Till the End of the Moon (2023) 长月烬明
Summary: In order to save the world from being destroyed by the Devil God Tan Tai Jin ft Luo Yun Xi, the daughter of the Heng Yang Sect leader Li Su Su ft Bai Lu turns back time and returns to the world 500 years ago. There, she lives the life of Ye Xi Wu in order to prevent the then Prince Tan Tai Jin from turning into the Devil God. Already married, Tan Tai Jin and Ye Xi Wu start developing feelings for each other and through their efforts, ultimately change destiny.
Total Episode Count: 40
Initial Airing Date: April 6, 2023
Initial Score: 7/10 [After 14 episodes]- A decent start to this highly anticipated big budget fantasy drama with exquisite costumes and intricate makeup. It does not necessarily meet expectations for a knockout drama given familiar storylines and average CGI but the adequate cast and production help make this an enjoyable drama nonetheless.
Final Score: 5.8/10: Poor editing in the final 3rd of the drama, old cliches and infuriating simple conflicts that could have been resolved with communication leave fans and casual viewers extremely frustrated with what could have been a much better drama. Quite a waste of all the money spent on such a beautiful production.
The Devil God Tan Tai Jin has the entire world in his clutches. He is resolved to destroy and kill the entire world in order to reign supreme. Li Su Su, daughter of the leader of the Heng Yang Sect (fairy clan), is left to watch her father and many others die at the hands of Tan Tai Jin. In a last ditch attempt, Li Su Su is given the opportunity to return back 500 years ago, before Tan Tai Jin was able to become the Devil God and try to prevent his eventual turn to the Devil world.
Li Su Su wakes up as Ye Xi Wu, second daughter of General Ye, with no memory of her life as Ye Xi Wu. Surprisingly, she is already married to Tan Tai Jin, currently a prince from the neighboring Kingdom of Jing. Turns out, Ye Xi Wu in this life is extremely arrogant and abusive while Tan Tai Jin grew up unloved and basically a hostage in this kingdom. When Li Su Su now Ye Xi Wu sees Tan Tai Jin, she begins to feel sorry for this feeble and bullied young man.
Ye Xi Wu believes that perhaps if Tan Tai Jin experiences protection and kindness, she can change destiny and prevent him from turning to the devilish ways. She resolves to save his life which confuses Tan Tai Jin but ultimately he also begins to protect her as well. Despite their differences, Ye Xi Wu and Tan Tai Jin save each other’s lives numerous times.
In her quest to see how she can remove Tan Tai Jin’s devil/demon bone and prevent him from further bloodshed after he ascends the Jing Kingdom throne, the two along with Xiao Ling and Ye Bing Chang are dragged into another world where their lives are once again entertwined.
tan tai jin/Cang jiu Min/Ming Ye 澹台烬/沧九旻/冥夜
luo yun xi 罗云熙
Tan Tai Jin is the Devil Lord with unrivaled power that wreaked havoc across the land. As a youth, he was unloved and abused by almost everyone and seen as a bad omen.
li su su/Ye Xi Wu/Sang Jiu 黎苏苏/叶夕雾/桑酒
bai lu 白鹿
Daughter of the Heng Yang Sect leader, she heads back in time to save the world from Tan Tai Jin’s future destruction and change destiny.
ye bing chang/ Mo Nv/Tian Huan 叶冰裳/妺女/天欢
chen du ling 陈都灵
Eldest daughter of General Ye, kind and beautiful. She is loved by almost all men for her beauty. She loves the 6th prince, Xiao Ling.
xiao ling/gong yE ji wu/sang you 萧凛/公冶寂无/桑佑
deng wei 邓为
Elder sect brother to Li Su Su, 500 years ago he was the 6th prince Xiao Ling who showed kindness to Tan Tai Jin, one of the few who did.
ye qing yu 叶清宇
geng ye ting 耿業庭
Brother to Ye Xi Wu and Ye Bing Chang. He is a capable general and strict brother who rules the Ye household with an iron fist.
pian ran 翩然
sun zhen ni 孙珍妮
A 7 tailed fox demon who crossed paths with Ye Qing Yu, Ye Xi Wu and Tan Tai Jin.
You know what you’re getting into for this drama as many storylines are reminiscent of previous dramas of the same genre. There’s a Devil God that sets out to kill everyone in the realm and you have his subsequent love interest that’s from the Fairy clan. Classic good vs evil plot. And, we have the trope of the pair living through 3 different lives together in which (hopefully) love conquers all and saves the world from the Devil God’s murder rampage. I’m largely expecting this drama to be predictable.
What stands out so far for me is the fact that it is obvious this is a big budget production so the costumes, hair, makeup, set and world building is top notch, especially the costumes and makeup. The CGI could be improved in certain areas but overall, you feel the gravitas and wonder of being in a fantasy world. Thus, Till the End of the Moon does stand out compared to other dramas. If anything, you’ll enjoy the visual presentation on screen.
There’s been mixed reaction from this drama from what I’ve seen from fans. The negative reactions are that the finished product seen on screen is not nearly as beautiful as what the marketing photos made them out to be. Lead actor Luo Yun Xi is too thin in the role and Chen Du Ling looks less impressive than her still photos. The positive reactions are that it’s a fantastic drama and very swoon worthy.
I would say, after the first 14 episodes, this is a drama that is average in story and above average in certain areas of production quality. (The earrings are truly magnificent in this drama!) The criticisms people highlighted I certainly noticed but they are not dealbreakers. However, there are plot holes in the show that you cannot think too much about and the pace of the show is inconsistent. In one scene it’ll be devastating then next comical but in a very forced way. The chemistry between the main leads is also a slow burn. Their romance is not as intense as, for example, Love Between Fairy and Devil, but it is serviceable enough.
This drama is in trouble when CCTV itself says that this drama has extremely high interest, but no substance. Till the End of the Moon could have been so much better than the final result and people have been expressing their frustration all over the internet. We also did a separate podcast episode of the drama FOR the drama while its airing and essentially, the chase of the drama has been exhausting that I really just didn’t care by the end. I just wanted it to be done. Also the airing calendar did not help either. Airing only 6 episodes a week and mostly 1 episode a day was infuriating to say the least.
This drama has not done to many favors for the main cast, especially the ladies. Bai Lu and Chen Du Ling who were hoping to use this as another jumping off point in their careers. I wouldn’t say it’s backfired entirely but it certainly has not garnered the same result they wanted. Chen Du Ling has been to many red carpet events since the beginning of the airing of this show yet the sparks are just not there for her.
This will most likely be Youku’s biggest drama of the year in terms of viewership and interest but that does not make it a great drama by any means. My final rating is kinder than the Douban ratings which started off at 6.2 and then continued to slide down to now about 5.6. I really do attribute it to my love of the costumes and Luo Yun Xi’s acting. The drama is hurt by the amount of spoilers and expectations there were for the drama that didn’t make the final cut adding fuel to the fire of fan fury.
What were the issues [MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]:
- Immature relationships that are cliched and infuriating: The main couple Li Su Su or Ye Xi Wu and Tan Tai Jin fall into the common traps of 1) not trusting each other whatsoever and 2) not communicating their issues. This made for an extremely exhausting chase of their love story when often times I just wanted to yell at the screen that they just needed to TALK. While I understand why they don’t trust each other – Li Su Su cannot let the future of the world fall on luck that Tan Tai Jin won’t turn into the demon god and Tan Tai Jin was abused so heavily his entire life that he is a commitment-phobe, so much of the conflicts in the drama could have been alleviated if they just communicated. I loved the cute scenes they had together but for drama purposes, their relationship was built off of so much hurt then reconciliation and then further hurt that I’m worried what kind of message this drama is giving about relationships for viewers. (Hint, its not healthy). I do struggle with how manipulative both people are in the drama to each other and suggest viewers not mirror personal relationship to theirs.
- Low effort schemes that caused major damage but should not have: Several conflicts happened were so “low level” if placed in any palace drama would have been immediately resolved. At some points in the show, the cast is on point with their intelligence and then in other parts, they immediately fall victim to the simplest of schemes. I’m like, Zhen Huan and Wei Ying Luo would have retaliated in two seconds or saw through these acts immediately. Why Tai Tan Jin and Ye Xi Wu are you so blind? It’s really because they don’t trust each other even though they love each other which again, is exhausting and caused major issues later on. They would hurt each other because they fell victim to these schemes and didn’t trust one another enough to actually talk the issues out.
- Massively inconsistent tone: Same theme as above, the drama did some episodes well when focused on the relationship between the main leads, aka the sweet + cute portions. But in one episode you could be squealing with delight for how cute the show is and then in the next moment, be pissed as hell or else tearing up at the betrayal and distrust that happens. There are certain episodes that shone and other episodes that were utter trash.
- Chen Du Ling and Deng Wei – Beautiful in still photos but horrible in acting: There’s going to be a lot of controversy here because online conversations have been extremely pro Chen Du Ling but I’m sorry, her acting as Ye Bing Chang and Tian Huan were so wooden, her beautiful costumes and hairstyles couldn’t even draw me in. She is impossibly gorgeous in photos but on screen, I felt no interest whatsoever in most of her scenes. She did a little bit better in her last character as Mo Nv but by that time, I just didn’t care. Don’t even get me started on Deng Wei. His facial expressions for anger and sadness were pretty much indistinguishable and he often times just stared off into the distance without much emotion. Of the main cast, he was certainly the weakest. When he cried, it just seemed like someone placed teardrops in his eyes for those tears to come out. That’s it.
- I also do not get all the hype and defense for Chen Du Ling’s characters in the drama. Tian Huan straight up murdered an entire clan because she was jealous and Ye Bing Chang killed her grandmother because she was upset her grandmother favored Ye Xi Wu. How is this a redeemable character moreso than Tan Tai Jin and Ye Xi Wu? I understand that Ye Bing Chang was mistreated as a child as well but to turn around and kill your grandmother when she did show kindness to Ye Bing Chang later on in life? Someone please explain this to me.
- Choppy last 3rd of the drama due to editing issues: Apparently 18 episodes were cut from the final version of the show. What that meant was that a lot of the drama, ESPECIALLY in the last third of the show was missing. While I did try to give the drama a pass earlier on for cutting some cute moments here and there, it was painfully obvious that heavy chunks of the drama was missing by the end. Nian Bai Yu and Yue Fu Ya’s storyline? Apparently there was suppose to be a romance there. Not present in the final cut. Pian Ran and Ye Qing Yu’s love story resolution? Also cut. Li Su Su and Cang Jiu Min’s excursion to the Jing Kingdom to defeat some demons and also meet Ye Qing Yu who was posing as the Jing Kingdom Emperor for 500 years was largely left out EVEN THOUGH there were flashbacks in later episodes referencing stuff that might have happened in those scenes. Sigh… I’m sad that there was so much left out.
- Mediocre soundtrack: When the drama first came out and the soundtrack revealed, everyone was extremely excited since the set list had a lot of heavy hitters. But in my opinion only one song, Xuan Niao (mysterious bird) stands out. Given how much I LOVED The Starry Love’s soundtrack and how popular other fantasy drama soundtracks have been, this is a disappointment for the production value of this drama.
What were the strengths:
- Luo Yun Xi’s acting: Of the main cast, the main male lead Luo Yun Xi had the best acting of the bunch. He played multiple characters in the drama and, with the help of different makeup and costumes, I felt drawn to each distinct version of himself (despite people thinking he’s too thin in this role). He is able to skillfully use distinct parts of his face, for example, to express the tiniest of emotions. Small twitches of his lips or his eyebrows were enough to present his subtle feelings. In one moment he could be full of hatred and you’re worried he’ll turn into the devil god and in the next he’ll present his more tender and softer side. I connected to Tan Tai Jin as he tried to stave off the expectations placed on him as the potential next devil god when all he wanted was to love and be loved by others.
- Chemistry between Luo Yun Xi and Bai Lu: This is the second time Luo Yun Xi and Bai Lu are paired together in a drama and their chemistry on screen shows. It was a slow burn after the first couple of episodes but I absolutely LOVED all of their cute romance scenes together and would rewatch them many times. Especially episodes 18-23 had extremely cute moments that I obsessed over. Luo Yun Xi’s gaze and changed expression really helped solidify his love and he was certainly the stronger of the two but I still enjoyed it nonethelss.
- Pian Ran and Ye Qing Yu’s love story: The storyline that was most “normal” was the love story between the fox spirit and the handsome general Ye Qing Yu. I’m extremely annoyed that the resolution for their relationship was axed on the chopping block so we don’t see the final result but their love story was extremely sweet. I loved the progression so much more so than Ye Bing Chang and Xiao Ling’s storyline and often times Ye Xi Wu and Tan Tai Jin’s storyline. At least Pian Ran and Ye Qing Yu actually talked most things out! And due to this drama, I am now a fan of Pian Ran’s actress, Sun Zhen Ni. She’s quite young but was stunning in this drama.
- Beautiful costumes and hair accessories: This is what a big budget drama should be like for a fantasy drama. All of the costumes in the drama were stunning. Not just for the women, but for the men as well. You could tell everything was intricately made and the result on screen was that I give this drama a higher rating just for how beautiful everyone looked because of the costuming.
- Uhhh Sang Jiu basically drugged Ming Ye to spend the night together. Even though Ming Ye probably didn’t mind it, but that was a huge “oh no” in my mind. This drama TRIED to foster selfless and well meaning themes and messages but man did it fall short.
- I also absolutely despise the trope “Even though I love you with all my heart, I need you to hate me in order to save the world”. Sigh.
The Ending [SPOILERS]: There were so many issues with the ending/last episode. Many storylines did not get resolved, the pacing was off and there is a big question mark as to what exactly happened at the end.
Let me know what you think! Do you agree with my review?