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24 September 2011 @ 01:26 am
Bu Bu Jing Xin ~ tops my list of favorite drama of 2011  
《步步惊心》 Bu Bu Jing Xin ~ OST 《一念执着》《等你的季节》《三寸天堂》(my favorite OST song of the lot being 《三寸天堂》by Ivyan)

Official MV of 《三寸天堂》by Ivyan - I love this song so much!

35 Minute Long Official Extended Trailer [English subbed]
Part 1: 

Part 2:

Part 3:

The crazy obsession that is Bu Bu Jing Xin (Startling By Each Step) has done me in these past 2 weeks starting on the 10th of September when the first 10 episodes were leaked (and no surprise that I marathoned them right away, lol). So invested in this drama, that I then I turned to the English novel translations (currently up to chapter 8 is translated out of 40 chapters). ~~~~> http://bubujingxinenglish.blogspot.com/

I finally finished episode 35 last night (watched it twice!!) at 4:30 am. Needless to say, I was a bumbling bum at the office today; trying hard not to fall asleep and concentrate on work meanwhile all I managed to do was think about the shippy-ness that is 4th Prince/Ruo Xi, 14th Prince/Ruo Xi, & 8th Prince/Ruo Xi...and while we're at it, 13th Prince/Ruo Xi. If life would have it, I say she should have married them all and have a harem of the sexy princes ---- think the alternate universe that was in Ooku.

--------- starting off this megapost of a semi-review of the drama by first stating that the wannabe Bu Bu Jing Xin drama adaption "Gong/Jade Palace Jade Heart" is a complete piece of poop when compared to the real thing. It was an idol drama for eye candy purposes only, everything else was subpar to Bu Bu Jing Xin, especially when it comes down to the most important aspects of a good tv show: acting and story - which Bu Bu Jing Xin owned! --------- 

Anywho, I knew all intentions of studying diligently for the CPA exams were shot to hell once I caught the extended 35 minutes long trailer for the drama. My only regret is that I was too impatient to wait for the HQ subs to be released and that my knowledge of Chinese politics is unfortunately minute that English translations would have helped greatly during the scenes where I was just staring blankly at the screen. *FYI* THE QUALITY ENGLISH SUBS BY/AT VIKI ARE BARELY PASSABLE AT BEST. I cringed just watching the first 10 minutes into their subbed version and headed off to watch it raw on youtube. I hate having to bring that up provided that no subs would even be available if not for the generosity of the Viki subbers, but I felt that inferior subtitles will only diminish and take away the beauty of this drama. If I had the time and dedication to do so, I would so offer my help in translating parts of the drama that do not deal with politics or include Chinese poems albeit beatiful as they are which for the life of me I can never fully understand and decipher the depths of their true meanings. Oh and it doesn't help that the subtitles on the RAWs are in Simplified Chinese & not the Traditional Chinese characters that I can read. Fortunately, another subbing team (Fairies Fansubs) has decided to release HQ English subtitles, and the first episode has already been released here: http://dramafairyland.blogspot.com/

I'll admit that cdramas from Mainland China have never caught on (to me that is) considering the voices are forever being dubbed....and dubbing is my one greatest pet peeve when it comes to watching something onscreen. With the exceptions being Huan Zhu Ge Ge in the late 90's, Chinese Paladin, Return of the Condor Heroes 2006, Legend of the Condor Heroes 2008, Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber 2009, and Young Warriors of the Yang Clan 2006, I tend to skip around episodes of other mainland cdramas. Otherwise, I just stick to Hong Kong TVB dramas or Taiwanese dramas. With Bu Bu Jing Xin? Not so. I was riveted by the story and plot from the get-go. I'm so thankful that the producers and screenwriter stayed faithful to the online novel written by Tong Hua. They might have left out some of my favorite scenes (the first and foremost that comes to mind is the scene where Ruo Xi & 13th Prince - who are best friends - ask each other why they don't have romantic feelings for the other considering they're the most alike and share the same idealistic principles) and added additional scenes (they changed the first meeting of 4th Prince & Ruo Xi in the drama probably to give us viewers a headstart on shipping the main couple since in the novel, he doesn't appear until later into the story) like pretty much the entirety of episode 35. However, the added epilogue is much appreciated by us 4th Prince/Ruo Xi shippers and had me brawling at the end.

Liu Shi Shi's growth of an actress is clearly shown in her role as Ruo Xi. I'm agreeing with most of her critics that her acting has improved tri-fold here if comparing it to her roles in "Young Warriors of the Yang Clan 2006" where she was likeable and admittedly pitiable at the very end as Yang Si Liang's wife (oh, 4th Brother's amnesia....why?? *cries*) but her acting was surely wooden and the same with her role as Mu Nian Ci in "LoCH 2008" where her acting fell short compared to the other main characters and even to the more secondary characters (especially Li Jie who completely wowed me with his portrayal as the baddie villain everyone wants to love, Ou Yang Ke, and made me a fan for life - minus his role as the Emperor in YWoYC 2006). Though, I would like to think it was Liu Shi Shi's role as Mu Nian Ci that I hated rather than her acting. I mean who can love an enabler who turned against her own beliefs and morals even if it was for love? Oh, and it doesn't help that her character and the main villain Yang Kang killed Ou Yang Ke and then proceed to spend their first night together as lovers with a dead corpse lying just a few feet away. I may not love the Mu NianCi/Yang Kang pairing from the drama but I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the RL shippage of HongShi (Yuan Hong & Liu Shi Shi). Their chemistry onscreen and offscreen is just dazzling and mind-bloggling. I know I'll swoon if I Yuan Hong ever sets his "sex-me" eyes upon me...much less LSS. Haha, totally can't help shipping 13th Prince/Ruo Xi (HongShi) even if they are platonic best friends in Bu Bu Jing Xin.

Yuan Hong held his own against veteran actors such as Damian Lau, Kevin Cheng, and Nicky Wu. 13th Prince was my favorite prince from the novel (but 14th Prince ended up being my favorite in the drama due to his unselfish love for Ruo Xi) and Yuan Hong did an excellent job.  Needless to say, I'll probably fall prey to 13h Prince's flirtatious character and definitely to those bedroom eyes of his. <3 I wouldn't have mind being exiled to a small shack in the middle of nowhere if it means being with him for 10 years! Ah, 13th Prince...<3 <3 <3

Lin Geng Xin's acting as 14th Prince was so endearing that I jumped ship from 8th to 4th to 14th at the very end. So ironic that the only prince to love Ruo Xi unselfishly would be the one to stand in the way of 4th Prince/Ruo Xi's reunion before her death. Although, I do find it fitting that her last moments in life were spent in the arms of 14th who truly loved her yet unrequited on his part. Haha, I'm sure I'm not the only out there that was glad they were "married" even if it was in name only. 8th & 4th Princes who undoubtedly loved her (especially 4th) but in the end, their quest for the throne and 4th's attempts to keep his throne ultimately failed in maintaining their love for Ruo Xi. I find it extremely hard to believe this was LGX's first real role in a drama. According to dramawiki, he has only been in one other drama back in 2009...and it was probably an extra at best. Kudos to him for having such a great opportunity and partaking in such a grand production...I can only see him rising and emerging as a great actor in the near future.

Ah and now finally, on to Kevin Cheng as 8th Prince & Nicky Wu as 4th Prince (saving the best for last mayhaps? lol). Let me start off by saying that I've been a fan of both singers turned actors for over 15 years now...especially of Nicky Wu during his idol days. But bias aside, they were the stars of the show (Kevin in the first half of the drama and Nicky in the latter half). Their portrayals of 8th & 4th Princes were straight out of the novel...no disappointment there whatsoever. Although, I did initially have qualms and doubts of the chemistry Kevin and Nicky  would have with Shi Shi considering they're older than her by 18 years and 17 years respectively! But rest assure, you will definitely NOT see or even get an image of a father figure to Shi Shi onscreen. It helps that both men are gorgeous and look far younger than their real age.

The smart, kind, gentle but determined 8th Prince who I was largely rooting for until midway through both the book and drama made me understand why Ruo Xi fell hard & fast for him in the beginning. It was a romantic love that could have been if he had loved her enough to give up his intentions for the throne. Though, it bothers me that a bit because I personally believe he transferred his unrequited feelings of love for Ruo Lan (Ruo Xi's older sister) onto Ruo Xi and initially saw her as a replacement for the love that will never be with Ruo Lan - him giving her the jade bracelet was sort of abrupt in my opinion. However, i don't doubt the love that prospered on his part during the first 10 years Ruo Xi worked as the tea attendant to Emperor KangXi. His heart probably grew fonder over the years they were apart which makes the rare occasions they were together more meaningful. I was, however, confused by his last scene with 4th Prince (who had become Emperor YongZheng by then) where he tells 4th that he fell in love with Ruo Xi at first sight. As for Ruo Xi's love, I felt that while she did love him, she didn't invest her 100% into loving him coming from the future and knowing of his tragic end historically if he were to go on to fight for the seat to the throne. Her giving him the ultimatum of choosing between her and the right to the throne was logical on her part. I also understood 8th's confusion as to why he had to give up one for the other since he didn't know that the fight would mark the end for him tragically. Yet, I can't blame him for choosing to continue on the quest of becoming the next emperor since it was his goal even before Ruo Xi came into the picture. Plus, who else had better qualifications than him to becoming emperor? 4th Prince was a close second even if his ambitions were on par to 8th's but 8th Prince had a more personal reason for doing so. Growing up as a son born to a palace maid who was only given a status of concubine after 8th's birth meant a low birthright in terms of rank and status compared to the other princes born to their imperial and noblewomen mothers - so I can certainly not fault him for wanting to to get justice for his mother (and himself) for being looked down upon by their peers. 

If 8th Prince and Ruo Xi were a romantic type of love, then I would say that 4th Prince and Ruo Xi were the passionate type of love. He of the cold demeanor who had probably never loved before began to feel curious of the girl who had attracted and mesmerized most of his brothers (with the exception of 9th Prince who didn't like her from the get-go arrogant bastard that he is), and we all know the saying that curiosity killed the cat. Well, that's what sort of happened there. His mild curiosity led to intense attraction and from there doomed him to do anything but love and continue to love her even after believing she had betrayed him. Ironically, she was the foremost reason why he was so ambitious to become the next Emperor. Rou Xi, as the previous Emperor's (Emperor KangXi) favored person in the palace, only another person worthy of the Emperor's favor was deemed suitable for Ruo Xi. 4th Prince lost out on that once he was implicated for trying to usurp the Crown Prince of his position for the rights to the throne, even if it was 13th Prince who was ultimately left to suffer by taking on all the blame out of loyalty to 4th. Once it was realized that his father, Emperor KangXi, would never bestow Ruo Xi as concubine to him...the only way to get her (and also get 13th Prince released from his exiled imprisonment) was by obtaining the throne. However, by becoming the next Emperor (Emperor YongZheng), he only ended up becoming more ruthless and cold to those who were against him which in turn only hurt Ruo Xi. Thus, leading to the demise and downfall of their love for each other, because the very ones he killed were the ones she loved. If I had to pick a crucial turning point in their relationship, it would be when the 4th Prince killed Ruo Xi's sworn sister, Yu Tan, after discovering she was a spy sent by the 9th Prince. 4th Prince's love for Ruo Xi was all-encompassing and it may be masochistic of me to say that I'm glad he was left loving her even after her death. I felt that if he hadn't spent so much time on revenge on the other Princes, he and Ruo Xi could have had a happy ending together. This, despite the short reign he had as emperor (which is to stay true to history) since Ruo Xi was sick already and had less than 10 years left to live. I loved how he loved her completely and was willing to do whatever he could (except going after the ones she wanted him to let go of) to make her happy. He loved her so much that I got upset with him during the two scenes he spent with his Concubine Nian. the first where he was shown turning over the placecard on who he would prefer to spend the night with and the second where we actually see her. I wanted to slap at their hands when he pulled her into his arms! So frustrating! Strangely, I didn't feel any vehemence towards the Empress (4th Prince's first wife) and rather quite liked her. She was such a kind and understanding character that I actually felt sorry that 4th Prince didn't love her. In fact, she was the one who tried persuading 4th Prince to bring Ruo Xi back to the palace because she knew he was suffering with her gone. Fundamentally, the lapse in 4th Prince & Ruo Xi's relationship and difference in beliefs as well as her losing too many of her loved ones were the reasons why she felt suffocated during her final years in the palace which consequently considerably shortened the already few years she had left to live. As for Ruo Xi's love for 4th? I can only say it started off as dislike & wariness on her part because he was such a cold & aloof character and because she knew he was going to win the fight for the throne. She, then used his feelings for her for her own good knowing that he was to become the next emperor. However, she slowly but completely fell in love for him after seeing how sincere his love for her was. In the parting letter Ruo Xi wrote to him, she tells him that she knew she loved him after the scene when he came for her after she knelt in the rain for 3 days and 3 nights on the behalf of 13th Prince. Oh...and also that he took an arrow to the chest for her also helps. lol. Plus, proof that she had the deepest love for 4th Prince (before we even knew the ending and how she kept everything he gave her after she left the palace) was when she decided to become his woman knowing that she will always have to share him with his other consorts and concubines especially that being one of the reasons why she wouldn't accept 8th Prince's marriage proposal. On a side note, it was probably his stricter upbringing his mother placed on him that made him into the rigid 4th Prince Xuo Ri first met. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him in the unequal treatment his mother gave him and his younger brother (the 14th Prince). Born from the same mother, but whereas 14th Prince received warmth & joy from their mother, 4th Prince was often treated with a distance which grew after he took the throne. Even if the Empress had loved her younger son more, it broke my heart when she denied 4th was his son on her deathbed out of anger because she had always believed he stole the throne from her favored son. The longing for his mother's love til the very end was apparent when she drew her last breath, 4th continued to treat her with respect by kowtowing to her and taking care of her body.

Overall, I loved Bu Bu Jing Xin so much that it's comparable to my other mainland cdrama favorite - probably my all-time favorite - The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2008. IMHO, Ariel Lin nailed her role as the witty & clever heroine, Huang Rong, and did it best out of all the adaptions I've seen so far. It was like she brought to life the one-dimensional character Louis Cha/Jin Yong created in his novel. It's no wonder she's my favorite Taiwanese actress...I hated her as Xiang Qin in "It Started With a Kiss & They Kissed Again" which only shows what a great and versatile actress she is by giving life to the annoying crybaby from the manga to her portrayal in the live-action adaptions.

Aiiii...I am but long-winded. lol *facepalm*
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted