Light the Night

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW WILL COVER TOPICS THAT MIGHT BE TRIGGERING, SO PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION. TOPICS OF DISCUSSION INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO: GANG-RELATED VIOLENCE, RAPE, SUICIDE, ETC. (It is in no way as graphic as Hollywood productions, but it highlighted the very real issues that occur in real life.)

I started this a while back and finished it already. Yet took my precious time like always to review this. It mostly had to do with the fact that I wanted to step away to analyze it fully before diving in. It was really emotionally draining in some sense, but also quite impressive in other ways. The reason why I didn’t start until all parts were released was because I didn’t want to be left hanging. The second reason? I usually try to stay away from highly popular shows because they often lead to disappointment. I was glad I was proven wrong this time. (If you’re interested, check out my thread on Twitter. Obviously, some opinions have changed. However, those were some thoughts I had when I was watching.)

First off, I initially thought that this was produced by Netflix from the get-go, but I was wrong. When I went on my usual information hunting journey, I found out that they started it to be broadcasted by TVBS. Netflix only jumped in after seeing how high quality the overall production was. It was indeed impressive from the cast, the setting, and the costumes. Then I saw Ruby’s name on the producers’ list, so it made sense. Her productions are usually of high quality and she tries to aim for the best. The collaboration this time was equally successful.

Main Cast:

  • Ruby Lin (林心如) as Luo Yu Nong (羅雨儂) / Rose (蘿絲). The manager of Hikari, also Sue’s best friend. Rose was considered a wild child by traditional standards and she continued to walk her path as she traveled on her journey of life. She wasn’t perfect and never claimed to be so. She did what she thought was right and go from there. Since young, she was impulsive and obnoxious. In some ways, she was very optimistic about life—regardless of how she always got punished for her behaviors—and wanted to live to the fullest. That also included diving all in in the name of love. That continued to be one of her fatal flaws later on. However, it had evolved to a different level. After experiencing different turbulences, she became jaded, no longer naive about certain things. She learned some major lessons from the harsh reality. However, the most consistent thing about her was she was never a pushover. She stood up for herself and for others. It was a flame in her that refused to extinguish completely, regardless of how much it had gotten her into trouble. What others thought of her was a different story, and that was something she couldn’t control. And perhaps it was because of her headstrong nature and her unrelenting spirit that made others suspect her or misunderstand her. It had been a while now since I last watched Ruby in a series. I meant, I knew she had projects and followed her. I also placed the past dramas on the list, but it wasn’t really my priority to watch them. Then I got busy, so yeah, just didn’t feel like back-watch those. Anyway, this role of Ruby was different from her typical goody-two-shoes from previous mainland dramas. So, I liked it. She was a gray area character, and that was what made me stuck with her throughout. At times, she seemed too softhearted, letting so many people get away with things, but she was so resilient. She just kept on moving along, taking everything life was tossing at her. I thought this was one of the challenging roles for Ruby. It might seem normal for some people, but she had been taking similar roles when she was still in China. So, it was about time she worked with a different one. Some of the past roles, even if she had seemed cruel, the writers seemed to justify her actions too much, and it had the opposite effect on me. This one? They just told the stories and let the viewers decide.
  • Yo Yang (楊祐寧) as Pan Wen Cheng (潘文成) / Cheng Ge (成哥). Team Leader of the Homicide Department. Wen Cheng was an unknown for the longest time. Considering the time and environment he was in, there were tricks he had to pull to deal with a certain group. However, for the most part, he seemed serious about his work, with a dash of the humorous side. He was one of the best, hence being able to make it to the other side. Despite his having to deal with everyday danger because of his job, I felt he was a safer character to support than the majority of the male characters in here. It was mostly because there was no never-ending soap revolving around him, unlike others. He was a straightforward person and spoke his mind when it came to things. (Of course, I excluded situations where he had to conceal information because of cases, since that was different.) The writers teased a possible controversial relationship between him and Rose. After the corruption case that involved several police and/or law enforcement officers being arrested, it seemed there was a change of pace, a burden lifting from his shoulder. He even asked Rose out on a date (as he had jokingly said—or was he serious?). They (the production team) even did some flashback sequences of their past interactions, trying to tie their relationship up and showing how far they had come since the beginning of the series. However, in the end, it was just a teaser because he soon went on his way again and it was done away. I didn’t mind that he had to resort to some tactics to deal with the suspects at times because the corruption case was really big and involved a lot of major players. However, I found it hypocritical that he criticized Rose for wanting to cover for Hana later on. Rose was right to call him out on it. It was like, who was he to judge her? He accepted the bribe and joined forces with the corrupted officials. (Yes, it was a halfway compromise to solve the current situation and buy him some time to dig deeper, but some people do not know that, so on the surface, he was a sellout.) This was my first time watching him—although I know who he is. He did very well and was not disappointing at all, for me.
  • Cheryl Yang (楊謹華) as Su Qing Yi (蘇慶儀) / Sue (蘇). The owner of Hikari, also Rose’s best friend. On the surface, Sue was the perfect person, a supporting friend, a gentle and kind soul who would only know how to smile and say nice words to everyone. However, behind that masquerade, there was a lot to be explored. It wasn’t just because of the love triangles either that made things messy. Because if anyone wanted to be technical, Jiang Han did break up with Rose first before pursuing Sue. Yet, her perfect image was the complete opposite when the story unfolded even more. Not talking about how she had to smile and interact with her customers during working hours here, because, duh, she was a hostess, so she had to play the role—just like everyone else. What I meant was her never-ending deception, even among her so-called friends. Or perhaps, she never treated them like friends in the first place, but always someone she could use as a convenience for her circumstances. After the truth about her past came out (having been raped by her stepfather and then coping with the aftermath and much more), I sympathized with her and understood her insecurities and how guarded she was toward others in general. However, I didn’t like it when she targeted other victims too. I’m not saying it was her job to fight for all victims or put the weight on her shoulders to right all wrongs or something. She had suffered enough. She deserved a future of happiness and much more. However, the least she could have done was not becoming those who had harmed her in the past as well. Sure, that was a realistic pattern with how victims becoming the perpetrators, but I just didn’t like it. Her past had haunted her, so she was cautious around others, so be cautious. Yet she had to say those words to Hana after Hana was raped. (Like Hana said during that conversation with Sue, she felt assaulted all over again after hearing Sue say those words to her). In some ways, Sue had become exactly like her mom (ironically), not caring for anyone but herself. That was just one example among all of those others. Yet, I can’t sympathize with her completely. Perhaps, she was such a master manipulator that still managed to keep her reputation intact—regardless of what she had done. Acting? Cheryl was awesome. I never doubted her. She was one of the reasons I started watching too—aside from seeing Ruby and Esther on the cast list initially. I liked Cheryl since watching Angel Lover, and that had been years ago, lol. Even if I don’t actively follow every single drama of hers but watching her advance forward to the next stage was fascinating over the years. This was another challenge for her and she nailed it.
  • Rhydian Vaughan (鳳小岳) as Jiang Han (江瀚). A screenwriter for the local TV station and then was let go. Rose’s lover, later ex-lover. Sue’s secret lover, then later ex-lover. Basically, an all-around player yet was redeemed later just because. He was charming indeed, so it was easy to carry on with his womanizing ways. I understood the angle of the story, but I found him pretentious in a lot of ways. Not picking on the plot, since it did make sense why people loved him. However, I was actually in the minority who found him hard to like. It might have to do with the beginning where he was trying to write and putting on classical music at the same time. It attempted to show he had class and all but made him unrelatable to me. Like it was super cliche to expect writers to draw inspiration from classics or enjoy some glass of fancy wine or whatever else. When the orphanage story arc came into play, I knew redemption was around the corner for him. It explained a lot about his insecurities and how he didn’t think he deserved a normal life, thus always moving on to the next target. It made sense, but I still didn’t like that the writers were drawing us in by sympathizing with him in that way. (Hey, I gave Sue hell too, so don’t expect me to hold back for Pretty Boy over here.) What was more, I thought it was just giving him a great excuse for behaving the way that he did and giving him a license to hurt those people because of his insecurities. But what I didn’t expect was for him to die. It was a shocker. Perhaps, that was why they wanted to redeem him? So, his death would be tragic as it was? Like one more step and he was back together with Sue kind of thing? Because yes, I was expecting him to reunite with Sue as well. The writers had us good all right. Once again, I didn’t expect the characters to be perfect because everyone in here had gone through messy situations throughout. That was life. But I just didn’t like his type of character. The actor? This was actually my first time watching him, although I knew who he is. He did his part all right.
  • Derek Chang (張軒睿) as He Yu En (何予恩). A college student who liked Sue and dated her for a while and then got dumped. I initially felt bad for him but eventually just got really annoyed with him. Then was super annoyed with him. He sure played the victim nicely because, on the surface, it looked like he was used and tossed aside after Sue was done with her game YET it wasn’t so. It wasn’t exactly so. Even if Sue was manipulating the situation and testing him with some scenario, it showed that he wasn’t ready for the responsibility, yet acted all pitiful afterward. It was all right that he wasn’t ready. He was probably too impulsive. It was his first time falling in love, after all. However, what took it to another level was how he fled the scene and then later acted like Sue was the heartless one. When he regretted it and wanted another chance and she said no, he continued to pester her and disrupted her life even more. So, I found him unforgivable regardless of his intention or whatever else later. At least, he got a second chance to move on and start over later as he learned and grew throughout, unlike some other characters. Derek? I never really watched his shows before, lol. Even if I made it a point to put it on my list. I do like his real-life personality or at least, the one we could see during promos. But I found him genuine and likable. As for his acting in here, I found him convincing for the role and contributed his part.
  • Esther Liu (劉品言) as Li Shu Hua (李淑華) / Hana (花子). Rose’s prison mate and then later friend. Hana seriously had a very tragic life. Well, most in here did. Yet hers seemed to never end. It was like life was telling her that she made one mistake when she was young and naïve and would always live with the consequences regardless of how she already paid for that past (through imprisonment) or having learned a valuable lesson. It made sense how things had turned out later, but it wasn’t any less frustrating to see her going through so much. She was pimped out by her so-called boyfriend and ended up assaulting him when she found out the truth (of his intention). After she served out her sentence, Rose helped her get back on her feet by offering her a job at Hikari—to much of Sue’s objection. That also fueled Sue’s dislike for Hana even more. So, when Hana was abducted and raped, it was high time Sue went out of her way to get rid of Hana for good. Too bad Sue’s plan didn’t work since Rose went to Hana’s hometown to search for her and brought her back. (Sometimes, it made me wonder if Rose hadn’t brought Hana back, would the other events occur? Or eventually, it would anyway, because of how Sue had racked up too many enemies along the way?) Regardless of those what-ifs, I thought Esther had gone a long way since her awkward performance in Westside Story. Her complex character helped, but if she wasn’t able to deliver, it wouldn’t have worked out. Her portrayal allowed Hana’s many sides to come out, like her carefree side, her deeply wounded side, etc. Interestingly and somewhat irrelevant, but after all these years, I finally realized that Esther is left-handed, lol. I couldn’t believe how blind I was before, lol.
  • Cherry Hsieh (謝瓊煖) as Ji Man Ru (季滿如) / Ah Ji (阿季). Used to work at the same club as Sue, then later became a hostess under Sue (because the previous owner transferred the ownership to Sue). Then eventually inherited a portion of Hikari as co-owner. I hated her from the start. Yes, I used “hate” and not just the typical annoyance. Regardless of how she claimed Sue had stolen her man or whatever else, I felt her tactics were really low and despicable. Well, some of the details didn’t come out until later. But I didn’t like how she was taunting others one after another. I knew she had a sharp tongue at times and didn’t expect her to be perfect. But it was just too much. So, the redeeming arch for her was interesting and was enough to wrap up the show. Seeing from her point of view at times helped. What I found interesting was how she was showing attitude to the majority in here yet there was a sense of tolerance toward Hana at various points. Yes, she chided Hana too but there was a subtle difference in her attitude. Like that one time Hana stole her food while they were chatting and eating at this one stall. There was a trace of concern or gentle chiding, not the typical sharp words she used toward others. (Of course, like the other hostesses, she had to show her smiles and all during working hours, but I meant off work.) I guess in some ways, she was a more predictable and less scary enemy than some others? Yes, she did pull the despicable moves, but she did reveal who she was behind the scenes with the rest of them, unlike the facade some were still operating on.
  • Nikki Hsieh (謝欣穎) as Huang Bai He (黃百合) / Yuri (百合). A hostess at Hikari. She seemed uninterested in the rest of the hostesses at the beginning. It wasn’t that she didn’t care for them. But it was like she just wanted to do the deed and be done for the day (or night). It was later revealed, her sole focus was on her relationship with her boyfriend, Henry. Interestingly, they were in the same business. However, that was only a part of the puzzle. They actually met when their parents set them up on a blind date. Both showed their disinterest but went anyway. Yet Yuri was later won over by Henry’s charm and his personality in general. What she didn’t realize was his ulterior motive. It was blurry whether he truly cared for her or was just toying with her. But he was indeed good with his con, luring her in completely. It wasn’t until she caught him with his lover that she finally took action against stopping him. In regard to her, I could only compliment Nikki’s performance, not the character itself. It wasn’t because it was unrelatable but I felt she only took action to stop Henry because of the betrayal toward her, NOT because she cared about anyone being harmed by the drugs being spread around. (She did tell him to stop before she found out how involved he was and was just using her YET she only wanted him to stop because she feared for his safety and not mankind in general.) It was like her personality seemed to project from the start. She just didn’t care about other people’s problems, but wanted to focus on herself. There was nothing wrong with minding her own business and focusing on living her life. But I think it would be giving her too much credit by saying she stopped a certain someone. Although I understood where she came from, I just didn’t agree with her. Especially how she said Rose loved herself more hence letting go of Jiang Han. That was general observation because Rose did struggle and sink very deep before finally pulling herself back up. How could Yuri say it so lightly like that? Or perhaps it was because she just didn’t understand because she wasn’t around. Regardless, I didn’t like the air that she was projecting, like she was somehow superior in her choice and her dedication to love. What about Hana who had given up everything and lost herself in her past relationship? Loving yourself is not wrong. Why make it like one must dedicate one’s life toward one person to be considered worthy of love?
  • Puff Kuo (郭雪芙) as Wang Ai Lian (王愛蓮) / Aiko (愛子). A hostess at Hikari. She was revealed to be a college student, specifically Yu En’s classmate. A side story revealed that she actually was a delivery girl who stumbled into the club one day when she was waiting to get some papers signed. A client of the club thought she was a hostess, but she clarified that she was just making a delivery. However, that client continued with his antics, not letting off. He said if she drink this glass of wine, he would reward her. She asked to confirm before emptying the glass. That was when Rose and Sue recruited her. They recognized her charm (and alcohol tolerance level, lol) and persuaded her to use that opportunity to earn some money for college. She agreed shortly after a private conversation in the back room. That was how she ended up being one of the hostesses. At first, I didn’t like her at all, because I felt her bitterness annoying. It was all right that she didn’t like Sue for whatever reason. However, I felt it had a lot to do with Yu En and I was sick and tired of the cat fight formula. It wasn’t worth it anyway. However, it was later revealed that her family issues had a lot to do with her attitude. One of the reasons she accepted Rose and Sue’s offer was a subtle way to rebel as well. She found their (her parents’) hypocritical nature sickening. That also transformed into her hatred towards Sue. She indeed had her own hand in causing a lot of complications with various characters. However, she somehow overcame her past demons and had a fresh start. That could be called a happy ending on her end. This was my very first time watching Puff, although I knew who she is. It was just that I wasn’t that interested in her past dramas. I was glad to see her part of the cast in here and finally able to see her performance.

Co-starring:

  • Cammy Chiang (江宜蓉) as Lin Ya Wen (林雅文) / Yaya (雅雅). The accountant of Hikari and later become a hostess as well. Mixed feelings at times. I felt she was just there, not contributing to the plot one way or another. Sure, she was the accountant and was important in her own way. But it was more like they needed an additional person, that was all. She seemed to have a good relationship with Sue—or at least, admired Sue for who she was, so she also thought Rose killed Sue, hence the hostility at one point. I understood her suspicions but felt like she had also fallen for those on the surface/ at face value thing rather dig deeper. No one could blame her, most others in here also had their suspicions but seriously. Or that was just to create more tension with the way things were. She did apologize later though, so at least she was aware of the effect she had on others.
  • Hu Wei Jie (胡瑋杰) as Ding Jia Hao (丁家豪) / Xiao Hao (小豪). A waiter of Hikari. He appeared often but didn’t have his own side story. He was just there at times to help others and back them up as necessary, considering what kind of business they were running and if they could run into trouble. He was an additional character and had his humorous side too, possibly to cope. But he never took sides one way or another. Or at least, he seemed neutral and was doing his job for the most part. He did mingle with them at times but didn’t participate in those disagreements. At one point, I actually suspected he was the killer. Yes, because the character you usually do not pay attention to or seemed to blend into the background were usually revealed as the actual culprit later. Also, it was said the person who was able to carry the body through a part of the wood must be a man. So yeah. I thought at least, he was part of the team.
  • Nash Zhang (章廣辰) as Li Jian Da (李健達) / Ah Da (阿達). I thought he was just a funny sidekick. I was so wrong. That was sure a good twist to the show. As if it wasn’t already wrapped in layers and layers of secrets with the other major characters, they had to spin a new one with his character. It was ironically tragic that he initially started out with great ambition and all, wanting to be a good cop. He was timid at first, but learned to adapt later. Considering how having a dream was one thing and going through the actual routines of being a cop was different. Yet, he just went from one extreme to the other. His being in cahoot with the rest of the corrupted officials could be because he was too afraid, not wanting to be eliminated by them hence staying quiet. But the whole killing of Jiang Han? Wow, that took some major nerve. Because that was so scary. How could he just do it like that? Like it was nothing? So, yes, he was convincing in his act all right. Even Wen Cheng didn’t want to believe it. How could he? Not because he looked down on Ah Da. But it was because he knew Ah Da and his dream, wanting to be the best cop, etc.
  • Dora Hsieh (謝雨芝) as Yan Qiao Ru (顏巧如) / Mei Mei (妹妹). A police officer. She was actually one of the cops that believed in her duty and tried to keep by the codes. However, she still had a lot to learn, even after helping to uncover one of the biggest corruption cases. She obviously had great analytical skills and good instincts for her job. If there was a sequel or spin-off focusing on the police side, she could be a major character. Not saying I want the creators of the show to stretch the theme too much. But that was a possibility.
  • Jim Liu (劉敬) as Wu Zi Wei (吳子維). Rose’s adopted son, Sue’s son. He was seen as the good son who worked hard in school and helped his mom do chores when he had time. Perhaps, it was because of the conflict between his parents that forced him to mature earlier than the typical students in his age bracket. At times, he showed frustration toward their conflict, which was understandable. Being stuck between parents was the worst. He tried to maintain a balance between bonds with both parents. Later, he learned that the parents who raised him since little wasn’t really his parents, and his godmother was his actual mother. It was a tragedy. At least, they had a good relationship before his mother passed away. However, he was forced to go with his biological father (who didn’t even deserve the title). He promised to return later to Rose’s side when he was of legal age and could make his own decisions. I sure hope he wouldn’t turn out like his so-called father. Even if in a few years, anything could happen. Most lied to him regarding the real version of what happened between his parents to protect him. It mostly had to do with the fact that they didn’t want the trial to drag out and many details coming out, causing even more complications. It was also because of how much it had affected him after Rose was accused of murder. This one was even more serious. How could he bear it when it wasn’t his fault at all? Not to mention, it seemed super ironic how things turned out that led to the final result. Because Rose went on TV to talk about her past prison term and clarified some stuff, hence tanking her husband’s company, which led to him selling off Zi Wei to the monster. Aside from all that frustration, I thought he did a good job at various points to portray his struggles.

Guest-starring:

  • Wallace Huo (霍建華) as Ma Tian Hua (馬天華) / Hinoki (檜木). A gangster, Sue’s sworn brother. He appeared around the end of the second part. Sue went to prison to visit him and manipulate him to target Rose after he was released. Her plan was halfway successful until Wen Cheng convinced him to stand down and promise to investigate the matter thoroughly. What about Wallace? No complaints about his performance, obviously. However, as a major fan, I greedily wanted more scenes of him. In the grand scheme of things, it was about enough. But like I said, as his fan, I wanted more. Like maybe just a little more about how he crossed paths with Sue and how he trusted Sue so much. Yes, I got the dialogue version but needed a little more detail. Because it was so unbelievable that he risked so much for Sue. Not to mention how it was strange seeing Sue having some connection with him. I know, I know, she was the master manipulator and had a lot of connections. Yet, a little more background story would help.
  • Joe Cheng (鄭元暢) as Wu Shao Qiang (吳少強). Rose’s husband, later ex-husband. He was the definition of people who changed. I meant everyone changes as they go through life, but his change puzzled me the most. I guessed the toll of it all got to him. However, it was indeed heartbreaking to see how much he changed. He not only fled the scene during the most crucial moment but also left Rose to take the fall for him (i.e. going to prison). Then he dared to play victim after so many years, saying how she was the difficult one. What in the world? But whatever helped him sleep at night, I guess. They tried to redeem him or at least made us reconsider him by seeing how well he treated his son. Yet, who was he kidding? Handing the poor kid to the wolf just like that? Maybe it was more realistic that he wasn’t so linear or one-note with his character and how complicated some situations were. Yet I still didn’t care for him. Hey, at least, he got his business back. He would be fine. Maybe then he could buy an in-house, submissive wife who would cooperate better with his grand schemes than oh say, Rose. Well, Rose loved him and trusted him so much, hence even ending up taking the fall for him in the first place. Yet she woke up after that betrayal, so that was what he was upset over, not having a typical lamb to listen to all his lies anymore. Hey, she never said she was goody-two-shoes. Why was he bitter? Joe? Okay, he goes by Joseph now, but I still haven’t changed my tags yet. But I haven’t seen anything of his since You Light Up My Star and that seemed a long time ago, lol. He’s doing pretty well with various projects and was just a guest in here. His acting was convincing. But, obviously, I can’t like his character. If he had just outright admitted he was a terrible person, I would have forgiven him, or at least cut him some slacks. Yet he continued to justify his behaviors and paved Rose out to be a terrible person. (Congrats, somehow, he made Jiang Han seem more likable. Because at least Jiang Han admitted who he was at various points.)
  • Jacob Wang (王柏傑) as Hong Li Heng (洪立亨) / Henry (亨利). A host at Ciao Club. Yuri’s boyfriend. He was smooth-talking all right, being able to con anyone he wanted to. I wasn’t sure if he was a natural conversationist/charmer or if that had come with experience. What was his true personality in all of that? Did he really trust Henry or was he also conning him? It was hard to tell and I thought that was a good bit to leave it open-ended. That scene where Yuri went to prison to visit Hao Zi, it seemed like they had their official stare down and all. It was funny how they were fighting over whom actually cared for. Well, he (Hao Zi) didn’t really say it, but if looks could killed. Yuri actually said that Henry cared for her because he had given her his house key. Was that the answer? Or was that just part of the long con? Like I said, it was hard to tell with him. And it was funny how the writers tried to humanize Henry but he wasn’t any better than Hana’s ex-boyfriend who pimped her out. Even if Henry didn’t pimp anyone out, he used his good looks and charms to lure in girls to transport and/or hide drugs for him. So, how was he any better? He was just using them. Even if he had a change of heart with Yuri, he won’t get the glowing reputation in my book.
  • Xiu Jie Kai (修杰楷) as Ge Zhi Hao (葛志浩) / Hao Zi (浩子). A prosecutor. It was later revealed that he was also Henry’s lover. That was the sole reason why Henry trusted him so much and never thought that he would betray him (Henry). I haven’t watched him for ages now. I still follow him on social media, lol. It’s just that I haven’t gotten back into watching some of the recent shows and sort of not wanting to back-watch some stuff. Yet his acting was still solid. He was creepy all right, but also showed a different side when he was with Henry. I totally saw it when they drove to the seaside together and how Henry had placed a soda can on his cheek. It was a subtle, intimate gesture that tipped us off early on. Because if they were merely collaborating on the business front, would he have accepted the gesture just like that? He also showed obvious jealousy toward Yuri when Henry brought it up (aka admitting that Yuri was kinda cute).
  • Li Li Ren (李李仁) as Xu Guo Biao (徐國彪) / Biao Ge (彪哥). A local bully, Hana’s past customer. Later bumped into Hana at Hikari and was kicked out for causing trouble. He gathered his minions to kidnap Hana and raped her. He was later caught and put in prison for his crime. This was probably Li Li Ren’s lowest role. So, he wasn’t winning any points from anyone. Maybe possibly acting-wise, though. Because yes, he was really hateful and convincing with the character.
  • Kagami Tomohisa (加賀美智久) as Nakamura Masao (中村正男). A Japanese customer of Hikari. He liked Sue and wanted to marry her, bringing her back to Japan with him.
  • Qu Zhong Heng (屈中恆) as Sun Ming Zhang (孫明章). Wen Cheng’s superior. At first, I thought he was a character created to keep the comedy alive while the rest of the plot leaned toward the much darker side. Yet, I was wrong. I was glad too because it was really a shocker. He was much more involved with the overall plot than one could predict. He held the key to a crucial part of the plot, after all.
  • Ah Ken as Lin Yu Feng (林裕峰) / Feng Ge (峰哥). A producer, Jiang Han’s superior.
  • Lorene Jen (任容萱) as Xiao Wan Ru (蕭婉柔). A famous actress, the main actress of a TV show that Jiang Han was writing for. She and Jiang Han had a brief affair and were found out. Luckily for her, she wasn’t punished severely for it. She only had to stay away from Jiang Han and listen. Yet was that something she wanted? I guess that sort of came with the price of wanting fame and having a relationship with the producer. This was actually my first time watching Lorene, although, I follow her and meant to watch some of her other works. Maybe I would go back to it now, lol.
  • Chris Wu (吳慷仁) as Liao Bao Long (劉寶龍) / Bao Bao (寶寶). The owner of Sugar Club, a rival of Hikari Club. I couldn’t believe the day that I see Chris in such a role. NO, not judging based on the environment he was in (running a club) because every character in here had their own complex background. However, usually, he would portray some prince in shining armor (regardless of background) or at least some notable role. This was considered out of the box type of role for me when watching him perform in here. Because he took it to the next level and was quite convincing in his performance and brought a different mood to the show as an overall. Was his character cunning and despicable at one point? Yes. It didn’t top some of the other scumbags and could be redeemed (because he was persuaded by the money). All in all, another successful performance.
  • Jean Wang (王靜瑩) as Su Mei Yu (蘇美玉). Sue’s mother. Probably the worst mother of the century. I blamed her for everything. Seducing someone else’s husband wasn’t bad enough. (People somehow usually excuse cheaters and homewreckers in movies/ TV shows, so I won’t dwell on that here.) Yet, somehow, she managed to top it off by accusing her daughter of “seducing her man.” By “seducing”, she meant “laying in bed and staying silent while the monster raped her daughter” because if she had said anything, he would leave her. Spoilers alert, he left her anyway. Also, she kicked her daughter out to fend for herself and then had the audacity later to come asking for money and much more (because she was the mother and deserved all that her daughter worked hard for after going through hell and back). I don’t know why I was surprised anyway since she allowed the other thing to happen, so what else wouldn’t she do? If anyone wanted to defend her for saying she was scared, he might harm her and her daughter even more (aka killing them both). At least they tried, okay? And I wasn’t convinced she was scared for hers and her daughter’s life per se, she just kept quiet so he wouldn’t leave her (like said above). The story was drawn straight from real-life situations, all right. Yet it was equally frustrating and maddening. It was even more frustrating that nothing happened to her later, and she got to reap from helping the rapist snatch the kid away from Rose. But was that supposed to be more realistic with life stuff? Because it was beyond infuriating. (What was more, I started watching this after a certain real-life situation similar unfolded, so imagine the level of livid I was feeling when that scene rolled around. Not going to go into specifics, but it had to do with the theme of having your child snatched away from you by your rapist because he was so powerful and wealthy. In the story’s case, Rose had to deal with it, but if it was Sue, then the situation would be the exact same thing. I knew it was a major coincidence since the location and the time of the TV show and all, but it sure hit me hard in the face with the theme being addressed. Yeah, the writers couldn’t predict the future, but stuff like that happened a lot in the past, so they just drew from real-life situations.)
  • Yi Zheng (伊正) as Zhu Wen Xiong (朱文雄). Su Mei Yu’s lover, Sue’s stepfather. Scumbag all around and proved to be so throughout. I was just glad they didn’t skirt around the issue and redeem him. They hid his true animal nature from his son just to spare the kid from further trauma. Yet it was so infuriating. Like the writers had to include an extra layer of madness with tragedy. Yi Zheng probably ended up in the group that was most hated after the series, lol. I swear, no way was he going to get out of this one looking good—regardless.

Others:

  • Greg Hsu (許光漢) as Yu En’s classmate.
  • Shen Meng Sheng (沈孟生) as Luo Chen Sheng (羅春生). Rose’s father.
  • Moon Wang (王月) as Luo Xie Xue Ling (羅謝雪齡). Rose’s mother.
  • James Wen (温昇豪) as Luo Li Nong (羅立農). Rose’s older brother.
  • June Tsai (六月) as Luo Yi Nong (羅伊儂). Rose’s older sister.
  • Ma Nian Xian (馬念先) as Cai Huo Wang (蔡火旺). The owner of an izakaya.
  • Heaven Hai (海裕芬) as Ke Xiu Zhi (柯秀枝). The owner of a barbershop.
  • Hans Chung (鍾承翰) as Zheng Kai Wen (鄭凱文) / Kevin. The manager of Ciao.
  • Chen Bo Zheng (陳博正) as Hana’s father. A somewhat cute old parent vibe role for him. I felt he was the only one who represented unconditioned love in here. He was proud of Hana. It was obvious with his attitude and words whenever she came home or talked about her to Rose that one time. Sure, Hana did hide some stuff from him, but he never expected her to bring home tons of money for him or drew out all these outrageous conditions, unlike other parents. He was just glad she found success in her work (wine expert—as he was told) and was living her life comfortably in such a competitive city.
  • Fan Rui Jun (范瑞君) as Aiko’s mother. A college professor.
  • JC Lin (林哲熹) as one of the students that found the victim’s body.
  • Edison Song (宋柏緯) as one of the students that found the victim’s body.
  • Ying Cai Ling (應采靈) as Zhang Yi Fen (張逸芬). The dean of the orphanage.
  • Vivian Hsu (徐若瑄) as Qiong Fang (瓊芳). The previous owner of Hikari. It was nice to see Vivian in here portraying a guest role.
  • Austin Lin (林柏宏) as the senior of the magazine club.
  • Tang Zhi Wei (湯志偉) as Li Si Jing (李思敬). The host of the TV show who interviewed Rose.
  • Ray Chang (張睿家) as Hana’s ex-boyfriend. He was another scumbag of the show. His crime was pimping out his girlfriend for money. Ray wanted to show up for this? (LOL!) Yeah, I know, not everyone could be a hero, but these people sure made some sacrifices to be part of the production all right. (I know it’s not supposed to be funny, but I couldn’t help it. If anyone watched True Love 365, he was the main lead and paired off with Joanne, so it was interesting this time he was kind of, sort of associated with Esther at one point in here. The roles were total opposites, but tragic. Hey, he wasn’t that innocent, goody-two-shoes in True Love 365 either, but bad attitude versus scumbag is all I’m saying.)

Likes:

  • Music. Definitely the music. The majority were remixes of classics. However, the production team put a new twist on it and allow us to enjoy those songs again in a different setting.
  • Cast. Regardless of liking them or not, I thought the cast did really well and coordinated nicely to make everything work.
  • Wallace and Ruby’s reunion. I know, I know, they’re married and see each other every day. But they haven’t been in a drama together for a while now. It was interesting to see them on screen together once again and on the opposite side this time. The fact that they weren’t romantically involved made it different. Maybe they needed a break from the mushy on-screen scenes? (Joking, lol.)
  • The pieces of the puzzle spread throughout the drama. I liked how the story was told and the sequences that allowed us to discover various characters’ background and their relationships throughout that had led to that point. Also, the mystery around the body was found and finally revealing it. At various points, they (the writers) teased the audience as to whom to body belonged to, even right down to the last minute. It was intriguing to watch and guess. After it was revealed, I even suspected that everyone at Hikari had a part in killing Sue and they covered for one another. Yes, that extreme. Because it was like everyone had a grudge against her deep down. Well, almost everyone. So, it wasn’t too much to say everyone had a hand in it.
  • Plot driven versus character driven. Yes, we knew who the major characters were. However, I felt unlike the majority of the productions nowadays, adding length just because they wanted to add more screen time for characters and stretching out to the max, this was actually plot driven. The plot did focus on some characters versus others. However, it didn’t linger to the point of unbearable. Like I said in the previous point, the pieces of the puzzle here and there revealed itself slowly but had always followed the timeline. It allowed us to explore the different characters and how it linked with the main plot and then finally wrapping it up. It didn’t stretch unnecessarily. Did I hate some part of the plot? Yes, I did. Because I hated seeing some of the tragedies the characters went through. Yet the plot continued to move on, allowing the length and pace to be just about right.
  • The characters. Surprisingly, I didn’t have a favorite character in here. Yes, I said it. It was strange how it seemed I defended Rose at various points or disliked certain characters at one point or another, but I never had a favorite character. Perhaps it was because the cast worked together well along with the plot that didn’t allow for camera hog moments too much that had caused the effect. Perhaps, I would say I liked the cast as an overall because the whole team had worked together so well to make it happen. I liked that each of the major characters had their moment or own story, but it didn’t overshadow over the others. It was just the right mix. Much credit to the writers for not forcing us to like one character or another through different justifications, but just laid out the plot and let us come to our own conclusions. (As I said previously.)

Dislikes:

  • The truth about Sue wasn’t revealed. Okay, I get it. She’s dead. No need to drag it out. Not to mention the majority of the major characters already understood who she was as a person and what kind of hypocrite she was. However, the rest of the public did not know. I guess they were trying to send a message that it did not matter anymore. Yet, her action affected so many people. How could she be praised and remembered as a sweet and gentle person, just like that? Her cunning and cruel side were never revealed. It was like letting her off because she was dead. Like redeeming a character just because. Sure, no one could do anything anymore. But it seemed to say one could be the worst possible yet could be forgiven or all the harm they did could just be erased?
  • Zhu Wen Xiong wasn’t exposed for the scumbag that he was. I knew and understood why they wanted to protect Zi Wei, not wanting him to find out the truth of his existence (and all the public backlash with having to carry that for the rest of his life, even if it wasn’t his fault). However, allowing Zhu Wen Xiong to get away with everything was just messed up. In some ways, it was more realistic (considering the circumstances) but I hated it. If they had gone to court, he would have won with all his money and all. It was probably sending a message like money would always win over the truth.
  • Rose’s whole family. Please just throw them all in the bin. Yes, I said it. I had it with the BS about how they were family after all. Was Sue a goody-two-shoes and/or perfect child? Nope. She ran away from home, after all the mishaps she got into. Or more like her father kicked her out after having enough. Sure, I got it, all parents wanted their kids to behave and life was harsh if she didn’t study or whatever. Yet at least, be consistent. Her mother loved her yet wasn’t able to do anything about it (like changing her father’s mind about things) and I didn’t blame her because it was obvious he controlled the household and whatever he said was the final word. The problem I had with him was how he and the others just expected her to bring home money or help them in general just because she was successful at that point. Hey, who kicked her out? Can anyone keep it straight or stick with the decision? Sure, people change all the time and they could mend the family. But it was an automatic thing with them expecting Rose to chip in, NO apologies or some kind of real talk or whatever. I get it, they were busy with livelihood stuff and might not have time to dwell too much on sensitivity or talk out matters. But I felt it was too much and too one-sided to just expect Rose to step forward because they were family. Like hey, she was wrong but also she was successful now, so she must contribute regardless. Like they were never wrong, it was just Rose being wrong. It was ridiculous. Obviously, I’m talking about the characters here, NOT the actors. Because they all did well for their roles. Because I actually like James and June.

Discussions:

  • Rose and Sue’s friendship. Were they ever really friends? I had so many questions. I understood how the foundation was paved and we saw how they’d overcome different obstacles together. Yet, were they really the best of friends, or were they just sticking together because of circumstances? I understood more when pieces and bits of Sue’s past were revealed and the tragedies she went through. It had shaped her past and fed her insecurity, forcing her to be cautious of others, which she had every right to. Yet, as I said before, it was the only thing that was holding her character back and pushing it into the gray area. Sue lived in her head too much and assumed that Rose should understand her, which was uncalled for. Seriously, even if they had known each other since whenever, it was harsh to expect Rose to just know. It was ridiculous. She also assumed that Rose always wanted to be in power, hence pulling the final card with wanting to restrict Rose’s life by leaving behind those shares to the rest of the hostesses. During their last conversation, Sue said that Rose always wanted to have the upper hand each time and how Rose only helped people so they would show gratitude toward her (thus being loyal to her, specifically Hana). It was a lot of assumptions on her part. Should Rose have meddled at times? Possibly not, it wasn’t up to her to right all wrongs of the world. However, we could see that it was in Rose’s gene or something. She couldn’t just sit around seeing others suffer, so if she was able to help, to speak up, or something, she did it. Sue also seemed to blame Rose for everything that happened to her or something. Well, Rose did get her into trouble with her mom because of how they ditched class and stuff at times when they were younger. Yet she can’t just push everything onto Rose. And I seriously didn’t blame Sue for wanting to have a friend, etc. However, when she made her own decision, it was all her. Perhaps, deep down, Sue also understood it. Perhaps, she did appreciate Rose at one point, that Rose actually stuck up for her when neighbors gossiped about her family situation (more specifically her mom). Or how her classmates bullied her and Rose stuck up for her. However, those things faded as time progressed. Her own insecurities and self-loathing forced her to push all the blame onto Rose, so she didn’t have to face them. Because she admitted at one point that she was too weak, not like Rose, always doing this or that. She didn’t like that about herself. They were just too different. That big argument when they were younger said a lot. That was one of those rare times they were honest with one another, laying it all out, no filter. They argued and tossed out everything. Somehow, they ended up mending things again, even hugging and halfway arguing back to being friends again. It was childhood memories and showed they had past conflicts, but it was all part of growing up. Yet it also opened up the question I initially had. Was it because how they were so used to one another’s presence that it was hard to end the friendship after they grew up and grew apart as well? And there was another question nagging in the back of my mind. Jiang Han was right when he said that Sue was very possessive. He was possibly the last person to have a say regarding Rose or Sue (or anyone else) for that matter, considering how he wasn’t the top candidate for anyone turning to when it came to a moral compass. However, he nailed it when he said those things about Sue when he broke up with her. (Except for the last bit that had fueled Sue’s rage even more, though. That was a bad idea and had caused her to take her own revenge after she returned from the depth.) Sue was really good at masquerading. We all do it to protect ourselves. Yet, she took it to a whole new level that was disturbing. With all those issues she had with Rose, it was possibly better to just part ways. Yet somehow, she still stuck through and acted like no one should have this connection with Rose except her or something. Perhaps she didn’t realize she was a walking contradiction. Also, I felt like she was projecting major time. She said that Rose was a controlling person and things had to go her way or else. However, she didn’t realize she was the controlling one, always wanting the last word or needing things to be in her favor to be happy or satisfied. Hana and Jiang Han’s situations were good examples of those behaviors. She didn’t like Hana from the start and hated that Rose protected Hana. She had every right to worry about Hana’s lack of experience which could affect the business. But the way she hung onto that grudge made it too much. Hana lacked experience, but soon learned a lot and become a lovable hostess like the majority at Hikari. That didn’t change Sue’s mind, either. She didn’t have to force herself to interact with Hana, but it was like she hated that she was wrong and that Hana could learn and improve. It seemed like she was jealous of the friendship Rose had with Hana after having been to prison together. Like Hana had snatched her friend from her, so she went out of her way to get rid of Hana—whether in the past or present. The way it was, I swear it was almost like she had tipped that scumbag off so he could abduct and kidnap Hana and assault Hana. So, then she could swoop in to get rid of Hana once and for all. Yes, it was terrible of me to assume so, but with the level of planning and execution she had with her other schemes, I don’t think it was impossible to come to that conclusion. Sue even went to the extreme of calling Hana a dog time and time again, indicating her relationship with Rose was just that of an owner and its dog, nothing more. It was like she was saying whether or not Rose was a terrible friend, she still wanted Rose by her side, no one else could be Rose’s friend. She called Hana a dog on purpose, to degrade the latter even more, implying Hana was on a lower level than her in relations to Rose. It was a superiority complex thing. About Jiang Han? How in the world was Rose supposed to know Sue liked Jiang Han? Jiang Han also showed interest in Rose first and initiated contact after meeting Rose. To Sue, Rose was a third-party, so she had every right to snatch him back. Yet she forgot that they never had a romantic relationship in the first place, so Rose couldn’t be blamed for entering that relationship with Jiang Han. Sue was acting all like she was being considerate about not mentioning anything along the line of liking Jiang Han after learning the progress of Rose and Jiang Han’s relationship already. However, I thought they were best friends and could be honest with one another. Well, that was everyone’s initial impression too, until stories unfolded for us to see they weren’t that close, anyway. Was Rose supposed to ask? Possibly. But then again, they were able to talk about the most random stuff and even had heated debates over business decisions. So, why was it so hard to be honest about other matters? It was ridiculous. So, yes, I thought it was stretching to not talk about it at all. I don’t even remember anymore if Rose had asked Sue beforehand about the two’s relationship when Sue brought him to Hikari for the first time. I somewhat remember the answer was “a friend.” It could be a code for much more, but was Rose supposed to assume everyone Sue brought there was a romantic interest? Again, considering how straightforward Rose was and Sue knew her that long already, maybe just say it out. Don’t hold it in and then later blame the other person for not knowing how to read minds. Why am I so harsh on Sue and not Rose? I thought it was obvious the majority were against Rose if it come down to it. Like I said, she was often too outspoken and wasn’t the most “model” citizen, so people automatically assumed she was in the wrong when they heard rumors of her being the actual killer. Sue was just too pretentious for my taste. I’m not saying Sue’s death was justified, but I just thought regardless of whether she was dead or alive, she was too much. She projected the too perfect image and caused the opposite effect on me. Also, I felt that Sue just wanted Rose’s friendship when it was convenient. Like when she needed Rose for something or another, they were friends and it was all right that Rose meddle. After that, or it was something she disagreed with? Rose was considered controlling and condescending. I’m not saying she can’t establish her own boundaries because she had every right to draw her comfort zone. It was just that she kept moving the goalpost and expected Rose to abide by it. Did she help Rose with stuff too? Yes, she did. But it was like she only counted things when it was in her favor. Again, the control thing was all her, not Rose like she said. For what it mattered, I thought Rose helped her in the past because they were friends, NOT because Rose wanted some upper hand or wanted to use some gratitude thing to dangle over Sue’s head for the future. They were still considered kids at that time, who would have thought so far ahead? So, were they better off not friends? They had a lot of good memories as well as bad. The flashbacks from Rose’s perspective showed they shared almost everything (from hopes and dreams, even what they wanted with their funeral arrangements and all). That was why Rose had assumed they had a good relationship. That was also why the betrayal hurt so badly. So, Rose’s world and perspective had shattered while she tried to piece everything together again. She wasn’t perfect, but she learned from it. Unlike others who had continued to think they were never wrong.
  • Rose and Hana’s friendship. They met in prison. Hana’s loyalty to Rose was obvious, considering how Rose protected her in prison. Hana also appreciated Rose for reminding her of her value, and not allowing her to think the worst of herself. Rose helped Hana stand on her own two feet again after Hana was released. Hana was grateful for Rose’s help, for keeping in contact and reaching out, not distancing from her because both wanted to erase their rough history. Although Hana was grateful for Rose’s help, she knew Rose treated her like a friend, a human being, wanting to lift each other up because they had both been betrayed by the men they loved. Even if it was gratitude at first, Hana didn’t take it the wrong way or thought it was Rose’s way to gain some upper hand on her or try to act superior in any way. She appreciated Rose for Rose’s efforts and understood Rose just wanted to help her heal and start a new life. She used Rose’s emotional support as a source of energy to strive and thrive. She was able to leave her past behind and focus on her present. It was too bad that some of that past had caught up with her. Their friendship seemed honest and open since they met at the worst time possible. Yet that also strengthened their bond because they’d been through the worst together. Their bond up to that point made it tragic when it was revealed Hana was the real killer. I thought their friendship was done for. And yes, the confrontation was ugly and heartbreaking. Yet, after both parties calmed down, they seemed to have reached a certain level of peace. Rose even wanted to cover for Hana, not wanting to see her back in prison again. Perhaps, Rose pitied Hana, so she didn’t want to turn Hana in. She admitted to Wen Cheng that much, saying that Hana had gone through so much. Yet Hana knew too well she could not let anyone go to prison for her, nor live with it for the rest of her life like that (even if she did initially convince herself that she had no choice but to hide). Too many people had been impacted. It was indeed quite tragic how things turned out.
  • Killing off two major characters of the show. Yes, this was a shocker for me. I mean, seeing how serious it was throughout, it was inevitable that people got hurt. However, I didn’t expect them to start off by killing Sue. I initially thought she was the killer and whoever it was they revealed later would be someone who knew about Sue’s past, hence her getting rid of that person, and that was why she was missing in the present timeline. It was a clever approach because the characters were forced to deal with their past demons as well. Also, because Sue had collected so many enemies along the way, the journey to find her killer was intriguing and nerve-wracking rolled into one. I thought the writers wanted to redeem Jiang Han because they wanted to pair him off with Rose, after all. However, it took another turn, and he was also killed off. The writers sure took no mercy on the characters as they tried to cope with another tragedy.
  • Jiang Han’s betrayal. I initially thought that Jiang Han’s downfall and eventual death were due to the fact that he messed around with many people’s hearts and had caused too much pain, hence his past actions caught up with him. However, it was revealed later that he once made an oath to Rose, stating that if he ever betrayed her, he would be met with such a downfall. Whether it was true or not that the universe was listening and keeping its eyes on that oath, it was indeed a lesson for some.
  • The irony of Hana’s action. Yes, I found that tragically ironic. Hana lost it and killed Sue in a rage. When she confessed to Rose, she said that Sue was going to take Zi Wei away. Well, no one knew the future, etc. Yet Sue’s mom’s discovery regarding Zi Wei’s real identity caused everything to go into chaos, and it allowed for the scumbag to claim Zi Wei. Rose had to give up Zi Wei, regardless. If Sue was still alive and successfully framed Rose and sent Rose to prison, Zi Wei would be in Sue’s custody. However, we could bet that Wen Cheng would have found out about the scheme, anyway. So, was having Sue alive a better route? Hana was triggered, and she killed in a rage. So obviously, she wasn’t thinking. Yet it was too much.
  • Wen Cheng’s grand plan. I had a feeling that Wen Cheng was planning something else later. It was why he sent Yan Qiao Ru away for the time being. He needed to broaden his connections and plan for the future. He knew he couldn’t take down them all because of the scope of the people involved. That was why he pretended to be as power-hungry as the others. It would be ridiculous if he said he was in for the money. Power would make more sense. So they knocked out some small fishes to take the fall before going back into business. Yet, his actions said otherwise. He even told Yan Qiao Ru to trust his decisions. So, if they did a spin-off or sequel, it would focus on him trying to take down all the upper management or the whole chain. Or maybe it was implied, so there was no need for more? They could do a side movie, lol. The whole corruption within the police network reminded me so much of Black & White, though. (Some of the cast from here was also in there, lol.)

Recommended? You have to be a fan of the cast to stick it through. Or at least, one could appreciate their acting. Also, if you prefer serious productions over the typical idol dramas. The series itself is very emotionally draining and could be quite triggering, so those could be reasons to reconsider. I obviously watched this way before I heard of the show receiving several awards nominations. However, I thought those were well deserved. Because this production was indeed high quality and the whole team (both cast and crew) put in a lot of effort to make it happen.

At the Dolphin Bay

(image credit: net)

I have a confession to make. I never really watch the whole thing. Yes, tragic and late, I know. But I mostly watched bits and pieces here and there and mostly MVs. I do own the soundtrack though because it was so beautifully done by some of the cast and production team. So, the point? My opinions were heavily skewed because how I didn’t have the whole picture to fairly judge the plot in its entirety. So now that I watched it properly, my opinions of it changed majorly and I was glad in some ways. However, some things still didn’t change and I will address them below. (Go here if you want to read my tweets while I was watching. Of course, some are no longer relevant because my thoughts changed near the end, but it was a fun activity during the time.)

How was it as an overall though? It was exceptionally good. Yes, that was surprising to me, considering how it seemed to be a typical idol drama at face-front. In some ways, it was so. In other ways, it deserved to be on the top list—even if I had to admit that myself.

Main Cast:

  • Angela Chang (張韶涵) as Yi Tian Bian (易天邊). Who said that Angela didn’t know how to act needs their eyes checked. Yes, there were heavy criticisms of her acting during the time she was more active with her acting career. I know it was inevitable with anyone within the industry, but she especially received backlash. Some of them were really unfair and uncalled for too. I know we can’t all like the same people and have different criteria, etc. But I can’t believe those criticisms regarding her earlier dramas. Because after watching this, I was blown away. I’m not saying she’s the best, but just focusing on her own roles and how she progressed over the years, it was amazing to watch. Was she a little raw at that time? Yes, she was, but she performed quite well for this role. I was able to feel her character’s emotions at each point and what she’d gone through, her struggles, and much more. She made Tian Bian really relatable and likable to me. I liked Tian Bian’s strong personality and it made sense with her having endured so much since little. She needed to put up a shield to protect herself. I especially liked that she was able to defend herself—for the most part (since things got quite complicated later and she couldn’t battle everyone either)—at times. It showed she didn’t need rescuing all the time—though the others did try. It was different that she wasn’t a doormat all the time, like how other dramas liked to pave the leading lady to be. It was different for me and I was truly hopeful as I watched her character go through the journey of discovering herself–whether it was her career or her personal struggles. She learned and grew as she entered the music industry that it wasn’t just about music but about maintaining her image as well. Her transition and handling of situations at times were visible, yet somehow she managed to find the balance to keep a kind heart as well. It shone through as she gained fame at long last, allowing her to break past some of the past cliches with the industry changing someone and how they got sucked into it thus changing them in general. It was also nice that they incorporated the theme nicely by boosting Angela’s ethereal voice as well.
  • Ambrose Hsu (許紹洋) as Xu Ze Ya (徐澤亞). I started out watching Ambrose in tougher roles or even the ones bordering on villainous, so this was a surprise for me, lol. But I was glad to have discovered him in this role. It showed his range. Also, I was surprised that SETTV previously propped up the main guy who was a lot nicer than their typical arrogant, mean guy on the surface. But I soon realized that title went to Wallace’s character (which I will discuss after this). I was glad that Xu Ze Ya was written that way though. It was nice to see him maintaining the humble and kind person that he was all these years. That he was capable of maintaining his professionalism at work and was different at home. It gave his character some layers rather than just being on one side of the spectrum only. Of course, there were times he lost it like that time he scolded Zheng Dong and quickly apologized. It showed he was human and things got messy. But he wasn’t cruel and learned from his mistakes. And possibly because of his softer side, it had created this obstacle where he seemed so wishy-washy at times that it drove me insane. However, I thought it was consistent and made sense, so I didn’t pick on it too much. I was talking about how he was determined to go through with his plan to sacrifice his own happiness and made the deal with letting Tian Bian return to the Hsu family as the rightful child in the first place. His resolve crumbled when he realized that he couldn’t follow through and how deep his feelings for Tian Bian were. Not to mention how everything wasn’t going as he thought it would when Tian Bian finally entered the Hsu residence. The fact that he admitted it was a mistake made it better than just brushing it under the rug or forgetting it all together. In a way, he couldn’t predict the future (like all of us) and didn’t realize it would become so complicated. He was also driven by guilt to right all wrongs and was blinded by his overly optimistic nature. Yet all of those added to his character, as I later realized. Overall though, he was a kind person at heart and truly didn’t want to hurt anyone. I thought Ambrose did a great job in expressing all those emotions and made us love Xu Ze Ya more through all his strengths and weaknesses.
  • Wallace Huo (霍建華) as Chung Xiao Gang (鍾曉剛). Mixed feelings until like episode 7 or 8. Yes, I started out really hating him and was saying inside how I was glad I never watched this previously because I would have hated him and never paid attention to him as an actor if it was like so. I hated Xiao Gang’s arrogant and terrible attitude. His condescension knew no end. He just kept behaving that way because he could. He seemed quite proud of how scheming and manipulative he was at times too. Although I had a feeling he did have a tragic past for real hence dodging regarding love, that was so cliche with the typical main character who was using the mean streak to hide his true feelings. So yeah, it was making me not like him much with his treatment of Tian Bian or the people around him either and I, at times, questioned how Tian Bian could even like him in the first place or allowed herself to be pushed around by him like that. Yet, the turnaround moment for him was worth it. The redeeming plot for him was convincing enough. It showed that he was too drunk on fame and success at times that he forgot about the normal days of the past. I thought he needed some setbacks to remind himself not to forget his team who had stuck by him all this time. Not saying he was pure evil and all. But I was just annoyed by how toxic he was at one point. I didn’t want him to be perfect because that would be unrealistic. I needed him to at least appreciate the people around him and not think that he was right all the time. Of course, I wasn’t picking on some of his training techniques because I knew he was right to keep Tian Bian on a strict meal plan to maintain her voice, etc. Those routines with jogging and more were crucial for her, etc. I just felt his confrontation with others all the time made it hard to work with him. Even if one could dismiss those as quirky traits artists like him have, it just wasn’t cutting it for me. Perhaps, it was hinting at how he’d been in the industry for too long that it had affected him, and needed this exterior to protect himself from others. Who could blame him? But once again, like I said, at least treat his team better. They were on the same side after all. I thought his strongest point was his determination. Perhaps, his fierce attitude had aided in that strength a lot. Because once he decided something, he was persistent in getting it done—regardless of what others said. It also helped with his philosophy regarding his life. It somewhat transferred over to how he dealt with his love life. That sometimes worked out and other times, it didn’t. Because his stubbornness and persistency in pursuing Tian Bian became a major plot point but also contradicted how he ended up back at the original point. (I will elaborate later in other sections.) Acting? I thought Wallace did wonderfully. Considering how Wallace said in several interviews years later that he didn’t even know how to walk properly like how the director wanted at one point, this was impressive. He also mentioned he had to do a lot of research and improve his methods with different techniques; I thought it worked for him. This character did overlap with some of his other characters, but I thought this was his strongest at that time. He was still a bit raw but it was understandable as this was some of his earlier roles. Keep in mind that he was in six dramas that year, one of which had around 40 episodes so yes, he was really overworked. I wasn’t surprised some of his roles eventually just merged into one another. (Given that SETTV liked to typecast people and how their usual main characters were the same as well.) This was his fourth role of that year and third major role so he wasn’t at full energy. Also, he was possibly filming this at the same time as Westside Story because Tony and the rest of the 5566 members were introducing Westside Story at the end of this drama. That meant they were done so it was ready for airing. I wasn’t really paying attention at that time they were filming these dramas but SETTV has a pattern with filming while airing. If they were lucky, this finished first before they loop in a bit of the Westside Story. So, Wallace indeed had a lot on his plate at that time and he pulled through with this major role.
  • Penny Lin (林韋君) as Xu Shan Ni (徐珊妮). Penny was surprisingly likable in this role and I swear some of the synopsis floating around were misleading and did a dishonor to her character. It was one of the reasons why I was surprised to like her character so much, even if she was seen engaged in some major confrontations with both Xu Ze Ya and Chung Xiao Gang at the beginning leading into the drama and introducing different characters to us. Professionally, she was logical and reasonable with her analysis. She had the experience to back up her reasoning too. Personally, she was tough and it somewhat leaked into her professional side. Yet her upbringing had a lot to do with how she’d become so strong and tough. It had fueled her energy and allowed her to survive all these years within such a hostile household. That changed later as the story progressed. I thought Penny did quite well portraying her character and the many sides of her. She totally rocked the professional side and showed her leadership side so convincingly. That might have inspired SETTV to cast her in some other roles later to show off her boss mode some more, lol. That was my guess, but she was indeed badass in those as well. Anyway, Shan Ni’s struggles and vulnerabilities were also vividly portrayed and quite relatable as well.
  • Jill Hsu (徐潔兒) as Mandy Shen Man Qing (沈曼青). I had to think a lot before trying to come up with the fairest analysis for her. Yes, I had to force myself to do that because I thought Jill truly fitted her role. Yet the plot did her a disservice. That also affected my perception while watching. Because I felt her role was unnecessary for the most part. Before fans come after me with pitchforks, hear me out first. Like I said, Jill really fitted her role. What made me come to that conclusion I did was because she was used as a hurdle in Tian Bian’s life during her (Tian Bian’s) debut. Then she was casted aside for the most part regarding the romance side. Although one could say that she was a popular singer and a senior within the industry and it gave variety and was realistic in a sense to have rivalries, she never really had her own story or true purpose. She was also associated to Xiao Gang but that aided his background story more than hers. In short, she was just a plot device to forgo the story and not her own character, like she deserved. I’m not suggesting that they give her a big story to overshadow other characters. Somehow, the writers were able to write the other major characters’ stories and weaved them into the main plot without sacrificing their identities but they couldn’t do that for Jill’s Man Qing? I will admit each character was different with their strengths and weaknesses, etc. But Jill had to take on the role of the jealous girl (like I initially feared for Penny’s character) and it was too typical. We know she was a normal person who rose to fame and lost her way and somehow found the courage to do the right thing to salvage her career as well as her dignity. However, how could one forget that she actually caused half of the problems in the first place? (Aka one can’t ask to be given credit for fixing stuff they broke.) After all, she did bring Eddy back into the picture. That was, of course, after she pulled the stunt of shattering Tian Bian’s spirit on the day of the debut. In some ways, it showed she was human and made mistakes and realized her way. But it was just too weak to try and redeem her later just because they needed her to end up with Xiao Gang, which I will go into more detail in their own section. Considering how she took her precious time to save the day too, I didn’t think she deserved the credit that much either. I was glad she interfered, but like I said before, her character development throughout was really weak, so this was just the last bit to save her character, leading it to be more acceptable if she ended up with Xiao Gang. That was all. Or perhaps, they could have her in here as another character but didn’t have to force some things and it would make more sense. One might ask why I was so harsh on Jill’s Man Qing when Wallace’s Xiao Gang wasn’t all that innocent either. Hey, I hated him for a third of the series. It wasn’t like he was getting a break from me. Regardless of all the factors I listed, I thought Jill did well with her performance. It was just that the writing got sloppy with her character development hence not doing it justice as she deserved.

Others:

  • Liang Xiu Shen (梁修身) as Xu Ruo Gu (徐若谷). Chairman of SET, also Tian Bian and Shan Ni’s grandfather. I hated him throughout but eventually just gave up and no longer cared anymore. I meant whatever, the series was almost ending so if he wanted to make up for lost time, so be it. I was pretty sure if you looked up the word misogynistic, his face was next to it. His beliefs or whatever didn’t justify his actions. I didn’t like the whole idea of getting together with some married man either, but this guy was just pushing it by taking it out on an innocent kid (at that time of the incident years ago) and continued to rule with an iron fist in the household. He was half the reason why the household was so hostile and cold. He was obviously responsible for Shan Ni forcing herself to conceal her true feelings and pushing herself to the max at times. Sure, he realized it later how wrong he was and how much energy he was exerting to hold onto hate but he had the easy way out after all he’d done. It wasn’t like I didn’t welcome it but the plot was at its end already, we—as the audience—were probably all tired from his drama king tantrums at times that we were just glad it turned out that way, instead of the endless hate cycle, so we let it slide. Or we just didn’t care anymore, lol. I was surprised he’d gone from threatening Ze Ya to literally begging him in the next episode, but like I said, I no longer cared at that point regarding him that I was just like whatever.
  • Ge Wei Ru (戈偉如) as Xiang Li Hong(項莉虹). Shan Ni’s mother. I was annoyed with her initially. Although I understood where she came from and it was hard to blame her for what happened and her reaction to her husband having an affair, I didn’t like her arrogant attitude at times either. She was the other half responsible for causing Shan Ni much of the unhappiness in here as well. So there was that. Her turning point was when she realized her father-in-law have been manipulating her into keeping the hate in her heart all these years. I guess misery does love company so he kept reminding her to hate, etc. so he had someone to sympathize with him. That hate had also affected how she raised Shan Ni and was distant toward Shan Ni all these years. I sort of watched the actress growing up, so I knew she could act, lol. No complaints.
  • Liu Rui Qi (劉瑞琪) as Li Hui Lan (李蕙蘭). Tian Bian’s foster mother. I found her harsh at first and bordering on cruelty when she discouraged Tian Bian’s dreams. Well, realistically, she was right that some dreams were just dreams. They were buried in debt and shouldn’t rely on some fleeting faith like that. However, I thought some of the criticisms were uncalled for. After learning how her husband died, it made sense. I was glad that she changed her mind later and respected Tian Bian’s decision. What irked me a bit was her overly naive faith in Eddy. She was in the blind and it was hard to blame her. It would have made more sense if she didn’t believe either one of the parties unless she went and investigated for herself. I know she was kept imprisoned at that point but at least show some signs of caution toward both equally. But I guess they needed some drama near the end to wrap it all up, allowing Man Qing to step in, etc. I was just glad the whole scheme was short-lived.
  • Josie Leung (梁家榕) as Xie Yi Xuan (謝憶萱). Tian Bian’s biological mother. Stay away from married men, seriously. I know it’s easy to judge but I thought that was like common sense. I know we didn’t have all the details regarding how they started (or he could have lied about his background), but I doubted it because he was a major figure in society after all, so it was hard to say she didn’t know who he was or if he was married or not. I also know if the affair didn’t happen, there would be no Tian Bian. But seriously, it was frustrating. I did feel bad for her and how tragic her life ended, but it was just wrong with how things started.
  • Gao Shan Feng (高山峰) as Zhong Ting (仲廷). Tian Bian’s friend since she moved to Dolphin Bay. Tian Bian had a crush on him at the beginning but was rejected by him soon after her confession. He had a brief role initially to introduce viewers to Tian Bian’s life at Dolphin Bay and eased viewers into the story. Then he just disappeared because the plot had shifted away from Dolphin Bay and focused on the entertainment industry and the love triangles between the main leads.
  • Morrison Ni (倪志強) as Ah Tang (阿堂). Part of the music development department under Chung Xiao Gang’s management. I agreed with Peggy when she said Ah Tang was exactly like Xiao Gang, except for the talent bit, lol. He was indeed quite fierce when telling her to get back to work, etc. But he was also a nice addition to the comedic scenes at times.
  • Joseph Ma (馬國賢) as Wang Zheng Dong (王正東). Xu Ze Ya’s special assistant. He seemed strict but had a soft side. After all, he did drop some hints for Ze Ya to take his break on the roof (knowing that Tian Bian went to the roof, lol) and misled Shan Ni of Ze Ya’s whereabouts at one point. I was calling him a traitor (jokingly, lol) at that point. But realized he worked for Ze Ya, not Shan Ni, so he was just looking out for his boss’s best interest, lol.
  • Deric Wan as Eddy. Chung Xiao Gang’s rival in the music industry. I wasn’t sure if his role was more unnecessary or Jill’s Man Qing. Yes, I said it. This coming from me being a major fan of Deric’s. It was just that his whole existence also relied on making Xiao Gang and Tian Bian’s lives miserable at one point. That was it. He was just another obstacle they needed to face. That was all. What I remembered of him was his outrageous fashion sense, lol.

Relationships – family, friendship, romances, etc.

  • Ambrose / Xu Ze Ya and Angela / Yi Tian Bian as a couple. At first, I found their younger versions more matching and their stories so touching. Then when they were all grown up, I felt there was something missing. Granted, I watched those parts years ago. I ended up skimming around and wasn’t really paying attention. It wasn’t until I watched it this time around that I appreciated their story more and realized their chemistry. It was the bias kicking in because I had watched Wallace and Angela on various shows together, hence shipping those two. In some ways, I was glad I took a break during that time and revisited it fully and fairly this time around. I found Tian Bian and Ze Ya’s relationship unique and touching in its own right. It was really heartbreaking to realize how they couldn’t be together and both were trying to be brave and move forward. At times, their resolves failed them, but they couldn’t be blamed because it was indeed very hard. Tian Bian was very brave though and she tried to distance herself from Ze Ya because she knew she couldn’t hold on any longer if she were to stay. I actually felt their chemistry mostly from their interactions and glances throughout. I didn’t know how it was going to work out for them with so many things surrounding them. I was glad it worked out in the end because of the distance and time that it took for everyone to heal. It was a bittersweet ending for me because of how the writers had chosen to kill off Shan Ni instead of working toward another angle. Circling back to Ambrose and Angela’s chemistry, I was surprised to like it so much after watching it this time around. Their acting had convinced me how compatible they were. The story aided greatly, but the chemistry had to be there as well.
  • Ambrose / Xu Ze Ya and Penny / Xu Shan Ni as a couple. Initially, Shan Ni hated Ze Ya, mostly thanks to her mother for fueling the hate, because she would always be second to him in the chain of commands—regardless of her efforts. It was both that and because it was believed that he was the other woman’s son. However, she maintained a professional attitude at work and even acknowledged his capabilities as he implemented all his methods to improve the company’s overall structure. In some ways, she had every right to be upset and felt what she felt—even if Xu Ze Ya had to bear the brunt of her reactions. Having to grow up in such a strict household and not allowing for a second opinion aside from grandpa and mom’s plans made it rough for her as well. She was forced to be tough. It wasn’t until she realized Ze Ya was genuinely a kind person, not putting up a front that she reconsidered. Having him save her that one time or was determined to stick by her side during the crucial point changed her opinion of him majorly. He also told her it was all right to show her vulnerabilities at times, allowing her to be herself and not have to put up such a tough exterior anymore. At least, she could be herself. (Of course, it was meant regarding her personality in general, not meaning to change her opinions or judgment in a professional setting.) Anyway, they had a rough start at first before getting along as siblings. Then, after learning that they weren’t really siblings, it was easy to fall for him because of his kindness and caring nature. Although it seemed one-sided at one point, I believed he eventually did fall for her. It was that scene when they were at the lake enjoying the view. On the way back, he went to fetch her a sweater. When he returned, he thought she had passed away already and broke down. She soon became alert again and the expression on his face was indescribable. In some ways, it could be explained that he was mourning a family member’s passing and was glad that she was still there, but that expression made me feel there was much more than that. It was us witnessing his heartbreak because he lost someone he loved, not just in a family love type only, nor was it out of pity like initially. And she had felt it too hence them sharing that moment. Ambrose and Penny’s chemistry? It was off the charts! At least, for me. It was one of the reasons why I was so torn between pairings while watching—even if I knew the endgame was Ambrose and Angela because it was relevant to the main theme. Around that time, I actually hunted down their other collaboration in Hou Tian Mei Nv (後天美女) and watched a bit. It was a fun beginning yet I had to drop it because I realized they weren’t going to end up together either. It was a shame because they had such a cute relationship in there initially. So sometime later, I ended up pairing them up in The Dating Game and made them into a golden couple in there, lol. Tangent, I know, but they were major characters in the spin-off and I have no regrets throwing some other characters off the bus in the process either, lol.
  • Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang and Angela / Yi Tian Bian as a couple. I used to think that Wallace and Angela should have been together. It was mostly because of my bias toward seeing how compatible they were. However, after having all the pieces of the puzzle and the overall picture, I realized it made sense why it shouldn’t be that way. If the scriptwriters wanted, they could come up with a story for these two, but it wasn’t meant to be, and that made sense either way. I meant I was glad Tian Bian realized that she shouldn’t use him as a lifesaver just because she lost her love already. I actually respected her even more that she was upfront with him regarding the matter. Sure, she did accept his proposal that one time and it was sad to hear the clarification afterward. Yet I felt I couldn’t blame her. At least, she set it straight early on instead of stringing him along till the end. She was different from other female leads in that sense. What was more, the scene backstage when Tian Bian apologized to him for rejecting him one final time, his response made me feel like he really matured. Yes, he was devastated that he was rejected. However, he said that love was a privilege, not a responsibility. It was a powerful statement because it lifted her burden, knowing she shouldn’t use herself to pay off her gratitude for him. It also indirectly addressed the whole “prize-winning” formula that often was in other dramas (aka just because the guy or girl did so much for the person they claimed to love, they automatically got to claim the other person like some object). So, yes, that conversation was important to me and made me appreciate the writers for putting that in for him, allowing us to see how far he’d gone as a character. I also wished so much, though, that they (SETTV) had casted both in a different series together like how they’d done for Wallace and Penny later on (even if it wasn’t fully satisfying.)
  • Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang and Penny Lin / Xu Shan Ni as a couple. Hear me out. I swear they suited one another both as actor and actress and character-wise. Having Xiao Gang end up with Shan Ni would solve the triangles altogether. Even if it would be too typical with the four main leads swapping couples or something, it would still make sense and would be less choking than the current Xiao Gang pairing. (This isn’t a dunk on Jill—if you read my analysis above, but more like an attempt to heal the plot flaws.) Shan Ni could still fall for Ze Ya because of his kind nature but could also end up with Xiao Gang in a different twist. Just like how Tian Bian realized she idolized Xiao Gang more than loved him in a romantic kind of way, Shan Ni could be feeling the warmness of having been cared for after being neglected by her family for so long and being forced to be tough. Her story would make sense with Xiao Gang because they had a history together, first of all. Both actually stated at different points through different interactions with one another or with other characters that they understood each other and how each operated, their thought process, and their feelings. Regardless of how their opinions differed on a professional front, they still saw past their biases and understood one another’s point of views. Even if they didn’t really get along personally at first but they soon learned to appreciate one another or spoke up for one another at different points. What the writers could have done was add in a scene after Shan Ni found out about her cancer results, Xiao Gang could have been at the hospital for whatever reason and overheard it somehow or at least spotted her and forced the answer out of her after seeing her all devastated. It wouldn’t be out of character for him to confront her or get an answer out of her. Then afterward, he could try to keep the secret for her while she cope and find a suitable time to tell her family. That could bring them together. The writers do not have to kill her off either because they could change the part with the bone marrow to match with Tian Bian’s instead of not matching. That way, she could both live and have time to develop with Xiao Gang hence moving on from depending on Ze Ya as an emotional support figure. Xiao Gang could also use that time to understand himself better and fall for Shani Ni because of their time spent together and how he had always admired her work ethic anyway, so it was a bonus he found other traits of hers that he come to love. That would bridge the gap between the two. With Tian Bian’s bone marrow match and much more, it would still allow for the rest of the Hsu family to spend time with Tian Bian and try to understand and appreciate her. It wouldn’t affect her story arch either.
  • Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang and Jill Hsu / Mandy as a couple. SET messed up on this major time. NOT just because of the lack of chemistry on their parts, but as their characters and plot-wise as well. At first, when I watched the opening scenes with them together and some private conversations between the two, I thought they were a match made in Heaven because of how equally vain they were. Sure, they appeared quite classy and perfect in the eyes of the public. But aside from that, they were indeed really vain and showed off their glamorous life. It was hard not to when they were in such an industry. They let fame get to their heads. However, when stuff started happening and the plot shifted away from their relationship, I had second thoughts. I already listed some stuff I found unconvincing above. To add on, I felt having them end up together felt really rushed, which was because we had him still mourning over his lost chance yet jumped immediately to understanding why he must turn around and see Man Qing? I got the message, I got it and even Xiao Gang said it seemed unbelievable and he was willing to take it slow, etc. to earn Man Qing’s trust again. But it was very poor execution. The writers had Xiao Gang spent two-thirds of the plot chasing after Tian Bian and proving to her he truly cared and wasn’t playing with her heart. YET spent about five minutes convincing us that he realized Man Qing was the one for him? Having them spend some time together with chats at times and some glances here and there didn’t help. In some ways, we got that they had this link because they’d been together for a while now. But the writers didn’t bother working on her own character in a way that showed her depth nor make an attempt to heal their relationship slowly. If anything, I felt having them end up together once again regressed their characters back to the beginning. Sure, they made mistakes and learned and grew through the different trials and tribulations. I was pretty sure their realization had to do with how abrupt Shan Ni’s death was too. Well, that partially pushed Man Qing to do the right thing and exposed Eddy. But I felt that was also lacking in getting them both together—or back together. I’m not saying it’s impossible for couples to get back together. I’m not saying they couldn’t solve their problems at long last since they’d both learned a lot within a short span of time. However, I felt it was forced and rushed like I said before. That was why I wasn’t convinced. Not to mention how I thought she deserves someone who could see her for who she is and love her more instead of continuing to entertain this idea and accept Xiao Gang because she was already familiar with his habits. I also felt the writers rushing him back into a relationship was just an attempt to put a nice bow on the ending, that was all. It was also unrealistic to be considered healthy. He needed more time to heal. To truly heal. Again, she deserved better. So did he. If they had promised to meet back again in two years (aka the ending) to see how things went, I would have been more convinced. Again, poor execution.
  • Ambrose / Xu Ze Ya and Wallace / Chung Xiao Gang as love rivals. There was this intensity between them throughout—whether it was on the professional front or personal. They often got into disagreements at work and sometimes used work as an excuse to argue over some details, but one or the other might know it was about Tian Bian all along. The major confrontation they had that resulted in an all-out shouting match and/or actual fight was when Xiao Gang realized that Ze Ya was really giving up on Tian Bian (aka forgoing his plan in marrying Shan Ni). He went on an injustice mission yet ended up declaring that he would never back down again if Ze Ya were to give up on Tian Bian at that moment. It was ugly and dramatic on many levels. However, in some ways, it did make sense that they shall have that confrontation, eventually. What disturbed me was how typical the formula was with the two acting like Tian Bian was a passive party in the whole situation, never asking her what she truly wanted. What irked me at that point was Ze Ya went to the extent of “bestowing” Tian Bian onto Xiao Gang. That was what pushed me to the edge and forced me to take Xiao Gang’s side, even though Xiao Gang had resorted to violence (and Ze Ya returned the favor soon after). Xiao Gang wasn’t just upset for Tian Bian’s sake but also for Shan Ni. Because he said that he understood what kind of person Shan Ni was and she wouldn’t appreciate that Ze Ya’s agreement to marry her was out of pity. In some ways, Xiao Gang was right, but in others, Ze Ya had a point with Shan Ni’s vulnerability at that moment. Shan Ni indeed needed someone by her side. It was getting really complicated. Despite all the madness going on, Xiao Gang actually appreciated Ze Ya for backing him up during the meeting shortly after their confrontation. He did say it to Ze Ya when it was just the three of them in the room. (Shan Ni was there at that time.) After all that was said and done, I really liked that they returned to the topic of whether Tian Bian needed their protection. It was the hospital scene where both offered her a ride home and she turned them down. I felt it was important they understood she was capable of taking care of herself and making her own decisions. And they needed to respect that. It was also worthwhile that they finally made peace with one another toward the end as well. Because they finally learned to appreciate one another’s differences and joined forces to help fulfill Shan Ni’s last wish together. Even if it was mostly following her grandpa’s orders, they, themselves, were more than willing on their own, not just because they were fulfilling some kind of work obligations.
  • Angela / Yi Tian Bian and Penny / Xu Shan Ni as siblings. Surprisingly convincing. I like both Angela and Penny very much, so watching them portray siblings was fascinating. There was this intensity at first, mostly because of other factors. But I thought Ze Ya’s efforts in trying to get along with Shan Ni at first aided Tian Bian’s situation later. Like how he was always so kind to her and protected her like his sister at the beginning—when they were still under the impression that they were siblings. She let go of all those resentments and hate toward him, and even more so let go of her shield. So when the other parts of the plot revealed themselves, Shan Ni was able to cope with it better. Sure, she was shocked to discover the new information as well. But it was like she no longer wanted to target the other person just because. She wanted to find out for herself, not letting her mother and grandpa influence her like they had previously. Sure, she mostly convinced Tian Bian to come home with her because of Ze Ya at first but later learned a lot about Tian Bian and realized the other person wasn’t the enemy. They indeed got along quite well. It was too bad their time spent together and trying to make up for the past was cut short. But was indeed touching to see the lengths they went through for one another later.

Likes:

  • The cast. Despite my complaints or disagreements with certain elements of the plot, I felt the cast fit perfectly for their roles.
  • The soundtrack. Loved it. Hey, I got it before I even watched the drama properly, lol. I especially loved the scene near the end where Angela and Jill got to sing Journey together at the concert. It was a nice touch to show they made peace. (Go here if you want the translations to “Lost Beauty” by Angela.)
  • The theme. Dolphins, who doesn’t love ’em, right? I thought the legend was an interesting story. It created a unique feeling for the drama.
  • Flashbacks were done correctly. The thing with series nowadays is the overwhelming amount of flashbacks used—whether it’s to promote the soundtrack or to extend episodes, it’s getting frustratingly annoying. Even if I like the songs or scenes used, it gets really, really repetitive after a while. That was why I appreciated that this series had used the right amount.

Dislikes:

  • The misunderstanding Man Qing set up by calling both Xiao Gang and Tian Bian to meet her before Tian Bian’s debut press conference. I knew it was meant to be an obstacle that Tian Bian will have to overcome. However, I didn’t like that it wasn’t properly resolved. Sure, that part forced Xiao Gang to finally face his feelings for Tian Bian and tell her how he felt. But it never truly exposed what Man Qing did. He did ponder how she’d overheard what he said to Man Qing, but it was never addressed again after they reconciled. We could try and assume that they probably said something afterward. But the writers made a big deal out of it and it caused a major setback for Tian Bian’s career. I thought we—as the audience—deserved to know the outcome of that.
  • Shan Ni’s death. Yeah, I’m against it regardless of the reasons. What I mentioned when discussing her and Xiao Gang was an easy fix for the plot. However, the writers chose to be dramatic just because. I cried buckets. Not kidding. It was so sad. Not to mention frustrating.

Discussions:

  • Nobody could keep a secret in here. I’m not exaggerating (for once, lol). Anytime you hear, “Don’t tell ____”, you know the info will be leaked—whether intentional or unintentional, accidental or accidentally on purpose. Examples? Shan Ni told Tian Bian not to tell anyone about her sickness until she was ready to tell them. Tian Bian told Ze Ya (out of frustration and concern for Shan Ni but still) that Shan Ni was sick and hoped that he would treat Shan Ni well during her last days. (Oops, the secret was out and everything went into chaos for a while.) What else? Xiao Gang told Happy not to tell Tian Bian about him using his place as collateral for his loan to fund Tian Bian’s promotional events. Happy ended up telling Tian Bian (by accident because he spoke without thinking and realized it too late he wasn’t supposed to say it) when she questioned him. Yeah, pretty much almost everything got leaked by accident.
  • If you swapped the couples, it would still work. I’m talking about Ambrose, Angela, Wallace, and Penny in that manner. Yes, they were so compatible that if you swapped the couples, it would still work. And even if the writers wanted to forgo with Wallace and Angela, Ambrose and Penny, it could work as well with some tweaking. The plot would still make sense. Hell, if you wanted to go further, even Ambrose and Wallace matched with one another if you wanted to go the danmei route, lol. (For real, though, I sent my sister some pictures of Ambrose and Wallace to show what they looked like in the drama and she thought it was a danmei drama, lol.) But too bad can’t do that for Angela and Penny because they portrayed siblings in there, lol. The point? I’m so writing a new fanfic surrounding these four, like I said in one of my tweets while discussing the drama.

Recommended? I thought it was worth it because it was indeed addicting in a sense. If you love the cast, it’s a must-watch. The plot was decent, and it wasn’t too frustrating with some side dramas. For one of those rare times, I actually agreed with the general audience that this was one of the best dramas aired around that time.

A Railway Life

image credit: Daai TV

I started watching it shortly after it aired. However, a lot of other things happened, so I had to put it aside. I went back to it several months ago and watched it slowly as I was between things. So, how was it? Like the majority of Daai series, it revolved around a real-life person and paved out a model family that encouraged others to work hard and also see the positive side of life. Because it was based on a real person, it wasn’t dramatic in a sense that drew in views like a typical idol drama or those daily soaps, lol. But I had shifted to watching Daai dramas more when it came to Taiwanese productions in recent years so I welcomed it. (Yes, I’m getting really tired of those dramatic antics and cliche formulas, so I rather watch something more realistic and actually learn some life lessons out of it too.) That didn’t mean that there was a lack of emotional element in the series itself. It just meant it wasn’t as artificial as the dramatic antics that were purposefully created just for the sake of drama.

Main Cast:

  • Ehlo Huang as Chen Qing Biao (陳清標). Initially, I was touched by how much he sacrificed for his family when little and eventually found his own path and was able to accomplish his goals along the way. He was finally to do all that and much more for his own family. However, I thought it was a bit ironic that he was harsh on his kids, even harsher than his father was on him and his brothers. Sure, the father at times wanted them to have a good life too, but he never forced them through things. If he wanted to, the father could have not allowed him to do a lot of things and just helped with the family business. If one argued that he had to be crazy to not agree with a much better life for his son via the educational path, I would say depends. Sure, he could allow Qing Biao to go to school but the clause was to go into farming and expand the family business only. See how that worked? So, I felt that was overboard that Qing Biao had forced Yi Jie and Qian Ping into pursuing his plans. Yes, his ultimate goal was for them to have a better life, not regress back to generations ago when they had to suffer through so many hardships. Yet he had to remember that his father took a leap of faith with him. How could he rob his kids of their decisions when his father gave him the freedom to pursue his dream? Sure, I got it once again that he was just overly worried and that worry blinded him. He did ease off later, but I thought it was ironic all the same that his mentality was more old-fashioned than his old man, lol. Not to mention how he said those words to his wife, “This generation, what are they thinking? All these independence and thoughts.” NOT the exact quote since I don’t remember exactly anymore, but in some ways, he was frustrated with being questioned when he knew what was good for them, etc. But he once again forgot that his father gave him and his brothers much more freedom than that because the old man truly loved them and respected them, wanting them to thrive–even if it wasn’t following in his own footsteps. So, I was rolling my eyes when he said that. Like that was supposed to be new with allowing your kids to thrive and grow just because, not turning them into a mini version of yourself. And if you’re saying the time was different back then, again, his father allowed them more freedom than that. Don’t bring the whole men versus women conversation in because of Qian Ping and Yu Ling. Because Yu Jie had to follow along too, not allowing any other opinions otherwise. Even if they got it and later apologized for some harsh words being exchanged, their frustrations were justified. (Cue back to how Qing Biao’s father had supported all of Shen Fu’s ventures too–even if he wasn’t 100% sure and yes, they had disagreements. But they buckled up and went through it together in the end. But he still didn’t regret it, because they were family and the old man continued to encourage his grandkids on, etc.) Once again, this was just some strange stuff I noticed while watching. NOT an attack on him or his family or anything. Outside of that, Ehlo did well portraying the emotions at those points. Granted, I haven’t seen the real person whom he portrayed, I just based it on what was happening and how he reacted to it, and if he was convincing in those scenes.
  • Lin Ke Wei (林可唯) as Jiang Yi (姜義). I haven’t watched her for the longest time. Possibly because she had shifted from idol dramas, which was a good idea actually. It wasn’t like she wasn’t in them anymore, but less. I thought she was more valued for her acting chops in real-life dramas than idol ones anyway. She had more to work with and wasn’t restricted in her characters. Of course, I didn’t have time to hunt down real-life interviews of the actual people being portrayed in here. However, I thought she did a wonderful job of showing the transition of her character throughout. She was a kind and gentle girl from little and then transformed into a very kind-hearted teacher. Although there were conflicts and hurdles she had to navigate through, it showed some depth with how she was able to steer through them–whether taking a brief break to rethink her strategy or having those who loved and supported her to encourage her on. Her character grew on me as the drama progressed. It showed her journey quite well–alongside her husband. I didn’t think the kids were just scoring points with her when they said she was the amazing woman behind her husband. She was indeed quite resilient. If it wasn’t for her, the family would have broken apart already. Considering how his job and all. (NOT blaming him here since he was building their life after all but it was tough on the kids too, trying to navigate the world and understand what was going on. They needed their mama as the glue to keep them all together.)
  • Long Tian Xiang (龍天翔) as Chen Qing Biao’s father. He was surprisingly easygoing as far as traditional people went. No, I’m serious. Maybe I was too used to strict parents and all, so I was surprised. Sure, he was seen as tough at times too, and had his principles yet he buckled up and led the way whenever obstacles came up. He did have some guidance from his mother while she was alive too, but had managed to keep to her words and heeded her advice to him throughout the years. I was also surprised that he didn’t care if his grandkids succeed educational-wise or not. Okay, I should dial back. It was more like he encouraged them and loved them regardless of their achievements and didn’t push them at all. He actually went all-in with supporting them–regardless of their decisions. It probably made sense because of how they came from a background of farming and it didn’t matter anyway as long as you were able to find work versus how his son, Qing Biao, wanted the absolute best path, etc. However, usually, the grandpa would take the dad’s side and say, “Your dad’s right, listen to him.” But in this case, his action eased the situation a bit more and he offered some insights and a different perspective. Well, he was quite experienced with life at that point and learned a lot already so he probably wanted to ease off the pressure with the grandkids. Or maybe it was just simply that he loved them because they were his grandkids. But it was just refreshing to see him laying it out so simply. Like how he said he had such kindhearted grandkids already, he didn’t need them to be overachievers or anything else. He was also very happy that they respected him and cherished their family. It was indeed very true. It was hard to come by with all family members getting along so well, etc. So, other factors could be solved regardless. Oh yeah, I would have loved it if he was around during the in-laws’ obstacle situation. He would have gone full grandpapa bear to protect his grandchild from the other woman’s attacks. Or was it because he had passed away at that point already so they didn’t mention him anymore? (They were clearer on his wife’s passing so I wasn’t sure. But I had to assume that he would have passed at that point already. Because it wouldn’t be right without him around in their new home–if they had transitioned to another path once again.) As for the actor, I watched him in so many old series back then with him portraying various villainous roles, so it was hilarious seeing him in this old wise man role. But he did well, obviously. No complaints there.
  • Zhang Qian (張倩) as Chen Qing Biao’s mother. It took me about halfway through the drama to realize she used to be in The Four Brothers of Peking, lol. Yes, it has been ages so I think it was understandable I didn’t make the connection. She was all right. I thought her conflict with Jiang Yi would be long and hard, but it wasn’t much, so that was good. (Jiang Yi was a super germaphobe so it was hard to see eye-to-eye at first. Both sides just needed to communicate and understand, that was all, not implying anything.) She was understanding in that she was able to see past what was more important at times of need–like how Jiang Yi helped with the family situations without putting it over their heads or something. So, in a way, it was just one of those clashes with personality and habits. They got along fine later on when things cooled down.
  • James Chang (張維錫) as Chen Shen Fu (陳神福). Qing Biao’s older brother. He was seriously unlucky. Or was he just naive? Harsh, but whenever he wanted to start some kind of business or an investment, he ended up getting conned or made the wrong call. It was really sad. I wanted him to catch a break, seriously. I actually wanted to know more about him in the later parts of the drama. But I guess he wasn’t the main focus so they didn’t mention him anymore or showed any traces of him after the mom passed away. I hope he caught a break and somehow managed to keep his family safe and healthy.
  • Bella Chang (張懷媗) as Ah Xue (阿雪). Chen Shen Fu’s wife. I felt bad for her. She had to hold down the fort as time went by and her mother-in-law was getting older. I initially bit down my teeth, wondering if she would cause trouble around the household with some conflicts going on. However, I was reassured nothing more progressed after some initial disagreements within the household. Then I reminded myself it wasn’t those typical soap but they were trying to portray some real issues in life and how people actually communicate within the household and not drag it out for dramatic purposes. (Sure, real-life could be messy too but I was glad it wasn’t so in this case.) I felt for her when everyone had to buckle up and endure it all with the debt issues and had to ration their food, etc. I wondered what happened to her kid but the child wasn’t shown again in the drama. Of course, the focus of the story wasn’t on her and her husband specifically, but it would have been nice to get a glimpse at least. Maybe it was mentioned but I have forgotten already because of the gap I watched some episodes, etc.
  • Rex Kao (高允漢) as Chen Shui Wu (陳水伍). Chen Qing Biao’s younger brother. He was shown initially with Qing Biao when they younger and somewhat when he grew up later. However, not much was mentioned anymore after their mother passed away. Once again, I know he wasn’t the focus of the story either but might be nice to get a little update.

Discussions:

  • Casting. I must say it was really good. Because I could see the resemblance of the chosen cast for the characters at various points of the drama. Especially the three kids through the years. I paid closer attention at that point, so I noticed it more than the first generation, so yeah.
  • Ehlo and Ke Wei. OMG, I had a major struggle getting used to them. Seriously, it wasn’t because of their acting. What I wanted to laugh about was about halfway through the series, I realized that they collaborated before. Nothing new with stars working together on more than one drama. But it was funny in the context that they were both in Heaven’s Wedding Gown together and then The Magicians of Love. Considering their characters in there, it was too hard trying to take them seriously as a couple, lol. So yeah. In case anyone forgot, in HWG, he was Ken and she was Ke Wei aka two-thirds of the office bullies who picked on Ai Qing (Cyndi Wang). Then in TMOL, he was Zhe Ming and she was Mango–who were initially rivals regarding the haircutting businesses before he joined Neo Image as well. Anyway, back to this one, they were all right. I thought it was mostly because they were portraying real-life characters, so the production team wanted to keep everything respectful and reserved. So, there wasn’t much of physical contact except somewhat initially. No big deal though. I enjoyed watching their collaboration. At first, I got this awkward vibe from them. But as the series progressed, it seemed like they were more comfortable portraying their roles or something. Or maybe it was my perception. But by the time they were dealing with their own family issues, i.e. their kids, I could imagine them more as a team and how they approached it. It was interesting to see who was calm versus panicked in each situation. I guess it was sending a message about how we all had our blind spots, so it helped to have one person being the calm one in matters, depending on circumstances.
  • The most relatable person was Chen Yu Ling (陳郁聆). Just personally, really. Because I’m also someone’s youngest sister. So I relate to her so hard. There were obvious differences between us, considering how she was tenfold cuter and positive about life throughout, the light in everyone’s world, which was indeed admirable. What I thought I could relate to her was in the sense that she faced the pressure of doing well just like her sister in school. Although her siblings weren’t keeping scores but being compared constantly (even if the parents didn’t do it intentionally) made her confidence sink. She, of course, had support and love thus overcoming the worst and finding her confidence again. It was indeed nice to see. Because I didn’t like how the parents accidentally started this vibe of siblings’ rivalry among them (as all parents at times did–whether they knew it or not). Interestingly, she got the ease off of not having to do as well as her older siblings and was glad about it later on as well. However, I thought it was like how Qian Ping said at one point, she didn’t have to face the pressure, etc. It wasn’t like she didn’t have to deal with it initially, because she had to at least meet certain goals and/or expectations too. It was just that her parents realized it sooner and ended up easing off on her–more Qing Biao–than Jiang Yi at first. I was just glad that she eventually found her own path and maintained a positive attitude throughout. Not to mention how her confidence shone through so brightly too. I was cheering for her.
  • The in-laws obstacles. This bit near the end with Qian Ping having to face her mother-in-law did dap into the dramatics slightly. However, I thought because it was a real-life topic, it was unavoidable. I actually agreed with Jiang Yi when she was shocked that Qian Ping didn’t even ask about Jun Ying’s family. Sure, she had a point that she wasn’t dating his family and didn’t care about his background (i.e. rich or poor). But realistically, you don’t know if he was the rooftop killer or not, hello. (It’s a You’ve Got Mail reference, look it up.) So yeah, I didn’t like that approach at all. It was more realistic that you would make sure to hit the major questions before diving in. Considering how they were planning to spend the rest of their lives together, after all, a thorough discussion of life goals and what it entailed and who it involved would be reasonable. I don’t know about the timeline of the story, but considering how Qian Ping was a courageous young woman out in the world on her own (for the most part) and leaned toward the independent, talented woman path, she could at least be more realistic. She lived a while in Taipei after all, and shouldn’t be too sheltered regarding common stuff like that. Also, considering how traditional the general vibe was, it was obvious they wanted grandkids regardless of the reasons. The mother-in-law especially mentioned that at the initial pre-marriage meetings between the two sides as well. What made her think that it would go away? And then she compromised because the old woman’s words got to her. Sure, compromises were unavoidable in any type of relationship, but to bring a child into this world because you wanted someone to get off your back? I wasn’t convinced she thought it through. The pressure was obvious. It was just too bad her son had the golden card, so it didn’t matter if he didn’t want kids, it would always be her fault because of that fragmented conversation the mother-in-law overheard. And then to top it off with another 8’oclock soap formula (but in this case, it was a real-life situation), she couldn’t get pregnant SO yeah, more ammunition for the mother-in-law. Just great. Yes, I’m bitter as hell. It is a serious matter and I’m upset for her. But I hated that the importance of her existence was reduced down to that moment (and for others to mock). The mother-in-law’s justification for pressuring them was because her tea buddies kept asking? Really? You’re a grown adult, you don’t have to listen to them or interact with them. Also, none of their business. (Yes, I get it, it’s really hard but I thought at a certain age you don’t care for that BS anymore. I’ve reached that age already hence some of my reviews getting braver in words lately. So, I find it hard to believe it was just that. In the end, it was just about “saving face”, etc. More like you wanted to show off to the world and parade your family around in other people’s faces.) I paused the episode to write the previous part, but I knew it! Other people’s opinions were just another excuse she conjured up. In the end, she wanted the grandkids. She just used the long way around to apply more pressure. Jun Ying did make a good case for his wife, too bad she used the ultimate parent card on him. (Typical mother-in-law passing on the generations of toxic idealogy that it was a woman’s duty to have kids. Not to mention how Qian Ping should just take it and accept it and be proud of her duty–and should be willing to sacrifice for “the cause” made it tenfold more frustrating. So the 8 o’clock soaps weren’t far from wrong after all. Of course, I know this stuff happened in real life, that was where the art drew it from. But I at least thought and became hopeful some things would be different. But I guess we can’t all evolve.) And if you want to say: “Stop applying those modernized Western views to the situation, you don’t understand the culture.” Some Westerners actually have those really old views too. I won’t get into it since that covers a whole new level of complication. I’m just saying some traditions and views shouldn’t be clung to. It’s just so toxic to reduce fellow human beings to only one sole purpose. That’s all. (It makes it tenfold worse when you’re also a woman and you tear another woman down just because they don’t want or can’t have kids. Then exude some high and mighty vibe because you did so and so things, etc.) Upside, at least Qian Ping got her parents in her court. I know, it sounds dumb that I should be surprised they supported her. They were her parents after all. But in the extremest circumstances, the wife’s parents’ side would agree with the other side with “continuing the family line” or along the same vibe. However, Qing Biao and Jiang Yi supported Qian Ping with her decision. Sure, they were worried at first and were protective of her (when they learned of the relationship), but actually quite liked Jun Ying and didn’t force him to jump through ten thousand hoops (just for kicks). They just wanted to meet him and get to know him (which was reasonable with some initial questions after all). The part where Jiang Yi accidentally (possibly) blurted out about “not caring about kids and as long as Qian Ping and Jun Ying were together, it was fine” was funny as hell. I had a kick out of it. Because Qing Biao had to clear his throat, reminding her they were at someone’s house and couldn’t say those things. (I’m with Jiang Yi all the way on the petty game she initially wanted to play because the other side wanted to torture her daughter.) I wasn’t mad at Qing Biao for stopping her though, because he had a point indeed. It would be harder on Qian Ping if they interfere even more. It showed he had learned from past overbearing situations with others, so I have to give him points for that. (Qian Ping did choose that path after all. Also, NOT to pile on, but seriously, she should have looked through all their family books before jumping into that marriage. NOT saying she should give up or people shouldn’t get married, but it was a really bad idea that they weren’t on the same page in the first place. I’m not feeling sorry for Jun Ying–even though I know we can’t choose family and what they think, he had more advantage in this situation and the fact that the controlling party was his mother. They had all the power here. If anyone wanted to say that I was petty for keeping scores. Um, the mother-in-law was being calculative first, only thinking for herself, not others. Or more like she only treated Qian Ping as an incubator, not a person. Why should I show mercy toward her? Besides, it’s not like I could do anything to her anyway. I’m just some random, irrelevant person on the Internet.) Totally random, but it was relevant and I don’t want to cut it and put it in their section. But Qing Biao totally took advantage of the situation and used it against Jiang Yi about how she was a teacher, after all, she should stay calm and the lesson she taught her students about thinking before you speak, lol. (Yup, regarding her mishaps in front of their in-law. She said that he was supposed to be on her side in those situations, lol.) I actually felt like they were indeed a couple at that point (more than some of the past serious scenes). It was one of those cute old couple light bickering moments you see at times. Anyway, back to the actual discussion. Regarding how strongly I feel toward the topic in general and possibly missing the point they’re sending–and yes, I shouldn’t meddle into their business (it’s not my place or choice to make anyway), I actually know all of that. But I’m just really upset that they were still sending and trying to normalize that was the correct choice aka to keep trying until some “miracle” happens. If it was Qian Ping’s choice truly, I would accept it more. But it was someone else’s influence, so the rest of whatever was going on was more than the word “infuriating” could be used to describe the situation as an overall. Also, Jiang Yi was seriously lucky as a daughter-in-law. Not to mention how Qing Biao had the gut to move out. I know their situation was totally different and at the time, it made sense that they moved out to fit the circumstances better. But if it was any other in-laws, they would have wanted her to quit and focus on the family. Yet, they weren’t so. They respected her for being such a talented person and accepted it. Even if they wanted the whole family together as much as anyone else. What was also different was that Jiang Yi had three kids, so no one complained and we didn’t see any drama regarding that. But I had a feeling Qing Biao’s parents would be more understanding and actually respect them as human beings rather than punish them (emotional torture and pressure, etc) just because. Oh yeah, did they change the ending to make the mother-in-law more likable? Because I swear it was too abrupt to see her grow a heart like that. It was a typical idol drama move where they changed stuff up for the last episode before wrap-up. I actually wanted to erase the previous parts to make the review less hectic. But decided against it in the end. Because those were my actual beliefs regarding the situation in general, I don’t want to erase that part. I was glad the mother-in-law changed her mind though. It was just that my faith in humanity had taken a downturn and had never recovered just based on personal experience that I wasn’t too hopeful for their ending–unless Qian Ping somehow succeeded. So, I was surprised they (the production team) wanted to send a message of acceptance (as per making the drama and putting the actual story in as well) instead of encouraging women to keep trying, no matter how it would affect their bodies. Again, I believe it’s always up to whoever is involved to make their choice. But I was just surprised Daai chose this story and sent out this message instead of the general procreation themes often splashed around. Because although many general popular cultures (regardless of region) at times wanted to send out the message of respecting others’ choices and empowering women, the ultimate choice they chose to portray–whether real-life stories or fictional productions–would always be procreation. The rest were just there for empty words. What topped the scenes for me was how the mother-in-law actually took an effort to subtly chide her nosy friend at the market when the latter brought up the topic of grandkids.
  • Jiang Yi is a germaphobe. OMG, seriously, they were addressing it at the last minute before wrap-up? I meant we got it initially and I first thought it was because she liked it clean. When it was the situation with the baby and all, I thought she was worried, being a new mother and all. That issue somewhat offended her mother-in-law since Mrs. Chen brought up three kids fine after all. Yet I was glad that was later solved and they didn’t keep that in mind. I must say once again Jiang Yi was seriously lucky to have such understanding in-laws. Because if it was others, they would have use that to their advantage to gain the upper hand later on. Somehow, the family just endured all through the years yet it finally caused major issues when she was already retired? Wow. She sure was lucky to not clash too much before. I guess people thought it would be normal for her to value cleanliness being a woman, a teacher, and other factors. The storyteller really buried the lede until the end all right. But it was indeed a time for Qing Biao to shine all right. She’d been the calm one in the past between his and Yi Jie’s situation. Now, it was his turn to try and resolve their conflicts. (I agree with him though. Each of us has our own habits and routines, but don’t try to influence others or it would cause them discomfort and/or feel more pressure.) Some comments missed the point when they criticized Yi Jie for not knowing how great he had it with his mom willing to clean the place or help and all. Yes, he had it great thus far. That was true that the mom’s intention was good. Yi Jie’s attitude had been a consistent thing throughout, so it wasn’t helping either. But it was a boundary issue in this case. It was nice and all having someone help you clean and stuff. However, how would they like it if their stuff got move around? Each of us has a system and comfort level. How do you like it if people come in and rearrange everything and claim they were helping? It didn’t matter whether it was family or not. In a way, Yi Jie understood well how there would be clashes hence moving out after his discharge from the army. He didn’t want to force his wife to change, knowing the situation at home and all. So, he was already approaching it with his own way. Once again, they shouldn’t use the parent card to force things through or guilty trip their children into changing. I was glad the issue was resolved and all, but I thought one shouldn’t be let off as easily with the parent card. Sure, Jiang Yi understood and thought it through afterward, wanting to call Yi Jie too. But somehow, she was saved from admitting that she was in the wrong too and should meet them halfway instead of going in there and demanding they changed according to her habits. Again, Yi Jie was wrong on the attitude, but he wasn’t wrong about the boundary situation. Considering Jiang Yi didn’t like it either that Mrs. Peng put her daughter in a hard spot. She shouldn’t do that to someone else’s daughter either.
  • Bonus. You get to see the real-life couple (Chen Qing Biao and Jiang Yi) at the end of the series on the train together. That was so cute.

Recommended? I thought it was worth it. I went in, just wanting to watch for Ehlo. Yet I learned a lot about the railway system and some other life lessons too. It might not be as fascinating to locals (or could be, I don’t know), but it was informative to me. Well, it wasn’t like it was focused 100% on the railway system and all. It was at heart trying to portray a typical model family. So it was worth watching see how they navigate through those life hurdles. Sure, I complained about some of the stuff too. However, I felt it was worth it in the end. I might not completely agree with some situations, but it was another perspective. Some things did make me think a little harder about it and it did change my mind about the situation. Others, take it as what it was.

Single Love Song by Terry Lin

(Uploaded by: TerryLinVEVO)

Song Title: Single Love Song (單身情歌)

Music by: Chen Yao Chuan (陳耀川)

Lyrics by: Yi Jia Yang (易家揚)

Key:
Bold = Original
Teal = Pin Yin
Tainted Blue = English
Muddled Green = Vietnamese

拉不住愛情的我
la bu zhu ai qing de wo
A person who is unable to keep love like me
Người giữ không được tình yêu như là tôi
總是眼睜睜看她溜走
zong shi yan zheng zheng kan ta liu zou
Could only stare helplessly as she walk away
Chỉ có thể trừng mắt nhìn cô ta bỏ đi
世界上幸福的人到處有
shi jie shang xing fu de ren dao chu you
There are many blissful people in this world
Thế giới có biết bao nhiêu người hạnh phúc
為何不能算我一個
wei he bu neng suan wo yi ge
Why can’t I be counted as one?
Tại sao không thể tính luôn tôi?

為了愛孤軍奮鬥
wei le ai gu jun fen dou
Fighting alone because of love
Vì tình yêu mà phấn đấu một mình
早就吃夠了愛情的苦
zao jiu chi gou le ai qing de ku
Having endured enough bitterness because of love
Sớm đã ném đủ đắng cay của tình yêu
在愛中失落的人到處有
zai ai zhong shi luo de ren dao chu you
There are many lost people within the world of relationships
Có biết bao nhiêu người bị thất lạc trong tình yêu
而我只是其中一個
er wo zhi shi qi zhong yi ge
That also includes me
Trong số đó cũng có luôn cả tôi

愛要越挫越勇
ai yao yue cuo yue yong
Love should be about resilience
Tình yêu phải càng xuống dốc thì càng dũng cảm hơn
愛要肯定執著
ai yao ken ding zhi zhe
Love should consist of certainty and stubbornness
Tình yêu phải quả quyết và cố chấp
每一個單身的人得看透
mei yi ge dan shen de ren de kan tou
Those who are single knows that fact
Mỗi một người độc thân đều nhìn rõ được
想愛就別怕傷痛
xiang ai jiu bie pa shang tong
If you want to love, don’t fear pain
Nếu muốn yêu thì đừng sợ bị tổn thương

找一個最愛的 深愛的 相愛的 親愛的人 來告別單身
zhao yi ge zui ai de   shen ai de   xiang ai de   qin ai de ren   lai gao bie dan shen
Searching for someone who loves as hard, as deep, as kind, as dearly so I could say farewell to bachelorhood
Tìm một người yêu hết mức, thâm tình nhứt, tương ái nhứt, thân ái nhứt để đến cáo biệt đơn thân
一個多情的 癡情的 絕情的 無情的人 來給我傷痕
yi ge duo qing de   chi qing de   wu qing de ren   lai gei wo shang hen
Someone who is passionate, infatuated, heartless, and ruthless that will give me all the wounds
Một người vừa đa tình, si tình, tuyệt tình và vô tính nhứt để tặng tôi những vết thương

孤單的人那麼多
gu dan de ren na me duo
There are many single people
Có biết bao nhiêu người cô đơn
快樂的沒有幾個
kuai le de mei you ji ge
There aren’t many of those who are happy
Vui vẻ chả có được bao nhiêu
不要愛過了 錯過了
bu yao ai guo le   cuo guo le
Don’t love and then regret
Đừng nên yêu rồi và lầm lỡ
留下了單身的我 獨自唱情歌
liu xia le dan shen de wo   du zi chang qing ge
Leaving me behind all alone, singing a love song
Để lại tôi cô đơn một mình hát bài tình ca

(music)

為了愛孤軍奮鬥
wei le ai gu jun fen dou
Fighting alone because of love
Vì tình yêu mà phấn đấu một mình
早就吃夠了愛情的苦
zao jiu chi gou le ai qing de ku
Having endured enough bitterness because of love
Sớm đã ném đủ đắng cay của tình yêu
在愛中失落的人到處有
zai ai zhong shi luo de ren dao chu you
There are many lost people within the world of relationships
Có biết bao nhiêu người bị thất lạc trong tình yêu
而我只是其中一個
er wo zhi shi qi zhong yi ge
That also includes me
Trong số đó cũng có luôn cả tôi

愛要越挫越勇
ai yao yue cuo yue yong
Love should be about resilience
Tình yêu phải càng xuống dốc thì càng dũng cảm hơn
愛要肯定執著
ai yao ken ding zhi zhe
Love should consist of certainty and stubbornness
Tình yêu phải quả quyết và cố chấp
每一個單身的人得看透
mei yi ge dan shen de ren de kan tou
Those who are single knows that fact
Mỗi một người độc thân đều nhìn rõ được
想愛就別怕傷痛
xiang ai jiu bie pa shang tong
If you want to love, don’t fear pain
Nếu muốn yêu thì đừng sợ bị tổn thương

找一個最愛的 深愛的 相愛的 親愛的人 來告別單身
zhao yi ge zui ai de   shen ai de   xiang ai de   qin ai de ren   lai gao bie dan shen
Searching for someone who loves as hard, as deep, as kind, as dearly so I could say farewell to bachelorhood
Tìm một người yêu hết mức, thâm tình nhứt, tương ái nhứt, thân ái nhứt để đến cáo biệt đơn thân
一個多情的 癡情的 絕情的 無情的人 來給我傷痕
yi ge duo qing de   chi qing de   wu qing de ren   lai gei wo shang hen
Someone who is passionate, infatuated, heartless, and ruthless that will give me all the wounds
Một người vừa đa tình, si tình, tuyệt tình và vô tính nhứt để tặng tôi những vết thương

孤單的人那麼多
gu dan de ren na me duo
There are many single people
Có biết bao nhiêu người cô đơn
快樂的沒有幾個
kuai le de mei you ji ge
There aren’t many of those who are happy
Vui vẻ chả có được bao nhiêu
不要愛過了 錯過了
bu yao ai guo le   cuo guo le
Don’t love and then regret
Đừng nên yêu rồi và lầm lỡ
留下了單身的我 獨自唱情歌
liu xia le dan shen de wo   du zi chang qing ge
Leaving me behind all alone, singing a love song
Để lại tôi cô đơn một mình hát bài tình ca

(music)

找一個最愛的 深愛的 相愛的 親愛的人 來告別單身
zhao yi ge zui ai de   shen ai de   xiang ai de   qin ai de ren   lai gao bie dan shen
Searching for someone who loves as hard, as deep, as kind, as dearly so I could say farewell to bachelorhood
Tìm một người yêu hết mức, thâm tình nhứt, tương ái nhứt, thân ái nhứt để đến cáo biệt đơn thân
一個多情的 癡情的 絕情的 無情的人 來給我傷痕
yi ge duo qing de   chi qing de   wu qing de ren   lai gei wo shang hen
Someone who is passionate, infatuated, heartless, and ruthless that will give me all the wounds
Một người vừa đa tình, si tình, tuyệt tình và vô tính nhứt để tặng tôi những vết thương

傷心的人那麼多
shang xin de ren na me duo
There are many people who have been hurt
Có biết nhiêu người bị tổn thương
我應該勇敢的過
wo ying gai yong gan de guo
Of course, I’m one of those who bravely forge through
Riêng tôi thì dũng cảm vượt qua
不要愛過了 錯過了
bu yao ai guo le   cuo guo le
Don’t love and then regret
Đừng nên yêu rồi và lầm lỡ
留下了單身的我 獨自唱情歌
liu xia le dan shen de wo   du zi chang qing ge
Leaving me behind all alone, singing a love song
Để lại tôi cô đơn một mình hát bài tình ca

這首真心的 痴心的 傷心的單身情歌 誰與我來和
zhe shou zhen xin de   chi xin de   shang xin de dan shen qing ge   shui yu wo lai he
This song which consists of ingenuity,  infatuation, and hurt, who will accompany me to sing it?
Bài tình ca vừa thành khẩn vừa si tình lại vừa thương tâm này, ai sẽ cùng tôi hát đây?

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

Douluo Continent

captured by DTLCT

I started this out of curiosity. Well, I somewhat wanted to watch it because of Xiao Zhan. However, that didn’t motivate me as much since I put it on my list and wanted to keep it there while I took a break from ancient series. However, seeing Calvin sort of sealed the deal for me, lol. Yes, it moved up from the list thanks to Calvin. And if you want to read my thread, go here. Anyway, I thought it was interesting at first and laughed so hard with the humor thrown in to move everything along. It was addicting in a sense. However, it went downhill somewhere along the way. I didn’t mind since some of the cast and characters made it worthwhile and the humor came back along the way to ease the tension a bit–if only temporarily. The main focus of finding out the mastermind behind all those schemes kept the story going. That was the main reason I ended up sticking around. I wanted to find out what was the story behind so many layers of deceit too. Yet, the ending killed it major time. I will save that for later as to why, because I’ll start with my usual characters’ discussions before diving into the other parts of the story itself.

Main Cast:

  • Xiao Zhan (肖戰) as Tang San (唐三). He showed another level of acting chops that made it addicting to see what else he was capable of as the story moved along. Tang San was in a way, a hot-headed person although he had a kind heart overall. He started out quite naive and inexperienced, considering how he lived in a secluded place since little. It made sense. When I say naive, I didn’t mean he wasn’t smart. He was seriously a smart person, but his thoughts were quite simple–once again, because of where he lived since little. As he traveled along and met others, he became more experienced and his thoughts sharpened–mostly thanks to his master. The journey he went through allowed him to deal with various situations. His emotional state at each part was depicted very nicely by XZ. One could feel for him each time he found out something or was trying to work through the obstacles. In other words, it was really convincing. His playful side? I had already seen that side of him in The Untamed, so it was really easy for him, no challenge there. It was just nice to see his character having a mixture of personality to it, not one-dimensional as the main lead, so that was good. Side note, anyone felt like XZ’s image as Tang San in here made him resemble Ekin Cheng? (It did to me at various points, especially Ekin’s image in The Zu Mountain Sagas.) The one downside of Tang San–aside from his hotheadedness at times–that I felt kind of a shame was how there was a lack of scenes where he was alone. What in the world do I mean? He barely had scenes alone because he was always with some of the other characters. I know the theme emphasized throughout was teamwork, etc., but a character had to grow on their own and being able to handle challenges by onself as well. So, I thought one of the rare scenes that defined his character was the part where he went against Shi Nian. That was seriously awesome because he managed to deduct from all the details to unveil the latter’s trap. Although he needed his mom’s help during the battle, that at its heart was a battle of the mind and he didn’t fall for it–nor gave up control. It showed he had traveled a long way and was able to stay calm and work his way out of that mind control scheme. Definitely signs of growth and strength and much more.
  • Wu Xuan Yi (吳宣儀) as Xiao Wu (小舞). At first, I thought she was really cute with her rabbit ear and how she seemed to have such a simple view of life. I guessed immediately that she was a soul beast. Honestly, it wasn’t that hard. They didn’t need to drag it out for me. It seemed like a liao zhai formula poking into this one. But in the context of the story, it was obviously different. The definite sign was how concerned she was for the soul beasts–even if it could be explained she had a kind and gentle heart, she reacted too strongly at times when it was mentioned about the soul beasts being slaughtered and how she was trying hard to find a way so both soul masters and soul beasts could co-exist. The even more obvious sign was how she could communicate and talk to the soul beasts and wasn’t the least bit scared of them. Once again, it could be explained she had some special abilities and/or skills to help in that area. However, why would the soul beasts trust a mere human like that? They had good reasons to be suspicious and defend themselves. So, it made a lot more sense that she was a soul beast hence both of the kings of the Star Forest trusted her and much more. Along the way, I just became annoyed with her to the point that I tuned her out mostly. Yeah, I’m heartless like that. But I felt it unnecessary that she kept engaging into all these side fights or seemed to crave for ’em whenever they were at a new place or something. Accepting challenges was one thing or if the other party initiated the fight, it was fair game. But that part where she just went and attack the Tian Dou Empire people like that? It was uncalled for. It showed her care for Tang San, but in the name of team spirit that they often chanted, she lost grounds major time. (So I didn’t like it that Tang San encouraged her on with his chant about how wrong Yu Tian Heng was to attack her. Hello, Yu Tian Heng warned her several times to leave and not cause trouble there. Yeah, I know, those kids were in love, so they threw reasons out the window, but still not cool.) Also, she never freaking listened or broke her promise each and every time. Yet it was dismissed and viewed as because she cared for Tang San so it was all right. It was getting ridiculous and I just didn’t want to bother anymore. It was explained in the brief parts of the ending by her that she was scared hence not telling Tang San stuff, but seriously, I thought it was still not right. Sure, it wasn’t like they could do anything at that point when they were restricted by Bi Bi Dong, etc. I got the fear and all. But it was Tang San, someone she claimed to care about and trust. She could lie to the world all she wanted–because they proved untrustworthy when it came to unknown variables within the soul masters stuff, but hiding stuff from Tang San? He never hid stuff from her. Trust is a two-way street. I thought her character reminded me madly of Ling Er in Chinese Paladin. Because the majority of the story tried to build a case for her character but she wasn’t special per say. Don’t talk about her abilities, the majority in here had their own strengths and weaknesses, so it was automatically viewed as awesome with all those skills they had regardless of other variables. So yeah, it didn’t impress me one way or another except boosting up her character as cute or should be important, etc. Once again, I don’t know why I need to clarify this, but this is NOT an attack on the actress. It’s just talking about her character here. If I was talking about the stars themselves, I would say so.

Supporting:

  • Calvin Chen as Yu Xiao Gang (玉小剛). I remember Calvin sharing pictures of him in costume. However, I never made the connection that it was for this one. I haven’t watched Calvin in ages, lol. Sorry, that made him sound old, lol. But more like I just lost track of his works and ended up writing more fanfics of him than actually watching. So yeah. His character in here was a nice change for me, comparing to his past idol dramas’ characters. It wasn’t like I disregard his efforts in those previous works. But I felt this was different in a sense that it challenged his acting even more. I often seen him in sunshine roles. If not those, at least, it aimed to be lighthearted. So this one, it transcended his acting to another level. After all, it was somewhat enlightened level master. He was still funny at times, but this role was considered to be of a more mature side. He was probably my favorite character in here. Yes, I said it. So, of course, there will definite be bias shift and I could go on for days in regard to his character. But I probably will not here, lol. It would be too long. But I loved the intelligence and wisdom his character brought forth in this one. Well, that had come from a lot of pain and suffering too. But he was seriously a genius. It ddin’t matter if he lacked the soul rings or whatever. He was the definition of working smarter and not harder. Because he could outwit people numerous times without needing to use his strength. What was more, he had such a cute Mutant Soul to help him. Luo San Pao was sooo cute yet appeared so little later that I miss that little dude. Poor him also, kept being called a “pig” when he was a dog, lol.
  • Qiu Xin Zhi (邱心志) as Lan De (蘭德). I haven’t seen him for a while now because I sort of gave up on some of his repetitive royal roles or maybe too glamorous ones. I felt this role was refreshing in a sense because he seemed not so stylish or polished anymore. It gave off a different vibe. He did brilliantly with depicting the humorous side of the character as well as the serious side as well. It was funny seeing him flipping out at times when it came to the finances, but he kept to his principle and didn’t join those big schools, etc. in their ways. So that was admirable all right. Oh yeah, he could just fly to any place he wishes so that was somethig.
  • Gao Tai Yu (高泰宇) as Dai Mu Bai (戴沐白). I didn’t like his arrogant ass at all at first. But when more details revealed itself, it made a lot of sense. So I cut him some slacks. He did learn to get along with the others eventually and opened up to them. It was hard, considering how he grew up with his psycho brother and had to watch his back constantly. He was taught at a young age to be independent and be the strongest. It was hard for him to adapt. It was also hard to let go of his pride. But he went a long way to undo those toxic mentality from his kingdom and managed to reach another level by trusting those around him.
  • Liu Mei Tong (刘美彤) as Zhu Zhu Qing (朱竹清). Dai Mu Bai’s fiancee. She projected some sort of mystery at first from her intro scenes, so I was looking forward to seeing more of her story development. I guessed she was somehow romantically linked to Dai Mu Bai yet didn’t get the context of the story. That was indeed different than the other stories in here. However, it was somehow hilarious to see Dai Mu Bai being troubled by her presence. It was later revealed that she had a similar background as Dai Mua Bai in that she also had a crazy sibling, trying to compete with her. Her sister was seriously crazy, masking the front with caring for her and wanting to protect her from Dai Mu Bai or others yet only wanted to spy on her and get the upperhand with different situations. It made sense she wanted to become tougher to face future obstacles. She also learned alongside the others as the journey continued on. It wasn’t like she was outright hostile toward others. She had an attitude, mostly toward Dai Mu Bai at first. Yet later, it gradually improved. She wasn’t stingy either because she was able to warm up to the ones who treated her nicely or kindly. She wasn’t arrogant in the sense that she thought she was better than everyone either. She knew she had skills yet also knew there were better soul masters out there. I guess, in short, she was a balance to some of the characters in here who belonged on one side or the other of the scale. She was also quite bright as well, figuring out the various techniques as she went through different trials.
  • Liu Run Nan (刘润南) as Ou Si Ke (歐思客). Lan De’s adopted son. He was hilarious from the start. I knew he was in cahoot with that first test, lol. He seemed like a silly, goofy type. Yet he could be so considerate toward others and had a kind heart. He was so passionate about his inventions and actually had a different life goals than others. At least, that was what he chanted at first. Later, it was revealed because he thought his talent wasn’t really a talent or seemed useless during challenges hence not wanting to pursue that path. He was happy to learn that he could be a great asset to the team hence continuing to train and accompany the others through the final competitions.
  • Ding Xiao Ying (丁笑瀅) as Ning Rong Rong (寧榮榮). I didn’t like her at all at first. Yes, surprising, but true. I just didn’t like her spoiled brat attitude-although the actress looked really cute when she showed up at their school. However, her character grew on me and somehow, her personal journey and growth was equally admirable as the others. Sure, she did side-step at times (along with the others) and had to be reminded to take it down as well with the confidence/arrogant boundary. However, she learned to get along with the others and treat them like a team as well. They had not only became friends but almost like family. She seemed fierce at times yet had a soft heart too when it came to caring for others. I thought the actress did a nice job in showing those various emotions and the character’s growth. You could see her arrogant side, her playful side, her cute side, etc. It was all different and addicting in a way to see what else she could do.
  • Ao Zi Yi (敖子逸) as Ma Hong Jun (馬紅俊). Lan De’s disciple. He had a tragic past and had to learn to live a normal life again after the others rescue him from himself and that one dude at his village. He was sheltered for most of his life and had difficult (for obvious reasons) to mingle with others at first. However, he had a chance to start over and ended up progressing much more than he could ever imagine. It was funny that Lan De accidentally overheard him discuss this whole business plan and ended up recruiting him as a disciple, lol. Even Ou Si Ke was shocked that he didn’t get special treatment, lol.
  • Huang Can Can (黃燦燦) as Hu Lie Na (胡列娜) / Qian Ren Xue (千仞雪). Bi Bi Dong’s daughter. She took on the identity of Hu Lie Na upon her mother’s request to conceal her real identity. For whatever reason, we do not know. But it could be said from her point of view (and probably true too, considering what we learned at the ending scene) that she was just another pawn to her mother’s grand scheme. At first, I did not like her at all. Dai Mu Bai’s words to Tang San described accurately how I felt about her. There was this creepy vibe about her that was nerve-racking. It was easy to tell that she wasn’t just there because she liked Dai Mu Bai and wanted to get to know him. Her actions were too suspicious already. One would have to be crazy to buy it. Then it was revealed later that she had the skills to morph into someone’s appearance and become them. It took all these magic madness to another level all right. I didn’t like her scheming ways regardless of her reasons or whatever she cooked up to convince others. However, upon learning how much she did in order to be acknowledged by her mother, it was heartbreaking. Sure, she did a lot of terrible stuff and hurt many people, but she was really pitiful. She did them randomly to seek approval from her mother. It reminded me of the Scorpion King from Word of Honor–even though the relationship dynamic was a little different. One couldn’t help but feel for them. Her character indeed was quite complex as the plot moved forward. I felt the actress did quite well at various points of the story. She showed the cunning, scheming nature quite convincingly. Also, the obvious contrast when she almost turned into a child again, just wanting the love of her mother–something she probably won’t ever have.

Others:

  • Kenny Bee as Tang Hao (唐昊). Tang San’s father. OMG, I totally didn’t recognize him although I felt he looked familiar. He appeared a little bit here and there. Then bam, he appeared to save the day just like that. It was like, hello, should have made him the main guy if it was that easy. Just saying? Yes, I’m still bitter about the ending being so anti-dramatic regarding the supposed important final battle, so yeah.
  • Zhu Zhu (朱珠) as Bi Bi Dong (比比東). Martial Soul Hall’s leader, Qian Xun Ji’s wife, Qian Ren Xue’s mother. She was ruthless and relentless in her ways yet acted like she was some victim in all of it and had no choice but to do such. I didn’t mind that she was ambitious and wanted to be a top soul master or whatever. That was most of the soul masters’ goals in here. However, she took it to another level, sacrificing the one she suppoedly love for power and then turned around to act like he was in the wrong to reject her proposal of turning him into a famous itellectual figure among the lands. Really? Then yeah, killing her husband and treating her daughter like trash. Yet somehow, she justified all of that behaviors because she said she wanted to become a powerful soul master. Really? Of course, the manipulation was top-notch too. How could anyone forget that anyway?
  • Wang Yi Fan (王亦凡) as Ye Zhi Qiu (葉知秋). Cang Hui Academy’s student. He was under Shi Nian’s mind control hence committing some of the cruelest act ever by carrying all the commands along the way.
  • Guo Zi Yu (郭子渝) as Gui Dou Luo (鬼鬥羅). The mastermind behind the schemes in order to assassinate Bi Bi Dong. He wanted to do all of that to avenge Qian Xun Ji’s death. He claimed his loyalty to the previous leader of the Martial Soul Hall only, considering how things turned out. However, Bi Bi Dong found out a long time ago and just wanted to use him to gather all her enemies up in one place to get rid of them once and for all. Too bad that everything he went through was all in vain. He wasted a lot of time and energy just to fall into Bi Bi Dong’s trap.
  • Ren Qing Na Mu (仁青娜姆) as Du Gu Yan (獨孤雁). She was soooo cute. At first, I didn’t think much of her except for a random character they encountered along the way. However, she played a larger part in the story. Well, not that large, but was tied to some of the grand scheme in that they wanted to use her grandfather’s power hence forcing his hands via poisoning her. I loved her feisty nature and her witty responses to her grandfather. It was hilarious to see how she used some crafty tricks to get him to save Tang San–or at least try to find him, etc. It was hilarious seeing that someone finally could get him to change his mind about matters. She said that she had someone in mind already and was teasing them about Tang San, so I was guessing Yu Tian Heng, lol. But of course, we didn’t get to see that either. It would have been fun to elaborate a little more.
  • Li De Xin (李德鑫) as Yu Tian Heng (玉天恆). Yu Xiao Gang’s nephew. I almost forgot his link to Master in here. However, I felt his character was someone whom I wanted to know more about. Of course, because of the relevancy of the story, time didn’t allow for that. I wonder if there was more info on him in the novel.
  • Wang Gen (汪亘) as Xue Beng (雪崩). Tian Dou Empire’s student, also a descendent of the royal family. His name meant avalanche (so yeah, his parents totally set him up for failure here). Anyway, not only was he arrogant but also a sore loser. He dared to challenge people yet couldn’t take the loss so he went into full tattle-teller mode and ruptured up the whole place just because. He was the only one that Xiao Wu fought that I didn’t have a problem with. ONLY because he was the one picking the fight with them all of a sudden.
  • Du Jun Ze (杜俊澤) as Dai Wei Shi (戴惟仕). Dai Mu Bai’s older brother. When he appeared in the story to cause trouble, I finally understood where Dai Mu Bai’s attitude and his overly condescencision came from. With a brother like this, it was a miracle he hadn’t gone insane. He had to watch his back at all time. Because this guy was the definition of arrogance in here. Like if you open up a dictionary, you see his face next to the word “arrogance” or something.
  • Wang Qiao (王俏) as Zhu Zhu Yun (朱竹雲). Zhu Zhu Qing’s older sister. Same vibe as Dai Wei Shi. I swear they were more like siblings than their siblings, lol. Or was that too much if they were under the same roof?
  • Bao Bo Yu (鮑柏宇) as Xue Qing He (雪清河). The crownd prince of Tian Dou Empire. He was quite bright for a young prince. He was probably trained by kingmakers, but he fitted with his role–unlike most spoiled royalties seen around. He knew what was happening all around him, not just taking in nice words from others only. The young actor was good in exuding those characteristics. And then the part where he was supposedly a fake. Nicely done.
  • Anthony Bao (包小松) as Prince Xue Xing (雪星親王). He was also quite arrogant. That was until he got brought down by Qian Ren Xue posing as the young prince. I guessed it was because he wasn’t completely dumb, so his trap was a little more elaborate than some of the others. Yet it was funny while it lasted, seeing him trying to throw his power around and then bam, he was gone. Just because of a misstep, that was.
  • Liu Jiao Xin (刘交心) as Du Gu Bo (獨孤博). Du Gu Yan’s grandfather. Where to begin? He came and went as he pleased. He lacked social skills and his attitude was terrible. His only weak spot was his precious grand-daughter–who knew that and took full advantage of him. In some ways, he deserved it, lol. He did break a bunch of promises to Tang San, so it was payback in some ways. He was hot-headed at times but not too unreasonable. He did learn to get along with others–somehow–and Tang San’s personality and patience helped. He was actually quite smart, considering how he helped Ye Zhi Qiu break the mind control thing and all.
  • Zhang Wen (张雯) as Liu Er Long (柳二龍). The third member of the old Golden Iron Triangle. She appeared almost toward the end of the series and helped them with some of the trials they went through. She was crazy obsessed for Yu Xiao Gang. Seriously, mixed feelings on that front. Because it could create humorous effect. But also somewhat awkward too. But her skills was undenialable though.
  • Shen Xiao Hai (沈曉海) as Ning Feng Zhi (寧風致). Rong Rong’s father.
  • Zhou Xiao Chuan (周小川) as Chen Xin (塵心) aka Grandpa Sword (劍爺爺). He was hilarious. I thought he would be some fierce force at first, but he created a hilarious atmosphere all around later on. The fact that he didn’t care for Rong Rong’s father’s BS stories about protecting her was equally hilarious as well. He was wise for his age as well, reminding the latter they used to be young once and wanted to travel the world and also becoming the best soul master, etc.
  • Guo Jia Nuo (郭家诺) as Shi Nian (時年). The leader of Cang Hui Academy. His special skills was mind control so he took full advantage of that to control his students and eventually all those around him to push forward the grand scheme of Guo Dou Luo. He finally met with his fate when his trap backfired.
  • Wang Lu (王露) as Huo Wu (火舞). Team member of the Flaming Fire Academy (熾火學院). She alerted Tang San about the missing teams, leading to their investigation into the situation. She was actually quite smart and reasonable. She trusted the Shi Lan Ke Academy because they weren’t controlled or influenced by the other powerful groups involved. It was a good call since that allowed the others to uncover more behind the schemes. Too bad, somehow, they didn’t show for sure if she and her teams and the rest of the other schools were actually safe or not. At least toward the end.
  • James Wen as Ju Dou Luo (菊鬥羅). I recognized him right away. Or at least made the connection. But I couldn’t be too sure because I had only seen James in an ancient setting like once before. So, I had to go look it up. But it was indeed him. It was kind of funny seeing him in here since I didn’t realize he was also part of the production. Anyway, how was his character? It was interesting at first. Then it died down. I meant, I didn’t expect him to hog the scenes and made it unbearable to watch. But as for his character, someone who recongized Dai Mu Bai’s talent, the least he could do was show some sense of integrity or a change of heart. Yet he remained disapointtingly dispecable even till the end. Like he was all right with the world falling apart and Bi Bi Dong controlling it. As long as he was comfortable in his position, that was it. Yes, selfish was all that he was. Okay, maybe I’ll give him arrogance too. But that was the majority of the soul masters in here–whether they were capable or not. But as for James, it was fun to watch him portray this role. A different side of him, kind of a laid-back character with a mixture of creepiness at times too.

Relationships – family, friends, romances, etc.:

  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Wu Xian Yi/ Xiao Wu as a couple. They spent A LOT of time together in here, so I didn’t think anyone would think they got robbed of time spent together. Well, if you did, I don’t know what to say, lol. I usually don’t force couples–unless the storyline is unconvincing that I make jokes about it. So, this time, it’s no different. They weren’t my favorite couple in here. But as long as their feelings were mutual, good for them.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Kenny Bee/ Tang Hao as father and son. There was no denying their bond. They were with one another since he was little. How could anyone deny that? Their strong bond was what made it all so confusing and heartbreaking when Tang San thought it could be his father who was responsible for all the pain and suffer. However, it also became a strong advantage for Tang San because that one guy tried to pose as his father and mind-trick him yet failed because of the special object that meant the world to them.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Calvin Chen/ Yu Xiao Gang as master and disciple. I was a little surprised that Tang San chose Yu Xiao Gang as his ultimate master. I meant regarding the circumstances and all, I wouldn’t blame him if he had high ambition and wanted to pick someone else in the future. It was expected the way things were within the land. Yet Tang San was determined to stick with the person whom taught him many things along the way already. He didn’t care that people were making fun of his master or whatever. All he knew was that the person who had been by his side and helping him when his father was absent from the scene.
  • Calvin Chen/ Yu Xiao Gang and Qiu Xin Zhi/ Lan De. They were a riot. They were friends yet kept sabotaging one another through words or strange bets, lol. Lan De always gambled or made bets yet when he lost to Master, he went into a rant about setting good examples for the students, lol. It was like, “Dude, what are you talking about? You’re the definition of bad examples here.” But during serious times, they also joined forces to deal with those obstacles. They knew one another ages already, so it wasn’t going to affect them with a little joke here and there.
  • Xiao Zhan/ Tang San and Gao Tai Yu/ Dai Mu Bai. Perhaps, in those conventional wuxia, they could be considered as “knowing the hero, respecting the hero” type of relationship. Sure, they clashed somewhat at first yet learned to get along and eventually formed a bond–like how most of the team members did. Yet they were almost like brothers near the end, willing to trust one another and working together for the best of the team, not thinking with an individuality mindset anymore. Well, Tang San didn’t want to steal anyone’s limelight or anything. He was quite humble–for the most part. But he had to learn to rely on the others too, not just bearing it all by himself.
  • Gao Tai Yu/ Dai Mu Bai and Liu Mei Tong/ Zhu Zhu Qing as a couple. I felt they could be considered the model couple for the show. Serious, each show has one and they were it for this show. Because they started out really rough, not really getting along. Yet, they learned to trust and respect one another over time and had some proper dialogue as well. That built well into that one trial they had to go through near the end and merging their talents for the final battle. It wasn’t because they needed to win kind of thing. But it showed that they had gone a long way and had connected on a spiritual level as well.
  • Liu Run Nan/ Ou Si Ke and Ding Xiao Ying/ Ning Rong Rong as a couple. I would never thought of it in a serious manner, considering how it seemed so one-sided with Ou Si Ke waiting on her hand and feet at the beginning. Later, it just became a recurring comedic act and a consistency with how he often chased after her or tried to care for her, etc. Yet, it really showed during the part where they thought she got kidnapped by some mysterious force. It was hilarious yet also touching with him running in there, not caring if he got hurt, etc. She was able to see how serious he was too, not fearing death. Even if she knew Grandpa Sword well, but to think that Ou Si Ke went all out on tricks to save her was something quite risky. She took him more seriously after all. It wasn’t like they didn’t get along at that point of time already. But it was that moment she realized he meant it, not just the usual crazy, silly things he thought up to get her attention. Final answer? I swore they were the supposed cute couple in here. Completely unexpected, but they had taken that spot for me as major characters.

The ending? So, how did I feel after finishing it? Or should I say, “How many shades of disappointed was I after reaching the end?” Because seriously, I was disappointed–and temporarily somewhat shocked. I meant they built all this hype and intensity around it, hinting there was going to be some big reveal toward the so-called final battle YET it turned into a 2-second battle and that was it? Next time, something big happens, maybe they should just invite Kenny Bee to take care of it. Since he sure took care of it super fast and all. I didn’t want it to drag out anymore, but possibly they needed one or two more episodes to wrap everything up. Or were they planning to do a sequel? I know it was part of a saga, so it couldn’t cut into other works like that. However, if they weren’t planning on doing the sequel, maybe add a little more detail for people who never read the novels to swallow the ending better. Like after the battle, Tang Hao would just abandon everyone there and take care of Tang San and that was it? Yeah, I know that part was essential. But they needed to show how all the impacted parties fended afterward. It was explained or mentioned somewhat during the graduation ceremony what their future plans were. However, there were some additional variables that presented themselves after the battle, so it would make sense to focus on tying up those loose ends. Sure, we could guess for ourselves that they cleaned up, went home, and rest or recover until they were well enough to travel again. However, if anyone expected me to believe the other five wouldn’t go check on Tang San and Xiao Wu to make sure everything was indeed all right, they must be nuts. Sure, Tang Hao could have said something like, “I have to bring them somewhere, you guys clean up and rest first.” But that was a lot of assumptions on our part with all the details. How about Yu Xiao Gang’s reactions to what happened? He was still wounded from the past and as much as I don’t want to admit that he still cared for that evil witch, he still did. So, how could they just forget about it? There had to be some more aftermath as they go back to the lodging place and rest. Of course, there wasn’t much to do anyway since they couldn’t change the past, but there has to be some talk between him and Lan De or someone else to signify how they all felt about the craziness of the mystery that finally revealed itself. How about Bi Bi Dong’s daughter, Qiao Ren Xue? She just left? It wasn’t like she was going to kill her mama to avenge her papa. But maybe some type of closure for her and her future plans. And then what about what happened with Tian Dou Empire after she turned it upside down with her schemes previously? The most crucial thing that the production team completely forgot to cover too was the rest of the sects who disappeared. Yeah, Bi Bi Dong previously said she would release them after the mastermind dude revealed himself and they handle those stuff, but she couldn’t be trusted, hello. Was anyone checking on them? Were they dead for real this time? At least, give us a clue. That was one of the main focuses coming into the battles too. How could it be disregarded like that? Oh, what about the thing with Bi Bi Dong being able to force their martial souls out? No one explained that either. It was said vaguely by her that she had risen to another level hence knowing how to do it. But come on now! Again, we had to assume a lot with the other things in order for the ending to make sense. Well, it did make sense with Tang San and Xiao Wu. But regarding the rest of the characters, not so much. It was like “team spirit” and “go team” throughout and then bam, they just forgot to talk about the rest of the team when the ending rolled around? Fans of Tang San and Xiao Wu would have liked it too to see how it turned out and when the two would meet again, considering how she agreed with Tang Hao that she would leave him and learn to become stronger before returning to his side. So yeah, if there was an extra episode or two, it could show them meeting up in life again. Or was this all an attempt to direct everyone to read the author’s works to find the actual answers? Because that worked. I already placed it on my to-read list.

Recommended? I would say probably if you’re a fan of the cast or the novel. I don’t think anyone would be as stingy as me with picking on those details I mentioned so it might be even more enjoyable or lovable to you.

It’s Over by Terry Lin

(Uploaded by: TerryLinVEVO)

Song Title: It’s Over (散了吧)

Music by: J.J.Goldman

Lyrics by: Yao Ruo Long (姚若龍)

Key:
Bold = Original
Navy Blue = Pin Yin
Royal Blue = English
Sea Green = Vietnamese

妳試著將分手盡量講得婉轉
ni shi zhe jiang fen shou jin liang jiang de wan zhuan
You tried to break up by using the most graceful words possible
Em thử chia tay bằng cách dùng lời rất là uyển chuyển
我只好配合妳盡量笑的自然
wo zhi hao pei he ni jin liang xiao de ji ran
I’m very cooperative by smiling as naturally as possible
Tôi rất phối hợp bằng cách mỉm cười rất là tự nhiên
我就是不能看心愛的人顯得為難
wo jiu shi bu neng kan xin ai de ren xian de wei nan
It’s just that I couldn’t bear the sight of the one I love to be in a difficult situation
Chỉ là tôi không muốn thấy được người tôi yêu lại phải khó xử
妳剛握過的手留著一絲溫暖
ni gang wo guo de shou liu zhe yi si wen nuan
The hand you just held still preserved a trace of warmness
Cánh tay em vừa nắm vẫn còn lưu lại một chút ấm áp
不知道夠不夠撐過這個夜晚
bu zhi dao gou bu gou cheng guo zhe ge ye wan
Not knowing if I could keep it up past the night
Không biết có giữ được qua trọn đêm hay không
我目送妳遠走站的太久倦意淡淡
wo mu song ni yuan zou zhan de tai jiu juan yi dan dan
I send you off a long-distance, standing there for too long, my thoughts are tired and diluted
Tôi tiễn em đi thiệt xa, đứng lại đó thiệt lâu, ý nghĩ của tôi đã trở nên mệt mỏi và nhạt nhòa

散了吧 認了吧 算了吧 放了吧
san le ba   ren le ba   suan le ba   fang le ba
It’s over, accept it, forget it, let it go
Tan rã rồi, nhận thức đi, đã xong rồi, buông ra đi
該原諒 該瀟灑 別回想 別留下
gai yuan liang   gai xiao sa   bie hui xiang   bie liu xia
Be forgiving, be free-spirited, don’t reminisce, don’t linger
Nên tha thứ, nên phóng khoáng, đừng hồi tưởng, đừng lưu luyến
可惜連我的心都不聽話 可憐受傷的愛還想掙扎
ke xi lian wo de xin dou bu ting hua   ke lian shou shang de ai hai xiang zheng zha
Pity that even my heart wouldn’t listen, pitiful that my love has been wounded yet I still wanted to struggle
Đáng tiếc rằng ngay cả tim tôi cũng không chịu nghe lời, đáng thương rằng tình yêu tổn thương rồi mà còn muốn vùng vẫy
痛不怕 心不假 緣好短 人好傻
tong bu pa   xin bu jia   yuan hao duan   ren hao sha
Not fearing pain, having a genuine heart, fate is short, a foolish fella
Đau không sợ, tâm không giả, duyên thiệt ngắn, người thiệt khờ

我開車聽音樂漫無目的的轉
wo kai che ting yin le man wu mu di de zhuan
Driving and listening to music freely–without an actual goal
Tôi lái xe và nghe nhạc một cách vô tư lự, không có mục tiêu
看街燈都亮了一盞接著一盞
kan jie deng dou liang le yi zhan jie zhe yi zhan
Seeing that the streetlamps are switching on one by one
Nhìn thấy đèn đường từng ngọn, từng ngọn liên tiếp bật lên
像為我計算內心最深處隱藏的孤單
xiang wei wo ji suan nei xin zui shen chu yin cang de gu dan
It’s as if it’s there to analyze the hidden loneliness residing deep within my heart
Giống như là nó đang suy tính nỗi cô đơn ẩn tàng tận trong lòng tôi
總習慣用沉默處理我的傷感
zong xi guan yong chen mo chu li wo de shang gan
It’s a habit of silently dealing with my sentiments
Đó là thói quen lặng lẽ để xử lý những thương cảm của tôi
也知道這世界沒有太多圓滿
ye zhi dao zhe shi jie mei you tai duo yuan man
I know that there are not many satisfactory situations in this world
Cũng biết rằng thế gian không có nhiều việc được toàn vẹn
但愛到曲終人散 難免還是遺憾
dan ai dao qu zhong ren san   nan man hai shi yi han
Yet loving until both parties are no longer in contact is an avoidable and regretful matter
Nhưng yêu đến khi hai bên đều thành không liên lạc là một chuyện khó tránh và đáng tiếc

散了吧 認了吧 算了吧 放了吧
san le ba   ren le ba   suan le ba   fang le ba
It’s over, accept it, forget it, let it go
Tan rã rồi, nhận thức đi, đã xong rồi, buông ra đi
要原諒 要瀟灑 別回想 別留下
yao yuan liang   yao xiao sa   bie hui xiang   bie liu xia
Forgive her, free yourself, don’t reminisce, don’t linger
Hãy tha thứ, hãy phóng khoáng, đừng hồi tưởng, đừng lưu luyến
可惜連我的心都不聽話 可憐受傷的愛還想掙下
ke xi lian wo de xin dou bu tiang hua   ke lian shou shang de ai hai xiang zheng zha
Pity that even my heart wouldn’t listen, pitiful that my love has been wounded yet I still wanted to struggle
Đáng tiếc rằng ngay cả tim tôi cũng không chịu nghe lời, đáng thương rằng tình yêu tổn thương rồi mà còn muốn vùng vẫy
痛不怕 心不假 緣好短 人好傻
tong bu pa   xin bu jia   yuan hao duan   ren hao sha
Not fearing pain, having a genuine heart, fate is short, a foolish fella
Đau không sợ, tâm không giả, duyên thiệt ngắn, người thiệt khờ

(music)

是不是有時候愛需要糾纏
shi bu shi you shi hou ai xu yao jiu chan
Wasn’t there a time that love was entangled?
Không phải có một khoảng thời gian tình yêu cứ mãi vướng víu hay sao?
會不會有時候愛就不該心軟
hui bu hui you shi hou ai jiu bu gai xin ruan
Wasn’t there a time love shouldn’t have softened the heart?
Có phải thời gian đó, không nên vì tình yêu mà mềm lòng?
要夠堅持才代表愛得夠勇敢
you gao jian chi cai dai biao ai de gou yong gan
If there’s enough perseverance, then it represents love’s courage
Nếu đủ kiên trì, đó chứng tỏ rằng tình yêu có đủ sự dũng cảm
我如果能盡情講感覺吶喊
wo ru guo neng jin qing jiang gan jue na han
If I could fully express my feelings by yelling them out
Nếu tôi có thể tận tình gào thét lên cảm giác của mình
含淚問少了你今後我怎麼辦
han lei wen shao le ni jin hou wo zen me ban
Containing my tears, asking you softly, “What will I do from now on?”
Kìm lệ, hỏi nhỏ em rằng: Từ nay trở đi, anh phải làm sao đây?
那現在身邊會不會還有你作伴
na xian zai shen bian hui bu hui hai you ni zuo ban
So, at this moment, are you still accompanying me?
Vậy hiện tại em có còn sánh bước cùng anh không?

散了吧 認了吧 算了吧 放了吧
san le ba   ren le ba   suan le ba   fang le ba
It’s over, accept it, forget it, let it go
Tan rã rồi, nhận thức đi, đã xong rồi, buông ra đi
要原諒 要瀟灑 別回想 別留下
yao yuan liang   yao xiao sa   bie hui xiang   bie liu xia
Forgive her, free yourself, don’t reminisce, don’t linger
Hãy tha thứ, hãy phóng khoáng, đừng hồi tưởng, đừng lưu luyến
可惜連我的心都不聽話 可憐受傷的愛還想掙下
ke xi lian wo de xin dou bu tiang hua   ke lian shou shang de ai hai xiang zheng zha
Pity that even my heart wouldn’t listen, pitiful that my love has been wounded yet I still wanted to struggle
Đáng tiếc rằng ngay cả tim tôi cũng không chịu nghe lời, đáng thương rằng tình yêu tổn thương rồi mà còn muốn vùng vẫy
痛不怕 心不假 緣好短 人好傻
tong bu pa   xin bu jia   yuan hao duan   ren hao sha
Not afraid of, a genuine heart, fate is short, a foolish fella
Đau không sợ, tâm không giả, duyên thiệt ngắn, người thiệt khờ

散了吧 認了吧 算了吧 放了吧
san le ba   ren le ba   suan le ba   fang le ba
It’s over, accept it, forget it, let it go
Tan rã rồi, nhận thức đi, đã xong rồi, buông ra đi

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

It’s All the Moon’s Fault by Phil Chang

Song Title: It’s All the Moon’s Fault (月亮惹的禍)

Lyricist: Shi Yi Lang (十一郎)

Composer: Phil Chang (張宇)

Key:
Bold = Chinese
Grayish Blue = Pin Yin
Indigo = English
Dark Azure = Vietnamese

都是你的錯
dou shi ni de cuo
It’s all your fault
Đều là lỗi của em hết
輕易愛上我
qing yi ai shang wo
How could you have fallen for me so easily?
Sao có thể quá dễ dàng yêu tôi như vậy chứ?
讓我不知不覺滿足被愛的虛榮
rang wo bu zhi bu jue man zu bei ai de xu rong
Causing me to unknowingly be satisfied with love’s vanity
Khiến tôi đã bất tri bất giác thỏa mãn đối với cái hư vinh được yêu kia

都是你的錯
dou shi ni de cuo
It’s all your fault
Đều là lỗi của em hết
你對人的寵
ni dui ren de chong
Your pampering toward others
Sự nuông chiều của em đối với người ta
是一種誘惑
shi yi zhong you huo
Is a type of enticement
Là một loại mê hoặc

都是你的錯
dou shi ni de cuo
It’s all your fault
Đều là lỗi của em hết
在你的眼中
zai ni de yan zhong
In your eyes
Trong mắt em
總是藏著讓人又愛又憐的朦朧
zong shi cang zhe rang ren you ai you lian de meng long
There concealed a haziness that one couldn’t help but to love
Ẩn tàng một nỗi mịt mù khiến người vừa yêu lại vừa thương tiếc

都是你的錯
dou shi ni de cuo
It’s all your fault
Đều là lỗi của em hết
你的癡情夢
ni de chi qing meng
Your infatuated dream
Giấc mộng si tình của em
像一個魔咒
xiang yi ge mo zhou
Is like a magic spell
Giống như là một thứ ma chú
被你愛過還能為誰蠢動
bei ni ai guo hai neng wei shui chun dong
To be loved by you, who could wriggle?
Đã được em yêu, ai có thể thoát ra chứ?

我承認都是月亮惹的禍
wo cheng ren dou shi yue liang re de huo
I admit that it was the moon that had caused this calamity
Tôi thừa nhận đó đều là tai họa do ánh trăng đã gây ra
那樣的夜色太美你太溫柔
na yang de ye se tai mei ni tai wen rou
That night’s shade was too beautiful, you were too gentle
Cảnh sắc của đêm quá đẹp, em lại quá dịu dàng
才會在剎那之間只想和你一起到白頭
cai hui zai sha na zhi jian zhi xiang he ni yi qi dao bai tou
Hence within that blink of an eye, I only wanted to be with you until we grow old
Thế nên trong nháy mắt, anh chỉ muốn cùng em sánh bước cho tới già

我承認都是誓言惹的禍
wo cheng ren dou shi shi yan re de huo
I admit that it was the pledge that had caused this calamity
Tôi thừa nhận đó đều là tai họa do lời thề đã gây ra
偏偏似糖如蜜說來最動人
pian pian si tang ru mi shuo lai zui dong ren
Deliberately sweet that it was very moving to others
Cứ như đường như mật, nói ra thiệt khiến người cảm động
再怎麼心如鋼鐵也成繞指柔
zai zen me xin ru gang tie ye cheng rao zhi rou
Even a heart of steel would be softened
Dù là trái tim làm bằng sắt thép cũng sẽ bị tan chảy

(music)

(repeats everything once)

怎樣的情生意動
zen yang de qing sheng yi dong
What is deep, dedicated love?
Cái gì gọi là tình thâm nghĩa trọng?
會讓兩人拿一生當承諾
hui rang liang ren na yi sheng dang cheng nuo
It had caused two people to use their lifetime to carry out that promise
Nó đã khiến cho hai người dùng cả đời mà thực hiện lời hứa

(music)

我承認都是誓言惹的禍
wo cheng ren dou shi shi yan re de huo
I admit that it was the pledge that had caused this calamity
Tôi thừa nhận đó đều là tai họa do lời thề đã gây ra
偏偏似糖如蜜說來最動人
pian pian si tang ru mi shuo lai zui dong ren
Deliberately sweet that it was very moving to others
Cứ như đường như mật, nói ra thiệt khiến người cảm động
再怎麼心如鋼鐵也成繞指柔
zai zen me xin ru gang tie ye cheng rao zhi rou
Even a heart of steel would be softened
Dù là trái tim làm bằng sắt thép cũng sẽ bị tan chảy

我承認都是月亮惹的禍
wo cheng ren dou shi yue liang re de huo
I admit that it was the moon that had caused this calamity
Tôi thừa nhận đó đều là tai họa do ánh trăng đã gây ra
那樣的夜色太美你太溫柔
na yang de ye se tai mei ni tai wen rou
That night’s shade was too beautiful, you were too gentle
Cảnh sắc của đêm quá đẹp, em lại quá dịu dàng
才會在剎那之間只想和你一起到白頭
cai hui zai sha na zhi jian zhi xiang he ni yi qi dao bai tou
Hence within that blink of an eye, I only wanted to be with you until we grow old
Thế nên trong nháy mắt, anh chỉ muốn cùng em sánh bước cho tới già

我承認都是誓言惹的禍
wo cheng ren dou shi shi yan re de huo
I admit that it was the pledge that had caused this calamity
Tôi thừa nhận đó đều là tai họa do lời thề đã gây ra
偏偏似糖如蜜說來最動人
pian pian si tang ru mi shuo lai zui dong ren
Deliberately sweet that it was very moving to others
Cứ như đường như mật, nói ra thiệt khiến người cảm động
再怎麼心如鋼鐵也成繞指柔
zai zen me xin ru gang tie ye cheng rao zhi rou
Even a heart of steel would be softened
Dù là trái tim làm bằng sắt thép cũng sẽ bị tan chảy

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

Cut Heart by Phil Chang

Song Title: Cut Heart (割心)

Lyricist:  Shi Yi Lang (十一郎)

Composer: Phil Chang (張宇)

Key:
Bold = Chinese
Light Brown = Pin Yin
Light Orange = English
Dark Green = Vietnamese

把我的寶貝 都送給了妳
ba wo de bao bei   dou song gei le ni
Taking all of my precious things and giving it to you
Đem những thứ quý báo nhứt của tôi để trao hết cho em
這樣的我 才可以真的死心
zhe yang de wo   cai ke yi zhen de si xin
That way, I could genuinely give up
Như thế tôi mới có thể thiệt sự bỏ cuộc
因為沒有後路 可以退回去
yin wei mei you hou lu   kei yi tui hui qu
Because there are no longer any way out to return home
Bởi vì đã không còn đường lui để trở về nhà
沒有讓我讓我 眷戀的痕跡
mei you rang wo rang wo   juan lian de hen ji
No longer allowing me to have any traces of yearning
Không còn dấu vết nào để cho tôi quyến luyến
沒有一點餘地 再執意的偽裝自己
mei you yi dian yu di   zai zhi yi de wei zhuang zi ji
Not even having any bit of insistence to masquerade myself
Không còn dư lại gì để cho tôi ngụy trang chính mình

把癡狂的心 全部都放棄
ba chi kuang de xin   quan bu dou fang qi
Taking the wild infatuated heart and giving it all up
Đem trái tim cuồng si toàn bộ đều vứt đi
這樣的我 才可以甘心安定
zhe yang de wo   cai ke yi gan xin an ding
That way, I could willingly become stabilized
Như thế tôi mới có thể cam lòng mà ổn định lại
相愛的路從此 可以走下去
xiang ai de lu cong ci   ke yi zou xia qu
The path of loving one another, henceforth, could be resumed
Con đường tương ái từ nay có thể tiếp tục đi
可以為妳偽妳 割捨那段情
ke yi wei ni wei ni   ge she na duan qing
I could sever and abandon that part of love because of you
Có thể vì em mà cắt đứt và vứt bỏ đoạn tình kia
不再死心塌地 傷妳又讓自己哭泣
bu zai si xin ta di   shang ni you rang zi ji ku qi
Don’t want to keep on persistently hurting you or causing myself to weep
Không muốn cứ mãi làm tổn thương em hoặc khiến bản thân rơi lệ

我沒有一點點勉強
wo mei you yi dian dian mian qiang
I’m not the least bit forcing myself
Tôi không có một chút nào miễn cưỡng chính mình
我只是有一些難堪
wo zhi shi you yi xie nan kan
I’m just a little unease
Tôi chỉ có một chút khó chịu mà thôi
連我都不相信 我可以這麼快就忘
lian wo dou bu xiang xin   wo ke yi zhe me kuai jiu wang
Even I can’t believe that I could forget it so fast
Cả tôi cũng không tin tưởng rằng tôi có thể quên mau như vậy được
別問我會不會為難
bie wen wo hui bu hui wei nan
Don’t ask me whether if it was difficult
Đừng hỏi tôi rằng có khó xử hay không
別把舊事翻亂
bie ba jiu shi fan luan
Don’t take the past matter and ruffle it up
Đừng đem chuyện xưa làm xáo trộn lên
就算疲憊不堪 也認定妳和我為伴
jiu suan pi bei bu kan   ye ren ding ni he wo wei ban
Even if extreme fatigue had also proved our companionship
Cho dù mệt nhọc cũng đã nhận định được sự đồng hành của em và tôi

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

Responsibility by Phil Chang

Song Title: Responsibility (責任)

Lyricist:  Shi Yi Lang (十一郎)

Composer: Phil Chang (張宇)

Key:
Bold = Chinese
Burnt Orange = Pin Yin
Amber = English
Red-Violet = Vietnamese

我聽著妳上了鎖
wo ting zhe ni shang le suo
I heard you locking up
Tôi nghe được em khóa cửa
重重靠在門的背後
chong chong kao zai men de bei hou
Leaning behind the door
Dựa vào cánh cửa
哭著用力的說
ku zhe yong li de shuo
Tearfully, using your strength to say
Khóc lóc và dùng sức mà nói rằng
既然去留都錯
ji ran qu liu dou cuo
Since leaving and staying are both wrong
Nếu đi hoặc ở lại đều sai như nhau
非要鐵心拒絕我
fei yao tie xin ju jue wo
You persistently rejected me
Em kiên trì quyết tâm để cự tuyệt tôi

我只跌坐在門口
wo zhi die zuo zai men kou
I could only slumped down at the entrance
Tôi chỉ có thể ngã xuống ở trước cửa
想像門後妳的反駁
xiang xiang men hou ni de fan bo
Imagining your retort behind the door
Tưởng tượng tới lời phản bác của em ở sau cánh cửa
就算愛也足夠
jiu suan ai ye zu gou
Even if love was sufficient
Dù cho tình yêu có đầy đù
畢竟責任太多
bi jing ze ren tai duo
After all that was said and done, the responsibility was too much
Cuối cùng thì trách nhiêm cũng quá nhiều
怎麼才能讓妳懂
zen me cai neng rang ni dong
How could I get you to understand?
Làm sao mới cho em hiểu được?

心理的痛難受
xin li de tong nan shou
The heartache is unbearable
Nỗi đau thiệt khó chịu
選擇的路難走
xuan ze de lu nan zou
The road chosen is too hard to proceed
Con đường đã chọn thiệt khó đi
了解的話沒有人肯對我說
le jie de hua mei you ren ken dui wo shuo
Understandable matters, no one would be willing to say it to me
Những gì hiểu rõ, không ai chịu nói ra cho tôi biết
想給妳的越多
xiang gei ni de yue duo
Wanting to give you even more
Muốn cho em thiệt nhiều hơn
辜負妳的越多
gu fu ni de yue duo
Disappointing you even more
Cô phụ em càng nhiều hơn
有誰會知道我承受的折磨
you shui hui zhi dao wo cheng shou de zhe mo
Is there anyone who could see the torture I’m enduring?
Có ai biết được nỗi giày vò mà tôi phải chịu đựng?

心理的痛難受
xin li de tong nan shou
The heartache is unbearable
Nỗi đau thiệt khó chịu
選擇的路難走
xuan ze de lu nan zou
The road chosen is too hard to proceed
Con đường đã chọn thiệt khó đi
我最愛的妳連眼神都空洞
wo zui ai de ni lian yan shen dou kong dong
Even your eyes are filled with emptiness, my dearest love
Luôn cả đôi mắt em cũng đã trống rỗng, người tôi yêu nhứt ơi
越在乎的溫柔
yue zai hu de wen rou
The more I care about the tenderness
Càng quan tâm tới sự dịu dàng kia
傷我傷的越重
shang wo shang de yue chong
The deeper my wound is
Vết thương tôi càng đau hơn nữa
得到和失去竟都在這個時候
de dao he shi qu jing dou zai zhe ge shi hou
Acquiring and losing unexpectedly happened at that moment
Đạt được và mất đi đột nhiên đều xảy ra ngay cùng một thời khắc

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

Find A Word To Replace by Samuel Tai

(Credit: 福茂唱片)

Song Title: Find A Word To Replace (找一個字代替)

Lyricists: Lin Qiu Li (林秋離)

Composer: Xiong Mei Ling (熊美玲)

Key:
Bold = Chinese
Royal Blue = Pin Yin
Red Violet = English
Indigo = Vietnamese

我想做一個夢給妳
wo xiang zuo yi ge meng gei ni
I want to weave a dream for you
Tôi muốn dệt một giấc mộng cho em
填滿妳心中所有空隙
tian man ni xin zhong suo you kong xi
To fill up all the emptiness in your heart
Để lấp đầy nỗi trống trải trong lòng của em
讓流過淚後的苦澀轉成甜蜜
rang liu guo lei hou de ku se zhuan cheng tian mi
Allowing bitterness to turn into sweetness after the tears have flowed
Để cho những cay đắng trở thành ngọt ngào sau khi đã khóc xong rồi

我想摘兩個星給妳
wo xiang zhai liang ge xing gei ni
I want to pick two stars for you
Tôi muốn hái hai vì sao cho em
放在你眺望我的夜裡
fang zai ni tiao wang wo de ye li
Setting it at a faraway place where you are while it’s my night
Để chúng ở nơi xa xôi có em và tại đêm tối của tôi
於是黑夜裡 你可以整夜看我
yu shi hei ye li   ni ke yi zheng ye kan wo
So that in the dark night you could see throughout it
Để trong đêm tối em có thể nhìn thấy được tôi trọn đêm
如何的想妳
ru he de xiang ni
How I miss you
Làm sao mà nhớ em

我想留一張紙給妳
wo xiang liu yi zhang zhi gei ni
I want to leave you a piece of paper
Tôi muốn để lại một tờ giấy cho em
告訴妳一生的際遇
gao su ni yi sheng de ji yu
Telling you about a lifetime’s meeting
Nói với em về cuộc gặp gỡ của một đời
讓受過傷後的刺痛隨風而去
rang shou guo shang hou de ci tong sui feng er qu
Allowing for the pain to be gone with the wind after all the suffering
Để cho những vết đau cuốn trôi theo gió sau khi cơn đau đã thoáng qua

我想沏一壺酒給妳
wo xiang qie yi hu jiu gei ni
I want to steep a pot of wine for you
Tôi muốn ngâm một hũ rượu cho em
藏在妳思念我的心底
cang zai ni si nian wo de xin di
Concealing it in your thoughts and deep within my heart
Để giấu nó ở trong ý nghĩ của em và tận trong lòng tôi
日後再相聚 妳聽我醉後語言
ri hou zai xiang ju   ni ting wo zui hou yan yu
After having met again, you could hear my drunken words
Để sau này gặp lại em có thể nghe được những lời say của tôi
說的都是妳
shuo de dou shi ni
Which all consists of you
Và những lời đó đều là nói về em

翻遍日記將千言萬語
fan pian ri ji jiang qian yan wan yu
Rummaging through the diary that consisted of thousands of words
Soạn lại nhựt ký chứa đầy muôn ngàn lời
找一個字代替
zhao yi ge zi dai ti
Finding a word to replace
Để kiếm một chữ để thay thế
卻發現愛是最深的痕跡
que fa xian ai shi zui shen de hen ji
Yet realizing that love has such a deep mark
Nhưng lại phát hiện ra rằng yêu là một dấu vết rất là sâu

想妳就亂亂亂頭緒
xiang ni jiu luan luan luan tou xu
Missing you so much that my head’s in a turmoil
Nhớ em, nhớ tới điên đầu
不想又傷傷傷自己
bu xiang you shang shang shang zi ji
Don’t want to keep hurting myself
Không muốn thêm một lần nữa làm tổn thương chính mình
情深就不必問
qing shen jiu bu bi wen
If love is so deep, then please don’t ask
Nếu tình yêu sâu đậm thì đừng hỏi
是合不合邏輯
shi he bu he luo ji
Whether it is logical
Nó có hợp với luận lý hay không

想妳就亂亂亂頭緒
xiang ni jiu luan luan luan tou xu
Missing you so much that my head’s in a turmoil
Nhớ em, nhớ tới điên đầu
不像又傷傷傷自己
bu xiang you shang shang shang zi ji
Don’t want to keep hurting myself
Không muốn thêm một lần nữa làm tổn thương chính mình
刻一個愛給妳
ke yi ge ai gei ni
Carving a piece of love for you
Khắc một mảnh tình cho em
在今生今世裡
zai jin sheng jin shi li
In this lifetime
Ở tại đời này kiếp này

(music)

我想做一個夢給妳
wo xiang zuo yi ge meng gei ni
I want to weave a dream for you
Tôi muốn dệt một giấc mộng cho em
填滿妳心中所有空隙
tian man ni xin zhong suo you kong xi
To fill up all the emptiness in your heart
Để lấp đầy nỗi trống trải trong lòng của em
讓流過淚後的苦澀轉成甜蜜
rang liu guo lei hou de ku se zhuan cheng tian mi
Allowing bitterness to turn into sweetness after the tears have flowed
Để cho những cay đắng trở thành ngọt ngào sau khi đã khóc xong rồi

我想摘兩個星給妳
wo xiang zhai liang ge xing gei ni
I want to pick two stars for you
Tôi muốn hái hai vì sao cho em
放在你眺望我的夜裡
fang zai ni tiao wang wo de ye li
Setting it at a faraway place where you are while it’s my night
Để chúng ở nơi xa xôi có em và tại đêm tối của tôi
於是黑夜裡 你可以整夜看我
yu shi hei ye li ni ke yi zheng ye kan wo
So that in the dark night you could see throughout it
Để trong đêm tối em có thể nhìn thấy được tôi trọn đêm
如何的想妳
ru he de xiang ni
How I miss you
Làm sao mà nhớ em

翻遍日記將千言萬語
fan pian ri ji jiang qian yan wan yu
Rummaging through the diary that consisted of thousands of words
Soạn lại nhựt ký chứa đầy muôn ngàn lời
找一個字代替
zhao yi ge zi dai ti
Finding a word to replace
Để kiếm một chữ để thay thế
卻發現愛是最深的痕跡
que fa xian ai shi zui shen de hen ji
Yet realizing that love has such a deep mark
Nhưng lại phát hiện ra rằng yêu là một dấu vết rất là sâu

想妳就亂亂亂頭緒
xiang ni jiu luan luan luan tou xu
Missing you so much that my head’s in a turmoil
Nhớ em, nhớ tới điên đầu
不想又傷傷傷自己
bu xiang you shang shang shang zi ji
Don’t want to keep hurting myself
Không muốn thêm một lần nữa làm tổn thương chính mình
情深就不必問
qing shen jiu bu bi wen
If love is so deep, then please don’t ask
Nếu tình yêu sâu đậm thì đừng hỏi
是合不合邏輯
shi he bu he luo ji
Whether it is logical
Nó có hợp với luận lý hay không

想妳就亂亂亂頭緒
xiang ni jiu luan luan luan tou xu
Missing you so much that my head’s in a turmoil
Nhớ em, nhớ tới điên đầu
不像又傷傷傷自己
bu xiang you shang shang shang zi ji
Don’t want to keep hurting myself
Không muốn thêm một lần nữa làm tổn thương chính mình
刻一個愛給妳
ke yi ge ai gei ni
Carving a piece of love for you
Khắc một mảnh tình cho em
在今生今世裡
zai jin sheng jin shi li
In this lifetime
Ở tại đời này kiếp này

(music)

想妳就亂亂亂頭緒
xiang ni jiu luan luan luan tou xu
Missing you so much that my head’s in a turmoil
Nhớ em, nhớ tới điên đầu
不想又傷傷傷自己
bu xiang you shang shang shang zi ji
Don’t want to keep hurting myself
Không muốn thêm một lần nữa làm tổn thương chính mình
情深就不必問
qing shen jiu bu bi wen
If love is so deep, then please don’t ask
Nếu tình yêu sâu đậm thì đừng hỏi
是合不合邏輯
shi he bu he luo ji
Whether it is logical
Nó có hợp với luận lý hay không

想妳就亂亂亂頭緒
xiang ni jiu luan luan luan tou xu
Missing you so much that my head’s in a turmoil
Nhớ em, nhớ tới điên đầu
不像又傷傷傷自己
bu xiang you shang shang shang zi ji
Don’t want to keep hurting myself
Không muốn thêm một lần nữa làm tổn thương chính mình
刻一個愛給妳
ke yi ge ai gei ni
Carving a piece of love for you
Khắc một mảnh tình cho em
在今生今世裡
zai jin sheng jin shi li
In this lifetime
Ở tại đời này kiếp này

*All translations were done by DTLCT.