Rookies’ Diary: Favorite Character(s)

This is like WAY overdue by now since I first planned it in 2011. YES, that long ago. But I guess better late than never. I initially wanted to list all characters and then discussed them before wrapping up with saying who my favorite characters are. Yet I couldn’t really do it now since I have practically forgotten about half of the characters already, especially part 2 since I couldn’t even remember some of them, except for the ones I really liked. So I’m going to list the ones that I like and actually remember.

Li Xing Wen (李興文) – Ding Hao (丁浩)/ Đinh Hạo. A very strict yet effective leader. He seemed fierce yet he also cared for his soldiers’ well-being. He often encouraged new ideas yet also warned others to be cautious of all actions, especially how he had advised An Bang many times throughout. Considering how he had been in a similar situation in the past and wouldn’t want the same incident to happen again. The actor sure delivered and I have no complaint about him.

Yao Yuan Hao (姚元浩) – Sun An Bang (孫安邦)/ Tôn An Bang. Very, very tough with his routine and was a no-nonsense type of guy. However, his only weakness was caving into his younger brother’s attitude. He later learned to loosen up among others, not just for the sake of his younger brother but had managed to learn how to interact and get along with others. His role was beyond cool if you didn’t watch BTS. I think BTS sort of ruined it for me yet at the same time showed the hardworking attitude of cast members. Because in the BTS, it showed that he NG’ed so much that Tang Feng got impatient and yelled at him. I’m sure Tang Feng was kidding though, but it was indeed a riot to watch with how the cool, fierce dude wasn’t so cool anymore.

Fu Zi Chun (傅子純) – Yang Hai Sheng (楊海生)/ Dương Hải Sanh. Very funny and such a smooth talker. A smart-aleck but wasn’t too hateful with his way. Initially, a player and could flirt with any girl. Yet since he met Yu Ting, he had changed somewhat of his way so one could see his sincerity. Of course, he can’t be too serious or it would be too boring for his character, lol. But it was convincing to see how he had proved to Yu Ting he was serious about her, not just a casual date or two to show off some sort of record. His most admirable characteristics must be his righteousness and his loyalty to his friends. It made him heroic in that sense.

Tang Feng (唐豐) – Luo Gang (羅剛)/ La Cương. Could be quite hot-headed at times but definitely righteous in many ways. Growing up with such a harsh childhood, it was hard to blame him. He was also quite gifted in different areas too, but again, his hot-headedness got in the way of his path. He could be funny and was seen joking around at times with the others when he was finally accepted within the group. (Or after the misunderstandings were resolved.) And although I sympathized with him on many things, eventually I was tired of watching some of his side dramas. I felt that I liked him better with the guys joking around or competing for the sake of the training than seeing him morbid all the time. Or maybe I didn’t like seeing Tang Feng in depressing roles or moody situations, lol. NOT sure, but yeah.

Liu Xiang Ci (劉香慈) – Wang Sheng Nan (王勝男) / Vương Thắng Nam. A tough character. Both intelligent and daring, she was a convincing heroine. She was a hardworking person and didn’t care for anyone’s senseless gestures. Yet she was also caring toward the soldiers in her own way. That didn’t mean she spared them the rod either.

Pang Yong Zhi (龐庸之) aka Ah Pang (阿龐) – Yu Shan Ren (余善仁)/ Dư Thiện Nhân. He could be silly, unreasonable, senseless, and a pervert–among many other random bits. But what was admirable about him was he was able to keep to his word. Not a tattle-teller, especially that one disagreement with Luo Gang. He also was willing to keep one eye closed for some people as see fit, especially that one time when he sided with Yang Hai Sheng when YHS was picking on Xiao De Ji.

Hao Zi (浩子) – Cai Hao Zhi (蔡浩志)/ Thái Hạo Chí. Mixture of seriousness and silliness, depending on the situation. He was just one of those guys that add to the list of crazy characters.

Ah Xiang (阿翔) – Qiu You Shun (邱有順)/ Khâu Hữu Thuận. There was more of a plot going on for him since he was having some very harsh times with the financials and that had caused some misunderstandings and obstacles throughout. Yet he wasn’t all bad. It was just that he wasn’t in a situation to joke so lightly like others–even if it looked like he didn’t care.

Novia Lin Ruo Ya (林若亞) – Qiu Jing Wen (邱靖雯)/ Khâu Tĩnh Văn. She didn’t appear much, but she was the typical gentle and kind medic. She was also able to joke at times, not too one dimensional or boring. Yes, she could be so naive at times or seemed clueless, like that one time she got lost. But it wasn’t pathetic. It was somewhat cute in a way.

Zhao Jun Ya (趙駿亞) – Wang Wei (王威)/ Vương Uy. A mixture of serious and silliness yet was different from the randomness of others in here. He seemed cold-blooded or cool on the outside yet his caring for others was undeniable. He was seen helping the new recruits straighten up at the beginning somewhat, and later joined in on some of the recruit’s craziness as well. The difference between him and Shan Ren was his ability to distinguish between professional and personal matters. On top of that, he was quite hardworking, because he was also seen studying at various points of the show to enter the special training and programs, etc. He was quite ambitious but wasn’t bragging about it at all.

Derek Chen De Lie (陳德烈) – Lin Bo Wen (林博文)/ Lâm Bác Văn. Funny at times yet could be depressing at others. Sure, I like Derek Chen, but only like the character when he was joking around with Hai Sheng, not with the whole Tian Xin thing. It was driving me insane, to say the least.

Ye Jia Yu (葉家妤) – Zheng Yu Ting (鄭玉婷)/ Trịnh Ngọc Đình. A teacher. She was not only cute and pretty but was also quite witty as well. She was seen in constant banter with Hai Sheng. The two were sure a match made in heaven with their arguments, lol. She wasn’t just the typical naive girl though since I said she was seriously witty. She was quite grounded, like the majority of the characters in here.

Debbie Huang Di Jun (黃荻鈞) – Jin Bi Ying (金碧瑩)/ Kim Bích Oánh. At first, I found her quite interesting and couldn’t wait to see how they might cover some other stuff with her being a higher authority figure. However, she sort of lost ground when it was only focused on her crush on An Bang, etc.

Qian Jun Zhong (錢君仲) – Ye Da Tong (葉大同)/ Diệp Đại Đồng. Hilarious at times and just plain silly at others. From the start, we know he tried to dodge from having to serve by coming up with different schemes. After he failed, he had no choice but to do as told. Yet he was driving others insane, especially Shan Ren.

Xia Zheng Feng (夏政峰) – Wu Yong (吳勇)/ Ngô Dũng. Probably the most talented among all the side characters. ‘Cause he was seen knowing a lot of stuff too. His vast knowledge of the jungle and his other side tips shaped his character quite well. Although he was clueless around girls, that only made it funnier and realistic as well, considering how they couldn’t all be pros, lol. He was indeed younger than some of the guys in here so it made sense. He also had a knack for singing and rapping with the others so all of those traits made his character stood out as well.

Lin Dao Yuan (林道遠) – Lai Hu (賴虎)/ Lại Hỗ. I don’t know. I just can’t like him that much. NOT because of what happened at the end. Since I’d already gone past that. Considering how now I finally revisit the characters, it had faded with the other thing. But I just found his character as quite unnecessary as some others in here. Perhaps, it was more enjoyable seeing him joking around with others and the whole F4 craziness, but aside from that, his character alone was just annoying in some ways. Well, it added to the realistic of the military since not everyone was as hardworking there, but it was just pushing my patience too much at times. Yet I think Lin Dao Yuan did a good job with the character since he’s actually really, really smart outside. (I remember watching this one game show years back, it was impressive.)

Pan Bo Xi (潘柏希) – Shi Jun (石俊)/ Thạch Tuấn. The poor guy that was trying to get acknowledgment from his father. I really felt his frustration with trying to prove to his father that he could do it. He was working so hard, having endured so much pressure yet the father just plain shrugged it off like it was nothing. On top of that, he was being gang-bullied by Xiao De Ji and the others. It was just plain madness. I really enjoyed his storytelling from time to time from his diary though. What was really admirable about him was his loyalty to others and although he realized how he had to work harder than some others in here yet he wasn’t envious of them. He’d even seen it as a challenge or took them in as role models to work harder.

Ah Gan (阿 竿) – Chen Tian Bin (陳添彬)/ Trần Thiêm Bân. Seriously funny and could be a riot. He was smart and was a smart mouth at first yet learned to mingle with the others later.

Tang Zhen (唐臻) – Yan Xiao Rou (嚴小柔)/ Nghiêm Tiểu Nhu. Sooooo cute. I just loved watching her clumsy moments in here. She was probably the only naive character on the female side here. Although the others were young too, she believed in a lot of stuff that the other girls didn’t, lol. It was a riot. But I guess cute in her own way, not too exaggerating.

Achel Chang/ Zhang Xin Yu (張芯瑜) aka Xiao Xiao Yu (小小瑜) – Ye Xiao Yan (葉曉燕)/ Diệp Hiểu Yến. Cute and hilarious. She could be so mean, but it wasn’t her fault. NOT exactly, lol. Seeing her getting into some bicker with the others was funny. And for this character, XXY got to show off her swimming skills at various points so it wasn’t all lost. Then she got to sing for the soundtrack too so that was fun.

Jacky Chu (祝釩剛) – Xu Jia Cheng (許家成)/ Hứa Gia Thành. He didn’t appear much but was a promising character. He was seen at odds or having conflicting views with Sun An Bang. However, he agreed to help them later regarding An Bang’s case so he wasn’t all hostile. It was just that he was a doctor so he didn’t like seeing the strict ways An Bang was enforcing with the recruits.

Ricky Jiang Jun Han (江俊翰) – Chen Zhan Hong (陳展鴻)/ Trần Triển Hồng. Tough and no-nonsense type of guy. He was a strong leader and was convincing in that area.

Enson Chang/ Zhang Yan Ming (張雁名) – Tang Kai Yu (湯凱宇)/ Thang Khải Vũ. Like I said in the other post, it was such a shame that he wasn’t able to appear more because of the accident. The little bits of his character made me really liked him more, and he was like a breath of fresh air among all those new authoritative figures who were already so intense.

Okay, the others I didn’t list or had to erase because I could no longer remember, LOL! Too bad, but I didn’t want to go back and dig it up. But who are the top 5? Well, I have to divide into two groups, for guys and girls, since there are seriously too many characters. I would say my top 5 for the guys would be Yu Shan Ren, Wang Wei, Yang Hai Sheng, Wu Yong, and Shi Jun. Many might be shocked why I didn’t pick Luo Gang, although I claimed to be a Tang Feng fan. It wasn’t because of how the ending turned out with the triangles or whatever else. It was more like I said that it was too much to bear with his background and all. It sort of faded for me over time. It was also because I liked him more with others than his individual character. Sure, I acknowledged he was awesome throughout and a powerful character–and had enjoyed his performances during different trials a lot. But put aside all his talents, there wasn’t much to go on for me. It sure was a tough decision in dropping him, but I didn’t want to put him in just because of Tang Feng. Shi Jun seemed like the weakest link at times, aside from Bo Wen (lol), but I felt his story was intriguing aside from the constant bullying and the frustration of watching him enduring all the pressures from his father. His story could be elaborated in part 2 if they had decided on that route. But perhaps it wasn’t Pan Bo Xi’s time yet since most of the focus was on the other members of the cast, even some of the ones I didn’t care for got to participate in the soundtrack and much more. In a way, I was glad I held back on this post because I felt I could finally stand back to observe without the bias of because a favorite person portrayed a character, I had to pick that person. Stepping back and just focusing on the characters after the buzz had died down had helped heaps. Oh yeah, I almost wanted to put Tang Kai Yu in but had to resist. This was due to the fact that he only appeared a bit and his character wasn’t properly developed yet so that seemed like only a bit of obsession thus I didn’t put him in the top 5 in the end. It was too obvious that Shan Ren and Wang Wei made it because they’d been my favorite characters right from the start. Even if I didn’t like Ah Pang much (mostly due to the fact that I had watched him in not so likable roles in the past) and I had no idea who Zhao Jun Ya was. They were my favorites together as friends or were fine when they were involved in other scenes with their own side stories. I found them hilarious and addicting to watch. Yang Hai Sheng was invincible. He was a riot in many ways yet wasn’t just all talks either. He had real capabilities so that sort of fused his arrogance at points. But he wasn’t all bad. He just couldn’t help but be obnoxious at times. It was how he was. He got this incurable teasing habit. But that was what made him fun to watch. Yet like I said before, his righteousness and loyalty made him admirable in many ways. He helped Shi Jun to fight off the bullies at one point. He also tried to protect Bo Wen by hiding the magazines from Bo Wen that one time. The things that did matter, he didn’t brag about. And Wu Yong? Need I say more? He was just different yet still hilarious. Sort of odd at times yet wasn’t all clueless either. He wasn’t outright rude with others since he did call Hai Sheng “Hai Sheng Da Ge” (海生大哥) at one point or another. He was also the teasing type but wasn’t cruel. It was his way to get others’ attention or it was just some harmless prank.

So moving on to the top 5 girls: Zheng Yu Ting, Qiu Jing Wen, Yan Xiao Rou, Ye Xiao Yan, and Wang Sheng Nan. Yes, I placed Sheng Nan last. Again, not because of what happened in the end. It was more because I got sort of side-track later on with liking other characters more. I got it that she was a tough leader and all, but it sort of faded for me with other conflicts going into play, etc. Still, one of the coolest characters, just that I got pulled in more by others along the way. Although Jing Wen didn’t appear much, I really liked her. Like I said, a mixture of maturity and somewhat innocence. It was cute. Xiao Rou was just hilarious to watch with her clumsiness. She made it cute without being too over the top, etc. Even though Xiao Yan was the youngest (I think), she was more mature than her age. Considering how her mother ran the shop, she had to help with luring customers in and all. So she wasn’t so clueless with stuff. She made it funny, even when she was being mean. Or tried to, lol. Actually, it was a tough call for me with placing Jing Wen, Xiao Rou, and Xiao Yan. I felt like they could be on the same scale for me. All funny and lovable in their own way. I saved Yu Ting last on purpose. She was like a chameleon in here, both appearance-wise and personality-wise. She made it addicting to watch like it was with some other characters in here. I wasn’t sure if it was because Ye Jia Yu had to work on several dramas at the same time like some of them, but I liked how her hairstyles and attires were changed gradually throughout the drama. It was like showing her sense of style as the character and also made us see that she wasn’t just always wearing the same type of clothes. It was like Director Wang–or perhaps the production team as an overall–had decided to make it more realistic with not going the lazy route by letting some people’s hairstyles just stay the same or always wearing the same set of clothing. I got it that we all wear some similar outfits all the time and can’t just toss stuff out and be wasteful like that, but in other dramas, it was always the same set of styles. In fact, even Xiao Yan had different hairstyles and a variety of outfits too. Same with Xiao Rou. In fact, various characters in here showed differences when they were on or off duty or in different settings. That was what made me feel like their characters consisted of realism.

So now that I got this topic out of the way, I’m not sure when would be the next time for a Rookies’ Diary update. But perhaps when I couldn’t resist and go back to watch? Who knows?

*All images were captured by DTLCT.

Rookies’ Diary: The Finale

The journey is finally over for those who had been tuned in since last summer. I will definitely be missing it–regardless of the mixed feelings I have throughout watching the show. The positive just overrides the intense moments. I think those who declared not to watch part 2 missed a major part and a priceless moment that they would’ve loved.

Ta-da! Yup, Luo Gang re-emerged in episode 20 working at a fruits farm. He had promised Sheng Nan to turn a new leaf, stay out of trouble and meet her again on her birthday, which was supposedly 6 months later. What else does it call for? The triangle that I said wasn’t even resolved yet in the other post. So I didn’t miss anything after all. People are going to love FTV for this since they managed to pull it off–even if Tang Feng/Luo Gang seemed to be forgotten for the first 19 episodes. (Not totally since Sheng Nan did mention him at various points.)



I thought they were going to forget it too since Tang Feng had to shoot Father & Son at the same time, etc. However, they managed to squeeze it in, giving the audience the final answer. I sort of have the feeling the audience will never forgive FTV if they didn’t resolve this. They did put us through one season of agonizing tennis, right? (Yes, the ball being bounced back and forth between Luo Gang and Shan Ren.) It was too hard to believe that Sheng Nan would settle for Shan Ren after developing their bonds even more in season 2. Why? It’s not that I wouldn’t like the story of how she’s touched with Shan Ren’s actions hence giving him a chance. But it was way more obvious already that she loves Luo Gang, so why settle?

Though it was more like Shan Ren let go, allowing Luo Gang and Sheng Nan a chance without any hesitation at last. YET Luo Gang and Sheng Nan are both very strong characters. They wouldn’t be feeling guilty or bad just because Shan Ren likes Sheng Nan. Why should they be sorry for loving each other, right? But I thought that was kind of funny that they were wrapping everything at the part where it would determine whether Shan Ren would make it or not. After all, Shan Ren had chosen to join Wang Wei and the others to continue that journey of training and staying within the military. Yes, he finally found something that he could follow besides Sheng Nan.

Do I have to remind people that I’m a Shan Ren/Sheng Nan shipper? Yet I won’t resort to all those name-callings toward the other side like some Luo Gang/Sheng Nan shippers have been doing. If you’re not one of them, I’m not talking about you. With that said, I’m so glad the writers made Sheng Nan ended up with Luo Gang. Fans would be happy. (AND I already said numerous times already that I’m a Tang Feng fan, but I don’t just support blindly if I don’t feel strongly toward a couple. Though I can accept the final outcome. I don’t think I need to justify myself even more.) No more wars or attacks about whether it was pathetic that Luo Gang lost, right? Since after all, he didn’t lose. In a way, I’m very glad because he could start over, but also get the girl. NOT seeming so depressing and hopeless like the end of season 1. (Though he did think it through when they wrapped up season 1 but it just seemed so sad for his case.) But after seeing him working hard at the fruits farm and being full of hope again made everything better. His dark moods being gone made things tenfold better as well. It meant he had let go of that dark past already. Who said the main guy had to be the hero to be the winner, right? He had lost the other chance, but that didn’t mean the end of the world. There are still other alternatives to it. (And it wasn’t like he didn’t get to be the hero since we did see the rescue scene at the beginning of episode 22 AND how his righteousness had gotten him into some disagreements with Chen Pai Zhang. But I so support Chen Pai Zhang at that part since the kids’ parents should be responsible for looking after the kids, NOT the military. They already put up a bunch of signs to warn others AND not to mention how one of the officers on duty already told the kids about the dangers.)

Enough about that since I think some others deserve some spotlights too? LOL! Who to talk about first? Or actually what?

My favorite team in here. Yet I felt disappointed that they didn’t get more scenes near the end. I meant like to the ending to show their bond. Yeah, sure, we get it that they were closed and were pals. But I honestly want to see more. Just a little more. It was just off to see Luo Gang supporting Shan Ren and trying to encourage him on–though through reverse psychology. It was just off even if I wanted to see Luo Gang get some sort of action toward the end as well. Why? Wang Wei had been helping Shan Ren subtly since the beginning and they had been consistent throughout with making fun of each other or even during the trials. Yet they only got a bit of a few wisecracks after everything was taken care of? What I thought was cool was the part where Shan Ren conned Wang Wei into thinking they would have the face-off. It was a chance for them to see who was really the better one. LOL! Hilarious since Shan Ren tricked Wang Wei and fled. That was why I feel the more that Wang Wei should be the one beside Shan Ren, helping him get through the last bit, not Luo Gang. Or was that scene near the end with Luo Gang helping him and cheering him on–along with Sheng Nan–a key scene to allow him to make the decision about letting go? Maybe…YET it made me feel they lost momentum with separating Wang Wei and Shan Ren into two teams near the end. I had enjoyed their reunion at last with fighting by each other’s side again like brothers YET it had to turn out that way. A shame, but I won’t dwell too much. Can’t protest anyway because it already ended and no one cares that much like me.

What was a bit disappointing and extremely saddening? Enson Chang’s accident hence him not being able to have more scenes in here. No one wanted it to happen and glad that he had been recovering since then. However, I was really looking forward to watching him.

What was somewhat interesting yet turned out too hilarious? Ah Xiang and Hao Zi weren’t in season 2 yet they were listed in the opening credits. Nice? Was I the only one being confused? What in the world happened? And their appearances in the flashbacks DO NOT count.

Oh yeah, one last item for this one. This totally got me going. Wu Yong got robbed during the last bit of it. I meant he was impressive with his vast knowledge of the jungle/forest, etc. How could he fail so miserably near the end? Okay, so the other team followed Shan Ren’s plan and won because Shan Ren was so cunning (and I so believe that). And I don’t really care who wins since they all passed anyway, but it was like Wu Yong practically went into the shadow. He got forgotten just like Wang Wei. I just can’t accept that (and will probably have to live with it since like I said before, no one cares as much as me about the little details). So Wu Yong trapped Shan Ren and let him go that one time AND Shan Ren was going to repay him YET it was a trap? A TAD too messed up with Shan Ren trying to win. Though they probably didn’t care since they were good sports about it but it made it a bit less challenging with Shan Ren’s team winning all the time. I actually thought some of the others on Wang Wei’s side weren’t that bad with their techniques. How could they lose so badly? Or be that careless? It made them too much of a joke because they were after all part of the Special Operations Unit after all, right?

I’ll save other stuff for the next time when I do a different post about this drama. YES, there are more. Yet I don’t want to say too much for now.

*All images were captured by DTLCT

Rookies’ Diary 2: Thoughts

Seriously, after watching like 9 episodes, I think I’m entitled to some kind of opinion. What about it so far? Mixed feelings actually. The opening was good with how they were tested and couldn’t pass the challenge and all. Yet the upcoming parts kind of made me feel disappointed because of how unprepared they were, including Shan Ren. Those moments were supposed to create humor for the rest of us to see, but I hated it that they were too much of a joke with not passing or at least fend for themselves in some way that made it ridiculous. It made the whole process ridiculous because they were tested already in the trials before coming here yet they were so scattered and were so off. It might be a better explanation that they were so comfortable at the other base that they weren’t prepared. Not to mention how they had gotten so comfortable with their bonds somewhat near the end that they had let their guards down again but they should’ve known better. It was too much of a joke (like said before).

What I found clever was the part when Wu Yong fell and got his face all dirty, but he soon came up with a plan to merge himself into the jungle as well. Then the next part with both him and Shan Ren managing to jump in and catch the rope to save Lai Hu in time had compensated for their lack of preparations yet the other parts kind of killed it. What I became even more annoyed with was how Lai Hu got himself and Wu Yong into trouble by making comments about the female soldiers hopping past them, causing them another round of punishment. Like he could turn a new leaf that soon, but I was just too annoyed with him for not having to learn from the past and even doing that in front of the trainers. It was like asking for trouble. And he got it.

Another thing that made me feel kind of irked was when George Hu was making a comment in the BTS about ‘Mo Gui Ban Zhang’. Okay, he must be joking and all of that. But it sort of made me feel like comparing himself to ‘Sun An Bang’ (though An Bang was ‘Pai Zhang’) with the strict rules and all. He, Zheng Qiang, couldn’t even be compared to An Bang. Honestly. The way he was carrying on, it was like what the others were saying, nothing but a crazy dog. I meant the character AND NOT George–in case anyone was offended. In a way, it might be a new challenge for them all to learn and follow the strict rules of the new place YET it was kind of repetitive with creating another fierce character who seemed too much like An Bang. I thought that sort of backfired. At least for me.

What’s more? Getting back to the cast of part 1 and this time regarding Shan Ren. I couldn’t believe that he was bullying that one dude when they were trying to claim their beds. It was like using his power to gain an advantage, but he should’ve known better, so I agreed that he got scolded and was punished. YET I didn’t like Zheng Qiang’s attitude either. I got it why Wang Wei was scolding at Shan Ren afterward for using their previous bond to order Wang Wei around since it was like getting out of line. But I didn’t like Zheng Qiang’s taunting look. I don’t know if it was because of George Hu’s portrayal or his character was supposed to be that way. It was just I didn’t trust him to be unbiased, unlike what Sheng Nan and Wang Wei were projecting with the strict manners the whole time because it was necessary to enforce the rules–and not some personal dislike. It was like Zheng Qiang had something to prove, like being a show-off more than just enforcing the rules, being there because he was proud to serve the country, etc. I don’t know, I can’t seem to buy into his sincerity. And to wrap up about Shan Ren, I think I must agree with him regarding the phrase he uttered in episode 2, which was “虎落平阳.” Seriously, he lost BIG TIME, not thinking of the real consequences or being prepared for what was going on. Sucks to be him because he was being yelled like the others too, maybe even worse. Or this could be a wake-up call for him since he had been too comfortable previously, kept scolding the others and enforce the rules but not going forth with the routines at times. YES, he had to run with them and demonstrated stuff too but he wasn’t pushed into so much like now.

Talking about the unpreparedness of the characters from part 1, I must say that I was also disappointed of the female soldiers. I meant they were really unprepared too with how they messed up with the bed making scenes and getting things in order. (Only one girl was prepared YET was pulled down too because someone else just had to be careless, which caused her punishment too.) Again, this will apply for both guys and girls BECAUSE this was the Special Operations Unit after all. I know they need more training to get into that ‘tip-top’ shape. YET it was really disappointing that both groups couldn’t fend for themselves or make an impression. They were chosen to be in the Special Operations Unit SO that must mean something. So I take back my optimism toward the group. I meant okay, I’m still watching and supporting because the cast worked so hard for it YET this is one of those times I felt they were riding on the success of the first part. Like it wasn’t obvious already since they decided to go forth with part 2, BUT  I didn’t want to act all bitter toward it and want to hold on to some hope. I felt it might have been better if they had waited until Tang Feng and Fu Zi Chun’s schedules cleared up and get this thing going again since I felt that they were the ones really qualified to enter the Special Operations Unit. It would make this thing shine a lot more with the soldiers.

Xia Zheng Feng’s Wu Yong was the only one–sorry to say–among the soldiers with the abilities to pass the trials and to convince that he could do it. The rest, not as much, but he was reduced to being somewhat hopeless so he could get yelled at like the others? It wasn’t like he was perfect since part 1, but he sure showed potential in some areas so I felt he was somewhat robbed of showing his talent at times. Again, I’m not picking on the new cast by not complimenting them BUT I felt they definitely need Luo Gang and Yang Hai Sheng for this one. The creators of the show could add more cast, BUT seriously they need more capable force than the comedy act. I still find them funny but it was just that it didn’t suit the Special Operations Unit as much with some of the things. OR were the creators wanting to strike while the iron was hot? Somehow, I think it had somewhat ruined the legacy of the drama itself. BUT I seriously hope to be wrong this time by seeing this move forward even more.

Since I’m already in the complaining mood, what else? BTS showed that they were working hard, of course. Their spirits were still high with willing to work hard and all. Yet sometimes I felt they were a bunch of whiners, except for some who were just goofing off. Seriously, IF Li Xing Wen could pull it off with some of the scenes, so could they. (Except for Qian Jun Zhong and Enson who were obviously injured at various points, the rest have no excuse.)

To get back on a positive note, I’m so glad that they let Wang Wei be the leader for the most part with the gathering and giving them instructions (out of the male officers, that was–since Sheng Nan was their main leader–aside from the other Pai Zhang who came from time to time to check on them). Why? Jun Ya’s powerful voice. Not to mention how he had been there since the first part. It made it less of a joke to let him lead with the general instructions. We’d seen him as Wang Wei in the first part with his hardworking attitude and how he was taking up the challenge in taking the test hence advancing toward being part of the training officers for this operation, instead of coming in as a last-minute addition. He was always prepared and composed, knowing how to separate between the personal and the serious matters. Though it meant I kind of miss his constant randomness with Shan Ren and Sheng Nan like the first part. But I was glad to see the consistency in his character with his ‘cold face, warm heart’ projection. Because of what happened at the breakfast scene in episode 3, I really wanted to hug him for it since he was subtly helping Shan Ren–without Shan Ren possibly knowing it. Seeing how Shan Ren could blow it with trying to let the thing go with Zheng Qiang and him going for the soup at the same time. It was like Wang Wei had gotten up on purpose and gave some new instructions so that it would allow Shan Ren the chance to get out of there before things escalated to much more. Then there was also his expressed concern toward Shan Ren to Sheng Nan in the later parts of episode 3 also. Yup, he could enforce the rules accordingly, but sometimes he couldn’t help but be worried for Shan Ren, who had been his friend since when.

Yet I found it a bit disappointing that Shan Ren couldn’t see through Wang Wei’s fierce front since he was complaining to the others that Wang Wei had forgotten him, after all those times he’d been there for Wang Wei. Wang Wei had been doing those subtle rescues and even gotten misunderstood. But that was so touching (okay, I’m just a sucker for it) when they finally realized that Wang Wei hadn’t changed at all. Well, Tian Bin was the one who disclosed to the others that it was Wang Wei who had told Tian Bin to buy the drinks (with Wang Wei’s money of course) and prepare the drinks for them. Then I sort of forgave Shan Ren again since in a way, he’d been keeping his bottled up feelings inside, so he was just complaining to the others who he’d known for a while, NOT just anyone. Then it was so cool seeing how they were bonding like once upon a time, seeing their signature high-five, etc. That sort of restored my hope for the drama as an overall. Not to mention how it would motivate some of them to work even harder because they know Sheng Nan and Wang Wei were still silently supporting them.

One of my favorite parts of Shan Ren and Wang Wei, aside from the drinking to their reunion part and resolving their misunderstanding, was how Wang Wei called Shan Ren out to introduce himself to the others YET he was quite reluctant, even pulling the long face and the indifference attitude. Wang Wei had to signal to him, clearing his throat like several times and tilting his head toward one direction to send Shan Ren the message that Sheng Nan was coming. It was then that Shan Ren got it and his energy was like back up, ready to impress Sheng Nan again. Darn, Shan Ren really got going with the whole speech though, causing Sheng Nan to actually stop from her walking and reconsider things. Even Wang Wei looked so proud of Shan Ren. Man, he was so supporting his friend. Yet Shan Ren didn’t forget Wu Yong and Lai Hu either, including them in the last bit of his speech.

Talking about bonds, I still have hope for F4 and Shan Ren. They managed to keep everything consistent. The beginning scene showed their relying on each other in the jungle somewhat. But also when they met Tian Bin again was kind of funny how he played the trick on them, but also offered to help them pass messages to Hai Sheng and Shi Jun. We finally got an answer that both were just placed into another group, not gone yet. (But of course, I think it was just mentioning them at various times to show references that both characters were still around, just not making their appearances.) Another example of the bonding between F2 and Shan Ren was during the scene in episode 5 where they were caught and punished for talking behind Zheng Qiang’s back, and Shan Ren lost it again hence dropping his broom. Lai Hu actually jumped in to take the blame for him. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect that of Lai Hu since he’d been the one the others were shielding the whole time. Then there was also the part where Shan Ren was joining in with the other three for the punishment outside (the one where they didn’t sleep during the mid-day break and was causing disturbance). What I thought was fun was seeing another character, Tian Bin’s childhood friend, Jin Zhan joining in with the group. He was so clueless with not understanding Taiwanese, lol. Back to the role reversal thing, I think that the others had to cover for Shan Ren and sometimes stop his temper because they didn’t want to see him getting in more trouble than that or more like getting them in trouble as well. Then I would forgive Shan Ren for losing faith in Wu Yong and Lai Hu hence wanting to abandon them and keep himself safe.

About the other new characters and cast, I felt that the other newly introduced officers had fended better than George Hu for some reason. Maybe George was afraid of yelling at them too much versus the others? I don’t know. He did yell and you could feel he was trying to put on the appropriate strict air. Yet something was definitely missing, like he was sending mixed signals at times. Perhaps the pressure was getting to him with living up to being part of the main cast of this epic drama? (And I can’t believe they pulled that one with squeezing in an attempt to utter George Hu’s name during the scene where Wu Yong, Lai Hu, and Jin Zhan got punished. LAME! But that sort of got me laughing ’cause of how Wu Yong said the phrase so it was like similar to George’s name.) The part where Wu Yong had the dream in episode 3, I thought George was more comfortable with the exchange in words, etc. Maybe he should’ve been cast as one of the soldiers since it seemed like he was uncomfortable or maybe afraid of yelling at them too much. (Or maybe if he’d been one of the soldiers, then he wouldn’t get an important role? Or would have to do more of those exercises? No idea.) To be fair, I think George’s momentum soon kicked in with the routines of enforcing the rules, etc YET he hadn’t mastered the whole thing with keeping his face neutral with the strict attitude. It was like an expression that had some personal gripe toward others more than the indifference one or at least the fierce expression because they failed their tasks–and he had to make them carry out some punishments.

Talking about the new characters in this one, aside from Jin Zhan, Li Zheng Hua was funny as well. Maybe because he was ABC so he didn’t understand it when the guys were using different dialects so it got all headache-y when they were trying to converse in it, LOL! Then there was also Wu Yong’s assigned partner for one of those missions in the forest, Xu Yi Fu. Wu Yong saved him from almost getting killed with the trap and then he wanted to pay Wu Yong back BUT failed. That was funny though! Xu Yi Fu and his needle techniques, lol.

Moving on, episode 5 was also Enson Chang’s debut as Tang Kai Yu. What I found quite interesting was his laid-back nature at mealtime. Yes, he seemed serious at the first introduction of him to the others. But mealtime changed everything. He seemed to be not as strict, especially around mealtime–as he mentioned about it not necessary to be so intense when everyone was just eating. He might be a refreshing character in here because he was different, not someone trying to be like any of the characters in the first part. Well, they had to be strict so the soldiers would learn. Yet I think we have enough strict people already so a different type of personality was much needed for the show.

OMG! Wang Wei cracked me up so bad with calling Zheng Qiang ‘Feng Ban Zhang’ like about halfway through episode 6. (Feng as in ‘crazy’, not the other kind.) That was like priceless! Man, he was like returning the comment regarding how Zheng Qiang called Shan Ren Wang Wei’s ‘Precious Ban Zhang’ with it. Then Zheng Qiang was really annoyed and told Wang Wei to call him ‘Zheng Ban Zhang’. Zheng Qiang was asking for it though since one could see Wang Wei’s annoyed expression upon hearing those words, it was like a slap in the face, so he had to return the favor and ever so gracefully. Honestly, that guy had no sense of humor, LOL! So he could call people names but others couldn’t do it? PUH-LEASE! I’m picking on the character here and not George, if anyone’s getting offended again. Anyway, to get back to the story, I think Wang Wei unleashed some chain of events since, after that, the other pai zhang and ban zhang were calling Zheng Qiang ‘Feng Ban Zhang’ as well, LOL! Then Zheng Qiang had to correct them, lol.

Episode 7 when they were allowed to go inside the shop to buy stuff, they were reminiscing about their convenient stores at the other base. It was funny that Wu Yong was crying out “My Xiao Yan” tearfully when Lai Hu was talking about Xiao Yan. YUP, he can’t see his Xiao Yan for a long time. Man, Shan Ren was so behind, he didn’t know that Xiao Yan got together with Wu Yong already. But it was cute to know that they were still mentioning the other characters from the store (and also Hai Sheng with Yu Ting).

What else? Several characters surprised me by the time I get to episode 9. But I think I should leave it at that and do a followup when I’m even further. My opinions have definitely changed since the initial comments but I didn’t want to leave it out just yet. Those are more like my personal notes to see how my views have changed since starting the drama. Until next time…

*All images were captured by DTLCT

Rookies’ Diary: The Saga Continues

Trailer Credit: FTVCP

The military drama that aired since last summer and garnered quite a respectable set of ratings, only losing out six weeks but still maintaining the second spot during those times, now returned again for a second season. It is now called Rookies’ Diary: Special Operations Heroes (aka 新兵日記之特戰英雄/Xin Bing Ri Ji Zhi Te Zhang Ying Xiong or Tân Binh Nhật Ký Chi Đặc Chiến Anh Hùng in Viet). As seen in the trailer, the challenge is now moved to the forest/woods where they will learn to survive in the real environment instead of the trials at the military base like the previous installment. It’s only natural to make that move because after so many days at the military base, they would need to move forth to another level and crank up the hype–or more like show us more with the real-world experience and how they will survive in those harsh conditions. A little more intense yet still seems to maintain some of its humorous elements.

With the new installment, one of the main concerns would be the cast and if it was changed and/or altered. It’s not out of line to ponder about this since some might be watching because of a certain cast. I won’t even lie either since that was why I was looking forward to the first part in the first place but later was pulled in by the informative plot and side humor that has been going on from the beginning. Not to mention the many friendships among different parties at the beginning and later everyone becoming like brothers, looking out for each other–for the most part. So what could be said about the upcoming installment? Or should I say this current installment since it has started airing right after the final episode of the first installment? Only one sentence could describe it: The platoon has been wiped out. OKAY, so I’m exaggerating with saying that but it is not too far from it at this point. Contrary to the lively poster from the first part with quite a number of the main cast lining up, the second part is more intense (as suitable for the theme) and shows only four members. Three from the first installment and one new addition.

Let’s start with the positives first. Who’s still in?

  • Liu Xiang Ci (劉香慈) as Wang Sheng Nan (王勝男). Yes, she’s the female lead from the first part after all, right? Can’t cut her out or it would be very, very weird.

  • Ah Pang ( 阿龐) as Yu Shan Ren (余善仁). The funniest person yet could be considerate at times trainer, right? How could he not be around? It would be too boring without him. I’m not kidding.
  • Zhao Jun Ya (趙駿亞) as Wang Wei (王威). I would start crying if he didn’t make it. I’m so honest. Not because of being able to stare at him for another installment either. That’s just part of it. He’s just too fun to watch in the first one with his cold exterior with the other recruits at times but could be quite comedic with Ah Pang. It’s not about being able to see him in another drama at the same time either because I think the reason why I got pulled in and paid more attention to him during the first installment was because of seeing him as Wang Wei. If he was portraying some hotshot role in the other dramas, I wouldn’t care as much but would shrug it off as another typical ‘hero in shining armor’ like those typical idol dramas would like to let on. This role has made me like him as an actor more and is able to accept him in his other dramas.
  • Debbie Huang (黃荻鈞) as Jin Bi Ying (金碧瑩). Of course we need another female role–and with a different personality too.
  • Qian Jun Zhong (錢君仲) as Ye Da Tong (葉大同). It wouldn’t be as fun to not have him? Especially when we need someone for Shan Ren to yell at.
  • Lin Dao Yuan ( 林道遠) as Lai Hu (賴虎). I’m a tad surprised he would make it into the special training. BUT I guess anything is possible. I meant he seems to have a lot of trouble during the training and all so it’s a bit of a shock but it’s all right. The more the merrier. Perhaps the last few episodes will explain it.

  • Xia Zheng Feng (夏政峰) as Wu Yong (吳勇). PHEW! I don’t know how glad I am that someone else didn’t get kick out. I actually read the list before doing the post so I was glad he was safe. It wouldn’t be the same. He’s one of the funniest one but he messes up on purpose or something. There’s a combination of seriousness and comedy within him that’s kind of cute so having him around would be fun to watch.

  • Ah Gan ( 阿竿) as Chen Tian Bin (陳添彬). NOT surprised that he made it since he’s tian bin (天兵) after all, right?
  • Hao Zi (浩子) as Cai Hao Zhi (蔡浩志). He’s quite hardworking but could be quite funny too, especially with his teasing episodes at times so it’s cool.
  • Ah Xiang ( 阿翔) as Qiu You Shun (邱有順). I’m a bit surprised he didn’t bail out already. But I guess a lot of things must have happened to lead to his decision in forging forward and taking up the challenge.

No signs of appearance yet or might not show at all?

  • Li Xing Wen (李興文) as Ding Hao (丁浩). It made sense not to have him in this part since he has a lot of duties to oversee and can’t follow them around, etc.
  • Yao Yuan Hao (姚元浩) as Sun An Bang (孫安邦) aka Mo Gui Pai Zhang (魔鬼排長). OMG! What in the world are we going to do without Mo Gui Pai Zhang? Can’t blame anyone really since no one knew there was going to be a sequel? OR do they? But I read somewhere that he’s busy so can’t do it? Not sure. But it’s honestly a heavy lost for me.
  • Lin Ruo Ya (林若亞) as Qiu Jing Wen (邱靖雯). She left and went to care for her family so it made sense that she wasn’t coming back. BUT that was so teasing us with Jing Wen and An Bang.
  • Fu Zi Chun (傅子純) as Yang Hai Sheng (楊海生). Honestly? No signs yet…I’m getting unnerved the more I try to find something to cling my hopes to. He’s part of the comedic picture here and one of the strong leads of the show.

  • Tang Feng (唐豐) as Luo Gang (羅剛). YES, when I thought it couldn’t get any sadder than not having Fu Zi Chun, it gets worse. How could it be? The ending better make sense when I watch it. Does that mean Tang Feng has a new project then? (It better be OR I’m so protesting…can’t really…but yeah…)
  • Chen De Lie (陳德烈) as Lin Bo Wen (林博文). I will miss him because of the variety in cast but I won’t be as sore if he’s not in. Not that I don’t like him but it would make more sense if he’s not in than some of the other cast. For now.
  • Pan Bo Xi (潘柏希) as Shi Jun (石俊). Might make sense that he’s not in but might be weird also. ‘Cause he has been trying to prove to his father that he could do it throughout. We’ll see.
  • Jacky Chu (祝釩剛) as Xu Jia Cheng (許家成). Honestly, it doesn’t make a difference for me if he’s in or out. YES, that coming from a Jacky fan. I meant he’s around at times and it’s fun to see him portraying a doctor role and having lines at times, contributing to this whole picture. However, he’s mad busy right now juggling between filming and promoting some of his other dramas so it’s okay. Not to mention it might be irrelevant to have him in the second one.
  • The rest of the recruits. I know it’s a special unit so can’t have everyone. BUT that’s sad no Ah Hou and some of the others.
  • All convenient stores people are out. YUP. It would make sense that they wouldn’t be in because of the place the others would be heading towards. YET there might be appearances from time to time–if they are given visiting hours? Or breaks? NOT sure.

The previous comments made are based upon my wild guesses because I’m behind like 15 eps or more so it might not make sense. The last few episodes might explain more stuff so I’ll do an update later when I’m actually done with part 1.

The new additions?

  • Jiang Jun Han (江俊翰) as Chen Zhan Hong (陳展鴻). One of the leaders. No comment. I meant I never watched him before so can’t form an opinion. Hope to like him.
  • George Hu (胡宇崴 ) as Zheng Qiang (鄭強). One of the leaders. He must have been training diligently to fit into the role because you can’t really fake these things as much as some other dramas. We’ll see what happens. But I’ll say up front that I’m not really in favor of him. NOT because I like to pick on a new cast member, BUT I can’t really picture him in these types of dramas. But then again, he could surprise me and end up convincing me in the end. Let’s hope so.
  • Various members from different bands on the scene. I hope this is not turning into some pop scene and the whole soldier theme becomes a backdrop. I’m crossing my fingers to like this group also so hopefully it would stay true with some comedic elements but still focus on the training, etc. There could be bonding between the groups and subtle romance, but hope it doesn’t dominate the scenes and the main theme gets lost.

So what in the world is there to look forward to when most of the main people are already out?

  • New theme. More informative narratives and demonstrations for us to learn and see the differences with the operations. It’s in the wild now so it would be more difficult.

  • The whispering twins Shan Ren and Wang Wei. Honestly, they’re so entertaining that I never find it satisfying enough in the first part regardless of how much screen time they have in the first one. (I didn’t say they were robbed, just too addicting to watch, that’s all.) Great team together and always manage to cause laughter. But would be loyal to one another when needed to.
  • Shan Ren and Sheng Nan. I know the romantic relationship could just be scratched out already SO it doesn’t have to be that way for me. But I like seeing them interacting since the first part so having them being friends or maybe somewhere in the middle would be fine.
  • More F4 aka Funny Four. Couldn’t get enough of them doing crazy things together, right? Not to mention all the singing so it would be fun to witness it. They sure have this chemistry as a band within the military thus far so hope it would stick and maintain the consistency.
  • Shan Ren yelling at F4. The other funny scenes to watch aside from Shan Ren and Wang Wei scenes or the F4 scenes, LOL!
  • Last BUT never least…BTS! Honestly, I sometimes enjoy these more when situations are hectic for the first part. So it would always cheer one up watching these. And also see the cast interact with one another.

What does this mean for me? I won’t be doing individual episode summaries anymore but will focus on watching and do caps only. Sure, I might post an update once in a while regarding a part that I really like or feel like discussing while I’m watching. It has been kind of tiring doing caps, writing, and watching at the same time since last summer. So I’m taking a break this time around.

*All images were captured by DTLCT