Ashes of Love 香蜜沉沉烬如霜 - Episode 1 (Recap)

kakashi: Doing it! It feels like I haven't recapped in 4'000 years, but now I'm sick in bed and feel like this will cure me quickly. Also, huge plus: the show is done airing (no rush to recap), I've seen all the episodes, I enjoyed it thoroughly and therefore know the show won't hit a bump in the middle - which means I won't curse my decision to spend extra hours with it and I won't eventually drop it.
panda: I did pause this around the 20th mark but that was because Youtube subs dried then and then I got caught up with other things. I had meant to finish up so this is an excellent push :)))
Jo: Is this the one with the fruit fairies in the water bubble? I've been out this evening. I haven't watched this past a couple episodes if it is that one, but I will. You know what I HAVE done? I've had beer. Really delicious beer. Beer I need to go buy from the store this weekend so I can have more.

Episode 1

Flower Realm, a huge crisis: A baby is born (that's not the crisis) and the birth is sparkly and pink and lovely and unbloody and all the flowers in the realm rejoice - but, the birthing mother Flower Queen Zi Fen is dying (that's the crisis) and she wants it to be known that her child died with her. On top of that, Zi Fen inserts a magical pill/pellet into her newborn (more crisis, you'll see). It lodges itself inside her heart and will make sure the girl cannot love. "If one is heartless, she becomes strong. If one never loves, she stays carefree". This woman... she doesn't want her daughter to suffer like she has.
This doesn't sound like a bad idea, does it? 
This IS the one. Oh yay! It was looking like fun and there was a hot guy.
Cut to a wedding in the Heavens: The Water Deity marries the Wind Deity - this was arranged by the Emperor, but an off-voice informs us that Water Deity has only ever loved the Flower Goddess. The Emperor decrees that if Water Deity's eldest child is a son, he shall be his own son's sworn brother. If it's a girl, she will become his son's wife. 
This couple didn't look very happy and I can't help feeling it is somewhat connected to the dying flower fairy.
Panda is freaking smart, I tell you.
Down below in the Flower Realm, the dying Queen wishes for her child to live her life ordinary "like a dull cloud and flowing water" and names her Jin Mi (锦觅 - "to look for splendor"). She is not to be a Deity, but a carefree "sanxian" (an immortal without official duty). The Flower Queen also informs her subordinates of a likely love trial this child might face in the next 100,000 years, which makes her uneasy despite the Pellet she has given her child. Hence, she wants her locked up within the "Water Mirror" (which is a protective seal above parts of the Flower Realm). Then, she disintegrates.
This is already quite sad :(
Who could be sad with all that glitter and gauze?
4,000 years later, the Flower Realm has split from the Heavenly Realm, not ready to forgive the heartbreak of their late Queen. Jin Mi is living just like her Mother wished. Carefree, lazy, only eating and sleeping, thinking she is a lowly Grape Sprite with no powers. She's also very much bored underneath the Water Mirror (which is like a "fake teardrop") and plans to go out into the world, even though everybody keeps warning her how dangerous it is outside.
Who wouldn't be bored? The more something is denied you, the more tantalizing it becomes.
No one SPECIFICALLY told me I couldn't have the hot guy in this story but yet...
Up in the Heavens, the Emperor's son, the Phoenix Xu Feng is cultivating in a fire egg for 49 days. The Empress orders his trusted servant and bodyguard Lord Liaoyuan to guard him well during the last phase, because he will be particularly vulnerable then.
I don't think I am going to like the Empress. She looks mean.
If the girl is the actual center of the story, the mother of the main guy is always mean. When I saw little Grape Girl hanging out like that I was reminded so much of Peaches...sigh
On this day - the Flower Deity's Death Anniversary - the Water Mirror is opened to let low-level sprites in to worship the Flower Deity. Because of her bad behavior earlier, Jin Mi is "punished" to guard her mother's tomb (without knowing it's her mother). Also on this day, a sinister meeting takes places at a lake shore. The man is the Rat Immortal and him and the Red Clothed Woman (who is his boss) plot to target the Phoenix.
I KNEW Melania's Christmas Trees were evil!  Also..who would want to be a rat FOREVER?
Jin Mi, bound by a body-freezing spell by the Head Fragrance Chief, is extremely bored and eventually manages to call a friend of hers: Lord Puchi (her nickname for him), really called Yan You. He is a suave Snake Deity - that Jin Mi owes a debt to. Saving her and her friend Rou Rou a few hundred years ago, he saved Jin Mi's life. So, one of the reasons why her cultivation is so low is that she keeps collecting it to give back to Lord Puchi, who accepts it reluctantly and only because she insists (she seems to think he has little cultivation himself, but we will soon find out that's not true at all. He's very powerful). He also brings her a gift - It's her friend Rou Rou in plant form. Awwwwww.
I like the look of Puchi, he looks like a troublemaker. Awww giving her her friend was such a nice gesture. But if he is so powerful why can't he resuscitate Rou Rou? Or is his plan to indirectly make her realize her real power???? 
Awww, muffin. So cute and so nice! I hope he stays nice, he seems quite useful.
So what happened was that Jin Mi insisted on going outside the Water Mirror a few hundred years ago and then got ambushed by a monster called Qiong Qi, who ended up killing her friend. (Well, made her a vegetable.) Jin Mi expresses a wish for Rou Rou to become human again one day (she feels horribly guilty about what happened) and Lord Puchi says there's a small chance if she finds Golden Immortal Da Luo. Well, Lord Puchi is clearly lying, but Jin Mi is determined to cultivate more and meet that Immortal.
I like determined heroines.
I'm curious. Does the plant know it's a plant and that it was a human? If it becomes human again will it be crazy after spending a few hundred years as a plant? I'm also laughing a little bit because succulents have recently become very popular so that is sort of natural PPL.
Night has fallen up in the Heavens and we meet the Night Deity, Run Yu. He is the eldest son of the Emperor, though his mother is not the current Empress. Night Deity's duty is to set up the star constellations every night. When he comes back from his Star Terrace, something slips in with him through the shield at the gate into the Palace area... he notices and soon finds facing himself a black-clad assailant who looks VERY MUCH like... if you pay any attention to hairdos, you will have no trouble recognizing him :D
This is him! The hot guy! He's my choice.
They fight. Night God cannot vanquish him due to his high cultivation and considerable skills and even gets wounded by a strange Fire Bead - yes, Night God's magic is water based, he is vulnerable to fire. 
I like Night God!
Too late, I called dibs up there. Well, my dibs was implied and you should know me by now.
The assassin escapes and Night Deity quickly cloud jumps to Qiwu Palace where his brother, the Phoenix, is cultivating. But Lord Liaoyuan, who is standing guard, has not noticed anything amiss. Inside the palace in the cultivation egg, Xu Feng is reborn that very moment - his Phoenix awakens and shoots out - and in that crucial moment is hit by ice arrows. He falls. Deep. And...
... crashes through the Water Mirror. Jin Mi witnesses the accident and rushes to the place where the shooting star fell. She finds a burnt "crow" (lmao - she has read some encyclopedia about the animals of the realms) and decides to save him. She and her friend bury him in the ground and water him, since this is how all of them grew up.
I feel like this is going to be a very funny misunderstanding.
That CGI was really pretty. I keep looking at Kakashi's gif. I don't think it's just because of the beer, either.
Later, finding no progress, Jin Mi  feeds him some of her "fragrant nectar", a kind of elixir made from flower essence. She muses that he cannot be a normal crow if he was able to break through their enchanted shield. Since this bird seems to have quite a bit of cultivation, she decides to cook and eat him in order to gain spiritual energy. But while she looks for the right utensils and finds a huge knife, the crow in her hut transforms... into a man. Jin Mi is confused by the logistical challenge of fitting something so big into the small pot she fetched!
Jin Mi has the brains of a grape.
She remembers hearing about the internal pellets where immortals store their cultivation though. If she finds that and eats it... it'll be just like eating the whole bird! She roughly starts searching the body and indeed, finds something round and pellet-like... down below. Thankfully, he wakes up before she can make the cut :D (we have to know that all of the flowers are females and her old teacher Hu is a carrot, probably without the male appendage). 
I died laughing at this scene. She was really about to whack it off!!
She better stay the hell away from my Night God.
Phoenix ain't amused. But Jin Mi assures him she saved his life and should be called Savior. She also wants to continue cutting off his male parts since she thinks it's a defect he has. He is offended and outraged and shocked to be touched everywhere by a female but when he discovers that she has a hairpin with a lot of spiritual power, he is intrigued and quiets down.
So I didn't notice this watching the episode but...umm...look at his pants? Should we be impressed? I think I'm impressed.
She tries to feed him worms... and insults him as crow, which has him show her his Phoenix Armor pretty quickly. Hahahaaaaa, his pride is hurt. She's duly impressed by shiny, manly him. 
I definitely prefer the other guy.
Upon his request, she leads him to some spring water... he drinks (showing off his water magic) and declares it very fine. When he turns around to see just how impressed she is, he sees that she is bathing her feet in the water he just drank from. Yup, Phoenix... this little fruit sprite is going to be quite a headache for you, hehe.


Lovely first episode. From learning about a sad backstory still overshadowing the present, to meeting the leads and having the leads meet, introducing a second lead (this one is going to hurt) and evil mothers on the way, I felt like not a second was wasted. The contrast in bearing and upbringing between haughty, regal Phoenix Xu Feng and dumb, innocent, extremely sheltered "Grape" Jin Mi could not be bigger - but it's exactly those opposite characters, those yin&yang pairings that make for good drama.
It has been a while since I watched and I was honestly surprised to remember all this happened in the first episode. They did a good job of setting up some of the main characters i feel. 
I didn't even mind the cheesy setting. This is not quite the kind of WTF where I fully embrace the crazy, but it had a good pace and the humor was easy, if simple. I already know my choice is going to be painful - the guy with the pointy nose always loses, sigh...but it's okay, I'm a big girl.  

I remember some discussions about "how dumb can she actually be" back in the day when this aired, but I didn't find it hard to believe that for somebody locked up underneath a protective shield so that she can never meet a man, meeting a man and feeling him up down there would be a bit confusing. (Though that encyclopedia she read about the species in the realm must have been heavily censored, making sure she never even saw that there are male and female animals.)
I was one of the people who grumbled about her being dumb, but that was not in response to this or the earlier episodes. This confusion made sense. My grumbling came much later :)))
I just find it funny that people will argue about whether a grape sprite who lives in a water drop is 'too dumb.'