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First Episode 5:神探狄仁杰, Mystic Detective Di Renjie


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A part of the Grand First Episode Project -- See this thread for more info.

16th April: 神探狄仁杰: Tang Dynasty detective stories.

Emule. Youku.


Well, so much for this being a case-an-episode detective show - this was very much setting up the story arc for the entire season. To be honest I was only half-watching this and would need to view it again to be sure about what was going on, but we've got a war just ended in an uneasy peace, a masked man going around slaughtering people and freeing some guy being tortured for a list of names hidden on his person, something odd going on in the desert, and a very quickly solved murder.

While I wasn't paying full attention I was quite intrigued by what i saw and I think I'm going to download it (in hope of a better quality, youku is easy but not exactly high-definition) and watch again, then maybe give it a few more episodes.

Language-wise it's not the easiest - mostly delivered in snappy classical, with plenty of chengyu, 朕s and 陛下s. i



Edited by renzhe
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I was quite intrigued by what i saw
I dunno, I thought it went quite slowly, especially at the beginning, I think i'll finish watching 空镜子 before deciding whether I want to watch the rest. Be sure to let us know if it gets any better.
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It's definitely slow at the moment, but I thought it was very much laying out the pieces. As I say I'm planning to watch it again and then maybe an episode or two more, but to be honest at the moment I'm not sure I've got the inclination to sit through a whole series.

I was aware there were books about the same guy, but couldn't have told you anything about them.

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I got as much out of it as roddy did, to be honest. Despite trying my best (no dictionary).

As soon as any court official or emperor starts speaking, I'm lost. In pretty much any show, not just this one. I had to skim the subtitles quickly to get enough keywords to make sense of what was going on.

The second part was much easier to understand.

I found it interesting and quite well done. I'd be interested in seeing more, but perhaps I'll wait till my level improves a bit.

EDIT: here's the vocabulary list based on the list roddy posted. A couple are missing.

元年 yuán nián - first year of Emperor's reign

宁静 níng jìng - tranquil / tranquility

祥和 xiáng hé - auspicious, harmonious (??)

突厥 Tū jué - Turkic (ethnic group in China)

苍天有眼 cāng tiān yǒu yǎn - the heaven sees everything

朕 zhèn - I / we (imperial use) / subtle

自叹不如 zì tàn bù rú - to consider oneself as being not as good as the others

相抵 xiāng dǐ - counterbalance / offset

泱泱大国 yāng yāng dà guó - boundless, powerful country

夷狄 yí dí - non-Han tribes in the east and north of ancient China / barbarians

席地而坐 xí dì ér zuò - to sit down on the ground

遂 suì forthwith

特使 tè shǐ - special envoy / special ambassador

威风 wēi fēng - might / awe-inspiring authority / impressive

陛下 bì xià - Your Majesty / His or Her Majesty

叩见 kòu jiàn - to kowtow in salute

相貌 xiàng mào - appearance

名不虚传 míng bù xū chuán - a fully justified reputation (lit. name is not in vain)

盛赞 shèng zàn - to praise highly / acclaimed

祚 zuò - blessing / the throne

绝伦 jué lún - outstanding / peerless

不自量力 bù zì liàng lì - to overestimate one's capabilities

骏马 jùn mǎ - steed

天恩 tiān ēn - heavenly grace

刑具 xíng jù - punishment equipment / torture instruments

迁延 qiān yán - long delay

阴谋 yīn móu - plot / conspiracy

内讧 nèi hòng - internal strife

频仍 pín réng - frequent

妄言 wàng yán - fantasy (fiction)

暗渡陈仓 àn dù Chén cāng - secretly crossing the Wei river 渭河 at Chencang / fein one thing while doing another

诡计 guǐ jì - deceit

搜查 sōu chá - to search

戈壁 Gē bì - Gobi (desert)

匪帮 fěi bāng - gang of bandits

内奸 nèi jiān - hidden traitor

逆贼 nì zéi - renegade / traitor and bandit

生擒 shēng qín - to capture

迫在眉睫 pò zài méi jié - imminent (lit. pressing in on one's eyelashes)

上吊而亡 shàng diào ér wáng - to die by hanging

勒死 lēi sǐ - to strangle

扭打 niǔ dǎ - wrestle, grapple

抓痕 zhuā hén - marks on the body (from being grabbed)

神仙 shén xiān - a Daoist immortal / a supernatural entity

传世 chuán shì - handed down from ancient times / family heirloom

圣旨 shèng zhǐ - imperial edict

千载难逢 qiān zǎi nán féng - once in a blue moon (lit. hard to meet in a thousand years)

照办 zhào bàn - to follow the rules / to do as instructed

幕僚 mù liáo - aids and advisors of top officials

惊世骇俗 jīng shì hài sú - universally shocking / to offend the whole of society

乔装改扮 qiáo zhuāng gǎi bàn - to pretend for the purpose of deceit

堂堂 táng táng - grand / magnificent

朝廷 cháo tíng - court / imperial household

衣裳 yī shang - clothes

See post #27 for the missing ones.

Edited by renzhe
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Watched it again, quite enjoyed it second time round. I've got a better handle now on what's going on and who was killed by who, etc. Have got the second episode, will see if I get round to watching it.

While watching the second time I tapped in any vocab that came up that I thought might be of value for anyone having trouble understanding it - some imperial vocab like 龙体, 朕, and so on, some chengyu, and . . . well, words. About one hundred items all in, you could run it through an electronic dictionary or flashcard program before watching.


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What annoyed me about the first episode was there were just too many scenes that seemed designed to set the mood/theme, but that just dragged on far longer than needed (like the dancers etc). Does this aspect get any better in the second episode?

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I've been following these threads and like the idea, but this is the first one I've watched all the way through. Helped that I downloaded it, since seem to get distracted very quickly trying to watch stuff on video streaming websites. Anyway, I liked it well enough to watch the second episode immediately after the first and will probably keep watching.

There are a surprising number of fantastical wuxia-like fight scenes. I'm assuming 狄仁杰 won't be doing much fighting.

Didn't care for that fact that nearly everything seems to take place at night and is really dark. May be the fault of the video encoding, though.

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I wouldn't be so sure, I reckon he'll have a few tricks up his sleeves.

Got the third one downloaded, will likely watch it tonight (instead of today's first episode of 我爱我家, which I don't think I'll have downloaded in time.

If you check the 分集介绍, it looks like the current story line 使团惊魂 lasts thirteen episodes, and then it's a new case. If the third one holds up then I might watch that far and then . . . stop.

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Right, I've watched episode three and I've decided I'm actually enjoying this and will stick with it for a while longer. I'm finding the classical stuff is actually quite fun to try and follow, and I'm interested enough in what's going on. I also reckon the acting is fairly good in parts - for example the scene in this episode with Di and Wu Zetian. The fighting bits are a bit daft, but it's not like there's many of them. To be honest if I had to commit to the full 30 episodes or whatever I'd probably chicken out, but I can commit to another ten.

Will certainly be watching 我爱我家 when it finishes downloading - I have watched it before, but some years back. If anyone's watched it today (or recently) though perhaps they can go ahead and start a thread.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this one and plan to keep watching it instead of Soldier Sortie (the only other "first episode" I've seen so far). Compared to other mini series, I thought the action was actually pretty good and really appreciated the fact that it came in short doses with the main focus on the story. The assassin with the mask works for me, too...am I the only one who saw this guy and thought of the bad guy from one of the Ninja Gaiden video games?

I watched on Youku and had to pause a few times to let the thing download--I think it's slower from the US, but hopefully I'll be able to manage...like some others, I'd rather stick with online videos than mess around with the more complicated download options.

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Episode 4, and the plots becoming a bit more textured - bit of romance for the masked murderer and Di's obviously going to have some harsh words for the local officials when he finds the time. Not sure where 李二 fits in, I thought the rebels sprung him from jail but not it seems they want him dead.

Still decent, but I won't deny I am starting to find it a bit slow. If they could perhaps talk a bit faster and fit it all into a 30 minute show instead of a 45 minute one that would be great. And Di just happening to come across the house where 李二 is was a bit convenient for my liking.

Will attach a list of words for anyone who wants it - just the Chinese, but they're all in the ABC. I didn't bother for episodes 2 and 3. And only 25 of them now I look at it . . .

Edit: Adding list for episode 5.



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I finished the first 13 episodes of this. It was a bit ridiculous in parts and 狄仁杰‘s self-righteousness kind of got on my nerves, but overall I enjoyed it. Thankfully there were no cliffhangers to make me keep watching, although I may pick it up again at some point.

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Just got around to watching episode 2 (yeah, I'm not exactly racing against time to finish this thing)...not quite as compelling as the first episode, but I still enjoyed it. Di Renjie doesn't strike me as too cocky or arrogant..aren't almost all famous detectives like that?

Was it just me or did a horse blow up in the ambush scene? That was over the top!

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Halfway through episode 9 and I've given up on this. The first half was a painfully slow recapping of the plot as Di confronted one of the middle-manager bad guys, and then it struck me that even masked baddies should take their masks off when talking to their rebel queen girlfriends. Like I said if it moved at a snappier pace it'd be decent, but you get the feeling they're talking slowly to stretch it out.

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