The Princess Weiyoung: Eps 1-11 (First Impressions)
The Princess Weiyoung (also known as Jin Xiu Wei Yang) is a currently airing period c-drama, billed as a princess-gets-revenge story. It is based on the novel The Poisonous Daughter. It garnered interest due to its casting of Tang Yan (My Sunshine, Lady and the Liar, Perfect Couple), Luo Jin, and Vanness Wu (Autumn’s Concerto). I heard good things about the drama from fans, so I decided to check it out. I ended up watching the first 5 episodes all in one sitting–and then I continued watching more the next day. What did I get myself into?
“As a phoenix reborn from ashes, it can’t be reborn if it hasn’t died. If she [Xin’er] were to attain great success, she would then soar high like the phoenix.”
The Princess Weiyoung tells the story of the last remaining survivor of Liang royalty, Princess Feng Xin’er (Tang Yan). Xin’er’s carefree life falls apart when her father (the former Liang king) is framed and her whole family is slaughtered. Li Weiyang, the estranged and illegitimate daughter of Prime Minister Li, rescues Xin’er. Ironically, the Li family was behind Xin’er’s downfall. Long story short, the real Weiyang gets assassinated, so Xin’er takes her place and enters the Li household to get revenge. From here on out, I will refer to Xin’er as Weiyang. (Note: The official English title and subtitles spell her name as “Weiyoung,” but I think “Weiyang” is more accurate.)
Weiyang is fated to be like a phoenix–literally. She gets into near-death situations, but she always survives and comes back stronger and better. Just in the first 7 episodes alone, there are about 5 attempts on her life, and Weiyang experiences the deaths of 5 people who are close to her. This makes the drama suspenseful and intense, with plenty of cliffhangers that made me watch each next episode. However, a lot of these life and death situations are over the top. It feels like the drama is trying to make the heroine go through the worst things possible, just to make it more dramatic.
Weiyang is a likeable heroine who is easy to root for. She is loyal, resilient, smart, and quick on her toes. She’s clearly someone you’d want on your side as your ally. Tang Yan’s portrayal of Weiyang is pleasant and passable. The voice actress for Weiyang is really good and sounds natural–I believe she’s the same voice actress who dubbed for the heroine in Legend of Zhen Huan. Tang Yan’s styling is on-point, with beautiful outfits, jewelry, and colors that suit her well.
Despite Weiyang’s good qualities and likeability, she lacks substantial character development. Weiyang is so unrealistic that she feels like a superhuman. She goes through horrible trauma, but magically gets through the grieving process by crying a bit and having a few flashbacks. Even after being treated horribly by her enemies and being on the verge of death multiple times, she emerges undeterred and acts the same as before. The drama rarely explores Weiyang’s inner conflicts. Also, Weiyang is not convincing as a vengeful princess. She is such a good person that it feels unbelievable. If she really is out for revenge, I want to see her darker side!
There are plenty of OTP moments between Weiyang and Tuoba Jun (Luo Jin), also known as Prince Gaoyang. He’s known to be an excellent prince and eligible bachelor–honorable, skilled at archery and martial arts, and gentle. Hopefully Jun will have more character development once he gets involved in the fight for the throne. The chemistry between the OTP is really cute and has lots of warm fuzzy feelings. Jun falls hard for Weiyang and does his best to pursue her once he realizes his feelings. Weiyang rejects him multiple times even though she likes him too. (Much facepalming ensued on my part.) Their budding romance is slow-going and feels innocent–gotta keep in mind that they are supposed to be young (Weiyang is around 17 years old) even though they look like they’re in their twenties.
^Top pics: Chang Le and Chuyan Rou / Bottom pics: Li Min De and Li Chang Ru
The antagonists feel like they come straight out of a Cinderella story combined with a harem story. Madam Li (also known as Chuyan Rou)–the official wife of Weiyang’s father–serves the role of the scheming empress or the evil step-mother. Her daughter, Chang Le (Li Xinai), is like the competitive rival concubine or the jealous sister. The drama has done its best to make them as horrible as possible, with no redeemable qualities. There are a lot of passive aggressive conversations between Chang Le and Weiyang that I usually just fast forward through. T_T”
Weiyang has a couple allies, aside from Jun. There’s her cousin Li Chang Ru, who is always making googly eyes of love at Tuoba Yu (Vanness Wu). And there’s my favorite character Li Min De, her adopted cousin who is a tsundere. I always love Li Min De’s scenes with Weiyang because he livens up the story!
Lastly, Vanness Wu made his acting comeback as Tuoba Yu, another prince who is vying for the throne. To be totally honest, when I first saw Vanness’ picture with his braided hairdo, I seriously thought it looked good. T_T Upon watching the drama, I realized that it doesn’t do him justice at all. It only looks good from certain angles. Whenever Tuoba Yu has a scene, I get too distracted by his hairstyle and eyebrows….
All in all, I really enjoyed the first episodes of Princess Weiyoung. I kept on watching and watching because of those cliffhangers! I got a kick out of the OTP scenes and seeing Weiyang fight back against her injustices. Princess Weiyoung is not the next Nirvana in Fire or Legend of Zhen Huan. It’s a typical period c-drama, and that’s ok with me. Sometimes watching the palace c-drama tropes is just plain fun, even though I’ve seen them all before.
Will I keep watching? I already peeked ahead at some of the later episodes and it seems like Weiyang’s endless persecution continues. I may end up dropping the drama out of exhaustion at seeing Weiyang almost dying over and over again. If anyone has gotten much further, let me know if it gets better…
If Heaven Has Compassion by A-Lin
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