Top 50 Actors and Actresses of 2020

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Translations:

1. Zhu Yi Long / Chu Nhứt Long

2. Xiao Zhan / Tiêu Chiến

3. Wang Yi Bo / Vương Nhứt Bác

4. Di Li Re Ba / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba

5. Allen Ren / Nhậm Gia Luân

6. Jackson Yee / Dịch Dương Thiên Tỉ

7. Tan Song Yun / Đàm Tùng Vận

8. Yang Zi / Dương Tử

9. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh

10. Li Qin / Lý Thấm

11. Ju Jing Yi / Cúc Tịnh Y

12. Zhao Lu Si / Triệu Lộ Tư

13. Roy Wang / Vương Nguyên

14. Luo Yun Xi / La Vân Hy

15. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch

16. Deng Lun / Đặng Luân

17. Wang Jun Kai / Vương Tuấn Khải

18. Li Xian / Lý Hiện

19. Li Yi Feng / Lý Dịch Phong

20. Zhang Ruo Yun / Trương Nhược Quân

21. Lu Han / Lộc Hàm

22. Lay Zhang Yi Xing / Trương Nghệ Hưng

23. Victoria Song / Tống Thiến 

24. Zheng Shuang / Trịnh Sảng

25. Yang Chao Yue / Dương Siêu Việt

26. Jiang Shu Ying / Giang Sơ Ảnh

27. Yang Yang / Dương Dương

28. Hu Ge / Hồ Ca

29. Huang Zi Tao / Hoàng Tử Thao

30. Guan Xiao Tong / Quan Hiểu Đồng

31. Cheng Yi / Thành Nghị 

32. Cai Xu Kun / Thái Từ Khôn

33. Vengo Ko / Cao Vỹ Quang 

34. Jin Dong / Cận Đông

35. Cecilia Liu Shi Shi / Lưu Thi Thi

36. Esther Yu / Ngu Thu Hân 

37. Steven Zhang Xin Cheng / Trương Tân Thành 

38. Song Wei Long / Tống Uy Long

39. Alan Yu / Vu Mông Lung

40. Tiffany Tang Yan / Đường Yên

41. Tong Li Ya / Đồng Lệ Á

42. Regina Wan / Vạn Thiến 

43. Ireine Song / Tống Y Nhân 

44. Gina Jin Chen / Kim Thần

45. Chen Shu / Trần Sổ 

46. Zhang Yi / Trương Dịch

47. Timmy Xu / Hứa Ngụy Châu 

48. Wang Kai / Vương Khải

49. Pan Yue Ming / Phan Việt Minh 

50. Li Yi Tong / Lý Nhứt Đồng

The Classic of Mountains and Seas

I started this a while back but had to put it aside. Finally went ahead and watched it fully. I think it took me several days since I was in a binge mood. How was it? I had to step back for a while and think about it before I put this review together. What didn’t change my mind was the feeling of the series as an overall. It was average and that was being lenient. I think what helped for me was the plot was moving forward, at least it wasn’t too character-focused that they would eventually have to sacrifice the pace. Sure, it was about 40 episodes, but they did have a lot of characters involved and the journey to find all the key characters took more than half of that, and then the conflicts and some of the cases they encountered added to the main story. What made it an average series for me was the weakness of some characters in here. I’ll go into details in a bit.

Main Cast/Characters:

  • Zhang Han (张翰) as Chi Yu (赤羽) and Xin Yue Hu (心月狐). I became his fan after watching him in The Four. I was actually impressed with his performance in here as both Chi Yu and Xin Yue Hu. I thought it wouldn’t make a difference since both were quite mysterious and had a dark side. However, there were many differences–aside from the obvious dressing style, lol. In a way, one couldn’t completely hate Xin Yue Hu, because he was trying to regain a life that he never had in the first place. It was indeed sad. He was cunning and in many ways untrustworthy, but I think he was able to learn many things when he was trying to experience. In the end, he chose to sacrifice himself so Chi Yu could escape to help Su Mo with the battle. Zhang Han’s acting really captured both characters nicely. Chi Yu, seemed fierce on the outside, yet he was really caring and playful when time allowed for it. Although I must say Xin Yue Hu could be so hilarious too, considering his dressing style. It cracked me up so hard with how colorful it was with his wardrobe. Not to mention how he pretended to be lost so he could follow Su Mo and Su Shui. He had alternative motives but that was hilarious how he was like trying to act innocent.
  • Guli Nazha (古力娜扎) as Su Mo (苏茉) aka Shun Hua (舜華). First time watching her in a drama, because I watched her previously in the Up Idol reality show and liked her. I think she was really raw in here. She seemed all right in the normal scenes, but in some cases where there were more complicated words/phrases, I noticed she wasn’t looking at her co-stars while she was saying those lines, like she was trying to remember. But she wasn’t completely terrible so I have confidence in her future series. About Su Mo, I think there were mixed feelings throughout. I admired her bravery at times and how she tried to gain strength and not be a complete weakling with the guys needing to protect her all the time. I thought her character started out as smart, at least smarter than Fu Er in some sense and not trust Baili Han–with her suspicions at times (way before she knew the bigger picture and what the motives of all the sides were). However, I think her character became inconsistent that they (the scriptwriters) made her dumber or something. Not sure what happened there. But I think that was what made her character go downhill later. She could be so stubborn at times or silly, but I didn’t think her character deserved to be dumb down to move the story forward. Like how they (the scriptwriters) made her too forgiving at times or her indecisiveness. I wished they would make her more involved with her powers. I meant they did put in the part where she was training and gaining strength and was better in some sense with the fighting techniques, but it ended up turning into some comedy scenes instead of taking it seriously. Sure, the comedy was funny and I thought it was needed to ease the situation, but I felt in the sense of needing those skills for the battle, it failed. I know she wasn’t the type to love fighting, but she was already determined to contribute and help others so I didn’t like that the plot didn’t allow for her to be able to fight back with her skills and how she ended up being a sort of “Snow White” character. What I mean by Snow White is how she was wishing at the ending for all of the conflicts and hate to disappear, etc so she ended up like a silly wishing princess. I know because she didn’t lust power so she was different from others and wasn’t pulled into being used by Baili Han in that sense, but it was frustrating to watch her turned into a complete weakling along the way. I guess what I’m saying is I want her to be able to defend herself. I don’t need her to be so good that it would be unrealistic but at least more capable.
  • Kenny Kwan (關智斌) as Shangguan Jin (上官锦). I swear he looked familiar, but I didn’t really know who he was at first, lol. Mostly because I don’t watch him that actively and didn’t realize that was Kenny Kwan I used to watch ages ago–until I looked up the cast list. At first, I was really suspicious of his character and thought he would be the false nice guy. In a way, he was too good to be true. But in the end, he didn’t disappoint. Throughout, I didn’t know if he was going to turn, etc, because the characters in here were indeed unpredictable at times and where the plot was going. However, I think my favorite scene of him was near the ending where he was upset with Su Mo because she didn’t trust him yet had gone with Xin Yue Hu thus getting tricked. He wasn’t just jealous of Xin Yue Hu, but was seriously upset because his reputation wasn’t trusted over Xin Yue Hu-regardless of how much she thought she was trying to protect them by not wanting them to enter that dangerous palace. That part made his character so real because he wasn’t holding back anymore. He was seriously disappointed and upset.
  • Lan Ying Ying (蓝盈莹) as Fu Er (芙儿). I hated her right from the start. I don’t know. Bias or whatever, but I just can’t stand her. She was really unreasonable and two-faced. She expected and expected yet didn’t think or care for Su Mo at all. If things went her way, sure. But other than that, she was determined to pave Su Mo out to be the bad person. She was willing to risk her sibling’s connection with Su Mo just so she could chase after some guy. They were family after all–or at least that was portrayed from the start. She was already so jealous of Su Mo that it was so easy to manipulate her and trick her into believing Su Mo would want to kill her. Sure, Shangguan Jin didn’t help matters that one time when he attempted to assassinate her, but she didn’t believe Su Mo enough to understand that Su Mo wasn’t that kind of person. According to the story, she was the gorgeous one yet she felt inferior to Su Mo for some reason hence fueling her hatred. Despite all of that, I swear the plot ended up making her more active to move the plot forward than Su Mo (ironically). In the end, it was also her that fought back to Baili Han (after he revealed the truth).
  • Li Chao (李超) as Baili Han (百里寒). I knew he was up to no good from the start. The early details of his schemes helped, but when he appeared at that one town, it was obvious there was an agenda with him. When it was revealed why he’d become that way, I do sympathize with him on some levels with having a spoiled brat brother and how he was betrayed. Yet there were many things in this world that weren’t like that. What had the others done to him? I understand if he didn’t trust others and would want money and power to secure his place and never to be left in such a position again. However, I can’t sympathize with him for wanting to take over the world. Not to mention he used all those people who trusted him.

Supporting:

  • Wu Lei (吴磊) as Shi Pei Pei (石佩佩). I thought he was one of those obnoxious, annoying bad guys at the initial meeting. But later, his character grew on me. He was just spoiled rotten by his parents because he was so prone to the curse or whatever that was predicted ages ago. It was hard to blame him for how he didn’t have any friends growing up or know how to interact with others. He was still obnoxious at times later, but he was indeed more caring toward others around him. He liked to have fun and all, but he wasn’t unreasonable or wanting to harm others. His sacrifice was really heroic and so unexpected. I thought he would make it to the end.
  • Yin Zheng (尹正) as Su Shui (素水). I thought he was creepy at first (which was on purpose since the characters in here were afraid of him too). But then his character revealed to be quite sweet. It was just that he carried a burden of his ancestors. He became my favorite character later. Yes, I liked the others in the group yet I felt Su Shui brought forth a sense of loyalty and silent support that was touching. There were many lovable things about him. Although he seemed cold at times, he had their backs if the others were in trouble. Since Su Mo was the one he needed to protect, he followed her more. However, he showed that he cared about the others too. Despite the fact that he kept popping up out of nowhere to scare them (on purpose or not is questionable) at times.
  • Tang Wan (唐菀) as Liu Ruo Shuang (柳若霜). Mixed feelings throughout. I pitied her for having such a tragic past yet the people she helped Baili Han harm were innocent. I wished she would somehow see the real side of him before her death. Sure, she helped him with a lot of cruel things, but she thought she was doing good for the big picture. She didn’t question him or judge him, because he saved her from hopelessness after what happened to her family. But I felt she at least deserved to know the truth that she was just a pawn. Or would that be too cruel?
  • Vengo Ko (高伟光) as Bin Yi (宾翊). I felt like I couldn’t pity him at all. Sure, I was torn at the beginning. Then he made up my mind for me because instead of stopping Fu Er, he helped her by teaching her to control others with his technique. Yet in the end, that worked out for him? Because Fu Er finally realized he was the only one willing to protect her and care for her from the start? Even if that was obvious before. But she finally understood that when he was trying to stop her, he was really trying to help her, not just because he wanted her because she looked like his wife.
  • Nicole Wan (万妮恩) as Hong Ling (红菱) aka Tian Xiao Ju (田小菊). I didn’t really like her at the beginning. Then it changed. Well, it was normal to be suspicious of her motives. I knew there was something wrong when she tricked Su Mo to go alone in the woods. But then she appeared and attempted to save Su Mo, because she claimed she was in it for the money and not wanting anyone dead. Her background was revealed and I felt bad for her and that had affected her reliance on money more than anything. But somehow she didn’t click with me until a little later because I was paranoid, thinking she might change her mind again. Yet when the story progressed, she became one of my favorites as well. Her honesty and feisty natures made me loved her even more later on. I especially liked it when she went against Fu Er when Fu Er tried to attack Su Mo and the rest of their group. It was actually quite hilarious to watch since Hong Ling was so awesome and fearless.
  • Caesar Li (李茂) as Baili Bing (百里冰). Baili Han’s younger brother. Can you blame him? He was scared. He was only a kid. I didn’t like his spoiled nature either when he was being petty over food. But the robbers incident was really scary. He witnessed his parents being murdered and many other villagers being killed as well. He chose to sacrifice himself for his brother in the end (which caused a reaction from Baili Han but just slightly). The actor was really good actually because he was seemed as timid, not having enough confidence and quite guilt-driven after learning of his past, but when Sun Ju was disguising him, he looked more cunning and full of confidence. Also, before he regained his memory, he was quite obnoxious and playful.
  • Matthew Ko (高鈞賢) as Sun Ju (孫巨). Another person whom I haven’t watched for ages now so I forgot. But I knew he looked familiar. This role was interesting for Matthew. I meant it wasn’t like he hasn’t portrayed villainous roles before. But this one left room for more development. Too bad that the ending rushed it that his character became deranged on purpose. I could understand that the lack of his father’s approval caused him to go insane. But it just didn’t quite click with me because of the pace. Not to mention out of character. The argument could be it was his father after all and it would cause him to lose control. Yet he had plotted and have been patient for so long. Why snap when his scheme (supposedly) was about to come to fruition? Not to mention killing his father at that point. It was like it was getting toward the end and the scriptwriters didn’t want to try anymore so they just unleashed a bunch of killings to show Sun Ju’s ruthlessness and then end him to show Baili Han’s cleverness. I don’t doubt Baili Han’s cunning level, but the flow for Sun Ju’s story was sloppy, to say the least. I would think he could at least imprison his father or somehow make the old man see his accomplishments (or so he thought) before he takes any type of action. He was the other brain in this series that could come face-to-face with Baili Han. Yes, he was arrogant and he seemed taunting toward Baili Han at times, but I didn’t think he was that careless. His somewhat silliness or playful side at times concealed his deceptiveness.
  • Liu Chang De (刘长德) as A Su (阿肃). He was seriously scary at first or somewhat creepy because of his background. I thought the reason why he needed someone to talk for him at the beginning when he met them was because he was being arrogant, acting secretive and trying to conceal his identity. Yet it was revealed later that he couldn’t talk in front of the female population. It was indeed quite funny. It reminded me of Raj in The Big Bang Theory, especially with how he couldn’t really talk to any female unless he had some alcoholic drink. But even that would make him obnoxious–or unreliable. His character really grew on me later, especially with how he got along with the group and all.
  • Ethan Liu (刘骐) as Xiao Yang (枭阳). Dummy. Mean, but I don’t know what else to describe him. He was seriously easily manipulated. However, the honorable thing about him was not taking advantage of the situation to win over someone. Sadly, that was the reason why Sun Ju couldn’t get him to harm Baili Han when Baili Han was injured.
  • Piao Shuo (朴铄) as Yu Yang (玉羊). I don’t know whether to hate him or pity him. Because he was also used by Baili Han to pursue power and all. He did learn to become more human (or so that was defined versus how he was before). He ended up liking Liu Ruo Shuang and would do anything to protect her.

Others:

  • Tian Yu Peng (田宇鹏) as Hong Tai (宏泰). A loyal person by Chi Yu’s side. He was the reason that pushed Chi Yu to the max thus causing the inevitable with Xin Yue Hu rising to the surface. He wasn’t just a loyal servant to Chi Yu, but also an older brother. I wonder if he liked A Zhi and was just making up the other story to trick the others that one time.
  • Liu Hong Li (刘鸿利) as A Zhi (阿芝). I thought she would survive until the end. Well, even if not that long, but at least longer than expected but she died halfway through. At first, I didn’t like her because of how she abandoned Chi Yu and made him feel worse than ever. Yet after Xiao Bing’s incident, I realized in a way, she couldn’t be blamed. She was scared (like she said) of being attacked by others. Yet I felt the whole chasing him down was taking it to the extreme. Perhaps, she thought that if she was face-to-face with him, at least she could control the situation better, but that was very hurtful for him to see such betrayal.
  • Ren Xue Hai (任学海) as Fu Er’s father and Su Mo’s adopted father. Mixed feelings. I guess he was those traditional fathers so I wasn’t too into him. However, in the end, I think he said what was really in his heart, actually treating Su Mo like his daughter. I think he was one of those who remembered what happened the first time around? Because he looked at her and shook his head in a way that was like, “Poor girl with such a burden”?
  • Qian You You (钱宥佑) as Fu Er’s mother and Su Mo’s adopted mother. She was a kind and caring mother and also quite brave to stay behind with her husband like that.
  • Su Mao (苏茂) as Shangguan Bo Yu (上官博余). Shangguan Jin’s father. Mixed feelings since he was the reason Shangguan Jin was so stressed out and tried to take out Fu Er at one point so I wasn’t really a fan of his.
  • Guo Zi Qian (郭子千 ) as An An (安安). A very tragic ending for her.
  • Xiong Zi Ling (熊梓菱) as Jia Jia (嘉嘉). An An’s sister. She trusted Su Mo and ended up becoming friends after the events of the earlier episodes.
  • Zhang Ke Yuan (张珂源) as The head of the immortal disciples. He was sooo funny, kept being underestimated by the others.
  • Tong Xiao Mei (童晓梅) as Su Mo’s grandmother. At first, I disliked her of how she made Su Mo choose. But then I realized she couldn’t be blamed. The hate and the feuds between the tribes were too much. It was hard to let it all go. She wasn’t totally unreasonable either since she finally understood and told Su Mo not to hold a grudge, because of what she learned from Su Shui.

Friendships / Relationships / Whatever:

  • Zhang Han/Chi Yu and Nazha/Su Mo. Just rating based on this series and ignoring their outside relationship (lol), I think they did match. Their chemistry wasn’t bad. But I think Nazha was still a bit raw to convince me here. Perhaps, because she was kind of new at that time (at least from what I read in her filmography). Maybe in the future, they would collaborate again on-screen and I would like it even more.
  • Zhang Han/Chi Yu and Kenny Kwan/Shangguan Jin. At first, they had a guarded attitude toward one another, which was understandable, considering how most people around them have motives of some sort. However, they became almost like brothers later on with drinking together–chatting or competing. Although Shangguan Jin had a better life growing up regarding how he did not have to run for his life most of the time, his father putting pressure on him was enough to break him. In a way, he could relate to Chi Yu and vice versa.
  • Zhang Han/Chi Yu and Tian Yu Peng/Hong Tai. It was obvious that they weren’t just a pair of master and servant like said before. They were like brothers. It was really tragic and frustrating to see Hong Tai’s ending. That had fused Chi Yu’s rage.
  • Wu Lei/Shi Pei Pei and Liu Chang De/A Su. They had a funny friendship. At first, Pei Pei was teasing A Su, but later they became like brothers. Pei Pei had to represent A Su to talk to the female population at first but later ended up being someone A Su could confide with.
  • Wu Lei/Shi Pei Pei and Caesar Li/Baili Bing. They didn’t get along at first. It made sense since Xiao Bing caused a lot of troubles for Pei Pei and A Su. Yet they got along all right later. Because of their constant bickering and wanting to upstage each other, it allowed for Pei Pei to understand Xiao Bing even more. It had also aided in discovering the truth when Sun Ju tried to disguise himself as Xiao Bing.
  • Nazha/Su Mo and Yin Zheng/Su Shui. I think Nazha’s best scenes were with Yin Zheng since Su Mo and Su Shui had a special connection. He was really loyal to her and helped her regardless of the situation. Moreover, because of how Su Mo’s bridge of emotion was broken when she realized what had happened to Su Shui. He had sacrificed himself to save her grandma. It was the first time ever that she thought of revenge and hatred toward someone. Shui Sui’s death also allowed Su Mo’s grandma to realize she should let go, especially how he had used his own life to save hers. At the part where Su Mo called Su Shui and he “appeared” there again, it was so touching and so real that I actually cried a bit–with how Su Mo realized what was going on, etc. It was indeed a memorable scene. Nazha did quite well here.
  • Nazha/Su Mo and Nicole Wan/Hong Ling. I felt like they were more like sisters than Su Mo and Fu Er. Mostly, because despite Hong Ling’s obsession with money (with reason) and all, she actually cared for Su Mo and understood Su Mo, even if she did chide Su Mo at one time for being silly or too naive, etc. She even defended Su Mo against others. I enjoyed their friendship so much, which made Su Mo’s reaction so genuine when she realized Hong Ling had sacrificed herself.
  • Nicole Wan/Hong Ling and Liu Chang De/A Su. They were a bickering couple. Well, if you can bicker with one being quiet all the time, lol. But as far as it went, it was hilarious trying to see how they would eventually end up together. It was funny how Hong Ling gave him misinformation so he went and dressed like Shangguan Jin, lol.

Favorites/Likes:

  • The main theme. The song “Don’t Ask” by Zhang Han definitely helped me with moving forward with the series in general. Although short, but it was a good song and addicting too.
  • The concept of the story. Although another fantasy-related series, I thought it was more refreshing to be focusing on the legend of these four constellations instead of the same old, same old.
  • The cast in general. I must admit, I actually liked all the cast involved, more or less.

Annoying:

  • The whole pushing Su Mo to one another with the guys. Whether it was between Chi Yu or Shangguang Jin or Chi Yu with Xin Yue Hu. It was so frustrating. Like she didn’t get to decide or something. Sure, if something happened to Chi Yu, he would want her to end up with a good guy or someone he could trust to look after her. But I felt it was sooo not respecting her with deciding that for her. Sure, she liked Shangguan Jin at first or seemed like it, but that didn’t give Chi Yu the right to decide for her if something happened to him. Or when Chi Yu was ready to let Xin Yue Hu be with her. I’m not talking about the ending where he wanted to sacrifice himself so at least one of them survive to help Su Mo with the final battle. I was talking about the part where their souls were struggling to gain control of the body. It seemed hopeless for him, but did he have to turn her over to Xin Yue Hu? Seriously?
  • The inactive vibe of the main character aka Su Mo. I already covered in the above section about characters but I just want to put it here again for emphasis. To the point that it took Baili Han’s arrogant rant to allow Fu Er to see that she was wrong. Although Su Mo couldn’t really prove she didn’t mean to kill Fu Er and didn’t really know what Fu Er was saying about the cave incident, Su Mo didn’t really actively think about it or ask if others know about it. Or more like the scriptwriters didn’t care to let other characters explore the possibilities further and undo the misunderstanding. Eventually, they just moved along. Then it wasn’t until Baili Han revealed of his trick that it was clear. I understand the misunderstanding needed to last for Baili Han’s plan to go through, but in some aspects, it was kind of scattered.

Recommended? I would say you have to be a major fan of the cast to go through with it. The story is indeed interesting, but eventually I just couldn’t overlook some of the factors I mentioned above. In a sense of an ancient/fantasy series, I think it contains a certain formula that lived up to it. But there were some weaknesses that made it frustrating. To be fair though, I think it was one of the better series of nowadays, plot-wise and length-wise.

The Handsomest Men of the (Ancient) World

(image credit: as marked)

I just stumbled upon this MV and couldn’t help but share. (Click here for the original on Weibo and here for Vietnamese subs of the song.) The song is Zhang Jie’s “Tian Xia.” I used Ken’s picture because that was where I first saw the video being shared.

Anyway, did you see your favorites in here?

Legend of the Ancient Sword

I finally caught up with this one. Yeah, because mostly I never watch stuff in order and don’t want to be going with the majority just because. I finally watched because I really want to see Qiao Zhen Yu and Ken Chang. So, how was it? In a way worth it, in some ways, not so much. Yes, mixed feelings.

Main Cast:

  • Li Yi Feng (李易峰) as Bali Tusu (百里屠苏). Originally named Han Yun Xi (韩雲溪). This is my second drama of watching him. The other one, I put aside because I got bored, lol. (I actually finished this one before watching The Lost Tomb but finished the review for the other one first hence posting out of order.) Anyway, his character was initially quite lively but had turned quiet and repressed for the latter part of the drama. It was understandable since he had a lot going on and needed to control himself at times or be controlled by the evil thoughts. There were many frustrations going on around him and it was hard to focus on the goods. Later on, though, he learned to loosen up a bit and joke around. Yet, of course, he couldn’t escape his fate. Indeed tragic. In a way, I guessed that he had to die to end the curse, but I silently hoped that they would find a way. Yet they couldn’t, especially what happened near the end.
    • Huang Tian Qi (黄天崎) as young Bali Tusu. The kid was sooooo cute! I enjoyed the little scenes of him.
  • Yang Mi (楊冪) as Feng Qing Xue (风晴雪). I liked her, but she annoyed me when she got into the schemes with forcing Xiao Lan to marry Yue Yan. I clapped when Xiao Lan asked her what if someone did the same to her so yeahhhh. (She didn’t like Hei Yao either so why was she forcing others? Even if Yue Yan was her friend and she wanted to help, that was low, using her magic and all.) I eventually moved on since they were dealing with more crucial situations. I did sympathize with her when she was left alone to roam the earth, searching for Tusu to one day appear (if possible) and hanging on to a thin shred of hope. She was one of the few characters who had a lot of outfits to change out of in here, which was cool.
  • Qiao Zhen Yu (乔振宇) as Ouyang Shao Gong (欧阳少恭). He was seriously soooo awesome in here. His acting was top-notch. His character was mysterious from the start. He turned out to be cunning. However, I felt it was justified in many ways. Having suffered so much from backlash and surviving all these years, it was too much. There was too much anger within him. He wanted to win, even risking all those lives. But in a way, he was less fortunate than Tusu, because Tusu had so many people around him to encourage him on hence not turning evil completely. Shao Gong kept having to deal with all those lost and he only had Xun Fang. So after he lost Xun Fang (or thought he lost her), how could he maintain his sanity? He was the other character who had lots of outfits to change back and forth in here. What irked me (and possibly the majority of his fans) was how they used that hideous red outfit for him near the end. Seriously? Over-killed of recent–whether guy or girl. Yet the person who designed it wasn’t really paying attention either. Ugh.
  • Gillian Chung (鍾欣桐) as Princess Xun Fang (巽芳公主). Gillian had to portray two characters in here. Although it was only one, she had to act as the fake Xun Fang as well. Gillian did a nice job in here. She was convincing as both the gentle and kind Xun Fang as well as the cunning, fierce fake Xun Fang. Although I usually kind of find it unbelievable and often tend to roll my eyes at characters that seemed too good to be true aka goddess type, but I actually quite liked her. Not just because of Gillian. But more like only she seemed to understand Shao Gong and his pain. She was patient and caring, trying to get him to see the better side of the world. She couldn’t really change him (obviously), but wasn’t like others just looking at him with the ‘good vs evil’ concept and all those conscience lectures BUT she truly understood him. She wanted him to live happier for his sake, not for others. That was why I liked her, even more than Qing Xue (though Shao Gong had said that they were both similar in their kindness, etc).
  • Ray Ma Tian Yu (马天宇) as Fang Lan Sheng (方兰生). First time watching him and finally realized what he was all about. He was seriously hilarious in here. He was teased by others a lot both because he was the youngest among them and how he was spoiled by his sister. However, he later learned a lot and was able to help them. They still teased and joked around but had come to appreciate him.
  • Zheng Shuang (鄭爽) as Xiang Ling (襄铃). Cute. At first, I didn’t realize she portrayed one of my favorite characters from The Four, but after looking information up, I felt she was really good. She was matured and exuded a serious vibe versus the cute and innocent little fox in this one. Well, there were at times I was annoyed with her initially for causing troubles. But it was because she didn’t get it and thought she was helping. Later on, she became more and more likable. I felt so sorry for her for the ending. Perhaps, it was for the best since she didn’t have to suffer through the same trials as her parents. Yet that was soooo sad.
  • William Chan (陳偉霆) as Ling Yue (陵越). Before watching this, I heard good things about him. Or should I say fangirls were drooling over him? Now that I already watched, I finally get it. Not to the point that I’m drooling over him too. But I felt I understand why there was such a hype over him and how it became William’s breakthrough role. Ling Yue da shi xiong was awesome. Not just because he was good looking, lol. But he was seriously exuding this powerful aura. He convinced us that he was a capable leader. He was responsible and just in his actions. He was also quite protective of his junior, Tusu. He also wasn’t unreasonable (especially regarding Xiang Ling and mending his way after realizing she wasn’t evil, etc). All in all, a very likable character with many sides of him.
  • Ken Chang (張智堯) as Reverend Zi Yin (紫胤真人). He didn’t appear much and the cuts so yeah. But he managed to exude a powerful and mystic aura about him. Probably one of Ken’s dashing characters. His lack of appearance didn’t cause him to lose out with others. In fact, his lack of appearance had caused the audience to be even more curious about his character.

Tian Yong City (天墉城)

  • Chen Zi Han (陳紫函) as Hong Yu (红玉). A sword spirit. She followed Reverend Zi Yin after he granted her a human form and helped him guard various swords in the swords tower. Being thousands of years old, she was quite powerful and talented. She was also smart. She was probably one of the two people who suspected that Shao Gong had a hidden agenda from the start. Although she didn’t want to say it out loud at times, especially Tusu who was quite fond of Shao Gong. Yet her hunches were right. She was right about the traps for them. Oh yeah, since I complained up and down about QZY’s red outfit near the end, I have to comment on her red outfit too. Okay, going to sound ironic, but I actually felt she was the only one not being too over with wearing a red outfit. It had to do with her swords spirit and her name. So there, it was justified and it was nicely designed.
  • Dilraba Dilmurat (迪丽热巴) as Fu Qu (芙蕖). Liked Ling Yue and treated Tusu like her younger brother. She was the other one that didn’t bully Tusu during his stay and even aided him greatly. Although she did have her attitude at times yet wasn’t annoying. It was who she was, sometimes rash in her ways yet didn’t mean any harm.
  • Zong Feng Yan (宗峰岩) as Reverand Han Su (涵素真人). I felt annoyed with him at the beginning. Mostly because he listened to Ling Duan and didn’t really investigate stuff thoroughly. It was like he had too many disciples and didn’t care or something. But later, he finally yelled at Ling Duan for causing trouble, etc.
  • Hanson Ying (应昊茗) as Ling Duan (陵端). Annoying and despicable. He was even more annoying than some of the demons in here. He contributed to the majority of Tusu’s suffering in here. All that bullying and causing trouble all around. He so got what he deserved later on.
  • Cai Jun Tao (蔡俊濤) as Ling Chuan (陵川). One of the disciples that were in schemes with Ling Duan to bully Tusu, but later somewhat backed down.
  • Dai Zi Xiang (戴子翔) as Zhao Lin (肇临). Got killed off by Shao Gong when he was in the book tower with Tusu.

You Du and Wu Meng Spirit Valley (幽都與烏蒙靈谷)

  • Vengo Ko (高伟光) as Feng Guang Mo (风广陌) / Yin Qian Shang (尹千觞). One of the dark characters. Yes, he was funny in many ways, but he also had his own baggage to deal with. I felt really bad for him to have endured such punishments later on when he finally returned to You Du to hand the sword over at long last.
  • Liu Fang (刘芳) as Granny of You Du (幽都婆婆). I didn’t like her at all. Yes, not one bit. Even if she meant well and it was her job, but I find her infuriating in many ways. Once upon a time, she wasn’t able to keep her words and ended up wanting to kill Yun Xi. Then they weren’t able to defeat Reverend Zi Yin YET later she claimed that it was because they were reassured that he could find a way to restrain the sword hence not going after him for it until now. Really? Then there was the part at the end when Guang Mo returned to hand over the sword, asking for his punishment with being gone for so long. She punished him by making him stay forever to guard the sword. Really? It wasn’t like he lost his memory on purpose.
  • Jacqueline Li (李小璐) as Han Xiu Ning (韩休宁). Bali Tusu’s mother. Luckily she only appeared a bit since she wasn’t one of my favorite actresses since ages.

Qin Chuan (琴川)

  • Zhang Meng (张檬) as Fang Ru Qin (方如沁). I didn’t like her a bit in here. Even if I understood her perspective. It was just that it was so hard to sympathize with her. Especially the whole forced marriage schemes. It was beyond annoying. She didn’t like it that that one dude took her and forced her into marrying him anyway, why do the same to her brother? What was the difference really?
  • Zhang Na (张娜) as Sun Yue Yan (孙月言). I liked her initially. Until she caved in and allowed the others to trap Xiao Lan as well. So I didn’t care if she ended up alone or not, which wasn’t so.
  • Ji Yang (吉阳) as Cha Xiao Guai (茶小乖). Funny character. However, he showed to be quite righteous later on. One of the characters I was glad didn’t die.
  • Qi Wei (戚薇) as Ye Chen Xiang (叶沉香). Okay, maybe I felt sad for her for being used for revenge. But what about the other family that got killed off by her father? Did she know?
  • Yue Yao Li (岳跃利) as Father Ye (叶父). Ye Chen Xiang’s father. Again, he killed off the other family. What was he crying about? What made it right for him to kill them off and cry victim when others do the same to him?
  • Fan Cai Er (范彩儿) as Ji Tong (寂桐). The injured and aged Princess Xun Fang. I knew there was something mysterious about her from the start. However, I didn’t even put the connection together. I meant she mumbled some stuff from time to time after Xun Fang returned. I just didn’t put it together that she was actually Xun Fang. It was too obvious the other one was fake, it was just less obvious with her being Xun Fang. Yet it made sense when it was revealed.

Others:

  • Marco Li (李耀景) as Lei Yan (雷严). Okay, this is his umpteenth villain role so I’m not surprised. What I found really funny was how he thought he was in control of everything yet it wasn’t so. He was just a pawn for Shao Gong.
  • Jia Qing (贾青) as Chou Xin Rui (仇馨蕊). It was hilarious to see her in here. At first, that was. She was sooooo dreamy and made the scenes tenfold lively. It was hilarious to see her trying to teach Tusu acting when she handed him the paper, LOL! Then things turned tragic when the truth came out. Sad, indeed. But her appearance really contributed to the overall story. Hey, she made Tusu realized what he had with Qing Xue and to cherish those moments.
  • Wang Yi Miao (王一淼) as Su Jin (素锦). She worked for Lei Yan and tried to pursue Shao Gong by posing as Xun Fang. However, she so didn’t see it coming that he knew all along and was just using her.
  • Leon Chang (张云龙) as Hei Yao (黑曜). A cat demon, had a crush on Qing Xue since she fed him that one time.
  • Hao Ze Jia (郝泽嘉) as Hua Chang (华裳). Yin Qian Shang’s lover. She got killed by Su Jin after discovering the latter’s secret. Tragic.
  • Jess Zhang (张茜) as Jiang Li (姜离). Xiang Ling’s mother. Nice to see her guest star in here. I enjoyed her little performance.
  • Tong Tong (童彤) as Sun Yue Yue (孙月月). Sun Yue Yan’s nanny. Hated her. So annoying.
  • Yu Yu Ang (于宇昂) as Yan Mei (延枚). Hilarious. Appeared to be one of the town bullies YET it turned out he wasn’t so bad. He was actually a demon but got adopted by Xiang Tian Xiao so they ended up being sworn brothers, etc.
  • Tian Zhen Wei (田振崴) as Xiang Tian Xiao (向天笑). A town bully but turned out quite nice and righteous. He was quite hilarious too. His competitive nature drove him to accept the challenge in going with them twice on different dangerous journeys.
  • Ma Wen Long (马文龙) as Luo Yun Ping (洛雲平). He was a demon yet because he loved his adopted parents too much that he used the wrong method to cause others grave danger. Later, he ended up giving Tusu his special orb and died with his parents. Tragic, but an honorable character overall.
  • CiCi Liu (刘庭羽) as Nu Wa (女媧). Brief appearance but contributed greatly to the story.
  • Ren Han (任晗) as Octopus Demon (章鱼精). Hilarious! Okay, she was evil for wanting to eat the others, but what was hilarious was the part where she said the others were bullying her. (She had used the term ‘human’ YET had to correct herself and used the term ‘demon’, lol.)

Friendships / Romances / Others:

  • Li Yi Feng/Bali Tusu and William Chan/Ling Yue as friends/brothers/much more. They were one of the relationships I enjoyed watching in here. They looked out for one another and had this strong bond since little. Perhaps Ling Yue was making up for the fact he had lost his brother. But that didn’t mean he was replacing his brother. He truly cared for Tusu as a junior and had helped a lot throughout the years. In fact, he had been the one training Tusu all those years that Reverend Zi Yin had to meditate in seclusion. Tusu also looked up to Ling Yue like a brother and not just because he had to. Being under the same master helped because they only had one another. Even when they were out and about, they looked out for one another.
  • Li Yi Feng/Bali Tusu and Qiao Zhen Yu/Ouyang Shao Gong as friends/brothers/much more. They were each other’s other half–literally. Both suffered greatly, teased, etc. Yet one had more support than the other hence their chosen paths. The reason why they understood and sympathized with one another so much was that connection. I think that out of all the ones Shao Gong lied to and betrayed, Tusu was the one who didn’t deserve it at all. I’m not saying the others did. I’m saying that Tusu never suspected Shao Gong, not even an ounce. Yet he got this? So yeah.
  • Li Yi Feng/Baili Tusu and Yang Mi/Feng Qing Xue as a couple. I felt their chemistry was likable. It wasn’t strong like how I felt about their other pairings, but I thought it was likable enough that I thought it was cute in a sense. Their relationship was too emphasized using flashbacks so that sort of got me irked. Only the flashbacks near the ending were justified since it was their memories. However, some other parts were driving me insane. But I do get their relationship and felt it was touching. It was too tragic how things turned out for them.
  • Yang Mi/Feng Qing Yue and Vengo Ko (高伟光)/Feng Guang Mo as siblings. It was touching with their bond. She tried to find him (aside from Tusu) so when she found him, she wanted to believe it was him. Well, it was him, it was just that he didn’t remember. He kept turning her down until later. At least when he realized what was going on and said he didn’t mind being her brother if that was what she wanted. It turned out, they were indeed siblings.
  • William Chan/Ling Yue and Ray Ma Tian Yu/Fang Lan Sheng as brothers. It was hilarious. And touching. The moment when Ling Yue realized his brother wasn’t dead was quite emotional. Well, there wasn’t much proof yet but when he finally found out, he was more at ease because his brother didn’t get eaten by those men that he found near their campsite years ago. It was interesting how Xiao Lan was so attached to Ling Yue even before knowing of their relations. However, it wasn’t too over since he heard a lot about Ling Yue from others so he wanted to learn from the best. The funniest part must be when Xiao Lan made Ling Yue carry him. LOL! He had to make up for the lost time of not spending all those years with his brother, lol.
  • Ray Ma Tian Yu/Fang Lan Sheng and Zheng Shuang/Xiang Ling as a couple. They were funny and cute together. Perhaps she was just too innocent and only wanted to tag Tusu (but I didn’t think it was romantic feelings that she held for him since they were more like childhood friends–even if briefly). Even if she didn’t like him initially, but still managed to save him or try to help him at times. It wasn’t way later that she ended up tagging him instead yet he made the decision to be with Yue Yan. Their last conversation before going on the trip was really sad and touching. It was worth a few tears. OR maybe a lot.
  • Ray Ma Tian Yu/Fang Lan Sheng and Zhang Na/Sun Yue Yan as a couple. I liked them as in their previous life. That was it. It wasn’t because she wasn’t one of the main characters that I dislike her or anything. But like I said before; after she followed along with the others, I just plain forget about her. I usually like those ‘cool’ fate things, but this one, I didn’t care much for. Yeah, the ending turned out the best for her but I was choking too much to care. He was probably feeling guilty for letting his sister down and how it occurred to him that it was fate that he ended up with her again and how her jade piece had pulled them together and all. YET I felt like it was too forced. They (the script-writers) didn’t even develop a proper start for these two. Not that I wanted the story to drag even more. But was some vague past incarnation connections and some guilt enough? I guess it was since people back then were in an arranged marriage for so long that it didn’t matter anyway. I just expected more of Xiao Lan and how he finally was accepted by Xiang Ling, etc.
  • Qiao Zhen Yu/Ouyang Shao Gong and Gillian Chung/Princess Xun Fang. I don’t know this is their which # of collaboration, but I remember watching them in The Spirit of the Sword. They weren’t paired off in there but he liked her. They so matched in here yet their story was quite tragic. She didn’t appear much yet their chemistry was undeniable. They were the other tragic couple. Even though Tusu and Qing Xue were considered a tragic couple as well yet I felt they were luckier in that they still got to spend plenty of time together versus Shao Gong and Xun Fang. Although from their recounts, Shao Gong and Xun Fang spent a good amount together but still endured a lot more. These two weren’t really approved by others and having friends giving their blessings, etc. They only had one another. Okay, so that was probably more than enough but they were easily misunderstood. (Talking about the real Xun Fang, not fake one here.)
  • Ken Chang/Reverend Zi Yin vs. Li Yi Feng/Bali Tusu vs. William Chan/Ling Yue as master and disciples. I saw many fans drew pictures of them and all. It was fun to see. It also illustrated these three special characters and their relationships. I felt it was touching on many levels–though could be subtle at times, especially how some didn’t appear as much. I liked how Reverend Zi Yin only had two disciples, and how Tusu was an exception. It wasn’t like I wanted Tusu to endure the curse to be taken in by Reverend Zi Yin eventually. But I felt their relationship as master and disciples genuine since the leader had like hundreds of disciples but couldn’t keep charge of them all. This showed that quality trumped quantity. Their interactions were also quite real and didn’t lean toward overly dramatic either.
  • Best Scenes Ever: It was probably the part where they entered the Qin emperor’s tomb and encountered many traps and trials. It showed that each and every one of them had talents. It also showed their companionship and loyalty toward one another. Not to mention their bravery throughout. Their persistence and trust in one another were unbelievable. Yet it was quite powerful as well.

Recommended? There was indeed a good mixture of talking, fighting, and romances so it wasn’t too over. The variety of stories they learned of along the way sort of moved the story along as well. The soundtrack was just awesome and accompanied the series quite nicely. It helped majorly when the flashbacks were getting quite repetitive and too much. Although it was super sad with the ending for several parties, I guess it wasn’t the worst. At least the overall was enjoyable enough.