An Oriental Odyssey (Chinese Drama Review & Summary)
An Oriental Odyssey poster
Genre: Historical Costume Drama Fiction, Wuxia, Mystery, Crime, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: October 2018
Origin: China; based on the novel by Miao Juan
CDrama: 50 Episodes
Janice Wu as Ye Yuan An
Zheng Ye Cheng as Mu Le
Zhang Yu Jian as Zhan Lan Zhi (police)
Kiki Dong as Ming Hui (the Infanta)
Mickey Yuan as Chen Tian Tsu
Zheng Xiao Ning as King of Luo
Zhi Nan Li as Pei Shan La
Yin Xiao Tian as Tang San Zang
Song Yi Xing as Shui Yue/Xiao Ke
LI Yan Man as Xiao Yu
It is all about the beads. This drama is about the search for the nine divine beads that could end the chaos that is besetting the world, provided of course that the ultimate finder has a sacred heart.
There are two contenders to the hunt for the beads. One was a chubby, untrustworthy, overly ambitious, but rather an influential monk, who has a very high position in the empire as the state preceptor (Teacher to the king) He advises the king on many issues from mundane to the most important ones.
The second person was another monk who I called the ‘Q’. He was like a mad scientist; excitable, and not averse to animal testing or people testing for that matter, sometimes without the person/victim’s permission. He lives in the basement or dug-out cave at the Family Ye Manor.
The two monks were students of the original keeper of the Nine Sacred Beads but upon his death, before his corpse had cool down, his two most trusted students fought over the beads and the other disciples also joined in a martial art combats, thus most of the beads got lost in the process.
The secret to watching and truly enjoying this wuxia is what you call “Suspension of Disbelief”. 🙂
For starter, cutely feminine Ye Yuan An pretended to be a man. This cute girl is feisty and into mischief and adventure. Of course, she doesn’t look like a man at all, but we’re supposed to believe that everyone in the drama sees her as a young man except for only a few. 🙂
Anyway, a maid who is a sweetheart of one of her servants was going to be executed because she had been found guilty of murdering the star dancer of the Qianduan Brothel despite insufficient evidence and investigation.
Yuan An as a James Bond has her version of ‘Q’, who provides her with new gadgets.
One of this gadgets is the spider on an elastic string that gets her anything the spider attached itself into, may it be an object or a person.
With this gadget, Yuan An sneaked into the prison and rescued the servant girl.
They did escape very narrowly.
Yuan An arranged for the servant girl and her lover to leave and hide somewhere else. They were to be taken by boat when Yuan An realised that the boatman was the police.
Yuan An begged the police to give her three days to bring the real culprit to account for the death of the star dancer.
Yuan An joined forces with the chief constable of the police, Lan Zhi. While they were on their investigations, they come across a ‘ghost’/slave trade market. One of the slaves on sale was a feral man who was good at riding horses, running, jumping and flying but he does not talk.
Yuan An realised that she met him a few days ago when he helped stopped her runaway horse.
She felt pity for how they were treating him that she decided to buy him herself.
As soon as he was unchained, he went absolutely wild and run-off.
The police found out that the brothel is the hub of opium trafficking.
After a good scrubbing, the wild man looked different, he was actually innocently handsome. Yuan An later gave him a name of Mu Le because of his love of woods and forest.
There was a sort of Titanic scene where the ship capsized.
The ship was actually the floating Qiunduan brothel which doubles up as an opium den. The people on board, including Yuan An, Mu Le and Lan Zhi had to swim with all their might in a waist-deep (Knee Deep) water. LOL
Mu Le had become so protective of Yuan An that he was preventing her to endanger herself while rescuing Lan Zhi.
She learned then that Mu Le can actually talk.
Anyway, after their investigation, they found out the opium lord is the third son of the Situ Household who happens to be the boyfriend/intended of the Infanta. He was Xianya, who unfortunately had fallen in love with the graceful Ruo Yo, the star dancer.
As it was not clear that Xianya was also the killer of the star dancer, the servant girl was rearrested.
It is the wedding of the infanta to Xianya but it ended in chaos when Xianya had a delusional episode mistaking that the Infanta was Ruo Yo.
Jiang Ren, the slave of the Infanta was really in love with her (and it seems quite mutual as well) so he went for Xianya with his sword intent on killing him for disrespecting the Infanta.
Lan Zhi was quicker and able to stop him from attacking. With sword fighting, Lan Zhi came out the better one and managed to snag Jiang Ren’s sleeve revealing his tattoo.
Jiang Ren was the wanted man, the police had been looking for. He was their real drug trafficker and manufacturer of opium.
Jiang Ren before dying had already replaced all the candles at the wedding venue. The red candles were stuffed with a super strong hallucinogenic substance that could have killed everyone.
Thank goodness for Mu Le who extinguished the candles.
Yuan An’s stepmother was desperate to marry her off.
She arranged a blind date for Yuan An.
After mistaking another bloke as her date, she finally learned that the man she was supposed to be meeting was Lan Zhi.
She quite likes him initially but ended up hating him as he interrogated her about the latex mask she wore to frighten off the man she thought was her date.
Lan Zhi told her that the only man that can make a latex mask was the wanted cruel monk. Yuan was having none of it as she trusts her ‘Q’ (monk).
She went home and promised herself never to see Lan Zhi again.
Poor Mu Le!
Mu Le was set up by Yuan An’s young brother to take the fall for the voyeur who had been perverting on the servant girls’ quarter.
It was really another male servant who was the culprit, which her brother caught in the act. He blackmailed the servant to make Mu Le to be blamed.
So the servant told the innocent Mu Le to watch over the servant girls as they were fighting inside. He encouraged the innocent Mu Le to look over the hole on the wall.
The other servants then found the shocked Mu Le peeping on the hole, they frogmarched him to Yuan An’s stepmother for punishment.
Yuan An quickly intervened by grabbing the whip from her stepmother.
Previously, Mu Le made Yuan An promised never to hit him. The promise was a payment for Mu Le having saved her numerous times.
But Yuan An was forced to use the whip on him. He sorrowfully said to her “You hit me!” It broke his heart (and mine). The young brother was watching gleefully.
Mu Le was then thrown out of the manor.
Poor Mu Le!
He was once again homeless. He was having a dream.
In his dream, he was falling deep into a quicksand. Yuan An was trying to save him but a dragon got her while being watched by baddies who emigrated from Power Rangers.
Mu Le was befriended by a con-man who used him to steal money from a market vendor.
Yuan An finally found out that Mu Le was truly innocent from perverting on girls and went to look for him. Mu Le refuses to go back with her because he can’t forget that she hit him.
It is the Empress birthday in four days time but her favourite painting called the Bajsoo Tree had gone missing from their archive. Lan Zhi had been called by the head eunuch to investigate. He said head would roll if the the Empress finds out about the missing painting.
Yua An’s half-brother had been gambling and had incurred a huge debt. His debtor had kidnapped him until a ransom (equivalent to his debt) is paid to him. Her half brother’s servant begged Yuan An to save her brother.
She learned that her brother was taken to Luotian Cave. To get there she needed to cross a river with dangerous current.s
The infanta disguised as a ninja helped her and Mu Le to cross the river but secretly stole her valuable dagger, which she was going to barter for her brother’s release.
Lan Zhi ended up at the Luotian Cave as well in chase of the missing painting. He was put in a huge cube cage with Mu Le, Yuan An and her brother to be fed to ferocious hungry fish.
Mu Le with superhuman strength broke the bars and quickly rescued the others one by one except for Lan Zhi as the case dropped into the water already.
They got out of the cave with Yuan An wailing that she needed to rescue Lan Zhi.
Her brother and Mu Le decided to return to the manor against her wishes. Mu Le gave her a karate chop by the neck to keep her unconscious and easier to manage and bring home.
‘Q’ healed Yuan An and helped them with paraphernalia to get back at the renegade still at Luotian cave and also to look for Lan Zhi’s body.
Lan Zhi was far from dead as he had been saved from the fish and nurtured by the Infanta.
Lan Zhi retrieved the painting ready for the Empress birthday.
It was the Empress birthday celebration. She noticed how much the Emperor was enjoying watching nubile girls dancing.
The Empress rather minded that the Emperor was so engrossed. She feels that she was getting old as a few years back she would ignore his womanising ways.
She turned in early despite her ongoing party.
She got rather nostalgic of her old life, when she fell in love with a painter, who painted the Bajsoo Tree.
She later found out that her ex-boyfriend is quite nearby. What she did not know was that he had grown very bitter and blamed her for all the ails in his life.
When he saw her, he wanted her dead.
Thank goodness for Lan Zhi and Mu Le for defending her and of course, Yuan An for protecting her.
The Empress was so grateful to Yuan An that she promoted her father to Minister of Finance. Their fortune has vastly improved.
Suddenly everyone wanted them at their parties.
The Empress had advised Yuan An that if she likes someone then grab every opportunity to be with him so that she will have no regrets one day.
Yuan An has a bit of a crush with Lan Zhi. She wanted his attention so she is trying now to be more girly. First stop is to learn flower arranging.
Meanwhile, Mu Le is confused with his being. He heard Yuan An and Q talking about him not quite human but perhaps a monster.
While he was mulling this over a rescued a noble girl from almost being singed on a lit barbecue grill.
Instead of thanking Mule, the girl wilfully pretended that Mu Le broke her branded earring. And she wanted a lot of money for the repair.
Poor Mu Le borrowed money from everyone but won’t reveal what he needed the money for.
New case for Lan Zhi, a spectre that borrows faces.
The Noble Girl that Mu Le had a run in with hounded him and Yuan An until she was able to convince Yuan An to release Mu Le from his servitude into a free man. The Girl prentended that she and Mu Le were in love.
Yuan An then gave Mu Le to the Girl, who has a secret. She might be the notorious face thief.
Meanwhile Yuan An romance with Lan Zhi is slowly heating up.
The first episode is charming, it has that very Japanese feel of storytelling and the cast is so good; it has got Ito Kentaro in it. Yey!
Elaiza Ikeda plays Miko Yakumo, who can see ghosts. Her boss is Goro Ikazuzi, who is a realtor/estate agent cum detective.
Anyway, Goro specializes in renting out properties which are the ‘unrentable’ ones, with histories of violent deaths and suicides.
What he does was to room launders the place by having people, who usually work, for him to stay there for a few months to build up a new history, clearing or hiding the violent previous event.
Miko is usually the one to stay/rent these places.
Her current place is Room 101, where a member of the Yakuza was tortured and killed by his group because they caught him running away with some of the proceeds from their drug sale. The dead man was then locked under the floorboards of Room 101. The money he took was never been recovered.
The owner of the house/room was having a problem renting out the room so he went to Goro.
Nijikawa works in the local mini-mart and has a crush of Miko. He told her that she can rely on him to help her out whenever she needed help.
The help she asked him to help her with was to find Candy, the girl the ghost of the dead Yakuza had been pining about. He told Miko he wanted to know how Candy was.
Candy works at the Sao Paulo Samba Dance restaurant. When Miko and Nijikawa saw her, she was rather too friendly with another man.
How can they tell the ghost that Candy is anything but bereaved?!!!
Love this drama, Joe Odagiri is ruggedly handsome.
Beyond the Deepening Shadow – 100th Anniversary of Armistice
Tomorrow will see the 100th anniversary of Armistice which ended the war in the land, air, and water during the First World War.
As a symbol of remembrance, some 10,000 candles were lit at dusk (5 p.m.) at the moat of the Tower of London in the last few days and will be culminating tomorrow at the actual day of the anniversary: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Peter and I went to see the candles at the tower yesterday. It was packed by people who were uncomplaining in an orderly but extremely long queue.
In the end, it was all worth it, the vista of the flickering thousands of lights was evocative and atmospheric. It was amazing and wonderful to behold.
I have to say that the leads are so good. Kang Ji Hwan always delivers something fun and interesting and Baek Jin Hee is so cute and energetic.
Anyway, this drama started so well. Baek Jin Sang is one horrible boss, not popular at all. He would humiliate his subordinate without any qualms, he takes no prisoner!
Lee Roo Da is an assistant manager to the Marketing Department team and she had had enough of his temper and being cold and bolshy.
Something went wrong in their presentation of introducing their new product to the public testers. It was stressful for everyone, so stressful that Roo Da chanted again and again that Baek Jin Sang should die during their company dinner.
Baek Jin Sang did not die during the dinner, what happened to him was he got so drunk, he was catatonic. Unfortunately for Roo Da, all her teammates had gone so it was left to her to take responsibility for her boss.
She asked the help of Joon Ho, who happens to be a newbie worker but secretly he was the heir to their company.
While they were walking Baek Jin Sang out, he emptied his stomach into Roo Da’s clothes, Joon Ho left to look for something to clean her up.
Roo Da was trying to clean herself up but got destructed by her ringing phone. Before she knew it, Baek Jin Sang was in the middle of a busy road and had gotten struck by a truck, bleeding and dead.
The next thing she knew was it was morning.
She found out that it was 7th November. She was not sure whether it was just all a dream.
It was a dream. because Baek Jin Sang was in the office, alive and kicking. For some reason, what happened in her dream seemed to mirror the same pattern as what was currently happening.
Again the day ended with Baek Jin Sang dying.
Roo Da was more prepared the next day as it was the 7th again but still, Baek Jin Sang ended up dying. His way of dying varies from day to day as Roo Da does everything she can to prevent him from passing away. But he always does at the end of the day.
This happened again, then again, and then yet again. It was like the American film The Groundhog Day. It kept repeating itself.
Roo Da got so physically exhausted from preventing Baek Jin Sang from dying that in the end, she let loose.
When he complained again refuses to take responsibility for his own mistake Roo Da, pulled him by the collar on his shirt and shook him again and again while screaming at him. She reckoned that she had nothing to lose as this would happen again tomorrow.
How wrong she was!
She woke up and it was the 8th.
This episode is even better. The leads are so adorable. Though all they do is bicker, their chemistry is showing so brightly.
Anyway, Roo Da woke up on the 8th and of course she has to account for what she did to her Team Manager.
And account she did.
The police were called and arrived while Baek Jin Sang had Roo Da pinned against a wall. He was arrested in the middle of his complaint that he was the one who called the police.
At the police station, where the police could not believe that he was lodging of complaint of office violence against Roo Da, who is just a slip of a girl compared to his stature, Baek Jin Sang added Sexual Harassment as well.
The police advised Baek Jin Sang that his case has not much merit and may be thrown out of court.
The sexual harassment was what really got to Roo Da. She can’t believe it. She had it clarified with Baek Jin Sang, who said that when she grabbed his collar, she touched his neck. He then said that she never once apologised for what she did to him.
Roo Da concurred immediately and apologised but Baek Jin Sang said he wanted it in a form of public apology where it has to be broadcasted.
Roo Da realised that her situation at work is really untenable. She started researching the process of giving out resignation when Baek JIn Sang saw it. He was harking that it was the best news. She wished that he dies and hey presto the big clock just on top of him fell straight over his head, instantly killing him.
She woke up the next day, having to do repeat everything of the previous day. This time she tried to stay away from Baek Jin Sang as much as possible.
She then got a message for an interview with another company. She did not get it at first but at the same time Baek Jin Sang got electrocuted while doing a company conference.
It seems the death of Baek Jin Sang is what makes a day repeats itself. And it repeated.
She has to undergo the interview again and this time she was successful but Baek JIn Sang still dies.
So again, everything is repeated but she had to do thinks from her end extra fast to get to Baek Jin Sang before he dies.
And she saved him.
Can’t wait for the next installment. This is so enjoyable.
Ning Que lived during the apocalyptic version of the Tang Dynasty, where there was a legendary prophesy that Yong Ye would bring chaos (change) to the period. There is a race to find Yong Ye.
Ning Que went with 7 other comrades into the desert but they were attacked by an opposing faction. Only Ning Que survived and got back home.
No one was really surprised that he returned unharmed. He was a good fighter, their best fighter despite his young age.
The person most happy to see him was his ward/slave Sang Sang.
Sang Sang is like a family to him. They were very very close. He got her after digging her out from bodies of dead people, which made her eternally grateful to him.
The Tang Princess was married off to a chief of Golden Horde to create an alliance. But after just a couple of years, the chief is dead. Unfortunately for the princess, it was customary for the wife of a leader to die with him.
During the burning of corpses ceremony, the princess escaped while one of her ladies in waiting sacrificed herself.
The Princess reached Ning Que’s village. Incognito as a lady’s maid, she asked the village elder to provide her with an escort to Tang City.
Of course, Ning Que was it, who at first was not interested but his mind was changed when he was reminded that he would be a step nearer of realising his ambition of enrolling at the best academy of the empire.
The Princess was lucky in choosing Ning Que. He saved her from assassination. She was so grateful that she told him to call her Ling Yu and to affiliate with her.
Alas, he had to turn her down for his dream.
Ning Que and Sang Sang explored the capital.
There they met Ning Que’s friend, who saved him from a massacre that killed his entire family.
That was fifteen years ago. The two boys then found a crying infant next to a dead woman. This was how Ning Que got Sang Sang.
The Princess was aghast at how her manor had turned into disrepair just after two years that she had been away.
Ning Que and Sang Sang are homeless. Ning Que rebuked her for not getting them an inn.
Sang Sang said that they cannot afford an inn as we would need every single penny they have to pay for his tuition at the academy.
As luck would have it, they found a property which going cheap to rent as both abode and a calligraphy shop. Their landlord is the enigmatic, Chao Xiaoshu.
Ning Que’s longest friend, who saved him when he was young was killed as he had been found out to be a double agent for the Yolong Sect headed by Chao Xiaoshu. He is also the leader of Ichthyosaur gang. 🙂
Before he died, he left something, a clue, at Ning Que’s house pointing an influential politician who frequents the Red Sleeves Invitation brothel.
This is my favourite episode so far. The fighting scene was glorious. 🙂
Chao Xiaoshu saw how NIng Que was able to run so fast when he was chasing the corrupt official at the Red Sleeves Invitation brothel. So he went to see Ning Que to ask him to be his second as he was about to embark on a death-defying one-man band against hundreds of soldiers from all opposing sides.
Chao Xiaoshu remarked that he was on a revenge mode as his brother had been assassinated today.
Ning Que reliased that Chao Xiaoshu was talking about his childhood best friend.
I have to say that Andy On looked so charismatic and gorgeous and he reminds me of that Japanese actor, Yamashita Tomohisa.
Andy Oh plays Chao Xiaoshu, the master of the swords. and has the ability of astral projection. It was quite impressive, I must admit, He absolutely owned the scene.
Ning Que had received 2000 tael in silver (but looks like gold bars) from Chao Xiaoshu for having helped him out during his battle.
He also told him to enter the palace the next day.
Chao Xiaoshu is thought highly by the emperor that he considers him a younger brother. He wanted him to stay nearby but Chao Xiaoshu declared he can’t and then took his leave but beforehand he arranged for Ning Que to be a part of the Imperial Court as a secret bodyguard to the emperor.
I think Chao Xiaoshu will enter the academy as he had always wanted to be a college boy. Attaining your dream is never to late. 🙂
It is the day of the entrance examination at the academy.
Ning Que realised immediately that he should have studied for it. He did get an A+ in Maths but a D in Governance because he wrote a beautiful love story which the girl who was checking the test papers deemed almost perfect and therefore he might be untrustworthy.
They also had to play a musical instrument which he sadly fails as he concentrated on sword fights.
Then all the examinees were sent into the forest to engage into some sort of paintballing exercise but using blunt arrows.
Grimly, their paintballing was interrupted by real assassins who tried to kill the students one by one but their real target was the princess who was attending the examination day as a proxy to her father, the king.
Quick-minded Ning Que used one of the students blunted arrows to shoot the princess so that she falls back to the ground and therefore missing the real arrows that were coming her way.
During all this drama, he met JIn Bai, who was a master cultivator of arrows 🙂 🙂 🙂 Ning Que was so impressed that he imployed Jin Bai to take him as a follower.
Jin Bai refused but in the end, said that if Ning Que can climb a two-story building then he might consider him as a follower.
Ning Que was left perplexed. He shouted, “where can I find the building?”
Ning Que was not confident at all that he would pass the examination so he told Sang Sang that it was time for them to go back to Wei City.
Sang Sang told him that he had to stay put and she like it where they were.
The result of the exam was published. Ning Que was listless. But Chu, his friend that he met at the Red Sleeves Invite surprised him by telling him that he topped the three of the tests. He was first in Maths, Governance and archery.
He started in the academy and was quite popular with both the boys as well as the girls already. He also begins to show great logical mind during class with Master Cao.