The Mischievous Princess

Reviewed by: Adel

December 23, 2005

Rating: four-point-five

Chinese Title: Diao Man Gong Zhu

Alec Su as Zhu Yun / Yin Kuang
Jang Na Ra as Si Tu Jing / Xiao Long Xia
Lu Hang as Bai Yun Fei / Bai Yu
Bao Lei as An Ning
Florence Tan as Wen Mei Er

Zhu Yun is the newly crowned Emperor. He is young, intelligent and witty. He is highly skilled in martial arts. He is tired of being "locked up" in the palace and he looks forward to life outside the palace.

Si Tu Jing is the younger daughter of the General who is the right- hand man of the Emperor. She is beautiful, intelligent and playful. She has been taught martial arts since youth by a master. She always disguises herself as a man and wanders around town. People in the town know her as Xiao Long Xia (Little lobster).

Bai Yun Fei is the prince of King Yun Nan. He is good-looking, crafty but kind-hearted. He is betrothed to the princess who is Zhu Yun's younger sister. He too is highly skilled in martial arts.

An Ning princess is a beautiful and naive young lady who falls deeply in love with Bai Yun Fei the moment she meets him. Though she behaves like a little spoiled brat, she is good-natured and kind-hearted.

Xiao Long Xia operates an illegal gambling den to make some easy money. Zhu Yun sneaks out of the palace and happens to be at the gambling den one day. He is touched to know that Xiao Long Xia uses the money she wins to help the refugees outside the town.

Xiao Long Xia's friends intend to rob a rich man to get some money. They rob Bai Yun Fei mistakenly. Xiao Long Xia uses the stolen jewelries to help the refugees again but keeps an exotic-looking bangle for herself.

Because of this stolen bangle, Bai Yun Fei, Xiao Long Xia and Zhu Yun get into a fight. Zhu Yun helps Xiao Long Xia because he thinks that Xiao Long Xia is a good-natured person who helps the needy. Bai Yun Fei finally knows that it is a misunderstanding and he forgives Xiao Long Xia. The three of them even become sworn brothers. Xiao Long Xia only knows them as Bai Yu and Yin Kuang but not their true identity. Bai Yun Fei gives the bangle to Xiao Long Xia as a gift, knowing that she likes it very much.

Zhu Yun has been looking for a person who can open the "Jiu Lian Huan" given to him by a monk. This is made of jade and there are multiple rings that are intertwined. The monk tells him the person who can open the "Jiu Lian Huan" will become an important person to Zhu Yun. Xiao Long Xia sees that Zhu Yun is troubled with this thing and she breaks it with a sword. Zhu Yun is first shocked by her impulsiveness but later begins to see that her is the important person in his life.

Xiao Long Xia gets into a fight with Advisor Wen's son, Wen Tao. Advisor Wen is also the right-hand man of the Emperor. Wen Tao gets badly injured by Xiao Long Xia's master. Bai Yun Fei accidentally overheard Xiao Long Xia's brother, Si Tu Jian Nan, reveal Xiao Long Xia's identity as Si Tu Jing and he is amused that she is a lady. He begins to feel differently towards her.

Si Tu Jian Nan gets framed for injuring Wen Tao. He gets caught and put into jail. Xiao Long Xia wants to see the Emperor to seek his understanding and she thinks of a way to trap the Emperor when he gets out of the palace. Xiao Long Xia is shocked to know that Yin Kuang is actually Emperor Zhu Yun. As promised, Zhu Yun saves Si Tu Jian Nan.

Zhu Yun visits the Si Tu family. His motive is actually to see Xiao Long Xia. Xiao Long Xia runs into the hall without knowing that the Emperor is here. Zhu Yun is lost for words when he sees Xiao Long Xia dressed in a lady's costume. He is pleased to know that she is a girl, and a very beautiful one too. Zhu Yun is equally surprised to know that Bai Yu is actually Bai Yun Fei when he summons him into the palace. He is happy that his sworn brother will be his future brother-in-law but is puzzled that Bai Yun Fei seems reluctant to marry An Ning. After some investigation, Zhu Yun finds out that Bai Yun Fei is in love with Si Tu Jing. He feels jealous and starts to realize that he has fallen for Si Tu Jing too.

Zhu Yun summons Si Tu Jing to the palace. He tells her that he is troubled by the idea of crowning Advisor Wen's eldest daughter, Wen Mei-Er as his queen. Si Tu Jing is puzzled that Zhu Yun is discussing such personal issues with her, but she gives him some witty ideas anyway. Zhu Yun always feels happy with Si Tu Jing around and he hopes that he can have her in the palace forever. However, knowing Si Tu Jing is still too young to understand love relationships, he decides to let nature takes its own course.

Si Tu Jian Nan is in love with Wen Qiao who is the younger daughter of Advisor Wen. Unfortunately, Wen Qiao is betrothed to Qi Guo Hou's son. Qi Guo Hou is one of the potential rebels of the dynasty. Advisor Wen and Qi Guo Hou are in collaboration on some big plans.

Si Tu Jing wants to see Zhu Yun again. She wants him to help her brother marry Wen Qiao. Zhu Yun desires to see Si Tu Jing but he is avoiding her because he is unable to help her this time. Zhu Yun is worried that Si Tu Jing may approach Bai Yun Fei for help if he refuses to see her. He is worried that Bai Yun Fei may win over Si Tu Jing over time. Though Zhu Yun loves her, he does not want to use his Emperor status to force her to him.

Zhu Yun meets Si Tu Jing at her house. He is delighted to see her. At the garden, he holds her hand and looks into her eyes. Si Tu Jing turns away, feeling embarrassed. Zhu Yun tells her that he wants to be able to look at her forever. He wants her to stay in the palace and accompany him forever. Si Tu Jing is happy but she is not sure if Zhu Yun is just joking. Zhu Yun starts telling her about how he wants her to compete with Wen Mei Er and how he likes her aggressiveness. Si Tu Jing mistakens that Zhu Yun wants to make use of her to chase Wen Mei Er away and she walks away, feeling upset.

Si Tu Jian Nan and Wen Qiao are caught when they elope. Si Tu Jing approaches Zhu Yun for help. She offers to stay with him in the palace in exchange for letting go of Si Tu Jian Nan and Wen Qiao. Zhu Yun is disappointed that Si Tu Jing makes such a deal with him. He rejects her and tells her that he will not accept her if she has no feelings for him. Zhu Yun uses his wit to help Si Tu Jian Nan marry Wen Qiao and Si Tu Jing feels touched by his gesture.

Bai Yun Fei tells Zhu Yun that he does not want to marry An Ning because he loves Si Tu Jing. Upon knowing this, Zhu Yun's mother asks that Bai Yun Fei be killed immediately. Si Tu Jing goes to his rescue and is caught for faking an Emperor's summon. She knows that by doing that, she is going to get herself and her family killed but she wants to save Bai Yun Fei. On the other hand, she wants to protect Zhu Yun too. If Bai Yun Fei is killed, King Yun Nan will definitely start a war against Zhu Yun. Si Tu Jing does not want that to happen. Zhu Yun visits her in the jail. She confesses to him that she has fallen in love with him too and she is willing to die for him. Zhu Yun is touched by her.

Zhu Yun manages to save Bai Yun Fei and Si Tu Jing once again. He meets her when she is released from the jail. Upon seeing Zhu Yun at her house, Si Tu Jing runs towards him and hugs him tightly. She tells him that as long as he still wants her, she is willing to spend the rest of her life with him. Zhu Yun promises her that he will take care of her. Si Tu Jing gives him a peck on the cheek and they embrace.

Bai Yun Fei knows that Zhu Yun is worried that King Yun Nan will team up with Qi Guo Hou against him. He approaches Zhu Yun to strike a deal. He wants to break the marriage with An Ning and he wants to marry Si Tu Jing. Zhu Yun is furious with his request and he tells Bai Yun Fei that he will never allow him to have Si Tu Jing.

An Ning manages to convince Bai Yun Fei to give up the idea of marrying Si Tu Jing because she only loves Zhu Yun. Bai Yun Fei also realizes that he has been blinded by Si Tu Jing only and not able to see that there is a nice lady supporting him all this while who is An Ning. He begins to like An Ning gradually.

Si Tu Jing finds out that she is the princess of the previous dynasty. This news gives Advisor Wen the opportunity to kill the Si Tu family. While Zhu Yun is out of palace, Advisor Wen gets the approval from Zhu Yun's mother to kill the Si Tu family immediately. Zhu Yun manages to stop them in time. Upon seeing Si Tu Jing, he hugs her, feeling relieved that she is not killed. He tells her that he does not care who she is and he just wants to love her and take care of her forever.

King Yun Nan catches An Ning as a hostage to threaten Zhu Yun. Si Tu Jing convinces Zhu Yun that she wants to represent him to negotiate with King Yun Nan. Zhu Yun agrees. King Yun Nan is surprised to see Si Tu Jing because she resembles his sister. Upon confirming Si Tu Jing's identity as the princess of the previous dynasty, he tells her that she is his niece and begins to relate her mom's tragedy to her. Si Tu Jing tricks King Yun Nan into an agreement of a peace treaty. Zhu Yun on the other hand is worried for Si Tu Jing's safety and he fights his way into King Yun Nan's palace to save her. Seeing that she is safe and has striked an agreement with King Yun Nan, he is pleased.

Si Tu Jing becomes the Queen and the palace is full of life. Zhu Yun is all smiles when he announces that the Queen has delivered a pair of twins.

I would say this will be a perfect drama if their voices are not dubbed. Unfortunately, because Jang Na Ra is a Korean, it has to be dubbed. Because of the language barrier, a number of scenes between Alec Su and Jang Na Ra are a little unnatural. There seems to be a delay in response from her as well as Alec. They pause too long to say their lines.

This drama is light-hearted and full of laughter. I enjoy watching Alec Su in court, using his wit against his enemies. I am pleasantly surprised to see that he fits in this comedian role very well. It is refreshing to see him in this role after watching him in "Love in Aegean Sea". Jang Na Ra's role is lovable but not too outstanding. Perhaps she has been stereotyped to act in such roles ("Success Story of a Girl", "The Story of Red Bean Girl" etc). In my personal opinion, it's just another drama where Jang Na Ra is acting cute again. Florence is impressive as Wen Mei Er. Though her role in this drama is very limited with not many changes, she brings out the vanity of Wen Mei Er well.

The drama is entertaining but a little too unrealistic. I do not understand how a General's daughter can be allowed to create so much trouble and not be disciplined in such a highly regarded family. I do not understand how the Emperor and Princess can go out of the palace alone so easily. I am also surprised to see Jang Na Ra and Florence's costumes in the drama. Do the ladies dress so scantily during that era?

Putting aside all these question marks, I really enjoyed this drama. You do not feel that you are watching a period drama because it is fast-paced and there are not too many lengthy conversations which is typical of period dramas.

It is definitely a drama not to be missed.

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