The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dropped: Ashes Of Love [China]

32 Comments

After 41 episodes out of Show’s 60, I’m finally calling it quits on Ashes Of Love.

Admittedly, part of my brain is a little reluctant to drop this one, because, “Loads of other folks loved this one! What if you’re quitting before it gets good again?” and “You’re already two-thirds of the way through! What a waste, of the 41 episodes you did watch!”

Try as I might, though, I just can’t muster up the interest to continue with episode 42, so it’s gonna hafta be the end of the road with this one, for me.

DID I LIKE IT RIGHT AWAY?

The short answer is, no, I didn’t like this one right away. But YouTube suggested episode 1 to me one day, and I remembered that some of you had liked this one, plus, I mean, a show that’s exceeded 15 million views(!!) in China alone is pretty darn impressive, so I dived in to check it out.

By episode 2, I decided that this felt somewhat like a less pretty, more magicky, funnier version of Ten Miles Of Peach Blossoms, which I rather liked the sound of, coz I really enjoyed Peaches. I did cringe at the humor a little bit from time to time, but a bit of lens adjustment took care of that quite easily.

By episode 6, I felt nicely sucked in. As imperfect as this show was, I felt somewhat addicted to it, and was watching several episodes in a single sitting. That’s a Pretty Big Deal, in my books.

STUFF I LIKED

Deng Lun as Xu Feng

I wasn’t immediately drawn to Deng Lun as our male lead Xu Feng, but it wasn’t long before I came around to his charms.

Basically, I really like that in this story, our male lead falls in love first, and falls hard and fast. There’s something very swoony about seeing a very powerful man hopelessly smitten. So, the more obviously smitten Xu Feng became with Jin Mi (Yang Zi), the more giddy with glee I felt. He was just so earnest and sincere, that my heart couldn’t help but waver at him.

I loved seeing Xu Feng’s protective side, even as he teased Jin Mi, and I loved seeing the small flashes of pleasure on Xu Feng’s face, when he felt secretly pleased by Jin Mi’s presence.

Beyond Deng Lun’s personal charm, though, I do think a lot of Xu Feng’s appeal is thanks to Xu Feng’s voice actor. Xu Feng’s voice is just so expressive while managing to sound even, and I felt the vocal nuances added a lot of dimension and depth to how Xu Feng comes across. I liked that a lot.

Fun cracky stretches

As a general rule, my enjoyment levels of this show varied in direct correlation to how well things were going for the OTP loveline. From initial meet-cute, to early misunderstandings, to the blossoming of feelings (even if said feelings were mainly felt by Xu Feng), to occasions for hyper-proximity and hyper-awareness, any permutation of these things was enough to brighten my watch and get me to readily click on the next episode, when I got to the end of one.

Not only was there a fair bit of cute, there was also a nice amount of melty, and I flailed and swooned dutifully, through it all.

Here are a sprinkling of my favorite OTP moments, from what I did watch.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I have a big soft spot for the mortal trial that starts in episode 19, because this is an opportunity to watch Xu Feng fall for Jin Mi all over again. How fun, that we get to distance ourselves from the building angst in the Heavenly Realm, and just bask in the fresh feels of blossoming romance.

I love the way he looks at her in episode 21,Β while pretending to be deaf and mute, so quietly searching, with small leaked smiles of wonder and appreciation by turn. Melt.

There’s also the moment in episode 22, when he looks at Jin Mi with such a softness in his gaze, and such a gentle affection and amusement directed at her, as he tells her, “I’m Ya Ya.” Flail.

And then there’s the way he puts on this big show of being sick in episode 23, just so that he can spend time with her. The way he teases her gently; the way he stifles little smiles which are full of affection; I lap it all up, and wish for more.

In episodes 29 and 30, tipsy Jin Mi confessing her feelings to Xu Feng and kissing him while fueled by liquid courage, is a bit of a breakthrough moment. The way Xu Feng just looks at her intently through her repeated “I like you’s” and says, “I will marry you,” is just mesmerizing. Puddle.

[END SPOILER]

STUFF THAT GREW ON ME OVER TIME

Yang Zi as Jin Mi

Imma be honest; I wasn’t really into Yang Zi as our female lead Jin Mi.

Jin Mi’s character is written to be extremely sheltered, naive and innocent, and for a good stretch in the beginning, she’s also supposed to be very young. This made for a female lead character who came across as ditzy and rather scatterbrained, which isn’t my favorite thing.

Over time, though, I got used to Jin Mi being bubbly but a little dense in some ways, and that did improve my watch.

For the record, I’d heard some viewers say that it’s worth waiting to see how Jin Mi’s character changes later on in the show, because she has a very different vibe and personality then, but to be honest, the bits of muted seriousness that I did glimpse from her, felt quite flat and one-note, and I didn’t find that very promising.

STUFF I WAS INDIFFERENT TO

Luo Yun Xi as Run Yu

I’ve heard that there’s a lot of viewer love for Run Yu as a character, but I must admit that I didn’t feel much for his character, overall.

In Show’s earlier stretch, I found Run Yu pleasant but bland, and then in Show’s middle stretch, I found him a little more interesting, but also, disappointing, at the same time. As in, his behavior leaned darker and that gave Luo Yun Xi room to make Run Yu more interesting, but that darker behavior ultimately made me lose respect for Run Yu as a character, which doesn’t balance out very well overall, in my head.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There’s one scene that stands out in my mind, where I was rather impressed by Luo Yun Xi’s delivery, and that’s in episodes 29 and 30, where we get a whole lotta drama with Run Yu’s birth mother dying by the Heavenly Empress’s hand. I was rather jaded with the whole thing, but I must say that in that moment when Run Yu turned on the Heavenly Empress, he was quite arresting. The look on him was a mix of drained grief and all-his-cares-to-the-wind badassery. He’d never looked this cool, to my eyes.

Other than this instance, though, what we see of Evolving Run Yu is a lot less cool. Here’re 2 examples:

E14. Run Yu wanting to assert himself to wed Jin Mi is understandable, but the sneaky way in which he put on that show for Water Deity was not cool, and I lost a whole bunch of respect for him there. Of course it’s easy to swear that you don’t mind losing your deity rights and becoming a mortal for Jin Mi’s sake, if you already know that she’s actually your intended fiance.

E35-36. How horrible, that Run Yu seals the Fallen Pellet within Jin Mi, without telling her. It’s such a terrible thing to do. He basically decides that if she can’t love him, he can’t let her love anyone. Gah.

..Which, basically, evens everything out to neutral for me, with Run Yu. In my head, this is how the equation works out:

[Darker & more interesting + underhanded actions = just as disappointing as Bland Run Yu]

[END SPOILER]

STUFF I DIDN’T CARE FOR TOO MUCH

When we get too much backstory and flashbacks

From about the episode 17 mark, Show started serving up a LOT of flashbacks, to fill us in on what happened among the previous generation of immortals. The flashbacks are deep, detailed, and quite convoluted, and because of them, we sometimes spend entire episodes in flashback, rather than in the present timeline.

I told myself that it’s probably important information to the story, but I got really bored every time a flashback surfaced, and I honestly just wanted to zone out and fast forward through it all. It really didn’t help that Show felt it was necessary to serve up AS MANY flashbacks as possible.

The loveline between Liu Ying and Mu Ci

There’s a secondary loveline between Biancheng Princess Liu Ying and half-masked shadow guard Mu Ci (Chen Yu Qi and Zou Ting Wei), which I didn’t care for very much.

Essentially, Liu Ying is a lot more interesting when she’s being badass, and up till the point where she’s reunited with Mu Ci, I found her refreshingly fierce. BUT. When she’s pining for Mu Ci and trying to get him to stay with her, she becomes sad and teary, and very breathy and kind of desperate, and it really doesn’t become her.

The thing is, from the episode 21 mark onwards, all the way to where I stopped at episode 41, Show decides that it’s important to spend an inordinate amount of screen time on this loveline. I found it very trying to watch Liu Ying continue to pursue Mu Ci, even though he repeatedly tells her not to. He desperately wanted her to stop, and uh, so did I. πŸ˜›

SAYING GOODBYE

I found that the deeper I got into the show, the more bored I felt. There’s a lot of Stuff that happens, some of which is supposed to be a Big Deal, like the Heavenly Empress trying to kill Jin Mi, but I just couldn’t seem to feel interested.

By the episode 41 mark, I found myself thinking during my watch, that Xu Feng wasn’t quite as regal or imposing as I’d like him to be, and that Run Yu looked weirdly like he was always talking as if he had marbles in his mouth and couldn’t close his mouth comfortably.

I realized that it was definitely Not A Good Sign, that I’d be so bored by the plot that these were the things that I was noticing. πŸ˜›

That’s also pretty much when I decided that I ought to quit while I was still a little ahead, so that I could preserve the happier memories that I did have of this show, and avoid collecting more unhappy, dissatisfied ones.

I’m sorry I couldn’t hang in there for you, Xu Feng. You were one of my bright spots in this show though, if that’s any consolation.

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

32 thoughts on “Dropped: Ashes Of Love [China]

  1. Sad to know that you dropped it…I agree with you that there were a lot of things that made me fast forward a lot of stuff. But cling on I did, for Xu Feng. I wish you had seen his journey till the end. It was worth the time and effort for me πŸ™‚

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    • Hi there TC, sorry this reply comes so late. After everyone told me that I was missing out in a big way, I FF-ed my way through to the end of Ashes, just to see the important bits, so I didn’t miss everything. It did become more interesting right at the end, but I must confess, without the FF button, I would’ve never survived to see the end! πŸ˜†

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  2. Your criticisms were spot on, and I felt mostly the same way as you at that point in the story. But ep 43 is such a game changer for this show, and the last 10 episodes were so good. It really is a shame you put in all that time and didn’t even get to see the best parts!

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    • Hi there jc – I must give you credit for getting me to at least FF through to the end of Ashes to see the important bits. You were right, E43 was a total game changer. I still didn’t enjoy the show as much as I had in the beginning, but it did have a bit of an uptick towards the end. For the record, though, without the FF button, I wouldn’t have been able to last through to the end. πŸ˜›

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  3. Xu Feng’s voice actor is Deng Lun himself! Haha.

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  4. I’m with you on this one. Didn’t love it at first but stayed through first few eps and got sucked in by OTP moments, then started losing interest and pretty much fast forwarded through most of it. There’s a whole lot of love for this drama out there but for me personally, even though it had its moments, it wasn’t quite on the level of 3L3W Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. Maybe Mark Chao was the secret sauce lol. 😍

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    • OMG Owl Star, I feel like you liked exactly the bits I liked, quite possibly, and then just did the smarter thing and FF-ed through all the stuff that didn’t work for you. I wish I’d done what you did! πŸ˜† I ended up FF-ing through to the end coz so many people told me I was seriously missing out and that it got much better.. It was better than where I’d originally stopped, but I must confess, I don’t think I would’ve missed ALL that much if I hadn’t gone back to FF through to the end. This show does have a lot of love, but I guess it’s just not really for me. I’m with you on Peaches, and yes, Mark Chao was quite possibly the secret sauce! πŸ˜†

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  5. Hi, I’m a late entrant to the k&c drama party(Thank you, Netflix) A friend suggested your blog as a reference point and I checked out your reviews on the shows I’ve watched. Mostly, I’ve found our viewpoints matching though there were a few that we seemed to have opposing thoughts on.
    On this one, your review is bang on! I did complete it only because I have this absolute need to finish anything I start be it a book or a movie or a tv show. I can honestly say I completely skipped whole episodes in the middle just so I could get to the finish line. Sometimes, I wondered why I was putting myself through this! I started off liking the male lead then became indifferent. The FL’s childish innocence was okay for a while then started grating on my nerves. For a while during the middle episodes, I fervently wished someone would knock some sense into her 😑
    Ultimately, I felt so let down because honestly I thought the premise had so much potential. Some what like how I feel after watching a Indian show πŸ˜›
    Okay, my rant for the day is done!
    BTW if I have failed to mention it, I love reading your reviews.

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    • Hi there Sandya, welcome to the blog! I’m happy that your friend’s recommendation didn’t disappoint and that you enjoy the reviews! πŸ˜‰ I giggled at your rant, especially about the childish aura of the female lead. I feel ya, there were definitely times when I was really So. Over. it, because it just didn’t ring true to me. Hopefully you won’t be feeling too sore about this drama for very long, and that another, better drama will come along to steal your heart! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When it comes to cdramas I realised early on that xianxia ain’t my genre. There have been few exceptions… like Peaches, though with that one I’m beginning to think it was mostly due to Mark I actually finished it. πŸ˜€ I can generally tell by the trailers already that ‘nope, not for me’. So, I did not even try watching Ashes of Love. I fare better with wuxias but with those I often get bored half way through, even if I’d inhaled the first 20 or so epis.

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    • I really think Peaches was the exception, and yes, I do think Mark gets a lot of credit for my being so drawn to Peaches! πŸ˜† I guess my enjoyment of Peaches made me think that I might like other xianxia shows, but so far, I haven’t actually found one that I really liked. So yeah, I’m starting to rethink that one. It’s quite possible Peaches was a very special anomaly. πŸ˜›

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  7. *pat your back it must be hard decision. Great review! Thank you for your honesty πŸ˜€

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  8. Amen, sister. You got farther than me, and i was constantly skipping episodes. Meanwhile, I’m on my 2nd watch of Peach Blossoms on Viki for the commentary 🌸. What an amazing show! Ashes seems a poor copy.

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    • Hi there sarah, it’s great to see you around here. Apologies this reply is so late, but you did make me giggle with your description of your experience with this show! Yes, Peaches is definitely more enjoyable than this one, for me anyway. There are some folks who much prefer Ashes to Peaches, which I personally don’t get, but as they say, different strokes for different folks! πŸ˜€

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  9. Lol my fav 2 portions were the mortal trial and RunYu’s section where he’s trying to save his mom from the Empress. Idk I thought the chemistry and romance was pretty fantastic in the beginning, but I actually didn’t quite like Xu Feng as a character as much as you did. I liked Deng Lun as Xu Feng, but certain personality traits of XF I really couldn’t like. Sort of the way you lost respect for Run Yu, I sort of…didn’t think too much of XF at times.

    Maybe because I personally ascribe to a more logical sort of display of emotions, but first, I feel like on JinMi’s situation, RunYu was a total ass for not giving JinMi a chance to express what she wants, but honestly…as someone who was basically engaged to a different guy but was really dating his brother. I didn’t know how to feel about her “not understanding” the fact that she was honestly kinda keeping a foot in each boat. And then XF, is RIGHT that JinMi gets to make her own choice and we all know she chooses XF, but at the same time, dude that IS your brother’s fiance and you’re basically TELLING him “I want your fiance and she wants me just leave the picture dude” BEFORE RunYu went all greasy berserk to try to manipulate everyone to get her.

    And then most importantly, I have strong feelings about RunYu’s family situation with the Empress and Emperor. And then here comes XF all high and mighty (even in the end esp in the last episode — lol I skipped literally half the drama but did watch the last 2 eps) where he lays out what RunYu “should and shouldn’t do, must and mustn’t forgive”, all these nice Confucian concepts about how “they were wrong but they’re your parents” WITHOUT understanding the whole picture. As a child spoiled from birth, who doesn’t even see half the disgusting things his mother does in the name of “protecting him” who isn’t even aware of all the cowardly blindness his father exhibits to “keep the peace”, I was just REALLY enflamed about like, what gave you the right to lecture someone else about these things when none of this has really affected you! In a more realistic dysfunctional family, you can definitely argue a child like XF is also a victim, definitely affected by guilt etc from such a family. But in THIS drama XF has never exhibited that kind of emotional turmoil or consideration for this aspect of his pretty damn awful family. So I mean, honestly, I also didn’t really respect XF for that. Yes he represents the “good”, a lesson on how when you get slapped, turn the other cheek and all that. But to me it just made me feel like he was very self-righteous regarding this situation because none of these hurts and injustices ever affected him until RunYu basically decided to lose all morality and pay retribution (honestly I felt a little guiltily gratified when he screwed over the emperor and empress). It rubbed me the wrong way so much. I’m not excusing RY, but honestly I didn’t like how XF handled this at all.

    Overall I thought Ashes was pretty cracky in the beginning, but I got tired of it mostly because the drama was all about just the romance, and I’m rarely about that “I live for romance and romance only” life where the characters aren’t really defined outside that romance. Hence why I did like RunYu a little more at first cuz the backstory gave him a bit more of substance outside of “I wanna date JinMi”.

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    • Hi there Julianne, thanks for popping on by to share your thoughts on Ashes, and I’m sorry this reply comes so late!

      I think I gave XF more of a pass when it came to the love triangle because he did meet Jin Mi first, and Jin Mi did have feelings for him too, even though she didn’t know it coz of the pellet. So I guess because in my head this was THE lead couple that Show was serving up to me, RY’s fixation with her became categorized in my head as futile second-lead pining. I think that’s why I was more accepting of XF’s desire to elbow in on the betrothal between RY and JM. Of course, that doesn’t excuse XF’s behavior since you rightly pointed out that he shouldn’t have felt like he had the right to expect RY to give up his betrothed for him. Overall, I think I just really liked the cracky early eps and the mortal trial. Everything was just.. not so compelling, to me. πŸ˜›

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  10. Ahhh sad to hear you dropped it. Yeah, Xu Feng’s voice is Deng Lun himself! The voices of the 3 leads are the actors voice. It did get draggy in the middle, but it picks up after (spoiler) Jin Mi kills Xu Feng. Deng Lun is sooo good in this show. I loved every bit of his scenes.

    I tried to get into Peaches (3 times) but could not get pass ep 1. I’ve dropped so many fantasy cdramas and this was the first one I can finish and absolutely love.

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    • That’s so interesting that you couldn’t get into Peaches but loved this! I’ve heard that before, I guess there’s something about this that just works for you. πŸ™‚

      I did end up FF-ing through to the end, partly coz of your spoiler, lol. I’m happy enough to know what happened, though I have to confess I still didn’t love it as much as you did. I did enjoy Deng Lun quite well though. πŸ˜‰

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  11. Love this review it was pretty funny hahahah

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  12. I enjoyed this drama though it easily could have been cut around 10 to 15 episodes (the c-dramas are so bad with the filler), but I still liked it flaws and all. I do think spending so much time on Night really slowed the show down way too much.

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    • Oh yes, I recall that you did like this one, Kat. I also remember you said it requires one to be in the right mood, in order to enjoy it. Yes, I so agree on the filler and the bloated narrative. I do wonder if I would have had a more enjoyable watch overall, if Show had been tighter. I did end up FF-ing through to the end, but by then, I already felt rather disengaged, and so didn’t feel as many feels as everyone who loved the show did.

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  13. I really really loved this drama and literally XuFeng became the love of my life but near the mark where you dropped I just started skipping it a whole lot which is why I was able to make it past and barely notice parts which would probably have been boring for others. I literally skipped 90% of the Liu Ying and Mu Ci scenes akdfjslkjlkfjd

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    • Lol, you did the wise thing skipping through the parts you didn’t like, Amy! πŸ˜† I tried watching it without skipping, and that’s why I couldn’t continue. But, after everyone expressed that I was missing out big time, I went back and FF-ed my way through to the end. This was a lot more bearable, but I must admit I just wasn’t as into the show as everyone else. It did get more interesting in the last stretch though, I’ll give it that! πŸ˜‰

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  14. Aww. I really liked this drama, too bad it wasn’t your cup of tea. Tho I agree with you on the excessive subplots and backstory of the supporting characters. But FYI, Xu Feng’s voice is really Deng Lun. He dubbed his own voice. I just love his voice and overall charm

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    • I did end up FF-ing through to the end, but I have to admit, this just wasn’t quite my cup of tea, even though there were stretches that I genuinely enjoyed. I must agree that Deng Lun is very appealing, and it’s really nice to know that the voice I was appreciating, is his own. πŸ™‚

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  15. Ah I was so hesitant to watch it because of how long it is so Im glad I feel like its now okay to skip it. Lol.

    I totally agree with you and felt the same way about SKY Castle. I really, really tried to like it and have watched until the 11th episode. I couldnt get myself to like it and see what so many others saw in it. I wanted to and I felt it a waste of time to drop it at that point because I was more than half way through.

    It was always the thought that it might get better the next episode but sadly I got to the point where I couldn’t get myself to sit through it anymore. I guess I should listen to myself more and remember I don’t have to like something just because others did.

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    • Lol, yes, that’s something that I’m learning too, that I don’t have to like something just because others like it. And often, I also end up liking something that others disliked. It’s all down to personal taste, and we got to go with what works for us. I really liked SKY Castle, but I can also understand that it just didn’t work for you.

      As for Ashes, there are folks who really like this one, so if you’re at all hesitant to miss it, I’d say give it a try, and see whether it gets better for you, or worse. I felt there was too much filler and backstory, but others loved the side stories and backstories, so there’s that.

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  16. I FFW a lot of this show and still can’t understand the hype. To be honest you should watch the scence when YM is dying since it is done great in artistic way. The directing and artsy ways it was kept me despite the dragging ridiculousness script.

    And I would have prefered if YM died since none of the lovers deserved her. She was so adorable and selfless but she hardly was more than a toy from mid series. When she discovered that herself she refused it to be a pawn. Reviving her was kind of lame and made her refusal a joke. At least Dragon truly repent at the end and decided to live alone but Phoenix just had “seconds” in immortal lifespan to wait until he got rewarded for whatever reason. Since I really liked YM probably they should have given her happy lifes with normal men and reborn as mortal again and again.

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    • Hahaha, to be honest, I ended up FF-ing through to the end after everyone said I should’ve stuck with the show, and while the end was more interesting than where I originally dropped it, I still don’t love it and therefore, you could say that I don’t quite get the hype either. I guess every show works differently for everyone. πŸ™‚

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