- the leads are super cute together
- stylized fight scenes
- original soundtrack by Roc Chen ( A Bite of China)
- Song Yiren is perfect for the role
- Chen Feiyu is charming and has some acting potential
- Tong Yao’s gorgeous
- the scenery
- a couple of the supporting cast is great. My favorite is Yin Taosheng as the head of the outpost at the beginning
- first female director + scriptwriter for a male-lead Xianxia drama
- weakened female characters, especially the Princess and Sangsang
- Chen Feiyu’s got to work on his lines
- the side plots are boring
- many of the supporting male characters look the same after a while
- Leon Lai needs a dubber, and maybe some facial expressions
- it looks like they spent all their budget on the scenery, so the sets often look too clean and fake
- only like two dozen people live in this city of a million
First of all, props to the director and editors for actually trying to edit. Even if it doesn’t always work, you can tell they at least tried by doing things like editting two different fights together for effect. The three major fight scenes are also very well-choreographed and editted for a drama.
Male lead Ning Que is your fairly standard young, talented orphan with the burden of revenging his family. First time TV actor Chen Feiyu makes up for what he lacks in experience with a natural young, cocky feel. Plus he definitely looks at the female lead with loving eyes, and looks great in the fight scenes. His lines are noticeably weak, but I think he has potential if he works on it.
Ning Que’s companion, an orphan he found as a child, Sangsang, is soooo cute. She is obsessed with money, loves food, and is often smarter than she is willing to work to be. I love all the little details they put into her, like sleeping with her money box as a pillow and not giving guests eggs with their noodles. Song Yiren fits the character perfectly lookwise, and her acting is very natural. The only bad thing is they seem to have taken some agency from her. In the book, she felt more of an equal with the male lead.
Tong Yao looks great in a tiara and her acting’s always been decent, but her characterization was pretty inconsistent here. She’s supposed to be a beloved benevolent princess who also has her ruthless side, but most of her actions don’t show that. Despite people saying she is wise in the show, she is easily provoked and often acts impulsively. Even worse, instead of befriending the female lead like in the book, she seems to have instead fallen for the male lead instead. It’s unfortunate because her role was such a rare dimensional character who is both really good and really cruel. I think it says a lot that the opening scene changed her from murdering her husband to asking her maid to die in a sacrifice for her husband.
The side plots are very dull and so far the only interesting non-lead is Yin Taosheng as Ma Shinang, the head of the post in the beginning. Hopefully once Ni Dahong’s character and Sangsang starts interacting it’ll be better. It’s like they have a different scriptwriter because the leads’ interactions always feel so much more human, while everyone else’s feels flat. I’m going to admit I fast-forwarded through most of them.