[Review] The Untamed (Part 1)

Here’s what I think about The Untamed as a show and the characters. Warning: long post ahead.

To be honest, I wasn’t planning on watching this drama but Heaven Official’s Blessing didn’t have manhua updates so I figured I’d take a look at “The Untamed” to see what the hype was all about.

Oooh boy! This took a long time to watch! It’s been awhile since I watched a drama that’s more than 20 episodes. This took some time to write because there are a lot of characters and I got something to say about almost all of them. I should have reviewed this per episode but I was too engrossed in watching that I decided not to do any reviews in between the show. I didn’t expect for my review to be this long so I will divide it into three parts.You can read it here:

Here’s what I think about The Untamed as a show and the characters. Warning: Long post ahead!

Characters

Let’s go by characters shall we?

Main Characters

Wei Wuxian / Yiling Patriarch / Wei Ying

The Actor:

I have to admit he didn’t have that much appeal in the beginning for me. Sure, he is handsome but that was it… or so I thought. As I kept watching, he kept getting better. Beware! His smile would reel you in and before you know it, you’re hooked! Hypnosis is real, you guys!

The Character:

Wei Wuxian was one hell of a charming character. He was a man of Yunmeng’s upright morals. While he does have an unwavering loyalty, he had a short temper and his confidence almost was almost a hair away from arrogance, he mischievously created troubles here and there but he never intentionally hurt anyone.

Let’s look at his character in stages.

Childhood

There was a brief glimpse of his childhood. Wei Wuxian was an orphan. He lived in the streets after his parents died and was adopted by his parents’ friend, Fengmian. Fengmian was his father figure through out is life. He grew up in Yunmeng. From this point onwards, he had a normal childhood. He was loved, educated and sheltered.

Cloud Recesses Days + Yin Iron Hunt

One day the Yunmeng Trio, Yanli, Wuxian and Jiang Cheng had to visit Cloud Recesses for Lan Qiren’s lecture. This was where Wuxian met and interacted several major clan leaders’ children. These was where he was introduced to the key characters, both future allies and foes. Most important of all, this was how he met the love of his life, Lan Wangji.

In the beginning, he was at his most carefree state. He broke the rules and got punishments for it. As soon as the Wen clan arrived, that’s when he started displaying his protective side (towards Jiang Cheng) and responsible side when problems began to appear.

Yin Iron contained all the negative energies in the world. It was the root of evil. When Wuxian and Wangji accidentally found out about the Yin Iron in the Pond Cave, he definitely wanted to help out in finding and sealing them. I’m not sure if this could be chucked into Wuxian’s savior complex yet. Wuxian knew Wangji was sent by Qiren alone but he was not the type to rest idly and let other people do the work. The Yin Iron was a problem for everyone if it lands on the hands of the wrong people (i.e. Wen Ruohan). Based on his personality, he definitely wasn’t looking for some sort of recognition at this point. He just liked volunteering, helping out and being in action. Wuxian followed Wangji in the Yin Iron hunt and ran into several people along the way. This was how he discovered that Wen Qing was a secret ally.

Nightless City Days

Being sent to the NIghtless city was the turning point on every clan, especially the Yunmeng trio’s lives. Wuxian and Jiang Cheng were sent to the Nightless City to take a lecture from the Wen Clan. Of course, we all know that it’s all a hoax. Their homes were attacked while they were in this “lecture”. All the attendees of Cloud Recesses lecture were present during this one. Their swords were confiscated and they were treated like prisoners. At one incident, Wuxian along with other children and members of major clans were all left in the Tortoise of Slaughter cave to die. Wuxian and Wangji were left in the cave. Again, the hero complex was strong here. Wuxian sacrificed himself in order for other people to escape from the cave. Wuxian accidentally acquired the Sword with resentful energy.

After they escaped from the cave and got back to Yunmeng, Wen Clan’s soldier attacked Lotus Pier and a lot of their clan members were killed including Fengmian and Madam Yu. Wuxian was on the run together with Jiang Cheng and Yanli. Jiang Cheng attempted to avenge his parents’ death but got his golden core melted. Golden core was the source of a cultivator’s power. Without this, Jiang Cheng would be an ordinary person.

Wen Qing and Wen Ning took in the Yunmeng trio who were on the run. Wuxian out of loyalty, brotherhood and love gave his golden core to Jiang Cheng. This means, he wouldn’t even have enough power to wield a sword.

Post Golden Core Operation

Wuxian was captured by Wen Chao right after his golden core was extracted from him. This was his weakest point. He was dropped in the burial mounds. When Wuxian got back from the Burial Mounds, he refused to talk about what happened and he refused to use his sword, Suibian, again. He’s back with a darker (and sexier) vibes. Instead, he started carrying Chen Qing, a black flute, around as his main weapon. After the golden core transplant, he resorted to learning tricks as a substitute for not having enough power to wield his sword. This flute emits the same energy as the Yin iron. The descent of his reputation starts here. Regardless of how much Jiang Cheng reprimanded him or other cultivators deemed him as disrespectful for not carrying his sword around, not once did he mention the golden core transplant to anyone.

Yiling Patriarch Days

The major clan leaders Nie Mingjue, Lan Qiren, Jin Guangshao and Jiang Cheng joined forces to defeat the Wen Clan. Soon, the Wen Clan leaders were dead and their clan members became prisoners.

As expected from Wuxian’s upbringing, he fearlessly fought for what he believed to be right. He saved the Wen siblings along with the survivors of the Wen Clan and took them to the Yiling Burial Mounds, Jiang Cheng was forced to denounce him as a part of their clan. Wangji was forced to let him go. He was painted as one of the bad guys for saving the old people, the women and the children. I mean, seriously? None of those people (except Jiang Cheng) thought maybe they shouldn’t take people’s lives lightly?

When Jin Zixuan was accidentally killed by Wen Ning, things became complicated. The remaining members of the Wen Clan surrendered themselves and was killed by the Jin Clan. This was a tough time for Wuxian. On one hand, he felt guilty for accidentally killing his brother-in-law and his sense of justice was provoked because innocent people died for him. He was already emotionally vulnerable at this point. This meant, he had less control of his powers.

His downfall came when Jin Guangyao played the music in the background and Yanli waltzed freely in the middle of the battlefield and died. WHO let Yanli into that damn battlefield? Their guards should be fired. Shouldn’t she be in Jin’s huge palace with her child, guarded with soldiers? How did she sneak past them?

Jiang Cheng, angry that his only immediate family died, sort of pushed him off the cliff. How did Wuxian die there? Look, cultivators were flying left, right, center when there were cliffs throughout the first 20-ish episodes but when there’s a real danger (i.e. actually dying from falling off a cliff), the flying stops? It didn’t make sense to me. Is that a NIghtless City thing? Was there a no flying rule there?

Thousands of people died in the battle, too. It was understandable why his name was made synonymous to everything that’s evil for the next sixteen years.

Reincarnation

I’ll review the reincarnation on the second part…

Lan Wangji / Hanguang Jun / Lan Zhan

The Actor:

Wang Yibo was the bait. There, I said it. My god he’s a beautiful man! His tiniest bit of expression does add depth and breadth to the whole story. I mean, who are we kidding? They may market Lan Wangji’s relationship with Wei Wuxian as “brotherhood” but he’s already eye-fucked Wei Ying since episode 2. Not even the Great Firewall can censor that. If that wasn’t great acting, I don’t know what is!

The Character:

First off, let’s start with his personality. Wangji was a quiet, law-abiding, uptight and excellent cultivator of Gusu Lan Clan. He moved with grace because that’s in their clan’s long list of principles, too. He was condescending to those who were not qualified to talk to him but hey, who doesn’t have flaws? His only flaw according to the people and Xichen was Wei Ying. The only thing I can say about that is… I strongly disagree.

Let’s divide this into several parts.

Childhood

Wangji had a sad childhood. His dad was nuts and his mom was a victim. He was raised by Lan Qiren while periodically visiting his mom in one of the houses in Cloud Recesses.

His personality stemmed from this sad past and strict upbringing. If you were raised with 3000 rules growing up and had crazy parents as a child who died before you became a teenager, you would be, too. It’s good that he had Xichen who urged him to loosen up sometimes. This barely worked, though. Wangji was known to follow the rules religiously.

Cloud Recesses Days + Yin Iron Hunt

It all started in Lan Qiren’s lecture. Ah the gay awakening! Obviously, due to censorship, the creators won’t call it gay awakening but let’s not play dumb here. Wei Wuxian has awakened all the gay in him. PERIODT. He was on 24/7 Wei Ying patrol since day 1. He didn’t like it when people broke Lan’s rules but he asked Lan Qiren to let Yunmeng Jiang Clan in Cloud Recesses when they lost their invitation. Wei Ying kept breaking the rules to the point that he did, too. They were polar opposites. This made me wonder when did he actually start to like Wei Ying.

Was it love at first sight? Was it when Wei Ying drew a portrait of him and then showed him a book with gay porn in it? Or was it during the lantern moment where he couldn’t help but smile at the rabbit? Was it in the Pond Cave where he had his headband wrapped around Wei Ying’s wrist? I mean, only significant other can touch that headband. So… was it before that?

Lan Clan’s headband was sacred. Wangji mentioned that only family and significant other can touch it. Wuxian had a playful nature and for him, teasing Wangji by touching his headband was probably not a big deal. I think it meant more to Wangji than Wuxian would think.

Nightless City Days

There wasn’t much about Wangji during the Nightless City. By the time they were in Tortoise of Slaughter cave, he already got heart eyes for Wei Ying. He was jealous AF with Mianmian. I mean, he already played WangXian which meant feelings were already there. I gotta read the book if I want answers, don’t I?

This was also when it was revealed that Xichen was missing and the Cloud Recesses, his home, was ruined. He must have been devastated. All the clans were attacked by the Wen Clan. Homes were burnt and people were killed. This was a tough time for everyone. Wangji’s loyalty was about to be tested here.

You see, Wuxian was good friends with Wen Ning and Wen Qing from their time in Cloud Recesses. Apart from saving each other in the past before, the siblings also took the Yunmeng Trio in when Lotus Pier was in shambles and transplanted the golden core from Wuxian to Jiang Cheng. It only made sense that Wuxian wanted to repay their kindness.

This was when Wangji’s loyalty towards Wuxian was proven to be absolute. Apart from the fact that Wangji was the only one who calls Wuxian by his name, Wei Ying, he also broke Lan’s rules because of him. It was against Wangji’s nature. It is already known that Wangji likes Wuxian. The question is, to what extent? Around this time, when the Wen Clan hate was prevalent (with good reason), Wangji protected Wuxian even if that meant defying his own clan members and other clan leaders. Wangji disregarded every rule out there. Wuxian was his top priority. Also, look at the way he looked at Wuxian.

If your significant other doesn’t look at you the way Lan Zhan looks at Wei Ying, is that even your soulmate?

And for sixteen years, he scoured every nook and cranny of the country(?) to look for his Wei Ying. Now that was some soulmate-level shit I signed up for.

Wuxian reincarnated as Mo Xuanyu

I’ll review that on part 2

Supporting Characters

Yunmeng Jiang Clan

This was my favorite clan because Wei Wuxian grew up there and the Lotus trio were raised well. They were happy, loved, cared for and didn’t look down on people below their social status. Compared to other clans, they had a normal childhood. Sure, Fengmian was strict towards Jiang Cheng and Madam Yu wasn’t that fond of Wei Ying. What kind of family does not have its own flaws?

Madam Yu

First of all, her air time felt like a nanosecond. I wanted to see more of her. She was not out there cooking Lotus soup all the time like Yanli. She’s a badass. She certainly didn’t deserve to be antagonized in her own household. These are the reasons why I like her:

  1. Madam Yu was the only person amongst the sea of clan leaders who thought that the Qishan shenanigan was a trap and didn’t want to send Jiang Cheng. She wasn’t even the clan leader! If she was, she would’ve devised a plan B in case things went south. She knew her child would be taken in as a hostage or be killed. She was right.
  2. She held the damn fort when Wen Chao’s bitch attacked the Lotus Pier. Even when she gave her Zidian to Jiang Cheng, she was still a formidable opponent with her swordsmanship skills.
  3. Have you seen any clan leader’s wife who can wield a sword and a weapon to defend herself and her home? Let us not forget, Wen clan had to call for reinforcements to defeat her. Badass bitch Madam Yu serving you looks and top tier cultivator skills. I mean, Fengmian died 2 seconds after he flew in to Lotus Pier. Seriously, WTF! Why wasn’t Madam Yu the clan leader instead of him?
  4. Last but not the least, she didn’t object when Fengmian took in Wei Wuxian. She was well aware of the rumors that Wuxian could be Fengmian’s child from another woman or that he wasn’t over Wuxian’s mother. That was probably why she hated the child. There were a million ways she could’ve gotten rid of Wei Wuxian so easily but she didn’t.

I was gonna make that five but I couldn’t think of anything else. Like what I said, her presence were merely a blink of an eye. I also find the conclusion of her character to be unfair. She would’ve made a wise ruler and guided Jiang Cheng to become a better leader. She was a better politician and swordsman than Fengmian. And for her to choose to die because her husband died was just out of character and it made my eyes roll.

There was already a shortage of women characters right here and she was my favorite. She was unapologetic about who she was and her badass-ery deserved so much more recognition.

Jiang Fengmian

If it wasn’t for Fengmian, Wei Wuxian wouldn’t be who he was. He took him in and loved him like his own child. It was because of him that Wuxian had a normal childhood in Yunmeng. This was one of my favorite things about him. He went overboard on this one. His favoritism towards Wuxian was evident. It was probably because he just saw Wuxian as his friends’ orphaned child who needed love and understanding and didn’t have responsibility towards Yunmeng.

However, what was also evident was his tough love towards Jiang Cheng which was most probably because of Fengmian’s expectations towards his son. After all, Jiang Cheng was next in line and the future leader of Yunmeng.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t see him as a leader. He was kind and calm like Lan Xichen but does not seem to be as sharp. Examples:

Exhibit A: During the time he was called in the principal’s office (A.K.A Cloud Recesses) because of the Yanli – Wuxian – Zixuan drama. How dare he apologize for Wei Wuxian’s behavior? Jin Guangshan did no such thing. He just passively said he’ll scold Zixuan. Yanli was insulted and Wuxian was defending her. Also, the fact that Lan Qiren initiated the Yanli – Zixuan wedding talk after that incident was underwhelming. I’d expect a more protective father at this point.

Exhibit B: When the Wen clan requested for the clan leaders to send in their children to the Nightless City, he was bothered but not as bothered as his wife or Lan Qiren. Jiang Cheng, his successor, and Wei Wuxian were about to be held hostage. They had no plan B in case things went south. I’m sure he knew what that meant but he was too passive about it as a father and a leader.

Overall, I have lukewarm feelings about him as a character. He lacked action and reaction in more ways than one. His death was pathetic but Madam Yu didn’t have to commit suicide because of that. Yes, I’m still salty about that.

Yanli

Yanli was such a one-dimensional and underdeveloped character. She didn’t have anything she was passionate about. She only cooks Lotus soup and that was it. It was as if that was her only purpose. Nothing about her character was relatable at all which makes her my least favorite female character.

Because her character wasn’t very well fleshed out, I couldn’t bring myself to root for her. I couldn’t care less what happened between her and Zixuan. It was a high school drama I didn’t sign up for. How come it was always Wei Wuxian who was fighting her fights? Madam Yu would’ve been furious if she heard about this. The only time she was triggered was when some nobody from Jin clan started insulting Wuxian but when her future mother-in-law did that, she wasn’t as angry.

The only thing I like about her is that she kept Wei Wuxian level-headed. And I felt like that was her only purpose to the story, a dispensable and an affectionate sibling to the main character.

Jiang Cheng

Jiang Cheng a.k.a “the eyeroll king” was the most complex among all the Jiang family. I love him. He had enough reasons to hate Wei Wuxian.

  1. Wei Wuxian was rumored to be his father’s child from another woman. Although it wasn’t true, it was evident that Madam Yu hated Wei Wuxian. He could’ve followed suit but he didn’t.
  2. He had a different treatment from Fengmian. His father displayed favoritism towards Wuxian and strict upbringing towards Jiang Cheng. It also doesn’t help that Wuxian was a better cultivator than him.
  3. Yunmeng was attacked by Wen Clan because technically Wuxian got under Wen Chao’s skin way too many times. This caused his parents’ death.

Instead of hating on Wuxian, Jiang Cheng treated him like a brother. He wasn’t great at expressing his feelings but he was extremely loyal.

  1. When they were young Jiang Cheng had a dog. He probably gave his dog away or something because Wuxian was scared of it.
  2. When they were on the run when Yunmeng was conquered but Wen’s family, he sacrificed himself so that Wuxian won’t get caught.
  3. He maintained his good relationship with Wuxian on the down low while denouncing him in front of the other clan leaders. I am so proud that he was better at politics than his father. He was a good brother and a good leader at the same time.

The saddest part was Yanli’s death. It was his breaking point. Yanli was the glue that held them together. When Yanli died, he pushed Wuxian off the cliff. And that was how Wuxian went to hell for sixteen years. OK, not hell but he disappeared. Honestly, I find this understandable. If it was me, I would’ve probably done the same thing.

His golden core was ruined in his attempt to avenge his parents’ death. For sixteen years, he resented Wuxian and hated anyone who used the Yiling Patriarch’s tricks. Of course, when Wuxian resurfaced as Mo Xuanyu, his feelings were the same. He insulted him and mocked his “great friendship” with Lan Wangji. UGH! GREAT FRIENDSHIP!

Their relationship were resolved towards the end when Jiang Cheng found out that Wuxian gave his golden core to him. This would explain Wuxian’s inability to wield a sword and everything that happened afterwards. I actually cried on that scene.

Right around the end, Jin Ling observed Jiang Cheng and noticed he had something to tell Wuxian but didn’t. I wish his character got that development where he was finally able to express his feelings properly. It’s so painful to watch him suffer in silence. He was a good person and he deserved so much more.

Continue reading: Part 2 || Part 3

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