For this drama review, I’ll try my best to keep to the Youtube translations so as not to confuse readers. This will be a recap of the first 14 episodes. The drama itself is split into 2 parts, the first 22 episodes are 与君初相识 which translates to “When I First Met You” and the second 20 episodes are called 恰似故人归 or “It’s as though someone familiar has returned”.
In the beginning of time, there were two clans. The Celestial Immortals maintained order while the Earth Immortals often broke order. The Celestial immortals created a group of spirit masters to moralize and subdue the earth immortals or “spirits”. The Celestial Immortals are not allowed to fall in love with the earth immortals.
The members of spirit masters (御灵师) reside within 万花谷 or the Thousand Flower Valley. Ji Yun He (纪云禾) is a very talented spirit master, rising to the rank of guardian, but she secretly longs for freedom away from the Valley. She is in constant competition against her adoptive brother Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) for the top post in the Valley. The Master of the Valley, who is Lin Hao Qing (林昊青)’s father, keeps a tight leash on all the spirit masters in the valley with a secret mark called the Frost Mark. Any who dares to defy the Master will suffer the effects of the Frost Mark and ultimately die.
One day, the Fairy Shunde (顺德仙姬) arrives at the valley with a gift or a task. She has captured a rare merman and orders the spirit masters to subdue the merman and complete three tasks.
1. He must speak human words
2. He will cut his tail as a gift to her
3. He will give his spirit pearl and swear loyalty to her
At first this task is given to Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) but Ji Yun He (纪云禾) also volunteers. The two agree that it’ll be a competition on who succeeds first. In the next few days, Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) uses force whereas Ji Yun He (纪云禾) tries to gain his favor by becoming friends with him or “training heart”. Ji Yun He (纪云禾)’s initial plan was to fulfill the Fairy’s request and then finally leave the valley onto freedom with her spirit attendant Luo Luo (洛洛), a butterfly spirit.
Over the course of their interactions, Changyi (长意), at first suspicious, can tell that Ji Yun He (纪云禾) means no harm. Changyi (长意) finally says her name, thus fulfilling the first task. Ji Yun He (纪云禾), becomes racked with guilt as she continues on with her deception towards the innocent and kind Changyi (长意).
Xue San Yue (雪三月), a fellow spirit guardian returns with her spirit attendant, the cat spirit Li Shu (离殊). Xue San Yue (雪三月) and Ji Yun He (纪云禾) quickly become allies once they believe that each of them know each other’s secret, namely that they both fell in love with a spirit. This was true for Xue San Yue (雪三月) at that time and Ji Yun He (纪云禾) was beginning to fall in love with Changyi (长意).
Li Shu (离殊) also harbors a secret. He secretly became Xue San Yue (雪三月)’s spirit attendant in order to make his way to the Thousand Flower Valley and break the Ten Directions Formations that was imprisoning the powerful Blue Feather Bird. She had once rescued him when he was young and came to repay his debt. In doing so however, he was greatly weakened and sacrificed himself to protect Xue San Yue (雪三月).
Changyi (长意) and Ji Yun He (纪云禾) get accidently pulled into the broken formation. There, they meet a residual spirit of the Blue Feather Bird. Changyi (长意) believes that they should tell the spirit the truth, that the man she was waiting for died a thousand years ago. Ji Yun He (纪云禾) though believes that lies are more helpful in this situation. But after seeing the resolution of the spirit, she changes her mind. She now knows that seeking to be free from the valley wasn’t real freedom. She wants the choice to be free with whoever she wants. They declare their love for each other and promise to never part as they leave the formation. Changyi (长意) gives Ji Yun He (纪云禾) his spirit pearl. Thus, the third task cannot be completed.
Back in the valley, the two are captured. As punishment, Ji Yun He (纪云禾) is forced to suffer the full effects of the Frost Mark. Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) gives Changyi (长意) an ultimatum. If he doesn’t cut his tail, Ji Yun He (纪云禾) will die. With no other choice, he does so. Task two is complete.
Upon hearing this, Ji Yun He (纪云禾) is at first furious at Lin Hao Qin but shortly after understands that he was pressured by his father to do so. The two decide to form an alliance to help Ji Yun He (纪云禾) and Chang Yi escape and kill the current Master of the Valley. Unbeknownst to them, the Master of the Valley was always aware of their plan. Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) though could not go through with the plan. Heartened by this, the Master of the Valley reveals the truth, that he too suffers from the Frost Mark and dies due to his wounds from his mark. This was always a mark to enslave the spirit masters from the Immortal Master.
Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) becomes the new master and receives the Fairy Shunde (顺德仙姬) who comes to retrieve Changyi (长意) to bring him as a present to her master and witness the presentation of Changyi (长意) ’s spirit pearl. Ji Yun He (纪云禾), seeing this, cannot bear to have Changyi (长意) further imprisoned. She devises a plan with Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) to free Changyi (长意) on the road to the Immortal Master in which she will sacrifice herself to ensure Changyi (长意)’s freedom. The two spend one last carefree night in the mortal realm and make promises to never part. Ji Yun He (纪云禾) prepares her goodbyes and free’s Luo Luo (洛洛) from her service.
The bliss lasts for only a few hours and the two are surrounded by Shunde (顺德仙姬)’s guards. Ji Yun He (纪云禾) and Changyi (长意) flee to a cliff. Ji Yun He (纪云禾) declares to him that she never loved him, that she was only lying to gain power with the Fairy. In a final blow, she stabs him and pushes him off the cliff.
In probably the most badass scene in the drama, Ji Yun He (纪云禾) turns around to face Shunde (顺德仙姬) and her guards. She stands her ground against the group and makes a final stand. However, she is overpowered by the group and kneels on the ground succumbing to her injuries. But, in a surprise, she leaps back up, now not as a celestial immortal but as a fox creature with nine tales! This new powerful Ji Yun He (纪云禾) successfully fends off Fairy Shunde (顺德仙姬) is about to deal a killing blow until the Immortal Master finally steps in to save the Fairy and capture Ji Yun He (纪云禾).
That’s the general recap for the first 14 episodes. The story continues with Ji Yun He (纪云禾)’s imprisonment, Changyi (长意)’s rise to power as the leader of the north, and their reconciliation and final defeat of Fairy Shun De.
As I mentioned up above, I thought this was a serviceable drama.
The drama was at its best when it closely followed the source material. The first 14 episodes, which culminates in a climax where Ji Yun He (纪云禾) valiantly protects Changyi (长意) and ultimately transforms into a half fairy half spirit creature was probably the best in the drama. Weibo went crazy over her transformation scene in episode 14. The second half, when it does stick close to or expanded the source material, the drama definitely worked.
I thought the ladies really stole the show in this drama. I really enjoyed the different individual female storylines (except one). Each had their own motivations, their own path, and growth. It was refreshing to see platonic female relationships. The friendships were touching, and we saw each of them support each other unconditionally. The guys on the other hand, were overall a bit weaker.
迪丽热巴 Dilraba really embodied the character of Ji Yun He (纪云禾). We saw how easily she could manipulate characters but we also saw how she struggled with the guilt of deceiving Changyi (长意). She was a complex character who learned over the course of the show that she found freedom by choosing to do what she wanted and what she wanted was freedom for everyone. In the second half of the drama, the character of Ji Yun He (纪云禾) falls severely ill due to her long periods of torture and confinement from Fairy Shun de. To prep for the role, Dilraba 迪丽热巴 lost a bunch of weight to the point where the casual viewer actually thought she was sick. We believed that she was about to break so that when she did, it fit her character. I remember weibo going crazy to prepare for her first death because this happened in the books but everyone still cried a bunch of tears when she died.
I also really enjoyed Guo Xiao Ting’s portrayal of Fairy Shun De (顺德仙姬). She truly portrayed the unhinged fairy with aplomb. I despised her and her cruelty towards others but as we saw more of her story, I pitied her. Guo Xiao Ting also had to act completely differently as the master of the Immortal Master Ning Xi Yu and the difference between the two portrayals is jarring, which just shows the range that Guo Xiao Ting has.
I thought Allen only an okay job here in this drama portraying the at first innocent and sweet Changyi (长意)to the stern yet still caring ruler of the north in the second half of the drama. I don’t think his performance here lives up to some of his other period dramas. It might just be me but he seems to be always scowling in the second half, which yes, is what he was supposed to do but being cold doesn’t mean scowl all the time. This is the first collaboration between 迪丽热巴 (Dilraba Dilmurat) and 任嘉伦 (Allen Ren) and I thought they paired up well enough with each other.
Lin Hao Qing (林昊青)’s actor Aero Xiao (肖顺尧) was the standout for the actors for me. He truly brought life to the character. In the book, he was more one-dimensional and didn’t have a starring role. In this drama, we really see the struggle that Lin Hao Qing faced with regards to duty to his father, his love for Ji Yun He (纪云禾), his duty to the spirit masters, and even his spirit attendant. The actor portrayed Lin Hao Qing (林昊青)’s pains, struggles, and hopes very well. I just hope you guys don’t google some of his cooking videos, they’re absolutely hilarious.
This drama is the second collaboration between Dilraba 迪丽热巴 and the director Chu Yui Pan (朱锐斌). Funnily enough, they discussed this role while the two were still filming 长歌行 or The Long Ballad. Dilraba 迪丽热巴 just happened to be reading the book when she was talking to the director who said that it was his next project, which led to this second collaboration. I personally prefer the story of The Long Ballad to this one but I think the director was able to showcase more of the actors’ strengths here. The CGI and group acting was better in this drama.
Ok – with all of the pros, why did I give this drama such a low score? Well, because the lows are unfortunately quite low.
After episode 14, the writers decide to drag out episodes with the superfluous storyline of Changyi (长意) and Kong Ming (空明) heading to the north to meet the Fox Clan. The whole Fox Clan plot wasn’t in the book at all and the characters were all idiotic. There was a meme floating around saying that these must be the not so intelligent foxes because boy, were they annoying. There was also a randomly inserted female character who fell in love with Changyi (长意)but thankfully he never showed any sign of interest. Why include her if she ultimately didn’t matter? That is like a whole 1.5 deduction because it was very pointless.
The next big ding is the character of Kong Ming (空明). In the book, he is a handsome and distant monk! Now the whole monk character had to be changed because of censorship but I’m sorry, there is a lot to be desired from the actor for Kong Ming (空明). I would have found it more ok but Kong Ming (空明) as a character was also SO annoying and I thought acted out rather poorly. I remember everyone online saying – Luo Luo (洛洛), can you please just ditch him because he is so not worth it, which I agree with.
The OST is also just meh – nothing to write home about.
The screenwriters did make some good adjustments with the adaptation, such as including Blue Feather Bird throughout the drama, giving Lin Hao Qing (林昊青) more scenes, and giving Shunde (顺德仙姬) more of a backstory, but some of the other decisions were baffling. They cut 5-6 episodes worth of content in which Changyi (长意) brings Ji Yun He (纪云禾) to the ocean in order to save her after she saves him from the lava as A Ji. Xue San Yue (雪三月) and Li Shu (离殊)’s storyline was kind of meandering towards the end. This brings us to the most egregious example, which is the ending! What was the ending? I won’t spoil it right here but if you literally need another cartoon scene to explain to the viewer the actual ending, then you know that the ending was terrible.
Overall – if you’re looking for a decent fantasy drama with good acting, cgi, and want to shed some tears, then The Blue Whisper is the one for you. Definitely watch up to episode 14. Just skip some of the pointless storylines in the middle.