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Series / Go Princess Go

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Go Princess Go (太子妃升职记, Tài Zǐ Fēi Shēng Zhí Jì, meaning roughly "Crown Princess' Promotion") is a 2015 Chinese web series starring Zhang Tian Ai, Sheng Yi Lun, Yu Meng Long, Jiang Qi Lin, and Guo Jun Chen. It's adapted from the novel of the same name by Xian Chen. The series infuriated the Chinese censors; they had it taken off the internet in 2016, and only allowed it to be posted again when over a third of it was cut and three different endings were filmed. The series can be watched on YouTube with English subtitles. A sequel movie was planned in 2016 and a second series was rumoured in 2022; nothing more has been heard of either version. It was remade as a Korean drama, Mr. Queen, in 2020.

Zhang Peng, a man living in the twenty-first century, travels over a thousand years back in time and wakes up in the body of the crown princess. Trapped, she must navigate through palace intrigues and avoid being assassinated.

Not to be confused with the anime Go! Princess Pretty Cure.

Contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of time-travel dramas and historical dramas in general.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening and closing credits are moody and serious with much focus on the main characters being upset and/or in love. The actual show certainly has those more serious beats but is primarily a wacky comedy.
  • Black Comedy: Zhang Peng attempts suicide repeatedly while Lu Li frantically stops him each time, and the entire thing is set to music.
  • Cassandra Truth: Zhang Peng initially attempts to prove to Qi Sheng that he is no threat to his eventual rule by flat out telling him that he is a man trapped in the princess' body. Qi Sheng doesn't believe him, but humors it enough as Zhang Peng's cooperation proves to be useful.
  • Chirping Crickets: Zhang Peng references Wu Zetian. Lu Li, who's from a time long before Wu, looks blank while chirping is heard in the background.
  • Crotch-Grab Sex Check: It's implied Zhang Peng does this after waking up in Peng Peng's body. Unusually, in this case a character is doing it to themselves — or at least to the body they're currently inhabiting. Naturally he freaks out at what he finds.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Our modern world character must suddenly live a life in Ming Dynasty China.
  • Gainax Ending: Both the main and alternate endings, which both end with Zhang Peng reawakening from his coma in the modern day. The alternate ending expands on his return to his own body by meeting a doctor who resembles Qi Sheng. The third one is even more bizarre, where the series itself is forced to stop shooting simply because their budget has gone overboard right before they can get the finale done.
  • Gender Bender: The plot revolves around a time-travel-induced case of gender bending — the male protagonist time-travels into the body of a crown princess.
  • Get Out!: Zhang Peng yells this at the maid and doctor who come to see him while he's still panicking over the time-travel.
  • Imperial China: Zhang Peng time-travels back to a (fictional) dynasty.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Episode one has a montage of Zhang Peng attempting suicide repeatedly, and Lu Li interrupting him every time.
  • Mental Time Travel: Zhang Peng's mind is sent back in time into Zhang Peng Peng's body.
  • Queer Romance: After time-travelling, Zhang Peng flirts with Qi Sheng's concubines and eventually falls in love with Qi Sheng.
  • Rags to Riches: To a degree. Zhang Peng appears to be a well-off Chinese man, but becomes outright royalty as Peng Peng.
  • Second Law of Gender-Bending: Best represented by Voices Are Mental below; Zhang Peng still identifies as male upon traveling back in time and attempts to indulge in a lot of playboy-esque behavior despite becoming a woman. However, over time - especially as he later comes to the realization that he may never go back to being a man much less return to his own time period, he grows comfortable with living as a woman. Later played tragically, as Zhang Peng ends up returning to the present not long after accepting his new life.
  • Stop Drowning and Stand Up: Lu Li falls into a lake and starts screaming for help. Then she realizes the water is less than waist deep.
  • Voices Are Mental: Internally, Zhang Peng's monologues are still spoken by his male self to indicate that he at least still sees himself as a man. Near the end of the series, both his male voice and female voice speak in unison to show that he has become comfortable living as a woman.