Consider the premise of the Chinese series Till the End of the Moon: Li Susu (Bai Lu), an immortal, uses the Mirror of the Past to travel back 500 years in order to save the world from a Devil God named Tantai Jin (Luo Yunxi). What this time travel does is that it puts Susu in the body of Ye Xiwu, the younger daughter of General Ye of the Kingdom of Sheng. But here's the interesting part: Xiwu is married to Tantai, the Devil God, except he is not a monster - yet. This gives rise to another interesting question: Should Tantai today be declared guilty of the crimes he will commit in the future? He is currently an innocent man who is bullied by everyone. Does this innocent man deserve your contempt?
Till the End of the Moon says no one is born with bad intentions. Tantai became a Devil God in the future because his present situation is completely dreadful. He is punished by his wife, servants, and other royal members. He becomes an easy target for a demon, who offers him great powers in exchange for his soul. But this transformation can only be fully completed after Tantai's death. That's why Xiwu makes sure her husband is safe from deadly wounds. Over the course of time, Xiwu realizes that she can prevent Tantai from falling towards the dark side through kindness. Can she actually succeed in her mission?
The first eight episodes of Till the End of the Moon are busy setting up this world. Most of the dialogues are expositions. Most of the lines are repeated twice or thrice (maybe more times). This is really one of those shows one can watch while doing laundry or cutting vegetables. Don't worry about missing any information. Along with the words, the scenes, too, are repeated. The first two episodes are incredibly terrible. The series quickly throws details toward us, wrapped in terms like "Light-Breaking Array" and "Hengyang Sect." If, like me, you are at the mercy of the subtitles, you might find these names clunky, which is why I wondered if the show would sound better to people who speak the original language.
No shot in Till the End of the Moon lasts more than 5–10 seconds. Every scene, every face, is covered from multiple angles. The series is made for people with short attention spans. It's also made for people who are uninterested in using their brains. Hence, even the subtext is converted into text. Or, perhaps, there was no subtext at all to begin with. When we initially notice Tantai talking to animals, we think, "Poor boy. Since humans are unkind to him, he is having conversations with animals." But don't worry if you haven't had this thought. The series thinks on your behalf by making a character enunciate this same sentiment. Similarly, when Tantai offers Ye Bingchang (Chen Duling) warm clothes, we understand the reason behind this action (he simply imitates Xiao Lin, played by Deng Wei). But Till the End of the Moon considers us dumb, and so makes a character utter this explanation.
I am not asking for subtlety. I just wish Till the End of the Moon had allowed us to use our imagination. I wish it had trusted us to draw simple conclusions. However, the series provides us with nothing to think about. It numbs our brains and merely asks us to see the scenes and admire the visuals. Those visuals are an overkill, especially in the first episode. It seems to me that this show was made precisely so that the creators could play with VFX. The images are serviceable at best. Someone must have searched "HD nature" on Google and pasted the visuals from the search result. You must have a very flimsy idea regarding fantasy if you think the genre is all about computer effects. Every movie and series is as good as its writing, which is something many creators forget. They believe creativity is all about artificial graphics and fill their frames with "pretty visuals." This prettiness is hollow, and it sores your eyes when exposed to it for an extended period of time.
The characters in Till the End of the Moon always look presentable. They might have woken up from sleep or fought an intense battle, yet their hair is neatly in place, and there is no sweat on their face (in one of the scenes, a woman wipes sweat from a man's face, but we don't discern any wetness). Even the blood and the tears flow with grace, as they are kind enough to not spoil the efforts of the makeup department. While watching the show, I got desperate for pleasure. I found amusement in a snowball fight and dance at a ship, though these moments offer minor relief. There are some twists in the seventh and the eighth episode, but they don't make much sense. You feel as if the writers are lazily attempting to shock the audience. This show has forty episodes (it will end on June 3), but I have already lost enthusiasm. If I had access to the Mirror of the Past, I would have used it to go back in time to save myself from watching this show.
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