CDRAMA REVIEW: NOBLE ASPIRATIONS S1 (2016)

I FINALLY FINISHED SEASON 1!! I started my journey with Noble Aspirations way back in 2020. I put it on hold in late 2020. I picked it back up in 2021 DETERMINED to finish it as well as season 2. I DID IT!! I FINISHED BOTH SEASONS!! Here is my review for Noble Aspirations S1.

*Now as per usual with any review I write, I will not be including any spoilers in this review.*


A QUICK SYNOPSIS OF NOBLE ASPIRATIONS S1 - Zhang Xiao Fan's entire village is killed one night except for his childhood friend Lin Jing Yu and a villager Uncle Wang. Zhang Xiao Fan and Lin Jing Yu are adopted by the righteous sects and raised by them. Xiao Fan finds a difficult time training and gaining skills. As an adult, Xiao Fan acquires a forbidden weapon. Season 1 is all about Xiao Fan traveling with his peers, meeting different people, growing up and maturing. All while discovering some terrible secrets about his past and about those around him.


Overall, I thought this drama was quite entertaining. If you are a fan of Xianxia dramas, GIVE THIS ONE A CHANCE! It definitely was not a perfect drama BUT WHAT DRAMA IS?! You got likeable characters, characters you HATE, adventure, magic, chemistry between characters AND MORE! After watching both seasons, I can DEFINITELY understand why this drama was SO POPULAR when it was airing.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS DRAMA

-THE GROUP OF MAIN CHARACTERS

I am a sucker for dramas where you have a main lead who goes on an adventure or travels around with a group of friends. All the while growing up and finding themselves. Nobel Aspirations is just that. I liked the group of peers that was in this drama as well as the characters who filtered in and out of the core group as they traveled around. The dynamic of all of them kept the drama interesting and I became invested in how they all turned out in the end. As per usual with a lot of these types of stories, I loved how the entire group rallied behind Xiao Fan and brought their own strengths to the group.


-CHEMISTRY BETWEEN COUPLES

Since there was a group of characters that traveled around, you naturally had some couples develop. In the case of Nobel Aspirations, not as many developed as I originally thought there would be but some couples were insinuated but never shown on screen. I think this speaks to the chemistry between these actors. The main couple of Bi Yao and Xiao Fan was fun to watch because they had a cute chemistry. They had quite a playful chemistry. The pairing I would have LOVED to see happen was between Jing Yu and Ping Er. They seemed to be drawn to each other and WOULD HAVE MADE A BEAUTIFUL COUPLE if they ever happened. Even though this couple never happened, their chemistry together when they were on screen was effortless and electrifying. Again, I think this speaks to how good the chemistry was between the actors who portrayed these characters.


-THE MESSAGE

I loved the message that the drama had threaded throughout the story in both Seasons 1 and Season 2. Does a label define you? I liked that a common theme was just because you label someone or something good or evil, doesn't define them as that. Someone who is labeled as good could be THE EVILEST PERSON the audience encountered in this drama and someone labeled evil was more than just that label and actually wasn't as evil as people perceived the label to be. It explored how assumptions with labels affected people and their lives.


-THE ACTING

The cast of this drama had MANY TALENTED actors and actresses. This drama was very popular so it made the audience notice a lot of the cast. A lot of these actors and actresses are top actors/actresses in China these days. I mean COME ON - this drama has Yang Zi, Cheng Yi, Zhao Li Ying and more in the cast! So, it was fun watching this drama, knowing where they are now. Even in this drama, you can see how skilled they are. The acting was GREAT! The acting definitely made the audience attached to some characters and wanted to see them happy in the end but also the acting created character WE LOVED TO HATE too. I have to shout out Li Yi Feng in this role because I think HE DID A FANTASTIC JOB! He is also one of my favorites so I am bias with that statement of course.


-ADVENTURE

You got fighting, sword fighting and magic. You got demons and monsters. You got puzzles and discoveries. As I said above, I am a sucker for when the main character and friends go on an adventure of self-discovery. Noble Aspirations does a SPECTACULAR job with this. I like the idea that the audience learns about this world as the main characters are learning and encountering people and things in the same world. The adventure and discoveries in this drama keep you invested as the audience because you want to see what they do next, who they encounter next.


-MAGIC/CGI

For a drama that is about 5 years old, I thought a lot of the CGI held up pretty well. It definitely wasn't AMAZING! Compared to dramas now, the CGI can't be compared because there are a lot of dramas that have BEAUTIFUL CGI nowadays. Honestly though, I have seen some HORRIBLE CGI in newer dramas than Noble Aspirations so it wasn't that bad. I can't imagine watching this drama back in 2016 because THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZING TO WATCH BACK THEN! I liked that everyone who had a magical item or power had sort of their own unique CGI/magic element. It definitely showed well and stood out in fight scenes.


-OSTS

When you watch 55 episodes of one drama, YOU KNOW THOSE OSTS ARE GETTING STUCK IN YOUR HEAD! I am OBSESSED with the OSTs of this drama. I don't think that will change since I am now done with this drama.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

-PACING

I think the pacing of this drama and the number of episodes go hand in hand with what I am about to say about them. Even though the main characters of this drama were traveling around and meeting new people, THE PACING OF THIS DRAMA WAS SO OFF! The characters stayed in one place and on one problem or mystery FOR WAY TOO LONG! Maybe it was because they were trying to stretch the story to fit the number of episodes? Parts of this story just seemed to drag on and on and other parts seemed to be over WAY TO FAST!


-NUMBER OF EPISODES

Just like the pacing of this drama, THERE WERE WAY TOO MANY EPISODES IN SEASON 1 OF NOBLE ASPIRATIONS! You could have eliminated at least 10 if not more episodes and still have a FANTASTIC drama and story. The number of episodes may have made the pacing of the drama weird because the writer tried to match the story to the number of episodes. This drama did not need to be 55 episodes long.


-THE ENDING

THE ENDING WAS SO ABRUPT!! I was not surprised this drama has a Season 2 because MAN IT WAS A WEIRD ENDING! The writer left a lot of the juicy parts that the audience wanted to see happen or play out for season 2. It would have KILLED ME waiting for season 2 if I watched this drama when it aired. There were some conclusions with some characters but other characters' storylines abruptly just ended with no resolution. The ending was just weird all around.


Rating: 8.0/10 (Streaming on YOUTUBE now)

If you are curious about my reaction to the drama IN REAL TIME - here is my tweets/watch thread for the drama

Have you seen Noble Aspirations S1?

What did you think of the drama?

Is it on your list to watch?

Will you watch this drama now after reading my review?


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