In July 2020, a Chinese animated series burst onto the scene: "Fog Hill of Five Elements". With its exquisite ink painting style and thrilling combat scenes, it garnered countless praises.
After three years, it has returned with its second season to meet the audience. On Bilibili, 230,000 viewers gave it a staggering score of 9.9 out of 10. It can only be said that "Fog Hill of Five Elements Season 2" continues to live up to everyone's expectations.
The story of "Fog Hill of Five Elements" takes place in ancient times when demons ravaged the land and people lived in despair. In this dire situation, a mysterious Taoist stepped forward and bestowed the power of gold, wood, water, fire, and earth, the five elements, upon five noble families to resist the demons. These descendants possessing the power of the five elements are known as Elemental Envoys. Together they sealed away the demons within Mount Mist Concealment while imprisoning most powerful creature, Qilin beast within the divine shield.
From then on, generation after generation of Elemental Envoys have guarded these barriers and divine shield with great effort to maintain balance between humans and demons beast.
However, soon this equilibrium is shattered when our male protagonist Wenren Yixuan recklessly opens up the divine shield in an attempt to obtain Qilin blood for his injured mother. But Qilin possesses formidable demonic powers; Wenren Yixuan not only proves no match for it but also inadvertently releases a small Qilin into freedom. Consequently, Qilin captures his mother as leverage and demands him to retrieve escaped small Qilin.
The news rapidly spreads about Qilin descending causing imminent havoc between human realm and demon realm. Throughout this chaos emerges Chen beast, a powerful entity that breaks free from the five-element seal and descends to track down Qilin's whereabouts.
At the Deshan village, the foothills of fog hill, Wenren Yixuan engages in an ultimate battle with Chen beast. Ultimately, by utilizing his ability as a fire element user from fog hill, Wen Renyi successfully kills Chen beast and rescues the small Qilin.
But the story is far from over. "Fog Hill of Five Elements Season 2" continues the main storyline of the quest for the Qilin. As the plot progresses, four forces come into play. First is our protagonist Wenren Yixuan, who must bring the small Qilin back to fog hill to save his mother. However, he suffers severe injuries and his strength diminishes after battling against a fierce beast.
This gives more opportunities to the demonic beasts, and even the sealed Chi beast sends out Shan Zhu and Jiao Ying to hunt down Wenren Yixuan. If they capture the Qilin, they can break through the seal using its power and once again become rulers of the world.
Apart from these demonic beasts, villagers from Deshan village also set their sights on capturing the little Qilin. They want to refine an immortal pill using holy beast blood in order to enhance their own cultivation levels. Meanwhile, representatives of each of the five elements are also involved in this conflict. Taking on this mission is none other than Wenren Yixuan's younger brother, Wenren Jingxuan.
It can be said that "Fog Hill of Five Elements Season 2" maintains a similar quality as season one. In terms of art style, it still uses traditional ink painting techniques. For example, in opening theme, characters' images are presented with bold brushstrokes accompanied by flowing colors, creating a vivid and natural scene that is just right.
In addition to characters, scenic views in this series also possess rich Chinese characteristics. For instance, atthe beginning of first episode when Wenren Yixuan steps into a fire boundary area, the static background presents a combination of reality and illusion with changing colors. This not only sparks imagination but also exudes a unique beauty. Every frame, every scene emits a refreshing and elegant style, which is why it's no wonder that the comments is filled with praise from viewers.
Even animated can withstand scrutiny. The panoramic view of the mountains, layered and evokes a sense of remote beauty. Apart from the characters and scenery, the series has put great effort into its fight scenes.
Take the battle between Wenren Yixuan and Jiaoying. Wenren Yixuan takes the initiative, and a close-quarters combat with Jiaoying. In just a few seconds, there are numerous transitions between offense and defense, with each move executed smoothly and forcefully. The inclusion of several frames depicting the subjective perspective of the protagonists during their fight further highlights the sharpness and speed of their techniques.
However, what surprises viewers most is not how the fight unfolds but rather its conclusion. After seizing Jiaoying's weapon, Wenren Yixuan does not let his guard down; instead he unleashes his power to turn it into ashes.
This moment subtly reveals Wenren Yixuan's extensive combat experience, even in facing such a formidable creature as Jiaoying with its strong demonic powers, he remains vigilant throughout. The use of ink-wash black-and-white flashes during the battle adds contrast and visual impact.
Beyond what is visible on screen or in terms of composition choices, this series encapsulates elements of traditional culture in many details as well. For instance, in Season one, the names given to Di Shan Village's Eight Brothers were inspired by "Tale of King Mu" where Zhou Wang had eight horses. Additionally,Wenren Yixuan's use of "Huo Huan" against Chen beast may refer to "Classic of Mountains and Seas" where "Huo Huan Bu" was mentioned.
In this new installment too, the series pays homage to Chinese traditional culture at every opportunity. For example, the mythical creatures that break through barriers - Jiao Wei & Jue Ying, both have names with special meanings. Jiao Ying (角影) is derived from the idiom "cup bow snake shadow". After being defeated by Wenren Yixuan,the creature takes on the form of a serpent-like beast.
On the other hand, Jiao Wei (焦尾) is a Qin made by Cai Yong,a prominent figure in Eastern Han dynasty. The instrument was crafted from partially burnt paulownia wood, and because of this, the end of the qin still bears burn marks, hence named "Jiao Wei". This corresponds to an earlier plot point where Wenren Yixuan had severed one of Jiao Wei's arms using fire flames, adding logical consistency to the story.
Currently, there are many foreshadowings laid out in the narrative, such as Wenren Yixuan's true identity, his imprints within him, the yet-to-appear creatures Shan Chu and Bajun forces. The ultimate outcome of this conflict remains unknown and can only be anticipated with bated breath.