- Title: Wulin Heroes
- Also Known As: 武林有侠气 Wu Lin You Xia Qi, Wulin Has Pride
- Director: Zhu Dong Ning
- Casts: Li Hong Yi, Huang Ri Ying, Zhu Zhanjin, Qi Pei Xin
- Screenwriter: Xie Nan Xue
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Wuxia
- Country: China
- Episodes: 22
- Year: 2023
- Original Network: Youku
- Where to Watch: Youku, Viki
- Rating: 8.3/10
Wulin Heroes Synopsis
Wulin Heroes was a romance Chinese drama, with total of 22 episodes released in 2023. Ye Xi is a Ginseng fairy who finally transforms into human. Having a kind and righteous character, she aspires to be a model, honorable, virtuous heroine who concours the martial arts world with extraordinary abilities. Unfortunately, her naivete, innocence and sometimes gullible nature work against her reaching towards this lofty ideals and aspirations.
Ye Xi has an upstanding manner and a trusting, tender heart. She is not aware that the human nature can be so cruel, double crossing and selfish. As a result, she is often manipulated, exploited, mistreated, betrayed and abused.
Bai Yue is a talented and well respected doctor. He is dedicated to his work and passionate in finding the cure to all kinds of ailments and sickness in the world. To achieve his goals, he does not hesitate to sacrifice his own health. Although he seems cold and detached from the outside, not to mention his poor human relations skills, he has a warm heart and is willing to fight for justice.
Bai Yue pities Ye Xi. He is willing to help her in her quest towards her overly idealistic dreams. Along the way, he also teaches her how to maneuver the complexity of the human heart and their dark desires. He teaches her how to properly judge someone’s character and their true intent. Will Ye Xi accomplish her goals? Will she realize Bai Yue’s love for her?
Wulin Heroes Review
This drama is set up to be a light hearted, easy to watch drama. The story revolves around the romance between the main characters Bai Yue and Ye Xi. Laced with a proper doze of comedy, this drama should be fun, entertaining and give the viewers warm wholesome feelings. Yet, I came out feeling frustrated over the complicated and heart breaking ups and downs of Bai Yue and Ye Xi’s story.
If you have seen Love and Redemption, you would understand why I feel frustrated with Wulin Heroes. In Love and Redemption, the male lead had to go through the heartache of being rejected over and over throughout multiple lifetimes. But at least after one life time ended, another began and everyone could start from zero with no memory of the previous unsuccessful pursuit.
But in Wulin Heroes, Bai Yue remembered it all. He had to personally witness how even after everything was ‘reset’, the girl he loved disappointed him again and again. I sympathize with Bai Yue but also can’t help but understand Ye Xi’s thought process and situations that drove her to make such choices. Hence, I arrive with the conclusion that fate is the choice that you make.
The love story in Wulin Heroes was actually intense and quite epic. Personally, I feel it deserves to be portrayed in a more in depth manner and also to perhaps give it a more solemn style of story telling. Needless to say, the cutesy and girlish opening theme song seemed out of place for me. But this is probably just personal preference.
The sentiment felt in one of the theme songs sung by Li Hong Yi actually fits the drama better in my opinion.
How can I hear the sound of my heart beat on your body
This life is like a floating dream
Love quietly simmers
Fate intertwined like tree roots
I will wait for you in this life
However, other than the underlying issue mentioned earlier, the scenes were enjoyable and the sets believable. But it has to be said that I would prefer if the grandeur of Feng Hua valley’s secret chamber would be accentuated more. It is said to contain the riches and opulence accumulated over generations, so it is only right if it is portrayed more outrageously.
The Casts and Characters
Li Hong Yi as Bai Yue
After seeing Li Hong Yi’s performance in The Blood of Youth, I am truly smitten by him and in awe of his capability. He was so charismatic as Xiao Se, I want to see his next portrayal of the character Bai Yue in this drama. As a result, I cannot tell anymore whether this is because my opinion is now biased haha, but I can understand the approach he is trying to take with Bai Yue.
Bai Yue was smart, and he knew his worth. He was talented, young and ambitious. He seemed to be irked by many things in the world, namely: people. Yet, he was willing to sacrifice himself physically and mentally in order to find the cure for his patients. He acted as if this was for the sake of his reputation. But his further care for his patients showed that he truly cared for their well being.
This shows the man was tender hearted. Yet, when he opened his mouth, he often sounded like he was never around people (ᗒ ᗨᗕ). Bai Yue always meant well, but he has the sharpest tongue of any characters I have ever seen.
Bai Yue had a devastatingly beautiful look, something that attracted Ye Xi since the first moment she laid her eyes on him. Unfortunately, his snappy words and too straight forward actions annoyed her to no end. Someone like Ye Xi who took everything at face value, could not look past Bai Yue’s rude comments and see that he was actually very thoughtful towards her. This makes the dynamic between the couple Bai Yue and Ye Xi enjoyable to watch. I think they are one of the most hilarious couples I have ever seen in dramas.
I thoroughly enjoyed Li Hong Yi’s portrayal as Bai Yue. Although Bai Yue shares the same characteristics as Xiao Se: talented, handsome, with a sharp mouth. But there was no traces of Xiao Se in Bai Yue. Xiao Se was charismatic, regal and dependable, someone who people would gravitate towards. But Bai Yue was more like an unsociable reclusive hermit.
Throughout the series the viewers could see his slight change in demeanor to appease Ye Xi, and the light in his eyes every time he sees her. But it was still very enjoyable to see the general annoyance on his face that stayed true to his taciturn character.
Huang Ri Ying as Ye Xi
Ye Xi was a ginseng fairy who had cultivated for thousand years before she transformed into human. She was highly principled and morally upright. Her deepest flaw was her trusting nature to anyone who seemingly treated her with just a little bit of kindness or sweetness. She was strong and had undefeated fighting skill. This was a temptation to many people.
People vied her skillful martial arts ability and would not hesitate to manipulate her to get to their goals. Naïve Ye Xi sometimes was unable to see that she was being used. She paid for her mistakes with her life. However, in reality she never truly died. She just went into deep hibernation to heal herself. She would re awake some years later with a healthy body but regrettably all the memories before she slept will be lost.
This was my first time seeing Huang Ri Ying’s performance. Her portrayal of Ye Xi gives the viewers an out of this world feeling of someone who was not human and was not all too familiar with the human nature. Either that, or someone who has lived her entire life alone, away from civilization, which was also a peculiar situation.
The effect of this was: even though I was frustrated with how ‘thick skull’ Ye Xi was, I would always forgive her because she did not know any better. I would even give her brownie points for trying. It was not her fault for being so vulnerable and compassionate towards others. The fact that she was so cute and sweet also helped.
To the honest Ye Xi, the disagreeable Bai Yue was unbearable. As a ginseng fairy, she has spent all of her life alone and lonely in the mountains. She wanted company, someone who would be willing to go through thick and thin together with her, who would be willing to spend time with her, coax her and say sweet nothings to pass by the mundane days. All the basic things that girls want.
But to Bai Yue, other than rolling his eyes, he found this simple yet troublesome detail taxing. Of course, in the end Bai Yue was someone who would do anything for the one he loved. He ended up doing many many sweet things to make Ye Xi happy. And I replay these scenes over and over (๑˃́ꇴ˂̀).
Zhu Zanjin as Cang Qi
Cang Qi was the country’s Regent who grew up being mistreated and abused by the royal family. He was at the end of his rope when he first met Ye Xi. He felt hopeless and thoroughly demoralized that he wanted to end his own life to end his misery.
He was born with a striking face and this even caused the people who disliked him to loathe him even more. He was hanging on a tree when Ye Xi saved him just in time. She spent a good deal amount of time later on to prevent him from another attempt to end his life. She helped him to build his self confidence and reassure him that there will always be hope. Ye Xi was the first person in his life that showed him care and friendship.
Later, Cang Qi became obsessed with Ye Xi and determined to marry her.
The second person who showed him warmth and care was actually Bai Yue. Bai Yue saved Cang Qi’s life multiple times. And although Bai Yue had a poisonous tongue, he showed genuine friendship and was attentive towards Cang Qi.
Cang Qi was supposed to be Bai Yue’s rival in love. But he cared for Bai Yue almost as much as he cared for Ye Xi. Basically, he needed companionship and family love, which he lacked throughout his life. So, no matter how much he wanted to deny it, he welcomed Bai Yue into his heart and rejoiced at Bai Yue’s slightest care for him as well. The contradiction he helplessly showed to Bai Yue sometimes was the funniest moments in the drama.
Although Bai Yue would reprimand him and scowl at his actions from time to time, but he cared for Cang Qi’s well being and overall happiness. It was quite wholesome to see the dynamics in those two’s relationship, no doubt hilarious too.
You can see more of their bromance in the ‘New Tales of Wulin Heroes’ which was released not too long ago as extra details into their story. It contains snippets of their lives which lasted around 3 minutes long and up to 24 episodes.
I have seen Zhu Zanjin’s performance in The Untamed as Jin Guang Yao. It was so haunting that I still remember it from time to time. He was brilliant in it. As Cang Qi, he also showcased his impressive ability to portray this pitiful character. I enjoyed his performance and admired his beautiful face whenever he comes on screen. Needless to say, my favorite part was his bromance with Bai Yue.
The Story (Spoilers)
Ginseng fairy Ye Xi has just transformed into human. She has spent her life alone, cultivating in the lonely Changliu Mountain. One day, she came across young Bai Yue, who was doing his routine chores looking for herbs. Bai Yue was a talented young doctor who was training in the nearby Feng Hua valley.
Attracted by Bai Yue’s mesmerizing looks and intrigued by his knowledge in medicine, Ye Xi decided to secretly follow Bai Yue to Feng Hua valley. From then on, she spent her days spying on Bai Yue’s everyday activities. From studying and brewing medicine, to practicing martial arts. This was Ye Xi’s first taste into learning and later on mastering the skills on how to fight.
One day, Ye Xi stumbled upon a secret chamber in Feng Hua valley, which was actually a mausoleum. Her curiosity led her to explore the chamber to investigate. However, in the middle of her exploration, she accidentally triggered a secret mechanism that almost took her life. Fortunately, Bai Yue came in time and saved her. But he was badly hurt in the process.
Ye Xi felt immense gratitude towards Bai Yue so she saved his life in return by giving him a piece of herself, which was a ginseng root. With the root now embedded inside Bai Yue, his body healed and he was able to live.
Bai Yue’s injury was very severe. Even with the ginseng root inside him, he still needed time to recuperate. He spent his days in bed and that was when he began to know the existence of Ye Xi. Ye Xi revealed herself but she kept her real identity a secret.
Being young and full of ideals, Ye Xi wanted to explore the pugilistic world. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a legendary heroine.
As she has always been alone and lonely all her life, she also desired to find a life partner, someone to share life’s happiness and woes together. It would be better if she can find love in the process too. As a result, she did not only find one candidate, but she managed to find several prominent figures in the martial arts world who wanted to offer her happiness through marriage.
Unfortunately, Ye Xi’s strong power yet innocent demeanor attracted those who had evil intentions towards her. She did not have any experience or knowledge on how to tell them apart. So she fell into their schemes and was badly mistreated every single time. Nevertheless, she did not give up in trying to find love.
Bai Yue who witnessed her every failed relationship from the side lines was driven to frustration. Bai Yue loved Ye Xi but he also realized that he may not be the right person for her. He was afflicted with the Feng Hua valley curse that prohibited him from falling in love. In addition to that, his cold demeanor also drove Ye Xi away. Still, he wanted to help Ye Xi, to teach her how to tell bad people apart, and to help her find true love.
The beginning of the story really felt like Bai Yue and Ye Xi was fated to be together. But in the end, it was truly the choices that they make which shaped their fate. Thank goodness they were able to figure out the way towards each other so that we can enjoy a happy ending.
To be honest, I was frustrated with Ye Xi on how clueless she was, but then again this was her first time living as a human and navigating the human hearts. It was not her fault that people can be so evil and manipulative.
However, I like the fact that Ye Xi can be honest with Bai Yue and told him that she likes a man who can sweet talk and act romantically to her. She also did not hesitate to throw in her own sweet talk to Bai Yue, subtly changing him to match what was inside his heart to his outside attitude.
Overall, Wulin Heroes was entertaining to watch, although some parts felt lacking as mentioned above, which could also just be my personal preferences. But the beautiful faces of the actors and actresses and their strong performances certainly make up for it.