Webtoon Recommendation: unTouchable

unTouchable 1

Time for the first review of 2018! Yay!! I am sorry that the first review is coming out in June itself. I just needed to figure my life out, which hasn’t really happened yet, but baby steps 😀

I have been mentioning for quite sometime that I have been religiously following some webtoons since last year. The introduction of Naver’s own English translations of their original Korean webtoons has made access of quite a few of these to the non-Korean audience way easier. Not only that, they have now original creations in English as well (Sarah’s Scribbles anyone?).

So, today I bring a vampire based story. The fans of Orange Marmalade would definitely appreciate this one. Also those people who were disappointed by the open ending of that one would totally love this series.

Pfft, such an interesting start

Plot: The story is about a modern vampire Sia Lee. In her world, vampires live by touching normal people and absorbing their energy. Yup, no blood involved (except a few nasty vampires, as usual). So, Sia finds this guy called Jihoo, whose energy is so delicious that she is unable to absorb energy from any other person after she tastes his. Jihoo on the other hand, has OCD. He hates touch and is quite a mysophobe. They end up becoming neighbors and falling for each other. But Sia’s vampire background and Jihoo’s childhood and germophobia, Sia’s childhood friend Baryu, and of course, the villain whose real intentions are unknown till the very end, pose real obstacles to the development of their relationship. Are they able to cross those and be together? That you can find out on reading the webtoon.

Characters: There is a vast variety of characters in this webtoon. You would find yourself changing your opinion about everyone with the progress of the story. Sometimes, Sia is too clingy and you can’t help but pity Jihoo. Sometimes, Jihoo is a jerk. Their families are no better. You end up developing a love-hate relationship with each and every character. You want to punch them in face but also get to see the other side of their story and empathize with them. This is especially true for Sia’s family; her sister and her dad. Their overprotective nature towards Sia makes you root for Sia’s rebellion but then you get to know why they do what they do.

I love the way the author has weaved the plot to give a happy ending to everyone, even the villains. And, that my friends, I would say is the biggest strength of this series. There are some loose ends, as usual. You would struggle a bit relating to the villain, because of lack of background, but it still works. You’re too engrossed with the main couple that you wouldn’t really feel like delving into this side character’s story. I mean, it doesn’t really affect the flow of the webtoon, and that’s the best part.

Has comedy too!

Not to mention, it has that element of mystery to it. One keeps guessing the motive of the villain till the end. And how our two MCs would end up as well.

Art: Art is just beautiful!! There is a consistency in the drawings and backgrounds are just amazing. The use of subtle colors keeps it easy on your eyes. That is another reason to read this one.

unTouchable 4

Colors ❤

Adaptations: So, the webtoon has been adapted to a Chinese Drama called ‘I cannot hug you’. I have watched the drama and might review it sometime in future. It is pretty close the story of original webtoon but deviates a bit when it comes to the villain and actual ending. But still a good adaptation.

Final verdict: The webtoon comes as highly recommended from me. More so, because it’s completed now, so one can just binge read it on a weekend. And you won’t need to wait for the episodes each week! It is rated at 9.69/10 on webtoons.com. You can read it here completely free: unTouchable on webtoons.com

Today’s song: I think I’ll still put another Jolin Tsai’s song here. From next post though, I might start putting spring anime’s OST. I am hooked on some, and gotta find them soon on YouTube!

 

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New Fever: Chinese Webnovels

Well, it was webtoons two years back, and it’s Chinese webnovels now. I wish Japanese and Korean webnovels got as much attention as Chinese webnovels (in free translation sphere that is), but let’s just be happy with what we have.

So, today I thought that since I have been lamenting about how I have got addicted to Chinese webnovels since last year, I could make an introductory post for these after all.

If you have been reading my posts, last year I said that my fascination with the webnovels started after I fell in love with all those tomb raiding dramas I was watching: the lost tomb, mystic nine, etc. While these introduced me to some amazing actors and actresses, they also made me frantically search for webnovels they were based on, since this is C-dramas we are talking about: abrupt endings and no news of new seasons. To my dismay, I couldn’t find the tomb raiding novels, but I did find novels in other genres.

One of the first I read was when a snail falls in love. It’s a detective story and I do have a review prepared for it, I hope I’ll be able to clean it up soon. Anyway, that’s how I got hooked. Waiting for translations of each chapter is similar to waiting for webtoon/ scanlations chapters each week. That’s just talking about websites that are able to release less chapters per week. Websites like Qidian release somewhere between 1-3 chapters per day for almost all novels.

Coming to sources, where you can read those, one of my go to places is webnovel.com (Qidian). You would need to sign up to read the stories and there is a payment system, which, if utilized properly, doesn’t require any form of money out of your pocket.

Qidian

My library at Qidian. I don’t even know why I read what I read, anymore

So basically, to unlock the chapters of some premium novels (read: all popular novels) you need something called spirit stones (SS). You get some as a welcome gift, you can earn some by daily check-ins, watching an ad, voting for the novels etc. With everything, you manage to earn anywhere from 25 to 40 SS per day. If you are not reading that many premium novels, you spend about 3-20 SS per chapter. If you’re still falling behind, you can always invite yourself and make another account. Double the SS, double the fun. Here is my referral just btw: http://wbnv.in/k9FzVG

The problem with Qidian is the sheer amount of similar novels. There are two types there, one is romance novels with super high EQ/ super awesome abilities male-female pair out of which one has to be super rich, even on positions of CEO (if set in modern era) or God/ Emporer (if set in some fantasy would). Other type is fantasy martial arts/ cultivation stuff. A lot of them also involve transmigration of the lead to some other world. One gets really bored after sometime tbh.

Other favorite source of mine is novelupdates.com. This website curates all the translations at one place. It directs you to the respective website, of course, but you are able to keep a track at least. They also have a collection of Japanese fan-translated novels. Which makes it much more awesome for you can find different genres.

The only actual fan-translation group I follow is Meraki translations. They put so much love in their posts and provide really high quality in translation as well as novels themselves. They were the one who actually got me really into all this Chinese webnovel scene.

Meraki

Meraki, in general, is louu. Can you resist that cute mascot?

Any recommendations for first time readers, you ask? Well, I would probably go with “When a Snail Falls in Love” for now, since I haven’t really read that many. Another one that I have finished recently is “Bringing Nation’s Husband Home”. It’s a love story, very frustrating at that, so I wouldn’t really recommend it per se. Honestly, there are so many novels that I feel so frustrated reading but they are insanely popular.

Anyway, they are good for time pass, and you might be able to find real gems. I don’t know how they are written in Chinese, languagewise, but in English translations, the language is rather simple. Anyone with basic English skills can read them easily. Why don’t you guys give them a try and let me know how you found them?

Today’s song: I have gone into song rut and don’t have any new songs after Amber’s playlist. I went into podcast mode and don’t listen to songs at all these days. But I can always go to my previous playlists and so, I’ll post one from this amazing pop-star Jolin Tsai. I love her songs, bold lyrics and bolder MVs. She was on my playlist for 2 months before Amber’s mixtape release.

Update: 1st post for 2018??? 😱

Hi everyone,

I don’t even feel anything that I have been away for so long (yet again)!! Actually, not really. Like, as I have said earlier, I watch/read something, make half a post about it, then get lazy and end up forgetting the feelings I wanted to jot down in the review. This has been a cycle for quite some time now and I have accumulated 10-15 one liner to half written drafts, which I don’t know when I will complete. Anyway, here to give some updates for some of my readers have been telling me how they have been looking forward to my posts.

  1. I think I told this already but I completed my MS in environmental engineering and graduated last December (yay!!). I started working at an environmental start-up in Feb and am enjoying my work quite a bit. But it’s a contract position, so I’ll have to start finding for a new job soon. Wish me luck please!
  2. I have become a huge fan of Chinese novels. I admit, they are not as deep as classic literature in any language, some of them are downright silly or blatant copy of manga and all, but some of them are gems. Depends on the websites/ translators you’re following. So, there is this Qidian webnovel with original translation, and then there are fan translations. I haven’t read any fully translated webnovel except when a snail falls in love, so I cannot really review them. Also, the most popular ones that I actually wanna read, like the lost tomb, have not been fan translated ;-;
  3. I am facing this lack of good anime to binge watch somehow. Till now, I have binge watched like 3-4 series only, that’s too low for a 5 month period for me. I have also increased the number of series I am following in a season.
  4. Dramas are totally gone from my life. They are not interesting anymore. I tried doing a marathon for Queen of Mystery 2 but ended up taking 2-3 days to finish even one episode. I guess my love for dramas just burned out? I don’t know.
  5. I have decided to take one trip once a month. I went to NYC last month, and this month I have my convocation ceremony. Hopefully, I’ll get to go somewhere next month. Interesting thing is, something changes within me every time I go somewhere. This time, I realized I have been depending upon people around me for most of suggestions regarding fashion, what to wear, how to wear. And I was losing myself in the process. I have recently started wearing dresses and shorts and I am still learning combinations but I shouldn’t be completely depending on others. And especially after going to NYC I realized, no one cares. Like people literally wear anything. So, I just need to be myself. And, so, I have actually started noticing people around me and reading blogs about latest trends. I hope it works and I learn enough not to embarrass myself ever again.
  6. Which reminds me, yesterday, I went to this place called Ross: Dress for Less, and found it absolutely amazing in terms of prices, variety of clothes and the neat arrangement! No, I am not turning this blog into a fashion blog, that is just not my cup of tea.
  7. I am trying to follow a holistic style of living. Removed a lot of stuff from my room to make space for myself. I have always been cooking for myself ever since I came to US, not only for saving money but also because of dietary restrictions. However, I am trying cooking various cuisines now, especially Asian and I am loving it so far. Then, I removed most market products (read scrubs, face packs etc.) from my beauty regime to depend only on salts and essential oils except necessary stuff like face wash, body wash and shampoo. I should be seeing the results soon. Yes, I have exercise in my regime too.
  8. My local public library has this huge collection of manga, and I have been borrowing and reading quite many of them. I guess the only books I have ever borrowed from that library are manga only, lol.
  9. Books again remind me, I have been gone from social media for quite some time now. Apart from watching cute the dodo videos, I am not going on Facebook or Instagram or even twitter much these days and that has cleared up so much time for me that I can literally do all the things I have always wanted to do.
  10. However, language learning? Let’s not even talk about it ;-;.

So, guys, here was my update of last few months. I always end my posts by writing my hope to write more, but I won’t do it this time.

Time for the songs I am listening to. Amber from f(x) just released an amazing album called Rogue Rouge Mixtape and all six songs are fantastic. This is the first time I have ever like the whole album from an artist. Here is the playlist:

Holiday Greetings, Farewells, Graduation

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a long while. It seems like this line has become the tagline of all my recent posts. Anyway, I am finally done with my masters. I am officially a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. Yay!! It was a tough yet fulfilling one and a half years.

Before I start my general life in 2017 post, happy holidays everyone! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018! Time flies!!

2017 was an especially hard year for me. I lost a whole lot of friends in the first half of the year. It was an eye-opener but it felt so sad to lose so many people at once. I never, in my life knew, cutting ties with someone was so painful. So, first half of my 2017 went into losing so many friends over a simple incident which was exaggerated beyond normal. Some people left for good and I don’t think I am talking to them ever again. Some came back. I met new amazing people as well. I am thankful for all three groups of people in my life. Everything is an experience, a lesson. But because the preceding event started during this time, I still dream about losing my current friends.

And then I broke my leg during summers. It’s healed now but yeah. That was a hard time for I didn’t have many people around to help me. Those who did, thanks again. I wish 2018 would be better, for me, for everyone 😀

Moving onto happier things, my graduation… I learnt more in 1.5 years than I had learnt in 21 years till my undergrad. Thank you very much for the experience Carnegie Mellon University. I am sad to part from my “friends” friends, yet I am happy for everyone, working hard to chase after their dreams. Cheers, everyone!

And then the discord community. My online friends were a great support for me in my tough times. I could rant to them anytime I wanted without being judged. I mean even if I was, I don’t know them in real life. When there is no pressure of being discovered (of course when stalking gets involved, not that much), you tend to give up your pretense more often than not. Online world is like a double edged sword that way, lol. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I tried experimenting and finally came around to starting a small webcomic. The schedule was a fail as usual but it was based on my otaku tendencies and how my roommates react on my everyday antics. 2 episodes are out and I am trying to work back on it.

Oh, and I also started reading Chinese web novels. There has been a sudden rise in their popularity in recent years and a lot of websites are doing fan translations of the novels. It’s indeed a pleasure to be able to read novels of all those dramas which come out with a season and leave the story hanging in-between. You can read some of the Ding Mo novels (When a Snail Falls in Love, Love Me if You Dare, Memory Lost, etc.) and more on Meraki Translation. There is another website called webnovel.com which has vast selection of Chinese novels and I am loving it plenty.

For language learning, as I have mentioned it before, I had attended quite a few classes in the first half of the year (my spring semester). After I broke my leg in summers, I couldn’t attend the classes anymore so my last string of  connection with the language learning broke and I have been passively in touch with Japanese and Korean via anime and dramas.

I wanted this post to be a short greeting and congratulating everyone on successfully finishing another year but it became as long and I haven’t even included the anime and dramas I watched and novels and webtoons I finished. Up next is reviews again I guess? I was told by one of my readers that they got bored of all the reviews, and fortunately or unfortunately, I have been doing these personal posts since then. XD

Anyway, sorry for my laziness in keeping this blog up!! I hope to see you guys sooner…

I made a Frappuccino!!

Yeah, it’s not an achievement but at this point of time, anything I try and succeed in, seems like one, lol. Also, this is no food blog, so I don’t have a suitable category for this post. I’ll just put this down under “Others”.

So, basically, a friend of mine introduced me to these Starbucks frappuccino. I am no fan of American coffee because Indian coffee recipes taste quite different from coffees here. The Indians usually like their coffees heavy on milk and cream, and hence, I cannot develop the taste of ‘coffee-heavy’ coffee at all, somehow. So, I ended up getting addicted to this delicious drink, which comes in different flavors. By the way, this is no promotional post. And since Starbucks drinks are expensive for a grad student like me, who anyway keeps whining about money, I decided to give it a try a home. This 5 minute drink was much easier (and cheaper ;)) to make and tasted exactly like Iced Mocha in India, I seriously don’t know how a mocha tastes in USA though.

For anyone wanting to know the differences between all these caffeinated drinks, here is a link to help you: Difference between coffee drinks

So, today, after much search for different recipes on the internet, I decided to give it a try. I’ll write the recipe down, you can decide the quantity of each ingredient yourself depending on whether you like coffee, chocolate or sugar more.

Frappuccino

Not the best photography skills, I know. Just know that it tastes the best! Also, reusing the bottle…

Ingredients: Instant coffee, Granulated Sugar, Ice (optional), Chocolate Powder and/or Chocolate Ice-Cream

Here goes:

  1. Take water in a pan, about 1/4th of the bottle shown in the pic, warm it just enough to dissolve instant coffee (Nescafe instant coffee). Cool it for 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add sugar, chocolate powder and chocolate ice-cream to the bottle. Again, the quantities will depend upon what taste you like. I used about 1/2 teaspoon of coffee, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon ice-cream and 1 teaspoon chocolate powder. You can also skip one of the chocolate powder or ice-cream. I think chocolate ice-cream gave a creamy texture to my drink, which was good for me. You can even change the flavors of “choco” powder and ice-cream. Try Vanilla, Strawberry, whatever you like!!
  3. Add the cooled instant coffee to the bottle, shake the bottle to mix the ingredients
  4. Fill the rest of the bottle with chilled milk.

Of course, if you have time, it’s always better to blend, to mix the ingredients properly, have crushed ice as an added topping and give it a frothy texture. But the time constrained student I am, this worked wonders for me. This is going to be my daily dose of caffeine from now on!

Side Story: Nothing here. I am so busy that I am not getting time for myself. Between three part time jobs, 3 courses, research and job hunting, it feels more hectic than last semester ;-;

But I am trying to manage. I am definitely not attending language classes this time because, of course, no time. I am still doing Japanese through Duolingo and WaniKani here and there, I miss them most of the days, so yeah, language learning is on halt as of now ;-;

All seems sad, you say. Anything happy, you ask? Hmm… lemme think. I have started going on morning walks because I have bought a new phone and can play PokemonGo easily now. Does that sound happy? Yeah, I need to exercise my broken ankle, and so, apart from going to and fro campus, I go for morning walks now, which is pretty fun.

Anything else? Hmm… I wonder. My apartment is cleaner now, there is no fight of who will clean what. Whoever gets whatever time, we clean! That’s why my whole being is in peace. I guess this is a kind of happiness?

Oh, by the way, I will keep writing like this, without a set schedule, in future as well since this is school time. I admit, I was never a regular updater but still. I might skip months even this time. Anyway, I am feeling so sleepy right now, pulled another all nighter for another assignment. Gotta have my frappuccino to drive away this sleepiness. Until next time o/

Today’s song: I have no idea why I keep coming to this song again and again but his voice *melting away*

Personal Update – August 2017

Hi Everyone,

A regular reader of the blog told me that they wanted a break from all the reviews I have been posting lately and wanted to read what I was up to these days. Honestly, my life has been as boring/ uneventful, as this post’s title.

As I have been lamenting for quite some time, I injured my leg in the first week of June. Actually, more unfortunate events had befallen me during this time period which are not worth mentioning. All in all, my plans to spend my stipend in visiting various places in US were ruined and rather I had to spend my money on hospital bills. I am still getting treatment for it and more illnesses.

I have been taking so many medicines the whole summer and I feel so sluggish these days. I sleep more than 12 hours each day, a blessing for some of course. But for me, it’s bad. I had so many plans to spend my time but I have been wasting time in hospital visits and sleeping. I haven’t even talked to real life people apart from my family for quite some time. I am enjoying this alone time though. No energy wastage, saving my fucks to give to things as well. However, I do want to travel.

But who wants to read the depressing stuff? So, the best thing that happened this summer was I got to spend almost a month at home. So much food!! Another good thing happened was that I got introduced to a variety of Chinese drama. Till now I have only followed K-dramas religiously but now I am actually following C-dramas as well. This has increased my craving to learn Mandarin seriously although I am intentionally not starting it. When I am confident in all the languages I have picked up so far, I’ll concentrate solely on Mandarin for sure! It might be little far ahead in future but Mandarin is definitely  on my list.

In language learning, these days, I have only been doing duolingo, especially for Japanese. It’s not perfect still I am learning a whole lot of new vocab. Shout out to my lab mate and great friend who compelled me to maintain my streak and hence, I have to log into and do lessons at least once a day.

In other news, I have been reading this translated novel of When a Snail Falls in Love. I have been wanting to write such stories. Actually, I did have a whole lot of stuff written in my notebooks but now I was searching for them and I cannot find them. All my original stories are lost.  ;-;

I am still searching for those, I don’t remember where I have put those stories. I have those registers with me but I cannot find the scripts I had written. I don’t know if I tore the pages and hid them somewhere else. I gotta rack my brains and search!! I only remember only one of them and that too just the setting.

Other than that, it’s almost time to return to US. Last sem and big decisions to make including whether to go for a job or PhD. My plans for writing are unstable as usual. I want to draw as well but I am not good enough. If I do ever find and write those stories, I could at least make the character designs, I am confident in that 😀

Also, a friend of mine went to Japan for his internship. I had asked him to get me Shinrei Tantei Yakumo novels, so now I will officially have Japanese Light Novels in possession. I would have loved to translate and post here but it seems there are already official translations available so I won’t be doing that. Translation reminds me I still have a manga chapter to translate since forever but I have no motivation to do it. I would like to finish it before going back though so that I can start my semester without any distractions/ other things in the back of my mind.

So, this was my update for past few months. What are you guys up to? Are your vacations over? Let me know in the comments below.

Today’s Song: I have been following this drama called My Mr. Mermaid. A cute romantic story. And opening and ending are climbing up my list of favorites. Here is the ending song:

C-Drama review: The Lost Tomb (盗墓笔记)

I am finally back to write about the sequel of the drama I wrote about few days ago (I was supposed to publish that two weeks back but my trip back to home took up all my time. More about that later). Also, I did ask my Chinese friend and there are novels for both The Mystic Nine and The Lost Tomb. Called as Dàomù Bǐjì in Pinyin, this series is about the journey of a guy who comes from the family of tomb raiders (basically part of mystic nine, though he doesn’t know this in the beginning) called Wu Xie. In the novels, he is an antique shop owner, in the series he is an international student who has just returned to China to hand over an antique from Germany to his country. He feels strongly about foreign countries possessing Chinese artifacts.

The Lost Tomb Li Yifeng OMG

Li Yifeng as Wu Xie (so handsome *drools*)

Plot: So, in the drama, Wu Xie (played by Li Yi Feng) comes back from Germany and encounters some bad guys who are after this relic. It turns out that this relic has a part of a map to some tombs which might contain huge treasures. He is helped out by a fat guy in shaking the enemy off initially. He later finds out the other half of map from a girl who claims to be one of the mystic nine families and it turns out to be a location of a famous tomb.

Wu Xie’s uncle gathers some men and they all set off to find treasures in the tomb. The men include a mysterious person called Zhang Qi Lin (played by Yang Yang) who doesn’t speak much and has some incredulous techniques with him. He always comes to the rescue of Wu Xie later when the adventure actually starts. He is successor of Zhang Qi Shan in the mystic nine.

The Lost Tomb Yang Yang OMG

Yang Yang as Zhang Qilin (more handsome *double drools*)

Anyway, they go into the tomb, only to face countless questions and weird enemies including man eating bugs and zombies and of course, the previous group, led by a foreigner as usual. They lose some people, get to know more about the mystic nine and of course…….. no spoilers 😐

Second part of the plot deals with Wu Xie discovering the real identity of the girl who gave him the other half of the map. He also gets a typical turtle from the tomb about which he wants to find out the truth. He has to get in touch with Huo grandma who is the only one from her generation remaining from the old mystic nine. She is a wicked lady who still exerts power in the antiques and tomb raiding area and refuses to entertain his party. Wu Xie finds himself in the clenches of his foreign enemy again and the end. THE END!!

That….. tha…..AAAAAAAAAAAA

Characters: Not much here. We get to know about Wu Xie a lot. He’s the main character after all. There is no other development at all. Last part of the plot ends so abruptly that I still cannot process what happened. Li Yifeng has portrayed  a naive, kind character very well but I am not sure about diversity in the roles he takes. The other drama I watched, The legend of Chusen Season 1 also has a similar character portrayed by him.

The Lost Tomb The Annoying girl

Li Yifeng, some teammates and the annoying betrayer

The best acting though is by Yang Yang. That mysterious character of Zhang Qilin he portrays, draws you so much that my most of the frustration as a viewer is that I really wanted to know his background. Although, after watching Mystic Nine, one does come to know who he might be, but I still want to know. There is this chemistry between Li Yifeng and Yang Yang. People have speculated that there is definitely something between them and some people claim that there are author’s notes in the novels which do confirm this. However, bromance or not, their chemistry is amazing. I am no fujoshi but the subtle hints in the drama, I somehow like those.

The Lost Tomb Bromance

THE BROMANCE!!!!!!!!!!

Other actors are veteran, their portrayal of characters is as usual. However, there is not much in the background of those people. 12 episodes are not enough. There is as usual that annoying fatty uncle (that’s how he’s called in the series) who is greedy for the treasures and ends up creating trouble for everyone. Then, I am not sure if this foreigner villain is descendant of the one in mystic nine but the villain in the movie of this series which I’ll review sometime later has same surname as the one in the latter series.

The Lost Tomb Third Uncle

The Resourceful Third Uncle

Wu Xie’s uncle’s character seem so very pitiful. He wants to take out the treasures and help Wu Xie at the same time but he is unable to do both to the full extent. I still won’t comment about the Huo family as the next season should be the one to reveal their secrets. I am looking forward to next season though they are not going to cast Yang Yang as Qilin (*cries in a corner*).

The Lost Tomb The Wicked Huo Family

The Wicked Huo Family and Fatty

Good stuff: Only Yang Yang and Li Yifeng

Bad Stuff: I have too much to complain about in this series. Their music is not good, especially the bg. They build up so much tension with bg music that the viewer is compelled to think that an important moment, a discovery, a monster, something is gonna happen only to find it a normal moment in the drama. I don’t remember the openings and endings at all as opposed to the mystic nine whose OSTs I still listen to, even after a month.

Then their graphics are not upto par at all. It’s like they hired all the newbies to do post production editing. The graphics seem like those in 2000s, probably 2000s had better graphics in their dramas which confuses me a lot. They do a better job for a variety show like Happy Camp, how could they do this to a large scale drama production like this.

Plot of course. Who would like that abrupt ending, there is no talks of season 2 although the producers have said that they would adapt 8 novels in 8 seasons. Plot wise, I am not even sure if I should criticize the drama or wait for next season as I am waiting for many other. What is wrong with Chinese Drama producers??? Ugh

And there are confusing movies which adapt the arcs but change the actors, and it’s so hard to let go the first set of actors to appreciate the second set in movies. I would rather go for animations than live actions, just because of this reason.

The Lost Tomb Start of adventure

This was the start of their adventure

Then there is no clear female protagonist as of now. There are two potential people who come into mind. One is the girl Ah Ning who is the villain in this season but gets softer towards Wu Xie because he saves her life. Second is the Huo’s granddaughter. The intentions of both of these girls are unknown (AND I AM STILL WAITING FOR NEXT SEASON, DAMN IT!!). But then why can’t a female person go into tombs to search for the treasures? Same was in the Mystic Nine. (However that changed in the Candle in the Tomb).

Other things: All in all, I would rate this drama as 4/10. It has great potential if only they tie the loose ends, make subsequent seasons and hopefully cast the same people. Otherwise, it remains a mystery to everyone. I WANNA LEARN MANDARIN JUST TO READ AND UNDERSTAND THESE NOVELS!!

I will not recommend this drama until and unless:

  1. You are going through withdrawal symptoms of Mystic Nine and want to see more tomb raiding.
  2. There is some news about the second season of The Lost Tomb.
  3. You have already read the novels and want to compare them with the drama just for your satisfaction sake.
  4. You want to see Yang Yang’s and Li Yifeng’s chemistry (which happens in first part of the drama only coz Qilin disappears after their quest in the tomb).

You have been warned. But if you still want, you can watch the drama here: The Lost Tomb

Just for the sake, here is a trailer:

Today’s Song: The usual

Side Story: I wanted to do so much after coming back but I am still trapped into the cycle of long hospital visits and the medications. I don’t feel like doing anything anymore ;-;

And as I said before, I am hooked to the tomb raiding series and I finished another drama called Candle in the Tomb. I have all the praises for this one. And then I started another drama called My Mr. Mermaid while in between I finished 2-3 more dramas like When a Snail Falls in Love, Secret Forest etc. etc. I hope I’ll get to review all of these soon. Let me know if you guys want any one of those done first.

C-Drama Review: The Mystic Nine (老九门)

And I bring another Chinese mystery drama based on another acclaimed novel. And supposedly the drama again did not live up to the expectations of novel readers (At this point of time, I am not sure if the novel for this drama exists or not. But its sequel does have one, for sure! It might be that there are references of this story in the actual novel of the sequel but still, I need to do more research).

This time it’s just a review because of too many loopholes in the plot and lack of good graphics. But the sequel, which I’ll review next week, suffers from the latter problem so much I would rather appreciate the graphics of Mystic Nine, lol. So, review is mainly because of the plot. Also, I am suffering from the drama withdrawal symptoms even after all the rant I am gonna write. Gimme novel, or next season or whatever,  just give me something ;-;

Mystic 9 1

Plot: If I am going to write the plot out, it will take too much of space, because it is mystic ‘nine’ after all. So, I’ll try to be as precise and understandable as possible. The mystic nine is set in early 1900s. Changsha is ruled by 9 families called old 9 gates. The head of these nine gates Zhang Qi Shan, also called Fo Ye (The Head of the First family, played by William Chan) is also the defense chief of the city.

Mystic 9 4 William Chan

The supercool mysterious guy, Fo Ye, perfectly portrayed by William Chan

One day, a mysterious train stops at the station of the city with dead bodies of Japanese people and coffins inside the train. He researches and finds out that this is related to the peculiar mines just outside the city. He wants to enlist the help of Er Ye (The head of the Second family, played by Zhang Yixing), because his family has a history of tomb raiding and the knowledge of those unknown secrets runs deep in their family. But Er Ye has given up that family business in order to receive good blessing for his ill wife Ya Tou. Hence, he works as Chinese Opera singer these days. They come across a magical medicine being auctioned at some other place which might save Ya Tou. So, Fo Ye helps Er Ye to get that medicine, staking his family fortune so that he could convince Er Ye to help him with regards to those mines. Er Ye indeed helps him uncover the truth, but the truth is far more complex than it seems.

Mystic 9 5 Zhang Yixing Er Ye Ya Tou

The sad and dragged part of the series

The mines are not only ancient tombs of some of the greatest poets of China but they contain something which Japanese people want and hence, they have been doing some experiments in and around the caves. Fo Ye, with the help of Er Ye, and other gates, tries to find out the truth behind the mines and the Japanese conspiracy.

Now, the plot is what actually drew me in. I have never seen anything related to tomb raiding. It was scary but exhilarating  to watch. I actually watched the sequel to this drama called The Lost Tomb first. Although I did not like that one much owing to non-existent plot just like this one and horrible graphics, just the tomb raiding part kept me going on with these two. Not to mention the handsome guys to fangirl on ❤

However, the plot has so many problems with it, I cannot even count. I’ll explain those later in the post.

Characters: Characters are amazing but not so amazing. Fo Ye is the ultimate person and sees the most character development. From the most rigid personality who keeps the country above anything to the warmest of husband after he falls in love with Yin Xinyue (played by Zhao Liying), William has done quite a good job. My favorite character however is Lieutenant Zhang, right hand man of Fo Ye. His one smile melts the heart of girls in an instant. Oops, fangirling mode on again. His character is loyal and intelligent.

Mystic 9 9 Zhang Ming En

THE Lieutenant Zhang ❤

Er Ye is proficient in martial arts but is too blinded by his love for his wife. So much that major part of the 48 episodes goes into his reminiscing about her after her death and his hallucinations about her. And that gets boring, like really boring. Anyway, next character is Ba Ye, the head of eighth family in nine gates. He is a great fortune teller and becomes a kid in behaviour when he is near Fo Ye. Some times, you as an audience feel like sewing his mouth shut so that he could not whine. However, he is as helpful in the whole series as Er Ye. He is not shown with any family attachments in the series.

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Ba Ye, the fortune teller

Now since, this is about nine families and is set into war period, it’s natural to have tons of important characters, nine being the heads of the nine families. I am pretty sure, given the popularity of the novels, too many cooks did not spoil the broth here after all. But drama does not do justice to all the characters. While the title is nine gates, the other gates gain importance only in last few episodes. Except that the evil disciple of Er Ye forcefully takes up the seat of Si Ye (The Fourth) and the seventh gate, the shrewd Huo girl, joins hands with Japanese earlier in the series, only to find her family reputation in jeopardy because of her actions.

Speaking of females, the two most important females of the series are Ya Tou and Xin Yue. Ya Tou is wife of Er Ye and is sick with an unknown illness for the major part of the series. Not much to her character. Xin Yue is daughter of the hotel where the auction for that magical medicine takes place and is really irritating in the beginning. As the series goes on, she becomes one of the most likable and clever character. There are more pretty female characters essential to the plot.

Mystic 9 7 Chem

Aiyo, the chemistry between them ❤

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Though, I think she’s the prettiest in the drama

When there is so much evil in the series, there are definitely evil characters. There is this whole Japanese part to the series. And these characters have their own share of screen time, unnecessarily so. I skipped most of the part of their discussions, which saved me almost half of the time I spent on the series watching. And I advise the same to everyone who is watching or planning to do so, especially in the second half of the series. Not gonna spend time on explaining those.

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Bloody useless villians

Bad things: My biggest complaint is with the plot. The problem is, the story is all over the place. As with ‘Decoded‘ some side plot is started, and it gets lost somewhere, starting another story, just to abandon it again. Viewers are left with so many whys and hows at the end, it’s unbearable. The mystery of mines isn’t solved till the end, for obvious reasons since it sets the premises of whole story. But in the last episodes they just mention it once, and lo, finished. Similarly, there are supposed to be thousands of traps inside the mines, but in the end, anyone could enter them just like that like where did the need of Er Ye’s family go now? And this is just starting of the list.

Also, some of the graphics are like those kids shows with fairies and magic of the 90s. Heck, even their graphics were better than some of the tomb stuff shown in here. And this drama was made in 2016. I expected more, but given the intricate details of mines and caves, I wouldn’t complain much here. Those rants I’ll save for next week.

Good things: I should start writing good things first. Anyway, I was about to give up on the series halfway through after reading all those awful comments from hurt viewers. But I persisted. So, I guess it’s best if someone reaches the good things after my whining about the flaws. It would mean the series is for you. I loved the tomb raiding part. I kept watching the series because I knew more adventures were coming. They had to enter that mine again and again anyway.

Mystic 9 6 William Chan

The suffocating mines enough to make you claustrophobic

I also liked the usual politics and games. However, there wasn’t much evil in the evil characters to be honest. Not much psychological warfare either. Ugh. Another good thing for all the females is number of good looking males in the series, and I am not even talking about Zhang Yixing.

This was the first series I watched starring William Chan and he suited the character well. And the rare occasions when he smiled *melting away*. Same with Lieutenant Zhang. To think that guy is just 22 years old in real life! Zhang Yixing needs to be just Zhang Yixing, he’s perfect like that. The beauty when he transforms into the opera singer, I was mesmerized. Ba Ye is not bad looking either but well, his character is a bit maddening.

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More fangirling~~

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Bromance, lol

Mystic 9 14 Zhang Ming Er

That smile ❤

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Lay ❤

Music! Music is incredible as well. I am still listening to the opening and ending themes, and plan to do so until some new song grows on me. Background music is not as dramatic to make an impact but goes well with the situations. And costumes! I love this thing about period dramas, you get to see those historical elegant dresses, not only for women but men as well. Also, the mansions! The amazing stuff!!

And of course, action. Being from Wuxia genre, it has plenty of martial arts scenes, amazing stuff at that. Probably people who are familiar with wuxia genre, might find it bland, but this being my one of the first series in the genre, I loved it. It was not over the top, so felt a bit real at least.

Other things: I am still so furious that I did not get to see this through the end, like every fan who is patiently waiting for a season 2. But the demand is the same characters which is next to impossible. The ending was ok, people who have read the novels know better. Which makes me want to read them as well. Again, as a standalone drama, its ending was an open ended one.

Mystic 9 10

I love it but I hate it! These bloody villains again >.>

You can watch the drama with English subtitles here: The Mystic Nine Eng Sub on Facebook

Today’s song(s): I am gonna post my newest obsession(s) here:

Happy tomb raiding everyone!

C-Drama Reco: Decoded (解密)

I have been quite into mystery genre these days. Lack of good series in anime world in this genre has turned me towards dramas and I have had a mixed experience so far. From absolutely brilliant to what the fuck just happened, I have seen a whole lot of series. One of them I came across while searching about the main lead Chen Cheney (Chen Xue Dong) was ‘Decoded’. I have become a fan of his acting after watching some episodes of another drama called Rush to The Dead Summer (Dropped it coz I read some spoilers). However, do take my advice, all the synopsis about the series I read on net were wrong. Like really flawed.

Decoded 4

(Image Credits: Viki)

Plot: The story is set in first half of 1900s I think. Rong JinZhen is supposedly an autistic person who is genius at Maths. He was adopted by the principal of the university he is studying at. They have blood relation with each other, but still JinZhen’s past is majorly unknown. He is recruited by a division working for Chinese government on breaking codes used by enemies to communicate with each other. This division has been dealing with a pretty nasty code called purple code which has not only not been broken yet, it has driven the principal person working on the code earlier, mad. Rong JinZhen is their only hope now.

He faces difficulties initially because he’s unable to bear the harsh life of military, not to mention people who doubt his abilities. However, he is able to overcome everything thanks to his friends and supportive seniors. In the end he finds that this code he is trying to break is related to his former teacher John Lee. He discovers more and more about himself and his teacher through his assignment as the decoder.

Inconsistencies: Now, about inconsistencies in the plots all over the main drama websites. Some say he joined a spy organization. No, he joined a division with Chinese military. They do some spy stuff but they are more than a spy division. Then some say he discovers more about his family, especially mother while decoding the code. No, there is definitely a mention about his family in some initial episodes but he doesn’t discover huge secrets about his past like mentioned. I don’t know about the novel, but certainly not in the drama.

Also, it’s never explicitly mentioned if Rong ever had autism. He does appear to be lacking in daily functions and social interactions, but I am not sure if that could be called autism at all. Not blaming the acting, it was pretty good. It might be that less was understood about autism in that period and hence he is just taken for a stupid person. Again, not sure about novel.

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One of the best characters of the series

Decoded 5

Another one of my favorite characters

Bad stuff: Now inconsistencies about the drama plot itself. The ending, I felt, was too rushed. The story builds up so much and ends in the last episode just like that. I was disappointed by the rushed ending but not by the ending itself. Hence, it’s a recommendation and just not a review.

Also, as I said above, they never mention autism explicitly. As far as I know about autism, the people get triggered by any ‘change’ around them and hence act harshly towards people around them (please do correct me if I am wrong anywhere. My knowledge about autism comes from articles read online and the manga called Hikari no Tomo ni). But Rong accepts it all, without much fuss.

Also *spoiler starts* it seems like that behavior corrects itself quite a bit in the second phase of the series. Again, not sure how representative that is of autism in real life. I tried reading some more articles but stats are really not in favor of autism correcting itself with age it seems *spoiler ends*.

Decoded 6

That annoying person who’s still one of the most important in the female cast 😐

Another thing I dislike about the series is, they don’t really show the logical thinking of Rong while solving the code. (Any numb3rs fan here?) Give something to the nerd in me!! I wanted to see some Maths ;-; And, some characters were chucked out just like that after building up a fancy plot around them to make them seem like an important character. I don’t really know what to do with that. They could have omitted some of the additional details to have less episodes than 41 probably. I really wanted to skip the part just before Rong’s second phase of life started. Now I think about it, the second part of the drama really sucked and dragged too long. I just wanted to skip to the end, but I still did not give up, must have watched the series at 4x speed, I think.

Decoded 3

He looks so cute ❤

Good stuff: Despite all these loopholes, the drama has made quite an impression on my mind. Apart from the plot, the character delivery by each and every person is powerful. I especially loved the seniors in the division, their conflicts and confidence with regards to Rong are portrayed beautifully. Character development is good as well. Sound track goes amazingly well with the series. It is full of laughter and tears as usual.

My favorite part is when Rong gets to meet the previous principal investigator of purple code who is now unable to solve anything and spends his days playing chess. The bonds formed at the division are so relatable that it reminds you of school or may be college days, not as harsh of course. But peers, doubts on the friendship, fights over one girl, that one especially helpful senior/teacher etc. etc, I totally reminisced about my school/ college days somehow.

If the plot is true to the novel, the author is no less than George R R Martin, many of your favorite characters will die. But well, it’s a war drama, cannot do without the deaths of good people. Every encounter cannot be all happy. Each side loses some things and some ones before good triumphs the evil. Sacrifices are essential, otherwise the work would lose reality and depth. Cannot do anything about it. The deaths in the series also remind me of Maes Hughes in FMAB (I still cry on the gifs of that episode). I am pretty sure, if you’ve started watching this series already and know about FMAB, you would definitely know whom I am hinting at.

So anyway, recommended, not highly, but still if you’re into mystery and thriller, you should give it a try. It is officially available on YouTube with English subs. Watch here (thank God they’re official, will not have to think about copyright issues ^^;):

Short Story 1: As some of you might know from my twitter whining, I have fractured my ankle (it’s been almost a month). I was going to start writing regularly as I have accumulated quite a few series to write about (and some English novels as well, I am reading a few books these days, thanks for the influence my library *blows kisses*). All my plans went down the drain. It’s so tiring to use crutches. I sincerely salute all the people who have to use crutches/ wheelchairs and similar aids, for any reason, from the bottom of my heart.

Harder is putting up a brave front in front of my family. They are sitting halfway across the world worrying about me which makes me sad. And my OCD is setting in because I am practically helpless and cannot clean my room. All the books are lying around like anything and only I know how I fight between the urge to clean it all and having to rest my foot ;-; Despite everything, I ended up cleaning my bathroom which was in utterly devastating state.

Short Story 2: Working on my internet addiction, I decided to just not switch on my laptop at all when I come back home from campus. It’s been quite a successful strategy so far. I have left all the dramas and anime I was watching, for now, might start with Habaek on Monday. I have been able to finish 3 novels in a week, reading during just that time. I am also giving some time to Duolingo as well, given that they have added Japanese, gotta brush up my prior knowledge, I have forgotten everything. So, this is how I am spending my summers. How about you?

Book Review: Lay’s (EXO) Standing Firm at 24

Gosh! What a read!

I have always been curious about the idol life in South Korea, because I know they are made to work a little too hard. The successful idols are not only versed in dance and singing, they get to learn multiple languages and stuff, and I always wonder where they find time for all the extra things apart from training the whole day. Some of them are big gamers, some know whole lot of musical instruments, some are trained in multiple languages, some are amazing cooks etc. etc. And I always always admire them for all these skills they have. Of course, they have acquired those skills with hard work.

Lay 1

So anyway, I was actually looking for some of my favorite idols’ and actors’ pics to put as my desktop wallpaper and I stumbled upon the fact that Zhang Yixing aka Lay of EXO has written an autobiography in 2015. And all hail the multilingual fans, some of them have actually translated the whole book of 91 pages for people like us who cannot read Chinese. Well, it was just 91 pages, how long could it take to read anyway? But the emotional roller coaster it took me on, was beyond expected. I haven’t read many autobiographies to be honest, so I am not sure how they really work.

But this one, I say roller coaster because it was so relatable, not just in the terms of how Asian parents generally are, nor how there is a competition among your peers since your childhood, but everything. From his desire to find what was right for him, from his fears about being in another country without any help, from jealousy and concerns about his peers being better than him to his regrets of not being able to do much for his parents, every single thing struck a chord with feelings inside my heart.

lay2

As a review, I would just say, it’s worth a read, not because as a fan one should but because he made it big in life, and he was just 24 when he wrote the book. A whole bunch of 24 year old would find a bit inspiration and a way out to their feelings, if they’re not able to express them well. I actually went through my whole 24 years of life while reading the book (*cue: flashback again*). The structure of book is a bit weird, probably some things are lost in translation. A few things would not make sense, again probably due to language differences. Although, most of the things are chronologically listed, he still jumps from one incident to another which might put off some people. It’s just like reading a person’s personal diary, really. It feels like he’s talking to the reader. And some of the things he says are too profound.

What I took from the book? That he is far more intelligent than he is able to show on TV. It shows his humility as well. Everyone knows Lay as a dork, especially from “Go! Fighting” but as he rightly says, anyone would be like that before the super seniors he worked with in the show. His craving for learning stuff is at another level. I have a new found respect for him, not that I did not respect him earlier.

The book also gives a sneak peek into SM’s training regime. Well, don’t know how much to trust him on it, but it sounded about right.

lay3

What touched me the most was the last part, where he tells about his mother. I could really picture my parents there. Having sacrificed everything for me and my sister, they just worry about us. Even a slight scratch to us pains them. And here we are, we haven’t really done anything for them till now. The one sentence, that pinched me the most was “The first thing she asks me is not how my day went but if I have eaten and slept well.” I am pretty sure most of the parents are the same. Mine also don’t ask about my studies or anything, that’s one of the last worries they have. All they are concerned about is my health and well-being. Shucks, something went into my eyes, aaarggghh…

And since it’s just 91 pages, it won’t take much of your time. So go and google and you’ll find the first link is to the fan translation (The translators don’t want to distribute their work without credits and I am not sure if posting the link here would be just. It’s really easy to find though, so while it is still out there, do give it a try!) And if you are able to read Chinese and can buy his book, please do so!

Happy reading!!

P.S.: Is it just me or there is a resemblance between Baekhyun and Ji Chang Wook? Btw, I am only following Lay in all EXO songs these days 😐

Today’s song: Obviously Lay’s song: