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Hello, GIO, and welcome to The Ladies of Dynasty Warriors: The Femme Fatales of Shu, part 4 of 7 blog! I hope you enjoy this blog, and if you wish to learn more about me, feel free to visit my profile!
The Kingdom of Shu was one of the Three Kingdoms in the Three Kingdoms Era. It was the kingdom to the west and was ruled by the benevolent Liu Bei. Liu Bei and his sworn brothers, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, wandered the land for many years until he eventually conquered the lands owned by one of his relatives. He then set up the Kingdom of Shu from there and became the Emperor of Shu. After his death, leadership fell to his son, Liu Shan. As of Dynasty Warriors 8, there are 21 playable characters for Shu, 4 of which are the The Femme Fatales of Shu. As seen in the picture above, from left to right, they are Yue Ying, Bao Sanniang, Guan Yinping, and Xing Cai. I will now discuss each of these women, starting with Yue Ying, followed by Xing Cai, followed by Bao Sanniang, and finishing with Guan Yinping.
Background: Yue Ying is the first playable woman for Shu and it was long in coming for this kingdom! She is the wife of Shu's most talented and gifted strategist, Zhuge Liang. She is very talented and intelligent and has been responsible for many inventions, such as the wooden ox and the Juggernaut. She is often seen testing Liu Bei and his sworn brothers when they wish to meet Zhuge Liang and recruit him, and then later fighting beside her husband, most notably at Wu Zhang Plains. She has been in every game since her debut in Dynasty Warriors 4. In 4, 5, and 8 she wields a dagger axe, in 6 she wielded a bow, and in 7 she wielded a bo staff. Personality-wise, I'd consider Yue Ying the "smart girl" of the Shu girls.
Love Interest: Her love interest is Zhuge Liang, the famed strategist of Shu. He is also known as "The Sleeping Dragon". In recent games, he and Yue Ying are already a married couple, and she is first seen testing Liu Bei and his sworn brothers before allowing them to see Zhuge Liang for the first time. In some of the games, Yue Ying and Zhuge Liang met because he heard of her intelligence and sought her out. When he found her, she tested him to see if he was worthy, and after he proved himself, she decided to marry him. She is later seen testing Liu Bei and his sworn brothers on her husband's behalf, and later supporting Zhuge Liang in battle at Wu Zhang Plains. As far as his personality goes, he is very calm and calculating, almost to the point of seeming emotionless. His brilliance in strategy proved beneficial to Shu and made him one of the brightest minds of the era. When it comes to Yue Ying, he is still a bit cool towards her, much like with everyone else, but he does seem to be a bit more trusting in her than anyone else. He's definitely not the gushy type, but you can tell by the way he talks to her and treats her that he cares immensely for her. When it comes to this couple, they, to me, seem to be one of the more "mature" couples in the game. This is also not one of those "opposites attract" moments, but rather a "similar likes and interests" moment. They are both intelligent, thoughtful people and they just seem to click. I like that about them. They just seemed to be made for one another. Another thing that I actually got a kick out of with Dynasty Warriors 8 was that they had matching outfits! That was SO CUTE! I'm usually not one for liking couples to be too "matchy-matchy", but these two made it work. I also think it just emphasized the fact that they are very much alike, as well. :)
Zhuge Liang, Yue Ying's Husband
Looks and Personality: As far as Yue Ying goes, I think that she's an ok character. I like the fact that they went with her being more of an intelligent and capable woman rather than just being "pretty", but I also just can't help but feel that she's a bit...blah. I don't know, she just seems to be one of the more boring characters in the game. She's not a BAD character, she's just not that exciting of a character either. Although, I have to admit, she is getting a LITTLE bit better in more recent games. Overall, she's usually the intelligent, capable, and mature woman in the Kingdom of Shu. As far as her looks go, she's had some decent looks and some "trying too hard" looks. Her first two looks are ok. Much like her, they weren't anything too exciting or spectacular, but they were decent. When we get to 6 and 7, that's when we get into "trying too hard" territory. After the overhaul on the character designs on 6, I admit that I was kind of liking the direction they were going with Yue Ying. In 6 and 7 they tried to make her look sexier, but I think they went a little overboard with it. As I said, they seemed to have tried WAY to hard to make her look sexy in those two games, especially with the whole "biker chick" kind of look in 7. Then you get to her current look, which is BRILLIANT! I LOVE her current look! I think they finally hit it on the head with this one. It's sexy, but still classy, and it definitely looked like HER. The outfit was effortless and was completely reflecting her "intellectual woman" personality. This is the best Yue Ying has EVER looked and as I said before, it matches Zhuge Liang's outfit, which really worked for the both of them.
What I Want To See In The Future: As far as what I want to see from Yue Ying, I'd like to see a bit more "fire" in her personality. It's already there, but most of the time it seems subdued. I think the problem with her is that she's supposed to be mature and polite, but with a bit of fire in her, and a lot of times she seems to be more mature and polite than fiery. That's not an easy combination to pull off, but if Koei can manage to pull it off successfully, I think she will be a better character for it. When it comes to her looks, just look at 8, and THAT'S what should be shot for. That look is HER BEST LOOK, so more outfits like that would be fantastic!
Background: Xing Cai is the second woman to be a playable character for Shu. She is the daughter of Zhang Fei and the sister of Zhang Bao. She is a strong, resilient, and responsible warrior who is usually charged with defending Liu Shan, the second Emperor of Shu. She is usually seen later on in the era fighting in battles before Liu Bei's death up to the fall of Shu. She made her debut in Dynasty Warriors 5. She was then cut from 6, but came back for 7 and has returned in 8. In 5 she wielded a long fork and shield, and in 7 and 8 she wields a sword and tower shield. Even though her sword is usually the weapon she uses in battle, she has been known, especially for special or musou attacks, to use her shield as a weapon as well. Personality-wise, she's the "tough, warrior woman" of the girls of Shu.
Love Interest: As far as her "love interest" goes, there are two men that seem to be close to her. The first is the guy who debuted with her in Dynasty Warriors 5, Guan Ping. Her and Guan Ping seem to be very close. They are often sparring partners and they are also in battle together at times. As far as "romance" goes, Guan Ping is definitely attracted to her, but it seems that he's just a friend to Xing Cai. So, it might be a bit of an "unrequited love" for him. The other guy she's close to is Liu Shan, the second Emperor of Shu, and the son of Liu Bei. When it comes to Liu Shan, Xing Cai has a soft-spot for him. Even though she often berates him for skipping out on his lessons and trying to skip out on training, she is still very close to him. She is usually seen as his bodyguard and she will stop at nothing to keep him safe. Even though that's her job, I also can't help but feel that she also just doesn't want to see him get hurt. When it comes to actual "romance" for Xing Cai, there's really no clear answer for that. Guan Ping seems attracted to her, but she seems to be more fond of Liu Shan than Guan Ping.
Liu Shan, The Man Xing Cai Has Sworn To Protect And Is Very Fond Of
Looks and Personality: I like Xing Cai. She's a very strong, no-nonsense kind of character that can kick your butt in 2 seconds flat. Gotta respect a lady like that. She's fierce, fearless, and passionate about protecting those she cares about and her home. She's also calm and focused in battle, which makes her even more awesome because she doesn't let her emotions rule her in a fight. Overall, she's just an awesome warrior chick. When it comes to her looks, honestly, there's not much change from game to game. She still has the basic silhouette and look, but I admit, it works for her. They probably took the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach with her and that's just fine with me. I like the girlish look yet it still screams "warrior". Basically, I like that they made her look tough, but still made it clear that she's a woman. I IMMENSELY respect that. The only thing that I'm a little disappointed in with her current look was that there wasn't much armor, which I find ironic because Dynasty Warriors 8's fashions seemed to focus on armor. You have here the most warrior-like of all the girls of Shu, and she's not wearing really that much armor. *Looks at 8 picture* Maybe she's wearing armor shoulder guards and I think she may be wearing greaves, but other than that, her outfit looks like fabric. The look is great on her, but I think that more armor, like that of 7's, would have been better for her.
What I Want To See In The Future: When it comes to Xing Cai, there's not much more that I want to see for her. Her personality and weapons are pretty spot on, and I only have minor suggestions for her outfits. I like the warrior woman silhouette and general look for her, but I would like to see a bit more armor. She is the most warrior-like of the girls, and as long as the armor isn't skimpy, disrespectful, or ridiculous (like putting man's armor on her), then I'm pretty open minded. Overall, she's a well made character and I'd like to see that continue in the future.
Background: Bao Sanniang is the third woman to be a playable character for Shu. She is a confidant, playful free-spirit. She is usually seen fighting alongside Guan Suo, the man she is completely infatuated with, after Guan Yu and Guan Ping are slain at Fan Castle. In Dynasty Warriors 8, she is only seen in the Hypothetical Route for Shu. She made her debut in Dynasty Warriors 7 and has returned for 8. In both games she wields the bladed yo-yo. Personality-wise, she's the "fun girl" of Shu.
Love Interest: Bao Sanniang's love interest is Guan Suo. He is the third son of Guan Yu and brother to Guan Ping, Guan Xing, and Guan Yinping. In the 7th game, they meet when Guan Suo is fleeing the disaster of Fan Castle. While Wu forces are chasing him, he meets a lovely young girl and rescues her (or she rescues him, depending on who's telling the story!). After that, they both become quite enamored with one another, and from then on they are seen fighting together. Personality-wise, Guan Suo is an earnest young man who wants to one day be a great warrior like his father. He is also very handsome, therefore being very popular with the ladies. When it comes to these two, they are what I like to call "The Cute Couple". They are very cute together, and they sort of remind me of a lovey-dovey teenage couple with stars in their eyes. They are both flattering each other and are all "you're the greatest!" and all that fun stuff, and even though it's super adorable, it's also sometimes a bit sickeningly sweet. That, to me, is what this couple is. Cute, but sometimes a bit too cute, LOL.
Guan Suo, Bao Sanniang's Boyfriend
Looks and Personality: I think Bao Sanniang is a pretty fun character. She's super energetic, super playful, super optimistic, and super confidant. Seriously, she has to be one of the most confidant women in the game. She's sometimes so confidant that it borderlines arrogance. Overall, she's just a FUN girl. I like that they created a character like her, because many of the girls in this game are a bit on the serious side. As far as her looks go......well........I've got mixed feelings. Her first outfit seemed to match her fun, playful personality pretty well, even though it is very skimpy. Her second outfit, to me, looks a bit......sad. It just looks sad and heavy. There's none of the "lightness" that the first outfit had. Even though they did put a little more clothing on her (in all actuality it's the difference between a two-piece swim suit and a one-piece), I still feel that they didn't quite hit the mark.
What I Want To See In The Future: What I want to see from Bao Sanniang is more in her looks than in her personality. I like the care-free, fun attitude that Bao Sanniang has, so I wouldn't change a thing about her personality, but her outfits just don't really work for me. One is too little clothing and the other looks heavy and sad. I don't know, I just haven't been THAT impressed with her outfits. I'd like to see an outfit that really captures her free-spirit and playfulness, but still keeps her covered. Another thing that I'm not fond of is her weapon. I mean, a "bladed yo-yo"? Really? I appreciate that they were trying to keep in the spirit of her being "playful", but honestly, it's a ridiculous weapon. Not only does it look and sound silly, it's also cumbersome and awkward to use. That may just be me, but I would really like to see her use a different weapon.
Background: Guan Yinping is the fourth woman to be a playable character for Shu. She is the daughter of Guan Yu and the sister of Guan Ping, Guan Xing, and Guan Suo. She is usually seen first at the Battle of Fan castle, right before her father's death and her brother, Guan Ping's, death. She is then seen fighting in battles for Shu up until its fall. She is one of the two female newcomers to the series. Her weapon of choice is the dual-headed mace. Personality-wise, I'd say she is the "tough, sweet" girl.
Love Interest: Guan Yinping doesn't really have a love interest in this game. The only men she seems close to are her father and three brothers, all of which she seems very close to.
Looks and Personality: I really like Guan Yinping. She's an interesting character. Since this is the first time I've ever seen her, I don't really have a lot to go off of when it comes to her personality. She seems to be a fairly confidant young woman with a bit of a sweetness to her. She's tough and physically EXTREMELY strong. Out of all of Guan Yu's kids, she takes after him the most. Not just in looks, but in physical strength as well. She, much like her father and brothers, is a fierce warrior, proudly proclaiming at times, "Are you prepared to face the daughter of the God of War?" I also think that overall, she has a bit of a "girl next door" vibe. Maybe it's just me, but I get a bit of that from her. When it comes to her looks, this outfit that she has is SO great. I love it. Much like her, it's a bit playful and sweet, but it's an outfit that she can still kick your butt in. Overall, I LOVE this outfit.
What I Want To See In The Future: It's a bit difficult to say what you want from a character when you've only seen them in one game. I think that they've made a pretty solid character with a pretty good personality and great looks. I'd definitely like to see more of her personality in the future and when it comes to her looks, her current look is pretty great, so I'd like to see some looks that are this strong in the future. The only complaint that I have would be about her weapon. The dual-headed mace is definitely different, but it's a bit awkward to use. It's not as bad as Bao Sanniang's weapon, but it's not the best weapon in the game either. Overall, I think she's started strong, and I'd really like to see it stay that way.
What Kind Of Lady(ies) I Want To See In The Future: What do I want to see in the future for Shu's ladies? Let's review: we've got a "smart girl", a "tough, warrior woman", a "fun girl", and a "tough, sweet girl". That's not a bad spectrum of girls. Hmm....after looking at these girls, I am noticing that there isn't one that is "elegant" or "refined". I think that would be a good addition to Shu, because all these girls are either down-to-earth, playful, or tough. So, I think a fine, elegant lady would be a good way to offset the others. I guess this could go hand-in-hand with the "elegant" lady, but another thing that wouldn't be too bad would be a "shy" girl. All of these girls are pretty confidant, so a good shy, demure girl, like Da Qiao of Wu for instance, would be a pretty good addition. Other than that, I think that Shu has pretty much covered a lot of their bases. So, an elegant and/or shy girl would be a good addition for the Kingdom of Shu.
Conclusion: In the Kingdom of Shu, there are four Femme Fatales. The intellectual, mature inventor Yue Ying, the tough-as-nails, fierce bodyguard Xing Cai, the fun, playful free-spirit Bao Sanniang, and the sweet, powerful girl next door Guan Yinping. These ladies have proven that if you don't give it everything you've got, including all of your warrior prowess and intellect, then you don't stand a chance against them, a lesson many men have learned the hard and painful way. They may have some issues with being boring, not having enough armor or clothing, and the age-old problem of being the new girl on the block, but these ladies show great potential for being some of the best female characters in the game. In the future I'd love to see some of these problems fixed and resolved and hopefully we'll see some new possibly elegant, shy faces join this amazing cast of Femme Fatales.
This has been "The Ladies of Dynasty Warriors: The Femme Fatales of Shu" by Azure Moon on GameInformer.com.