Nirvana In Fire II Episodes 1-25 Thoughts 琅琊榜之风起长林

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As a huge fan of the 2015 Chinese hit “Nirvana in Fire”, truthfully I expected that Nirvana 2 would suck, but by-golly, I would have to admit that it’s untrue. NO NO, NIRVANA 2 IS GOOD! Solid pacing, solid acting, and solid plot. As a casual viewer, I definitely recommend this series if you were on the ‘eh’ border. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen season 1, Nirvana 2 is a completely new cast + storyline!

Before we dive into the 1st half review (there’s a total of 50 episodes), quickie facts:

  • Watch here on Viki, with English subs. 
  • Nirvana in Fire II is called “Lang Ya Bang: Wind Blows In Changlin” or 琅琊榜之风起长林.
  • It is a 2017 Chinese television series sequel based on Hai Yan’s popular novel
  • The series is directed, scripted and produced by the same team behind Nirvana in Fire, but stars an entirely new cast. It tells the stories that take place after the events of the original series, which revolves around the Langya Hall.
  • Huang Xiao Ming 黃曉明 and Liu Hao Ran 刘昊然 stars as the main protagonists.

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319490-5a53857f83f5eHere is a quick progression of my thoughts throughout the first half:

Even though I can understand Chinese perfectly well, for the first four episodes, even I was like “HUH?”. Then the series picks up, and I scramble to find the missing key pieces in the earlier setup episodes.

Episodes 1-5:
  • Huh, okay. Ping Zhang is already dying in the first episode? Uh oh. Oh no wait wait, he heals. Thank god. The actor who plays Ping Jing the younger brother, he seems kind of idol-like, maybe his acting will be limited too. (I would later find out, he’s quite the solid actor)
  • Why do the old male officials in the court look the same, I can’t tell them apart?!
  • Pu YangYing (ghost makeup guy, super powerful in court), let’s name him PYY for shot. He’s clearly the main antagonist. He gives me the creeps.
Episodes 6-10:
  • Wow, there’s quite a lot of people bowing to each other throughout…and I love it! (Did you know? If you add up all the 5secs of bowing in the series, you could make your own mini drama HA) This goes to show, even for a completely fictional series set in ancient times, Nirvana 2 does not forget to pay homage to ancient Chinese customs. Note: Series was loosely based on the Northern and Southern dynasties.
  • GAH I love the Imperial Guard Commander (Xun Feizhan). He’s such a righteous kind character, and very dependable to Ping Zhang and Ping Jing. Plus, the man looks like Hu Ge from certain angles. Yeee!
Episodes 11-15:
  • The more I watch, the more I see the “Changlin” brothers Ping Zhang and Ping Jing as intelligent, fiercely loyal, and kind characters
  • Fight scenes (wuxia sword fighting) are well-executed, does not come across cheesy or overdone
  • Politics and power struggles clearly take center stage, very similar to Nirvana 1.
Episodes 16-20:
  • Can Pu Yangying die already? Why is his plans not fooled yet?
  • The moment the Grand Secretary Xun joined forces with the “Changlin” aka Ping Zhang’s side…. I felt quite moved as the viewer. I don’t know if this action will change my perception of Xun, who initially was portrayed as a clear antagonist.
Episodes 21-25:
  • The series finally reveal Pu Yangying’s biggest reason for being our antagonist character. It’s so chilling to realize he has such a brainwashed number of followers, who he’s strategically hidden “in plain sight” all over the palace and even alongside our protagonists.
  • The end of the first half was a huge surprise, coming from Xiao Yuanqi (you know, the Little Marquis who was Ping Jing’s good friend)…. he literally backstabs. I’d argue.. that’s scarier and more unpredictable than Pu Yangying.
  • My heart is so worried for Ping Zhang. I really don’t want the guy to die.

Bottomline:

  • The series be like, “oh, I am fully aware that I’m a quality production”: Each slow scene seems to have its purpose. Therefore, I’d argue that it’s indeed a slow drama, but not a boring drama!
  • Whereas most dramas seem to focus excessively on love, Nirvana 2 is like the opposite, where the viewer is impressed by even a glance or a backhug because those things are rare.
  • I’m super impressed by Huang Xiao Ming’s acting.

 

Can’t wait to write the review for the second half!

What are your thoughts on the series, most importantly, what was your favorite scene

(please only comment about the first half of the series) 

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About Bumbleberri

Founder and editor of Asian Entertainment Blog, UnderratedGems. What I do in my free time: trying to get more sleep and satisfying my TV addiction. Currently in the process of a grueling job hunt.

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