Part 2 – The Eastern Heretic and Western Venom
Rating: 4.5/5 curiously excited clouds
I have to say that part two definitely picked up in pace and excitement. I’m always very excited for the second third of the story because much of the bulk and Jiangnan action happens here. Guo Jing and Huang Rong encounter Hong Qi Gong (who I have to point out, has all ten of his thumbs in this adaptation). I didn’t find Lau Dan as charming of a Hong Qi Gong. Personally I prefer Bryan Leung, who’s played Hong Qi Gong in two subsequent adaptations. Nonetheless, it was refreshing to see Huang Rong go from mischievous trickster, who leaves Qi Gong tied to a stake in the ocean, to filial disciple who becomes the next leader of the Beggar Sect.
We are also introduced to the third of the Great Four Masters, the Western Venom from White Camel Mountain, OuYang Feng. Now, he comes and goes as he likes in this section of the plot. It’s mostly his son OuYang Ke that we see more prominent at the beginning of the series due to his position as advisor to WangYang Hong Lie. It’s only when talk of Huang Rong’s marriage plans arise that Ou Yang Feng and his son nephew go to propose marriage (with the underlying intention to possess the Nine Yin Manual from Huang Yao Shi). Huang Yao Shi’s three trials for the suitors are always a highlight of the second part of the story. The special affects used to showcase qinggong woven into the score of music is akin to the special affects of Windows Media Player 7 so in this case, the qingong x music battle is a thousand times better demonstrated in the 2008 adaptation due to a change in animation software and technology.
On top of Huang Yao Shi’s dislike of his daughter’s simpleminded sweetheart, Guo Jing is still tied down to the Mongolian Princess Hua Zheng, who’s accompanied his brother to Jiangnan for alliance talks with the Jin, which makes me seriously question Mongolian bureaucracy (if there is any). Hua Zheng seems very able to go in and out of the Mongolian camps as she wishes even though she has no concern of military affairs nor does she take an interest in the political workings of her people.
There was an entire arc devoted to the love triangle between Guo Jing, Huang Rong and Hua Zheng in which Guo Jing and Huz Zheng work out most of their friendship and sibling relationship, ending in pain in heartbreak. In fact, the span of time after Huang Rong saves Hua Zheng from White Camel Mountain snake poison and the prelude to the Mongolian war against the Jin, Hua Zheng elapses into a depressive state, knowing that the only reason Guo Jing stays with her on account of duty and obligation and not love.
A key event which is one of the most significant arcs of the series, in my opinion, is the one where Huang Rong, Hong Qi Gong and Ouyang Ke are all stranded on. Up to this point in the series, Huang Rong’s been relying on Guo Jing as her protection and emotional support through her journeys. Whenever she comes across hardships, her relationship with him gives her the drive she needs to overcome her struggles. Now, she’s left with the uncertainty of Guo Jing’s wellbeing, the possibility of her teacher Qi Gong dying from poison, and stuck with a dangerous Ouyang Ke who’s sexually interested in her. In addition to developing a plan to travel back to the mainland, she must care for Qi Gong and her own safety in the duration of time that they’re on the island. Huang Rong, after surviving the island ordeal and becoming the new leader of the Beggar Sect, she matures in more ways than one.
On the lighter side of LOL, this Mei Chao Feng is too sentimental when it comes to young love. She even helps Yang Kang and Mu NianCi work out their problems so that they can get married which to me, is so out of character because everything calls her a witch. On the other end of the story, Yang Kang and Mu Nian Ci finally marry, despite Nian Ci’s doubt of Yang Kang’s feelings towards her.
Since in this adaptation of the story, we’re not given a back story of Ouyang Ke and we continuously view him as the side antagonist to our heroes. I felt that in the 2008 version of the story, showing Ouyang Ke’s family background makes us almost sympathize with him after the island arc. Though in the 1983 series, he’s killed for much more plausible reasons than in the 2008 version; Yang Kang stabs him with a dagger in a jealous fit shortly after eavesdropping on Ouyang Ke’s advances on Nian Ci.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of the story comes after Guo Jing is injured and must heal himself according to the formulas of the Nine Yin manual, which requires him and Huang Rong to seclude themselves for a number of day in order to rebalance the energies in his body. At this time, everything in the outside world starts to get chaotic. Due to Qiu Qianzhang’s lies, the Quanzhen Sect thinks that Zhou Botong was killed by Huang Yaoshi. A disciple of the Quanzhen sect dies from the fray and Mei Chao Feng also dies when she shields her teacher against Ouyang Feng. There is SO much misunderstanding here, but the really cool thing about it is all the epic fighting we get to see between all these highly skilled martial artists. By the end of this arc, Huang Rong has exposed the Qiu Qianren for a weak martial art con-artist who is actually a fake Qiu Qianren. Of course, this comes to bite them in the butt after but Guo Jing and Huang Rong set off on the search Yu Fei’s Book of Wumu.
Containing the bulk of Guo Jing and Huang Rong’s set of adventures in Jiangnan, this part is probably my favourite in this adaptation. I mean, Guo Jing learns the 18 Dragon Subduing Palms! It doesn’t get any more intense than that.
Hope you guys enjoyed this little recap + commentary review. Part 3 is coming soon!
What are you pondering today?