When you first watch the Xuanhuan drama "Love You Seven Times", the first thing that catches the eye is a dazzling mythical world, followed by a sudden shift to a jungle survival tale, and then swiftly transitioning into a childhood sweetheart love story. In just the first three episodes, the story smoothly switches between three perspectives, which is truly refreshing. According to the overall setting, there are also five distinct small worlds waiting to be deciphered in future episodes.
"Love You Seven Times" constructs a fascinating and imaginative new worldview - the Colorful Cloud Myth Paradise. Building upon this foundation, it introduces an innovative concept of an infinite flow while maintaining an intense pure love configuration and skillfully laying out seven captivating romantic subplots.
Based on the aired episodes, both the production quality and storytelling deserve recognition. The ability to turn wild fantasies into reality and cleverly convey positive views on love through its plot is enough proof of curiosity, imagination, and drive behind its creators.
Infinite flow romantic subplots
"Love You Seven Times" is adapted from Jiu Lu Fei Xiang's original novel "Yi Shi Chong Dong, Qi Shi Bu Xiang." It tells the story of Xiangyun (played by Yang Chaoyue), a fairy from Tianjie Marriage Pavilion who accidentally becomes entangled with Chukong (played by Ding Yuxi), an ancient war god immortal. In order to break free from danger in six realms, they must descend together into various instances of life-threatening trials and thus embark on a series of hilarious yet deeply intertwined romantic stories.
In terms of episode arrangement, the first twelve episodes form a complete narrative phase that can be binge-watched all at once. The background exposition and introduction of two instances showcase this drama's unique storytelling structure - infinite flow romantic subplots.
In the first episode's plot, after introducing the marvelous Colorful Cloud Myth Paradise and setting up the main storyline of a crisis in six realms, Xiangyun and Chukong unexpectedly find themselves in the first subplots, opening a new door for immortal characters experiencing trials in a fantasy drama.
They transform into actual animals - a tiger and a wild boar. It may sound unbelievable but looks quite amusing. According to behind-the-scenes footage, the production team built real jungle sets and adjusted lighting effects and shadows to create the vividly entertaining scenes we see today.
Due to the Chukong can determined the Marriage Pavilion's future destiny. At first, the Xiangyun were extremely afraid of offending each other. Therefore, the adorable tiger chose to please the irritable wild boar with great enthusiasm, creating a delightful and humorous atmosphere between them.
However, its existence is not only for comedic effect. When the naive Xiangyun shielded Chukong from arrows in a foolish manner, it touched for the first time the icy heart of this aloof war god. In less than ten minutes of plot development, it quickly and clearly explains the gameplay and story of an infinite love fate instance so that viewers fully understand why Xiangyun and Chukong have experienced countless tribulations in their past lives.
The following second subplot lasts exactly ten episodes, forming a stark contrast with the first instance. With memories from heaven realms as Song Xiangyun, Xiangyun becomes a starting point for new story developments while Chukong completely grows from mortal perspective as Lu Changkong. The two were engaged since childhood but had different attitudes towards it. While Xiangyun wanted to matchmaker Lu Changkong with other women, Lu Changkong developed into someone who only loves Xiangyun as his sweetheart.
Faced with Lu Changkong's devoted affectionate nature, Xiangyun gradually shows signs of being moved by him. Moreover, this instance also involves family ties, friendship, and political schemes. In "Love You Seven Times," they portray parents like Song and Lu' caring attitude toward their children, the innocent Zihui, as well as prince. They all receive ample attention in character development.
It is precisely because of the setting of these character relationships that two immortals who are only focused on their careers in heaven realms can calm down and truly understand each other, and open up to one another. Their love is not based on dependency but rather independence, constantly growing through unforeseen circumstances. This instance carefully lays the foundation for the beginning of Xiangyun and Chukong' emotional journey, which becomes a crucial element for their subsequent development.
Next, there will be five major love fate subplots. Each instance has its own unique story background, character design, and direction; overall plotlines involve both sweetness and torment. At the same time, this also showcases one of the infinite flow's highlights: fast-paced storytelling with intense plots and multiple storylines that keep viewers constantly engaged with freshness and excitement.
Of course, "Love You Seven Times" does not forget to advance the main storyline. The forces from heaven realms as well as Moluo Country are all paying attention and even interfering with the fate of this small world. The mysteries surrounding resolving crises within six realms are being gradually unveiled in an orderly manner.
During an interview with media outlets, Wang Yixu, the executive producer said that for "Love You Seven Times", they needed to showcase different chapters and characters under a larger framework. After each chapter reaches its conclusion, the emotions need to continue and evolve into the next instance.
This kind of setup is very innovative yet challenging for fantasy stories. Ultimately, through each instance, they want viewers to witness how protagonists go from constant friction to falling in love with each other, trusting each other; then convey thematically, "I become a better loving you", hoping to trigger a widespread resonance.
Well-produced to meet high expectations
Apart from the surprising story structure after the broadcast, the unique worldview, oriental aesthetics, and exquisite art direction of "Love You Seven Times" have made it highly anticipated even before its premiere. The drama has set a new record with 6.2 million reservations on iQiyi, becoming the most reserved drama in the history of the platform. From what we can see now, its production quality not only lives up to but surpasses the material revealed before its premiere. Not only is it overall highly polished, but it also perfectly captures an infinite narrative and meets viewers' high expectations.
"Love You Seven Times" introduces a brand-new and imaginative worldview. The rainbow gives birth to a land of clouds that forms six realms: Heaven, Human Realm, Mysterious Realm, Void Realm, Sea Realm, and Illusionary Realm. Each realm has different color tones and landscapes with intricate details. It is reported that in order to create various worlds with distinct styles for each story requires over a hundred sets designed by art directors and more than 50 thousand props.
The visuals created based on this unique universe are remarkable; magnificent special effects scenes provide an exceptional visual experience. The heavenly realm ingeniously draws inspiration from amusement parks; some palaces incorporate roller coasters and carousels as design elements while being surrounded by various types of clouds. Amidst layers of colorful clouds, the entire theme park appears ethereal, revealing the carefree nature characteristic of immortals.
This playful style is also evident in the design of human realm. In Song's residence, Xiangyun enjoyed sliding down slides since she was young. Her room's lantern decorations and numerous whimsical ornaments showcase her childlike innocence and align with the harmonious family setting portrayed in the Song household.
As for costume designs, the attire and makeup of the heavenly realm draw inspiration from the elegant and ethereal Dunhuang flying deities, incorporating elements of traditional Chinese culture. The designs for other realms are adjusted to match their respective styles and details based on the overall worldview. Whether it is the lively and natural human realm, the oppressive mystery of the Mysterious Realm, or glimpses of other realms only seen in previews, the costumes in "Love You Seven Times" demonstrate careful craftsmanship, attention to detail, and novelty.
Creating an Oriental fantasy world rooted in traditional culture
Director Li Nan explained in a special feature about world-building that "Love You Seven Times" combines Eastern tradition with modern fantasy concepts. From what has been shown so far, this drama extensively showcases inheriting, truly innovative, and promoting traditional culture through its storytelling and promotional materials. The creation of an oriental fantasy world is built upon traditional cultural foundations combined with advanced modern technology. The design of the worldview prominently features elements from Chinese mythology.
In line with the setting of Cloud Mythology Paradise, the portrayal of clouds is essential in this drama. In different scenes, the art team drew inspiration from various styles of traditional Chinese cloud patterns, such as Ruyi clouds, round clouds, airy cloud patterns, and flying celestial sand flowing cloud patterns found in Dunhuang murals. The vibrant layers of color clouds align with the concept of seven-colored auspicious clouds, symbolizing one of China's most traditional blessings - good fortune. Of course, this also provides a visually romantic and soothing experience while enhancing a carefree atmosphere. A commendable detail is that the color and shape of clouds change according to plot developments and the protagonists' moods, a first among cdramas.
Costume designs primarily embody a lively and graceful aesthetic inspired by traditional Chinese culture while incorporating modern aesthetics and design techniques. For instance, headdress designs incorporate the ancient art of glazed glass craftsmanship, integrating unique luster and colors that showcase the charm of traditional craftsmanship as well as giving characters a fairy tale like Chinese touch. The combination with intangible cultural heritage is also reflected in other props and set decorations.
Cultural representative items and skills featured in the drama include gold embroidery, velvet flowers, bamboo weaving, silk thread inlay, and lacquerware. It can be said that they are exceptionally rich. "I hope that through 'Love You Seven Times', we will convey the charm of China's excellent tradition to the world and make people fall in love with Chinese culture," said Wang Yixu during an interview. He also expressed his intention to further promote Chinese culture through this drama.
In the latest plot development, the second part has concluded. And soon, the new story will begin, accompanied by equally delightful visual effects. How can one not marvel at such a unique viewing experience? The fusion of infinite romantic fate with Eastern fantasy is truly extraordinary.