If you’ve read my first hiatus wrap-up you know I’ve read a lot during the months I wasn’t blogging. As for show or movies, I didn’t really keep track of everything I’ve watched until January, but that’s also because I didn’t watch anything new during the fall, being too busy to emotionally engage with new things.
So I wanted to give an overview of what I’ve watched, and hopefully something will catch your interest!
• Tian Guan Ci Fu (Heaven Official’s Blessing) – donghua – season 1: I followed this donghua religiously since it started coming out in fall but the last episode (excluding the special February episode) was in January so that’s my excuse for talking about it here. This is the second visual adaptation of my favorite novel after the manhua (which is ongoing) and so far I don’t think I could have asked for more! The adaptation follows the novel almost to a T for the two first plot arcs and I feel like the creators really care about this universe, and so far I found myself completely agreeing with the their interpretation of the characters I deeply fell in love with in my two rereads of the novel. In the meantime the show has even landed on Netflix so if you can I highly recommend checking it out (and it’s not necessary to have read the novel first!)
• The Legend of Luo Xiaohei – webseries – season 1: I did my first rewatch of the lxh series. After watching the movie (The Legend of Hei (2019)) last October I fell deeply in love with this universe which so far consists of the movie, a webseries and an ongoing manhua, but there’s more movies and more webseries seasons planned and I can’t wait. I might dedicate a full post to why I love this particular universe created by MTJJ because there’s really so much to talk about, but one of the points that most appeal to me in this moment in time is its high rewatchability/rereadability (I don’t know if those are words), since there’s something new to discover every time. It’s comforting and it makes it the perfect thing to get into if you’re neurodivergent like me. I have rewatched this season at least one more time during hiatus but I won’t repeat that for each month otherwise this wrap-up would get boring 🙂
• We Are Gamily – movie: in this 2017 Taiwan movie set in China, two twins who are a gay man and a lesbian woman decide to marry each other’s partner in order to appear straight to their families. Chaos obviously ensues! I love seeing how queerness is talked about in non-western fiction, especially when it doesn’t have to care about censorship. I found this movie both hilarious and the acting really good. It has a happy ending and while I wish some things had been handled a little differently and/or felt a bit rushed, it’s probably my favorite queer movie so far (not that I’ve seen many that weren’t shorts).
• I then watched a few sapphic Korean shorts or short webseries on YouTube, they weren’t memorable enough to leave a lasting impression but I had a mostly good time watching them:
◘ Lily Fever – season 1
◘ 집착 심한 친구
◘ Am I the only one with butterflies? – season 1 & 2
• Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! – show: a man turns 30 and starts being able to hear people’s thoughts when he touches them, and with this power he finds out one of his male coworkers is in love with him. Listen, despite the silly title and premise (stemming from a Japanese legend in which if you turn 30 and are a virgin you gain powers), this show is all but silly. That is not to say it isn’t funny, because it is! But with that premise I definitely expected something more trope-y and definitely more in the direction of over-the-top scenes that other queer Asian shows have gotten me used to. This show is anything but that: the characters’ feelings are never made fun or light of. Queerness isn’t used as a joke or as a fetish. The whole show is so gentle and will make you feel at peace and as if the world has turned to soft cotton for a few hours. I can’t recommend it enough and I wish I could watch it again for the first time.
• TGCF – special episode: this is sort of a bridge to the next season since the plot arc of season 1 of Heaven Official’s Blessing ends on episode 11. But it’s a necessary episode and it has one of my favorite moments from the novel, and as the rest of the season it was adapted beautifully.
• Soulmate Adventure – donghua- season 1: this is currently the only sapphic/wlw donghua out there! It had a rough start with episodes being released years apart but since bilibili picked it up it finally got a full season that can be watched on Youtube with English subs. It follows the adventures of two girls in the world of jianghu (“the community of martial artists in wuxia stories”) and while like all things produced in China it can’t be explicitly gay…they’re girlfriends your honor.
• Scumbag System – donghua – season 1: this is the animated adaptation of the first MXTX novel Scum Villain Self-Saving System, with which I have a complicated relationship, but I’ll just say that watching this first season actually made me want to go back and reread the novel because I wanted to understand it (and its characters) better. As for the adaptation itself I think the donghua team did a really good job with the limited budget they had, and I especially love the voice acting of the main character Shen Qingqiu. For those who aren’t familiar with the premise of this story, millennial Shen Yuan transmigrates into the world of a massive webnovel he’s been following (and criticizing) for years and takes the role of the main antagonist, and has to redeem himself and his relationship with the main character Luo Binghe. Luo Binghe in the original story has a harem of thousands of women, but of course this is a BL novel so after the transmigration and after the new Shen Qingqiu treats him better than the original, things go very differently.
• Dear Uranus – webseries – season 1: this is a short Taiwanese sapphic series which is tropey and basically everything you want from a sapphic story (including a love triangle). There’s not much to talk about I think but I really liked the experience of waiting for it to premiere and getting in touch with other sapphics on twitter. It’s free to watch with English subs on youtube.
• Thousand Autumns – donghua – season 1: this is another donghua adaptation of a BL webnovel and I have started it in March but still not finished because I could start myself falling into a deep obsession hole, which I couldn’t afford right before my exams. Which is to say, I think I like it too much and I neeeded to pace myself! Which should tell you it’s a good thing. I still haven’t picked it up again as I’m writing this post because in the meantime I got obsessed with other things but it’s next on my list as soon as I finish other shows I started more recently (which I’ll talk about in a future post). In short, I highly recommend it, especially for how annoying Yan Wushi is ♥ (do you ever love a character and find them the most annoying asshole you’ve ever seen? that’s how I feel about him)
• SK8 the Infinity – anime series: everyone on twitter was sharing fanart from this so I wanted to watch this series too. I definitely enjoyed most of it but some major parts were not my favorite thing to say the least. My short review is that the creators tried to make it a series where a lot of people would like at least some aspects of it rather than catering it to a more specific audience, if it makes sense. If you’re lucky to enjoy all the elements that’s great, but if you only enjoy a few and the other ones are as over the top as they’re portrayed here, you might heavily dislike some parts. I think this is a risk the creators took willingly and it seems to have worked okay for them. I liked watching it overall and I fell in love with the joecherry ship although it’s a very minor aspect of the series (they’re not canon btw, I don’t want to bait anyone)
• The Legend of Hei – movie: I don’t know why the English title is like that when the protagonist’s name is Xiaohei but anyway this is the movie that is a prequel to the Legend of Luo Xiaohei webseries I talked about before and it’s about Xiaohei losing his (material) home and finding it again in his new teacher (shifu). If you love the trope where a stoic man finds a small child and basically adopts him then you must watch this without hesitation (I think the English dub is also out or about to be released, so if you don’t like watching movies with subs that’s also an option). This was my third or fourth rewatch and every time I love it more than the previous one 🥺
• Shadow and Bone – series: this is the last full thing I watched last month and I already shared my full review so if you want to see what I thought of it go check it out!
Looking back I realize how, other than S&B, all the things I watched are Asian and mostly Chinese and I wanted to address that briefly…first of all since I first got into MDZS and TGCF I’ve been following more people who are also into those and I feel like I’ve ended up in an echo chamber where most things I get recommended are shows from China, whether they’re animated or live action. The second reason, or rather the reason why I don’t mind, is that I’m learning Mandarin! So it’s a really good exercise to listen to stuff in that language. The third reason is that I’m a little fed up with a lot of tropes in western shows, and I find that especially when it comes to queerness I resonate more with media that doesn’t come from the US specifically. But my goal is to eventually broaden my horizons to shows and movies from other parts of the world as well, I just have to find them first (and if you have recommendations please share them with me!)
Have you watched any of these? Should I (try to) do a monthly wrap up each month for the things I’ve watched? Do you have more recs for me? Are you curious about any of the shows/movies I’ve mentioned?