Just Watched: Candle in the Tomb

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I told you I am pacing up with my Chinese drama watch! And surprisingly I am in luck because my second watch for this year was very different than my first drama. Candle in the Tomb is (kinda sorta) a Chinese version of Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider. But I love it more because it feels rather refreshing (for me at least since I haven’t seen similar genres in years) and I love anything that has an archaeological aspect with a little bit of fantasy. Even my son was glued to this show!

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Many say that Candle in the Tomb is a web drama but for me, it feels very regular. The production of this drama is extremely good. My husband reminded me that this drama was produced by the same production as Snails. Well, it is a winner for me. The show is heavily CGI’d, though. I saw some flaws; not sure if you will notice it. But it didn’t bother me one bit. Because I was too engrossed with the story which, I just found out recently, that it was adopted from a novel with the same title. Would I want to read it? I don’t think so. I am not very imaginative when comes to fantasy drama. I am sure the director did a fantastic job in transferring the writer’s creative idea to live. Seriously, some scenes were spooky and it really made me scared! I once switched my watch out of fear of getting a nightmare. Yeah, it was that scary!

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Candle in the Tomb told a story of two good friends, Hu Ba Yi and Wang Kai Xuan aka fatty. Both Fatty and Ba Yi have known each other since their comrade time. Ba Yi inherited his feng shui skills from his ancestors. His family has been using feng shui to locate ancient tombs. Fatty always tagging along with Ba Yi on treasure hunts. It makes perfect sense! They then teamed up with an archaeological team in pursuit of searching the ghost cave. Fatty took advantage of it hoping to score gold. The archaeological team wanted to find the queen’s tomb (which I can’t remember her name). But as they went on their adventure, Ba Yi felt it is their destiny to go along the path. For every puzzle they face, it somehow ties to their adventure.

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The show feels like a journey. I enjoyed the ups and down of each character. I rated 8/10 in MDL for two reasons: the pacing of the show in the beginning of the series and Joe Chen. The first few episodes were draggy and boring. It is typically designed to introduce the characters but I think they could have made it more exciting and humorous. I am glad that it got better from episode 3 onwards. Another thing I dislike is Joe Chen’s character. She was introduced to us in episode 6 but she was passive for the first 1.5 episodes. I know she was merely absorbing and listening but it could have been done better. Furthermore, Joe seemed bored. Her one-dimensional face bothered me a bit.

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Despite all that, I still recommend you to watch Candle in the Tomb. Well, it may remind you of The Lost Tomb, but I heard this show is way better! Now you may encounter some ridiculous things from this show. Let’s pick one. They are on this rough mission in a rough terrain desert but Joe Chen’s character Shirley appeared clean and well-rounded fabulous throughout the show! She finally got dirt all over her face towards the end of the series. You know it is bullsh*t to be so tidy and clean after two days out in a dusty desert. Yeap, that’s my beef. Other than that, this 21 episode drama is fun, entertaining and exciting. The ending was on an open side because the producer wants us to know that a prequel is coming up next. I can’t wait!

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Currently Watching: Battle of Changsha

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So I was doing a “research” one night and stumbled over Battle of Changsha. It received a 9.0 rating on MDL. Wow, it’s pretty damn high! I dug more on this show and realized Wallace Huo is in it! The main lead! HIM! Bingo! It’s Wallace! I need a Wallace fixed! So I immediately alerted my fairy godmother aka Bel and before I could even breathe a sigh of relief, she uploaded all 32 episodes! And with that, I thank her for feeding my drama soul *bows*. Back to Battle of Changsha, this drama got my dear hub excited as well. He’s an avid history and war story. Sadly though, he couldn’t start with me since he left for California.99828054124538152_21n

As I said earlier, Battle of Changsha is 32 episodes long with a typical 45 minutes length per episode. I have seen 16 episodes and so far, to be honest, I do not understand why people would rate this drama this high. Everything was perfect. The story build up was good. The development of the story to where I am now was slow but at a steady pace. I still can accept that. But what I can’t accept is that after 16 episodes in and I still see no battle!!!! Wait, I apologize… I saw a battle towards the end of episode 16. *roles eyes* So what have I been watching for the past 15 years? I mean…. 15 episodes? A bloody family drama! Did I sign up for this? Yeah, I should have read the synopsis! But now that I have read it, they should have not released such synopsis! It’s all wrong! The love story happened to be during the Sino-Japanese war era. I spent my time wondering where is the war? *scratches head*10677368416095166918233535063

Yes, I am a bit frustrated but I will not quit it. The family issue… The drama in the Hu family is almost over. I spent the first 12 episodes watching Jun Shan trying to curb his naughty and childish sister in law, Xiang Xiang and her twin brother Xiaoman. The twins constantly creating problems to the family. I really can’t stand it, they both are a pain in the azz! I thought Chinese people are good at disciplining their kids! Okay, that was bad of me to say that since #1 I’m stereotyping it and #2 I am 1/2 Chinese! But but… don’t these kids understand that their parents are old and her brother in law is the breadwinner of the household? It is tiring watching him chasing after the twin, I’m so glad that Gu Qing Ming was not pleased with his first meet with XiangXiang. I mean who would want to take a wife like her? f00123iqwls_ori_1

Sorry, I was just ranting but let me tell you in details. XiangXiang is only in teens but her brother in law has been trying to marry her to a good family for the sake of her future. The first victim is Gu Qing Ming. He is an intelligence officer for the Nationalist Army. He is a very intelligent person but has this cold persona that intimidated XiangXiang. XiangXiang, on the other hand, has one nasty potty mouth. She speaks her mind so loud that sure enough disgusted Qing Ming. She was introduced to several boys later and XiangXiang managed to escape from these marriages. Meanwhile, whenever she and her twin brother got in trouble, Qing Ming somehow always around to save her azz! Xiaoman felt that Qing Ming has a thing for her. I agree with him *beams* but the man is not ready to commit. I mean who want a wife like her? Even though the world is modern now, no one wants a wife like Xiang Xiang.20140317180508_92813

So where will Battle of Changsha take me? To be honest, I really don’t know. I finally saw a war broke between the Chinese and Japanese. XiangXiang, after escaping yet another potential wedding, decided to attend nursing school. When she made her mind, I thanked god and hoped that she will mature with her experience as a nurse. I was told that the story will picks up once the war started. My hope for this drama? I don’t know… I really can’t see where the show will take me but I will not quit. Perhaps the second half of the series will get intense. I’m dying to see how XiangXiang and Qing Ming’s love blossom. I have a feeling that they will be a “cat and dog” couple! Whether they will be together in the end, I’m not sure. Trust me… It is a war drama so you can’t expect a happy ending!

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Currently Watching: The Disguiser

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Okay, after Nirvana In Fire, I was super impressed with Hu Ge and was determined to start The Disguiser. And I have to say I’m not regretting one bit with my decision. The first 10 minute into the episode 1 and I was already blown away by the cast and the story. My hub immediately said this drama is worth watching. And I’m surprised that this is my seventh Chinese drama this year! Aren’t you impressed with my progress? I totally diverse my drama watch this year. 13980854361531079787Back to The Disguiser, this 41 episode drama is equally as good as Nirvana In Fire. Same producer, same network and nearly same cast. What I love the most about The Disguiser is that it is more of a modern historical drama. And I’ve always fond of Kuomintang (KMT) and Communist collaboration work against the Japanese. We all know how Japanese treated the Chinese back then. They really took the opportunity of a weaken Chinese government since the last true Han Chinese dynasty was the Ming dynasty. We all know the last emperor of China, under the Qing dynasty, was nothing but a puppet. Oy, have I gone too far? I think I am. Duibuqi.KnStW7WsMBAKnStW7WsMBFThis drama took place during one of the clashes in the Sino-Japanese war. The betrayal in this drama is unbearable to watch. Directly or indirectly, you simply can’t trust anyone. It started when Ming Tai got recruited as a KMT spy. He succeeded in penetrating and infiltrating the Japanese’s plan but then KMT collapsed and he was forced to join with the Communist party. He later married a communist spy nicknamed Keiko. Ming Tai suspected that his brother is on the Japanese side as he always cooperated with them. But in reality, Ming Lou is a double spy. His sister, Min Jing, is a well-known strong businesswoman but unknowingly that she is a part of the communist party too. In the Ming family, it is hard to tell who are they loyal to. Min Jing is very protective of Ming Tai. In turn, he uses this opportunity as disguise and hide his true identity.10-20-49-39-132015081415161302359905The villain in this drama is Wang Man Chu. I just have to mention her character. She is someone that you want to kill and murder repeatedly. You may wonder how that she is so brainwashed to fight her own people. This goes back to history again. The last Han dynasty was Ming and the Qing dynasty is of Manchurian lineage. The Chinese was then governed by foreigners. I don’t blame that Man Chu was compensated a lot to fight her own people. It is for survival and she’s not only brainwashed, she truly believe that the Japanese will take over China. 20150901150703186So far, I’ve seen 34 episodes. I could have finished it sooner but the drama was too intense that I cannot watch more than two episodes in one sitting. Too much for my heart. But I’m determine to finish it this week. I really need to see the end of Wang Man Chu. She is officially on my sh*t list! Back to The Disguiser, you MUST watch this drama. I believe it is one of the best adaptation drama I saw besides Nirvana.

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Currently Watching: Nirvana In Fire

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Everyone is (or was) into Nirvana In Fire. I am too! I never expect that I’d like it so much. You know me and Chinese dramas. We don’t get along well… Especially with period drama. I can’t stand politics in period dramas. They are just too much to follow and can be very cruel. And for unexplained reason, I am so absorbed by this drama. No, I was not drawn to Hu Ge and Wang Kai. They are just icings on the cake. It’s the cake itself that drawn me into. I’m surprised how much I eat and breathe Nirvana In Fire lately. I wonder if I suddenly reached puberty for liking period Chinese dramas so much! *giggle* Someone should be proud of me! Pat me in the back, please!

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As I am watching this drama (episode 42 now), I can’t helped but whispering “Wow, she is so good as the emperor’s consort” or “ Wow, this guy is too smart to be an advisor” several times. I really can’t explain Nirvana In Fire in details. Each situation can be dragged into several episodes. But each tangled situation is explained thoroughly, examined carefully, dissected piece by piece and laid out layer by layer. The characters are complex. The stories are well written and executed. The actors’ performances are convincing and outstanding. The background music is appropriate and fit with the scene. Everything about this drama is well planned. I have never seen a well-thought, well planned drama before. I’m blown away by how perfect this show is! This is rare!!!

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Sadly, like most wuxia-based drama, Nirvana In Fire is 54 episodes long. Yeah, I screamed at myself for starting another long drama. On top of my dailies!!!! *screams* I was skeptical, to be honest. I actually started the first episode and give up 15 minutes immediately. I really thought I couldn’t handle the story. It was confusing. As soon as I came back from my work trip, I was determined to give Nirvana another try. And I have been hooked ever since. I could have finished it by now but I decided to drag it out a bit. The show is too good and I don’t want it to end!!!!

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In a snapshot, Nirvana In Fire is another level of revenge drama. Mei Changsu is taking revenge after his dad was framed by his political rival. The whole story is circled around Mei Changsu and his scheme to take everyone down. His real name is Su Zhe but since everyone thought he died in the war with his dad, he assumed a different identity. Changsu, or Sir Su, is very smart. He could smell trouble from far. He formed Jiang Zuo alliance and became the leader. He came back to the capital and started taking side. One of the Princes, Xing Jingyan, is his best gate to enter the dynasty and through him, Su started channeling his propaganda to control Prince Jing and eventually make his way up to the government in search of the truth. Su is actually very sick. I’m not sure what kind of sickness he is in but he is not in a good shape.

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Su and Prince Jing are good friends. But Su has agenda and he has no choice but to sacrifice his friendship to revenge on his father’s death. It is cruel. I know it is. But if you have to live, you have to do whatever it takes. But I’m not mad at these two, but I am mad at Prince Jing’s brother, the Crown Prince. He is aggressive and wanted the crown for his own good. He influenced his step mom into starting a useless investigation. From then, the show developed intensely. Listen… Right now, I rather be watching than blogging. The show is bloody good! Please watch it if you have the time. I’m curious how it will end. I don’t expect a happy ending. Su is gravely ill. The capital is in turmoil. The empress is corrupted by Crown Prince. Consort Jing, Jing’s beautiful mom, is extremely careful and as smart as Su. I wish she has the power to dig out more. Oy… I hope my understanding is right! You know how it is, the story is deep! Very deep!

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Great, I’m blabbing again. Just watch it, people! This is one of the best dramas I have seen this year!! JUST WATCH IT!

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