Ice Fantasy 幻城 unfolds like a whimsical fairytale and ends just as beautifully as it started. I’m relieved and happy to announce that everyone that matters (to me) lives to see another day in one of the more satisfying endings as of late. It is still unabashedly cheesy but what the heck, it grows on you. Spoilers ahead.
Episode 62 begins with Kasuo’s (Feng Shao Feng) return to Snowblade City. He draws his sword at the sound of footsteps and comes face to face with his half-brother Shi (Ma Tianyu).
Kasuo asks, “Do you really hate me?” Shi answers, “You killed me, you killed my mother. Shouldn’t I hate you?” Kasuo adds, “You said you didn’t hate me then, yet you ask if you should hate me now?”
They take the battle outside to the place where Shi died and Kasuo seizes every chance that he gets to relay the events of the past. His words seemingly strike a chord but a sinister voice urges Shi to kill, kill Kasuo.
Seeing no way out, Kasuo opts to die by the sword thinking that it will put an end to the curse of Yuan Ji. His powers and immortality were bestowed by Shi so it seems fitting that he return everything upon his death. The act triggers something within Shi giving Kasuo enough time to transfer Shi’s remaining memories back to him.
Meanwhile, Yan Da (Zhang Meng) rescues Li Luo (Mai Di Na) and Lan Shang (Victoria Song) and leads them to the Withering Blossoms Hillside where they are met with the sight of Shi reverting back to his former self.
The brothers share a heartfelt reunion that is cut short after Flame manipulates Shi into accidentally stabbing Kasuo through the chest. Lan Shang and Li Luo witness the scene and it knocks them both unconscious.
Kasuo uses his last ounce of strength in a final stand against Flame but Yan Da steps in and escapes with her father in tow. Kasuo collapses in the arms of Shi and declares his wish for Shi to become the next king. Lan Shang and Li Luo awake in their respective bodies only to find that Kasuo has already fallen.
Flame easily gains the upper hand in the subsequent battle as Shi is tormented by rage. Just as Flame is about to consume Shi’s soul, Yan Da intervenes.
The diversion enables Shi to regain control and he taunts Flame, “Should I kill you or have you tortured to death?” Yan Da steps in, this time to save her father but she ends up the victim after Flame deals a fatal blow meant to kill her along with Shi.
Feeling hurt and betrayed, she turns back to look her father in the eye once more before pushing Shi out of harm’s way. Shi finishes off Flame but it is too late for Yan Da who falls into his arms. Yan Da asks whether Shi ever liked her and after a series of flashbacks he says, “thank you. you’re my most beautiful friend and best friend.”
Xing Jiu (Xu Ke) finally regains consciousness and he tells Shi that there may be a way to save Kasuo. There is an ancient book that talks of the Blood Red Lotus, something even more mysterious than the Veiled Lotus. If the Veiled Lotus is a mystical object within the three realms then the Blood Red Lotus exists beyond the three realms.
Li Luo and Lan Shang continue to visit Kasuo and Li Luo tells him that peace pervades the lands as the tribes have sworn allegiance to Shi as the new king. Shi did not attend his coronation but he left a warning that he will return should anyone attempt to stir trouble.
In the meantime, Xing Jiu helped Shi enter a dream of the world from 10,000 years ago in hopes of finding a method to resurrect Kasuo. They learn that only a king’s truest intentions can summon the Blood Red Lotus, which is why Shi has set out on a journey to find it.
Granny (Zheng Pei Pei) mistakes a sleet bird for Shi and she suddenly has a vision of the scene from the very first episode that shows Kasuo shedding tears after a bloody battle. She mutters, “He wishes to bring him freedom, their past and present, their destinies.. No!!! Don’t! Please don’t return to those agonizing times.” Dun dun dun dun, a sleet bird dies, Kasuo’s eyes open.
Final Impressions: I was flip flopping between Ice Fantasy and Legend of Chusen but not anymore, not after how badly Chusen ended and how good Ice Fantasy fared in comparison. Drumroll please… because Shi has returned, no longer a pint-sized fairy or a vengeful amnesiac or even the adorable Yun Fei but as himself and my goodness, how we missed you so.
I can’t imagine another actor in the role because Ma Tianyu is perfect, marrying his angelic features with guileless innocence and embellishing it with the shrewdness of a diabolic mastermind. His character gets screwed over big time somewhere along the way and I’m just happy that he made it back in one piece.
He also becomes the king, an outcome that I didn’t expect but a notion that makes a lot of sense in hindsight. If only they let him rule in the first place… because clearly, he is the better candidate compared to Kasuo in terms of wisdom.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Feng Shao Feng and the rest of the cast who in spite of little character development made the most of what they were given. I’m still reeling from the loss of half the cast in the penultimate episode especially Luna and Healer, my favorite couple.
The soul swap did wonders for Victoria Song and Mai Di Na because I appreciated them more as an actress and learned to love their characters even more, thanks to their shared ownership of Li Luo, who was an amazing character when she was played by Victoria Song and equally badass when portrayed by Mai Di Na.
The final episode feels like a parting gift since it puts a satisfying resolution to the remaining loose ends. There was enough suspense left to keep the tension high and I didn’t even mind that the ending is open-ended. So Kasuo is alive, right?