Last updated on January 25th, 2022 at 07:31 am
Last but not least! This is the last post for Top Chinese Romance Dramas. I have three other parts so check it out if you haven’t already: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Zhao Li Ying is one of my favourite Chinese actresses so this post includes two of the top dramas with her in it.
7) Journey of Flower 花千骨
In 2015, this drama was hyped up a lot. I decided to watch the drama to see what the big deal was. Journey of Flower turned out to be one of my favourite Chinese dramas so good decision on my part!
The story revolves around a love line between Hua Qian Gu and Bai Zi Hua. Hu Qian Gu is an unlucky orphan because her scent attracts demons. She goes to Chang Liu and becomes Bai Zi Hua’s only disciple to find herself falling in love with him.
Ah, the forbidden love between a master and a disciple. Was it just me or for a while, it seemed like a lot of love stories had that kind of plotline? You might be wondering why it’s so taboo for them to fall in love. It’s because it’s equivalent to a teacher-student relationship so there is an unhealthy power dynamics in the relationship. Since Bai Zi Hua practically raised Hua Qian Gu and trained her in martial arts, he’s a mentor and guardian. People would go as far as calling this type of relationship as incest. BUTTT this is not a new storyline so people must buy it, right?
I remember watching this drama and thought Zhao Li Ying was perfectly cast as Hua Qian Gu. Qian Gu is a character that is kind, cute, and innocent. Zhao Li Ying has a baby face, which allowed her to play Qian Gu’s character convincingly. Her acting wasn’t overbearing when being cute, something that is really hard to achieve. Usually, those types of characters get on my nerves.
As you can tell by the drama title, Qian Gu goes through her own journey. She goes from being an innocent girl to the devil God. Her transformation is easily one of the highlights in the drama. Her innocent side is gone and is now ‘evil.’ How can you stay pure and happy when everyone she loves is no longer around? At first, I was unsure about the actress pulling off the evil look. I was so used to seeing her cute side but was pleasantly surprised at her acting capabilities. Zhao Li Ying nailed it.
I was researching more about Zhao Li Ying and found that her background is unlike most of her peers in the entertainment industry. She came from humble beginnings. She also didn’t graduate from one of the three prestigious acting universities, when a majority of the actors and actresses do. Yet, she was able to get past all of that becoming a critically acclaimed A-lister. Zhao Li Ying had a solid fan base before starring in this drama but Journey of Flower helped her achieve nationwide fame.
Next up is our male lead. Bai Zi Hua is a revered immortal that does not show a lot of emotions. He’s a righteous guy that puts his duty for the world above all else. Hard to fall in love with a guy like that but our female lead does anyway! Her unwavering devotion to him was heartwarming to watch. They meet very early on in the series and you can already tell Zi Hua has a soft spot for Qian Gu. There were several moments where I was annoyed at Bai Zi Hua because he kept going on and on about ‘doing the right thing.’ He’s stubborn in his way but yet you can’t help root for them to be together.
The love story between Bai Zi Hua and Hua Qian Gu isn’t loud. It’s not the type of affection where you shout on top of your lungs and declare to the world how much you love the female lead but rather, it’s sacrificing for her without her knowing. Qian Gu’s affection for him is more obvious. He returns the favour by showing his affection for her in his quiet way.
I like Huo Jian Hua (霍建华) as Bai Zi Hua. It’s difficult to play a character that has a God-like aura. You need a commanding yet delicate presence. It’s also hard to convey emotions for a character that has a poker face most of the time. The only thing is, I imagined the character being taller (being a God and all) but Huo Jian Hua can’t control that.
Usually, I will LOVE one song from the drama but don’t like the rest. In Journey of Flower, there are three songs from the OST that I like: 不可说, 心之火, 年轮. I don’t have strong feelings for any of the songs in particular but overall, this drama does have a better soundtrack than the other series on the list.
I re-watched the drama recently in order to write a more accurate drama review for Journey of Flower and realized how much technology has progressed since then. 2017 was probably a turning point where Chinese dramas started heavily investing in CGI and increasing production budget. I didn’t notice at the time I watched the drama back in 2015 but now looking back, the CGI and scenic background in this series aren’t quite as good as now. Hindsight is 20/20, they say.
8) Legend of Lu Zhen 陆贞传奇
This series made an impression on me because it is about the main female character rising up the rank, eventually becoming a female prime minister. Even nowadays, there aren’t many female leaders. This is such a big deal, especially for a historical setting. Those who like strong and independent heroines, this one is for you.
This drama is about Lu Zhen’s rising up the ranks. To escape her family, Lu Zhen enters the palace as a maid and has a love line with the crown prince, Gao Zhan. Although they cannot get married due to political reasons, she becomes the female prime minister, helping Gao Zhan rule the country.
Zhao Li Ying (赵丽颖) plays Lu Zhen. Unlike Journey of Flower, Zhao Li Ying didn’t play a cute character. She was a strong and determined heroine. I feel that Journey of Flower showcased her acting ability more. That is not to say she did a bad job in Legend of Lu Zhen. However, it’s hard for me not to compare because I became such a fan of Zhao Li Ying in Journey of Flower that I was looking at another drama I could watch with her being the female lead. In reality, Legend of Lu Zhen came out first in 2013 then Journey of Flower, which came out in 2015.
Our main male character, Chen Xiao (陈晓) did a great job as Gao Zhan. It was hard not to pity his character. Growing up in the palace meant people were tricking you left and right because they felt threatened. That’s why it was such a relief for him when he met Lu Zhen. I have no idea how people in the past could survive in the palace. Almost everyone is constantly scheming. How can you feel safe and secure in that kind of environment? It would take such a toll on your mental health.
For about one-third of the series, Lu Zhen had no idea about Gao Zhan’s identity. In the beginning, they met each other outside the palace. To keep himself protected, he didn’t share with her who he really was. I enjoyed watching this part because of how open Gao Zhan was with her. To Lu Zhen, he wasn’t the crown prince. He could behave more freely around her because his identity wasn’t weighing him down.
I love this pairing the most out of all the couples on this list. They are absolutely adorable together. My favourite scene is still fresh on my mind . It’s when Gao Zhan declares his love for Lu Zhen in front of his brother, the emperor and the empress. I was like DAMNNNNNN. After I finished watching the drama, I was looking up videos to watch them interact on screen. Not only did they have amazing chemistry but they also matched visually, and were the same age. There were even rumours in the industry that these two dated. They are now both happily (I hope) married to someone else.
An interesting plotline in the drama was the relationship between the emperor and Gao Zhan. I ship their bromance. Usually, royal siblings have a rivalry. It is for the King’s throne, after all. To make things more complicated, there’s a bit of a love triangle. The empress, the emperor, and Gao Zhen were close when they were younger. The empress loves Gao Zhan but married the emperor while the emperor loves her. When we add Lu Zhen into the mix, it’s a whole lot of complicated.
Sadly, none of the songs stood out to me. They were just mediocre. There is nothing to rave about the set and costumes either. Again, it was backward for me since I didn’t watch the drama when it came out in 2013 but rather in 2015. In 2013, maybe I would have had different thoughts about the set and costumes. By 2015, I have watched quite a few dramas with elaborate sets and costumes. I also grew up watching countless TVB palace dramas which could be an additional reason why I wasn’t that impressed visually.
Chen Xiao was a fresh face to me. I’ve never heard of him before this drama, thus I had no expectations of him. After Legend of Lu Zhen, I did become a fan. He’s not my FAVOURITE actor, per se but I look forward to watching another drama of his. Although he is still active in the industry, this is his only work I’ve watched, even to this day. None of his other works have interested me enough. Still, I’ll anticipate the next drama he is in that I will want to watch.
Does it seem like I only watch ‘old’ dramas? I swear that it’s not true. I have been keeping up with my Chinese dramas but for some reason, all my favourites are oldies.
If there are any dramas in the future that deserve to be on the list, I will make a part 5 but that’s it for now! It could be that you’ve never watched a Chinese drama before and you want to start but don’t know where or maybe you’re looking for another drama to kill time. I hope you’ll watch a few dramas from my list if not all.
Watched all on this list already? Dance of the Sky Empire is another drama you can binge!