Dylan Kuo, Ken Chang, Mainland China Entertainment

Legend of the Ancient Sword 2: Review

(image capped by DTLCT)

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

Main Cast:

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

Chang An (長安):

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

Tian Gang (天罡):

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

Drifting Moon City (流月城):

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

Juan Du (損毒):

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

Others:

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

Discussions:

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

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

Advertisements
Dylan Kuo, Ken Chang, Mainland China Entertainment

Legend of the Ancient Sword 2: Airing


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

Mainland China Entertainment

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)

Mainland China Entertainment

The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2016: The Parents

After months of waiting and pondering, Huace finally released some stills for the rest of us to see. They posted up pictures of the older generation first, which made sense.

Shao Bing will portray Guo Xiao Tian, Guo Jing’s father.

Zeng Li is Li Ping, Guo Jing’s mother.

Li Zong Han will be Yang Tie Xin, Yang Kang’s father. It’s such a pity though since I actually like Li Zong Han and definitely do not like Yang Tie Xin. But I guess we’ll see how he would portray this role.

Crystal Liu Qian Han is Bao Xi Ruo, Yang Kang’s mother.

So far, the costumes aren’t too bad. Just excited to see more from the others.

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