I’m a Pet at Deli Temple (CDrama 22 Episodes, Ongoing)
Ru Xiao Lan (Hu Yi Xuan), a mischievous woman in modern times, happens to travel back in time. Unlike other time travel series, she didn’t possess another body but instead, turns into a cat. Yes, that’s right, an adorable fluffy cat, who has the power to absorb poison from the sickly male protagonist, Qing Mo Yan (Xu Kai Cheng). Whenever she touches his pendant/stone, Xiao Lan can turn back into human form. And naked, no less. But don’t take her cute appearance at face value, because this cat is high maintenance. The Protagonist has to spend half his days keeping her safe, fed, clean and entertained or she would get herself in all sorts of trouble.
Adapted from the novel Da Li Si Shao Qing De Chong Wu Sheng Ya (by Mo Shang Ren Ru Yu), the series is light-hearted, with less than 25 minutes per episode. The young cast and the small production are refreshing. Xu Jovi who played Prince Li from Lost Love in Time was also a supporting cast member as Xuan Yu, while Michelle Chen played the Qing Huan Empress.
Story of Yanxi Palace (CDrama 70 episodes, Ongoing on Viki)
A drama harem like no other. This is not a story of an innocent heroine who had to become bitter and cunning in order to survive the dangers of the forbidden city. In fact, Wei Ying Luo (Wu Jin Yan) is not only ruthless to everyone around her, she demands respect when a woman of her station at the time had none. There are times when she is intelligent, and there are times when she lacks common sense. This is no perfect heroine by any means, but a human character who we can relate to, in each stage of our lives.
What first drew me to this story is the devotion of the Maid to her Queen, Empress Xiao Xian Chun. Not many stories these days focus on the importance of sisterhood. Especially in Asian dramas, where the focus on romance, and often times bromance, supersedes the bond of womanhood. During this modern age, we sometimes have forgotten the ancient past where women cooked, knitted, and read stories among themselves. From sorrows to happiness, women in all stations bond when others are not watching.
Mo Dao Zu Shi (CAnime Season 1, 15 Episodes)
This is my first Chinese Anime, and I have to say, I am impressed. The art direction, editing, and music are similar to how a CDrama would be produced. At times, the anime looks more like a video game, while other times it’s like a canvas. OST is by far one of the most outstanding additions, while the storyline is fast-paced with rich character developments. Adapted from a BL Novel, Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu), except for the first two episodes, the rest of the story is told in flashbacks. This is partly to follow the original novel’s format, with insertions of flashbacks between the present time events.
The main characters are Wei Ying (WuXian, YiLing Patriarch) and Lan Zhan (WangJi, HanGuang-Jun). I’m not joking, they have that many names: Private, Common, and Title. Imagine reading the book with 20 plus characters with 3 names each! Hilariously, in the novel, Wei Ying and Lan Zhan are some of the densest characters when it comes to matters of the heart. The anime, however, did tone down the BL element of the original novel, but one can still feel the strong chemistry between the characters. Especially during the time they were stuck in the cave with the Giant tortoise and their endless school days bantering.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix Original, 10 Episodes, Complete)
This used to be my beloved childhood sitcom every friday evening, but no more. Chilling Sabrina took the route of Harry Potter meets Salem with a dark gothic storytelling approach. The female lead played by Kiernan Shipka tries desperately not to sign her life away upon reaching the age of 16. Be warned, the first half of the series is slow, so you have to be patient. Once you pass the second half, that’s when the story picks up the pace. The ending may be predictable, but the ride was well worth it.
However, to evoke the term any publicity is good publicity, the Satanic Temple have taken upon themselves to sue Warner Bros and Netflix on copyright violation. As it turns out, the Baphomet deity statue in the series resembles their own commissioned works sculpted by Artist Mark Porter, inspired by the artworks of Eliphaz Levi from the 1800’s. One has to wonder, when did the Satanic Temple copyright the Devil? As it turns out, it was not the statue of Baphomet that was called into question, but it was the artwork, where two stone children gaze up at Baphomet, that contributed to the 150 million copyright lawsuit.
Legend of Hao Lan (November)
The Fated General (December)