Love & Redemption (2020) 琉璃 : C Drama Series Review

Chu Xuan Ji & Yu Si Feng with his Loveless Mask

A fantasy series revolving the tribulations of immortals of Heaven Realm, Mortal Realm and Demon Realm, with the focus on War God & Mosha Star. Legend has it 1,000 years ago, the legendary War God of Heaven Realm defeated Mosha Star of Demon Realm. Unexpectedly, War God is punished to go through reincarnation in the mortal realm instead of being rewarded.

War God is reincarnated in the Mortal Realm as cultivator Chu Xuan Ji, the youngest daughter of Shaoyang Sect who does not have all five senses from young. She meets Yu Si Feng, a disciple of Li Ze Sect and both encounters various adventures & trials together. The journeys bring them closer together & both slowly fall in love. But what is Love & Redemption without its trials & surprises?  

  • Xuan Ji & Si Feng seek Shards of Mirror Past to assist Xuan Ji in restoring her five senses. As they obtain pieces of the Mirror Past and extend their investigation, it provides various clues pointing to the direction that Xuan Ji is actually War God. As she finds each piece, it slowly awakens her power. At the same time, the shard exposes the previous nine reincarnations of Si Feng, whereby he dies in each reincarnation to show his sincerity in love to Xuan Ji.
  • Further complexity arises when Sky Hall controlled by demons are scheming to awaken Mosha Star, with Li Ze Sect’s Vice Leader Yuan Lang as the main spy. Voila! More surprises as Li Ze Sect disciples are actually all demons disguising as cultivators, including Si Feng. Li Ze Sect Leader is actually a Phoenix Tribe Demon, who is also the father to Si Feng. Si Feng’s identity is exposed at the cultivators’ competition, resulting in the confrontation between the other 4 sects and Li Ze Sect. Yuan Lang of Li Ze Sects revolts, murdering Si Feng’s father & takes over the sect.
Yu Si Feng in a fan drawing as the Golden Bird Tribe demon
  • Si Feng pretends to be the Mosha Star to take over Li Ze Sect from Yuan Lang, but is misunderstood by Xuan Ji. As he pretends to be Mosha Star, he finds more pieces of the puzzles which point towards surprise, surprise – Xuan Ji as the real Mosha Star (also known as Luo Hu Ji Tu @ Rahu Ketu! Although Si Feng tries his best to keep the information from Xuan Ji, she finally realises when King Bailin attacks Shaoyang Mountain. Mosha Star is finally resurrected whereby the primordial core (heart of Mosha Star in the form of Xuan Ji) and the soul (sealed in a bottle) are united.   
  • With Mosha Star resurrected, Xuan Ji is imprisoned within him. Mosha Star is full of vengeance and hatred towards Heaven Realm, ready to stage a fight with the Heaven Realms. Si Feng does not give up on Xuan Ji, pursuing a mediation between King Bailin and Mosha Star. During the mediation, it is also revealed that Si Feng is actually the reincarnation of Xi Xuan, the son of Heavenly Emperor & a demon princess, who protected War God at the Heaven Realm. 
  • The final confrontation exposes the obsession by King Bailin, resulting in chaos in the 3 realms. Heavenly Emperor provides what-ifs scenario to both King Bailin & Mosha Star, resulting in King Bailin to realise his obsession of peace but harbouring evil intention while Mosha Star realises his obsession with vengeance & hatred. Mosha Star separates himself from Xuan Ji, choosing to reincarnate with King Bailin. The 3 realms are finally at peace and Xuan Ji and Si Feng are left to enjoy their life in the mortal realm.

Overall Thoughts

At first glance, the storyline & background is very similar to Ashes of Love, which is also shown on Netflix. The focus is on the female lead losing her senses hence unable to feel the various emotions. Watching the series is a long but enjoyable ride. The storyline is riveting, always prompting for more with glimpses of little clues strewn here and there, always tempting the viewers wanting to know more.

Main Poster

The beginning of the series explores the youthful adventures & curiosity, aptly presenting a youth as a blank paper with their experiences blotting the blank paper. Their unique experiences seen from their perspectives, surrounding influences (be it family or friends), their personality & reactions towards these experiences – all provides the sketches & colours to the blank paper.

The middle of the series begins to unravel the mysteries, giving a peek to the deep-rooted intention of each individual – be it the elders, the youngsters, the immortals & even the demons. The pace picked up significantly, with many intertwined stories & motivation behind their actions. The later part of the series wraps up quite nicely, and frankly the ending is quite satisfying and does not feel rushed, which usually happens in many series after a good run.

Deeper Muses

In their misunderstanding on Si Feng’s demon bloodline, Xuan Ji questions Si Feng on his honesty, emphasizing that honesty is an important aspect to her and his lies destroyed her trust in him. In the plot, Si Feng does not reveal the whole truth and in certain situation needed to lie in order to protect Xuan Ji. Can honesty be traded to protect someone? Is there a justified reason for not telling the truth? Once broken, can the honesty ever be mended? The conflicts for both leads are indeed deep & thought-provoking. The series does not conclude on the right or wrong, raising the issues for consideration.

The youths & their journey – Xuan Ji & Si Feng

One main thing I like about Si Feng’s character is – he always tries to maintain the channels of communication to ensure there is nothing left for second guessing. If the truth is important, communication is even more so. If the truth is never communicated, it will remain forever something others interprets. Good example – the original intention of the history recording in the Heavenly Realm is to record the truth of God War’s origin. The truth is revised to King Bailin’s request, providing fodder for gossips amongst the immortals in Heaven Realm. In subsequent years many years later, no one seems to know the truth (except for those involved and even then, only from their own perspectives). Is the documented “history” always the real truth? What is deemed as real truth, one person’s perspectives, many people’s perspectives, factual information without mention on morality or feelings? It is stated many “historical documents” are just a document from the past with tinted views of the victors. I tend to believe this is the case, there is always different perspectives to the stated “history”.

One key theme of the series is on prejudices & intolerance for anything different from the majority. This is a universal issue, happening right across the globe. Narrow minded person, no matter what their position (think of the highly regarded King Bailin, the so-called “righteous sect” reproaching the demons), will twist and turn the truth to justify their “righteousness”. One example – King Bailin who is so obsessed with his prejudice against the demons, that he does not believe in them being equals or having any kindness in them. In the name of ensuring the safety of his Heaven Realm and the peace of all 3 realms, he has stubbornly persecuted Mosha Star. His character development is actually quite interesting. I believe his original intention is good ie to avoid a direct war with the Demon Realm. His friendship with Mosha Star I believe is not faked but built out of real feelings. However, his prejudices led to his first misstep by betraying Mosha Star and trying to control him leading to further missteps until it is out of his control. The more he tries to control, the more the events went out of his expectations, and the more he takes wayward actions. Isn’t life ironic? 

King Bailin of Heaven Realm, disguising as Hao Chen in the mortal world

Another theme that the series highlight is individuals are indeed different, especially in their priorities. Si Feng’s priority is Xuan Ji’s happiness. Liu Yi Huan’s priority is his daughter’s safety. Si Feng’s father’s priority is to resurrect his wife. Yuan Lang’s priority is to be the ultimate ruler. King Bailin’s priority is the safety of Heaven Realm, actually I am not sure what is his real priority :D. Heavenly Emperor’s priority is to follow the rules & not to get involved (duh!). But who is to say each person’s choice of priority is right or wrong. 

The series has all the eye candies! How in the world did they collected so many great-looking actors & actresses to star in the same series? But good for us as the audience then! 😀

Characters Development with Actors & Actresses

Cheng Yi and Yuan Bing Yuan portrays the main roles of Yu Si Feng and Chu Xuan Ji. At the beginning, I didn’t recognise Yuan Bing Yuan who acts as Mo Shan Shan in Ever Night series. As Mo Shan Shan, she is pretty & elegant. Herewith, she portrays a dual character – naïve & kind-hearted girl as Chu Xuan Ji and cold & vengeful as War God. The original novel charts out the development of Xuan Ji throughout her various lifetimes. Unfortunately, Xuan Ji’s character is really under-developed. There is practically no growth in her character – other than learning how to love & care about Si Feng. Si Feng’s character on the other hand, is the pure-hearted saviour for War God who hopes to change her through tonnes of love. In Si Feng’s character development, he is given too much “kindness”, until it is not realistic. Regardless of these flaws in character development, I really like the pair as they do have chemistry.

Happier days

The interesting part of the series is really on all the other sub-plots and other characters. There are so many, that there won’t be enough space to write all of them.

Firstly, I must say snakes are such misunderstood creatures. My favourite support cast will be the cute immortal Teng She. His imitation of the hissing of the snakes is so endearing! His cheekiness & love for mortal food, his sense of righteousness, his loyalty to Xuan Ji and his banter in brotherhood with Qing Long (Green Dragon). Such a cute way to present snakes!

The extremely mischievous Teng She. Poor thing had to become the Spirit Beast to Xuan Ji 😀

As for favourite villain, I couldn’t decide whether it should be Bailin or Wu Tong. As a youth, Wu Tong is ambitious & arrogant, but he works towards his achievements albeit his method is a little wayward. His obsession with revenge and especially his obsession with Ling Long is also very interesting. Early on, it is obvious he is attracted to her but he chooses to go on the offensive. Ling Long’s character is conflicted in her feelings of righteousness vs when her primordial spirit is captured by Wu Tong, which confuses her. I am a little disappointed that she decides to take revenge on Wu Tong, instead of showing him some compassion. Zhang Min Yan and Ling Long’s romance is nice but a little too normal.

Wu Tong’s obsession with Chu Ling Long, keeping her primordial spirit to “reproduce” her

Bailin in his role as King Bailin and Hao Chen is really a villain through and through. He is convinced that he is on the path of righteousness & all his actions are justified – on the basis that he is protecting Heaven Realm. His obsession to “change” his friend, Mosha Star/ Rahu Ketu is really thought-provoking. I really detect well-intent and a pure admiration for his friend Mosha Star. However, his prejudices against others & the thinking that he is right spells his own doom. Liu Xue Yi the actor portraying the character has potential. Will definitely be looking forward to his future series. My only grouse on this character is he is enlightened a little too quick in the last episode. It would have been way better as I truly believe real enlightenment is through time.  

There are so many other characters & own story including father-daughter relationship of Liu Yi Huan & his daughter, sacrificial love of Wu Zhi Qi (monkey demon) & Zi Hu (fox demon), demon Yuan Lang’s main ambition, Nu Ting (merman)’s story and so many others. The Heaven Realm immortal Historian is quite a funny character, insisting in recording Love as the key theme for the History of Three Realm :D, good idea! Too bad he is just too cowardly to tell off King Bailin, as he sees through his confusion & conflicting actions.

Nu Ting, Zi Hu, Wu Zhi Qi

Conclusion 9/10

Totally love this series for its plot & riveting story telling. Ignore the sometimes silly script & lack of character development, I am sure you will enjoy the story. The series has given a lot of food for thoughts on obsession & prejudices, which taints our view of the world & people. 59 episodes of journey to a fantasy world with love to redeem prejudices, and now back to mundane life in a prejudiced world. 😀

One thought on “Love & Redemption (2020) 琉璃 : C Drama Series Review

  1. thanks for typing this out! i liked the story and all our side characters but was pulling my hair out during some episodes cuz of all the misunderstandings and injustice lmao. i agree they both had chemistry!

    Liked by 1 person

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