Main Cast: Chen Fei Yu, Zhang Jing Yi
Lighter and Princess follows the life of Li Xun (played by Chen Fei Yu) and Zhu Yun (played by Zhang Jing Yi). Initially, we are introduced to Li Xun being released from prison and Zhu Yun returning from abroad. Although the story works its way back to their college days, there are quick flashes of fond memories of Zhu Yun and Li Xun happily spending time together and on various dates together only to be suddenly ended by a voiceover of Li Xun betraying and rejecting Zhu Yun.
In college Li Xun was the aloof campus “bad boy” and heartthrob who rarely attends lectures and independent morning study sessions. However, his classmates quickly learn that Li Xun is a computer programming mastermind is was more skilled and advanced than the university’s upperclassmen and professors. Despite being quick to humiliate and scold Zhu Yun and his fellow classmates, Li Xun also offers them praise and opportunities to encourage them to improve their coding skills.
On the other hand, Zhu Yun is a diligent student who dedicates herself to her studies and peers. Unlike Li Xun, she lives her life according to the rules and expectations outlined by her parents and society. She is initially doubtful of Li Xun’s intelligence, however after downloading a virus Li Xun disguised as his homework she realizes that his skills are significantly more advanced than any of their classmates. However, they continue to butt heads but by working on various projects together they slowly get closer and enjoy spending time together. However, a life-changing event suddenly tests their budding romance.
The first few episodes of Lighter and Princess were a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around, especially because I didn’t understand why Li Xun was imprisoned. The series starts in the present and works its way backwards, but it left me curious and confused about who the characters are and what happened to them.
Although Li Xun is definitely a jerk towards his classmates, especially Zhu Yun, I couldn’t help but pity him a little. He received a lot of skepticism from his peers due to his aloof behavior and dyed hair; it seemed like his classmates didn’t give him a chance and were doubtful of him from the very beginning. Li Xun is also a very complex character. Despite being condescending towards his peers, he indirectly leads them to the answer and is the biggest advocate for developing their skills. It’s definitely a bizarre carrot and stick dynamic, but it is oddly charming as you can’t help but respect Li Xun for thinking about the broader picture and group.
Overall, Lighter and Princess is an interesting drama that flips between the past and present to create an effective and engaging drama. However, the series’ soundtrack is phenomenal as the lyrics and melody accurately capture the characters’ emotions and thoughts.