The King’s Woman: Stockholm Syndrome

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SO SO SO PRETTY. The cinematography in the drama is no joke! The King’s Woman tells the story of Gongsun Li, the daughter of a military general, who was skilled in martial arts and actually saved a young boy named Yin Zheng in her childhood. Yin Zheng fell in love with her and held onto this fervor until he ended up becoming king, but of an enemy territory. Due to the manipulations of people beside him, he became a cruel and ruthless ruler. Meanwhile, Gongsun Li grew up with her fellow disciple and these two were childhood sweethearts. Jin Ke, her fellow disciple under her commander of a grandfather, protected her throughout their lives, but became poisoned during a battle. In order to obtain the antidote, Li made a deal with the king, Yin Zheng. He would give her the antidote if she came and lived with him after Jing Ke got better. While she agreed to this deal, she hated coming to the palace and becoming one of this concubines. However, over time she warmed up to Yin Zheng who showed her a warmth that he kept from everyone else. Yin Zheng even let her keep the child inside her womb for which Jing Ke was the father! Slowly she rose through the ranks of the palace and had the ear of the king. However, she kept him at an arms length because she could not trust him as the enemy of her state. Luckily for her, another disciple who was secretly in love with her hid himself in the palace and become her secret bodyguard. With both the king’s and the bodyguard’s protection, she was able to survive in the harsh palace environment.

This drama was more of a hit than miss for me, but I still did not end up finishing it. The main couple is one of the most beautiful pairs I have ever had the pleasure of seeing! Dilaraba is so gorgeous and perfect for Gongsun Li and Vin exercises a charm that was irresistible. They had amazing chemistry together as well! Furthermore, the costumes and the way the scenes were shot were beautiful. I’m talking about that 1st sword rushing scene with the petals flowing. However, what fell short for me was the plot. The first half was okay, but then it dragged and dragged. I would fast forward through many parts and just watch those two together. And the ending, I heard rumors and spoiled myself. WHYYYY!?!? All in all, it was a decent watch, but just not my cup of tea right now!

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The Eternal Love: The Fun One

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Not to be confused with Eternal Love/Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, this one is a fun webdrama that follows more of a Princess Go Princess style. Like PGP, Eternal Love uses the storyline of a time traveling woman (I thought time traveling dramas were banned….) who lands in the period time of Dongyue Empire. Xiao Tan inhabits the body of Qu Tan Er, a composed and reserved daughter of a high official and a concubine. Qu Tan Er, the original owner of the body is in love with Mo Yi Huai, the eventual crown prince of the empire. However, their love is not meant to be and the prince ends up marrying her older sister in order to fulfill in his ambitions. Sheis forced to marry the prince’s 8th brother, Mo Liang Chen by her family. She ends up trying to commit suicide, but Xiao Tan lands in her body instead. Xiao Tan is rash, loud, and tomboyish. Thus, when they switch back and forth in the same body, it confuses everyone else around her who they think she is going crazy. Furthermore, every time they switch, they cannot remember how they got to their current location or what has happened before their switches. Mo Liang Chen is a clever prince and is distrustful of Tan Er because he knows she is Mo Yi Hua’s woman. However, as Xiao Tan inhabits the body, he slowly begins to have affection and trust for her. Xiao Tan also begins to fall in love with Mo Liang Chen who saves her again and again which causes emotional turmoil for the two women in one body who love two different men!

Not all period dramas have to be serious angst-fests. I love this breezy and fluffy fusion piece. Liang Jie is amazing at portraying two completely different personalities. It is funny to watch Xiao Tan take revenge for Qu Tan Er whenever they are bullied. She is not afraid to fight back and be extra sassy. I love how she also pulls on her modern knowledge to add into the confusion! It also extremely steamy between her and Mo Liang Chen. He is quite good as a leading man, especially when I have only seen him in a small side role as Princess Agent’s bodyguard. I am glad to see him come into his own in this piece and be extra charming to matching Xiao Tan’s sassiness. As for the rest of the characters I could really care less. This story is about the candy sweetness, or actually the spiciness between our two lovers!

Lost Love in Time: Sorcery

 

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Pretty, so so pretty. However, I am having that meh feeling that I had when watching General and I. I want to so hard be addicted to it, but right now I feel like I can’t get into it. Lost Love in Times tells the love story between sorceress QinCheng and prince Yuang Ling of Wei. QinCheng and her faction of sorcerers are tasked with the job of protecting the royal family. Yuang Ling, the skilled 4th prince and general nicknamed “God of War”, becomes involved in a family struggle for the throne. Because he was the actual rightful heir the throne, the current emperor sought to have him killed and put his sons up to it. However, Ling survived due to QinCheng saving him. He was grateful to her and ended up falling in love with her as he recovered. Her mentor also decided to help Ling correct the power and political structure of Wei and even sacrificed his life for it. While Ling wished to take QinCheng as his wife, she believed that protecting him and his position as more important. Furthermore, the state did not approve of him marrying a sorceress. Thus, he decides to throw a coup on the day of his wedding with the help of QinCheng. They hoped to reset the land and bring about peace by overthrowing corrupt officials and healing the rifts between the royal family members.

So I love Liu Shi Shi and I like William Chan…and I even love the cinematography and costumes. BUT like I said before, everything is pretty, but on the surface. First of all I feel like the pair fell in love way to fast with absolutely no scenes showing how they got to know each other. Perhaps I am the slow burn type of person, but I wanted to see some development of a bond and not immediate pleasebemywife connection. To be honest, even the romance between the elders of the sorcery clan seemed more natural even though they just showed a few scenes of it! But, after I watched another 4 episodes, I did have to eat my words a bit. With the time reversal plot line, the romance came to a stop and the relationship started to be rekindled at a slower pace. What As for the politics, now that could be expanded on and intriguing. I wonder what happened between the two princes for them to be so vicious and at each other’s throat. I need to stop being so harsh and give it a few more episodes to sort itself out. Perhaps everything will align and hopefully suck me back in!

Princess Agents: Wonder Woman

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Since you have probably noticed the large gap where there were no posts…let me tell you where I was at! I was on kdrama dry spell and decided to focus on watching just one cdrama, Princess Agents. Never happens right?

This drama had become my obsession for the last month. It has seriously topped my top cdrama! Princess Agents is about Chu Qiao, a assassin/spy who had lost her memories and ended up taken as a slave by a genius spymaster, Yuwen Yue. After almost getting killed through human hunting by the other princes of the city, she also attracts the interest of young Yan Xun, hostage son of Yanbei. Due to her several members of her adopted family being killed by the Yue household, she had decided to become a slave for Yue in order to get a chance to kill him. However, seeing the potential in her, Yue decided to train her to become a spy even at the risk of him being killed himself. As grand spymaster, he enjoyed manipulating the people around him and everything he does was not what it seemed. Chu Qiao found out that it was not Yue’s fault that her adopted brother and sister died. She cautiously warmed up to Yue and enjoyed his teachings. However, she knew that she needed to escape the slave life eventually when she could fend for herself.

During this time, she forms a friendship with Yan Xun who saves her time and time again from dangerous situations. She grudging accepts his help which delights sunny Yan Xun. Even though they had a class difference, he wished that he could take Chu Qiao back to Yanbei and marry her. However, the Emperor of Wei decides to get rid of his competition, Yan Xun’s father. He mercilessly slaughters Yan Xun’s entire family before he could escape. Meanwhile, Chu Qiao becomes strong enough to kill the elder who had made her siblings die. With prices on both of their heads, they were thrown in jail to be executed. Yan Xun suffers enormously as he is forced to see not only the decapitated heads of his family, but his mother commit suicide. He nearly loses his own life as well, but Chu Qiao rallies him up as he is pondering death. These two suffered through three more years of assassination plots and exile before being pardoned. Meanwhile, Yue is hindered by his elders and family, who forbid him to help the traitors and made him seem like he betrayed the two. A deep seated hatred began to develop between Yan Xun and Chu Qiao towards Yue. However, the emperor was not going to let Yan Xun go anyways, and plots to kill him on his wedding day where he uses his own daughter, the princess, to be wed to him. Yan Xun takes this chance to massacre the royal city and rebel against Wei. Chu Qiao, who is much stronger after years of hardship, helps him escape. However, Yan Xun is not the sunny prince of before, but has turned into a cruel, hard man who has no more mercy except towards Chu Qiao.

A long long series that I don’t want to end! I absolutely love Zhanilia as Chu Qiao who is able to pull of that cold spy type, but also show empathy towards the commoners. She is so skilled in fighting, her morals, etc, and its amazing to see such a strong female lead. She bests even the strongest opponent and fights for what she believes for instead of just following a man. As for Yan Xun, Shawn Duo, played him perfectly. I first fell in love with his sunny smile and playfulness in the beginning. He showed his true acting chops as he slowly became bent on revenge and that simmering rage is a sight o behold. To be honest, I feel like Chu Qiao and Yan Xun are the perfect OTP as they see things on a similar level. Yan Xun only cares about her and vice versa at this point. While Yue is toted as the main lead and is played by my favorite 14th prince of BBJX, I just really don’t see his OTPness with Chu Qiao. There are just not enough scenes with them and I can’t see that deep rooted bond as with the other couple. Perhaps, the later few episodes will turn the tide. As for now, I will enjoy my yummy dark Yan Xun.

General and I: Epic Angst

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Chinese traditional epics usually have the same trajectory: childhood loves, pain and suffering for 2/3 of the drama, and then 1/3 happiness and death. However, depending on how long the drama is and how tightly the story is written makes all the difference. General and I is quite long, a whopping 62 episodes. The drama starts out pretty good with our female heroine, Bai Ping Ting having both the brains and beauty. Her role in society at that point is the maid of a young prince of one of the three warring kingdoms in China. However, she actually functions as a war tactician due to her great knowledge of the battlefield through ancient texts. She attracts the attention of Chu Bei Jie with her knowledge prowess. Her fated soul mate is not the prince with whom she grows up with, but Chu Bei Jie. Bei Jie is a war god/general who is fierce on the battlefield and a brilliant tactician. He is also the half brother of the a king from a different kingdom. When both were younger, Ping Ting’s father had saved his mother. Thus, he remembers her forever and vows to find her. One day, Bai Ping Ting and her Prince He Xia, get trapped in a plot where their entire family is wiped out due to the fight for power. These two become separated and eventually Ping Ting is saved by Chu Bei Jie as she floats half dead down the river. She later finds out that it was Bei Jie who helped annihilate her adopted family due to a deal he had made with the other kingdom. He had thought he was helping achieve peace between both nations, but he was tricked by the other kingdom. While Ping Ting dislikes him at first, eventually she falls for him as he treats her preciously. General Bei Jie loves her for her intelligence and kindness of heart. He thinks she matches him in every way and actually enjoys it when she beats him in battle. However, He Xia is trying every which way to exact revenge on Bei Jie as he blames all his tragedy on him. Because Ping Ting ends up falling in love with Bei Jie, she chooses to leave He Xia’s side to support her husband. Many obstacles stand between Ping Ting and Bei Jie. Each of them makes multiple sacrifices for the benefit of the other.

THE PRETTINESS. Angelabby and Wallace Chung are such a treat for the eyes. I enjoy Wallace’s acting, but unfortunately I can’t say as much for Angelabby. She is serviceable, but I feel like she has one expression for all her feelings. Everything is beautiful, people and costume-wise. However, it just isn’t as engaging as I thought it would be. I must also comment on the awkward CG backgrounds at times. It is clearly very computerized and doesn’t look natural at all. Sometimes I get so distracted by the background, that I miss out on important scenes. While I am about half way through, the drama is definitely starting to drag a little. The beginning was quite interesting as it featured their battle of wits against each other. However, now it is just petty palace intrigue coming from both sides, an Imperial Consort and a Prince turned Prince Consort. I hope that these two lovebirds make it through and have some happiness for all their sufferings.

Empress of China: Wu Zetian

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I told myself I wouldn’t start it many times due to the long length of the drama, but I finally caved. The costumes of the Tang Dynasty are just so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist. Now I haven’t watched any of the actors or actresses in the drama before except for Janine Chang, so I really just came for the costumes. I am in the beginning of the drama at the moment, and so far Wu Ruyi, our main character has captured my heart. She has the makings of all the main lead females that I like. She is smart, witty, gorgeous, and a fighter. Wu Ruyi enters the palace as a “imperial wife”, one of the dozens that comes through each year. All the concubines wait eagerly for their chance to be with the emperor even for one night. However, Ruyi, just wants to eke out a living in the palace. By chance, she is able to meet the emperor one night and he becomes interested in her (not sexually). He thinks she has interesting ideas and a cute personality. Instead of sleeping with his other wives, he ends up spending time with her whether that be just talking or hanging out. Of course, as this is the royal harem, all the women get jealous. Not the regular kind of petty jealousy, but the vicious, I’m going to poison so you will never appear in front of His Majesty again. Poor Ruyi made only a few friends in the palace so far, but has already had some stab her in the back. She is also targeted by the higher up concubines who do not like a young thing usurping their power and the majesty’s attentions. However much torture Ruyi endures, she struggles through it and becomes stronger on the outside. She gives it back as good as she has got. She knows that she can’t rely on the emperor’s fleeting favor and has to fend for herself.

I ended up really liking this drama which is surprising because usually I dislike watching internal harem politics and the viciousness of women who are jealous. However, I enjoy how strong Ruyi is and I really couldn’t care less about romance in the story. I just want her to achieve more power and give it back as good as she got it. She is enduring so much pain and misunderstanding now that she can’t get revenge on. Although later we will know that all this hardship will harden her heart and will affect how she rules in the future. I really also hoping that some of the friendships she has made will last her most of her rule because it will be so lonely for her if at the top of her power, she has no one to share her happiness with. However, in such a dog eat dog world, it may be the just the closest ones to her that stab her the deepest. I don’t know how many episodes I will watch of the drama, but so far it had me watching 10 in one sitting!

 

Master Devil Do Not Kiss Me

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For the bishounen shouja fanatic in me, how could I resist this quick and cute little drama and it’s sequel? Think of it as a cross between Hana Yori Dango and Playful Kiss. Master Devil is about Chu Xia, a young girl whose family encounters tragedy and she ends up living in rich boy Qi Lu’s house. Yes, I know this trope is used a million times, but how could I resist? Chu Xia came from a poor background and is your typical Candy, but not your usual doormat. She doesn’t take bullying well, but doesn’t use violence at all to fight back. She stands up to Qi Lu, who by all means is your usual handsome jerk. He wasn’t always like this apparently, but it was due to heartbreak when his previous girlfriend left him. She ends up being taken in by his family and starts attending their prestigious school. There, she makes several friends, while not neglecting her old ones. She of course also makes several enemies as well who are jealous of her. She is quite smart and often competes with Qi Lu on every topic. This of course, attracts quite a few suitors. What follows after is your typical slice of life drama about all the hijinks and bickering these two get into with each other.

While I admit, the acting and the story line isn’t stellar, I am still quite addicted to the drama. With each episode only being 20mins long, you just breeze on by. However, I must say that the actress who plays Chu Xia is loads better than her counterpart in Qi Lu. For me, I enjoy the slew of flower boys who adore her and how oblivious she is to them. Unfortunately, every suitor is better than the actual lead. Qi Lu is quite a jerk and he still hasn’t showed much growth development even as he heads into the second season. Poor Chu Xia of course will only fall for the jerk and not even given the other caring guys by her side a chance. If you miss the olden days of F4 and romcom tropes, this is for you! Don’t forget to watch the second season as well!

The Princess Weiyoung

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My tastes in tradition Chinese dramas are very specific. I love the ones where the heroine surpasses her peers in either intelligence or martial arts, or even better, both. Princess Weiyoung hits all of those points and has a perfect cast to match. Tiffany Tang plays Xin Er, the princess of the Northern Dynasty whole is loved by all for her intelligence and kindness.

However, one day, the Jiang Clan of Northern Wei decides to take it upon themselves to overthrow Xin’er’s family so that they can enjoy the power instead. Much blood is spilled and Xin’er’s entire family is completely wiped out except for her and her personal bodyguard. While on the run, Xin Er is saved by the illegitimate daughter of the Imperial Tutor. Weiyoung is shunned by the Jiang family because her mother is of low birth. Her family tries multiple times to assassinate her so that she is unable to go to the main house. Thus, she lives her life in the countryside and ends up dying while defending Xin Er from harm.

As a result, Xin Er decides to take over Weiyoung’s identity and get revenge both for her friend and the deaths of her family. She survives numerous attempts on her life by the Jiang family and eventually moves into the main house under the fake identity. There, she encounters much resistance from the main madam and Chang Le, her rival in love and status.

The Jiang family tries every which way to discredit her and kick her out, but she is able to outsmart them all and even gain praise for the Emperor himself. With her kindness, she manages to gain loyal supporters by her side even in the tiger’s lair. She also manages to catch the eye of Prince Gaoyan and Prince Nanan, potential heirs to the throne. Prince Gaoyan moves her heart as he has saved her from several difficult situations. However, she must keep her distance due to her real identity and her quest of revenge. Of course, Chang Le also has her eyes set on Prince Gaoyan and plots with her mother on how to get rid of her rival. It is a game of cat and mouse where a wrong step could mean one’s life.

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Go Princess Go: The Other Genderbender

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A parody, but also not really. We always see dramas genderbending girls into acting like boys, but not often do we see the other way around. This time, like BuBuJinXin, we have a time traveler who ends up in the era of Chinese dynasties. However, this time, it is a guy who becomes a woman! After suffering an accidental drowning in the pool, Zhang Peng becomes Royal Crown Princess Zhang Peng Peng as he is thrown back several hundred years. He ends up in the body of a very beautiful woman, but still has the mind of his past life as a player whose only goal in life is to eat good food and fool around with beautiful women. At first, he tries to kill himself again in order to go back to the future. However, he ends up lusting after all the beautiful women he encounters in the palace, including his own maid and the crown prince’s concubines. It becomes hilarious since he is still in a women’s body and they are oblivious to his advances. However, she soon becomes sand-whiched between the Crown Prince Qi Sheng that she is married to and his brother, 9th Prince. In the beginning, Qi Sheng had no romantic feeling for his wife, Peng Peng, and was having an affair with another brother’s wife. The past Peng Peng just became embittered and jealous as time went on. However, after Zhang Peng took over, she gave Peng Peng an entire personality change. She was empathetic to the plight of the men and didn’t even mind all the affairs and concubines as she was too busy enjoying herself with all the beauties. At one point, Qi Sheng tried to assassinate Peng Peng when he thought he was unable to control her and thought she was a danger to him. This pushed her into forming an alliance with 9th prince and his friend. She wanted revenge on Qi Sheng and to grab hold of power for 9th prince or even stabilize her own position in the palace. However, as time wore on, Qi Sheng become more and more interested in the new Peng Peng and even fell in love with her. Their intense emotions for each other vacillated daily.  She became more and more entrenched in palace affairs and eventually even bore Qi Sheng a child. However, this vicious cycle of them lying to each other eventually came to a head as they constantly tested each other on their feelings. Peng Peng also became feminized as she fell in love with Qi Sheng.

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