Choose-your-own-adventure in interactive drama The Invisible Guardian

With a douban score of 9.7/10, Invisible Guardian rates way above even the highest rated drama of last year (The River Flows East at 8.8)

China’s most expensive choose-your-own-adventure yet, interactive drama The Invisible Guardian 隐形守护者 is the latest espionage drama hit.  With about ten hours of gameplay, complex characters, and multiple brilliant endings, the game allows the user to take on the identity of Xiao Tu, a student who has decided to go undercover in Shanghai during the Republican era. There, you must navigate a world where everyone is out for themselves, all the while making difficult decisions that often have no right answers. Pay attention, for there are hints in episode one that won’t show up until the very last episode.

The interactive drama doesn’t gloss over the complexity of human nature and the harshness of reality. In one plotline, you have the option of manipulating the masses Culture Revolution-style to smear the name of a former colleague. In another, you can join the Japanese army to save yourself. There are bad and good people in each party, and you can also end up in any of them by the end of the series.  Can you maintain your original dreams when everyone around you seems to have betrayed them and you?  Even if you’ve kept alive, are the sacrifices along the way worth it? Will you still be you? 

By having the option of death, the series also gets rid of the “dumb decisions” issues that many dramas have. After all, one mistake and you’re dead. The series allows you to experience over a hundred endings in five main plotlines, including some that seem cruel but logical to you, but also some that are “losses” but might make your life so much happier.  Sometimes even when you lose you might be winning.

Liu Xijun sings the theme for the Red Blossom plotline of the drama game, which is part stills and part video:

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Music Monday: 2018 drama theme song edition

Instead of clogging up my end of year review (coming soon!), I’ve decided to create a separate post for my favourite OSTs of the year.

When done well, theme songs and instrumental music are able to draw me into the events happening onscreen, even if the acting is bland and/or the story is sub par (sometimes I find that the worse a drama is, the better its OST). I may not have watched some of the dramas on this list, but that didn’t stop me from putting their songs on replay.

I’m a fan of ancient dramas, hence my playlist is usually dominated by melancholy ballads. Which drama soundtracks made an impression on you this year?

Phoenix Street 朱雀街 by Song Bingyang (Moonshine and Valentine)

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Photoshoot Round Up, Week 8: Many, many, many

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How could Liu Bang cheat on her?

There’s a lot of white in this photoshoot, from Qin Lan – with two roles as Empress Lv – as a bride for Cosmopolitan, Huang Yi in wintery neutrals for Vigour, Ni Ni frosty for Glass, Hai Lu with doll eyelashes and snowy flowers, and Yuan Shanshan in simple white. A bit more tropical are Liu Xijun, Bai Baihe, Zhang Meng, and a Tong Liya verging on Lady Gaga. Look below the cut for photos and links to more.

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The New Years Concerts

The whole Hunan TV show was uploaded at MyChineseDrama@yt. Part 1 here. For tons of pictures of the performers go here.

My favorite performance from Hunan: Yu Haoming + Liu Xijun – Bei Ji Xue

More vids of what happened at Taipei aiyatheydidnt has a great  post with most of those.

For Jiangsu TV no one really uploaded vids, so here’s Sina’s vid of my most anticipated performance from Jiangsu:

Joanna Wang out of semi-hiatus

Fayewongtoday has a post on Faye Wong attending her friend Na Ying‘s much anticipated New Year Concert.

Going on Vacation (Kind Of)

Li Yuanxi, Pan Chen and Liu Xijun in China's coastal city Sanya

This week I’ll be in and out, intermittently, and idarklight will be going to China soon as well for a month. Even when she’s  not posting, she does a lot of stuff behind the scenes so don’t be surprised if the site falls into the crapper when she’s gone.

However idarklight will still be posting some things before she’s gone, including the big Chinese ethnic minorities in Chinese entertainment post (including Han Geng) so please be on the lookout for it. Otherwise, just talk amongst yourself and keep everything civil.

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eeMedia Family’s Winter MV

The thrice previously posted on eeMedia MV for their 2010 theme Kuai Le Chu Fa – has been released!  It was composed by Top Combine’s Ma Xueyang, which I imagine is cheaper for eeMedia than last year, where they hired Da Zhang Wei (the flowers) to compose, and frankly I like Ma’s better. It suits its purpose – it makes you want to start bouncing around while you put up holiday decorations.

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eeMedia Family Winter MV pictures Part 2

Li Yuanxi, Liu Xijun, and Zheng Shuang are the second group to film for the eeMedia family MV

So apparently the “Winter/New Years” MV  will actually have most of the eeMedia family but they’re being filmed separately, because it’s easier to coordinate. And eeMedia is really impressing me with how well-coordinated it’s become. Last year was a lot of firsts for the company and it showed. The previous MV was cute, but with stock outfits and everyone looked more tired than happy. The New Years concert also turned out messy. But this year everything  in Long Danni’s plan for the company  seems to have just about fallen into place and hopefully this year the New Years concert will be better too.

Continuing the  tradition from the last post, have a bit of Top Combine: new individual pics. Their album release date is confirmed as Dec. 13th, which is also coincidentally, Kimi Qiao Renliang‘s album release date. He also released new album pics. The boys aren’t trying to spread out at all are they?

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Yu Haoming Releases Album with ‘Hugs’ from eeMedia family

Usually there’s one or two hugs at a album release, but Yu Haoming’s release of his first album, “Hug” was filled with them, which made the whole affair very cute.  It included those from Wei Chen and Zhu Zixiao, the supporting H2 of Meteor Shower, and from his two favorite girls – Zheng Shuang and Liu Xijun. Top Combine, whom he trained with in their early days was there to support him as well.

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