Foreign Language: Chinese
Genre: Xianxia (Romance)
Watch on Viki: http://bit.ly/2r8Epwr
Ten thousand years ago the God of War, Jiu Chen (Chang Chen), fought the vile demon lord in a battle so intense, it pushed him to the outermost edge of his limits. Desperate to save the world from the all-consuming evil of the demon lord, Jiu Chen fought with all his might and in the end, managed to seal the foul demon away for good.
Exhausted after his victory, the God of War fell into a deep slumber, his sleep a guarantee to the people that they were safe. And so they were until the young fairy maiden, Ling Xi (Ni Ni), accidentally wakes him from his slumber.
Despite his irritation at being disturbed, Jiu Chen can’t help but notice the fair maiden’s beauty. Smitten from the very beginning, the two soon fall in love but their happiness together is short-lived. Born with an evil miasma that can free the demon lord from Jiu Chen’s seal, Ling Xi is the living embodiment of everything evil in the world; her very existence, a dangerous threat to the world.
Encouraged by the gods to end the world’s suffering before it begins, Jiu Chen has two choices before him: save the woman he loves, or let the world fall to darkness. Forced to make an impossible decision, Jiu Chen struggles against his destiny, knowing that whatever he chooses, the fate of the world rests solely in his hands.
“Love and Destiny” is a 2019 historical fantasy romance drama directed by Lin Yu Fen.
This is set in the same world as ‘Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms’ or the 3/3/10 (TMOPB) world as many call it. I will review the TMOPB show later. The basic concept of the world is that there are 3 lives lived, 3 loves (and peach forests).
Currently, we do not know if the events of TMOPB or L&D come first in the timeline of the world, but unlike the Pillow Book which will release in 2021 if the timelines they have are correct, the L&D timeline does not intersect with TMOPB like Pillow Book will.
Thoughts on the blurb from Liadan:
The premise in the blurb like with most TV shows is somewhat misleading. It doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the show, but I do wish writers would be slightly more accurate. Example: She wasn’t born with the ability to wake the demon lord or the god of war. It was something she acquired as a baby. There are more inaccuracies, but oh well…
Now it’s time to Meet the Characters.
My comments about the characters are done with Asterisks(*) and Italics below. I will not introduce every character, just the ones I feel you really need to know. I am not introducing the Demons or the Mortals at all.
The Main Characters:
The Peach Forest Characters:
Mo Huan played by Cui Peng. A descendant of the Dan bird tribe. Ling Xi’s father and Ling Yue’s husband. Le Bo’s junior. He was killed by Heng Du.
Shan Ling Characters:
Additional Characters from the Shan Ling tribe can be viewed on the Wikipedia page here.
Additional Characters from the Heavenly tribe can be viewed on the Wikipedia page here.
Characters from the Mortal Realm can be viewed on the Wikipedia page here.
Characters from the Demon Tribe can be viewed on the Wikipedia page here.
Last thoughts: I found an interesting read by the Avenue X blog that I’ll share goes into the character’s names and meanings. I love it when you understand the meaning behind the names and the symbolism that is used by the teams behind the shows.
The moment you have been waiting for is finally here. Thank you for sticking with me. I am going to break down my review into parts. There will be some spoilers, but I’ll try to leave them to things already known just by reading character bios, and the synopsis of the show.
Anyone who has watched any Chinese or Korean TV knows they love their CGI. You also know that not all of the CGI is good. This was the case in Love and Destiny. While the CGI was better than most, they still had their fair share of the bad.
Heavenly Devouring Beast is one of the bad. (He’s kind of loveable but not the best CGI work).
Wu Wan in his larger form is among the good.
Wu Wan in his tiny form is adorable and who cares if it’s tacky at times. You can’t help but fall in love with the little fluff ball. I mean it’s he’s the corgi of the gods. What’s not to love.
There is so much more with the CGI to love and hate. It took me a while to warm up to Jiu Chen’s Dragon form, and Ling Xi’s phoenix form when not on fire is rather scary. That being said, they did a good job for the most part of integrating the CGI into the show, and it’s mostly seamless… mostly… I give them 4 stars for the CGI.
Compared to TMOPB, the sets in Love and Destiny were a huge upgrade. Instead of feeling that they had 2-3 rooms that were reused over and over, each place had its own look and feel. In addition, none of the sets had the absolutely claustrophobic feel that you got in some of the places with TMOPB. I also really liked that in the Love and Destiny version of Heaven that the buildings each had their own unique feel. You could tell just by looking at the place where you were instead of trying to guess was this Ye Hua or Su Jin or Dong Hua Emperor’s hall and palace. You knew instinctively that you were at the Polar Abyss or Fei Lian Hall. You knew if you were in the medicine hall or in the Yuan ancestor shrine hall. Below are some of the sets and locations.
Overall, this is probably my favorite show for set design I’ve watched so far. I have to give them 5 stars for the sets.
I love costumes. I’ve seen many shows succeed or fail based on the costumes alone. The range of costumes worn by the main characters really fit the overall story arc so much better than some other shows where the characters are in the same 2-3 costumes for the entire show. The money spent on the costumes of the characters was a great investment. Not only did the styles and colors complement the characters, but they also helped convey to the viewer the general development of the character. I won’t go into expressive detail as there are Pinterest, Weibo, and various other boards devoted to every outfit worn by Ni Ni and Chang Chen in the show.
For Ling Xi, it shows her character growth as her clothing grows up as she matures. She goes from an immature fairy with no worries to a more studious character through her mortal arc, and finally into a stately High God who not only knows her own mind and worth but how she should be treated by others. The clothing also follows this arc. The colors and range of styles not only are beautiful but at times I wish I could have most if not all of her mortal and final arc costumes. There are a few of the royal dresses that I could skip, but there are also a number that I would love to have.
For Jiu Chen, he transitions to someone who has grown up like a rock to someone who is willing to show emotion. When we first meet him, he is woken from 50,000 years of sleep. He had expended himself in order to not only seal away the Demon King but to bring peace to the 8 wildernesses and 9 heavens. He utilized the last of his energy to be a counterstroke to the Demon King possessing Ling Xi and returning to cause chaos to the rest of the world. We see him slowly melt from the icy exterior and stony pretense he uses, to by the time Ling Xi is sent to the Mortal Realm someone who if not entirely is deeply in love, is well on the path to being so. We see him battle jealousy through Ling Xi’s mortal arc and the greens used are apt for this. As we see him fully secure in his feelings towards the end of the mortal arc do we see his clothing also reflect this state. In the final arc, we see his clothing reflect his boyish enthusiasm for his upcoming wedding, and the ability to spend his life with Ling Xi. These are some of my favorite costumes he wears.
I have to give the costumes 5 Stars.
The overreaching story arc of Love and Destiny was well done. I know the writers tried to replicate the magic they found in TMOPB, and overall I have to say they did a fairly good job. The sticking points for me came from the overwhelming number of characters brought in to disrupt the main story arc. Not only did we had 2-3 women chasing Jiu Chen almost the entire show, but with the mortal arc instead of really displaying and growing the bond between Ling Xi and Jiu Chen, they felt it necessary to bring in someone who develops feelings for Lin Mo and can’t accept that she doesn’t feel the same, but then also makes Jiu Chen seem like less of a man than he really is. It was almost enough at times to destroy all the work they had done to make you connect to him.
I would say that about 85% of the content of the show was needed, leaving us with 15% that they could have cut and had a better show. With this, the plot gets 4.25 stars from me.
One of the big reasons I’ve started watching Korean and Chinese shows is that they slow burn the romance, and build it over time. Case in point in one show I recently watched (Princess Agents) the first kiss comes in 48 episodes into the show. This aspect gives you time to not only ship (Shipping is the act of wanting two or more fictional characters or celebrities to end up in a relationship, usually romantic.) the OTP (One True Pairing) but invest yourself in the love story fully. It also makes for some really awkward OTP interactions early on. With the side love stories especially found in the 3/3/10 universe, you also have some shipping going on. For example, once you learn that Kai Yang has the hots for Yu Li, you start hoping that you see him pursue her and win her heart (and in the meantime eliminate one of the roadblocks for the OTP of the story). Love and Destiny not only excels at the slow romance but the small smiles, looks, and kissing is something you feel. There is no tear each other’s clothes off in the first episode, no raunchy sex, no groping. It’s pure sweet love.
It’s the love you cheer for. It’s the love that when fully realized you feel cheated that you didn’t get more.
It’s a love that you know will last forever. A love you are jealous that you don’t have (I’m lucky I feel mine is like this).
Obviously, I loved the romance and love story so this gets 5 stars.
Overall I would give the show 4.75 stars. The writers, directors, and actors all did a fabulous job in drawing me into their world. Their Fantasy became my reality for 60 episodes. I laughed, I cried, I raged. One thing you will want to make sure of is that you have a box or two of tissues at the ready if you watch this show.
If you’ve watched the show I’d like to know if you agree or disagree with anything. Let’s chat in the comments! Also, let me know if you watched the show because of this review.