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Series / Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons

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As turmoil looms in the Martial World, and the Eight Wonders of the Evil Dragon unleash their dark forces, who will emerge as the new warrior legend?

Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons is a hand puppet Wuxia show that mixes martial arts combat with social and political conflict. Featuring a large cast, the show centers on the conflicts of the characters in the "Martial World", warriors with the ability of Ki Manipulation and those who can help and hinder them in their various quests.

The main conflict revolves around five factions: the Eight Wonders of the Evil Dragon, The Eight Tiger Generals, the Emperor of the Northern Tribes, the Eternal Empress of Silkworm Palace, and the Demon King and his realm. The Eight Wonders are naturally gifted martial artists ostensibly in service of the Evil Dragon, who wishes to take over the world to do as he wishes. The Eight Generals of Heavenly Tiger are their fated opponents, who fight to protect the world. The Emperor vies to take over the world, and the Empress wants to power up her pet Silkworm so it can destroy the world.

The show is a remake of Pili's 6th season, and premiered on Netflix on July 12, 2019. This makes War of Dragons the first installment of the main Pili series to air in English speaking countries in an uncut format.

This show provides examples of:

  • Amazon Brigade: All of the Eternal Empress' forces are women.
  • Anti-Villain: Hua Xin Feng, despite being something of a Blood Knight he is shown to be honorable, unwilling to fight injured opponents and even stopping a fight outright when the life of a newborn dragon is put in jeopardy because that fight distracted the dragon's caretaker.
  • As You Know: There is a lot of exposition regarding the many, many motivations and backstories of the various characters. Especially notable is Yeh Hsiao-chai, since his being mute means most characters have to exposit for him.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: It's easier to list the exceptions. While there are some characters who are either humble or only have a modest pride in their skill, there are quite a few who are easily offended or goaded into fighting at real or perceived slights.
  • Blood Knight: Plenty, of note is Pa Mien Lang Chi. She loves battle, the company of men, and drink, in roughly that order but she's not picky. In fact, when ordered by the Eternal Empress to kill Chin Shao-yeh, she grows infatuated with him once he defeats her and refuses to try again. This leads to a lot of friction between her and her friend the Eternal Empress, doubly so once she actually rescues him from the Eternal Empress' second attempt at assassinating him.
  • Break the Haughty: Tai Huang-Chun is subject to this after badly losing a duel for the Sacred Dragon Bone Sword. Notably foreshadowed earlier when Ling Hsin I Fo notes he presents a facade of humility and wisdom, but secretly held everyone else in contempt and arrogantly thought himself best, which could lead to his downfall.
  • Butt-Monkey: Usually it's Chin Chia-hsien, but Chin Shao-yeh takes the brunt of it. He's the target of assassins, trapped in an unbreakable net, kidnapped by his Stalker with a Crush, shrunk and imprisoned in a bottle, and then tied to a palanquin to pull Chi Lu-jen around.
    • Yeh Hsiao-chai qualifies by virtue of his incredibly traumatic life. He goes prematurely white haired, cuts out his own tongue to master the martial art of Nothing, and at one point has both his legs cut off in a duel (he gets better though).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The series open with the death of Su Huan-chen, the protagonist, and two comic relief friends of his note that it's unlikely this is really how the story will start.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Yin Shih-jen is actually a fairly skilled poisoner, along with his ability to teleport through the Earth.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: And pretty girls, but mostly boys. Just about every character, good or evil, is incredibly handsome or beautiful, with only a few exceptions for age, being comic relief, or demons.
  • Cool Sword: Lots of them, of the blessed, cursed, and "neutral" varieties.
  • Costume Porn: All over the place. Only the occasional peasant or subordinate doesn't wear some form of Gorgeous Period Dress.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Learning the Tenth Bodhisattva Seal causes the practitioner to die seven days later as their internal organs are crushed within. This is incredibly inconvenient (aside from the obvious reasons) because it is the only way to save someone from the delayed death effects of the Illusory Fist attack. And a meat shield who will die is needed in front of the future victim, at that.
  • The Dark Arts: Martial arts from the Demon Realm are generally this, not evil per se but usually nasty to the victim. For one, there's the "exploding head technique".
  • Delinquent Hair: Chin Shao-yeh, along with wearing "cheap cosmetics". He later gets it cut off as part of his Humiliation Conga at the hands of the amnesiac Chi Lu-Jen.
    Pa Mien Lang Chi: This music and the smell of cheap cosmetics, it must be Chin Shao-yeh!
  • Easy Amnesia: Chi Lu-Jen, courtesy of the fire spirit who crafted the Dragon Bone Sacred Sword. Transitions into some form of Obfuscating Stupidity as the actual amnesia recedes and Chi Lu-Jen starts acting purposefully again.
  • Empathic Weapon: Several, most notably the cursed sword of Yenna and the Salamander sword. The latter of which is quite sentimental, being unwilling to harm the man involved in its creation.
  • Foreshadowing: Lord Yi Ye-Shu comments with his friend Ban Chi-Chien that the Tenth Bodhisattva seal isn't necessarily Cast from Hit Points or a lethal Dangerous Forbidden Technique. Someone who can transfer their Chi/breath to another body could survive it, but only one person has mastered that ability, Yin Shih-jen as part of his "liquification" technique, and he has no idea of his ability's "dark side." Same character has, coincidentally, received the manuscript detailing the technique.
  • Forgiveness: There's a few powerful moments of forgiveness throughout the show, notably mostly concerning members of Team Tiger learning to let go and work together.
    • Yeh Hsiao-chai forgives Su Huan-chen.
    • Ouyang Lin forgives Su Huan-chen of killing her father, under the argument that as an evil man, he had to be brought down.
    • Chin Shao-yeh forgives his father for "abandoning" him, realizing by the end of the first season that circumstances didn't allow his father to care for him. This quite literally helps save his father's life.
    • Mo-chi Yen eventually accepts that Su Huan-chen and Lady Vermillion were not evil and threatening his baby dragon's life after they save it. Considering he's got a literally explosive temper, this was quite the step for him.
  • Gag Haircut: Chin Shao-yeh gets one as part of his Humiliation Conga at the hands of the amnesiac Chi Lu-Jen.
  • Guile Hero: Team Tiger has Chi Lu-Jen, who goes around researching the past of the mysterious Ku Yeh to try and get him on Team Tiger, and generally matching wits with the Emperor and Tai Huang-chun.
    • Su Hua-chen also fits, being able to outmaneuver Tai Huang-chun and Vermillion Lady.
  • In Love with the Mark: Pa Mien Lang-Chi, to Chin Shao-yeh. It starts out as Stalker with a Crush, but seems to grow to actual affection if not love, given she is eventually persuaded to leave him (trapped in a bottle) so he matures as a person.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Everyone considers the Dragon Bone Sacred Sword to be this. But the truth is it's got room to be upgraded with more elements to be made much stronger.
  • Killed Off for Real: Various throughout the course of the first season. And aside from Su Huan-chen who has a several episode resurrection arc, when a character dies, they stay dead.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Part and parcel of a Wuxia story.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Yin Shih-jen can "liquidize his body", which allows him to travel through the earth and gives him nigh invulnerability to every attack. Before the season starts, Chin Chia-hsien discovered his weakness and forced him to be his lackey or die. From there, a genuine friendship grew.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In a Wuxia setting, Chi Pili is a super powerful cyborg zombie that can be "piloted" by entering his body as a spiritual entity, something only the Blue Crystal man and a few others seems able to do.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The divine Dragon Bone Sacred Sword can only be wielded by it's chosen, anyone else touching it dies. So far only three people have wielded it, and one other touched it.
  • Papa Bear: Mo-chi Yen to his baby dragon.
  • Parental Abandonment: Chin Shao-yeh, though he knows who his parents are, he grew up alone because of the tragic outcome of their star crossed love.
  • Plant Person: The Demon Resurrection Tree becomes one after absorbing the Archmage of Hell, and fusing with him and his hate and its desire to finish eating Nankung Chu.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Chin Chia-hsien and Yin Shih-jen, with a Laurel and Hardy type of slapstick. Notwithstanding, both have a fairly big impact on the plot by way of sharing messages, manipulating enemies of the Tiger Generals, and otherwise being good allies.
  • Revenge: A lot of plots center around getting revenge (or justice) against other characters for killing loved ones or allies, upsetting their plots, or just plain hurt Pride. Notably, a few characters do grow to forgive others of said offenses.
    • Ku Yeh is notable for having several grievances with various other martial artists. He wants to avenge himself against the Viper Cult for the loss of his arm and parents. The Golden Sun Emperor for having a hand in it. And Chi Lu-jen for his involvement.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Pa Mien Lang Chi is the only female member of Team Tiger.
    • On the villains side, Vermillion Lady is the only woman on the side of the Eight Wonders of the Evil Dragon.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The masked martial artist Ouyang Lin. She finds and frees the Sacred Dragon Bone Sword, and convinces Yeh Hsiao-chai to forgive Su Huan-chen.
  • The Speechless: Yeh Hsiao-chai, by virtue of cutting out his own tongue as part of his trying to understand how "the sound of a single hand clapping" and gaining the martial art of nothingnes.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Pa Mien Lang-Chi, to Chin Shao-yeh. It gets to the point she refuses to carry out his assassination over the crush. It's not too extreme, given she is eventually persuaded to leave him (trapped in a bottle) so he matures as a person.
  • The Starscream: The Purple Queen serving the Eternal Empress, she seeks to reclaim her independence and take over the Empress' holdings in the process.
    • Tai Huang-chun to his own master, asking him to kill the the Big Good with his own life as payment, and then planning to take on whoever survived the epic battle.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: The main antagonists are the Eight Wonders of the Evil Dragon, versus The Eight Tiger Generals.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: No side has particularly good teamwork. The good guy Eight Tiger Generals don't even know all of each other, but those who do collaborate.
  • When Trees Attack: The Demon Resurrection Tree grabs onto victims with roots and vines and slowly digests them from the inside out, liquifying bones and causing bouts of extreme pain over several weeks. Nankung Chu is only temporarily saved from this fate by being physically separated from the tree, but it somehow is still eating him on a metaphysical level, and will eventually kill him. And then it becomes a Plant Person after absorbing the Archmage of Hell and fusing his hate with its desire to finish eating Nankung Chu.