First Impressions of King of Lan Ling: Of Pretty Kings and Emperors and One Clueless Goddess

You won’t believe the numbers of emails and comments I’ve gotten in the last week asking me to (1) recap King of Lan Ling, or (2) share my first impressions of it. I’ve been meaning to write about it but strangely there have been quite a few C-dramas that have turned out really watcheable recently in addition to King of Lan Ling (in particular the witty sitcomy Longmen Express and the cheeky re-imagining of the Justice Bao legend Detective Alliance) so I confess spending more of my time watching rather than writing. I want to cut to the chase and just go with a stream of consciousness like review of the first fourteen episodes of this highly anticipated C-drama starring some of the current It-names in greater Chinese entertainment ranging from Feng Shao Feng, Ariel Lin, Daniel Chan, George Hu, Zhai Tian Ling, Wei Qian Xiang, and Mao Lin Lin. This one promised to have luxe beautiful visuals seeing as it came from producer Chen Yu Shan who did Autumn’s Concerto and Material Queen. So what do I think of this drama having watched 1/3 of its episode count? It’s laughably easy to watch, and I say this as a compliment and in all earnestness. There isn’t a single truly horrendous actor to be found, the story barrels along at breakneck speed, and the visuals have a simplistic prettiness about it that doesn’t hurt the eyes.

So yes, this is a C-drama that is as easy to watch as one would find it easy to eat to well-decorated homemade cupcake. But at the end of the day, no matter how you dress a cupcake and try to increase it’s allure by jacking up the prices, it’s still a very sweet dessert with humble ingredients and an ordinariness about it that asks the taster not to over think it. King of Lan Ling is essentially a giant rip-off of two major classic mangas with a twist. It takes the soothsaying goddess with two rulers in love with and fighting over her straight from Hosokawa Chieko‘s long running Crest of the Royal Family (Oke no Monsho and also known as Daughter of the Nile) crossed with many scenes lifted directly from Tamura Yumi’s Basara featuring powerful potential heir battling internal jealousy and external conflicts. I don’t know if the writers of this drama are as big a manga fanatic as I am and have read as many sets as I have, but these are just two of the most glaring similarities that jump out at me but in general the entire drama feels as full of rose petals falling from the sky type of syrupy romance and battle as in a shoujo manga. Is that a good or bad thing? For the drama viewer in me, it’s such a slap in the face of intelligent mature writing, but for the shoujo manga reader in me, it’s like a homage to all that makes the genre as sweet as cotton candy.

This is going to be a bullet point discussion of King of Lan Ling because my thoughts are all scattered as the wind and as this script is.

1. Feng Shao Feng as Gao Chang Gong, the King of Lan Ling. I don’t agree with criticism that he’s not handsome enough to play the character. He’s good looking enough but unfortunately he’s saddled with a horrific hairstyle here. Dreads? Really? C’mon guys, forget historical accuracy, this is historical fugly.

2. To make up for the fugly hair, call me shallow but I really love Gao Chang Gong’s Saint Seiya inspired armor. The shonen fan in me approves! Very Pheonix, yes? Or maybe one of the Zodiac Gold Saints. But that battle mask? Totally cheesy and ruins the effect of all that “look at me” armor.

3. Ariel Lin as Yang Xue Wu. She’s pretty but not drop dead gorgeous. Looks suitable in character and pretty with her long hair and various styles that are all well-designed for her face. Her outfits are overall serviceable. Very feminine, cotton simplicity when she’s out of the Palace and all sorts of embroidered frippery when she needs to get decked out.

4. Daniel Chan as Yu Wen Yong the Emperor of the Kingdom of Zhou. Hands down the best character and performance in this drama. By a margin as wide as the Grand Canyon.

5. I don’t know if Feng Shao Feng is trying to (1) erase everyone’s image of his mugging and over-acting his way through Gong (Jade Palace Lock Heart with Yang Mi), or (2) transplanting his exact same dead-eyed performance as Xiang Yu in the movie White Vengeance (Hong Men Yen with Leon Lai as Liu Bang and Crystal Liu as Lu Zhi), but the first few episodes he was like a zombie walking through the scenes. Only later did he start to come to life, around the time Chang Gong got pissed at Xue Wu for stupidly saving the life and taking the side of Yu Wen Yong, and later when the two of them discover the art of cute banter and flirting. I expect more of Feng Shao Feng because I actually quite like his acting, but in this drama it’s neither here nor there.

6. George Hu as the King of An De. His look is beyond ridiculous. The permed long hair brings shame to the House of Gao. On the upside, I also discovered I really like George more in C-dramas than in TW-dramas. He was adorable in Love at First Fight and Detective Alliance, and is really quite a nice addition to this supporting cast.

7. Yang Xue Wu is the Mary Sue of all Mary Sues, with a side of the stupidity of Yuan Xiang Qin from It Started with a Kiss. In fact, c-netizens have been wondering how the hell Xiang Qin time-traveled back to unleash her imbecility on the ancient world. I get that she is sheltered, but HOMG her naivete and sheer numb-skull dialogue irritates me to no end. But I still love Ariel, but can do without Xue Wu. In construct and execution, she really is the ancient Chinese goddess equivalent of the main character Carol in the manga Crest of the Royal Family. And Carol is such a wet blanket passive character. Ugh, using her to model Xue Wu is choosing to make your female lead a damsel in distress.

8. Speaking of Crest of the Royal Family, I wish this drama didn’t so blatantly rip off so many iconic scenes and set up from that drama. The water purifying scene. The constantly getting saved and stolen between Gao Chang Gong and Yu Wen Yong. I get that they modeled Gao Chang Gong after Memphis and Yu Wen Yong after Prince Ishmin, but I think they went overboard making Gao Chang Gong so perfect that I’m suddenly team The Other Guy. And that is saying a lot because I thought The Other Guy (i.e. always number 2 Prince Ishmin) was a complete loser. Oh, and let’s not forget that second female lead Zheng Er in this drama is totally modeled after Isis!

9. The music. Holy lord do I hate the music for this drama, and I can’t believe the entire drama is being scored to 3 OST themes. Which constantly repeat over and over again.

10. But the original voice dubbing for half of the main cast is awesome. Ariel’s enunciation is exquisite and she makes hearing campy and syrupy lame dialogue out of her mouth bearable. The other original voice dubs in addition to Ariel’s Xue Yu is: Zhao Tian Lin who plays the Crown Prince Gao Wei and Wei Tian Xian who plays Han Xiao Dong. The other leads from Feng Shao Feng, Daniel Chan, George Hu, and Mao Lin Lin who plays Zheng Er are all dubbed by professional voice dubbers. I think Feng Shao Feng’s dubber is all wrong for his character, IMO. Too deadly dull. He sounds like he’s peddling male virility medicine on one of those late night infomercials.I wish the dubber who did Nicky Wu‘s voice as 4th Prince in Bu Bu Jing Xin could have done the dubbing for Feng Shao Feng here.

11. The cinematography. It’s very pretty but too obviously CGI. I don’t mind though because its really just a romance novel masquerading as a period drama about a historical figure. I do wish it weren’t so chintzy with the set pieces and attention to detail.

12. I’m already rooting for the Kingdom of Zhou to conquer the Kingdom of Qi. Aside from the King of Lan Ling and An De, the entire royal family of the Kingdom of Qi are losers that deserve to have their Kingdom trampled on. The snippy in-fighting is so poorly thought out and so obvious I wonder how this royal family survived until now.

13. I find myself laughing in the wrong places because a serious scene becomes ridiculous because of the giant plot holes and clumsy execution. Like the scene when Xue Wu tries to clear her name and save Gao Chang Gong in front of the entire Qi court over the voodoo satchel. The villain sputtering his way to implicating himself is the cheap ass writing I loathe. I wish overall this drama would eschew writing villains as EVIL and just write them as antagonists who have their own agenda and is smart about it.

14. The main OTP of Chang Gong and Xue Wu get bogged down by the drama hammering home on the F.A.T.E. between them and blah blah blah. I got so annoyed each time Xue Wu insisted she can’t marry him because he’s supposed to marry a Consort Zheng. And then the whole thing got resolved in a deux et machina when she was made Consort Zheng by the Dowager Empress. Seriously? *headdesk*

15. I’m not a big fan of the OTP chemistry here. Both Ariel and Feng Shao Feng have better chemistry with former co-stars and are barely serviceable here. They don’t suck and sometimes when Feng Shao Feng wakes up and Gao Chang Gong actually has a personality, then they can be quite cute together. But its few and far between.

16. What really makes the two leads hard to love as characters is that both are written in broad strokes of being smart (yet lacking common sense), righteous (but stubbornly unbending), and loyal (but blindly sticking to a path and getting saved by lucky breaks). It makes me roll my eyes are the over-kill in trying to make them nearly perfect, so instead I quite like the quick thinking and realistic Yu Wen Yong, who has a heart but his own agenda and flaws. He’s the only multi-faceted character in the entire drama.

17. The narrative is really very fast paced which goes a long way in smoothing over all its bumps. Like the Chinese saying goes “One smile can cover one hundred flaws.” By releasing 3 episodes a day, this drama also gives enough the tide people over while quickly giving the next dose. No complaints here.

18. Overall King of Lan Ling is everything I expected – a hodge podge period-ridiculous but narratively-entertaining romance drama with pretty actors mostly doing a good job. There isn’t a single actor of the horrific variety (all-plastic looks, screechy OTT acting) to mar the proceedings so I always end each episode ready to push play on the next one. Don’t worry about watching this without subs. The plot is so elementary you won’t need subs to understand it, and without subs you will have the added bonus of missing out on truly cheestastic dialogue that will sear itself into your brain and cause you to laugh in your sleep. The first scene when the OTP meet at the hot springs has already been immortalized by the c-netizens for being one of THE most laughable moments of romance lore. It’s about as romantic as a scene when one of the Three Stooges mistakes the other for a woman and falls in love. It’s unintentional slapstick at its finest. But don’t worry, erase that from your memory and there are plenty of actual swoony interactions between the OTP.

19. Will I recap King of Lan Ling? Possible, but only if I’m allowed to snark to my heart’s content.

20. And just to end on a nice even twenty, if I had to sum up this drama in one sentence it would be: A very pretty man falls in love with a very logically-impaired sheltered young woman and they tumble into destiny’s love trap while destiny cackles “Yeah, I’m just a bitch” and one stupid kingdom falls while the smarter one rises. The end.

…………………………………

Now for some non sequitur natterings

Feng Shao Feng’s King of Lan Ling get up, as much as I approve the Saint Seiya cribbed armor, is so antiseptic and wholly unable to capture even a 1/10th of his hotness. White Vengeance was a dumb as rocks movie, but his Xiang Yu had a penchant for fur, the prettiest woman in the land, and lots and lots of seksi facial hair. Now that is what I call a very hot man. His chemistry with Ariel here is like grade school when kids pass notes to each other and worry about catching cooties. Put him on a movie screen, he goes for chemistry of the high school variety where the couple sneaks off to make out in the car in the parking lot. But I suppose the image of the King of Lan Ling as a very “pretty” man is what this drama was going for so I’ll let this one slide. Still, what a waste of Feng Shao Feng.

But his Xiang Yu does have by far the bigger sword. And we all know what they say about a man with the biggest sword.

As much as I am relatively enjoying watching this drama, the majority of time this is my expression. See, even Rong Er is not amused by how annoying Xue Wu is 99% of the time.  I can imagine the hilarity that Ariel goes through every time she reads a script and then thinks to herself “I have to say this dialogue tomorrow?” It’s beyond a step down when she’s played Rong Er before, i.e. the wuxia world’s smartest person – not female, just person, she outsmarts men, women, sly animals, and likely gods and goddesses if they existed. Rong Er, smarter in one hair follicle and never overthinks and sticks by her man (even if he’s engaged to another, hells no that is NOT stopping her just cuz some stupid old fogey parents want it), thinks the same way I do. Can Xue Wu be shipped off to the Kingdom of Chen (the third kingdom in this dog fight) where she can cause chaos there?

George Hu must’ve pissed off the costume designer on fitting day. His battle attire includes wearing an iron underwear with a protective shield upside down on his head as a helmet. Forget people being stunned by the pretty of the King of Lan Ling’s pretty visage, the enemy ought to be dying of laughter when they lay eyes on the King of An De. Plus while his hyung the King of Lan Ling gets expensive looking Saint Seiya armor, his looks like the reject first generation Iron Man suit.

But occasionally I like romance as fluffy as rainbows, and this drama does deliver that here and there, and in those moments when it hits, I smile like a loon and sigh with pleasure.

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Comments

First Impressions of King of Lan Ling: Of Pretty Kings and Emperors and One Clueless Goddess — 41 Comments

  1. Looks good! Thanks for the de-briefing. Georgie hu and ariel lin makes it a must see for me. Can you pls tell me where I can watch it? Thx!

    • How can he be ugly and all that bad when I couldn’t stop staring at him and ruined my whole month’s sked just watching this drama in Japanese and Chinese when I don’t understand either language? By the time I found english subs, I’ve watched the drama 4 times over. I agree, some of the aesthetic character set ups were hard to accept at first (the dreads, An De’s locks, the feather boas..etc) but they kinda grow on you, ya know. In the end, I am happy that the main OTP, being the God of War and Heavenly Maiden that they are, didn’t end up compromising their nobility and integrity as can be expected in mere mortals. This is the concept in the story that I loved the most, much as I wanted a happy ending. That we can rise above ourselves and stay true in our course. Personally, I find it pretty darn inspiring when I was only looking to be entertained. That’s how heroes are made, as stupid as it sounds. For this, I give Lan Ling Wang 10 out of 10, even with the zombie acting or horrifying hairstyles.

  2. OMG YESSS!!! I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I was wondering if I was the only person around who was sort of let down by LLW – by and large because of the elementary script. I’d been anticipating this drama for well over a year, so my anticipation/expectations were likely built up. I should have known better than to hope that LLW would have as tight a script as BBJX – the latter of which is clearly the rare exception in the land of mediocrity that is C-dramas.

    I also feel that Ariel isn’t really bringing it as Xue Wu. Then again, XW is such a Mary Sue, Ariel was probably inwardly rolling her eyes throughout the entire shooting. Give me back Rong’er!

    On the bright side, 3 episodes are aired a day, and the “story” zips right along. Small blessings.

  3. Thanks for sharing your comments.
    So far, I have been following this drama, because, you know what, there aren’t many watchable dramas out there now.
    I am watching for all casts n roles except Yang XueWu.
    1) I think Ariel is a little too old for this cast.
    2) Her way of making YXW innocent, nothing but stupidly n foolishly kind – looks like a hypocrite!
    No wonder ZhengEr called Yang a cheater! Well, she was! 1st Yang convinced Zheng that Zheng was to be LLW’s wife n so n so, then …what? Yang married him, got all glamour and love and poor ZhengEr landed in hell.
    3) I kinda like LLW’s hair…he is darn handsome.
    4) realistic roles are Yu WenHu n ZhengEr. Although the latter went too deep into revenge.
    5) don’t u guys think the drama is way too cruel and truly not suitable for young audience. Al the killings, blood splashing, and not to mention the scene where ZhengEr got …. In most dramas, they don’t go into so much. Don’t think it is healthy.
    6) like all the handsome guys n the general of Yu WenYong, looks so cool. Also that fierce looking general of Zhou who got killed by Yu WenHu….these line casts are not bad for recent drama.
    I have not watched any drama for months now….can’t set eyes on any….

    • i think what make Xue Wu naive because she’s live far away from real world, she living in small village and never have to face how cruel the world.

      the rift between Zheng Er and Xue Wu is destiny, from the moment Xue Wu know that she’s not the one who should marry Lan Ling she step aside and denied every affection between her and Lan Ling , and yes she told Zheng Er to look after Si Ye after she’s gone, but Lan Ling keep goin after Xue Wu no matter how hard Xue Wu deny him and act cold, than Zheng Er make a mistake by put that devil doll and make Lan Ling in trouble , in the end she’s been punt uncousious by that evil old man.

      Even Xue Wu keep refuse to be Lan Ling wife even everyone keep told her so until Nai Niang make her to accept to be Lan Ling wife.

      Zheng Er blame everything bad happened to her to Lan Ling and Xue Wu , but i think all happened to her just really bad luck, she knew that Lan Ling love Xue Wu deeply even Lan Ling make it clear to hear and sorry is he hurt her but she wont accept the fact and made evil plan to get rid of Xue Wu while she act as victim and thats really cold.

      yes i think this kind drama are not for young audience but well we can control what want to watch.

      in the end let’s enjoy again this drama . . .

  4. Omo!! You love manga too?? Eeek, I personally looooved Basara so I’m actually liking the mythical element in this series~ I gave up on Ouke no Monshou… I just can’t. I was at one point loved it enough to help out with scanlations but gave up lol. I can see the comparison you’re making though~ but I still think this is a pretty watchable series by far than say… Gong II, etc.
    Now about this series, I’m seriously watching this because of the cast… FSF is doing a better job at being LLW than I thought cus… that man was not the definition of “pretty” when I first heard about this drama. Ariel is just adorable but can’t she bring Rong’er from LOCH with her? Lol. The naivety is just.. sighhh. Now I feel like watching LOCH again.

    I actually really like George Hu lols. Been following him since Love at First Fight. His character here… I feel like it’s a comic relief lol. In that one scene when he thinks Xue Wu and Si Ye finally consummate their marriage and starts calling her sister in-law was pretty funny. Just cus the two main characters were like mad at each other at the time and Xue Wu being the innocent girl she is, insists that Si Ye sends her home -_- but yeah! George Hu!! I wonder if he’s getting a love line? Or did I miss something?

    Daniel Chan. Hands down the best. Period.❤

  5. “His battle attire includes wearing an underwear attire…”

    Seriously, that made me laughed hard in the office haha!!

  6. Hmmm I agree with some things you said here, but not all.

    Out of everyone, I liked Yu Wen Yong. In fact, around ep 15 and onwards, I even wanted him to get Xue Wu, but alas, she loves Lan Ling Wang.

    I actually think Ariel’s chemistry with both leads are very good, especially with FFS between ep 1-19. Then between 20-25, there was this whole ZhengEr dilemna which I thought made the story very slow
    (compared to 1-19), and ruined the OTP so much, that I was just literally shipping Yu Wen Yong to appear (which he does YAY!).

    Yeah, I agree the bad guys are basically painted as bad guys. And Xue Wu is naive, but in the end, I think she is much better than Xiang Qing.

    The dubbing I think is quite good, and the OST I have fallen in love with too. But I agree with you that 3 OST for 46 eps is not the way to go.

    I am definitely rooting for Kingdom of Zhou to take over Kingdom of Qi. Besides Lan Ling Wang and his soldiers etc, the royal family is pretty rubbish (especially when it’s Lan Ling Wang’s cousin as future ruler).

    Anyways, I’ve been waiting for you to write a new post about Lan Ling Wang, so it’s all good.

    I will keep watching Lan Ling Wang because it seems to pick up pace post- ep 25 and I’ve been making guesses on what will happen in later eps so I want to see if I was right or not 😀

    Thanks for the post! 😀

    • Have just watched ep 26 -27. an abundance of Daniel and Ariel scenes! (Well, until the end of ep 27 LLW appears again). I see(/hear) that there’s a new OST which will probably end up being the love OST for YWY’s love for XW. Urggghhh… my heart literally broke for YWY at the end of ep 27, dammit. This is the first time where I’ve ever shipped 2nd lead (yes, main guy can be a jerk, but I would still always ship OTP, but not for this drama, no!)

      Okay, the OTP still has more chemistry, but Daniel is rocking his character and I really, really wish he would get the girl.

      Anyways, I still feel that ep 20-27 could have been shortened to maybe 4 or 5 eps, or at least had more dilemma than just ZhengEr, but as long as everything else moves at breakneck pace again (which is looking doubtful, the pace currently is good, but could go faster), I am happy.

      Also, there was more background info on ZhengEr and future prince in ep 26. Hmmmm, I know the writers are trying to make them seem more than just the bad guys, but if the trailer I’ve seen (and the clips) is anything to go by, I am still pissed off with the prince and ZhengEr.

      If my prediction is correct, hopefully Lan Ling Wang’s famous poison death scene happens quick and we can get all that trauma which is sure to happen (another clip I saw: all I can say is, poor Han Xiao Dong)And more time with Daniel and Ariel! (which seems to be shortlived, if two of the scenes shown at the end theme song is anything to go, but hey, I will take what I can get).

      And also to dramagurll, you’re welcome 🙂

      PS. This is just my 2 cents, but I don’t find the 2 main leads annoying. Their romance was actually heart-thumpingly good (until ep22+). It’s just that, well, Daniel’s character deserves her more, even though the 2 mains suit each other better.

  7. I’m with Koala 100%! This is a very zippy and entertaining watch for me, I just have to check out my thinking brain while watching this and just indulge fully in my shoujo manga fantasies. ^_^

    FSF’s armor is indeed very cool and I find him quite ok as LLW, XueWu is too naive for my liking, the writing is totally elementary and the baddies are all quite dumb. I was expecting a more epic standoff between hungry wolf YuWenYou and greedy wolf YuWenHu but that was totally BLEH! Daniel Chan is I agree, THE BEST character here, hands down!!!

  8. I really like this drama because of many reasons
    1. Ariel Lin, my idol, has chemistry with both male co-stars. Also, I think her acting is good enough to annoy us by YXW silly character, despite she is a wise girl in real life.
    2. Daniel Chan gives the best performance in this drama, totally agree with you!
    3. Feng Shao Feng as LLW is better than I expected. Last year, when I saw the cast list, I could not imagine him as a masked beauty at all.
    4. I like the OST especially Mayday’s opening theme.
    5. The sest and the costumes look really great, except George Hu’s armor

    Right now I have to follow the new episodes on YouTube every night, and become such a panda the next morning 🙂

  9. Hiii Koala and chinese speaking KP readers!

    I’ve been studying chinese for several months now. I believe I’m around HSK 1 level currently. I’m looking for c-dramas watch to improve my listening and reading skills because outside of classes I have no contact with native speakers. Is LLW appropriate for that purpose or is it too complicated? Also, can you recommend other blogs, online forums, etc. where I can get info about current c/tw-dramas preferably in english (german or russian are ok too)? Aside from KP, I know about d-addicts but discussions there are focused more on k-dramas and j-dramas.

  10. Thanks Koala! I’ve been eagerly awaiting your opinions! And I agree with SO MANY THINGS you said!

    It’s so sad to watch Ariel Lin play a dumb character again just when my opinion of her improved so much after “In Time with You”.

    “King of Lan Ling” is fluffy and pleasant (even if dumb). The shoujo manga lover in me enjoys it immensely, even if the other parts of my brain scream in agony sometimes.

    I really like the character of Fifth Lord. He’s just so funny, always trying to push the two love birds together (even if they have the maturity of children).

    I never read “Crest of the Royal Family”, so now you’ve made me very curious. *goes off to check it out*

  11. I haven’t watched the episodes but did take a look at the long trailer and I loved the sets and the costumes.

    The storyline however, sounds a tad too ridiculous for my taste so I think this is one show I’ll be skipping, unless it gets raving reviews.

    One gripe I had when watching the trailer was Ariel’s Chinese. I felt her Taiwanese accent was jarring in contrast with the accents of her co-stars. I know this doesn’t bother some people at all, but out-of-place accents are a pet peeve of mine. For instance, I adored Shu Qi’s “The Foilage”, but her Taiwanese accent was contextually inaccurate given that the show was set shortly after the Cultural Revolution and it was jarring since all the other actors spoke with a Beijing accent.

  12. i’m really liking lan ling wang. i just cannot stand zheng er. she’s so manipulative, but I’m glad that this arc will supposedly end by episode 25.

    definitely agree with Emmy. Ariel’s accent is definitely a little jarring at first, but now, I find myself getting used to it.

    loving everything 🙂 said! thanks for posting about this drama miss koala!

  13. I agree with you on so many points here. I watched b/c of Ariel & Daniel and I’m still watching b/c of them. I haven’t watch many c-dramas period pieces over the last few years due to time constraints. But I see that the general storylines have stayed the same. I pretty much FF’d all the recent episodes with XW, CG and ZE. What a mess.

    I had very low expectations of Daniel’s performance coming in to this, but was really wow’d with a combination of his character being pretty interesting, his performance as YWY pretty darn good, and his voice actor really matches him well. I have sat through 11 weeks of the atrocious Love SOS just for him but his YWY has definitely reignited my inner 12 yr old fangirl. 🙂 Who knew one of my teenage idols would make a comeback like this, but makes me pretty happy.

    I too am not really feeling the OTP that much. Sure there are some cute moments but their character sort of annoy me. I felt bad about saying that FSF has sleepwalked through some of his performance. But I’m glad there are some who agree that his character is pretty crappy and he (as an actor) is capable of so much more. And his look just makes it that much worse. It’s just lacking so sort of spark to draw me in. I agree with Koala that his voice actor doesn’t match him well.

    Ariel – yes, so much of this character reminds me of XQ. I think XW is not as naive but equal parts annoying. I still like her here but I just wish that all the characters were smart.

    The storyline – very elementary and definitely really cheesy romantic parts. Really cheesy. But I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the storyline. furthermore, the CGI has me going a little nutty too.

    But take away all of that – I still think it’s a nice breezy summer drama and I will FF to my hearts content. Zhou Gao should really take over Qi Gao right now. The sooner, the better. I am on the sinking 2nd lead ship so we might as well go down in all it’s flames of glory.

  14. i was completely loving lin lang and xue wu together in the beginning but then i ended up loving daniel’s character. he’s so good looking~

  15. The only reason we even gave this drama a try is due to Ariel Lin and some of the other actors whom could speak for themselves, i. e., NO DUBBING… But, the drama is rather entertaining and refreshing from a period drama point of view, NOT a typical old crotchety drama. Skipped through ep. 19-26, where that witching-looking actress 毛林林 who always enjoys playing the meanest and nastiest roles as here Zheng Er is mostly present.

  16. The last few episodes pissed me off to no end. After how Lan Ling Wang treated Xue Wu, you would expect some groveling of some sort.

    But no, they had to make Xue Wu too consistent to her holier than thou character and when she reached for her Si Ye instead of Yue Wen Yong, my heart broke. His dejected look of heartbreak made me want to shake Xue Wu for being so inconsiderate!

    I feel that the only realistic character in this drama is Daniel Chan’s YWY and he’s an Emperor for goodness sake. I think my favorite scenes thus far have been the most recent XW/YWY scenes…up to when he cut his arm to save her. His swoon-worthy confession of love was only tarnished by what happened afterwards.

    From the get go, there was no chance of even the slight bit of romance between Xue Wu and Yue Wen Yong and that was truly the biggest disappointment of the drama.

    I don’t necessarily hate on FSF’s Lan Ling Wang. For what it’s worth, I think he is Xue Wu’s true soulmate and I know I’ll brawl comes the moment of the preordained tragedy, but would it have killed the writer to be a little less biased?

    For a second leading role, Daniel Wu’s scenes have been far too sparse compared to the titular Lan Ling Wang and his wife.

    To be honest, the only truly compelling scenes were from the Yu Wen Yong and Yu Wen Hu arc. Ahahahahaha, the smile on my face when he outsmarted YU Wen Hu was epic! when he stabbed YWH, I actually applauded inside – I know, I’m so bloodthirsty! 😀

    Oh I also Xue Wu’s wishy washy character is pretty yawn worthy and lacking compared to her Huang Rong. I wish XW had even a quarter of Rong Er’s spunkiness and sassiness even if she has the Rong Er’s intelligence and a heart of gold that Rong Er lacked, but it was what made Rong Er real. I never wanted to ship Rong Er with anyone but her Jing gege but in LLW, I’m a total YWY/XW shipper.

    /end of rant. Sorry for the rambling and lengthiness.

    • but I do admit that I may be a bit biased to Daniel Chan since I was a HUGE fan in the 90’s (not unlike Ariel, lol!). One of my favorite HK movies to this day is the romcom with him and Shu Qi… 行运一条龙, with Sammi Cheng, Stephen Chow, Sandra Ng, Ng Man Tat and Kristy Yang about a Chinese bakery turf war.

      God, how I miss the HK movies of the 90’s. They were silly but were full of heart.

  17. OMG.. You just made my day. .it is like you said.. VERY WELLL summed up.. a very pretty man falls in love with a sheltered girl, held back by destiny and one kingdom rises and the other falls, The end.

    And I agree.. Daniel Chan has stellar acting skills as playing king of Zhou.. he’s a great multifaceted character.

    I have been watching this from the beginning and like you said.. its starting to get predictable.. yatayata.. I’m not even watching full episodes.. just hear and there.. and because theres so many episodes per day its just crazy trying to keep up..

    we will see how it goes.. and again thank you for taking my thoughts and words out of my mouth.. i had a great LOL with your post. 🙂

  18. hello how are you all, this is the first time i make comment here.

    I love LLW even the last 2-3 episodes really got me piss off hahahha, i want to share with you guys why i love this drama.

    1. Of course the reason i watch this drama because of Yi Chen , i think she’s amazing to portray Xue Wu as a clueless , headstrong, strong will character , i never think Xue Wu as a dumb character , naive may be but not dumb , watching Xue Wu i feel like watching every character that Yi Chen performed mix into one , xiang qin with a naive side, xiao feng with head strong side, rong er with intelligent side, and you qing with strong will and determination.

    I see Xue Wu as a simple girl from a small village who suddenly walk into royalty family , sometimes she feel insecure because we know royal family have a lot strict rule , but i think Yi Chen portray it so well.

    2. Shao Feng , yes in earlier episodes i see he’s not into his character but now better , and what i like from Shao Feng is he’s really do well deliver emotion to her eyes , sometimes when Lan Ling dan Xue wu just need stare at each other to guess what happen between them , and i see Shao Feng Yi Chen chemistry superb.

    3. Daniel chan , well i like a lot his character , because Yue Wong is a emperor and usually what emperor want he get until he met Xue Wu , i really like Yue Wong Xue Wu screen because when he’s with Xue Wu he’s like free to be relax and laugh hahha, in the beginning i think he’s not love Xue Wu but as story goes on he really falling for her haha and sometimes i wish in the end he will get Xue Wu since Lan Ling will die right hehehe just love Daniel and Yi Chen Chemistry too, they are look cute together.

    and i love all character and i’m really enjoy watching this drama

    • Totally agree with you about Yi Chen. However, I feel bad that she still care for LLW more than YWY in episode 27-28 despite the latter sacrificed a lot for her.

  19. I have been anticipating this drama since Ariel’s been added to the cast. So naturally my expectations were high. Whether this drama will actually meet them is still highly debatable. Here are some of my impressions.

    1. I had very little expectation for FSF. I envisioned Lan Ling Wang as someone suffering from lots of internal conflicts (e.g., his loyalty to his kingdom, love for Xue Wu and obligation for his people). I frankly did not expect FSF to be able to carry such a complex character. But after watching the first half of the drama, I must say the biggest flaw is not FSF’s acting but the character itself. He turns from an emotionless, heroic but supposedly intelligent guy (the first few episodes) to a love sick puppy.. or the reincarnation of the 8th prince from Gong (episode 15-17ish), and then to a clueless husband who chose to believe a maid over his own wife. His character is so not consistent. He’s the god of warriors, capable of winning any battle, yet he can’t tell the difference between deception and the truth?

    2. I’m a huge fan of Ariel Lin so whatever I say about her is absolutely bias. While I admit that her character is too innocent and naive, deep down I still expect her character to develop into a much more mature and complex woman towards the latter half of the drama. My dear Xue Wu, don’t let your love for Lan Ling Wang be your only reason to live! (I’m expecting greater things from this character after the recent scene of Xue Wu and her grandmother). Hopefully, this will be a turning point for her character. Please do not disappoint me!

    3. Like many, I must admit, YWY is hands down the best character in the drama. I’ve never been a fan of Daniel Chan but was pleasantly surprised by his acting. Daniel’s character had so much complexity and he did a wonderful job bringing it to life. I felt his pain, loath, and kindness as if I was witnessing it in person. When Xue Wu ran towards LLW after all the things YWY did for her, I wanted to run towards him and comfort him. And for the first time, I really wanted to smack Xue Wu in the face.

    4. I absolutely adore the OST, but expected a few more songs. After all, this is a ‘big production’. I doubt they’re that tight on money. I was so glad that they dedicated a song to describe YWY’s love for Xue Wu. I can’t help but to drift towards the ship of the second male lead. Xiao ma er!

    5. As for the plot. I personally really like these kind of dramas. Two powerful figures from opposite kingdoms fighting for their country and love. Having a legend and a goddess involved adds a mythical side to the drama. I buy that. But now, it seems like the drama is so focused on the romance and revenge theme, I barely see anything else. What about friendships and brotherly bonds? Or the historical component of the drama? The success of BBJX came from the fact that it was multidimensional. They had everything tied neatly into a package. While LLW is kind of all over the place.

    While I do know the ending for this drama from the episode summaries on Chinese websites, I will continue to watch it. I have anticipated this drama for far to long to give up on it. I will have my tissue box and bucket ready for the upcoming tragedy.

  20. yes, i’m sticking to this drama for now just for YWY… Can anyone pls tell me if XW would ever feel something for him, like, at all?

    • I have actually finished the entire book on LLW a few weeks ago (that was how much I was anticipating this drama)and what I can say is that while it was meant to form a love triangle between the leads, XW’s devotion is something you have to take into account. Think there should be some sweet scenes with Daniel coming up at the latter scenes though

  21. Oh yes, the similarities between this and daughter of the Nile, why didnt I think of that. No wonder I kept thinking I saw this before when I watch king of LAN ling. it had everything I love about period romance yet I was bored 2/3 of the time, I end up skipping most of it.
    And thank you for commenting about the two leads chemistry. I seriously don’t feel any chemistry between them. Their scene don’t make my heart race. And while I appreciate Ariel’s acting, she seem like she really want it to work, fsf seem dead to me. I agree he’s not the worse looking, but he lack a certain passion and manliness for this character. I wish he would bring out that dude that he acted in schemes of a beauty. Now that dude was hot. Overall this drama disappointed me so much. I tried to excuse it for being a romance centric drama, but the internal royal conflict and the third wheel conflict are so damn elementary I thought my brain was melting the entire I tried to half-skip them.

  22. Hi Miss Koala, Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I have finished watching King of LanLing, and I really love Daniel’s character King YuWen Yong. I have never expected I will fall with his character. I feel his character is more interesting than LanLing wang ^^. Forgive me for saying this. This is just my personal feeling ^^.

    Ahhh, now I feel like rewatching all his part once again.

  23. This was my second time finished a C-drama successfully (1st time BBJX). I must say when I watched the first eps, I am totally hooked. I agreed with Miss Koala, this drama is easy to follow.

    The OTP’s first meeting at the spring lake is hilarious! I never like Ariel Lin’s previous drama but since In Time With You, I started to like her. Ariel’s acting as Xue Wu is good but nothing superb to be brag about. I am not sure if this drama is a adaption from a novel, how Xue Wu was described but I think Ariel Lin is perfect as Xue Wu. Ariel and FSF pairing is really matching in term of appearance and their chemistry as lover is great, but its not something that I would go crazy over.

    FSF as King Lan Ling is good too but nothing extraordinary. I like it how they put some good humour into him if not we are just merely watching another boring history lesson.

    Daniel Chan as Yu Wen Yong is THE BEST! He give a life to his character King Yu Wen Yong. I cried when he has kill his Jeneral with his own hand. He was sure landed in the perfect character.

    In fact I find the two actors as villains King Gao You and Jeng Er are very good. They do really look like a mad people with all the cold-blooded killings. I reckon this drama not suitable for young audience. By looking back the story how and why they become a cold-blooded monster is very pitiful. In the last episodes, when both of them dying together is heart sinking although they did so many sins to the peoples.

    The other casts are good and suitable as their character in Lan Lin Wang. In summary, all the people in this story are lived and die because of one thing and that is LOVE.

    I also like the opening theme song by Mayday. It’s so vibrant and refreshing. Totally different from other history C-drama is always with Guzhen, Pipa or other ancient Chinese musical instruments. I give two thumbs up for this drama.

  24. I am curious as to why they dubb the voices of the actors and actresses in chinese dramas…i absolutely hate it!! i love listening to their real voices.

  25. Wow, this is a really great review!! I loved and agreed with all your thoughts, almost! Most important line – this is a shoujo manga masquerading as a period drama (or you said something similar). Yeah.

    I totally also rooted for The Other Guy because of the same reason – the main guy was too perfect, I guess… it was like, boring? You can’t really feel affection for something too perfect. I need some flaws! A bit more interesting flaws than just over-righteousness and blind loyalty…

    I really loved Daniel Chan’s acting as well, but I don’t think that was why he was our favorite. His acting was pretty good, but it was the writing of YWY’s character that did it. There was so much potential. If only all the characters were that complicated… if only FSF, oops I mean LLW suffered some deep character weaknesses and had to struggle a bit more to be a person.

    And I totally agree that FSF is good looking enough for LLW! I think he was very perfect for it! A “pretty” boy like Wallace Huo would have been pretty and attractive, but it seems only FSF was appropriate to this! FSF is not a flowery “pretty” boy but I think he is very very good looking. Maybe it’s just a taste thing for some people.

    I also totally agree about eschewing the evil thing for character writing. Sigh. I watched 28/46 episodes because the character motives were too shallow for me. When you say that LLW is just a rip off of shoujo manga with a twist, that twist is the aspiration to also be a Chinese imperial drama… I HATE imperial drama … though I haven’t seen many, I just associate it with schemes and dastardly plots between royal family members over the throne… which I guess isn’t exactly specific to imperial drama, but somehow the whole thing about murder done in secret in the beautiful chambers of a palace all for the purposes of attaining the throne is extra gross and barren to me. That’s why I haven’t watched Zhen Huan Zhuan even though secretly I know that’d probably be the best and most worth watching imperial drama.

    But I disagree about the OST! I love the OST! <3 _ <3 Even now, as I have surrendered to being unable to bear watching the Qi country's royal family's infighting, I am enslaved to listen to Ding Dang's ending piece on repeat… eff… I thought Shou Zhang Xin was strong enough to carry throughout the show – though I guess I do agree that for 46 episodes, maybe a song or two more would be good…

    anywho. great review. I hope I gather the strength to finish it someday maybe.

  26. omg finally someone who has the same thoughts as me. I feel like i’m the only crazy one who is being annoyed by this drama lack of intelligence, at least some common sense!, the main OTP are just meh even though their acting is pretty good i guess, but everything seems so scattered & typical. can’t believe that people compared this to be nearly as good as bbjx……………..

  27. hey your comments about the costumes and hairstyle is spot on. esp on the part where feng shao feng had dreadful locks and george hu had a metallic underwear on his head. overall, a really entertaining review. like what u have said, costume and CGI sucks but the whole show was great

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