Demi gods and Semi Devils is based upon a Jin Yong novel with the same name. A wuxia series comparable to other Jin Yong adaptions like The legend of the Condor Heroes, Return of the Condor Heroes and Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber.
Demi Gods and Semi Devils is set in the Northern Song Dynasty, also includes the empires of Liao, Dali, Western Xia and Tubo.
The 2003 version of Demi-gods and Semi-Devils is rock solid yet heart touching, with a stunning cast:
Jimmy Lin as Duan Yu
Jiang Xin as Mu Wanqing
Liu Tao as Azhu
Xiu Qing as Murong Fu
The story switches, revolves and twists around the three main characters: the Dali Prince Duan Yu, Beggar Leader Qiao Feng, and the Shaolin Monk Xu Zhu.
the best way to explain this whole matter is to split it up into three parts
The Story of Xu Zhu
Xu Zhu is a merciful and good-hearted Shaolin monk. He takes all his Buddhist teachings very serious and keeps true to them whatever happens. However, when he accidentally solves a difficult chess game by randomly placing a piece on the board. He gets the attention of the Carefree sect leader Wuyazi. The leader makes him his disciple and even though Xu Zhu doesn’t want to, he becomes the next leader. Wuyazi transfers all his internal energy to him and dies. Xu Zhu is left as the new leader but he runs away. On his way to Shaolin he encounters a meeting, a rebellion against the people of Lingjiu Palace on Mount Heaven. They captured one of them and want to kill her, but Xu Zhu, who is strictly against killing, takes her away. They run away but as it turns out, the girl that he saved is actually a 90 year old leader from Lingjiu Palace. She teaches him martial arts, makes him fall in love with a girl and lets him do everything that a monk isn’t allowed to do.
Will Xu Zhu finally be able to return to Shaolin?
The Story of Qiao Feng
Begger’s sect leader Qiao Feng is strong and has powerful martial arts. However he has no idea about his own identity. His parents were killed when he was just a year old. The culprit behind the attack was regretful and gave the child for adoption to some villagers. He learns martial arts in the Shaolin themple when he grows up and later joins the beggars clan. Shortly after becoming leader, some of the members apparently know his true identity and try to frame him for murdering people from his own sect. Qiao Feng isn’t able to prove them wrong and leaves the Begger’s sect to find his enemy and discover his true identity. If things couldn’t get worse, all the people that have been present at his parents death get killed before he can talk to them. He gets framed for every murder and his reputation in the wulin gets to a point that everyone sees him as the number one enemy. Qiao Feng desperately searches for clues and explanation. Helping him solve is Azhu, a girl that loves him and one that is talented in disguises. Extremely talented I might add. Will Qiao Feng eventually find out who his enemy is? And who his parents real parents are?
The Story of Duan Yu
Daun Yu is a noble prince, but he likes to sneak out and have some fun. His righteous character however brings him into trouble easily. When two sects started fighting to each other he thinks he can make them stop fighting. He is strongly against violence and killing, and as a matter of fact refuses to learn martial arts from his father. The sects decide to kill Daun Yu but luckily for him, a smart girl known as Zhong Ling who was sitting on the roof (I love how they always sit on the roof) helps him. Her pet is a good fighter and one that is rather poisonous, the sect leader gets poisoned by it but they can’t escape. Even worse, Zhong Ling is taken as a hostage. Duan Yu must go to Zhong Ling’s parents home to get the antidote. He setts off, in his search he falls down a hillside and crashes into a river. He climbs/swims out and finds a cave.
The cave has a mysterious statue that he calls fairy sister. Following the instructions in the cave he finds a martial arts manual that he learns from later on. He goes away and continues on his journey. When he gets back from Zhong Ling’s parents he tries to save someone in a fight, but instead the person has to save him. It turns out to be a woman who we later know as Mu Wanqing. Together they save Zhong Ling. Duan Yu and Mu Wanqin fall in love and want to marry but to their horror they discover that they have the same father and are actually related. They split ways and Duan Yu rather quickly gets obsessively in love with Wang Yuyan. She however only has interest in her cousin Murong Fu, a renowned and famous martial artist that seeks to restore the once great Yen Kingdom. Duan Yu doesn’t give up however some say he is just like his father, who is obsessed with women and has numerous wives and children all over. But no way, it’s impossible for him to get as bad as his father. However, as with anything Jin Yong, nothing is straightforward….. hidden identities and a lot of mysteries to solve jet.
The three hero’s finally have to unite (they become sworn brothers) to defend themselves against an enemy that plans to invade Song.
Let me give some opinion about this series while covering some of the different elements.
The Old Masters
There are a lot of old masters and without doubt the most remarkable being Tianshan Tonglao, a 90 year old who because of practicing difficult/strange martial arts stayed young and small for ever. The actress who played this (Shu Chang) was 33 years old at that moment. That does sound like a more believable age but hey, just Imagine being like this when you’re 90!
I don’t think I can call Duan Yu a womanizer because even if he is entangled with various women, he has is reasons for breaking up. In case of Mu Wanqing, he breaks up with her because they are related. And in the case of Zhong Ling although she does like him, he doesn’t like her and well she is related to him also! He isn’t at fault really.
Well, well, his third girl Wang Yuyan better not be related…. But in that case, his love isn’t returned so, hell, away with it! He has a lot of patience though, to a point it becomes embarrassing for him. Wang Yuyan’s cousin, Mu Rong Fu can’t stand him for that reason. It even comes to a point where Mu Rong Fu disguises as soldier to kill Duan Yu. But thanks to his skills and Wang Yuyan’s knowledge they are able to fight him off. A marvelous battle with Duan Yu following Wang Yuyan’s orders how to fight. Her encyclopedia like memory enables her to say exactly what Duan Yu has to do, an invincible couple almost.
Anyway, Seeing Duan Yu, I can’t help but thinking “don’t ever fall in love because you’ll end up like this”:
Hiding in the bushes, dreaming away, with if your eyes closed….
Duan Yu is actually a marvelous fellow compared to his father, because wow his father is a WOMANIZER to the max. I won’t say too much about this because I won’t be able to keep it positive but fellows just look at this:
Yeah Man, This is a real fighting series, With amazing skills like the 18 Dragon Subduing palm. A beggars sect skill that inspires anyone’s imagination. To be able to blow away a group of people with only moving around your arms and making a lion/dragon sound should fascinate/blow away everyone.
More incredible than the dragon palm is maybe Duan Yu’s Legendary Bei Ming skill that can absorb someone’s internal energy. A powerful skill that makes the people attacked by it look like someone put a ventilator before their face (that’s probably how they did it).
Or, my favorite: riding the wave with small steps. A skill that makes it look as if someone, like it’s name suggests, is riding the waves.
And this skill is just like Duan Yu is, comically awesome. Keep your ears open to the sound this skill makes, I can’t quite describe it but woozz it sounds fast and furious.
Xu Zhun has a phenomenal skill also, after he becomes carefree sect leader and master of Lingjiu Palace on Mount Heaven her learns some amazing skill that is written on one of the caves walls.
amazing levitation skill!!!
The bald guy has a voice that seriously freaks me out, I can’t listen to it too much because it hurts my throat. The small guy is really funny actually, he intended to make Daun Yu his disciple but Duan Yu was able to turn things around and make him his disciple. The tall guy on the right is pretty weird and his weird hair doesn’t make him less weirder. And the girl looks really beautiful but is in fact a real villain (like all girls right?).
Another one we could consider as a villain is Mu Rong Fu. His skills made him famous. So well known that he became a proverb along with Qiao Feng: “Mu Rong from the north, Qiao Feng from the south.” He has character development best described as from bad to worse.
I kind of thought he was cool in the beginning, but after his obsession with establishing his Yen Kingdom became worse, so became his temper and everything else.
Duan Yu is has a good heart, against fighting, killing. Not very surprisingly the girls like him also. And even though he looks like being soft, when it comes to defending his friends and fighting for justice, he is just as courageous as Qiao Feng or any of the others.
Wang Yuyan (Liu Yifei) is a good and very knowledgeable character. She can name and recognize every single martial arts style and knows every attack and counter attack by it’s name. A walking encyclopedia….
And like with most of Liu Yifei’s characters, very cuddle-some but at the same time reserved and cold. The Chemistry with her and is Duan Yu (Jimmy Lin) is very good indeed.
Azhu is the character with the greatest heart, really. She helps others and has boundless love for Qiao Feng but also for her family and friends. She is very talented also, her disguises are incredibly accurate (they just change the actor to the real one and keep the voice that she has) . And above all she’s very smart, and helps Qiao Feng solve his problems. But keep in mind, this character is so sweet that it will break/hurt your 心, I guarantee.
Xu Zhu is extremely good, a real Buddhist monk. He actually prays for the bugs in his water because they will get killed after he drinks them.
However, circumstances force him to change his old beliefs and stop being a monk. He is maybe after all, easily manipulated. However, his humbleness and good intention stay throughout the series. Apart from being a good character it is also one you can feel sorry for.
Azhu’s sister Azi on the other hands isn’t that good. Really cruel actually, on the same time funny and adorable though. An excuse for her cruelty would be the fact that she was once part of the cosmos sect (that name sounds evil already). And seeing this guy, the leader from the cosmos sect should explain it:
An absolutely sweet and innocent and character is Zhong Ling. Childish but funny, her pet isn’t innocent though, it can kill you.
Her parents are a bit strange also, her mother is one of Duan Yu’s fathers lover. Her father is a bit temperamental.
The Funny parts
This certainly has funny parts, sometimes the jokes come out of the blue, unexpected and deadly.
The absolute strangest moment was when Duan Yu accidentally consumed a poisonous toad. This toad however gave him the capability to resist all poisonous. As it turns out, a blessing in disguise.
well, this girl is a really strong character (almost as strong as Sanniang from Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei, almost not really) :
known as Mu Wanqing, played by Jiang Xin. In the beginning, she forces Duan Yu to admit he isn’t a real man, because he can’t fight or defend himself. And after that she almost forces him to marry her. Luckily for Duan Yu he was willing but yeah, she is a strong character! This strong character along with Duan Yu makes it my favorite character. A pity she only starred for it the first and last episodes, I would have payed good money to see her throughout the whole series.
Qiao Feng Is definitely a strong character also, a born leader. Maybe a bit too vengeful though. But as we later learn, his anger and vindictiveness eventually become his greatest mistake. I think the character transition that Qiao Feng made later on is really meaningful. His loyalty to his friends make him easily like-able.
What shall I say? Let me just tell you like with most wuxia series at least 30 percent of the main characters don’t survive the ending/last episode. This series is just like that, it has enough tragedy to keep your eyes from drying up.
If we don’t talk about the ending and some other story tragic faults, then yes, it’s absolutely worth watching!! 10 out of 10. I especially enjoyed Duan Yu’s story, that was really delightful and occasionally funny.
*******SPOILERSSS (DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE GOING TO WATCH THE SERIES)*****
An important spoiler I want to mention is the fact that
Duan Yu turns out to be the son of Duan Yuan Qing and can thus marry any of his sisters
If you are not motivated enough to watch this jet, then maybe some extra stills will do the trick!