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Link Click

Entry updated 21 November 2022. Tagged: TV.

Chinese animated tv series (2021). Original title Shíguāng Dàilǐrén ["Time Agents"]. Bilibili. Directed by Li Haoling. Writer(s) not traced. Voice cast includes Su Shangqing, Tútè Hāméng, Sūn Lùlù, Li Shimeng, Yang Tianxiang and Zhào Yìtóng. Eleven circa 22-minute episodes, plus two specials and ten chibi shorts. Colour.

Two young men, Cheng Xiaoshi (Shangqing) and Lu Guang (Tianxiang) have the ability (see Superpowers) to Time Travel by holding a photograph, whereupon Cheng possesses the body of its photographer (see Identity Transfer). He shares their memories and feelings (but not their thoughts) for up to 12 hours whilst staying linked to the present through Lu, who sees and hears Cheng's experiences: they are able to communicate with each other all the while. As the Time Photo Studio they use this ability to gather information for their clients. Cheng is prone to empathize with his hosts and those closest to them, whilst the more cold-blooded Lu underlines the importance of making no changes that will impact upon the present (see Time Paradoxes). On the one occasion he does allow major changes, Cheng discovers it is because the people involved are about to die in an earthquake – which had also taken his parents. The client, a survivor, wants Cheng to pass on farewell messages to family and friends.

In the first episode they possess Emma (Yìtóng), a secretary, to gather a company's crooked financial data, which leads to her firing – distressed, she tries to meet up with her parents, but dies after meeting a man who offers her a lift. Lu learns of this, but hides it from Cheng, whose already upset at having caused her sacking. Their rescuing of a child abducted three years previously brings them to the attention of police detective Xiao Li (Hāméng), who asks Lu to help him catch a serial killer – but when he sees one of the victims is Emma he says no. However, a friend of their landlady Qiao Ling (Shimeng) is attacked by the killer, drawing them into the case: they identify the man responsible as Liu Min (Lùlù). With their ability to be in two times at once and to effectively Teleport (Cheng's body also disappears from the present when his consciousness time travels) they manage to trick Min into a confession: things seem to be heading to a perhaps too smooth conclusion, with Cheng delivering an uplifting monologue on what he has learnt from his experiences and being on the verge of saving Emma ... when she jumps off a bridge, Min throttles himself and Lu is stabbed by Qiao. Min was a stooge: someone was possessing him, can possess others – and treats all this as a game. The season ends.

How Cheng and Lu gained their abilities is not explained; nor is it clear how the hosts perceive their possession. Until the last couple of episodes Link Click is mainly concerned with the characters' relationships and the issue of responsibilities towards others – the genre elements serving to reveal Cheng and Lu's personalities through their reaction to the resulting conflicts. This is a very good, intriguing donghua series. (In China "donghua" means animation from any country; but internationally the term is colloquially used to refer to Chinese animation, just as Anime came to refer to specifically Japanese animation.) [SP]


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