issenllo: strawberry thief print from William Morris (Default)
[personal profile] issenllo
Watching (randomly) episodes of Eternal Love aka 三生三世十里桃花 which Chinese title is pretty and poetic, and snickering between bouts of "aww, so romantic!" Heh. The main love story is melodramatic, but am currently mesmerised by songs. I will frankly never ever cease to be bemused at extent in which mainland Chinese media producers (and probably not only mainland Chinese, but) can monoculture-lise those interpretations of immortals and heaven. If that should even be an existing concept.

I mean, the writer of the novel (it was adapted from a novel) has taken the idea that heaven is a place in the clouds ruled over by an king/emperor figure, with bunches of officials assisting him (except they are all immortals), just like a historical Chinese ruler, and ran with it all the way to the seven seas. Or the four seas, because in ancient Chinese worldview there's a sea in every cardinal direction. Which is great for social order and stability in their universe, sure, but a part of me is thinking, shit, that means that the palace maid is going to be a palace maid for all eternity. That is sick. Even as a kid, when I learnt about this idea of the Jade Emperor, I was incredulous.

The universe of immortals and other supernatural beings (presiding over, in a way, the exciting yet mundane mortal realm) is somewhat updated in this series, in what feels like a rather ham-fisted attempt at multiculturalism, with tribes/beings from different realms, yet somehow, we're meant to accept they could theoretically all live together in harmony, if only they all stopped fighting. Hm. There's the Ghost tribe, which is a dressed up version of the underworld (and so the princes have what look like undergrown horns). There's tribe of the mermaids, who are violent and power-hungry and kinda uncivilised. There's the fox tribe/clan, whence the main female lead Bai Qian hails, and she has had a servant for 90,000 years (!) (more on the years thing later).

Then there's the very Taoisty set-up (because it uses some Taoist symbols without actually using much of the actual tools of trade). The main male lead, Ye Hua is apparently a master of both Taoism and Buddhism... something. I didn't catch the specific title as I was trying not to splutter.

Still, the pluses: it's very pretty, and even the overuse of computer graphics isn't too annoying as it's supposed to be a fantasy anyway. I repeat, very pretty, and very beautiful long hair that doesn't ever get tangles or split ends, I assume (since they are immortals and wake up with perfect grooming anyway - male and female). The love story actually makes sense, in the way they meet and then break up (only to have a romantic/tearful reunion complete with back-from-the-dead final reunion, of course). Well, it makes sense if you accept all the unsubtle political machinations in heavenly court, and also if you feel like kicking Ye Hua's grandfather aka the heavenly ruler in the ass a few times, you are not alone.

The female character is actually great fun. They've managed to have a 'fiesty' character without making her look (too) overly perfect. There are some moments when she speaks frankly without mincing words and I sort of wonder, hey, you could be nicer, and a beat later I think, huh, why should she be nice? She's not required to be nice just because she's female. It's set up that her character is the blunt, straightforward type, and she is under no obligation to be nice or soft. And so... surprise! She isn't! I liked that. There are so many other times when we are told a female character is tough, and yet when crunch comes to shove, she is about as tough as boiled cabbage. Most frustrating.

I mean, if she's soft-hearted towards her sweetheart, that's one thing: love is everything, blah blah. It's a romance after all. But if she's soft-hearted towards her enemies especially when her enemy continues to be two-faced, then you really feel like switching off.

Then, the years thing. Bai Qian is supposed to be at least 90,000 years old, and some of the immortals are even older. It's so exaggerated that I pretend that it's just some kind of crazy accounting, mainly because of the trope that one day in heaven equals one year in the human realm. So that means humans have been around for 365 x 90,000 years? Even if it is fiction, I can't accept it. Or maybe they simply mean the mortal realm and not the strictly the human realm. And yet, this would mean they presided over a world where homo sapiens had yet to evolve...?

ETA: Okay, a likelier possibility is that they reckoned by human/mortal time, so when someone is 90,000 years old, they actually mean 90,000 human years. Which still puts them as older than Chinese civilisation as we know it. Why do I have to put a number on things, anyway?

I'm overthinking this and mixing my fictions, aren't I.
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issenllo: strawberry thief print from William Morris (Default)
issenllo

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