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Chinese Paladin 3 is a 2009 fantasy Wuxia TV show. It is the prequel to the 2004 series Chinese Paladin and like the first is based on a video game of the same name (Chinese Paladin 2 was apparently judged by the studio to have a plot insufficiently interesting to adapt to TV).

Jing Tian is a wastrel pawnshop assistant who, finding a fragment of jade fallen from heaven, is pulled into meeting the willful yet beautiful heiress of the local ruling family, Tang Xue Jian. Xue Jian is the beloved granddaughter of Tang Manor's Tang Kun, who comes under attack when an evil cult tries to take over control of the Tang Manor with music-controlled poison zombies! The pair accidentally meets Xu Changqing, Daoist priest and eldest disciple of the Mt Shu Sect, who aids them in defeating the cult and rescuing the Tang Manor. With the zombies and their master dealt with, the main plot kicks off.

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Foreseeing the destruction of the world at the hands of an evil force, the 5 elders of Mt Shu Sect call upon Jing Tian and Changqing to acquire the five spirit pearls in order to enter the celestial realm and reach the one place in the world where that force can be destroyed before it comes into its full strength. The two of them join with Jing Tian's adopted brother Mao Mao, Xue Jian, who has been banished from Tang manor after it was revealed that she is a foundling, and Long Kui, a mysterious waif who claims to be both a princess of a vanished kingdom and Jing Tian's little sister, and set off on their mission.

While on the surface the show has a bog-standard RPG plot - The Chosen One collects a series of Plot Coupons in order to thwart a Big Bad and save the world - the interwoven back stories of the main cast and the moral choices that they have to face as they learn about their past make it so that there is more than meets the eye here.

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This series contains:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Jing Tian is forced into a series of these near the end of the series by Evil Sword Immortal, who wants revenge for the time Jing Tian successfully bluffed him into retreat.
  • The Ace: Changqing, he is the strongest member of the group and the smartest. He is widely considered handsome and well liked, and despite protestations to the contrary, Jing Tian is quite envious of him.
  • Action Girl: Zixuan, Xi Yao, and Red Longkui. To a lesser degree Xuejian.
  • Always Someone Better: How Jian Tian feels towards Changqing. He is stronger, faster, smarter and more respected than Jian Tian is without trying.
  • Arc Symbol: Arc Gesture. The V-fingers that Chan Qing challenges Jing Tian to hit with his sword come back several times during the series and in the finale.
  • Apocalypse How
  • Arch-Nemesis: Demon King Chonglou to the Heavenly General. See Go-Karting with Bowser.
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  • Attempted Suicide: Xue Jian and Jing Tian's Establishing Character Moment is Xue Jian throwing a hissy fit and threatening to kill herself, and Jing Tian annoying/bullying her out of the attempt.
  • Back Story: Since the plot heavily involves reincarnation, all of the characters have a lot of this, intertwined around each other.
  • Back from the Dead: the Starter Villain comes back as a lackey to the Ultimate Evil.
  • Bastard Bastard: Xue Jian's half-uncle turns out to be a traitor.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: More like Be Quiet Repeated Kicks to Shins. It's a wonder Jing Tian wasn't black and blue after his introduction to Yun.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Chan Qing does this almost Once per Episode, particularly early in the series, when he is the party's only competent fighter.
  • Blessed with Suck: Yun, who has the power to kill demons and defend his town...and whose touch is deadly to humans, resulting in his wife's death on their wedding day. the first thing he does when the power is removed is go through his house and hug every person there.
  • Blood Knight:
    • The undefeatable Demon King Chonglou, whose chief motivation is to refight an interrupted duel with his rival, Feipeng.
    • Feipeng is hardly an better, growing bored in peace and desperately wanting a rival.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Chonglou doesn't really understand humans.
  • Broken Ace: Chan Qing gradually becomes this, once he's forced to face both his own past lives and the past mistakes of his mentors.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Xue Jian
    • Long Kui
    • Chan Qing
  • Call Forward: Li Xao'yao showing up near the end of the show. Doubles as Talking to Himself, since both characters are played by Hu Ge.
    • A late episode has a darkly hilarious call back to Jing Tian's strategy for keeping people alive after injuries.
  • Call to Adventure: Jing Tian receives three of these in a row in the first episode: a mysterious old man appears in his dreams, a jade amulet falls from the sky into his hand and displays obvious magical power, and a hooded and cloaked man finds him and tells him that he is destined to save the world from calamity, and that his amulet is key to victory.
    • Refusal of the Call: Jing Tian is less interested in the dream mentor than in the valuable chest the man shows him, is only interested in selling off the jade amulet as soon as possible, and tells the cloaked man that he is no warrior, but only interested in riches and comfortable living. Naturally, he swiftly learns that You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Chaste Hero: Chan Qing tries to be this, being a Taoist monk.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The word "sow" that Jing Tian drew on the sleeping Xuejian (in magic ink) as a prank later becomes the key to saving her life after Evil Sword Immortal polymorphs her into a tree and starts a forest fire.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The series takes a sharp turn for the darker near the end.
  • The Chosen One: The Shu Shan sect leader begins appearing to Jing Tian in dreams because he suspects that he is the one chosen to save the world. A slightly bloody test on a magical stone at Shu Shan later proves him right - and that Changqing is the one chosen to assist him.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Zixuan threatening to strip when Chan Qing (a celibate monk) tries to apologize for spending the night. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • The Comically Serious: Chan Qing tries to be calm, polite, and dignified at all times. It doesn't always work out that way.
  • Continuity Lockout: Without having seen Chinese Paladin, the amulets' power can come across as Deus ex Machina.
  • Curb Stomp: Anyone except the Heavenly General Or the Sword Immortal versus Chonglou. Chan Qing gets an especially brutal one in an early episode (which nearly kills him).
  • Cuteness Proximity: When Chan Qing brings a six-month old baby, his daughter Qing'er to Mt. Shan, the other monks gather around to coo over how cute she is.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Demon Lord Chonglou, who isn't exactly evil, he's just a demon and a Blood Knight.
  • Deal with the Devil: Long Kui is manipulated into making such a deal due to her jealousy of Xue Jian and fear of losing her brother.
  • Declaration of Protection: Red Long Kui to Blue Long Kui, as well as to Jing Tian. And vice versa.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Chan Qing hits this hard when he finally brings the "evil smog" to the Celestial Pool.
  • Dimension Lord: Chonglou, lord of the demon realm.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: In the final episode, Zixuan and Chan Qing both do this with the waters of forgetfulness.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Xue Jian and Jing Tian trapped in a Lava Pit whose flames can only be extinguished by tears. Jing Tian begins a mournful Final Speech...causing both of them to cry so hard they don't notice when the fire does go out.
    • The magic sword that will save the kingdom can only be completed with the sacrifice of a royal female virgin into the furnace. The former reincarnation of Jing Tian, the prince refused to let his sister sacrifice herself, the sword was not completed, and the kingdom fell. His sister then threw herself into the furnace anyway.
  • Drowning Our Romantic Sorrows: Copiously used.
  • Driven to Suicide: Long Kui threw herself into the Demon Sword's forge after their kingdom fell.
  • Eat Me:
    • Mao Mao buys food for the villagers by cutting off and selling bits of his own body to the cult leaders.
    • Chan Qing allows himself to be swallowed by the ultimate evil in order to fight from the inside.
  • Empathic Weapon: Jing Tian's sword While it houses Long Kui.
  • Epic Fail: Xue Jian's attempt at an Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him reunion with the rest of the group.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Mao Mao wishing that Jing Tian can have his extra wishes.
    • Xue Jian throwing a massive temper tantrum, followed by her doting on her grandfather and trying to find the best medicine for him.
    • Chan Qing's Dynamic Entry Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • All three of those above taking place in episode one.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode
  • Evil Is Sexy: Chonglou. He's noted in-universe as being tall and handsome.
  • Face Doodling: Jing Tian paints "Piggy" on the back of Xue Jian's neck while she's sleeping...with indelible magical ink. See Chekhov's Gun.
  • Fan Sub: Practically the only way to watch the show in English, for now.
  • Fang Thpeak: Used by Jing Tian after he's bitten by a zombie and grows fangs.
  • Femme Fatale: Zixuan spends a large amount of time trying to manipulate and con people into doing what she wants.
  • Foil: Each of Jing Tian's past lives contrast the previous life.
    • Jing Tian's first life, Feipeng was Heaven's strongest man and a Blood Knight. He was bored in peace and desired a rival so he could fight with all his strength for once and once left his post so he could enjoy himself in a battle to the death which lead to his banishment.
    • Long Yang, Jing Tian's second life is Feipeng's near opposite. Growing up as a prince during times of constant war, he was forced to lead his country into never ending wars causing him to loathe war and desperately long for peace. He was dedicated to his people to the point, he didn't really have a personal life and even at times wanted to be normal compared to being a prince.
    • Finally Jian Tian grew up poor and desperately wants to be special but lacks any real power at the start of the series but is instead very crafty.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Episode 1 has Xue Jian trying on masks at a vendor's stall. Specifically, she tries on a pig mask, which is what Jing Tian spends the rest of the series calling her. It also ties in to Zixuan's storyline.
    • Xue Jian's magic hair, which is merely played for laughs, and the ancient forest spirit's inability to read her mind, are both foreshadowing that she is not properly human, but the fruit of a heavenly tree.
  • Freak Out!: Chan Qing has an epic one after he learns that destroying the evil will cause his masters' deaths. He completely flips out and almost pulls a Face–Heel Turn, only barely managing to snap out of it by the end of the series.
  • The Gambling Addict: Jing Tian, to the bafflement of Changqing (who was born in a monastery and is extremely naive about social life) and the exasperation of Xuejian, who considers it a childish weakness of his. He causes difficulties for the heroes on more than one occasion with his weakness for gambling, but his gambling experience also allows him to bluff and swindle nonhumans who could squish him like a bug in a straight-up fight.
  • The Gad Fly: Jing Tian loves messing with people, especially Xue Jian.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: it turns out that Chonglou and the Heavenly General had this kind of relationship. Only, their idea of relaxation and fun was...fighting.
  • Go Through Me: Chan Qing when protecting Jing Tian from Chonglou; Xue Jian to a berserk Jing Tian at the funeral. Zixuan while guarding the Fox Demoness' house is a subversion, as she immediately reverses the situation.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Chonglou, as the demon lord, naturally has bat wings.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Zixuan is closely associated with the color purple, and is the most sophisticated woman in the main cast by a long shot.
  • Graceful Loser: Chonglou, when he finally gets his rematch with the Heavenly General, congratulates the winner, compliments his girlfriend, and departs, hiding how utterly crushed he is at the defeat until he's alone.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Xuejian gets hilariously infuriated when Jing Tian cons the Fire Phantom Queen into a pretend wedding night in order to steal the third Spirit Pearl.
    • There is a much grimmer example in the backstory, when Lin Ye Ping Changqing's previous incarnation hears his wife Zixuan sighing the name "Liufang" in her sleep and becomes consumed with jealousy. Gu Liufang was his previous incarnation, the one when he and Zixuan began their cycle of Star-Crossed Lovers, so he is in fact becoming jealous of himself.
    • A sadder example is when Jian Tian thought Xuejian really did fall in love with someone else, he was absolutely miserable.
    • There is a non-romantic example later in the series, when Longkui becomes very worried that she will become unimportant to Jing Tian if he marries Xuejian. this arises thanks to Evil Sword Immortal's manipulations, and leads to tragedy.
  • Guile Hero: Jing Tian, his ability to lie and think on his feet has saved the day numerous times before he became strong enough to force his way through.
  • Happily Adopted: Mao Mao. He seems have loved his adopted parents and really cares about his adopted brother Jing Tian.
  • The Heart: Jing Tian's adopted brother Mao Mao, who isn't very bright and has no fighting skill at all, but does have a strong sense of right & wrong and can calm down the rest of the team's bickering when it threatens to destroy their sense of purpose.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Multiple characters. As heartbreakingly as possible.
  • Heroic Willpower: Jing Tian after being infected by a vampire. He pulls his own fangs out with pliers rather than be a danger to his friends.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jing Tian and Mao Mao are this. They are adopted brothers who spent most of their lives together. Makes Mao Mao's death even more depressing. Jing Tian and Chan Qing become this at the end of the series too much to Jing Tian's denial.
  • Horned Humanoid: Chonglou. Jing Tian promptly nicknames him "Ox-head."
  • Hope Spot: The party has reached Heaven, the Evil Sword Immortal is about to be cleansed, two out of three romantic plot threads have been cleaned up... And then Chan Qing discovers that his masters will die if he cleanses the Immortal and has an epic Freak Out!.
  • How Dare You Die on Me! + If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: How Jing Tian keeps Chan Qing from dying of massive internal injuries—by threatening to steal all the treasures of Mt. Shan while the masters and disciples are distraught over their star pupil's death, making the karmic burden of the act fall on ''Chan Qing'', who allowed it to happen by dying. Chan Qing isn't exactly in his right mind at the time, but it works.
  • I Gave My Word: Chonglou also has trouble with this concept.
  • Incurable Cough of Death
  • Instant Expert: Jing Tian picks up swordsmanship, gets in shape, and hones his power, ridiculously fast. He is a wuxia protagonist, after all.
    • And even then, he's nothing compared to how fast Li Xiao Yao, protagonist of the prior series, gained skills.
  • In-Series Nickname: Jing Tian and Xuejian give each other nicknames which eventually become Insults of Endearment - "Vegetable Tooth" and "Sow," respectively.
  • In Vino Veritas: Changqing and Jing Tian at different drunkenly confide in each other their true feelings towards their respective love interests. Changqing, who believes Love Is a Weakness, tries to pretend nothing important happened while Jing Tian, who believes "there is truth in wine," desperately tries to find out what he let slip once he sobers up.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jian Tian is cocky, cowardly at times and greedy but he's loyal to a fault and would rather die than willingly harm another person.
  • Kick the Dog: The Tang family's treatment of Xue Jian when it's revealed she's adopted.
  • Knight Templar Little Sister: red-form Longkui will intimidate or kill anyone who attacks or bullies her big brother.
  • Lady in Red: The Fire Phantom Queen, who uses her (magically-enhanced) sexuality to attempt to seduce Jing Tian when he first arrives in her realm. Unlike most Hollywood examples, this is mostly played for laughs.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Done in flashback to Long Kui and Jing Tian's mother, whose illness had indirectly doomed their kingdom. Xtian rings the victory bells outside her room while she's dying to let her believe that they've won.
  • Magic Music: The Pili Sect boss controls his poison zombies with a magical zither.
  • Mama Bear: averted. Zixuan is not a particularly good mother, and is repeatedly called out on it.
  • Meaningful Name: Xue Jian is told that her fated True Love's name has something to do with the sky. She guesses "Clouds" and nearly marries a man named that, but finally ends up with Jing Tian, whose name does mean "Sky."
    • Note that this prophecy was given to her by Changqing, who already knew both her and Jing Tian, and might just have been trying to give her a nudge in the right direction.
  • Money Fetish: Jian Tian has it bad. But its justified when Jian Tian grew up poor and is desperate to buy back his family business.
  • Multiversal Conqueror
  • Nightmare Fuel: Mao Mao's death, where he is eaten piece by piece and pads his clothes out with straw to make it appear that he's still as fat as ever. Yikes.
  • No Export for You: Official English DVDs are nigh-impossible to find (and have rather shaky subtitling, sadly). Fortunately the Jiang Hu Chinese-language fansub group put out an excellent fansub.
  • Noble Demon: Chonglou, literally.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Long Kui attempts to warn Xue Jian away from Jing Tian by showing her scenes from their past life together. She merely neglected to mention that they were siblings then, too.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The world is in need of saving because the elders of Mt Shu decided to use their sect's forbidden technique to defeat an incursion of monsters and demons into the human realm. Shockingly, the technique had been forbidden for a reason, and using it created a potentially-world-ending evil force.
  • Older Than They Look: Zixuan is two hundred years old and looks an eighth of that. Longkui is a thousand years old, and looks sixteen as she was when she killed herself.
  • Old Master: All of the Mt Shu elders fit this, but particularly the sect leader, who appeared to Jing Tian in dreams in order to provoke him into acting.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Jing Tian's sword, which weighs fifty pounds when anyone else tries to pick it up.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Demon Lord Chonglou to Jing Tian, whom he believes to be his old rival Heavenly General Feipeng.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Works particularly well on people who are deep in She Is Not My Girlfriend mode.
  • Papa Wolf: Chan Qing to his daughter, Qing'er. He refuses to accept that it might be necessary to kill her to save the world.
  • Plucky Girl: Xuejian, after a shaky start, becomes this.
  • Post-Dramatic Stress Disorder: In early episodes, Jing Tian.
  • Powerup Full Color Change: Longkui does this when her alternate personality takes over.
  • Poke the Poodle: Jing Tian barking at the ultimate evil, which is setting up a Hell Is That Noise racket from its cage, to shut up. It does. After a beat, he picks up a candle and does the same thing. The candle, of course, goes out.
  • The Quest: To collect the 5 spirit pearls and enter Heaven to destroy a Sealed Evil in a Can. is actually cleverly subverted.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Xue Jian wears her hair in hip-length ponytails. She has double qualifications, as her hair enters a magical growth spurt each spring.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Long Kui fills both roles, thanks to her demonic protector form.
    • Zixuan and the Saintess lack the color scheme but definitely have the personalities, with the Saintess being cold-blooded and ruthless when it comes to her task of protecting Nuwa's bloodline, while Zixuan is impulsive, somewhat vacillating, and in thrall to her love for Changqing.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Zixuan and Changqing, through both of his last two incarnations. Unlike some examples, the reincarnation is only one-sided, since as a descendant of the goddess Nuwa, Zixuan is immortal until her daughter grows up.
    • It turns out that Jing Tian and Xue Jian are partly this too, as he is the second reincarnation of the Heavenly General demoted for treason, while she is a clone/creation of the goddess who was in love with him then.
  • Sadistic Choice: Jing Tian is forced by a fox demoness to choose between Long Kui and Xue Jian getting ground up for perfume. He chooses the former. The latter leaves him tied up to a pillar.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The "evil smog" created by the use of Mt Shu's forbidden skill. The elders of Mt Shu sealed it in the Demon Locking Pagoda, and Jing Tian was later able to transfer it into a specially prepared container by virtue of being the Chosen One. Subverting the usual trope, the goal of the main quest is to destroy it before it has the chance to escape. thanks to skillful manipulation of Jing Tian's Nakama, it succeeds in escaping, reverting to the standard trope.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Jing Tian regarding Xue Jian (the transparent denial version), Chan Qing to Zixuan in a more tragic and serious example.
  • Shrinking Violet: Long Kui, in contrast to Xue Jian.
  • Sky Surfing: As in the first series, there is sky surfing on swords.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Jian Tian at first. He's very cocky, calling himself a hero when he's not particularly powerful at first. He grows out of it when he starts getting stronger and the stakes get worse.
  • Starter Villain: the Pili Sect boss and his poison zombies.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Changqing and Zixuan are thwarted in love in two separate lifetimes before the series starts. When she finds him a third time, it's unclear whether or not this will hold true again.
  • Sword over Head: Jing Tian's sword takes him over when he storms the Tang Master's funeral. He's about to trash the place, coffin included, when Xue Jian throws herself between them, resulting in this trope.
    • Sword At Throat variant when Chan Qing tries to get into a house that Zixuan is guarding.
  • Talking Your Way Out: As a guile hero, Jing Tian uses this capably against outraged noblemen, greedy ghosts, bloodthirsty demons, and world-ending forces. He occasionally fails (usually hilariously) but is always saved by his teammates when that happens.
  • TearJerker: In-universe, when Xuejian and Jing Tian perform a version of her farewell to her grandfather for an audience of Hell's denizens.
  • Tender Tears: Mao Mao weeps easily at the misfortunes of his friends, or even those of distant strangers.
  • Tsundere:
    • Xue Jian to Jing Tian, very much so.
    • Jing Tian for Xue Jian and Chan Qing as a nonromantic example.
    • For a while Chan Qing for Zixuan before he just gave in.
  • Undying Loyalty: Mao Mao to Jing Tian.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Chan Qing and later Chonglou struggle with this.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 14, revealing Chan Qing and Zixuan's backstory.
    • Episode 19 ~, which ends with Xue Jian leaving the group and kidnapped by slavers.
  • World of Badass: This being a Wuxia series, of course it is.
  • Worthy Opponent: Feipeng and Chonglou. To the point that Chonglou is obsessed with bring back Feipeng to finally have a challenge.
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