Two weeks ago, we covered a Spanish Drama show in a English dubbed format. Time for us to pick something that is in it’s native tongue and has English Subtitles. “Sub or Dub” can be a regular conversation, so lets try a sub (but not a anime form – we will leave that for next time).
Up today is a intriguing premise with an Eastern touch. Enter “The Devil Punisher”, one of the Taiwanese shows on UK Netflix that has a great look to it that brought us in. The show is aimed in a different direction to the average western show with science fiction, fantasy, romance and a touch of cheesiness (Something we will talk about in the conclusion).
The story has an strange touch with all the elements thrown in. The story focuses on a baker by day and demon hunter by night, Zhong Kui (Mike He). This reincarnated deity must do a day job and help his amnesiac lover’s memory of their millennium-long romance.
Scene by Scene
Written random thoughts as we watch the pilot, so minor spoilers ahead. (jump forward to the “overall” section, if you want to know if you should watch.
Straight to a cheesy complex intro sequence -lots of Eastern Shows love a good theme tune. Seems very romantic in styling with lots of fantasy sequences shown off.
It then cuts to a intriguing story from the off. Taxi driver wont stop the car and runs someone over, seems to be infected. Underworld agents then battle to contain the incident. Zhong Kui is very stylistic and looks to be the leader of this troop.
They captured this one by a snazzy phone – very modern ghostbusters.
Cut to the Underworld. A white room with gateways – similar to an airport (been the best way to describe it). The show introduces the dynamic between the agents in the field and the staff who man the underworld gates themselves. Staff member “1087” brings an underdog to the dynamic.
10 minutes in and the two big action sequences already. The second sequence is very unique and not worth spoiling the twist. A mysterious lady in red comes into the underworld and looks to be the main agent Zhong Kui’s boss. The concept of time is brought in – with seconds in the Underworld equalling months in the Human world.
3 months have passed and we move to the Human world. We are then introduced to the ameniac. She talks to a kind hearted old lady who she seems to be helping. The old lady thinks in the past she was a coffee sommelier, so at least something to hold on for.
We then see her in the park and she is talking to spirits who have not passed on yet. It seems very light hearted in nature.
It is a very weird show dynamic to watch, it pushes light hearted moments heavy then it goes in another direction with the Underworld side of things.
Zhong Kui catches up to the demon and confronts him. It does not end well. However Zhong Hui catches up to Meng Po. Unfortunately, he passes out from his injuries. Love the use of music in this section especially.
The dynamic of the show is shown off. He cannot divulge everything and once and she wants to learn the truth. The main boss thinks their must be a mastermind behind it all and wants some stuff in return.
We are at the halfway point and consider us engrossed in it. It is different to what we normally watch in a good way and keeps us intrigued with the characters too.
It seems very childlike with the sounds at times, bringing a comedic edge to the show. The ladder moment had us laughing.
More story is told with some lovely backstory as to why the agent is so engrossed with 1087. Then we are introduced to more of the side characters in this episode. 1087 has a roommate and she learns things in this episode which will effect the story going on too.
Going into the last 15 minutes – we will leave the rest as the story is complex in nature and definitely in heavy spoiler territory.
We love it, it acts as a bit of a palate cleanser from the Western shows that we watch. The best way to put it is it goes to a different beat. The acting is good and places more emphasis on body language and eye movement. The use in music in the show is terrific too, it clearly identifies what is about to happen and you know who to route for.
It can feel cheesy at times but that is what makes it different. The same way an american show can sometimes have a lack of direction for a character , this makes us the audience think “we know where this is going”.
The story is complex enough to keep us intrigued to watch more with some likeable characters too. We are going to continue to watch this for sure. As long as you are ok with subtitles this is a good gem of a show to watch.
Solid 4/5 Show. If you love a good sub – you will enjoy.
For More Info –
The show at the time of writing is 16 episodes into its debut season on UK Netflix. With one episode every Sunday being released – of a 20-episode season.
UK Netflix library maybe different to your local Netflix, please check with your local providers.
The series is in Mandarian and we used English Subtitles.