Titles: 龙珠传奇之无间道 / 龙珠传奇 (Long Zhu Chuan Qi) / Legend of the Dragon Pearl: The Indistinguishable Road
- Yang Zi as Zhu Yi Huan / Li Yi Huan
- Qin Jun Jie as Kangxi
- Mao Zi Jun as Zhu Ci Xuan/Li Jian Qing
- (Jennifer) Shu Chang as Xue Qing Cheng / Shu Wan Xin
- Zhang Wei Na as Empress
- Si Qin Gao Wa as Empress Dowager
- Han Cheng Yu as Ye Mo Sheng
- He Zhong Hua as Li Ding Guo / Li De Fu
- Sun Wei as Fan Qian Ying
- Liu Xue Yi as Wu Ying Qi
- Liu Li Wei as Wu San Gui
- Lu Xing Yu as Suo E Tu
- Xie Ning as Liu De Zhao
- Xiao Rong Sheng as Ao Bai
- Liu Xi Ming as Fan Li
- Xiu Qing as Ye Ming Zhang
- Tong Tong as Tang Yi Shou
- Jiang Hong as Xue Yi Ju Shi
- Dai Zai Xiang as Meng Xiang He
- Wang Yi Chan as Qin’s consort
Directed by: Zhu Shao Jie and Zhou Yuan Zhou
Written by: Li Ya Ling
Plot (from Wiki):
The story of the ill-fated romance between Zhu Yi Huan, the last princess of the Ming Dynasty and Kangxi, the young emperor of the Qing Dynasty.
Legend of the Dragon Pearl (LDP) is the first series featuring Yang Zi and Qin Jun Jie as a couple. Although I really like Yang Zi and both Qin Jun Jie and Mao Zi Jun won my heart in Singing All Along, I was adamant about not watching LDP at first. My idea of Kang Xi Emperor came into conflict with the one shown by the trailer. Also, the storyline didn’t seem appealing at all. But even ‘though I couldn’t find any reason to watch this show, I somehow gave it a try.
(SPOILERS) Legend of the Dragon Pearl (LDP) tells the love story between Emperor Kang Xi and Zhu Yi Huan. The story is extended throughout 90 episodes. At first it was okay because the episodes were 30 to 40 minutes long, but you soon realize that even little doses of nonsense are equally frustrating.
I think this is Qin Jun Jie’s very first role as the male lead. Portraying the well-known Emperor Kang Xi (in his youth) must have been a great challenge. I’m happy that he’s getting big roles, but after watching LDP you can only ask yourself if having a bad role is better than not having any main role at all.
Although I really adore Qin Jun Jie, most of the time his baby face didn’t fit with his role. Being fair, the Emperor Kang Xi we are used to see on screen is usually portrayed in his middle-advanced age. Seeing a young (teenage) Kang Xi, just starting his reign as one of the most celebrated emperors in chinese history, feels quite odd.
Kang Xi’s parents died when he was very young, forcing him to ascend to throne at early age. As a result, the governing’s duties fell to a regent, Ao Bai (Xiao Rong Sheng). The Empress Dowager, his grandmother, also did part of the work as a regent. He was raised by his grandmother, and therefore they have a strong bond.
Ao Bai’s government became increasingly tyrannical, spying on every movement of Kang Xi and plotting in order to avoid him recover the power. As Kang Xi grew older, he developed his own ideas, usually conflicting with Ao Bai’s methods. It was just a matter of time that he decided to get rid off Ao Bai. Of course, Ao Bai did the same, although he tried at first not really hurting him.
In addition to Ao Bai and Kang Xi’s conflict, we have to add the previous Ming dynasty resistance group. Kang Xi’s grandfather overthrew the last Ming dynasty Emperor and established a new era, but there were still many supporters of the previous dynasty. Besides, Kang Xi has to face Wu San Gui’s forces (another old noble of the court).
Despite his youth, Kang Xi is a fair emperor who loves his people. He has his own ideas about how to be a good ruler, but is often impeded by aristocratic and royal issues. He can’t depose many of the nobles who commit crimes, but swears to build in the future an empire corruption-free. Kang Xi is good at calligraphy and politics, but doesn’t know martial arts to defend himself.
Since he was a child he had to assume the duties of an emperor, and also, keep the distance with most of the people. Apart from her grandmother, he never experienced things as love or friendship. That’s why Yi Huan was a breath of fresh air to him. She was the only person to treat him as an equal, even daring to consider him her “little bro”.
What I liked about Qin Jun Jie’s Kang Xi was his behavior towards his people, his sense of justice, even when he was hindered by other elements. He is a proud emperor (as we are shown when he is offended or angry to hear someone questioning his power), but is willing to kneel before an anonymous woman, because he failed as a good emperor. I loved how Qin Jun Jie’s eyes burned when his character faced unfair situations (Liu De Zhao’s lengthy arc is full of these). Likewise, I enjoyed his decision making, especially when he confessed his admiration towards Zhu Ci Xuan. He really did a great job in spite of the deficiency of the plot and its characters. Besides, Kang Xi breathless kissing Yi Huan was amazing (¬‿¬)
On the other hand, the Ming resistance group has its secret main base in Long Zhu Gu (The Dragon Pearl Valley). This is the place where our female lead (Zhu Yi Huan) and our second male lead (Zhu Ci Xuan) grew up together.
Yang Zi plays the role of Zhu Yi Huan (changed her name to Li Yi Huan at capital). She is the last princess of Ming dynasty, the unique surviving child of the last monarchs. A legend forecast that a princess would bring disaster to the Ming dynasty, so the royal doctor (Fan Li) switched her with Li Ding Guo’s newborn baby boy (Zhu Ci Xuan). After that, Zhu Yi Huan lived as Li Ding Guo’s daughter and Zhu Ci Xuan is considered by everyone Ming’s dynasty crown prince. In order to preserve the purity of royal bloodline, Li Ding Guo and Fan Li claimed that it was Ming’s Emperor last wish to pair off Yi Huan with Ci Xuan.
I’d love to say our female lead is awesome and praiseworthy, but she isn’t. At first, she seems carefree and straightforward, and although I didn’t dislike that, I really hoped there was something else. Quite another story…. Zhu Yi Huan didn’t think about anything she does or says, even when her behavior would harm and endanger the people she supposely cares. I tried to accept her and ignore everytime I pulled my hair out, but the last straw was the moment she decided to marry Ci Xuan and later left with Kang Xi ◔_◔
Yi Huan never cared about restoring Ming dynasty. She believes that it’s okay as long as the current emperor is a fair and kind monarch. Regarding to this, she has an important sense of justice, but isn’t able to think beyond. Also, she is often too impulsive and quite capricious.
She met Kang Xi without knowing he’s her family’s biggest enemy. Even after acknowledging this, she isn’t able to hate him or stay away. She believes that he’s and will become a good emperor, but also, she starts developing more complex feelings towards him. In the blink of an eye, she finds herself caught in a dilemma, forced to take sides between her family and the man she loves. Still, Yi Huan never seems to really take sides, she stays beside with big sad eyes, hoping to never be forced to make a decision.
Yi Huan’s appearance is sweet and dorky. In general, I liked Yang Zi’s style in this drama. Her crying scenes were beautiful and enough touching. Alike the rest of the cast, her acting was flawless but LDP’s plot and character depiction was deficient enough to eclipse its strengths.
Even so, the worst thing about LDP is how after 90 episodes, we only get a even more senseless ending. (SPOILERS) It’s said that Yi Huan dies ◔_◔ but they don’t tell us how she dies or who kills her ◔_◔. We are just offered a very sad Kang Xi, who refuse to see anyone or do anything for many days… The drama came to an end when Kang Xi decides to bestir himself, possibly determined to avenge Yi Huan (but who cares after 90 episodes of continuous face palming…).
Zhu Ci Xuan (Mao Zi Jun) grew up taking on the responsabilities of an overthrown dynasty’s crown prince. Since he was a child, he was taught to be the best in both martial arts and culture knowledge. He is an extraordinary strategist, a spectacular plotter and a natural-born leader. Zhu Ci Xuan is so awesome that most of the time it overshadowed Kang Xi. Kang Xi himself admitted Zhu Ci Xuan would be an outstanding emperor.
The only thing in which Zhu Ci Xuan can’t surpass Kang Xi is the emotional field. He is willing to do everything for Yi Huan, but no matter what he does, she simply sees him as her brother. You will see throughout 90 episodes how Zhu Ci Xuan sacrifies everything (literally, everything) in order to protect and save Yi Huan. But all he gets is… nothing. In the end, to save Yi Huan, he sacrifies his force and skills, becoming a disabled person. He doesn’t let her know this, and Yi Huan (severe eye-rolling ◔_◔) stupidly believes he’s all okay (when it is obvious he was almost dying ಥ_ಥ). I couldn’t stop face palming the whole time…
Zhu Ci Xuan was brilliant in everything but flew off the handle each time Yi Huan was in danger. He immediately saw how she treated Kang Xi differently, caring about him more and more. Knowing that it would get worse, he tried to make her leave the court, but Yi Huan convinced him to stay by saying that they could spy on Kang Xi better. Soon after they arrived, he achieved Kang Xi’s trust and respect. It would have been a perfect disguise if he didn’t lose control everytime he saw Kang Xi and Yi Huan behave affectionately. Mainly for this reason, Kang Xi began suspecting their real identities. When the truth was finally revealed, Kang Xi still tried to keep him as an ally, but Ci Xuan refused.
In that moment, Yi Huan was more conscious than never about her feelings towards Kang Xi, but she had to leave him and return with her family. Li Ding Guo, acknowledging her daughter fell for their worst enemy, was enraged and even attempted to kill himself. Aiming to soothe him and make Yi Huan got over Kang Xi, they planned to immediately marry Ci Xuan with her. The same night of the wedding, Yi Huan ran away because she saw Kang Xi’s signal and even though she didn’t want to, she ended up leaving with him. A terribly affected Ci Xuan gets drunk and wanders through the streets. Qing Cheng is the one who finds him.
Xue Qing Cheng (portrayed by actress Shu Chang), has secretly loved Ci Xuan since childhood. She knows him better than anyone and made a wonderful couple, but Ci Xuan didn’t correspond her feelings. Still, she never tried to hurt Yi Huan or trick her, even encouraging her to accept Ci Xuan and forget about Kang Xi.
Qing Cheng was raised in the dragon pearl valley by Xue Yi Ju Shi (Jiang Hong). She is one of the children, along with Yi Huan and Ci Xuan, whose purpose is restoring Ming dynasty. As a result, she was brought up to appear and act the same as Shu Wan Xin (also played by Shu Chang), the daughter of a noble family destined to become Kang Xi’s concubine. When the real Shu Wan Xin was entering palace, they kidnapped her and exchanged her for Qing Cheng. In that way, she became Kang Xi’s concubine (although they never consummated) and an useful spy for the Ming resistance group.
Nevertheless, it’s later revealed that Qing Cheng and Xue Yi Ju Shi were in fact Wu San Gui’s subordinates. Xue Yi Ju Shi’s clan was slaughtered by Ming dynasty. When Qing dynasty is established, she and a very young Qing Cheng stayed in the dragon pearl valley to spy and report everything about the Ming resistance group, in order to take revenge on them in the future. Xue Yi Ju Shi never forgot her original intentions, but Qing Cheng couldn’t help to develop feelings towards the resistance group (and fell for Ci Xuan). She could neither betray Wu San Gui because he had her little brother under his power.
As for her little brother, it’s said that Wu San Gui kept him as an hostage to maintain the control over Xue Yi Ju Shi and Qing Cheng. She chose to suicide when Wu San Gui ordered her to kill Yi Huan, but Yi Huan, already knowing her real identity, saved her. They investigate a way to rescue her brother from Wu San Gui, just to find out that he died many years ago. Now that she doesn’t need to worry about her brother, Qing Cheng, Ci Xuan and Yi Huan came up with a plan. Qing Cheng confessed to Kang Xi her identity as Wu San Gui’s spy, achiving in this way his trust and casting a bone between the emperor and Wu San Gui.
Before the marriage between Yi Huan and Ci Xuan was held, Qing Cheng left (wishing the best for them). But after Yi Huan disappeared with Kang Xi, she came back and took care of Ci Xuan. While Ci Xuan was extremely drunk (mistaking her for Yi Huan), Qing Cheng prepared their own wedding ceremony and got married with him.
She was heartbroken when the next morning Ci Xuan rejected her, again. Yi Huan abandoned him and they were already married, but Ci Xuan still couldn’t accept her. Hereupon, Qing Cheng swears to get over her feelings and forget him, a man who let her down after giving him everything. And this is the last thing we get to know about her character.
There are other two children who grew up with them in the dragon pearl valley: Ye Mo Sheng and Fan Qian Ying. Ye Mo Sheng (Han Cheng Yu) is Ye Ming Zhang’s son and had loved Yi Huan since ever, but she was already paired off with Ci Xuan. Just as it happened with Xue Qing Cheng and Xue Yi Ju Shi, it’s revealed that both of them are in fact spies of Qing dynasty (and therefore, Kang Xi’s subordinates).
Ye Mo Sheng tried to elope with Yi Huan but she rejected him. After being unmasked, he returned to palace along with his father, assuming a charge in the court.
Fan Qian Ying (Sun Wei) is Fan Li’s daughter. In the past, she accompanied a very naughty Yi Huan to the mount but they were attacked by a beast. His father protected Yi Huan before her and the beast left a scar in Qian Ying’s face. Fan Li was the most renowned doctor of Ming dynasty but couldn’t heal her daughter’s scar because they didn’t have the necessary medicines. Excluding the scar and the insecurities this event caused, Qian Ying and his father’s relationship was also affected, ‘though she never blamed Yi Huan.
When in a mission she met Wu San Gui’s youngest son, Wu Ying Qi (Liu Xue Yi), they immediately fell in love. They preserved their love in spite of the opposition of their parents and ended up staying together (they may be the only couple in LDP with a happy ending).
Note: Concerning to Wu Ying Qi, I thought they were revealing an “unexpected” truth about him (since Li Ding Guo and Fan Li behaved weirdly beside him). Considering that the Qing Cheng’s brother’s thing was recent I thought he may actually be her brother. Still, the drama ended without explaining what the hell happens with Wu Ying Qi and why Li Ding Guo and Fan Li acted so strangely ●︿●
One last mention for the Empress Dowager (Si Qin Gao Wa). She was always grumbling and afraid of Kang Xi remaking the same mistakes as his father and grandfather did for love, and that’s why she disliked Yi Huan, being sure that she would destroy her grandson. For this reason, the Empress Dowager tried (subtly) to separate them (and I believe she has something to do with Yi Huan’s alleged “death”).
I finished watching Legend of the Dragon Pearl thanks to my will power. I tried to ignore everything absurd or the details which didn’t make sense, but after 90 episodes, I was disappointed for wasting my time.
Although the cast did a flawless work, it was not enough to redeem the plot and story’s deficiency. Yang Zi and Qin Jun Jie’s chemistry was good as expected, and they depicted some very funny scenes. Also, I’d like to see Mao Zi Jun in other series not involving Yang Qi, Qin Jun Jie or Ruby Lin.
If you are bored and have plenty of time, this could be a good choice to be played in the background, but as for me, LDP was not worthy of my time.
- Plot: 5/20
- Cast: 20/20
- OST: 6/10
- Scenography: 10/10
- Costume: 9.5/10
- Overall: 7.2/10