Every single fantasy archetype in one drama

Thanks to streaming websites like Dramafever and Viki, anyone can stay abreast of current entertainment from South Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and other countries. There have been some great dramas to be featured on these sites (ahem, You Came From Another Star) that have have kept my eyes suckered for every back hug, covert glance, and wrist grab while listening to the same soundtrack music chime during key moments. The fun of such romance endeavors fades away when it has been seen over and over. So when promotions for China’s Ice Fantasy began flashing, my eyes were not just drawn to them, they were boring a hole in the screen to see this fantasy drama NOW.

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The theme song alone is just a sheer fantasy lover’s visual drug. My eyes were hypnotized by these gorgeously wardrobed characters flitting around ethereally in green screen magic. The envy upon seeing just the elaborate hairstyles, spot-on makeup, and hair adornments made me ache to wear them all. The detailed and flowing costumes made me weep with the desire to make them so I could strut around in all of my glory. The song is just so eerie and beautiful.

Within ten minutes of watching Ice Fantasy, I was done for. I have seen an ice realm elf Prince play fetch with his winged snowy lion, magic shields, birds that explode on impact, and an ice castle that could easily be another dungeon on Warcraft. This is after watching a theme song that contained an armed winged snow lion, dragons, swords, dagger blades, magic fireballs,harps, lotuses, battles, and a parade of shiny crowns.

There is only one explanation for why this Chinese drama has become such an addiction for me. In only five episodes (out of 33 and more incoming), I have seen every single fantasy element that gives me happy chills flash across the screen. Every single fantasy element that I have read in books, played during Warcraft and Final Fantasy, and watched onscreen has been condensed into episodic candy for the eyes. If a luck dragon flies across the screen, I will perish from sheer happiness.

Reluctantly pushing aside the visual fun of it all, the story progresses very quickly. The episodes are fairly short but they pack so much story in those very tiny minutes. Of course the story will pause for eight fade outs to indicate love connection but otherwise there is very little filler. The drama really pulls in weight in terms of the actions and dramatic gestures. There are lots of sword fights, magic displays, and over the top body movement. In no way is this drama breaking new ground in epic fantasy. It is just giving us a smorgasbord of visual awesomeness.

Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender will recognize the fractured systems by elements and immortals. The story begins with the 130 year old birthday celebration of a Prince of the Ice Realm. Under a fake guise of peace, the Prince of the fire realm pays a visit and to also trigger a war between the realms. Soon it is fire and ice and and no one, mortal or immortal, is safe from it’s consequences.

The drama is an adaptation from Guo Jing Ming’s novel “City of Fantasy.” As of right now, the novel is not available in English translation. Which is a shame, for I would love to read this too. As far I can see on the wiki page, the drama does deviate from the novel but still contains the same elements. As far as I can see, it’s only one book. So for this drama to stretch on to 33 episodes and counting makes me believe this must be whopping epic fantasy.

Every epic fantasy lover must check out this drama. There are just so many shiny and unbelievable moments, like when one of the characters flies UP and off her unicorn (yup, they have battle unicorns. This one is named Turnip) to use her dagger blade (as in there is a bullet that shoots out of a dagger. Final Fantasy VIII fans will really love that one) to rescue a person from a huge pterodactyl-like creature.  This is one sentence containing an example of moments where you can sit there and just say, “That happened. That totally just happened”.

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Vesper

    This drama has been on my list, but I bumped it up and watched the first episode after reading your article. Definitely an interesting, likable drama! Asian dramas are my latest (past couple years) obsession, and it’s neat to read the bridge of perspective from a non kdrama/cdrama/jdrama etc. site. I was worried the fantasy elements might be a little too over the top for my taste, but they were fun visuals, and didn’t drag down the story. Will absolutely fit it into my list! Thank you for the article and suggestion.

    (Apropos of nothing: My absolute favorite kdrama is Gaksital/Bridal Mask, mainly because I’m a sucker for well done secret identity dramas and welll…Joo Won.)

      1. Vesper

        Bridal Mask goes a couple too many episodes (it was so popular that they expanded it), but I put it right up there with the best American TV I’ve seen (especially comic book style). The first few episodes were the hardest to watch, but they set up the emotional impact for the entire drama. I loved Iljimae too, but not quiiiiite as much.

        What I love even more is how quickly Netflix is embracing these dramas. “Descendents of the Sun” was only aired in the Spring, but is already (understandably) snagged. I can and do watch on Viki and Dramafever, but I love the signal boosts.

        Hoping it’s just a matter of time before people start to compare dramas like Ice Fantasy to (as Toni says) Final Fantasy, Narnia, WoW, GoT, etc. I promise to watch more episodes soon! Currently working my way through Rookie Agent Rouge and a couple others.

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