Anime, Podcast

Anime Explorations Episode 4: Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 1 + The Blade of Life & Death

This month, David, Tora and I are taking a look at the first season & film of Thunderbolt Fantasy for Lunar New Year.

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Books

She Who Became the Sun: Book Review

This weekend is Worldcon, and several weeks before the convention (basically the week before I got COVID), I finished reading the last of the novels that were up for Hugo Awards that weren’t part of a series that I hadn’t already started reading – She Who Became the Sun by Shelly Parker-Chan – a novel inspired by wuxia fiction, inspired by the rise of the Hongwu Emperor. It’s an… interesting book, but one which had some points that I stumbled over.

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Television

Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 1: TV Series Review

There have been varying attempts in the past to tell dramatic and mature stories with puppets. The works of Gerry Anderson are great examples of this. Well, it turns out there’s a tradition of these kind of stories in Taiwan and china, through glove puppetry. We got a real great example of this a few years ago with the Taiwanese and Japanese co-production, Thunderbolt Fantasy.

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film

A Touch of Zen: Film Review

A Touch of Zen is the third King Hu film I’ve watched so far, and the second of his films after he left Hong Kong and Shaw Brothers for Taiwan. The first, Dragon Inn, kept some of the framework of the Wuxia Western while using Taiwan’s more diverse scenery for great visual effect. A Touch of Zen, on the other hand, leans more heavily into the Wuxia side.

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film

Dragon Inn (1967): Film Review

When I reviewed Come Drink With Me on the blog, I described it as a “Wuxia Western,” as the initial plot of the film – with Golden Swallow going to rescue her brother from bandits holed up in a monastery – could easily be the plot of a western. It is only with the introduction of Drunken Cat’s plot that the wuxia elements come to the fore. Dragon Inn, by comparison, maintains a better balance of the concepts, melding them together to make a cohesive whole.

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