Last updated on August 4th, 2023 at 08:45 pm
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Immortal Samsara is a Chinese xianxia drama that came out in 2022.
The leads should be familiar as the female lead, Yang Zi has starred in historical dramas like Ashes of Love, Noble Aspirations, Legend of Dragon Pearl, and The Destiny of White Snake.
Cheng Yi’s list of notable acting projects is less than his counterpart but he became more famous due to his role in Love and Redemption and Noble Aspiration.
After working together before, they are working on the same project again, Immortal Samsara.
Immortal Samsara Synopsis
This Chinese drama is a forbidden love story between Yan Dan, a descendant of the four-leaf lotus tribe, and Lord Ying Yuan, one of the sovereign lords in the heavenly realm. Their story continues in the mortal realm with both of their memories wiped.
Immortal Samsara Review – Main Characters
Ying Yuan is one of the four heavenly sovereign lords whose role is to protect the six realms.
This character is similar to Bai Zi Hua, the male lead from The Journey of Flower. Both are immortal gods who have a strong sense of responsibility and carry the world on their shoulders. They are also forbidden from getting involved with anyone romantically.
However, there is a big difference between the two characters.
In The Journey of Flower, Bai Zi Hua was almost too upright whereas Ying Yuan has a naughty side to him. He likes to flip turtles (a weird habit but it’s a homonym. It means breaking the rules in Chinese) and tease Yan Dan.
These actions add another layer to Ying Yuan, which was a nice touch. He’s not as cold as you would think despite being raised to be unfeeling.
He meets Yan Dan who then becomes a turning point in his life.
Ying Yuan had no problem with putting duty above all else until her. Not only does she bring out the emotional side of him but for her, he’s tempted to throw out all the rules.
Tang Zhou is Ying Yuan in mortal form.
Like Ying Yuan, Tang Zhou also has a lot of expectations put upon him.
His sect, Li Xiao is pushing him to be the next sect leader although it’s not a position he is interested in. He doesn’t want to be tied down with all these responsibilities but is placed with them anyway.
As a mortal, he can behave more freely than Ying Yuan. He’s more forthcoming about his feelings and banters more with Yan Dan, who’s a flower demon in this realm.
They behave like an old couple by playfully arguing a lot but you can tell that they care for each other deeply.
Our main couple continues their forbidden love trope in the mortal world. She’s a demon while he’s a demon slayer. Also, as the future Li Xiao Sect’s leader, he is forbidden to get romantically involved with anyone.
Since there isn’t much difference between Yan Dan in the mortal realm and the heavenly realm, this Immortal Samsara review section will talk about her character in general.
Yan Dan is a carefree, loyal, and kindhearted lotus fairy that has healing capabilities. In fact, she uses up half her heart to heal Ying Yuan.
On paper, it doesn’t seem like they would fall in love.
Ying Yuan leads with his head while Yan Dan leads with her heart. Once Yan Dan decides on something, she goes all in, including the ones she loves. Ying Yuan is more rational.
There’s also a huge age gap between the two of them. He’s known her since she was young but in the deity world, everyone is old.
Their backgrounds are also vastly different.
She can live life to the fullest and not be restrained by all these responsibilities. There’s not much to be expected from her. On the other hand, Ying Yuan has to care for six realms. He is also more powerful and experienced.
Yet, despite the odds, they still fall for each other.
Immortal Samsara Review – Supporting Characters
Zhi Xi is Yan Dan’s sister in the heavenly realm. She gets jealous of Yan Dan and makes a fatal mistake. Some might even say what she did was unforgivable but she does a lot to redeem herself in the end.
I really like her character. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in more scenes as a second female lead. It would have been nice to see her character more in the mortal realm arc.
Actress Meng Zi Yi plays the character, Zhi Xi. You’ve probably seen her around because she starred in quite a few Chinese dramas like The Untamed.
She has some history with Cheng Yi who played Ying Yuan and Tang Zhou. Years ago, they starred together in a Chinese reality show where she confessed her feelings for him.
The drama could have released some BTS videos of their interactions. However, that’s taking the spotlight away from the main actress, Yang Zi, which is probably why they didn’t release any.
As a second male lead, it’s refreshing to not have his character fight Tang Zhou over Yan Dan. Although if done well, those make terrific scenes.
He loves Yan Dan but is not forceful about his love. He knows Yan Dan’s heart only has Ying Yuan.
Yu Mo even becomes friends with Tang Zhou and helps him out despite being in a love triangle.
His character was well-written but I didn’t have any particular feelings toward him. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling only so-so about the actor.
Immortal Samsara Review – Main Actors
Yang Zi as Yan Dan
Honestly, the audience might be sick of watching Yang Zi playing the same type of character.
After her drama, Ashes of Love, her characters all have similar vibes.
She played the cute role in Go Go Squid, The Oath of Love, and now in Immortal Samsara.
Is she choosing these kinds of roles on purpose?
If you haven’t watched any of her other dramas, you’ll probably find that her appearance and acting fit well with the character, Yan Dan.
On the other hand, if you’re like me and have watched several of her dramas, you might think this shtick is getting old.
The cute and lovable female lead is still a popular trope but Yang Zi has played this role several times already so the public is ready for something new.
Playing the same roles limits her acting ability. As a fan, I would love to see this talented actress portray a character that can show a different side to her.
Immortal Samsara was not her best acting work.
When she accepted the offer to play Yan Dan, there was news that it was the last drama her previous company H&R is making her film before she leaves. That could be a reason why she wasn’t in her best condition.
Cheng Yi as Ying Yuan/Tang Zhou
Cheng Yi looks fantastic in ancient drama costumes. There’s a reason most of his filmography is historical dramas (I would still watch him in a modern drama though).
It was a good thing that Love and Redemption was released first. His acting skills might not have stood out as much in Immortal Samsara although he still spits blood beautifully, something he is known for in the C-drama community.
In Immortal Samsara, he plays 3 different characters – Xuan Ye (Ying Yuan’s dad), Tang Zhou, and Ying Yuan.
Playing 3 characters as a lead isn’t super common. The last person I remember doing that was Yang Mi in her drama, Eternal Love.
It’s a test to show the audience if you can pull off three different personalities. Cheng Yi acted in a way that you can clearly tell the difference between Ying Yuan and Tang Zhou.
Xuan Ye was a whole new ballgame. Although this character was a minor role, he was still vital in this show.
Watching Cheng Yi tackle an evil character was another side of him that viewers haven’t seen before. It’s not too often popular actors take on a villainous role. They’re too busy being the hero in the series.
It was a good choice for him to try something new. I’m sure fans will enjoy watching his scenes as Xuan Ye.
Why Doesn’t Immortal Samsara Have Better Reviews?
Yang Zi is best known for her role as Jinmi in Ashes of Love. For Cheng Yi, it’s Si Feng in Love and Redemption.
Their previous characters left such a lasting impression on the audience that it was hard to differentiate Yang Dan from Jin Mi and Ying Yuan from Si Feng, especially since both dramas are also in the xian xia genre.
The production team also went a bit overboard with hyping up the drama. Since filming ended in Oct 2021, there was high anticipation surrounding the show. There were rumours of multiple delays but the drama dropped without any notice on July 2022.
When the drama came out, there were already a bunch of trailers and snippets online. The team might be trying to build anticipation but instead, the show lost some of its secrecy.
There was also criticism about their use of CGI. The team invested a lot of money (it’s an S+ drama) but it didn’t reach people’s expectations. Personally, I thought the CGI effects were beautiful.
Despite all of this, the two standout reasons why Immortal Samsara was not more successful are due to the lack of chemistry between the leads and the choppy editing.
Lack of Chemistry
For romance dramas, the chemistry between the two leads must be strong.
Yang Zi and Cheng Yi do not have apparent chemistry. They have been good friends for years in real life so maybe that translated onto the screen.
Together, they don’t have a romantic vibe going on (and here I thought Xu Kai and Wu Jia Yi’s chemistry in Dance of the Sky Empire wasn’t strong enough).
Since Immortal Samsara’s main plotline is about their love story, it’s hard to keep going.
There also weren’t many romantic moments to fangirl over but there are many heart-wrenching scenes if that’s the type you’re interested in. You don’t have to wait long either before those start.
In Immortal Samsara, there was a lot of choppy editing.
A drama’s pacing and storyline are very important.
Certain scenes were great but there could have been so much more potential.
For example, there was a scene where Tang Zhou pointed his sword at Yan Dan. The scene wasn’t nearly long enough for the audience to get into the zone. It ended a bit abruptly too.
This emotional scene went by too quickly but then some scenes felt draggy.
The drama wasn’t engaging as a whole. As the drama continued to air in real time, they lost a lot of fans.
I think the team had planned for Immortal Samsara to have more episodes. Due to the new regulations of a drama having a cap of 40 episodes maximum, they would have had to cut down a lot of content. This would explain the awkward editing and transitions but they still could have done a better job.
Who Should Watch Immortal Samsara?
Fans of Cheng Yi, Yang Zi, or the xianxia genre should watch this drama. The drama might not be top-notch in terms of the plotline but with Yang Zi and Cheng Yi as the leading actors, there’s bound to be some success.
However, even being a fan of both leads, there were many times when I was tempted to drop the show but I was determined to write a fair Immortal Samsara review blog post.
There was a lot of potential and it’s a pity that the team didn’t use this opportunity to make this drama something explosive.
The result could have turned out differently if the team had made different decisions. I bet a lot was riding on Immortal Samsara but instead, the drama fell flat.
This show caught many people’s attention in the beginning but couldn’t keep their attention to the very end just like the drama, Unchained Love.
Although I do not regret watching this drama (it was something I was looking forward to since the trailer came out), it’s not going on my favourite drama list, nor will it be something I will rewatch in the near future.
Now to You – Immortal Samsara Review
What did you think of Immortal Samsara?
I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.