I initially wanted to do a first impression on this but I was so immersed in it, I forgot! That is how good this thing is, I’m indulged and spoiled.
For those who are new, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom is adapted from a book by Tang Qi Gong Zi and belongs to the xianxia genre (Hua Xian Gu, Legend of Zhu Xian aka Qing Yun Zhi). I wish to do a summary here about what’s going on but it’s got so much in it, I might turn you off just by reading this. I think it’s completely fine to go in blind about the story but spoilers: it’s a happy ever after ending. So that should be not on your list of worries (especially since Hua Xian Gu and Qing Yun Zhi had meh endings).
Please get ready for a long post and spoilers! By the way, this review is meant for those who are already watching or have knowledge about the plot XD
Why am I so impressed or taken by this drama?
I think everyone just underestimated the pairing when it was first announced. Many people didn’t think Mark Chao or Yang Mi was ethereal enough to play the role. Liu Yi Fei had been the benchmark for fairy goddess ever since she played Xiao Long Nv. Acting chops however was pretty much debatable because all four didn’t really stand out for super fantastic acting. Yang Yang is better looking according to some but I felt that his flower boy looks could not bear the weight of Ye Hua. Yang Mi I approved because I thought perhaps her acting chops wouldn’t lose out to Liu Yi Fei.
Admittedly, Yang Mi was more of a beautiful actress than a capable one when I watched her past projects. She left a deep impression on me in Schemes of a Beauty and then made it big with the time travelling Palace. She managed another breakthrough again with TMPB and I can only say I can’t see anyone else as Bai Xian/Su Su now. And that she is best in ancient or historical dramas. Mark Chao is one actor that I haven’t seen at all, so I couldn’t gauge his acting previously. From what comments are going around, it seems like Mark Chao has also reached a new peak with TPMB.
Initially the first ark had our female parodying as male Si Yin with her sifu, Mo Yuan. I think Si Yin was acting more like Mo Yuan’s pet but the whole celestial world knew Mo Yuan played favorites. So for me I think it really picked up when Su Su came into the picture with Ye Hua slowly falling in love with her and how simple/ silly/ straightforward she is. Having read the novel (translated by hamster428 but withdrawn for plagiarism issues, please google this), I couldn’t see Ye Hua very well as a character. But in the drama, it has fleshed out EVERY single detail not to mention how well Mark Chao convey the nuances of silent, noble (not idiotic) love. It has squeezed out every drop of pity we have as audience when we realize poor Ye Hua has done so much to earn his happy ending. The book has chosen to reserve that part for the last so the happy ending we wanted was for poor Su Su, not really Ye Hua.
At least Ye Hua had A Li to accompany him in the lonely 300 years.
Bai Qian killer stares !
The second ark where Su Su becomes Bai Qian again (also the most calls for a female lead to jump the plank) is where Yang Mi shines. She regains her powers and knows how to use it well but also retains some of Su Su’s personality. It feels like Su Su and Bai Qian were better connected than Si Yin- Bai Qian. Si Yin seemed very playful and young, drastically different from Bai Qian although they had the same memories. I could only factor this to time, like what Bai Qian said, she aged, haha. Bai Qian mentions that she cannot withstand even a speck of dust (a small wrongdoing) and that she knows well who she would love or hate. It is exactly this personality we need (for her to exact revenge on Su Jin) but also one that Ye Hua fears.
By the way, the three lives in this novel indicates Ye Hua’s three lives apparently. First as a golden lotus. Second as Crown Prince Ye Hua. Finally, if I’m not wrong, its when he is revived at the end. So nope, it’s not Bai Qian’s three lives.
‘Yearning’ by Yisa Yu. One of the best female singers for drama OSTs. Listen to ‘Qing Yi Yao’ she sang for Legend of Chusen.
One of the stand out couples. You need your own drama please !
So Yang Mi and Mark Chao has proven that they can act but they also have great sizzling chemistry together and chemistry never hurts. The side characters have also served their characters well. Dilraba Dimurat as Feng Jiu was fresh, lively and vigorous. She was persistent in chasing after Dong Hua Dijun but her lovable antics (plus her aesthetics) made it entertaining. It got a tad bit repetitive at the end after they return from the mortal world and I wanted to scream ‘get a grip already’. As for Dong Hua Dijun, many commentators initially felt that he had an ‘evil’ aura as if he was a villain. As the drama further progressed (and I re-read the translation of Pillow Book which has Dong Hua and Feng Jiu as main), I gained further understanding of Dong Hua’s character and so I can say the portrayal by Gao Wei Guang has not strayed far off. Dong Hua was a neutral character that could easily side with the goodies or the baddies easily, he doesn’t give a dime about ethics and possessed a very thick impenetrable face. So he just isn’t a virtuous or gentle character to begin with, until Feng Jiu came into the picture. It is just a pity how they age him first, with the white hair then they had to give him a freaking beard when he had black hair again. Do note that most of the scenes between Dong Hua and Feng Jiu are scripted for the drama, they are not from the book because the drama did not gain permission to script off the second book. So it’s fascinating to see how the spin-off in this drama would work and whether it would satisfy audiences. I guess now we just have to rewatch the whole TMPB again while we wait for the drama gods to bestow us with Pillow Book the Drama.
I actually like Xuan Nv’s outfits half the time. Her arms are however so so thin! The hair up-do looks a little like a bird nest but hey, at least she doesn’t have horns.
The villains, mainly Su Jin and Xuan Nv were convincing enough to pose a threat while they possessed the power to harm but retribution was sweeter because they were easy to hate. Li Jing is not considered much of a villain but he does make Ye Hua look much better in comparison because of that moment of selfishness. I admit I skipped all his moping scenes and he spends majority of his screen time being depressed at not scoring lady love.
On the other hand, his sister, Yan Zhi deserves accolades. She was naive princess who although lost her brothers, never lost herself. Her love story pains me and is the exact thing her brother ‘thought’ he was going through at the time. However, she took things differently and in separation, she lives strongly for both herself and her niece.
How can we forget Zhe Yan, he who is the second papa of all the fox clan kids and biased towards Zhen Zhen?
Let’s talk about Mo Yuan. Now, he was a daddy long leg figure to Si Yin (Bai Xian in male form) but even then, he realized he had special affections for her. Fate is cruel because how else can you crush a heart other than waking up 70,000 years later finding your beloved is now engaged to your identical twin brother? Plus they have a son. Given the chances, Mo Yuan would have sacrificed all the same for Si Yin as Ye Hua would have done so the fate thing just comes in so strong here. It’s also sad that even Zhe Yan and Fourth Brother realized Mo Yuan’s affections but Bai Xian is just oblivious (-ly loyal to what she considers a father figure). At times I think Bai Xian is not completely oblivious, she just doesn’t think that what Mo Yuan does is unconventional for her as a pupil. And she holds a lot of respect for him as her teacher. (Confucian teaching is whereby your sifu is akin to your father so sifu x pupil relationship is considered incestuous, refer to Hua Xian Gu as an example). I just hope Mo Yuan gets his peach blossom (known as tao hua or love luck); come on, the guy slept 70,000 years, it’s one hell of a wait.
Cute picture because of all the tears I’ve shed in this drama, and for those of you who did too.
I don’t know how I’ll fill my days now or cope with the withdrawals that come right after you’ve finished a 58 episode drama. This will remain on my list of top Chinese dramas for a loooong time. Speaking of withdrawals, I’m still anticipating Yang Yang and Liu Yi Fei’s version. It may not be gripping or as emotional (58 episodes versus 2 hours isn’t fair play) but I’m expecting more elaborate costumes, better CGI effects and eye candies.
And, that’s the end of my long ramble for Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. 😀