A Look at the Chinese Versus Korean Casts of Bu Bu Jing Xin


I’m not sure why I remain so optimistic about the upcoming K-version of Bu Bu Jing Xin, other than I’m most likely still not jaded as a drama watcher and enjoy the excitement of happy anticipation. Even though I love the novel and C-drama adaptation to pieces, neither are masterpieces without flaws, and what makes them so near and dear for me is how visceral the story connected with me rather than being an untouchable ideal.

That means that K-version can succeed even if it changes elements up and doesn’t have a cast nearly as talented as the C-version. I can’t say the C-cast are all award winning caliber, though a few are, but above all else each lead delivered career breakthrough level performances and captured the chemistry of both romance, rivalry, and sibling intensity. Check out both casts side-by-side and see if visually you can picture it. For whatever reason I’m pretty at peace with the K-casting.

Nicky Wu v. Lee Jun Ki as 4.

Personality in novel: Aloof, reserved, perceptive, incisive, patient, proud.

Relationship with Ruo Xi: Initially she purposely keeps her distance from him because she knows that he is the future Emperor Yongzheng and the ultimate victor of the 9-Prince-Battle. But it’s her wariness and heightened guard against him which intrigues him even more. He genuinely falls in love with her, and it’s a very intense love because he’s the kind of man that rarely lets go of his emotions, but once he does, it’s all or nothing.

But he’s not great husband material since as Emperor he’s forced to take certain actions that may run contrary to what Ruo Xi thinks is right. This ends up driving an increasingly unbridgeable wedge between them. 4th Prince probably isn’t the funnest husband to half, his sense of humor is stuck between negative 1 and occasionally maybe a zero. He’s insanely intelligent, but probably likes reading boring classical texts.


IU vs. Liu Shi Shi as Ruo Xi the time-traveling heroine.

Personality: Independent, thoughtful, practical, spirited, adaptable.

Musings: Ruo Xi doesn’t win all those princely hearts and survive in the Qing Dynasty because she’s so beautiful that men are blinded by her looks. She’s described as merely fresh-faced, but it’s her intelligence and ability to read any situation that gives her the advantage. She’s very tenacious – when she becomes the tea-serving maid to the Emperor, she makes the effort to learn the expertise at brewing tea, for which she wows the Emperor and the princes time and again with her skill. She’s not written as a pure and idealistic heroine, but rather she is exceedingly realistic and not one to toss caution to the wind.

Kevin Cheng vs. Kang Ha Neul as 8.

Personality: Refined, calm, gentle, passionate, ambitious.

Relationship with Ruo Xi: He fell in love with Ruo Xi first, and wrote her letters during her ten years in the palace serving the Emperor. It wasn’t until they went to Manchuria together with the Emperor that their relationship finally blossomed. Ruo Xi was reluctant to reciprocate his feelings because she knew his ultimate fate in life. But his steady and passionate pursuit of her finally wore down her reluctance and she accepted him. But she still wanted to ensure her own choice would not be doom and gloom, so she forced him to choose between her or pursuing the throne. He could not give up something he worked his entire life towards, so they ultimately broke up and never got another chance again.

Yuan Hong vs. Nam Joo Hyuk as 13.

Personality: Rebellious, wild, carefree, loyal, dashing.

Relationship with Ruo Xi: He is Ruo Xi’s one true friend in the Qing Dynasty, someone she feels most at ease with. As she’s stepping around all the landmines in the palace, he is someone she never needs to guard against. If Ruo Xi and 13th Prince were attracted to each other, they’d be the perfect fit. They are clearly soulmates who understand each other intellectually and emotionally and their friendship is a thing of beauty.

Ji Soo v. Lin Geng Xin as 14.

Personality: Sincere, forthright, selfless, impetuous, brave.

Relationship with Ruo Xi: Initially just a casual friend to Ruo Xi, not close enough to be a confidante, but neither did she treat him with polite distance. He sincerely supported Ruo Xi marrying 8th Prince and was quite angry on behalf of 8th Prince when Ruo Xi rejected him. Though later he fell in love with her, but she never reciprocated his feelings. He never pressured her to do so, and instead waited patiently for her to choose him. Pretty much the perfect husband material – giving, patient, genuine. Not as emotional or as potentially flighty as 13th Prince. Too bad Ruo Xi didn’t love him like that.

Hong Jong Hyun vs. Han Dong as 9.

Personality: Calculating, brusque, confrontational, self-absorbed, sneaky.

Relationship with Ruo Xi: None other than they pretty much dislike each other from the get go.

Ye Zhu Xin vs. Baekyun as 10.

Personality: Candid, cheerful, bumbling, kind, like an open book.

Relationship with Ruo Xi: 10th Prince is the first to fall for Ruo Xi, but it’s pretty clear that it’s just a crush, and an unrequited one at that. But Ruo Xi doesn’t dislike him or dissuade his crush, she merely enjoys his company and never leads him on. It’s clear he genuinely loved Ruo Xi in his puppy dog way and would have worshipped the ground she walked on. He’s lots of fun and Ruo Xi admitted he was her first friend after she first arrived. He’s not terribly sharp, so the likelihood of deep conversations isn’t highly likely. But he’s steadfast and loyal. It would be like marrying a Princely equivalent of a golden retriever. She could do a lot worse.


A Look at the Chinese Versus Korean Casts of Bu Bu Jing Xin — 63 Comments

    • I wouldn’t watch, otherwise I will be busy compare and contrast once I watch the korean version. And that will drive me crazy if the K-version is not as good as or better than the C-version.
      Anyway, thank you ockoala for giving the summary of the characters.

    • Hahaha I know right I saw only 1 cdrama- this year’s Nirvana in Fire. Fell in love with the leads. Started watching their other dramas; fell in love with other co-actors and ended up watching dramas with them as leads. Saw others & in some sort of chain reaction spiraled into a cdrama swamp. So good luck to you on your cdrama journey!

      • Omg..just like me..all because of NIF. Any recommendation for cdramas? I watched boss and me. It was good.

      • @ Ms. Penguin You can try Wuxin The Monster killer, Too Late to Say I Love You, Legend of Ban Shu, Legend of Lu Zhen, My Sunshine, The Perfect Couple, Journey of the Flower, Prince of Lan Ling, The Glamorous Imperial Concubine, Palace 1, Beauties Without Tears, etcc….. ( I still have a lot Lol)

      • if you like NIF, i’ll recommended THE DISGUISER. most of them are the same actors in NIF with great performances. you wont be disappointed. both NIF and TD got many awards. My Sunshine and Love Me If You Dare are also good. if you like idol drama, i recommend Tornado Girl.

        i perhaps feel kinda different about Journey of flower, i dunno but this is the 2nd drama of wallace that i quit watching it in the half way. (perfect couple too).

        but i really like mando-dramas… the acting is more accurate <3

      • Wait! Here am I to join your league all thanks to NiF. Now I’m an avid C drama viewer and googled all the onscreen C hotties almost every day. LOL

      • @Ivana, you seem to be a C drama buff. Where can you watch all these C drama? I only know viki and DramaFever. But I don’t like DramaFever bcos of all the dang ads.

      • @Drama2016 I go to Maplestage, which has an extensive list, but are without subtitles. Otherwise I just search directly on youtube for the works of the actors I follow. If you need subtitles, I think dramacool.cc has a good list too.

      • For English subbed dramas, I’ll always check Viki, MyAsianTV, and kissasian. But I discovered the website CN LoveTVShow which has considerable stock of Mainland Chinese dramas, even those currently airing AND those from early 2000s, and many are in HD. They’re not subbed though.

      • @Ivana & lenje, thanks for the information. Do you have any good recommendations of 2015 or 2014 C-dramas. I found myself not so much the one for the works of earlier C-production. I’m waiting for certain dramas to be released in 2016 such as Chen Xiao and Yang Yang’s new dramas. While waiting, I’ll be interested in giving a shot to other old stuff. I tried to watch the Journey of Flower and Battle of Changsha. But they didn’t work for me. I understand spoken Chinese although I prefer English sub.

    • I just started watching c-dramas and I’m upset at myself for waiting so long. The male actors are masculine and handsome, there’s no pretty/flower boy overload like in korean dramas.

  1. I’m certain now that this drama is going to flop since koala has taken interest in it. it continues. hope not koala supports any future drama i enjoy otherwise she would ruin it. better koala dislikes shows then the other way around

    • Then the question remains why are you on this site? My tastes are not similar to koala’s either, but this is her blog, and she’s free to like or dislike as many dramas as she like. In the end we are all audiences, and our opinions have no influence on the quality of the drama itself.

  2. I’m not feeling the Korean adaptation. The Korean actors looks too young for the roles they’ll play. I thought the C-drama was intriguing. Not so with this.

    • I thought for the c-drama the actors although were awesome were a bit too old to play the princes, but they were able to get beyond that and it did not once affect the drama. So I think age should not be a factor rather their acting is more important….

      • The actors were older for the C-drama because the succession struggle took place when Yinzhen was in his early thirties (when the Emperor removed the crown prince). Yinzhen was 44 when he ascended the throne. Nicky Wu was 40 thereabouts when he took on the role, so the age was more or less okay.

        Performance-wise however, Nicky Wu did not cut it as the Fourth Prince for me – he just did not have that sort of aura – but I’m clearly in the minority.

      • @snow, you’re not the only one who doesn’t swoon all over the 4th prince played by Nicky Wu. Nicky Wu did not convince me either as that pivotal figure in the drama. So I’m more looking forward to Lee Jung Ki as the equivalent role in the K version.

  3. This will be awesome no matter how bad. I really love the actors who will be interacting with K-Ruo Xi the most.

    * LGX kinda snuck on me while I swooned over all the other boys, so it’ll be different to be watching Ji Soo in the background before his “time.” It’ll be tough to wait but with Ji Soo, itll certainly be worth the wait.
    *I have to say that in BBJX, it was never 8 for me, like NEVER, but KHN may change that.
    *As far as LJK as Emperor 4, he seems too warm IRL to be so cold and commanding, but I am more than looking forward to watching him prove me wrong.

    Keep ALL the news coming. I can’t get enough!! Thanks!

    • Welcome back to dramaland jomo! This one is going to hurt so bad, but in a good way, just like the original. Between Jun Ki and Ji Soo I see reservoirs of pain.

  4. I’m not really sure why people are like “oh well I like the Chinese cast more”. I personally think both casts are attractive in their own way. I’m not sure if this drama will be good or bad. I like IU and she can be bubbly but I’m not sure if she is perfect for this role. But again I enjoy watching her because I just like HER. And I like Lee Jun Ki as well.

    So I will just check out the drama and see how it goes. 🙂

    • IU bores me to death. She’s so tiny, skinny, I feel like watching a teenage girl trying to be older, you know like “13 going 30”. This drama will be the death of her, real talk!

      • U hit the nail on the head. She’s not a bad actress but somehow could never warm up to her. Now I know why.

      • Like I said I don’t think she can live up to the role with her acting. I would’ve loved to see other actresses but at least I don’t dislike IU as a person.

  5. Yeah the Chinese are handsome and liu shi shi is gorgeous but I don’t dig the men’s hairdos in the drama which uglified them

      • @Ivana, LOL +2…Equally, I can’t take some Korean hanbok seriously when I just started to watch K sageuk bcos the dress code seems to fit pregnant women only. But oh well, this K adaptation will be in a Goryeo setting. I hope the Goryeo style won’t be as awkward as Joseon hanbok.

  6. Hong Jong Hyun’ s character
    Personality: Calculating, brusque, confrontational, self-absorbed, sneaky.
    Is he playing himself???. LOL????

  7. Did you take the part about each prince relationship with ruoxi from another site? Cause I swear I read the same exact thing regarding the 10th prince. Hard to forget when you compare him to a golden retriever.

  8. How can you skip over the main female lead when she helps carry the drama on her shoulders? I swear I hate misogyny in women.

  9. Loved the casts.
    the only flaw they have in this drama is IU.
    Not that I don’t like IU. I just think that there are much more actresses that suits more than her..
    *sorry not so sorry*

    • she’s got better connections that’s more likely. I think her network connections did it for her, she probably didnt even laid a hand in auditioning. poor drama!

  10. still didnt get it. their choice in actors is somewhat… confusing me. but let’s see.. drama with great actors like nodame failed, who knows this one will take the rating crown.. who knows.. btw i heard there’ll be an adaptation from My Sunshine… they better find a good actress cuz the original one was such a meh. sorry not sorry.

  11. Wow I didn’t know almost all the Princes loved her! 😀

    I tried not to read too much your BBJX posts before because I wanted to watch it myself later, I guess it’s too late now. I better avoid the C-version to keep my expectations for K-version low. Just in case.

    But thank you for this! Now it’s easier to keep up with the many characters when the drama starts.

  12. BBJX is one of my favorite drama ever. This drama wasn’t about aesthetically beautiful actors but more about quality. Everything, from the costumes, the props, the storyline, the characters, actors, chemistry and love, just fits and flow. It’s like they are part of a puzzle. No characters are redundant and meaningless, no matter how minor their role is. Heck even the servants served a purpose. The one thing I really really loved about this drama is that it didn’t do the cliche of depicting evil vs good characters. Everyone has a dark and a noble side. You can’t claim one side is better than the other. For me, I can totally understand why so many princes fell in love with RX. She is not just smart, but she is also very caring and risks alot for each of them, except for the 9th prince. They are no friends of each other. She’s also not a Mary Sue type that let other people stomped on her either. She’s also not the typical type of heroine that would be blindly trust someone just because she loves a man either. If a man wants her trust, he better proved his trust worthy to her first. I don’t know if UI will depict the same kind of character, but LSS definite did. She’s a very strong woman but also very weak at the same time in certain aspects. RX is actually a very meaty and complicated role. I hope that IU will do the role justice.

    • Well said about C version of BBJX. But I’m under the impression that heroines in C dramas usually outsmart typical heroines in K dramas. Not just BBJX, I saw equally sophisticate and intelligent heroines in other C period dramas, such as Legend of Lu Zen. It seems it’s a cultural thing for K dramas to understate female’s brain power.

  13. I love chinese version BBXJ. I didnt feel 4th prince in chinese version too. Hope korean version proves me wrong and LJK shines through. I dont understand all the hype around Ji soo too. He is a fine young actor and of course there will be many dramas and movie roles are waiting for him. Just dont understand people are bashing others and prizing him alone. I for one very excited for Nam Joo Hyuk.

    • Ji Soo has done well for a rookie and in high school roles. It is not a given that he will shine in this so the jury is still out on how he will deliver as the 14th Prince. This is one character which I liked a lot in BBJX. The other is the 13th Prince. Yuan Hong was perfect as 13th Prince and Nam Joo Hyuk got big shoes to step into.

      I hope I will see Lee Jun Ki in a more favorable light after this drama. I was neutral or even positive about him in Two Weeks but I found him dreadful in SWWTN. It has nothing to do with the story or his co-star. He made awful expressions and overact a lot, the so called powerful scenes became comical. Since he is the lead here and the K version could also give the 4th Prince even more screen time than the C version, I hope he does well in this one. As a sunbae, Jun Ki should be leading IU and others, he should not be compensating for their acting.

      IU actually plays a bigger role than Jun Ki or any other prince in making this drama a success. She has been fair to good so far but nothing shown to give confidence that she will play Ruoxi well. Unless the K version gives a different Ruoxi and that’s when I wish this never ever happen.

      • Actually, how LJG played Sungyeol in SWWTN is the reason that makes the character very meaningful to me. I actually find it hard to move on after watching the drama coz I love the character so much, and am having withdrawal symptoms after I’ve finished it. I have to probably watch the drama several times more before I’m content.

        It’s probably becoz I’m into vampire lore, and not the sparkly kind. I got into the whole “eternal life is a miserable existence” thing that he portrayed in Sungyeol (IMO) and just love it to death, pun intended.

        Am not trying to change your mind about LJG in SWWTN. Just wanted to say that Sungyeol is my most fave vamp character to date, and it’s most probably becoz of how LJG played him. And yeah, I’m excited about the Moon Lovers project coz it’s another sageuk drama with LJG. Looking forward to it!

        Also, thanks Ms. Koala for the post. I haven’t watched the c-drama and maybe never will coz I have a loooong list of drama I need to watch and even if I queued it, I’m not sure when I can view it. And because I really don’t like the Qing Dynasty hairstyle (sorry, am shallow like that). If it were a movie, maybe I’d watch coz it’s just 2-3 hrs long.

  14. I love the c-version Bu Bu Jin Xin and was rooting for Ruo Xi and 4th Prince. I agree that it was an excellent story with all the characters including minor ones serving a purpose. Just thinking of the ending still makes my heart aches!

    I am not sure whether I will watch the k-version but since Lee Jun Ki is cast, I may give it a try.

  15. Put IU beside LSS, it’s like a kid in her puberty and her beautiful elder sister.

    Other than IU (gosh why did they choose her???), the rest of the cast might work.

  16. Thank you for the rundown of characters. Oh dear, LJK is adorkable for me when he smiles with his eyes. Without humour as per your description the enterprise is on shaky ground. Has there been any discussion on your previous review on how the female lead could fall in love with the lover of her sister? that’s her first home when she teleported right? I do not recall if there was even a scene between two sisters on that issue. In that day and age, it was perfectly acceptable?

  17. I love the commentary you added on each of the characters. It certain helps bring back good memories from both the book and the cdrama and brings an extra layer of excitement as to how the kdrama can do

  18. all the actress sux at acting. fell bad for LJK. dude last 3 drama was pair with bad actress that that why the rating sux. he need to do drama with PSH. they both would look so hot togther.

  19. Pingback: Details cast about SBS Moon Lovers (Scarlet Heart Korean Ver.) | loveappleboy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.