This is starting today. I guess most have seen the super spoilerish trailer: King LanLing 40+ min Final Trailer
I do not understand the Cdramaland habit of throwing these super long, haphazardly thrown together, spoiling every twist of the ENTIRE drama till the very end monstrosities. IT is draggy, there are speeches, and if the trailer needs Ffing and this trite and predictable, Why should I spend 40 hrs watching the drama now completely spoiled?!?!?!? I can ignore the music, it’s a Cdrama what can I say…but they did something new: insert the most so bored it is hilarious grandma monotonous voiceover of Very Important His-to-ry, what grandma voice said in a dead pan is obviously serious shit:
[be warned this is spoiling the ENTIRE drama]
oh-this-is-war. we-have-Northcountry-A-ontheleft-B-ontheright-and-C-downunder-but-lame-and-ignore. And they-fight-and-it-is-very-longgggago1000+years-you-should-not-care-nor-should-I. There is some gorgeous named King, who is not really King but is general, King LanLing who is drop dead gorgeous. He is so DropDeadGorgeousGAWDDAMNPRETTY (DDGGDP), he is the mightiest general strutting then, that part of middle kingdom and he’s DDGGDP BUT *monotonous grandma did use the B word* he can fight (SURPRISE!) and he’s good, VERY good, not blond, point is he is drop dead gorgeous and so freaking GDP he has to wear a mask. Coz I said so. And I’m repeating myself *yawnz* and clearly I care as much as my voice which is monotonous because this is pokervoice as I need to emphasis he’s drop dead gorgeous and hold in my inner squees and squeals and screams and OMFGs or sth.
*I took some liberties in putting some colorful language lest you did not see how colorful and fug is the mask nor the cakey serpenty King Lanling’s Fabio hair and you fell asleep reading my blahblahblah as I did with the human metronome. It really is not that far from the true words mumbled. I kid not*
We then went idolperiodcute with an Ariel arc, sprinkled in some fantasy cliched dust (oooohh blind gramps knows witchcraft/is a priestess! And Ariel is some heaven girl/fairy descended to earth. She is the inventor of gunpowder and explosives a few century ahead of history books! Grandmama also pumps fists every scene there is no future for the O!T!P! Of Course!) Ariel is cute, some good old exact faces and mannerisms from LoCH and ISWAK days, and I can’t deny it’s instantly pleasant on my screen, whether she is my pretty or not (more not, but I’m a meanie) like a comfort, like a nostalgia, we have Ariel in her bread and butter an idoldrama, yay!… Oh wait, she is in period garb, but line reading is same old Ariel, which is not revolting at all, pleasant is the word again, unless we remember this is some serious angsty shithitfan war epic *cougheveryonedieshorribledeathscough* historical drama on some real deal historical figures and fluffyfluff should be on some sweet sandwich instead, it is out of context, out of place, out of milieu, out of element. Out. But we do need to introduce our heroine shouldering and anchoring the show and she HAS to, as obviously the hero is too freaking busy focusing on being drop dead gorgeous and holding up his braids and in the process forgets he has to…act. FSF did not move one muscle on his upper face in the 40+ min trailer as tears glisten down his DDG face. They could be VERY good at cutting out every scene he is acting out the invisible mask/poker face. It could. One must hope.
In all seriousness, Mr. FSF, you are good looking enough, and I’ve seen you decently act. I do not mind you on my screen, BUT is this too much self-flagellation?! WHO writes lines like the following scene, better yet, as a producer attached and you are working behind this baby and thus have some say, you greenlit THIS following scene?!
Case in point: our OTP’s meetcute. The setting is one forever dependable trope of every other shoujo manga: Some onsen, a lovely pool of bubbling steamy water body for the bubbly cute steamy scene of showing body. The damsel would’ve soiled her white flowy goddessy dress/bikini, or she is bitten by a fox and is bloodied and she sweated and that’s big nono for gentleladies. Even though she has no habit of exhibitionism we know of, she would have a lightbulb moment this is the perfect good option: getting butt nikkid and bathe and be soooo delighted she would make noises and hum her regular number in the shower, attracting a just out of curiosity, has to check out the noise lest it’s some life threatening danger for himself, our hero. There will be grasping of fake OHNOES, covering of eyes (but totally peeking through them, I know, we understand) there will be blushing of nikkid young flesh exposed, and hormones in the steam and so forth. Other than snow monkeys, you always get nikkid in the open because there is no other way or thing to do seeing a natural hot tub, with lovely steam as your only garment and your OTP would magically appear like a genie.
King LanLing is giving us something new: horsey instead of snow monkeys, or bunnies, (or wolves or bears or tigers catching wind of sous-vide dinner and now hero has no option but rescues the damsel). Cue aforementioned scene WITH skinship of nikkid flesh. It’s a period, and we got hammered some fantasy voodoo prior, it is logically love fated by heavens and earth and water and steam and horsey which may be a unicorn without the horn.
And even something not done often, we have role reversal, the DDGGDP hero is the one nikkid, our heroine is the one responsible for grasping and covering eyes, and rescuing our nikkid thus compromised DDGGDP, and we have the cascade of ROSE petals, too! All shoujo heaven material, so what is your freaken matter, mookie?
Assuming you are wondering because you can not read chinese, this is about the red boxes of real dialogue. See that cap of Ariel? She’s shocked and trying to swallow back every astonished words she’s about to spill out of her mouth but she can’t cover her mouth after she’s moved onto covering eyes:
‘Sorry sorry, I am not a peeping tom on purpose, but
this visual is too GDBreathtakingBeautiful’
Now this part I could still let you have the creative license, drama, there is a heck of steam and a girl could think bummy serpent-y hair GDBBeautiful, whatever rocks your aesthetics. BUT YO~! Let us see the GDBB visual of FSF’s back Ariel is raving too! It is not just for pervie purpose, mind you, this is information, and information is knowledge, and knowledge will stop me from scratching my head some more because now it is full of funk from the next line, the next red box just under, when white manties fr FSF and panties fr Ariel were off on some rocks:
‘Now now, we are both girls, lets hottub TOGETHER! YAY!’
This is not shoujo canon, because I still remember as logic of role reversal goes, you are the hero, ie the dude, and no PG shoujo has the hero jumping into the warm spring AFTER the (fake) covering of eyes and grasping of Ohnoes SORRY I DON’T MEAN TO LOOK (but now…touch… is another verb). We have to be fair to the sexes and can’t just let Ariel being cute and get away with everything.
Also, what part of Northern Qi, or Zhou, and heaven, earth and hell is FSF’s nikkid backside looks instinctively indelibly PRETTY LADY of the time?!?!?! For ALL my years slurping up EVERY warm spring hot steamy nikkid skinship period scenes and I have a comfy corner of my brain reserved for that field of shoujo information sciences alone, I have not seen period lady having the time to pull out every flowery beads and glossy pins and fancy buns and elaborate braids (cornrolls in this case) fighting the allure to go commando pronto jumping in any pool of hot steamy springy water asap. And for that matter, IF you are a dude, the honorable Amazing General
(AG, erhm it’s not intentional but there is a cartoon duo of the acronym A.G.Duo, it’s NSFW and kids so tread lightly), and you heard commotion behind you, and cutie is about to get embarrassed hottubbing with nikkid you, you do not react, shout out ONE ‘STOP!’ asap and halt it?!
THEN we have some extras in the bushes, three of them whom I can see their whole bodies, causing Ariel to holler,
‘HIDING and PEEPING at the gorgeous ladyship bathing, how dare you PERVIES!’
Pot. Kettle. Black. Rose. Petals. Red.
Ariel, the ladyknight in wet whities, offers to fend off the pervies and that is when our Amazing General King LanLing let us sigh a relief he’s actually not numb, nor deaf, at least he can hear the ninja pervies, He leaps out of the water and fights off the peeping toms in black himself, all AG-like. Now I do not care for chocolate packs of abs on a chaebol crankypants, BUT for an Amazing General…it is job requirement and where are yours Mr. producer?!?!?!
And that cap of FSF looking slightly over the shoulder with cascading rose petals, bemused, the standard visual of shoujo pretty ( if we have sparkles, bubbles and soft lens, that would’ve been more perfect) is captioned with Ariel shrieking,
‘Pretty Sista Ladyship, WHY are you a MAN?!’
Well well well, he’s your OTP for one, and LanLing are L words but not THAT L word.
That scene totally flips me off (I did not make the caps and it’s retweet thousands of times, so obviously it’s flipping many off as well). Sad to say, drama has no way of redeeming self from then on….but I still have 30+ min of the trailer at this point.
If you recall the true baddie out of stupidity alone in LoCh08, Qiu Chuji, ‘sifu’ for poor YangKang, the King LanLing nemesis here from the opposing fraction Northern Zhou is, I think, the same actor. We know how Ariel’s Huang Rong did not care for him then. I do not think they get along here. *but wow he’s looking 20 yrs younger out of the Daoist getup*
There is a coming of age party for the ‘debutante’, each young lady has a precious self-sewn silk belt to be taken by an interested young dude from the village and the couple would be considered betrothed. Ariel used it for KLL’s injured horsey, KLL crashes the party as an outsider, grabs Ariel’s handmade belt to the protest of Grandma. ‘ He will DIE! Therefore bad for you. And crystal ball says he only has one woman in his life and it is not you. But a Lady Zheng’
Ariel left home to look for KLL, to return his mask. She’s drugged and kidnapped by human traffickers to be sold to brothel. (REALLY?!) Somewhere in Zhou, KLL’s right hand man is shown to be bloody tortured in some dark dungeon and for reasons KLL needs the aid of a righteous woman from the tribe with magical power ie Ariel as good luck charm to go on the most dangerous mission to rescue his bro, and by that she has to marry him. Mind you, KLL did not bat an eyelash seeing damsels fed to pervies by pimps, his eyes slightly widen seeing it’s Ariel, but that’s it. <_< They get married with the statue of earth Goddess Nüwa as witness. I sincerely hope they have more legs to the Ariel falling for KLL so swiftly and agreeing on such an arrangement other than he’s DDGGDP, because if not, I would flip many desks watching this, but ohwell…haha as if I would watch.
KLL’s bff is about to be executed, as a bait for capturing KLL alive. Stage for a heroic rescue is set, with the enemy guards standing by as KLL shoots arrows with spells on the gate, why did they not gang up and attack KLL? WHy he’s DDGGDP, three of them arrows…and 1, 2, 3 they explode, ‘she is truly a girl from the magic tribe!’ says our KLL. <_<
For some reason, Ariel is separated fr KLL and meets a bum she saves and befriends. She is also chummy with her kidnapper cutieboy. The bum is Daniel Chan, who is the only one truly AMAZING in this turd. There is an epidemic in the village and KLL decides to lock them all in and let them perish so as not to infect his troops and the rest of the country. He sees Ariel is not infected and about to just let her out of the gate. Ariel protests to let them ALL out, and KLL compromises reluctantly. Villagers have to be rid of the disease in 7 days or else be killed. Ariel yells at KLL being ruthless and lesser man than her new bum friend Daniel to which HRH KLL warns her never harbor the thought let alone saying out loud he’s a lesser man than ANYONE, fists in the wall right next to her ear. (<__< I don’t have to like any DV-esque scene.)
Daniel is obviously not some random bum but the King of Zhou. He shows his true self when he’s locked in chains, put to fight a tiger gladiator style. Ariel rushes to cut off his chains and he in turns save her with his hidden dagger the very moment KLL slays the tiger as well.
KingZhou’s army is here to rescue, and KLL gets hit by ane arrow. King Daniel wants to bring the ‘heaven girl’ Ariel with him back to Zhou, but she is beyond pissed he fooled her. As he’s leaving he leaves her a love token, swearing to return for her. The arrow hurting KLL is poisonous. The poison is Hundred Steps Perish. My guess is death will cometh after 100th steps or sth.
KingDaniel is gathering a huge army to hit KLL’s Qi soldiers while they’re handicapped. The Qi Prince visits his ailing General to grab command of the KLL’s army now that Prince is planning to fight Zhou himself. Ariel seeing the unease from everyone asks her ‘hubs’ if the Qi Prince is a ‘baddie’, KLL replies, ‘ Prince is a good man surrounded by baddies.’ How subtle, their words. I feel unease by association of them chatting about the crown prince in the same yard.
Ariel bets on her friendship with Daniel and off she goes to Zhou asking for the antidote. Good luck with that. When Daniel tells her he’ll grant her every wish except saving KLL, she comes up with swallowing the exact poison herself.
Daniel yells at his minions for the antidote asap! Ariel refuses to take it herself but drenches her pink hankie with the magic liquid. Then, my fav scene in all of the 40 min, Daniel drinks the antidote, forcefeeds it to Ariel’s mouth via a hot french kiss. She bites his lips (kinky!) and spits out the antidote on her pink hankie. Might as well since we are firmly in angsty shoujoland anyway. haha then the hilarious, she calls for her buddy to the bedside, Daniel a few feet away (who was her kidnapper but now loyal bff) to bring hankie back to KLL, not terribly discreet.
Back at KLL’s sickbed, his bff Bro5 (KLL is called Bro4 by him and Ariel) is behaving like the typical Girl2 now that heroine is out of town, handgrabbing, weeping tears of lurve. Buddy delivery cutie brought back the hankie soaked in antidote after a lot of fighting, they just need to put it in water, have KLL drink it up and all will be well.
Prince is in trouble guarding the capital, he needs to desperately prove to KingDaddy he’s worthy for ascension. KLL is here to rescue with a handful of his bros against the literal falling rocks and boulders of King Daniel. But KLL has voodoo explosives!
I do not understand the rule when the mask needs be put on and when it should be off. KLL has it off and he destroyed King Daniel and his army, so off when winning?! On the ground, conveniently, is Ariel’s jade. Ariel is still hunted by the Zhou peeps, but KLL finds her first in the forest and they HUG.
More cute cuddling as they hide in some rural hut and a backhug fr Ariel. In the mean time King Daniel is back in Zhou, explaining why he suffers the miserable loss. The army general orders Daniel’s bromantic bff (the Qiu Chuji actor) to death by 5 horses splitting body. KingDaniel saves his bro the miserable death by putting a merciful sword in him. And he gloriously angst the loss of his beloved right after. Daniel, is insanely good in this.
So the destined wifey from Grandma’s premonition enters the picture. She is royalty lady Zheng, arranged by a political marriage to be the official Mrs. KLL. The engagemt is on. She puts a breakup cursing amulet under Ariel’s pillow just when Grandma can foresee Ariel must flee for her life asap. PrinceMother (her son’s ascension is threatened by the DDG General) wants death on such auspicious occasion and plants some evil rock under Royalty papaZheng’s pillow. Now KLL is wanted along with Ariel (I do not know y)
Daniel’s daughter princess is gravely ill, she needs Ariel’s magical healing power to survive. Grandma comes for Ariel and threatens to disown her if she does not leave with Grandma. Bro5 warns Ariel if she leaves his bro KLL, it is a certain death of the Pretty General they love. So Ariel stays. They live happily as husband and wife somewhere for a short while selling eggs(!), eating chicken wings and kissing nikkid and kissing some more. But Mrs. KLL princess Zheng is putting up a hard fight. Kneeling in the rain till sick, captured and tortured and injuries then infected by plague and gang raped, all the while screaming her love for KLL. She tries to kill herself by hanging, but is rescued by crown prince (who loves her) and now she’s a bitter vengeful woman. Daniel is a dream to Ariel, saving her, nursing her, and Ariel is grateful he’s so sweet and kind to him, he professes his love and need for her as Ariel is somehow with him and saving little princess. Crown prince is denied the throne by Daddy, instead emperor is planning to hand it to KLL. Alas, Daddy is slaughtered by Prince who becomes the new King.
KLL is back in town, with him comes his super loyal army that only listen to his commands and not the new king. Also, he brings the rain ending the drought and every citizen cheering for his welcomed return shouting he is the one true King, the hope for the country. New King is not amused, he said he could order KLL to kill himself for shadowing him.
Princess Zheng, now the new ruthless Queen, promises she’ll be kind to the citizen IF KLL will grant her one wish…off Ariel. KLL drugs Ariel, in tears. He’s sworn to forever protect Ariel. He seethed at evilQueen he would sacrifice himself but she is not to even harm a hair of Ariel. He drinks the poison and dies (sigh FSF why u can’t ACT!) Queen grabs King’s hand, adds another stab for fear KLL is faking it. The blood is black, he drank the poison and he’s now deadDead. King is visibly distraught. The citizens grumbles Qi is now hopeless with KLL gone. We have Ariel crying and crying at KLL’s grave. We flash back to the day she’s drugged and passed out, he put on the belt she embroidered and go meet the King and Queen for his death. She’s then chased by the Queen armed with arrows, with the help of the buddy and KingDaniel, she is injured, but the indebted buddy is slayed holding off the Queen. Ariel is pregnant with KLL’s child, and her injury is so serious it’s either saving her but the baby dies or risk it (and they both die). But KingDaniel won’t allow either one of them dying.
We end the trailer (AT LONG LAST) with KLL waking up from a nightmare. So is this all just a nightmare!? (I do not care)
To be fair, Ariel holds her own and gets better and better as the trailer progresses. I’m not a fan of her in proper periods but this is clearly tonally an angsty idoldrama, so it’s still her element and she’s better than I used to expect. Daniel is the surprise, he’s magnificant here.
Now I’ve been whining FSF is not suitable for the role on appearance alone, that can’t be changed, and I could be easily swayed with terrific, never did I expect him to be this horrible in simple emoting. He must be over-analyzing everything, because he could do much better than this. He is decent in lovey dovey scenes with Ariel, but is horribly unconvincing as the mighty amazing general.
I’m vain, especially now this is obviously just a shallow idol fare…the clothes are ridiculously gaudy and fug and clownish. EVERY outfit is horrendous. How is that possible?!?! The one word impression of the trailer is: Lame. And this is eerily like my experience with Clothing the World, granted I have even lower expectation of this drama because the costumes were not doing it from the get go.