Home > TV and anime > Painted Skin or Hua Pi (2011) — episodes 1 to 11

Painted Skin or Hua Pi (2011) — episodes 1 to 11

Painted Skin or Hua Pi is a 36 episode serial broadcast on SZTV. It’s loosely based on some of Pu Songling’s classic short stories published in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio or Strange Tales of Liaozhai. It also expands the plot of the film of the same name, adding substantially to the backstories of the characters. Written in the late seventeeth century, Pu Songling’s stories deal with the sometimes complicated relationships between humans and various types of supernatural being. This particular series focuses on a demon who has taken the form of a vixen.

Ling Xiao Su as Wang Sheng in armour but without the silly helmet

On the run from a forced marriage, Wang Sheng (Ling Xiao Su), a Prince, frees a vixen not knowing this is Xiao Wei (Fiona Sit) a demoness caught in a special trap. He’s kind, binding a wounded paw, and, when she later takes human form, she’s determined to thank her rescuer. The marriage he’s seeking to escape is with a young girl, Pei Rong (Chen Yi Rong). She’s being blackmailed. If she does not marry, the lord will kill everyone in her family. The Prince rescues her and sets her free. Arriving too late to save her is Pang Yong (Li Zong Han) the lifelong friend. Not to worry. He’s a useful man to have around in a fight.

Li Zong Han as Pang Yong before the real sadness sets in

Meanwhile Xiao Wei comes into town and snacks on one or two humans before befriending the apprentice to the demon hunter Xia Ying Feng (Law Kar Ying) who first trapped her. We later learn her name is Xia Bing (Wu Ying Jie). The vixen who would be human discusses matters with the old exorcist, Xia Ying Feng. Although he’s a dedicated and effective demon hunter, he’s also a drunk with a sentimental streak, so he gives her the chance to become human subject to the condition that, while still a demon, she neither loves nor hates humans. Unfortunately, she already “likes” the Prince who rescued her, but that’s a problem yet to rear its head. Xia Ying Feng says he will kill her if she loves a man. She agrees and becomes his apprentice. At this point, we can see all the main characters. Frankly, Ling Xiao Su is wooden, but Li Zong Han has a wonderfully dangerous air about him whether as a brother in a fight or when the light of jealousy comes in his eye. Chen Yi Rong is the epitome of female cool — intelligent, hard-working and quite beautiful in a restrained way — Fiona Sit contrives to be an effective demon although her tail is silly. Sadly, Wu Ying Jie is weak and uninspiring so far. Hopefully, she’ll improve later.

Fiona Sit and Qi Yu Wu — some love's just not meant to be

Now we have two strands: the Prince, Pang Yong and the forced bride on one team, and the three exorcists including the vixen on the other. At this point, bandits come and burn down the town. Our six survive, but the Prince’s parents are killed. Three of the bandit leader’s son are also killed and this triggers a feud.

Later on the trail, the demon hunter with his two lady apprentices in tow, enters a town and finds everyone dead. The apprentice Xia Bing can see into the past when she touches a dead body. It seems a demon was about to be executed and called down forces to kill everyone. This is strange. If he was so powerful, why did he not resist capture? Independently of their arrival, the local lord calls in a well-known young hunter, Long Yun (Qi Yu Wu), to deal with the demon. Except, of course, the local lord is the source of the problem. He covets the wife of the man he tried to execute not knowing she’s the real demon. When he invents the charge of being a demon and tries to execute her husband, she rescues him with rather more enthusiasm than might have been wise. Unfortunately, even though unable to kill the husband, he has him in prison. His wife does a deal with the demon hunter Xia Ying Feng. If he rescues her husband, the old man can kill her human form and return her to the demon form. She agrees to sacrifice herself to see her husband free.

Xia Ying Feng, his apprentice Bing, the vixen and the young hunter must now combine their forces to rescue the husband. The old man and Xia Bing first attempt a frontal assault which fails. A more subtle approach then sees the old man pass himself off as a fortune teller and persuade the lord to let the husband go. From the lord’s point of view, this is a trap to lure out the wife. But the tables are turned, and everyone walks away. Then, in a dramatic and quite moving scene, the wife is killed by Xia Ying Feng and flies away as a swan (later we see the man caring for the swan in a cave). Now the young hunter declares his love for the vixen. Unfortunately, in the spirit of honesty that all humans should learn from, she reveals her true form and he cannot take it, running away to drown his sorrows. Hopefully, he will see the error of his ways.

Chen Yi Rong as Pei Rong taking time to make up her mind

Meanwhile, Wang Sheng, Pei Rong and Pang Yong have moved to Pei Rong’s city where the Prince is loved from afar by Linlin. When he turns her down, she jumps from the city walls. Fortunately, she has a protector who tries to catch her. In breaking her fall, he is badly injured. This breaks down the barriers between the two locals who declare their love for each other. The triangle between our principals grows more intense as Pei Rong cannot bring herself to tell Pang Yong she can never go beyond the brother stage with him. Her vague hints are simply misunderstood.

Pang Yong goes to his foster parents to ask for Pei Rong’s hand. She refuses him but the arrival of the bandits prevents Wang Sheng and Pei Rong from admitting their love to him. Everyone thinks it better to focus on beating the bandits before sorting out their love lives. However, during the heat of battle when our heroes and their troops attack the bandit camp while most are still sleeping — who cares about fair play as long as you win — Pang Yong sees the Prince wearing Pei Rong’s jade token. The Prince confesses their love which encourages Pang Yong to greater efforts. He slaughters almost everyone in the enemy camp within range and then walks off. The Emperor is impressed by this victory and appoints the Prince the Commander of the army. Reluctantly he agrees but the men are unhappy, believing Pang Yong is the better man. I should note how silly the helmets make the men look. Wang Sheng, in particular, is forced to fight in an absurd conical affair.

Wu Ying Jie as Xia Bing out for revenge

Meanwhile the vixen demon seeks comfort from Xia Ying Feng and his apprentice. They give her love (in the platonic sense, of course) and she’s just starting to recover when Long Yun reappears and asks her to marry him. When Xiao Wei agrees, Xia Ying Feng pulls out his sword and strikes at her. Our young hunter takes the blow and, after much soul-searching, the old man allows the vixen to live. They go off to get married with the old man watching with a sentimental smile from a distance. Unfortunately, our young demon hunter has returned only to kill the vixen. He attempts to trap her in the wedding bed. Unfortunately, she’s too strong. The old man realises the plan and tries to save him. The young man escapes, the old is left dying. The vixen pursues her love only to find she cannot kill him. Her love is too strong. The apprentice finds Xia Ying Feng only to have him die in her arms. Before he dies, he names her as Xia Bing, his granddaughter. She has the blood of an exorcist and, with practice, can become the greatest in the land. Having buried the old man, she vows vengeance on the vixen.

One years passes.

Painted Skin or Hua Pi (2011) — episodes 1 to 11

Painted Skin or Hua Pi (2011) — episodes 12 to 19

Painted Skin or Hua Pi (2011) — episodes 20 to 27

Painted Skin or Hua Pi (2011) — episodes 28 to 34 (the end)

  1. MEELIE LIM
    December 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I LIKE THIS STORY.MAKE AGAIN ABOUT SEASON 2,OK!

    • December 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      If you follow the links at the bottom of the page, you can follow the story through to the end.

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