Chinese Drama: Noble Aspirations or Legend of Chusen (青云志)
Leads: Li Yi Feng & Zhao Li Ying
Synopsis: Based on a popular fantasy Wu Xia novel of the same name, Noble Aspiration follows the story of our unlikely hero: Zhang Xiao Fan. After the horrifying slaughter of his whole village, Xiao Fan and his best friend are accepted into the Qing Yun Sect with the vow that they will one day avenge the death of their families.
Determined to do the best he can but knowing he will place dead last during a Qing Yun competition, Xiao Fan stuns everyone and himself as well when he suddenly becomes surprisingly strong enough to win his fights. Confronted by everyone's angry demand to know how and where he learned his fighting skills, Xiao Fan doesn't know how to explain his fantastical suspicion that the metal stick is helping him.
Ninja's First Impression:
First, I have to confess that I have never read the novel. Judging by some of the angry comments online I think it's safe to say that the TV show has detracted quite a bit from the original story. After skimming the novel briefly, it turns out Zhao Li Ying's character is one of the two female leads and sadly also the one that sacrificed herself to save the hero half way through the story. (This is written right in the synopsis you can find online so I don't consider it a spoiler.)
Since the show is obviously not following the novel exactly AND it seems illogical to get an A-lister such as Zhao Li Ying just to kill her half way through the show, I am hoping the writer might be kind enough to grant her character a happy ending this time around.
Without any expectation from reading the novel before, I actually like Noble Aspiration a lot. The show is very pretty, Li Yi Feng's hero makes you want to cheer him on and while Zhao Li Ying's character has only made a few short appearances, she does light up the screen every time.
I do wish the pacing was a bit faster but going from a Wu Xia genre point of view then the time they are spending on the hero's background is all part of the fun. A bit of warning though, the love connections at this point is pretty messed up and it looks like the writer will be doing a lot of switching around later on so don't get too attached to any pairing just yet.