Xuan Yuan Jian Review


Synopsis: Based off an RPG, it tells the story of Chen Jing Chou (Jiang Jin Fu) a rather childish hero, who only comes to understanding his role in protecting his kingdom when his shifu (teacher) is frozen by Satan and kept in limbo. With his new found friend Tuo Ba Yu’er (Liu Shi Shi) they embark on a bickering journey to procure the ten mystical weapons to close up the Gates of Hell and save his shifu.

However, Yu Wen Tuo (Hu Ge) is also on the same mission to recover his side of the fallen dynasty, and so under the disguise of Jian Chi, he joins the journey only to end up falling in love with Du Gu Ning Ke (Tang Yan) who also goes by her role as a General of Satan. While under his role as a friend to Jing Chou, Yu Wen Tuo also comes across the reincarnation of one of the sacred items- the Nuwa Stone, who in the human realm goes by Yu Xiao Xue (Gu Li Na Zha).

Aired: July 6, 2012

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****spoilers ahead****

36 episodes later, and I’m finally done with this series. It wasn’t a burden to watch, but I do admit to wanting to fast forward certain parts, I mean 36 episodes to save the world? Hell, if you had gathered your sources together and had quit crying about whose kingdom deserved to be revived, that shit would have been over in 20 episodes max. Did I over do it?

Okie doke. Here’s where the real problems were with drama, and of course what I liked, or else I wouldn’t have watched it 🙂

Why have Jiang Jin Fu as the lead? Call me stereotypical, but when I imagine a leader, I imagine deep, rough, masculine, almost Spartan like men. Jiang Jin Fu, is a skinny rail! I’ll admit, I have my fair share of liking skinny rail men, but we’re talking warrior here. Packing on all the armour in the world, didn’t make him look bulky in the least. In fact it looked like the weight was about to crush him. Screw that, I was waiting for Yu Wen Tuo to knock him over like a bowling pin.

The factor that starts to drive his character is when his shifu ends up literally frozen, caught in limbo. Yet he turns into a nut case, thank the gods Yu’er’s around to get his act together and drags his ass out of there. For a moment I thought, you know this is where he’s really going to take it to the next level, and really take the ‘mission’ seriously. Then he went and bamboozled me, I do adore his naivete personality, compared to Yu’er who’s so on guard all the time, they actually make a decent pair, balancing out each others flaws, yet I felt like for someone who’s going to be the leader, he lacked that sense of leadership. As  a Wuxia hero his mentality of being righteous is well placed, yet it didn’t really sit with me that his hypothetical girlfriend was probably more active than he was. Imo it’s not uncommon for RPG’s to have such characters (Chinese Paladin) but, I guess it depends what floats your boat, and personally I didn’t find his character endearing in the same way I may have found Jing Tian.

I liked the way the costume designer integrated his personality within his costumes. His outfits provide a stark contrast to Yu Wen Tuo, who’s always dressed between regal and morbid. His colours are much lighter and suit his personality, but I would have liked to see him progress as a character much sooner in the series rather than the last 5 episodes.

Am I the only who doesn't believe he's going to save the world? Those puppy eyes say 'save me' not 'I'll save you'. Ever Yu' er doesn't buy it, just look at her expression.

Am I the only who doesn’t believe he’s going to save the world? Those puppy eyes say ‘save me’ not ‘I’ll save you’. Ever Yu’ er doesn’t buy it, just look at her expression.

Yep that screams badass...

Yep that screams bodacious…

When your sword doesn't even agree with you...he does have his cute side...ish.

When your sword doesn’t even agree with you…he does have his cute side…ish.

I guess you can call me a Hu Ge fangirl, okay I love him A LOT. Pepper I am. (Yes I am disappointed he isn’t playing Huo Qu Bing, but I’ll live on, somehow…in  a corner, defeated, cursing Tangren in my utter pain. I kid, Meng Jiu FTW). So when I saw he was dressed like this…

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I thought eh~ kind of simple for his two faced character. But obviously there was a reason why he was so simple in his attire. In his state as a Jian Chi he has a bit of an accident to put it nicely, which I think was sort of an excuse to let him and Gu Li Na Zha to have a bit OTP time.

from badass to adorable.

From badass to adorable. Remind you of someone?

And to think it's all a facade.

And to think it’s all a façade.

I think the drama put a little too much emphasis on him playing this duality, I was left hanging right until the end to work out whether he’d chosen good or evil. I guess it’s nice being the good guy in the end, you’ve learnt your lesson, you appreciate the good stuff in life rather than looming over the dead and gone, but it sure did dampen his evil image. He spent so much time torturing, chasing, all around being a total prick that seeing him turn good for love of all things was the equivalent of him breaking out into a Barney theme song. So yeah I would have liked him to remain malevolent. Let’s not forget how awesome he looks while spewing out evil.

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fan art.

fan art.

This was probably the one outfit that stood out to me, so much so that for my Athenian drama project I ended up making a costume just like his...except the wig didn't turn out quite like I thought it would...I feel for him, I didn't realise what an ass it can be do don a wig.

This was probably the one outfit that stood out to me, so much so that for my Athenian drama project I ended up making a costume just like his, for my version of Apollo (yh try justifying that in a commentary-‘Hu Ge made me do it!’) …except the wig didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would…I feel for him, regardless of whether that was a wig or not (hairdresser did a damn good job of it) I didn’t realise what an ass it could be to don a wig.

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‘I told her once…to cry over a nightmare…I thought she was very silly and absurd at that time.

I would never believe that someone’s heart would ache over an experience in a dream.

Only now do I realise. What we’ve experienced is reality. Perhaps it was those dream like experiences of the past…that has long changed me.’

The writers finally made me believe his change for the good, through that small soliloquy. And I fell for it. Hu Ge‘s chemistry with Gu Li Na Zha was about as authentic as me making out with a rock. The aspect which brought me to genuinely sympathise with Yuo Wen Tuo was probably the fact that he was actually admitting to his own weakness, the writers finally put his weaknesses and strengths into context and his character made a little more sense, aside from being a mommy’s boy, he really did come to understand human emotions, everyone with me, *aaaaw*.

Xiao Xue & Jian Chi

Speaking of romance, his co star Gu Li Na Zha, was…ummm…a little less than interesting to watch. She’s gorgeous on screen, and her Uyghur background did enhance her character as the ‘foreign mystical stone’, but  in terms of actual acting, every time she was betrayed or stood up I couldn’t help but want to smack her up the head. Much like Jing Chou’s character, I couldn’t come to a form of endearment towards her naivety. I mean it’s sweet being stupid, and clumsy at times, but at others you just need to use your common sense.

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Towards the end of the series, she ends up becoming something less of a ‘I’m so innocent and clumsy that I can’t differentiate between my right and left foot’ to actually embodying a sense of loyalty towards Luo Wen Tai, I suppose at that point I began to forgive her for her deer in the headlights vibe, and just came to the conclusion- she’s also suicidal. Yeah, sure why not? Pick the guy who still isn’t sure he loves you.

It would be a crime if I didn’t mention Tang Yan‘s character, if only to mention how beautiful she is. And her costumes  wonderfully contribute to that.

1311902912736715293So much prettiness *O*

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Her usually dramatic change between human and hell realm, brings about a huge contrast. In between fooling falling in love with Yu Wen Tuo, she also exhibits duality in her character. I think I believed her romancing Wen Tuo more than Xiao Xue. Mind you, towards the end, it did feel like it was supposed to be this epic love, which I didn’t exactly go along with, I would have taken them for ‘casually dating’.

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Eeps! Finally!

Eeps! Finally!

Lin Geng Xin! What did they do to you? (I’m refraining myself from calling him honey-bun) Nope I was never a 14th prince shipper, but I’m not completely blind. FYI Drama Go Go Go is still only doing him half justice, at least they’re not making him walk around with dreadlocks.

Only appearing for the first half of the series, to be wrung out somewhere after his love line with Yu’er comes to somewhat of a close with her sister going all batshit crazy. His character was still a little mediocre for my tastes, you stand up for the woman you love! Not marry her sister! Context be damned…okay I take that back, eh the hardcore romantic in me just won’t abide.

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And epic fangirl moment! The real reason I decided to watch this. Isn’t it a little weird that my girl crush on Shi Shi is stronger than that for Hu Ge? Would you still believe me if I said I was straight? Jokes aside, she really was one of the better characters, she had the sass, headstrong fiestiness that I like in my female leads. At the same time Yu’er while as fast tongued as she is, has a sentimental side to her character, which nicely came about when she turns into a rabbit monster…yes I wrote that correctly. What don’t believe me?

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I wonder how badly Jin Fu and the cast were cracking laughs behind her as she was dressed like this. Ah~ RPG’s you never let us down when it comes to fantastical characters.

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Spunk. The word is spunk.

*_*

*_* Relish the cute moments.

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I love her weapon!

I really do. Her character is so feisty and hands on, that if she were given a bigger weapon it would have taken that spunk out of her. Her weapon is so delicate, and simple yet mind rendering, it worked like a gem for her character. Likewise, Ning Ke’s weapon-the zither, was also on the delicate side, but works well for the characters. It’s not just about brute strength.

Overall, I think the one thing this series did well, on a broader level was allow the characters friendships to develop. It really is a story about how the characters come to together as per their circumstances, and work out a way to solve their problems and work together. This is probably common of your regular RPG, but that’s not to say, that this drama hasn’t captured it well.

So yeah, I took forever, wanting to, not wanting to write about this drama, but I guess in the end I did. It probably has more to do with the fact that I love certain aspects of the drama than the entire drama as a whole, but eh~ it was good fun. Bad CG, over the top acting by some, but I liked it. Yes, you can call me crazy.

Just to make myself a little happier, I had this on replay every time I wasn’t watching it.

He may not be the best singer in the world, but his voice sure is smexy ^-^

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9 thoughts on “Xuan Yuan Jian Review

  1. ROFL I had a good laugh while reading your review~~ I think Tang Yan & Liu Shi Shi had such beautiful costumes!! But Lin Geng Xin’s was a disaster. And I was not a fan of Hu Ge’s hairstyle. o_o

    I didn’t watch the drama; I only skipped through a few episodes but IMO it was a typical Chinese RPG drama. Like you said, it is annoying when they have such cliched characters like the main guy being an idealistic, unexpected hero. Also I was kinda disappointed that the effects were not that great. I think most fans of the drama are actually watching for a certain actor/actress. *cough* LSS, HG. 😉

    • Lol he totally looked like he’d been ripped out of hell, with that hairdo, I’ll give though, I’m glad he doesn’t walk around looking like that on a regular basis…Tangren should just give up already, making all the fans watch a bunch of series they would otherwise never check out if it weren’t for like you said certain cast.

      • I know I am just waiting and waiting for China to suddenly release a brilliant fantasy drama that does not depend on the cast members’ fan base. They just need to get a RPG drama that dares to be different. *hoping*

  2. Nice review, though one thing, I really do want you to help me understand and explain, because I hear this so often from people complaining that CG is bad when I think it’s perfect, what exactly considers good CG? why would you call a type of CG bad? What are the exact reasons? Is it the lighting? The way it’s shot? The colors? What exactly is it? All I ever hear is people complain about how crappy CG is but I just don’t get it, it’s like looking at a beautiful piece of art and people say it looks crap. to the point where I’m wondering if I’m even looking at the same thing as them, because I find this show has beautiful CG and some of the fight scenes are the greatest I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a lot of others with CG and I honestly cannot tell the difference. PLEASE just explain to me why, because this bugs me so much, I just don’t understand…

    • Hi, thanks for posting (btw I do read your blog, and I do love it 🙂 )

      I think the problem with the CGI is that it doesn’t look realistic. It’s a combination of lighting, scenery etc. For example, if they’re stuck in a demon’s cave, I would be tempted to laugh rather than feel the right ambience, because what it looks like to me, is just a really bad set. All it consists of is red boulders made of prop material. I think it’s the fact that it’s hard to make you feel like it’s real. It’s fantasy, I admit, but even fantasy has to feel real, to an extent.

      One example I can draw would be the level of effects used for the trailer of Demi Gods and Semi Devils
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nheK3g6V4w0 . I understand that it’s rather costly and that it is for a video game, but I think that dramaland needs to up its game and have the quality off effects we see in these kinds of trailers translate into a full blown drama. On the other hand, I think if you like the genre enough, and you like the kind of stories these dramas tell, then people will overlook things.

  3. Interesting on what you said. I myself haven’t watched this yet because I hear a lot of bad reviews but I have two comments which would be is LSS’s weapon the same flute that 13th prince used? I’m pretty certain, and imagine if they casted Lin Geng Xin as the lead, woah.

    • The biggest reason to watch this is if you’re a fan of any of the actors, I adore LSS, having Hu Ge and LGX was a bonus. The story and everything else was really just secondary.

      Lol neat observation! I watched this quite a while ago so I’m not all that sure if it is the same flute, but I’ll take your word for it, in which that’s just freaking adorable!

      Haha it would have been so~~~~~ much better if they had cast him as lead! It was painful watching Jiang Jing Fu, and having LGX being shoved away with that god awful wig.

  4. I’m a LSS and Hu Ge fan too which was the reason why I watched it in the first place not because I was convinced that it was going to be a great story line. Surprisingly I didn’t skip any parts of the drama (I don’t believe in wasting my time watching crap) and found it entertaining enough to continue watching even if silly 80% of the time. The story also incorporated quite a lot of Buddhist teachings which pleasantly surprised me since I thought it was going to be trashy and 100% idealistic anyway. I particularly enjoyed watching their acting during the solemn scenes.

    I won’t be watching it a second time but it was entertaining enough for me and great to see my favourite actors in awesome costumes.

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