Hua Xu Yin: Ep 1 – First Impressions
After a long delay, the period c-drama Hua Xu Yin is finally airing this summer! Woot woot! I’ve been waiting a couple years for this drama to air, so of course I have to check it out! 😀 Hua Xu Yin has been highly anticipated by fans of its original novel (Jiu Zhou Hua Xu Yin by Tang Qi Gong Zi) and its star-studded cast. The drama boasts the big names JIANG XIN (Legend of Zhen Huan), Kevin Cheng (Bu Bu Jing Xin, Ghetto Justice), and Yuan Hong (Bu Bu Jing Xin). Yes everyone, two of the princes from BBJX are in HXY. *wink wink*
^Yuan Hong & Jiang Xin’s characters.
Going into this drama, there are already a couple of issues that have been brought to my attention:
- Sub-par costumes & set – The joke goes that fan cosplayers’ costumes look better than the actual drama’s costumes. T_T Don’t go into HXY expecting elaborate, gorgeous costumes or an authentic set. The set can look kitsch at times, and the costumes may look unflattering or gaudy. CGI is just ok. Oh well–I am checking out HXY for the acting talent, not for the costumes.
- Novel vs. drama adaptation – Since I haven’t read the original novel, I can’t say whether HXY does justice to the original or not. But according to some friends who have watched the drama & read the novel, the drama makes a lot of changes. Some cast members are mis-cast. Plot changes & personalities of characters were changed. And so on. Novel purists beware! Watch at your own risk if you’ve already read the novel!
Episode 1 opens with a very spoilery animated scene. The heroine, Princess Ye Zhen (Lin Yuan), narrates:
“Many years ago, my name was Ye Zhen. I was the princess of the Wei state. At that time I fell deeply in love with a man named Mo Yan. Only later did I know, that he was the enemy country’s crown prince, Su Yu. For Su Yu, I disobeyed my King Father, and became a criminal of the state, sacrificing myself for the country by jumping from the city walls. Everyone hated us for our love, but what made me the most sad was, Su Yu actually tricked me! Is it because I am a person who can weave dreams with my Hua Xu tune?”
Thanks for the spoilers, Ye Zhen. T_T I appreciate the animation and the pretty art (reminds me of the animations from Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei). It adds a nice touch to the opening of the drama, and it tells us the meaning behind the title. But still, the opening is waaay to spoilery! Already I know that Ye Zhen will fall in love with Mo Yan/Su Yu (Kevin Cheng), betray her country, and commit suicide. T_T
Of course, the story is more complicated than Ye Zhen’s quick narration in the beginning. Ye Zhen (Lin Yuan) is the princess of the Wei kingdom. She is your usual ditzy, impulsive and naive heroine; I can’t help but get annoyed with her. I understand that Ye Zhen means no harm, but ARGHHH. She is impulsive–for instance, she escapes the palace even though she knows that her guards will be punished if she does so. She has no concept of what is dangerous–e.g. Mo Yan pretty much kidnaps her but she just accepts it and doesn’t try to escape from him. Also, she doesn’t understand that if she leaves the palace, she has a high chance of being captured by baddies. And lastly, she is an air-head. =_= Why oh why must we have a heroine that is dumb?!?! Unfortunately, Ye Zhen is the main heroine of the drama. Needless to say, if I continue watching HXY, it won’t be for her.
Mo Yan/Su Yu (Kevin Cheng) is the eldest prince of the Chen Kingdom. He wants to be chosen as the crown prince, but to do so he needs to find a “special person” that was born on a certain day and has special powers. Surprise surprise, Ye Zhen is that person. Her power has something to do with channeling spirits & making all animals (except for snakes) like her. Later on she will also have the power to create dreams for people. Mo Yan encounters Ye Zhen by chance, and within just one episode she has already fallen head over heels for him. As you can guess based on the opening scene, Ye Zhen & Mo Yan’s love story won’t end well.
According to fans who have read the novel, Kevin Cheng is mis-cast as Mo Yan. The Mo Yan in the book is younger and has a different image from Kevin. Ironically, the general consensus is that Kevin looks better with a queue (aka half bald) than he does with this hairstyle. IMO it’s the blue bangs that aren’t working on him.
Although I’m unimpressed with the Mo Yan x Ye Zhen OTP, I’ve got to say that Jiang Xin as General Song Ning makes episode 1 worth the watch. As you may have heard, Jiang Xin was phenomenal as Hua Fei in the Legend of Zhen Huan. So I had no doubts about her acting in HXY. And Jiang Xin has proven me right. Granted I’m totally biased so maybe that’s why I’m enjoying Jiang Xin’s acting so much, HEHE. >_> BUT OMG I loved her character from the very moment she appeared on the screen and said her first lines. If there’s one word I could use to describe Song Ning so far, it would be “sharp”. She is a well-established general in the Wei kingdom, and thus is strong, perceptive, and intelligent. But she’s not the kind of general that always has a poker face and puts on a tough facade; Song Ning has a soft spot for Princess Ye Zhen and is almost like an older sister figure to her. I’m annoyed by Ye Zhen but when Song Ning is in a scene along with her, I am appeased. 😛 I am so READY to watch alllll of Jiang Xin’s scenes in HXY. 😉
There are still plenty of other supporting characters that haven’t showed up yet. I’m ready for Yuan Hong on my screen once again:
It’s hard to make a judgment call on any drama based on one episode alone. As of now, I doubt that I will watch ALL 54 episodes of HXY from start to finish. I am not sure that I’m ready to commit 54-ish hours of my life to watching HXY just yet. Some people who watched HXY told me that they only watched the most important scenes & skipped the rest of the story. I will likely follow in their footsteps & strategically watch all Jiang Xin/Yuan Hong scenes while omitting Ye Zhen scenes.
For those who want to take a stab at reading the original novel, you can read up to chapter 12.1 thanks to Fanatical’s fan translations.
Theme Song by Huo Zun & Lin Yuan
Quote translation credit: Viki
Note: The full title is Hua Xu Yin Zhi Jue Ai Zhi Cheng.