The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Flash Review: A Love So Beautiful [China]

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Remember when I fell hearts-in-eyes in love with Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, for how simple and endearing it was? So many of us remarked, then, that we wanted more of such simple and endearing shows like it, to love.

Well. Guess what, you guys? I think I’ve found a pretty strong contender for your affections, in this sweet lil drama.

And, I honestly think it doesn’t even matter if you don’t usually watch Chinese dramas. I feel pretty confident that kdrama fans will find it pretty easy to love this one too. Coz, first of all, there are familiar elements in it, that will make this one feel extra accessible to the average kdrama fan; to me, this show kinda-sorta feels like Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Answer Me 1988 and Playful Kiss all got together and had a cute baby.

Second – and most importantly – of all, aren’t simplicity and warm fuzzies universal, after all? 😉

Plus these two. ❤ They are so cute together.

A Love So Beautiful OST – 我多喜欢你,你会知道

THE ALMOST WHOOPSIE

Y’know, I’m a little horrified that I almost missed out on this charming little show.

See, despite my newfound appreciation for Chinese dramas in general, I hadn’t been having much success with the Chinese youth dramas in particular, and was close to the conclusion that maybe Chinese youth dramas just weren’t for me. Happily, though, this show didn’t give up on me. It kept popping up in my line of vision, along with generally positive reactions from viewers, and before long, I was intrigued enough to actually give this one a try.

I dived in hoping for the best, and I’m so pleased that I did, coz this lil show turned out to be so easy to love. ❤

THE SENSE OF FAMILIARITY

In this section, let me break down, in as spoiler-free a manner as possible, how this show reminds me of various well-known – and for the most part, well-loved – kdramas.

Playful Kiss

As I mentioned in my 2017 year-in-review post, there is a distinct Itazura Na Kiss / Mischievous Kiss / Playful Kiss feel about this show, because our story revolves around a simple girl who likes a smart boy. Now, one of the things that used to bother me about the Playful Kiss franchise, is that in that story, Boy is too cold and too mean, while Girl willingly takes the mean treatment, and proceeds to build her whole life around Boy.

Happily, that’s not the case here. Here, Boy is on the distant side, but not only does he have a plausible explanation for his reserved and distant personality, he also leaks concern and affection much earlier in our story, and in a much more noticeable manner. Also happily, while Girl does wear her heart on her sleeve, she has her own dreams and doesn’t build her life around Boy, and, she isn’t afraid to literally kick him in the shin, if she feels that he’s done her wrong. I liked these differences a lot.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Like Weightlifting Fairy, Show possesses a similar angst-lite, earnest, warm, slice-of-life feel, and focuses mainly on everyday, relatable stuff like school, friends, family and – of course – young love. I liked that a lot.

Answer Me 1988

As a bonus, Show has a nostalgia about it because our story starts in 2005. The nostalgia isn’t the main event, and Show doesn’t make a big deal out of it, but I liked the matter-of-fact attention to detail. I noticed the passing of time, with the evolution of the types of mobile phones that our characters were using, and in the style of the clothes they were wearing. All this provided a lovely sentimental sheen to our drama world, and that reminded me of the lovely old-school nostalgic vibe of the Answer Me series.

Specifically, I reference Answer Me 1988 because our female lead Xiao Xi (Shen Yue) reminds me of AM88’s Deok Sun (Hye Ri), for their similar hairstyles and slightly ungainly personas. Also, both characters are generally well-liked, have tight circles of caring friends, and are part of loving families. I personally find Shen Yue a more promising actress, which I also counted as a plus.

Altogether, this show serves up a lot of familiar elements, ones that I tend to love, not just in kdramas, but just about anywhere.

STUFF I LOVED

This show isn’t brilliant or anything, but this definitely was a fun a little watch. And with each episode clocking in at around 40 minutes for a total of 23 episodes (episode 24 is a special), it was an easy watch too.

Here’s a quickish rundown of my favorite things about it.

Everything’s warm & easy-breezy

Everything in this drama world is simple and angst-lite, which I very much enjoy. There’s nothing earth-shattering in this dramaverse; it’s just us, following the ups and downs of a bunch of teenage friends, as they stumble through life and its accompanying challenges. And because Show starts its story in 2005, which feels like a simpler time, that also adds to Show’s everyday, somewhat nostalgic sort of charm.

The happy Spring palette and breezy music also help make this sweet drama world pop, and I very much enjoyed immersing myself in it.

A little cultural bonus

Show doesn’t set out to be a cultural showcase, but there are little, almost throwaway details that show up, which inform us about Chinese culture. I’m pretty sure these sorts of details appear in other Chinese dramas too, but since I only really became conscious of them in this drama, I thought I’d mention it in this review.

For example, we occasionally get scenes of the students filling up their water bottles at the water station. In any other culture, it would be normal for the water bottles to be filled with cold or tepid water. But here, we consistently see the kids walking away from the water station with steaming thermos bottles of hot water, which is so very Chinese. Little breakfast scenes – or even quick mentions of breakfast – inform us of the kind of food that is fairly common in Chinese breakfasts: buns and dough fritters.

As a Chinese who doesn’t live in China, and who doesn’t often stop to think about the details that are unique to Chinese culture, these little details gave me a bit of a thrill.

The characters

I will talk more about each of our main characters a little later, but I just wanted to say here, that I found all our main characters endearing and likable in their own ways.

I recently realized all over again, while watching The Package – where it took me a longer time than average to like any of the characters – how important it is, to actually like the characters in a show. I didn’t have any such issues in this drama.

I became very fond of these characters pretty early in my watch, and as I neared the final episodes, I found myself feeling distinctly wistful, because I just really didn’t want to end my journey with them.

The friendships

Our 5 main characters don’t really start out as friends, with besties Xiao Xi and Jing Xiao (Wang Zi Wei) sharing the most established bond. Over the course of the show, though, these 5 characters truly become a bunch of good friends who genuinely care about one another, and I found it gratifying to witness the process of that bonding. This 5-way friendship among this rather ragtag bunch quickly became one of my favorite things in this show.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Here are 3 of my favorite times, when the bonds of friendship among the group really shone.

E8. Xiao Xi lets on that she wants Man U tickets for her birthday – well, more because she wants to take Jiang Chen (Hu Yi Tian) to see the match – and literally everyone in her orbit clicks into gear to do everything they can, to get her those tickets.

Bestie Jing Xiao gives up her breakfast money for the chance to get the tickets; Lu Yang (Sun Ning) tries to work his network for the tickets; Bo Song (Gao Zhi Ting) splashes out on BBQ so that his senior will agree to get the tickets for him; and Dad winds up buying fake tickets off the black market. I mean, sure, she doesn’t get to even see the match in the end, but it’s just so sweet that everyone went to all that effort, simply based on her declaration that she wanted tickets. Aw.

E7. This episode’s big theme seems to be friendship, as the bunch of friends support one another in the various things that come up: Xiao Xi’s anxiety over her father’s possible affair; Lu Yang and his fixation on getting his fake prize; Bo Song in his swimming competition. Through it all, even when there’s naiveté or stupidity involved, it’s sweet to see the friends rallying round anyway, without more judgment than the occasional initial eye-roll. It’s all just very good-natured, which I find very endearing.

E9. When Lu Yang’s secret about being bullied comes to light, the friends gather around to comfort him, each sharing their own embarrassing stories, in order to make him feel better. That is just so sweet.

[END SPOILERS]

Of course, I also want to give a shout-out to the friendship that Xiao Xi and Jing Xiao share. I loved see the two of them getting together and indulging in girl talk over their respective crushes. So honest, and so cute.

[SPOILER ALERT] 

One of my favorite moments between these besties, is in episode 4. Both Xiao Xi and Jing Xiao sign up for the hurdles event because they want to win the first prize watch; Xiao Xi for Jiang Chen’s birthday gift, and Jing Xiao for her dad’s welcome present. The girls set out to train hard, dearly wanting to win, but when Jing Xiao injures her ankle and can’t compete, she roots for Xiao Xi instead, and even asks Jiang Chen to help Xiao Xi train.

And then, when Xiao Xi actually wins, but hears that bestie Jing Xiao had wanted to win the watch as a gift for her dad, she hands it over without a hint of reservation. I love that Jing Xiao supported Xiao Xi without regret about her own inability to compete. And I love that even though Xiao Xi may have a crush on Jiang Chen, she’s got her priorities straight; friends come before boys, even when it involves a prize that she worked super hard to win. Aww.

[END SPOILER]

The main loveline

Shen Yue as Chen Xiao Xi

What I love about Xiao Xi, is that even though she’s nursing a giant crush on Jiang Chen, she doesn’t let it define her. She has other interests and passions, and when she sets her mind to do something, she’s unfailingly earnest about it. [SPOILER] Like the time in episode 3, when she joined the monitor election because she wanted to protect Jiang Chen, but then became super earnest about wanting to do a good and proper job. [END SPOILER]

I love too, that when she mucks up something, she will own up to it and apologize, even if she’s terrified.

Generally speaking, Xiao Xi’s bubbly, hard-to-get-down nature is a pleasure to behold, and I love her for it. [SPOILER] An instance that stands out in my mind, is the time in episode 5, when the elite group in class prepares a super serious play for the competition. Xiao Xi doesn’t let that discourage her, and decides that they can be as serious as they want; she’s going to shine in a different way, and plans a funny play instead. I liked that a whole lot. [END SPOILER]

All in all, I just really liked the fact that even though Xiao Xi is very much focused on Jiang Chen, she also manages to come across as enjoying other things in life; she revels in the snow, she has fun with her friends. I like that. A lot.

Hu Yi Tian as Jiang Chen

As I mentioned earlier in this review, I actually like the fact that Jiang Chen has a reason to be as reserved and emotionally distant as he is. In Playful Kiss and Mischievous Kiss, both male leads had happy families, loving parents, excellent grades and loads of popularity, to boot. There didn’t seem to be any good reason that they would be the cold, distant, unpleasant personalities that they were. But in this case, [MINOR SPOILER] Jiang Chen has lost his dad at a young age, and has lived alone since then, with barely any contact with his mother. He does well in school, but it’s understandable that he’s emotionally isolated. [END SPOILER]

With Jiang Chen’s context established pretty early in the show, I found it much easier to understand his words and actions, and much easier to root for him as well.

Every time Jiang Chen let his guard down, and we got a glimpse at his true personality and feelings underneath, I cheered. As our episodes progress, we see more and more, how caring and decent Jiang Chen really is, and I couldn’t help but like him more and more too.

Our OTP together

Since Xiao Xi’s feelings for Jiang Chen are made clear from the very beginning of our story, the thrill of this OTP journey pretty much comes from Jiang Chen’s end of the table. Importantly, despite the Playful Kiss similarities, Jiang Chen isn’t even that brusque when he talks to Xiao Xi. He’s distant and matter-of-fact, but he isn’t nasty or unkind. Jiang Chen starting to leak smiles around Xiao Xi; Jiang Chen showing flickers of interest and jealousy; basically every time Jiang Chen gave an indication that he might have feelings for Xiao Xi, it was an occasion to squee, heh.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Here are just a couple of my favorite moments relating to this very cute OTP.

E13. After the Big Misunderstanding of seeing Li Wei in Jiang Chen’s arms during their class outing, Xiao Xi makes it a point to avoid Jiang Chen, and ends up falling over her own feet, to her great embarrassment. Without a word, Jiang Chen walks over and picks her up. I love that he is so gentle with her, not only when he first picks her up, and then helps her dress her wound, but also in the way he picks her up afterwards, to piggyback her home. Through it all, he barely says anything, but that gentle manner as he cares for her, says so much. ❤

E18. The kisses in this show are pretty static and tame, but there are a couple of times when Jiang Chen made my breath catch in my throat. Like in episode 18, when he tells Xiao Xi to go back home after a very brief meet-up, then has a change of heart, and races up the stairs and encircles her in his arms. That last surge of energy from Jiang Chen to catch up with Xiao Xi, and his gaze, all intently searching her face, is pretty hot. Clearly, he wanted to kiss her, and badly. Flail.

[END SPOILER]

Serious second-lead syndrome: Gao Zhi Ting as Wu Bo Song

Guh. I just love Wu Bo Song, you guys. As our second lead nursing a crush on Xiao Xi, Bo Song ripped my heart out on a regular basis – and it hurt so good. So many times, I just wanted to reach into my screen and hug him, and tell him that everything was going to be ok.

I love that he’s so matter-of-fact in his support for Xiao Xi, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. It feels like he doesn’t even need to think about it; he’s got her back, consistently and unquestioningly. And he’s always super accepting of her weirdness, even though he keeps finding her talking to herself on the field. He goes out of his way to be nice to Xiao Xi, and make her happy, and protect her, all while her eyes are fixed on Jiang Chen. And even though he almost knows for certain that it’s a lost cause, he doesn’t stop. He would literally give her all the meat on his tray, and all the money in his wallet, and all the time that he has, just to see her smile. Augh. I can’t help but melt at this boy.

Plus, I love that he basically christened her his Da Ge (Big Brother) the very first moment he met her. So Freaking Cute.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Bo Song stole my heart many times during the course of our show, but here are 2 times that he stole my heart extra.

E11. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I realized that Bo Song actually made it snow for Xiao Xi, just because she’d mentioned wistfully that she really wanted it to snow. The way he was so happy to be racing up and down the rooftop, spraying fake snow madly into the air, just to make Xiao Xi smile, melted my heart right to the floor. ❤

E16. Bo Song’s final confession and goodbye to Xiao Xi ripped my heart out, so much. He details every single moment about his time with Xiao Xi, down to the first time he liked her. And yet, he says it all with so much bittersweet pathos, because he knows that her heart is not with him, and that telling her this is more for closure than anything else. He knows that he’s expressing these things, to give release to his feelings, so that he can let them go, and not to give them life. And that’s really sad. And yet, he puts on a brave smile and tells Xiao Xi that it’s ok, that he’s going to stop liking her now, and pursue his dreams – even though we know that he totally can’t stop his heart. Augh. This boy.

[END SPOILERS]

The secondary loveline

Sun Ning as Lu Yang

Lu Yang started out the show as the joker of the group, in my mind, but bit by bit, this boy’s big heart really grew on me, and he became so much more than just the funny guy, to me.

[SPOILER] In episode 5, Show casually reveals that Lu Yang has a heart condition, and needs medication to keep it under control. That added a layer of pathos to just about everything Lu Yang said, from that point on. The moment that really gutted me, though, is in episode 16, when Lu Yang confesses that he doesn’t feel like he deserves to like anyone, because of his heart condition. He clearly still cares for Jing Xiao a lot, but he distances himself from her, in order to protect her. The way he said that she would only be in more pain if anything were to happen to him in the future, is so real in the light of his heart condition, that it hurts. He’s a really good guy, he is. [END SPOILER]

Wang Zi Wei as Lin Jing Xiao

Jing Xiao is quite the all-rounder, and is pretty much the most balanced member of the group. She’s smart, pretty, generally does well at everything she sets her hand to, and she’s fiercely loyal too. Her loyalty to her friends is one my personal favorite things about her.

[SPOILER] I love the moment in episode 9 when Jing Xiao goes to Lu Yang’s defense in the face of 5 other guys, without hesitation and without blinking an eye. Yet, when the moment is over, she’s so overwhelmed that she goes weak in the knees. She’d actually been terrified the whole time, but had rushed in to save Lu Yang anyway. She really put saving her friend above her own safety, and that reflex loyalty is so very endearing. [END SPOILER]

Lu Yang and Jing Xiao together

Lu Yang and Jing Xiao make a rather unlikely couple, but they are very cute together all the same. There aren’t as many swoony moments dedicated to this couple, but there are a couple that I’d like to highlight.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E14. Lu Yang steals the episode, with his audacious declaration of love in front of the whole school, complete with multi-colored hair and tears sheening in his eyes. He’s also really sweet, to go spend time with Jing Xiao’s mother. His goodbye to Jing Xiao at the end feels so poignant, as if he’s never going to see her again. It’s clear that Jing Xiao is moved by his sincerity, and so am I.

E18. I felt a lump in my throat when Jing Xiao accepted Lu Yang’s proposal, wearing her soda can pull-tab ring, as he got wheeled in to surgery. That wistful soft gaze that Lu Yang gave her – the one that he always saves only for her – just got me right in the heart. ❤

[END SPOILERS]

STUFF I LOVED LESS

Generally speaking, there is some suspension of disbelief required, in order to enjoy this show. For one thing, it feels like not a lot of actual studying gets done in these schools. And for another, some of the relationship reconciliations feel too simplistic. However, those are, in my mind, acceptable, and par for the course with a show like this.

Here are 2 other things that I didn’t love so much, during my watch.

When they left high school

This isn’t a bad thing per se, but I found it very bittersweet to see these kids grow up.

Once we hit episode 17, Show pretty much speeds through the college years, and it just feels like these kids are growing up way too fast, before my eyes. I found myself rationing out the episodes, because it felt like the end was racing towards me faster than I wanted it to, and I sorely didn’t want to get to the end.

Also, it felt kinda sad, to see things evolving in our gang of 5. Bo Song not being around the gang much because he’s not in college with them, is one big example. I mean, it’s lovely to see that they’re still good friends who make time for one another, but it’s also poignant to know that the days of them hanging out together all the time, are gone. Sniffle.

When I got mad at Show [SPOILERS]

There was one time that I legit got mad at Show. In Show’s defense, it righted things in the episodes immediately after, but I still wanted to tell you guys about it.

In episode 19, it was hard to see Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi drift apart because of their schedules and lack of communication, but I recognized that that’s something that happens in just about every relationship, and that our OTP needed to learn to work through this too. I was bummed when Xiao Xi broke up with Jiang Chen, but I had faith that Show would reunite them soon enough, since we were all gunning for a happy ending after all.

The thing is, though, Jiang Chen went away in episode 20, and then didn’t contact Xiao Xi nor any of the other friends, for 3 whole years. I didn’t find that very nice of him. Next, he doesn’t even say anything nice to Xiao Xi when he does see her again, 3 years later. He’s still as blunt with her as ever. Still, this, I could tolerate.

But, I didn’t think it made any sense for Jiang Chen to bring a fake girlfriend to Lu Yang’s bachelor party. I thought that was dumb. What I was most angry about though, was that he wanted to get back together with Xiao Xi, but wouldn’t actually say anything to her about it, let alone say something nice to her about it. Worse, he made her apologize – without actually telling her what he wanted her to apologize for, mind you – before instructing her to come nearer, before he kissed her.

I was blazing-eyes angry with Show for this. To me, there was no excuse for Jiang Chen’s behavior, and I was so mad at Show for orchestrating such a degrading reunion.

…or so I thought.

Happily, Show redeemed itself, by making Xiao Xi reject Jiang Chen’s attempts to get her back. And, I was pleased that Xiao Xi stood her ground and didn’t take him back easily nor quickly. I’m glad – and relieved – that in the end, Jiang Chen is forced to finally articulate that he’s sorry, that he’s at fault, and that he wants to be with her.

That mollified me a great deal, and by the following episode, which happened to be Show’s finale, I was fully back on board with our OTP romance again. Yay!

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

I wasn’t expecting any surprises with Show’s ending, because of course this sweet little show would give us a sweet little ending, right?

Well, yes and no.

It’s unsurprising that Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen make up and have a happy ending together, and it’s unsurprising that Bo Song continues to be a successful swimming star and loyal friend, and it’s unsurprising that Lu Yang and Jing Xiao continue to be as endearing as a married couple as they were when they were courting. On top of it all, our gang of 5 continues to be supportive of one another – which is another thing that I absolutely expected, going into this finale.

But, Show managed to throw in a couple of surprises that I ended up loving.

I particularly love the season just after Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi get back together. Jiang Chen is the most visibly needy and smitten that we’ve ever seen him, and it’s glorious. He just can’t stop holding Xiao Xi’s hand, or hugging her, or spending time with her, and I love it. I love that he’s just so happy to have Xiao Xi back in his life that he is trying to soak it all in, down to the very last drop. Also, after all the running-after that Xiao Xi’s done in their relationship, this almost feels like a prize hard-won, of sorts. In my mind, she deserves to soak in this outpouring of affection and sweetness from her beloved Jiang Chen, who has heretofore been internalizing everything, and allowing only little blips of affection to show.

The proposal is so typically Jiang Chen, and I was a little disappointed that he didn’t say more. But, he made up for it later that night, when he tells Xiao Xi that it doesn’t matter if there are other prettier, slimmer, smarter girls out there, he only loves her and wants to be with her. Plus, the way he moves in to kiss her without hesitation, when she baits him, is pretty swoony.

I love the little touch, after Xiao Xi’s book-signing event at the bookstore near their high school, where the shot of Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi walking hand in hand, morphs into the same shot of them walking hand-in-hand as teenagers again, back in their school uniforms. It’s a lovely full-circle note on which the show ends, and I love the warm fuzzy feels the scene gives me.

And just when I think Show’s out of surprises, Show gifts us with one more: an extended epilogue from Jiang Chen’s point of view, and it’s gold. I love – so, so much! – that we finally get insight into Jiang Chen’s thoughts and feelings about Xiao Xi, not only in the now, but also, from the very beginning. I love the twist it puts on a lot of events; it helps us see that he cared so much more than he had let on.

In particular, my favorite bit is knowing that he put so much work into helping Xiao Xi find the lost class fund that she’d misplaced. Also, I couldn’t help but giggle that the real reason he didn’t vote for her for class president, is because he was jealous that she’d been having fun with Bo Song earlier, on the field. This epilogue highlight reel seriously makes me want to rewatch the show; it’d be so much fun to see everything again, except that this time, I will be on to Jiang Chen’s little secret. ❤

He totally lurves her, muahaha ❤

THE FINAL VERDICT:

A lovely little show that is sweet, simple & feel-good, with bonus lashings of nostalgia.

FINAL GRADE: A-

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.

64 thoughts on “Flash Review: A Love So Beautiful [China]

  1. Pingback: Year In Review: 2017 | The Fangirl Verdict

  2. Love your review, as always! When I saw the trailer for the show I thought it would be a cute and sweet one, something easy to watch but never did I think I would suffer from coping with the withdrawals of the drama haha 😂 I love the friendship between Xiao Xi and Jing Jing but I also enjoy watching Lu Yang picking on and bantering with Xiao Xi. One scene that I remember most is when Xiao Xi gave a bun to Lu Yang after seeing Li Wei giving food to Jiang Chen. That one was hilarious.

    I do agree with you as I got mad myself when Jiang Chen did not contact his friends. Even though he thought it would be awkward to contact Xiao Xi and Wu Bosong as per his thought, they are ‘together’, Lu Yang and Jing Jing is still his friends. I was upset at that point too. There are just so many misunderstandings and miscommunications all together.

    Nevertheless, Jiang Chen’s inner thoughts at the end is such a pleasant surprise. I love it so much too 🙂
    Happy new year kfangurl, may you be blessed with health & wealth this year! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay that you enjoyed this review, nailin!!! And, I’m pretty stoked that we feel similarly about this darling little show! 😍 Like you, I never expected this show and these characters to endear themselves to me this much. I still feel very fond of these characters, and I definitely plan to watch this one again.

      Yes, Lu Yang was quite the funny guy, and even though they let him stay more on the sidelines in the beginning, he really grew on me as I got deeper into the episodes. Also, I’m actually tickled that you got mad at Show too, for the same thing! If Show hadn’t fixed it with E21-22, I would’ve been so upset. But I felt they did a good job of making Jiang Chen have to work to get Xiao Xi back, and that made me feel a lot better. And YES, OMG the final extended epilogue from Jiang Chen’s point-of-view was SUCH a lovely surprise! 😍 Gah. Now I want to rewatch the show right away – but I won’t. I’ll wait a little bit, so that it feels fresh all over again.

      Happy new year to you too, nailin! May 2018 be great for you! 😀

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  3. OMG!! I’m watching this show now, thanks to your year-in review for 2017. It was soooo good, I felt blessed hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooh! You’ve got me all excited to see it! Hopefully, I’l be able to finish and review it within a week…Damn exams. T_T

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  5. This was a really cute drama and it’s become quite popular, but I watched this almost around the same time as Where the Lost Ones Go and I kind of prefer that one a little more. Even though I didn’t care for any of the side characters and it’s a bit darker, it’s definitely less run of the mill romcom and brings something new to the table. You should definitely check that one out as well.

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  6. I know what I will be watching next. Thank you! Though I will come back to read the majority the review after viewing as I skipped the spoilers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay! I’m super pleased that you’ll be checking this one out, Amy! Y’know, I thought of you when I was lapping up this show, because of what you said the last time, about being more in the mood for angst-lite shows. I’m pretty confident you’d enjoy this one, it’s so simple and so easy to love. I’d love to hear how you liked it, once you’re done! Hugs! ❤

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  7. This looks great. I loved Weightlifting Fairy. But I do not see it on DF or Viki. I’ll keep it in mind and hope they pick it up.

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    • Ah, I’m sorry to hear that DF and Viki don’t have it. This used to be available on YouTube, but I think the videos have since been taken down. I’ll email you with a link that you could try, if you don’t mind a walk on the, er, darker side. 😉

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      • Viki has it now. Just finished it. Perfect watch for a long weekend plus in bed sick. It was very sweet.
        Two little parts I just loved were when she was defending her classmate and made it seem like the girl was in love with the man trying to steal her money. Also, when she had the summer job and he takes the costume head off then promptly puts it back on again when he sees her crying. Though, I am unclear as to why he was upset that she wanted the job.
        I think I saw that this drama is somehow connected to the drama With You. I had previously started that one then saw some were upset with the ending….which sounds a bit like this one. It was cute and definitely similarities with the second leads. I will have to pick it back up again.

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        • Aw, sorry to hear you were sick over the weekend, bev! But, yay that this show managed to sweeten your recovery! 🙂 As for why he was upset about her wanting the job.. I think it was because it was a physically demanding job, and he didn’t want her to suffer that much for a few dollars.

          I didn’t know that this show is connected to With You – I’ve got that one on my list of shows to check out! I will have to bump it up the list 😉

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          • I was wrong, I got it mixed up with another show. It is not connected to With You. Saw your rec on another thread and just downloaded Peach Blossoms.
            But I am trying to come off a Healer high…..it was so good. I keep re watching scenes.

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            • Ah, Healer is hard to move on from, I agree! It’s SO GOOD. ❤ Yay that you're putting Peach Blossoms on your list too – that one gets very cracky indeed, and the love story is SO EPIC. I hope you enjoy it, when you do get to it! 😀

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  8. Hi kfangurl,

    Thanks for recommending this. I have watched two episodes so far and loving it. I never used to watch CDramas previously, but since ten miles of peach blossoms (although I didn’t like this one), CDramas are definitely on my radar now. I hope you will recommend more moving forward.

    Thanks,
    D

    Like

    • Ah, I’m so glad that you’re loving it so far, D! 😀 I’m so pleased to have been able to point you towards this, it’s so sweet and charming, I just want EVERYONE to give it some love, heh. ❤ I'm a little bummed you didn't like Peach Blossoms (was it the fantasy bent?), but as always, we all have different reactions to our dramas, so it's perfectly understandable if it didn't work for you. 🙂 Yay that C-dramas are on your radar now. I feel that China has really been stepping up her drama game, and I find myself more and more interested in C-dramas lately – which means I will definitely be featuring them more on this site. 😀

      Like

      • No it wasn’t the fantasy part. I just felt that the evil plotlines kept repeating and I got bored of it. I did enjoy the part about the story in the mortal realm then I got bored at episode 41 and could not continue altogether. But you are right – different reactions to dramas – that’s for sure. But I’m glad I did check it out though.

        Thanks re CDramas – looking forward to it. I am also watching Nirvana in Fire which you recommended. It’s still early days but I’m agreeing with your review so far.

        Now I have to find room for KDramas AND newfound love for CDramas – haha.

        Like

        • Ah, I can understand that! The evil plotlines did get quite a lot of screentime in the later stretch of Peach Blossoms. I guess it was my then-secured love for the OTP that powered me through to the end. 😋

          YAY that you are enjoying Nirvana in Fire!! It still ranks as the best drama I’ve seen to date, and that’s a pretty big deal in my books! It slows just a touch at around the E30 mark, but picks back up in an episode or two, and then doesn’t slow down thereafter. I loved it to the very end. ❤ Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did! 😀

          And yes, I'm facing the same issue now.. I find myself more and more drawn to the C-dramas now, and it's a challenge trying to make time for everything! 😅

          Like

      • Also question re dubbing – I noticed in your review for Nirvana. Do all CDramas get dubbed?

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        • To my knowledge, almost all the C-dramas are dubbed, with few exceptions. I believe Shan Shan Comes To Eat was a rare exception. But, I didn’t end up loving that show as much as other folks did, so I’m a little wary of recommending it. It’s.. not bad, in that the OTP is very cute together, but the show itself is too long. You can check out my quick review here, and see if it sounds like something you’d like. 🙂

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  9. I ended up watching this in 3 days thanks to your recommendation. I think my expectations were a bit high due to the positive things I’ve heard, but I did enjoy it (basically anything worth marathoning is good in my book) The height difference between the leads was adorable. Your review was spot on, I also thought wtf when he made her apologize even though he was the one who left for 3 years… good thing he had to grovel quite a bit to finally get her back hehe.

    I came to the realization that I enjoy dramas with cold male leads who ends up warming up to the female (and her only), based on the last dramas that I liked (3L3W, Eternal Love, Fox’s Summer, and now this). Do you have any recommendations as to which ones to watch next? I’ve basically have only seen a handful of Kdramas in the past 10 years and nothing in that genre so I’m wide open to suggestions. Thanks in advance!

    Like

    • Aw, I’m glad you still managed to enjoy this one, despite the overly hyped expectations! 😛 And yes, it’s a good thing Show made him grovel for 2 whole episodes, after pulling that WTH apology reunion. I was SO MAD at that scene! 😅

      Tbh, even though so many kdramas seem to have cold male leads, I realize that I don’t find all that many of the cold-male-lead shows all that good. Which is why I’ve been thinking a little harder, about what shows to recommend to you. Have you seen Healer? Although I wouldn’t quite classify him as cold, the male lead is isolated and not interested in creating or nurturing relationships with others. And of course, that completely changes in the face of the female lead. I love that show, and it’s one of my favorite kdramas. I even wrote it this monster review where I waxed lyrical about everything at length.

      For something less epic, but which I enjoyed pretty well, you could consider C-drama Love O2O. It’s fluffy and light, and I think you’d be rather pleased with the cold-male-lead stuff in there. My quick review of that is here. I hope that helps! 🙂

      Like

      • I did see Love O2O… well initially didn’t make it through 1st episode bc of CGI, but randomly went back to it to see what the hype about Yang Yang was. And let’s just say I get it now 😛 . Wasn’t a huge fan of Zheng Shuang but overall it was a pretty light drama that was easy to watch.

        I have not seen Healer and definitely will put it on my short list to watch now! Thanks for the recommendation!

        Agree that it’s not all just about the cold male lead… kind of a combination of back story/plot and chemistry with female lead (the feels!) . I have to admit I quickly lose interest after the OTP gets together bc usually the story devolves into stupid misunderstandings to keep them apart. I have no patience for manufactured conflicts that usually can be cleared up in 5 min if the leads would actually communicate instead of ansty staring for episodes on end. Maybe Kdramas are different since they are shorter but C-dramas are usually much longer than they need to be.

        Like

        • Heh. Seems like we feel similarly about Love O2O.. I initially couldn’t finish E1, but came back to it, and got on board the Yang Yang train quite well 😉 That make me hopeful that you’ll love Healer, coz I love that show, so much. ❤ I'm happy to assure you that Healer doesn't have manufactured conflicts keeping the couple apart. It's a very well-written story, in my opinion. Do let me know how you like it, when you get to it! 😀

          Like

          • I’m not sure I should thank you or be upset because after watching/finishing Healer in 3 days, I’m now in desperate need of something to fill the gaping void lol. Thank goodness there’s your monstrous (you were not kidding haha) but super awesome review to re-swoon over all the OTP moments.

            I honestly didn’t think it’d be so cracky bc initially the back story seemed uber complicated and I was ambivalent about the genre overall (I tried watching City Hunter back in the day and for whatever reason never made it past the 1st couple episodes). I think what made the difference here might have been Ji Chang Wook hahaha. I have to give him mad props, he was pretty much perfect for the role, and oooh so easy on the eyes. I’m so glad the show refrained from dwelling too long on the whole “we can’t be together because my father allegedly killed your father” thing, and a couple times when she doubted him was resolved really quickly.

            Any chance you’d have more recommendations? I’m deep in withdrawal mode and I need something to pull me out!!

            Like

            • Tee hee! I’m SO PLEASED that you loved Healer, owlstar!! 😀 And yes, OMG Ji Chang Wook is just SO fantastic as Healer ❤ Speaking of which, if you haven't yet checked out my Ji Chang Wook post, you’d probably enjoy that too 😉

              As for other drama recommendations.. have you watched My Love From Another Star? I loved it when it aired, and it does have that cold male lead thing going on as well. It’s got a fantasy bent, since it’s a romance between an alien and a human, but it’s well done, and the leads are great together. I also wrote that one quite the monster review, heh.

              I’d also like to recommend Answer Me 1988, which I completely love and ALSO wrote a monster review for (yes, this is often – though not always – a good gauge of how much I love a show, ha). It’s got less of the cold male lead thing going on, but I do think you might like it. I personally love the warmth and lovely sense of community that the drama showcases. There were literal fan wars over the love triangle when this aired, but I personally thought the writer did a great job of resolving it and showing why the guy who got the girl ended up getting his girl. Also, I think you’ll appreciate that there is a little bit of the “cold male lead melting to female lead” phenomenon on both sides of the love triangle 😉

              Like

              • I actually watched a little of My Love From Another Star when it aired out of curiosity because I remembered her from My Sassy Girl. But I guess I wasn’t into the cold male lead thing back then and didn’t know where the show was going with the whole alien thing, so never made it to the point when he started softening. But maybe I will go back and give it another chance since I trust your crack-radar lol.

                I watched Answer Me 1997, initially for the nostalgia but ended up really liking it. I wasn’t too interested in the other ones I guess because the earlier years were before my time. But I will definitely put 1988 on my list now. Thanks for the recs!

                And yes you betcha I’ve seen your Ji Chang Wook post lol. Thanks for so much pretty… those bedroom eyes… I just can’t 🙂

                Like

                • Well, crack is strange in the sense that it’s somehow far from universal.. Healer didn’t even get good ratings in Korea when it aired, sadly. And I know not everyone loved it internationally as well. So while I have hope that you will take to My Love From Another Star on the second attempt, if it’s not sticking with you even after 5-6 eps, it might not work for you after all. I do vaguely recall that at around the E12 mark, Show had me breathlessly by the heart. ❤

                  Also – if you haven't seen it, I think you might like the 2016 remake of Something About 1% (1% of Anything). It does have a proud & grumpy male lead, who is flummoxed by the female lead. And Show cuts out a lot of the filler stuff, so the show and the episodes are shorter – and mostly just filled with crackly OTP chemistry. 🙂

                  PS: Yes, Ji Chang Wook does have such alluring bedroom eyes.. 😍😍

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  10. I am so grateful to you for recommending this show! I don’t watch very many Chinese dramas (although I am getting into them more and more lately) so I’m not really up to date with new content coming out. This show is incredible though! It made me cry and laugh and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside 🙂 I love the friends, the romance, the story, the setting so much that I watched it all in a day and a half, and am now going back to watch it more slowly! The second time aound I’m noticing all these little things I didn’t before, and it’s so fun. I’ve actually never done that with a show before, so it just goes to show how much I love the drama! Anyway, thank you again for posting about it. I don’t think I would have heard about it otherwise!

    Like

    • D’AW!! I’m SO pleased that you loved this show, Alena!! 😀 I agree, this one really is very special; it’s got a very special charm about it. ❤ I would've watched it all in one fell swoop, if my schedule had allowed, heh.

      I'm sure the second watch is great – I imagine that besides the little details, it'd probably also be more fun coz this time you're aware of Jiang Chen's side of the story, and what he's up to, at various points of the story.

      I'm so chuffed to be the one to point you to this drama – and I hope to be able to point you to more great C-dramas. Like you, I've been getting into them more and more lately! 😉

      Like

  11. I saw this trending on Weibo when I was lurking around the holidays and then consumed it in a cracktastic 3 day business trip. It tickled all the right spots. I haven’t watched a Korean drama for quite some time but will need to tip top back in. You will have to do a pretty boy post of HIT… such a looker….

    Like

    • Haha, what a nice way to spice up a business trip, casita! 😀 Glad you enjoyed this one, it really is just so sweet & cute, isn’t it? ❤ I'll keep your suggestion of a Pure Pretty post in mind 😉 If you're in the mood for some kdrama cute, you could consider I'm Not A Robot.. I'm liking that one pretty well. 🙂

      Like

  12. I was able to finally find this drama. Thanks for the recommendation! I would have not tried watching it otherwise.

    When I was younger, I wanted to hurry up and finish school and be an adult. You don’t realize that those years were so much easier than the responsibilities that comes with growing up.

    This drama was sweet and nostalgic. I enjoyed the mundane daily activities the characters experienced. Their friendships were golden.

    I think my heart fluttered most when in episode 22 he apologized and she asked for time to think about it. The scene afterwards, after surgery he comes back and she’s there sleeping on his cot! His reaction…the relief and sheer happiness!!

    Regardless, I could go on about my moments of second lead syndrome…but I won’t.

    Thanks…!! After days of hectic teaching and editing..I feel like my time is wasted when I don’t pick a good drama!!

    Just wanted to show my appreciation for all your hard work!!!

    Like

    • Aw, I’m so glad you enjoyed this show, posh! (may I call you Posh?) This one really is such nostalgic feel-good simple goodness ❤ I'm so pleased to be the one to point you to it! 😀 And yes, that scene where he was overwhelmed with relief that she was waiting for him, was very sweet. He was just so grateful that she was there. ❤ And YES, the second lead syndrome in this is real – my heart ached for Bo Song so many times; he's just so sweet that I wanted to just make everything alright for him, even though I knew that he would never get the girl. He didn't manage to steal Xiao Xi's heart, but he sure stole mine, more than a few times. ❤

      Like

  13. Pingback: Flash Review: Where The Lost Ones Go [China] | The Fangirl Verdict

  14. Hi kfangurl! Thanks for this recommendation. I don’t think I would ever have watched it without having read your review first, but just wanted to let you know that ever since your Nirvana In Fire and Oh Hae Young Again reviews, which I came across randomly, I have been following your blog. I really enjoyed A Love So Beautiful. Thank you again for all your reviews.

    I think our tastes are quite similar. I am in almost 100% agreement with the dramas you dislike, and 80 to 90% agreement with the ones you like/love. Just started Money Flower last night, for instance, and I’m totally on board with your review of it–even though I’m not even half-way through!

    Like

    • Hi there Marce! I’m SO PLEASED that you’re enjoying the blog, and that this review resulted in you checking out A Love SO Beautiful! It’s such a sweet little show, I would’ve been sorry to have missed this one. ❤

      Yay that our drama tastes run similar – it's always great to find drama soulmates! So that we can share recommendations and warnings alike, ha. That is FANTASTIC, that you are enjoying Money Flower! It sucked me in right away, and I enjoyed it all the way to the end. I hope you'll love it like I did! 😀

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  15. HI! I just finished watched this drama in this make me soooooooooooooo damn crazy. I can’t stop to smiling and screaming (when I’m alone at my bedroom) when I watched it! OMG!!
    Jiang Chen isn’t a human being. He is more than a human! (SO DAMN HANDSOME!!)
    But yes, I don’t really like his behavior toward Xiao Xi, and always think that Xiao Xi suits better with Bo Song.
    Our poor Bo Song :((((( I really want to pat and hug him! (Bo Song, you’re a good person! You’re truly a man and we love you!)

    The moment when Bo Song confess his feelings and say goodbye to Xiao Xi, omgggg I just can’t stop feeling hurt.
    He’s hurt but he keep smiling as nothing happened. 😦
    Yes, the time changed too fast. suddenly it’s 1 months later….. 3 months later…… 3 years later………… too fast 😦
    The moment when Jiang Chen left it’s totally a heartbreak. I’ve thought that Xiao Xi could catch up with Jiang Chen, but the man who stand in front of her is……… OUR PRINCE BO SONG!!!! OMG I CAN’T HIDE MY HAPPINESS HERE!!!!! BO SONG WITH THAT SMILE! HAHAHAHAHA

    and after I finished this drama, I don’t know what drama should I watched again.
    Do you have any suggestion best chinese drama that I could see marathon as this drama? XD (it’s better abt school life or campus life)

    Like

    • I really liked “With You” – another school drama. The lead male is Liu Hao Ran who I fell in love with after NIF2. The storyline has many similarities to A Love So Beautiful. You should check it out.

      Like

    • I feel your ALSB love, spicy! 😀 It really hooks you by the heart, doesn’t it? I still love this one, so much. ❤ I've just started watching Chinese youth drama My Huckleberry Friends, and 3 episodes in, it seems really promising. I can't vouch for the rest of it, since I'm far from being done with it, but perhaps you might want to give it a try? 🙂

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  16. I’m still too early in the drama now but already I’m falling in love and I know I’d always be rooting for Bo Song, even if there is no hope. Bo Song is too sweet and more well-rounded than Jiang Chen in my opinion but I relate to Jiang Chen a lot, especially the way he’s always doing mean things to Xiao Xi out of jealousy. Damn now I feel like an old auntie just shaking my head at these “kids” and remembering my days in high school.

    But love love love the nostalgia. Makes me sort of want to relive my high school days.

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    • Isn’t this such a lovely nostalgic watch? ❤ That's one of the reasons I loved it. My heart totally went out to Bo Song, and boy stole my heart multiple times. But I will say that Jiang Chen grew on me quite well by series' end, so maybe give him a chance? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have now come to agree with everyone and why they like Jiang Chen so much. He really breaks the typical character stereotypes of his type in my mind and Im starting to feel guilty towards Bo Song for rooting for Jiang Chen lol. Finally a drama that does tsundere male characters right

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        • That’s so cute, how you’re feeling guilty towards Bo Song, for rooting for Jiang Chen! 😆 And, yay that you’re officially on board with Jiang Chen! And uh, wait till you get to the epilogue at the end of the show.. I think that might make your heart burst, just a little bit 😍

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          • I’ve gotten to the end and watched the epilogue. It’s pretty cute to see into Jiang Chen’s mind and how he slowly fell in love with Xiao Xi. Though tbh the main storyline made me squeal enough, especially that last episode!! it’s SO satisfying seeing Jiang Chen suddenly so expressive and loving!! ❤

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            • Woo! Yay that you’ve finished it – and loved it! 😀 I completely agree – it WAS so satisfying to see Jiang Chen being so loving. I felt vindicated on Xiao Xi’s behalf, ha.

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              • Yes definitely. So glad this show has revived my love for youth rom-com (thought ive outgrown them) but now the expectations are high lol

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                • I know what you mean! I’ve had more disappointments than successes with the youth rom-coms, in particular the Chinese ones. But when a good one comes along like this, man, do they steal my heart! ❤ I'm in the beginning eps of My Huckleberry Friends, a 2017 Chinese youth drama (not sure if it's a rom-com), and 3 eps in, it seems pretty promising. Fingers crossed that it turns out to be a good one! 😀

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Ooooo the name sounds familiar. Will you be blogging about it? I’m trying to catch up on all the dramas that I’ve been anticipating like NIF 2 which is soooo good.

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                    • I will most likely blog about it, yes! 🙂 And yay that you’re loving NIF2! I plan to start watching that soon – once I get some time and mental bandwidth. Looking forward to being blown away! 😉

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                    • Cool!! I’ll be looking forward to it. I’m still quite early in NIF 2 but it’s surprisingly a little more light-hearted (in my opinion anyway) than the first season, partly because it’s no longer about revenge. But I doubt it’ll last much longer lolol

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                    • Heh. Yeah, I read that this was also about revenge – or at least, seeking justice – so it’s probably going to change tone pretty soon for you! 😅

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  17. hi kfangurl! as always I enjoy reading your review😊.
    I honestly love this drama though its been a while since a watch a Chinese speaking drama because I’m into kdrama now 😁. these are the things that I love.
    – I really love the story( its so cute and sweet)
    -their friendship ( solid as ever!)
    -second lead syndrome attack! you’re right I wanna give wu bosong a big hug 😭
    – the otp ( define chemistry?)
    -the tsundere award goes to…JiangChen! (insert chenxiaoxis voice)
    -just like chen xiao xins description “Jiang Chen is a Supermarket”

    Like

    • Hi there jinny! Glad you enjoyed the review! 😀 This is the first youthy C-drama I’ve loved (I haven’t tried that many but most of the ones I tried I didn’t like), so this one’s pretty special, in my books. ❤ And YES to all the stuff you loved about this one. The friendships, sweet Bo Song, and the adorable OTP. 😍 I definitely see myself reaching for this one again – probably when I need a sweet pick-me-up! 😉

      Like

  18. Im 18 epesode right now and still watching (bad eng) i love gao zhi ting role in the drama and i tried to find there account but according to information ig, facebook and twitter them block. I love both of them specially shen yue, hu yi tian, gao zhi ting sun ning, wang zi wei…😁😁 i love both of them this is the firsr chinise drama that i very like and pleasss support the incoming meteor garden, and the our shen yue who role as shan cai here. And the hu yi tian the handsome sibblings drama also, support our loving couple in a love so beautiful.😍😘 sorry for my bad eng. I just tried to speak english so i hope theres some one appriciate this😊

    Like

    • No need to apologize for your English, remarie! I understood you fine! 😀 Glad you enjoyed this show – the actors were perfectly cast, I thought, and I totally understand the affection you have for the actors. I’m keeping an eye out for their projects as well ❤

      Like

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