Welcome to 2016, it seems like we 90s’ kid-dults have entered a revolutionary era where childhood memories are recreated. First we relived worldwide fever of Pokemon through life-changing Augmented Reality game Pokemon Go. Now a Chinese drama Ice Fantasy is rocking Chinese-speaking communities, largely fueled by nostalgia of a bestselling novel, City of Fantasy (《幻城》), and of course the highly popular, handsome lead actors Ma Tian Yu and Feng Shao Feng.
Growing up in China, I too, was swept into the craze of Guo Jing Ming’s popular novel. A young and talented author, the seventeen year old Guo wrote a story his generation could relate to, which became an overnight success and was one of the first books that started a new fantasy genre for young adults in the bookstores. This was probably more than ten years ago when I was still at school. I remember my admiration for his beautiful, delicate style of writing that dreamily illustrated The City of Ice and everything else in the book. The book was quite ’emo’, to be honest, if you allow me to describe the story as ‘beautiful sadness’. Now in retrospect I can see it fits the psychology of teenager market’s sensitive emotions. I can’t help but suggest a theory, maybe the author has an INFP personality? That might explain the mellowness throughout the novel. 😛
Frankly, I don’t really remember the plot so I’m glad to watch the TV drama without spoiler. 😀 It’s a story of Ice Prince Ka Suo, and his dearest younger brother Ying Kong Shi. Although talented and seen as the future Ice King, Ka Suo’s deepest longing is to be like a bird, free to go anywhere he desires without the burden and responsibility of a king. The young Ying Kong Shi understands this, he looks up to Ka Suo after all. Out of brotherly love, Ying Kong Shi makes it his mission to fulfill Ka Suo’s dream. Then a war between Fire and Ice Kingdoms breaks and threatens the peace of Three Worlds, and changes the fate of the two brothers.
Excuse my fan-girling, there are tons of reasons to start binge watching this drama. The cast is an army of beautiful people. You’ll find many eye candies and characters to root for. They look like coming straight out of a game(think Final Fantasy) with the elaborate costumes and make up. In addition, the theme song is a duet between my favorite and ever popular Mandarin singer Jay Chou and A-Mei. My only complain is too much CGI in the drama. But how else to show magic without special effect? It bothers me that I can differentiate the inauthentic parts in the film. That said, I think everyone’s acting skills are great and believable. I can empathize with their problems and wonder what happens next.
This song in the trailer above is my favourite throughout the fillm. I get emotional whenever it’s playing in the background. It’s beautifully heartbreaking. Every character has their reasons in doing things, no matter good or bad. All hope for the best but they can’t help the turning of fate. This trailer explains the story and main characters pretty well. I’ll do a bit of character analysis while explaining the dialogues.
Ka Suo: Spirit! Are you the Spirit? I don’t know what Li Luo promised you. You definitely must not hurt her. Li Luo, Li Luo is the woman I love the most.
I’m rooting for Ka Suo and Li Luo since the beginning. Ka Suo being a prince and Li Luo a mere human who is his protector, this romance gets complicated really fast. They all put each other first. The brave and devoted Li Luo is not afraid to sacrifice herself in order to bring back Ka Suo’s magic, even if that means she will not be beside him when he recovered. Ka Suo doesn’t want Li Luo to die but recovering his magic is the only way to save the world.
Ying Kong Shi: Father, I hope the heir to the throne that you will announce to all clans of Three Worlds today is me, Ying Kong Shi.
Different from the gentle and kind Ka Suo, Ying Kong Shi has grown to be a clever young man with an outstanding strategic thinking ability and incredible determination. He does whatever it takes to achieve his goals. He loves his brother above all else and has dedicated his life to bring about Ka Suo’s happiness, which is to not be a king and live a happy normal life with Li Luo. Since they are the only Ice Princes left, the only way is for Ying Kong Shi to become king, albeit not wanting to be a king himself. But he hides it really well, and some deem him cold-hearted for competing against his brother.
Li Luo: Your lives are stronger than mine. Your skills are more powerful. Why let a mortal like me sacrifice everything for you?
Li Luo, I should say, what a good question! Another question, why let a woman protect a man, and not vice versa? If she is not the protector, she can live a happy normal life without all these problems. But when there’s a choice to do so, she cannot leave Ka Suo alone, I guess that is love.
Ying Kong Shi: My brother does not like you at all.
Lan Shang: But I like Ka Suo. No worries if he doesn’t like me. Don’t I have the freedom to like him? Why do you want to take away my freedom of liking him!
Mermaid Princess Lan Shang loves Ka Suo. She doesn’t need Ying Kong Shi to point out, she knows Ka Suo doesn’t love her back. This unrequited love is so helpless when she is a kind and righteous princess. Lan Shang goes the length of asking for Li Luo’s forgiveness when punished by Ice King because it’s not fair and she doesn’t want Ka Suo to be sad.
Ka Suo: I want to live on with Shi’s power, and fight for the peace of Three Worlds.
Not sure how Shi dies here, I haven’t finished the whole series (episode 30 of 62 so far). One thing is certain, Ka Suo must be devastated to lose his dearest brother. Ka Suo never doubts his brother’s love for him. I believe Shi must die a worthy death because in the end he has accomplished his mission of protecting Ka Suo.
Ka Suo: Being with her will only hurt her. Together forever, is merely a dream I cannot fulfill. So be it, let her stay away from me so she will be safe for her whole life. Even if she’ll hate me as a result, it’s alright.
Back to our hero and heroine Ka Suo and Li Luo. Their love go through so many obstacles and uncertainties. When Ka Suo is finally able to see the bright side of losing his magic, and can follow his dream to grow old together with Li Luo, the spirits that posses his body make him a danger to people near him. He is filled with deep regrets when he loses control and hurts Li Luo so he decides to let her go.
I wonder why so many conflicts and helpless situations? In fact, the ones here are only a small percentage in this drama. Why can’t they all live happily ever after? Well, that’s the point to keep watching, isn’t it? I’m intrigued what will happen to these good people? Okay, no more spoiler. There is a big secret beneath all this. Find out yourself.
What do you think of this drama? Tell me which character is your favourite! 🙂