First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain

I’m on a total Xu Kai high since finishing Arsenal Military Academy, so I decided to give Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain a spin. Come see if the first two episodes spoke to me!

The Plot

From our friends at mydramalist.com:

“A story that follows Wang Lu, a young genius, who enters the Spirit Blade Sect and embarks on an unconventional journey towards immortal cultivation.
The Spirit Blade Sect was established in the year 4233. Through years of producing martial arts prodigies, it has been hailed as one of the five great sects. As the nine continents face a crisis, a genius by the name of Wang Lu joins the Spirit Blade Sect and comes under the tutelage Wang Wu.
Despite Wang Wu’s beauty, she is hundreds of years in age. Famous for having a sharp tongue and an erratic temper, she and her disciple Wang Lu engage in endless squabbles while trudging on a path to becoming the strongest sage in all the lands.”

Sounds like a pretty typical setup for a fantasy, right? Yeah, right.

First Impressions

The opening scene centers around two mystics, one of whom is flying around in a complicated ritual to interpret the meaning of the stars. As soon as he realizes that the stars are predicting the imminent end of his world, he lays down on the grass, crosses his arms across his chest, and waits for death while the other mystic makes fun of him. It was HILARIOUS.

We’re introduced to the main character, Wang Lu (Xu Kai), shortly thereafter, and the absurdity doesn’t stop. Wang Lu talks like he’s just playing a video game and we’re watching his character interact with the rest of the video game characters — kind of like Love O2O, but with only one player. It gives the entire episode a very A Knight’s Tale feel.

Wang Wu (Sandrine Pinna) is all over the place, but always for laughs. She’s the mystic who makes fun of the doomsday mystic in the first scene, and she just gets funnier and more over the top from there.

Unfiltered Thoughts

Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain seems to be funny, off-kilter, and just this side of slapstick. Being a Chinese drama, I’m sure it’ll get serious at some point, but for now it definitely tickles my funny bone.

What do you think, drama fans? Will you be watching? You can find Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain on Netflix and on the iQIYI app.

Until next time, I remain —

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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11 thoughts on “First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain

  1. As soon as I read that it’s like he’s playing a video game, I thought, ‘oh, I bet this is a transmigration cultivation webnovel’ and sure enough! Here’s the link on Novel Updates: https://www.novelupdates.com/series/once-upon-a-time-there-was-a-spirit-sword-mountain/

    Based on the reviews, I think it looks pretty promising, although it’s hard to know what the show will do with the novel based on only a few episodes. One thing about this genre is that the main character usually has a “cheat” of some kind, and the plot is focused around “leveling up.” The reviews suggest that there are some things the author did in the novel to offset the potential boringness of that, but it’s not the typical plot structure that we’re used to so it can be a little weird if you’re not expecting it.

    I’m now on the second episode and I agree with the hilariousness…. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the quirky side characters, and Xu Kai is awesome, so I’m definitely in for the forseeable future 😀

    • Ok, so I learned something new today — I had NO idea what the transmigration cultivation genre was. Thank you for that! And it adds another layer to the story, which makes it very interesting to me. I’ll be keeping up as well.

      • Based on cues in the show, I’m pretty sure he was a serious gamer in his original universe who has remembered his original life since birth. He either assumes or *knows* that he’s been born into some sort of video game-style universe, which is why he thinks he’s the main character (also where the hilariously on-point Naruto comments come from!)

        • lol. There is a LOT I’m missing in this drama! I haven’t watched Naruto, so I had no idea there were references. I’ve watched through episode 6 at this point, and while the humor is still there, the story itself isn’t grabbing me. Will you keep watching?

          • Oh definitely. I’m having fun with it. At one point we find out that one of the characters has a nine-tailed fox sealed in her body and he’s like “isn’t that just like Naruto?” which of course it is…

            I’m quite enjoying the master-disciple dynamic. The master is written to be always showing a careless face but doing things intentionally, which is a fairly standard trope but it’s done really well here, and the actress who plays her is hamming it up in an over-the-top way that I love.

            If they follow the novel, he’s going to make a choice at some point that means he’ll never be a solo-adventurer, he’ll always need a team. The reviews suggest this means the side characters remain quite important, and since I’m also enjoying them a lot too, I’m in for the forseeable future.

          • You’ll have to let me know how it goes! I’m putting it on the back burner for now, but if it ends well, I might pick it up again.

  2. I loved him in Arsenal Military Academy, I wonder if his character here is close to the quirky, fun and flirt Yanzhen. I think iQIYI is limieted to certain regions too right?

    • His character *does* seem similar to Yanzhen — it’s fun to watch. I don’t know about iQIYI’s regional limitations, but Lingjian Mountain is also on Netflix.

  3. I started watching on Netflix and then switched to watch the raw episodes because I couldn’t wait for the weekly new episodes on Netflix. I binge watched the second half of the drama in one weekend and loved it. Sandrine Pinna was awesome as Wang Wu (the sifu/teacher) and had me cracking up or tearing up constantly.

    The story, characters and relationships were well written. The humour had seemed a bit over the top in the first 2 episodes, but then it just started clicking for me with all the meta jokes.

    My only complaints ared that Sandrine Pinna didn’t have as many scenes in the second half of the drama and the drama ended on a cliff hanger with a set up for a second season which may not be made.

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