First Look at Yang Yang and Jin Chen in the Xianxia Drama A Record of a Mortal’s Guide to Immortality

So the summer of 2023 was not nice to Yang Yang, going in with one of the most promoted C-dramas of the busy season and coming out with only complaints from viewers the Fireworks of My Heart. At least he’s been filming the upcoming xianxia C-drama A Record of a Mortal’s Guide to Immortality and perhaps can adjust his acting for the top complaint and he comes across as smarmy (oily) onscreen. The drama released the first lead posters this week and it’s so meh I can’t even critique it because like nothing is going on other than female lead Jin Chen‘s face being so frozen and overly photoshopped.


First Look at Yang Yang and Jin Chen in the Xianxia Drama A Record of a Mortal’s Guide to Immortality — 24 Comments

  1. How does one act oily? that is an interesting critique from viewers, although I was one of the complainers mostly for the writing as it did not do the book justice. Why do they change “tough guys into whipped lover boys who start off as focused in their career at the beginning but at the end 85% is on the FL?

    However, I am a Super Yang Yang fan idc idc he can just appear on the screen and do nothing and that will make my day. I absolutely love him in historical costumes! He is like LMH to me, if I wanted to watch critically acclaimed acting I would go watch a different actor. If I choose to watch Yang Yang knowing him as actor then complain because I was expecting something different from his other works doesn’t that make me the foolish one?

    • Trust me, no one is asking him for critically acclaimed acting. But for someone who’s been in the industry for 10+ years, some of us thought there would be improvement from him. That’s great that he has fans that have no expectation of him besides showing up on the screen with good looks he just happened to be born with. I do think his visuals are one of the best in the industry. But if he’s going to keep phoning it in, then stick with those less complex male lead roles (Love O2O, You Are My Glory) that requires less “acting.”

      • I’m not sure if Love O2O requires less acting (compared to wut?). But I think YY did a great job in You Are My Glory that demanded no lesser acting skills from the leads than any other dramas. It’s just that YY currently still fits idol dramas better than so-called mainstream dramas. It’s not fair to say he’s a less competent actor than others who mainly take “mainstream” dramas; the latter would give an equally disastrous performance if they led an idol drama because they simply don’t have the visuals nor aura for any idol dramas. There are many actors in the latter league that won’t be up to par with those who’re popular with idol dramas. ZWY in Lost You Forever is one stark example that’s not appropriate for any idol dramas.

        Besides, it’s ignorant to consider “mainstream” (narrowly defined by the C-ent) dramas superior to idol dramas in quality by default. At the end, What does matter is all about whether a drama can reach out and entertain as large a viewer market as possible. A drama is almost useless if nobodies want to watch it. I wonder why web idol dramas always beat TV “mainstreams” dramas in terms of the popularity index on VLinkage chart, Xiao Zhan’s TV dramas no exception. It has said something about snobbish but unrealistic conception of the value of “mainstream” dramas vs idol dramas. People have to change mindset about acting and drama values. As I said, it’s all about ENTERTAINMENT !!!!! A serious drama has a very low value if it’s not entertaining and not popular.

      • @somebody Both his roles in YAMG and Love O2O requires less acting compared to Fireworks of My Heart. Song Yan is a much more complex character, and to make a flawed character likeable despite their flaws requires skill. I agree that idol dramas have entertainment value. He should just stick to them. There’s nothing wrong with that. There will always be a market for people like him and Song Weilong. Pretty vases that basically only have a limited range of acting.

      • @Anon, I agree with you on acting skills required for flawed characters. My apologies for bringing up Xiao Zhan again to this point if you don’t like him. But as a fangirl of XZ, I do think XZ is a great actor who can make any flawed characters likable by a huge cohort of audience. That’s why he’s popular and just keeps getting popular with each new drama coming out. If you did watch XZ’s dramas, you should note that each character he played, WWX in The Untamed in particular, has noticeable weakness. He also mentioned that in his interview he did not like to play perfect characters (e.g. handsome, powerful CEO or genius etc. LOL) and each of his roles has certain flaws. But somehow XZ has that kind of talent to transform those characters to charm drama fans. Many fans are obsessed with XZ for reasons. Lol

      • @Anon, BTW, even Yang Yang got flak for being slimy in his recent dramas, he still has chance to hone his acting skills and eventually comes back with critically acclaimed works. I thought about Huang Xiaoming when I was thinking of how to respond to this blog. I heard that HXM’s newly premiered drama, Alliance, following XZ’s Sunshine by My Side on CCTV8, had very positive feedback from viewers with a strong start breaking CVB (or Kuyun?) rating of 2. I recalled HXM was also used to be dinged for being oily in the past. And he did look very oily IMO. LOL. Another example was K actress Suzy who basically had been mocked almost throughout her acting career until her breakout (and award-winning) performance in a recent drama, Anna. I still see a lot of potential in YY as long as he humbles himself to improve.

      • @somebody, I actually really like Xiao Zhan. I’m not a die hard fan by any means, but I think he has charisma, is good looking, and has a talent for acting. I thought he was really good in Ace Troops. He caught my eye even when he was playing smaller roles in Battle Through the Heavens and Joy of Life. I did watch the Untamed and felt like he had the harder (and more interesting) character to portray. I didn’t watch The Longest Promise because I’m really over xianxia.

        I think what’s frustrating for me with YY was that I was kind of a fan girl of his after Love O2O and he’s been SO disappointing with his lack of improvement. I was so excited for Martial Universe, and he played that character so terribly. There were many other issues with that drama, but I was willing to sit through it for him. Unfortunately, he overacted so much that it was hard to watch. When Fireworks of my Heart came out, it again reminded me how little he has improved over the years. I do hope you’re right that he will work on improving himself and later have a breakout role. I just feel like he can be more than a vase.

        HXM was very very “oily” in Return of the Condor Heroes. Liu Yifei was one of my favorite Xiao Longnv, but I can’t watch that again because of HXM. I think ever since Nirvana in Fire 2, he’s toned down his overacting a lot.

    • Ditto. I also wondered where the “oily” description came from for his character. Maybe my western idea of “smarmy” (or similar adjectives) is different from the Chinese idea.

      I agree with your comparison with LMH – I watch both YY and LMH for the pretty, not award-winning acting LOL.

  2. I hope this will be good… yang yang just have that perfect visual, as long as the script is good and he acts to certain standart I would still watch it. Just a trbute to my first bias in china

  3. I don’t know what happened to Yang Yang. When he riet broke out – I was very impressed, he really looked out of this world handsome and the acting was ok, brought to be a star he came to be. Then somehow it just went south. I watched that latest drama and was really really annoyed by his character acting. The frowning my goodness it made me want to throw the screen lol

  4. Yang Yang used to have certain charm in idol dramas. But he’s come to the age to consider his acting career beyond idol dramas. It appeared that he’s making such efforts although without much success. I observed his acting range is quite limited per his recent dramas. I hope he finds a way to break through the bottleneck.

    • I agree with u on this 💯, the reason it becomes difficult for them eg yang mi,raba n co feeling out of place when they r not doing idol dramas, they wait way too long to get into serious drama,I believe from the very get go u have to combine both the serious drama n idol dramas to make the transition smooth later on. Look at actors like Zhoa li ying who is a perfect example of doing both at the same time from the very young age, so her transition felt Normal. Other young actors following the same route is Xioa zhan, wulei, zhoa lusi, song zuher duo she is having issues now, the male lead in lost u forever ZXY, li yin tong, Chen yi, Steven xaung to name a few.

      • I’d say the most successful actress transitioning into “mainstream” (mainly TV drama) genre is Zhoa Liying and Xiao Zhan among his peers cos both them had more than one TV dramas with good ratings and also positive reviews. I’m not sure about others you mentioned. I wouldn’t consider Zhao Lusi or even Wu Lei being successful because of TV ratings. Chen Yi may be the one next to XZ due to his success with Mysterious Lotus Casebook in ratings, which also made it to a TV channel.

      • Wu Lei’s got quite a number of films under his belt and I think that’s probably the direction he moving towards? I think it suits him too, I always found him more reminiscent of HK actors visually – handsome, not too pretty and with a lot of depth, and would carry a more rugged look well.

  5. I’ve read the novel and following the donghua. The funny thing is the character in the novel isn’t described as handsome…unless this becomes an adaptation of the donghua version instead.

  6. The drama going to tank,Yang Yang can’t act,at least He’s handsome,so it might not be that bad if the script is decent.let’s pray the script and director is OK,so the drama will be watchable.

    • A huge fanbase is always something to reckon not to mock. Ppl have to think about the reasons why some actors have huge staunch following while others could have never reached similar levels of popularity. Again I’d like to stress on ENTERTAINMENT. A lot of “good” actors are BORING on screen, imo. Why do we appreciate a crafted painting more instead of a generic photo taken of the same scenery or landscape? Isn’t the latter (photo) supposed to be like real scene more so should we like a photo better than a painting? This is an analogy. We want actors and dramas to give us some imagination outside the real world. Unfortunately many “good” actors (specifically those who are dubbed “old acting bones”) are pretty dull cos they can’t charm audience with plenty of imagination like very few popular actors.

  7. I am so looking forward to this but I am gonna restrain myself. I don’t want to put a high hope them fall to the ground. I am just excited to see him on screen and never have a problem about his acting.

  8. People who love Yang Yang, have y’all seen “Oh No, Here Comes Trouble”?

    I was astonished at the ML (Tseng Ching Hua) who is Yang Yang’s doppelganger, but with 10x his acting skills. THIS is the level Yang Yang needs to be if he wants to remain in this industry. I’m surprised the screenwriter didn’t recruit Tseng Ching Hua as the main character because he’d be cheaper, a lot easier to “mold,” and significantly better actor than Yang Yang.

    Anyways, if Yang Yang doesn’t manage to impress folks in this new drama of his, he’s pretty much unsalvageable as an actor. Hope the director manages to squeeze some acting skills from him.

    • Yang Yang is more handsome. I only see resemblance in eyebrows. The face of the actor you mentioned doesn’t have good harmony. But too bad Yang Yang can’t act, it’s hard for me to see him even if he is handsome.

  9. YangZi is always quite good with her co-stars…I wonder if she can help him if they are paired in a project? I bet her fans will scream NO!!!

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