Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

The Chinese anime "The Ravages of Time" has finally met with its audience amidst high anticipation on April 29. The animation's production started years ago, but it faced many setbacks. After the release of the first promotional video, fans were dissatisfied with the rough modeling and voice acting quality which led to revisions in hopes of improvement. Unfortunately, after a revised edition was released, there was no further news or updates on development from the production company for some time. Thus, this year's sudden release came as a welcome surprise to viewers.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

As a Three Kingdoms-themed comic that has been serialized for over 20 years, "The Ravages of Time (Huo Feng Liao Yuan, 火凤燎原)" has becoming the longest-running comic series based on this historical period globally. For many readers and enthusiasts alike, it is undoubtedly one of China's best comics ever created thus far while maintaining close similarities to its original source material within several episodes aired so far.

This leads us to question what makes "The Ravages of Time" such an outstanding success story and what inspiration can be drawn from it for future creations based on stories related to this era?


The longest Three Kingdoms comic ever

The comic "The Ravages of Time" is known for its slow pace, but this doesn't mean it lacks quality. The comic's serialization speed is incredibly slow, and the animated version continues this tradition. Currently, only 16 episodes are scheduled to be released with each episode being less than half an hour long. Given the comic's length, there are limits to how much of the story can be told; however, fans still enjoy watching it due to its rich content and attention to detail.

Undoubtedly, the animation draws inspiration from the comic book series with many famous scenes faithfully replicated according to their original storyboard sequences such as thrilling water assassinations in early chapters or Liu Bei-Guan Yu-Zhang Fei’s clever tactics "siege one city while rescuing two cities."

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

Rather than seeking creative freedom in adaptation by changing elements from their source material drastically, which has been seen often in adaptations that tend to deviate away from originals- staying true to the comics deserves recognition and appreciation. This feature sets "The Ravages of Time" apart because of how rare it is in today's market filled with adaptations that destroy original works through reckless alterations.

In the comic book, there are frequently black and white text boxes that appear on a blank background. These boxes accompany the dialogue or provide summaries of previous plot points while also offering commentary on character behavior, this is one of the great features of "The Ravages of Time." The impact of these text boxes can be powerful, sometimes causing readers to laugh out loud while other times provoking deep thought. This feature has been replicated in the animation without being obtrusive; it's clear that the production team put in considerable effort to replicate such details.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

The fight scenes stand out as another highlight within "The Ravages of Time". In particular, the opening water assassination scene with protagonist Liao Yuan Huo standing up against attackers and engaging them aboard ship was beautifully choreographed with smooth pacing.

Meanwhile, episode four's fight scene outside Beibu Wei door featured impressive one-on-one duels alongside group fights with well-designed swordplay and hidden weapon usage, especially satisfying for viewers who enjoyed watching unique weapons.

Of course, what attracts people most about "The Ravages of Time" is its originality which can be divided into two categories: first being its overall subversion in character design; secondly presenting an innovative way of storytelling interpretation.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

After all, adaptation is not arbitrary creation; the more popular a work is, the harder it becomes to change its established conventions due to rigid thinking. In previous Three Kingdoms-themed works, Lü Bu has always been portrayed as brave but foolish. However, "The Ravages of Time" boldly subverts this image of Lu Bu into an intelligent and courageous character.

The comic book proposes an interesting concept called "Morale Theory," which suggests that those who are frequently victorious in battle are often belittled by their rivals as having no strategy or intelligence. The author believes that historical figures who remain famous throughout time are not just empty titles but rather true heroes whose reputations have been tarnished by enemy forces seeking to bolster their own morale.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

The phrase "brave but foolish" is merely a product of such propaganda and obscures the truth of history itself. Therefore, in "The Ravages of Time," each general has his own schemes and calculations regardless of whether they succeed or fail; none of them can be described as mere brute force wielders.

The protagonist's design Liao Yuan Huo is particularly interesting since he leads the assassin mercenary group called "Can Bing." He follows orders from Sima family while possessing both martial prowess and intellect. His cooperation with Sima Yi eventually leads to conflict between them, laying down foreshadowing for future story developments ahead. Additionally, Liao Yuan Huo ultimately grows into Zhao Yun, a journey fraught with difficulties that completely subvert past portrayals of Zhao Yun's character across adaptations.

A story can be told in multiple ways, and this applies to history as well, where a single event can be narrated from various perspectives. Sometimes, traditional historical narratives may seem logical, but new viewpoints can bring about an enlightening interpretation.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

In history, Guo Jia's military tactics were often shrouded in darkness. In the comic book, he is portrayed as practicing "Fengxiao Shalu," which involves using cruel means to quickly achieve one's goals with fewer casualties during times of chaos for better governance later on. In addition to his own theories, the comic also suggests that Guo Jia suffered from poor health and had limited time left to realize his ideal vision; hence he was willing to take drastic actions at any cost, another perspective on him.

Throughout history of Three Kingdoms, there are many examples of decision, making being influenced by health issues or other personal factors, such as elaborated upon in the famous "The Sickly Ruler Governs" text. These interpretations of historical events in "The Ravages of Time" offer a refreshing perspective that is both predictable yet unexpected, which explains why so many people hold it in high regard.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

Aside from these views on history, "The Ravages of Time" also introduces an interesting system called the Eight Wonders (Ba Qi, 八奇). It refers to eight disciples trained by Sima Hui who excel in strategy and intelligence: among them are real-life figures like Guo Jia, Zhuge Liang, and Pang Tong while Yuan Fang, a fictional character created specifically for this series leads their ranks. The Eight Wonders possessed unique skills that impacted the course of history itself. Thus speculation regarding their identities became one way through which readers were drawn into following along with story developments throughout its serialization process.


The revelation of "The Ravages of Time" for Three Kingdoms theme work

Adapting the Three Kingdoms theme has always been a challenging issue in the industry. On one hand, due to its widespread popularity, people of all ages and genders can talk about it with ease, making it deeply rooted in the masses. On the other hand, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" has had an enormous impact on popular culture; blending together with official history to form a rigid set of impressions that make breaking through very difficult.

Looking at recent works based on this theme, we find that there are only a few brave enough within the industry who have attempted to touch upon it as a whole. In 1994 when "The Romance of The Three Kingdoms" TV series was released, it quickly became a pinnacle achievement for its clever dialogue creation and iconic character imagery, achievements which remain unmatched since then.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

The Romance of The Three Kingdoms 1994

In 2010 Gao Xixi's version of "Three Kingdoms," while more polished in terms of scenery design, suffered from plot holes caused by conspiracy theories and clumsy dialogue settings which led audiences collectively mocking it, thus achieving less than its predecessor did. This also resulted in only two macro-level adaptations being made regarding three kingdoms historical events, both having widely divergent reviews which deterred later generations from following suit.

2017's "The Advisors Alliance", with Sima Yi as the main point of view, selected a group of strategists in the history of the Three Kingdoms to depict. Although there is some controversy, but it has been considered the top quality of the Three Kingdoms drama in recent years.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

The Advisors Alliance

Looking back further, in 2001 Chen Kaige directed a TV series titled "Die Wu Tian Ya," which was eventually cancelled due to its exaggerated and violent scenes. After a series of modifications and re-shoots, it was renamed "Lu Bu and Diaochan". It is clear that Chen Kaige attempted some new approaches in this show; however, it was not successful.

Compared to the repeated failures of live-action adaptations of Three Kingdoms stories, animated works enjoy better prospects. In 2009, there was an anime called "Romance Of The Three Kingdoms" that lasted for 52 episodes with both Chinese and Japanese collaboration, being considered as one of the best examples. Its art style had strong Chinese characteristics while maintaining high fidelity towards the original novel's content, a childhood memory for many viewers.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

Anime Romance Of The Three Kingdoms

In 2014's comedic animation piece titled "Three Kingdoms Talk Show", history from the three kingdoms era were ridiculed through humorous story telling techniques ,with a second season even released by 2017. These productions are light-hearted yet insightful representations providing audiences with another perspective on tales from this time period.

In 2017, a 40-episode 3D animation adaptation of "Romance Of The Three Kingdoms" was released. This animation took some time to focus on supporting roles that previous Three Kingdoms adaptations had overlooked and was filmed meticulously. Its second season aired in 2019, with the third season being premiered earlier this year, making it the longest running three-dimensional animated series adapted from the novel.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

Romance Of The Three Kingdoms 3D anime

Clearly, compared to live-action productions, animated works based on Three Kingdoms stories are more readily accepted by audiences. Whether it is imaginative ideas or action designs, animations have advantages that are extremely evident.

In summary: first, not afraid of subversive adaptation; logical inconsistencies must be avoided while maintaining an internally consistent plotline; secondly, playing to strengths and avoiding weaknesses; when live-action cannot handle something well enough ,animations can make up for those shortcomings; lastly deep digging into details since after all these years there isn't much left unexplored regarding themes from the three kingdoms era. Not paying attention to details makes it hard for draw viewers' attention.

The success of "The Ravages of Time" deserves excitement among Three Kingdoms fans as well as thorough research within industry circles. Good content will always shine through even if created at a slower pace- so don't be afraid of taking your time doing meticulous work. We look forward to seeing more excellent adaptations based on Three Kingdoms tales in the future.

Ravages of Time: An Epic Chinese Anime Based on The Three Kingdoms Theme

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