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.
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The synopsis of this drama honestly seems fairly bland - a young slave girl enters the palace and soon moves her way up the ranks of the inner harem to become the most powerful woman. It's a story that's been done and told before. There is the little twist of the young girl seeking revenge for the death of her sister, but overall it just doesn't seem like anything that out of the box or extraordinary. Nonetheless, being an avid fan of Chinese imperial dramas, I took on this 70 episode beast, and I'm so glad I did.
The story itself is honestly nothing very new. Inner harem fighting for the emperor's affections, trying to get their child to be favored in order to become the new emperor, etc. But the pacing of this drama was very well done and it really is the characters that bring this story to life.
Beginning with the main female lead - Wei Ying Luo. I'll definitely admit/agree that if this was more true to reality, she would've died a long time ago. The amount of things she gets away with is ridiculous and it's all just because someone (the Queen, the queen's brother, the emperor - unknowingly) cares for her and just helps her out of situations. Putting that aside, Ying Luo's character is really what made the drama for me (in combination with her relationship with the other main characters). She is not just strong and loyal, but she is ridiculously cunning and quick witted. She is caring and loving, but doesn't let that get in the way of achieving her goals (which is revenge more than it is just to win someone's affections, like these types of dramas often feature). She also has that playful side to her (whether or not it is an act or if it's really just who she is). Other people had issues with her characterization, but honestly I think it was someone somewhat new and noteworthy.
Moving past Ying Luo's actual character, her relationships with the empress, the emperor, and with the other side characters again really made this drama different and special. There was a complete and true sense of loyalty and love between Ying Luo and the empress. They both completed something for the other person that they were lacking. Ying Luo lost her older sister and mother figure and the Empress become that for her. The Empress felt that she lost her freedom and innocence to the rules and regulations of being the empress and Ying Luo was that figure of freedom that she needed.
Ying Luo's romantic relationships were both enjoyable to watch as well. With Fu Heng (the empress' brother) it was a first love that was just full of understanding and wanting what was the best for the other person. With the emperor it developed from him somewhat hating her and wanting to have her killed many times to the playful and caring relationship (with many misunderstandings along the way of course). Particularly with the emperor, this relationship she had with him was refreshing and new. They weren't just playful with each other but really played pranks on one another and were not afraid to express their real intentions for the most part.
The main four actors - Wu Jin Yan (Wei Ying Luo), Qin Lan (Empress), Nie Yuan (Emperor), and Charmaine Sheh (Consort Xian/Step Empress) - were all impressive and breathtaking. They all excelled at portraying their characters and bringing them all to life. There were emotional moments, angry moments, funny moments, playful moments, etc. Honestly they were all really great with their interactions with one another and really made this drama come to life.
Probably because I was watching this as it aired, so the drama never felt very long or draggy to me. It flowed very well and it was always very captivating. I will admit that while watching it there were times that I felt like the events of the drama felt a bit downplayed and could have had a bigger impact (on the characters and the audience), but then I realized that this drama wasn't meant to be this huge over dramatic production and that really worked for this drama. It was supposed to resonate with people internally more than it just made people go "omg" while watching (though there were those moments as well). It was definitely worthwhile and will definitely be on my list to rewatch (especially when there are english subs available because I missed out on a lot of the political talk and the idioms and whatnot).
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This review may contain spoilersI honestly don't know where to begin... (Also this is a bit long/rambling because I JUST finished the last episode, so I have a lot of emotions)
The first 16 episodes were great - so much going on, but it was all so entertaining. But then come episode 17 and it was a completely different story with somewhat different people - even though it was all the same people. Even so, I kept going. Episodes 17-53 though not as great as the first chunk of the drama were still decently entertaining to watch. Especially between the first two parts of the drama, there were just so many discrepancies about what was going on that they never resolved because it really felt like two completely different stories at times. And then somehow the final episode, ep 54 - my mind just went blank and I'm still not sure what I was watching... So I'm gonna rate this as 3 different parts.
A) Ep 1-16
B) Ep 17-53
C) Final ep 54
A) 9/10 - The first few episodes were so great. There was plotting and manipulation but it felt somewhat new and refreshing. Rong Zhi and Chu Yu's relationship was angsty but amazingly enticing to watch. The other characters at the Princess' manor were equally entertaining. It was a constant - what's going to happen next? What is Tian Ji Pavilion going to do? What is Chu Yu going to do? What is Rong Zhi going to do? Really fun to watch and definitely the best part of the drama.
B) 7/10 - the main core of the drama. The majority of the drama was focused on this part of the story - though it really makes viewers question why the drama was written to essentially be 2 different stories. Aside from the two main characters being the same people - though arguably their personalities were a bit warped - the rest of the drama was completely different. The setting moves out of Liu Song and into the kingdom of Wei (where Rong Zhi is now the Prince Regent leading the government for his nephew, the emperor) and Chu Yu is sent from Liu Song with the intention of peace through marriage. While this was the main core of the drama, it was definitely outshined by the first section of the drama, but nonetheless it was still an interesting watch.
There was a lot of framing and manipulation, which comes standard with these types of dramas, but honestly it was made a bit worse because there were SO MANY different people scheming that by the end it just feels like everyone was against everyone. Really it was hard to root for anyone just because of how much manipulation was going on.
Secondly, while miscommunication between the main pair is always a given, it was just a bit much sometimes. You have two very stubborn personalities, with one also constantly scheming to obtain power, but of course neither of them were willing to talk things out and would just essentially give up when the other was upset. It made it really hard to ship the main pair sometimes because it seemed like they were never going to be able to communicate well and understand the other person's feelings.
Lastly, between the second female lead actually playing two different characters there was WAY too much screen time attributed to her (specifically as General Huo Xuan) and honestly it got way too overbearing and annoying that I (and as I've read many others) pretty much skipped through all of her scenes. The writing really made it seem as if they wanted the second lead actress to be the main actress. Between the war zone story lines, to her story lines with Rong Zhi, to her story lines with Gu Huan - it was just way too much time focused on her and not enough on the main actors.
C) 5/10 - The final episode. There are literally very few dramas that have me honestly lost about what the hell happened by the end. Even this drama, everything seemingly went together up until the final episode. Maybe it was because they rushed the ending? Which is ridiculous because they had 54 episodes to work out this whole story, but the last episode was just super weirdly paced and there was so much going on. I honestly don't know if it was a happy or sad ending just because it depends on how you look at it, I suppose. By the end of it, I really just want to know who the writers were supporting this whole time because the way this ended - unless they're planning a sequel - just didn't make sense to me. In 40 minutes time, they crammed in so much stuff with no explanation and they were just like "Welp, that's it." Such a let down.
Song Wei Long (Rong Zhi) - As the male lead, I feel like SWL did a pretty decent job carrying such a weighty drama. He is definitely a young actor, so hopefully he will progress over the next few years, but even so I think he did a good job. Many people criticize him for not showing emotion very well, which I agree with to an extent. If it was any other character, I'd wholeheartedly agree that he was bad in that regard, but for this drama and this character, I think it still worked out well. Rong Zhi from the beginning was a very complex character who was very reserved, meticulous, and brilliant. For someone who is a genius at manipulation and scheming, I appreciated the fact that he was terrible at expressing himself and his feelings because it showed some kind of weakness in his personality. If he was great at everything, it would have made me dislike him honestly because no one can be perfect at everything.
Guan Xiao Tong (Liu Chu Yu) - A lot of my feelings about her probably come down more to script than it does to her actual acting, so it's hard to give her a fair review. In the first part of the drama, she was portraying Zhu Que of Tian Ji pavilion who took over the life of Liu Chu Yu to complete a mission. This character was smart and cunning, but had compassion and morals. Her character and acting were very entertaining as she portrayed the cunning Zhu Que but also the murderous/lustful Liu Chu Yu.
In the second half, it gets more confusing because you have the real (but not real) Liu Chu Yu and Zhu Que completely disappears (though it's the actually the same character). By now she's just a fairly basic female character. She's still smart (or just really lucky) as she gets herself out of trouble (with tons of help, of course), but she now harbors this idealized sense of morality - even though she is also a part of an imperial family and should be used to the scheming by now. And yet at every turn, she criticizes Rong Zhi and the others for fighting for power, even though it is something to be expected of people in power.
Again, these are all issues I have more with the writing for the character, more so than with Guan Xiao Tong's acting abilities. I think for what she was given, she did a good job - but nothing mind blowing.
Bai Lu (Huo Xuan) - I'm giving her a shout out mostly because I actually REALLY enjoyed General Huo at the very beginning and thought she was really entertaining, but eventually I just stopped watching most of her scenes because there was just way too much focus on her and it got annoying. She honestly did a really good job though (from what I didn't skip xD)
I'll honestly probably watch this drama again some time in the future because even though there was a lot of stuff I didn't like about it, overall I still enjoyed it as a drama (aside from that last episode). It was nothing groundbreaking or particularly memorable, but for some reason, I was still really intrigued watching it and still felt it was fairly entertaining.
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This review may contain spoilersSo I had a lot of high hopes for this drama going into it. It had a lot of potential to be a really good drama for the time period, but overall the drama had weird pacing issues and so much story to tell/characters to develop that even though it was 50 episodes, it felt lacking in some places, and overstuffed in others.
STORY: Story pacing and being able to develop a full and intriguing plot with a good flow are the most important thing to a drama - second only to the skills of the actors involved. You can have the strongest actors, but if there are pacing and development issues within the plot, the drama is doomed. Like most people, I had an issue with the drama beginning in media res. The first episode begins with the assassination of a key military strategist for the Yi family military (I'm not going to consider this a spoiler because it's literally in the first 10 minutes). That's all fine and dandy, but because the story begins two years into the marriage of the main couple - it just already sets things up badly. Supposedly the main couple at the beginning have a very strained relationship - but why does it make sense then for our female lead to be rushing to death to be with the husband she doesn't actually have feelings for? If the drama was filmed chronologically then maybe we could see what was going through our female's mind when she rushed up to certain dangers to be with her husband, but we are thrown into the middle of the story and it really makes me agree with the thoughts of others (that she's only doing it to pretend to be a loyal and loving wife).
Literally just within the first episode, I already had issues with the story - but I kept persevering through.
The rest of the drama then had its ups and downs. I was still pretty hooked watching the drama - there were a decent amount of exciting "omg" scenes to keep you invested, but then it was also partially because if you missed even a small chunk of the drama it was easy to get lost completely. There is so much political/military plot going on with very little explanation as to who the characters are or how they are related. (Ex. I didn't know how the Yi Family and Mu Rong family were related for the longest time - so didn't understand why Qin Sang was allowed to pass up the mountain, etc. until it was later explained that the eldest daughter-in-law was from the Mu Rong family - which isn't until a few episodes into the drama). There's a brief explanation at the beginning about the various militaries that are at war with each other (Yi Family, Mu Rong Family, Li Chong Nian's army, and Jiang Shuang Xi's army) but again there's just so much going on that it's hard to remember who's fighting who at this point.
Romance wise - also weirdly paced for me. They have a strained relationship at the beginning - and there's understandable love triangles/side lovers, etc. going on, but once they actually work out their issues with each other - things are heated for a moment, and then really die down after that. From the moment they reconcile through the rest of the drama - they're supposedly now very in love with each other and actually care for one another; however, it felt like there was more heat/chemistry between them when they were estranged from one another. Maybe just a personal opinion.
I think it was more of who the actual characters were that I kind of got annoyed with.
Qin Sang - stubborn, loyal, strong-willed, but fairly bull headed. She was logical and understanding at certain points, but at other times she was unreasonable and caused trouble. I appreciate that she wasn't quite a Mary Sue character, but for someone who was fairly well educated and cultured, she was just bleh and kind of stupid at other points. That being said, I think Sun Yi did a decent job portraying this character. She pulled off the cold, unfeeling character fairly well, but I was hoping she'd bring in a bit more of her cutesy-ness (a la Because of You) once the relationship between the two was better - but it was still just a bit lacking.
Yi Lian Kai - I actually really enjoyed Elvis Han's portrayal of this character - and the character overall. He pulled off the arrogant, playboy, young master very well - but was also believably mature and logical when needed. You could see the changes in his personality when he was happy, angry, sad, etc. and overall I have a decent impression of his acting after this drama.
Pan Jian Chi - Another actor who I think did a fairly decent job in this portrayal. As I was watching, I actually felt like PJC cared for Qin Sang and believed that his feelings were real. You could also see the struggle between love and duty in his face and could understand why he made the choices he did. Overall good job.
REWATCH VALUE: I'm not really jumping to rewatch this any time soon. If I did, it would mostly be to understand better what is going on politically since I know who everyone is and what relationships are already established. It is another drama that I was hoping would be a new favorite, but kind of falls just slightly above memorable.
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This review may contain spoilersOverall, I have mixed impressions of the drama. Weirdly enough I enjoyed watching it (in terms of entertainment factors), but I will definitely say that this drama had a LOT of issues and weirdness about it, but a few good points to almost balance it out.
The plot line for this drama was honestly all over the place. I know it was based off of an IP novel, so maybe it made more sense in writing? IDK. I also know that it's supposed to be an "Odyssey" which I guess it really was, it was just such a convoluted path to get there.
The story began easily enough. Rich, young, beautiful daughter of a court official buys an amnesiac boy from a market. Girl also meets a city detective and together they solve crimes around the city with some help. Ok, cool. There's a bit of fantasy involved (obviously), but for the most part, it's relatively logical (for a Chinese drama at least xD)
Fast track to the middle of the drama, the slave boy remembers his true identity, has stolen a precious treasure, and returned to his original homeland. The female lead (IMO) has been getting more and more immature as time passes and is just downright whiney most of the time (I still love Janice Wu though). The second male lead is weirdly one of my favorites at this point in time (he's mature and brave, but still has a bit of a playful personality behind him). The fantasy aspects pick up more, and things start taking a weird turn.
By the end of the drama, we have people turning into dragons, bats, and moths. There's "soul splitting" occurring (Hey, Harry Potter), time travel (multiple times), and magical spells running amok. Relationships are fully formed by this point, and just overall there's honestly a lot going on that you somewhat get lost in the mix.
The romance is super slow burning, which isn't a problem (there are still a lot of cute moments that happen throughout), BUT my biggest issues are how they played out the various romances.
*** SPOILER *****
*** SPOILER ****
The writers spend basically the first half of the drama with Yuan'an having a crush on Lan Zhi, (which honestly I kind of preferred because he was matured and balanced out her somewhat stubborn and child like tendencies). And at the same time, she showed that she cared for Mu Le, but wasn't really in love with him (even though other people just kept saying it to her as the writers way of making people care about Yuan' an and Mu Le's relationship). They keep this going for more than halfway through the story, up until the point that Lan Zhi is no longer an option. So basically this way, whether it's true or not, it feels like Yuan'an is only going to end up with Mu Le because she couldn't have Lan Zhi anymore. Not because she actually chose him.
And to make matters worse, it's not until after Mu Le remembers who he really is that Yuan'an and him get together (so now she not only chooses him because she doesn't have another option, but she only realizes her feelings when he's not her slave boy anymore. Cool.)
Obviously this isn't how the writers want their relationship to be portrayed - probably aiming more for a "she didn't realize until he wasn't her slave boy anymore that she was in love with him and loved him no matter what his real identity was." But honestly, I personally feel like it backfired for them because it undermined her credibility for falling for him.
Also I really disliked Ming Hui as a character for the fact that she spent the majority of the drama being an adversary to the characters and never REALLY redeemed herself (to anyone but Lan Zhi), but gets to have a happy ending by the end. Bleh.
Overall, the story made sense (I guess), but it just wasn't well paced and fluid like I would hope. You're taking your audience on this epic journey, so making things make sense and fit together is a big part of that.
Overall I think the actors were all pretty good.
Janice is very good at the cutesy and stubborn personality types, though there were a lot of times I couldn't take her seriously when she got angry and what not. (I do think it was refreshing that her character was so blunt and somewhat sarcastic. It's not super common in Chinese dramas).
Zheng Ye Cheng - very believable as the loyal and loving Mu Le. Had a very innocent charm to him. As Ah Ying, (and it might have been his age playing into it for me) but I certain times couldn't take him seriously as a powerful prince. But he was very good IMO.
Zhang Yu Jian - it might have been more of his character (kind of my type lol), but I honestly really liked him as an actor. As I mentioned, he was a very matured character with a strong sense of justice and loyalty, but he had his moments of being romantic and also being playful/flirty which balanced him out well. I personally think he was the most well rounded of characters because you saw his strengths and faults more clearly and ZYJ did a good job portraying those different parts.
Again, I didn't severely dislike this drama. I honestly think it was relatively captivating and fun to watch, BUT there were just a lot of plot issues and character problems that I wasn't a fan of, hence my lower score. It seemed to be a fairly popular drama while it aired, which I can see why, but looking at it overall, there were too many core problems I had with it for me to give it a higher score.
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There were a lot of potentially interesting elements to this story. The fashion design aspect, the military/action aspect, and the business aspect. All three things that don't necessarily go together, but it seemed like it could work. The beginning of the drama wove those three plot points together fairly well in my opinion. Things seemed to make sense as you watched, but as you continued on, it basically seemed like they were giving up on these major plot focuses one by one.
Not even halfway through, most of the action side of it basically disappeared as they closed the plot that they introduced at the beginning of the drama. It went from being action scenes in almost every episode, to being basically nothing until the last few episodes. Honestly, the action side was the only thing keeping this from being completely another basic modern business romance.
I honestly feel like even the fashion element was thrown out of the window after a while. It went from focusing on designing for multiple different business projects and showing the designing process and trial and error, to just basically talking about it and saying "We're starting our own brand," but by the end was only really showing the business aspect of everything and everything else was just something they mentioned every once in a while to keep it in your mind. By the time they created the Qing Cheng brand, there was really NO mention of the design process. Scenes would go by and all of a sudden there was an entire store filled with clothes, whereas at the beginning when she designed the waterproof uniform, there was constant mention of how to make it, what materials to use, what the problems were, etc.
Romance wise, there was obviously a lot of that. It moved fairly quickly (the first kiss was episode 10 or so) and seemed to make sense as to why they fell for each other. There was a LOT of romance happening though. Four different couple pairings by the end of the drama. A LOT of split screen time between these four. There was a lot of focus on the second lead couple, but at this point the main couple was firmly established, so it was ok I guess.
Zhao Li Ying - honestly, ZLY is one of my favorite actresses. I think she always does a really good job with what she's given and shows a good variety of emotion and skill. This particular drama (and a LOT of people agree with me), I honestly think she shouldn't have taken up. Personally, I don't like her modern dramas (or modern dramas in general as they always end up about the same), but after seeing her being such a strong, smart, brave, etc. character in other dramas, it was really annoying to watch her just be such a Mary Sue character in this drama. She was talented and loyal and loving, sure. But that's about it. There were a lot of aspects where she was just a sideline in the process, or they talked about how important she was, but she didn't really show it. I have no problem with her having a cutesy role and whatnot, but I just feel like this character wasn't someone she needed to take up and there wasn't much about Lin Qian that made it a MUST HAVE role.
Jin Han - personally don't think he was that great. I've only seen him in supporting roles, and always as a bad guy, which I honestly thing suits him a lot better. I fall for male characters really easily in dramas, but there wasn't a lot about this role that I was infatuated with. The character himself was fine, but there was a disconnect for me between Jin Han's acting and the character coming to life.
Everyone else - No one in the drama honestly really stood out to me as being amazing. Whether it was character wise or acting wise. Again, this might play into the fact that I don't really care for modern dramas, but overall no one gave me a particular sense of joy while watching.
Side note - the portrayal of Peter really blew my mind. Not so much that the acting was amazing, but just the characterization was just WOW. I know he was supposed to be a bad guy in the drama, but the pill popping, sexual harassment tendencies, and general psychotic-ness was just a LOT.
The drama wasn't terrible. The story made sense overall, it just was fairly boring (really just predictable and meh) by the end of it and again, the main aspects of the story that were introduced weren't all upheld by the end of the drama, turning it into just another fairly standard modern drama. I also again always have high expectations for ZLY dramas and really do think she's a very good actress, but there wasn't much with this drama by the end that made it super worth it (especially knowing how popular and in demand she is and how full her schedule is, I just think this drama wasn't necessary). Don't really feel the need to rewatch as there wasn't a lot in the drama that was super memorable for me.
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This review may contain spoilersSTORY:
Compared to the first season, I actually really enjoyed this story line a lot more (and from start to finish). Even with the time traveling and multiple versions of characters and whatnot, it still made sense to me in the long run and overall had more fluidity than the first season did. I think after the cult success of the first season, and the hesitance for people to watch second seasons, it was overall good and worth it.
At first, I was thinking it would spend more time in the modern world, which would have been nice, but honestly I prefer historical dramas anyways, so I didn't have an issue with it traveling back to Dong Yue. Minus a few scenes throughout the episodes (the fridge falling out of nowhere and crushing the car as an example). things flowed well and made logical (using the term loosely) sense.
I think the use of the additional actor as the "other" 8th prince made the drama a lot better because they didn't have to use as much CGI and it was less for Xing Zhao Lin to have to deal with. He also brought different elements to the story which I enjoyed.
The romance was full on from the first minute, which is what I was expecting. I appreciated that this go around, as crazy as he was, that the eldest prince wholeheartedly loved Tan'er and never gave up on her. I actually sympathized more with him this time around because he actually fought to be with her from the beginning.
I also wasn't a huge fan of the "mystical land" plot line towards the end of the first season, so even though it was mentioned throughout this season, it didn't interrupt the story line like it did in the first season.
I think by this season, all of the actors had more experience on hand. I also like that they were able to bring back all of the same actors from the first season, so there weren't any weird changes throughout and having to explain who this new actor was that was supposed to be the same character.
The leads were still super cute and I think have good chemistry with each other. Xing Zhao Lin, even though he had some help not having to act as both 8th princes the whole time, was really good with keeping the two princes distinct from one another. There were a few times that you weren't sure which prince it was, but that was more of small writing issues IMO.
Liang Jie was a bit less spunky this time around. Maybe it was a writing thing, or just because she didn't have to act like Tan'er and Xiao Tan, so she didn't exaggerate the differences as much, but overall I think she was still good.
Luckily The Eternal Love 1+2 aren't super long dramas (27 and 30 eps, around 35 mins each), so it's a quick watch. It's also a very cutesy and comedic romance drama with a bit of standard imperial court drama, so overall it's easy to throw in when you need something light and cute to watch. Overall would probably watch it again.
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The story itself was a fairly basic one (with a few twists here and there). The young and innocent daughter of a powerful sect for various reasons has to take up the responsibility that goes with her birth right. There are people who think she's incapable or think they would be better. There are those who side with her and want to help her succeed. There's the Big Bad who is the root cause of most/all of the problems that the characters go through. As fairly basic as the story was, that wasn't really my problem with the drama. Maybe it was because I didn't super binge watch it (mostly because I couldn't get invested in it enough to watch it endlessly and partially because it wasn't fully subbed when I started watching), but I found myself just coasting through watching it half the time - not really paying attention to what was going on because I wasn't that interested.
A lot of it also was probably that I didn't necessarily feel like the main leads had great chemistry together (and I love both Dilraba and Vic) so I didn't get invested in the drama because I didn't particularly care for the main romance.Nothing in the drama was particularly mind blowing or exciting. There were a few "Oh wow" moments, which thankfully they had or it'd be even less interesting, but overall I just really didn't care for this drama all that much.
Dilraba Dilmurat - though she's actually a favorite of mine, I'm starting to really agree that she's really only good at playing that cute, young, innocent girl character. This drama was focused on Lie Ru Ge growing up and taking over the reins of Lie Huo sect, but her character never really seemed to change for me. There was never that moment that I was like "oh snap, here's Ru Ge." Especially for her being so heavily associated with fire, her personality definitely never really moved past that young, naive girl for me.
Vic Zhou - probably one of the highlights of the drama (and being one of his returns to acting) but even so, I had mixed feelings about his character at the beginning (though I'm not sure if it was an acting choice or if it was because of how his character was written, While his playful personality was a good contrast to Zhang Bin Bin's cold personality, it just felt like a weird choice for a character who was supposed to be part of the immortal sect (and who had previously been a part of the Dark River sect). Might have just been me though.
Zhang Bin Bin - I always think Zhang Bin Bin does a good job at playing the character he's given. That being said, the actual character of Zhan Feng was definitely pretty one note the whole drama. He was just the quiet, cold "hero" type.
I really just had very "meh" feelings about this drama. The story wasn't exciting enough to keep me intrigued and the chemistry between the actors wasn't intense enough for me to really invest myself into the drama. I wouldn't call it a bad drama, but it's a very unmemorable one for me.
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This review may contain spoilersI wanted to love this drama. My friend got me to watch and told me it was cute and adorable and a lot of fun. I believed her. The first 10 episodes were great and I was honestly enjoying it. Then the big plot twist happened in episode 11 and from that point on, the drama was honestly ruined for me.
***SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER****
This was really the only problem I had with this drama because I actually liked the acting and the chemistry between characters was great.
It started off fairly cliche - ???? - Cruel, harsh boss and the ??? cute, young, innocent girl are thrown together. Contract marriage, eventually fall in love for real. All great. I actually really appreciated that this time around, the male lead wasn't an ass to her the whole time before he realized his feelings, but he was very respectful of her, treated her well, was super cute to her. Great start!
The first episode I thought it was gonna be super melodramatic what with the boyfriend cheating, the sickness diagnosis, etc. It seemed like this was gonna be a downer drama. I was wrong. It was bubbly and romantic and cute. Everything continued on - relationship was cute, they kept getting closer, they finally fall in love.
AND THEN THE BIG PLOT TWIST. and this is where it went downhill for me.
***SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER****
***SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER****
***SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER****
***SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER****
You find out that NOT ONLY was the female lead NEVER sick with Leukemia, but that the male lead knew about it from the beginning. What could be worse than that? THE MALE LEAD WAS BEHIND THE WHOLE THING. From day one, he was the one who manipulated the female lead, the doctors, down to keeping her holed up in some private facility for two months while she "recovers" (which they conveniently skipped over in the drama and they go straight from getting married to her being fully recovered in under 2 mins). It was ALL a ploy by the male lead to get the female lead to fall in love with him.
The drama continues to try and make it seem like he did it all for a noble cause - cause he really fell in love with her over the past two years when he was at his worst and she was the bright star that made him happy to live and whatnot. That's all great and that's a great love story. BUT THE FACT THAT HE ESSENTIALLY STALKED HER FOR TWO YEARS, FAKED HER ILLNESS AND FRAUDED HER INTO MARRIAGE MAKES ALL OF THIS JUST CREEPY AND NOT OK.
I know that the drama was trying to make it seem innocent, and she of course forgives him for all of this, but honestly I couldn't get over that plot point. It was too creepy and too stalkerish. If this was real life, there was no shot in hell that she would forgive him and continue their relationship.
Legit if they had kept everything the same - him falling for her prior to really meeting her, but actually had her be sick and have him donate his bone marrow, and all the subsequent story points - MINUS THE PART WHERE HE FRAUDED HER - I would be perfectly fine and I would have been able to enjoy the second half of this drama. But honestly, I can't believe they romanticized a legit stalker and manipulator and tried to make him seem noble. I can't.
I think the actors were all really good. I loved the leads (at first) and thought their relationship was surprisingly refreshing for a Chinese drama (where most of the time it ends up being the same plot lines). I was super into the male lead and thought he had a good suave personality, as well as being caring and thoughtful.
Absolutely not. Knowing that one plot twist really I just can't with this drama. They try to make it cute and relatable, but it's just not for me. It's creepy and stalkerish.
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The sequel, more so just follows the various families (Chang Lin Prince, Marquis of Laiyang, Xun family), and builds stories around that. While everything technically links up to other parts of the plot, overall there felt like a bit of disconnect to me. Essentially it felt like you were watching the story in phases which were related, but still felt distant. There is the general main split in the story (which is spoiled for viewers on most site's show descriptions), but even within those two halves, there are so many smaller sub-plots going on that it feels much less connected than the original did.
Overall the story was not bad, especially for a sequel. Most sequels are terrible in comparison to the first, more popular season, but this one was not as terrible as I feared. While there were points that were fairly predictable (who was going to be the bad guy, who was going to fall in love with who, etc.) it was still an intriguing watch. I never felt as though there was a big "A HA" moment while watching, but again, it was still a decent watch.
Liu Hao Ran - By now, most people know that there was a lot of criticism for Liu Hao Ran, a young actor being the main anchor of the show. I definitely think he did a great job portraying the younger version of Xiao Ping Jing, but feel he was lacking the power and stature a bit for the second half of the show. He did a good job portraying the different ages/personality of the character, but I do think he was a bit too young to be the main focus of such a weighty drama. As the younger XPJ, he had that youthfulness and brashness that went along very well with the character. He was cheeky and didn't always listen to others, but was loyal and brave. As he goes through the events of the series, his personality matures a lot, but I felt a disconnect between his acting and character when he was the older XPJ.
Huang Xiao Ming - I have a friend who wouldn't watch this drama because of how much she disliked HXM. Honestly, he again was a bit lacking at times (especially because I compared his character to Mei Chang Su/Lin Shu - yes I know, they are two different seasons and I shouldn't compare, but it's inevitable). He was supposed to be this awe-inspiring general who was brave and strong and so on, but (and yes this is a plot line) you never really get to see that out of him. Within the first episode he is wounded and spends most of his screen time recuperating from his wound (hence again the comparisons to MCS/LS). Whether it was his choice to portray Xiao Ping Zhang that way, or if it was the screenwriter/director - HXM just felt very soft and demure the whole way through and never gave off that aura of the strong general or Shi Zi(prince) that he was.
Tong Li Ya - probably my favorite of the four main leads. Meng Qian Xue had that strong energy and outgoingness that I felt with Xiao Jing Yan and Ni Huang in NIF. She was respectful and a good and filial wife and daughter, but was also a badass who could outtalk others and beat them in a fight as well. I felt the best range of emotion with her and enjoyed all the scenes she was in.
Zhang Hui Wen - another young actress, who - compared to the other leads - was a bit lacking in my opinion. My biggest impression of her was just her having a deer in headlights facial expression for most of the drama - when she was supposed to be sad, angry, etc. While she wasn't terrible, she is IMO the weakest link of the main characters. While it was also plot, her character felt a bit one note - she always was just kind of there - not necessarily happy or sad, but just there. The few scenes where she was supposed to be upset, you felt a bit more energy out of her, but overall meh.
REWATCH VALUE: As I learned with Princess Agents, I definitely feel differently about a show when I can watch the whole thing in it's entirety vs watching it as it airs, so eventually I'll watch it again to see if I have a better impression the second time around. While definitely not a -bad- show, it just pales so much in comparison to the original which was almost perfect from most standpoints. NIF 2 just falls slightly above the average for me.
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The premise of the story was definitely really interesting - being able to jump into someone else's dream and whatnot. I think overall the first half of the drama was honestly fairly entertaining and cute when it involved the fantasy elements of the dream world. The end half of the drama definitely wasn't bad by any means, but once the relationship left the dream world and entered the real world, it definitely just became more of an average modern drama. Though overall still a good drama to watch.
The actual progress of the story I mostly enjoyed. There were a few bits that just seemed unnecessary/weird or not well explained/developed to me. I think the development of the main relationship from a fan fawning over her idol to an employee who disliked working for her boss to the eventual true love and support of a relationship was well written.
I will say that again, the fantasy element of the dream world towards the first ? of the drama was definitely my favorite group of episodes. From the beginning it was such a cute and exaggerated way to play out their relationship together, but even through wuxia dream scenes and the "A Chinese Ghost Story" dream scenes and so on, it was a lot of fun watching the two of them interact with each other. In the real world, I will admit I didn't pay a ton of attention to the business side of things (I was watching the episodes raw, so overall I got the main plot, but didn't pay attention to the finer details); so a lot of that was a bit lost on me; but again overall things felt decently paced and balanced. In general, aside from the fantasy elements - the rest of the drama played out like a fairly basic modern drama (hence my slightly lower score). There wasn't much in the actual plot that was mind-blowing or different that what has been done before - but again, still decent overall.
Dilraba - Overall Dilraba is a very cute actress. She's one of my favorites (from the younger class of actresses at least), but overall I do think she still has a lot of areas that need improvement. This type of drama is right up her alley (aka roles that play out like Bai Feng Jiu from TMOPB). Her character was very cutesy, kind, a bit of a temper/stubborn, etc. I think this role was very well suited for her as she's one of the newer actresses who brings that youthful playfulness to these types of characters.
Deng Lun - slowly becoming one of my favorite actors. I've seen a good number of his dramas at this point and have yet to be disappointed. Bo Hai's character overall I feel had the most obvious change/development as he went from the "Man Eater" boss to the loving and kinder boyfriend to Qi Qi. Particularly during the dream sequences I think he really shined because he played such exaggerated characters, but it never felt obnoxious or overdone. Again another member of the younger class of actors, but I think he's going to continue to improve very quickly over the next few years.
Definitely not a drama I'm going to watch over and over again, but this is definitely a much better modern drama than others I've watched these past few months. There was a good bit of cutesy romance, funny and exaggerated nonsense, and more heartbreaking and deeper moments throughout. Definitely worth at least one watch through, but again, I won't say it's anything groundbreakingly different.
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The story honestly is fairly simple. There's no crazy twists and turns. Not a ton of plotting and backstabbing, etc. It really just is a very simple and beautiful telling of two people falling in love and growing together.
The super fun twists that I think most people enjoyed were the great transitions between real life and the gaming world. Definitely something refreshingly new that gave you the best of a modern drama with sprinklings of wu xia.
I really appreciated that even though there were other people who had feelings for the main leads, you never really got the feeling that something could come in the way of the two leads. They just had a pure relationship that was based on similar interests and general good chemistry - not because they were forced together by circumstances or one of them was love lost and then they found each other.
They both honestly enjoyed each other's company and felt very natural with one another. It's really not something you get all the time.
Very well paced out and never felt rushed or lagging at any part.
Yang Yang - Xiao Nai - Wow. What a great performance. Yes, his name was already ringing in circles after Dream of Red Mansions, Lost Tomb, etc. But I would definitely say this drama catapulted him into stardom. Xiao Kai had the tropes of a standard male lead - well off, smart, super popular, beautiful, somewhat introverted - but Yang Yang definitely did a fabulous job making Xiao Nai break past the standard topes and bring about those cute swooning moments that girls (who were really the target audience) love to see in dramas. Every interaction was playful but serious. The kiss scenes and other romance scenes were really mostly due to him.
Zheng Shuang - Bei Wei Wei - While she did a decent job in her role - very smart and hardworking, but still shy and cutesy at times - she was definitely overshadowed by Yang Yang in this drama. Most dramas I watch, I almost always feel like the female lead overshadows the male leads (especially when the story is more revolved around the girl), but Yang Yang was definitely the one driving this performance. The romance scenes, Zheng Shuang was like a wooden board at times (which many other people have critiqued). Being new to a relationship is understandable, but even further into their relationship, it was Yang Yang doing 75% of the work. She's been a very popular actress lately, but I honestly don't really think she's all that great. She does cutesy very well, but I don't feel like she's broken past that yet.
Xiao Nai's Friends - Great chemistry between them all. I think they all did a great job with their respective characters. Hou Zi was the flattest character of the three, for me, but wasn't bad by any standard. Yu Ban Shan and Hao Mei did great jobs showing off their characters' personalities and the loyalty they had to Xiao Nai and each other.
Wei Wei's Friends - Only Mao Xiao Tong (Zhao Er Xi) really had enough screen time to be a developed character, so she gets props for portraying Er Xi's happy go lucky character so well. The other two were good in terms of being the friends, but definitely didn't get a chance to show off much of their acting skills.
I've already rewatched it a bunch of times, so obviously worth a rewatch. Even though you know the whole story, it's still cute and romantic enough to be a good rebound after a super lengthy period drama or a very serious and dramatic show. It doesn't really get boring for me because even though it's not something you have to pay a ton of attention to to understand, it's not really a brainless show that you just play in the background either.
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STORY: After rewatching, I definitely still think that the overall screenplay was lacking in a lot of places. The web novel itself definitely has a lot going on (haven't read it), but I feel like the producers didn't translate everything well on TV. There was so much going on and I was only able to understand everything better because I had already watched it through once. Overall, watching it as a whole show didn't give me as much of a dragging feeling that it gave me when I watched it while it aired - so that's definitely a bonus.
ACTING: Again, I always love Zhao Li Ying (but maybe it was from reading a few stories about her not being happy with how things progressed in the show), I felt like I really preferred her when she was still a slave. I feel like her character had much more personality and expression. Yes, the story gets much more serious in the second half, and Chu Qiao is going through a lot, but a lot of her scenes I feel seemed much more emotionless and just plain. And I LOVE ZLY and know she's a great actress, but that was one show that I feel like she didn't give it her all towards the end (again maybe it was a character progression).
Lin Geng Xin - Watching it this time through, I feel like even though YWY was cold on the exterior, I feel like LGX could have done a bit more to show emotions when the times called for it. Towards the end of the show, YWY got more sassy which I'm totally fine with, but his "romantic" scenes with CQ still felt like something was missing for me.
OVERALL: My impression of it was better than it was by the end of the first watch. Overall I still think that there were a lot of places that could be better (mostly storyline and a bit more emotion in acting) Its definitely a show I wouldn't mind watching again at a future date, but I will admit that even though there were some major aspects I didn't like, I'm PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING that they make the second season (With Zhao Li Ying of course) because I've read a few novel synopses and I need to know what happens in the rest of the story T_T.
**I watched PA as it was airing over the course of a month or so, so I definitely don't remember EVERYTHING that happened, but just what I remember feeling at the end of it**
I began watching about two weeks into the show airing, so the first 10 or so episodes I got to binge and watch all at once (my preference is to binge watch cause I don't forget what happened earlier in the show cause I would have just watched recently).
-The beginning of the story - great, fabulous, and captivating. I loved watching her learn how to be a skilled assassin (from YWY at least) and the slow relationship building between them and everyone else in her life. The bad guys were (sometimes) obnoxiously bad, but apparently that's really how things were in those times.
-By the middle of the drama (before everything with Yan Xun's family), things were still looking good. Chu Qiao/Xing Er was better trained and now actually using the skills she had learned.
-After everything that happens with Yan Xun's family (using that as the turning point), everything seemed to go downhill story wise. Suddenly everything was starting to combust and it was ridiculously hard to keep track of what was going on. (I'm honestly still not 100% sure what happened with Chu Qiao and the events before the story began (the past she forgot)). I kept watching daily to keep up with the show, but (and I'll attribute part of it to me not being able to binge it all at once) it really felt completely disorganized and it seemed to lose focus by the end of the show.
-By the middle-end half of the show, I had completely forgotten that Chu Qiao was originally Yu Wen Yue's slave and whatnot because there was just so much going on that I had forgotten the foundation of the story.
**I honestly don't think any of the actors were bad, but the characters lost points for me due to bad script**
-Zhao Li Ying is my favorite actress (at the moment, but at least for the next few years). Her acting is honestly always great to me. She is great at the cutesy innocent girl with a naive heart (Boss & Me). She was amazing as a hardworking and smart - though super stubborn - female (Legend of Lu Zhen). And she was great as a witty, cunning, and calculative double agent (Rookie Agent Rouge). She still excelled here for me as a trained assassin and super loyal companion in Chu Qiao Zhuan.
-Lin Geng Xin - I've only seen him in BBJX, but my friend (who I was watching the drama with) had high hopes for him, so I obviously did too. He did a decent job as Yu Wen Yue. Fairly standard "intelligent but cold" male lead. However, (and yes this is mostly due to script issues), he essentially became a background character by the second half. When he actually had screen time, it wasn't super captivating and memorable, so his character really felt lifeless to me by the second half.
-Shawn Dou - absolutely loved him in the first half as the loyal but carefree Prince, by the end he was just another character who kept abusing Chu Qiao's loyalty to him (which obviously makes me dislike him xD). Acting wise, again he did the best with what the script gave him.
**Special Shout Outs**
-Deng Lun !! - my friend was raving about him before he even made an appearance and I wasn't really sure why (hadn't seen him in anything else yet). His character was honestly great. Super awesome comedic timing and really memorable as Xiao Ce. (Loved him so much from this that I watched Because of Meeting You specifically for him).
-Niu Jun Feng (Prince Song) - Adorable in Love O2O and adorable in this too. He was great as the side character who had feelings for the main lead (but never really had a shot lol). In the later half of the series, he did a great job with the serious story lines he had to deal with.
Now that the whole series is aired (and subbed) I'll honestly probably go back to rewatch it once just to a) be able to see the whole drama in entirety and maybe be able to keep up with the plot better and b) go back and see if maybe understanding the plot better will give me a better outlook on the drama and c) to listen to the soundtrack over and over (it's already downloaded onto my phone) and sing along.
I might update this once I've rewatched to see if anything changes.
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This review may contain spoilersPRECURSOR: I was able to finally watch this because there were english subs available on youtube (actual subs, not just straight translations of the Chinese subtitles); However, halfway through (around episode 45) the subtitles ran out, so the second half of the drama I watched just with Chinese subtitles. I understood enough to get the major points of the story down, but definitely missed out on most of the politics talk/etc. (Still feel confident that I understood the majority of what was happening plot wise at least).
If you watched Legend of Zhen Huan (which I'm sure most people who watched this saw that one first), you're definitely gonna feel like this is just another version of that. Same lead actress, same director and production crew. Similar story (following the life of a young girl who becomes a powerful Empress Dowager). I will definitely say that while the similarities are clear, the storyline itself felt very different in many aspects. So don't just skip this because it feels super similar to Zhen Huan!
**Definitely going to have a lot of comparisons to Zhen Huan (since that one was the more popular of the two).**
-This story really ranges through the ENTIRE life of Mi Yue. It begins before she is even born and shows the precursor to why people treat her a certain way later on in life. It goes through her years as a young princess in Chu and continues on through the power struggle when she becomes Empress Dowager and even through her regency and later life. That was one thing that I probably would have enjoyed seeing with Zhen Huan (but the actual sequel deals with the later half of her life when the Qianlong Emperor is (well) emperor).
-Because it covered the whole 100 or so years of her life (she lived from 338BC - 265BC - damn). There were definitely certain parts that felt a little lagging, but it was still well paced enough that I wouldn't feel the need to skip chunks of the story (As many people - at least I did during a rewatch - will skip the nun story line of Zhen Huan).
-Whether or not it was fictional or actually closer to history, I really wasn't a fan of the person she became after she becomes regent. It wasn't even the power that annoyed me, but how she dealt with the conflicts with Qin and Yi Qu. (Not going to say more because it'd be a spoiler - unless you know Chinese history). It felt like the character was backtracking in personality because she had become so strong in later life.
-I think there was a good balance between showing us her relationships with everyone to the inner harem fighting to actual political fighting. (Zhen Huan was majority inner harem fighting and that can get tiring).
-Overall it did a good job showing us her life (again not sure how historically accurate it was, but it's TV) and felt like a very good portrayal.
-Sun Li really is the ultimate empress. I've only seen her in these two dramas, but the characters definitely had their differences and they didn't feel like the same person - so props to her. She's a beauty who isn't afraid to be ugly which really pushes actors to a new level because their expressions and emotions feel real. When she cries, it's not the delicate tears falling from her eyes that many other actors will do, but its full on sobs and snot and greatness.
-Liu Tao - I definitely think it was probably partially her and partially the director that wanted her character to act that way, but honestly I kind of got annoyed at times with her character. She's a fabulous actress with a good track record, so it doesn't diminish her abilities, but there were times when she would be in anguish over her child or something and the way that she would cry out for her husband and just really irritated me. Overall I still think she did a great job showing the life of Mi Shu as well. (As you again see her from childhood until essentially the end of her life).
-Everyone else - no one else specifically stood out to me as beyond excellent, but everyone else did a fair job as well. No one majorly bothered me in any way.
-Honestly not sure if I'd rewatch. The length doesn't scare me so much (I made it through all of Fan Bing Bing's 90 some odd episodes of Wu Ze Tian) and I actually enjoy the epic lengths sometimes. But something about the show didn't have that same captivating feeling that Zhen Huan (sorry for the endless comparisons) had. It was definitely a good drama, but there's nothing pulling me back to watch it again and again. The schemes and what not against her were intriguing the first time through, but it wasn't intricate enough to warrant a rewatch (think Nirvana in Fire scheming - that's the stuff you want to watch again and again). The relationships were good but nothing making me yearn to see them again. Overall good, but not good enough to be mind-blowingly great.
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Casting wise, I absolutely loved everyone. You know that you have great writing and actors when you sincerely hate someone, because that is so much harder to do than to love a character. No one was annoying, as in many other dramas I've seen, and they all seemed to work very hard to fit the personalities of their character.
Music is beautiful. I absolutely love the different songs in the OST.
I've actually already rewatched it in the past year and a half, so that has to count for something.
Definitely a must see. Ariel Lin and William Feng are really amazing together and its great to see where the characters end up.
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