Since I am no longer writing my own story, I figure why not translate a story I love? Living Up To You is short story, which is one of the reasons why I am even considering this because that would be a good thing considering I have a bad track record.. This translation is dedicated to myself and all those like me who have a hard time reading novels in their raw language but can't resist the wonderfulness that is chinese novels!
I just gotta post this recommendation right now although I've only watched 8 eps so far. I think I've watched enough to give it my thumbs up! I'm so happy I didn't give up on wuxia readaptions, because when done right, I really can sit and watch this story all over again. Who cares if this is probably the 3rd time I watched LOCH. That can't be said about almost every other wuxia novel remake done in the last 8-9 years that I tried but couldn't finish. It almost makes me cry with nostalgia the sentiments this one remake was able to bring out in me. I felt like I had time-traveled back to the great TVB wuxia dramas that I grew up watching. All the faces are fresh, the pace and scriptwriting is wonderful. Somebody obviously knew what they were doing! The music is from the beloved 83 version, and must I say, it makes my blood pump with excitement somehow. Don't know why since I never watched that version. I wasn't even born yet. The CGI is minimal and the sceneries are beautiful. Last but not least, Li Yitong is just about the most perfect Huang Rong I could hope for. She's cute and pretty and full of life! Yang Xuwen, I really loved him inside Noble Aspirations and at first glance, I couldn't even recognize him thanks to whoever gave hime this hairstyle. That hairstyle reminds me of Hu Ge haha. I'm finding it so amazing how the cast is all relatively fresh faces and it's like a much-needed breath of fresh air.
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This guy is 茅子俊 Mao Zi Jun aka Qin Wuyan 秦无炎 inside Noble Aspirations. At least that's the role I remember him best in since it's his most recent. He's also done a good number of supporting roles, for example Ruby Lin's 秀丽江湖 as Ruby's brother. While actors/actresses like Hawick Lau or Li Yi Feng or even Zhao Liying and Angelababy seem to be everywhere these days, I'm happy to see fresh faces landing main roles like Yang Xulong (I really liked his Qing Long inside Noble Aspirations) did in the recent readaption of Jinyong's popular wuxia Legend of the Condor Heroes. Hopefully I don't need to wait too long until Zi Jun finally gets promoted into main roles!
I'll plod on with the second purpose of this post now: Glory of Tang Dynasty. Zijun is yet again playing a supporting role along with Qin Jun Jie 秦俊杰 (Zeng Shushu inside Noble Aspirations) but at least Ren Jia Lun 任嘉伦 (Six Tails in Noble Aspirations) gets a main role. lol, I just have to distract myself of how much it looks like the Noble Aspirations gang time-travelled into the Tang Dynasty. Reminds me of how it felt watching Ode to Joy after Nirvana in Fire!
This drama is produced by R&H Century, the production company that did Noble Aspirations and a handful of other well-done dramas (in my opinon) and that's why I'm looking forward to it. Lately, I've been keeping an eye on production companies vs. actors/actresses as a clue on the quality of upcoming dramas. Daylight Entertainment (东阳正午阳光影视有限公司) as well as anything Ruby Lin is in, I'm already one foot in. Another upcoming drama I've been dying in wait for is Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy. I've grown quite allergic to Yu Zheng and Tang Ren's productions though. Back to Noble Aspirations, while every novel-lover of Zhu Xian probably has a stomach full of bitter water over the plot reworking inside the drama, I felt it did a pretty good job and didn't make a fool out of the original work. I loved the novel and have my regrets, but the drama did not let down. The sceneries were beautiful, the costumes were great, the script was respectful and well-balanced. It outshines many adaptation dramas in recent years *coughs*Yu Zheng the Jinyong destroyer*coughs*
It looks like Glory of Tang Dynasty is also a novel adaption: Cang Ming Shui's 大唐后妃传之珍珠传奇 which I thankfully haven't read. Sometimes I think having read the novel behind an upcoming drama is a double-edged sword. My dad probably enjoyed Noble Aspirations more than I did just because I read the novel and can't help but compare every little detail.
If you haven't checked out the trailer for Glory of Tang Dynasty at youtube yet, check it out below!
CHAPTER 09 - ESCAPE
Translation Notes: 公子(gongzi) is a polite way to address a young unmarried man, usually gives them a sense of status. Ever since it started talking, Ling Xi already knows it's a guy lol. 蔷薇(qiangwei) again is rose.
Rays of light stained the sky in a crimson color, gradually deepening, as if it were blood that had gotten too thick.
On Di Mai Peak, after a sudden silence, screams of fear rose up like waves. In one direction it subsided, only to rise up somewhere else. Clouds of black vapors descended from all directions. In an instant, all the bloody red color previously covering the sky had been swallowed up. Within another short moment, it was as if the entire sky had been stained by black ink, not a thread of light could pass through.
Ling Xi watched as Di Mai Peak, in an instant, turned from bright daylight to black night. The screams of fear all around her made her panic with fear. She held on tightly to Qing Kui, “Second Shixiong, what.. what demons are these? Second Shixiong, it's them again! Those things that caused me and gege to separate three years ago, right?”
Qing Kui was tightly latched onto by Ling Xi, so he had no choice but to drag her forward with him. “Ah-chou, don't be afraid. This is Cang Jia Shan, not some little village by the sea. They won't dare do anything here.”
Ling Xi could only faintly see the crowds swarming, growing larger and more restless. Various screams and shouts made her think back to that horrifying night. Qing Kui's comfort did not have much of an effect.
“Second Shixiong, where's Zhangmen? The zhanglaos? Where's Da Shixiong? Where are we going?”
“Darn it, we can't leave anymore! Ah-chou, you stay here and don't move. Wait until I clear away these Muo entities then I'll come back and get you!” Qing Kui pried off Ling Xi's hand. Di Mai Peak was comprised of new disciples that have not been on the mountain for long, basically they have not even found a shifu nor started their cultivation. There was no way they could go up against these Muo entities...
“Where are we? Second Shixiong don't leave!” Ling Xi wanted to grab onto Qing Kui again, but he was already out of reach.
She could no longer feel Qing Kui's presence around her. The unending screams rung in her ears. She stood in her spot, not daring to move, her fear mixed in with uneasiness. That flock of frightening creatures, it was them that caused her gege to disappear. Would they... would they also cause Qing Kui shixiong to disappear too?
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CHAPTER 08 - OMEN
Translation Notes: A bunch of new romanized terms/names in this chapter! Lets start out with the six realms: 神(shen) the gods, 仙(xian) the immortals, 人(ren) the mortals, 妖(yao) the demons, 魔(muo) the heretics, and 冥(ming) the dead. The boundaries of these realms are not rigid and can blur sometimes. Also, they can refer to the entire 'race' but can at the same time refer to a physical place. Apparently in Living Up To You, the Shen realm is in the heavens somewhere. The realm of the Ren, Xian, Yao, Muo exists on earth. The realm of the Ming, is in the underworld and hell. Beings that belong to the Yao race, which are actually spirits like Xiao Hei gone heretic, can simultaneously be Yao and Muo at the same time. But if you remember from previous chapters, a good spirit or 'yao' following the xian path does not have a realm of their own and are just considered a part of the Xian realm. That is because good spirits are much much rarer in comparison that the sheer number of evil spirits/demons alone can be called a realm. A mortal human can also be a Muo or Xian too, they just need to sign up. Xian and Muo are more considered paths than 'race' and in order to be one or the other, one has to make the decision. So realms that one can be born into are Shen, Ren, and Yao. Shen does not ever enter the Ming realm but the Ren and Yao do. In order to avoid becoming a part of the Ming realm eventually, one would have to choose one of the two paths. Both the Xian and the Muo have the potential to become gods, but many die and enter the Ming realm before they ever succeed in ascending into the Shen realm. This is my own understanding on how the six-realm structure works in this story. Hope that helps! 天帝(tian di) is the emperor of the gods. The 魂(hun) and 魄(po) are the two halves of a person's soul. Lastly I bring you the word 呸(pei) because it's a cuss word. Just kidding, it's just a sound someone makes when they are faking a spit or spitting for real, usually when they are really irritated and really angry. PS. I realized I've been writing 风夙's name wrong the whole time. It's supposed to be Feng Su, but I'm not going to correct it lol.
The six realms as told by the world are the Shen, the Xian, the Ren, the Yao, the Muo, and the Ming. Ever since the scourge of the Shen realm ten thousand years ago, the gate of the Shen realm had disappeared. No trace of the gods has been found within the six realms since. The other five realms have already mutually accepted that the race of the gods have perished. The only legacy they have left in the six realms is only the name Shen.
Lingshu grass originally belonged to the Shen realm, grew in the Shen realm. Ten thousand years ago, the flower god tossed out a handful of lingshu grass seeds from the gate just before it was sealed. They happened to fall on Cang Jia mountain, which prevented them from perishing from existence along with the Shen realm.
In the ancient books, it was told that in the ten years preceding the scourge of the Shen realm, every year after the lingshu grass would bloom forth snowy white lotus blossoms, on the next day they would all disintegrate into ash. At that time, nobody thought anything of it. Tian Di merely scolded the flower god for her carelessness, causing the snow lotuses to wither repeatedly.
However, on the eve before the gods perished, all the lingshu grass in the entire Shen realm bloomed in one night. At the instant the sun's rays touched the horizon in the east, they were immediately reduced to dust. It was said that the ashes of the snow lotuses, stained with the blood of the gods, rained down on the six realms for three days and three nights.
From then on, whenever snow lotuses disintegrating into ash is mentioned, it would cause the faces of those who hear to pale.
Indeed, at this very moment when facing the ten thousand snow lotuses that have disintegrated into ash, even Cang Yu's face paled with fear.
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I just discovered some really cute videos on youtube. If anyone is familiar with the illustrator 伊吹五月, she also goes by the alias Ibuki Satsuki, I happen to be a total fangirl of her and love collecting her illustrations. Her illustration style is very watercolor and is so so beautiful. Most of her illustrations are commissioned for books and games, mainly the online mmorpg 剑侠情缘 or shortened 剑网. There's always some sort of story going on in the picture, that's why I love using them at the top of my chapters (if I find one that fits, though some aren't by 五月) when I post my translations. Most of the images feature characters/classes from 剑网 and their interactions. Feng Niang and Peng Peng's shifu is a couple. Xiao Xiao and Qiu Bao are really cute, so is Peng Peng and Xiao Yan.
The game/story takes place during the Spring and Autumn warring period of ancient china and takes inspiration from the struggles of war and conflicting groups of people. These audio mangas are done quite nicely and have voice acting, best of all they feature 五月's unique painting-like style which is really such eye candy!! Love the music and touching little stories in these mini-films. The videos are done by Studio Flay. Unfortunately they are only in chinese, I wish there were english subtitles so more people could enjoy it. There are about 14 of these vids on youtube, but there might be more. The videos are super short, only about 5 mins max each.
These videos really makes you want to start playing 剑侠情缘 haha!