Our Review: An Ancient Love Song Chinese Drama 2023

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review

An Ancient Love Song also known as Ancient Acacia is a Chinese costume/historical drama aired in June this year on Mango TV and Chongqing TV. It gained a lot of praise from Chinese netizens due to its unpredictable plot, time-loop theme, and unique storyline. 

It is well-received in mainland China! With a rating of 8.6 in Douban, making this drama the highest-rated Chinese costume drama so far this year in Douban. 

An Ancient Love Song drama review

It is top-billed by Zhang Yaqin and Guo Jianan. Despite its low budget and lacked of extensive promotions (we didn't even see them promoting on China's variety shows and Livestream on Weibo), still it managed to capture drama viewer's interest. 

Plot Summary:

Shen Buyan (played by Guo Jianan) is a famous 21st-century historical fiction writer whose latest book, "The Southern Sheng Chronicles", tackles the story of an ancient historical figure, Lu Yuan (Zhang Yaqin), known in history as the demon queen during the Great Sheng Dynasty.

Shen Buyan, who is also a professor, is very well acquainted with the story of this demon queen. Based on historical books, she is cruel and ruthless and kills people who will get in her way. 

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review
Quan Yilun as Lu Shi 

One night, he dreamed of being transported to the Sheng era and saw Lu Yuan playing the harp (opening episode). To his surprise, the demon queen could see him. Suddenly, she stepped onto the tower and fell to her death. Shen Buyan could see her jade pendant break into pieces.

One day, his editor-in-chief organized a book press conference near a lake known in ancient times as Nanmeng Lake where an ancient acacia still stood imposing.

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review

After the conference was done, Shen Buyan looked around and saw an old lady selling a white jade pendant. To his surprise, the broken jade pendant was similar to the one he saw in his dream owned by Lu Yuan. He brought the broken jade pendant but the old lady warned him that the broken pieces will disturb his mind.

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review

After he brought home the jade pendant, Shen Buyan became restless and disturbed. Then to his surprise, was transported to the Sheng period and met Lu Yuan who told him that she had been waiting for his return. 

Shock, Shen Buyan found himself being chased by the palace guards until he was brought to safety by Lu Yuan. 

An Ancient Love Song review

Then the Yuanqi incident happened where the prime minister, Li Yong (Zhuang Han) betrayed the queen and deflected to their enemies. Li Yong aimed to shoot Shen Buyan with an arrow, but Lu Yuan quickly covered him, and was the one who was shot. 

Shen Buyan held Lu Yuan's body as she was dying. Then he woke up and was brought back to the current time. Shen Buyan was surprised to discover that Lu Yuan was the exact opposite of what history books described her.

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review

Based on what he knew during his time travel, she was kind and affectionate, far from the demon queen that history books said about her. He knew right then that something was wrong and wanted to change the ending of his book.

When he was transported back to the Sheng era, Shen Buyan was surprised to know that Lu Yuan did not know him at all. And the period happened 10 years before his first-time travel. It appears that each time he went back to the Sheng era, he would meet Lu Yuan in a different timeline. 

An Ancient Love Song drama review

He would later find out that the people he met during his time travel were far too different from what historical books had described them.

Our Review:

An Ancient Love Song offers a unique style of storytelling, a different flavor of time travel in a costume/historical genre. The plot is a major break from the usual costume drama we have watched lately. 

It is a haunting love story across time and space where two lovers try to change fate to be together but in the end, are resigned to the fact that life can never be altered by humans. 

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review

It's giving us a lesson that life will happen the way it is and there's no way we can change the course of our destiny. What we only have is the beautiful chance of meeting that one special person.

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review
Zhang Yaqin as Lu Yan

What we love about this drama is its gripping storytelling. It's so unpredictable and compelling. Each episode brings excitement of a new scenario, a new arc. 

An Ancient Love Song Chinese drama review

We have been watching costume dramas for ages and the time-loop trope is nothing knew but this drama creates a whole new level of excitement about this genre. It's so unique and surprising. There's no way you can predict what happens next, which made the drama viewing experience more exciting.

Shen Buyan met Lu Yuan in a reverse timeline, so it will compel our brain to analyze the scene harder and to delve deeper into the logic of the story. 

But what made this series so amazing is that each episode is logically woven into a different time period of Lu Yuan's life giving us a clear picture of why Shen Buyan needs to meet Lu Yuan in a reverse timeline. 

The logic behind this is in order to find answers to his questions about the demon queen and how he would alter Lu Yuan's destiny to avoid death (in episode 1 he thought she died during the Yuanqi incident when she saved him from the arrow), and see the whole story what's her life in the past before becoming queen, how she would meet Li Yong, how she would enter the royal court, and how things began to unfold in the Great Sheng era and the succeeding events.

This unique style of storytelling, the way the plot progressed, and the development of the characters, are what make An Ancient Love Song so spellbinding and gripping. One of the best costume dramas in recent years indeed.

An Ancient Love Song drama review

It's a low-budget series, devoid of any ground-breaking aesthetics and CGI, the main leads are not that popular, but you would be amazed at how it is beautifully written, and how the story arc is carefully build to make each scene intense and mysterious. 

Zhang Yaqin as Lu Yuan is so effective in her role. She has great martial arts moves and her fight scenes were carefully choreographed so it was entertaining to watch. 

Guo Jian Nan suits her role as Shen Buyan, he knew how to capture the attention of the viewers to root for his character as he transported back and forth to ancient times and then back to the 21st century. 

This drama is worthy of anyone's time. Such a unique story of time-loop and switching eras without missing the point. It's also worthy to re-watch. Since it is only 14 episodes you will never get tired of repeating the episodes in a short period of time. 

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