Review: Once Upon A Time (三生三世十里桃花)

Crystal Liu and Yang Yang in 2017 c-movie Once Upon A TImeSource

I’m so glad I got to catch Once Upon A Time in the theaters since living in Australia meant Asian movies aren’t as popular and hence rarely get screened in the cinemas. Having already seen the incredibly successful Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (and loving it to bits) I grabbed on to the opportunity to see it on the big screen despite having heard some negative reviews about it. In order not to let it disappoint, as most movie adaptions do, I made sure to set my expectations low.

I went in expecting it to be bad, like a Me Before You movie adaptation kind of bad (my standards are sky high) and wow………………….was I disappointed.

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Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (三生三世十里桃花)


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It’s been five months since this drama debut and grabbed the attention of fangirls and bloggers alike. Which means this blog post is long overdue and has now emerged through the aftermath of the hype. Nevertheless, this drama is just too good for me to not at least blog about it, even if it is five months overdue.

To illustrate just how much I love this show is to also talk about my strong dislike and general avoidance of Chinese fantasy dramas. Since I grew up watching Asian TV shows (mostly Chinese), I’d like to think that I’ve seen almost every tired trope in the book, whether it is the Mary-Sue main character who is always being bullied and misunderstood while she tries to maintain a tired smile or her useless love interest who claims to love her but always falls into the schemes of the evil third party. Not to mention the amount of unnecessary angst that does nothing but create tension in the show or the cheap CGI that I cannot help but cringe at. Reasons enough to avoid fantasy C-dramas altogether.Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms Finale

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Stills for Ruyi’s Royal Love In The Palace (如懿传

One of the most anticipated C-dramas of the year, especially for fans of it’s masterpiece prequel Legend of Zhen Huan. While it is hard not to compare and to expect the same standard as it’s predecessor,  I still can’t help but hope that they’ll at least retain the same mix of angst and richness in LZH.

For those who haven’t seen LZH, I don’t think you have anything to worry about since it doesn’t seem like Legend of Ruyi will be directly related. Still, I can’t wait to see how Vivian Wu portrays Zhen Huan. Of course it won’t be the same without Sun Li but it wouldn’t make sense to have such a young Empress Dowager anyway.

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Pretty Li Hui Zhen (漂亮的李慧珍) – First Impressions Ep. 1-5

Synopsis:
Li Hui Zhen used to be elegant pretty but is now disheveled and dorky while her childhood best friend Bai Haoyu who used to be chubby and dorky is now handsome and successful. In order to protect Haoyu’s memory of her, Hui Zhen got her friend Xia Qiao to assume her identity. However fate intervenes and Haoyu turns out to be her new boss.

First Impressions:

It is probably too early to say anything since I’m only at episode 5 out of episodes but so far I’m really really liking it! I’m not normally a fan of rom-coms and since it’s a remake of the kdrama She Was Pretty I kind of expected it to be a little cheesy. And cliche. But after five episodes I am hooked. Dilmurat Dilraba as Li Hui Zhen is just so lovable. She managed to somehow instill the right amount of dorkiness without being too over-the-top and cringey. Plus she is so gorgeous, despite supposedly being dorky and ugly. It’ll take a lot to truly uglify her.

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Review: I Am A Hero (丧尸末日战 )

Synopsis:
Timid failed manga artist  Suzuki Hideo finds himself in the midst of a ZQN virus outbreak that is turning all of Japan into zombies. Together with high school student Hiromi and a Nurse Yabu, they journey to the peak of Mt Fuji.

Review:

Having seen this after seeing the critically-acclaimed Train To Busan, it is with no doubt that a comparison is to be made. And it will. Except I Am A Hero is on a whole other platform altogether. It’s distinct manga style (well it is adapted from the manga of the same name) and unique characters sets it apart from its predecessors of the same genre, including the incredibly popular Train To Busan.

The protagonist is Suzuki Hideo (Hideo as in Hero), a timid manga artist who has spent 8 years trying to get published and is seen as a failure in the eyes of his girlfriend and society. Yet by sheer luck and the coincidence of a series of events, he manages to escape uninfected despite getting bitten by his infected girlfriend (watch the movie and you’ll know why). Much like Train To Busan, I Am A Hero is a zombie movie commentary on the society we live in, but unlike the former, I Am A Hero focuses on themes restricted to Japanese society. This results in some very interesting ideas like having the zombies retaining memories of their human lives and even continuing their daily habits. Multiple striking images of zombified businessmen still holding their briefcase and talking on the phone drives home the zombified state of  Japanese society’s emphasis on hardwork.

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[Review] Q Series: Life Plan A and B (植劇場 – 荼蘼)

Synopsis:
Zheng Ru Wei is arrives at a crossroad where she has to choose between working in Shanghai to further her career and maintain a long-distance relationship or sacrifice her career and stay behind. Plan A and B follows both life choices and shows us the effects and consequences of both.

Plan A: Ru Wei leaves for Shanghai while leaving behind her longtime boyfriend You Yan and advances in her career.

Plan B: Ru Wei gives up the opportunity and stayed behind to be with You Yan and look after his parents.

Review:
I’m a huge fan of Rainie Yang ever since I was younger and I’m so glad to see her big comeback in this series. I was attracted to the drama mostly because of Rainie Yang but when I saw the synopsis for the series, I was in! The plot seemed unique and the drama gave me much more than I had expected. Very different from most TW dramas that I’ve seen, and from Rainie’s other usual shows. The script gave Rainie an opportunity to show her full potential as an actress and to shut all those people who’ve complained about her acting. Though I think if she can pull off a character like Xiao Hua (Miss No Good) and make her likable, she can definitely act.

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Manga: My Top 5 Must-Reads

 

I’ve grown up watching anime for as long as I can remember, with my very first being Cardcaptor Sakura and Digimon (still a huge fan of both series) but despite being the huge anime fan that I am, I have stubbornly refused to touch a manga till about 2 years ago. I  didn’t think a manga would be as entertaining as an anime since it’s literally pictures on a page as compared to moving images and sound effects. Plus, being an avid reader, my stubborn is  further reinforced by an elitist discrimination towards comics of any kind (not to say all bookworms are like that).

It was until I chanced upon Dengeki Daisy one day that I decided to give manga a try (also it was less obvious than watching an anime since I was having my internship at that time). Though I ended up dropping it, I truly enjoyed the experience. For the first few chapters at least. I was pretty surprised at how a manga is able to evoke so much intensity and emotions despite being just pictures being printed on a page. Then again, it’s the same with words in a novel. Lol. It was months later that I gave in to reading the manga of one of my favourite shoujo animes, Tonari no Kaibutsu. And omg…I was hooked. It was then that I’ve fell into this dark hole which I was doomed to never climb out of.

And so, here’s a list of my top 5 favourite mangas. May you fall into this hole just as I was.

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