Drama ReviewRomanceThe Longest Promise Drama Review

"The Longest Promise promised the viewers an epic and touching love story, and it delivers. "

The Longest Promise Drama Review

  • Title: The Longest Promise
  • Also Known As: Jade Bone Ballad, Yu Gu Yao, Yuk Gwat Yiu, 玉骨遙, Zhu Yan, 朱颜
  • Director: Jeffrey Chiang
  • Casts: Xiao Zhan, Ren Min, Wang Chu Ran, Alen Fang, Wang Zi Qi
  • Screenwriter: Wu Ying Ying
  • Genres: Romance, Wuxia, Fantasy,
  • Country: China
  • Episodes: 40
  • Year: 2023
  • Original Network: WeTV or Tencent
  • Where to Watch: WeTV or Netflix

The Longest Promise Synopsis

Shi Ying was the promising Crown Prince from Kong Sang Continent. He was accomplished in his study, talented in martial arts and magic, and possessed a kind heart and magnanimous temperament. His mother was Empress Bai Yan who was wise and well loved by the people. Shi Ying’s position as the Crown Prince seemed unshakeable at first glance.

Unfortunately, Empress Bai Yan was not favored by the Emperor. So it was relatively easy for those with questionable motives to place a sinister plot for the mother and son duo. Shi Ying and Empress Bai Yan were framed of killing the Emperor’s favorite concubine who was with child.

To escape the Emperor’s wrath, Empress Bai Yan requested the help of the Grand Priest of Ji Yu Mountain to fake Shi Ying’s death and take him to Ji Yu Mountain where he could hide and remain safe.

Meanwhile, Zhu Yan was the princess of the Crimson Clan. She has always held deep admiration towards Crown Prince Shi Ying. As a princess, her parents discouraged her from practicing magic. But it was the Crown Prince who encouraged her to develop her skill so that she can contribute in protecting the country.

On the day the Crown Prince and Empress were framed, Zhu Yan was rebuked by the Emperor’s favorite concubine and Shi Ying defended her. She always felt that it was her fault that the Crown Prince fell into the evil plot and lost his life because of it. Years later, Zhu Yan was obsessed in finding a magical method to bring the Crown Prince back to life.

She found an opportunity to go to Ji Yu Mountain and she overcame many obstacles until she finally became a young priest’s direct disciple. Little did she know that her master was actually Shi Ying the Crown Prince himself!

How will Zhu Yan complete her mission? Will she be able to learn the magic technique she dreamt of? How will she react if she had known that she was actually the prophesied woman who will be the cause of Shi Ying’s demise?

The Longest Promise Drama Review

The underlying trope of this drama was actually forbidden love between master and disciple. To be honest, it is a theme I do not care for. But this is Xiao Zhan….so need I say more?

Looking at the trailer some time back, I always wondered who this Ren Min was. I have never seen any of her drama before. So I wondered why Xiao Zhan was paired with someone relatively new in a drama with such heavy and supposedly heart breaking theme? Even Wang Chu Ran had to make way for her and settle to be the supporting role.

But throughout the series, I can see why Ren Min was selected. Her portrayal of Zhu Yan was quite entertaining and her energy was able to matched that of Xiao Zhan’s. Overall, she was the perfect Zhu Yan, I cannot imagine anyone else to act as Zhu Yan.

As for Xiao Zhan, he did not disappoint. He was masterful in displaying deep emotion and devastating heart ache. Shi Ying was a complicated character. He enjoyed a distinguished identity as the talented Priest of Ji Yu Mountain but he was traumatized by his past. He felt guilty for his mother’s death but he carried hope to live his life the way his mother always wanted him to.

Shi Ying grew up with a lot of sadness and contradiction in his life. But his wisdom and his mother’s guidance helped him to overcome his demons. As a viewer, I thoroughly enjoyed Xiao Zhan’s portrayal of this complex character.

The Longest Promise Drama Review - Shi Ying and Zhu Yan
The Longest Promise Drama Review – Shi Ying and Zhu Yan

But having said that, like I have mentioned before the key to an addictive romance is the undeniable chemistry between the main leads. I think it was somewhat lacking here. I cannot describe it but I just felt something was missing.

On top of that, even though the story line was good and was always engaging, I just could not for the life of me recall any scene that was so memorable that I would look it up on Youtube to replay over and over again.

This may be the reason why I did not give this drama a higher rating. Another reason is probably because of the ending that many deemed as an open ending. But to me, it was not a happy ending, it was a kind of bitter sweet. But we will talk about the ending in a separate post.

The Cinematography

There is nothing bad to say about the cinematography. The sets, angles, lighting were of high quality, portraying the world that was Kong Sang Continent vividly, giving the viewers a treat with striking visuals. Ji Yu Mountain was portrayed as this mysterious yet majestic place, seemingly fit for immortals. Along with curious nook and crannies at the bottom of the cliff where Shi Ying was living by himself.

The Longest Promise Drama Review - Shi Ying
The Longest Promise Drama Review – Shi Ying

The CGI may not be top notch as some scenes were quite choppy. Namely the duel between Zhu Yan and Bai Xuelu in Ji Yu Mountain when they were competing for the first disciple position. But I was still able to enjoy the story, so it was not a big issue.

The Dragon Lord, however, looked very impressive and formidable. It suitably portrayed his imposing and mystical persona. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Chong Ming, who was supposed to be this legendary fearsome mythical bird guarding the tomb of the Emperors. The CGI did not blend so well with the background. Nevertheless, it was not so glaringly obvious that it distract the viewers from the story.

The Casts and Characters

Xiao Zhan as Shi Ying

Knowing what Xiao Zhan is capable of with all the characters he had played over the years, I had high hopes for this drama. His emotional performance tugged at the viewers’ heartstrings. One memorable scene was when Shi Ying mourned the death of the Empress. He felt both terrible loss and guilt, he almost went out of his mind because of it.

Xiao Zhan portrayed the sadness and frustration of the young priest, who did not have many things to cherish in his life, very well. I need several tissues to dry my eyes.

Another well performed scene was when he was questioning Zhu Yan on whether she will miss him when he died. His eyes was searching in hers carefully, looking longingly beyond the hatred, if there is any sadness for his passing. Uuughhh…..it was a devastating scene, unexpectedly cutting my heart to pieces.

The Longest Promise Drama Review - Xiao Zhan as Shi Ying
The Longest Promise Drama Review – Xiao Zhan as Shi Ying

Shi Ying was the Crown Prince of Jia Lan, Imperial City of Kong Sang. He was a talented and promising youth who understood the weight of his position. Although he enjoyed distinguished identity, he understood that his position was precarious. He and his mother did not have the love of his father and living such a life in the imperial palace was hard. Nevertheless, he still fulfilled his duties as a Crown Prince outstandingly.

No one could fault Shi Ying based on his talent, temperament or character. It was not until he stepped in to help Zhu Yan ,who accidentally provoked the Emperor’s favorite concubine, that Shi Ying inadvertently presented an opportunity for his enemies to trap him.

Overnight, his life was turned upside down. He was enjoying the privileged identity of the Crown Prince one moment, and he had to flee for his life the next. Growing up in a competitive and ruthless environment, Shi Ying did not have many happy memories to cherish.

Following the guidance of his mother, he dutifully fulfilled his new role as the priest of Ji Yu Mountain. He vowed to never marry, never return to claim the throne and never involve himself in mortal entanglement.

Little did he know, Da Si Ming, the Grand Priest who helped him escaped calamity was obsessed in avenging the empress. He pushed and even forced Shi Ying to return to Jia Lan to claim the throne.

Ren Min as Zhu Yan

This drama was my first time seeing Ren Min’s performance. She possesses the type of beauty that I find captivating yet sweet and innocent. It was no wonder that she was chosen for this role.

I have never seen her other drama but I was happy to find that she was able to match Xiao Zhan’s energy in this one. Perhaps it is because she is still so young, but her best performance is yet to be seen. I am looking forward to it.

The Longest Promise Drama Review - Ren Min as Zhu Yan
The Longest Promise Drama Review – Ren Min as Zhu Yan

Zhu Yan was adventurous, a little bit rebellious but her heart was kind and strong. She possessed strong will and determination and she was talented in magic. She grew up surrounded by the love of her family and friends. She was also well protected and doted by her parents. A total opposite from Shi Ying.

However, she carried a heavy burden in her heart from her encounter with Shi Ying when she was only a child. She truly believed that the Crown Prince Shi Ying, whom she admired so much, perished that night because of her. After that, she has spent all of her time looking for a worthy master who could teach her a magic technique that could bring Shi Ying back to life.

Ironically, her faith, admiration and obsession with Shi Ying was the cause of her entanglement to Shi Ying’s unfortunate fate. The night Shi Ying ‘died’, Zhu Yan prayed and casted a tribute for Shi Ying that became a curse in his life. She, who wanted him to live more than anyone, was prophesied to be the cause of his death. This plot is both juicy and frustrating.

Alen Fang as Zhi Yuan

Zhi Yuan’s character was portrayed as this loving, understanding and doting older brother. I believe many viewers were captivated by his tender loving charm. His insistence in loving Yao Yi for the rest of his life made me dismiss the idea that he could be the second male lead.

But as the story progressed, I felt blindsided (˃̣̣̥▽˂̣̣̥).

The Longest Promise Drama Review - Alen Fang as Zhiyuan
The Longest Promise Drama Review – Alen Fang as Zhiyuan

Zhi Yuan’s mysterious background was revealed throughout the story and I will delve into it more in a separate posting discussing the ending (it will be a spoiler for you who have not seen the drama to the end).

Zhi Yuan has been in Zhu Yan’s life since forever. He was her protector, friend, mentor and confidant. His position in Zhu Yan’s heart was irreplaceable. He was closer to her more than her family and dearer to her perhaps more than her best friends. It was only Shi Ying who could top his spot in Zhu Yan’s heart.

You can imagine what a conflict it created when Shi Ying had to confront Zhi Yuan due to his dangerous secret identity.

Wang Chu Ran as Bai Xuelu

The beautiful Wang Chu Ran played Bai Xuelu in this drama, who was a sort of street smart, capable girl who lost her way.

Since the beginning of the series, it was showed that Bai Xuelu was not really a cold hearted girl after all. Her heart moved when her sister Xueying risked her life to save her from falling off a cliff.

The Longest Promise Drama Review - Wang Chu Ran as Bai Xuelu
The Longest Promise Drama Review – Wang Chu Ran as Bai Xuelu

Unfortunately, the harsh reality of life and the unfair treatment she received from her own father turned her heart cold and steeled her determination to do whatever it takes to win. Adding to that was the fact that some people harboring evil intention was also taking advantage of her, such as Consort Qing.

It was nice to see her character development, especially the turning point where she just could not bring herself to hurt the people she cared about anymore, and eventually she turned her life around. She lived an honest life where she felt carefree and surrounded by love.

Wang Zi Qi as Qing Gang

Qing Gang was this heroic and promising young talent who unfortunately belonged to the evil Azure clan whose hidden agenda did more harm than good. Despite his undeniable charm, if I have to be honest, I found his character perplexing haha. Specifically, his love and faith in Bai Xuelu.

The Longest Promise Drama Review - Wang Zi Qi as Qing Gang
The Longest Promise Drama Review – Wang Zi Qi as Qing Gang

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Qing Gang was fooled and used by Bai Xuelu multiple times (>▽<). Yet, his feelings remained steadfast for her. But it was because of his undying affection, Bai Xuelu was able to find her way back into the light. So, I guess love wins by the end of the day.

I find this very unrealistic that I was not as joyous as other viewers I guess. But looking at it from another angle, it could be that Qing Gang’s love was like a heavy filter. He was able to recognize the kind hearted Bai Xuelu underneath all her schemes.

Final Comments

The Longest Promise promised the viewers an epic and touching love story, and it delivers. There were many heart breaking scenes that were so tragic, it will stay in mind rent free for the next several weeks, without me wanting to haha. The twists and turns of the plots were also engaging that would glue viewers to the edge of our seats.

But as things stand, the lack of chemistry between the main leads, and the less than satisfying ending, may stop me from re watching this in the future, despite the brilliant performances by the actors and actresses.

The Dewi
The Dewi
"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word I'm saying"

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"The Longest Promise promised the viewers an epic and touching love story, and it delivers. "The Longest Promise Drama Review
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