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Hello, GIO, and welcome to The Ladies of Dynasty Warriors: The Dangerous Vixens of Wu, part 3 of 7 blog! I hope you enjoy this blog, and if you wish to know more about me, feel free to visit my profile!
The Kingdom of Wu was one of the Three Kingdoms in the Three Kingdoms Era. It was the kingdom to the east and was ruled by the honorable Sun Family. It was originally ruled by the "Tiger of Jiangdong", the legendary pirate hunter Sun Jian. He was killed in battle early in the era, and the mantle of leader went to his eldest son, Sun Ce. Known as "The Little Conqueror", he and his best friend, Zhou Yu, were responsible for conquering much of the eastern lands that would soon become the Kingdom of Wu. Tragically, he also was killed early from a battle injury, and then leadership went to his younger brother, Sun Quan. Sun Quan became the official ruler of Wu and would later become the Emperor of Wu. As of Dynasty Warriors 8, there are 18 playable characters for Wu, 4 of which are The Dangerous Vixens of Wu. As seen in the above picture, from left to right, they are Xiao Qiao, Da Qiao, Lian Shi, and Sun Shang Xiang. I will now discuss each of these women, starting with Sun Shang Xiang, followed by Da Qiao, followed by Xiao Qiao, and finishing with Lian Shi.
Sun Shang Xiang
Background: Sun Shang Xiang is the first playable woman for Wu and is in fact one of only 2 ladies to have been in the series since the very first game. She is the daughter of the leader of Wu, Sun Jian, and the younger sister of Sun Ce and Sun Quan. She is often described as a tomboy and had practiced martial arts since a young age. She is often seen fighting alongside her father and brothers early on in the game, and as of recent games, she does so until she gets married to Liu Bei, the ruler of the Kingdom of Shu. As I have stated earlier, she has been in every game since the first Dynasty Warriors. In the first game she wielded a sword, then she wielded the bladed wheels in games 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8. She wielded a bow in the 6th game. Even though her default weapon is the bladed wheels, she often uses a bow attack in her special or musou attacks in more recent games. Personality-wise, I'd say that she is a "tomboy" kind of girl.
Love Interest: Her love interest is Liu Bei, the ruler of the Kingdom of Shu. Liu Bei and Sun Shang Xiang were actually in political marriage. After The Battle of Chibi, Sun Shang Xiang is married to Liu Bei in order to create an alliance between Wu and Shu, and though the two were married as part of an alliance, they truly loved one another. Tensions rose later on when Wu conspired with Wei to kill Liu Bei's sworn brother, Guan Yu, and though he later attacked Wu, whose ruler was Sun Quan, Sun Shang Xiang's brother, Sun Shang Xiang remained loyal to her husband, and Liu Bei felt remorse for causing her grief by attacking her clan. As for his personality, he is known as a kind and benevolent ruler, whose thoughts are always on the people and their suffering in a land filled with chaos. When he met Sun Shang Xiang, it seemed that the two hit it off pretty quick, he being impressed by her fiery warrior spirit, and she being enamored by his kind and heroic nature. When they are married, he is very loving to Sun Shang Xiang, and she is always seen standing by his side through every ordeal, even when her brother conspired to murder Liu Bei's sworn brother. She stands by him until his death after The Battle of Yiling. For me, this was an odd pairing, but somehow right. They didn't really talk about them getting together until the 5th game, so it was a bit of a shock to me after I heard that they were actually married at some point. It's still taking time for me to get used to them as a couple, but I like it. It adds depth and a bit of drama to the story, especially later on during the whole "Fan Castle" incident.
Liu Bei, Sun Shang Xiang's Husband
Looks and Personality: I have to admit, Sun Shang Xiang is a cool character, even though she's not my favorite. When it comes to her personality, it's hard not to like Sun Shang Xiang. She's got this kind of kick-butt, confident sort of attitude, and she always seems to be a bit upbeat. She's also got this great rapport with her father and brothers, so she doesn't seem to be the "coddled" girl of the family, but one of the Sun Clan. I think in every game except 6, they seemed to hit the mark with her personality. She's confident, upbeat, and strong, but not too much so. In 6, her wardrobe change wasn't the only thing I was disappointed in. I admit, I didn't play much of 6, but it was pretty apparent that she had become a bit "girly girl", not just in her looks but in her personality as well. She still had a bit of the tomboy attitude, but she seemed to have been turned into sort of a "Barbie doll" version of what she originally was. Even her voice was a bit dollish! I breathed a MAJOR sigh of relief when I saw that she was back to her confidant tomboy ways in 7 and 8, although she does still have a bit of a girly way about her. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.
When it comes to her wardrobe, I've always liked the rough and tumble, but still feminine look. I started this series at DW 3, so it's interesting to see her first two outfits, and it seems that she got her general look in 2, and that continued on in some form or fashion until we get to 6. When we get to 6, it's amazing how different she looks. If you had told me that THAT was Sun Shang Xiang before I knew about DW 6, I would have either called you crazy or a liar. Much like many of the characters in DW 6, she's pretty much unrecognizable. I gotta be honest, I HATED her look and wondered what Koei was thinking with that! They basically turned one of the series' biggest tomboys into some kind of fru-fru princess! Yeah, Azure was not happy with that...but she was very happy to see 7's look! In Dynasty Warriors 7, they went back to a lot of people's original looks, and thankfully Sun Shang Xiang's was one of them. Although, she still looked a bit girly, but for some odd reason it works for her. I have to admit that 7's outfit was pretty amazing, and I think why the girly look worked for her this time was that she had the tomboy look FIRST and then they made it a bit more feminine. Like I said, it works for her. As far as her current look goes...eh *waves hand back and forth*, it's ok. I gotta respect that they are going more and more towards her original tomboy look, but I have to admit, the "girly tomboy" (if that makes any sense) look from 7 really looks fantastic on her. So, for me, it's ok, but not the best she's ever looked.
What I Want To See In The Future: As far as Sun Shang Xiang goes, she's a classic character in this series, and I think that the route they are currently taking with her is a pretty good one. I even like the fact that they brought her wheels back. I admit, they majorly stumbled (and fell on their faces) with her on Dynasty Warriors 6, but they have since corrected that mistake and gone back to her tough girl ways, but with a little more girliness. Like I said earlier, the "girly tomboy" look is good for her, but my suggestion would be to not make her look TOO girly, because Sun Shang Xiang is NOT a pretty princess! She is a tough, warrior princess who fights alongside her pirate hunting father and two brothers. She needs to have an outfit befitting that and her fierce personality and not be completely masculine as well. I mean, she is a GIRL after all...
Background: Da Qiao is the second woman to be a playable character for Wu. She, along with her sister, is known as one of the "Two Qiaos", a pair of extraordinarily beautiful women during the Three Kingdoms Era. In some of the earlier games, she is first seen when Sun Ce and Zhou Yu hear about the Two Qiaos and wish to marry them. After Sun Ce proves himself in battle, she happily agrees to marry him. In recent games, she is normally seen supporting her husband in battle. She made her debut, with her sister, in Dynasty Warriors 3. She has been in 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8. She was one of the characters that was cut in Dynasty Warriors 6. In games 3, 4, and 5 she uses twin fans as her weapon, in 7 she had an iron fan, and now she currently uses twin pugil sticks. Personality-wise, I'd say that she is the "proper, shy girl" of the Wu girls.
Love Interest: Da Qiao's love interest is Sun Ce, the son of the Patriarch of the Sun Clan, Sun Jian. After Sun Jian's death, he later becomes the leader of the Sun Clan and Wu and makes a name for himself by conquering much of what would later become the Kingdom of Wu. He would later be known as the "Little Conqueror". In some of the games, he first meets Da Qiao by hearing about her and her sister's incredible beauty, so he and his best friend, Zhou Yu, search them out. When he meets her, he falls in love, and after he proves himself in battle, the two get married. She is later seen occasionally fighting by his side. As far as his personality goes, he's very outspoken and brash, and loves a good fight more than anything else. When it comes to Da Qiao, he is very loving and protective of his wife, sometimes very outspokenly so, to the proper Da Qiao's dismay. Even though she gets embarrassed by his loud proclamations of love for her, she adores him and would do anything for him, even go into battle (which is something she actually doesn't like doing) in order to support or even protect him. I personally think that Sun Ce and Da Qiao are very cute together and they are proof that opposites do indeed attract! I find it interesting that this shy, soft-spoken, demure girl is paired up with a loud, outspoken, hot-blooded guy like Sun Ce. It's definitely interesting. The only thing that I don't really like is that Da Qiao (and Xiao Qiao, for that matter) looks really...young, especially compared to Sun Ce. I'll talk more about that in a minute, but for now, all I've got to say is that even though they are really cute together, sometimes they can come off as a bit creepy...
Sun Ce, Da Qiao's Husband
Looks and Personality: Da Qiao is a pretty neat character. I like her. Personality-wise, she's mature, proper, and kinda shy. I also find it funny that she is a character in a hack 'n slash game, and she doesn't actually like violence. I think a lot of people would find that a bit weird, but I think it just adds to her appeal. That's just me though. One thing that I notice about her is that she has actually had a pretty consistent personality throughout the games, even if her look has changed a bit. As far as her look goes, that's been fairly consistent up until her being cut from 6. I was pretty upset with that. What made me even more upset was the fact that her sister was in 6! What is up with that?! It almost makes me want to say, "Uh, hello! They're called the Qiao SISTERS! Not the Qiao Sister!" Ugh, I better move on or I'll rant. Moving on. In 7, she came back and I have to admit, I wasn't that impressed with her look. I was happy that she was back, but I wasn't all that thrilled about her outfit. One thing that comes to mind when I see that outfit is that it looks more Russian than Chinese. Not that I have anything against Russians, it's just that if you're going to make a game set in Ancient China, you need to at least have a look that looks Chinese. Just sayin'. I do like the direction they took with her current outfit, especially with her hair. The red ribbons look awesome up against her black hair and the whole outfit in general matches her proper, demure personality.
The only thing that I have gotten to not liking about the Qiao Sisters is that they look really, really young. As I look at their pictures, I see that that has been an issue for a while, although it seems more so for Xiao Qiao, than Da Qiao. According to my research, Da Qiao is 17 years old. If you look at her, she MIGHT be convincing as a 17-year-old, but I often think that she looks younger than that. One quality that sort of redeems her is the fact that she is actually quite mature. She may be shy and timid, but she also acts like a mature young lady rather than a child. So, 17 can be a believable age for her due to her personality.
What I Want To See In The Future: Da Qiao is a pretty established character who's made a comeback from being cut from Dynasty Warriors 6 and she really doesn't have a lot of flaws. She has a pretty consistently good personality, and her looks have mainly reflected that personality. One thing that I can say I'm not overly thrilled about is that she has pugil sticks now, when she traditionally had fans. I appreciate the fact that they are trying to have every character have a unique weapon, but I'm still not sold on THOSE yet. I think the biggest thing for me though is to either see her stay looking as old as she does or to "grow her up". I'd like to actually see her LOOK like she's 17 years old, because if she starts looking younger, things are going to get really awkward, really fast. I think it's going to become less believable that she's a married woman the younger she gets. So, mainly, her look now is good, but the last thing she needs is more youth.
Background: Xiao Qiao is the third woman to be a playable character for Wu. She, along with her sister, is known as one of the "Two Qiaos", a pair of extraordinarily beautiful women during the Three Kingdoms Era. In the earlier games, she is sometimes first seen when Sun Ce and Zhou Yu search her and her sister out after hearing about their legendary beauty. After Zhou Yu proves himself in battle, Xiao Qiao soon marries him. In some of the later games, she is seen fighting alongside him. She first debuted in Dynasty Warriors 3, along with her sister, Da Qiao. She has been in every game since. In games 3, 4, 5, and 6 she has wielded twin fans, but in 7 and 8 she uses an iron fan. Personality-wise, I'd say that Xiao Qiao is the "cute, fun girl" of Wu.
Love Interest: Her love interest is Zhou Yu, the main strategist and commander of the Wu army. He is also the best friend of Sun Ce. The story of how they meet has been in a few of the earlier games. He and Sun Ce hear about the legendary beauty of the Qiao Sisters, and they go out in search of them. After meeting Xiao Qiao, he falls in love and after he proves himself in battle, she very happily marries him. She is later seen fighting by his side, although, most of the levels she is in now seem to be either not in the official story or in the Hypothetical Route in Dynasty Warriors 8. Personality-wise, he is very intelligent and rational, and he is often the one that holds his cocky best friend back and even sometimes his gung-ho wife. This seems to be another "opposites attract" couple. Xiao Qiao is a very cheerful girl, and she often rushes out onto the battlefield to "teach someone some manners", to the calm and rational Zhou Yu's dismay. Even though she sometimes pulls stunts like that and she can be a bit brash, he genuinely loves her and would do anything to protect her. She feels the same way towards him and would gladly fight on the battlefield for him or with him. I think that this is another cute "opposites attract" couple. Although, I have to admit, sometimes the contrast is a bit TOO much, because he sometimes acts MUCH more mature than she does.
Zhou Yu, Xiao Qiao's Husband
Looks and Personality: As far as Xiao Qiao goes, she's a neat, fun character. I like the fact that she is fun and funny, especially considering that many of the other girls are more serious. I also like her carefree, gregarious attitude. In comparison to her sister, she definitely doesn't mind taking risks and she tends to be louder and more daring. This has been fairly consistent throughout all the games, although I think she's become even more vibrant in recent games. As far as her looks go, I like her outfits, even her 6 outfit (which is actually REALLY cute!), but in the past few games, I've liked them less so. My problem with them, I think, is that they make her look WAY too young! According to my research, she's supposed to be 16 years old. After looking at her pictures, particularly her recent ones, she DOES NOT look 16 years old! I'm sorry, but she looks WAY younger than that! *Looks at recent pics* Maybe it's the shorts? Maybe that's why she looks like a 10-year-old. Maybe if she wore a skirt like in previous games, she would look a little more her age...
What I Want To See In The Future: There are a lot of things that I want to see changed about Xiao Qiao. I admit that her personality is ok, and she has some pretty looks, but I have one small problem and one major problem with her. The small problem is her weapon. I like the fact that she still uses a fan, but now she uses one small iron fan instead of two large ones. Now that Da Qiao uses pugil sticks, I think it would be safe for Xiao Qiao to go back to having two large fans like she used to (or have Da Qiao ditch the pugil sticks and go back to using two large fans, either way is fine with me). The big problem is the fact that Xiao Qiao looks and even acts like a CHILD. Da Qiao has "youth" issues too, but she at least acts somewhat her age. Xiao Qiao doesn't even have that. Her looks and personality don't convey the message that she's 16, at least it doesn't to me. So, what do I want to see? I want to see Xiao Qiao grow up a little. I'm not saying that she should COMPLETELY change her looks and attitude, but I would like to see her at least looking her age. As it stands now, it's getting less and less believable that she's actually married. So, yeah, the main thing I'd like to see with Xiao Qiao is still cute and gregarious, but a little more mature.
Background: Lian Shi is the fourth woman to become a playable character for Wu. She is Sun Shang Xiang's bodyguard and her good friend. She is usually seen early on as Sun Shang Xiang's bodyguard and later on after Sun Shang Xiang's departure to Shu as Sun Quan's. She debuted in Dynasty Warriors 7 and is also in 8. In both games she uses a crossbow. Personality-wise, I'd say that she is the "protective, sexy girl" of Wu.
Love Interest: Lian Shi's love interest is Sun Quan, the son of Sun Jian and younger brother of Sun Ce. He is also the leader of the Kingdom of Wu. In the games, the two are just seen as liking each other and they never officially get married. Lian Shi cares about Sun Quan quite a bit and she even consoles him when he is unsure of himself, but she always looks after him as a bodyguard. Sun Quan often looks upon her with great fondness, but as I said, they don't really "get together" officially in the games.
Sun Quan, Lian Shi's Love Interest
Looks and Personality: This was another one of those times that was long in coming. I was really excited when Lian Shi was introduced in the 7th game, but after I saw her, I had my reservations. After I played her and got to know her better, I said, "Dang! This chick is awesome!" I have to admit, Lian Shi is probably my favorite female character in the entire series. At least personalty-wise. She's a very mature, classy, and proper woman, and she also is very protective. In fact, I sometimes nickname her "mother hen" because she is so protective of her charges. Then again, she is a bodyguard, so that's kind of in the job description. She's pretty soft-spoken and polite, which I found very surprising considering her outfits (or rather LACK of outfits).
That's the major thing I have against Lian Shi's character. The outfits she wears are just...yiiiiiiiiiikes. Let's just say that it was made VERY obvious that Lian Shi was meant to be the "sexy one" of the girls of Wu. When I look at these outfits, especially the first, I can't help but shake my head and be mesmerized, and NOT in a good way. I mean, take her original outfit for example. It's interesting, I'll give it that, but it looks like it's 10 sizes too small! It almost looks like an outfit that she's had since she was a child and she just kept stitching it back together after she grew up (and out!). When it comes to her current outfit, I appreciate the fact that they tried to make her a little more elegant by putting her in a gown (which is very pretty), but that low cut in the front makes me want to narrow my eyes, frown, and say, "Really?" Then I shake my head in disgust. What I find so FRUSTRATING, is not the fact that they made such a voluptuous character, it's the fact that they put THOSE kinds of outfits on such a voluptuous character. What really gets me though, what really makes me MAD, is that they did that to HER. She's such an amazing, incredible character! It's bad enough when that happens to a character that has a shallow, underdeveloped, and not really that likeable personality, because then it's clear that she's just there to be eye-candy, but it really makes me want to throw a chair out a window when that happens to a character that is really likeable and awesome. Yeah, I better stop now before I actually throw a chair out a window...
What I Want To See In The Future: What I want to see from Lian Shi in the future is only one major thing. I really like her personality, I wouldn't change a thing about it, and her weapon is ok. The one thing that I want to see in the future for Lian Shi is better outfits. She just needs to be portrayed better, plain and simple. There are ways to still be sexy and not show off everything, believe it or not. If Koei can do that, she would be even more awesome than she is now.
What Kind Of Lady(ies) I Want To See In The Future: When it comes to the ladies of Wu, Koei has pretty much covered their bases. They've got a good variety of characters. Let's review: we've got a tomboy, a "proper, shy girl", a "cute, fun girl", and a "protective, sexy girl". Hmmmm...they actually have covered their bases....I guess one thing that comes to mind would be "elegance". There's a lot of cuteness going on in Wu, but not just a lot of "elegance". An elegant, sort of noble woman would be good. Arguably, Lian Shi is the most "mature" of the group, but I wouldn't call her so much "elegant" as I would "sexy" and "sultry". So, possibly an elegant noblewoman. Another possibility would be a true "warrior" kind of woman. Sun Shang Xiang can sort of be considered Wu's "warrior woman", but she strikes me more as a tomboy, and in my book being a tomboy and a warrior are not necessarily the same thing. So, a good warrior like Wang Yi or Xing Cai would be pretty good. Actually, now that I think about it, a good pirate kind of character would actually be pretty great. A sort of female Gan Ning, if you will. The people of Jiangdong are known for being sea-faring folk, so it wouldn't be THAT far-fetched. That would actually be pretty great! So, either an elegant noblewoman, a tough warrior lady, or a female pirate would be good additions to the Kingdom of Wu.
Conclusion: In the Kingdom of Wu, there are four Dangerous Vixens. The rough and tumble tomboy princess Sun Shang Xiang, the proper and timid beauty Da Qiao, the boisterous and cheerful beauty Xiao Qiao, and the sexy and protective bodyguard Lian Shi. These ladies have proven time and again that they are not all just looks and any man that dares come against them in battle as had the misfortune of learning that the hard way. They may have some issues with uncharacteristic girliness, too much youth, and not enough clothing, but these ladies are far from hopeless, as they have proven time and again. In the future, I hope that some of those issues are resolved and hopefully there will be some new elegant, martial, or even pirate ladies join this incredible line-up of Dangerous Vixens.
This has been "The Ladies of Dynasty Warriors: The Dangerous Vixens of Wu" by Azure Moon on GameInformer.com.