23: My favourite superhero

I was never really into superhero things and the way I interpret this topic on hand is that it is simply a character from a novel who has done great deeds and has some (amazing) ability.

I like watching the Marvel superheroes on screen, but as a kid I was never really into action movies. I was never really a fan of Batman, and I never quite got into James Bond until Craig played the secret agent – having said that, Bond is not a superhero as he does not possess superhuman abilities. Superman? Nay. Spiderman? Not even.

As a kid, I was mostly exposed to Chinese dramas which is another type of superhero world in itself. The funny thing though, is that everyone more or less is a superhero in the respect that they do their deeds (good or bad) and possess some type of ability. In Western culture, a superhero who can say, fly, is really amazing. Technology is usually required due to donning a suit and mask. In Chinese literature, all of them can do the same things, just to different abilities. Technology is not required, as potential energy is generated from within, and so that’s why you see a lot of Chinese movies with characters who fly around and do strange things, because everyone’s badass. Masks are not required. No suits are worn.

You could argue that they’re not really superheroes – they’re more like people who possess a high level of martial artistry that concentrates on how much “qi” (energy) a certain person can contain, and there are levels. Usually the strongest opponents have the highest qi in their system, which makes them virtually indestructible, but they tend to have weak points (for example they can take many blows, but will succumb to a knife wound). It’s all common sense, but the abilities they have can range to having dragons shooting out of you, or your scream is so intense it rips people apart, or your fingers/ hands are trained so they can pierce through anything. I think these are superhero qualities in themselves, despite being from a kung fu background perspective.

My favourite superhero is actually a bit of a lolsauce fail character because he can’t really seem to do anything right except for running away real fast – which I think actually, is a really cool ability to have. If you can’t beat them, you run away – according to Sun’s famous tactics, if things go terribly wrong, the best option out of the 36 you have is to flee. Fast.

He appears in (my favourite) Chinese wuxia (sort of a genre meaning martial arts hero/ warrior genre) Demi Gods & Semi Devils, and he is none other but Duan Yu – a prince from some exotic non Han country. You can read about the story here – technically it’s more about 3 different men at different stages of their lives who come together and become best buddies: WIKIPEDIA For more confusion as to why this story is so good, here’s a list of the characters so you will get an idea how confusing the story actually is. And here’s another page though I found it very difficult to read through as it was so choppy.

He learns the skill of running away (a translation somewhat equivalent to “micro wave steps” – because the steps are so fast you can’t even see his feet moving – apparently though the official translation is something like “Graceful Steps upon the waves” – I was only being literal) only because he fell in love with a beautiful statue, and the statue told him to learn it (and something else to err kill people). Apart from running away (and being awesome at doing it), he usually gets beaten to a pulp because he hasn’t reached a level where he can actually sustain a fight properly – and he doesn’t like to hurt people either.

However, in times when it is quite crucial (or accidental), he can attack – and it’s in the form of being able to – how to put it in English – point lasers at the opponent as if using a sword. I know it sounds terribly ridiculous right now, but apparently it was a type of martial arts (and let’s assume it really did exist) that was super hard to learn and was pretty much extinct at the time Duan learned it. However shoddy his ability to exercise this particular skill, I think it’s still remarkable that he managed to learn it and eventually master it given its high level of difficulty, and his super nonchalant perspective like “I don’t give a shit” / happy go lucky throughout the story.

Aside from his skills, he did save a few people along the way. I think what’s also charming is that he is supposed to be a scholar so he pretty much knows everything – he was a bit of a poet, at times a flirt, and could play chess and knew everything about gardening roses.

There you go – that was my favourite superhero. Can’t really describe him otherwise because there are so many adaptations, but if you have a chance to watch a movie (better a drama), please do. I hope he’ll be your favourite character too.

Next post: What you think about your friends (potential shit just got real)

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