(taken from Rynnamonrolls’s translations)
Emperor of the cultivation world Mo Weiyu deceived elders and slaughtered ancestors, and committed all crimes and sins known to man. After ending his own life, he was reborn and transmigrated to the year he first became a disciple.
In the shell of a boy held an old and weary soul. After coming back to life, truth after truth that had been hidden below the surface in the previous floated to the top and broke through the waters one after the other.
Of all the revelations, the one that stunned him the most was that the Shizun that he had hated to the bone in his previous life had always been protecting him from the shadows…
The heart of man can change; even demons and monsters can become compassionate to do good. Only, he had sinned deeply. Can the blood on his hands ever be cleansed?
The Husky and his White Cat Shizun (more commonly known as 2HA) is one of the web novels I felt would’ve been better off if it had been written in the standards or format of a published book. Although I don’t think web novels are any less than published books, they do have some key differences–the former mostly being easier to read and digest. And 2HA is anything but an easy read.
At first glance, the novel seems like your typical rebirth story. I’ve read lots of stories where MC tries to make up to ML, so I thought this story was going to be made from the same dough. And oh, how very wrong I was.
2HA is a wild ride from start to finish. I started from wanting Mo Ran to drop dead to wanting to cradle him in my arms and protect him from the world. His character development was so well-written that you wouldn’t even recognize him by the end of the story.
The sub-plots of the other characters were also compelling and mindboggling. They gave me the Game of Thrones vibe. Each one of them has such complex minds and motivations that how I wish the story, or at least Book Two, was written in more POVs, aside from just Mo Ran’s and Chu Wanning’s. The author seemed to be hasty in introducing the other key characters that, before I could even learn to love them, I was already thrusted into so much plot and confusion. Many times, I wished there were chapters written in the points of view of Nangong Si, Ye Wangxi, Shi Mei, and many more. They all seem very interesting, but I was too focused on the plot to care about them.
And speaking of plot, how 2HA turned out in the end was extremely unexpected. I’m not even sure if I like it, though I’m definitely glad that it’s a happy ending. I don’t know how to describe it without mentioning any spoilers, but how the author brought together the “past” and the “present” was rather… bizarre. Unique, to say the least. But I’m not complaining.
Overall, 2HA is not a cookie-cut rebirth story, nor is it a mere gratifying scum-man-gets-retribution story. It goes beyond the tropes it presents itself to be in, making it one of the most unforgettable danmei reads. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but it’s definitely something I would love to recommend.
On Book One
Book One focuses on Mo Ran realizing how he had misjudged his Shizun in his last life, and we also get to see the complicated thoughts of our dear Chu Wanning. We see how the two of them are really crazy for each other, except… One doesn’t realize it, while the other wouldn’t dare admit it.
Mo Ran is presented as a simpleton and an idiot who is convinced he hates Chu Wanning, and doesn’t even consider otherwise despite his obvious attraction towards the man. He keeps making up excuses why his heart beats for him, and although his reluctance to admit his feelings is understandable because of what they had gone through in their past lives, it still makes you want to pull out the hair from your scalp and scream.
(His stupidity is “justified” in Book 2 though, BUT STILL!!!)
And Chu Wanning, my baby, is the purest being ever. It’s sad how he is often misunderstood because he’s not good at expressing himself. And it’s even more sad that, despite being a respected grandmaster, he has a deep inferiority complex. He never once hoped that Mo Ran could love him because, not only is he not gentle, he also considers himself “old and ugly.”
I love Chu Wanning so much, and I hated Mo Ran in Book One for hurting him. However, their characters are so well-established that it makes sense why they inevitably end up hurting each other. Yet you can’t help but want to smash their heads together and yell, “Just love each other, damn you!”
But aside from the infuriating ins and outs of their messed-up love story, we also get a glimpse of the darkness and schemes that would explode later on in Book 2. Mo Ran may had been reborn, but he could never escape from the sins of his past life.
Book One closes by shooting an arrow straight to your heart as Mo Ran finally, fudging finally, realized just how much of a fool he had been.
On Book Two
I have mixed feelings about Book Two because, for one, it’s really complex and, two, it could’ve been written better. I had many “Huh? What?” moments, and although it all made sense when you look back on it, some plot points still felt like they came way out from left field.
Book Two starts off with the “retribution” aspect of the story, and reading it was quite satisfying. And eventually we get the long-awaited fluff and romantic development. It was so sweet that I would’ve been okay with the story ending there (and just disregard the rest of the plot and the pain). But ah, 2HA is not 2HA without the knives it is known for.
Reading about Mo Ran’s guilt and fear was very spine-chilling. I had several panic attacks that I had to pause every now and then to calm myself down. Seeing him anxiously running away from his sins while reaching towards the light was heartrending. Many times, the story made me question: What is forgiveness? What is justice?
And who holds the right to crucify a person of their sins? If people cannot be accurately judged as either good or evil, then who should pay for all the pain and the suffering?
All the “villains” in 2HA have understandable reasons for their crimes that you can never truly hate them. Nothing is black and white, but sorrow has muddied the hearts of these people that their view of the world has turned bleak and gray. The story leads us to wonder how people would’ve turned out better if only one or two things were different.
Book Two also had some plot twists, which I felt were unnecessary. There was one which I felt was added only for shock value or extra angst, as if 2HA doesn’t have enough of it. I also hated how there was this one scene that made it sound like all of Mo Ran’s sins from his past life are not really his fault. Although we already have a lot of chapters condemning Mo Ran to counter this, I still feel conflicted about it. Especially when Chu Wanning said that it was his fault for failing as a teacher. That may just be his personality, but let’s not forget that he was also a victim who was often on the receiving end of Mo Ran’s madness in the past life. I don’t know what the author is trying to achieve by having the victim willingly accept the blame for his perpetrator. It gives me some Stockholm Syndrome trope vibes, although just a bit.
Nevertheless, I still love the RanWan ship. How they hurt each other, forgave each other, and grew together really strengthened their love. I’ve never seen a love like theirs that is as strong and unyielding.
I have so many feelings for 2HA, and this review doesn’t even cover half of it. And since I read the novel through the edited MTL going around, I admit that I did not have the full experience in reading it, so this review may not do the novel justice. I plan to update this review once Rynn and Suika’s translations are complete.
Links to Translations
Note: If you own any of the translations above and don’t want to have it linked, you may contact me to have it taken down.