Last updated on September 23rd, 2023 at 09:27 am
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Out of nowhere, the drama My Journey to You dropped on September 2023.
It came out pretty fast too. The show wrapped up filming in March 2023 and it premiered 6 months later. The gap between finished filming to airing usually takes about one year so it’s surprising this show took about half the time.
Perhaps this is because My Journey to You was an anticipated Chinese drama from Edward Guo. Edward Guo is a screenwriter, director, and producer with works such as Tiny Times and its three sequels, Ice Fantasy, L.O.R.D. under his belt.
So how does his drama, My Journey to You do?
I’ll answer this question in detail in this drama review.
Let’s get started!
My Journey to You Synopsis
A female assassin from Wufeng takes over the identity of Yun Wei Shan and is tasked with marrying into the Gong Palace. Her infiltrating the palace is her last mission before she finally gets a chance at freedom. She meets Gong Zi Yu, the future sword wielder and her heart falters because of his genuine kindness towards her.
My Journey to You Main Characters
Yun Wei Shan
Yun Wei Shan is a Chi, the lowest assassin level for Wufeng.
(There are four assassin levels for Wufeng – Chi, Mei, Wang, and Liang.)
She’s smart, and observant and can continue to rise the ranks if she wants to. But that means she has to do more heartless things like killing people. What her heart truly wants is freedom and normalcy.
For an assassin, she’s softhearted and doesn’t want to involve innocent people. She’s been trained as a Wufeng assassin for years and is put in this impossible situation. If she doesn’t do what she’s told, she won’t get the cure for fortnight flies. This is a poison she is given by Wufeng. Without a cure every two weeks, she will suffer from unbearable pain.
At first, Gong Zi Yu is her target. He is one more thing she has to conquer before she can achieve what she’s wanted since the beginning – freedom. When he continuously shows her affection, she is moved by his care and dedication.
Like her comrade Shang Guan Qian says, if Yun Wei Shan is a regular girl who comes from a normal family, what kind of girl wouldn’t be blessed to marry a guy like that?
Gong Zi Yu
As a significant other, Gong Zi Yu is the type of guy you want. He’s dedicated, protective, caring, and understanding.
Back in the historical setting, there are strong ideals for how a man should behave.
He challenges social norms by wearing a woman’s bracelet and carrying a rabbit lantern that is deemed girly.
However, as a leader of the Gong Palace, he is too soft. He’s a good guy, which is why elders like him but he is too gullible. Once he believes in a person, he goes all in. For example, when there were doubts Yun Wei Shan was a Wufeng spy, he stood up for her when he didn’t know her well enough at that point.
He is also quite sheltered compared to his Gong brothers. They’ve all experienced trauma by Wufeng but he’s the one being babied. The Gong brothers either had to go to war or learn about poisons. He had more free time on his hands. Gong Zi Yu even got help as he was passing his three trials to become the future sword wielder.
His character development is slower than a usual male lead’s because it doesn’t happen the last 1/3 of the series.
Romance is not at the forefront of the show. It’s also mixed with mystery, thriller, and political tensions.
The romance between Gong Zi Yu and Yun Wei Shan is slow. Their interactions are also more on the formal side. Although Yun Wei Shan is his fiancé, she keeps calling him Mr. Yu or Zhi Ren Da Ren, which means sword wielder. On the other hand, Gong Zi Yu started calling her Ah Yun pretty quickly.
This is an example of the dynamic between them. He is open and casual towards her while she is still guarded and following the rules and formality. Her unwillingness to call him something more intimately shows she still has that boundary in her heart between them.
My Journey to You Supporting Characters
Gong Zi Shang
Gong Zi Shang is Gong Zi Yu’s older sister.
She often provides funny scenes when the show is getting too heavy. Viewers might feel like her character is a bit out of the blue since everyone else is so serious but she does add to the storyline.
She spends the majority of her day flirting with Jin Fan, Gong Zi Yu’s jade position guard.
It might seem like she’s joking about making moves on him but when she lets her guard down, you can see that she does truly like him.
The actress who plays Gong Zi Shang is Jin Jing. She is basically herself in this drama because she acts the same when she guest stars in reality TV shows like Keep Running.
Jin Fan is Gong Zi Yu’s guard and loyal sidekick. He was the youngest red jade position but gave it up to be the lowest level green jade guard position and be by Gong Zi Yu’s side.
His love line with Gong Zi Shang in My Journey to You is pretty cute – a princess and the prince’s guard.
Jin Fan struggles to accept Zi Shang’s affections because of his duty but her persistence melts his cold exterior.
Han Ya Si
Han Ya Si is Yun Wei Shan’s raven. He’s her teacher and mentor at Wufeng but is more like a substitute mom. He teaches her what she needs to know for her missions.
Although he does not appear in as many scenes as some of the other supporting characters, he’s a memorable character. He genuinely cares for her and Yun Que. The actor that played this role, Omid is great at acting with his eyes.
Yun Que is Yun Wei Shan’s ‘sister.’ They passed through Wufeng at the same time and emotionally relied on each other during tough times.
Shang Guan Qian
Shang Guan Qian is another Wufeng assassin hidden in the new bride selection for the Gong Palace. The difference is that she’s a Mei, one level higher than Yun Wei Shan.
Shang Guan Qian looks sweet and innocent so she plays up the soft character to hide her real self. She tears up easily but it’s hard to determine whether she’s genuine or not because she’s good at hiding her emotions.
She is in a toxic love line with Gong Shang Jue.
Gong Shang Jue
Gong Shang Jue is a cold and ruthless individual who is good at fighting.
He is skeptical of everyone and everything. The only person he trusts is his younger brother, Gong Yuan Zhi.
He always put family and the Gong Palace first, even above Shang Guan Qian whom he has complicated feelings.
Gong Yuan Zhi
As a part of the Gong family, his expertise lies in poisons.
Gong Yuan Zhi is Gong Shang Jue’s younger brother. He is close to Shang Jue and is always sticking by him.
His unwavering devotion to Shang Jue makes these two brothers have an unbreakable bond.
What Could Have Been Better
1) The story started strong. It was addicting from the start but as the show continued to air, the plot was a let-down. My Journey to You throws in plot twists and makes you question everything. But more questions will pop up faster than you’ll get answers. The plot also became draggy in the middle and this is only a short drama with 24 episodes!
2) There is not a lot of focus on the main leads but rather on the second lead couple, Shang Guan Qian and Gong Shang Jue. When you factor in the third couple as well, there’s not a lot of screen time for the lead couple together.
3) Gong Zi Yu’s character wasn’t that interesting. Supporting characters like Shang Guan Qian, Gong Shang Jue, Jin Fan, and Han Ya Si all had better character development. For example, when he finds out Yun Wei Shan is from Wufeng, the scene is disappointing. It’s unrealistic to be so understanding of her when she comes from a sect that killed several of his family members. All the buildup led to nowhere.
4) The marketing team hyped up this drama with a lot of fight scenes. Although there were some, especially towards the end of the drama, it was less than expected. It takes a lot of work to choreograph fight scenes so maybe the team was tight on time.
Best Parts About My Journey to You
1) The Cinematography/Visuals
He films movies and dramas but mostly movies. He is known for filming great visuals and it shows! My Journey to You doesn’t feel like a TV show but a long movie. The slow-mo and close-up of the actors were done marvelously. The actors were all stunning as well.
2) Interesting Characters
Most of the characters have an interesting story and background to them. It makes you want to know more about them.
Edward worked with stellar actors on this drama set. A lot of the actors got to portray a character they’d never been before. Even if the audience is familiar with the actor already, My Journey to You shows how capable they are of bringing their character to life.
- Episode 1 – Yun Wei Shan Mud Fight Scene
- Episode 11 – Gong Zi Yu talking to Ah Yun through her door thinking she betrayed him
- Episode 13 – Ah Yun puts herself in front of Gong Zi Yu to protect him while he’s oblivious to the dangerous situation
My Journey to You Actors
Esther Yu is best known for her bubbly characters like Xiao Lan Hua in Love Between Fairy and Devil. In this drama, she is a complete 180 from her previous roles.
She is not her cutesy self and delivers something 100% different.
Now, this is what we want to see from actors!
Before the show aired, I had doubts that she was the right person for the role. In Love Between Fairy and Devil, she was the goddess Xi Yun. She couldn’t carry the character’s aura well and, in this drama, she’s supposed to play this serious spy?
Esther clearly proved me wrong with her performance in My Journey to You. Her emotional scenes were touching as she could display vulnerability in her micro-expressions.
She has a lot of potential for more layered roles.
Esther’s Weight Loss
Esther visibly lost a lot of weight for this role. She was never fat to begin with but the weight melted off her. The director is known for his harsh beauty of standards. He wants to film actors and actresses in their best possible state and that often means losing weight. Hopefully, she worked with a nutritionist instead of losing weight the unhealthy way.
Zhang Ling He
Zhang Ling He has the perfect face for this – someone who is handsome but looks kind. He’s comfortable to look at and you just know he’s a good guy.
(That’s why I said before that he would have made a believable Duan Jia Xu in Hidden Love.)
What you notice on screen is how tall he is. Esther is tall herself but when they’re together, all you see are long limbs everywhere.
He is not a bad actor but he doesn’t stand out like some other male lead actors in dramas like Love and Redemption. His character doesn’t have as much depth.
Considering this was his first leading man role since Love Between Fairy and Devil, I thought he would put more effort into promoting the drama.
There are not many joint interviews with the main leads. However, the drama did drop out of nowhere and they were both filming different projects at the time. Celebrities’ schedules are hard to match so it’s a pity. It would have been nice to watch an episode of them joining a reality TV show.
Lu Yu Xiao
Lu Yu Xiao has been in dramas like The Longest Promise and Love You Seven Times.
Her character, Jin Luo in Love You Seven Times didn’t stand out in the sea of cast.
Her hard work did pay off eventually because she got a lot of people’s attention in My Journey to You. This shows how important a good character is. She brought her role as Shang Guan Qian to life.
The lighting, camera angle, and her expressive acting skills made her one of the highlights of the show.
You might have watched Ryan from A Familiar Stranger, a web drama. In a short time, he went from starring in a web drama to being a supporting character in a famous director’s drama.
He may not be the lead but he gained many fans through this role. His role as Gong Shang Jue was a fantastic opportunity to showcase his acting skills. His character got a lot of spotlight, even more than the male lead.
Fans are eagerly waiting for a reunion between him and Lu Yu Xiao in another project.
How Long is My Journey to You?
Each episode is about one hour, which is longer than a usual drama episode. A drama episode is usually about 45 minutes. My Journey to You totals 24 episodes but with the regular drama timing, it’s more like 32 episodes.
Similarities Between Love Between Fairy and Devil
Does it feel like I’m always talking about this Chinese drama? Yes, it’s one of my all-time favourite shows but it’s also because Zhang Ling He and Esther Yu were both on the show.
This time around, Zhang Ling He is the main lead instead of the supporting lead.
Some fans wanted the two of them paired up in another project and now their wish came true.
If you haven’t watched Love Between Fairy and Devil, check it out on Netflix.
Final Thoughts – My Journey to You
2023 sure is all about originality. First is Lost You Forever and now My Journey to You.
My Journey to You is different than your regular wuxia idol dramas. The tone of the drama is very dark, including how Edward Guo filmed the series.
There is a lot of moving parts for a TV series to be successful. My Journey of You has a big-name director, well-known actors, and beautiful cinematography but plot holes are making the viewer feel absent as they continue to follow along. This show is the perfect example of starting strong but ending low.
This drama is recommended for those who like to be involved with watching a show. Some people prefer to watch light-hearted shows to take away from the stress of their personal lives. Then, some people like to use their brains to try to figure out the story along the way.
The storyline in My Journey to You is quite complicated. There’s a lot of memory work since there are a lot of characters. People tend to associate shorter dramas with straightforward plotlines like Dance of the Sky Empire and My Sassy Princess but it’s not like this with My Journey to You.
My Journey to You is an unpredictable drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to make sense of everything and having all these theories.
Now to You – My Journey to You
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