Adopted as an orphan, Fu Yao served as a slave for the Xuan Yuan sect in the Taiyuan Kingdom. After a series of tragedies, she journeyed across the lands in search of ways to lift the curse that blighted her life. Along the way, she meets the Crown Prince of Tianquan, Zhang Sun Wu Ji, and falls in love with him. Together, they tackled political issues in the five kingdoms and unearth secrets regarding her birth.
~~ Adapted from the novel Empress Fuyao by Tian Xia Gui Yuan.
Cast & Credits
- Yang MiMeng Fu YaoMain Role
- Ethan JuanZhang Sun Wu Ji [Crown Prince of Tian Quan Guo]Main Role
- Vengo GaoZhan Bei Ye [King of Tian Sha Lie]Main Role
- Liu Yi JunQi Zhen [Prime Minister of Tai Yuan Guo]Main Role
- Zhang Ya QinYa Lan Zhu [Qiong Ye Princess]Support Role
- Huang You MingYan Jing Chen [Swordmaster of Xuan Yuan]Support Role
I will agree with most people that the story was much better in the first half of the drama than in the final arcs. Overall, I think the progression of the story seemed steady and flowed fairly well, albeit having a few less exciting parts at various times. Watching Fu Yao really grow as a person from the young, bubbly and bit stubborn slave girl to growing her martial arts and becoming more powerful for herself to finding out her true origins and setting everything back to the way it should have been - it felt like a very natural progression for her and you really get to see her change and grow as a person - not just being told from the get go that she's a badass for whatever reasons.
The Xuan Yuan Sect arc began a bit slow, but overall I think it was a great opener to meeting these main characters. I think this was the area where I most enjoyed Fu Yao and Wu Ji's relationship because it was the most playful part. They had a somewhat common bottom line when it came to morality and making decisions, but overall they had their own views on things and were able to help each other out along the way. LOFY did a very good job in my opinion on setting up and progressing the relationship between the main couple because you really understood why they came to love each other as much as they do, whereas many dramas it just feels like they're together because someone wrote it that way, and you don't really understand how they got to that level of relationship.
Tai Yuan arc was probably the most entertaining for me - and most people as I've read. My favorite genre for C-dramas is more imperial settings, so having that in combination with the background story of Fu Yao just made things more entertaining. At this point, the only thing that really bothered me was Yan Jing Chen and Pei Yuan story line. I could tell from the beginning that Pei Yuan was going to be one of the enemies, which is fine, but it got a bit stereotypical for me at times - blaming everything on the main girl just because the guy she likes has feelings for the other person/everything is the main lead's fault/etc. Sam with Yan Jing Chen, he made his decision over and over, but obviously regretted it every time, though still had no issues betraying Fu Yao and making the wrong choices. Everything else was great for me though. The story did well tying in the other side characters and giving them a place in the overall story.
Tian Quan arc was pretty short, so not too much bad here. The introduction of Fo Lian took me by surprise honestly, and then the crazy amazing episode with Fu Yao and Zhang Sun Ping Rong (you know which one I'm talking about). Even ? of the way into the story, there was still a good amount of rollercoastering for me - super exciting scenes and a few more subdued ones.
Tian Sha arc is probably my least favorite (and I figured it would be honestly). This was the arc where I knew that the main leads would be more support characters, but I still think that it wasn't as bad as people are making it seem. There were still important bits happening, and the relationship development for more side characters.
Xuan Ji arc brought the story full circle at this point. I think at this point it was fairly predictable what was going to happen, but at the same time, it was still fun seeing how the female run kingdom worked and bringing Fu Yao into the next high point in her life.
Final arc (Tian Quan/Qiong Sang) - I will admit that it kind of amazes me that with 66 episodes, there were still parts of the ending that felt a bit rushed. I wouldn't necessarily say it needed to be longer, but just that they needed to balance out the story a bit more. So much is going on by the final few episodes that it feels a bit like a whirlwind. But again, I'm not an expert on screenwriting so I honestly don't know which parts of the overall show they should've cut down to make things seem more balanced.
Yang Mi - for those who've read my other reviews of Yang Mi's acting, I think she's a very hit or miss actress. TMOPB I think she excelled probably because the writing of her character was good, but still overall there were times when Bai Qian felt kind of one note to me. I think Yang Mi's portrayal of Fu Yao outshined her character in TMOPB and others - if only for the fact you get to see more personality out of her and you really see this overarching journey of Fu Yao's life. YM pulled of the mischievous, young slave at Xuan Yuan, to the more matured concubine at Tai Yuan, to really coming into her own character by the end of the first half of the drama. Overall good job.
Ethan Ruan - Normally I'd say that these types of dramas, unless the male character is the ACTUAL lead lead character, they normally get overshadowed by the female. LOFY was NOT that case. I hadn't seen anything from Ethan Ruan since Fated to Love You, but I remember loving his acting from there, so I had fairly good expectations. Ethan Ruan knocked this out of the park for me. From his first introduction, I was hooked. He was playful and flirty, but mischievous and mysterious. His character was strong and powerful, merciless when he wanted to, but kind and loving when he needed to. I'd honestly say that I'd wish he had some kind of fault to him because his character was overall too perfect in that sense (being supposedly ruthless could be a downfall, but I don't think they really showed that side of him as much as they just talked about it). But overall I think that Ethan Ruan definitely outshined Yang Mi. He had good comedic timing, he wasn't afraid to get ugly when he was angry or sad. Legit he was so into it that there are times when Fu Yao and Wu Ji are having emotional scenes, and you can see a tear drop from his face (even when the camera is just filming from behind him). I'm honestly hoping that LOFY opens up some more doorways for him in mainland China because I really wanna watch more stuff from him ASAP.
Everyone else - this review is already super long, so just quickly, overall everyone else was very good. Qi Zhen (Liu Yi Jun) was definitely a standout bad guy, just as he was in Nirvana in Fire. Superb acting and super believable villainous qualities.
I honestly loved this drama. It's not perfect by any means, but it was memorable and exciting for the most part. It's definitely one of my new top favorite dramas. It had just enough relationship storylines along with political plots and general human growth stories. It's definitely going to be one I watch again and again. I really never got bored with it to the point of wanting to drop it. The storyline made much more sense and had much better flow than others of its type (looking at you Princess Agents) and I think that the directing and cinematography was great. Acting overall was a huge plus - especially with such a large cast, but I think everyone did a pretty solid job overall.