by Cho Na & WandereR, February 4, 2021
70

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS!


INTRODUCTION

Psych-Hunter is a supernatural mystery and psychological thriller adapted from the novel series Haunted Houses Notes (凶宅笔记) by Er Shi San (贰十三) which was published in 2013. There are 5 volumes in the series, and the adaptation has been modified to include a romance arc, where a female lead is added into the screenplay. Er Shi San is the pen name of Hua Lei, who is a Chinese web novelist.

The drama is directed by the experienced Li Ze Lu (李泽露), who had helmed productions such as Tomb of the Sea  (of the Lost Tomb franchise), The Hunting Genius and I'm Not a Monster. It is executive produced by the well-known director Feng Xiao Gang and Wang Xiao Hui.

This is a joint production between iQiyi and Yongyi Pictures, Huayi Brothers and Meira Media.


What’s so great about this drama 
and why should you watch it?

There are many positives about this drama that are worth sharing with you, the MDL community, and hopefully, you would find them appealing enough to give this drama a watch!
  • An intriguing story with a deeply layered premise that combines several genres such as Adventure, Mystery, Supernatural, Psychological, Detective Investigation, Action, Friendship, Bromance, and Romance
  • A creative approach to solving mysteries via a fusion of investigative procedural with supernatural means known as “entering the psyche or subconscious” to unravel the truth contained in the minds of the subjects, not dissimilar to the concept of “inception”.
  • A starting point for learning the more supernatural aspects of Chinese culture especially the folklore, mysticism, superstitions and even the art of geomancy aka Feng Shui
  • Interestingly-written colorful characters that are vividly portrayed by a talented cast of fine actors
  • Showcasing high production values through outstanding art direction, lavish Republican era settings with absolutely fantastic cinematography and visual presentations, along with the beautiful and captivating costumes of that time period.

THE STORY

The story is focused on the 3 main leads - Jiang Shou, Qin Yi Heng, and Yuan Mu Qing, as well as their investigations into mysterious murder cases shrouded in paranormal circumstances in Changshanzhou. The overarching plot revolves around Jiang Shuo’s loss of memory, and the search for missing family, friends and others linked to the mysterious character known as Liu Zhi, which means Six Fingers.  In their pursuit of this enigmatic figure, our investigative trio has to solve no less than 15 peculiar and mystifying cases. All this culminates in an utterly thrilling finale that finally exposes the shocking truth about who Liu Zhi really is.  An extremely mind-blowing plot twist awaits at the end of this drama!


CHARACTERS AND CAST

Jiang Shou 

(Neo Hou Ming Hao)

Jiang Shou’s origins are unknown when he makes his first appearance. What we do know is that he is extremely adept at entering into and exploring the human psyche or subconscious. He is lively and witty, filled with street-smarts, charming to a fault with a mischievous and playful disposition.  He also looks fantastic with makeup on and wearing a skirt.

The character is portrayed remarkably by Neo Hou Ming Hao. Neo is a popular actor who’s well known for many major roles, especially his breakthrough drama role in Cambrian Period. He also played the iconic character of Wu Xie in The Lost Tomb 2, so he is definitely no stranger to the adventure and mystery genre. His acting here is very much on point and fits the role seamlessly.


Qin Yi Heng 

(Liu Dong Qin)

Qin Yi Heng is the youngest son of the Qin household, a family of prominent local merchants. He is also a skilled medical doctor and has some knowledge of psychiatry who had just returned home from England. Possessing a calm demeanor and cool exterior, he is the unofficial leader of the trio who keeps the collective focused when others begin to lose their heads.

This character is brought to life by Liu Dong Qin who provides the perfect dose of nuanced acting along with the intelligence, stoicism, and vulnerability that gives a truly compelling portrayal indeed.  The actor is also familiar to this genre, having previously been cast in such dramas as I'm Not a Monster and Medical Examiner Dr. Qin 2.


Yuan Mu Qing

(Bambi Zhu Xu Dan)

Yuan Mu Qing is a policewoman and daughter of the local warlord.  She hasn’t yet completed her college education but decided to join the Changshanzhou constabulary as its honorary member, by virtue of her status. She possesses a feisty character with, on occasion, decent self-defense prowess and marksmanship. She is also extremely loyal to her comrades-in-arms and, although somewhat pampered at times, usually ready to help those in need in the name of justice.

The character is portrayed by Zhu Xu Dan (Bambi), whose earlier dramas, Ferryman 2 and A Detective Housewife share similarities with this drama’s investigative themes. She is usually seen in slice of life, youth and romance dramas such as Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (Eternal Love) as the villainous childhood friend Xuan Nu. While in her other drama Heavenly Sword and Dragon Slaying Sabre she played the well-known role of martial arts master Zhou Zhiruo, which shows what a versatile actress she is.

INSPIRATIONAL THEMES

Bromance

One of the most beautiful aspects of the drama is witnessing the powerful bond of brotherhood that develops between Jiang Shou and Qin Yi Heng as the story unfolds. On more than one occasion, they take turns saving each other’s lives, thus strengthening the level of faith and trust between them. This is one of the drama’s finest action duos, with subtle comedic undertones.


Romance

For viewers who are inclined towards some form of romance, this drama has it as well with love blossoming between Jiang Shuo and Yuan Mu Qing. What starts off as the pursuit of the male lead being a murder suspect gradually turns into a pursuit of love instead where their relationship is cemented by natural chemistry borne in the face of the many challenges and dangers that they face together.


Friendship and Teamwork

In addition to bromance and romance, this drama gives us a depiction of how friendship and teamwork are cultivated. There are no annoying love triangles and second lead syndromes here. All three lead characters operate as a single and united entity where every member has a specific role to fulfil and to watch each others’ backs during the investigation of every case that the trio embarks on. They provide much needed mental and physical support during the tender moments of emotional anguish and trauma that they each have to go through during the course of the story.


Enthralling Cinematography

Top tier cinematography coupled with excellent camerawork and artistic direction of the highest quality. There are many awe-inspiring moments that are exquisitely captured in this drama,  such as the extraordinary display of Republican era opulence and the stunning visuals of the intriguingly abstract subconscious world.


Gorgeous Costumes

The costumes are a big part of the show, and no recap would be complete without any mention of them. The various outfits worn during the Republican era in China are presented in the form of the smartly tailored police and military uniforms, the gentleman’s bespoke 3-piece suits, and immaculately designed beautiful traditional cheongsam and glamorous dresses for the ladies that truly reflect the grandeur of the era. In addition, innovative steampunk gear has been created exclusively for Jiang Shuo and Qin Yi Heng during their adventures in the subconscious world.



Music That Sets The Tone

The OST features the following tracks (link to full album)

The exciting and energetic rock-themed opening song - Hunting the Heart, composed by He Hui Hui and Wang Zi Tong, performed by Xin Qing Qing.

Game of Happiness and Sadness by Meng Zi Kun (孟子坤).

The slow-rock duet for the ending theme - Let Her Be Released, composed by He Huihui and Wang Zi, performed by He Huihui and Wang Ye.

From left to right: Xin Qing Qing, Meng Zi Kun, He Hui Hui, and Wang Ye.


Psych-Hunter truly is a well-produced and highly entertaining period detective investigation drama that effortlessly blends supernatural themes and traditional Chinese beliefs with cleverly conceived mysteries into a compact and manageable package for your viewing pleasure.

With that, we have arrived at the end of this drama recap. Thank you all so much for your time in reading this humble little article.  As we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves watching this show, we hope you will as well should you decide to add this little gem into your watch lists.


Acknowledgement: Special thanks to MadiHawkins for providing the images in the drama page.
Credits: We do not own any of the images; credits go to their respective owners. The images are from drama screenshots, official posters and character stills taken from MyDramaList, and iQiyi.com. Other image sources: Gif,  Novel, Neo Hou, Liu Dong QinBambi ZhuXin Qing QingMeng Zi KunHe Hui HuiWang Ye.


Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor),  Aya97 (2nd editor)

supernatural friendship bambi zhu psych-hunter neo hou hou ming hao liu dong qin zhu xu dan republican era feng shui geomancy folklore

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