Fuyao (Yang Mi) travels the Five Regions in search of the truth about her origins. Strangely enough, her path keeps crossing that of Zhangsun Wuji’s (Ethan Ruan), a man of many faces and with a mysterious agenda. Together, they find themselves embroiled in many conspiracies as they strive to protect the world.
When I watched episode 1 of Legend of Fuyao, I didn’t think much of it, and didn’t bother coming back for episode 2. Why? Because it sounded like I’d seen this before, namely when in the pilot episode of Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. And really, with the same actress playing pretty much the same character, a Senior Brother obviously in love with her, and a sect that hides in the mountains, well… The similarities were a little too glaring for my taste.
Yet, numerous tweets of praise later, I couldn’t help but give it a second chance, and boy, am I happy I did. Thanks, twitter. I would have unknowingly hated to miss out on this.
What made Legend of Fuyao into such a favorite for me is quite simple: the dynamics between the characters are absolutely entrancing. The writers managed to craft not only compelling, well-rounded characters, but also give them heartfelt relationships that will have your heart torn to shreds one moment, and singing with happiness the next. Mostly, I’m thinking of course of Fuyao and Wuji, whom I will get back to in a moment, but also Healer Zong Yue, played by Lai Yi, who does an admirable job at portraying the character’s conflicting emotions and hatred, his frigid pride and dignity. His arc was one of the most compelling of the entire show, he oozed class, and his friendship with Wuji—smart men banding together, yay!—was everything.
When You Stare Into the Abyss…
In fact, Zong Yue’s character was one of the most complex and well-rounded of the show. His single-minded focus on his goal makes him toe the fine line that leads to outright villainy, and on several occasions, you find yourself wondering if you can even root for him anymore… and if he can ever come back from the darkness his soul has been simmering in for so long.
(I’ve tried so hard not spoil anything, this paragraph has shrunk to half its original size. Now where’s my cookie, people?)
A Love for the Ages
However, the main stars of the show undoubtedly remain its main leads, Fuyao and Wuji, in all the glory of their all-encompassing love and absolute loyalty to each other. It’s a beautiful relationship to see blossom and unfold, so deep and powerful it’ll leave you in pieces sometimes, watching them unravel as their loved one is hurt—sometimes horribly so, smile when the other is happy, weep when the other is in mourning. Their unyielding devotion to each other doesn’t start right off the bat, of course, but this slow buildup is what gives it so much credibility and strength. Those are two people who will support each other to the end of the world and back.
Also, can I just say battle couple? Those two fighting together is a thing of beauty.
Who Killed the Second Lead?
As for the second lead, Zang Beiye was a great character… at the beginning of the story. His relationship with Fuyao was hilarious, and they almost got me to ship them. Almost. As soon as Wuji smirked his way back onto my screen, I was done for. But Zang Beiye, with his loyal, straightforward character as well as the obvious love he has for his men (and which they return tenfold, by the way), wormed his way into my heart straight off the bat.
…Which is why he disappointed me so much when his arc came around. Without spoiling anything, it was really hard to root for his little love story. Why? Because he fell for all the wrong reasons, and then became this mushy, boring dude that resolutely was not the Zang Beiye from the beginning of the show. On top of that, there were a lot of times when I was just waiting for him to do something dammit!, because while his reasons to hold back were somewhat understandable at first, there can only be so many lives you allow to be sacrificed for your sake before you throw caution to the wind and take action, man!
(Do you see me chomping at the bit right now?)
Get On With the Program, People
What’s more, I do have a problem with the way Fuyao, who seemed so badass originally, always remains weaker than Wuji. Why couldn’t her growth keep up as it had in the first ten episodes? Somehow, the power-up our heroine underwent in that initial arc ended up sounding like the writers were merely giving her the means to scrap by in the outside world. It really looked like, as a woman, she would never surpass any man out there, unless he’s a villain.
So I loved this show, I loved those characters, and I had the mother of all crushes on Wuji and his obvious adoration for Fuyao but… I wish the Legend of Fuyao had been just that. Hers. Not hers and Wuji’s. Or Wuji’s. You know.
And like… it was 2018, people. It’s time, don’t you think?
Decent Production, Good Music
Production-wise, while the photography isn’t anything to fawn over, some scenes are absolutely flawless in their execution. Director Vincent Yang, Yang Mi, and Ethan Ruan managed to turn a sparring scene into a love letter, and the best thing is that it works flawlessly. The music, on the other hand, is a very good blend of soft vocals, zither, and strings, which does a very good job at lending the drama a historical, epic vibe. It’s a delight to listen to, and really works at increasing the emotional power of certain scenes.
All in All…
Although the ending was rushed and the middle episodes got draggy here and there, Legend of Fuyao makes for a very good series, thanks to its gorgeous epic romance and well-written characters. A 2018 must-watch.
Title: Legend of Fuyao
Starring: Yang Mi, Ethan Ruan, Vengo Gao, Liu Yi Jun, Lai Yi
Aired: 06/18/2018 to 08/13/2018
Number of Episodes: 66
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Wuxia, Martial Arts
My grade: ★★★★★