In a surprise move, Guardians of the Ancient Oath / Chinese Bestiary上古密约 dropped anchors on Sunday, a few days earlier than its expected release date later this month. Loosely based on the ancient text called Classic of Mountains and Seas, the lines between legend and reality are blurred through the mists of time in this historical drama. In ancient times, to stop the demon Jiu Ying from wreaking more havoc all over the earth, deities of the five elements sacrificed themselves to seal the enemy, leaving the world to flourish in peace. Thousands of years later, they are once again called forth to their duty and vanquish the demon Jiu Ying as he threatens to unleash chaos back into the world.
In the 46 episode series, we make the acquaintance of the Baili family, where our three young leads are descended from. With the untimely death of the emperor, the young Baili Haohe (Karry Wang) succeeds the throne. With his scheming mother forcefully trying to pull the strings, Baili Hongshuo (Wu Lei) and Baili Hongyi’s (Lareina Song) who are the children of the late crown prince are held under suspicion despite being loyal to the king. Meanwhile, Baili Hongyi’s true identity has been discovered by the new leader of the Lang tribe who has been feuding with the Bailis. Faced with the threat of discovery and the return of an old adversary, deities of the five elements must gather once more to save mankind.
Chinese Bestiary is produced in partnership with the prestigious Beijing Film Academy so it’s not a big surprise to see many of its younger graduates starring in the drama. Leo Wu Lei stars as Baili Hongshuo together with Lareina Song as Baili Hongyi and TF Boy’s Karry Wang Junkai as Baili Haohe.
It’s a bit of a surprise really to see Karry Wang opting to play the supporting lead to Leo Wu Lei in this drama. I mean, he’s pretty much big enough to command the main lead actor designation isn’t he, yet he actually attempts a first in his career to play the distrustful king who seems setup to be the villain.
Regardless, Leo Wu Lei seems like a great fit for the role of Hongshuo especially after seeing his martial arts moves in Nirvana in Fire as Hu Ge’s personal bodyguard Fei Liu. Boy can after all kick some arse! Besides he’s gonna need those skills to keep their enemy in check.
Not gonna lie though, the first two episodes were a smidge boring to watch but I reckon the storyline will speed up once they finish setting the scene. For what it’s worth, our young Baili stars carry their costumes and their hair buns quite well *lol*. But seeing that preferences are subjective for everyone, watch the drama to see for yourself if it’s a show worth your time.
Chinese Bestiary also features Guo Junchen, Zhang Lingxin, Zheng Kai, Gao Ren, Liu Lin, Xuan Yan, Liu Zhiwei and Zhang Yuqi.
Release Date: February 9, 2020 on iQIYI and Mango TV, February 10, 2020 on Hunan TV (two episodes from Monday to Thursday at 10pm)
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