In my last blog post, I wrote that I was struggling to blog. Lo and behold, I came up with this blog post idea. It’s funny how life works sometimes.
Before I get into it, Happy birthday Xue Yang! He is one of my favourite characters of all time.
I am a villain stan. When I tell people that I love villains, they often give me disapproving looks or insult my favourite characters. This type of response is so normal that I just laugh now.
I have a type.
There’s this meme I’ve seen a couple of times, and it’s pretty funny.
It’s true. I don’t like all villains. Appearances aside, I don’t like villains that pretend to be good and hide behind a curtain (Jin Guanyao from The Untamed; Zhao Jing from Word of Honor). I also don’t like villains that manipulate, lie, and use others (Light Yagami from Death Note; Zhao Jing from Word of Honor).
I like characters that are outwardly chaotic. Everyone in that fictional world knows they are the villain. Hidan from Naruto Shippuden, Deidara from Naruto Shippuden, and Xue Yang from The Untamed are a few examples. A character with an evil laugh is a bonus.
I also love Juuzou Suzaya from Tokyo Ghoul, but I don’t exactly consider him a villain. The lines are blurred because he works for humans and kills ghouls. At the same time, the humans are sometimes painted as the villains.
I also like calm and intelligent villains, like Scorpion King from Word of Honor and Jun Kanzaki from Bloody Monday.
Back to the meme posted above, I feel that the normal thing to do is to side with the good protagonist, almost as if it’s automatic. I question that! Why should I side with the protagonist? Just because they are good? What if the protagonist is the villain? Whose side are you on? Examples I can think of are Death Note, Moriarty: The Patriot, and Word of Honor.
It’s a fictional story. Does your moral compass even matter here?
I don’t need a tragic backstory.
Most villains have a tragic childhood story, like their parents were killed when they were young trope. I don’t think it’s necessary. Sometimes, they can just be evil. I don’t need a backstory on why they turned evil.
I won’t defend a villain or apologize for their actions.
I am NOT a villain apologist. Like I said, I don’t need them to have a tragic backstory. Some people use it to justify a villain’s actions. I am fully aware that what they did was wrong. Again, it’s fictional.
I don’t agree with their actions most of the time.
I don’t. And I don’t think this is a pre-requisite to liking a character. In fact, I don’t even see how this relates to why you should like or dislike a character.
They make the story entertaining. Some series would cease to exist if there was no evil. Rather than admiring a hero’s journey, struggles, and perseverance, I would rather applaud the villain on their boldness.
I don’t expect them to win (or live).
Knowing how most stories go, the villain almost never wins. And sometimes, they die. This is expected, and I’ve already mentally prepared myself for this to happen right from the start. This is just the reality.
Bottom line: Fiction =/= Reality
Back to the responses I get when I tell people I like villains, why do people react like that? The villains are not real. Does me liking a mass murderer in a fictional story mean that I like criminals in real life? Of course not. It would be ridiculous to assume that I do. For the record, I have zero interest in real life criminals.
It’s so easy for me to make the distinction between fiction and reality. Me liking a character that does terrible deeds does not mean I support that behaviour in real life! I really don’t know why this is so difficult for some people to understand.
Light on Series: The Long Night is a highly-rated, dark, and suspenseful crime thriller. I really enjoyed this Chinese series and finished in two or three days.
Synopsis: Zhang Chao creates a scene at a subway station, and the bomb squad is called. When they open Zhang Chao’s suitcase, they find that there’s no bomb, but a body inside. On the surface, there is overwhelming evidence that Zhang Chao murdered the victim, Jiang Yang. There is a problem: Zhang Chao was hours away from the time of Jiang Yang’s death. To make matters worse, an anonymous person is sending a piece of a photograph to the media every few days; a building will explode if the media refuses to print it. To unravel the cause of Jiang Yang’s death, Yan Liang is called to help the police force. He must learn everything about Jiang Yang before the complete photograph is released to the public.
The show alternates between three stories and time periods.
Story #1: In the modified reports, Hou Gui Ping raped a woman and killed himself out of guilt. This story tells what actually happened.
Story #2: Jiang Yang and Zhu Wei investigate the true cause of Hou Gui Ping’s death.
Story #3: Present day; Yan Liang and his team investigate Jiang Yang’s murder.
I’ve never seen a story told in this format. You get to know all three stories in-depth, and I felt attached to all the characters.
Bai Yu plays Jiang Yang. I’ve seen a few of his earlier dramas (Detective L, Guardian, Fairyland Lovers, Love O2O) and this drama is nothing like them. It’s serious, dark, and more realistic. His acting is brilliant in this one.
If you are like stories about a person dedicating their entire life to something, this show is for you. To clear Hou Gui Ping’s name, Jiang Yang pours his life into this case. He meets so much resistance and pushback from different parties. He is stubborn, so incredibly stubborn. He loses so much, yet he never gives up. There were many times when I wondered if it was even worth it. He wasn’t even close to Hou Gui Ping, but he believes in his work. He believes in justice.
This is not a “happy” show, but it’s still very suspenseful and entertaining to watch. The show is artful in how they split up the three stories. You don’t learn everything at once, as it switches back and forth between the stories. Like the photograph puzzle mystery, you don’t learn the complete story until the end of the series.
Last year, I wrote a post about Aimi’s fashion style because I was inspired by her outfits. Lin Xia from the Chinese drama, Fairyland Lovers, is another fashion inspiration of mine. Her style is completely different from Aimi’s style.
These are my favourite outfits from episodes 1-29. (I’ve only watched up to 29, hahaha)
I love how comfortable her outfits are. I’ve always liked baggy clothing.
I like that her hoodie has different colours.
Bai Qi (Lin Xia’s boyfriend) has incredible style, too. He has a more sophisticated style, whereas Lin Xia’s style is more cute.
Different-coloured hoodie again. I love her necklace. It’s so simple yet elegant. I want a necklace like that, hahaha.
This is one of my favourite outfits. I love her beret. She’s jumping to kiss him, hahaha. They are matching!
Her closet consists of simple and cute patterns. It’s a pretty colourful and light-coloured closet. *Looks at my closet full of black clothes.*
Another favourite outfit of mine. They are matching again. Bai Qi made the flower crown for her. XD
Jade Cheng, the actress who plays Lin Xia, is so beautiful. Bai Yu (Bai Qi) is too. Fairyland Lovers is an underrated drama. I recommend it! You can find the episodes with English subtitles on the official YouTube channel.
Based on the novel Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu.
Elle: So there was once a tweet and then there was a reply to that tweet and that is how this collaboration started.
We totally did not plan to post this on Xiao Zhan’s birthday but here we are. It’s just meant to be. Like Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. (I rhymed).
It’s quite awesome how we started drafting right away and we just happened to finish the post in time for Xiao Zhan’s special day. Without him, Wei Wuxian’s character would not have come to life the way it did. So thank you for being born Xiao Zhan ❤
Rose: Happy birthday Xiao Zhan! We love you so much and we dedicate this post to you. ❤
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MDZS/THE UNTAMED? The story of how you fell into the rabbit hole.
Elle: I just recently got on the train that is Mo Dao Zu Shi this July when I got home after the quarantine and it was a fun ride! I watched the drama first (The Untamed). 50 episodes in 3 days. Can you imagine? That was some ride. Then I immediately looked for an english translation of the novel. Yes, I am that kid who often wants to compare to the source material. The book vs movie kid. And I found that I appreciated the series even more after reading Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. Special thanks to the fans who translated the novel! The characters were fleshed out properly in my head after that and thus continued my descent into their world.
I only heard about the drama because of Wang Yibo and now here I am knee deep into the different adaptations of the series. After watching the drama and reading the novel, I immediately started the donghua. I just could not wait! By the way, this is my first ever BL series and it did not disappoint.
Rose: I’m impressed you finished The Untamed in three days! I started watching The Untamed by myself. I think I was at 12 episodes. I went on a trip to an island with two friends and we ended up watching The Untamed during the trip. They had no prior exposure to the show and were willing to watch where I had left off. To my surprise, they were immediately hooked! We ended up watching it on Day 2 of the trip. Afterwards, we watched it over voice chat every weekend until its completion. The Untamed is special to me for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is because I was quite touched that my friends expressed interest in a show I liked.
After I finished The Untamed, I started watching Mo Dao Zu Shi and Mo Dao Zu Shi Q. In fact, Mo Dao Zu Shi Q is still airing! It’s a chibi donghua, kind of like Attack on Titan Junior High.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the soundtrack. A lot of the cast sing their character songs which makes it so meaningful. The actors and actresses that starred as Wei Wuxian, Lan Zhan, Jiang Cheng, Wen Ning, Lan Xichen, A-Qing, and the youths sang songs on the soundtrack. Isn’t that the coolest?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG FROM THE SOUNDTRACK?
Elle: I think hands down it’s Wuji. The WangXian song. The one Lan Wangji composed in the turtle cave for Wei Wuxian and it’s also the one that made LWJ able to recognize WWX when he returned. This song is very meaningful in a lot of ways.
“wén dí shēng dú chóu chàng/
Listen for the melody of a flute, alone in sorrow
yún shēn yè wèi yāng/
The nights in the clouds are long”
“Hear the flute, alone in its melancholy
The night is still young at Cloud Recesses (LWJ’s home)”
The instrumental in the beginning, the way the track began, was already a beautiful introduction and then added to it the deep and melodious voices of Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo which makes it all the more alluring. The first time I listened to the track, it felt like heaven in my ears and it is still the same even now. Interesting twist that the rapper, dancer and actor Yibo can also sing so well! And some notes in the song are quite high too so I was really impressed! Xiao Zhan, I understand, is also an idol and he is definitely a talented vocalist. This was my first encounter with Xiao Zhan and I’m already in love with his acting and now his voice in the OST too. I want more! It was quite a deviation from his voice in the drama which led me to research about the voice actors who lent their voices to Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian. Dubbing is fairly common to Chinese dramas and I admit it adds to the performance of the onscreen actors too.
But more on the track.. Lyrics wise of course it was also on point. The soundtrack already packed a wallop even without the lyrics and so when you add the meaning behind it, it just hits you differently. More deeply. I had to rely on translations but I think they delivered the meaning really well. But of course some meanings are lost in translation and some fans said that the lyrics are really beautiful when understood properly in the original language. But no matter, because the way I feel about the song just proves that music really transcends barriers. ♥️
“yòu wén qín xiǎng/
The Qin (Wang Ji zither) can be heard again
chén qíng wèi jué/
Chen Qing (Wei Ying’s flute) is still sounding”
The lyrics also mentioned Wei Ying’s thoughts and what he told Wangji when everyone shunned him for his supposedly crooked path. That he will follow what he thinks is right and his heart/conscience will be the judge of whether it is right or wrong. It also echoed Jin Guangyao/Jiang Cheng’s words in the series about how he is The Untamed hero at best but also someone that can be despised by others if he doesn’t conform with their ways.
“hóng chén zhōng huǐ yù dé shī rú hé qù liáng/
In this world, how do we measure praise and condemnation”
There are also references in Wuji about some scenes in the series and also about the two main protagonists. It was interesting to see different translations and the meaning behind the lyrics. The drama as a whole emphasized on the music part because the characters also used instruments as their weapons.
Ultimately, Wuji is the theme song of the series and it helped tell the story of two people who lost and found each other again, and how these two consider each other as their soulmate.
Side note: The OST album as a whole really sounds great! Even the character tracks and the way it tells the story from their own perspective, really adds to the depth of each character.
Rose: I love how you broke down the lyrics like that. My favourite song is also Wuji. I love all of the versions – WangXian duet, Lan Zhan solo, Wei Wuxian solo, the version by Bibi Zhou, the instrumental version, and the piano version. In fact, I bought a kalimba so I could play this song!
Of the different versions, my favourite would have to be the WangXian duet. While the solo versions are still beautiful to listen to, it feels complete listening to the duet. After all, this is their special song. I listen to this song several times a week. It’s one of my top five favourite songs of all time. I love that the background uses traditional instruments. When I listen to this song, I think of The Untamed and all of the memories resurface. Every time, I am reminded of how much I love this series.
Elle: Same! And whenever I listen to Wuji, it makes me want to watch or read the series all over again. I wonder if you already have a Kalimba post? Or are you planning on sharing something soon? ^_^
Rose: I feel the same way. I’ve posted a video of me playing Wuji (badly) on my Instagram. I learned the second half of the song right after I posted but I don’t remember the tabs. I’ll have to learn it again…
That’s it for Part 1! Elle will be posting Part 2 on her blog so be sure to check it out! It’ll be longer than this post as we will be discussing deeper topics. Thanks for reading.
Synopsis: Ban Xiao Song is passionate about baseball, but his school’s baseball team is terrible. They miserably lose against a rival school. To make matters worse, Ban Xiao Song’s baseball team gets disbanded due to a lack of funds. Wu Tong from the rival school transfers to Ban Xiao Song’s school and together, they try to start up the baseball team again. Along the way, they try to recruit Yin Ke and other classmates.
Episodes watched: 19/39
Thoughts: I started this series because of the cast. The baseball coach is played by Chinese singer Joker Xue and the three main characters (Ban Xiao Song, Wu Tong, and Yin Ke) are from the boy group, TFBoys. Joker Xue and TFBoys are incredibly famous in China. Danson Tang, another popular celebrity, plays one of the teachers.
There are two main storylines in this drama:
Ban Xiao Song recruits classmates to help him start the baseball team again. It focuses on his friendships with Wu Tong and Yin Ke.
Tao Xi (the baseball coach and gym teacher) and his rivalry against An Mi, the new staff member at school, who is also his next door neighbour. We also see his home life with Guo Guo, the child he takes care of.
I’m loving this series. However, I have one complaint and it’s a big one. Where is the baseball?? I’ve seen half of the series and the first episode showed us the most baseball. There hasn’t been any matches after that.
It made sense for the start of the series to focus on friendships. After all, the baseball team got disbanded and the friendships between the main characters were not formed yet. It also made sense for the characters to work through their issues first. However, I expected a focus on baseball once these things were all taken care of.
Instead, the story then focuses on a girl classmate (who is not on the baseball team) in love with a celebrity (also not on the baseball team). What does this have to do with baseball? This drama seems more like a teacher-student series like Great Teacher Onizuka, Gokusen, or Assassination Classroom instead of a sports series, except Tao Xi isn’t as involved in the students’ lives.
One thing I like about the Chinese drama, The King’s Avatar, is that there is a really good balance between friendships and gaming throughout the show. After all, the series is about a E-sport team. Since this drama is about a baseball team, it should have more baseball scenes, shouldn’t it?
I’m going to continue watching this drama because I’m still enjoying it regardless. Hopefully there will be more baseball.
I’m watching this series on the official YouTube channel. Only the first two episodes have English subtitles.
Synopsis: Mi Xiao Qi drops from the sky and lands in Bei Yue Kingdom of Kun Peng Continent. She’s a young woman, except she’s turned into a fat cat. When she transforms back into her human form, she must meet her fated lover and make him fall in love with her. Together with her fated one, they must find the four pieces of the magical jade. Otherwise, she will die!
Thoughts: This kind of drama seemed like my kind of show. I really enjoyed the historical comedy drama, The Eternal Love, so I thought that I would love this one too. The first couple of episodes were funny, but it became less funny later on.
My main problem with this drama is that there is no flow. The writing is all over the place. Things progress quite quickly and it seems so unrealistic. I feel like the characters do have good chemistry, but the drama does not do a very good job at portraying that. I understand that this drama is meant to be fun and silly, but the flaws take away from the enjoyment of the show.
On the flip side, I really like the characters. Xiao Qi in her cat form is adorable. The idea of the drama is hilarious, but the execution was poorly done.
I recently finished the Chinese drama, The Untamed. I’ve watched many Asian dramas. According to MyDramaList, I’ve watched over 1000 episodes. Most of the time when I finish a drama, I just move on and watch the next thing… but I have to write about The Untamed. The Untamed is an exceptional drama. I give it 10/10.
Throughout my life, I’ve heard people talk about shows in a negative light.
“It’s just a show.”
“Everything is fake.”
“Watching TV is a waste of time.”
It’s really not just a show. I think that we all know that dramas are fictional. Is there anyone who doesn’t know this? I think that people who really appreciate dramas and anime are cognizant of the amount of time and the effort that went into making the show. Actors, directors, producers, scriptwriters, voice actors, camera crew, costume design team, those who work on the sets, those who work on the props, and subtitles, the editing team, the animation team, the list goes on… Pre-production of The Untamed took two and a half years. Saying that watching TV is a waste of time is almost disregarding all of these things.
The Untamed cast practiced posture, calligraphy, martial arts, musical instruments, and more. Since The Untamed takes place in ancient China, they went through training to learn these skills.
Several of the cast members sang their own character songs. They’re really talented.
Wu Ji – sang by Xiao Zhan & Wang Yibo (Wei Wuxian & Lan Wangji)
Wei Wuxian’s theme song – sang by Xiao Zhan (Wei Wuxian)
Bu Wang (Lan Wangji’s theme song) – sang by Wang Yibo (Lan Wangji)
Chi Zi (Wen Ning’s theme song) – sang by Yu Bin (Wen Ning)
Hen Bie (Jiang Cheng’s theme song) – sang by Wang Zhuo Cheng (Jiang Cheng)
Bu Wang (Lan Xichen’s theme song) – sang by Liu Haikuan (Lan Xichen)
Gu Cheng (Yi City group’s theme song) – sang by Sun Bolun & Chen Zhuoxuan (A-Qing)
The youth group also sang their theme song. The rest of the character songs are also really nice. I think the songs really convey the characters’ feelings.
This is not a goodbye post because there’s still the Mo Dao Zu Shi donghua, novel, and manhua. Maybe I’ll rewatch The Untamed one day. I think it will be interesting to compare the different versions. I think that The Untamed did an amazing job at portraying the relationships, given China’s heavy censorship. I think they made it obvious and clear.
Missing: Wei Wuxian nendoroid (It’s out of stock… I really wanted it…)
Full episodes with English subtitles are on Netflix and YouTube.
My apologies for not coming out with new cosplays, drawings or reviews. I’ve been busy… watching shows LOL. I’ve been having a great time. I thought I might as well share what I’m currently obsessing over in case anyone wants some recommendations.
The Untamed (Mo Dao Zu Shi Chinese live-action adaptation)
You can watch The Untamed on Netflix and YouTube. Both have English subtitles. It is based on Mo Dao Zu Shi, which is an extremely popular Chinese webnovel, manhua and donghua. This drama is super popular not just in China, but internationally as well. The webnovel is a Boys Love (BL) story but due to China’s censorship, Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan are close friends. I wrote this in a review for the donghua (anime), but the story is really compelling. BL is not for everybody but I think that a lot of people can appreciate this series regardless. The cast for The Untamed is really good. They cast the perfect actors for Wei Wuxian and Xiao Xingchen. There is a lot of beautiful scenery from China’s natural landscapes in the live-action and the music is so beautiful (from traditional Chinese instruments). I ordered an acrylic figure a couple of days ago so I’m waiting for that right now hahaha. It is my dream to wear a hanfu and I hope that it will be revived in this generation.
I wish Xue Yang and Xiao Xingchen met under different circumstances… QQ I am more interested in their relationship than Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan lolol but Xue Yang went too far…
The King’s Avatar (Chinese live-action adaptation)
The King’s Avatar live-action is on Netflix. It is based on the manhua and donghua. They cast the perfect person for Ye Qiu. Yang Yang is my favourite Chinese actor and his other drama (Love O2O) is one of my favourite Chinese dramas as well. The donghua was amazing but I do like the live-action more, maybe because I am a little biased hahaha. The live-action also introduces a lot of new characters that we never saw in S1 of the donghua.
Super-Vocal (season 1)
Super-Vocal is a Chinese singing competition but it is different than a lot of other competitions because the contestants are classically trained singers. I don’t think a lot of people know this about me but I love musicals. I’m watching season 1 for Zheng Yunlong and Ayanga. Zheng Yunlong is a professional musical theatre actor from my hometown and Ayanga is a professional music theatre actor of Mongolian descent. Zheng Yunlong said that he joined the competition because he wants more people to know about musicals. I think that’s amazing. Zheng Yunlong and Ayanga met in university and have been friends for over 10 years. I love their bond and they sing so well. QQ
Super-Vocal season 1 ran from 2018 to early 2019. I’m watching the episodes on YouTube.
Other than that, there is nothing going on with me. I am probably a boring person but I have a lot of passion towards my hobbies lolol.
I started a Chinese drama called The Eternal Love. It’s not to be confused with Eternal Love or Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, which is an entirely different Chinese drama (the latter is one of my favourite dramas, by the way – go check it out).
In The Eternal Love, Qu Xiaotan from the modern world is isekai’d into historical China. In other words, she time travels and occupies the body of Qu Tan’er, the second daughter of the Qu family. The catch is that whenever she tells a lie, the real Tan’er wakes up from the body. Xiaotan and Tan’er basically switch back and forth and do not retain memories of each other.
Now for the plot. Xiaotan/Tan’er is forced to marry Mo Liancheng, the eighth prince. Xiaotan does not like the idea of marrying a stranger, while Tan’er is in love with Liancheng’s brother, Mo Yihuai. However, she marries him with the intention of spying on Liancheng. Xiaotan is left in the dark about these schemes which is really confusing for Liancheng.
Tan’er is proper and follows the traditional norms of the time period. Xiaotan, on the other hand, is rebellious and unapologetic. She is infuriated that she experiences mistreatment from her father’s consort and that she was forced to marry a stranger. She makes several attempts to return to the modern world.
This drama is hilarious! Xiaotan cracks me up. Since she is a character from the modern world, only we can understand her references to certain things (i.e. the toothbrush, modern slang). Her and Liancheng have great chemistry. He always has her back, cares deeply for her, is good-looking…
I’m definitely going to keep watching because this drama is so funny and because I love both the main leads. A lot of historical dramas have a serious tone to them and they are quite long… Time passes so quickly when I’m watching this drama. For a romantic comedy historical drama, this one is done really well.