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Currently watching: The Disguiser 伪装者 Song on repeat: Mystery 秘术 by Ning Huanyu

Michelle Chen, Yuan Shanshan, Li Xiaolu, and Jia Nailiang for Trendshealth

Michelle Chen, Yuan Shanshan, Li Xiaolu, and Jia Nailiang for Trendshealth’s breast-cancer awareness photoshoot. More here.

Michelle Chen will be starring in romantic comedy Bonjour, Paris 早安巴黎  opposite boyfriend Chen Xiao soon.  Li  Xiaolu and Jia Nailiang are currently filming a detective romantic comedy Housewife Detective 煮妇神探 from the team of Destined to Love You.
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Jiang Xin, Liu Tao are bff’s in Ode to Joy


Who knew? Female bff’s who don’t cat-fight over some guy exists in Chinese dramas.

But you know who aren’t besties in this show? Jin Dong and Wang Kai. Having the two of them being in a show and not having a single scene together is almost as cruel as having Idina Menzel be in a musical and not have a song (I know, it’s been 8 years).

Known for producing dozens of amazing male leads in every show, Shandong TV and co. (The Disguiser, Nirvana in Fire, All Quiet in Peking) is unfortunately one of the worst in their ability to write good female roles. Usually if you’re a female character in one of their dramas, you’ll be lucky if your IQ is above 80 or if your life revolves around anything other than a male. If you’re both, then you are probably an antagonist.  Ode To Joy 欢乐颂  is hoping to change that as their first drama with a predominantly female leading cast.  Introducing the sisterhood that is Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Yang Zi,  Wang Ziwen, and Qiao Xin.   Opposite them are Zu FengJin Dong,  Wang Kai,  Zhang Lu, Zhang Xiaoqian and a mysterious male lead (rumored to be Luo Jin) who better be really amazing for anyone to pick him over Zu Feng and Jin Dong.


Going against the common trend of one strong woman, one girl-next-door, and one boyish friend, Ode to Joy features at least three independent women who all have their own love interests (that do not intersect).

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Translation Tuesday: Shu Ting’s To Oak


Love –
not only loving your majestic figure,
but also the stance you firmly hold,
the earth under your feet.

To Oak 致橡树 is a classic love poem that paints love as two trees standing side-by-side, supporting each other while remaining individuals, a love that is based on a common faith and goal that is beyond the surface.    Misty Poet Shu Ting wrote the poem in response to a traditional view of  love based on idolization and self-sacrifice, in particular by the female in the relationship.

I’m going to apologize in advance appropriating feminist poetry for a pair coming out of an amazing but unfortunately misogynist production team, but this poem fits the platonic love that is Ming Lou (Jin Dong) and Ming Cheng (Wang Kai) in The Disguiser so much.  So close are their dreams that they can finish each other’s paintings of their ideal home; so deep their trust that they have had absolutely no secrets to each other even though they’ve had not a single honest conversation with anyone else in the show; so connected their souls that the main mode of communication is gazing into each other’s eyes.

To Oak
by Shu Ting
translated by idarklight

If I were to love you —
I would never be the vines of the morning glory,
borrowing your tall branches to flaunt myself
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Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy begins the journey to a new world


One of Chinese literature’s biggest mythical world is finally being brought to life.

An universe with its own stars and creation story,  the mythical land of Novoland 九州 (you may know it as the setting of City of Hopeless Love) is finally getting its first real TV adaptation with  Tribes and Empires:  Storm of Prophecy 九州·海上牧云记.  The novel by Novoland co-founder Jin Hezai is the first of a series of novels of  set in Novoland to be adapted on the screen.

The story follows the brotherhood of a imprisoned half-human half-spirit prince (Huang Xuan),  an abandoned son of a general (Shawn Dou), and the heir of a slaughtered tribe (Wei Daxun?)  as they uncover the secrets of their past and seek both revenge and justice for the ones they love.

The rest of the stellar cast includes Zhang Jingchu, Wan Qian, Zhou Yiwei,   Yu Haoming, Xu Lu, Zhang Jianing,  Kan Qingzi, Peng Guanying, Gu Xuan, Jiang Qinqin, Wei Daxun, Reyizha, and Wang Qianyuan.

Song Yi as The Black Widow in the Disguiser


First a courtesan then an assassin, Song Yi’s character has the innocence of a child even in the most turbulent of times and the most tragic of lives.

Deadly and seductive yet sweet and innocent at the same time, Song Yi 宋轶’s character  won over the audience with her charm and beauty in The Disguiser.  Nicknamed The Black Widow for killing her husband on their wedding night, Yu Manli  was pardoned from a death sentence in exchange for becoming a secret agent.  She is paired with Hu Ge‘s character in her missions and the two become life-and-death partners.  Alas, his love is too idealistic and has no room for a girl from the streets like her.

The Central Drama Academy graduate recently signed under fellow alumni Zhang Han‘s workshop and will be collaborating with him in upcoming drama The Legendary Tycoon 传奇大亨  about the Shaw Brothers.  I also highly recommend the second part of The Lovebirds series , for which she plays a female lead in the second part.


The best wedding photo.

Photo cr: xueqingdaren@Weibo
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Little Door Gods releases English trailer



When the Guardians of Homes start losing their jobs in modern society, one group of gods try to wreck havoc to make themselves needed again.

Following the most successful season of Chinese animation,  the highly anticipated (by me, anyways)   Little Door Gods 小门神 released another trailer, this time with English subs!  The animated feature follows a pair of door gods looking to save their jobs as people lose their faith.  The film airs on January 1st next year, and is the first feature animation from startup Light Chaser Animation. Hopefully the story is as good as it looks and there’ll be more to come!