THE SHORT VERDICT:
Show isn’t going to win any awards for Best Drama, or Best OTP, but if you’re looking for a spot of silly, fluffy drama, this might just do the trick.
It took a while for me to warm to our male lead, but I found Shen Yue’s turn as our female lead delightfully charming, and that more than balanced things out for me.
On top of that, Show’s absurd premise and snappy pace kept things moving along in a pretty pleasing way, so that I didn’t even mind so much, when I didn’t find some of Show’s comic moments all that funny.
Add on a secondary loveline that I was genuinely interested in from early on in our story, and this worked out to be a pretty pleasant diversion, for a little while.
And sometimes, that’s just what you need in a drama, yes?
THE LONG VERDICT:
One of the things I ask myself, when I get to the end of a show, is whether I would have been sorry not to have gotten to know the characters.
Often, that tells me whether the drama hours were worth spending, even if the drama itself might have been rough around the edges, or flawed in some ways.
And yes, this drama is rough around the edges, and I didn’t love everything about it, but when all is said and done, it did leave me with gentle, warm sort of feels, and yes, I do think I would have been sorry to have not met these characters.
That said, I do think that it’s helpful to manage your expectations with this one, which I’ll talk more about shortly.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
Generally speaking, I found the OST breezy and pleasant, and nicely suited to our story world.
In fact, I found just about all the tracks very easy on the ears, and I love the fact that Chen Zhe Yuan, Shen Yue and Luo Ming Jie all contribute their voices to the OST.
If I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with Track 1, Be My Warrior, because it’s so happy and boppy, which is essentially Show’s main vibe.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. This is a fluffy little thing that doesn’t always make sense.
I found that a webtoon / manhua lens was good to keep handy, to whip out any time I felt like people didn’t behave like real people, or if things just didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
2. This is more of a romance than a time travel fantasy drama.
Which means that Show doesn’t really spend time teasing out how the time travel (well, also, dimension-travel) works. It just does, is the sense that I get, while watching.
Knowing to expect that, and not having expectations of actual explanations, helps.
STUFF I LIKED
Show’s generally snappy pace
One of the things that strikes me about this show, is how fast everything trundles along.
I’m sure that this is because Show is just 24 short 40-minute episodes, versus longer shows like Love Like The Galaxy (review here!).
With Love Like The Galaxy, 6 episodes in, it had felt like we were barely scratching the surface – which was true, since there were 50 more episodes to go, at that point.
With this show, however, 6 episodes in, we’re already a quarter of the way through the story, which means Show has to be much quicker in terms of setting the stage, and getting things into place, for our story to unfold.
I’m not mad about that, coz I do like the breezy pace; it feels like I barely need to wait for anything to happen, in this story world. Stuff just keeps unfolding, because, tick tock, we only have 24 hours to get to the finish line, no time to waste. 😁
Additionally, even though it did take some time for Show to actually grow on me properly (I’ll talk more about that in a bit), because Show moved along so quickly, I was easily persuaded by the idea that Show would give me more of what I wanted, sooner rather than later, and that made me more amenable to just roll with what Show was serving up, in the meantime.
As a quick example, our story shapes up pretty quickly in episode 1, which I count a plus, because with most dramas, it’s only maybe at the end of the first episode, that you start to see the pieces come together, to create the situation from which the story unfolds.
Not in this show.
Within about just 15 minutes, our male lead’s been summoned from his world, and lands squarely in our female lead’s lap, ha.
This already tells me that Show’s not interested in waffling about; it wants to get to the point, and move things along, and that was very much fine by me, since I was in the mood for easy-breezy, rather than something heavier and more complicated.
To be sure, the storytelling isn’t anything groundbreaking, and there are a bunch of recognizable tropes that, coincidentally, vibe somewhat close to some of the tropes that we just saw in Love Between Fairy and Devil (review here!).
Importantly, though, they work within the framework of the story, and the execution is solid enough, that I still get a good chuckle, even though I’ve literally just seen variations of some of these, in another show.
Not bad at all.
STUFF THAT WAS OK
Show’s sense of humor
Show’s a light, breezy little thing, and along with that, it does make an effort to be entertain us with its idea of funny, and this worked out to be a mixed bag, for me, which is why this is in this section.
To be clear, that’s better than what some dramas manage, since I did actually feel reasonably well amused, about 50% of the time.
That’s not bad, overall?
Here are some examples of when it worked, and when it didn’t work, for me.
When it worked for me
E1-2. I find it somewhat amusing that because Wudi (Chen Zhe Yuan) is smart and has a photographic memory (because Nan Xing’s (Shen Yue) written him that way, heh), he learns everything about the modern world really fast, by studying at the library.
On that point, he kind of reminds me of Kim Boong Do from Queen In-hyun’s Man (review here, and Open Threads listed here!), who also learned everything really fast, thanks to being smart, and thanks to spending time at the library.
It’s just that Kim Boong Do was a nice male lead from the start, and Wudi.. isn’t, just yet.
E1-2. I was very amused when Wudi decides that since Nan Xing had allegedly found him in a dream, then the way back to his world, must also be via Nan Xing dreaming – and so insists that she go to sleep right then and there, on the grass in the public park.
Hahaha! That was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help giggling out loud.
But then, it became even funnier, that despite her misgivings, Nan Xing falls asleep pretty much right away.
And then, via her dreamscape, she comes face to face with the fairy who’d worked the magic to bring Wudi to life, because our fairy’s a low-level, low-budget one, and he doesn’t have the means to put Wudi back where he belongs, hahaha.
The way she physically attacks the fairy, for sending Wudi to her, is also unexpectedly hilarious. 😁
E3-4. It’s kind of tropey, the way Wudi gets summoned left and right by Nan Xing, on accident, this set of episodes, but I’m still rather tickled anyway.
Nan Xing’s habit of pretty much saying the equivalent of, “Oh, help,” every time she encounters some kind of setback, is quite funny, because it inevitably results in a very perplexed Wudi, finding himself suddenly in her presence.
And then the way he literally can’t NOT do what she’d originally summoned him for, is quite amusing as well.
(Yes, it does kinda-sorta remind me of bits of Love Between Fairy and Devil, but it still works within the construct of our story, so it’s all good.)
When it didn’t work for me
E3-4. I cringed when Nan Xing keeps freezing up in front of Zichen (Luo Ming Jie), and even thwacks him in an effort to act casual, not once, but twice.
In fact, Show turns this into a bit of a running gag, with Nan Xing literally being unable to function while in Zichen’s presence.
I’m pretty sure Show meant this for funnies, but I didn’t think it was very funny, unfortunately, and was hugely relieved when Show finally moved on from this. 🙈
Some of Show’s narrative turns
The reason I’ve got this in this section, is because while Show did manage to genuinely surprise me with some of its narrative turns, I didn’t always love Show’s decisions.
That said, Show does manage to work it all out, in the end, and in a way that I found surprisingly cohesive, so it’s all good.
Here are just a few examples of when I felt at least somewhat perplexed at Show’s narrative decisions.
E17-18. Ye Qing (Qu Jing Jing) quitting X-Culture. I understood it, I guess, but I just.. didn’t like it. 😅🙈
E17-18. It came as quite the shock to me, when Wudi disappears, as he kisses Nan Xing after making the wish.
Argh. I suppose I should have guessed this might happen, if I’d put any serious thought into our story, but things were trotting along so well, plus, I’d believed that fairy when he’d said that he couldn’t take Wudi back, so it didn’t occur to me that Wudi might end up unexpectedly going back to his world.
E19-20. The script catching fire in Zichen’s office is.. well, kind of a stretch to me? Like, why would Zichen have a lit candle in his office? He doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would bother with things like that?
But. I get that Show’s looking for a way to make a fire happen, so that Nan Xing’s PTSD gets triggered, so that she’d desperately call for Wudi to help her, so that Wudi would actually get the chance to come back.
It just.. feels rather forced, clumsy and contrived, to my eyes, unfortunately.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
The feels are a little slow in the coming
When it comes down to it, I realize that feels are really important to me, especially in a romance, and this show is admittedly pretty slow in serving up the feels, for me.
And, I think that one of the reasons (and also, one of the ways this shows up) is, unlike Love Like The Galaxy, and Love Between Fairy And Devil, both of which I watched recently, I just didn’t take to our male lead very well, for quite a while.
I rationalized that because of the premise, our male lead necessarily starts out in a more villainous space, and would become more appealing, as Show nudges our central romance along.
Unlike Dylan Wang’s villainous male lead in Fairy-Devil, however, I mostly wasn’t digging the visuals on Xiao Wudi, and neither did I find him charismatic, both of which were things that had me chomping at the bit for more of Dongfang Qingcang, even when he was being quite villain-like in Fairy-Devil.
This is not helpful, to be sure. Which is why I found myself itching for this romance to hurry up and get going already, so that I could see Wudi in a more appealing space – which I believed would help me to see him in a more positive light (which it did, eventually).
It was just.. slow in the coming, which I didn’t prefer.
When I find our characters’ behavior difficult to reconcile
There are times when our characters behave in pretty illogical and inexplicable ways, and, even with my manhua lens handy, sometimes this just left me scratching my head, and wondering what our writers were smoking, in order to come up with this stuff. 😅
Here are just a couple of examples.
E7-8. Specifically, I found Show’s treatment of Wudi’s realization of his feelings for Nan Xing, decidedly odd.
Last set of episodes, we see Wudi going to pretty great – and ridiculous – lengths, to try to confirm Nan Xing’s feelings for him, and this set of episodes, he suddenly leans full-gear into setting up Nan Xing and Zichen, to try to make a relationship happen between them.
The only indication of his feelings for Nan Xing is an almost throwaway line, where he shakes himself and tells himself not to get distracted by her.
Which, I suppose is better than nothing at all, but really, if Wudi really does like Nan Xing like Show has indicated that he does, then this little throwaway line is just not enough, to justify his ability to put aside his feelings, and focus so hard, on creating romantic opportunities for Nan Xing and Zichen.
It doesn’t make any sense to me. 🤪
E19-20. Honestly, I thought Wudi’s amnesia act was pretty uncalled for, and kind of dumb, when you think about it.
Like, if he’s so mean to her now, in pretending not to remember her, and saying all these mean things to her, he’ll just end up breaking her heart now, instead of later, if/when he disappears.
How is that any better? I don’t think his logic makes any sense? 🙄
SPOTLIGHT ON CHARACTERS & RELATIONSHIPS
Shen Yue as Nan Xing
I have a great deal of fondness for Shen Yue, after her charming turn in 2017’s A Love So Beautiful (review is here!), and I welcomed the chance to see more of her on my screen.
I have to say, a lot of the credit for my enjoyment of this show, belongs to Shen Yue, because I find her really likable, as our female lead Nan Xing.
I love how she’s cute without being cutesy. There’s an earthy, relatable quality to her brand of cute that I really dig; it makes her feel effortlessly endearing, and there’s not try-hard about her cuteness, which is important to me.
Even when other stuff wasn’t working so well for me in this drama world, Shen Yue as Nan Xing just grounded everything for me, and made me want to keep watching, if only to see more of her on my screen.
E1-2. I love Nan Xing’s such a petite little tiny person, who’s so athletic and strong, that she can knock out a thief with a flying book, and princess-carry the mystery dude who’s shown up passed out on her lap, without really even breaking a sweat.
I really like how straightforward and guileless she is, and it tickles me quite a bit, that she’s so passionate and upstanding, that she’s received multiple awards for nabbing all sorts of criminals, so much so that her coach’s wall is running out of space on which to display them. 😁
I also really like how she’s not easy to get down. Even when she thinks she’s failed the interview at X-Culture for her dream job, she doesn’t mope that much, and immediately thinks to cheer herself up with some milk tea.
Isn’t that endearing, that the thought of milk tea is enough to perk her up, even though she’s really very disappointed at the thought that she won’t get to work with her idol Lu Zichen, like she’d hoped?
Most of all, though, I love how casually sweet and kind she is.
Even though our male lead Xiao Wudi is not the nicest to her, she does really nice things for him.
The little pamphlet she makes, with hand-drawn illustrations of how to live in the modern world, and her phone number, in case he needs it, is so thoughtful, really.
And the bottle of digestive medicine that she leaves for him, in case he suffers any indigestion from eating her mom’s cooking, is very caring of her too, especially since, like I said, Wudi isn’t exactly inviting the niceness by being nice himself.
E3-4. This episode, I feel for Nan Xing, when Show reveals that she has PTSD after having been caught in a fire, in middle school.
Normally, Nan Xing is so cheerful and upbeat, that this reveal lands as extra poignant, to me.
And, the way she talks about how the doers cannot undo what’s been done, because they’re gone, makes me think that perhaps Nan Xing’s father and brother had died in the fire, while working to save her.
If that’s true, that would add such a dark layer of pain to Nan Xing’s backstory, because it’s bad enough to have been in a fire, and it’s bad enough that she’s lost her father and brother.
But it would be ten times worse, if she’d lost them because of the fire, because then there might be a lot of lingering survivor’s guilt in the mix as well.
E5-6. That scene where Mom and Nan Xing talk about how she’s nice looking, is cute, and I like that Nan Xing has the confidence to say that she thinks she’s nice looking, even though no one else has told her so before (except Wudi, by accident, and indirectly too).
I love that grounded self-confidence that Nan Xing has at her core, even though she gets nervous and jumpy when she’s feeling inadequate. ❤️
Chen Zhe Yuan as Wudi
Like I mentioned earlier in this review, it took me a fair while to warm up to Wudi as our male lead, and I put that down to both the writing, and the fact that I don’t have any pre-existing fondness for Chen Zhe Yuan as an actor, to fall back on, since this was my introduction to him.
Overall, I honestly find him just ok, in the role, although I have to admit that he does deliver some difficult scenes quite nicely, in our later stretch.
In our earlier stretch, though, those acting chops didn’t really come into play, and that didn’t help.
The writing also regularly had Wudi doing nice stuff that earned him brownie points in my books – and then promptly lose those points, and then some, by doing stuff that was the opposite of nice.
I found that two-steps-forward-three-steps-back sort of rhythm quite perplexing, personally, because I was very conscious of the fact that this is a short show, and we didn’t have to keep waffling on in his “less nice” phase. 😅
Here’s a sampling of my thoughts around Wudi, over the course of my watch. You’ll be able to see how bemused I was, trying to understand him. 😅
E1-2. I don’t exactly like Wudi a whole lot, to start. But, I suppose that’s built into the narrative, since he’s the villain in Nan Xing’s novel? Which means that he’s supposed to be kind of bad?
I do find that he’s rather brusque with her, and I don’t like that he’s essentially treating her like a nuisance-cum-burden, who’s interrupted his life, but is too dumb to understand how or why.
E1-2. Even though he’s reluctant about it, Wudi does intervene to save Nan Xing at the end of episode 2, when he gets summoned by her cry for help.
That’s definitely a plus.
E3-4. I’m not super hot on the way Wudi seems to treat Nan Xing as his maidservant, but like I said last episode, it gives him room to grow, so fingers crossed that he starts being nicer to her soonish.
That said, although Wudi responds to Nan Xing’s trauma with fire by saying that now he knows her weakness, he does look suitably sobered when he says it, actually, so I still count that as a plus. As in, at least he’s got a heart?
E5-6. I don’t know what to think of Wudi pretending to be a sad drunk, hoping to see that Nan Xing shares his emotional burden too, is also pretty out there and pretty dumb.
And while it’s nice of Wudi to agree to help Nan Xing catch the person behind the death threat, I couldn’t help but facepalm AND headdesk at how Wudi pretends to die in front of Nan Xing, as a prank.
What in the actual heck?!??
That is so not funny, in any context, particularly given that Wudi knows that Nan Xing has suffered some sort of trauma in the past because of the fire, and has lost people dear to her, in that same fire.
This is why Wudi is so perplexing to me, as a male lead. I find it hard to like him or even root for him, when he does idiotic things like this, y’know?
But, hope springs eternal, and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the tide will turn soon.
E7-8. We get several scenes of Nan Xing and Wudi having fun together, like when she takes him to the VR theme park. That was quite nice to see.
Plus, I like Nan Xing, and it’s just really great to see her enjoying herself in such a carefree manner.
It’s sweet of her to bring that soft toy to Wudi, and I’m tickled that she’s so tickled that she sees a resemblance between him and the toy. 😁
Also, Wudi’s advice to Nan Xing, to think of how Zichen’s like a newborn baby who needs her help, actually turns out to be quite useful to Nan Xing, so he gets a brownie point for that.
BUT.. the way Wudi sets up that whole situation where Nan Xing gets trapped in the elevator with Zichen, is bizarre and dumb, so I’m deducting 3 points for that, ha.
However, he earns back those points by, 1, bailing on the plan, once he sees Nan Xing in what appears to be a compromising position, with Zichen, and 2, telling Nan Xing that she’s not inferior to Zichen at all, and it’s Zichen who isn’t worthy of her, not the other way around.
Also, the fact that he gets jealous at the idea of Nan Xing meeting another guy, for what he presumes to be a blind date, is also a plus, since I am impatient for this romance train to get properly settled in its tracks.
E9-10. Sometimes, I really have to remind myself that Wudi’s not a real person, and maybe that’s why he can be so weird.
Like the way he dresses up in that SEQUINNED tux, hoping to impress Nan Xing with it, while serving up a multi-course breakfast.
That really threw me for a loop, coz, who dresses like that, if they’re not Liberace, right? 😂
And then to show up at Nan Xing’s office, still dressed in the flashy tux. and demand that she go out to lunch with him, and then open his mouth like a baby bird, waiting for her to feed him, is just.. too weird for my taste. 😝🙈
Nan Xing and Wudi
If you read my earlier section on my feelings towards Wudi as our male lead, you’d probably be able to guess that:
1, this OTP was slow to grow on me, and,
2, it was Nan Xing, our female lead, that grounded this OTP for me, most of the way through.
That said, I have to concede that when Show wanted to bring on the feels with these two, it was perfectly capable of doing so, AND, when these two were allowed to be cute together, they really were quite adorable.
This OTP didn’t steal my heart the way some other OTPs have done (Ling Buyi and Cheng Shaoshang in Love Like The Galaxy comes to mind), but y’know, when all is said and done, in the end, they were cute and sweet, and they made me smile.
Not much more I can ask for, from an OTP in a fluffy drama like this, yes?
Here’s a sampling of OTP highlights.
E5-6. This set of episodes, I have to admit that I felt a little something, when Nan Xing tries to prove to Wudi, that it’s not as easy as he thinks, to seduce someone, and then gets all up close and personal in his face – which then has the unexpected effect of discombobulating him, heh.
That was rather amusing, but also, like I said, I thought I did feel a crackle there, in the moment, and that bodes well for the future, yes?
I do like the idea of Wudi falling for Nan Xing, in spite of himself, but the way he goes about responding to this idea, is really quite ridiculous.
The way he condescending tells Nan Xing that he’ll date her, and then dump her later, making for that unforgettable love that she’d wished for, is so dumb, really. Who would agree to that, even in a manhua world, right?
I’m glad Nan Xing scoffs at this offer, and basically takes him off his high horse.
E5-6. I did like the scene at the end of episode 6, where Wudi and Nan Xing kind of make up, and call everything even.
When Nan Xing expresses uncertainty over her new position as a permanent staff at X-Culture, I like how Wudi tells her not to care what other people think, and just do her job well, so that his effort isn’t wasted.
E7-8. It’s really sweet that even when Nan Xing’s quite drunk, she remembers her promise to Wudi, to buy him ice cream from the convenience store.
And, the hyper-proximity kinda makes sense, given that Nan Xing’s so tipsy. This means that her leaning into Wudi’s personal space to have some of that ice cream, is believable, because she’s quite drunk.
And again, I think I feel a bit of spark, between our OTP, as we close out the episode, which is quite promising, yes?
E9-10. I like the fact that Wudi’s all discombobulated by his growing awareness of his feelings for Nan Xing. This is wayyy better than him trying to set her up with other guys, that’s for sure. 😁
I’m glad we go back to the ice cream moment at the top of episode 9, because first of all, Nan Xing is so cute and adorable when she’s tipsy and craving ice cream.
And second of all, Wudi’s soft gaze of amusement and wonder, quickly followed by wistfulness when she moves away from his breathing space to get a tissue, is so great.
And his distinct sense of hyper-awareness, as she ends up leaning on his shoulder for an impromptu snooze, is also quite delicious. 😋
YES, SHOW. THIS is the content that I’m here for! 😁
I pretty much love his tenderness towards her for the rest of the night, from wiping the ice cream off her face, to carrying her home to bed, to holding her hand and sleeping next to her bed for the next of the night, all because she didn’t want to let go. Aw.
Of course, Show being the comic-loving creature that it is, leans into the funny the very next morning, with Wudi having to quick-crawl under Nan Xing’s bed, so that she – and Mom! (Dong Xuan) – won’t see him and realize that he’s been there all night.
The way he uses his martial arts flying skillz to hop back over the balcony to his apartment, and then scrambles to tidy up the house to erase any and all evidence of the events of the night before, is kind of silly to me, but still entertaining, nonetheless.
I’m most amused by that moment when he opens the door to Nan Xing, and that huge spray of cartoon hearts just sprrring out from behind him, the minute he sees her.
Tee hee. So much for acting cool, eh? 😁
On that note, I’m not super sure why Wudi goes to such great trouble to deny that Ice Cream Gate ever happened, because, well, wouldn’t that be an opportunity for him to make his move, since he really does like her?
That said, his ridiculous flights of fancy continue to amuse me, especially the one where he imagines her placing that belt around his neck to get him within kissing distance.
It’s quite hilarious to see where his brain is at, and how nervous he is about that, honestly. Pfft. 😁
I find it silly and quite ridiculous that Wudi starts hallucinating that Nan Xing’s everywhere around him, and that he would react in such an exaggerated, scared manner, but y’know, I’ll take this over him trying to set up Nan Xing with other men, any day.
The ensuing hyper-awareness, like when they have that cake fight at the restaurant using Mom’s birthday cake, is also nice to see.
Or at least, he’s hyper-aware of her, but I don’t think Nan Xing’s hyper-aware of him, at the moment.
In fact, with Wudi getting all up in a twist over his burgeoning feelings for her and acting weirdly about it, poor Nan Xing starts to get the idea that he’s actually angry with her, oops.
And, good-hearted sweet soul that she is, Nan Xing even starts to reflect on how she’s been unfair to him by summoning him and forcing him to do things that he doesn’t want, and how to make it up to him. Aw.
Isn’t she such a thoughtful sweetheart, to remember that he’d said in passing, that he’s interested in escape rooms and would like to experience one?
I’m impressed, so I’m not surprised that Wudi’s so swept off his feet, that she remembered. 😁
His efforts to shake himself out of his feelings are varied and silly and quite fruitless, but I suppose he had to try, in order to be convinced that he can’t fight his feelings?
I was starting to lose patience with Wudi waffling about and trying to avoid Nan Xing, that I was glad that she ended up accidentally summoning him to the escape room.
HA. Serve him right for trying to avoid her, when she’d gone to all the trouble of arranging the outing for him.
I have to admit that I’m supremely pleased that Nan Xing’s got this secret weapon in her back pocket. This means that Wudi won’t be able to actually avoid her, even if he tries. 😁
And, the escape room does afford him that hugging opportunity with Nan Xing, which he cutely gets all flustered and uptight about, before grabbing the chance, in order to get Nan Xing to stop speculating about him having a crush on someone, ha.
The way he looks so blissed out while hugging her is quite sweet; it’s just too bad for him, that Nan Xing’s not feeling it at all, and skips away the moment the escape room door opens, heh.
E11-12. It seems like Wudi’s a fast learner, because, the moment he realizes that he can get more of Nan Xing’s attention and tender loving care when he’s sick, he reaaally leans into it, and gets all dramatic about sick, from dropping the porridge, to manipulating his temperature, to willing a nosebleed, heh.
I suppose I can understand him wanting to sink into the TLC and Nan Xing’s company, but I have to confess that I got a stab of satisfaction, when Nan Xing unwittingly outwits him, by getting Mom to take care of him, while she goes to work.
Lol. Wudi has only himself to blame for the suffering he then has to endure, under Mom’s brand of suffocating care. 😆
But, Wudi doesn’t give up easily, as we learn this episode, because the minute he decides that having Nan Xing in his orbit is a good thing, he goes to great lengths to make it happen – even messing with the electric supply at her house, so that she and Mom will have no choice but to stay over at his place.
I mean, it’s low-key amusing that he is that desperate to spend time with her, but I’m also slightly annoyed with him for inconveniencing Nan Xing and Mom so much, all because he wants to cater to his own feelings.
I honestly think I’d be mad, in Nan Xing’s shoes, to know that he’d engineered the whole thing. 😅
Generally speaking, I find myself either low-key amused or low-key rolling my eyes at Wudi’s rather lame efforts to spend alone time with Nan Xing, but it’s all in service of little genuinely sweet moments, like when she falls asleep on his shoulder at the movie theater, and he melts in response (aw), so I’m just rolling with it.
E11-12. Wudi prompting Nan Xing to use his story as material for her story is a positive thing, since it’s a good idea, on its own merit.
It’s just kinda ridiculous how she writes it as him being her demonic neighbor, and he sneaks a look, and then rewrites it as him being a gosh-darned hero. Pfft. It’s so silly, honestly. 😅
Wudi trying to be a gentle, warm guy, which is what he believes is Nan Xing’s ideal type, is just as silly – and it looks like those hijinks are primed to collide, next set of episodes.
I’m all for that, as long as we get some movement on this OTP loveline, preferably in the direction of Nan Xing realizing her feelings for Wudi, or failing that, at least realizing Wudi’s feelings for her. That should be fun? 😁
E13-14. This set of episodes, it’s actually really quite nice to see Nan Xing and Wudi working on her story together – once they get over that hump where Wudi’s trying to be a saccharine sweet warm guy, and freaks Nan Xing out with his unnaturally thoughtful behavior, ha.
It’s actually quite amusing, how Nan Xing gets more and more uncomfortable and freaked out, the nicer Wudi tries to be.
I kinda love that Nan Xing is so happy and relieved when Wudi says she’s free to go, and jumps at the chance to head home, and leaves Wudi very perplexed and frustrated, in her wake.
Muahaha. Serves Wudi right, for thinking that this caring guy thing was such a piece of cake. 😁
I don’t particularly care for the side plot of Sisi needing help because she’s been cheated of her gym membership money, but I get the idea, that it’s because Wudi comes to the rescue in a rather cool fashion, that it inspires Nan Xing on the writing front.
And, I just like when she finally caves and lets him read her writing, which then leads to them working on the story together.
I particularly like that little sequence, where they take turns tweaking the title of the story, until they arrive at the final title, which is a combination of both their ideas. That feels like a really nice example of real teamwork, and I like that very well.
Because I was rather tickled at the whole process of it, here’s a breakdown, because I don’t think the subs do it justice:
Nanxing: My Demonic Neighbor
Wudi: My Hero Master
Nanxing: My Villain Master
Wudi: My Villain Hero
Nanxing: My Villain Boyfriend
..Which Show translates as Mr. Bad, in keeping with Show’s title, but really, Show’s title literally translates as My Villain Boyfriend, so there’s that?
It’s cute how happy they are when their story is shortlisted as a finalist, and it’s sweet how Wudi gives Nan Xing a lot of the writing credit, but what really gets my attention, is how, now that they’re working together as partners, there’s a quasi-boyfriend sort of quality, to the way Wudi relates to Nan Xing.
Like the way he tells her that he’ll pick her up after work, as he makes to leave her office. That’s a very boyfriend thing to do, yes?
And then there’s also how he takes off his jacket to put it on Nan Xing’s shoulders, as they walk home from her office. Again, a very boyfriend thing to do.
It’s actually quite nice, to see Wudi dip his toes into this space, without even really thinking about it.
And of course, there’s that moment, when they try on the hand-hold, for “research purposes,” and get all hyper-aware and awkward as a result. Hee. Nice, nice. 😁
..Perhaps that’s why Nan Xing’s imagination starts to get all fired up, thinking about doing fun couple type things together at the PEN congress that X-Culture is holding.
This is good, because it’s high time Nan Xing’s feelings for Wudi get awakened, so that they can properly reciprocate each other’s feelings.
The unfortunate side effect, of course, is how Nan Xing gets all self-conscious and tongue-tied about inviting Wudi to the PEN congress in the first place, and somehow, we end up with Wudi agreeing to go, and Nan Xing suddenly backpedaling, and hedging that she’s still thinking about it.
Oh, Nan Xing, you poor scandalized baby. 😅
E15-16. I have to confess that I hadn’t guessed that Nan Xing’s first love had actually been Mom’s bio son, from before the accident.
Oof. That’s really tough, because, when I think about it, Nan Xing not only never knew if he reciprocated her feelings for him; she lost him in that fire.
It’s no wonder she developed PTSD and then never liked anyone after that. That’s a surprisingly dark turn, for a show that’s got such a light, comic sort of tone?
But Show plays it more poignant than anything else, with Nan Xing thinking about first love Mao Xiaojun (Yuan Ruo Hang), while back in middle school.
I thought you guys might be interested to know that the little board that Nan Xing reaches to get off that top shelf, is the board that Mao Xiaojun had been drawing on, when she’d attempted to confess her feelings to him, in the flashback.
We know this, because, while the drawing itself has faded somewhat, Mao Xiaojun’s name is still quite clearly written on the board.
And so, it feels extra significant, somehow, that just as Nan Xing struggles to get Mao Xiaojun’s board down from that top shelf, Wudi shows up and helps her get it down.
In a weird symbolic sort of way (if I squint at it a bit), it feels like Wudi’s helping Nan Xing to get over Xiaojun?
And, it’s quite sweet of Wudi, to try to assure Nan Xing that he’s never thought of her as dumb, and even if she is a little dumb, it doesn’t matter because there’s no rule that states that everyone has to be equally smart.
It’s not a super complimentary statement, sure, but coming from Wudi, it sounds earnest and heartfelt, and I can tell that he’s sincerely trying to help Nan Xing feel better, so he gets points for that.
Very likely, that’s why Nan Xing screws up her courage, and tells Wudi to come to the PEN congress with her. YES, thank you.
E15-16. It’s fun and cute to see Wudi and Nan Xing basically duck away from everyone else at the PEN Congress, and have couple date time together – except they aren’t actually a couple yet.
It’s sweet to see how Wudi’s actually done a thorough recce beforehand, to find all the most delicious treats, and funnest activities, so that he would be able to introduce them all to Nan Xing, during the PEN congress trip.
Aw. That’s really quite endearing, isn’t it?
I can just feel Wudi gearing up to take this connection into official waters – which is when Zichen steps in to be the convenient devil’s advocate, without even realizing it.
That said, Zichen isn’t without a point.
It’s true that Wudi might go back to his own world without warning, just like he’d arrived in this world without warning, and if that were to happen, it would be irresponsible of him, to start a relationship with Nan Xing that he doesn’t even know whether he’ll be around for.
Since Wudi is sincere about his feelings for Nan Xing, it makes sense that he would actually take this thought seriously, and rethink the idea of starting a relationship with Nan Xing.
E15-16. I’m glad that things go better for our other would-be couple, with Nan Xing summoning Wudi to appear in front of her, when he tries to hide in his room, and then refusing to let him leave, by warning him that he’ll suffer those headaches, if he attempts to ignore her summons. Hee.
I do love how earnest and open-hearted and willingly vulnerable Nan Xing comes across, as she tells Wudi that she likes him, and wants to be with him.
And when he tells her all his reservations, I love how she presses in, and tells him that she wants to cherish the present, because if she doesn’t, then no matter what happens in the future, she will regret it.
Gosh, that’s such a true statement, when I think about it.
If Wudi stays, and she doesn’t take the chance to be with him now, she will regret it for sure. And if he ends up disappearing one day, she will regret that same thing, too.
Our Nan Xing sure is wise, sometimes, isn’t she? She may not be smart in all things, but she absolutely knows her own heart, and is brave to follow it. I love that about her.
And I love that it’s because of her courage, that our OTP is finally minted. Huzzah! Finally. 😅
It’s just too bad that their first kiss gets interrupted by passers-by, and then later, by Sister Jiao, outside the room. 😁
I must say, Wudi and Nan Xing make a cute couple, even as they try to navigate how to present themselves to the world, now that they are together.
It’s cute that after telling Wudi that they should maintain distance between them when they’re with other people, Nan Xing changes her mind quite quickly, when Wudi studiously ignores her on the bus.
Heh. I guess you should be careful what you ask for? 😅
Our new couple trying their darndest to hide their relationship from Mom is pretty silly, but I’m quite taken with their couple cute, so I’m willing to just roll with the silliness, for now.
Plus, there’s a good amount of couple sweetness, which I’m enjoying, like the way Wudi shows up at the bus stop and gives Nan Xing a rose, while she’s on her way to work.
That’s totally the kind of thing a new boyfriend would derive joy from doing, and seeing this does give me the warm fuzzies. 🥰
E17-18. I actually thought it was pretty cute that Wudi photoshopped a birth certificate for himself, and had all these plans to take the university entrance exams, so that he could get a degree and then get a job, in order to be responsible for Nan Xing.
And, it’s sweet that Nan Xing tells him not to do it, because it’s illegal, and then tells him that she’ll take care of him. Aw. 🥰
With all this cuteness going on, I’d honestly forgotten that Wudi didn’t know that he’d come from Nan Xing’s novel, and so, when he realizes it from reading the novel, when Ye Qing shows it to him, I was taken quite by surprise, honestly.
But, it is admittedly a bombshell to Wudi, and of course he would need time and space to process it.
I mean, I don’t know how I would feel, if I thought I was human, and then, one day, was shown proof that I’m really just a fictional character. 😅
I thought it was really quite funny, when Nan Xing haltingly tries to put herself in Wudi’s shoes, and refers to herself as his mother, because she created him. Hahaha.
It feels like that came out of nowhere, and it made me giggle quite a bit. 😁
After the giggles, though, I did really appreciate the heartfelt, serious tone of their conversation, as Wudi talks about how he needs time to process it all, and figure his way through it.
Nan Xing putting that little drawing of a cartoon flowchart under Wudi’s door, to guide him to call her if he’s figured things out, or buy ice cream to eat, if he can’t figure things out, is cute and sweet at the same time.
I thought it was really sweet and thoughtful of Nan Xing to create a birthday for Wudi, and make memories for him, so that he would have what normal people have.
And, it’s really sweet too, to hear Wudi make his birthday wish in voiceover, that he wants to be able to be with Nan Xing forever, so that he’ll be able to take care of her always.
Awww. That’s really cute and lovely at the same time.
E19-20. I do think it’s sweet, that Wudi’s so intent on finding his way back to Nan Xing, even though he’s now back in his own world.
It feels like he doesn’t care if he never gets to come back; he just wants to be with Nan Xing, and that is honestly quite a melty thought.
Unfortunately, all of Wudi’s efforts get him nowhere, and we basically have a sad, separated OTP for a good chunk of this set of episodes.
E19-20. I do love Nan Xing’s reaction, the minute she realizes that Wudi’s faking his amnesia. (Ha. I had the exact same thought, when he waited at the crosswalk, for the light to change.)
The smile on Nan Xing’s face is nothing short of infectious, and she’s literally the cutest little button I ever did see, even as she teases Wudi by pretending to play along with his act. 🤩
I just love the way she throws her arms around him and just hugs him like a little koala, while beaming with happiness. Gosh, I luff her, she is so adorable! 😍
I’m glad that Wudi ‘fesses up before long, and I’m glad that Nan Xing tells him right away, that she’s still intent on being with him in the present, so that she won’t have any regrets later on.
Aw. I love that our girl is so consistent that way. ❤️
And.. I guess Wudi’s kind of consistent too, in the way he jumps the balcony like he always used to do, in order to sleep near Nan Xing. Aw. That’s sweet too.
Qu Jing Jing as Ye Qing
I found myself being quite drawn to second female lead Ye Qing, during my watch.
Right away, she seems so calm, cool and capable, without coming across as standoffish or cold.
I kinda knew, just from that alone, that she would likely turn out to be quite awesome – and she does.
I love a lot of things about Ye Qing; here’s a sampling of highlights.
E3-4. I really like how down-to-earth and approachable Ye Qing is, despite her cool, capable persona.
The way she talks to Nan Xing on her first day of work and encourages her, is quite nice, honestly.
E5-6. I like the way Ye Qing takes charge, in the wake of Nan Xing and Wudi catching the culprit behind the death threat, is pretty darn awesome.
I love how she’s so sharp and so firm, without actually coming across as domineering.
I also love how she is the same way with everyone, Zichen included, even though he’s the CEO. She makes no concession for that, and just continues to shoot straight from the hip, and I kinda love that. 🤩
E9-10. Ye Qing’s a pretty great boss.
I like how, when she discovers Nan Xing’s fan fic online, she encourages Nan Xing to enter the writing contest, because she thinks that Nan Xing’s got potential.
That feels so open-minded and supportive of her. 🤩
Luo Ming Jie as Zichen
When Luo Ming Jie appeared on my screen as Zichen, I instinctively knew that I’ve seen him before. His face, and in particular, his voice, just stood out to me.
But, it wasn’t until I looked him up, that I realized that I’d just seen him in Shining For One Thing, (review here!) where he plays Chao Yang, the dude who’s really into Chinese crosstalk.
It’s pretty mindbendy for me to see him go from high-schooler to CEO in the space of a few months, but I like the discombobulation.
And, there’s just something about the timber of his voice that really appeals to me. It has an unusual sound that somehow makes his CEO character vibe even cooler, to my eyes. 🤩
I also just wanted to say, that while some viewers might find it a little hard to reconcile that Zichen can be so clueless about interpersonal relationships, when he’s so brilliant otherwise, I can buy the idea that he’s socially awkward, while being gifted at writing.
Ye Qing and Zichen
From pretty early on in our story, it becomes clear that Zichen’s holding a torch for Ye Qing, and y’know, I started rooting for him to get the girl – well, his girl – almost right away.
I dunno; there’s something so wistful about how Luo Ming Jie plays it, that makes me want Zichen to succeed in winning Ye Qing’s heart. 🤩
And, not gonna lie, there were times during my watch, where I legit felt more invested in this secondary loveline, than in our OTP loveline.
E3-4. There’s something quite endearing about how Zichen’s trying to keep playing his Cool CEO card, while trying to get close to Ye Qing.
Like the way he casually invites Ye Qing to dinner on her birthday, and then it becomes clear that his entire pretext for the dinner had likely been staged, so that she would think that he really did want to discuss the plot of his book with her, when really, all he’d wanted to do, was have dinner with her on her birthday, and give her that necklace as a gift.
It’s all quite dorky, which I love, hee.
At the same time, his wistfulness that’s written all over his face, when he realizes that not only does Ye Qing have a boyfriend, but said boyfriend had gotten her the exact same gift that he’d gotten her, lends a layer of poignance to his crush.
It’s early days yet, but this ship has already grabbed me by the heart. 😁
E7-8. I have to confess that at this point in our show, I find myself becoming more interested in the secondary loveline than the primary one.
For one thing, I definitely find Luo Ming Jie as Lu Zichen more appealing than Chen Zhe Yuan as Xiao Wudi.
I personally think Zichen is more handsome and has a personality that’s easier to get behind.
I find his crush on Ye Qing quite charming, and the fact that he gets all childish and silly, when it comes to his jealousy over her relationship with someone else, is quite amusing to me. I just find his mashup of cool chic CEO and completely dorky childlike crush quite endearing.
And, as I’ve mentioned before, I really, really like his voice. It’s got quite a special timbre to it that works really well for the cool chic CEO persona. 🤩
I also like the side effect of his crush – that he keeps reaching to depend on Nan Xing for help and support, thus improving their work dynamic.
AND, by the time we get to the end of this set of episodes, Zichen finds out that Ye Qing’s broken up with her boyfriend, which is a very positive development, in terms of his crush.
Maybe now we’ll get some actual movement in this loveline? I’m actually really looking forward to that. 😁
E13-14. I’m kind of encouraged to see that at least Ye Qing’s thinking of asking Zichen about his feelings towards her, after being prompted by her conversation with Rockclimbing Doc.
And, we also get to see why she’s been so convinced all this time, that Zichen doesn’t like her as more than a friend, and will never like her as more than a friend. It’s a statement that he’d made to his father, and he’d made it in a very resolute manner, too.
It’s quite understandable that Ye Qing would have taken that to heart. At the same time, I can’t help but clock that Ye Qing does look rather disappointed, when she hears him say that to his father.
I’m thinking that she’s had feelings for him, for a long time, then..
Which, if that’s true, then what a bummer, that they’ve liked each other for a long time, but have been skirting the issue because, 1, he’s too socially awkward to manage this properly, and 2, she believes that he will never like her.
E15-16. I’m glad that Zichen and Ye Qing get a private moment to talk, where he thanks her for all the things that she does for him.
But, it’s kind of bittersweet, because we see in flashback, that Zichen’s father (Shao Feng) had made it a condition, that she never get romantically involved with Zichen, for him to invest in X-Culture.
E15-16. Ironically enough, it’s Zichen who is inspired to screw up his courage to confess his feelings to Ye Qing during the fireworks display, because if the Xiao Wudi in the novel can be so bold in love, so can he.
Honestly, I cheered on the inside, to see Zichen tell Ye Qing so decisively, that he likes her and that they should be together. It’s the bravest and most direct I’ve seen him, since we met him.
It’s so sad, though, that Ye Qing refuses to allow herself to reciprocate, most likely because she’s holding herself to the promise that she’d made to Zichen’s father, all those years ago.
I do love, though, the way Zichen tells her that no matter what she says, she will never lose him.
Augh. THAT is genuinely the most swoony thing I’ve heard on this show, to date. YES. You tell her, Zichen!
E17-18. From what we can gather, the truth is, Ye Qing does have feelings for Zichen, so his instinct isn’t wrong there.
But she’s made that promise to his father, which she feels she needs to keep, and so, when he presses her like that and doesn’t give her room to avoid him, I can see why she would decide that leaving the company would be her only available option.
It’s still hard to see how torn up they both are, at her decision, though. 😭
The tears in Ye Qing’s eyes, as she strives to remain hard and strong on the surface, really get to me. She’s probably hurt so much, so many times, over the years, and now, she’s hurting even more, because she has to push Zichen away, even though she likes him.
That’s horrible, and must suck, so much, for her. 💔
It was a bummer watching Ye Qing prepare to leave, and it was hard to see everyone crying because of her departure.
I didn’t want her to leave either, honestly.
Not only does she legitimately feel like the heart of the company, I also want her and Zichen to work things out, and her leaving the company feels like more than a few steps away from that, boo.
It’s sad to see Zichen so sad and mopey after Ye Qing’s departure, and it’s also sad to see Ye Qing tear up at various junctures of this change.
I’m glad, though, that she has parents whom she can go home to, and it’s quite nice to see that she has the wonton shop to keep her busy as well.
And, I’m just waiting, and believing that somehow, sooner rather than later, she will return to X-Culture, and that she and Zichen will manage to work things out between them.
E19-20. I’d originally thought that Zichen might storm over to Ye Qing, and confront her about the promise that she’d made his father, and declare it null and void, but.. that’s not what happens at all.
I mean, he does go over to her parent’s wonton shop to look for her, and ends up having a conversation with her mom (Ma Rui), and I think that’s the thing that changes his approach completely.
Mom does have a point, that Zichen has some growing up and maturing to do, in order to be a good partner for Ye Qing, and I believe that’s why he decides to fix everything on his own, at least for a start.
I feel like that’s the reason Zichen leans so hard into this new way of being, where he’s in charge of everything, and doing everything, and trying to get investors on his own, and refusing to even talk with Ye Qing about it, when she expresses concern.
I think it’s likely because he feels like he needs to prove to her, that he can do this on his own, and that somehow, proving this to her, would make him worthy of being with her.
I’m actually glad that Nan Xing takes the initiative to look up Ye Qing, when Zichen sells his house and moves into the office.
It is technically overstepping her boundaries, sure, but I feel like Ye Qing does need to know how Zichen’s doing, and Zichen’s too stubborn to admit that he’s not doing so great, so I’m happy to back Nan Xing on this one.
Nan Xing and Mom [SPOILERS]
I already really enjoyed the warm, supportive, communicative relationship between Nan Xing and Mom, but this all grabs me by the heart even more, when we learn, in episodes 5-6, that Mom isn’t actually Nan Xing’s bio mom.
How unexpected, that Mom had actually been the woman whom Dad had been thinking to settle down with, until he and Mom’s son had died in the fire, which Nan Xing had also been caught in.
Wow. That just lends such a layer of bittersweetness and pathos to the relationship that Mom and Nan Xing now share, doesn’t it?
They’re surrogate family to each other, and that makes their bond so much more precious. 🥲❤️
Guo Xiao Tian as Xiao Hao
Technically, Xiao Hao is a very small supporting character, but his quiet, wistful, earnest crush on Sisi (Su Zi Shan) is just adorable. I mean, look at that face!
In my head, he was just Puppyyy. 😍😍😍
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
All’s well that ends well, in our fluffy little drama world, even when Show feinted towards a possibly sad ending, from time to time.
Because, of COURSE we would get a happy ending in this story world; it’s just not built for anything else, really. (And if Show really had given us a sad ending, I’m sure I would have at least heard the echoes of drama fans revolting, all the way from China. 😁)
In fact, I’m pleasantly surprised by how cohesive Show manages to make its ending; I’d honestly expected a lot less, from Show. 😅
I mean, let’s talk about our OTP first.
When Show got Wudi to dream about Mao Xiao Jun, and see all of the past events from Mao Xiao Jun’s perspective, I did start to raise my eyebrow a little, because, at that point in time, this had felt really random and rather forced, honestly.
BUT, on hindsight, after Show reveals that Wudi had been Mao Xiao Jun’s creation (rather than Nan Xing’s), it starts to make a lot more sense.
If Mao Xiao Jun had been Wudi’s creator, and he’d poured so much of himself (and what he wanted to be) into the character of Wudi, then it makes sense that Wudi would be able to dream of him, and see things from his perspective.
With this understanding in place, the entire thing, of Wudi role-playing Mao Xiao Jun, back in high school, in order to help Nan Xing get over her trauma, definitely makes more sense.
And with that, I feel freer to appreciate Wudi’s sacrificial decision, to help Nan Xing heal from her trauma, even if it means him disappearing from her world, and never seeing her again.
Aw. That is quite heroic, when I think about it.
Also, when in the context of Mao Xiao Jun’s earnest wish, that he’d be able to protect Nan Xing all his life, it does fit the narrative, that Wudi’s purpose in life, would be along the same lines.
Of course, Zichen and Ye Qing get a happy ending too (because that’s just part of Show’s DNA, and I wouldn’t have it any other way).
It’s a little out there, that Ye Qing would apply to be Zichen’s personal assistant, since she’s way overqualified for the job, but I get the point that this is where she’s happiest.
When she’d been CEO and handling all the company affairs, Zichen had mostly spent his time at home, writing. But as his personal assistant, she literally gets to see him all day, every day. And that is where her heart is, so who am I to judge, right?
I’m glad that the air gets cleared with Zichen’s dad, who doesn’t turn out to be so horrible, after all. His explanation, that he’d laid down that no-dating condition just to scare Ye Qing, is something that I could believe a concerned father would do, to protect his son.
Given how generally indecisive Zichen has been, in the area of love and romance, I’m not at all surprised that it’s Ye Qing who initiates the minting of the relationship, by planting a kiss on him, after telling him that the way he’d stormed in to stand up to his father was really cool.
And then, of course it’s Ye Qing, the gifted mover and shaker between them, that gets Zichen’s house back, and then plans the perfect circle-back proposal, which echoes exactly how Zichen had once asked her to join him, in working on a low-paying passion project.
I’m glad, though, that Zichen does have the presence of mind to get down on one knee, to formally ask Ye Qing to marry him, because his proposal really turns out to be very sweet.
“Ye Qing. Thank you for showing up in my youth and sticking to my side without wavering. Thank you for realising my dream together with me. To become mature and grow up together with me.
The happiest thing in my life is when you chose me without a doubt. So, can you choose me again?
Will you marry me?”
Aw. It’s perfect.
While I did think that Mom hurrying the wedding between Wudi and Nan Xing felt rather rushed, I have to say that the wedding turns out to be very sweet, with both of them crying such moved, happy tears, as they say their vows to each other.
It’s cute, and dorky, and heartfelt, all in one, and it feels pitch perfect, for their relationship.
And, I know it’s kinda tacked on, but I loved – LOVEDDD – that puppy Xiao Hao gets to catch the bouquet, AND gets his girl.
Awww. Puppyyyy! 🤩 That was such a great little surprise. LOVE.🥰
In the end, I was rather taken aback, at how Show kinda takes the story Inception-esque, and makes it all a story within a story within a story, with the entirety of what we’ve been watching, turned into a story that’s written by an entirely different (but essentially the same) Nan Xing.
In this “real world,” Nan Xing hasn’t experienced trauma like the Nan Xing in our story, and her husband is her childhood sweetheart Mao Xiao Jun, though he looks just like Wudi in our story.
At first, I was rather thrown by this, because, why couldn’t we have just ended the story as it was?
And then I realized that this was likely to satisfy China SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film and Television) guidelines, which, among many other things, prohibits the presentation of time travel as fact.
This way, by making everything that we’ve watched a fictional work of a fictional character, Show manages to sidestep breaking that rule.
On top of that, I think there’s also the thing, where Wudi would have to live using a fake identity, in Nan Xing’s world. That involves fraud, and of course that wouldn’t be upholding the kind of values that SARFT would expect either.
And therefore, making it all a story within a story, but getting us used to the idea that the characters within these stories are closely molded after their authors and the real people around their authors, still gives us a sense of familiarity, at the end.
Strictly speaking, it’s not ideal, narrative-wise.
But, it’s a solid solution, to enable our story to exist, without Show being censured or not allowed to air, that manages to retain our sense of knowing our characters, despite these final versions not being the exact ones we’ve spent time with.
It’s pretty darn clever, all things considered, and I’m glad that our writers found a way to make this story happen, because, in the end, I did find myself growing rather fond of these characters.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
A fluffy, harmless, silly-but-heartfelt little bonbon.
FINAL GRADE: B
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Mr. Bad, is Alchemy Of Souls 2: Light And Shadow. I’ve taken an initial look, and I’m happy to say that I like it very well so far! My E1-2 notes on Alchemy Of Souls 2: Light And Shadow can be found here.
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Entertainment tidbits + the first set notes of all shows covered on Patreon (that’s 2 episodes for kdramas and 4 episodes for cdramas)
Early Access (US$5): +Under The Queen’s Umbrella
Early Access Plus (US$10): +First Love: Hatsukoi [Japan]
VIP (US$15): +Reborn Rich
VVIP (US$20): +New Life Begins [China]
Ultimate (US$25): +Alchemy Of Souls 2: Light And Shadow