As promised, I dramathoned 6 episodes of Nirvana in Fire 2: The Wind Blows in Chang Lin over the holidays and am now ready to share my unfiltered thoughts on both the drama and how it compares to the original Nirvana in Fire.
I am trying to remain vague so no spoilers come through but I will be sharing some of the events of the first episode in order to set the stage. You have been warned.
Synopsis: This story begins two generations after Nirvana in Fire ended. It, in fact, involves the grandsons of Wang Kai’s character Xiao Jing Yan. Specifically the two nephews of the Emperor and current heirs to the Liang House. Because of their connections to the military and the close connections to the throne, they are attacked by political rivals.
The Plot: Just a warning, as good as the fight scenes are in episode 1, ( I would say this is one of the best, non-CGI, battle scenes I have seen in a Chinese drama) this is not an action drama. Or at least it isn’t in the six episodes I have watched. Nirvana in Fire 2 is a good 95% politicking. So much politicking. Which is not a bad thing. It is very well done and provides intricate political machinations and personally, I am really enjoying the story. But if you are not a person who loves to watch rich old dudes try to out-assassin each other, then this is not the drama for you.
Cinematography: I love this director and his intricate shots that are not relying on the green screen to make them epic. It isn’t as flashy as many of the Chinese fusion shows of the last several years, but the older directing style adds a sense of realism that is missing in many a drama.
Just a quick warning… there is a lot of blood used in the battle scene in episode 1. I am talking A LOT of blood. The squishy stabby sounds abounded and I don’t suggest eating while you watch these ten minutes. Thankfully, the gratuitous violence was just in this first episode. All the other episodes kept the bloodshed to a minimum… at least so far.
The Characters: Prince Xiao Ting Sheng and his two sons (Ping Jing & Ping Zhang) are such refreshing characters. Their relationship is sincere and filled with love. A nice change from most dramas where fathers and brothers are heated enemies. I can’t guarantee that this won’t change in the future, but I am enjoying the family bonding while I can.
I am especially enjoying the younger Liang son Ping Jing. He has an energy and an impulsive personality that makes the drama interesting. It also helps that Ping Jing is obviously very intelligent even if he is still learning how to survive the political minefield of the royal court.
Romance: The original drama (Nirvana in Fire) didn’t focus a lot on the romantic aspect of the story. It was there, but fell way behind the political/revenge storyline. While I don’t think we will be getting an epic romance this time either, romance is more of a focus in NIF2. Ping Zhang and his wife, Qian Xue, show the best type of Chinese drama couples. They are equal both in intellect and in skills. I already ship the two and hope to see more of their understated love in the future.
As for Ping Jing and his romantic interest, Lin Xi, I am not totally sold yet. I don’t know if it is just that her character didn’t grip me like Quan Xue, but I am not 100% feeling the love. That said, I am open to changing my mind in the future. With forty-four episodes to go, there is plenty of time for them to win me over.
Original VS Sequel: When it comes down to it, Nirvana in Fire 2 is nowhere as gripping as the original. I think the themes of revenge and bromance (not to mention Hu Ge and Wang Kai’s charisma) are just more interesting. However, that doesn’t make the sequel bad, it just means that if you are looking for the addicting aspect of the original, you might be disappointed. I am still highly entertained by the intricate political intrigue and I am excited to see where the story takes us.
I hope this post helps you decide whether you want to give this drama a try. For more Chinese drama recommendations CLICK HERE. We love finding the right dramas to make our readers happy.
Til next time,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi