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ACC Chronicle

ACC Chronicle

Arlington Career Center | 816 S. Walter Reed St. | Arlington, VA | 22204

ACC Chronicle

PBL Freshman Cornerstone Town Hall
Uncategorized
PBL Freshman Cornerstone Town Hall
Amna Abdelbagi, Staff Reporter • May 24, 2024

It's finally that time of the year, the Cornerstone Town Hall that everyone has been waiting for! After all the ninth graders' hard work, students...

Bites on the Pike: Lost Dog Café
Community & Beyond
Bites on the Pike: Lost Dog Café
Clara Golner and Ilana HofferMay 24, 2024

Within the first moments of walking inside, the smell of tasty Italian food fills your nose. You look around at the art on the walls, listen...

Bites on the Pike: Ididos Coffee
Community & Beyond
Bites on the Pike: Idido's Coffee
Amna Abdelbagi, Staff Reporter • May 20, 2024

Only five minutes away from ACC, Idido’s Coffee should definitely be on your next “to-go” list! Idido’s Coffee is a cafe designed for...

Bites on the Pike: Ryu Izakaya
Community & Beyond
Bites on the Pike: Ryu Izakaya
Clara Golner and Ilana HofferMay 20, 2024

Ryu Izakaya is a small restaurant camouflaged among the many on Columbia Pike, but it is truly a hidden gem. When you walk inside, you are immediately...

Street Advocate Club
Clubs & Extras
Street Advocate Club
Cody Finnegan, Clara Golner, and Bella WeslowMay 20, 2024

One of ACC’s newer clubs is the Street Advocates Student Coalition (SASC), started by junior Cody Finnegan. The SASC’s mission is “to bring...

Unsolicited Anime Opinions (Part 3: Donghua)

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Note: Descriptions and summaries are copy-pasted directly from Crunchyroll (paraphrased from Wikipedia when not available). The reviews that follow are intended as humor. Reviews are entirely the author’s opinion, not to be taken seriously, and they do not reflect on the source material or the newspaper as a whole.

We take a step sideways in this part for something that’s not anime—no matter what people tell you—but is pretty close. Dònghuà (动画) is simply a Chinese term for any piece of animated media, but we use it in the English-speaking world in the same way we use the word anime, to describe animated media specifically produced in China.

Quick Glossary:

Manhua: Chinese comic (similar to Japanese manga).

Xianxia: Ancient China fantasy setting. Prominent supernatural themes and characters (fairies, gods, etc.).

Wuxia: Ancient China fantasy setting. More “realistic” fantasy themes (sword fighting, cultivation, etc.).

Heaven Official’s Blessing (Tiān Guān Cì Fú, 天官赐福): 24+

Xie Lian, crown prince of Xian Le Kingdom, ascends to Heaven despite successive demotions. However, he accidentally breaks the Gold Palace of heavenly officials. With no human worshiping him, Xie Lian must descend to the secular world to exorcise ghosts.

This summary in no way does this justice (and also mistranslates a lot of terms). This is one of my favorite pieces of media ever (I say “media” since it was originally a web novel and, later, a webcomic). The show is heavily influenced by Chinese mythology and xianxia tropes, with surprisingly explicit LGBTQ+ themes considering Chinese censorship. The way I see it, you can look at the story on two levels. The first is the surface wherein the characters and actual plot exist, which I consider a beautifully told love/adventure story. The deeper level is an interesting exploration of death, love, loyalty, perfection, and humanity. The art and animation are also incredibly smooth. Only for Season 1 though, Season 2 is a crime and disgrace to the source material.

 

I would recommend this for people who are:

  1. Part of the LGBTQ+ community. A refreshing display of representation in a heavily Western, modern narrative.
  2. Looking to binge-watch – —it takes just under 5 hours to watch Season 1 in its entirety.
  3. Interested in an extensive fan community. TGCF became extremely popular in the past few years, so you’ll find plenty of English-speaking fans.
  4. Looking for absolutely banger music. 1000/10 soundtrack, a lot of it originally fan-made and then repurposed for the OST.

 

I would not recommend this for people who:

  1. Are allergic to “trendy” shows (again, this show got very popular recently).
  2. Aren’t familiar with xianxia tropes. A lot of context and nuance can be lost without some background knowledge.
  3. Are sensitive to fan communities. Unfortunately, with LGBTQ+ representation often comes fetishization and toxic stereotypes, especially with foreign media, so proceed with caution.
  4. Like a good stock of episodes—not very many out (yet).

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (Mó Dào Zǔ Shī, 魔道祖师): 35

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation is the story of the rise, death, and rebirth of Wei Wuxian, a man who made a name for himself as a cultivator with unconventional and forbidden methods to control the undead. Renowned as the founder of the ‘Demonic Path,’ he is eventually killed during an attack by the Four Great Clans.

Thirteen years later, Wei Wuxian’s spirit is forcefully summoned during a self-sacrificial ritual and he incarnates into the body of a man named Mo Xuanyu.

The older sibling to TGCF, set in a similar fantasy China setting (but not quite the same, more wuxia), and also LGBTQ+. Not quite as deep a story, so you won’t find the same meta themes, but still an engaging narrative and likable characters. One thing I didn’t mention in the TGCF review is that these stories both follow a non-linear narrative, so it may be confusing at first if you’re used to the Western “hero’s journey” format. Extremely convoluted plot, but it is remarkably well-paced and well-told. Despite losing a few brain cells to this donghua, I would honestly consider it a decent introduction to Chinese fantasy media. Definitely recommend!

I would recommend this for people who are:

  1. Interested in getting into the wuxia or xianxia genre.
  2. Looking for slightly more content than TGCF: not only are all 3 seasons of MDZS out, but there’s a live-action (The Untamed) in addition to the original novel and manhua.
  3. Into the mystery genre! It’s definitely different from a traditional mystery story, but has strong parallels and similar themes.
  4. Looking for an established fan base. Same spiel as TGCF, got popular/lots of English-speaking fans/etc.

I would not recommend this for people who:

  1. Are sensitive to violence or gore. This is probably expected with a protagonist that controls the dead, but there are a lot of pretty graphic scenes.
  2. Want prominent female characters. The ones that exist are great and do have dimension, but they often take a backseat to the main plot, and their development happens behind the scenes.
  3. Like clear explanations. Not only do I feel the need to stress the non-linear narrative and unreliable narrator of a protagonist, but the author deliberately leaves many questions unanswered to convey a theme.
  4. Are sensitive to fan communities, again same deal as with TGCF, be cautious of the fan base and choose the level you wish to interact with people.

Link Click (Shíguāng Dàilǐrén, 时光代理人): 23+

Using superpowers to enter their clientele’s photos one by one, Cheng Xiaoshi and Lu Guang take their work seriously at “Time Photo Studio,” a small photography shop set in the backdrop of a modern metropolis. Each job can be full of danger, but nothing is more important than fulfilling every order, no matter the scale…or peril involved!

Haven’t finished this one yet, but by no means is it a bad show! I found the beginning a little slow, especially the first episode, but the premise is catchy and unique, the characters are mysterious, and the background art is incredible (so is the actual animation, but the background and lighting are something else). Part detective work, part supernatural, and a lot of suspense. From what I’ve seen, it shares more tropes with anime and Western animation than the other shows in this article, so it would probably feel more familiar to the average viewer. Not a personal favorite, but definitely highly recommended.

I would recommend this for people who are:

  1. Into the mystery/detective genre. Follows a case-by-case format at the beginning.
  2. Fans of modern with supernatural elements. No fantasy costumes or colorful hair colors here, but definitely something spooky going on.
  3. Looking for exploration of heavier themes—touches on neglect, abuse, sexual assault, racism… it goes on.
  4. Looking for a quick watch. Despite the beginning pace, it picks up quite a bit later, and there aren’t that many total episodes out now.

I would not recommend this for people who:

  1. Can’t stand suspense. Maybe because I watched the first episode in the middle of the night, but this show isn’t very conducive to sleeping well.
  2. Are easily triggered by dark or heavy topics. In addition to the above warnings, it can sometimes get violent.
  3. Want very prominent fantasy themes. Although there is a supernatural element, it remains understated and secondary to the plot.
  4. Want answers—you’re not getting them for a very long time. This is an animation-original, so there’s no other source material until the next season itself releases.

The King’s Avatar (Quánzhí Gāoshǒu, 全职高手): 24+

The King’s Avatar follows the story of Ye Xiu, a professional esports player living in Hangzhou, China. Widely considered the best player of the video game Glory, Ye Xiu was captain of the esports team, “Excellent Era”, before being forced to resign from the team and leave the competitive scene due to his unwillingness to take part in any marketing to profit the team. Ye Xiu ends up finding work as a night-shift manager at Happy Internet Cafe. While awaiting his return to the competitive scene, Ye Xiu continues playing the game, building a character from scratch and pursuing the championship and glory.

Watched both seasons in the span of two days and immediately decided I needed to read the book. To me, the premise wasn’t that engaging on its own, but the animation, characters, and narrative were incredible. QZGS balances a modern, fairly realistic story with fantasy elements through the fictional game Glory. The characters in the show are more one-dimensional caricatures compared to the novel characterization, but I found them enjoyable nonetheless. Very lighthearted show, but still has some tension and drama, and the action scenes are well-placed. A bit of a jarring art style change between S1 and S2. Overall, I would highly recommend it!

I would recommend this for people who are:

  1. Looking for an easy watch—fairly common terms, smooth narrative, simple characters
  2. Not that into gaming. I don’t play video games at all and still found it interesting.
  3. Averse to romantic stories. Good news for you, this story barely acknowledges that romance is a thing that exists! Very much focused on the plot, rather than interpersonal relationships.
  4. Into non-traditional sports anime. QZGS shares a lot of similar tropes!

I would not recommend this for people who:

  1. Want to watch a finished series (other than vague rumors of S3 in 2024, there’s nothing concrete)
  2. Want a large English fanbase. The show is definitely more popular in China than in the U.S.
  3. Like romance stories. Again, the romance here is in the negatives.
  4. Have trouble identifying characters. The art style shift between S1, S2, and the S3 trailer is very apparent and definitely doesn’t help.

Cinderella Chef (Méng Qī Shí Shén, 萌妻食神): 36

Ye Jiayao was destined to work with food, but she probably didn’t think it’d be as a gourmet magazine editor. That all changes when she’s magically transported to Imperial China as head chef of the Jinling Heavenly House and falls in love. But it isn’t long before her happiness is thwarted as her lover vanishes. Will she find him and continue her cuisine dreams or lose her spice for life?

Cringe but cute, most of the budget went into food glamor shots instead of the main animation. Very similar to anime cooking-slice-of-life shows, in that the realism is in the negatives and when you’re not busy feeling second-hand embarrassment you’re really hungry. Still worth a watch! You absolutely can’t take this show seriously, and it occasionally falls into the trap of sexism when attempting to portray romance, but it’s cute. I would recommend it with caution.

I would recommend this for people who are:

  1. Fans of anime cooking shows like Food Wars! (can’t think of any other titles, sorry).
  2. Looking for a lighthearted show that still has a bit of plot. I wouldn’t call the plot sophisticated by any means, but it does exist.
  3. Okay with a lapse in animation quality every few frames.
  4. Looking for classic, cliche romance tropes.

I would not recommend this for people who:

  1. Dislike romance anime. They share a lot (I meant a LOT) of tropes, so you probably wouldn’t like this one.
  2. Want to learn to cook. This definitely won’t help you.
  3. Want a large English fanbase. English-speaking fans certainly exist, but they’re not particularly active.
  4. Expect high quality animation. The food is gorgeous, but much of the actual character design and movement leaves a lot to be desired.
About the Contributor
Shangwen Cheng
Shangwen Cheng, Staff Reporter
Shangwen is a junior at Arlington Tech. She is a member of the robotics team, and enjoys reading, drawing and watching anime in her (rare) free time. You can normally find her bothering her friends about her latest ridiculous interest.