Almost made it to the end – so close!
Name: Ever Night
Writer/director: Xu Run/ Yang Yang
Date: Oct 2018
Number of episodes: 60
Genre: Adventure, Wuxia, Romance
Based on book/manga?: Yes, Jiang Ye by Mao Ni
Why did I press play? Many people seemed elated that this book was finally turned into a drama. It was exciting that people were so passionate about the story. I also read patience is required until episode six – this is when the action starts.
Initial thoughts – the good: The premise and dynamic of character are left-field: therefore I kept an open mind and rolled with whatever the story brings. During those first few episodes, it was all pretty cruisy, a part from one thing: The princess. From the get-go she is Miss. Attitude and too big for her boots. Thankfully over time she gets pushed into the shadows and makes little progress in the romance department with Ning Que.
OK, let’s mention the INCREDIBLE fighting scenes – they are undoubtedly the best I have ever seen. They are captivating and I re-watched them several times. If anything, watch the show to see the fighting scenes.
What are the details on the main story?
Before anything else, the incredible technical marvels need to be pointed out. This refers to the use of music, sound, and camera shots. The driving force behind all this is the cinematography (and effortless acting).
Firstly, the use of music (including lyrics) is sensational. They are a wide range and unexpected choices for some scenes that work really well. Such as the folk songs Ning Que and his friends sing before killing/ battles. The most touching moments in the drama is those accompanied with the slow-paced song (not sure what the name is). One of the best examples is when it’s playing while there is a close up of each of his fellow students, as Ning Qing leaves on his mission. So much support, love, and care ooze from their expressions and the songs bring it all together and communicated the emotions effortlessly. Have a tissue nearby, it catches you off guard because it happens later on in the story.
Every so often there are amazing camera angles, such as the two of them walking down the street after visiting the princess (can’t remember the episode) and it’s one shot, and taken from a lower angle. It was them bantering. Just with that dialogue and the camera angle, it spoke volumes of their relationship. That is one (of many) things I love about Chinese dramas – that they often save the best camera shots and moments till later on in the drama. A few other dramas that do this is Nirvana on Fire, Tribes and Empires, Princess agents.
There is no dubbing (except maybe one or two characters) and the crisp sound quality of the voices was charming and wonderful. Particularly Shan Shan (the book addict) her voice is lovely and clean.
Another fantastic part of the drama: by episode 28, it is clear that the writer values and treasures relationships of all kind. Here are some examples.
- The family/platonic relationship between Ning Que and Sang Sang
- Fuzi, the disciples supporting one another – especially Pipi!
- The relationship between Ning Que and Grandmaster. They become like father and son, the scene where they are on the boat in the river is heartwarming. This may be one of the most touching relationships in the story.
The biggest issue with the plot, the first half was really powerful with many strong characters and you could sit back and enjoy the ride. But once the gang leader guy disappeared and when the two grandmasters (Wei Guang Ming & Yan Se) “died”, the show felt orphaned lost a lot of strength and with that I slowly lost interested. Also when Shan Shan is rejected – it’s all these things; it’s a like a ballon happily drifting to the sky and then all of a sudden, starts losing air and drifts back to the ground.
Ning Que is acted by Arthur Chen – this is one of his first roles and explains a lot. He is quite unconventionally bold, relaxed and, didn’t hold back his inhibitions. It had a very different feel. He carried so much of the drama for all 60 episodes. And he kept up with them all. The physical, emotional, banter, ect. -very impressed. I’m curious to see how he does in future projects as he learns more acting techniques.
MAJOR SPOILER!!!!!! I am most disappointed that he and Sang Sang get married. She is much too naive to grasp the situation. He is her father, brother, mother, a friend since he found her as a baby (and now her husband?). It’s just icky, it wasn’t that warm and fuzzy feeling that you get when leads finally get together or even don’t get together. ugh… even though it would be tough and cause a lot of discomforts, I bet he would have so much fun being married to Shan Shan, at least he sees her as a women and she see him as a man. For him and Sang Sang… no quite. The thought of Sang Sang and Ning having a passionate kiss, instead of filling me with the warm fuzzies, makes me run for the hills.
This brings me to Sang Sang. She was endearing at the start and her naive and simple-mindedness could be explained by her upbringing – as well as enthusiasm for money. However things change, but she won’t. After a while, I found her annoying. She has like 0% growth. Apparently, she will grow more in season two – but has the damage been done? I am excited two see what season 2 has to offer. Will I have such an open mind as I did before season one? – probably not.
Who are the main characters? Which actors play them?*
Ning Que played by Arthur Chen – Male lean
Sang Sang played by Ireine Song – Female lead
Fuzi played by Adam Chang – Ultimate Master
Mo Shan Shan played by Crystal Yuan – Book addict
Ye Hong Yu played by Zoey Meng – Dao addict
Prince Long Qing of Yan played by Kris Sun – Arrogant prince that loses his powers.
Princess of Li Yu of Tang played by Tong Yao – Princess
Chu You Xian played by Kutilai Jurat – Ning Que first friend
Ma Shi Xiang – Yin Zhu Sheng – Demon guy and border commander
Yan Se played by Shih Chieh Chin – Talisman High Priest
High priest Wei Guang Ming played by Ni Da Hong
* Here is a list of the main characters (minus Pipi – couldn’t track down the actor). There are a dozen of not more that could be added.
Theme: Don’t give up on your goals and dreams.
What it’s good for? To watch a story that a lot of thought has gone behind.