zi Chuan finally went through with his curse and summoned the ability to destroy Yan Xia and the rock demon.

The next scene was the part where Yan Zhi and Constable Ye were standing in front of Yan Xia’s grave. From their conversation, it had been a while already and Zi Chuan already left–mostly from the guilt that he had killed Yan Xia (but that was because he had no choice). Yan Zhi had been living alone in Tian Xiang Restaurant but also under the care of Constable Ye (who of course was just taking on the role of a protective brother). After some reassuring words from Constable Ye, they separated. Yan Zhi encountered Zi Chuan and they finally talked it over, reaching an understanding. Zi Chuan was actually persuaded by Constable Ye to come and see Yan Zhi. It was a happy ending for both–a rare scene for such a tragic collection of stories.

I loved the chemistry between Cecilia and Kevin. It was just too addicting to watch them argue. I was glad he wasn’t just some weak scholar only knowing how to lecture others YET not looking at himself. He was much more than just a typical scholar. He knew how to take care of himself. He also had a smart mouth but it wasn’t just lecturing others out of some book. He had real experiences of those things or was intelligent enough to know what he was actually talking about. There was also the whole idea of Yan Zhi not being a weakling either. She seemed timid and gentle at the beginning. She was gentle but it did not mean she would get stepped on by others. Seeing different scenes, it was obvious she could take care of herself.

I was a tad surprised that Luo Da Hua was in here, considering how he wasn’t receiving important roles at TVB, etc. (I have watched him in various ATV series before that.) A role worth looking forward to though he was a villain this time. Kind of typical, considering his roles these past years at TVB, but this time, it was much more intriguing to watch his character unfold. What was more was seeing how his character Shu Jie Lang was just a shield for the rock demon. (Thanks to Constable Ye’s further investigation of Shu Jie Lang’s background and uncovering the truth.)

A very good storyline overall. Also, great characterization and development throughout. The acting was really good also. Quite convincing with each person and their personalities. Not to mention the emotions and turmoils they went through as the story progressed.

Liao Zhai 2: Lian Xiang

(image credit: net)

This was the first story for this saga (or so according to the version I watched). I thought this story was a bit raw for an opening story. Sure, the story was intriguing with the opening and building up for the final battle. Yet I felt the middle parts were sort of lacking, especially the parts where Sang Xiao was struggling between the misunderstandings with his xiao shi mei, Fang Lin, and the fox demon, Lian Xiang. I liked the build-up of the story between Sang Xiao and Lian Xiang much more after she saved him and they lived at the small house in the wood together. It was still hectic yet it focused on the whole human-demon relationship from there on. What I even liked more was the struggle with Lian Xiang after realizing what she was taught wasn’t so and her consulting in the enlightened monk throughout the story. The link between her, the monk, and Sang Xiao was really nice to watch. Many philosophical/religious stuff worth thinking about.

Hugo Ng didn’t get robbed at all, considering he became the main villain later on. The ending, like most endings of Liao Zhao stories, was really sad yet it made sense. Lian Xiang needed to lose her evil shell before beginning a new journey to reach enlightenment. Sang Xiao finally realized there was a love that could surpass those between a man and a woman, allowing him to become a monk, going on the same path to reach enlightenment.

Acting? Hugo Ng didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t familiar with some others but I thought Yang Xue and Jia Qing both did pretty good for their roles. Chen Da Wei was all right I guess since I actually liked the chemistry between him and both girls, considering the circumstances.