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 stuffs 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 others 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 righteous 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 natures 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 stay 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 a 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 ’til 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 in to his daughter’s demands. Well, it was his daughter after all. But still. He did slap her that one time, which shown 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 whom 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 3rd 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 awhile 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 backlash 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 stuffs, 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 portray 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 with 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 but 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 stuffs 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 fight 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 intervene, 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 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 were 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 shove 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 like 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, but 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.

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The Legend and the Hero

I never thought I watch it. So serious here. I actually followed the production of it somewhat when it first filmed. Because of how butchered it would turn out to be, I didn’t want to touch it. Yet I couldn’t believe years later, I’m sitting around watching this with my mom. How was it? Well, it’s a toss between half and half for the rest of us novel followers. But I think the positive side–the whole fighting and magic effects–won over all those side, nonsense dramas. For those who do not know the actual legends, it’s going to be a REAL lost. But that’s how it is so there’s nothing new. As for me, I was sitting there rolling my eyes a lot at first, but soon, I totally didn’t want to care about some side made-up dramas anymore so I just pay extra attention during the battle parts. That helped A LOT with getting through 2 full series of it. Yeah, funny that they thought it needed a second season. One should be enough if they cut out all the extra, side dramas and focused on developing the essential parts of the novel. But it was all right, I wanted to watch for some people. Not too much of a lost for me. But what totally ruined it for me was the lame ending.

Cast:

  • Liu De Kai as Jiang Zi Ya. A good choice for Jiang Zi Ya actually. Having been a fan of him since the old days, I felt it was a suitable character for him. Yet thinking about the character Jiang Zi Ya in general made me want to laugh. Because he seemed so helpless at times, always needing rescuing from others. But according to the novel, some events did happen so I’m fine with that. Yet I still have to say for a leader, he’s quite weak (like said above) and didn’t keep me interested enough. I just know that he’s essential to the story and that’s it. And way down the road, he had gotten more and more passive (thank you script-writers–NOT) to the fact that he had to go and clean up the mess Ji Fa created more than focus on the battles.
  • Zhou Jie and Victor Huang as King Zhou Wu aka Ji Fa. I want to say that I’ve never been a fan of Zhou Jie, but actually watching this, he really won me over. It’s just that I never got into him since the HZGG days AND possibly because of the weird Qing era hairstyle that I didn’t feel like paying attention to him. Though I know he could act. But this one, he was really charming and convincing. He made the character seemed powerful and intelligent. Not to mention there was a mixture of gentleness and playfulness added in at times as well. The script had helped also. Yet changing it to Victor for part 2 was just painful. I don’t know. Victor looked more like he belonged to the villain side more than this side. Then I suddenly pondered if Zhou Jie made a very good choice of not returning. Since though it was supposed to be change of cast AND not character, they made it so that the character was SO unreasonable at times, especially how he was yelling at his siblings and being stubborn about love. It was like he was taking on his oldest brother’s personality or something (like from the first part how Bo Yi Kao kept caring about love, etc). Whoever the writers were made his character really inconsistent to part 1. In fact, it had gone from bad to worse, and worse to worser. Yeah, I know “worser” is not a word, but I’m exaggerating to make a point here. Seriously? Disobeying Jiang to go search for the jade pieces? Honestly? Yeah, yeah, people might be saying it’s really touching how he cared for his girl, etc. BUT he was so into the whole thing that he disregarded the soldiers and what others were fighting hard for, etc. It seemed like he was not any better than the King of Shang Zhou. OR possibly he’s even worse. So why are all those people fighting for anyhow? Part one, they exaggerated and made Ji Fa ending up with Bi Can’s daughter, but it wasn’t so unbearable since they only squeezed it in between some conflicts. Yet this one? Totally going from bad to worse. And it’s not like I want to hate Victor either, but the script really wanted to kill him for it. At least it did for me. (It’s not like I’m against romance either since my blog is filled with dramas involving romances/soaps/whatever you call it. But this story wasn’t supposed to revolve around romance, honestly!)
  • Priscelia Chan as Zi Xian. Funny that they made her Bi Can’s daughter and even let her become Jiang Zi Ya’s disciple. However, I actually like this addition to the story and felt that was kind of a riot at times. At least she was the strong character and NOT nagging type. She was quite brave and was able to contribute to the plot majorly without being too ‘in your face’ at times. Which was good for me.
  • Bonnie Xian as teenager Ne Zha. So cute and funny. I read some comments about the confusion of Ne Zha being a guy or a girl and I have to laugh. The majority of past adaptations cast a girl to portray the role. (NOT sure if it was due to some superstition or something, I don’t know. It just have been that way.) Ne Zha is just plain cool in here. Having Ne Zha appear made the plot tenfold more interesting, aside from Huang Fei Hu already ruling the show in here.
    • Wu Lei as childhood Ne Zha. The kid was soooo cute! It didn’t matter if the role was supposed to be so mischievous but he was one cute kid. Good child actor also since he managed to exude the mischievousness to the max. Then the later parts with crying and all.
  • Han Dong as Er Lang Shen Yang Jian. OMG, so handsome and so cool in here! He didn’t appear until like more than the last half of the first part. But made up for all the made up lame plots/episode fillers previously. It was like he saved the show for me in a lot of ways. Glad they made his character cool like it was supposed to be in the novel and didn’t reduce him to some nonsense character. Then he got to do lots of cool stuffs too in part 2. I was so glad they didn’t replace the cast OR I would’ve stopped watching, same with how it was with Ne Zha. Then somehow, they just ended up pushing his character aside along the way, which I don’t mind as much as long as there were other characters involved and they kept the plot going at the right pace with some of the battles. And yeah, having him being in charge of the food supplies as important since no one could snatch it from him, etc. However, what I do mind was that they not only dragged the plot out to the point of unbearable with some of the love stuffs (that didn’t even exist in the novel), but also dragged him in as part of the stupid conspiracy while the other gods and goddesses and other deities were helping with that one big battle. (What the hell? I couldn’t blame him since the plot was that way BUT the plot was just pathetic trying to use his skills like that; and at such a hectic time where more pressing matters needed attention toward.)
  • Tay Ping Hui and Ix Shen as Huang Fei Hu. Okay, I like Ix Shen. He looks very cool in Angel Lover. But this one? Tay Ping Hui hands down. He looks so powerful as the general. I got used to Ix later on but it still didn’t feel right. I think it was because of Tay Ping Hui as Huang Fei Hu that I stuck around that long or hung on long enough for some other key characters to appear. And indeed, Ix’s portrayal did grow on me later since they managed to keep his character consistent even with change in cast. The most powerful scene must be his death. YET I felt it was for a really stupid reason. It was because he wanted to see the stupid ghost.
  • Zhang Bo Jun as Li Jing. When he first appear, I felt like he didn’t suit the role at all. It might have to do with the fact that Huang Fei Hu was so tall and overpowering others around him. Yet I later got used to him. This story made him less cruel (as it appeared at first) regarding destroying Ne Zha’s shrine, etc. They tried to cut back on that, which was funny how their priorities were. I didn’t want to drag the whole matter out anyway, but it seemed I rather see it focus on relevant matters than other side stuffs.
  • Wang Hai Di and Ding Ting as Jin Zha. Ne Zha’s oldest brother. Didn’t notice much since there were too many characters but good enough for me.
  • Steve Ma and Ray Lui as King Shang Zhou. Seriously? I have to say that Ray Lui rules! Yeah, people might be saying how they made Steve Ma more handsome and possibly more appealing in many ways to watch. However, the character’s not supposed to be handsome. I felt like the image they created for Ray was more suitable. Not to mention how Ray look more fierce and powerful. Not saying I hate Steve Ma since I really like both actors, and think they’re good looking in their own way. Just that Steve leaned on the side of looking like some lovesick dude, almost as bad as Bo Yi Kao, not really exuding the cruel king image as much. Though if Steve wanted, he was able to achieve fierce look at some parts. They tried to let others pity Steve or something. ‘Cause it seemed like they were saying ‘poor, rich king’ kind of idea. Though people leaning on ‘love’ stuffs would root for him because of what he did for love, BUT like the other goddess said, he doesn’t care for his people at all.
  • Fan Bing Bing and Ruby Lin as Su Da Ji. Um…have to say FBB was more convincing with taking the role of a fox. She exuded the cruel side and somewhat of the struggle between the fox and the real Su Da Ji really well. Plus, she was willing to go all out on the whole ‘seduction’ scenes so I guess that worked for her. Ruby tried to be super mischievous and was really cunning at times. Yet she was just too cute to be an evil fox demon, lol. I had fun watching her but I felt it was funnier than anything. And Ruby was so reserved in her outfits so she had become a cute little fox instead.
  • Miao Hai Zhong/ Miao Hao Jun as Shen Gong Bao. I swear he was like the master/pro of PR back then in the days. If not, how could he persuade them and/or recruit all of those people to die for him? He was sure slick. Yet he seemed to get away with it every time. (It reminds me of a certain someone in modern days.)
  • Du Zhi Guo as Su Hu. Su Da Ji’s father. SAD, tragic moments, especially how he was torn in between saving other people and sacrificing his daughter. Then knowing that it was some demon possessing his daughter, and that his daughter had to die later as well, etc.
  • Lou Qi as Wu Ji. Jiang Zi Ya’s disciple. One of the actual disciples from the novel. Had fun watching him and how he got a good amount of screen time, but it collapsed later when they made way for the soap of other stuffs. Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes again.
  • Qi Fang as Deng Chan Yu. OMG, one of the feisty and funny girls in here that actually existed in the novel. I loved watching her scenes and her constant bicker with her shorty husband, lol. Her death was actually the most tragic or seemed that way and it got me actually almost tearing up, unlike some of the senseless scenes in here. All the flashbacks and the background music was all it needed to captured their moments.
  • Mi Zi An as Princess Long Ji. Cute and another character actually from the novel. Except they did change some details regarding her. She should appear more, not some senseless characters.

Others: Died along the way or didn’t appear much or just plain didn’t have anything to contribute to the plot in general

  • Tang Guo Qiang as Yuan Shi Tian Zun. One of the most powerful gods. I cannot believe they dragged him into one of the most stupid moments of the plot too. Probably just to say, “One of the powerful gods said it too so it must be right” kind of thing.
  • Wu Ma as Shang Rong. The late actor took this very righteous role and he totally nailed it. It was super frustrating to see him die and like that, but that was what happened.
  • Guo Kai Min as Bi Gan. Poor guy. Yet it had to be that way, considering how his nephew was already WAY beyond help, even before Da Ji came into the picture.
  • Jin Qiao Qiao as Empress Jiang. She was a brave queen yet couldn’t escape either. Loved her as the elegant and graceful empress. Too bad with her fate.
  • Xu Huan Shan as Wen Tai Shi. For some weird reason, I just plain don’t like him. Well, it was obvious since he was on the other side. Yet I swear he was not that likable even if he tried to use his power against the king and made him obey, etc. He was so oblivious to stuffs at times, especially with the rant of how Huang Fei Hu betrayed them. (The guy’s wife and sister DIED, what else did the old man need as proof?) So he was actually one of those elders that I didn’t care for.
  • Eddie Kwan as Bo Yi Kao. I swear they made him so weak and so wishy-washy in here that it wasn’t even funny. I usually felt sad or pissed off when they kill him off in some of the other versions. But this one, I was just glad. Yeah, heartless, but the character got ruined because of other made-up catalysts.
  • Liu Tao as Moon Fairy. I enjoyed her scenes in here, however little it was. She wasn’t supposed to be in the story anyway, but they made it dramatic with the other couple so whatever. But she sure exuded the fairy-like look.
    • Fan Bing Bing as Moon Fairy. Seriously? What a way to try and come back to the show. And that was my reaction when I saw her name in the cast list. But my reaction when the scenes came around involving the Moon Fairy was “What?” Because of the somewhat blurry effects so I can’t really see if it was her. But it was strange making Ji Fa seeing that she resembled Su Da Ji.
  • Wang Li Ke as Zi Yu. Seriously? Why did they create her character for except for episode fillers and another distraction to the overall theme? I swear I couldn’t even like her at all. From the start, she was just boring, but I accepted that they wanted to waste time. Then she just went from boring to annoying several episodes later, with her whole tantrums and demanding Ji Fa personally go fetch her. Really? Oh, not to mention her rudeness to Lei Zhen Zi later during their first encounter. What the hell was that? And she became even more useless and annoying as time went by. I never imagine I would say “useless” for any character, BUT she sure pushed past that breach. (Since I don’t like to think of it that way, even at times when characters aren’t my favorites but they could be there for short time, etc.) What was the point of making her running off, going through some painful trials, committing suicide, and then try to revive her? What? Waste of time. I do get all the reasons for her character and personality and all the pain she went through BUT again, in such a story, why were the script-writers torturing us with the soap-ville stuffs? It was like trying to raise her character up yet failed since they did give her a lot of credits for stuffs throughout. It was like the world revolved around her BUT not really. I’m probably considered heartless by now but I’m the rare few that felt so strongly against her. (Or possibly the only one feeling that way.) As for Wang Li Ke, I looked up some of her pictures outside and I swear she looks better in real life. (And people think I was attacking WLK? NO, I was talking about the character.) What really irked me though was how they were on this journey to purify her before resurrecting her again, as if saying she was somehow “dirty” because she got raped. Yes, I was really pissed off at the script-writers for making it seemed that way. I didn’t like her character, but didn’t like how they implied that people who weren’t obedient would eventually get raped or killed, etc. Sure, it was during a turbulent time and so chaotic, considering how they were at war, etc. But that was soooo wrong to make it that way. Yet, why should I be surprised, right?

Couples/Friendships/Bonds/Whatever else:

  • Zhou Jie and Priscelia Chan as couple. Cute couple! I like how they were somewhat of a bickering couple. Very subtle at times and it was enough to the story, NOT too lame and draggy like how some of the other parts in here were. So I didn’t mind if they exaggerated the thing about the two characters getting together, etc.
  • Ray Lui and Ruby Lin. Thanks to my sister, I suddenly remember that they had collaborated in this old ATV series where he was Zhao Chao and she was Princess Fei Feng. They didn’t end up together since he didn’t like her and she was later married to someone else. But it was really funny seeing them together like this and this time as a couple. Sometimes I enjoy their scenes (though there were indeed cruel and ‘shaking head’ parts but that was somewhat going along with the story) more than others. Then it got WAY more dramatic so I was like “ugh” as well.
  • How the disciples of various characters were fighting at times. OR more like they were competing to see who got there first or completed a certain task first. That was hilarious and I loved those parts. It was actually funny, unlike some parts they tried too hard.

Interestingly Funny or more like “What?”: Some of them were actually funny of how they made up stuffs AND others were just worth some head shaking or eye-rolling moments.

  • Bo Yi Kao and Su Da Ji were engaged before Da Ji was forced into going into the palace. Really? When did that happen? Not only that was outrageous with their supposed relationship along with how they were somehow linked to the Zhou side, but it led to some really draggy subplots later, like for Bo Yi Kao’s focus on love only, not caring for other stuffs. Well, he did pull himself out of it when he realized it was going to harm his family BUT still, unnecessary plots.
  • One of the two guys by King Shang Zhou’s side is actually Su Hu’s cousin. Really? When did that happen? And here we go again with them linking together different characters.
  • Ne Zha’s mother was actually Huang Fei Hu’s sister. REALLY? So they wanted to connect the loyal/good people together. But seriously? Like who would believe that one? I actually let it slide since I was laughing the whole time, but still. It seemed like they were eager to link different characters in here.
  • The exaggerated love between King Shang Zhou and Daji. Or more like with the fox-spirit. Like seriously? That went on and on for the majority of the first part, which I was fine with since it didn’t last long. Yet it just kept dragging on with how the fox spirit had fallen for the king for real and even wanted to help him keep his dynasty. Really? And what was more was using reasons or excuses for the king’s behaviors at times throughout the story, like in part one with him not really doing it on purpose for causing the death of Huang Fei Hu’s wife. Really?
  • Princess Long Ji is actually the late King Zhou Wen’s adopted daughter. WOW, really? Yeah, I’m saying “really” A LOT. But it’s that outrageous with how they try to connect different stories together.
  • Anything having to do with Zi Yu and Ji Fa for that matter. (Part 2 for Ji Fa since I liked him in part 1.) AND yes, I have to pick on them again. But since the storyline kept emphasizing their relationship, I think it’s fair game. Again, what the hell was that? Episode fillers and waste of time. I’m talking about characters and plot surrounding them, NOT the actor and actress SO don’t jump in trying to say I’m just hating them or jealous with them or something along those lines. And by the time I got to almost the end (since I was still hanging on for some characters), it got from worser to worset. Because not only were the story-line draggy and pointless, it dragged Yang Jian into their stupid conspiracy, which made him miss the last battle between the disciples of the gods and all. Then making it seem like some epic romance by dragging one of the higher gods in by praising their so-called love story.
  • Lei Zhen Zi was made into a senseless character. I didn’t remember much from the first part except he was cool enough. Yet again like characters in the 2nd part, he was reduced to some senseless role. Like he would go around and try to search for one of Ji Fa’s chicks like that. There’s a war going on! His mission (according to his master) was to go help Jiang Zi Ya fight in the battles, NOT go search for Ji Fa’s chick. Then eventually, I give up on his character altogether, especially with how he blamed Ne Zha for Zi Yu’s death. Like really? It was a slap in the face to be called stealing someone’s woman when Ne Zha was outside. Of course Ne Zha had to go confront Zi Yu and asked what the hell was going on.
  • The King of Shang Zhou went to Heaven to suck Ji Fa’s energy out of the star that represented Ji Fa? Really? Who thought of this one? Another episode filler?
  • The monkey/ape who fought with Yang Jian near the end will turn into Sun Wu Kong in the future. What? Um, like really? I laughed harder than the rest of the made-up stuffs. It was actually funny and interesting how they tried to link both stories together. But seriously? I couldn’t stop laughing until the next day. The characters from both works were linked later because the ones who fought against each other in this part will eventually become gods/goddesses or fairies of different sorts. But trying to link Sun Wu Kong in because that one ape also knew the same skills as Yang Jian? LOL!
  • Jiang Zi Ya reserved a spot for himself YET gave it to Huang Fei Hu later. The BIGGEST what in here. Like seriously? Jiang wasn’t supposed to be one of them since it wasn’t his fate. Huang Fei Hu was already secured for that one spot to begin with. There was no “dividing the pig” after the battle, seriously. AND having that part with Jiang arguing with his late ex-wife was also QUITE stupid and off.

Other Topics:

  • “Can it get any worse than this?” is like a dare to the production team. YES, it’s true for part 2 mostly BUT every time I utter that phrase out loud, the answer delivered somewhere several scenes later or several episodes later seemed to say, “Challenged accepted.” I’m so serious.
  • Part 2? Like seriously? I meant okay, I know some of the details for part 2 were what happened in the novel, more or less. But did they have to split it? I think if they cut out all the nonsense crap and the exaggerated love stories (on both sides actually), they could fit it into 40 eps or so.
  • What could have been focused on? There were a lot of interesting stories in the novel and could have been focused on instead of some made-up senseless stuffs that couldn’t match up to it. In fact, I’m tempted to go read the novel again and extract stuffs from it that was more relevant. (My first read was somewhat unsuccessful because of some side stuffs so I didn’t finish exactly but knew some of the things were irrelevant.)

What was good about it? Yes, Apparently I’m saving this topic for last because I rather end it with a positive note (or whatever is left of it that I could find).

  • Effects. Seriously, love the effects and it was really suitable for these types of stories.
  • Ne Zha. YES, the cute kid actor and eventually the actress who portrayed the character. Plus all the cool stuffs Ne Zha got later on, weapon wise and the skills acquired.
  • Yang Jian. NO, Yang Jian’s NOT suppposed to be under command of that Ji Fa. Since Ji Fa wasn’t that bossy in the novel. Besides, Yang Jian only listen to his master, who they merged it in and gave a lot credit to that one god, BUT he wasn’t supposed to be Yang Jian’s master in the novel. And when he was sent down to help Jiang, he only listened to Jiang, NOT some idiot. Aside from that, Han Dong is now my favorite Yang Jian. So handsome, so cool, and all. YET they ruined him near the end. BUT I guess it wasn’t his fault.
  • Huang Fei Hu, mostly Tay Ping Hui, but yeah. Loved the character overall and he was the sole reason I stuck around for more than the first half of the story (like stated before) and managed to hang on.
  • Ji Fa–BUT only the first part. YES, I have to say it again, Zhou Jie made a very wise decision for not coming back.
  • Zi Xian. Priscelia made it very cute and likable at times, but she was also a very strong and admirable person.
  • Deng Chan Yu and her shorty husband. Favorite couple in part 2 since they were sooooo funny. Too bad they had to die tragically as well.

Recommended? After all my rants, it’s more like from the side of the minority who couldn’t stand it anymore. But for people who enjoy it or like the cast, go ahead. I actually don’t think it’s worth it and if possible, just fast forward or search around for scenes that you might enjoy and watch. ‘Cause I swear I wasted like millions of brain cells watching it. (My fault actually, but since my mom wanted to watch and I somehow was just sitting there, I might as well.) But one thing’s for sure, I will try to avoid this producer and director’s works for the future JUST to eliminate another mistake I might make.