by Luna Skylar, February 28, 2021
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✧・゚: *✧・゚:* Currently Watching: The Rebel Princess *:・゚✧*:・゚✧  


-a brief overview and my thoughts on it, no spoilers-

-this is my first currently watching article, so please leave feedback!-


Episodes: 68

Genre: Historical, Romance

Airing: Jan 9 2021 - Feb 25 2021

Where to watch w/subs?  Youtube and Viki

~Adapted from the novel "Emperor's Conquest" by Mei Yu Zhe


-Synopsis-  

The royals have become hungry for power, the princes coveting the thrown, and the emperor always targeted. The two major clans, Wang and Xie, are fighting for power and influence and the Empress Dowager is thwarting major plans. 

Wang Xuan is forced to marry Xiao Qi, who comes from a poor family, by her father, separating her from her childhood sweetheart, the 3rd Prince. After being saved by Xiao Qi from a near death experience, Wang Xuan comes to realize who really is the person behind the tough armor and finds herself falling in love with Xiao Qi. Together, they join hands to protect their homeland, aiming to bring peace to all. 


-Characters-  

Zhang Zi Yi as Wang Xuan/A’wu

Zhou Yi Wei as Xiao Qi

Although she was born into royalty, Wang Xuan is not weak one bit; she is extremely intelligent and fierce navigating the dirty politics in the palace and is able to command troops. She is strong and collected, never losing her tenderness.


Xiao Qi is an honorable general with a down to earth personality and comes from a humble background. He stays true to his values and embodies a real gentleman, treating Wang Xuan with the utmost care and respect. 

"He's so gentle with her. He touches her as if he's afraid to break her with his rough hands that only held swords."


Yu He Wei as Wang Lin
Tony Yang as Ma Zi Dan/3rd Prince
Wang Xuan’s father, the Prime Minister. Older brother of the Empress. He is power hungry, controlling and a bit manipulative. It's still unclear what his true intentions are. Son of the Emperor; the 3rd Prince. Childhood sweethearts with Wang Xuan.

 


✧ -Things to Point Out- ✧ 

  • For the first 10 - 15 episodes, we don’t see much of the male lead or interaction between the leads; it's more centered around the female lead’s character growth
  • It has a more serious tone (little to no comedy/fluff), and deals with politics and palace schemes (that are very well written)
  • One heck of a power couple
  • This drama in the beginning got a lot of backlash due to the fact that a 41 year old actress was portraying a 16 year old for the first couple episodes, which turned a lot of people off. The director eventually spoke out about casting Zhang Zi Yi and stood by her decision. According to a news article, the director said "... it’s not impossible to change the actress, but the actress will have a different feel, thus weakening the integrity of the character."
    • Here's my opinion: Yes, it is quite obvious that the actress doesn’t look like a 16 year old but for me what’s important is how she portrays the character. Zi Yi was the perfect choice to be casted as Wang Xuan and personally, it doesn't bother me that she looks a bit older than her character's supposed age because her acting is superb and she plays the role wonderfully - better than some younger actresses would have. If you really are triggered by that, skip to episode 8, that’s when a time leap of 2 - 3 years happens. 
  • No dubbing (except for 1 - 2 characters)

✧ -My Thoughts- ✧

Yes, it's quite long for many people, being 68 episodes (I actually prefer long dramas), but for once, I have not had to use the fast forward button in a historical drama (besides Joy of Life). 

The production quality is insane. I was immediately blown away by the breathtaking cinematography, beautiful set designs, and gorgeous costumes suiting each character’s personality. The fighting scenes are well choreographed and the scenes on the battlefield are pretty epic. It's been a while since I've seen this level of production in a historical drama. 

The pacing of this drama is fantastic. It’s not super draggy nor is it pushing the story too far. (I, for one am someone who absolutely dislikes slow plots.) The story keeps me hooked, wanting more and while there are 2-3 side plots, they are all very relevant and are not fillers. This drama does involve a fair share of politics, but it isn’t too heavy. The scenes that involve politics do not beat around the bush and are rather straightforward and are balanced enough with the other storylines to keep me interested. 

I absolutely love how our main couple isn't dependent on each other (we don't see much "saving the day" here by the ML). It's like a tag team power couple: one fighting in the nasty waters of politics and one fighting on the battlefield with soldiers.  

I would highly recommend this drama to people who are looking for a well paced, no-fluff but sizzling romance and serious toned historical drama. 


I'm absolutely loving this drama and so far, it looks like it'll be one of the best historical dramas for this year and all time! Xiao Qi is definitely going on my list of favorite male leads. I think it is a must watch for historical drama lovers.  Also for Joy of Life fans, the bodyguard of the ML is none other than the second prince in Joy of Life!

Let me know your thoughts and opinions on this drama! Thank you for reading!


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