Review: Immortal Samsara (Cheng Yi, Yang Zi)

Immortal Samsara
July and August were two of the busiest months in 2022 for Chinese dramas right? I mean we had Love Like The Galaxy, Love Between Fairy and Devil, and Immortal Samsara. Youku, iQIYi and Tencent were on fire!!! The pressure was on for us CDrama lovers, three historical dramas topping charts and you still wondering which one to watch first. I already have finished watching Love Like The Galaxy and I thought, how about a review for Immortal Samsara starring Yang Zi and Cheng Yi?

First Impressions.

My spirit for Cdramas was a bit down because I was watching Scent of Love at first but then the wait for new episodes just made me lose interest. As always, this section is only about the first 5 episodes of the drama and I will discuss everything else after this. I always write this section before moving to the 6th episode. First things first, the opening theme was flawless and I like the fact that it doesn’t take over a minute, I prefer short opening themes.

The lighting was on point, make ups, costumes and their own little nine heavens were great but it’s nothing new to me. The story started with 2 time skips, they opened the drama with an upcoming scene and then did the “500 years ago”, taking you back where it all began. It was a clever move to start with a scene where the FL jumps off the bridge of emptiness and take you back to the beginning of the story.

Out of 10, I would rate the first 5 episodes 5/10. They weren’t that entertaining, it felt like I was watching an edited version of Ashes of love and Stand by me. I know it’s early to judge but that’s the reason why I use this section to criticize before watching the whole drama… I criticize and then correct myself on the next section after watching all episodes. Yangdan is more like an experienced, smarter version of Ji Mi. Yingyuan on the other side, acts like he is Donghua from The Eternal Love who lacks freedom. I won’t talk a lot about them at the moment but most of their segments are we time wasters.

The story right? You won’t believe it if I told you, it’s still developing. Seriously, five episodes were not enough to get the full direction of the story. Their main focus was building the relationship between Yangdan and Yingyuan, it’s no surprise because the story is about them. There’s nothing else to look forward to except the forbidden love between the leads since falling in love is forbidden in the nine heavens.

Then there’s Yangdan’s twin sister Zhixi who is weak but I do appreciate her for doing her best to get stronger to protect her sister. Zhixi is way matured than Yangdan, you might even say Yangdan is Zhixi’s daughter. I’m mentioning Zhixi here because I noticed that characters in the drama always mentioned the power difference between Yangdan and Zhixi. It seems like they will use it to create a new arc/ plot as the drama goes on, maybe twin sisters fighting each other?

There’s also the leader of the Magic pavilion, who likes Yingyuan, she already exposed herself as a villain… Why rush? The story seems to go back and forth because they always mention that it’s forbidden for immortals to fall in love but why would she have a crush on Yingyuan and even compete with every woman who gets close to him while she clearly knows the rules?

So far, there’s the Nine heavens, demon realm and they have 6 realms instead of the usual ‘3 realms’. One thing that messed my mind up is the way people are born in the drama. I get the idea of immortals staying in their original forms until they take the human form but it was way too much here. Literally every living thing in the nine heaven can take a human form which bores me. I even asked myself what do they eat because everything is cultivating itself to become immortal. I did type lots of stuff didn’t I? Let’s get to the rest of the review.

Storyline.

On my first impressions section I did mention that the story wasn’t interesting and I still stand by my word. The storyline set up was bad, most people have dropped the drama because of it. The whole 15 episodes were hard to watch because they were beating around the bush, the story had no potential. I was also thinking about dropping the drama until they moved from the heavens to the mortal world. It felt like I was watching a different drama but with the same cast.

They stopped involving the heavens and focused on the characters who were at the mortal world. From Yangdan roaming the mortal world with no memory of her past to the formation of the stable. The best thing the writers have done is to develop a bond between Yu Mo, Yangdan and Yingyuan. It reminded of Journey to west, three people traveling the world for certain reasons. They meet challenges along the way but manage to overcome them together.

The story was unpredictable and had surprises along the way. You think they finally discovered the truth, something else pops up and you’re like “OMG!” Especially the last 15 episodes, one surprise after the other and then there’s the heartbreak we saw coming but never saw coming, you get what I’m saying? One thing I hated about the story is these clans that comes outta nowhere, it was confusing.

Chemistry.

Yu Mo and Yingyuan had the best brotherhood chemistry I have ever seen this year. It’s a rare sight to see, you’re both in love with the same girl and you became best friends? These two had the same goal in the beginning but they slowly got used to each other. Both of them would do anything to protect each other.

Yangdan and Zhixi did give out the “sisters vibe” but it died when they…[no spoilers here] Even though I lost the connection with them, I was touched by their reunion.

Yangdan and Yingyuan were all over the place so it’s hard to ignore their chemistry. The hardships they had to endure and sacrifices they made for each other would melt a stone hearted person. You want to be with the one you love but the heavenly rules are tearing you two apart, a total nightmare. Other couples will still be referred to as ‘other couples’ because the main leads never gave them a chance to grow on us.

Fighting scenes.

I’m having mixed feelings about this. There were a lot of scene action scenes which gave me goosebumps but they depended a lot on magic. All they do when they fight is throw few kicks, palm strikes, few punches to the midsection and they use 90% of their time unleashing magic attacks.

Main leads taking spotlight everywhere they go.

It’s not a secret that Main leads have to be the center of the story. I do understand that, but they crossed the line a couple of times. There were scenes that didn’t even need them to show off their love. One scene I remember is the wedding at Yenlan Mountain when they rode Kun in front of the attendants. Kun was a wedding present which means the newly weds may ride it, not Yangdan and Yingyuan. I know you might say they had their reasons but imagine seeing your wedding host stealing the show. The wedding was supposed to be a special moment for the newly weds.

Gods worshipping other Gods?

This is a one of the craziest things I’ve ever witnessed in a fantasy drama. To be clear, we all know that mortals worship the immortals (Gods) and the immortals don’t worship anyone since there’s no realm above them. I was surprised when I saw characters in Immortal Samsara worshipping Gods and leaving their wishes on the wishing tree, like who are you worshipping since you’re a God? In Ancient Love Poetry, Shanggu did pray for Bai Jue’s return but it was reasonable because she was actually worshipping the Heavenly father, who happens to have created the realm. The concept of having a Heavenly father is common in such dramas, they used it in Eternal Love too but they didn’t have to worship as if they’re mortals.

Who are they trying to fool?

I’m trying to visit the fantasy world they’re trying to sell me but there are a couple of things that just makes me feel like they’re undermining my intelligence. How can someone use the lightning spell in heaven realm without being noticed? I mean, there will be dark clouds before the lightning strike and there’s sound when the lightning strikes but no one noticed and yet they call themselves Gods! Worst part, the person who activated the lightning spell was near the entrance of the most heavily guarded palace. We are talking about a palace with over 20 people. It would have made sense if they showed one or two people reacting to the sudden change of weather.

Conclusion.

I’m sure you have heard that the main lead was supposed to be Yu Mo but they changed the original script and made Yingyuan the main lead. Good move or bad move, those who read the novel and watched the drama have the answer. I still don’t understand why did they add additional episodes, they had nothing to offer. They could’ve extended episode 59 and shortened whatever they wanted to share in the additional episodes. Honestly, 61 episodes just makes a person lose interest before watching the drama. I thought the 40 episode rule would put an end to dramas with 50+ episodes. I don’t see myself rewatching this drama because of the number of episodes. After this long review, I’m giving Immortal Samsara 7.5/10 ratings and that’s a recommendation for you. First episodes might bore you but there’s more surprises waiting for you along the way.

2 Comments

  1. Yes I agreed the first part of season 1 was the typical Wuxia drama but later it became something more during the mortal realm when the trio were brought together as though fate had planned.

    They were pretty much outcasts back in the heavenly realm and went to the mortal realm for different reasons. As they journey together, the three slowly form a strong bond. They started to see themselves as family looking out for each other. Yumo and Ying Yuan had one of the best bromances we've seen

  2. It’s not even wuxia genre wuxia doesn’t have magic and rely solely on martial arts so don’t get it confused with xianxia dramas

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