The Swordsman and Other Stories

As I write this, Melbourne has emerged from a 2 week snap lockdown: we're thankfully back to 2 daily cases a day or so. Shows that decisive responses work, despite the snafu during the lockdown from the anti-vaxxer protests and the continued terrible national vaccination rollout. Hopefully that'll ramp up soon. Melbourne was back to its usual COVID-normal self over the weekend, and I see MIFF has already largely sold out. Things aren't looking as good in Sydney – hope all of you there are holding on OK.

Caught The Swordsman (2021) over the weekend. I love Jang Hyuk, and he was amazing as the main character in what was effectively a John Wick/Taken film set in Joseon-era Korea. Midway through the film I'm not sure why the antagonists just didn't return the daughter to the MC, but sure, watching him murder his way through entire squads of people was somehow satisfying to watch. Cinematography was great, group fight choreography was awesome. Check it out if you can.

What I've Been Watching

Legend of the Demon Cat is a bit of a wild watch. Everyone in it had maximum chaos energy, including the monk character. Halfway through the show I still had no idea what was happening. Pretty watch though, liked the setting and special effects.

Dynasty Warriors, while effectively a very silly film, is a highly entertaining watch if you (like me) used to play the Playstation game. It's a fantasy version of Three Kingdoms, where people have strange special powers that allow them to mow down enemy soldiers like wheat.

Wuliang is a short (37 minute) BL-esque wuxia film, master (sort of) x shadow guard. Unexpected HE ending, decent cinematography. Great watch if you like the genre.

What I've Been Reading

Still binge-reading danmei. Notable reads, in order of favourites read in July:

浮云素 | 大唐第一厨 / The Number One Chef of the Tang Dynasty | This book was my favourite of July despite its lack of conflict and faceslapping, purely because the author is both a huge foodie and a big fan of Journey to the West. A chef transmigrates into the Fantasy!Tang Dynasty universe of Journey to the West, and opens a restaurant with his powerful businesswoman mum and supportive brother. Eventually, his culinary inventions bring him the attention of notable Journey to the West celebrities like the Buddha himself, Sun Wukong etc. Bonus for Tang Sanzang actually being badass in this story, though that gave the MC a culture shock. Dragon x Chef MC. Not translated.

来自远方 | 帝师 / The Emperor's Teacher | This author has a great grasp of humour and historical details (as seen in one of my favourite danmei books by them, Qinghe), and 帝师 is no different. Scholar x Jinyiwei story, schooling one of the famous so-called "bear" child emperors, while somehow also pulling the notorious Eight Tigers – the powerful eunuch faction during the Zhengde Emperor era – into line. This book is not translated.

络缤 | 兽医 / Veterinarian | Modern day veterinarian transmigrates into scholar, Prince ML. Weirdly an incredibly satisfying read about a vet trying to apply modern vet science and modern vet TCM into Ancient China. It's on my reread list, if only because this author loves their niche detail. Bonus for MC meeting another transmigrator through a hilarious process – he was loudly bemoaning how he didn't know how to describe the concept of 'fat', and the other transmigrator voices the chemical composition on the spot. Loved this book. Not translated.

青色羽翼 | 魔尊也想知道 / Devil Venerable Also Wants to Know | A parody of transmigration novels, in this story the Mo Zun character gets suddenly given a copy of the het stallion novel where he's one of the characters who will fall in love with the FMC. Unable to reconcile himself to the terrible het plot, he attempts repeatedly to guide FMC onto better paths by trying to get her to fall in love with less abusive MLs, or by trying to get her to cultivate the Heartless Dao etc, often with terrible results. Incredibly funny book. Bonus for the Mo Zun's right and left hand women somehow becoming the FMC's support group. Partly fan-translated.

叶忆落 | 重生之废材来袭 / The Rebirth Waste Strikes Back | A cosmetic surgeon transmigrates into the body of a seemingly useless mage in a semi-cultivation world, making money through cosmetic surgery and skincare. Incredibly funny story which starts with the ML's friends rudely breaking off the arranged marriage with the MC, and the MC spending effectively 100 chapters making the ML suffer for it. Came for the doctor transmigration (a fave trope of mine) and stayed for the sheer shameless chaos of the MC. Partly fan-translated.

绿野千鹤 | 鲜满宫堂 / Palace Full of Delicacies | This hilarious, conflict-free read is about a chef who transmigrates into the body of a poor son of a Marquis, who ends up marrying the Emperor. The Imperial family is a clan of cat shapeshifters. The entire book is effectively one increasingly strange (esp with the monster fish) seafood dish after another and is incredibly funny. Bonus for the cats having to be talked out of eating a mermaid. Partly fan-translated.

颜若优雅 | 农家毒‘妃’ / Poisonous Peasant 'Concubine' | Not sure why I enjoyed this 700+ chapter read as much as I did, but basically an assassin/doctor transmigrates into the body of an intersex single parent in Ancient China, and decides to make money to raise his two new sons. Prince ML, overpowered murder MC with golden finger spiritual water. The only real annoying thing about this book is the older son, but thankfully it's subsumed by how entertaining the rest of the characters and the plot are. I don't know why some of the characters keep pushing the obviously murderous MC's bottom line, but it makes for faceslapping entertainment. Partly fan-translated.

络缤 | 法医穿越记事/ Forensics Traversing Notes | Same author as the TCM!Vet story, but with forensic science. This author loves her niche ancient China details, and this book is no different. Great read if you love murder mystery and niche historical detail. Partly fan-translated.

落跑王子 | 小西医的幸福种田生活 / A Western Doctor's Happy Farming Life | Amusing farming-to-doctor making money transmigration read, where a practitioner of Western medicine transmigrates to Ancient China into the body of a recently married ger (common danmei trope where there's a 3rd gender of men who can bear children). While the rival in love is very annoying at the start, that arc is over fairly quickly. I do like TCM/Doctor transmigration reads, admittedly. I may have binge read a lot of these farm transmigration stories this month. Partly fan-translated.

叶忆落 | 带着小卖部到古代 / Transmigrating to the Ancient Times with Lu’s Convenience | In this funny transmigration novel, the MC transmigrates with the convenience store that he owns as his golden finger dimensional space. I don't even, hahaha. Further, instead of going the usual route of studying for the Imperial exam, he straight-out just buys an official position. Amusing parody read. Partly fan-translated.

日丽风和 | 秀才家的壮夫郎 / The Scholar's Manly Husband | Scholar MC transmigration, manly ger ML with low self-esteem who later becomes a general. The usual making money-Imperial exam tropes before that. Goes into a lot of detail about the conditions of taking the exam. I do like how the story ends up fairly equal. Partly fan-translated.

锦绣云燃 | 种田之傻傻相陪 / Accompanied by a Fool to do Farming | Transmigration into the body of a recently married ger to an ML who hit his head when he was a boy and scrambled his wits. No golden finger, MC makes money by being a great cook. Partly fan-translated.

绿野千鹤 | 神木挠不尽 / The White Cat's Divine Scratching Post | Amusing rebirth-esque parody story, where the Demon Lord whose scattered soul reincorporated into a divine tree spends his previous and current life pampering his demon cat by using precious materials to refine cat bowls and toys. ML is the shapeshifting kitty. Cute cultivation read. Fully fan-translated.

楼孤 | 养老生活[末穿古]/ Retirement Life | The MC died during a zombie apocalypse and transmigrated back into the body of a recently widowed ger. Usual faceslapping farm-to-rich transmigration read, with a general ML. Partly fan-translated.

温吞的女人 | 穿越种田之满堂春 / Through the Farming Fields Full of Spring | Another farm-to-rich transmigration story, MC is a recently widowed ger. Very much bloodsucking natal family. MC and ML try to improve the general well-being of the area, at least. Partly fan-translated.

决绝 | 独宠丑夫 / The Only Favorite Ugly Husband | Soldier transmigration, manly ger ML. More realistic take on transmigration stories, where the soldier MC who has no golden finger effectively reacts violently to injustices, becomes a local warlord and eventually makes more money by starting a courier escort agency. However, his general attitude to life does eventually catch up to him. HE, but quite a lols HE. Partly fan-translated.

J112233 | 小哥儿异世慢生活 / Little Ger, Slow Life in Another World | MC transmigration into body of a ger, gets married to a hunter ML. Golden finger is magic soil. Funny moments where ML is convinced that MC is a fairy and will somehow ascend back to heaven. Not much drama, slow and fluffy read for the most part. Partly fan-translated.

困成熊猫 | 将军爱集小红花 / The General Loves to Collect Little Red Flowers | This is a lighthearted SF/supernatural omegaverse read, where the MC is an exorcist of sorts, who gets bundled into an arranged marriage with the ML, the general/ruler of another planet. Very much in the line of the "golden koi spouse who ends up pampered" kind of story. Fully fan-translated, which is a bonus.

鲜橙 | 太子妃升职记 / The Promotional Record of a Crown Princess | This is not a danmei book, and is the m/f book that became Go Princess Go, then Mr Queen. It is nowhere as funny as Mr Queen – actually it isn't really much of a comedy read, more of a realistic take on what happens if a modern guy were to transmigrate into the body of a Crown Princess of a very much murder child Crown Prince. Spent most of the book wondering if the ML would kill the MC. The MC also spends much of the book trying to murder or scheme the ML, admittedly. Fully fan-translated.