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Nirvana in Fire (A Long Review + Appreciation Post for the Best Historical C-Drama Out There)

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Despite having been on winter break for the past ten days, I’ve neglected this blog badly. Simply because life has been busy. I’ve been helping out with the family business since the holidays are our busiest, and on my days off I’ve been running many errands. In between working, getting things done (like Christmas shopping, visiting the optometrist, renewing my driver’s license, etc), and just having finished an academic semester, I also have not felt that motivated to read. And, subsequently, I haven’t been inspired to blog. Of course, (I know I keep saying this but) I promise I’ll get back to comments and bookish related posts before my winter break ends if not very soon. However, for now, aside from this small update, all I can offer is sharing my most recent non-bookish obsession that has taken over my life as of late.

A few weeks ago, I posted a quasi review of Princess Weiyoung, a Chinese historical drama that was extremely compelling and entertaining but not necessarily flawless for its jarring plot holes, sometimes awkward acting, and repetitive storyline. Soon after completing that one, I moved onto yet another lengthy period drama also set during the Southern and Northern dynasties called Nirvana in Fire. What reservations I had with Princess Weiyoung were completely absent with the latter.

To not give too much away, Nirvana in Fire is a story about a man’s quest of revenge and his path on clearing his family’s name of crimes they did not commit as well as secretly help his childhood friend, an unfavored prince, become emperor. Though this one line synopsis suggests that this series is quite simple, straightforward and uncomplicated it certainly was not.

Nirvana in Fire has been called “China’s Game of Thrones” for the vast recognition its received since airing in late 2015; it reached commercial and critical success with its positive ratings and viewership numbers (exceeding 10 million views by the second day!). Despite its popularity, I’ve put this title off because there are fifty four 45 minute episodes, which is a great commitment to juggle with school-especially since I was already watching Princess Weiyoung at the time. So once my break began, I knew it was about time to marathon this series. And, gosh, Nirvana in Fire went beyond my expectations and absolutely blew me away.

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Princess Weiyoung

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Edit 1/4/2016: In hindsight, I feel like I overhyped Princess Weiyoung with this review post. After completing (and loving!) Nirvana in Fire subsequently after this one, I thought the latter was much, much better. So if you’d like to, here’s my post on Nirvana in Fire. I highly suggest watching NiF instead if you haven’t already. It’s also set during the Northern and Southern dynasties and has a revenge plot (like Princess Weiyoung), but the storyline, acting, and execution is more phenomenal!

Alright, everyone, brace yourselves for an extremely long, intense fangirl session. (You’ve been warned.)

Many of you know I’ve been on a hiatus because of school. But fall finals hasn’t been the only thing keeping me occupied. I’m not sure why this always happens… but near the end of the semester (when it’s pretty much a dark time for students), for some stupid reason, I think it’s okay to start watching a drama. Even crazier and worse is that the one I choose tends to become one that I totally obsess over. Last year it was It’s Okay, That’s Love, and this time (no surprise really if you’ve read my latest post or have talked to me outside XingsingsPrincess Weiyoung.

Princess Weiyoung is essentially another revenge plot that takes place during the Northern and Southern dynasties (so roughly sometime between 400 to 600) adapted from a Chinese novel called The Poisonous Daughter by Qin Jian*. The story begins with a general from the Chiyun clan falsely accusing and murdering the Northern Liang’s royal family, turning the young, care free Liang princess, Feng Xin’er, into a girl without a family and identity. Then perhaps by fate, Xin’Er meets and befriends Li Weiyoung, the illegitimate daughter of a general that works for the Northern Wei. Weiyoung dies while protecting Xin’Er, and the latter assumes Weiyoung’s identity and vows to avenge her friend’s death as well as her late family.

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Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan (and a Brief Recap of What I’ve Been Watching)

Attack on Titan

Today marks my last official winter break weekend. The spring semester begins this Monday and I’ll be back to having an irregular posting schedule (I predict I’ll only be able to post a couple times a month and blog hopping will likely have to cease).

Anyway, today I wanted to share a non bookish post since I am currently experiencing this awful post binge hangover (aka I don’t know what to do with my life now that I’ve finished this epic, epic show), and I must discuss this anime with someone, anyone.

After I got a good dose of catching up on all the Asian dramas I wanted to squeeze in during my break, I went ahead and signed up for my free trial with Crunchyroll (when I was in middle school and high school I used to use AnimeCrazy but that free online streaming site has long closed down; I don’t think I’ll be continuing with Crunchyroll though since they don’t offer a lot of the anime I used to watch and want to rewatch), a site that offers English subtitles for anime watchers that don’t understand Japanese.

But before I get into how amazing Attack on Titan was, I wanted to give a brief rundown on what I’ve been watching this last month. In terms of Asian dramas, I marathoned She Was Pretty, It’s Okay, That’s Love, Kill Me, Heal MePrince of Lan Ling, Sound of the DesertDetective vs. Detectivesand Oh My Venus, which recently just finished airing.

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It’s Okay, That’s Love

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Hi! I’m taking a break from studying and exams to write this post. I’m not quite ready to create a book review yet so this is going to be a non-bookish post, but I’m really excited to share it with you guys nonetheless. While I was on my reading hiatus (aka reading slump) I decided to start a subscription to DramaFever because it’s just been so long (a year?) since I’ve watched any Asian dramas (I did have a fun Netflix marathon with Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, and Reign this year though; boy, am I a CW fangirl) and so I binge watched a couple of dramas. She Was Pretty was one of them; though I wasn’t much of fan of that one I finished watching all 16 episodes anyway. Maybe I’m just really tired with the whole magazine/journalism theme and “oh! I find my cranky boss so attractive” approach (it’s way overused in lots of entertainment). Although, I have to recognize its merit for the plot with role reversals (a pretty teenage girl ages into an physically unflattering woman, while a chubby boy “blossoms” into a handsome guy). But anyway, I wasn’t planning to make this post about She Was Pretty but rather another show.

I recently finished watching It’s Okay, That’s Love, which has now become one of my favorite dramas. I’m not sure if it’s the post binging high or what, but I seriously fell in love with the story. It made me laugh and cry… and just experience a ton of emotions I wasn’t expecting. So I thought I’d share this while I’m still fangirling over it.

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Big Hero 6

Disney_BigHero6_Poster_BaymaxWhen Big Hero 6 was released, all of my nerdy engineering friends were going to see this. I’m not a huge fan of robotics in general, so I decided to sit this one out. Months later, my expectations were still low despite the awards and rave reviews the film received, because the creators of this film also produced Frozen, a movie I wasn’t too fond of and found to be overhyped. However, now that I’ve watched it, I regret waiting this long to see it. This beautiful animation way exceeded my expectations. Big Hero 6 is, hands down, my new favorite animation of the year (not that I watch that many to begin with but that’s beside the point).

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