"The Journey of Chong Zi" has come to its end as the tragic romance, which crossed two generations, between Chong Zi (Yang Chaoyue) and Luo Yinfan (Xu Zhengxi) ended. The sweet and beautiful love stories and the ups and downs in their relationship have created a sad but romantic atmosphere, allowing the audience to feel their eternal connections in the push and pull of love and human nature.
No matter how the genre of the drama series has changed in recent years, fantasy drama has always been a necessity. The audience needs a carrier for their infinite imagination of romance and sentiments. The fantasy drama is the exact carrier that offers the audience to go on an adventure with the protagonists. They can be touched by the extreme aesthetic and magnificent feelings in a colorful but pure spiritual world.
In addition to the traditional two-generation experience, the romantic relationship between tutor and apprentice, and the conflicts between immortals and devils, “The Journey of Chong Zi” has also included multiple elements, such as female growth, comedy, and suspense. This show has been adapted from the classic digital novel from decade ago. It is an integration of the past creative advantages of that time and the audience-friendly adaptation and the shooting method which agrees to the preference of current audience. Therefore, the show has been made more interesting to watch and eventually realized the inverse growth of the fantasy dramas.
Restart the Divine Life
The young girl little Chong Zi was a beggar who could barely fill her stomach. Coincidentally, Luo Yinfan and Chu Bufu (Gao Han), two divines, have come for a rest on earth and saved little Chong Zi from her plight. She admired the greatness and the power of the divines, thus decided to go to immortal gate, the Nanhua Mountain, to learn the magic, which was advised by Chu Bufu. She has conquered a series of rivalries and difficulties but eventually ended up casted off from the immortals’ world because of her with-born evil trait. The revered Chonghua superior Luo Yinfan appeared in time and took her as his apprentice, renaming her Chong Zi. This was the beginning of this dramatic story.
Under the chivalrous spirits and the causal karma’s influence, the protagonists are supposed to find the border between their responsibilities and their romantic relationships, in order to live out their own true lives. This is the basic principle of the fantasy drama’ stories. Luo Yinfan’s rescue of Chong Zi and taking her as his only apprentice despite her evil trait were because of his integrity and righteousness. There were numerous people who wished to be his apprentices but he chose a beggar just to protect her from falling to the devil’s side. He did not teach Chong Zi any magic nor offer her any magical equipment, but gave her sufficient care in all aspects of her life, and Chong Zi, young and immature, grew to be more attached to her tutor.
However, the with-born evil trait of Chong Zi was her original sin. This was not her fault. Just like anyone who has entered the immortal world, Chong Zi wished to be stronger through learning as everyone else. But her tutor only asked her to do chores. Driven by curiosity and competitiveness, Chong Zi with the goal of being immortal has violent conflict with her tutor Luo Yinfan because of his good intentions. Thus, Chong Zi has caused a series of troubles.
Born with evil traits, she was suspected by other people in the immortal world naturally. Being the only apprentice of Luo Yinfan and being spoiled by him only made things worse. Motivated by cause and effect, Chong Zi has made a terrible mistake, forcing Luo Yinfan, who has always put justice and responsibility above all, to kill Chong Zi himself and send her to become Wen Zi, a daughter of a well-educated family, in her second life.
In the second life, Luo Yinfan was on the opposite side of Chong Zi because of justice and integrity once again. Therefore, the evil traits inside Chong Zi were agitated. She couldn’t escape from the fate of falling to the dark side even in her second immortal life. Chong Zi has become the Demon Zi, with her awakened evil traits. But she refused to conform to the fate. Luo Yinfan, who has lost his apprentice twice, has started to face his true feelings and desires in great pain and sorrow.
If the fate of the two generations has told us anything, it must be the view of how to break through oneself and live with a new soul, just like Chong Zi and Luo Yinfan did. Let “My Life God’s Choice” returns to “My Life My Choice”. We can see that despite the fact that “The Journey of Chon Zi” has focused on the tragic romance through two generations, the real essence of the story was the growth of the characters.
“The Journey of Chong Zi” is slow and restrained when it comes to the promotion of the male and female protagonists’ romantic relationship. Technically speaking, there was not a real relationship between Luo Yinfan and Chong Zi in the first generation. There were mainly trust, attachment and companionship. In the second generation, with Chong Zi becoming more mature, and Luo Yinfan becoming more complicated, they have had the qualitive change in love through a progressive process.
True love has the effect of catalyzing the growth of characters. Luo Yinfan’s reaction toward the marriage of Chong Zi and the Devil master has excited a lot of audience. Chong Zi, under the help of her resistant will and Luo Yinfan’s love, has completed the purification of her soul. These two finally came together in the end.
The New Attempt of Character Setting
For fantasy drama, a pleasant character setting means halfway to success. The relationship between tutor and apprentice and the two generations’ adventure are quite common among the mythical shows in fact. The setting of Chong Zi and Luo Yinfan and the transition of Chong Zi’s three identities have focused on the sharp contrast to attract audience.
Chongzi’s character integrity has been established gradually through her three experiences. First, she was a beggar who struggled in the lowest class. Then, she was constantly ridiculed for her lack of courtesy and frankness after entering the immortal world.
In the beginning, the kind and tenacious Chong Zi has seen Luo Yinfan as her rescuer, with the only thought of keeping him companies. This was not an equal relationship originally. Having experienced more, Chong Zi’s mind has grown to have more and more understanding of the complex relationships between divines and devils, good and evil, and all living beings. She has turned into a mature woman with more subjective consciousness, daring to sacrifice herself and daring to pursue true love.
An innocent and naive beggar in her first generation, a lady in a wealthy family in her second generation, and the leading figure of the devils. These were three identities of Chong Zi, which have different characteristics. It can be said that the three experiences have told a complete story of a female’s growth and demonstrated the awakening and intensifying process of a female’s strength. As for, Luo Yinfan, he has shown the audience a more humane divine leader.
For his only apprentice, Chong Zi, who didn’t know how to use magic, Luo Yinfan would come to her rescue whenever she encountered any danger nor made any range of mistakes. He has made many exceptions for her. When being with Chong Zi, Luo Yinfan was no longer the superior Nanhua master, but an affectionate tutor. Even when Chong Zi has made reckless mistakes, Luo Yinfan would punish her but forgive her quickly, only being angry in a short time. Later in the show, his pain and struggle because of his love for the common lives and for Chong Zi have been expressed more clearly.
The strong sense of belief of actresses is the key to the good performance of fantasy drama. Apart from such belief, the age difference between Xu Zhengxi and Yang Chaoyue has also helped to create a loving atmosphere between the tutor and apprentice.
In particular, Yang Chaoyue has differentiated the three stages of Chong Zi clearly. Xu Zhengxi has made an obvious contrast between the cold and solitary figure and the later character who has longed for love. Their acting abilities not only add attractiveness to the protagonists but also made the story more interesting to watch.
Traditional Fantasy Drama Grows Reversely
In the setting of the fantasy drama story, it is necessary to cover the right and evil characters from all worlds of the six realms, and make the chivalrous spirit as well as the universal values prominent. As for the visual experience, oriental aesthetics is indispensable.
Nanhua Mountain is surrounded by clouds and mists, decorated by ancient plantations and flowers. The living environment there is elegant and simple, full of Chinese symmetrical beauty, demonstrating the fairy temperament and impressive appearance of the divines. Chong Zi, Luo Yinfan, Uncle Mu, Brother Qinke, and Qinghua Zhuohao along with other characters all dressed in customs with wide robes and large sleeves. These clothes are referred to the graceful Wei and Jin costumes, with natural and noble colors and a sense of pendency, and are decorated with gold jade.
In addition to Nanhua Mountain, “The Journey of Chong Zi” has also presented other abstract states of the six realms in a concrete way. The beautiful Qinghua Mountain, freezing cold Kunlun Mountain, and the dark-shrouded Jiuyou Magical Palace, are all in a different styles. Therefore, the costumes of characters from all walks of life have been designed to match those distinctive styles. For example, in the devil state, dark shade dominates the color, with many cloak and masked designs, mainly black-red or blue-purple, indicating a mysterious atmosphere.
The scene in this show has restored the true essence of the mythical show. To make the pictures more textured, the production team has invested a lot of efforts in the field of Sanqing Mountain, Yangdang Mountain, and other scenic spots after many investigations into the actual locality.
It is worth mentioning that the echo of “The Journey of Chong Zi” has made an echo to the traditional mythical shows through its values. For the shaping of the positive and negative characters, this show wasn’t binary but allowed every character to grow and change in their own value system. More than one character has shifted between sides.
“There is a mind between good and evil”, such a principle is what this drama wants to tell, just like our life is of high uncertainty and ambiguity. And this show has given a clear demonstration of the logic and psychological motivations of the characters when they became a devil or a divine.
For today’s fantasy dramas market, holding the classic subject is only a starting point, which cannot assure the popularity of the show. It is vital to put one’s heart and mind into the show, make the content and values novel and stimulate the audience’s aesthetic and emotional resonance. Carrying the traditional charm of mythical shows and combining with the current values tightly, “The Journey of Chong Zi” makes fantasy drama achieve reverse growth this spring.
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