Wǔxiá is a niche genre. Outside of Asia, I believe that has always been so. I know that you are so passionate, so in love with this genre. You’ve listed all the ways to popularise it that you can think of – and you’re acting on it too!
Though, while I love your enthusiasm, I don’t see cinemas showing movies, I don’t see blogs creating new fans. There aren’t enough fans for cinemas to screen movies. They need to make profits. Companies like NetFlix, NowTV, they are taking business away and taking such a big risk when they aren’t sure if they can even break even on something as niche as wǔxiá. Besides, out of all of the people that I know and have been friends with, I can name only three who like subtitles (two of which are my parents). I can’t name anyone who likes dubbed live action. Blogs mostly just impassion those who have already found the genre.
Despite all of this, I know I am the one pulling against the tide. You haven’t seen them all, I promise, those articles of mine that rant and rage against Tangren, against those ‘cutesty’ and ‘mischievous’ types, that question the equality in wǔxiá series. With the advent of Tangren’s Chinese Paladin 5 and Legend of the Ancient Sword on the horizon (and a sudden maturing on my part), I feel compelled to tell you why. I know that you love Tangren. I know that I drag them down. I think you deserve an explanation why.
Be warned, however. This is not for the faint of heart.
I know that many of you will leave me after this. I have known this all along.
This is not a short explanation. It cannot be summarised. It cannot be trimmed or abbreviated or shrunk or reduced or curtailed. An excerpt will not increase your understanding of this. This explanation is long winded, personal and incredibly blunt. I cannot guarantee that you will not feel ill at ease during it.
It was at the age of ten or nine that I was thrust into the realm of ‘no longer a child’. It was also at that time that I became increasingly angry and frustrated and I took to smashing my room on a daily basis. I remember being so angry once that I had to tip over my vanity. I also remember that, no matter how angry I became, there was always some part of that anger that allowed me to be rational. So, to sate myself that morning, I removed all objects from it, and gently lowered it down. It did, however, break the radiator temperature regulator – yet another reason to be furious.
I was fifteen before I found out that anger and frustration were symptoms of depression in children. As were most other things that I had felt and had expressed to myself during those wrath filled years (two or three). There is proof, apparently, that, much like blood, anger breeds anger and I do still struggle with that to this day. This ‘depression’ hasn’t gone either, and I haven’t particularly cared for it to. I go through bouts of not caring about anything at all and being unable to work, unable to enjoy myself and being without any will, including that to breathe.
The best that I can describe it as is quicksand. I’ve been sucked down, it’s dark and I’ve drowned. I say quicksand because quicksand doesn’t ‘devour’ you. It can’t. There is nothing that reality holds that can match these feelings.
So, yes, this explanation is also my apology for not updating as frequently as I did in February, or was it January?
However, in the autumn of my twelfth year, something wonderful happened. It’s this world quaking, earth shaking thing. I think you’ve heard of it. It’s called love.
Being me, I couldn’t be ‘normal’ about it, though. I didn’t ‘fall’ in love. I realised I was in love. I realised that I wasn’t a feminist, I didn’t actually like English music all that much, I was a ‘nerdy’ kind of person in a not-so-interested-in-mathematics-and-the-sciences-kind-of-way, and that I had I) been lying to myself and II) been brain-washed by pop culture. I found my self all in the single moment that I realised I was in love. So, yes, I ‘fell’ into the realisation that I was already in love. It’s a magical feeling, to know that you were looking for someone, loving someone, without actually having met him. I couldn’t even doing the ‘falling’ part normally, stupid little brat that I was. It was realisation at second sight – because I’m a weirdo.
In essence, this one perfect, flawless being that I love so completely and utterly doesn’t know that I exist. I’m pretty sure that we’ll never see each other again. That’s fine. He’s the one who stopped me from liking the idea of suicide. Well, no, that’s a lie, I do live in day dreams and they can be a tad… zombie apocalypse-ish. Who doesn’t want to be a hero? However, in the end, my favourite series and books and games and all the things that I flocked to and loved and felt good about and that kept me from the brink before were like waves. They were apt defences and then, sometimes not there at all.
Then I decided to try some of Chinese culture. It’s my heritage, after all. I was sick of hating myself for my ethnicity. I wanted something good to come from that place. I wanted to feel as if I wasn’t a monster by birth place. Hello, Tangren!
Chinese Paladin was my first series. Procrastinator that I am, I haven’t finished it yet. I don’t want to anymore, you know, but still… Chinese Paladin led me to what started it all. It led me to Xian Jiàn. I will always be grateful that Tangren got me started. I will always be grateful that Chinese Paladin was my first foray into what has become the best and the absolute worst and the most aggravating genre in my life – but I hate it.
Even though it felt like there was this spectre at my side, whispering encouraging things to me, whispering things that kept me going, I still found that one day I was suddenly standing on that brink again, staring down at the abyss. When I was, it wasn’t Tangren’s Chinese Paladin that saved me. It was Xian Jiàn. That was a chain that just shot out of nowhere and snapped tightly shut around my ankles. If I fell I would dangle upside down over the precipice, but I wouldn’t drop. I wouldn’t drop. Then came Gǔ Jiàn. It was a second chain around me. I knew that I wouldn’t fall.
Chinese Paladin is a below par series. However, connecting it so firmly with Xian Jiàn is an out-right atrocity. Tangren, it’s not an adaptation. It’s a ‘based on’ dressed up. People think this is what it is. It’s not! It’s not! You sucked out it’s heart, the life that it so exuberantly possessed and you drained it dry, made it… If the series were only a shadow of Xian Jiàn’s glory, it would still be better than what you did to it!
You broke so many rules, fell back on fan-service, fell back on your formula for RPG adaptation, changed their personalities, changed key plot points – and so many of the other games had been released that you knew they were key plot points, and now you’re stealing away Gǔ Jiàn to ruin it too!
There are no words strong enough for my hate for you. You resorted to a poll! You called on a poll for your cast choice! You can’t stand on your own two feet! You’re relying on the fan-boys and the fan-girls! That’s why you’re popular! That’s why people come to see your series! You give them what they want, no matter the cost to the original, to what you’re adapting! You have no respect for these series, and if you do, if ever you did, then you’ve thrown it out the window for the sake of profits! It’s a sure fire success if those deranged fanatics think they’ll get what they want, and you know it, and you don’t care, and you never did, and you’re ruining these good games names!
You don’t even care.
Tangren, you are the hands that have grabbed my chains.
Tangren, you are the hands that are pushing me ever closer to that edge.
Tangren, you are the hands that are prying at my chains and loosening them.
Tangren, you are killing me inside and I hate you for it.
Then I hate myself.
I hate that I can’t bask in the glory of Xian Jiàn and Gǔ Jiàn without your damned name popping into my head and making me hate you. I hate that Xian Jiàn and Gǔ Jiàn are what I look to so that I can become a better person, and every single time I try to there’s you and all I want to do is smash something and scream and cry and hurt – me, you, anything. I hate that Xian Jiàn and Gǔ Jiàn are what I love because love is passion, enthusiasm, happiness, hope and life changing. I hate that revenge is a by-product of hatred. I hate that hate is as powerful an emotion as love.
You don’t deserve to be anywhere near anything that I love, yet you are.
I don’t want to rant and rave. It’s easier to tear things down than to put them up. So here’s the thing, I have about five articles that deal with why those adaptations of yours are shit. I’m going to one day finish them and make them public. Why? You’re too easy, and it is actually hard work that requires intelligence and skill on my part. Secondly, I’m going to beat you at your own game. Despite the direction that you might think I’m going in, I’m not. My The Little Celestial Maiden and The Ancient Sword and Melody fan-fiction are (working within the Yu-Gi-Oh and Naruto universes respectively) ‘surprisingly’ going to prove more loyal to the original than yours. I’m saying that as someone that doesn’t understand Chinese. Things will also be tweaked as I see fit, but, you know, it’s still going to be more loyal than yours.
It can be done. You could have the dragons. You should have had the ‘ghost’. You should have had the daughter go out and build her own sect. You should have left Ā Nú as she was, or alive and human, at least.
Once my computer finally gets its security software installed (that someone kept saying he would look in his files for!), I’ll go out and get people into wǔxiá. Why? It’s not because I love the genre. This is about Tangren. You’re so popular. You’re credited with so much. I can’t stop hating you. That leaves me only one option: to turn this poisonous hatred into something possibly tamer. So here’s the deal, dear readers who might stick with me. I’m going to bring more people to the wǔxiá genre than Tangren can / has / will.
I can’t let what Tangren has done kill me. I can’t destroy this genre’s chance at becoming more mainstream. I can’t keep (incessantly) typing things that are going to offend my fellow wǔxiá fans.
That’s the gist of it, really. It’s a bit of self-improvement, a touch of rationality and a pinch of the closest thing to kindness that I can give Tangren. I can’t guarantee that insults won’t slip out. They will, but it’s the best that I can do with who I am in the here and now. It’s the best that I can do when Tangren is involved.