Friday, 22 April 2016

ROCH 1983 final impressions

Haven't found the original artist. Anyone knows?

I finally finished watching ROCH 1983 a few nights ago. What a relief! Although the series definitely has its highlights, in general it didn't meet my expectation of a grand series worth re-watching, but I know many people like this series. So of course my opinions below are just my own. Read on at your own peril.

To me the series became more interesting AFTER Xiaolongnu or Little Dragon Girl jumped off into the Passionless Valley. Yeung Gor didn't commit suicide afterwards, which was good. He instead became a much more interesting person without XLN. In the 16 years alone, he became the tai hap, the hero, his father would have had he been raised properly by Mr n Mrs Yeung.

There's one hiccup I find a bit difficult to understand in the last few episodes. How come YG still didn't realise that Yeung Hong was almost a total evil? The Dramanice episode where YG and KC started to see eye-to-eye was corrupted, so I didn't see that very important scene YG/KC bonding. Since YG didn't find out about his dad's true nature until First Master Freak told him, 16 years after YG decided to abandon his revenge to KC, it means WYKC didn't tell him the whole blunt truth. Why didn't they do that?! I thought the understanding Wong Yung and Yeung Gor forged could only come if the latter understood the true nature of Yeung Hong's demise?

Anyway. Speaking of WYKC, until the end of the series, I find that Wong Yung/Kwok Ching (WYKC) were still more interesting than YG/XLN. 

Scratch that.

The truth is, to me the YG/XLN pairing was boring, period. Yes they sacrificed themselves for love etc, but as I said in my previous post, the relationship was too surreal for my liking. Also, when they met again after 16 years, the emotions were not enough for a meeting after such a long separation. I mean, come on man, 16 years! How come XLN was still just... And YG was... I mean, where's the sheer excitement, wonder, and disbelief in their eyes? Shake head. Yes, I know that she didn't speak to anyone for 16 years...but you don't need to speak in this situation; words might actually be counterproductive. You just need the emotions conveyed through the flickers of eyes, body movements, tears that suddenly welled...

Read the quotes below from the translated novel to see what one could expect from a YG/XLN reunion after 16 years of separation.


Xiao Long Nu had not spoken for the past sixteen years and now when she started speaking again she was not very fluent. So they did not speak and just stared at each other smiling. Yang Guo could not contain his excitement any longer and took her hand and ran out of the hut, saying, “Long’Er, I’m extremely happy.” He jumped up into a big tree and somersaulted several times.
In his excitement he forgot everything and somersaulted just like he did when he was young in the Ancient Tomb. He never thought about this before and never expected to do something like this as a middle-aged man. The only difference was that his qing gong (lightness skill) was excellent and he could somersault effortlessly. Xiao Long Nu laughed heartily and cast all the ‘less laughter’ and ‘less happiness’ into the wind.


We may not need YG to do the somersaulting. As long as he conveyed his emotions, all his longings etc, that would be enough for me. But what I had from Ep 49 of ROCH 1983 was just not enough. It might have been enough when I was a kid, but now I want more. I want those sparks and fear of re-losing and excitement etc in the first few seconds of their reunion, and it just wasn't there. Sure they started to stick to each other again like Velcro afterwards, but nah. They should have sold it the first few seconds as YG saw XLN carrying the kettle, which she then dropped, but... Nah... It was like they unexpectedly met after just a year's separation, instead of 16 years.

Speaking of kettle, can anyone explain the presence of complete basic household equipments including a book cupboard and kettle at the base of the base of Passionless Valley? Someone else stayed there before? If that was the case, it's okay. Just explain it to me.

On another matter, I find the last few episodes much more interesting with the elders like East Heretic, South Emperor and Old Imp. There was just not enough of them lot though in this series compared to LOCH 82 when at least we had plenty scenes of East Heretic, Old Imp and North Beggar. Oh, and I find it very nice to see East Heretic definitely held a high regard at Kwok Ching, for Felix Wong KC did struggle to win Dad Heretic's approval back in LOCH 82.

Another thing made me appreciate KC very much in this series. YG said that his own hair became white due to his love to XLN, while KC collected his grey hair due to his love to the country and people. Then we have the cute joke from WY when she tried to count how many white hair KC had because of her. Joke aside, to me YG hit the nail there. The struggle during that the time period (Song vs Mongol) placed KC higher than YG in my eyes, for Kwok taihap didn't just live for the family; he lived for the people and the country.

Speaking of Mongol, why can't we see the internal struggles of Yehlut Chai and his sister? Weren't they Mongols? Sure they thought Mongkhe and Kublai were evil, but wouldn't the Yehlut siblings felt a bit uncomfortable when the Songs insulted ALL Mongols regardless of whether said Mongols supported the Song invasion or not? Or was it explained in the book or in the longer (uncut) version of the series? If it was omitted, I feel that we lose a very important sub-story here. Also, I don't mind more Yehlut Chai/Kwok Fu. I like them... Much more than I like YG/XLN.

Now, with all the ranting here, does it mean that I hate the main character? No. I think Yeung Gor has the potential to be a great character, with some trimmings. Lots of trimming, particularly with regards to XLN. Be my guest to have her as his spouse, but make her a more interesting character, please. Ironic, isn't it? The one wuxia pairing many people adore, and here I find them boring and detracting the main character's growth.

Does it mean I hate YG/XLN? No, I don't hate them. I think they do have at least one admirable trait: selfless sacrifice for their love. I just find them boring most of the time, and they were focusing on themselves too much most of the time. Heh, they didn't even bother to say goodbye to KC et al after paying respect to North Beggar's and West Venom's graves.

Oh, and does it mean I don't like XLN? Well, I don't hate her, but she's not my favourite. She should smile more often. Li Mok Sau was correct when she said LDG was wooden, for she was indeed wooden! Emotionless isn't an admirable trait in my book. Controlling one's emotions while embracing them at the same time, now that's the trait I admire.

Heck, I liked XLN (or LDG) the most when YG was imagining his domestic life with XLN, where he returned from the farm and Dragon was taking care of their kid. I find this Dragon; smiling, hair tucked into a bun, was much more appealing than the stern, almost always constipated XLN. Yes, she might be the prettiest actress in her time, but I now appreciate spark and gusto more than just a pretty face. Two cases in the point: Barbara Yung and Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Game, X-Men as the young Mystique). They sure are pretty (were, for Babs,..), but I think the fire within them made them more appealing.

In conclusion: ROCH 1983 is not my favourite 80s wuxia. Not my favourite wuxia series, period. The premise was good, the execution wasn't stellar. Don't care if they remake it, unless they make XLN a three dimensional character and YG more appreciative of life and not just thinking that the world revolves around his gugu/"aunt" Dragon. Apologies if this conclusion disappoints any reader, but I cannot say otherwise...

By the way, if you don't understand why XLN jumped into the cliff, read this link. It helped me understand her motive better, tho I still think it's really a drama queen stuff. It was also explained in the ROCH 83, but apparently, it indeed was the explanation of the novel version as well.


They sat shoulder to shoulder beside a stone and talked about past events. Yang Guo asked her every single detail. Xiao Long Nu talked for a while and her speech became more fluent, then she slowly narrated her story of the past sixteen years.
That day when Yang Guo threw the half-pill down the valley Xiao Long Nu knew he did not want to be left alone as her condition was supposedly fatal. That night she thought carefully and decided to die first and kill off his thoughts of suicide so that he would neutralize the “Passionless Poison”. She was afraid that if she left traces of her suicide it would only hasten his own suicide so she thought for half a night and so she finally went to the Heart-Wrenching Cliff and carved the words, purposely making a sixteen-year long appointment and then she jumped into the valley. At that time she thought that if Yang Guo’s life could be saved, after sixteen years he would have forgotten her and dispelled his thoughts of suicide.
When she said this, Yang Guo sighed, saying, “Why did you think of sixteen years? If you said eight years wouldn’t we have been reunited eight years ago?”
Xiao Long Nu said, “I’m aware of your deep feelings for me and eight years would be too short to sooth your feelings. Ah, I didn’t expect that even after sixteen years you would still jump down.”
Yang Guo laughed, “That’s the advantage of having such profound feelings. If I got over you and only cried at the Heart-Wrenching Cliff then went off, I would never see you again.”
Xiao Long Nu said, “This is fate.” Both of them came back from death to life and were finally reunited, so they were very thankful for their good fortune.
They felt sad for a while. Yang Guo then asked, “Then what happened after you jumped down?”
Xiao Long Nu said, “I was swept unconscious into the cave and carried to this place, so I lived here. This place is devoid of animals but there were plenty of fish in the lake and fruits on the trees but there was no cloth so I had to use tree bark to make clothes.”



Anonymous said...

Yeah, I remember dialogue when "YG said that his own hair became white due to his love to XLN, while KC collected his grey hair due to his love to the country and people. Then we have the cute joke from WY when she tried to count how many white hair KC had because of her" I thought KC n WY so sweet to each other....I watched ROCH 83 years ago n don't watch it again because I don't like the main couple, I find they focusing on themselves too much.
I read somewhere that Jin Yong describe LDG's character as emotionless, well I guess Idy Chan succeed portray LDG's character, somehow ROCH 83 not my cup of tea

Icha said...

Yeah, ROCH 83 isn't my cup of tea either... For some, it is a wonderful series. For me, I barely could finish it. Haha, you're actually right, Wina, in that sense, Idy Chan successfully portrayed a boring Dragon Girl for us...(sorry Idy). Perhaps her character was more interesting in Demigods and Semi-Devils? She played as Ken Tong's lover there, right?

Anonymous said...

I once ever wanted to watch DGSD but didn't manage to watch it, I read a review about DGSD, it said that Idy's character was pretty n booring :p.... but in The Wild Bunch (I watched it in my local TV station years ago n I completely forgot the story) with Felix Wong as I remember Idy's characther was quite cheerful.
n I read in one article when Jin Yong asked about who actors can portray the best Heroes in his novel, He answered Andy Lau as YG
Btw, yeah it's kind of difficult find The Legend of Dik Ching in Cantonese with English subs, I just remember that Michael's character were playfull n smart, his mother often scolded him, Dik Ching loves Kitty's character, but his mother didn't like Kitty, She liked DC's childhood friend

Icha said...

I actually did watch DGSD for the first few episodes when I was a kid.. Didn't Ken Tong's character fell in love with Sharon Yang Pan Pan's character as well? Then I got distracted and didn't finish the series. I think I will just read the synopsis now; too many other series to watch and books to read. I want to buy Dik Ching tho, doesn't matter that it's in Mandarin... It's just that Michael wasn't paired up with Barbara... I think it was one of his first series after Barbara's death. Must have been so difficult for him...

Anonymous said...

I just know from review DGSD that Ken Tong's character pair with Idy's character
Yeah, so many series to watch :), pernah nonton The Duke of Mount Deer?, aq nonton ssd HSDS di pertengahan '90 an di TV lokal, Tony's character irritating me, pervert bgt, aq rooting Andy's character.

Icha said...

Belon euy, belon ntn Duke of Mt Deer. Kata orang sih lucu... Maksud Wina DOMD kali bukan HSDS? Kan Andy ga main Di HSDS?

Anonymous said...

Ini efek sms an suka nyingkat2, maksudqu nonton The Duke Of Mount Deer ssd(sesudah) nonton HSDS, aq rooting Andy di DOMD drpd Tony, character Tony play boy bgt, bikin ilfil, mungkin krn aq msh 'tenage' kali jd gak suka lupa lucunya DOMD, ingat ilfilnya aja...

Icha said...

Hahahaha!!! Nyingkat2 pas sms...

Kata orang sih... Tony n Andy had a great bromance chemistry in DOMD. Ga tau juga, Wong ga bakal sempet ntn...