The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2016: Review

(image credit: as marked)

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

Main Cast:

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

Supporting:

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

Others:

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

Relationships – Friendships, romances, etc.

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

Discussions:

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

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

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 stuff 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 season.

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 action 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 was 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 minds 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 “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 seasons 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 season 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 season 1 too and if it wasn’t for season 1’s success, there wouldn’t be season 2. However, when season 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 season 1 for its extensive cast, costumes, and the majority of the story, I also felt a lot of frustrations toward it. The ending of season 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 second season was much faster and much more bearable. In fact, I thought the pace was about right for season 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 two episodes apart, but I’m talking about the feeling of the pace and way the stories were crafted. The cast for season 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 season 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 season 2 than season 1–although many felt his character for season 1 was better. That was just outer appearance (though I felt he was dashingly handsome for season 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.

Year 2017 in Recap

When I thought that 2016 was a terrible year for me, I was wrong. 2017 continued to tank to a new level of crappiness. There were many frustrating things–one after another. It was like when I asked, “How much worse could 2017 be?”, it was like a challenge to the universe. So stuff happening in real life obviously affected how much time I have for this blog or attempted to keep some sort of activity. I did better than last year regarding updates, but that was a lot of effort because I’m still way behind on some news that I wanted to talk about. Yet no time or more like didn’t feel like it at the moment. I continued to get drained to another level that I thought might not be possible–like several days before. Then the pattern just repeated itself at different intervals. I think somewhere along the way, I ended up revamping my blog by getting rid of the too random posts. Like those general update ones. Although my blog already is random on many levels, I didn’t want to just post for the sake of placeholders too much. Anyway, here are some stats for this year.

Total Posts in 2017: 155 (11.7% of all time).

January: 18 (% of the year)
February: 10 (%)
March: 21 (%)
April: 20 (%)
May: 11 (%)
June: 18 (%)
July: 6 (%)
August: 4 (%)
September: 20 (%)
October: 14 (%)
November: 9 (%)
December: 4 (%)

Books Reviews:

Sad, because I actually read a bit this year but didn’t feel like doing reviews for some of them. Maybe I’ll go back to do them later.

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

Complete failure–unlike what I promised last year about getting things done. I started looking over some of the fanfics again and managed to get going on some, but I can’t promise how fast it would be rolled out. I’ll get it out when I’m happy with what I wrote.

Songs Translations:

I used “You’re Always Beautiful” to start the year, thinking that if I continue to retain some sense of positiveness, somehow things will get better. But it didn’t. Anyway, how was this year regarding translations? I didn’t realize I was that productive. Mostly, I tried to push the majority of 183 Club’s songs out.

Chinese:

Vietnamese:

I didn’t want to do this update like I said last year. However, I felt like I needed to persuade myself to continue on. Not to mention, I want to keep some sort of a teeny, tiny bit of hope that 2018 will actually be better. So we’ll see, right?

Legend of the Ancient Sword 2: Press Con

The production team just held a press con recently so I got excited.

They managed to get the cast to interact and talk a bit more about their roles.

I guess the focus was on these four since Ken had to post his own set of photos, lol. (And no Dylan.)

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

The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2017: First Impressions

(image credit: as marked)

So, how was it? After watching just two episodes, I will say that it has potential. At first, I was nitpicking and was wondering why they were fighting soooo slow during the snow scene at the beginning. It was like in slow motion instead of real-time. Yet when it moved on to the later parts, they were fighting in real-time so I was reassured. Why am I picking on the fighting? Seriously, this is wuxia after all, so I think it’s justified to be worried. And indeed, some of the fighting scenes were quite exaggerated, but I think it made me believe some characters were actually worth their title or reputation within the jianghu realm, instead of some short fighting scenes and some lame compliments to convince that they were actually good in their martial arts techniques or whatever.

Anyway, I will say I like it so far. The pace is just right. However, I know that the drag usually happens with later episodes, considering how they just managed to work out the story of the older generation.

What else? Oh yeah, they used the music of TVB’s ’80s version. Usually, I will say it’s a bad idea (because I did laugh at some people for using music from old adaptations by replacing new singers to sing, etc). But in this case, I felt it was nicely used. They, of course, changed the mix and it has become like a softer version.

(Credit: HuaCe)