Battle of Changsha

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I am tardy to the Battle of Changsha party but I still wanted to give my two cents.

This drama is beautiful: It’s been tugging at my heartstrings for the past few days.

I love the fact that it gives insight into life in Changsha during World War II while giving us something we can all relate to even in 2016 – stories about love, friendship, death, family, honor, and love for one’s nation.

The story starts with the main character Hu Xiangxiang being dragged to a blind date by her brother in law Xue Junshan. As the war gets closer and closer to Changsha, many families try to marry off their daughters in hope that they leave for safer places (in China or even abroad). In that regards Xiangxiang’s family is no different except that our heroine is not one to blindly follow what her family thinks is best for her. Let’s just say that Xiangxiang’s encounter with Gu Qingming, a Kuomintang intelligence officer, is a disaster – fighting words and disdain are equally expressed from both sides.

QM is arrogant, smart, handsome, and from a good family. Definitely a good match if you were to ask anyone in town (and even outside of town). The only thing is that there is only war on QM’s mind, which can be considered a good or a bad thing. Getting married is the least of his concerns and especially not to the immature XX.

XX is quite proud, spoiled, smart, and charming. The only problem: She is too immature. I have to say that something to look forward to in the show is XX’s evolution. She becomes more responsible, careful, and starts to think about what she can do to help her family. War plays a big part in XX’s transformation. From family members dying to fending for the surviving ones, it’s not an easy journey and she is therefore forced to grow up.

As Changsha and surrounding areas are subject to assaults from Japanese troops, the pair grows closer. Qingming coming to the rescue of Xiangxiang and her family several times obviously contributes to building mutual feelings. It’s funny because no matter how much they try to avoid each other QM and XX always run into each other. At some point QM admits he now believes that it’s a sign that their paths keep crossing.

When I started the show I pictured a tragic love story: Two lovers torn apart by the atrocities of war. Well, I haven’t seen the end yet so I can’t speak about a tragic ending or not. All I can say is that the love story plays a crucial part but an equally important aspect of the show is the fact we see war through the eyes of Xiangxiang’s family. 

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The Hu family constitutes of several generations living under the same roof – from the grandmother to the great grandson. The drama gives thorough insight into how each member of the family deals with the war and the sacrifices that they each make.

From the father of the family, who is too idealistic and places proud above survival (sometimes), to XX’s brother who war will make realize that real love is closer than he might think.

A character in particular that stood out is XX’s brother-in-law Xue Junshan. He is an officer who frequently lies and cheats when needed. He also has no qualms taking bribes and making money in unscrupulous ways, taking advantage of his status as a military officer to do so. Despite all his flaws, he is one of my favorite characters. He did so much to save his family. He didn’t only worry about his wife and child, but also about his wife’s family. For me that says a lot. From making sure that the family had a roof on top of their head to trying to find a good husband/better life for XX.

What struck me with JS’ character was also that he was multi-dimensional. He displayed a wide array of emotions – anger, sadness, joy, love, jealousy and resentment. From beginning to end, his character kept me on the edge. I was always wondering what moves he will make next and how far his love of his family will take him.

Bottom line: This is a show that I encourage you to watch! Keep a box of Kleenex handy because you probably won’t hold back your tears.

~ maniac Ride

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