There’s a new Taiwanese puppet series just released this month. Here’s the opening theme:
This new series is called 黑白龍狼傳, which translates literally to The Chronicles of Black-White, Dragon, and Wolf. (The literal translation sounds weird and somewhat meaningless but let me assure you that it sounded much better and more meaningful before translation. :-D) The series is produced by Li-Gang Huang (黃立綱), the youngest son of Chuan-Hsiung Huang (黃俊雄). To give a little bit of background information, Chuan-Hsiung Huang is the puppet master whose series dominate the TV screen decades ago, and Pili, a series created by his two oldest sons still dominate the TV puppetry DVD rental market to this day. So now, the old puppet master is helping his youngest son with the new series to get a portion of the market share.
Objectively speaking, this video combined puppetry, computer animation, and special effects, so maybe I should have been more impressed by it. However, quite a few of the shots from the opening theme imitate what Pili has already done (and done better) so I wasn’t particularly impressed with it. (You can see the videos on Youtube here and here, and I’ve already blogged about them a few months ago here and here.) It wasn’t bad. I’ve just seen better, that’s all. I will write another post comparing the videos later.
But you know they say not to judge a book by its cover. I don’t think you should judge a series by its opening theme either. I watched the first six episodes and I like it so far. The story line is a lot simpler than Pili’s, which is actually quite chaotic and not very good at this point because they did not coordinate the stories between different writers very well. This new series, on the other hand, has a simple story line, while the characters’ own stories are woven into it. I like it this way, but also, they need to make the story more complicated soon, or it will go stale in a few more episodes. As you can see, it’s a fine balance.
But I am also not going to judge it by the first six episodes. They actually had problems (funding, distribution, etc.), so these six episodes were actually filmed a while ago. And then the production was halted and finall resumed this year. Between then and this year, the voiceover person went through a lot more training (rumor says) and they hired a new writer. They also fixed up the puppets and sets so I really don’t know what episode seven would be like. I am interested in finding out.
So far, I like it.