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Watching: The Disguiser 伪装者 Song on repeat: Just Once 一次就好 by Aska Yang

Princess Agents OP continues to rule

When was the last time a woman sang the exciting OP about ruling the world?    Props to  Princess Agents for breaking the mold of a fastbeat male opening song and a romantic female ending song.

Between this, the Advisors Alliance, and Rush to the Dead Summer, this summer just might make up for the lackluster showing last year.

Featuring an ancient drama female lead with an actual goal in mind (and to free the slaves that she was once a part of, no less), and whose romantic deal breaker is politics, this could very well be Zhao Liying’s breakthrough role to launch her out of cutesy roles.   OP is by Zhang Bichen and Zhao Liying.

Casting Call for N. America for Wu’ershan’s new fantasy epic

Casting has began in North America for Wu’ershan’s upcoming fantasy epic loosely based on the Investiture of the Gods.

Director Wu’ershan (Painted Skin II, Mojin: The Lost Legend) is one of the most consistent commercial film directors of his generation and imo the best Chinese-fantasy film director currently available.

  • Upload audition videos to http://www.wetransfer.com or  www.hightail.com
  • Send your self-recorded audition videos to megcastingchina@gmail.com
  • Include your name, location, and phone number in both the title of the video and the e-mail.
  • Send inquiries to fscastinginfo@gmail.com
  • All characters are Chinese and require a basic level of speaking Chinese
  • Training begins in September 2017 and filming begins in June 2018.

Character descriptions (read it in Chinese here):  Continue reading

China’s latest androgynous band Acrush

Can these gender-neutral sweethearts win your love?

Hey, look, it’s another androgynous band that was reported all over the Western media but remains anonymous in China. Unlike MissTer, their first song and MV looks really hot and quite sharp. Their styling and outfit are kind of how I wish M.I.C. would dress, although their dancing doesn’t seem to be as good. They’ve even went for the gender-neutral pronouns! They’ll be called 少年 (youth), and will be a 少年团 (youth band)  rather than boyband or girlband.

You can read about them via CNN, QuartzMashable. See their first MV below. See the English translations here. I call the pink-haired one.

Lu Han revisits his Beijing childhood

Complete with kite flying, Beijing yogurt (aka the best yogurt), youtiao, and a friendly match of Chinese chess in the shadows of the imperial palace under writings of Mao Zedong,    this  photoshoot of Beijing native Lu Han is probably one of the best from Chen Man in a long time.

Lu Han’s currently starring in his first drama, Fighter of the Destiny. The series is too draggy for me but he’s very pretty in it.

Q: Can a fan tell me if Lu is his last name?

Continue reading

Sinology Sunday: Tangren recreates artifacts for Three Kingdoms drama

The whimsical geometric depictions of fantastical beasts were a mark of the Chu. Considering themselves descendants  of  phoenixes rather than dragons, the Shamanistic Chu were considered “heathen”  to many at the time.

Were you impressed at how gorgeous the new Tangren outfits for its   upcoming Three Kingdoms drama.  Yours truly happen to be currently in a Chu dynasty phase and immediately recognized them as strangely anachronistic.   In fact, half of the patterns for their character posters came directly from the same tomb, the famous No. 1 Chu Tomb of Jiangling Mashan  江陵马山一号楚墓, dated about five centuries before the story’s time.

So, in honor of our beloved Tangren that seems to try each time to be slightly more historically accurate (albeit via the laziest way possible), here’s a a look at some of the patterns of Chu.

Wan Qian’s outfit (C) uses a facing Phoenix pattern from a silk robe(R). Left shows the colors of the original textile. The Chu were known for their fondness of slenderness, both in artistic style and in body shape. Rumor has it that in order to win the favor of one King of Chu, his chancellors starved so much that they couldn’t stand up by themselves.

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Review: Ode to Joy Season I

As Ode to Joy II  欢乐颂 2 is geared up for release, here’s a review of season 1 of the hit series from 2016.

Witty dialogue and a cast of memorable characters make Ode to Joy one of the most fun sit-coms in a while.  Unfortunately, the  series is often dogged down by attempts to shift to a melodrama that makes the ff button a necessary friend.

The series focuses around the unlikely friendship between five women who share a floor in an apartment complex in Shanghai. There’s Andi (An Di?), the business professional with a fear of human touch, Qu Xiaoxiao, the heiress fighting  for the family inheritance,  Fan Shengmei, the gold-digger with an entitled family, Qiu Yingying, the happy-go-lucky college grad,  and Guan Ju’er, the ordinary white-collared girl who has never said no in her life.

Coming from a misogynistic rural  family, Fan Shengmei (Jiang Xin) is vain, self-centered, but also righteous and protective. She would lie to help out a friend, but also to save face. The first lets her befriend the women in the apartment complex, but the second gets her in trouble  as she falls for men who use her vanity to play her.  When she falls in love with a  man faked his own wealth to date her, she is caught between love and vanity.  Imperfect, complex, and sharp-tongued, Fan’s characterization is perfect.

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Review: The Fox’s Summer

Clichéd and senseless but cute and watchable for the leads.

I’ve been looking forward to a Jiang Chao lead since 2013, and … The Fox’s Summer
狐狸的夏天 is kind of exactly what you would expect from him.  He’s hot, she’s cute, and they reenact every cliche idol drama device possible without too much attention to coherence.

I think the main plot of the story is about a fashion designer (Tan Yunsong) and her pursuit of her fashion  dreams. Or maybe her fight to win her mom and step-family’s love and respect?  Most of the time it’s about how she somehow ended up living with the President of her company while working for him as a maid, because even though she’s from a rich family,  has a good education,  is a famous designer, and becomes the chief creative director at one point, somehow she still can’t afford to pay rent?   Maybe it’s actually an ode to how expensive rent is in Shanghai.

The President (Jiang Chao) of this bra company, of course, is a 30-year-old  with OCD and is allergic to lies, so he decided that the best solution to get rid of his  opponent’s plagiarizing designer is to let her live with him?   In an attempt to keep his adopted brother interest in the company, Mr. President decides to hire his brother’s ex, our female lead.  Bringing back a woman who dumped your brother is exactly how to ensure his happiness.

There’s a couple of other angles in this love story, but you get the idea. It’s a co-habitation idol drama with lots of accidental sexual tensions and misunderstandings. Once you get past how annoying she is before they move in together, Tan Yunsong works her cuteness to her advantage. Jiang Chao’s good-looking enough for the role, and has just enough acting to make me not want a dubber, so the couple works.

Also, I really like some of her outfits. They made her look fashionable without being too over-the-top. Maybe it’s in contrast to how crazy some of the other women dress in the show.

The series is currently airing on Tencent, with the second season being released today.

Li Zijun skating to Jane Zhang’s “Only for Love”

Because she’s too precious for this world and we might never see this again.  source

It’s actually pretty rare for Chinese pop music to make it into official programs, so here’s one of my favorites as the season ends.   Li Zijun, one of China’s top female figure skaters, skating to Jane Zhang‘s “Only for Love.”