Completados
PeachBlossomGoddess Flower Award2
51 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 24, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 12
No geral 9.0
História 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Musical 8.5
Voltar a ver 9.0

Confucius' last stand.

This drama is about a conspiracy that unfolds during the latter part of the Wanli reign of Ming dynasty, regarded as one of the most prosperous periods in human history. It was the beginning of the end as Wanli's indifference and administrative dysfunction led directly to the downfall of the Ming dynasty. A series of shocking serial killings in Jiangnan has the local Du County yamen scrambling for answers. Each macabrely staged corpse comes with a quote from the Analects of Confucius, a chilling message from the killer.

This is a dark story about just how difficult it is to be a decent person, much less one that lives up to.Confucian standards of morality. In a hierarchical feudal society where a scholar's voice drowns out that of a servant and the justice system takes such long detours that it fails even elite rare talents like Judge Song , many inevitably stray down the slippery path of insidious moral compromise. Most of the characters in this story start out as decent people with relatable goals of wanting to improve their lot in life, to set their one true love free, or to right a wrong. For Qu Sangeng, a young bailiff at the yamen, the killings hit too close to home. Hunting down the killer is personal for him but his investigation is hampered by his low rank and treacherous internal yamen politics. With the help of his friends, he manages to connect the killings to a 20-year old arson case where justice may have been subverted. Like his mentor Captain Leng , Sangeng resorts to somewhat questionable methods against some bad actors over the course of his investigation. He soon discovers that point where the end no longer justifies the means and all too easily that line between justice and vengeance becomes blurred. Will he choose to do what's right or succumb to his own worst instincts?

The narrative alternates between two timelines where Lu Zhi and Qu Sangeng are parallel clever characters who are slightly morally flexible and find themselves privy to secrets. Within their sphere of influence is a strong father figure, a scholarly friend and a simpler one with innately stronger moral conviction. The plot is tight and the dialogue is laced with subtle dark humor that fits well with the serious and suspenseful tone of the story. I really appreciate this as too many productions hire big name comedians with exaggerated delivery styles that are jarringly incompatible with the mood of the story. The humourous mocking of too obvious cross dressing was a 10/10 comedy gold moment for me. Mystery buffs will appreciate how the plot keeps you guessing with credible alternate theories that remain in play into the final reveal. The villains are hidden in plain sight, everyone's actions are in character, there are enough clues along the way, the solution makes sense and the ending surprise twist was long foreshadowed. My only slight criticism is some of the character downfalls occur a bit too abruptly and I think the mastermind did have the means to obtain justice in a different way. Even though the ending is fitting and realistic, none of the truly morally upstanding characters get good outcomes. At least one of the deaths was not deserved and unnecessary.

Ning Li anchors this drama as Song Chen, a dark, tortured character full of remorse; betrayed by the system into betraying himself. His heartbreaking struggle to fight monsters without becoming a monster is like watching Confucius' last stand. This character pays tribute to Tang Yin aka Tang Bohu, a renown Ming Dynasty artists and poet. The young actor Yu Yao makes an impression beyond his age with his nuanced, empathetic and chilling portrayal of the young Lu Zhi. While Qu Sangeng is not Bai Yufan's strongest role, he delivers a credible if at times forced performance. This is a wide cast of superb, non-idol actors who pull off complex and captivating portrayals with limited screen time. The bold decision to film in an ancient city and the stunning cinematographic impact of moss drenched walls and vivid rustic countryside and the authentically styled characters all add to the sense of immersion. The drama's visual composition style conveys a suspenseful ambience, a feeling of subtle decay and an air of injustice that belies the vibrant prosperity of Du County. Overall, a superb debut production by filmmaker and screenwriter Zheng Wang that eschews tired tropes. This is a director that has something to say and he tells a riveting and resonating story about justice and morality that leaves food for thought at the end.

This is one of the best ancient suspense thrillers I have watched in a long time and one that hard core mystery buffs can lose themselves in. A highly recommended 9/10 from me.

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Freefoxx
14 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 22, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 9.5
História 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musical 10
Voltar a ver 7.0
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An excellent drama

Ripe Town is a thoroughly watchable, neo-noir-style mystery thriller set in a prosperous rural area during the late Ming dynasty. The drama follows the investigation, by multiple official and semi-official actors, into what appears to be a ritualized serial killing spree. As the mystery plotline unfolds, so do multiple intricate backstories filled with bad behavior, conspiracy, outrageous social inequalities, and additional unsolved murders. We follow the action through a group of young sleuths (constables and their friends) connected to one of the murder victims, but other interesting characters (a brilliant but traumatized judge, prostitutes, local mobsters, well-to-do businessfolks with questionable backgrounds, and a seemingly inept magistrate) play critical roles in the action. The acting is excellent all around, and the mystery plotline is exceptionally logical, unfolds at a good pace, and is unveiled gradually so that the ultimate resolution is both eminently plausible and yet still a surprise.

It's impossible to review this drama without commenting on its superior production value, which greatly exceeds that I've seen in any comparable piece (and even that of larger-scope historical dramas). The sound, visuals, cinematography, and editing are all top-tier. It's also worth noting that this drama has a very unusual tone for a Chinese historical piece. It's very sober and ultimately quite bleak, but not oppressively so (there's a surprising amount of fairly dark but genuinely amusing humor, as well).

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ChineseDramaFan
8 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 23, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 9.0
História 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Musical 9.0
Voltar a ver 9.0

The Shades of Justice

In this gripping thriller, we delve into a world where the boundaries of justice are not clearly defined. The story revolves around a young servant who masterminds a heinous crime, leading to the murder of his master's entire family, heirs, and servants. With their wealth in his hands, he vanishes for years, only to be confronted by justice two decades later. This short drama, spanning just 12 episodes, is a rollercoaster of enigmas, mysteries, ironies, suspense, and dark humor.

Constable Qu Sangeng, portrayed by Bai Yu Fan, embarks on a harrowing journey to uncover the gruesome murder of his beloved superior, whom he regarded as a father figure. Soon, a string of similar murders emerges, all pointing to a common culprit. Qu Sangeng must untangle the web of connections between the victims and decipher the motive. The trail leads back to an incident that occurred two decades ago at the Lu mansion, which was razed to the ground, claiming the lives of most of its occupants. Only Lu Zhi, played by Yu Yao, and a handful of others managed to escape.

As the narrative unfolds, viewers will empathize with Lu Zhi, understanding the circumstances that drove him to commit these atrocities. As a clever adolescent, Lu Zhi believed he had executed the perfect crime, unaware that someone held knowledge of his dark secret. This mysterious individual resurfaces two decades later to exact vengeance on those responsible.

While Lu Zhi's story is the genesis of these events and the serial killer's vendetta sets Constable Qu Sangeng on his quest for justice, they are not the central characters. The focus of the story shifts to Qu Sangeng and his decision to prioritize justice over personal vengeance, as well as Song Chen's struggles, portrayed by Ning Li. Both the adult Lu Zhi and the serial killer make only hidden or fleeting appearances as the story progresses.

Every character seems to harbor a motive and arouse suspicion. As the present-day plot unfolds and investigators attempt to piece together a complex puzzle, flashbacks shed light on the events from two decades ago. While the drama hints at hidden and illicit affairs, there is no central romantic subplot, reflecting the societal norms of the era.

Without good translations, some viewers may find this drama hard to understand as it is laden with riddles from verses and poems by the ancient sages. Even those well-versed in Mandarin and written Chinese may find themselves struggling with certain scenes and story elements, as the narrative moves swiftly and some details remain unexplained, catering to a more discerning audience. Rewatching becomes essential not for cherishing particular moments or characters but to gain a deeper comprehension and capture the subtleties that might have been missed.

My Verdict

This thriller is an adrenaline-pumping ride, offering a captivating storytelling format, top-notch direction, and commendable performances, with Yu Yao's portrayal of the juvenile Lu Zhi and Ning Li's portrayal of Song Chen standing out the most.

What makes this drama truly striking is its realism, even in today's world, in depicting the complex backdrop of wealth and power. Characters like Lu Yuan Bao, portrayed by Zhang Xi Lin, who transformed from a bandit to a wealthy and influential figure, highlight the murky waters of power dynamics. The story also portrays corrupt government officials who can be easily swayed, and the wealthy who, despite their outward respectability, remain to be despicable and thuggish. The concept of justice is portrayed in shades of gray, demonstrating that what one person sees as justice may be viewed as injustice from another's perspective. This theme resonates with the contemporary geopolitical landscape. For Qu Sangeng, choosing justice over personal vengeance is a wise choice given his superior's role in his father's death which he remains unaware of.

Great watch!

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MsDarkqueen
5 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 23, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 1
No geral 9.0
História 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musical 8.0
Voltar a ver 8.0
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Delayed justice is 'injustice'.

The series is a murder mystery pertaining to serial killing. The story starts in AD 1609 of the Ming Dynasty, Du County in Jiangnan. Qu Sangeng(Bai YuFan) a Yamen runner/bailiff of Hunter squad and Gao Shicong(Liu YiTong) a Yamen auxiliary bailiff, find corpse of Captain Leng(Wang Ce) displayed as a Scarecrow in a field of Qijia Village. This is the first murder followed by a series of murders. Master Wang, a scholar running a school, Chen Wang a servant of Lu residence who supposedly drowned 20 years ago, Dr.Cheng a genius doctor, Mr.Zhang the butler of Mr.Xue, Mr.Zhao former business partner of Lu Yuanbao....Sangeng who has a personal interest in the case because his master and mentor Captain Leng was the first victim, finds a link to all these murders. The murderer is killing all survivors of the fire that engulfed Lu residence 20 years ago, taking the life of Lu Jinxin the owner of Lu residence and his family members along with many servants. The killer is leaving quotes from The Analects of Confucius near the victims' corpse, however the messages are left in a sarcastic manner opposite from its intended meanings.

During the course of his investigation aided by his friends a scholar 'Turkey' Feng Ke Zhui (Zhang Hao Wei) and Shicong, Sangeng discovers clues to dark conspiracy, changed identities, hidden motives and dark core of human psyche taking the viewers on a thrilling adventurous ride of never ending guessing game.

Two main themes that I perceived from the series are;
1. Injustice and how different people deal with it.
2. Principally all Humans are prone to corruption in spite of eons of teachings from great Sages.



[ 1. Injustice and how different people deal with it.]

I am referring to Judge Song Chen previously Song Zhongqiu a very talented poet and a Calligrapher(Nong Li) and County Magistrate Wei's conversation in Episode 12, Magistrate Wei alludes to the injustice Mr.Song suffered due to faulty justice system that throws and tortures suspects in the prison and then after conducts investigation. Many guilty people are roaming free and many innocent people are wrongly indicted having their lives ruined even if found not guilty later.

Magistrate Wei is eager to know what Judge Song has to say about the word 'INJUSTICE'. Mr.Song replies that there are countless victims in this world, but absolute justice never happened. Magistrate Wei wants to know what Mr. Song means by that. Mr.Song continues that Wei may not know that there is no single window in the prison. But a person in prison can't tell when it is day and night. But a person in prison can feel the day elapsing.

Magistrate Wei becomes serious and inquires how a person can perceive day and night.

Mr.Song grimly replies that a person can watch his tortured flesh slowly rot away. Mr.Song used to think there was a threshold between life and death, Life is on one side and death is on the other side. Just a momentary thing but then he found out death could be very slow, and people could die little by little. One day, the prison door opens and someone comes in and tells you that your case has been overturned. Mr.Song laughs sarcastically at this.
Magistrate Wei looks sympathetically at Mr.Song.. Mr.Song in a bleak continues that by that time a person is already half-dead. Half of a person becomes ghost, and you can never turn back into a human. You are half human, half monster. Mr.Song is of the opinion that "JUSTICE THAT COMES TOO LATE IS NOT JUSTICE".

Magistrate Wei responds that Mr.Song's grievances are not from prison. He doggedly continues that Mr.Song was known as a top talent, famous for his painting and calligraphy.

But now he can't even pick up a pen with his right hand. He asks Mr. Song, " IS THAT THE GREATEST INJUSTICE FOR YOU? " Wei continues to speak when Mr.Song returned home, the court had reversed his case, but nobody believed that Mr.Song was wronged. All of the people talked about how much Mr.Song would have spent, whom he had bribed, and how he had used his connections to avoid lawsuit, " ISN'T THAT INJUSTICE CRUELER THAN THE PRISON SENTENCE? " Magistrate Wei says Mr. Song had a good friend, they were as close as brothers but Mr.Song couldn't withstand the punishment and betrayed him in prison by putting the blame on him. His friend used his death to prove his innocence. "COULD THIS BE THE GREATEST UNFAIRNESS IN MR. SONG'S HEART? " According to Magistrate wei's opinion Mr.Song can't live in peace even if the court cleared Mr.Song's name, Yet those who reported in the court, those who caused his disability, those who were busy with infighting and those who accused him of bribery, none of them EVER RECEIVED any punishment. Magistrate concludes "IT'S NOT ONLY ABOUT INJUSTICE. YOU JUST DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE REVENGE. "

The above conversation reflects two different ideologies. Magistrate chose personal revenge to honour his dead friend Lu Buyou's sacrifice. He gave more importance to personal grievances and spiraled down the dark path becoming as guilty as the original conspirators... Where as Judge Song leaving aside his own personal issues and grievances chose a righteous path and tried to uphold justice for other innocent people who were ensnared by the flaws in the justice system and decided to punish all guilty people lawfully, irrespective of their status. He became a role model and epitome of the most sagacious judge.



[2. Principally all Humans are prone to corruption in spite of eons of teachings from great Sages.]

Here I am referring to the conversation between Sangeng, Turkey and Shicong in episode 3.

All three Shicong, Sangeng and Turkey meet at night and get drunk after finding relevant facts. They sigh that a person can never know another person. ... They toast a drink to Confucius because he's been teaching people morality for centuries in vain. In the end, the world is still filled with animals who don't talk, think or behave like humans. But Confucius should not be mad, he should not see it as his failure. It's just so hard to be a decent man. [All three agree very hard, very hard]

Also ironically, In episode 12, Young Xiao Baozi "Turtle" accidentally discovers Lu Zhong's golden treasure. They were slabs of engraving of The Analects of Confucius. One engraving was "Some people hurt others for themselves (referring to Lu Zhi). While some hurt themselves for others (referring to Lu Buyou). Master Lu you hurt yourself for someone else. So I will repay you for your gold.... In a twisted manner Turtle decided to hurt someone else too in the name of justice.

CONCLUSION : The world is full of bad men ready to commit follies and their basic nature cannot be changed by nurture.


Overall: A wonderful series, all the dialogues are meaningful, focusing on true beings of Humans. In my opinion, it should be watched again at least once. Kudos to the scriptwriter and actors, it was a tightly written drama keeping the audience guessing right up till the end.



PS: I have written an in depth summaries of all 12 episodes, posted in the discussion thread of this drama page.... If anyone is interested in reading it use the link below, I will ALSO leave a clickable link as a comment to this review. (Summaries are in depth so they contain MAJOR SPOILERS)


https://mydramalist.com/discussions/fan-cheng-zhi-xia/120497-detailed-episodic-summary-and-musings-contains-spoilers

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DramaAjumma
4 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 26, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 8.5
História 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Musical 8.0
Voltar a ver 8.0

A Dish Best Served Cold

Is revenge justice? That's the recurring question that permeates the gloomy atmosphere of this 12-episode serial whodunit set in the waning days of the Ming Dynasty. This plodding but fascinating tale of wrongdoing and comeuppance is told in flashbacks and largely from the point of view of its present-day protagonist, Qu Sangeng (Bai Yufan), a bailiff of his county’s constabulary. On the surface it has all the elements of a juicy Agatha Christie murder mystery but in and among the dastardly deeds committed in the dark is a document of a civilization on the cusp of collapse. The country’s foundations are rotting and the cracks are showing even in the smaller scale corruption at the local level. It reminds me of the oft quoted saying that "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." It's been misattributed to Edmund Burke (I've been told) but it still rings true and reverberates all throughout this tale of unsavoury secrets and people looking the other way.

The story begins when Qu Sangeng (Bai Yufan) finds the body of his beloved mentor, Captain Leng, strung up in an open field like a scarecrow. From then on the lad embarks on an extensive inquiry into his mentor’s death which doubles up as an exploration of the deceased’s life — his relationships and how he carried out his role as chief of the Hunters Squad. No one likes to speak ill of the dead apparently but the truth is when a man dies in such gruesome fashion, the general rule is that he was privy to some horrifying secrets before his untimely demise. It begs the question: Did his mentor do something he was ashamed of? This thought haunts Sangeng all throughout the investigation while he struggles to maintain some measure of objectivity. On top of that Captain Leng, a husband and father of two, is revealed to have regular night time assignations at a local brothel with a seasoned prostitute (Zeng Li). A part of Sangeng knows that his mentor was prone to cross lines for the job but turning over rocks for a big case is bound to end up in cupboards crammed with skeletons. As Sangeng delves into the rabbit hole of Capt Leng's past, he is led to digging further into a horrific fire that happened 20 years ago where an entire household was burnt to an unrecognizable crisp.

Qu Sangeng's probe into that incident inadvertently results in unpleasant revelations about respectable members of the community. One by one they get picked off almost as if they have knowledge of something sinister in the past that they've taken with them to their graves. Sangeng's journey of discovery is juxtaposed with flashbacks of a lowly but highly intelligent attendant Lu Zhi (Yu Yao) named after his master Lu Yuanbao. Somehow the plight and experiences of this orphan from 20 years earlier is connected to these grisly murders. Yu Yao, who looks like a much younger version of Korean actor Yoo Ji-tae, is charismatic in the role. He carries himself with confidence and exudes a wisdom beyond his years. Bai Yufan last seen in Stand By Me (2023) puts in a solid performance and he's wonderfully supported by Ning Li who plays Judge Song, Liu Yitong as Gao Shicong and Zhang Haowei as Feng Keshui. Since Reborn (2020) I'm always glad to see Zhang Haowei in anything watchable although his role here is relatively small.

No one can accuse the show of mishandled plotting because the script is tight as tight can be. The details are aplenty. Although I understand the intent of the showrunners to plumb the depths of character motivations and spell everything out in large letters, the pacing could be improved by some trimming. Even in a 12 episode drama. As a fan of the genre, I'm in admiration of the intricacies of the narrative with the decent-sized ensemble of characters but no crime show from the mainland ever escapes the mighty hand of social commentary. There's plenty of finger wagging certainly but the show doesn't overtly take sides although it's clear that revenge in the name of justice leads to a high body count that includes bystanders caught in the crossfire.

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Kaptan
4 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 23, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 9.0
História 10
Acting/Cast 9.0
Musical 8.0
Voltar a ver 8.0

Lu Zhi.

It was a 12-episode series. I don't know if there will be a sequel. It was not a spot-on finish. But the plot is resolved. Who did what was analyzed from both sides. It was an interesting series that was very descriptive and presented to the audience from both sides, as well as having two murderers. Some parts are dark and natural. That's why I had a little difficulty watching it. However, it was a very intriguing and immersive series, I liked it. The actors were also very good. Blended also. The lead roles are young and the lead roles are not overly intense, so it is a different series. So the leading roles are not sharpened. On the contrary, the characters are sharpened. There were very distinct and beautifully drawn characters. I especially; I liked the characters of judge Song, Lu Zhi, Lu Yan Bao, Lu Zhong, Si Niang. I liked the actors who played these. I even liked the young actor Yu Yao, who played Lu Zhi, very much. Well done. This young boy started acting and is actually an experienced person. I think the future is bright. The acting is pretty good. He doesn't grin at all. In fact, players have simplified their games. They did not create any sharpness or excess in the characters. This did not spoil the naturalness. I congratulate the writer and director. I recommend everyone, especially those who love this genre, to watch it.

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Sunbath12
3 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 23, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 9.5
História 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musical 10
Voltar a ver 8.5
Esta resenha pode conter spoilers

A few good men

This is a dark yet poignant tale of the frailty of human nature - the loss of innocence in the effort to survive in a world where justice is hard to come by.

The drama starts off seemingly like any straightforward murder-crime-mystery series. You are drawn into deciphering various clues and studying each character to determine who is the murderer. By the show's end, however, even though it pulls out a "surprise" reveal, the power in that moment is not so much the shock factor of who is who but more so the underlying sadness of seeing two friends end each other's lives. There is no mustache-twirling psychopath villain here. It's a hauntingly realistic tale of greed and deceit that explores the lengths to which someone will go to obtain what they want.

The entire ensemble cast give great performances - my favorites are Ning Li as Song Chen and Yu Yao as the young Lu Zhi. Great atmospheric music and realistic sets/props/costumes make the world of Du County come to life in all its dingy glory.

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Arclei
3 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Dez 12, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 8.5
História 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Musical 7.0
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Very good, waiting for it to be great.

TLDR; An unusual, dark, gritty detective drama with unique and interesting characters and setting but some weird narrative decisions that ultimately take away too much from the drama to be ignored.

Whump meter: ▲▲▲◭△ (plenty).

── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅

SHORT VERSION:

┊┊WHAT I LIKED:
►Amazing actors. Everyone gave it their all, and it shows.
►Unique characters with interesting stories, personalities, quirks, appearances, etc.
►Stellar cinematography. A visual masterpiece.
►Story feels grounded and realistic in a unique setting away from the imperial city/other big city.
►Interesting cases, case-solving, and plot twists.
►Interesting themes and arcs that carry across the drama.

┊┊WHAT I DISLIKED:
►Story shifts focus and POV halfway through, crippling its narrative and intrigue.
►A lot of characters are unfortunately underused.
►An underwhelming amount of women.
►Lackluster conclusion.

┊┊OTHER:
►I'd put this more on the positive end, but there's quite some disability representation.

── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅

【!some SPOILERS below!】

LONG VERSION:

┊┊CHARACTERS:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ When it comes to characters, they went all out. Everyone is unique and feels like a real person with their own story, backstory, personality, traits, quirks, etc. Most characters are quite memorable too, making it a lot easier to follow who is who than in other dramas. Even smaller characters that only appear a handful of times are fleshed out and interesting. This was honestly such a highlight.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ A standout in this regard for me was Song Chen. I haven't often seen characters like him in dramas or shows anywhere. He's not a very common main character, but he works very well.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ That all being said, a lot of characters were unfortunately underused. Because of a narrative shift and the inclusion of two POVs (with a slight preference for the new POV in the second half of the drama), the main cast is rather underused, with some characters even feeling like they didn't have a purpose to be there at all.
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Some other minor issues are the following:
►1. An underwhelming amount of women are present in the drama. The cast consists mostly of men (to the point where it feels like the vast majority of people in the entire place are men), and the few women who do exist appear little and don't usually add much. Also, for there being so many men in their 30s+, they're for the most part unmarried, which is strange as well.
►2. Some characters were, in my opinion, not well cast. There are characters that should be in their mid-30s and are portrayed by an actor who at least appears to be quite a bit older. Not sure why this was done, especially since everyone else was so perfectly cast.

┊┊ACTING:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ I have only praise to sing for each and every single actor in this drama. The performances blew my mind with how good, thorough, and convincing they were. Especially Ning Li as Song Chen and Yu Yao as Lu Zhi were absolute treats.

┊┊STORY:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ As for the story, it was good—very good, one might even say—but it had a tremendously big issue that ultimately crippled everything that was so great, making it just good. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very good story; however, the narrative shift and the inclusion of the past as a parallel story ended up taking away far more than it added, depriving the audience of the intrigue and mystery it had built up.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Essentially, the drama has two main casts when it doesn't need to (one in the past, one in the present). Instead of taking the logical route of having the past case slowly be uncovered by the main characters in the present day and the audience gets to follow it in real-time with them, they do 'flashbacks' (which take up about half of the drama's runtime, so I'm using the term very loosely here), which explain everything that went on in the past before the cast in the present day get to uncover it. This plummets the stakes, tension, and mystery of the drama and slowly makes it uninteresting to watch. Now, I'm not saying the flashbacks can't be done, but they must be well crafted and shown to us only little by little as the case in the present day progresses. Otherwise, there's not really a whole lot of mystery going around and the investigation ends up lacking.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ The cases, however, were quite interesting, keeping you on your toes throughout the run of the drama. The way the antagonist sets up the crimes is also very unique and gritty.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Plot twists for me were somewhat hit or miss. Especially those relating to the overarching plot were rather mediocre in my opinion, but the smaller ones were very well done! This also ties into the conclusion, which is the type of ending that, the more you think about it, the less sense it makes. The final couple of plot twists don't really make a whole lot of sense, are a weird choice, and end up taking away more than they add. They were the type of plot twists that seemed to be there more to prove the audience wrong rather than to actually make narrative sense.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Finally, I'd like to mention that the drama has a big focus on different themes and arcs that carry across its duration, with a special focus on different perspectives on the same theme, idea, concept, and background, which makes for a pleasant and interesting watching experience.

┊┊PRODUCTION:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Stellar cinematography. It's a visual masterpiece; every scene looks beautiful, and they make sure every shot counts and adds to the narrative. Locations are amazing (mostly real from what I could tell), and it pays off so much. They really tried to give off the idea that you, as a viewer, are there as well, and it makes a world of difference. The world feels so well lived-in and real.

┊┊MUSIC:
‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ The music was good; it fit the drama. It didn't stand out to me, but it also didn't stick out, so overall, it was good.

── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅ ── ⋅ ⋅

◇ Was it what I was expecting? Somewhat better than I was expecting, tbh
◆ Did it live up to its potential? Almost
◇ Would I watch it again? Maybe
◆ Would I recommend it to others? Yes

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Kairi of the Sky
3 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Dez 31, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 10
História 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musical 9.5
Voltar a ver 9.5

Who am I to judge

A crime thriller centered on a serial killer during the Wan Li Period and trying to figure out why the murderer did what they did in relation to the crime that occurred 20 years prior.

What I love;
1. The cinematography and costume is meticulously crafted and makes you feel the common life in the Wan Li Period. The portrayal of being a commoner, bailiff and official is close to realistic which is not common now in the drama.
2. Each episode is important to solve the crime so you need to be attentive in every scene and every character in the drama.
3. Wonderful performance of every character.

Lastly: LU ZHI

I fell in love with Sangeng in the first episode because of his morals and exquisite face expression. And now Lu Zhi appears, a beggar who was taken in by Lu and raised in his home. He was presented as a good-natured, capable household manager who may have a better future if commoners in the current Dynasty were given more opportunities to advance. You will be able to relate to his character, who is willing to serve everyone around him and simply wants to establish a stable family. However, I believe that he is pushing his luck and running the risk of harm due to all the secrets he possesses when he "accidentally" or by pure coincidence discovers the secrets of others. However, he stayed devoted and compassionate, even trying to mediate their differences, but life is unjust.
He was driven to the brink in some way, and like the other reviewer noted, he would be a wonderful person if he could just have a guardian who could refer to him as a father figure. I was greatly impacted by his nuanced character, and I doubt I will forget him for a very long time.

Overall, it was a fascinating journey of investigating crimes in a subdued setting. This is not an action-packed drama, so I'm not sure if it's for everyone, but its strongest feature is understanding each character and how their actions lead to the tragic conclusion of a horrific serial killing.
Try it guys!

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SooReneccs
2 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 26, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 10
História 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musical 9.0
Voltar a ver 9.0
Esta resenha pode conter spoilers

Anti-corruption and justice in a murder mystery, ancient drama

This review is full of spoilers, and this is an exploration of the hidden messages put across the drama. The drama itself invited the viewers to think beyond and interpret it differently, as in the scene when the FL said it was easy to get the meaning of the clue, in which the ML contradicted her, a hint that there were double meanings. Clues from the victim scenes were sayings from the Analect of Confucius, the moral and ethical teachings, as well as the code of conduct.
1. My principal is unified. Found on the body of the captain of the bailiff (polce), propped like a scarecrow on a field. The principal purpose of a bailiff (police) is to uphold the law and fight against corruption. Unifying his team to fight against corruptors was his mission. The theme of the drama is why the bailiff (police) was the first victim, as they are the vanguard against corruption. He failed to do all that was depicted as a scarecrow, which was to scare away birds from feeding the crops. Instead, he was a corrupt officer. the fox in a chicken coup.
2. Six or seven young ones This refers to the fourth scholar of Confucius, who only wants an easy life. Found on the body of the scholar, whose mouth was stuffed with a headless chick and whose head was buried under the sand. A corrupt official can have an easy life with an ostrich attitude of hearing and seeing no evil and doing nothing. with the principal that you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.
3. Standing by the river, the Master said, "Time passes like this." Time passed easily for corrupt officials as they were sitting pretty.
4. Such a person could only get such a disease. A person with no strong moral character can easily be tempted by the disease of corruption.
5. In youth, his vital force was unstable; he should guard against lust. In his youth, it could mean that when he got his post, he was unstable as he was new and had no experience. He should guard against lust for easy money (corruption).
6. Worship the wrong ghost. Worship materialistic things in life.
7. The last clue found hanging on a corpse was ”those who cannot serve the people cannot serve the spirits," which I interpret as the second theme: justice. "What is justice?” Like the coin, which has two sides (head and tail), if one is missing, it is counterfeit. Justice is to expose the guilty AND their crimes; otherwise, it is not justice at all. Power corrupts, as the magistrate became a judge, jury, and executioner, taking the law that serves the people into his own hands and killing murderers without trials. The spirit of justice was not served. Without trials, it was also an injustice to the families of murderers' victims who didn't know about their despicable crimes. It thus became, inadvertently, a cover-up. A cover-up is an ACCOMPLICE to the crime. One of the reasons Judge Song had no closure and felt injustice was because he didn't expose the chief examiner and his incriminating actions against him and his friend. Justice has to expose the guilty and their crimes. Another person, the Ml, used his position in the Yamen (police station) to send his fellow officers on a wild goose chase to allow the murderer to kill the magistrate, who he suspected killed his captain, to get “justice”.
The law was to serve the people, and the guardians were the judge the magistrate, and the bailiff. If they don't get what justice is, then it's like hanging and suffocating justice.

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Xtinew
2 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Out 13, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 4
No geral 8.0
História 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musical 7.0
Voltar a ver 6.0
Esta resenha pode conter spoilers

A GREAT SHORT DRAMA

Only 12 episodes all together. A realistic set up, less make-up and none beautification (great!), great flowing story, good acting for every actors. Setting in the 37th year of the Wan Li Time of the Ming Administration, there were progressive homicides in the region seat of Jiangnan District. The personalities of the dead were unique and inconsequential to one another but they had similarity; intention, message left in the dead bodies, all pointing to the fire burning accident to Lu family 20 years earlier. As a apprentice Qu San Geng (Bai YuFan) of his dead teacher Captain Leng, he was a bailiff who try to decoding the murder mystery of his teacher and other unrelated victims. With the help of his friends Gao Shi Cong (Liu YiTong), Feng Ke Zhui (Zhang Hao Wei), Leng Gui Er (Julia Xiang) Captain Leng's only daughter. They uncovered (figuratively) worm-box of 20 years old secret; one clue and one witness at a time, victim's dark pasts, the connection of victims to each other. Song Chen (Ning Li) was an upright well-respected official who became Qu SanGeng mentor, He's the County Judge who appointed by the Emperor because of the error judgement when he was much younger, so much tortures for wrong conviction, experience injustices, he became disable - his mind though still as bright as his younger-self, he's now uphold justice for other people.

Background of the crime
The sad story about 3 teenager best friends, because of the greed and anger 20 years ago that cause destructive motivation. Unlikely best friend were young Lu Zhi, Xiao Bao, Lu Bu Yao came from different social status background; Lu Zhi was the servant of Lu family, Lu Bu Yao was his young master, Xiao Bao was attendant for a brothel. The Lu elder humiliated and punished Lu Zhi that drove him to seek revenge and gained some money with the encouragement from Mr. Zhong the steward, with the help of other 4 helpers they killed the whole Lu family with poison and burned down the house. Lu Zhi as adopted son Of Lu elder claimed the wealth of Lu family and divided between them. After stay away and low, they came back to town as rich merchants and respected by people in town. Recently, they've been murdered of those individuals connected with devastating fire. Captain Leng, murdered for involvement in cold-closed case. Lin Si Niang murdered for where was all started, Dr. Cheng murdered for fake prescription poison all Lu's, Wang Chen the gambler murdered for killing the mother Lu and Lu baby girl, other 3 victims related to the accident. Although Qu SanGeng knew the identity of the culprits, he made the choice to pick one of 2 devious killers to take on his revenge .

The setting was same location as 'Under Microscope' or 'Pledge of Allegiance' so for those who love those 2 dramas, we're getting the same vibes - same genre with different plots.

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Drama Tea
2 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
Nov 1, 2023
12 of 12 episódios vistos
Completados 0
No geral 9.0
História 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Musical 7.0
Voltar a ver 9.0
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A grim illustration of how corruption slowly destroys a civilisation

Once upon a time, they were young and innocent… but a corrupt world can ruin the sweetest souls…

At the start of the show, our three main characters give a toast and exclaim to each other: “It’s really difficult to be a decent man!”

This statement gets more true as the show progresses.

Ripe Town is set during the 37th year of the Wan Li Period of the Ming Dynasty. Emperor Wanli is said to be the cause of the dynasty’s downfall.

His neglect of government affairs caused corruption to fester in the kingdom and had a trickle down effect. Ripe Town is a great illustration of how this corruption affected the lives of the common people.

When Ripe Town dropped, there was barely any buzz about the show. There weren’t any high-traffic idol actors, and the story didn’t seem enticing. A historical serial killer drama? Hmm. I wasn’t in the mood for something that dark.

Then, I saw the trailer, and my jaw dropped at how athmospheric and moody it all was, so different from the day-glo plasticky beauty of so many cdramas these days, that I couldn’t help but watch it. I was further motivated by the fact that it was only 12 episodes long.

In the end, I binged through the entire series in two days and I have to say it was totally worth it!
What I liked about the drama:

1. The high production quality

What a pleasure it is to watch Ripe Town. There is no overuse of filters (actually none that I can see), no over-bright lighting, and the costumes are fitting for the time.

In fact, I really like that people’s outfits have literal patches of fabric used to repair the outfit, which often than naught, appeared worn out on our characters. Talk about determination to portray things authentically. The lower classes rarely have pretty robes to wear and often mend their clothes over and over again.

2. The acting

It is? I enjoyed the heck out of the acting. Loved the actors who played Lu Zhi and Judge Song.
The tight plot

Ripe Town is a rare drama, not just because of its high production quality but that it is succinct. It is a 12-episode drama in an entertainment landscape littered with 40-episode, bloated dramas. (To think that a drama could get up to 80+ episodes in the “old days” before the government decided that 40 episodes was the maximum number of episodes allowed.)

Every minute of Ripe Town demands your complete attention. You can’t fast forward to skip ahead because you’ll probably miss an essential clue in a dialogue or a scene.

3. The complex characters

Of all the characters in Ripe Town, it is the honorouble Judge Song that catches my attention. Not just because of the excellent actor who played him, but because he has a streak of nobility and goodness that seemed incongruous at a time when law officers “partner” with criminal gangs to maintain “peace”.

But in this world, is anyone free of the stain of immorality?

4, The authentic mood

Ripe Town is filmed in an ancient town where the walls were covered in moss or patched over or grey with dirt, as if symbolising the decay in the society. It magnifies the feeling of decay pervasive not only in the crumbling society, but in the justice system.

It is like watching a historical Chinese version of a moody, serial killer drama, and they make sure that everything, from the sets, the color palette and the lighting, reflect that.

5. What I didn’t like, and thoughts about the ending (slight spoilers)

Before I finally watched the ending, I was a tad worried about how the show will end because someone on Mydramalist complained how disappointed they were with the ending.

But after watching it, I thought it was really appropriate and fitting. All in all it was a very satisfying ending.

The thought that came to my head was: I was sad for everyone, including the bad guys. Because they were the product of their brutal environment, and one must do what one must to survive. In this upside-down world, being honourable and just is a foolish way to live; the smart ones use deceit and subterfuge to get ahead.

Ripe Town also kept me guessing till the very end. I could not guess the identity of the killer until the very end and did not expect that person to be the big bad at all! The actor who played the person was excellent too. Totally threw me off.

The only thing I wasn’t so pleased about was the twist at the end where (warning: spoilers!) the Big Bad turned out to be someone unexpected.

It would’ve been far, far, far more satisfying if the writers had not made the unexpected twist. In fact, I thought it was a rather cheap twist. It was a flaw in an otherwise almost perfect drama.

Still, I was SO worried that Ripe Town would go the open-ended route that is so trendy these days with so many CDramas that I didn’t mind that extra twist. I was like, phew, at least we get some kind of definite closure!

Ripe Town really highlights how corruption was the downfall of the Ming dynasty, and what enabled the Manchus to take over. With the rot infecting the justice system, the entire foundation of the empire was going to crumble sooner or later as good men are sacrificed on the altars of deceit and vengeance, to the detriment of the entire civilisation.

All in all, a very worthwhile investment of your time. The very high Douban rating of 8.6* seems to agree with me!

Also blogged here: https://dramatea88.wordpress.com/2023/11/01/ripe-town-review/

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