Ice Fantasy 幻城 - Episode 1 (Recap)

kakashi: Some shows just have to be recapped - this is one of them. I feel lucky that I have just finished a major recapping project (Nirvana in Fire) and will very soon finish a second (Disguiser) because it means: I can pick this up. 62 episodes in total, which is insane... and this show isn't even good. I mean, if you take Nirvana and it's on 95 points (out of 100), then this is ... 40? Or less? But it does not matter. I have to date seen 18 episodes and I'm an addict. 
SakiVI: It's so bad, it's good! And, I'm going to repeat myself: I told you so!
JoAnne: I just... *glares at Saki*
Ice Fantasy (幻城) is based on a bestselling novel by Guo Jing Ming (郭敬明), a somewhat controversial literary superstar and movie director. If you want to read the novel, here is a page with the translation. Beware of spoilers. Haha.
You found it! I love you!
I do not love either one of you.
It was one of our readers who left it in the comments of one of the RAWRs, just for you! We all love you! 
Anyway, you know how the first few episodes are there to introduce the characters to us and gives us a feeling for the world we're dealing with - this one is no exception. Off we go then. I'm so excited!

Episode 1

"Many years later, I stood on a rock near the coast, facing the ocean, facing my kingdom, facing my people, facing the hustling of the mortal world, and facing the flying snowbird in the sky. My tears couldn’t help but came streaming down my face".
This is how the first chapter begins and this is how the show starts - with a sad king (this is Kasuo, played by Feng Shaeofeng) on a sad lonely island. There is a mysterious rock - and snowbirds, which commit suicide by crashing into the rock. Their blood runs through the snow and a single tear from our king makes it explode into huge ice crystals.
That was weird.
Good thing he wasn't standing on any.
But this is not where we are in the story yet ... we are many years in the past. We meet the Kasuo back then, who is just a prince, though heir to the throne. He has a spirit animal, a snow lion, but we do not need to spend much time with him because he is very bad CGI and he disappears pretty soon too. Anyway, Kasuo is a very kind, filial, and gorgeous prince. And it's his birthday today! He is turning 130 years old and that makes him an adult. Congratulations, prince!
It only took 130 year, yay.
Well, he is a man.
He is told to go dress and ready himself seeing how the guests are arriving, but he wants to go look for his little half-brother first who does not like parties. His name is Ying Kongshi (in short Shi) and he is a bit of an outcast... the other kids bully him because he has no magic. Big Bro goes to pick him up in the Snowmist Forest where he first runs into Grandma. I like her immediately. She's not his real grandma though, but she is very cool and quite powerful. You'll see. She's also sometimes confused, no wonder at that age. Grandma likes Kasuo a lot and vice versa.
I wonder if she's some sort of High Priestess?
I like her too, but I did think she was wearing a bird nest for a few minutes.
Wasn't she? 
Anyway, Kasuo goes and saves his Little Bro from the bullies and then takes him riding on the bad CGI snow lion. The two brothers like each other a lot too. Little Bro is soooo cuuuuute, but don't fall in love too much, he will not stay like this for long.
Actually, I found him really annoying. It might've been the hair.
I thought he was very cute and later, I kinda feel like he had some sparks with someone...and THAT was weird.
I think he is 100 years old
That's the city they live in, Snowblade City. Yes, the Lord of the Rings look is not a coincidence, Dan Hennah designed the sets. That pictures on the right makes me want to go skiing.
I'm the type of skier who sits in the lodge with a book and some hot cocoa.
Uh-oh, trouble! But we're not there yet.
First, we meet Li Luo (Victoria Song) and some of her groupies (one of them is in love with her). She is a Realm Guardian, "tougher than any man", (Very important for Girl Power to be tougher than any man!) very skilled in martial arts and, I might add, extremely beautiful. She also has a unicorn named "Turnip" (contrary to some rumors started on this blog, it doesn't sing). She is MASSIVE girlcrush material. The Guardians, we learn, keep the peace between the mortals and the gods and fend off invasions, serving the Ice Tribe.
She was the reason I thought I might watch more than the first episode, when I was watching the first one.
Back to the party. There is the Ice King (who defeated the Fire King many years ago and pacified the realm) and the Ice Queen (that is Kasuo's mother, a very kind woman, like him). And there's a face many of us will recognize immediately: It's Kim Hee-sun (Angry Mom!) as Lian Ji, the Ice King's concubine and mother to Prince Shi. In case you wonder why her hair isn't white: she's of the Mermaid Tribe. In case you wonder why she looks unhappy it's because she is. 
Concubinage sucks.
She's so beautiful. I didn't know she would be in this, and when she appeared I got very excited and started pointing at the screen and, words escaping me, yelled ' Faith Lady!'. Talk about girl crush material...I love this woman. I just couldn't remember her name.
We also meet some other mermaids at the party: Lan Shang (a princess) and the Mermaid Saint. Kinda her mother, but not really? (Spoiler: they are granddaughter and grandmother.) Really? (Really.) Naturally, Lan Shang falls for Kasuo at first sight. We learn that the mermaids try to stay out of trouble as much as possible, which basically means they do not take sides between Ice and Fire.
Now this one, her face irritates me.
Back to the trouble, then! It comes to Kasuo's coming-of-age party in the form of an Ice Prince. The Ice Tribe and the Fire Tribe aren't exactly friends - that won't come as a surprise to anyone. Wow, this guy is an asshole. He pretends to be bearing gifts, but his intentions are no good. First chance he gets, he challenges Kasuo to a battle of magic.
His hair was the worst of anyone's.
I can't stop laughing at him. I hope this guy got a nice paycheck to put that crap on.
Not a problem, you think! Ha! Guess again! Kasuo cannot refuse, because that would be rude. He cannot win either though because that Fire Prince is clearly looking for trouble and would jump on this opportunity. And he cannot be beaten by the Fire Prince because that would be humiliating. But see, Kasuo is not only gorgeous and kind etc. but he is also smart! He ends the battle with a draw of sorts, defusing the situation by having little kids thank the Fire Prince for providing them with some warm water to swim in.
Did anyone else see an animal's face in those flames? Like a tiger or something?
Ohhhh, you're right!!! 
Kasuo saves the day and the peace ... but not for long. Oups, spoiler, sorry. Before things turn rather bad in a few eps, we learn that Prince Kasuo has never wanted to become the king, that he dreams of a life of freedom, just like the sleet birds. Awww, Kasuo. Little Shi promises to help him fulfill his wish. I wish he would stop standing on that bird's head. I get vertigo from watching him.
One big gust of wind comes along, and he's a goner.
Back at the Guardian's Camp, we meet General Ketuo, leader of the guardians. He and Li Luo have a really good relationship (later we find out that he is her foster father). Mr. General seems Ice Tribey. See his hair and eyes. He also possess some magic. All the other Guardians are mortals, though with special powers. The deal between gods and mortals is this: the blood of a mortal spilled by a god will render said god powerless for a while.
Does anyone pray to these "gods". Or are they just immortal beings like the Titans?
I think he looks like a paler, be-wigged James Earl Jones.
He tells Li Luo that Prince Kasuo has sent his messenger owl again for her. Those owls are pretty cool, much better than those in Harry Potter, because they can speak in the voice of the sender. (How many death threats have you received so far for that statement?) Prince Kasuo seems to love to speak to Li Luo, whom he has not personally met yet, and asks her endless questions about the mortal world. The funniest sentence in this episode is this: "I wish he'd stop asking about what happens when mortals eat food. How could I possibly explain to him that after mortal digest the food we have to use the toilet and it stinks afterwards?" I foresee god-mortal shenanigans. I like those!!
Kasuo seems to have a crush on Li Luo.
So what happens when Kasuo eats?
He doesn't. He's a God.
Prince Kasuo seems to love conversing with this guardian he has never met. She also always seems to anticipate his next question, which impresses him deeply. He regrets that she never comes to see him in person. Yes, he has a crush. Awww.
Is he stuck on the mountain?
No, he even considers paying them a "surprise visit" just to see her. 
Oh no, more trouble. Of course, the Fire Prince didn't just come to play at magic. No, he has something quite phallic looking, which he takes to the Ice Veil, which, we learn later, is the source of all power of the Ice Tribe. Even if we don't see what he does with it, we can guess. Bastard!!
The Fire Tribe are rather macho, and, as we shall see, a bit sexist.  
A bit, she says! A bit! They're the personification of macho and really have nothing going for them.
I think their mistreatment of women is rooted in continually losing the 'Who Wore it Best?' competitions.
Then, he gets lusty after Mermaid Princess Lan Shang, who came to the forest in the hopes of meeting Kasuo there. He is attempting to rape her. Sexist, rapist pig! Luckily, Shi knows she's in the forest and alerts Kasuo, who intervenes just in time.
I feel very certain this guy talks loud to cover up for his tiny, tiny stick. And that he could very well be impotent.
True, it's not good if things get too hot down there.


This was a pretty gorgeous first episode (if you like snow, I guess) and mean comments about the CGI are just that: mean. Yes, some of it is horrendously bad, but I feel that's a detail that can be easily overlooked (if you are willing). I don't expect my TV shows to all look like the LotR franchise in terms of CGI. It's just a matter of money spent and priorities. I mean, I watched the Shannara Chronicles not so long ago and that wasn't much better.
You watched the whole thing? 
Damn, I did
I gave up on the second episode even though I liked that guy from New Zealand quite a bit. The one was dead for however many years, or so they thought.
I don't remember a bit about Shannara. I'm not sad about it.

The storytelling is swift, the character introductions well done, there is a bit of exposition when needed, but always well packaged. Many of the characters are intriguing, key among them Little Prince Shi and his mother. Also, the budding friendship between the Prince and the Guardian is just too cute. They're just penpals, basically, or owl-pals? But they already have a strong connection and I cannot wait until they meet face-to-face.
Hidden behind the horrible costuming and CGI, you actually have a point.  One that I didn't even really notice until you mentioned it.

The animosity between the Fire and the Ice Tribe is ancient and even though they've had peace for a hundred years, it's clear that this is not really a peace but simply a not-war ... and now, the Fire Tribe seems out to break that not-peace and change the mode to war. We haven't met the whole family yet, but apart from one member, they're all as disgusting as the princling we got to meet. And yes, they all dress kinda ... flamboyant. Wait until you see daddy.
Don't you think it should really be the Oil Tribe and the Water Tribe? I mean...water douses fire. Doesn't that mean the Fire Tribe will always lose? But Oil and Water, they don't clear winner. Plus that prince is so slimy.
Yes, JoAnne, I do not understand how the Ice Tribe EVER beat the Fire guys

And yes, I'm already crushing on Kasuo, the adorable but reluctant ruler. Even though he is a bit boring, but aww. He wants to be free like the birds. I heart you, Prince.
I had so many people tell me not to watch this show, and I'm so glad I didn't listen to them!
I never considered watching this show.  LOOK AT ME NOW.