Top 50 Actresses of 2018

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Translation:

  1. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh
  2. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch
  3. Dilraba Dilmurat / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba
  4. Yang Zi / Dương Tử
  5. Tiffany Tang Yan / Đường Yên
  6. Guan Xiao Tong / Quan Hiểu Đồng
  7. Victoria Song / Tống Thiến
  8. Zheng Shuang / Trịnh Sảng
  9. Tamia Liu Tao / Lưu Đào
  10. Ju Jing Yi / Cúc Tịnh Y
  11. Lareina Song / Tống Tổ Nhi
  12. Janine Chang / Trương Quân Ninh
  13. Tong Li Ya / Đồng Lệ Á
  14. Li Qin / Lý Thấm
  15. Jiang Shu Ying / Giang Sơ Ảnh
  16. Crystal Liu Yi Fei / Lưu Diệc Phi
  17. Angelababy / Yang Ying / Dương Dĩnh
  18. Crystal Zhang Tian Ai / Trương Thiên Ái
  19. Cecilia Han Xue / Hàn Tuyết
  20. Regina Wan / Vạn Tây
  21. Zhou Dong Yu / Châu Đông Vũ
  22. Li Yi Tong / Lý Nhứt Đồng
  23. Hu Bing Qing / Hồ Băng Khanh
  24. Shen Yue / Thẩm Nguyệt
  25. Fan Bing Bing / Phạm Băng Băng
  26. Cecilia Liu Shi Shi / Lưu Thi Thi
  27. Yoona
  28. Li Xiao Ran / Lý Tiểu Nhiễm
  29. Yang Rong / Dương Dung
  30. Sebrina Chen Yao / Trần Dao
  31. Sandra Ma / Mã Tư Thuần
  32. Jiang Xin / Tưởng Hân
  33. Qin Lam / Tần Lam
  34. Sun Yi / Tôn Di
  35. Stephy Qi Wei / Thích Vy
  36. Betty Sun Li / Tôn Lệ
  37. Lolita Wang / Vương Hiểu Thần
  38. Vicki Zhao / Triệu Vy
  39. @@@@
  40. Guli Nazha / Cổ Lực Na Trát
  41. Wendy Zhang / Trương Tử Phong
  42. Sally Jing Tian / Cảnh Điềm
  43. Dong Jie / Đổng Khiết
  44. Ruby Lin / Lâm Tâm Như
  45. Charmaine Sheh / Xa Thi Mạn
  46. Wang Li Kun / Vương Lệ Khôn
  47. Zhang Xue Ying / Trương Tuyết Nghênh
  48. Zhou Xun / Châu Tấn
  49. Xin Zhi Lei / Tân Chỉ Lôi
  50. Xie Na / Tạ Na

Top 50 Actresses of 2015

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Okay, this is for the female side. (Go here for the male list.)

Translation:

1. Tiffany Tang Yan / Đường Yên

2. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh

3. Fan Bing Bing / Phạm Băng Băng

4. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch

5. Angelababy / Yang Ying / Dương Dĩnh

6. Tamia Liu Tao / Lưu Đào

7.

8. Vicki Zhao / Triệu Vy

9. Crystal Liu Yi Fei / Lưu Diệc Phi

10. Jiang Xin / Tưởng Hân

11. Janine Chang / Trương Quân Ninh

12. Cecilia Liu Shi Shi / Lưu Thi Thi

13. Zheng Shuang / Trịnh Sảng

14. Betty Sun Li / Tôn Lệ

15. Ruby Lin / Lâm Tâm Như

16. Park Shin Hye

17. Ada Liu Yan / Liễu Nham

18. Tong Li Ya / Đồng Lệ Á

19. Viann Zhang / Trương Hinh Dư

20. Michelle Chen / Trần Nghiên Hy

21. Jia Qing / Giả Thanh

22. Yang Rong / Dương Dung

23. Gao Yuan Yuan / Cao Viên Viên

24. Wang Li Kun / Vương Lệ Khôn

25. Lemon Zhang Meng / Trương Mông

26. Stephy Qi Wei / Thích Vy

27. Mabel Yuan Shan Shan / Viên San San

28. Victoria Song / Tống Thiến

29. Ma Su / Mã Tô

30. Loura Lou Yi Xiao / Lâu Nghệ Tiêu

31. Yang Zi / Dương Tử

32. Hayden Kuo / Guo Bi Ting / Quách Bích Đình

33. Hu Bing Qing / Hồ Băng Khanh

34. Jennifer Shu Chang / Thư Sướng

35. Li Qin / Lý Thấm

36. Jacqueline Li Xiao Lu / Lý Tiểu Lộ

37. Krystal Jung Soo

38. Huo Si Yan / Hoắc Tư Yến

39. Bai Bai He / Bạch Bách Hà

40. Li Qian / Lý Thanh

41. Mao Xiao Tong / Mao Hiểu Đồng

42. Cecilia Han Xue / Hàn Tuyết

43. Ivy Chen / Trần Ý Hàm

44. Ying Er / Dĩnh Nhi

45. Yoki Sun / Tôn Diệu Kỳ

46. Dilraba Dilmurat / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba

47. Sophie Zhang / Trương Tuyết Nghênh

48. Anita Yuen / Viên Vịnh Nghi

49. Song Ji Hyo

50. Song Jia / Tống Giai

Liao Zhai 2014: Review

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Story 1 – Judge Lu (陆判)

Probably the most anticipated for me because of Qiao Zhen Yu yet I felt disappointed in it. Not because of the other cast or anything. I surprisingly liked Alice Ko in here since she hasn’t really clicked for me in her past dramas. Then perhaps it was just the plot or strange characterization that made it hard to relate for me. In here, she was really cute and funny as Qi Ting and was cunning and creepy as Jing Lan. The same for Liu Dong, portraying two roles so seamlessly alongside Alice. However, the plot was just dragging on and on between the Zhu sisters fighting over Tao Yue Ming that it didn’t appeal to me as much. Well, Qi Ting wasn’t fighting with her sister, but it seemed to shuffle back and forth between the love story so I wasn’t as interested in it as I would have.

Story 2 – Heaven and Earth (乾坤)

Surprisingly good. I was having doubts about this pairing of Cecilia Han Xue and Chen Long. Yet their chemistry was quite good. I enjoyed their story more because of the combinations of the battle in the demon realm and how the story eventually played out. What was funny was how my mom (who is a major fan of Norman Chui) thought that he was just in here for some side, unimportant character that needed to be rescued. However, when the twist came around, it was indeed quite chilling. It was a nice twist though. He had to be the big, bad guy. How could he just stand aside and play some small role, right? Nice. Bittersweet ending, but it wasn’t too tragic. Well, it was when the ending was unknown. But once the last scene rolled around, it wasn’t too bad.

Story 3 – Heng Niang (恒娘)

The chemistry between Lin You Wei and Kimi Li was so cute. At least initially. Having done the translations for the plot summary, I had expected the inevitable. However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying their cute moments. How she hugged him when she finally arrived at the town. He was so happy and hugged her back. Then there was also the part where she tried to act all civilized and polite with the courtesy, so of course, she didn’t eat as much. It was so funny watching her trying to find food and then finding food at last. I totally sympathize. How could anyone eat so little? The cutest part was how he placed a cup of water/tea on the table. It showed that the person who prepared the special midnight dinner for her was him. So she hugged him, so touched. Only he would understand her. It was really cute and nice. He told her not to hold back since it was her house after all, so she could eat all that she wanted. Indeed, so cute. It was hard to see how he could betray her later on. Yet when the scenes finally came around regarding the betrayal, I realized that it wasn’t what was let on in the summary. There were many factors to think about. So in the end, I sort of forgive them for the mess. I felt that after all that was said and done, Heng Niang and Tian Fu belonged together.

Poor James Wen, once again had to play the bad guy. Yet I think for this type of short story, it was all right. He didn’t disappoint. After all, they needed to cut Lin You Wei some slacks, considering how he had to play some not so likable characters in the past. It was about time he stepped out of the shadow, right? Somewhat dramatic but was entertaining enough with a mixture of fantasies and all. Not to mention how they got past the ‘time travel’ thing! LOL! If only it was that obvious to cut out, right? Nicely done.

Story 4 – Lian Suo (连琐)

Hilarious. At least at first. Because of how Royce Wong’s character, Yang Yu Wei, was so freaked out by the ghost haunting his new house. It was insane. He tried everything but it didn’t work. He tried to reassure his brother that he was fine, but of course, he was far from fine. The story was quite intriguing at various points, with both sweetness and bitterness. Plus other very terrifying aspects, once again visiting the theme of people sometimes are scarier than ghosts/demons.

Story 5 – Ye Sheng (叶生)

Sad, so sad. But it wasn’t too frustrating. Okay, it was in a way since there was a little more time before the ending yet the main guy died. But I think it wasn’t for nothing. The prince grew up still remembering him and still referred to him as his father. Talking about that, I especially like the relationship between Medic Ye and the young prince as father and son.

There were twists and turns about the plot and the unexpected thing led others to realize sometimes things weren’t what they were seen. Even if you think you got the story straight. A very touching story on many levels.

Story 6 – Kingdom of Female Demons (夜叉国)

*Can’t find it, will go back later since I am quite intrigued by this story after translating the summary.

Story 7 – The Flower Spirit (花姑子)

*Might go back later. (If I can find it.)

Story 8 – Maiden In Green (绿衣女)

Interestingly my favorite story among all. I was just curious about how Bianca would fend and how the story would be. I also have doubts about her pairing up with Calvin Li. Yet they were awesome. I loved them from the start. Their story was touching and quite real. I meant aside from the whole fantasy elements, lol. I know, sounds ironic. But their relationship with living in the mountains and taking care of his mom as a family was quite nice. Then the other elements made it quite tragic. What was nice about it was how the Taoist wasn’t such an uptight, not knowing the gray areas–like some other stories in the past had led on. He was quite cool and knew that there were actually good demons as well, not just outright lumping them all together. At least, it was when he realized what was going on after the initial disagreement. What was a bit ironic about the situation was how she was the demon at the beginning of the story yet in the end, he was the demon. How could they work it out? Well, I guess they waited for so long, they would find a way to get past that obstacle as well. Not to mention how they needed her father’s approval too.

So conclusion? I think it’s clear that story #8 is my ultimate favorite. Then story # 2, #5, #4, #3, and #1–in that order. It’s because I haven’t watched the other two yet so I couldn’t place them. But will go back for those later and possibly change my answer. Anyway, I would’ve placed #3 higher but I think because of some repeated stuff, I want to switch it out. Although #4 was quite frustrating at some points too, I think the overall sort of made it worthwhile. Even if it was really tragic. Number #3, only found Lin You Wei and Kimi Li cute. Although the story with the fox demons was intriguing but also frustrating so I didn’t care for it as much. And I already explained why #1 is so low on the list.

Liao Zhai 2014: Heaven and Earth (乾坤)

Constable Xin Fang Ping (Chen Long) was born carefree, exuding a very righteous feeling. His senior Qu Rou (Yu Xiao Lei) had a deep and abiding affection for him. At the county town, there arose a set of unsolved rape cases. In addition, the most urgent case was the robbery within the imperial court. A series of important unsolved cases. The county town’s official, also his adopted father, Qu Qing Lei (Norman Chui) was executed by the emperor, and his corpse had disappeared. Xin Fang Ping was determined to seek justice for his father. While solving the case, he ended up going to the demonic realm. Ahead, there were many trials thus leading to him and Qu Rou entering death and going to the demonic realm. Incidentally saving a demonic girl Xie Ling Er (Cecilia Han Xue). Furthermore, finding out that the demonic leader wanted to control both worlds. The two maidens who loved Xin Fang Ping dearly fought along his side in the battle of the demonic realm. The truth and ending nevertheless will cause one to be heart-broken.

Bộ đầu Hân Phương Bình (Trần Long) trời sanh dễ tánh, phát ra một cảm giác chánh nghĩa. Sư tỷ Khúc Nhu (Vu Tiểu Lỗi) đối y nhứt vãng tình thâm. Ở huyện thành liên tiếp không ngừng những vụ án hái hoa phác sóc mê ly. Khẩn cấp hơn là vụ án bị cướp tại hoàng cung. Một loạt trọng án không phá được. Huyện lệnh dưỡng phụ Khúc Thanh Lỗi (Từ Thiếu Cường) bị hoàng thượng tru sát và thi thể bị thất tung. Hân Phương Bình quyết ý vì phụ đòi lại công đạo. Trong lúc phá án, y đã lọt và ma giới. Trước mắt có rất nhiều quan ải đã khiến y và Khúc Nhu nhập tử và vào ma giới. Ngẫu nhiên đã cứu được ma linh nữ Tạ Linh Nhi (Hàn Tuyết). Còn biết được rằng thiên ma đại nhân vọng tưởng xưng bá lưỡng thế. Hai người con gái yêu Hân Phương Bình tha thiết sẽ cùng sánh vai bên y trong cuộc đấu tranh ở ma giới. Chân tướng và kết cuộc sẽ khiến người vỡ lòng.

*All information was from Baidu, and all translations were by DTLCT.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.

They Say

I’m finally reviewing this after soooo long. Yes, I sure took my precious time. So, first thoughts? I thought her voice would take on a sweeter feeling, considering how her normal talking voice is. But it doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I find it unique. I also like the artistic approach for this album, and how the theme seemed to reflect with keeping it real. There was some added sophistication into it but that reflected her different sides.

1. Epiphyllum (曇花). Such a beautiful song. The music flows nicely along with her voice. The lyrics blend nicely along, weaving a very mystical picture. Yet what’s so mesmerizing about the song is the imagery along with the string instrument used to tug at one’s heart.

2. Song of Midsummer (盛夏的歌). Lyrics were penned by Cecilia. A very fun and uplifting song. Just right for the summer season. Very nice and cute in a sense. It started out with a mild sense of upbeat but intensified itself midway through. Worked out great.

3. They Say (他們說). Another song with its lyrics penned by Cecilia. This song really appealed to my rebellious side. More like how society kept telling and dictating for us to do what’s supposedly “right” yet it’s not their lives. It’s our lives. We should know what we want and we will have to deal with consequences, not them. So why listen? Love this song! Like the beat and a strong ending.

4. This Is Our Youth (這就是我們的青春)(2012年的蘇州市吳中區形象宣傳片主題曲). Yet another song penned by Cecilia. Not that I’m complaining, lol. Another beautiful song, so nice and innocent, just like how youth usually is. Really love the overall feeling of this and the mood is nicely set.

5. Fatalism (宿命論). Lyrics penned by Cecilia. Fast and upbeat song. Has this ‘rocker’ feeling to it. Or maybe it’s just me, lol.

6. The Best Time, The Best Love (最好時光最好的愛). Yeah, it’s another song written by Cecilia. Another lovely song.

7. Midnight in Paris. Lyrics were penned by Cecilia (once again, lol). Started out slow and built itself to a really fast and upbeat song. Cecilia’s voice took on a cuter side for this one. The music is so addicting for this one–although just a simple song. Kudos to the composer.

8. Love is Like a Fire (愛就一把火). Penned by one of the best lyricists, Lin Xi. Another nice song by this lyricist. However, not my favorite among all the other songs.

9. Can’t Leave You (離不開你). Lyrics adapted by Cecilia. I was having mixed feelings throughout this song. Yet she won me over again. A sad and somewhat touching song. I didn’t mind that it was leaning toward the ‘whining’ side. Because the ending made all the difference.

10. Fleeing (逃離). I love them as a team as lyricist and composer. ‘Cause I really enjoyed their other collaborations (tracks 4 and 7). A somewhat sad song but it didn’t take on a pitiful tone. A feeling of reminiscence and a touch of a haunting past.

11. 1050﹣2009. Same team from tracks 4,7, and 10. Another epic collaboration to finish out the album. Love the piano mix in this one. It provided a beautiful flow for the song and splashed on it a very nice touch of an ancient feeling. Like a classic era, which fitted nicely for the theme of the song.

Cecilia is truly a chameleon lyricist. I was really amazed and surprised by the range and theme she managed to capture in each one of the songs she wrote. Of course, the accompanying of the wonderful composers helped. However, the lyrics she used for each song made it unique and how it wasn’t repetitive like how lyricists often fall into. Each theme of the song was different, so even if some of the simplest characters repeated (which was essential), the language used was totally different thus giving a different feeling for the song in general.

Recommended? Up to you. I felt it was worth it for me. It reassured me once again that I could still listen to qualify stuff and enjoy pop music on its own, lol. PHEW! (LOL) But seriously though, it was worth it. For real. I was surprised that I enjoyed it that much. The first listen was misleading. It was a very beautiful album overall if you understand the flowery lyrics and imagery used.

*All images were scanned by DTLCT

All About Wallace Huo

So I decided to start some kind of saga to share the things I love and hate about my favorites. Who’s the first one on the plate? Who else but Mr. Huo, right? But before I get started, DO REMEMBER that these are my personal likes and dislikes SO if you don’t agree with me, IT’S OKAY. I’m just sharing, NOT forcing anyone to agree with me.

HIS ROLES:

Best Character EVER: Tang Lang (from Detective Tang Lang), intelligent and hilarious. NOT completely perfect but super righteous at times. Also, his kick-ass martial arts in here.

2ND Best Character EVER: Lu Yun Xiang (from Sound of Colors), OMG, he’s an artist! Super hot-headed character at times, but he’s so sweet and cute at other times.

Favorite Swordsman Character: Gui Hai Yi Dao (from Tian Xia Di Yi). (I would’ve put “Ling Hu Chong” BUT thanks to YZ, I can’t anymore, because I can’t ignore the fact that his character got ruined really badly in there.) So anyway, this was the character that brought me into being one of his fans. He really convinced me in here and come on now, his martial arts skills really ruled too! (Did he do the stunts himself back then? At least some of it?)

Devilishly Witty Character: Xing Wang (from Westside Story), a genius and bordering on the side of a nerd, but was also quite awesome with various talents.

Most Hateful Character (in my book): Li Wei Xiang (from 100% Senorita), NOT because of the other girl, but I hated the fact that he was portraying a supposedly intelligent lawyer and supposedly a very understanding boyfriend YET he was more than stupid could describe. Like how he didn’t forgive his ‘godfather’ until he needed the old man for a favor near the end to help his girlfriend. Then there was the whole thing with claiming to be supportive and understanding toward his girlfriend, he acted super annoying with kept confronting her and forcing her to see how ‘hurt’ he was YET didn’t think to investigate into her strange behaviors for some ‘side’ story. It could also be the stupid plot’s fault with affecting his poor character development BUT still, I didn’t like it one bit though I felt Wallace did a really good job with portraying such an annoying role when he was still struggling between roles and trying to make it happen during the beginning of his career.

Annoying YET Can’t Hate Character: Li Ya Shou (from Wu Shi Lang). I don’t know. I couldn’t explain why I didn’t hate him. Well, partially it was Wallace and how hilarious his character was at times that I couldn’t blame him for being up to no good with his ‘getting rich’ schemes. Perhaps, it was also the fact that he knew his father died from hunger that he got so freaked out with the whole landing into the same fate as his father so I was sort of sympathizing him on that front too. And Wallace’s haunting eyes at times when he looked after Shi Lang that made it sooo hard to hate him. (Besides, I don’t really like those insanely ‘good’ characters nowadays. It’s just too flaky.)

HIS DRAMAS:

Best Drama Ever: Detective Tang Lang, just because I’m a fan of detective/police stuff and action/martial arts stuff as well. It’s a mixture of both and Wallace so kicked ass in here with his moves. The cases were quite interesting and the pace was fast enough. Plus most of the characters made it lively most of the time and hilarious during others. This drama wasn’t flawless but I seriously felt it was one of Wallace’s best choices BECAUSE though at times he picked good roles BUT failed to pay attention to the plot that made it SUPER hard for some people to watch. (I seriously am not that ‘obsessed’ yet obviously to go through every single one of his series.)

Most Touching Drama: Sound of Colors. Okay, I think some of the others were quite touching as well, but I felt this one with how it made me cry more than usual, even during re-watches, deserved the spot the most. Jimmy Liao’s adapted story, wasn’t perfect and I could detect all the goofs throughout. Yet the overall story was quite good and touching. The ending was worth a box of tissues already. But I didn’t hate it. Sure, I felt bitter after watching the ending for the first time and it stuck with me for several days (or more). Then I became more accepting of it and even felt in a way, it was meaningful. Perhaps, it was somewhat paving its way and dropping hints with how things would eventually come to that point (aka making sense), so I was able to accept it better as well.

Worst Drama Ever: 100% Senorita. NOT just because I hated his character, but I felt so robbed with how it was supposed to be a revenge plot. Then it got side-track AND got so draggy that I ended up hating almost all the characters in there. Then only the last ten episodes seemed to be worth watching. (Or so I thought.) And the fact that Deric Wan was part of it puzzled me even more since he could DO WAY BETTER than got stuck with this stupid stuff.

TOO BAD: Xiao Ao Jiang Hu, seriously, I think it’s too obvious. It’s one disastrous, nerve-racking journey from the start. It’s a train-wreck that most of us should see it coming YET refuse to believe BECAUSE some of us actually believe in Mr. Huo’s judgment and how he would be able to control more factors coming into this drama–with his going somewhere and reading the script and studying it to death with other information before taking the role. YET he got conned as well with the script changes. AND of course it’s NOT something new that scripts get change in the industry, sometimes it happens the night before even. BUT the fact that he barely could do anything about it was so frustrating. He wanted more of the ‘martial arts’ side and less ‘romance’ side (like how a typical wuxia should be) YET he couldn’t fight too much with the rest of the production team and make it ‘difficult’ for them. (OR so I heard. I also heard two of them were women so he couldn’t ‘bully’ them too much.) He only won over some of the fighting scenes with Howie Huang (aka he was able to suggest certain scenes and that was it). After what happened though, the next time I see Mr. Huo caving in and agreeing to some YZ production again, HE’S ON HIS OWN. (People say you could only fall for something one time AND the next time it’s your fault, so that’s that for me. I won’t abandon him BUT just won’t watch it if he’s going to fall for YZ’s trap again.) AND what else? Um…the fact that Wallace criticized Taiwanese soaps for keep having the same formulas (and I agreed with him when he listed all the repetitive formulas during that one interview) YET accepted and went through with YZ’s schemes? WOW! Being in YZ’s production is actually worse than starring in a Taiwanese soap, I’m telling you. At least most of the TW soaps make sense with some twists–even if it could be frustrating.

HIS CO-STARS:

Favorite Female Co-Star: Ruby Lin. YES, unlike some of the fans of his who are like attacking her, she’s actually my favorite among all his co-stars. And I felt they were actually quite cute together. If only they would work together again and there would be a happy ending at last! (How many times do the guy have to die for her, really? LOL…) UPDATE: They got together and got married in 2016 already so that was happy news for me. I’ll take whatever I can get. (LOL!) (Go here and here for more coverage relating to their relationship.)

2nd Favorite Female Co-Star: Alina Zhang. Words have it that they’re more like ‘sisters’ in real life OR something like that. But I really enjoyed their chemistry in Detective Tang Lang. They didn’t click for me at first yet in the later parts, it got to me with how funny they were with the constant arguments and many more.

3rd Favorite Female Co-Star: Mariam Yeung. How can I not like it that she got him out of his shell after their collaboration? It was so cool that they were getting along so well afterward and she even invited him to co-star again in one of her MVs. Aside from that, I thought they were quite funny in WSL together.

Favorite 2nd Female Lead Pairing: Yvonne Yao. To be honest, I have to skip around to watch his and Yvonne’s scenes only when I was watching since I couldn’t stand the main story when I was reading the spoilers. That was too bad that she would only be ‘second’ in his heart. I didn’t see the big deal with the main girl. One of the rare times when I actually get quite bitter with the main characters. And when I say the ‘main girl’, I meant the character AND not the actress so don’t misunderstand. Maybe one day I will watch it the right way with how the plot go and get it. But as of now, NOT happening.

Favorite Male Co-Star: Wei Qian Xiang. OMG, they were a hilarious team in Detective Tang Lang. Both were so crazy at times yet didn’t fail to impress.

Most Pitiful Co-Star: Yuan Shan Shan. Seriously, people might not like her. But I felt she was sooooo robbed with her scenes being stolen when she was the ‘main lead’ AND then bashed to high Heaven. Then what else? Her character got reduced to some silly girl instead of the supposedly awesome, witty character I was looking forward to. (Like seriously, I thought I could trust people when they say she’s one of YZ’s favorites! Never know she got sacrificed and got thrown ‘invisible rocks’ at while YZ stood laughing and shaking his head.) I’m not saying YSS is a great actress OR trying to convince anyone to like her, I just felt soooo sorry for her with what happened. (People might also be saying she’s a grown-up and could take care of herself and who cares, etc. But for me personally, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. It’s just ridiculous.) AND I seriously don’t care about those who are telling the rest of us who read the novel to “shut up” because we actually took the time to read the novel. AND without the freaking novel, it would be just another stupid soap. AND most importantly, Ren Ying Ying IS actually my favorite Jin Yong female protagonist ever so of course I’m pissed off. (SO YZ wasn’t the first one who created the ‘soap’ with twisting some characters within XAJH since I felt XAJH had always been the most butchered novel ever regardless of adaptations. It’s still such a shame that people have the resources to make this the best BUT didn’t?)

Compensation Paring: Penny Lin. I felt robbed from the stupid 100% Senorita drama. They had great chemistry and I could see the sparks BUT I hated how the plot was and his stupid character in there. I wish they could work on another project together and with an ideal plot. (Update – 12/30/22: The ideal plot was At the Dolphin Bay BUT SETTV messed up and made the wrong call regarding his pairing.)

Missed Chance Pairing: Tammy Chen. Honestly, I felt soooo disappointed that they didn’t get to star in Lucky Days together.

Didn’t Happen Pairing: Angela Chang. Okay, I admit, I was skimming too with some scenes when I was checking on At the Dolphin Bay. I might one day go back to properly watch it. But I really like this pairing too. Too bad. (Update – 12/30/22: I finally watched At the Dolphin Bay properly and understood why it had to be that way regarding Ambrose and Angela, but I still don’t support his paring in there. It was just too rushed.)

Could Have Been the Ideal NEW “Ling Hu Chong and Ren Ying Ying” Team: Cecilia Han Xue. Okay, I heard they don’t get along in real life? (Where was that rumor from or was it real?) But seriously, it was interesting that they were cast as Ling Hu Chong and Ren Ying Ying but from different production teams. Too bad the other side got snubbed. YET I swear I could enjoy it with this second collaboration. With some alterations here and there to compromise, I felt the other side did a better job creating the wardrobe for Ren Ying Ying. Even if she had to wear pink and white (for one of her outfits), I felt it projected the whole “thánh cô” (聖姑) vibe better.

AS A SINGER:

Favorite Song: “Fragments”, because it hit so hard. Yes, that song was relatable in so many ways.

Favorite Theme Song:

Bottom line? He needs to bring out another album. (And possibly sing a song or two with Angela Chang, lol.)

REAL LIFE:

Veteran Actors:

Liu Kai Chi. There was this one article I read with how he was talking about Liu Kai Chi as his mentor at one point of their collaboration and the way he described it, it seemed he really respected LKC.

Kent Cheng. Wallace recently visited Kent while both were in Hengdian filming, and then later when Kent was on break, he returned the favor as well. It was cool to see how Kent was posting it up on Weibo and they seemed to be getting along fine.

*Will be updated as I catch up like INSANE with all his “works” (EXCEPT for anything YZ related since I swore off YZ dramas after Tian Di Bu Rong BUT had to make an exception for XAJH because of Mr. Huo. Now? I’m really out!)

*Images were collected around the net, therefore, belonging to their rightful owners

TREAD CAREFULLY! I’m monitoring COMMENTS. (YES, it’s one of those times when I’m turning on my ‘maniac’ attitude. Mention anyone NOT on my favorite list, I will delete without warning.)

Peak Times

I wasn’t thinking of watching this since I’ve been quite lazy watching dramas lately. But it was more like wanting to check it out because of curiosity. Then it pulled me in. Mostly because of the suspense. I must admit it was pretty good overall though. The ending sort of killed it BUT I guess it wasn’t that bad. More on that later. Oh yeah, note that the first 3 episodes were just there to introduce Hao Tian’s character and a bit on his background before launching into the meatier parts of the drama. YES, because the next 17 episodes have to do mostly with family conflicts and other business rivalry stuff that was totally unrelated to the introduction scenes. I finished this drama within several days and several months back already (though was still doing the review slowly).

Main Cast:

  • Eric Huang as Ke Hao Tian (柯浩天) and Yang Nian He (楊念和).  Twins role. I think most actors/actresses go through the phase where they have to portray some sort of twins role or look-alike to prove themselves regarding acting skills and whatnot. This was probably Eric’s chance. OR wanting to accept the challenge. Successful actually and thanks to the scriptwriters also that I found this pair of twins the most realistic that I’ve seen so far–as far as HK or TW dramas go for me. I meant twins are similar for the most part, right? And this pair of twins was just that. YES, due to the environment they were raised in, they had their differences at times and needed to seek some sort of comfort level YET shedding off all the professionalism from Hao Tian, they were so similar and could be considered as ‘double-trouble’–to its true meaning.
    • Ke Hao Tian (柯浩天). The first 3 episodes said it all that he was a daredevil. Yet his responsible side was due to the fact that he had to lead the family business. So it made sense that he wasn’t as sunshine as Nian He at times. There was this dark side to him and somewhat of an impatient to Nai Xin’s tantrums. I liked him A LOT as well until the whole Yu Ting incident. YES, I do get it that he was feeling guilty but I think he could’ve handled the situation a bit better, considering how intelligent he was at times. BUT I guess regarding personal matters, it sort of blinded him? I don’t know. But to think that he was quite fierce with Nai Xin during the first 3 episodes too, not wanting to give in to her tantrums at times made him so cold YET defined his personality. OR was it just different from the other situation than this one? (DUH, I know.) Then there was this gentle side of him when he was taking Xuan Xuan under his wing to protect her from harm, etc–and his continued patient with her. Then there was also this righteous side of him, trying to stop Fang Fang from harming Xuan Xuan and Stacia, though he was late for some incidents yet didn’t stop trying. And his braveness was seen numerous times throughout, especially the scene at the bridge with trying to rescue Nai Xin (or die trying).
    • Yang Nian He (楊念和). More happy-go-lucky but wasn’t a doormat OR a dummy either. Though portrayed by Eric as well, I liked Nian He a bit more. Okay, maybe A LOT more. Not just because he seemed to appear more because of the takeover after episode 3 or so. But because he was more persistent in what he believed in and wasn’t easily persuaded by others. Even when he was posing as Hao Tian, his firmness was still running strong, making it so different than when seeing Eric portray Hao Tian. It was like noticeable that he was Nian He without a doubt (at least to viewers). His smart-aleck behaviors at times made it priceless–and lovable. Though he lacked experience in the family business but made up in the intelligence area. AND I think it was seriously just awesome that Eric could differentiate the feelings or at least projected the feelings during the whole obstacles when he had to deal with Ying Ying and Ruo Qing when he was Nian He (and posing as Hao Tian) versus how he approached the Ruo Qing and Yu Ting matters. Back to Nian He, he didn’t lack in bravery either because he risked his life that one time at the oceanside trying to save that one guy–and there were other times.
    • Ways to differentiate between Hao Tian and Nian He:
      • Attires. It didn’t count when Nian He was still posing as Hao Tian. But when they did appear together, it was easy to see that Nian He dressed simpler. Though Nian He was in a suit too, his style was more tone down than that of Hao Tian.
      • Personal Space. Notice the personal space between him and Ying Ying versus Ruo Qing. Unless the place didn’t allow for too much personal space, other times, it was easier to notice. Not to mention how Eric was able to show his feelings/concerns for one party or the other while portraying Hao Tian or Nian He. When portraying Nian He posing as Hao Tian parts, he was really uncomfortable around Ruo Qing and was really protective of Ying Ying. That one misunderstanding with thinking Ruo Qing must have tried to frame Ying Ying leading to firing her (Ying Ying) really showed it that Nian He was out to protect Ying Ying, even forgetting that he needed to act reasonably and be patient with Ruo Qing (because he, Nian He, was posing as Hao Tian). Also, the part where Ruo Qing almost jump from her hotel room showed that the other person talking to Ruo Qing was really Hao Tian (even without the flashbacks later on to explain the switch) because it was too obvious that Nian He couldn’t say all those words, trying to prove his love regardless of how hard he tried. (Well, he did try to be romantic and all during the proposal with the fireworks–with Ying Ying and Nai Xin’s help BUT that had taken a lot of effort.) Then there was also the part where Hao Tian was trying to protect Ruo Qing from Yu Ting’s attack in Ruo Qing’s office that one time, leading to him firing Yu Ting in the end. And how could anyone forget their interactions with Ding Bang? Nian He was so polite and was trying to pass by, even if he was more familiar with Ding Bang later on. Yet as Hao Tian, he was comfortable and looked like he was the other guy’s buddy, no awkwardness whatsoever. That was the same when their interactions were toward Da Chang, it was obvious who was the buddy, etc.
      • The Eyes SAID it all. I’m so serious here. Watch his eyes when he was looking at Ruo Qing or Ying Ying. Or when he was interacting with the others. It was just different.
      • Mischievous Level. Can’t blame Hao Tian too much since he was raised to act proper and professional at work. But it was a cue to distinguish between the two since Nian He was more laid-back and funnier at times. At home, they were about the same. OF COURSE, since it was off work and all. Oh yeah, Nian He was really boyish at times that it was really cute versus Hao Tian’s joking style was just different.
      • Tolerance Level toward Nai Xin. It was there. Though they both cared very much for Nai Xin throughout, Nian He was closer to Nai Xin than Hao Tian. Hao Tian seemed to be on the tolerance level with Nai Xin during the first three episodes. Though with the rescue scene at the bridge, we could tell why Nai Xin really stick to Hao Tian and really trust him, but he seemed to keep a safe distance from her otherwise. Nian He, though kept getting freaked out by her at first–because of some weird encounters, but soon really learned to get along with her and end up being even closer to her than Hao Tian. Maybe it was the way they were raised. The more obvious sign was during the scene where Ruo Qing told Hao Tian to go talk to Nai Xin when she (Nai Xin) came home all upset (because she had overheard stuff about her mother and the trouble her mother got into again), but Hao Tian was like saying, “Me?” Ruo Qing reminded him he was really close to Nai Xin and all, so he went upstairs and talked to Nai Xin. There was no doubt that they both really cared for Nai Xin as their cute little cousin, but it seemed like it was in Nian He’s nature to just go without being asked. Oh yeah, how could I forget that Nai Xin even said it herself that one time with how Hao Tian would always act all ‘cool’ in front of her even if they know each other for so long yet Nian He cared for her so much even though they just know each other in episode 8?
      • Experienced/Inexperienced. I got this one from episode 14’s business meeting. The way Nian He was kind of laid-back and uncertain about their new business plan (aka if he was able to help) versus Hao Tian’s confidence look distinguished their characters and how Eric had acted it out so convincingly. Hao Tian’s leadership capabilities and his confidence vibe could be seen not only from his attires but from his expressions and even the way he sat. Though after Hao Tian reassured Nian He that each of them would divide all the functions up among themselves, decreasing the workload and allowing their own areas of expertise to come into play, Nian He’s worried look was still present. Another way of looking at it was how they reacted differently in their own comfort zone or outside of it.
      • Hygiene, courtesy, and whatnot. Okay, I’m so not talking about how many showers they should take a day. I’m talking about the scene where Nian He and Da Chang were eating lunch (?) and Da Chang said that he had some information for Nian He so Nian He just wiped his hands on his pants before grabbing the files to read. WHAT?! LOL! Not in a million years would you see Hao Tian do that–regardless of at home or at work. And of course they were gentlemen so they would know how to act polite and proper at times, but it was just different. Repetitive, but it was just like how Eric and the rest of the production team must have thought of those tiny, subtle gestures to establish the twins’ personalities and habits because of the different environment they were brought up in.
  • Margaret Wang as Qiu Ying Ying (邱盈盈). Cute, kind, gentle, and understanding. YES, the typical girlfriend formula. Yet I didn’t find her boring at all. Perhaps it was because of her bravery and intelligence. Though possessing the typical personalities but it didn’t mean she didn’t have her stubborn moments because she DID get so mad at Nian He at times that it could be scary (to be him, lol). It made her character more interesting and real (aka not so one-dimensional). And since I’m talking about her somewhat scary side, I think it made me like her even more since she seemed to possess the ‘nagging’ girlfriend element with trying to get Nian He to get out of the situation (with posing as Hao Tian) in the beginning, mostly because she didn’t want him to get involved in their conflicts thus getting hurt as well, and also because who would want to see their boyfriend so close to some girl anyway, right? It made her real to not be sooooo freaking understanding that made it fake. BUT the plot allowed her to enter the Ke household to actually understand the situation and even putting in more emotions (i.e. sympathizing with the Ke family) before making the decision of supporting Nian He in being part of the conspiracy with helping them secure the position with the Bai family. It definitely sucked to be on the Bai’s side of being deceived (ESPECIALLY when no one in their right mind would want to be deceived), but it somehow made Ying Ying a braver person for being able to let go just like that. I meant she didn’t let go completely either because she agreed to help him with talking to his mother in letting him stay and help BUT thought they would eventually find a way to back out of it altogether, i.e. clarifying stuff with Ruo Qing. YET things were moving too fast and it seemed hopeless that Nian He could edge out. The most heartbreaking part was their last meeting when she finally told him to go ahead with the plan since she was willing to back down, seeing the seriousness of the situation pushing down on the Ke household. And to think she even went along with helping him further to secure his place during the proposal? Other characters would have left after giving her significant other the go on the plan (and couldn’t be blamed since it was too much to take after all), but Ying Ying had stayed and supported him even more, helping whenever she could. It was already so hard to give up on her chance of happiness, but to stick around seeing the upcoming events unfold? Took a lot of courage all right. Oh yeah, the other side of Ying Ying was how she was gentle as a nurse with much compassion and gentleness (of course) but she wasn’t just so off-work as well. Her character was still kind and nice, but she also had her wild side when allowed, and the little scenes where she was laughing with the others or pulling jokes as well. Those cute moments weren’t overdone either. But it actually defined her personality and showed us that she was just like each and every one of us, someone who reacted differently in different situations.
  • Cecilia Han Xue as Bai Ruo Qing (白若情). Mixed feelings. I found her character too dangerous at times. YES, I do understand she was driven to insanity at times and it was how she coped OR tried to cope at times. All of us have different ways to deal with pain. Yet I found it too dangerous with her ways and she was so easily driven to suicide. Her type of depression was seriously too nerve-racking. I guess it was the other side of her intelligent and calm nature when dealing with problems. YET when doubts were cast, she went all out. I found it scary, that was all. NOT that I don’t like her or don’t sympathize with her. I did pity her at times for her confusion throughout the first half of the drama, trying to figure out what was really going on with her life and Hao Tian. YET if looked at a different way, she could be one of those scheming, manipulative wife in the becoming IF she didn’t seek help in time. I’m so serious since she was sooo patient and calm each time she found out that Hao Tian might be cheating on her. (At least she tried to put up a front–before breaking down later on her own.) Other times, I find her somewhat similar to a porcelain doll. (I’m NOT talking about Cecilia, but the character so don’t misunderstand.) Perhaps it was because she was too fragile, not being able to handle problems at times. AGAIN, I don’t blame her since those emotional turmoils she went through were quite traumatizing but those little catalysts made it too nerve-racking to watch her at times, wondering when she would break down again. Acting? I guess Cecilia was convincing enough in portraying her character. NOT my favorite character of her but she pulled through with the role.
  • Viola Fang Yan Xin (方妍心) / Fang Shu Zhen (方數真) as Zhang Nai Xin (張乃馨). At first, I didn’t think much of her because I thought she was going to be the blind cousin throughout the drama. Yet that changed because her character was much more flowery than that. I must really compliment the actress for being so convincing. (AND also the directors and scriptwriters for giving her story more than just the initial parts.) She was actually quite intelligent than just the instincts she had while she was blind. Her attentiveness to details was really incredible, especially during the incident with Mr. Wan trying to find his ring. Then there was the courage she possessed, not backing down unless it was that traumatizing event linking to her step-father. That one scene at the bridge where Fang Fang had kidnapped her and tied her up, trying to lure Hao Tian out was really incredible and so touching. I’m not sure how to put it, call it that she couldn’t see anyway so she wasn’t afraid OR because she couldn’t see the unknown (aka falling down toward the water), but her persistence in begging Hao Tian to leave and not care for her was really brave. I’m so serious. It was so unexpected because most characters being captured would call out for help (AND I seriously don’t blame them since who wouldn’t be scared and who wouldn’t want to live–even the slightest chance?) YET Nai Xin didn’t. She had begged him to leave over and over again.
  • Chen Sha Li as Wang Yin Li (王銀麗). I remember the days of watching old TW soaps and seeing her in fierce roles. This one was semi-fierce since she had to be tough to keep everything intact within the household but she was so vulnerable as well (because of her age, obviously). She was quite intelligent for the most part, except for that one incident that had led to misunderstanding her daughter-in-law years ago. There goes the pattern with people’s blind spot when it came to personal matters. (But I don’t mind since everyone has to have some weakness or it would be too fake.)
  • Wang Dao as Ke Yao He (柯耀和).  What could I say about him except that he was convincing with appearing to be quite weak at first but became a stronger character later because the dramatic obstacle of his life got resolved already?
    • Xu Deng Ke (徐登科) as the young Yao He. For some reason, I couldn’t see the link. I meant sometimes you could see the similarities of the younger version and older version? I guess his somewhat intimidating appearance at first cast some doubt and lured us in because he was portrayed as somewhat arrogant with Bai Zong Yuan’s version of the story? Perhaps.
  • Wang Zhong Huang as Jian Shi Xin (簡士信). Despicable character but I guess someone had to do it. He was intimidating and suspicious at first all right. Yet when the dark curtain lifted and he was all out on the ‘evil’ deeds, it was even more frustrating. Of course, the plot had to plan for us to hate him. He was one of the reasons why I found it hard to accept some part of the ending (aka letting the others forgave that crazy old woman aka his mother). I meant she molded him into that type of person, right? And he harmed practically every member of the Ke family, including the attempted assault on Nai Xin so it was hard to just say ‘forget it’. Come on now, even if his mother was sworn sisters with Wang Yin Li.
  • Jing Ming Hua as Bai Zong Yuan (白宗源).The typical, cliche brother who thought that he should have inherited the fortune OR other stuff, etc. YUP, the typical jealous dude who thought the world owed him. But if the families didn’t have issues of their own, they wouldn’t fall for his tricks, eh? Well, his family wouldn’t have guessed it was him and I wouldn’t blame them. Especially how Mr. and Mrs. Bai (Ruo Qing’s parents) were quite sharp regarding him so they could be forgiven. But the other side? (I only give Nian He credit, LOL!) Anyway, we could say that Bai Zong Yuan was responsible for 50% of the misunderstandings in here. Honestly, he was that good and people still fell for it. Got to give the guy credit. His ending was shocking (since I wouldn’t guess that they would go all the way, considering how dramas nowadays love the ‘forgive’ theme) because how he accidentally killed his daughter in his haste to seek revenge. She didn’t deserve to die but he was the one responsible because he wouldn’t stop all his killing until he could ‘win’ back what was supposed to be ‘his’. AND we once again witness how scary it could be when ‘jealousy’ gets in the way.
    • Wang Rui Jian (王瑞劍) as the young Bai Zong Yuan. For some reason, okay–I got influenced because of Bai Zong Yuan’s story-telling, but the younger version of him looked more sincere? I don’t know. Perhaps that was the benefit of him telling the story at first so it made everything kind of vague, making us wanting to hold our judgment since we needed the other side’s words. Considering how Wang Yin Li could be so fierce at times, it was possible she was responsible for some of the stuff in the past, etc. But I guess Wang Rui Jian sure made it convincing with looking like a victim to mislead at first. (OR was that supposed to be his own version? He was the victim, etc.)

Other Major Cast/ Characters:

  • Zhou Shao Dong as Lao Ma (老馬). Ke family’s trusty servant. Sometimes, I wonder if he had a hidden agenda somewhere. Maybe it was paranoia on my part since I found it too good to be true that he was just one of those loyal servants. OR also having to do with finding out that Ding Bang wasn’t that ‘good’ like he let on. Yet it was interesting to see how his character was somewhat put in the dark until almost the end. I meant like I said already, he was loyal BUT sometimes, it seemed like he was up to something so that was sort of good to be kept in the dark until almost the end when we could see he was relaxing and joking along with the others as well.
  • Tang Jun Xi as Zhou Ding Bang (周定邦). Hao Tian’s supposedly good brother. A jealous idiot who got persuaded by Jian Shi Xin to join him in the whole conspiracy. I do understand that he felt so inferior alongside Hao Tian and only wanted his mother’s attention BUT he went WAY over with all the things he did. OR had all that jealousy blinded his vision? SO he realized Hao Tian was genuine when Hao Tian called the lawyer in to help him, but it seemed a bit rushed? OR it was like he said, he didn’t want to be locked up forever. And Hao Tian’s offer was too good to pass, right?
  • Ding Guo Lin as Ke Xiao Jing (柯曉菁). Another character who was trying to prove a thing or two in here. She was, of course, eventually used by Jian Shi Xian against the others–as well. Like she wasn’t used since the beginning with the marriage so Jian Shi Jian could enter the Ke family, but it was more obvious later on. AND she couldn’t totally be blamed since she really wanted to be acknowledged by her mother. Yet it seemed so OVER when she knew that she was being used BUT kept going? Well, always good to see her turn back later–and it took her daughter’s incident (with the fabricated story published in the gossip magazines) for her to muster some courage, but that seemed a bit too easy? I guess better than nothing since it would be too hard on Nai Xin if her mother didn’t turn around.
  • Gino as Zhang Zi Wen (張子文). Perhaps, because of his mother’s constant complaints about their grandma being partial to the uncle and eventually the uncle’s son so it influenced his mind. He wasn’t a bad person overall, but I guess he could be called as easily persuaded by others. And possibly somewhat of a player? Or more like love roaming around than taking things serious about their family business hence not really trusted with important matters.
  • Wang Jing as Bai Jia Wen (白嘉雯). I really, really hated her at the beginning since she kept playing those childish, bullying games. Not that I ended up liking her later since I tried to tune her out at other times, just focusing on the major plot for the most part. Yet I sort of pitied her later on. Though she was the jealous type, wanting to prove herself and seeking attention from Luo Bing Xian, but I must admire her stubbornness. I meant she wasn’t easily persuaded to fall for Zi Wen. Though that might or might not be better for her to just move on, she was persistent in what she did. Regardless of all the silly schemes she pulled throughout, I didn’t think she deserved death to pay for what she did. She was just another victim of her father’s blind hate. YET was that to punish her father?
  • Zhang Ming Ming as Luo Bing Xian (羅秉憲). I was really annoyed with him at the beginning. NOT because I was rooting for Hao Tian and Ruo Qing, but more like I hated his advances on Ruo Qing. He was trying to prove his love for her BUT realistically, it’s very scary in real life to encounter such traumatizing incidents. Yet I think I had to reconsider his character in the later parts. And that wasn’t because he ended up helping Ruo Qing near the end with the information, but more like he moved into the mixed feelings area along with the other characters. It was like he was too blind with his love to see that his method wasn’t proper toward Ruo Qing.
  • Huang Mei Ying (黃梅瑩) as Yang Qiu Yan (楊秋燕). Hao Tian and Nian He’s mother. I liked it that she was so hardworking and still have the little stall by the seaside. OKAY, so it was necessary that she worked and chipped in with the finances. It later became the key part where Yao He discovered her whereabouts again and had the confrontation, etc also. But I thought she didn’t have to really work, considering how Nian He was capable (even if he was trying to make ends meet at first). But it showed her down-to-earth nature with always wanting to stay active, even when she found out Nian He was already pretty well on his way within the Ke household. It proved that she wasn’t just in for the money, etc. (It proved that before with how she wanted Nian He to get out of the Ke family because of the past misunderstandings and she worried for Nian He’s safety. But what I found memorable was the actual scenes afterward with keeping it consistent that she still worked hard to earn money, etc.)
    • Li Ming Zhu (李明珠) as the young Qiu Yan. She looked so cute. No wonder the two guys were fighting over her. Well, Yao He wasn’t fighting BUT it was just Bai Zong Yuan’s one-sided love. YET I could see why she received attention from both.
  • Liu Zheng (劉政) as Ge Da Chang (葛大昌). Nian He’s good brother and somewhat of his side-kick (LOL). At first, I kept a look out for him too. I was too scared that he might turn, just like how Ding Bang did with some temptation. But he was loyal to Nian He, even to the end. Or there was the other side with the possibility of him blowing Nian He’s cover when they were around town and during that one time at the car shop. YET he even covered for Nian He (even if he wasn’t sure if he’d agreed with Nian He’s method).
  • Yuan Xiao Xu (袁曉旭) as Tao Qian Hui (陶芊慧). I seriously thought she was just there to be Da Chang’s girlfriend, and also Ying Ying and Ruo Qing’s good friend. When she framed Ying Ying and all, I was wondering what happened–since she didn’t seem to be the type to give in to pressure OR wanting a higher position hence targeting Ying Ying. YET I didn’t rule out the possibility that most characters in here were already weird/mysterious/having hidden agenda, SO I watched on seeing what would happen. After that little conflict was resolved, I knew her grandma knew something when she reacted strangely upon them mentioning some words, BUT didn’t realize the grandma was actually the mastermind AND Qian Hui played a major role in the conspiracy/revenge scheme. Okay, SO she didn’t want to harm anyone, but she still helped her grandma with delivering the pin at the beginning and then doing other things later. It appeared she was just a tool used to aid in the whole revenge plot (since she was NOT Yin Xin Yu’s grand-daughter). BUT possibly because of her guilt and having interacted with the others for a while, she helped them to stop her grandma in the end–and delaying the worst until help arrived. AND since they forgave Yin Xin Yu, her little aids here and there could be forgiven as well?
  • Cong Zhong Xiao (叢中笑) as Yin Xin Yu (陰心瑜). Jian Shi Xin’s mother, Qian Hui’s grandma. The mastermind behind all those schemes and conspiracy since the end of episode 3 and onward. Well, at least for the whole revenge plot on Jian Shi Xin’s side. I can’t even sympathize with her though learning of what happened and her hardship afterward. I’m serious. I meant it seemed she and Wang Yin Li either have such fake friendships that they couldn’t trust one another enough OR she was really paranoid. Because honestly, it was ridiculous so much happened before someone took it up to clarify matters. Or was that because she had to let her anger out before listening to anyone? Well, I do understand she had suffered a lot hence it was fusing her hate. YET it was too extreme if she hadn’t trust Wang Yin Li at all. How hard was it to just go and ask? Or she was afraid she would be off (aka getting killed off) as well if she just approached Wang Yin Li?

Supporting Cast:

  • Chen Jun Sheng as Shi San Shao (十三少). Hao Tian’s good friend and somewhat of an arch-enemy (LOL). I thought he was the bad guy at first. I’m so serious. Perhaps because of the intro scene where everyone was sooooo worried for Hao Tian and thinking that Shi San Shao was setting up some trap for Hao Tian. Yet he was just competitive–in the car racing/betting area. He actually was quite funny and a supportive, trustworthy friend. Funny how I thought he would get a major role as well. But he was just part of the intro scenes. It was all right. Since they got enough problems for the rest of the plot already. No need to include everyone–or drag it out even more.
  • AVA (錢帥君) as Ni Fang Fang (倪芳芳) aka Lin Xin Hui (林心卉). I know she had a very cruel past with witnessing her father being murdered right in front of her and her mother jumping from that one bridge. But I can’t seem to sympathize with her. Okay, I kind of sympathize with her after learning that she was avenging her parents’ deaths and NOT because of some senseless killing (since I guess they were bounty hunters at first). NOT because of the cruel killing techniques that were executed at times, but how she had treated Xuan Xuan later on–and insisting on killing Xuan Xuan to keep their secret. SURE, her devastating past had caused some trust issues in her, but after all Xuan Xuan did to help her avenge her parents’ deaths AND been there for her all those times, she had to pull that card on Xuan Xuan? Not to mention how she was punishing Stacia. Targeting her enemies and resorting to any type of method possible to avenge her parents was one thing BUT punishing those who had been there for her throughout? OR maybe I shouldn’t apply reasonableness to her case.
  • Qiao Ke Li (巧克力) as Pan Pan (潘潘). I hated her for her jealousy and her attacks on Xuan Xuan and Stacia, BUT didn’t hate her for her betrayal on Fang Fang. Why not? Honestly, Fang Fang had it coming and how Pan Pan was just covering for herself after knowing what could be done after all Xuan Xuan and Stacia did for Fang Fang. Though she, Pan Pan, had a hand in influencing Fang Fang’s actions toward Xuan Xuan and Stacia, Fang Fang was the leader SO she could overrule Pan Pan in those side attacks on Xuan Xuan and Stacia.
  • Angel Weng (翁子麒) as Stacia (史黛西). I found her kind of kiddish for their group yet I guess it made sense after learning her story. (I meant the actress looked too innocent for the role OR possibly too young but got the answer later as to why they gave her that image.) She was the only one treating Xuan Xuan like a friend and/or good sister, unlike the other two who were just saying it with their mouths, NOT acting like so. I was super frustrated with her death and wished it hadn’t occurred YET I guess it had to happen for some events to unfold, etc. NOT too unreasonable. At least the people who had a hand in her death got punished.
  • Cherry Hsia (夏如芝) as Xuan Xuan (宣宣). I can’t recall where I have last seen her in yet this role was all right. A mixture of gentleness and capabilities. I actually liked both of her bonds with Stacia and Nai Xin. Totally different types of bond yet it allowed us to see her character in another light, aside from the intimidating image she had at first (along with the other three during their intro scenes). I was so glad she didn’t die. I thought she would after being stabbed like that. Well, if she had died, it would be even harder for them all to forgive Fang Fang (regardless of whether it was just some misunderstanding or not).
  • Patrick Li (李沛旭) as Li Da Wei (李大衛). A different role from When Dolphin Met Cat and refreshing since we got to see him kind of dorky and clumsy in here versus his cool dude attitude in the other one. Convincing enough.
  • Hu Xiao Fang (胡曉芳) as Xie Xiao Tian (謝小甜). I found her cute until she got all bossy with Da Wei in trying to secure her job with helping Fang Fang. Yet I reminded myself that she didn’t know how much damage could be done. And indeed she was quite regretful when she learned what had happened.
  • Zhang Qin as Lin Sao (林嫂). Ni Fang Fang’s mother. So didn’t see it coming that she was Fang Fang’s mother. But it made sense. The only person who could stop Fang Fang from continuing on with her mistakes, AND not to mention how they needed the mother to clarify with Hao Tian having no involvement in the killing of the father.
  • Jian Jia Wei (簡家瑋) as Liao Qing Long (廖慶隆). I thought he was a match for Pan Pan with their exchange at the police station. However, I didn’t realize where the plot was going. Yet it wasn’t impossible and made the plot even more intense. Really hated him for killing Stacia. SO serious, I thought Stacia would have made it through if it wasn’t for him. But I guess they needed Pan Pan around to pull through with the conspiracy and finally his arrest with the higher authorities finding evidence, etc.
  • Ma Hui Zhen (馬惠珍) as Zhou Qing Shan (周晴珊) aka Qing Yi (晴姨). Ding Bang’s mother. I sort of suspected her throughout too. I SWEAR! I meant like how she was too kind and too nice, etc. AND how it was too good to be true that she didn’t know Ding Bang was involved in such conspiracy. YET not too unreasonable since the truth revealed near the end, and how Ding Bang wasn’t around her as much during those times so he had plenty of times to roam. She was indeed another loyal housekeeper.
  • You Yong (尤勇) as Bai Ruo Yao (白瑞堯). Ruo Qing’s father. Glad he wasn’t the dummy type. It’s mean, but I’m seriously getting sick of those characters that are too good to be true, especially when they’re within the business field and is still in the ‘naive’ side with thinking siblings can’t betray you, etc. Come on now, let’s get real. I mean okay, he’s a good person, but it doesn’t mean he would get fooled by his brother for pulling such acts, especially when he overheard the dude cooking up some plans with Nian He (even if Nian He was just trying to extract more info from Bai Zong Yuan).
  • Liu Jia (劉佳) as Zhang Zai Fen (張再芬). Ruo Qing’s mother. She’s average, I guess. I can’t say much since she doesn’t appear enough to form a strong opinion. But I guess I’m surprised they give her a stronger and active role within their business, accompanying her husband. It seems cool since she’s not just in the background, letting her husband do whatever.
  • Hao Xiao Yu (郝笑雨) as Zhang Qian (張倩). Jia Wen’s conspirator who was later arrested for bribery–among other things.
  • Cindy Mong (孟庭麗) as Feng Yi. She was one hilarious character all right. Loved her intro scenes and the craziness later with her son. I guess she was a breath of fresh air for the show since she and her son became the comic relief for some parts in between. I was also glad that they showed some of Ying Ying’s relatives too and others who supported Ying Ying (even if they had accidentally caused some incidents to unfold).
  • Leo Ding as Yang Xian Yong. Ying Ying’s cousin. A silly dude overall, lol. Very rash at times hence the misunderstanding at the beginning. Yet had a good heart overall.
  • Li Yi Juan (李宜娟) as Jiang Qiao Ping (姜巧萍). One of the front desk clerks. I needed a second watch to remember her. She added to the group of receptionists and their bond at times, even if they were just cooperating for the necessary duties. Yet I would take anyone over Yu Ting at this point.
  • Liza Wang (王心宜) as Ma Xin Yi (馬心儀). Ying Ying’s friend. She was cute and understanding. And if it wasn’t for her, Hao Tian wouldn’t be alive (considering how Ding Bang was trying to finish his job at the hospital). But what I felt kind of irked with her was not stopping her cousin (aka Yu Ting) from jumping into Hao Tian when he lost his memory. OKAY, so there was a possibility that Hao Tian might not remember (if it were real-life situation) so moving on with his life was something they couldn’t change. However, he was a man with a past, she really wanted to risk it? At least tell him the truth so he wouldn’t be so clueless. It wouldn’t change anything since he couldn’t remember, but at least he knows somewhat and make the decision for himself. But keeping him in the blind and knowing what could happen? (I like to blame Yu Ting AND yes, I hate that desperate girl, but Xin Yi should take some of the blame for the damage afterward since she knows.)
  • Vicky Tseng as Zeng Yu Ting (曾玉婷). I found it sooo hard to sympathize with her though I know what happened in the past while Hao Tian lost his memory was hard to let go after he regained his memory and returned to his normal life again. YES, she was just stubborn and so into Hao Tian that it was hard to let go SO she practically blocked out the reasonable side of her to win Hao Tian back (as she claimed). But it was really hard to sympathize with her. NOT just because Ruo Qing was the fiancee and Hao Tian only loved Ruo Qing, BUT more like Yu Ting’s attitude. Also, how desperate was that to just throw herself toward Hao Tian when she knew his true identity? Or was that intentional? That was uncalled for with me thinking of her like that, but I couldn’t help it. It didn’t matter that she finally understood Ruo Qing and clarified matters later, still didn’t like her. Was just glad she was finally out of the picture. But I think she brought it upon herself with her downfall since Hao Tian said it was one thing with causing trouble for him, but for the hotel businesses?
  • STACY as Zhang Lin Lin (張琳琳). She really had style. One of the funniest parts was how she was saying they had to help Lu Bao to look her best (aka restoring her confidence). Then she launched into saying how they should make Lu Bao look so beautiful that even her husband would regret in abandoning her. AND the priceless part was adding in some comments about men, which got the majority’s reaction, LOL! (Since most of the people sitting at the meeting were men, lol.)
  • Zhan Wei Zhong (詹惟中) as Wang Wei (王威). Lin Lin’s best friend and was considered to understand her the most (and didn’t mind her comment about ‘men’, lol). At first, I thought he was quite weird and wonder if he was up to something. But was reassured later. Guess those artists do have some kind of weirdness within them, eh? LOL!
  • Yang Zhong En as Wang Bo Lin (王柏林). Strict and seemed to have some beef with life in general or something. Well, at first when he appeared and somewhat of his attitude were seen. When his story revealed, it was refreshing in a sense because haven’t seen a character that cared so much about the actual person instead of just caring about making money of the occupation. And in a way, that was why he refused to take Jian’s offer though Jian was supposed to be his classmate once upon a time. Had his principles yet could loosen up with the people who actually respect and care for his family–and friends.
  • Zheng Ping Jun (鄭平君) as Wang Bo Song (王柏松). Wang Bo Lin’s older brother. I found it hard that he wasn’t mad at his brother for such actions as it often happened with other overly dramatic series. Yet I guess it wasn’t too unbelievable because they were family after all and they had to look at the positive no matter what, trying to stick together. Especially his brother had already turned a new leaf and worked hard.
  • Yue Ting (岳庭) as Yang Lin Hui Lan (王林慧蘭). Wang Bo Song’s wife. I guess her sacrifice was worth it since the younger brother was no longer as stubborn? Yet it was so sad with her having to cover up when she went out. Glad she got her wish and had a little makeover that one time. But most importantly, she found the courage to look forward, regaining her confidence.
  • Yu Cai En (余采恩) as Wang Wan Jun (王婉君). Wang Bo Song and Yang Lin Hui Lan’s daughter. Cute. She didn’t appear much so it was hard to say, lol. But she worked at the beauty/makeover center of the hotel with her uncle. Professional enough and likable also.
  • Mishelle Wang as Hu Li Ming (胡莉茗) aka Lu Bao (綠寶). Didn’t realize she also had a story of her own since I thought they were just three really weird rich people (who were quite paranoid). Still nice to see the story between her and her son.
  • Chen Wei Han (陳威翰) as Jiang Yi Lin (蔣亦霖). I had a feeling he was linked to some other story aside from just being there for a little makeover to cheer his dad up. Guessed right but didn’t realize he was Lu Bao’s son until when they pulled up to that one house.
  • Chen Ping (陳萍) as Chanel aka Lan Bao (藍寶). Somewhat in the crazy category. But I guess she had to protect herself by pulling some tricks on people, lol.
  • Cai Jia Hong (蔡佳宏) as Christine aka Bai Zhen (白鉆). She completed the group of three, of course. And same as the other two, kind of crazy and paranoid at times but I guess their bonds do convince with how they were so worried for Lu Bao that one time.

Friendships:

  • Hao Tian and Shi San Shao. I found their rivalry kind of funny. But I guess that was one of those typical guy thing with wanting to compete BUT still kept some type of bond. The scene where Shi San Shao rejected Fang Fang’s offer really illustrated their friendship. In fact, Shi San Shao was right in clarifying the matter with how he wanted to marry Fang Fang because he loved her AND not wanting it to become some sort of transaction. So Hao Tian’s trust in him wasn’t for nothing after all. Also, when they were hiding at his house that one time, Shi San Shao didn’t even disclose of their whereabouts. (Though I was shocked at first to learn Shi San Shao would tell Fang Fang YET it was just Fang Fang’s excuse to come and check on them–and eventually try to make a move with setting the trap to kill Hao Tian.)
  • Hao Tian and Ding Bang. They were sort of like brothers. Too bad Ding Bang couldn’t see it–with him feeling inferior to Hao Tian, because of his mother’s partial to Hao Tian. OR at least it was from his point of view. Hao Tian indeed treated him like a good brother and even trusted him, too much actually. If not, why would he agree to race like that thus leading to his downfall (temporarily)? Then afterward when Hao Tian returned, he even greeted Ding Bang enthusiastically (after he clarified to the others about the plots with the switch-over again) and didn’t even doubt Ding Bang at all with having a hand in the whole car accident.
  • Nian He and Da Chang. My favorite team in here. They were so funny together–with their schemes and all. I thought Da Chang would ruin it for Nian He with his smart-mouth and all. Yet he managed to keep it a secret (for the most part) and tried to cover for Nian He as best as he could (as mentioned before). He later became the person who went around searching for information here and there. One of the scenes that I thought he might get ‘off’ was, of course, the part where he sneaked into Bai Zong Yuan’s office to plant the chip. Since Bai Zong Yuan already showed his capability when he tried to kill the car shop owner SO that was why I felt quite nerve-racking in watching that scene.
  • Ying Ying, Ruo Qing, and Qian Hui. I don’t know. I thought they were kind of fun at first and another group of friends to look forward to since the girl side needed some type of group too. Yet it seemed kind of loose later on.
  • Ying Ying and Nai Xin. I felt their chemistry with the friendship more. Though Ying Ying was supposed to be the nurse who looked after Nai Xin at first hence being protective of her in the later parts as well. Yet their bond was really genuine, especially the part where they arranged the fireworks in order to help Nian He with his proposal to Ruo Qing. (OF COURSE, Nian He was posing as Hao Tian at that time.) Then there were various points throughout that they really stuck together, supporting one another in time of need. Like Nai Xin would try to cheer Ying Ying up when Ruo Qing misunderstood her or when Nai Xin was feeling down because of how her mother was causing trouble all around.

Couples:

  • Eric Huang and Margaret Wang as Yang Nian He and Qiu Ying Ying. Both cute and addicting to watch. And could be quite touching at times too. What I loved the most about their interaction was a mixture of seriousness and cuteness. It was like they have their secret language with what real-life couples would often have (and sometimes end up that way over the years after they were married). It was like they say a word or two or just a sign or an expression and the other got it. They had a way with communicating that convinced us that they were together, not just the usual ‘I Love You’ spread all over or the overly mushy stuff to convince us they were a couple. (YES, I’m rolling my eyes right now at those scenes often seen in the other dramas.) She often played the devil’s advocate, trying to wake him up in certain matters, such as how serious things were within the Ke family (when she finally found out he was posing as Hao Tian). Though it was the only way he could get the money for his mother’s medical fees but Ying Ying was quite level headed and often kept him in check regarding the whole matter and how complicated it was, not just a little deal and he would be done afterward. Though she soon gave in and ended up helping him all the way later on, it wasn’t like she was just blindly jumping in but she understood the situation quite well or could sympathize with the Ke family, etc. The only time that I found it kind of ridiculous with their interaction was how they were hugging in Ruo Qing’s office and got caught (though Ruo Qing didn’t say anything at all). I meant, come on now, common sense? It wasn’t like it was in his office and Ruo Qing came in somehow and saw them, BUT it was Ruo Qing’s office. I guess the scriptwriters needed more problems to occur so they made it like that. BUT that was so out of characters. Though it could explain they were so comfortable with talking with one another that they forgot, etc. YET they should understand they were at work, NOT home. Anyway, their relationship wasn’t just him protecting her but at times, he needed a shoulder to cry on too–not literally, but more like some sort of silent support and cheering him on. Their roles were reversed at times, so it wasn’t just about who was protecting whom. They were at the same level.
  • Eric Huang and Cecilia Han as Ke Hao Tian and Bai Ruo Qing. More reserved than the other couple, except several rare times. Mostly because of their background so it was hard to blame them for being so formal at times. But they didn’t lack chemistry because of those factors. Not to mention how her feelings for Hao Tian were already magnetized during the times she thought Nian He was Hao Tian (like some of the others had thought as well).
  • Liu Zheng and Yuan Xiao Xu as Ge Da Chang and Tao Qian Hui. They were all right for me at first. But I found them kind of cute too later, especially near the ending. I like it that they also had a part at the wedding since like the mother said that Da Chang was sort of a brother to Nian He so it was natural to include him and Qian Hui too.
  • Leo Ding and Fang Shu Zhen as Xian Yong and Nai Xin. They were really funny all right. The misunderstanding at his intro scene was quite funny–after things were sorted out, of course. Since I thought Nai Xin was really unlucky to encounter such a matter after she started her new life. YET it ended up being quite silly because Xian Yong had misunderstood and thought Nai Xin was Ruo Qing. She sure was strong for such a petite girl! LOL! (I guess we shouldn’t underestimate her.) Anyway, her daydreaming that one time with him saving her in an ancient setting was really funny! She was really cute in that outfit though and he was more silly than brave in that rescue scene. They probably will end up together, right? I meant she did catch the bouquet of flowers. LOL!

Likes:

  • The theme songs. I had to rely on the subtitles because I don’t understand the dialect that well, but I liked those songs while watching.
  • Make-up. YES, I had to put this in because it seemed like it was overly done in other dramas. I thought they gave the right touch in here, especially the male population. There were times in other dramas I wonder IF it was done on purpose or just poorly done. Of course, we all know all of the cast has to wear makeup for the filming, etc BUT when it gets so noticeable with the guys, it starts to become disturbing. Unless it was intentional for exaggeration of personalities, it just seemed ODD with so much powder/make-up on some people’s faces. Skin colors were more noticeable in here SO they managed to tone it down for make-up in this one, helping the drama projecting a more serious image as an overall. Kudos to the production team on this one.
  • Intelligence Level/ Common Sense. YUP, the fact that the majority in here weren’t idiots. I’m so serious here. It was like from some other dramas, they loved torturing themselves into those troubles by letting others harm them. Though the characters in here weren’t flawless (because that would be unrealistic), but they weren’t that clueless either. Unless it was some personal matters at times or weak spots, they seemed to be intelligent for the most part. At least for most of the main cast.
Goofs/Oops/Annoying Parts/Whatever Else:
  • Flashbacks. I think it was helpful while it was airing because after some lapses between episodes and time it was aired, viewers would forget the details and needed it as reminders BUT since I watched it in one go, it was a pain to me at times. ‘Cause some of them kept repeating AND at a great length (TO ME) so it was bugging me at times and driving my patience insane.
  • Yu Ting’s schemes. YES, they needed more plot development for Hao Tian after he returned YET I found it quite annoying with those parts, especially the one he ended up at her house that one night AND fell right into her trap. I know he felt guilty for what he did while he lost his memory and wanted to make up to her–with what he could do. BUT what he could have done with picking up some items would be bringing Ruo Qing with him SO there was no way anyone would misunderstand him. Some of Yu Ting’s schemes later backfired on her YET I found some scenes still annoying. It made sense and what she did drove the plot forward but it was sooo annoying. I so agreed with Ruo Qing that Hao Tian was asking for trouble when agreeing to let Yu Ting work at the hotel.
  • Jia Wen’s death scene. I think they (the scriptwriters) really wanted to kill Jia Wen because NO ONE yelled out for others to call 911 OR some sort of emergency unit to come right away. It took Bai Zong Yuan to yell for them to call? WOW! They seriously cared for her all right. Well, it could be that they were too shocked with the turn of events YET it seemed out of place since they managed to keep it consistent throughout with other scenes where emergency vehicles/help were needed SO why the goof-up this one time? That was why I came up with the conclusion that the scriptwriters really wanted to kill Jia Wen. It wasn’t like it was a surprise since Bai Zong Yuan had it coming AND they were too far out (as in current location) to get to the hospital in time. YET it would make sense to call right away, NOT until Bai Zong Yuan yell at them.
  • The Ending. NO, I don’t dislike weddings or happy endings. I meant the clarifications and the tie-in near the end in this situation. Honestly? They put us through 17 episodes of that just because of some lame misunderstanding? I do understand some small matter could turn into BIG right away IF it was interpreted differently or just through assumptions, but that was lame all right. With all the deaths and torturing that most characters went through, you would think there would be some other explanation. But I guess sometimes it was just that lame. That was life. AND maybe because I had the feeling they sort of got together and sang the ‘Barney song’ SO I was kind of stumped with such a finale. But I guess if it wasn’t for such misunderstanding and so many schemes, the Ke family wouldn’t resolve some of their own misunderstandings and reunite once again.

Moral of the story? People need to work on their communication skills AND trust issues. YES, I honestly thought that was what it was all about here. Because 90% of the problems in here occurred because of some sort of misunderstanding. Sometimes, things couldn’t be thoroughly investigated, but maybe some sort of direct communication could help the case. I could draw up a list too! (LOL!)

  • The misunderstanding between Ni Fang Fang and Ke Hao Tian. More like her thinking that he was the mastermind behind her parents’ deaths. BUT how hard was it to confront him? What could go wrong? She could always kill him anyway. Like she wasn’t capable.
  • The misunderstanding between Wang Yin Li, Ke Yao He, and Yang Qiu Yan. It was manipulated by Bai Zong Yuan. BUT still…crazy. NOT too far-fetched, but still crazy that they listened to outsiders more than their family? Like seriously? Nian He nailed it when he said they shouldn’t listen to Bai Zong Yuan and NOT trust one another. (YES, he literally said, “We shouldn’t trust outsiders, but should be trusting our family.”)
  • The misunderstanding between Wang Yin Li and her daughter, Ke Xiao Jing. Another attention seeking situation. But it was there with Xiao Jing trying to prove herself to her mother. Seeking attention wasn’t wrong since it was her mother after all, BUT that had led her into doing damage to the already-sinking ship (aka their business). Perhaps this one was harder to resolve since it was ongoing since she was young and I don’t blame her for feeling that way.
  • The misunderstanding between Wang Bo Lin and Hao Tian and the others within the business. OKAY, this one couldn’t be helped because Yu Ting did it to sabotage Ruo Qing and the rest of the team out of jealousy and childishness. But it was still another misunderstanding within all those other problems they had to take care of. Lucky Mr. Wang told Hao Tian when he finally got a chance during their departure that night at the Wang resident. One of those less frustrating moments because it was short-lived.
  • The misunderstanding between Hu Li Ming and her husband. YES, the man couldn’t help it that he found out he had an incurable disease BUT he couldn’t muster up the courage to ask his wife who the other dude was? It wasn’t like he was spying on her BUT was just there to pick her up from the appointment and saw them. SO he could just ask. It was a harmless, curious question. OR he was too into the morbid-land after finding out about his disease that he didn’t care to ask or clarify matters anymore? I don’t know.
  • Ding Bang misunderstood his mother with only loving Hao Tian AND NOT him. Since he thought the reason why he wasn’t receiving enough attention was because he wasn’t her son. NOT really. But seriously? He was just too filled with hatred and allowing his assumptions to fill in the gaps without caring to ask the mother. OR perhaps, he had been subjected to hearing about Hao Tian that he went nuts? OH WELL, but that was too lame, considering the Ke family was so nice to him, trusting him to handle most of their important stuff, etc.
  • Yin Xin Yu misunderstood Wang Yin Li for betraying her because of that one incident. The little misunderstanding that had affected so many people’s lives. YES, it wasn’t too out of it since the coincidences were too much. But if some sort of confrontation had taken place ages back, that would prevent some matters from occurring. We wouldn’t even have a drama to watch IF it was that easy, BUT seriously? How hard was it to confront someone you declared to be your sworn sister? GREAT…

NOT saying that I hated the series by listing the above points but found that formula the most obvious for the overall story.

Recommended? Your choice. I enjoyed it for the majority of the time. It took me four days (minus all the time I needed to get on with real-life stuff) to watch which was a new record for a 20-episode drama. BUT then again, I’m weird like that to choose certain dramas over others SO my opinions could not be trusted anyway.

Liao Zhai 2

(Uploaded by: chiffon168)

Ending Theme Versions:

Featuring Luo Sha Hai Shi and Yan Zhi: Here

Featuring Yi Ning and Fen Die: Here

Featuring Lian Xiang and Yi Qian: Here

I said that I would do an overall analysis on this one so here goes. I thought this set of stories was quite lacking compared to part 1. Don’t say ‘Duh’ ’cause honestly, it wasn’t a whole story to be on the same scale with the whole ‘sequel’ thing. YES, it was a sequel, BUT because it was not just one story and then this was following it in that matter to be counted that way. It would be more accurate to say that this was another set of stories that followed the previous set of stories. I remember not watching only one story from the last one ’cause I already watched another adaptation elsewhere hence not watching it because it was basically the same with a different cast. However, this one was quite fresh with the set of stories but some of them seriously failed to capture the main points and let it drag on so it was quite disappointing. I will list the order of the stories to which I feel it deserved its place and then provide the reason as to why.

Yan Zhi – I can’t believe this had become my favorite and also earned the first spot. I was really, really surprised that the story was soooo good. Possibly because it stood out from the rest so it seemed really good to me in the end. Because I thought it was average at first but analyzing it more later, it was the only one that I seemed to write an in-depth summary about. It actually had a good theme, a solid story, and was not dragging at all. Things kept happening to drive the plot forward, not letting it dwell on one or another thing for too long. There were frustrating parts, but it soon passed and gave way for other things. It was also my first time watching Cecilia Han Xue and really liked her in here. My second time watching Yan Kuan and really liked his performance, feeling he deserved this lead role.

Lian Xiang – Though I felt the story was strange with them at times and I thought I wouldn’t like the way how things were with them but I finally understand why it must to be that way. One thing drove the other forward and many events were unavoidable. I actually felt that their chemistry wasn’t bad. I actually accepted the ending though it was not a happy one. It did not have to be that way. A possibly typical battle between good versus evil but it was all right. At least it did not drag out to the point of unbearable. There were also enough actions going on to drive the plot forward, keeping it mysterious with providing us with pieces of the puzzle slowly until the end.

Ying Ning – The story became somewhat dragging and repetitive toward the middle and somewhat in the ending parts but I forgave them because somehow the story still made sense. I actually liked the chemistry between June and Zhao Yi–like I said in the other review. It was really cute between them at first and then there was some bitterness. Not too bad at all.

Fen Die – What made this one standing fourth though it was supposed to be one of my most anticipated was its stupidity with dragging on and on about believing too much what the dreams were implying. YES, it could be true and could hint at the future. BUT I felt Fen Die relied so deeply on the dreams to tell her things or let her decide that it was way too pathetic for me to endure. Eddie and Esther still had great chemistry but the story was a bit weak to endure. Not to mention how the ending was a bit weak–to say the least. Though it was a happy ending and it did show how Wang Feng was able to see through their true love and let go but it was too much of a rush.

Yi Qian – Kind of refreshing idea like I said in the other review with the reversed role of letting the girl accepting the guy. However, the plot became sort of weak in the later parts. Though there were some comedic moments, it could not make up for the ending. Too fast and too ‘whatever’  to forgive.

Luo Sha Hai Shi – It was way too obvious from the individual review that I didn’t like it. Or more like I was really disappointed in it. Regardless of how it became so tragic (as most Liao Zhai stories should be) near the end, I could not make myself move it up from the list. It was too dragging to endure. Not to mention though it was a happy ending, it was just too much of a disappointment with the plot and characterization as I said before in the other review.

Just to end this on a positive note, I really liked the ending theme song used for this part. Does that even count? LOL! The song is called “White Fox“, which really suited this kind of theme with the mystical settings.

Seriously though, it would be nice to collect and watch and skip around and then snap some caps to do nice wallpapers or other types of graphics with since the costumes were nice–for the most part. And the scenery was equally mesmerizing. If only they had worked more on the plot development because like I said before, there were a lot of good ideas yet wasted with repetitive scenes or draggy formulas. So recommended or not? If you’re curious, go ahead and hunt for it to watch. Or you could be collecting because you like the artist mentioned. BUT I wouldn’t recommend it for the plot. The good thing is I saw on YesAsia you could buy the stories separately so you could try it out for yourself without having to buy the whole set of stories.

Liao Zhai 2: Yan Zhi

(image credit: as marked)

Yan Xia and Yan Zhi were a pair of sisters who had a restaurant called ‘Tian Xiang’ (天香樓), which was recognized as the best around. Yan Xia was in charge of greeting customers and occupying their times with stories while Yan Zhi was in charge of cooking the many delicacies. Yan Xia was known as beautiful and gentle while Yan Zhi was supposedly ugly and anti-social. Yan Xia was very protective of her sister, Yan Zhi, and even wanted to find the best match for her sister. Upon venturing in the woods one day, the sisters encountered E Zi Chuan, a scholar on his way to the royal palace’s exam (the one that would allow one to advance in different official ranks, etc). It was later revealed he had other motives when rescuing the two sisters, injuring himself in the process and was brought back to their restaurant. He was actually trying to make it on time for the exams, but he was given instructions by his grandpa to search for the one who had the protective seal on her and also the powerful pearl that the rock demon was looking for. He soon found out through different tests that it was Yan Zhi yet it was not an easy test for him. (It was a relevant piece of information since a Taoist had put a seal on Yan Zhi and was able to stop the inevitable from happening to her ten years ago, but had predicted that she would encounter another obstacle ten years later.)

Zi Chuan soon learned that Yan Zhi was not a weakling or the quiet type like she had perceived at first. She was quite fierce with him after learning that he had tricked them and even stole some food from her kitchen. However, she was not unreasonable either since she still asked her sister for pardon and let him stay to help her around the restaurant. On the other hand, Yan Xia was finally meeting a match worth marrying, Shu Jie Lang. Yet she did not know that he had an agenda of his own with being so close to her. He was none other than the rock demon that Zi Chuan and his grandpa had been searching for.

Thinking that they could finally shed off Shu Jie Lang’s mask, Zi Chuan and his grandpa followed him into the woods one night and a battle ensued as they discovered the rock demon was feeding off a girl at that time. After realizing that they were no match for the demon, Zi Chuan and his grandpa fled the scene to which they were chased and eventually ran into the town’s constable. While Zi Chuan was yelling out for help, his grandpa stopped him from revealing their secret. However, the other guards found the girl’s body and immediately reported it to the constable to which he had both grandpa and grandson arrested for murder. An investigation was launched and the constable discovered some suspicious items in Zi Chuan’s belonging at Tian Xiang Restaurant. He took the items back to the cell where Zi Chuan and his grandpa resided and questioned them some more–to which Zi Chuan’s grandpa fended off the suspicions again. It was then that they discovered another body around town so the two suspects were released. That night, Zi Chuan and his grandpa kidnapped Yan Zhi with the intention of wanting to explain everything to her, seeking her help by letting them stay with her so it was easier to investigate. At first, she wasn’t convinced but later realized that Zi Chuan wouldn’t lie to her so she agreed. She then brought the two back to Tian Xiang Restaurant and persuaded her sister in letting them stay. Yan Xia did not trust the two and thought her sister was easily deceived but the constable appeared at that time, clearing their names and vouched for their innocence. Though the grandpa was grateful to the constable for backing them up, Zi Chuan knew the constable only wanted to keep them to find more information.

One day, Shu Jie Lang wanted to take Yan Xia on a boat ride date. Thanks to Zi Chuan’s grandpa, the date was avoided, allowing Zi Chuan a chance to follow Shu Jie Lang to find a lead. Zi Chuan soon discovered that the constable was following him from behind. On the other hand, Yan Zhi, not able to stay put, followed Zi Chuan and ended up helping him divert the constable’s attention from them. Once again, Yan Zhi helped Zi Chuan track Shu Jie Lang since she was more familiar with all the locations around town. They ended up being lost in the woods with fog surrounding them. They had to rest and wait for the fog to clear before going forth. That night, the rock demon finally attacked. Zi Chuan was defeated by the rock demon and the rock demon was moving in for the kill when Yan Zhi picked up the special magic coin sword to attack the rock demon, attempting to save Zi Chuan. Because of that, Yan Zhi received another scar on her face–this one being more obvious than the previous one. However, Zi Chuan was able to find a remedy to patch up the damage. After some hardships, Yan Zhi’s face was restored–even the scar from years ago. With all the efforts, Zi Chuan and Yan Zhi’s feelings had grown–for the better, of course. Even Grandpa was happy so it wasn’t just about them. Grandpa’s happiness wasn’t just because of Yan Zhi’s recovery but they also found the seal that was hidden on her years ago, allowing them to discover more regarding the powerful pearl that was on her also. They also learned that the Taoist who saved Yan Zhi’s life and placed a protective seal on her years ago was none other than Zi Chuan’s father. Zi Chuan realized the importance of practicing the skills and ended up taking a more active and responsible role as a Taoist, succeeding under his father as the next leader of their sect, Xiang Nan.

While that was going on, words had spread around town regarding Yan Zhi’s recovery and how her beauty was beyond imagination, drawing even more attention. That also stemmed some jealousy from Yan Xia–though subtle. At that time, Constable Ye (the same constable that had been investigating about the rock demon case) wanted to cancel the yearly beauty pageant for the female population’s safety. (It wasn’t just a typical beauty pageant since the winner was responsible for going up the mountains to this one temple to ask for the town’s fortune and well-being for the upcoming year.) YET Shu Jie Lang and Yan Xia still wanted to go ahead with it. And in the end, Shu Jie Lang won and they had to proceed with the plan but had to heighten the security.

Moving on, the public pressure had been hectic, causing Yan Zhi to seek for a hiding place. She ended up in Zi Chuan’s room–on his bed to be exact. Just at that time, Zi Chuan went back to his room and bumped into her–literally. He immediately told her to get out because it would lead to a misunderstanding (aka he wouldn’t want to get killed by her sister if someone walked in on them). So Zi Chuan took her to the roof to talk matters over. After a while, Grandpa walked in on them, teasing them some more before they launched into their discussion with making the next move, preparing for the security issues during the beauty pageant. After some ideas being tossed around, Yan Zhi finally thought of a plan but did not reveal it to Zi Chuan or Grandpa.

The next day arrived and Yan Zhi got her chance to carry out her plan, which was pretending to seduce Jie Lang so she could get close to him, forcing his demon form to appear in front of them all. However, both Yan Xia and Zi Chuan saw the action at the same time, causing more misunderstandings. Yan Zhi had no choice but to reveal the whole story to Yan Xia but of course, Yan Xia did not believe her, stating that Yan Zhi was just making an excuse, trying to hide the fact that she was stealing Yan Xia’s boyfriend. After tossing Yan Zhi out, Yan Xia wanted to go visit Jie Lang. That also led to her discovery of Jie Lang’s actual demon form because he was trying to cure himself of Yan Zhi’s previous attack. (More like the protective seal on her that had injured him.) The demon did not harm her. In fact, he offered to fulfill her wish of everlasting beauty if she would slash Yan Zhi’s face to destroy the seal, allowing him a chance to steal the powerful pearl on her. Yan Xia returned home to find Yan Zhi worrying for her, causing her to feel guilty of her plan. She bumped into Constable Ye the next day out in the streets and they had a talk. It also helped her to sort out her feelings. She returned home that night feeling much better about the whole thing, abandoning her evil plot altogether. OR so it seemed because she awakened from a nightmare that she had gone ugly to the point of terrifying. That was her new determination and she sought out the rock demon and joined forces with him, guaranteeing her forever beauty.

With the help of Yan Xia, Jie Lang was able to gain ultimatum over Zi Chuan, even killing Grandpa. Though Yan Xia was not able to separate Zi Chuan and Yan Zhi, she was able to aid Jie Lang in other means, causing the worst. They had no idea Yan Xia had destroyed their special magic coin sword on purpose the previous night and also switched their special ink to dog blood. Not to mention, Yan Xia was responsible for injuring Yan Zhi the previous day. Zi Chuan could not stop blaming himself for his grandpa’s death, thinking it was his lousy skills that had caused the old man’s death. But Yan Zhi soon discovered the dog’s blood and informed Zi Chuan, persuading Zi Chuan to continue on, thinking of methods to uncover Jie Lang’s mask. Due to his stubbornness and rash behaviors, Zi Chuan fell into Jie Lang and Yan Xia’s trap, causing him to be imprisoned. However, Zi Chuan was able to draw some magic words on Yan Zhi, wanting her to test Yan Xia to see if Yan Xia had been possessed. Upon Yan Xia’s deceptive words, Yan Zhi abandoned her plan and they proceeded with the beauty pageant the next day.

Zi Chuan escaped from prison the next day through the invisibility trick, going up the mountain to where the demon was supposed to strike. Constable Ye was also in hot pursuit, but while he and Zi Chuan were arguing and sorting things out among themselves, they saw a light appearing from the sky a distance away. It was a sign that the protective seal had been broken. It was Yan Zhi breaking it herself because she wanted the rock demon to restore Yan Xia’s beauty for her. Apparently, Yan Xia was touched by Yan Zhi’s many attempts to save her that she could not go forth with the plan in harming Yan Zhi causing the rock demon to punish her. The two men immediately rushed up to the mountain to find the two sisters struggling with the rock demon. Zi Chuan took over the battle against the rock demon, stopping him from getting the powerful pearl from Yan Zhi. After some more struggling, the rock demon managed to take the pearl out, ready to down it in order to gain human form forever. But before he was able to swallow it in full, Zi Chuan managed to put a protective seal over the pearl, causing the rock demon to swallow both the pearl and the seal, exploding into pieces. As they did a little celebration and gathered everyone up to escape from the scene, the rock demon managed to restore itself again, collecting every piece that made up his rock body. Zi Chuan was trapped under a big rock statue at that time since the ground was shaking, but he was able to yell out his command to the others to catch the pieces, stopping the demon from forming again. The rock demon laughed on, mocking their lame attempts YET he had no idea Yan Xia had caught one in all their attempts. She swallowed it, not letting the demon restore in full. While he tried to acquire her body to take the piece back out, she yelled out a command to Zi Chuan to destroy her body in full–even the rock particle that was in her, sabotaging the rock demon’s final chance. Yan Zhi did not understand at first since Yan Xia was using some vague words as her commands but Constable Ye was able to comprehend the situation. Zi Chuan finally went through with his curse and summoned the ability to destroy Yan Xia and the rock demon.

The next scene was the part where Yan Zhi and Constable Ye were standing in front of Yan Xia’s grave. From their conversation, it had been a while already and Zi Chuan already left–mostly from the guilt that he had killed Yan Xia (but that was because he had no choice). Yan Zhi had been living alone in Tian Xiang Restaurant but also under the care of Constable Ye (who of course was just taking on the role of a protective brother). After some reassuring words from Constable Ye, they separated. Yan Zhi encountered Zi Chuan and they finally talked it over, reaching an understanding. Zi Chuan was actually persuaded by Constable Ye to come and see Yan Zhi. It was a happy ending for both–a rare scene for such a tragic collection of stories.

I loved the chemistry between Cecilia and Kevin. It was just too addicting to watch them argue. I was glad he wasn’t just some weak scholar only knowing how to lecture others YET not looking at himself. He was much more than just a typical scholar. He knew how to take care of himself. He also had a smart mouth but it wasn’t just lecturing others out of some book. He had real experiences of those things or was intelligent enough to know what he was actually talking about. There was also the whole idea of Yan Zhi not being a weakling either. She seemed timid and gentle at the beginning. She was gentle but it did not mean she would get stepped on by others. Seeing different scenes, it was obvious she could take care of herself.

I was a tad surprised that Luo Da Hua was in here, considering how he wasn’t receiving important roles at TVB, etc. (I have watched him in various ATV series before that.) A role worth looking forward to though he was a villain this time. Kind of typical, considering his roles these past years at TVB, but this time, it was much more intriguing to watch his character unfold. What was more was seeing how his character Shu Jie Lang was just a shield for the rock demon. (Thanks to Constable Ye’s further investigation of Shu Jie Lang’s background and uncovering the truth.)

A very good storyline overall. Also, great characterization and development throughout. The acting was really good also. Quite convincing with each person and their personalities. Not to mention the emotions and turmoils they went through as the story progressed.