Princess AgentsFebruary 26, 2018
For every actor, there is usually a magnum opus — a drama or movie that they did that was well-received and becomes the work in which they’re known for. Zanilia Zhao has been acting in dramas for a while but for me, none of her characters was as memorable as Chu Qiao in Princess Agents. Based on a novel, this drama was a hit both domestically and internationally with over 50 billion views on Chinese streaming sites and over 230 million views on YouTube (Wikipedia). Read on for my review of this Chinese drama.
During the Northern and Southern Dynasties,the Western Wei enslaved large numbers of civilians. The slave girl, Chu Qiao, is thrown into a forest along with other slaves and becomes the next hunting target for the rich lords. She is saved by the Prince of Northern Wei, Yan Xun. Afterwards, she is brought into a powerful family of Yuwen and witnesses their bloody power struggle. Seeing this, she swears to take her younger sister and flee from the situation. However, she catches the attention of Yuwen Yue, and undergoes strict training while building a sense of companionship with Yan Xun.
- Strong and admirable female lead
- Good use of music in memorable scenes
- Great start to an interesting story
- Loose ends and plot holes
- Certain scenes feel dragged
Princess Agents was off to a very great start with an interesting premise. The female lead, Chu Qiao, is an amnesiac with mysterious untapped powers. She is found as a slave girl by Yuwen Yue who notices her martial arts potential and decides to train her. Not wanting to get involved with royalty, she wants to leave but ends up getting involved in a deadly power struggle.
The drama adaptation takes some liberties due to strict television rules from SARFT. In the original novel, Chu Qiao came from the future where she worked as a special agent for military intelligence, hence the origin of all her skills and war strategies. The drama leaves out this time-traveling aspect and instead makes the viewers guess why Chu Qiao is so special. Personally, I find the time-traveling aspect gives the character some extra depth to her and makes the whole story seem more interesting.
Being an action drama, the action scenes were handled very well and many scenes looked very cool. There were many memorable scenes that were well edited such as the scene in which Chu Qiao comes charging back solo to save her comrades. When paired with the musical score, I got chills!
Starting from the middle of the story, things started to slowly go downhill… The story started to drag and felt like they didn’t know which direction to take. As it inched closer to the end, I felt that there was no way they could possibly resolve everything in the story cleanly. It grew apparent because some characters that was introduced was never seen again and it didn’t make sense because they were important to the growth of Chu Qiao. I was not alone; online forums were full of alarmed viewers. My comments below are about the ending of Princess Agents and I cannot mention them without spoiling the story so read at your own risk.
I blame the producers of the show for becoming greedy.
Perhaps they saw the growing popularity of the show and wanted to stretch the plot in order to make a second season. When the origins of Chu Qiao was never explained up until the very end, that’s when I got angry. I can let it pass if they had announced a second season but it seems like the cast is busy with other projects and there are currently no announcements for a sequel. I felt this was an insult to the millions and billions of viewers of this drama.
If there was no ending, why would I invest and waste my time watching all 58 episodes?
For what the drama was, it was entertaining. The cast did a splendid job. While Zanilia Zhao was good, I was also introduced to a mega talent, Li Qin! Her acting was heart wrenching and jaw dropping — I seriously want to hunt down all her upcoming dramas and watch them. Sorry to say (for Zanilia fans), Li Qin totally stole the show for me. Don’t view her character as a naive princess because there were tons of character development for her.
All in all, if you need something entertaining to pass the time, give Princess Agents a try. Just know that there’s a risk of disappointment as you get to the last episode.
More Information: DramaWiki