Theme Depth: ★★★
Uniqueness of Plot: ★★★★★
Action & Adventure
An Yue Shi as Xia Ling
Hou Ming Hao as Bai Jing Xuan
It's a match made in hell (no puns intended) and almost guaranteed for failure from the start. How can a guy who has no guardian spirit and a girl who can't make her spirit show up manage to save the realm? Can they really stop fighting long enough to work together? Can they figure the whole guardian spirit thing out? And will they manage to avoid the traps and tricks set before their path when no one seems to want to tell them the truth. Get ready for a spooky kind of adventure!
Before I start, please note I have not actually seen the anime or read the manga. I might in the future (since I really liked the drama), but I'm analyzing the drama as a stand-alone.
This drama was really super cool and a totally fun watch. I'll be honest, I finished it in two days since it's only 24 episodes and most of them are pretty short. By the time you get past flashbacks, the intro, the credit song, the preview for the next episode, and the "blooper reels" the episodes were all really short for a Chinese drama (I was a bit surprised). Not that this is a detriment . . . although I think some parts could have been more thoroughly fleshed out . . . on the whole, they did a great job in the time they used.
I can't say this in on "Ten Miles of Peach Tree Blossoms" or "Mystic 9" level of fantasy drama, but it wasn't really that kind of drama anyway. The technical elements were not quite as good as some things I've seen in Chinese dramas, and scenes seemed to cut and skip around somewhat. I got the feeling that it was a low budget film that was actually really well made for its budget. Maybe like the feel of the drama "Go Princess Go." I don't expect it to win any awards, but I loved it as a cute evening watch on the holiday. It was good!
It was bordering on comedy / drama with a fairly serious bent towards comedy and a lot of slapstick-style comedy to boot. Every episode had little moments of humor thrown in with a smooth transition between angst to funny and back to angst. It's mostly funny with only minor upsets as you go. There are some plot lines that are meant to be pretty dramatic, but you always have the feeling that the good guys will win in the end and it's mostly "bad guys - good guys" angst, not relationship drama. The action and adventure was by far the main focus of the film. There is a small "relationship" bent towards it, but that is VERY minor in the film. It was really refreshing and fun.
The actors seemed to be enjoying what they were doing and were caught up in the drama. I never really had a hard time placing people into their roles. There was some stiffness occasionally or over-done roles with the 2ndary cast, but the main leads did really well and the kids were excellent! The two girls did a great job and the younger brother of Cai is WONDERFUL. I love that he was a Naruto cos-player kid. I liked most of the good guys and usually liked the girl (although her unreasonableness annoyed me a couple times). You definitely get the anime feel from this drama, with people nose-bleeding over hot girls and the naruto / ninja tones to it. A lot of it made me think of a live-action film of an anime. I always like that though.
Now, my one pet peeve . . . . confusion. I was just really confused a couple of times. Like with the guy and woman from Heaven. . . why were they even in this drama. What was their significance here? What happened to the brother in the end? Is the dad just like "oh well, no need for that little girl anymore. She's safe with that dude I haven't met and only heard of. It's all good." It was probably partly the subtitles (VIKI did finally update 100% subs for the last episode!) and partly the slightly cheap plot. But I felt bewildered several times with who people were and what was going on. There are some things I'm still rather confused about.
If you're looking for something good to sink your teeth into, this isn't it. Go watch a longer more drawn out drama. But if you're looking for something fun with not a ton of angst and the fantasy / adventure part of it all, this is a great drama. Excellent watch for mixed crowds because it has just a touch of romance without it being overdone. It's cute, it's fun, I'd definitely watch a second season :)