Aquarius: The Wrap Up

Yes, they wrapped up already. It was days ago but once again, I got lazy so didn’t update.

I was also lazy to the point that I didn’t update when I found out about the second lead girl. It’s Amily Lou. I liked her since watching Rookies’ Dairy 2 so of course, I’ll be waiting to see her in this new role.

The drama will air after Pisces, of course. Pisces has one more episode and then this. Excited!

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

Aquarius: The Stars Saga Continues

The mystery is finally revealed. ‘Cause I wasn’t checking the news, but mostly following Nic’s cryptic messages. But now he finally tagged the drama name so I managed to search the news out. (Click here for the full article.) The female lead of the drama is Kimi Hsia. It would be a refreshing feeling.

Aside from that, the second lead guy is Johnny Lu, who will be playing a young master hence not having to go outside to film as much as the others (and he isn’t as dark as the rest of them like Nic pointed out, lol). Amanda Meng and Johnny will play a pair of mother son.

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

Peak Times

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

Main Cast:

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

Other Major Cast/ Characters:

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

Supporting Cast:

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

Friendships:

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

Couples:

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

Likes:

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

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

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

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

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

Xiao Hai Da Ren

(image credit: captured by DTLCT)

Because I wanted to watch Yvonne and since it was 8 episodes, I thought it should be all right, considering how I don’t have any problems with the rest of the cast. So how was it? Pretty good actually. In fact, surprisingly good.

Lin Zhen Sheng and Xiao Meng Feng were both framed for a crime they didn’t commit, one being a murderer and the other a thief. They crossed paths when Meng Feng was supposedly one of the hunters for the final reward. However, Meng Feng’s intention wasn’t the money. She wanted justice. Lin Zhen Sheng was said to have killed his wife, so he escaped to the wilderness with his son (who was just a baby at the time). A chase ensued with cops and other hunters involved, which ended tragically–with Zhen Sheng committing suicide by jumping into the sea. Five years later, both father and son resurfaced again and another chase began. However, Meng Feng was the one trying to protect the little boy from harm.

Main Cast:

  • Lee Wei as Lin Zhen Sheng (林振昇) aka Da Ren (大人). He was framed for the death of his wife and had to flee with his child still only a baby. Not only did he have to deal with the cops but also the hunters (who were after the reward). At first, I wondered why he was so reluctant to fight back. I understood at the beginning where he had no choice but to run since everyone was out to get him. YET later when he was in a somewhat safe situation and had the cops to back him up, I didn’t get why he didn’t turn the other dude in. SO the other guy was his friend and also brother-in-law YET it wasn’t worth his or his kid’s freedom. When the whole truth revealed, I finally got it and felt that he was really stuck in a major obstacle. His family was so messed up that it was hard to deal with regardless. He had chosen to let go and seek peace, but they had forced him to throw the ultimatum. I seriously think Lee Wei does better in these types of closer to real-life situation dramas than the typical idol dramas. NOT that I didn’t think he was convincing in the other ones or too one-dimensional. But I always felt he fit more into the serious drama category because he often acted with his eyes and less expression hence looking passive to viewers who were used to watching the usual exaggeration of facial expressions.
  • Lee Kang Yi as Xiao Meng Feng (蕭孟楓). The ending was a shocker with her character. It wasn’t surprising that she could hack into Zhen Sheng’s account and send out the e-mail since she was a pro in computer-related things all right with her ability to fake the ID card that one time, among other things. YET I didn’t see it coming with her being the one. But it made sense since it was the only reasonable explanation in how she didn’t cave into the reward money but wanted to take in Xiao Hai and protect him even if her own security was being threatened. I know there are good people in this world who wouldn’t care for that type of reward, but in her situation, it wouldn’t be too ‘over’ with her wanting to improve her lifestyle by taking the reward money. Having a grudge with the Xia family once upon a time was one thing, but chasing after that reward money wasn’t too unreasonable either. It was guilt that had dominated her decisions in protecting Xiao Hai ’til the end since she did have a hand in influencing others to take action on Zhen Sheng (but had accidentally killed the wife instead). She can’t be blamed for others’ actions totally but what I meant was her guilt being the key to her unwavering decision. Same for Lee Wei, I think she fends better in serious type of dramas. Maybe the pressure to convince in idol drama was higher or the needing to add the right touch of exaggeration seemed too much. She would be better off doing these types of dramas since I liked her after watching Wayward Kenting and felt it was a shame she wasn’t more popular.
  • Tender Huang as Fang You Long (方又龍). A somewhat bizarre cop, but good in general. I thought he would be one of those really dark characters yet he was quite funny at the scene where he was in the boss’ office and the man was persuading him to get married to Xin Yu and he got back at the man by saying that his father wanted to sever ties with him (the boss). NICE… YET within all those jokes aside, he was indeed a righteous cop with high analytical talent and a solitaire persona to go with it. What made it realistic about him was how he wasn’t thinking about himself as a hero (because he was helping Zhen Sheng). It was more about his guilt and that he didn’t want to become a killer by just arresting people day after day. He thought of it as a burden because it wasn’t like everyone was guilty or more like his supposed ‘goal’ was getting wavered. He even realized he was losing it with going astray from the ‘cop’ route but at the same time, the concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ was deluding because of what he saw versus what he had learned (and carried out as part of the job). First time watching him (though I have heard of him already) and was impressed. Natural.
  • Yvonne Yao as Jiang Xin Yu (江欣瑜). I must admit this was like the first time watching anything with Yvonne in it properly (aka no skipping around). I tried to not get all biased toward her character (aka favoring her instead of focusing on the character), but soon accepted that it was all right she wasn’t portraying a more likable character. I was okay with her having contributed to the plot greatly (of course since she was responsible for capturing Zhen Sheng). Then I settled for how her character sort of made us realize there exist such people in life, always seeing what was in the box–and with a competitive attitude, it was dangerous all right. However, her turnaround was when she actually entered the Xia household personally and had a talk with the father and son. It seemed that she wasn’t really blind with her sense of justice, but it was just her stubbornness getting in the way. She didn’t waver to those temptations with offering a smooth sailing career (i.e. allowing her to advance toward a higher position). Perhaps because of how she had chosen when presented that particular minion, we could appreciate her stubbornness and forgive her previous actions. After all, she was a person big on technicalities, right? And OMG, I so didn’t expect her to die. I swear! I thought she would continue to be her strong and independent self, leading on her team after this particular case. YET she died. (Is Yvonne meant to play these types of tragic characters?)
  • Luo Xuan Ming (駱炫銘) as Lin Yu Sen (林昱森) aka Xiao Hai (小孩). He grew up in the wilderness so of course, his knowledge of what existed on the other side of civilization was foreign to him. At least where the whole pop culture went. Yet it seemed he had a lot of natural instincts and survival skills, which his father had taught him (to ensure his safety in case situations presented itself). But it wasn’t like he was that clueless on some things, because he had known about those classics but Meng Feng didn’t. (Yup, thanks to his father for listening to those and teaching him about it.) What could I say about this child actor? He should be one of the kids getting some attention here because he was really convincing. He could look cute if it was the case, but someone had made a good call by keeping his character consistent with his somewhat rouge personality and allowing him to carry some sense of attitude. After all, he had been taught of survival skills and the whole hunter/prey concepts throughout those five years, so it would be irrelevant to make him suddenly a cute, cuddly teddy bear. It wasn’t like he wasn’t any less cute, but he didn’t act all ‘cute and cuddly’ to receive more viewers’ attention.
  • Pan Bo Xi as Ku Ku (酷酷). OMG, I felt so bad for him. His personal space got invaded and he also got threatened. SAD. But that was funny how he was being bullied by both Meng Feng and Xiao Hai. And sometimes I ponder about him, especially when Zhen Sheng returned to civilization and even stayed at their place for a while. I wouldn’t blame him for being scared out of his wits of the situation–if it were the case. Yet it was just too suspicious at times since his character was somewhat hard to figure out (if he was going to turn them in), which had nothing to do with Pan Bo Xi’s acting since I felt he portrayed the character convincingly. I was just getting paranoid because of the trust factor being quite questionable in many cases in here. Yet he pulled through with saying that they (he and Meng Feng) should take Xiao Hai in if Zhen Sheng didn’t come back.

Others:

  • Leo Ding as one of the cops. He appeared in episode 1 when they were doing the chase five years ago, but didn’t appear later. It was a shame but not too unreasonable since it was five years later, who knew what happened so it wasn’t like he would be around and about at the same place. I felt his somewhat smart-aleck comments contributed to the already intense background because there would always be some cop making those types of comments at a crime scene or some similar situation. Wasn’t too out of it.
  • Deng Zhi Hong as Deputy Chief Officer (副局長). He was sure a voice of guidance in here though he seemed weak at times. The reason why he was even torn between doing what he should (aka his job) and emotional conflicts was because he was trying to look after Fang You Long. He was also often forced to take sides between You Long and Xin Yu. Though he received some blows from both parties, he continued to be advising them throughout the investigation. Though known to be looking after You Long and supporting him, I thought most of the memorable scenes were with Xin Yu since he often advised her on various matters, even scolding her if she was going past the line. (But in a way, I guess the conversations with Xin Yu emphasized his caring for You Long, etc.) One of his memorable lines was near the end of episode 7 when he told Xin Yu that money and power could buy a lot of things, including human life.
  • Fu Lei as Xia Yong Jun (夏永鈞). His words at the beginning were full of ironies even if I didn’t pay attention to the whole speech he was saying and how he had lied, etc. Well, I never thought he had a hand in his own daughter’s death (though it wasn’t impossible). I just didn’t think of it at that time. What was ironic though was his claim that he didn’t want to seek revenge on the killer, but only wanted his grandson to be safe and be with him, etc. Come on now, he might as well be saying: “I don’t need to take revenge, you guys could do that for me.” YUP, that was what I was thinking. You send people out on a manhunt with that amount of a reward and expect the other dude to be unharmed? NICE… (Or was that his purpose all along?) Well, if it were other situations, it would make sense that the father would be pissed off, in fact–beyond livid, if his daughter got killed by his son-in-law. BUT I just felt it was ironic with the statement of not wanting revenge when offering such a large reward for the kid.
  • Yao Yi Ti as Xia Xiu Min (夏秀敏). The poor victim who was too trusting. Well, it was her own family after all and I did admire her for supporting them and not just side with her husband like that. Though she had found out later of the real version and wanted to keep it under wraps (again, because they were family) and he had let go as well, but because of the e-mail, she had died in his place in the end.
  • Cindy Mong as Yan Xing Fang (顏幸芳). Can’t sympathize with her. Regardless. I don’t know. It was just too much. She didn’t believe her daughter? Okay, so the pressure of the public was too much, but did that make it better by delivering the final blow? At least they had each other for support YET she pulled the final step under her daughter by letting on that her daughter should end it? Emotional support sometimes made the toughest situation better so there it went.
  • Olivia Wu as Xiao Wii (小Wii). I don’t know. It wasn’t her fault for what happened since she was captured. So no comment except she tried.
  • Wu Ting Hong as Ba Shang (巴尚). Always portraying the same type of role with loving his culture, singing those inspirational songs, and being his humble self. No complaints either. He did contribute to being part of the supporting team for the father and son.
  • Jet Chao as Chen Bo Lun (陳伯倫). What could I say aside from “I want to kill him too”? Honestly, the most despicable and/or hateful character in here. Yet I guess his character (among other hunters) gave us the side of how human nature had become when some type of situation occurred, such as that of the reward that was offered twice. Life wasn’t about all the marshmallows and granola bars but the downside of human’s driven instinct to fulfill a certain agenda was risking everything to achieve that, even if it took depriving other fellow mankind a chance to live.
  • Zhao Shun as Fang You Long’s father. A convincing performance. I had seen him more in hilarious dramas, portraying a father or grandpa. This time, it was the father but his character extended that to cope with his own sickness, and at the same time wanting to cheer his son on.
  • Ma Li Ou (馬利歐) as He Zhi Wei (何智偉). Knew he was bad from the moment he appeared. Blame it on paranoid, LOL! I don’t trust him. He just looked too suspicious (and probably intentional for the plot).
  • Lan Wei Hua as Li Zhi Ming (李志明).
  • Fang Shao Wei as Zhang Yong Kuan (張永寬).
  • Chen Jian Heng as Song Xiang Yang (宋向陽). Xiao Li’s boyfriend. Also the one responsible for Jiang Xin Yu’s death. Yet it felt satisfying when he thought he could get away with it but he became hunted in the end.
  • Xue Ti Ying as Xiao Li (小莉). The traitor. The same fate as her boyfriend. I didn’t care if she was upset when she found out her boyfriend had fired the gun at Jiang Xin Yu. She helped him throughout with all the other stuff, sabotaging them.
  • Wang Dao Nan as Chief Officer. Part of the corrupted team. Or was he? I don’t know. There were just too many people involved in the whole mess that I ended up losing track, except for their immediate supervisor.
  • Lesley Hu as Xiao Hong (小虹). A loyal friend who had stuck through thick and thin with Meng Feng throughout different topsy-turvy situations. She took care of Meng Feng’s mother while Meng Feng wasn’t around, and even aided in all she could. Her threats to You Long to take good care of Meng Feng was both touching and hilarious since it seemed like he couldn’t back down.
  • Liu Xiao Qi as Xiao Luo (小羅). Almost thought it was him instead of Xiao Li, lol. Okay, so I wanted to pick on the guy but usually, they make the girls the weakling (at least in other TW dramas I’ve seen). Wasn’t around much so I can’t comment but sure contributed to the case as one of the possible moles of the team.

Bonds/Relationships/Others:

  • Lee Wei and Luo Xuan Ming as Da Ren and Xiao Hai aka the father and son team. Quite touching (as it should be between father and son). Though raised far from civilization and somewhat abnormal to others yet it didn’t mean the kid was any different. He was quite attached to his father regardless of what he would come to know with all the correct terms to call his father (or know of it).
  • Lee Kang Yi and Luo Xuan Ming as Xiao Meng Feng and Xiao Hai. I loved their interaction. At first, it seemed like she was going to be the gentle caring kind, which she could. Yet the two of them trying to get along was just hilarious. He was driving her insane with all the questions and she was trying her best to explain. What was even more hilarious was the little kid knew of Tchaikovsky’s music YET she didn’t know. It was just too funny. Priceless moment when she kept going, “What?” and he took over the explaining, lol. What became touching between the two of them was when Xiao Hai realized she had become a prey just like him (after Kuku explained the situation), and he stepped over to where Meng Feng was working on her laptop and sat down back-to-back just like how he and his father used to do. It was like an acknowledgment that she had become family. Not to mention the trust and sense of security the kid felt toward her (which Zhen Sheng said in episode 6 before he left the car).
  • Meng Feng, Xiao Hai, and Kuku under the same roof. Hilarious. Kuku was so outnumbered, lol. Kuku’s home got invaded by two barbarians! (LOL!) He suddenly had to behave around his house? It was so funny how Kuku was given the threat by Xiao Hai if he didn’t eat the hamburger. They both don’t like it anyway, but Kuku was given the ultimatum? LOL! Poor Kuku! And what was funnier was seeing Kuku complaining to Meng Feng that Xiao Hai was being partial to her versus him. (LOL!)
  • Lee Kang Yi and Tender Huang. I don’t really know how to call them since they were a mixture of being on the opposite side at the beginning yet shared some kind of companionship throughout the later parts of the plot. I liked it that they were speaking in codes when they were contacting each other and all. Then the funniest part was him telling her to be careful yet he didn’t realize he had been followed and/or being monitored by his own team until she told him. Then there was the trust between the two of them. It wasn’t like they trusted each other immediately after the whole rescue scene at the beginning. Their trust built slowly and rationally because it made sense they were on their guards, considering the circumstances they met. And how they were considered to be on opposites, but I found their trust for one another held true, unlike other cases where trust should have been mutual yet it wasn’t as they had thought. Their relationship developed slowly from unsure whether they should trust one another to some sort of partnership/companionship/conspirators (whatever you want to call it) and then love. It wasn’t rushed or unrealistic like other dramas where you suddenly just ‘know’ he/she was the one. (*roll eyes* Sorry, I had to put that in.) Their relationship was built over time, not letting on they were living in some delusional world. What I felt was quite refreshing was the scene near the end where they met in the woods again and she ran over to hug him, but he had said that he hadn’t forgotten Xin Yu yet. She replied that she didn’t want him to forget Xin Yu, but she just wanted him to remember her (Meng Feng). It made all the difference with their type of relationship and was consistent with the rest of the plot thus far. Whereas other dramas where they always convince us that the leads have to forget some other person and focus 100% on the current person to be acceptable (which I would understand since no one in their right mind would want their significant other to think of someone else all the time), this one had said it was all right that someone else lived in the guy’s heart. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that Xin Yu had died, but I also remember other dramas wanting someone to forget the ‘deceased’ being 100% too before moving on. But this one didn’t force that concept into play. It made Meng Feng a refreshing character. (And of course, he had considered her feelings hence uttering out those words, not wanting to be unfair to her when he knew he still had Xin Yu in his heart. YUP, a reality check was always good since it would be too flaky if he didn’t say that but just hugged her back and/or added some other cheesy line about them finally being together.)
  • Tender Huang and Yvonne Yao. Refreshing pairing for me yet their characters didn’t allow more chemistry (and it made sense not to linger just there), but it wasn’t lacking either since I could feel the intensity of a couple bickering, among other scenes of sweetness or tormented feelings. They were so wrong for each other and he had realized it already. Finally breaking it off was a hard blow for her hence making her mix between work and personal. Though she had said it hadn’t affected her judgment but I felt she was out to prove her principles more than anything. And though I don’t agree with what she had done, I felt the reaction made sense. Sometimes couples do not realize they shouldn’t stick together or at least one person sees it but the other couldn’t. It was the latter in their case. (And it rang so true with places not allowing co-workers to date OR it would lead to disaster.) I was on my way of convincing myself it was all right they didn’t end up together but the finale made it so heart-wrenching that it was so hard to let go. The part where he heard that Song Xiang Yang’s girlfriend was a cop named Xiao Li, he was running like mad to get there yet it was too late. And in situations like these, I felt it was okay that he was being unsure that one time when she left after the arrests to go and deal with Xiao Li’s situation. (YES, he looked like he was thinking some possibility or was torn between her and Meng Feng.) I guess when they let their ‘being right’ get in the way, it was better off breaking up. When they cooled down and made their peace (in this case she knew he was right in his hunches), it wasn’t impossible to rethink their relationship. Though I knew they wouldn’t get back together anyway–even if she hadn’t died, it wasn’t too unreasonable to have lingering feelings because they had been together for five years already. (Right? That was my guess since it seemed they weren’t together at the beginning of the story but maybe was just working together when he was brought in as an expert.)
  • Tender Huang and Zhao Sun as father and son. They were convincing all right. I felt that hug when You Long returned from the hospital and the old man thought it was Meng Feng and the other two returning from the park. And the old man said he knew his son would make it. That was touching indeed.

Likes:

  • Reality Check. At first, I thought there were some careless moments like how Meng Feng didn’t lock her door when she got in the car to escape with Xiao Hai (since it was common sense after all), but in the later parts, I found it flowing along with real-life instances. There were little details that helped convince different situations.
  • Genuine. Perhaps it might go along with the previous point. But what made it likable was its ability to carry through without adding side formulas that would turn into the whole ‘lame’ zone.
  • Theme. I liked it that it revolved around the pair of father and son among other types of relationships and happenings in life. I guess I’m just sick of watching too much romance stuff from TW dramas and found it refreshing to see it focus on family or other types of relationships rather than just romance. I meant I know everything co-exists at once in other dramas too, but the main focus was always romance between the main leads and not as much as focused on other types of bonds.
  • No romances between Zhen Sheng and Meng Feng hence no triangle between the three main leads. The triangle was already subtle between Meng Feng/You Long/Xin Yu so I had to thank the scriptwriters of sparing us the moment of another triangle. They didn’t have time anyway BUT glad they didn’t include that too. Technically, You Long had broken it off with Xin Yu because of their conflicting POV and had fallen for Meng Feng after but because of Xin Yu’s continued feelings for You Long, I sort of treat that as a triangle. That was why I was so glad it didn’t happen with Zhen Sheng/Meng Feng/You Long as well. It would take away the whole focus on the father and son relationship between Zhen Sheng and Xiao Hai. And I have no problem if Zhen Sheng were to find love in the future after he put his past behind him, etc BUT it would have been a joke if they had done that at the same time when he was already in a mess.

Conclusion? It’s such a shame that these types of dramas aren’t as popular nowadays. It’s really a gem within all those current ones. The characters in here are so genuine, capturing different types of people existing in real life. And their relationships and/or interactions might or might not be similar to the ones we know near us. But because of how it was projected, we could really relate to them. Whether it was Lin Zhen Sheng’s choice to run for it, defending himself rather than relying on others since the beginning (because he had been betrayed by someone so close by). Or if it was Xiao Meng Feng who used her connections of friends actively when she was on the run (at least for the first part of the escape). And what about that of Fang You Long who was quite righteous but also considered other possibilities to different stories? He wasn’t a perfect being (just like everyone in here) but he also represented a part of reality where one would understand life wasn’t about pure black and white, but a whole lot of grayness in between. Then there was Jiang Xin Yu who stuck to her principles and stubbornness with not caving into other types of measures, believing that she was approaching things in the right direction. She was possibly the least likable among the supposedly “good side” in here (at least until near the end), but also someone who existed in real life. After all, don’t we all know some people who wouldn’t cave into anything? Unless they suggested there was evidence or supposedly doing everything the way they thought right? But it wasn’t like the scriptwriters had gone out of their way to make us hate Xin Yu so we could sympathize with the other female lead better since Xin Yu’s admittance to You Long later in the hospital had allowed us to look into her character a bit more. It was her vulnerable side and that she was a woman after all–aside from that police officer tough exterior, and a woman who wanted to protect the man she loved with all she thought she could do (whether it had been the wrong approach or not). Then there was Xiao Hai, an innocent kid who knew a lot about the survival of the fittest but wasn’t utterly cruel because of his contamination of the wilderness and his father’s teaching. He had a lot to learn about the real civilization but his emotions were very real with the people around him. What made the characters real was also because they didn’t have to be on the opposite of the scale with one really hyperactive versus the other being passive like in other dramas. Their principles and actions defined who they were without needing to stand out. That had made the difference.

Trust was like the driven vehicle throughout the plot. It was questioned numerous times between different characters. Yet who could they really trust? Lin Zhen Sheng was betrayed by someone rather close to him hence the flee at the beginning. Xiao Meng Feng was forced to cave in and admit guilt by her mother, but still chose to trust her friends–and later Fang You Long. Fang You Long had trusted his team yet they had betrayed him. (If he hadn’t trusted them, would he have been that upset upon the discovery–and the eventual confrontation?) Then there was the hybrid of polices who was no longer trustworthy because they could already be bought over by the many promises doled out or money thrown in. It was hard to blame Jiang Xin Yu totally for sticking to her principles of what was the correct process in an investigation because that stubbornness had allowed her to stand firm with the justice side, not caving in to the temptation thrown her way.

What I loved about this drama (YES, I had used ‘love’) was the anti-dramatic element. Well, there were quite a few nerve-wracking scenes in here. Yet it wasn’t portrayed in a way that was too over. Nor was it magnetized with the dramatic moments to the point that we caught the creators of the show trying too hard to make it a suspenseful drama. There were tear-jerking moments and emotional confrontations, but it wasn’t overdone to the point that we realized it was too flaky (aka done on purpose to grab attention that it seemed too unreasonable and out of the plot’s context). No one was really the real hero but was just drifting along doing what they had to in the circumstances that were presented. After all, how many situations in life do we see all the whole ‘hero’ scenes so dramatically presented like onscreen in other dramas? Sure, we all want to be the hero in situations, but it wasn’t like it happened so dramatically. Sometimes, it was just the small deeds that occurred. But then again, the reason why this drama might not be as popular is because people love dramas and love being drama-kings and queens so why not seek for more exciting shows, right?

Devil Beside You

 

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

I don’t know what took me forever to watch this but now that I watched it, I finally know what was the hype about it. Though it was probably for different reasons than mine (or at least not totally like mine). Maybe I was just scared of the ‘over-hype’ factor that was building around this drama. But I thought the balance was enough that there was ‘no hype’ and/or ‘over-rated’ feeling over it. The complex of the plot was nicely built-in with the right touches yet there was no ‘drag’ feeling of it. It was fast YET it was not going up and down like a roller-coaster either. Yes, there were intense moments yet you know it was inevitable, considering the characters involved. But there was a great balance with other formulas thrown in.

Likes:

  • Rainie Yang as Qi Yue. A very mature role for her. Well, as mature as can be since she was still seen at times as being super silly. BUT I think it was understandable. The reason why I say that was because her character lacked of dating experiences but her life experiences, such as that of her family and her mother have been plenty. She knew that the world outside her and knew what was important in life, friendship, and much more. I think it was acceptable and forgivable that she made mistakes at times, such as the time that she had hurt Yuan Yi (though I did feel that part a tad annoying to endure) but it passed eventually and she tried to redeem herself as quick, knowing what she’d done. She immediately patched things up and kept her goals clear, NOT dragging the relationships with two guys out. She wasn’t wishy-washy, she knew to sort her feelings out right away. She knew she needed to patch things right away and not let it drag any further. She was innocent (or more like inexperienced) but she was not an idiot. And I think I took people’s words too obediently about Rainie at times and had not given her enough credit. Because this one convinced me that Rainie does know how to act and that she did quite well even. I seriously felt all the emotions she went through and was laughing or crying along with her as the plot moved on. The feeling of overly-excited with her crush on Yuan Yi was really well done. It really brought back memories and made it real to the dot. It seemed exaggerated or overdone or you wouldn’t think possible, but honestly, what was your first crush like? It felt like you never want to keep calm or settle down at all. It was like being in the clouds yet you never want to stop daydreaming, feeling really jumpy, etc. There were other parts as well which Rainie did well with. I think this was her second most serious role to date. I think her most serious role must be the one from Strange Tales of Liao Zhai because it was really hectic and tragic the whole time.
  • Mike He as Jiang Meng. I was thinking along the line of ‘typical cold-blooded dude who actually had a kind heart but liked to hide it’ formula when I was watching him and how others around him were saying, “He’s not like that at all.” BUT it changed my point of view as I watched even more. It was not like that at all. While others claimed him to be good, BUT he did not feel that way nor was he putting up a front. He was really feeling like he wanted to be bad or he was bad. He did as he pleased and did what he felt like. His actions were beyond tolerance and his cruel pranks at times made people despise him, BUT he wasn’t fake at all. He wasn’t carrying on with his contradicting views. He did what he believed in–whether right or wrong. His actions were bizarre, but he had a different way of doing things. In fact, he was rather harsh on himself–as we were able to see when the plot unfolded. And am I the only one who found it extremely funny that he was holding his hair up in that ‘cool’ look with the clips? It was really funny to see that but cute. I have to add that I find possessive characters annoying since it made the girl seem like an ‘item’ more than a human being, but it made it really funny and cute in his case since he was so caring toward her to the point that he couldn’t lose her. It could be a fatal formula but it was equally funny and childish in a way how he treated other rivals, being outright mean and straightforward. I think the most touching scene must be the part where he finally met up with his mother after so many years and tried to confront his past demons. He was so shaken up and what the words he delivered were very convincing, so cold yet it proved how much he had hurt from what happened in the past. Another equally touching scene regarding family members was Ah Meng finally letting his father hug him. I so felt for the old man. They did not lose each other, but it was like the decision that had separated them.
  • Mike and Raine as a couple. I finally know what all the fuss was about over this pairing. I think Mike’s Rainie’s best match by far. I don’t mean that the others aren’t deserving SO please don’t take it the wrong way. What I mean is that they have more chemistry than the others she worked with thus far. (Though Chun didn’t count since the drama didn’t air yet at the time of this review so he should be given a fair chance before judgments are dealt his way.) Their relationship was really addicting to watch on many levels because they matched wit per wit, which was rare for a Taiwanese drama since it was often portrayed that the girl needed rescuing and the guy pulled a lot more weight, etc. YET this one, they had to do the equal pulling. So what if he was stronger in strength? It paved on that picture right in front of us so it was hard to miss. But it was because of her bravery and the ability to fight back at times that made them matched really well. She was not a weakling and she knew how to defend herself. She just chose not to at times. What he lacked or was not able to see himself, she helped him see it and vice versa. They both did things for one another–as a couple should be–going through struggles together. At other times, they were equally cute. It was so funny to see her so small and gullible while he was so tall and arrogant. Not to mention how she was the older one in this case though she was so short and all. His possessiveness of her was a bit scary at times but it was almost touching to watch how he would never let others harm her. The whole rant with “You’re mine” thing would’ve been annoying if he said it otherwise, but it was too funny in this case. I guess what was really nice about their relationship was the mixture of mature and immature moments. They had sweet moments as well as touching scenes. Their caring for each other was not just said through words (obviously since it has been proven numerous times what they would go through for one another) but also their attentive to details like how they could detect what was wrong with one another with just a gesture or an expression.
  • Kingone Wang as Sang Yuan Yi. Okay, I was thinking along the line of typical good guy and the one who lost in the end BUT it was not like that at all. I liked it that they had placed in a part allowing him to say, “Don’t put all assumptions on me”, regarding what Qi Yue said about his behaviors. (Not in those exact words but it was about the same message.) No one should assume that he was the typical good guy. He was just a normal person who would get mad when others wronged him OR would feel down when he was hurt. I thought it was very important that they got this across since it made him normal AND not just him singing the tune, “I’m the good guy that got dumped because the girl didn’t appreciate me.” It wasn’t about that at all. Maybe what I was trying to say all along was he wasn’t playing the ‘pitiful’ card for viewers to feel for him and go hate the ‘main girl’ for not choosing him. He was very real, very honest, and he didn’t exude the ‘fake good guy’ exterior at all. What was more was that he did what he felt he should do, not hoping that he would get something back by doing those deeds, like the part where he kept clarifying things about Jiang Meng’s behaviors to Qi Yue. He knew that he felt terrible not knowing how it would affect how she would think of Jiang Meng after learning of the truth, but he still did it because he thought it was right, NOT because he wanted to score points with Qi Yue. And it was extremely funny to see his humorous side, especially the dream that he had with picking up Qing Zi for their date and all. (LOL) There were also various scenes where he was joking with Jiang Meng or Li Xiang or others. It was extremely amusing to watch. The balance of his character was really nice, not just the typical good guy and not just one dimensional like many other characters in other dramas.
  • The Jiang Meng-Qi Yue-Yuan Yi triangle. I never thought I would like a triangle so much. Maybe because it was so short-lived. I meant it wasn’t dragging to the last episode to make everything overly-dramatic. It started as quickly and in so much confusion YET it ended as quickly, allowing all parties to move on–or to heal. I liked the idea of that more since it would make Qi Yue less annoying. She was confused all right since she thought she liked Yuan Yi but feelings told her otherwise when she was confronted by Yuan Yi. After that, she mended the situation (as mentioned above in the character description) immediately, letting go of Yuan Yi. The guys? They surely stated their intentions to one another and was not fake about it, not pretending to be friends OR playing dirty tricks. At least I thought so. Sure, Jiang Meng wanted to sabotage Yuan Yi and Qi Yue but he stated that in plain sight. No one was clueless about that matter. Everyone knew what they wanted. Or at least the guys more than Qi Yue. But the triangle quickly dissolved and allowed them to be all friends, continuing on with their lives, NOT dragging it out to the point of unbearable (like I mentioned above already).
  • The rivalry turned into a friendship between Jiang Meng (Mike) and Yuan Yi (Kingone). I know it sort of overlap with the previous topic but I feel the need to put it in for both guys. So I was saying how they were very clear on their goals and got their priorities straight when Jiang Meng declared war on Yuan Yi. Yet I actually had the feeling they weren’t fake with the whole being super nice to each other. Yes, they knew that each had some good in him BUT did not overdo that factor with trying to be nice. It would make the formula typical. Maybe it was less cheesy that they did not say some things. It was like understanding was more important, etc. I especially liked how Jiang Meng did not apologize for snatching Qi Yue away. It was how he was and why should he be sorry for loving someone? It was like he let Yuan Yi beat him up so Yuan Yi would get the frustration out, but he did not regret in being with Qi Yue. I don’t know if it was implying, but it made me believe that both guys did not treat Qi Yue like an ‘object’ like some dramas led on with keep being ‘nice’ about it and how letting go or giving in OR deciding for her. They let her choose. Sure, other dramas do those too with letting the girl/guy choose, BUT I don’t know. It was just different and less overly-dramatic and less cheesy in this case. It was like they both fight for the girl BUT they don’t regret fighting since they gave their best shot. I also find it funny that they seemed to be implying a different relationship between each other at various points, lol. Like how Jiang Meng nicknamed Yuan Yi as ‘Ah Yi’ (LOL) and they got into these random rants at times. A personal favorite must be the part where Jiang Meng accidentally (or possibly intentionally) threw the basketball into Yuan Yi’s cake AND Yuan Yi jumped right up to lash out at Jiang Meng for ruining his cake. Jiang Meng thought it was Qi Yue’s cake for Yuan Yi (since she did mention making extras) BUT it was actually Qing Zi’s cake for Yuan Yi. Jiang Meng was apologetic for it BUT it was funny how the guys were going at each other. Another example why I say they know one another’s good points, BUT did not get cheesy about it OR overly friendly. They just acted normal and looked out for each other when the time needed. That was enough. I had the feeling like they were more actions than all talks. Oh yeah, what made me like it, even more, was the shared screen time between them. I meant usually though they say ‘two male leads’, you still have the feeling the second guy was robbed, BUT I liked how they got to be cool in their own way too. NOT just one guy stealing all the attention, like how they covered for each other at the game. Their childish stab at each other throughout the drama made it even more entertaining since it maintained some sort of consistency yet not too cheesy with them getting along too much or too little.
  • Tsai Pei Lin as Qing Zi. I wasn’t sure that she liked Yuan Yi or not until later but I thought what was admirable was her putting her friends before him. I meant like how she would help Qi Yue with all she got. Then knowing that Qi Yue hurt him, she would scold Qi Yue but NOT because of him but for both of them. Then it was time to give herself a chance. It was not fake. She did all she could to help her friend. It was only right to herself that she at least try–even if she was turned down. If she was to be all righteous and NOT care for her own happiness later on, then that would be fake. Though I was kind of annoyed with how she believed that one girl and acted up toward Yuan Yi, I sort of forgive her for it since she could not get past her past demons to trust herself or others in relationship.
  • Kingone and Pei Lin as a couple. I liked how this couple has a different story and had about enough screen time as well. They were so cute together and I could feel it was as genuine as Jiang Meng and Qi Yue. They tried to get along at first–as if to give each other a chance. Yet it developed into something much more and they had their sweet moments as well. Like the scene where they were running under the rain with only his jacket as the shield from the rain. Also, their little bet about the ‘red umbrella’. Their awkward interaction at their first date and how they get it sorted out. The misunderstanding and/or confusion with mix messages drove their relationship to another level. Yes, Qing Zi made a poor choice and threw the ultimatum on Yuan Yi, but it allowed us to see that he honestly wanted to treasure her and care for her. He was not sorry for not giving her enough attention (or how the plot wasn’t making him feel guilty over it) but instead was disappointed that she didn’t trust him enough. She wanted attention and care, but so did he. He was not a hero OR wanting to be a hero, but he only wanted to impress her with his capabilities–like he stated (and that was basketball). Sometimes it was not about giving in to one or another, but understanding and supporting one another with his or her beliefs were more important. He already did his part, but what about her? Like I said, this relationship was really different and they both had to explore different things about one another and accepting each other for who he/she really was. The fact that it was not the end of the world that one or the other made mistakes. Yuan Yi needed to get out what he really thought for her to understand him, but he didn’t think any less of her because of it. He only needed to straighten matters out. What was more, it wasn’t about who deserved whom more OR who didn’t deserve whom. It was about the commitment they both made and/or willing to go through with one another. Moving on (lol), it was extremely funny to see him trying to ‘take the initiative’ and failing when they were going on the movie date. Yuan Yi and Qing Zi had other really cute scenes also, like when they were helping Si Shen worked his way back into Ya Li’s heart again. They were so cute with trying to compose the letter together, etc. I was getting worried near the end that they would not get more scenes together aside from with their group of friends but glad there was something more–even if they had to encounter another obstacle. But seeing them on a date, wearing couples’ outfits among other things, was really cute. The swords dual between Yuan Yi and Qing Zi’s father must be one of the most critical scenes since it turned their promises of words into actions. It proved that Yaun Yi was serious about his feelings for Qing Zi. It also proved that they had reached another level of understanding and dedication toward each other because of how they were a team in persuading and/or convincing Qing Zi’s father of how serious they were.
  • The brotherly bond between Jiang Meng (Mike) and Yuan Chang Rang (Figaro). Their conflicts were hard to distinguish. Their past was somewhat typical with the attention thing within a family, like how Jiang Meng did not get enough attention from their mother or how Chang Rang always wanted attention and/or acknowledgment from his brother. It was hard to mend everything but when they finally did, it was not fake at all. It made sense since they were family after all. There were fears (inevitably) and not being able to face it. But once faced, it was easier than they thought. It did not matter who was the one who’d done more damage, etc. I liked the little closure scene they had with Jiang Meng teaching Chang Rang how to defend himself. Yes, he was there to cheer Chang Rang on, but Chang Rang had to learn how to take care of himself too. Relying on Jiang Meng’s reputation would not last long, which was very true of how Jiang Meng put it. Though it was wrong to spread the message through violence, in a way, it was like implying that Chang Rang needed to step out of Jiang Meng’s shadow before he could take care of himself, becoming a stronger person, etc.
  • The fatherly bond between Jiang Meng (Mike)/ Yuan Chang Rang (Figaro) and Jiang You Hui (He Du Lin). It was so funny and unimaginable. Jiang Meng–supposedly fierce and rebellious–had to look after his father since his father was so out of it. Yes, his father was trying to make up for past wrongs and wanted to pay more attention to Jiang Meng hence the relaxed attitude. But it was still funny that Jiang Meng needed to keep his father in line at times, scolding him or telling him to tone it down. Then there was also the whole thing with You Hui always hugging and kissing them and smothering them in love that was almost embarrassing. It was too much to take. Even Chang Rang had to tell him to tone it down at the game, lol. But it was still too funny.
  • The fact that the children were more matured than the parents. Well, at least it seemed that way as a front. I meant it was true in both cases regarding Jiang Meng and Qi Yue. The parents were overly enthusiastic about everything and sometimes even more childish. It was really funny to see the children being the ones needing to look out for their parents at times. Though of course, the parents were capable of settling important matters as well. But still hilarious to see. A not so funny example was that of Ah Meng and Ah Rang’s mother. Yes, she suffered and finally managed to rise in the society, allowing herself to be capable of providing more than enough for her sons yet I felt she was so immature with the ‘blame’ game that made it hard to swallow. Like Ah Meng said, she was making Ah Rang worry. I had a feeling like Ah Meng was doing that more for Ah Rang’s sake than her sake for some reason. No idea. That was just my interpretation though I know Ah Meng also needed some sense of closure.
  • Ivy Fan as Xin Li Xiang. Though she was fierce and harsh on others, I thought she had some good in her still to actually tell Jiang Meng about the incident regarding how Yang Ping almost harmed Qi Yue. Also, like Qi Yue said, she just didn’t know how to express her love or loving herself enough. It was really brave of her to admit her wrongs and sort of made peace with Qi Yue. Though she was declaring a new approach and a new attempt with pursuing Jiang Meng, her starting over was a notable point. Also, her righteous was known at various times also. The fact that the whole ‘fierce’ attitude and attacks toward Qi Yue had lessened or how it passed quickly made her character more real and less fake (than again other dramas seemed to let on for dramatic purposes). Perhaps it was her determination that was most admirable and it was the drive that allowed her to continue on. She had a purpose and she was never off course. Though she might used the wrong method, her target was always the same. Aside from being in the blind for so long, she was considered the wisest. It was possibly due to the fact that she had more experience than the others combined. How she thought that Qing Zi was the wisest among the girls but she was wrong and then how she was advising and/or warning Qi Yue of the possible danger in Qi Yue and Jiang Meng’s relationship and the underlying problem that they could not see (i.e Mei Di). Indeed she was right, losing to a person so kind and gentle that you cannot condemn was the worst. And though she disagreed with those ‘softy’ type, she didn’t let Mei Di get bullied by the gang of girls at school either. Very admirable.
  • Masuyama Yuki and Ivy Fan as a couple. Though they were using the wrong tactics to express their love at the beginning, they were equally hilarious to watch after they learned to love themselves properly and expressed it in a more positive way toward the people they cared for. It was funny how Li Xiang was saying she was still pursuing Jiang Meng but her jealousy and watching over Yang Ping at times were funny. Like the part where they were on the bus going on the trip for the basketball club, Li Xiang was hitting Yang Ping’s head when he commented about Mei Di being cute. It got even funnier and cuter in a sense when they were doing different activities at their preplanned site. Yang Ping was so clueless at times that it was too cute, making Li Xiang so pissed off at his idiotic nature YET she was not able to tell him either–had to keep her cool reputation (lol). But then she had to take the initiative on the bus when they were on the way back and it was so cute!
  • Wu Zhong Tian and Janel Tsai as a couple. I thought their relationship was on the bittersweet side. It was like she was waiting for him but she also stated her purpose, not being fake about it at all. It wasn’t like she will always wait for him. She had waited long enough and until the day he met Qi Yue again. She wanted to give them both a deadline so that they could all move on and also to answer to herself. And I thought that the whole thing with the puzzle of how to win Ya Li’s heart again was really creative. This was another sign that proved the relationships in here were unique in their own way and the plot worked out well with making the relationships different. It was quite touching reading the letter he wrote to her yet it was not too cruel to say that it was not what she wanted. She had waited this long but a letter was not enough to prove it. Yes, those were definitely sincere words, but not enough to convince. I felt she had a right to seek other types of proofs. And not to mention, it was not leaning on the materialistic side either but it was more of an action and a gesture to prove that he had remembered what she said, and how much it meant to her. And the meet up at the restaurant was equally touching and sweet since he had repeated her words from the past (aka remembering what she said).
  • Every couple had their own story. Usually, they did too in dramas BUT the cute scenes OR super sweet and/or touching scenes were often reserved for the main couple. But in here, I found it that not one couple was robbed. There was the touching story between Yuan Yi and Qing Zi as well as Yu Ping and Li Xiang. There were also cute scenes of them and more. Even the parents had their own stories.
  • The cast and their spread-out appearances. Honestly, I didn’t realize how nice they’d done it. They did not merge in all the scenes with everyone appearing and introducing them or trying to stir things up relentlessly just for kicks. It was just how things were. Like how people pop in and out of one another’s life. A nice cast indeed and no one tried too hard. They had a great variety to make everything work.
  • The friendship that the characters in here shared. Like how their stories and appearances were spread out and different, I also like how their friendship developed throughout. Whether it was with the major characters or with the supporting characters. A good example would be how Yuan Yi, Qing Zi, Li Xiang, and Yang Ping conspired to help Tian Si Shen and Chuang Ya Li. Definitely showed how well they’d gotten along and how their views had changed of one another. And it was great to see they took it seriously to make it work and not just talks or childish rants. It was also amazing how they each thought of something to solve the puzzles or tried to chip in their ideas to make it work. Also very funny that Yuan Yi became so smart with helping others yet he was clueless in his own relationship. Though some ideas were bizarre, it was worth a few laughs and touching moment.
  • No dragged out obstacles. I found it even better and possibly more realistic that the supposed rivals of both Jiang Meng and Qi Yue were not just one or two person(s). They encountered a variety of people–either from the past or the future–that became a test of their relationship BUT it was not dragged out. There were doubts or misunderstandings at times but it was cleared away. Perhaps it was because of the lack of wishy-washy formula that made it more enduring at times. Also, they did not make one person out to be the ‘evil person’ for the hype of the drama. It was how life was. You encounter people who liked the same person as you but it did not mean that other person was evil. They just wanted to fight for their happiness or wanting a chance before giving up.
  • The Pace. I was seriously amazed by the pace of the story. Because other dramas would have subplots but then solved everything like within the last episodes. But this one acknowledged one conflict after another, not letting it drag too much. It was like how it was implying that through knowing Jiang Meng, Qi Yue eventually found out different things about him and coming to accept the person that he was and/or helping him with it. It didn’t drag long, except for the main theme that they were trying to get over the worst demon–the public’s views of their relationship–both ways. I thought it was essential that their seeking of acceptance from the public was the only thing that was around from the beginning to the end. This sort of tied up with the above point but I thought I want to mention it separately to emphasize the rest of the couple’s obstacles also.
  • The soundtrack. Like many Taiwanese dramas, the soundtrack is always addicting and plays an essential part toward the plot. I’m more convinced than ever that Rainie does have the ability to convince us of her voice. Yes, she’s not extremely awesome with her vocal range, but she does have the ability to apply enough emotions into the songs that tugged at our hearts. (Or at least I thought so.) Other tracks were worth noting also, playing its own part in the drama along the way.

Dislikes:

  • Amanda Meng as Yuan Mei Jin (aka Jiang Meng and Chang Rang’s mother). Though I understand where she was coming from, somehow I couldn’t sympathize with her. It was like she did not fight hard enough for Ah Meng in the past. It was like she thought she could go back for him but those years were the most essential and it could never be brought back. If she had fought harder for him, she might not regret it so much or Jiang Meng wouldn’t be so full of hatred toward her. She should not be blamed for caring for Ah Rang more since Ah Rang was always the weaker of the two–health-wise. Yet I felt she was too fake in a way. I think the Jiang family’s principles, especially the grandma, had broken her like Ah Meng had said. But I don’t know. I was not convinced of her suffering too much.
  • The ending. Seriously? Come on now. That was a bit corny. Though I admit it was funny and then the signature con job by the devil himself aka Ah Meng, BUT that was lame with trying to make it a bit funny. It dissolved all the touching scenes previously. Though the gang could be funny too, that was too much on the side of being corny. That thing with the videotape and the NG scenes were lame. Yes, that was funny seeing they had to re-shoot but incorporating it into the drama itself? Okay.