Favorite Characters: Part I – Nina

I actually wanted to start this saga awhile back but kept getting distracted with other stuff. I didn’t know where to start either so that was part of the delay. But after I was done watching Just Sing and Dancing, I got an idea of where to start. Yes, the first character to start with is one of the drama’s main leads, Nina, portrayed by Dou Hua Mei.

Nina, one of the members of the band Super Seed, started out singing at a cafe. She was really hardworking and appreciative of her boss for letting her perform there. She had a very strong personality and was a very independent character throughout.

So why did I choose her character? She was the most realistic character I could relate to personally. She was seen as independent and strong in front of others and could possibly be bordering on the side of hostility at times, especially having gotten into disagreements with some of the band members. However, her struggles and other emotional turmoils were kept shut within her.

Many of her battles were fought alone or if someone could possibly relate or try to get in, she brushed them off. It wasn’t because she was arrogant, but that was how she was. She rather suffered alone. It made it realistic for me because many other female leads just plain throw themselves into the arms of the male lead or welcomed those “prince in shiny armor” rather than try to work the solutions out on their own.

Even if she was helped at times by others, but it had to do directly with her work projects, or it was her brother. She only sought her brother out to cry things over. Not literally cry at times either, but she really needed some wise words from her brother, like how he’d taught her in the past to be strong, etc.

And even if she had to cry for real, not being able to take it anymore, she was crying alone. Not needing to put up a show for others, or seeking more points by acting so pitiful. Even if she would’ve welcomed some comforting words, but she chose not to let them pity her.

It wasn’t until Guo Ge told everyone about how she had sacrificed herself to enter a ten-year contract for them to get a second chance that she finally opened up to the others more. It was also when she dared to tell Hao Zi to not chase her away anymore. Of course, he promised.

*Images were captured by DTLCT

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Just Singing And Dancing OST

1.) Power All The Way (一路發威) by Super Seed (Super Seed樂團). Indeed a very powerful song and suitable for the main theme of the drama. Very engaging and lively. It’s also very inspiring for those with dreams, encouraging them to keep fighting till reaching the ultimate. There will be lots of hurdles but perseverance will prevail over all difficulties. Awesome song overall.

2.) Who Am I? (我是誰) by Van Fan (范逸臣). A soft yet powerful song. Just right for the ending theme. Sad but not too pitiful.

3.) Just Enough Happiness (剛好的幸福) by Nicholas Teo (張棟樑). Soft, sad ballad. Suitable for Nic and the story involved.

4.) FIGHTING by Super131. I swear I couldn’t get into Super 131 no matter how hard I try. It’s not them, maybe it’s just me.

5.) My Love (我的愛) by Van Fan and Evonne Hsu (范逸臣、許慧欣). A nice duet between the two of them. Their voices blend so well with one another and the music and lyrics flowed along nicely.

6.) Rock for love by Van Fan, Evonne Hsu, Gabe Lan, and Ma Nian Xian (范逸臣、許慧欣、藍鈞天、馬念先). The opening song of the drama. It was where the four of them were still together as a band. It was a new beginning of them yet also marked the end of their friendships. At least for some of them. While YesAsia’s version had followed the TV version with listing both Gabe and Ma Nian Xian, but the album credited only it to Van and Evonne. It made sense since only their voices were heard in here. Another nice duet, totally gangster feeling, lol.

7.) Too Serious (太認真) by Evonne Hsu (許慧欣). A very nice ballad by Evonne. Her voice is indeed quite clear and unique. The way she sang it and how the music flowed, it created a very mystical feeling.

8.) Change Face (變臉) by Dou Hua Mei (豆花妹). Upbeat and lively. It gets really addicting after a while.

9.) Long Road (長路) by Angel Chen (陳思函). A nice song, but not really my favorite. It’s just me, not the song itself.

10.) The Light of the Firefly (螢火) by Super Seed (Super Seed樂團). Another upbeat song from Super Seed to finish up the album. Another lively and powerful song.

Almost all the songs in here were written and composed by Ian Chen. The man’s seriously a genius, providing a different feeling toward each song. Regarding this album, I swear it’s too short. Maybe it was because I greedily wanted them to place all the songs they performed into the album, like packaging it as a 2-discs set or something. Even if I have to pay $40+, I wouldn’t mind. ‘Cause I seriously loved their cover of different songs and how the musicians had rehashed and remixed the songs, making it different and refreshing. At least I really, really enjoyed all the performances by the main cast.

*All images were scanned by DTLCT

Falling

One of the most depressing dramas ever yet captured different elements of life so vividly. And for the record, I didn’t watch this because it got nominated for the Golden Bell Awards and then eventually won some. I was trying to watch it for Esther yet had to put aside because of my busy schedule.

Main Cast:

  • Jade Chou (周幼婷) as Liu Li Ping (劉立平). Mixed feelings. Not because she was at times too passive. I understood why she was so passive at times versus others. She kept having to take care of everyone and not get any appreciation and it seemed like it was her duty to do it or something, such as taking care of her brother’s family too. (Like she had said at various points in here.) But the actual reason for mixed feelings was how she didn’t confront some parties and gave in too easily to them. Or maybe I was missing the point. She did eventually had some meltdown, like the part with confronting her ex. Yet I guess it made sense because it was how she was. What I felt really disturbing though was the part where she didn’t react to her brother-in-law’s advances right away BUT waited longer. What she said made me feel unease as well, like how good her sister treated her so she shouldn’t do that to her sister. (Was she implying if her sister was cruel to her, she was willing to help her bro-in-law cheat? OY, I’m missing the point again but I just felt it was too creepy with that dude.) Anyway, what I felt really sad was how the parents thought Li Ping was a guy SO despite possible death, the mother still wanted Li Ping, and it wasn’t until they realized she was a girl that hope failed. Like really? If they had known she was a girl at the beginning, would they still have her? Just saying.
  • Esther Liu as Ji Er (吉兒). A totally different character for Esther. Probably a breakout role for her even. The reason why I say ‘breakout role’ was because it completely veered from her typically cutesy roles or the klutzy ones that she often portrayed with the usual idol dramas. She portrayed an independent, career woman who really knew what she wanted and how to enjoy life. A surprise performance from Esther and it showed she had gone a long way. I’m not saying that because she won ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for the role since I actually finished watching this before the ‘Golden Bell Awards’ took place. It was just that I haven’t gotten a chance to finish the review until now.
  • Jag Huang (黃健瑋) as Xu Hao Yuan (徐浩遠). At first, I was really annoyed with him in thinking that Ji Er must have met someone else hence her change of attitude with him, etc. However, I soon understood why his mind was sooo one-tracked. Because he was so busy spying on Ji Er and trying to get through her by interacting with Li Ping online, he learned a lot about Ji Er and even about himself. Not only that but also to appreciate what his mother did for him, not just the typical because she was his mother but he actually understood and sympathize with her by seeing it through someone else’s eyes, considering how he realized all the women in Li Ping’s lives were suffering through different trials and events. Jag was actually quite impressive in this role. He really brought out the character well with the uncertainties and weaknesses, and then eventually not so lost anymore in the end.

Others:

  • Fan Li Li (潘麗麗) as Liao Jin Gui (廖金貴). Li Ping’s mother. I’m not a fan of tough love BECAUSE the more people yell, it would make me even more depressed. SO when the mother opened her mouth with her cruel words or yelling, I just wanted to plain fast-forward BUT didn’t. I don’t know. I swear, there are times for being honest/straight-forward about things (like giving feedbacks so people improve) BUT if you care, please act like it! She just made me feel even more discouraged and wonder why Li Ping was still taking it all in. It felt like it was just because she was the mother so Li Ping had to fulfill her filial duties and that was it. I couldn’t feel the bond though I guess I was missing the point again. Though I complained like insane about this, indeed it portrayed real-life situations versus how we see more supportive family members in those fun/comedic idol dramas.
  • Tong Xiu Juan (童秀娟) as Lin Fu Zhen (林富珍). Li Ping’s sister-in-law. I swore I just wanted to smack her at one point or another whenever she appeared. Her family was supposedly taking care of themselves yet they always complain about being neglected? Seriously? Indeed, another realistic portrayal of a typical ‘family’ situation but still…
  • Chen Ying Jie (陳盈潔) as Hao Yuan’s mother (浩遠媽媽). Mixed feelings. What I felt was weird was how she approached Ji Er’s parents and talked about super intimate situations with Ji Er’s mother. That seemed WAY off. Seriously, do people talk about that in real life? At least I have never seen strangers talk about such delicate situations before, only close friends.
  • Huang Lian Yu (黃連煜) as Liu Tian Fa (劉添發). Li Ping’s father. SO NOT a fan of him since he was the typical old-fashioned person who thought of stomping down on others to prove himself as the head of the household or something. Well, okay, it seemed extreme of my words since, after all, it seemed he did care for Li Ping (or so the plot tried to show at some point), but some of his words and ordering others around made me feel like he was just trying to stomp on others. Or maybe it was another one of those ‘tough love’ situations that will always be lost on me. Seriously, if you mean something, act like it, NOT do the opposite and expect others to understand.
  • Shen Chang Hong (沈昶宏) as Liu Zhen Bao (劉振寶). Spoiled brat! Typical since he was the only boy of the house.
  • Ma Nian Xian (馬念先) as Liu Li Zhi (劉立智). Li Ping’s brother. I swear he was so annoying. Okay, I got it that they were family and I felt it was kind of touching that Li Ping was covering for him at the beginning. Yet later, it seemed really stupid that he expected Li Ping to return home so they could have peace AND others could get off his back and that he and his wife could have peace, etc. It was really dumb. Like Li Ping said, why did it seem like it was her duty to be their slaves? (Not in those exact words but along those lines.)
  • Zhou Heng Yin (周姮吟) as Liu Xu Fang (劉旭芳). Li Ping’s sister. I don’t even know what to say about her anymore, even though I did have a lot to think about when I was watching. The only thing I want to say is I was glad she was able to start over at the end. She was finally able to let go. It was hard not to.
  • Wang Dao Nan (王道南) as Li Ping’s brother-in-law. I just wanted to throw up (NOT in my mouth since I couldn’t even get that expression because it’s just too gross to even imagine) when he appeared. A typical fake person whom others think of him as the ‘good’ person yet there was so much more underneath. Even Li Ping’s parents think that he was the ‘model’ person while Li Ping’s sister was in the wrong.
  • Zhou Qun Da (周群達) as Zhang Lu Huai (張鹿淮). A teacher, Li Ping’s crush at one point. Too bad it didn’t happen. But I guess that was how life was. Can’t force it since it was not a typical fairytale story but more like showing different people you meet in life and sometimes there were misunderstandings through actions or words used.
  • Long Chen Han (隆宸翰) as Qu Cheng Min (曲成民). Li Ping’s ex-boyfriend. I don’t know what to say about him except too bad. Whatever. He was there to show a painful past that Li Ping had.
  • Michael Chang (張少懷) as Li Ping’s arranged marriage candidate. At first, I felt he was a dork. Yeah, mean but maybe it was because of the bias filter with the parents forcing Li Ping to go meet the candidates, etc. Yet later when the pressure was off, I was able to see him in a different light. He really had his own views and was brave to pursue his goals. Even if he didn’t know how at first, with only being exposed to those books, he kept trying and finally succeeded. Michael is indeed a very good actor, very convincing in the clueless moments as well as the confident one later on. I really enjoyed his random friendship with Li Ping throughout.
  • Wang Mon Ling (王夢麟) as Ji Er’s father. At first, I thought he was weird with his lurking in the distance at times. But later, I realized he was quite enlightened with his words. He was actually the key to Hao Yuan’s decision to break it off and let go of Ji Er at the end (ironically). He made Hao Yuan realized what was wrong right from the start. (Like how Hao Yuan said he wanted to please both sides–his mother and Ji Er–and kept fearing that they would be unhappy hence, in the end, he was the one suffering with so many uncertainties.)
  • Bao Zheng Fang (鮑正芳) as Ji Er’s mother. Enjoyed watching some of her moments. Just some scenes here and there but enough.

I was surprised that this drama received so much attention from the GBA and earned 8 nominations–with 4 wins. Because honestly, after what happened for a while, it seemed that the popular dramas usually snatch up awards. This year was indeed a big year for PTS. Well deserved too. Anyway, back to this drama, it’s NOT for everyone since there are a disclaimer and parental guidance/caution sign at the beginning. It’s also not a typical fairytale drama but it’s more based on real life situations and how people deal with it. There are even more delicate issues being addressed. Whether we like it or not, these things exist. It was well crafted and portrayed throughout. Even if it was disturbing at one point or another but it sure hit the nail on the head with some of the stories, major or minor.

Liu Mang Xiao Zhang’s Ending

I would’ve left some cushions for my post if it was some other drama. But I just finished this and can’t believe for the first time it wasn’t cliche. OKAY, there were some parts that were cliche. But I thought what made me really like this drama, in the end, was its twist. Like I mentioned in the previous post regarding Wen Xiong, I hoped for a different ending. It was not just because I’m a Jacky fan, but when I analyzed it and it had become so typical with Wen Xiong turning bad, I was disappointed. I meant like there goes another drama wanting to crank up its hype by needing a dramatic ending with some battle between good vs. evil. And in a sense, it was more subtle than was thought. The impact was large, but it was not overdone like how other dramas would’ve approached it.

Those who watched know by now that the scene with Wen Xiong advancing on Qing Mei and how Jiang Hu Piao had kicked Wen Xiong out was just a plan cooked up by none other than Jiang himself. YES, that was cruel and unnecessary in a sense but that allowed us to re-analyze everything about the plot. Or maybe I was the only idiot who found too much time to go study every single thing out there to connect with Wen Xiong’s actions.

So should I hang my hat since I let my imagination jumped ahead after episode 11? NO! Are you kidding me? I was expecting a twist so of course, I’m prepared to defend it as a turnaround. It would make me sound contradictory but in a way, the previous analysis made me think more about the depth of Wen Xiong’s character and how the plot had concealed some part of his personalities on purpose to mislead us. They needed that to make us think before showing us the ending.

I was waiting for the ending to continue this discussion anyway. So I actually drew up several factors. (I know, I must have no life to even sit around and think about it.) What was kind of suspicious that made me have some hope about Wen Xiong?

  • Didn’t make sense. The Gao brothers were brought up by Jiang Hu Piao since their parents died when they were really young. Although they both experienced hardships, but Jiang did give them a lot of opportunities and also allowed for Wen Xiong to study to the point that he earned a law degree. One could argue that it would be a good investment for Jiang to have an educated assistant yet the Gao brothers were given everything that Qing Mei had since they grew up. (This was mentioned by Wu Xiong in episode 1–with the scene by the pool.) Unless he was really a greedy dude who didn’t even treat them like family, he had no reason to do such. And maybe Qing Mei had such an effect on him like I said in the other post, behaving in such a way was too stupid–even if he was drunk.

  • Jiang Hu Piao sure got there fast during the assault scene in episode 11. I’m so serious here. I was more than glad to see that it was just barely visible and we got the gist of it, nothing too traumatizing yet had a great impact. BUT I was so puzzled since it happened that: Why was Jiang so fast to jump in and rescue his daughter in time? I meant that house was BIG. Anyone saw it yet? It was shown from various angles from time to time AND it was a huge mansion or villa. Whatever you want to call it. But come on now, she could be the loudest girl but her voice could get drowned out in that house, considering how Jiang might be on the other side of the house. It would also take a while to get there. I tried to say that he was probably around the living room or possibly near that so she was lucky, but it had always puzzled me in the past week about the scene. (OR like I just said, the director wanted to spare us from a ‘too dramatic’ scene.) It would make sense that he was outside the door and jumped in at the right moment to stop everything and then tossed Wen Xiong out after some outburst. Convincing one indeed. And why did Jiang Hu Piao have to pick this method instead of some other excuse to kick Wen Xiong out? It was the most convincing one no matter how you thought of it. It was so fierce and so horrifying and unbelievable in a sense that was why it ended up being true–or so they wanted to be. Besides, having subtle hints of Wen Xiong not agreeing with Jiang Hu Piao at times and that could have led to his breaking point was another one to trick us, and possibly to show how comfortably they could disagree but it just meant they were just covering every single possibility with those business decisions. Besides, with this scheme between Jiang and Wen Xiong, it showed Jiang’s cunning side. After all, we saw too much of his comedic side overlapping more than his gangster side, right?

  • Wen Xiong’s walk in the night. This was after he got kicked out. He wandered around and sat on a bench to think things over before approaching Bai Long the next day. He looked like he was mulling things over or regretting his actions, etc. At first, I thought it was the way it was directed to mislead us for a bit until we were shown the scene of the next day or how it was with Jacky’s acting. BUT it now made sense. He was just thinking the next step and how he would approach Bai Long to make the whole plan more convincing.

So what about Wen Xiong and Qing Mei? Honestly, I knew for sure and I thought other viewers would know as well that he liked Qing Mei. But he must have seen how hopeless it was after seeing how Qing Mei and Tuo Hai already reunited, it was like too low of a chance for him and Qing Mei. He was smart after all, so would he rather choose to stay by their side and be part of their family than make things even more complicated? And yes, he had chosen to stay by their side.

So I don’t know if I was thinking too much at first, my bias, or even disappointment that had led me to try and come up with possible outcomes. But I was glad to see a different ending than the typical as I stated many times before.

What about the rest of the characters? I thought it was well done in a way. I meant there were dramatic moments with the confrontation between Tuo Hai and Qing Mei. But it wasn’t too dramatic. I wondered how in the world could they wrap it up but was glad it wasn’t too cheesy. They did not have to show us everything with their reunion. The ending scene was already enough to tell us that Tuo Hai had returned. Many might have felt a bit of a rush but I thought it was good enough. Not everything had to be answered or showed too much. We got it. Not every single person had to show up for the ending. Not too gift-wrapped. I liked it that way. It was how life was at times. Not everything had to be all wrapped up.

What really surprised me was the chemistry between Xiao Gui and Qiao Qiao. I meant not that I was against it or anything. But I never thought about it–as most people. Since they never worked together before? (Not that I could remember so if I got it wrong, please correct me.) They were really fun and addicting to watch at times as Tuo Hai and Qing Mei. What I liked about their story was it began kind of typical with him being the knight in shining armor saving her and then the predicted schemes that she would come up with to get to know him, become closer to him, etc. BUT it did not stop there. It did not reduce her character or his character to some complete hopeless beings or wishy-washy personalities. They had their differences that they needed to overcome. But their characters were really consistent throughout. Even how they had matured during the three years, some traces were still there in their personalities to show that they didn’t change at all. Their feelings for one another were still the same–if not stronger through time apart. Some things did not have to be said about their friendship but actions showed it all how they were able to be there for one another. Promises weren’t tossed around so loosely or try to make the whole thing magical like other dramas. If they promised, they really meant it. It was the first time I really liked a character Qiao Qiao portrayed without being annoyed. I meant I like her and her acting in the past–though I know she isn’t the best. But this role and how she had portrayed it made me feel like it’s my favorite role of her because it could count as the most serious character. There were traces of immature moments or those times with her grandpa in conspiring with one another, but that was done quite well and seemed genuine because it reminded us that we all have those moments in our life. My first time watching Xiao Gui and I actually liked him as well.

The friendship in here was also something I really liked. Yes, those who know me (or read my stuff), know that I love those friendships in various dramas. Sometimes more than romance relations even. The friendship between the students was so random at times yet genuine. It paved a great picture for the rest of us to think about the school days.

And who could forget the three generations of the Jiang family, right? They were just a hilarious bunch. Come on now! I was more into watching them interacting within the family than the other side dramas at times. Maybe for comedic reasons but it was really funny. Grandpa Jiang was always so hilarious with his forgetful state (or fake ones?) or how enlightened he could sound at times. Jiang Hu Piao was crazy though really loved his family. Nothing like a gang leader but he was more than capable. Then there was the princess of the house, always up to something yet she was not really spoiled. She was fierce all right yet I think she couldn’t really be called spoiled because she treated others so nice, not letting on airs at all–whether how she regarded Wu Xiong and Wen Xiong or her classmates. She might be scheming away about some things, but never looked down on others.

And while we were on the subject, was Qing Mei really Jiang Hu Piao’s daughter? The director and/or scriptwriter(s) was messing with us too much. We got the answer that Grandpa Jiang was trying to delay matters by tricking Bai Long. BUT there was definite suspicion in the air–even if Jiang Hu Piao had claimed on trusting his wife fully. Qing Mei chose to riff the envelope up without opening it because she declared that her father was Jiang Hu Piao. So…it was all about trust and the importance of their family after all. The truth did not matter that much. They had a good relationship going on all along. It did not matter to them what was real. (Even before the DNA incident, Grandpa Jiang had told his son that he did not care if she was or was not really his grand-daughter because she would always be to him.)

Nothing like ending it with a wedding, right? But I was glad it wasn’t cliche with the main couple’s wedding. A family portrait indeed. (Too bad no Wu Xiong but it was all right. Don’t want to ask for too much, LOL!)

So was it a satisfying ending for everyone? I bet there were complaints. But it was enough for me. I enjoyed it and the bonus was seeing it so short. Not really if you consider it since it was like one hour per episode. Yet it did not drag.

*All images were captured by DTLCT

Cape No. 7

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

To tell the truth, I was sitting there for a while before I could write this. I was still thinking about what it was actually all about. There were a lot of things to mull over, like cultural influences that made the plot flow along–though it was not as clear what the plot was at times. Yes, it was about Aga’s discoveries of the letters and how he finally delivered it to the supposed recipient. But there was so much more surrounding the overall story. It was about a town with an enriched historical background. It was also a town where the elders lived for many generations yet the young generation wanted to leave the place–feeling restricted by it.

I think the soundtrack played an important part into the movie itself because it actually made up for emotional efforts in here where different scenes were paved out. It was actually 30 minutes or so into the film that I gave up trying to see the point of the movie. But then I soon realized there was no point. At least it was not definite. There were random stories going on and weaving itself with both subtle and not so subtle moments that would then contributed a bigger part to the overall plot. It was surrounding Aga and how he later discovered why others loved this town so much. The town he wanted to escape from yet ironically seek resort at after his failure to find success in Taipei. The song “Don’t Wanna” playing in the background while Aga was frustrated or reliving past memories made it even more intense.

Contrary to the hectic feeling that “Don’t Wanna” contained, “As Happy As Can Be” brought out so much liveliness and enthusiasm that was meant to vibrate everyone around. It was sort of tying back to how it didn’t matter if things did not make sense or how anything around the town did not make sense; it was all right to be like that. That was a great collaboration among the band members.

Also, the part where they sang the second song, called “South of Border”,  was really amazing as well since it brought together various types of instruments that were not thought to fit well together but turned out really nice and soothing. It was like telling how different cultures that was brought forth in the movie was able to co-exist as long as they were willing to put forth an effort. The main theme, titled “1945”, was a good choice and well composed because it included various stages of emotion, like the longing of someone and the placid feeling of love yet there was a mix of forlorn feeling weaved into it as well.

During the process of recruitment and construction of the band, it also unfolded a lot of subtle yet obvious reasons why Aga wanted to leave the town so much. How was he able to survive or stay sane at a town with so much randomness and/or nonsense? The people seemed to pour in from everywhere or mix of cultures. But it was an amazing sight at the same time to illustrate the amount of cultures that were in place for the story context. People from different regions coming together and giving us viewers a lot to think about. How were they to co-exist with so many differences? Through different conversations and/or arguments, we were able to see different perspectives–from the older generation to younger ones, from men to women, or just the differences of regions–as mentioned before. All in all, there was a sense of overwhelming feeling surrounding such influences.

As the story moved along, there were many other things to discover than the surface of the multi-cultural aspect that the town contained. There was a sense of unification among the people. They were proud of who they were and were not afraid to let others know about them. Like how the Town Council Representative insisted on forming a local band instead of bringing in outside cultures–or other forms of popular culture into the town.

Seeing the diversity and the unification among the people of the town made it even more admirable. Not to mention that it was through the bass guitarist’s accident that they discovered how they were able to join together and helped bring him to the hospital.

It was probably also the first time that Aga was reaching his hand out and was also alert of the others around him. He was willing to be part of them. The hospital scene was probably also the first time Aga smiled–or it was actually seen that he smiled.

Another factor that probably contributed to Aga’s change in attitude toward the town, in general, was probably the letters–the most important theme of all. The letters written by the Japanese teacher had taught Aga more than he was able to learn within such a short span of time. He was able to see through the man’s eyes about the town’s wonderful cultures and its breathtaking views. The sea was just another place he was coming to unleash his anger but it was later seen as a place where he was able to sit and think–even finding peace at.

It made him cherish a lot more around him than just love. Love was as equally important but I felt that it conveyed much more through that letters, such as the part where the teacher saw the rainbow while writing a letter. There were so many things going into the letters, not just simple as messages of love.

That was not all that I got out of this movie but could count for the majority of it. It was a wonderful movie overall. It did not have just one focal point. Yes, the one that actually stuck out was the love letters–as mentioned before various times, but there were so much more to learn. There was a lot of randomnesses because that was how each of us goes through every day. The variety of people around us. Not everyone was as glamorous or gorgeous as the other movies and/or dramas portrayed the characters to be. But that was what made it more real. Hence, I was actually toward the idea of casting various unfamiliar faces for the movie. What I also like about the movie was that it was not trying too hard with making the main characters too important. Yes, you know which ones they would focus on more, but it did not add the aspect with having Tomoko related to Kojima Tomoko. It would’ve been too cliched and too trying if they did that. It also stressed that what we are looking for could be by our side–like if Tomoko did not talk to Lin Ming Zhu, she would never discover of the connection.

Acting? Must say that Van pulled it through quite well though reviews kept pointing out his experience was limited so it was not expected as much. He made it by showing various emotions of Aga. I could not say the same for Chie since she was able to portray the sad or subtle parts well but not the more emotional parts or the frustration. The whole thing with her kept bobbing her head forward when scolding others was a bit overkilled and I thought could do without since it did not contribute to anything except making her more annoying. Yes, she was frustrated of the way things were operated but the things she said and her hand gestures were enough. No need to bob her head some more for effect. Still, some parts made up for the others so I will not be too harsh on her. The special appearances of various artists were quite interesting also and contributed to the story nicely, like Kousuke Atari (as the Japanese teacher and himself) and Rachel Liang (as the young Kojima Tomoko).

Overall, nice job. (Lucky it worked because Director Wei took major risks going into the project.)

*All images were captured by DTLCT