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.

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A Final Word on Destined To Love You 2015 / 偏偏喜欢你

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Destined To Love You 2015 has definitely taken the number one spot in my heart for Chinese dramas. As a pretty underrated drama and one that is largely unsubbed, it has not garnered a decent fan base just yet. As I am a sucker for Revolutionary era dramas and some handsome sausagefest, this drama hooked me right from the start!

Plot: The drama focuses mainly on three characters’ journey and growth through an elite military academy. Baobao, the main female lead, was a circus troupe performer who acted her way into the academy. She takes the place of a psychology instructor who “died on a train accident” in order to get her ailing mother medical care from the military facilities. On the way she meets Xiang Hao, rebel student soldier who is being dragged back to the academy after a year of freeroaming due to a tragic accident. Finally we have Wen Tao, straight-laced ace student of the academy and rival of Xiang Hao, though they were tight buddies once. While Xiang Hao and Baobao butt heads on every issue, Wen Tao takes a liking to Bao Bao and protects her even when he finds out her real identity. Now the Dean of the school and his devious son are trying every which way to eliminate or kill these power three in order to get the son in the Captain position of the future elite squad. The rest of the episodes give us great scenes of how these three unwittingly work together to overcome all the obstacles thrown at them. We see growth in their personalities and skills not only in these three characters, but in the other students/instructors of the school as well. Bonds are strengthened, misunderstandings unknotted, and romance is developed. Of course, as it is a Revolutionary era drama, they ALWAYS MUST end with a devious attack from the Japanese forces (hello Lady&Liar and Cruel Romance). With one last tragic and patriotic boom, the drama takes out some of our most important and loved characters. I for one, bawled my eyes out for our second lead. Two, I am not so keen on amnesia tropes as that negates all this wonderful growth and bond between certain star-crossed lovers.

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A Final Word on Cruel Romance / 锦绣缘·华丽冒险

I know this is hardly fair, but I can’t help comparing this drama to Lady and Liar due to the fact that they came out in the same time frame and that they are about almost the same things!! While the beginning and end pretty much align with L&L, this drama did have it’s shining moments.

Plot: Again, we have a super powerful Er Yei aka Zhou Zhen aka Triad Leader Supreme who controls all the economy in Shanghai. In the beginning, he hates getting entangled with women, finding them bothersome. Through some coincidences, he meets Jin Xiu, who is on the lookout for the evil people who killed her entire household. In Shanghai, she manages to meet her long-lost sister who absolutely hates her guts due to the fact that her dad pushed her and her mom into the streets. She indebted herself to the Japanese to make a living for herself and is now engaged to the most rich gentleman in Shanghai, Xiang. Through the beginning of the drama we have Jin Xiu struggling to stake a claim in Shanghai while her sister tries her best to kick her out. We also have Er Yei falling for Jin Xiu slowly and being very possessive of her. Meanwhile, Xiang’s little brother, YingDong, also tries to make a pass at her for a while in order to forget his past love with Jin Xiu’s sister, Min Ju. Add in a Japanese overlord, whose past lover looked like Jin Xiu, and now is dead-set on obtaining Jin Xiu in replacement of his Yangzhi, we have ourselves a right mess. The first half of the drama focused heavily on all of these people’s relationships with each other, a push and pull. Then our climax moment is when Jin Xiu falls fully in love with Er Yei and gets pregnant with his child. However, she is tricked by the Japanese overlord over who killed her family, and ends up losing the baby and separating from Er Yei for 2 years. The second half of the drama turns distinctly into a fight against the Japanese invasion in China. Jin Xiu, Ying Dong, and Er Yei have joined the Patriotic Rebel group that fights against Japan. In the end, some good people die, but of course not our important ones. By the way, the same set of side bros (smart bro and fighter bro) have issues and our fighter bro dies bravely for the cause. We are given hope against the Japanese invasion and a happy reunion between Jin Xiu and Er Yei. VERY RUSHED ENDING! I’m not sure what happened when they cut out the last 8 episodes, but it ended too fast, with too much unexplained and threads untied.

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A Final Word on Lady and Liar (千金女贼)

This is the first time I watched such a long drama, 46 episodes, without skipping over anything! With marathoning it at 6-7eps per session, I finished it in record time. I very much enjoyed the drama which is set in my favorite era.

Plot: Overall, I definitely enjoyed the rollercoaster of a story that Lady and Liar rode. Misunderstandings were definitely used to the max in they story where Jiang Xin blames Bai Lang for nothing and everything. While it did get annoying at times even just to move the story along with so many misunderstandings in place, the drama manages to smooth it out at the end. Our loose ends are all tied up with inheritances returned to the right families, truths that all come out, and our half-baddie characters receiving moral redemption. As much as I liked the rest the drama, I must admit the ending was a dud for me even though it was a happy one like I had wished. Bai Lang survived his suicidal mission with some last minute sacrifices and had a tearful reunion with his wifie and a shot into the future with his daughter. But, in a way, it lacked all feeling as the moments before his supposed death was more emotion-wrought. However, I’m not going to look a gifted horse in the mouth, and I’ll take it. However, I feel like the version I watched online had a lot of scenes cut as I see in some flashbacks, things I haven’t watched. And at times, some relationship depths don’t make as much sense. I wonder if I can find an uncut version somewhere.

Characterizations: Bai Lang is your white knight in shining armor in all the ways you can imagine. Literally, a self-sacrificing gentlemen to the max. One of his quotes perfectly describes him, “can’t right one wrong, even if he tries a hundred times”. While he did make the huge mistake of keeping Jiang Xing in her amnesiac state, I believe throughout the drama, he has done more than enough to atone for his sins. He has helped her in every turn and never brags about it, but does it quietly and not letting her know that he had helped. He has saved the damsel in distress about a billion times. To me, he is the reason I watched this drama. As for Jiang Xing, I liked her more in the beginning than in the middle or end. While she was spunky as a magician, her constant misunderstanding and little temper tantrums got real old even though Bai Lang was tolerating her because he loved her too much. Thank God, he was harsh to her near the middle and end to get her to grow up and be more independent. As for Xiao Han, she was delightfully hateful as Fake Jiang Xin and pitiful at the end. While I enjoyed hating her for all her bad choices as she killed off so many people, I felt sorry for her circumstances that led her to this lifestyle. We got to see a quick redemption arc for her as she realized her wrongs. For Shen Shao, the second male lead, I don’t hate him, but nor do I like him. For me, he was just there, a crutch for Jiang Xin and I had wanted to see more his past relationship with her. As for the rest of the supporting cast, I enjoyed their background stories, especially those of Bai House.

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Shan Shan Comes to Eat

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Cuteness overload! I finally finished this drama and I am beyond satisfied. This is the perfect romcom ~

Original Title: 杉杉来了

Episodes: 33

Channel: JSTV

Theme: Rom-com

Plot

Shan Shan moves to Shanghai when she is hired by the finance department of Windgroup. As a young graduate, Shan Shan is surprised but also happy to have this opportunity –  the market is competitive, times are rough, and she didn’t graduate from the best university, etc…

It turns out that Shan Shan was hired because of her rare blood type – AB. Feng Yue, the sister of the CEO of  Windgroup, also has the same blood type. Feng Yue had lost a lot blood after delivering her baby. It’s later revealed that it’s been a custom for the company to hire someone with the blood type AB.

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Lan Ling Wang

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Original Title: 兰陵王

Episodes: 46

Year: 2013

Country: China/Taiwan

Channel: JSTV

Theme: Period, love, wuxia

Yang Xue Wu grows up in White Mountain Village without ever being in contact with the outside world. She is raised by her protective and loving grandmother, who is the priestess of their Wu tribe. Their clan’s sorceresses have helped kings conquer the world in the past but decided not to get involved in political and military matters after their clan started suffering from retributions. They’ve lived isolated for generations since the start of political turmoil. Besides protecting their tribe from outsiders, Yang Xue Wu’s grandmother is determined to protect her granddaughter. A prophecy indicated that Yang Xue Wu would fall in love with an outsider, Prince Lan Ling Wang of Qi State, leave her village to follow him, and would eventually end up encountering sorrow when he would die killed by his own brothers.

When Yang Xue Wu meets Lan Ling Wang and brings him to her village in order to take care of his injured horse, she doesn’t realize that fate is knocking on her door. A series of adventures will cause Yang Xue Wu to rescue Lan Ling Wang several times – not without getting involved in military and political struggles.

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Sealed With a Kiss

SWAK

Original Title: 千山暮雪 (Qian Shan Mu Xu)

Episodes: 28

Year: 2011

Country: China

Channel: Hunan TV

Theme: Revenge, romance, drama

Tong Xue (Ying Er)  has been living with her maternal uncle since the death of her parents in a car crash. When the CEO of YuanZhong Corporation Mo Shao Qian (Hawick Lau), who plans on revealing her uncle’s embezzlement to the police, threatens Tong Xue, she has no other choice but to become Shao Qian’s mistress.

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Despite already being in a union with Mu Yong Fei (Wen Zheng Rong), Shao Qian makes of Tong Xue is mistress in order to get revenge for his father’s death and the ruin of their family corporation. Tong Xue’s father, a former employee of the corporation, caused Shao Qian’s father death.

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Slowly, Shao Qian starts falling in love with Tong Xue. Every time he would feel his heart becoming softer, he would mistreat her even more.

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Summer’s Desire

Original Title: 泡沫之夏 / Bubble’s Summer

Episodes: 14

Year: 2010

Country: Taiwan / China

Channel: FTV / HunanTV

Theme: Romance

        Plot: Summer’s Desire is a 14 episode Chinese drama focused on the destructive nature of love triangles and birth secrets. The story revolves around the relationship of Xia Mo, Luo Xi, and Ou Chen, each with a painful past. The story starts with Xia Mo’s struggle to make it in the entertainment industry in order to take care of her sick brother whose body is starting to fail. Meanwhile, the selfmade “it” star, Luo Xi, had come back to his country of origin in what seems like for promotional needs. The third leg Ou Chen, a CEO of the huge Ou Coporation, is trying to figure out what seems to be missing from his life. His temper pushes almost everyone away except for his butler Simon. Told through flashbacks interspersed in present time, one finds out that Ou Chen and Xia Mo were a couple. Ou Chen was a possessive young master who was obsessive about Xia Mo, the adopted daughter of a middle class family whose inner strength caught his eye.

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Love’s Band Aid (愛的創可)

Our Love

Also called: Our Love

Original Title: 愛的創可

Episodes: 36

Year: 2013

Country: China

Channel: Jiangsu TV

Theme: Romance, comedy

Our Love is an optimistic and uplifting Chinese healing drama.  Zhong Ke Ke (Chen Yan Fei)  and her brother Zhong Yi Fan (Wei Xian Qiang) come from a modest, but loving family whereas Tang Shao Lei (Bryant Cheng) and his sister Tang  Shao Yin (Joanne Zheng) come from a filthy rich but broken family. The Tang parents are separated and the mother hates her husband because she felt neglected throughout all those years they spent together. When the Tang first got married, the father had to break his relationship with Ke Ke and Yi Fan‘s mother. You can imagine how Mama Tang will feel when she discovers the feelings between Shao Lei and Ke Ke. Shao Lei’s sister also left home almost ten years ago and no one has heard from her since then.

Coming from such a background and having experienced the heartbreaks of love himself after his girlfriend left him eight years ago,  Shao Lei is sceptic when it comes to love. Everything revolves around money and their family business Ding Heng Corporation. To the extent that Shao Lei enters a business alliance via an engagement with Xu Ying (Yang Rong), a daughter from a prominent family. Xu Ying, who is obsessed (but really though: she ‘s crazyyy!!!), unsuccessfully uses every trick in the book to make Shao Lei fall in love with her.  Things change when Shao Lei meets Ke Ke, who is a creative designer in Shanghai. When they first meet, Shao Lei is waiting in front of her apartment building – the same where his ex-girlfriend Ruo Jie (Yang Kai Lin) used to live. Ke Ke accidentally spills water on him, hits him with a flower pot, and then rescue him from a fight – so much for a first encounter! To after have him stole her motorcycle from her!

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