The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Flash Review: Love O2O [China]

23 Comments

Thanks to the cracktastic Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, I realize that I no longer have CGI-aversion issues when it comes to dramas, woot! The unexpected result – unexpected to me, at least – is that I suddenly found that I have a whole new world of dramas to explore. As a drama fan who’s been feeling a little on the jaded side of late, this is good, good news indeed.

Lots of my drama friends loved this show when it first aired last year, but I’d missed that train because of this show’s CGI-heavy gaming scenes. I’d poked at this tentatively, but fled hastily at the CGI. Not this time, my friends. This time, I found myself actually rather enjoying the fantasy gaming scenes.

I know. What have you done to me, Peach Blossoms?

Prettyyy…

THE APPEAL

Right away, like, in just the first 2 episodes, I found that this show felt refreshing in a nice number of ways. Here’s the quick run-down.

1. A pretty awesome female lead

I felt like our female lead was pretty darn awesome. Wei Wei (Zheng Shuang) came across as independent, strong, smart, unafraid to speak up for herself and solve her own problems. Plus, as a bonus, she’s nice and pretty too.

Watching her, I felt like we need more girls like her, in dramaland and in real life.

[MINOR SPOILERS] She doesn’t need a guy to solve her computer problems; she simply buys the parts and fixes her own laptop. I also love that she’s not easily cowed, nor easily discouraged. Cao Guang (Bai Yu) smearing her reputation doesn’t even give her pause. She does what she can to set the record straight, but doesn’t let it get to her when he’s a jerk and refuses to believe her. Instead, she cheerily goes about living her life, and I LOVE that. [END SPOILERS]

2. A fun set-up

I liked the set-up, where our OTP knows each other in 2 different contexts. This makes for an interesting, almost “You’ve Got Mail” sort of set-up, which I feel inexplicably drawn to.

As a bonus, the rhythm of the narrative also feels different than the usual kdrama rom-com journey, which I find to be a welcome change. This drama hums at its own pace, and because the usual kdrama rom-com milestones don’t apply, this show feels fresher and less contrived, to me.

3. A handsome male lead

Yes, this is shallow, but I liked that Yang Yang is so very good-looking as our male lead. I found his look rather unusual, and thought it fit really well into the fantasy gaming world as well.

4. The online connection

I don’t game, but I hang around online enough to identify with what it feels like to have an online identity, online friends, & online rapport, and how that is separate from – but can bleed into – your real life. I liked that this was one of Show’s main themes, and found it easy to engage with.

CAVEATS

It’s important to keep in mind that this show has its flaws, some of which are easier to overlook than others. To help you get the most out of your watch experience, here’s a bunch of stuff to keep in mind.

1. The acting.. is mostly not great.

Once I got past the initial episodes, I came to the reluctant conclusion that both leads aren’t so great at the acting. I actually cringed at some of their scenes; sometimes, he looked like he was modeling instead of acting; sometimes, I found the breathy-cutesy rather awkward on her.

[MINOR SPOILER] On a slight tangent, Wei Wei being so in awe of Xiao Nai all the time took some getting used to, because I had her in my mind as a pretty cool chick who could hold her own in almost any circumstance. Once she started interacting with / dating Xiao Nai, though, the fact that she was consistently flummoxed by him kind of niggled at me. But I guess that’s easy to say when I’m not all giddy in love for the first time. [END SPOILER]

On another note, I just wanted to say that somewhere past the initial episodes, I suddenly became distracted by just how skinny Zheng Shuang is. To my eyes, her legs literally looked like they were too thin for her body. Once I saw that, I couldn’t unsee it, unfortunately, and that little detail continued to distract me through the rest of my watch. 😛

2. The humor might not work for you all the time

In general, the humor in this show worked better for me than most of the broad comedy that is commonly employed in kdramas. I found myself quite nicely amused a fair amount of the time.

Having said that, though, there were times where I felt like the humor was losing me, a little bit. In particular, the scenes featuring Xiao Nai’s three roomies, with their comic relief sort of vibe, wasn’t super amusing to me. Sometimes, it even felt rather stilted to me, and that was a bit of a downer.

3. There’s a lot of in-game time

There is a generous amount of time spent in-game, and at times, it felt a little pointless to me. Characters would spend time chatting with each other, and sometimes, all we get to see is them doing a lot of typing. Not super exciting stuff. Which is why after a while, all the in-game interaction started to wear thin on me. I felt like there was too much of that, and not quite enough of real-life interaction among our characters to balance it out.

In Show’s defense, it is true that a lot of the in-game interaction eventually forms a context and foundation for the character interactions in the real world.

4. Sometimes, it’s like PPL city

OMG, I don’t know if I’ve seen another drama with as much PPL as this one, you guys. SO much of one particular brand of orange juice (every. single. meal.), and so much Yakult, and so much Oppo too.

In addition, some of the PPL is super obvious, with actual lines dedicated to plugging the products’ virtues. Like the scene in Xiao Nai’s car, where one of the roomies even names the special technology that makes the car so stable. I found it quite distracting and just a bit much, overall.

5. Sometimes the romance is laced with creepy [MINOR SPOILERS]

I do like that Xiao Nai, for all of his detached coolness, is so into Wei Wei. But, it does feel borderline creepy, that he basically stalks her into becoming his girlfriend. I mean, he can’t see her online, and so he hacks into her computer to see what she’s doing? And this is portrayed as romantic? Uh. I hafta say, I found that a little bit disturbing.

STUFF I ENJOYED

Despite the stuff that wasn’t so great, I marathoned this one real quick, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else – and you guys know I’m generally not given to intensive marathons.

Here’s the stuff that kept me going, and that made this show a fun little watch, in spite of its shortcomings.

1. Cheeky Xiao Nai

In the earlier stretch of the show, I found Xiao Nai rather inscrutable, thanks in part to the writing, and thanks in part to Yang Yang’s rather stiff delivery. But, he still had my attention because he’s really quite lovely to look at, heh.

The good news for me was, as the OTP relationship grew, Xiao Nai got to show more and more of his cheeky side, and that upped his appeal in a Big Way. There’s a particular scene in episode 27 where he tosses a cheeky eyebrow wiggle at Wei Wei, then follows it with the sauciest grin, evar. OMG, that was the total highlight of the episode for me, seriously. Squee!

Here’s one more shot of Cheeky Xiao Nai, just because. 😉

2. All of the kisses

Unlike most other dramas I’ve seen, this one’s not at all stingy with the skinship and kisses. There are kisses sprinkled throughout Show’s mid-to-late episodes, and, Yang Yang demonstrates very clearly that he’s very capable in delivering the kisses with.. feelingg. ❤ All in all, a very happy combination indeed. Ahem.

The only downside is, Wei Wei mostly looks like she’s just enduring the kisses, and that really sucks a lot of the fun out of the kisses. It would’ve been so much better, if she would’ve kissed Xiao Nai right back, like the awesome, strong, capable female lead I’d first pegged her to be.

Still, despite Zheng Shuang not being much help in this department, Yang Yang single-handedly made the kiss scenes quite spine-tingly and squee-worthy, and therefore another highlight of my watch.

3. All of the trust

Another thing that I found very refreshing indeed, is the extreme levels of trust among many of our main characters.

Yes, there are times when that trust is put to the test, but more often than not, instead of taking a side-step into a Big Misunderstanding that drags on for episode upon episode, Show puts the unshakable quality of our key relationships on display instead. I liked that a whole lot.

4. Stuff stays simple

Thanks to the solid amount of trust between our characters, in general, I found that conflicts and tensions got solved relatively quickly in this drama world. No angst lasted for very long, and trust and loyalty would ultimately triumph.

On a related note, no baddies were really all bad either. Pretty much every antagonist felt understandable, and therefore human. Some of them even got a bit of a redemption arc by the end.

This angst-lite, feel-good vibe reminds me somewhat of Something About 1%, and also, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. If you enjoyed either of those dramas, you might like this one too.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Unsurprisingly, all’s well that ends well.

The 2-year time-skip allows Wei Wei and her friends to graduate, gives Xiao Nai and his company time to flourish, and sets the stage for wedding-related stuff to percolate and come to a head. All fan-servicey fluffy good things, in my opinion.

It’s not groundbreaking stuff in any way, which is in perfect keeping with the rest of the show. And while I usually tend to roll my eyes a little bit at time skips, I couldn’t at all complain about seeing Xiao Nai working to win Wei Wei’s hand in marriage, from her misinformed, grumpy dad.

Plus, the finale is also peppered with more of those capably-delivered kisses – and I’m absolutely not complaining about that. ❤

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Insistently sweet, simple, and light on angst. A nice little cotton-candy marathon.

FINAL GRADE: B+

TEASER:

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Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

23 thoughts on “Flash Review: Love O2O [China]

  1. I read the novel first and then decided to watch the movie version instead. I didn’t think I’d be able to sit through 30 epsodes of utter cotton-candy fluff. 😀 Besides I like Jing Boran a lot more than Yang Yang. He’s a better actor as well.

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    • Well, if you read the novel, you probably already had the best available experience of this story, Timescout! 😆 I’ve heard varying opinions about the drama vs the movie.. some people say the drama is a closer adaptation of the book. But, I’m intrigued by various people saying that they prefer the movie version, and will probably check it out to see for myself. I have no prior experience with Jing Boran (or with Yang Yang, for that matter), but my initial impression is that Yang Yang is better-looking, HAHA. Yes, I am so shallow! 😂

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      • Being longer, the drama is bound to be closer to the novel, I suppose. I liked the movie version well enough.

        Well, Boran like Zhang Ryo Yun and I’d say Mark too are not your typical “pretty boys”. Althouhg they photograph quite nicely, to relly appreaciate their charms it’s better to see them in ‘action’. ☺ I think that their ability to act is part of the appeal.

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        • Yes, you’re right. I have my very shallow fangirl tendencies, but I do appreciate an actor who is skilled at his craft, so I will be sure to approach these guys with an open mind! I should try watching the movie again – I very shallowly bailed after a while, because I couldn’t (yet) see the Jing Boran appeal. I’m contrite now; I’ll give it another go! 😀

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  2. RE: Enduring Lovely Kissses –> oh how much better those kisses would have been if Wei Wei had j u s t kised him back! I completely agree with you!
    RE: Acting –> in as much as Yang Yang look good, his acting looked sooooo stiff. He might as well have been a handsome-smirking cardboard life-size picture the whole show!

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    • YES. She should’ve totally kissed him back! How can you not kiss him back, when he’s the love of your life – and later on in the show, your new husband?? I didn’t get that. Hahaha! Yes, there were times Yang Yang could’ve passed for a cardboard cutout of himself, but all the cheeky grins & wiggly brows in the later part of the show totally redeemed him, for me! 😍

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  3. oh my, after NiF and TMOP, Love 020? have you fallen through the cdrama rabbit hole? damn i’m excited!!! welcome to the broadening of your horizons!!!! (apparently there are lots of sweets, just have not found them in real life) i watched the series after i read the book, and i quite liked how the series adapted it (they did add some extra storylines), i also loved the whole KO and Hao Mei storyline (in the book they get together, in the series it’s hinted), what i also loved was the low on angst type of feel, hardly any annoying second leads, plus yes it’s pure cotton candy fluff which i needed when i watched it, also the kisses ! if only the female lead would kiss back, sigh, so much potential lost, i wish Yang Yang would have progressed from being ‘ethereal’ to more his cheeky self which we saw later on even though he was a bit of stalker in the beginning, but all in all, it is for those days where you are sick misunderstandings between the OTP, and just want something simple and sweet:)

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    • Tee hee! I do think I’ve fallen through the C-drama rabbit hole! It’s a refreshing change of landscape, after having spent almost all my drama time on kdramas. So many people have given me recommendations on C-dramas that I should check out, I don’t even know where to start! 😆

      Ah, I did feel like Show was hinting at a loveline between KO & Hao Mei as well, but didn’t feel confident of being completely clear about it. Which actually made some of the interactions between them come off a little bit odd, I thought. Like KO’s intense stares in Hao Mei’s direction all the time, and the online stalking. It sounds like the book handled it better.

      I KNOW, if only Wei Wei had kissed Xiao Nai back! Argh, that was a downer indeed. I found her wide-eyed surprised & stiff reaction plausible for the initial kisses, but by the time we got deeper into the show, the stiff reaction didn’t feel organic anymore. Surely you’d respond with more feeling, if you’re kissing the love of your life? 😑

      But yes, overall, this show was a really nice angst-lite watch – a nice change from overly dramatic storylines in the rest of dramaland 😉

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      • hey!

        i am sorry, i completely fell of the radar but just wanted to say that my drama ban has been lifted 😀 ten miles of peach blossom here i come!! also i watched the move Love 020 and i liked angelababy better in her role as wei wei, but not the movie itself so much 🙂 i feel the drama had so much more time to really flesh out the story lines that the movie fell a bit short for me ,

        also with all the recommendations, take it one at at time 🙂 i feel like i fell behind these past few months but honestly, i don’t care am just taking it one drama at a time 😀

        talk to you soon!

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  4. Hey, Kfangurl! Long time no see 🙂

    I read the novel before watching snippets of the drama and the movie, and I have to say quite a bit was lost in the transition from print to screen. My preference of the screen versions was the movie, though. It’s probably just my bias, but I much preferred Jing Boran’s Xiao Nai to Yang Yang’s. The movie was kept even simpler than the drama (unsurprisingly; only so much can be fitted into 2 hours) but I thought it was ok. Maybe I should go back and give the drama another try . . . 🙂

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    • Long time, shl!! 😀 I recently got around to watching the movie version, and probably because I haven’t read the novel, I found the movie trajectory too simplified. I do agree that both leads are better actors though, and did better jobs bringing the characters to life. I think the movie appeals more to fans who are already familiar with the source material, because standing alone, the story progression feels too simplified and there isn’t enough believable development or dramatic tension. Having watched the drama first, though, I could fill in some of the blanks that the movie glossed over. Looks like it’s pros and cons for both the movie and the drama, since the drama fleshes stuff out more, but is hampered by the less than stellar acting of the leads. So.. if acting matters more to you, then you might find the drama disappointing 😛

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  5. Yup agree with your comments mostly. Yang Yang is very nice to look at and Zheng Shuang not so much simply to skinny. I mean put on some weight girl. I learned a thing or two about online gaming from this how, how it can be pretty cool to develop games. My first ever C-drama and was quite into it.

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  6. It’s been a while since I saw it, but I remember liking the first half better than the second. I liked the whole gaming aspect as that is what really gave it a different flavor. I thought him falling for her happened way too fast even if he thought she was awesome in the game, it seemed to simple and wish that had been addressed more. Your review was spot on really. Where I watched there were so many comments about the actress being so thin that it was impossible not to notice. And about those kisses….I’ve seen enough behind the scene videos of dramas to know that the kisses are directed a certain way so the man and woman looking shocked and lips barely touching seems old fashioned so now we have the guy all in on the kiss, but the girl looking ridiculous. It makes viewers of these dramas frustrated with the actress who probably generally doesn’t have a say. I do realize back in the day if an actress had a girl next door thing going on, they would adjust for that but certainly we’re beyond that now…. or I guess I wish we were. The C-dramas have really kicked it up a notch this last year, and I think a lot of it is they are doing so many dramas based on books now. They can still ruin the book of course, but at least there are some different concepts coming into play.

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  7. I’m so happy about your review of Love O2O!!!! I’ve been anticipating this review since I finished watching Love O2O (last September of last year) and I found myself grinning and totally agreeing (even the negative ones) to almost everything you said! We’re all very shallow indeed, Yang Yang is so gorgeous and that’s enough to continue our journey to this drama. Zheng Shuang is distracting with her skinny figure (but surely very pretty) and I hated her for feeling very stiff with almost all the kisses, though their last kiss was very well played by both of them.
    With acting, I hafta say Love O2O movie version is much better (Jing Bao is surely good looking, too and Angelababy is gaaaah so lovely) but a cute and light experience? The drama works better.

    SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS REVIEW!!! With the light drama experience, you put up a light drama review as well. Nicely done, kfangirl. ❤

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  8. i’m anime lovers so i love this drama, so fun to watch and refreshing xD
    yang yang so handsome, i found my self smiling like idiot when i saw his handsome scene lol, esp when he’s riding bicycle and walk and sitting next to wei wei in basketball tribun xD so handsome xD
    even my friend who’s kdrama freak, love this show very much and felt in love with yang yang. ❤
    i agree with u, wei wei is too skinny, i got distracted too. She just looks skin and bones. but she’s pretty, i love her chemistry with yang yang^^

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  9. Meh Love o2o is very mediocre, if not for eye candy it wouldn’t be as popular.

    If you want substance and a drama that’s deep, compelling, very well acted and does make sense, watch Nirvana in Fire. Google the name, it was the most critically acclaimed, most watched, most successful c-drama of 2016, it is 9.1/10 on imdb.

    Seriously if you have time watch and write a review of Nirvana in Fire, I love ten miles of peach blossoms as well but I’d rate NiF above TMoPB.

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    • just wanted to say that she already watched Nirvana in Fire and has a review of it , i agree nirvana in fire is probably one of the best series i have watched, but it is a bit political heavy, i think Ten miles of peach blossom and love020 are much more lighter and a nice watch, was love 020 the best romance i have ever watched, probably not but i liked the lightness and fluffiness of it cause that’s what i wanted when i watched it, it was mediocre in sense of writing perhaps (the novel is better written cause it’s more compact) but regardless, i still loved it cause it suited my needs that moment

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  10. I finished it in 2 days!!! The funny thing is that I absolutely had the same opinion as you! I actually wanted to back out watching it just because of the animation from the first few episodes. I wasn’t a fan of that due to bad editing in the past dramas I’ve watched. But I pushed through it and finished the whole drama due to binge watching. I actually agree with your opinions especially the one about the main actress being too skinny and being made aware of it all throughout the drama after realization. Though it would be too much of it too say that I hated it since we don’t really know the personal life of the actress. I’ve thought about it over and over and the plot of this drama is actually pretty flat. There wasn’t any real tension in it nor was there any main buildup that I’m used to from watching Korean dramas this whole time — it portrays life as it is I guess but it was quite of boring. I agree with you in saying that the actors weren’t really that good and I honestly think that I just got sucked in because of Yang Yang ( It was my first time seeing him and
    omg he is crazily handsome!!!!!!!!!!). I do agree that Wei Wei was actually really gorgeous though. But without Yang Yang, I would’ve not finished this at all sadly. It is true though that he was too stiff as an actor for my type but I guess I saw past that and only to his face (I know I suck as a person for only seeing his looks but he was just so freaking sweet to my eyes!) I don’t know if it was the acting or the plot or something but in the latter part of the drama I kind of wished they would break up just to give that sense of reality, I guess. Don’t get me wrong though I wished for a breakup followed by a make up scenario because who wouldn’t love them? It would give some spice to their romance, if that actually makes sense. Their overall romance was actually too perfect for my taste. I loved their cheesy-ness but for the latter part of the episodes I found myself actually cringing when they were too sweet. :((

    This was actually my first Chinese drama and though the plot was kind of just *okay*, It’s because of this drama that I have opened up myself to the whole reality of Asian dramas being awesome (lol!). I only have watched Korean dramas this whole time. Who knew other asian dramas could be good too? I would even consider watching the dramas with CGI through its entirety just because of this. It was truly an eye-opener.

    P.S. To whoever the writer of this review is, I think we have the same taste in watching dramas. This is actually the first review I have read from you and because of both your opinions and mine match I would love to read your other reviews as well! Will surely bookmark your page and visit time and time again. 🙂

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    • Hey there bingewatchergirl, great to meet you! It does look like we have similar tastes in dramas! If you’d like to check out other Chinese dramas, you could consider the fantasy drama that cured me of my CGI aversion 😉 Ten Miles Of Peach Blossoms is a lot more cracky than Love O2O too. I loved it and if you’re a fan of romance, I think there’s a good chance you’ll like it too. 🙂 My review of Peach Blossoms is here, if you’d like to check it out! 🙂

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  11. I really liked this post! I will say that the second half of the drama was definitely more intriguing for me than the first half. Yang Yang was the main reason I kept watching the show. 🙂

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  12. Hi kfangurl, I absolutely love and appreciate your blog and recommendations. You have become my go-to for what to watch, as i find myself almost always agreeing with your take and perception on things. Just wanted to say thanks for all you do here!

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    • Aw thanks, Rhoro, for the lovely encouragement! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy the blog! I haven’t posted in a while, but I hope to get back into the writing zone soonish. Your comment definitely gives me a nice boost of motivation! ❤

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