A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

Ever since the finale of "Story of Kunning Palace" reached a popularity of over ten thousand, "A Journey to Love" immediately took its place. Just three days later, its popularity skyrocketed to 9500. As a drama that had garnered enough attention even during its preparation phase, "A Journey to Love" is receiving attention from all sides.

The opening plot of "A Journey to Love" is captivating enough, with Liu Shishi in excellent form. What's even more important is that, as the story unfolds in several episodes, people are drawn into a world that combines innovative characterizations for both male and female leads, as well as a grand narrative that encompasses both traditional and modern elements.

A good start is half the battle won, and "A Journey to Love" has received commendable praise. The identifiable wardrobe and set designs, as well as the thoughtful development of certain storylines, are worth contemplating. Both the industry and the audience need more dramas like this.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama


The plotline of A Journey to Love

The plotline of "A Journey to Love" begins with an action-packed scene. Ren Ruyi (played by Liu Shishi) was originally a high-ranking assassin named Ren Xin in the An Guo Zhu Yi Wei, but she was falsely accused and embarked on a journey of self-redemption and revenge. On the other side of the lens, Ning Yuanzhou (played by Liu Yuning) is the youngest leader of the Six Paths in the rival country of Wu Guo, but he almost died on the battlefield due to the machinations of corrupt officials and the emperor's biased trust.

It's a popular yet still fresh dual strong setup. Because such setups have become more prevalent in recent years, and it's fresh because, on one hand, there aren't many that have been executed well and the audience hasn't grown tired of them, and on the other hand, these dual strong characters are not mindlessly "already completed challenges," but each face their own significant troubles.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

For example, Ren Ruyi was wronged because she was accused of assassinating the Empress Zhaojie during a major fire. As the top assassin of the Zhu Yi Wei, she had to start from the lowest rank as a "White Sparrow" after going through various trials and tribulations. Ning Yuanzhou, despite his young age and high position, faced ostracism in the capital city and joined the military just to leave in the capital. However, he discovered that there were traitors within his own army during battles, resulting in chaos and putting his own life at risk.

This kind of interplay between subtle and apparent runs throughout the story of "A Journey to Love." On the surface, it's a struggle for power in the imperial court, but the actual main storyline revolves around a secret organization. On the surface, it's a fast-paced adventure, but the characters are often profound and have strong patriotic sentiments. On the surface, the male and female leads are the absolute core of the story, but the narrative also includes a rich portrayal of supporting characters.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

The most discussed aspect is the unexpected nature of the romantic scenes. "Never easily fall in love with a man in this lifetime, but make sure to have a child of your own," this advice from the empress to Ren Ruyi may seem shocking at first glance, but it actually implies a rather progressive concept, adding a touch of amusement when Ren Ruyi tries to seduce Ning Yuanzhou into fathering a child for her.

This kind of contrast runs throughout the story itself, with some viewers expressing that it's difficult to grasp the characters in the drama and that there are constant twists and turns. Some antagonists who were expected to play significant roles are quickly sidelined, while some serious nationalistic themes are resolved in a relatively light-hearted atmosphere, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the story.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

The integration of emotions and careers is one characteristic, while the rivalry between the male and female leads and the supplement of the ensemble cast serve as another. In the first few episodes, the vibrant characters of the six male have already come to life on paper. After going through various trials and tribulations, their passion and unity have been well developed. Additionally, the growth of Princess Yang Ying, who initially seemed weak and helpless, becomes quite remarkable in the later stages.


The outstanding aspects of "A Journey to Love"

People rely on clothing, the praise for "A Journey to Love" actually starts with the meticulous costume and makeup. As a representative of the 85th generation, Liu Shishi's appearance in the story is stunning, and many people are delighted with her performance in the drama. As a new generation actor, Liu Yuning's performance, especially his dialogue skills, is quite impressive.

Recently, there has been a discussion about the cinematography and transitions in cdramas that have become popular. In "A Journey to Love," almost all the evaluations are positive. Some viewers have expressed that the aesthetics in the drama are really good, and the transitions and cinematography are very comfortable. In the first episode, there are slow-motion shots and color changes when the female lead discovers her companion's murder, showcasing a great attention to detail.

After its premiere, the visual beauty of "A Journey to Love" sparked discussions among viewers. Many scenes in this drama stand out. The beautiful scenery of the desert in the group battles, combined with many shots, creates a poetic atmosphere.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

Poetic atmosphere needs to be combined with the scenes. In the 8th episode, the group battle reached a new climax in terms of action scenes in the drama. Some viewers exclaimed, "Every shot is beautiful" and "the best scene in domestic dramas I've seen in recent years." The entire battle in Tianxing Gorge not only highlights the unity of the group but also allows Ren Ruyi, who has been burdened with too much from the beginning, to experience the feeling of entrusting the future to someone trustworthy. Balancing emotional and career storylines is not an easy task, but they have done it well.

Many people also mentioned that the compactness of the story and the perfect combination of the story and visuals are important factors, and one of the main reasons is the original script. While adaptations of major IPs are common and well-received, good original scripts, especially for historical dramas, are scarce. This highlights the importance of supplementing original scripts in many relatively vacant genres.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

Moreover, the adaptation of a classic online novel IP often lags behind the development of an original script. At this time, the touch of an original script on certain topics can appear more advanced if done with care.

This is not just a trendy topic that trends on social media. It also includes the attention to detail that can be seen everywhere. In the first few episodes of "A Journey to Love," we can see Ning Yuanzhou and Ren Ruyi discussing their views on morality in communication between men and women. We can also see Ren Ruyi's advice to Yang Ying about being an independent woman, which sets the stage for future character growth.


The Changes in Period Cdramas in 2023

In 2023, the period drama market has indeed undergone significant changes. Some old and outdated routines are gradually being phased out. Even with adaptations of some IPs, the industry and the audience are increasingly looking for something new.

Every period drama is a modern drama. The focus on modernity does not always mean forcefully imposing modern thinking on characters in period costumes. It is about finding points of empathy between the characters and the audience based on the setting and background. Regarding the popular period dramas of the past two years, such as "My Heroic Husband," "Love Between Fairy and Devil," and "New Life Begins," similar discussions often arise.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

In this context, the production team has the freedom to explore the deep waters of period dramas and make many decisions from the beginning. In the case of "A Journey to Love," both the screenwriter Zhang Wei and the director Zhou Jingtao, have been deeply involved in the period drama market and have demonstrated their creativity. They have a keen understanding of the audience and are at the forefront of trends.

The platform is also worth noting. This year, from "Destined", "Mysterious Lotus Casebook" to "Story of Kunning Palace," and now "A Journey to Love," iQiyi has continuously released period dramas. This poses challenges for various aspects of the platform, including content planning and scheduling.

Compared to those drama, "A Journey to Love" is quite different. However, each of the mentioned dramas has its own highlights. "Destined" explores the theme of national affection beneath the sweet romance, "Mysterious Lotus Casebook" demystifies traditional martial arts settings, and "Story of Kunning Palace" delves into life choices after rewriting fate, fully demonstrating the depth and specialization of the period drama genre.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

The popularity of "A Journey to Love" presents many topics and highlights to both the audience and the industry. This tension and appeal go beyond the typical emotional interactions of a good drama and require great effort.

For example, in terms of genre, the elements of suspense, martial arts, and others need to be balanced appropriately, in line with the plot's development. In terms of characters, they must not only fit the setting but also speak in a way that is both harmonious and modern. On this basis, the exquisite costume and makeup, as well as the smooth transitions, are the icing on the cake, key to respecting the audience's aesthetic preferences.

In an era that increasingly emphasizes the viewing experience and emotional resonance, iQiyi's period dramas this year share similar values. "A Journey to Love" is a typical representative and stands out in several aspects. Regardless of the audience or the industry, the demand for what kind of period dramas we need is becoming evident: solid storytelling, vivid characters, and resonating with the audience while maintaining the historical setting.

A Journey to Love: Exploring the Depths of Martial Arts and Emotions in this Epic Wuxia Drama

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