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ISSTH - flawed romance or NOT?

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Post #675907
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6:42 pm, Jan 18 2016
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I see a few comments claiming that the romance is poorly done in ISSTH, but I feel the opposite, and in fact I would say that the romance is particularly well done *if you are a perfectionist at heart*.

Conversely, hormone-addled youths (and many grown men) will want sex all the time, no matter what it costs them. For example, if they meet an available hot but crazy chick, they will pounce on her without a thought to the consequences, and even if you talk to them about it after they have suffered from those terrible consequences, they will shrug and just tell you "she was hot" - 'cos that is ALL IT TAKES.

Due to childhood trauma, these kinds of guys are in pain, deep down inside (subconsciously), and thus they need constant validation, constant distractions, and ideally, constant surface pleasure as well, so it's not surprising at all that they can't help but jump into sexy shit all the time.

However, a healthy man who has achieved self-mastery will note that:
a) the pain of being alone is really not that bad
b) the shit from being with shitty people is not worth it
= hence, master the tiny bit of pain you have from not getting laid, don't let that desire cloud your mind (and make you jump into shit), keep your wits about you and then if you behave strategically then you CAN actually get laid with TOP QUALITY, with no regrets afterwards!

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So in light of that, I see the romance in ISSTH in the same light: the MC has near-total self-mastery (which is why he is able to act rationally and reliably WIN over his often emotional and irrational competitors). As such, his 'pain' from being celibate is actually not something he desperately flees from, but rather it is a state of being he has deliberately chosen.

Furthermore, from a philosophical perspective, you should ask yourself 'what is the point of your life'? Is it just to distract yourself? Is it just to maximize short-term comfort? Are you a slave to your sex drive? Do you need women, or do THEY need you?

What's fun about the MC in ISSTH is that he actually has a greater purpose than just getting laid. Although I do criticize him for not having an even greater goal than just 'get strong and master yourself', at least I can admire him a little for having mastered his sex drive, among other things.

When you look at it realistically, the heroes in Xianxia are constantly at HUGE risk, surrounded by backstabbing murderers (male and female) and sociopaths operating in gangs, and then when you see morons like the heroes of ATG or MGA stupidly pursue troublesome pussy and then ONLY SURVIVE due to absurd deus-ex machina, you can't help but feel that these horny little f*ckers are just NOT being smart about where they are at in life.

These guys have a chance at immortality (ie: INFINITE F*CK TIME!), but rather than first SERIOUSLY get strong and THEN have fun, they decide to have fun right away and cause themselves all sorts of problems - problems that are far beyond their ability to deal with, plot cheats aside.

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From the perspective of having a PERFECT RUN, does it really make sense to dip your dick in every slightly hot pussy you come across? Do you need to have that tangible proof to be confident of yourself?

I personally like the idea of having all the babes be desperately after me (after all I know I can bag 'em pretty much any time I want), but I like even better not having to deal with their hassles afterwards, so I continue to only aim for the VERY BEST PUSSY.

Teenagers with no impulse-control will prefer MGA and ATG, but I just see those MC's as huge losers living a loser's life - one that can only succeed if you have the most unbelievable luck and plot armor.

Men with self-mastery will appreciate what the MC in ISSTH is trying to do... He has hot pussy all around, but that's not enough for him, and in any case, it certainly isn't enough to make him lose sight of what's really important to him: develop heaven-defying power in spite of all the odds!

I guess little kids want to dream about how they don't have to change, don't have to achieve self-mastery, that they can 'win' even by being sloppy and weak-minded. That is one kind of fantasy, but I far prefer fantasies that are grounded in reality, where the MC wins due to making smart choices.

Last edited by alphaGulp at 7:31 pm, Jan 18

Post #676656
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Freedom is life
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10:23 pm, Feb 9 2016
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As Meng Hao is originally supposed to be a scholar I don't believe it's that fun to have him being so overly superhuman. Instead, I'd rather see more of the youthful and weak character he used to be at the beginning, filled with weaknesses instead of perfection. Shamefully, Meng Hao's original character seems to have died with Fang Mu.

It's quite a biased post you're writing, as you anyway express the same desire as those you call "teenagers with no impulse-control". I for one would rather not have any of the heroines as they're probably the most one sided characters of this novels, fall way too easily in love with the protagonist, are just too many and usually unnecessary to the story. I'd rather see Zhou Dekun more often than any of these women. The only exception would be Zhao Youlan and that's only if she doesn't become another predictable character.

Post #678023
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Gray_H00D
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8:10 pm, Mar 23 2016
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That's a lot you wrote. Thus, I didn't read everything.
Going after the title of this thread, I would say it is perfect as it is. It's good that author is standing standing strong by his words and keeping the Romance Genres minimized as much as possible. With Xu Qing, Cu Yuyan, Song, Xinxiang or whoever may come afterwards, Meng Hao shouldn't became like Rudius Greyrat, because that's not him. He should be rather awkward in romance section rather than becoming a harem-king.
Okay that concludes my POV.

Now, if I go by MC's, Meng Hao's, pov...hmm
Well, remember when Wu Ling offered him her body for the sake of her brother. His inner monologue read that he have long since choose to discard worldly lusts.
He told her, “ I'm not interested in your body. ”
I think that's how it is and hopefully Er. Gen wouldn't change his mind afterwards.

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Post #679263
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5:53 am, Apr 28 2016
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@katsuno "It's quite a biased post you're writing, as you anyway express the same desire"

Does mastering your hunger mean you no longer eat, no longer think of food even when hungry or starving? NOPE. It means only eating GOOD FOOD instead of junk food, it means mastering your emotional cravings so that you no longer cause yourself problems by eating crap, and better yet, even improve your health, power, appearance and well-being - and when it is well done, it is pure pleasure and fun, without sacrifices.

Because I deeply mastered my 'food drive', I don't have to count my calories, I have a six-pack (with just 1 workout a week), I have awesome punching power in the gym, great endurance, I feel great and my hunger is ONLY for the delicious home-made food I eat - junk food now grosses me out, which makes things easy and FUN.

Similarly, mastering my sex drive did not mean I no longer felt its strong pull, but rather that I focused on making sure I only accepted good ways to satisfy it. By focusing on that, I quickly could tell that masturbation is actually way better than sex with troublesome women, for example, which is why I've only ever gone out with grade-A chicks (and which no doubt is a large part of why none of my ex's ever tried to sneakily get pregnant off of me, or any other awful moves women can so easily pull on you).

So in short: yes, I am a human being and I have a sex drive. Mastering it does not mean I obliterated it. smile

---

Anyhow, that being said, one can indeed criticize the novel for not giving more depth and details on how the MC manages to have so much sexual self-mastery. But can you understand that in our world, there actually exist people like me with high levels of self-mastery, who therefore want to find light novels that portray MCs who are similar to themselves?

I have almost nothing in common with the MCs of series like ATG, MGA, CD, etc. They all seem extremely weak-minded to me (low level cunning, weak impulse control, + lots of subconscious resentment and clouded thinking). I may criticize those MCs (for their mental weakness and loser ways, mostly), but I still understand that there are a lot of similarly weak-minded people out there who will naturally resonate with the MCs of those series. It's a shame that more people aren't like me (I guess), but I can't fault 'em for liking what they naturally like, can I? Emotions aside, why do you fault me for not being like you, or for liking something else than your personal low ideal? What advantage would I have from being more like you?

We are vastly different, so naturally we'll like different styles of romance. Isn't it great that not all romance is written like in ATG and MGA? Expand your horizons, bro!

To you, having self-mastery of your sexual drive = being ridiculously, absurdly superhuman. To me, it's just a basic starting point that doesn't need explanation or details (especially since it is taboo for most people to have such details discussed).

Furthermore, being myself originally a scholar somewhat like Meng Hao (I studied to do research in biochemistry, early on), it only seems rational and coherent to me that he too would seek to master every aspect of himself, including his sexuality. Why would Meng Hao be weak-minded with women, but strong-minded elsewhere, like with his laziness?

---

But that being said, I still see flaws in the romance, especially now that we've reached past the 600'th chapter.

The MC does great when he ignores chicks, but fails pretty bad when (around chap 600) he starts to try to flirt with random hot women, which felt more creepy to me than anything else. It also wasn't presented very well: why the sudden change in the MC's behavior with hot babes? It would have worked better if he had strategic reasons for wanting to destabilize a female opponent (it can be lots of fun to tease hot chicks, but you shouldn't do it for no reason! Either you are ultimately trying to hook up, or you have some other reason for doing it - what was Meng Hao's at that point, other than just creepiness?)

It felt like the author was trying to make his MC look cool, and probably trying to add variety in the types of cool he can offer, rather than it being born either of the character or of his circumstances.

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Anyhow, other than that, I will say that I find the romance in ISSTH to be too idealized for my personal tastes. For example, I have found that God of Slaughter has some AWESOME romance (ie; the MC not only gets laid - he actually has some of the most thrilling sex ever, yet also without ending up absurdly idealizing women and female relationships, but also without being a douchebag. Furthermore, the MC does not naively give up his power to women just for sex - he stays very strong). So there ya go, another example of how AWESOME it is that not everything is done the same, all the time!

Vive la difference!

Post #681493
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6:35 am, Jun 28 2016
Posts: 22


I think the romance is flawed, but only in the sense that there should be more scenes to depict the love between Meng Hao and Xu Qing. It seemed like the only reason he loved her was because she was the first girl that treated him well.

But I think it is great, like really great, that for once an OP MC can stay loyal, in heart and body, to one woman. It's a bonus that sex scenes don't exist in this novel, thus the romance does not take away from the adventure.

I dislike how many other novels depict harems just because the MC is strong and, thus, deserve more chicks.

In addition, it is realistic that the MC does not fall for every girl that treated him nice, because that is how it usually is in real life as well. The one you love may not be the one that treats you the best. And in this case it is not as if the other girls are doing more for Meng Hao than Xu Qing anyway.

But...spoiler alert
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Meng Hao would finally accept Chu Yuyan (as his second girl) in the end because her sacrifices even moved Xu Qing to tears. In fact, it was Xu Qing who tells Meng Hao to accept her.


PS: I finished the whole novel in Chinese.


Post #682940
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12:01 pm, Aug 11 2016
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@Kimikazoo, I agree with all your points, and now that the translations have reached past chapter 700, I would say the flaws are becoming more glaring.

ISSTH is trying really hard to make domination, torture, murder, armed robbery, and conning look cool and totally reasonable, even though the opposite is actually the case.

So given that the author has decided to glamorize abuse, he needs to give his MC a reason for being abusive. At first it was mainly survival in an abusive environment (which was the only point where the story barely works, IMO), and then later it becomes just a lone 'will to power', and then still later the romance is developed: our 'poor MC' decided to 'fall in love' with some dumb broad that *requires* that he visit even more abuse onto others.

I'm sorry, but the romance at that point does not work for me: how self-centered do you have to be to decide that bringing your gf back to life is a reasonable excuse for so much abuse? It just doesn't make sense to me, but then the story and MC haven't made sense for a long time.

Although, then again, I am someone who is healthy and happy, so therefore I equilibrate with society by trying to make others happy like myself. Only people who are deeply unhappy want to see unhappiness in others (perhaps in hopes that others will act for them? Or perhaps as a way to seek an early death and escape from pain?).

So people who subconsciously want to see others suffer (in spite of all the bad karma and inevitable consequences) may not notice the issue with the character: he is supposedly healthy and untraumatized, and therefore he should be avoiding spreading misery around (since it always comes back to bite you), but instead we see the MC naturally gravitate towards abusive practices as if a healthy person would ever actually do so.

So the big lie about the MC is that he had a nice, normal childhood (from what he remembers of it!!!), but if you accept that he actually has a deep-seated desire to be abusive, then his choice in romance is more understandable: the MC needs more excuses to be in conflict with others, so when his gf gets sick he automatically jumps onto the opportunity presented to him.

But the more Meng Hao grows powerful, the more his abusive ways become disgusting and reprehensible to me... I have actually stopped reading at #724. His continuing transformation into a terrible devil is a huge turn off.

---

Getting back to the romance topic a bit: it now feels way too 'emo' to me. It's like a fantasy that sprang from the demented minds of a bunch of teenage mod kids, dressed all in square, black, rebellious anti-fashion. Their needy love will last FOR EVER! (LOL)

Life could be way simpler and happier for them (they could even work to heal their wounds and escape their torment), but when you are super angry at life, you don't want that!

Last edited by alphaGulp at 12:03 pm, Aug 12

Post #682969 - Reply to (#682940) by alphaGulp
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2:49 am, Aug 13 2016
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Quote from alphaGulp
@Kimikazoo, I agree with all your points, and now that the translations have reached past chapter 700, I would say the flaws are becoming more glaring.

ISSTH is trying really hard to make domination, torture, murder, armed robbery, and conning look cool and totally reasonable, even though the oppos ...

You should read the future chapters. Meng Hao no longer kills without reason after Ch.797 or so... His ruthlessness was severed.

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Post #682997
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8:21 pm, Aug 13 2016
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Thx for that info strixflash. That's an interesting and surprising development, especially considering the other parts.

I most probably will read more of ISSTH at some point, but for the time being I still feel like I've had a bit too much of Meng Hao's pride at conning people (among other things). He doesn't seem to understand that there is a difference between doing it defensively (ex: when you notice someone else is trying to con you, conning them back as poetic justice), compared to what it means to be the first one to con, or even that there is something inherently bad about conning (like there is something inherently bad about murder).

Sometimes in life, you can't help but find yourself surrounded by sociopaths, at which point your options will be limited - perhaps you may even need to murder in order to stay alive. However, does that mean you should just continue to live in the middle of the sociopaths, when in fact it is possible (with effort) to just avoid and exclude them all?

Meng Hao has never made any effort to get himself out of his cult, or to get away from the dumb power-for-power's sake game they are playing. That game is a loser's game: no one actually wins, they just destroy each other and anyone nearby. The unhappier they are, the more vengeful and (self-)destructive they become (and so it continues).

Anyhow, I forgot to mention in my previous comment how the MC's poison was also an important logical reason for staying in the game: once he cured himself, why did he need to continue his shura's path?

Oh well, even with all that I'll admit that the author is still 10x better at writing this kind of stuff than just about any of the other xianxia authors. Hehe - my fiction reading in the meantime has actually been reading the translations of all his other books, among other things...

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Post #683004 - Reply to (#682997) by alphaGulp
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2:23 am, Aug 14 2016
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Quote from alphaGulp
Thx for that info strixflash. That's an interesting and surprising development, especially considering the other parts.

I most probably will read more of ISSTH at some point, but for the time being I still feel like I've had a bit too much of Meng Hao's pride at conning people (among other things) ...

I don't understand why you dislike Meng Hao conning others. There are different ways of earning money...stealing from others is the fastest way to become rich. Perhaps our rational mind would find it evil but the author has repeatedly stressed on the point that there is no good or evil in this world. In the world Meng Hao lives murdering others for wealth is plain normal. Of course you might expect the protagonist to be different.

As for the never ending cycle of power-ups: Well, Meng Hao doesn't want to be under the control of anyone. He wants to be free. Power is the only way to achieve freedom in the world where "Law of Jungle" prevail.

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Post #683097 - Reply to (#683004) by strixflash
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12:24 pm, Aug 16 2016
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Quote from strixflash
the author has repeatedly stressed on the point that there is no good or evil in this world


The author has TRIED to show a 100% bully world (ie: a world devoid of good, with nothing but evil people), but even if that were the case, our MC still has freedom of will, so he still could (and SHOULD) opt for a better choice for himself than just being another bully.

So what if everyone else is dead-set on being abusive and miserable? There are still an infinite number of choices out there that are better than repeating the same crap.

For example, he could aim to find JUST ONE symbiotic person with whom to synergize and become true friends with, and right there he would have a treasure worth more than all their murder tools put together.

In the unlikely scenario that he truly be the ONLY person to chose to be different, then he is better off on his own, quite frankly.

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And therein lies the rub about conning: I would never in a million years consider befriending Meng Hao (I would rather be alone than to be with him), because I know he is a liar and a con artist, and because I know it is just a matter of time before he cons me too.

He is not seeking to better society (EVER) - at most he only ever dares to help out a few people close to him, without otherwise daring to be a social architect - when in fact we all have the power (and the responsibility) to have an impact in our society's architecture (or otherwise bear the dire consequences).

He claims that he is going against the heavens (ie: against a Bully World Order, imposed on us all from above by The Powers That Be), but he is clearly only going to perpetuate the exact same bully world, so WHO CARES?

So yeah: his pride at being another God-damned bully, con artist, liar, deceiver, murder and abuser is absurd and shameful, but everything has been done to make it look cool...

ISSTH is an abuser's fantasy. It is also a trap for past victims of abuse: it tries to make you think that being an abuser yourself would be great (and just), when in actual fact it only creates misery for all, especially the perpetrators.

People out there would like you to believe you only have 2 choices in life: be a victim, or be an abuser. I prefer to be a symbiot (someone who seeks symbiosis, and who actively excludes all parasites, bullies and manipulative 'victims' from his personal space). Perhaps there are even better ways to be out there, but I am doing great just with this. smile

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