In one of the more recent podcasts, I mentioned that none of the current airing Chinese dramas was doing it for me. They were all fluff and fantasy and what I really wanted was a down and dirty political historical with a side of romance. Thankfully, someone in my FB group mentioned The Rebel Princess, and 20 hours of binging later, I am officially hooked.
One of the top reasons this drama is working so well for me is the politicking. It is truly amazing how hard it is to find a drama that manages to be clever and intricate in the political shenanigans. To be truly well done, you need multiple smart people, all finagling to kill off each other. Way too often, we have only one bad guy twirling his mustache and hiring inept assassins. While I can sit through that kind of show, it doesn’t make my heart sing.
The Rebel Princess has so many generals, princes, princesses, and concubines you can’t swing a stick without hitting someone plotting to take over the throne. And stuck in the middle of all these is Princess A’ Wu (Zhang Zi Yi), one of the few people that seem not to notice the political chaos that surrounds her. That is until she is forced to marry a General made Prince (Zhou Yi Wei) who heads the strongest army in China. The two find love and common interest in surviving all the political strife and somehow combine to be a major power couple.
Along with the politicking, I am also a huge fan of the effort and money spent creating the outfits and sets for this drama. The clothes are so intricate and luxe. It makes a Fangirl want to play dress up and pretend to be a princess. Several of the action sequences are beautifully shot as well. Although a few others just didn’t hit the same, it is obvious that the director is picking and choosing which scenes need that extra bit of oomph and funding.
There is really only one aspect of the show that was slightly annoying. The story begins when our leading lady is supposedly fifteen. Keep in mind that the actress portraying this character is in her forties. A very young forty but still. To compensate, they had Zi Yi act very immature and, at times, annoying. Do I kind of wish they had maybe gone with a younger cast and aged them up somehow? Or just didn’t mention the age and made us just assume they were in their 20s? Yes, yes, I do. But they didn’t go that route, so you have to just work your way through it. Thankfully, the story is so good, and the acting really is well done; you can suspend disbelief most of the time.
So really, the final question is, is this drama right for you. Because, as much as I love it, I know that a lot of my friends would not enjoy it as much as I am. I think the best way to tell is whether you enjoyed dramas similar to Nirvana in Fire and Rise of the Phoenixes. If these dramas are on your favorite list, then this will 100% be up your alley. But if you are looking for a simple romance or endless fluff, you need to search elsewhere because this is not that kind of show.
So, let me know if you are going to join me in binging this brilliantly done drama. I would love to have more people to fangirl with since most of my besties fall more into the fluff drama category.
Til the next new addiction,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi