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The Long Ballad chinese drama review
The Long Ballad
219 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
by WandereR
Mai 4, 2021
49 of 49 episódios vistos
Completados 27
No geral 9.5
História 9.5
Atuação/Elenco 9.0
Musical 10.0
Voltar a ver 9.0

The Ballad of Li Chang Ge

The drama tells the story of Li Chang Ge (Chang Ge is transliterated as “Long Song”, hence the title of this drama), a princess of the great Tang who after inadvertently getting embroiled in the vicious court politics of the royal family, ends up on a journey of self discovery during her self-imposed exile. Along the way, she discovers the true meaning of friendship, love, justice and sacrifice for the greater good.

When I first heard about this production and read the synopsis some time early last year, and based on the cast involved, I fully expected it to be a romance-driven “light” historical featuring popular young idols. I then came across the trailer towards the end of 2020, which totally changed my perception - the drama looked every bit the dramatic and potentially epic production it was rumoured and publicized to be, while the outstanding OST songs by powerhouse performers sensationalized it even further. Since then my expectations were exponentially raised and I had been patiently waiting for it to air. Having completed it months later, I’m happy to declare - my expectations are utterly fulfilled!


The Long Ballad is adapted from the China Animation Golden Monkey Award and Golden Dragon Award-winning manhua Chang Ke Xing by renowned writer Xia Da. It is directed by prolific HK director Chu Yui Bun who has notably helmed dramas such as Singing All Along, Noble Aspirations I and II, Ashes of Love and Skate into Love. Due to legal proceedings over intellectual property issues between the writer and the publishing company, this historical fantasy manhua remains incomplete, thus paving the way for the award-winning screenwriter Chang Jiang to develop the screenplay and, in particular, the ending to the story. She has a formidable portfolio of works comprising The Advisors Alliance, Growling Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Secret of Three Kingdoms and Novoland: Eagle Flag. As a result, what we get is a very well produced and executed historical drama.

Technical Aspects

The drama features extraordinarily innovative visual presentations. In particular, the transitioning of ALL battle scenes from live action to manhua and donghua formats. Although not everyone is pleased with this and would prefer to see real action, I actually found it to be quite refreshing and artistically delivered. Additionally the usage of “monochrome against colour” juxtaposition to re-create memory flashbacks in certain scenes is creatively rendered.

Cinematography for the most part is quite exceptional, where overhead photography of the cityscape of Chang’an is featured, and some immersive camerawork for certain scenes particularly at Liuyun Abbey, and the cherry blossom valley in the grasslands. The indoor cinematography and the effective use of lighting ensures that the scenes depicted are never dim or dull. The use of soft filters and vibrant colour palettes provides a generally pleasant and vivid viewing experience.

The CGI effects are sparingly applied, although principal photography took place in Hengdian. While certain blips are exposed, on the whole it has been adequately presented. The horse-jumping at the bridge scene isn’t the most realistic, for instance.

Because this drama isn’t a full fledged wuxia, the fight choreography depicted is more grounded and practical. That said, there are demonstrations of “martial prowess” by the likes of the Taoist priestess Madame Jing Dan and the roving swordsman Situ Lang Lang in one of the more breathtaking moments of action. On the other hand, I can’t really comment on the action scenes on the battlefields, since they were not depicted as live-action. But generally there’s more than enough fight scenes to make up for the lack of massive sieges and battles.

Story and Characters

Despite being historical fiction, certain events and characters depicted are based on actual historical records of 7th century Tang Dynasty. The Xuanwu Gate incident, Emperor Taizong, the war between Tang and the Ashina clan of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate, among other depictions. The elements of both fiction and reality are seamlessly interwoven and thrillingly executed over the course of the entire 49 episodes. The drama has a very lively start and the pacing of the storytelling has largely been brisk and engaging. Multiple locations are showcased which sustains the momentum of the plot and provides viewers with a variety of scenery to savour. From the Tang Dynasty’s imperial city of Chang’an to the frontier city of Shouzhuo, the preceding Sui Dynasty’s ancient capital of Luoyang, the grasslands of Mongolia and the Northern Desert of Mobei.

There’s no question that the quality of the storyline is very good, which is attributed to the excellence of the source material and screenplay. However, as much as this drama is plot driven, it is also made that much more compelling by the depth of its central as well as supporting characters. I quite like the way most of the characters have been written. Apart from having sufficient character development, in particular Li Chang Ge, Li Le Yan and Hao Du, the interactions and chemistry between everyone in general are realistically and convincingly portrayed. This applies across the board to all the political factions as well as those without affiliations. I also think that the portrayal of women in this drama is deserving of praise. The major female characters are multidimensional and each of their respective story arcs is very satisfyingly fleshed out.

Cast and Acting

This is the fourth time I’ve watched Dilraba Dilmurat, having seen her in Swords of Legends, Liu Shan Men and The Flame’s Daughter. She delivers a commanding performance here and I think she has improved markedly since the last time I’ve seen her. Her portrayal of the FL made me even more invested in her character and thus her journey of redemption. The same feeling applies to Zhao Lu Si, whom I last saw in Dating in the Kitchen. This young lady is very versatile indeed and it is especially gratifying to see her infuse the character of Li Le Yan with so much believability and relatability.

As far as Wu Lei is concerned, many people seem to still view him as that baby-faced teenage bodyguard in Nirvana in Fire who has never really grown up to adulthood. Since NiF, I’ve seen his gradual development in productions such as The Imperial Doctress, and Fights Break Sphere. He has indeed matured into a fine young man with well defined chiselled features and his casting for the role of Ashile Sun is on point, where he gives a fine overall performance. My second time seeing Liu Yu Ning since Ultimate Note, he seems to excel in very similar roles - the stone-faced and distant sort of characters. However, his portrayal as the misunderstood and rather pitiful Hao Du is nothing short of commendable. It took a while but I eventually warmed up to his characterization. I saw a bit of Alen Fang in Jiu Liu Overlord (which I didn’t complete) previously and I think appearance-wise he does suit the character of Wei Shu Yu the way it was meant to be portrayed.

It’s worth mentioning the notable performances of the supporting cast in the form of veterans Geng Le, Cheng Tai Shen, Lu Xing Yu, and Yang Ming Na in the roles of Li Shi Min (Emperor Taizong), Advisor Du Ru Hui, Governor Gongsun Heng and Princess Yi Cheng respectively. Special guest stars who deserve acknowledgment are Sa Ding Ding, (the renowned singer who also contributes a track for the OST), Liu Hai Kuan (of The Untamed fame) and Richards Wang (In a Class of Her Own), for their memorable appearances as Taoist Priestess Madame Jing Dan, swordsman Situ Lang Lang, and King of Mobei Yaoluoge Pusa respectively.


As usual, my habit of compiling the track listing for posterity. This drama has some of the most unforgettable songs ever composed and performed for a historical production. Featuring powerhouse singers Zhou Shen, Sa Ding Ding, Zhang Bichen and Jin Wen Qi. In addition, the lovely second couple contributes a song each.

Cocoon 繭 by Zhou Shen 周深
The Direction of Light 光的方向 by Zhang Bichen 张碧晨
If Return 如若归来 by Sa Dingding 萨顶顶
Falling Sand 落砂 by Jin Wen Qi 金玟岐
I Wish You Were My Long Lasting 多麼願你是我恆久的歌 by Zhao Lu Si 趙露思
A Love Like Before 一愛如故 by Liu Yu Ning 刘宇宁


Well made, well executed, well acted. The Long Ballad is a drama well done. If you’re a C-historical fan, do yourself a favour and get this on your watchlist asap. If you’re not a regular watcher of this genre but are intrigued by the premise, this drama would represent the perfect starting point in watching your first historical C-drama. As an added bonus, don’t worry about the curse of the C-historical for this one. Rest assured, you may enjoy it with a peace of mind.
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