Gonna do a quick review on Mystic Nine (老九门). Its a chinese drama series, said to be the prequel to the previous novel/drama The Lost Tomb (盗墓笔记). Truth be told, I am a fan of The Lost Tomb (though I found some parts of the drama ridiculous), which is why later on, I decided to read the novel instead of relying on just the drama.
PLEASE NOTE, THIS CONTAINS SPOILER. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK~
I jumped in pretty late as I only found out about Mystic 9 when it was already hitting over 20+ episodes (still I managed to catch up). The beginning of the story was very well made in my opinion, considering they were supposed to reveal the history of the famous 9 Gates of Changsha Grave Robbers.
I was very much into it, having in mind that everything will be revealed by the end of the episode (Lost Tomb contains a lot of mysteries as well- which you have to keep reading until the last page of the 9th book). The excitement perks as they moved from the grave in Changsha to Bei Ping in pursuit of Yatou’s miraculous medicine. The sky lantern was the best part, reminded me of the scene in The Lost Tomb where Wu Xie unknowingly did the same.
As the story progresses, the 9 Gates were mentioned throughout the story. But I was wondering, where are they? It has always been Zhang Qi Shan, Er Yue Hong, Qi Ba Ye, Jiu Ye. And of course Si Ye, which appeared for a brief period, just to die in the hand of Chen Pi. Huo Sanniang was also revealed around the same time. The rest of the gates were kept hidden until the end of Changsha turmoils.
It makes me wonder, what are they doing? Everything seems to fall in the hand of Fo Ye (Zhang Qi Shan) and his sidekicks. Lets not mention the Ryouko Tanaka, which serves no purpose (except making that “supposedly” evil face). I found that her character is the most unnecessary addition. So, at the end of Changsha turmoils, suddenly all 9 Gates gather for the first time, and they were all squeezed in for the final 6 episodes. There were no character progression for them and little did we know about the remaining (unless if you do some reading).
Honestly, I am much more interested to relate what happened in the past with the future (Lost Tomb). I was looking forward to find out what sparks the relation between Wu Xie and Zhang Qi Lin. When the story revealed Dongbei Zhang, I know its gonna be the legendary Zhang lineage. The story however, was vague, disconnected, fragmented. Some parts were left hanging without answers. Its as if again, Nan Pai San Shu (the author) is teasing the audience exactly how he left everyone hanging 11 years ago with his final 盗墓笔记 novel.
When all the turmoils subsided in ep 42, I was wondering how will they end the series. Will they reveal what was not? I was disappointed. The last 6 episodes of Mystic 9 were horrendous. So apparently after a year of peace in Changsha:
- suddenly a disease just spread
- Suddenly they are pursuing the japanese, again trying to create bio-weapon using the disease
It was as if they are trying to bring in new storyline and try to solve it within 6 episodes. The result?
- Fo Ye was put inside a campfire sort of thing to cure his frozen – skips – suddenly they are riding motorbike in the morning and Er Ye said “what you did last night was an eye opener, dongbei zhang is really something”. — Excuse me, what the hell did he do? Does sitting inside a campfire to cure frozen an eye opener? Also do note, in the morning, Er Ye cloth got torn when it was perfectly fine at night. He must have gotten it torn while riding a motorbike i suppose eh.
- They got caught by Chen Pi, sent inside a tomb/dungeon (so everywhere in Changsha is a tomb, great!), met some writing whatsoever – skips – escaped. Suddenly the villagers said, “thank you for saving us from the beast.” — What beast? I only remember him walking out happily.
- They encountered Chen Pi again and here comes, Yatou talk again. Then the villagers came and managed to repel the vicious Chen Pi with just simple whack. Surprising indeed. Vicious killer Chen Pi was repelled with brooms whack.
- The villagers that saved them said about “that night” incident and Fo Ye and Er Ye being able to fight so many people. — Again, which night? =_=;;
- Armies came in from Changsha led by Lt Zhang and suddenly Chen Pi got caught and he escaped. They mentioned the japanese was neutralised. — Riiight~
- Bla bla bla, Fo Ye and Xin Yue scene, Er Ye lovesick
- Then they planned to capture Chen Pi which was affected by the disease, with Xin Yue as a bait, they led him inside a tomb — again a tomb, I suppose everywhere will lead to a tomb in this story
- Attack by the japanese was supposed to be such amazing and emotional scene — so much disappointment that even this couldn’t help
To sum up about this drama, it had such a great start. But they failed to keep the momentum going. I would actually name it Yatou instead of Mystic 9 because there are just lacking of Mystic 9 elements. Let’s be frank, its totally about Yatou from the beginning till the end. I was fine with it at first, but grew tired of it. Certain scenes are unnecessary and they actually spend so much time on it. I.e: Er Ye lovesick scene, too much detail on it. That includes Chen Pi. (oh I forgot, its Yatou’s story, sorry). Several things are left unresolved until the end, like what’s the deal about that train and the grave inside? what is it with Fo Ye and his encounter with Qilin inside the tomb? What about the roar inside the meteorite world? What was the secret to Fo Ye’s moving out from Zhang family? Where did Lt Zhang came from? etc etc.
For a layman, my questions and reviews may seems unreasonable but if you read the book, this is the kind of answers you would be looking for. Ofc its never a must for a prequel to relate to the future. But the story itself left so much to be desired with so many parts left hanging.
P.S: what with the Wuxie teasing in between the story line? I was hoping to find out who is that and will he be the new Wu Xie for next season of Lost Tomb.