WhenInManila.com Reviews the New Encantadia: Behold the Upgrades

1. Cast

At last, we have the new faces acting out our beloved characters. Of course, first on the roster are the parents.

I was hesitant about Marian Rivera-Dantes as Mine-a at first, but so far I’m loving. This woman really balances the serene queen with the hidden grit of an amazonian warrior.

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Meanwhile, Dingdong Dantes’ comeback as Raquim is everything that we hoped to be and more.

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Since it’s Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, we have to talk about their romantic dynamic.

Can we take this moment to appreciate how Mine-a and Raquim’s roles have taken this iconic meta characteristic where their roles had been consistently played by actors known for their chemistry. Before it was Dawn and Richard. Now, it’s Dingdong and Marian. It feels like a great representation of the Philippines’ consistent meta-fictional acknowledgment of casting their “leading loveteams” based on the people’s own appreciation for the tandem of two actors.

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Where there is a Mine-a and Raquim, there is Hagorn. And, if there was ever anything right done in this show, it would be casting John Arcilla as Hagorn.

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Seriously though, can we appreciate this man here for a second. Witness all of that acting prowess and character complexity. Our beloved Heneral Luna was able to bring a tender balance of childish gullibility and ambition mixed with a tinge pure madness to the nice guy turned evil mastermind King of the Hathor.

Now, from one King to another. The new actors for the King and Queen of Sappiro were fine substitutes of the OG although, let’s be real though, no one can parallel Ian Veneracion.

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And then, there’s Apitong. Christian Bautista reminds us that he is a multi-talented artist. The man can act as well as he can sing. I’m not much of a fan of his character, but this new Apitong has a certain humanity that draws my writer mind to him.

Now. On to the ancestors.

Solenn as Cassiopeia is perfect. Solenn is perfect. That is all.

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I love having Sunshine Dizon back because she did such a wonderful job with the OG Pirena. And I love it more that the character she came back in was made for her, and that it was a character with a purpose. (Now if only they could make the other OG Sang’gres make appearances as well.)

I’ve already said my piece about Amihan Jr. All I have left to add is congratulations to the casting director because he casts people who really look like they could be family. Good job po.

As for the princesses, if I had any doubts before about the casting choices for our Sang’gres, they have all been assured now.

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Glaiza de Castro playing the eldest of the sisters is perfection. If John Arcilla was my top 1 in casting on point-ness, Glaiza is my top 2. Those eyes and that stance. And the uncanny likeness to Arcilla himself. I would believe that if Arcilla and Rivera did pro-create, Glaiza would be the result.

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Kylie Padilla as Amihan, at least that which I’ve seen so far, is no Iza Calzado. I would dare say that Kylie’s Amihan is actually better. This is because Amihan’s character before seemed to bank on Iza Calzado’s character or at least the kind of person she exuded before—calm, poised, and reserved. Kylie’s Amihan now feels more…Amihan. Her acting brings out the character more rather than using it as a reflection of her celebrity persona.

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Gabbi Garcia as the romantic Alena is getting better and better everyday. To be honest though, her best and most trying moment is yet to come. So definitely keeping an eye on her.

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I haven’t seen much yet of the youngest Sang’gre to appropriately evaluate, but Sanya Lopez has captured Danaya’s playfulness and bull-headedness so far.

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The same goes for Ybrahim. Look at that stance. And, um, those arms.

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And where there’s a Sang’gre, there’s a Dama. Vaness del Moral wows as Gurna, upping the menace and manipulation to whole new level. She really makes me hate her every episode, and kind of idolize her for being able to toy with two realms at the same time. (Seriously though, Aquil needs to have better background checks for Lireo’s castle staff.)

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Like the flipside to Gurna’s traitorous nature, Ades is the perfect embodiment of loyalty and caring. Ana Feleo is a smart and inspiring addition to this revision, and she makes me just wanna feel safe in her loving and protective bosom.

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And the rest were curiously attractive side-character history.

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All things said and done, Encantadia 2.0’s first couple of weeks have been full of promises. I personally am dying for more.

You can catch Encantadia from Mondays to Fridays at 7:45 pm, right after 24 Oras.

How are you liking the new Encantadia so far? Let us know in the comments!

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