Koala Reminisces About the Perfect Time-travel C-drama that was Bu Bu Jing Xin

How did this happen? One minute I was drinking a nice Red and the next minute I was sobbing like a loony after watching one (1!) measly Bu Bu Jing Xin MV. What the hell? Seriously? After all this time BBJX still manages to tap into a visceral id inside me that the mere hearing of a theme song, or a flashing image of a smiling Ruo Xi frolicking with 8th Prince or a blushing Ruo Xi staring at 4th Prince, turns me into a quivering mess. I realized that it’s almost exactly a year since BBJX ended its initial airing, a time-travel period C-drama that was neither about the hook of time-travel or the period setting. It was about ambition, about fraternal love and rivalry, about a woman’s journey from first love to forever love. It was all those things that transcend genres and regions, which accounts for why BBJX was a rousing success all around Asia and beyond. This drama was fricking AMAZING. I said it then and I can still say it now. Granted that I haven’t rewatched it since I finished my last scene recap and realized that crying so much was very very bad for my eyes (it took me weeks to recover from the prolonged puffiness), so I can’t say that a full rewatch will stand up to the test of time. But I can say that watching MVs swept me back up into the world of a 20th century girl transported back to early Qing dynasty imperial politics and reminded me of just how incredible dramas can be when the production, cast, and crew treat it like a labor of love. It is by far the best performance I’ve ever seen from Nicky Wu, Kevin Cheng, Liu Shi Shi, and Lin Geng Xin. My loverboy Yuan Hong nailed it but he nails everything so this was a cakewalk. I don’t know when (and if) the purported BBJX 2 set in modern times is ever getting made, but check out some MVs to walk down memory lane with me, plus a special treat of a fanmade modern BBJX MV that has me salivating for a modern sequel even if deep down I know it’ll likely suck. Watching Korea struggle with time-travel dramas (Dr. Jin, Rooftop Prince, Faith) makes me appreciate BBJX all the more. Be warned – watching the MVs below might send you down a rabbit hole.

What more can I say about BBJX? I think with time and distance I see more of its limitations, but conversely appreciate more of its accomplishments as well. In the year since then, I haven’t watched another C-drama from start to finish, much less recommend one. BBJX remains the outlier in a time when dramas are mass produced with scripts written by chipmunks or hired hands who care more about the bottom line then narrative cohesion. Taking a novel from writer Tong Hua, the production company Tangren was able to silence every critic (myself included) who howled when the initial cast was announced and derided every pre-release tidbit that came out. The truth is – BBJX is everything a great love story aims to be, and the drama manages to take the essence of the novel and transform it into live-action format.

BBJX MV set to opening theme song “One Persistent Mind”

What I would give to have a happy ending for every single character in this drama. Yes, even for 9th Prince! In my happy Koala land, 4th Prince and Ruo Xi are happy, 8th Prince and Ruo Lan love each other, 13th Prince and Lu Wu are traveling China together, 9th Prince and Yu Tan are far away and content, and 14th Prince never gets embroiled in it all and wages one successful military expedition after another. To think that only 10th Prince and Ming Yu got their happy ending in the drama still makes me weep uncontrollably. Because ultimately everyone wanted to be happy, except life never allowed them. Looking back, I think I forced myself to move on from BBJX, because I was so deeply immersed in it that the ending almost incapacitated me. I needed to let it go so that I could recover. But in truth this drama will forever reside inside my heart, a true masterpiece.

BBJX MV set to side theme song “A Season of Waiting” – Ruo Xi and 4th Prince

This is an OTP for the ages. I swear I spent the last 10 episodes of the drama crying almost exclusively because of them. Nicky and Shi Shi made their love eternal, unforgettable, and utterly gutwrenching. The modern ending scene at the museum left me sobbing out loud making inhuman gasping sounds, that was how incredible it was to watch BBJX from beginning all the way to the end. I can still remember key lines of dialogue between them from memory a year later – “She cares about everyone else, but I only care about her.” The arrow, the cape, the hair pin, every little thing between them is etched in my memory.

BBJX MV set to “Almost Lover”: Ruo Xi and 8th Prince

It’s my fault for not featuring more Ruo Xi-8th Prince in my scene recaps of BBJX. This was one love triangle where I loved the heroine with both guys, and actually thought the guy she didn’t pick was the better choice for her. 8th Prince (and Kevin Cheng’s performance) was mesmerizing to the Nth degree. The final scene between 8th Prince and Ruo Xi, when she is leaving the Imperial Palace and he waits outside for her to say farewell, I might have cried harder there then anywhere else because of what could have been but could never be. It was only because Nicky’s 4th Prince was the OTP that gave him the edge, because otherwise I would say it would be impossible to pick between the two. The snow walk remains to this day THE single most perfect man-woman walk I’ve ever seen onscreen in any medium.

Fanmade MV of the Modern BBJX Sequel set to Adam Cheng’s classic HK ballad “Laughing at the Wind”:

Whoever made this is a GENIUS. That is all.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.


Comments

Koala Reminisces About the Perfect Time-travel C-drama that was Bu Bu Jing Xin — 45 Comments

  1. I can’t wait for the sequel. I find myself re-watching this movie from time to time and it never fails to get me all emotional.

    • I’m sensing that a sequel will not do the original justice, unfortunately. BBJX conjured all types of emotion and the actors were superb. Until BBJX I had enjoyed Jang Nara’s c-dramas, but BBJX is in a class all by itself. Nicky Wu was formidable as 4th Prince, later emperor, 8th Prince was “beautiful” (more than handsome), 9th Prince was a liberal thinker, and 10th & 14th Princes could not have more endearing or sweet. BBJX, xiexie. :-)

  2. Ah memories!

    I watched BBJX last December while I was on a kdrama break. I don’t remember why I chose that drama, since I don’t usually watch C-Dramas. So I just picked it up, started an episode and next thing I know I was marathoning the whole thing during Christmas break. I was watching the last episodes from Dec 24-26th, so i pretty much cried myself to sleep over the holidays xD

    Now every time I hear “Three Inches of Heaven” my mind flash back to “that cold and snowy winter when i gut-wrenching drama makes me sob like crazy every night” I’d really associated that song with a period of time in my life: that’s how I was in love with that drama. I’ve moved on since then, but revisiting it does put a smile on my face :)

  3. Thanks for the BBJX entry. I was a mess for awhile too after this masterpiece ended. It lingered so strongly and to hear the theme song brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy, and melancholy. I plan to curl up with it on a cold and damp weekend and warm myself because this is one great drama.

    It was hard for me to chose betw 8th and 4th brother (both were perfect for her tbh) but 4th brother won me over in the end.

    Thanks for keeping the BBJX flame alive OcKoala!

  4. Ms. Koala, what exactly is it about modern dramas that Chinese productions hardly ever seem to get right? I’ve been thinking about this lately and haven’t quite come up with an answer.

    • I feel it’s cultural plus censorship in mainland China. It’s also ridiculous to me that voices are dubbed. C-dramas are lavish, colorful, artistic (music & dance) and fun to watch, yet sometimes they lack in continuity of story. I enjoy historical vs. modern day dramas, because the latter are so predictable it hurts.

      • ” I enjoy historical vs. modern day dramas, because the latter are so predictable it hurts.”

        THIS. Which is ironic, since history is what’s set in stone! It just boggles my mind that China can create some really epic romances in period dramas but its modern romances are so pedestrian in comparison (though not as poor, thank goodness, as over the top Taiwanese dramas). I’m not quite sure what you mean by cultural, though? I have noticed that Chinese dramas in general have this pervasive melancholy to them that works with epic themes but kind of destroys the atmosphere in slice of life dramas.

    • I find lots of the sets for modern settings too fake and doesn’t make sense realistically. The period sets I ADORE though. The scripts are always so bad humor and full of necessary goofiness that makes Taiwanese dramas ‘village idiot’ humor acceptable. I also find that most producers that work with ancient setting dramas stick with it. Only makes the gap bigger and bigger T_T

      Also, they’re bringing in all these foreign actors that feel disconnected onto the sets. I just hope the exchange helps to learn something about what makes Korean modern dramas so successful, but I doubt it does other than trying to get korean idol fans to try out c-drama out of their need to support their idol.

    • Yay, I loved Queen Inhyun’s Man! BBJX was also really good, though I need to go back and finish it (school got in the way and then I never restarted it). This is a good reminder that I should go back and watch it.

  5. Last week I mustered up the courage and rewatched BBJX even though I knew it does immense damage to my eyes, and well its a heavy drama to rewatch. It was just as good second time round and the crying did not lessen at all. but the interesting thing is that you pick up things you didn’t before and you analyze the story more deeply. And just seeing this post brings back so many emotions.
    I can’t wait for a sequel, but please please please give me a happy ending this time

  6. I don’t swear often Ms Koala but your post, I had to think several times before I could even contemplate playing any of the MVs. I don’t have alcohol as an excuse. This drama is just pain personified for me. The love(s) were so bittersweet and hard fought that it just seared in my memories.
    Loved the songs, loved the MVs. Love her voice. The pain I am feeling now… not so much.
    God. What a drama.I can’t even begin to say how I felt seeing 4th Prince looking on the palace walls knowing he is looking at her leaving!!!!!
    Omg, obviously I am not over this drama. Leaving it in a dark, dark corner of my poor bruised heart. Am not a Chinese drama person- this would be the first period drama I’ve watched since my childhood, if they produced this calibre of dramas nowadays- not touching anymore, it’s not worth seeing all of them NOT have a happy ending. That is just so wrong to write it that way.

  7. I think jdrama Jin is the best time travel drama among BBJX and all these korean time travel failures. BBJX is not bad but all “these boys figthing for the girl and everything ends with tragedy” was booooooring after some time ! Jdrama Jin remains THE CRACK for me. It had everything !

    • the guys were not all fighting over Ruo Xi. I actually loved 13th and 14th most despite them not being romantically involved with her. I would’ve died if they were!!!

  8. Gagh, was not expecting to see this when I opened your blog. Been reading since Playful Kiss – disagree with many of your points but always enjoy the opinion! :p)

    On Bu Bu Jing Xin however, I just nod along to every comment. What a rare gem amidst all the stones being shoved down our throats.

    Its funny to me how much I truly appreciate Ruoxi when I’m usually invested in the male half of the OTPs. But here, we have a couple that is so damn compelling together and apart you almost have no choice but to be swept along their romance.

    Stories where so many brothers fall for one girl makes me roll my eyes – but again here, I get it. Because there are so many sides to Ruoxi’s character, so many different facets and nuances that you get what attracts the princes and how they each fall for her. But what makes 4th prince’s love so special is that he loves the essence that is Ruoxi. 10th princess fell for the carefree charm, 8th prince sees a shadow of another woman and bloom of first love, 13th prince sees a rare kindred spirit in woman form, and 14th prince sees the ideal unattainable woman, but 4th prince just sees Ruoxi, he doesn’t necessary understand her, nor comprehend why he loves her, he just does. sigh…. beautiful.

    thanks koala for this trip down memory lane.

  9. ouch… love BBJX the best Cdrama ever to date. But I just cannot rewatch it again – the story was so very heart wrenching that my bleeding heart n weepy eyes will never recover from the pain :(
    Maybe just maybe if it is the holidays and it is cold and wet outside – I may have the courage to rewatch this masterpiece!!!

    Thank you Ms K!

  10. Darn it, this just made me tear up so badly. BBJX was actually the first c-drama I tried since forever that’s not a wuxia, and boy was it straining. Marathoned through it in 2 school days, and also made everyone I know suffer with me.

    I would recommend watching it a second time, because you pick up so much more. First time I was flailing myself at the 4th prince, second time I was in awe at the 8ths. It’s quite strange. (Although I skipped through the last 10 eps ’cause I’m a coward)One day, ONE DAY I’ll watch it through the whole heartwrenching scenes.

  11. Coincidentally, I also took a BBJX trip down memory lane (through the online novel) last weekend. This statement – ‘I wish I could hate, but I can’t even do so’ pretty much sums up the helplessness of the turn of events as everyone only did their best (or worst ?) in the circumstances. I think this show should rank as a classic since it got the start , middle, and ending right. After watching so many near-misses that got 1 part wrong – like Queen in-hyun’s man, SKKS, Secret Garden it is a relieve to know that the next gem may be around the corner. Love RX n her princes, love all the other women in the show, n hope all of the actors remain popular forever for their good delivery of their characters.

  12. Dayum, I was tearing-up while reading the article. Now I feel like rewatching which is probably not good for my heart and eyes.

  13. thanks for the bbjx post koala sis! bbjx made me a mess during its run. like DTLY, BBJX i watched cuz of your recommendation. i don’t usually watch c-dramas. *sighs* this one is made to etched on our minds and haunt our memories. the mv posts are awesome. reliving this makes me bawl so hard again. i had to watch it streaming because it’s hard to download this drama. this made me loss sleep. i am mighty glad i don’t have the same dilemma as you have when crying cuz i don’t have fluffy eyes after.

  14. it was a great drama….loved all the characters, actors and actress….i’m still a little mad about ruo xi leaving 4th prince, no i should word it more correctly, i was mad at ruo xi’s method of leaving 4th prince, i respect her decision of wanting to leave the palace, but she should have chosen a way that will hurt 4th prince less…..

  15. This calls for a re-watch. I have been steering away from a re-watch due to the surge of emotions that will arise from reading the book OR watching the drama but I guess now is a good time to walk down the memory lane of BBJX

  16. same here, I read all your specific ep recaps on bbjx before I watch it…and still cried the last 10 eps…everytime I re-watched it I cried again….

  17. I dont know if BBJX is a blessing or a curse. It was so good, so moving yet so heart breaking that i was in a slump for over 4 months. I’m not an avid drama lover, but there is just something about BBJX that i cannot get out of my head. I think about it all the time after i finished watching it, rerunning the scenes in my head, playing with what-if scenarios. Even a vacation couldn’t help me take my mind off it. And after half a year, whenever i hear the theme song, either when my mom caught it on late night tv, or when i watch the mv, my heart skip a beat. I want so badly to rewatch the drama, but so scare that i cannot endure another slump. So i just watch it in pieces. BBJX, why are you so good that it hurt?

  18. I finally got over the drama when I deleted the theme song, ending song, and Seasons of Waiting from my phone yesterday… I guess it has been a year. Talk about hard to forget story and performance and soundtrack..

  19. Curses on you ockoala! I finally gave in amd started watching this, I am 6 episodes in already since i got home from work. Yikes, what have you done!? But VERY good.

  20. Oh my gosh, I agree with everything. BBJX basically incapacitated me as well. I couldn’t think about anything else and found myself crying randomly about the OTP for weeks after I finished it. And I have tried to convince pretty much every friend, family member, and acquaintance to watch it. I really hope they make a modern sequel with the original cast. I search every once in a while for news but haven’t seen much expect that, supposedly, it will start filming at the end of the year. I’m not holding my breath.

    Does anyone know when Nicky and Wallace’s drama, Xing Ming Shi Ye, will air? And Yuan Hong’s Mulan drama? I’ve seen previews and some reports saying they are supposed to air at the end of 2012, but that is fast approaching and I haven’t been able to find a solid date yet. I need some Nicky and Yuan Hong back in my life :)

  21. anyone knows the blog or website where i can the novel in English only please? i am very much interested in reading the english novel.
    i re watched BBJX like several times and read Ms Ks posts/recaps at the same time before. Now I am thinking of re-doing it again bwahahaha!!!
    Talk about get on with my life after BBJX.
    can you recommend CDrama worth watching because this is the best so far i have ever watched… pure perfection

    • Hey JP, I’m pretty no English translation of the book exists. Maybe some day since the show has become so popular internationally. If you like BBJX, you might like Legend of the Condor Heroes, same director, and Yuan Hong (13th Prince) and Liu Shi Shi (Ruoxi) are lovers in this one! And Yuan Hong with hair is H.O.T!!! Also, supposedly Yuan Hong gave Liu Shi Shi her first kiss ever in the filming of the drama because I guess she had never been kissed before but she had to do a kissing scene with him. Hu Ge and Ariel Lin (the other two main leads in this drama) are fantastic in their roles! You might also try Guai Xia Yi Zhi Mei http://www.viki.com/channels/1481-iljimae-china It’s more light-hearted, kind of needed after the emotional mess BBJX leaves you in, Liu Shi Shi is one of the stars in this one and she kicks some serious butt as a martial arts bandit. Wallace Huo is also nice on the eyes and a great actor. The drama centers around a team of vigilantes – kind of like a Chinese version of Robin Hood. Enjoy :)

  22. OMG I don’t know how I ended up on this entry. It’s so nostalgic reading all the posts and recalling my very own obsession-driven marathon earlier this year where I consumed the series over a matter of days, AND dry-rinse-repeat. Two more times. THEN I went on to voraciously wolf down the original internet novel by Tong Hua.

    Totally agree with everyone else that BBJX is brilliant – in plot, characterization and pacing.

    They say, “In a good play, everyone is in the right.” BBJX nailed that down totally. You cannot help but feel a gut-wrenching sympathy for even the most unlikable character. Once u delve into each of their inner psyche, everyone has compelling reasons for acting the way they do.

    I have only cried at two places in the series, thank God! BUT the series made me depressed for a long time, it is the sort of devastating drama that I need to pull away and recover from, by watching many comedies! BUT oh so good!

    • Hi Xiao Qiao… what website did you read the novel?
      is it in English?
      please share info… thanks in advance
      i am looking for the english version online of this drama

  23. I just found BBJX last week, ie i weep through the last five episodes, and then bought the book and weep through the last hundred pages. The epilogue needs a dehydration warning. As long as the sequel is not HZGG3 bad, then I will be a happy person.

    What really stood, for me, about the tv series is the pacing. Cdrama and even kdramas have a terrible habit of dragging things out with too much talking about how much they love each other and crying, oh my god, the crying. This they really made the story move along but showed and not told us about how all the characters felt about each other.

    On the downside, the child actors need to be fired. Not the kids fault but still all fired.

    Re: English translation for the book. I do not think there is one, but YouTube has a version with English hard sub uploaded by ancientseries or ancientdrama or the like.

  24. I finished in the middle of the dark last night, crying myself to sleep. I dreamed about an impossible love between 14 and me and woke up crying!

    Not sure if the real world can understand how devastating watching something like BBXJ is, and why it takes so long to recover, but it is comforting to know everyone heredoes.
    Not that you all aren’t real, mind you…

    [Spoilers for ending below. I warned you.]

    Do I think you know who ran after you know who V2, or that he came back with tissues?
    Since the director added this ending, presumably to please the audience, I have to say YES.
    Why even show us his feet walking in? Why show HER his face again?
    I don’t care how much will you have to separate from your past, there is no woman on the planet strong enough to resist a do-over with the greatest love of your life.
    Plus, he isn’t the most powerful man in her world, able to crush someone at the smallest slight. He is the guy she hallucinated drinking tea. He’s just only 4. Her one and only 4.

    I think doing sequel drama would be like catching lightning twice in a bottle, but couldn’t they pull a Fierce Wife?
    A nice two hour fanservice love story with them in the present, peopled by cameos from everyone in XXJB?
    I’ll have one of those, please.

  25. I finally managed to get my hands on a batched file and just finished watching it some minutes ago. Was curious to watch this after all that gushing from Koala when it aired last year.

    I am familiar with this famous rumour about the 4th Prince grabbing the throne from the rightful heir (14th Prince) by altering the King’s will. There has been many movies with their take on what (could have) had happened.

    This drama was pleasant enough to watch and I was only moved to tears in the last episode when the Emperor read Ruoxi’s last letter to him and after her death when her belongings (hair pin, snuff bottle & arrow) were given to him ….. so touching!

    The only actor I am familiar with is Nicky. I have no clue who the others are, not having followed any C-dramas in ages. However, I must say in the modern MV, the 8th looks cute!

  26. A year down the road, I m still absolutely crazy Abt BBJX. Reading your comments made me reminisce even more. Thank you so much for sharing

    Nicky Wu as 4th prince is absolutely the perfect one. Rewatching it again now, n I tend to fast forward other scenes just to watch him n Rouxi together like in boat at the Lotus lake or when he shield her from the rain or when she played a trick on her. God, it is so touching. Absolutely how a forever love start and grow. How I wish in real life there is something like this.

    Yes you are so right. The Fanmade modern BBJX is a inspired work of ingenuity ! Excellent!

  27. My wife and I were turned on to bbjx by a friend of ours — it’s our first chinese drama, tho I lived in Japan for many many years when I was younger. Very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the series. Really top notch in nearly every regard, and it has us completely hooked. I liked the comment above about the different kinds of love we see between Rouxi and the princes. I sure hope bbjx-2 doesn’t blow it all up.

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