Youth Assemble: Line Up!

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After my bingeing on Destined to Love You 2015, I was hungry for more military style dramas. Therefore, I took a peek at Youth Assemble, a drama set in military school during modern times. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t take even after 6 episodes. This drama is about a group of freshman who attend military academy for various reasons and learn to grow through overcoming obstacles. The story mainly focuses on Duo Duo and Ren, two complete opposites who butt heads inside and outside of school. Duo Duo is a independent and headstrong girl who is academically strong, but hot-tempered. She loses the chance to study abroad in the US due to her hot temper during a visa interview. She absolutely hates the idea of going to military school since her father had died a pilot. However, her mother manages to trick her into attending. Meanwhile, Ren is a soldier at heart who cares about honor and serving the nation. Unfortunately, he was not able to pass his pilot training not due to flying ability, but rather a health issue. His dream is to join the military and the school was his chance to prove himself worthy. With their different personalities and outlooks on life, these two do not get along very well on a daily basis. However, they did prove themselves able to work together when it comes to solving problematic situations of civilians. Joining them at the military school will be a variety of different people such as the girly-girl, the one that came to lose weight, the geeks, the rich son, etc. These youths will need to learn discipline and grow into mature versions of themselves.

While the plot sounds quirky and fun, I just really couldn’t get into it. I think that the main problem for me was Duo Duo. She really grinded my gears with her personality. She is very arrogant and thinks herself a genius because she writes well. She turns down an opportunity for higher education because of her temper and just blows it off saying she didn’t need it anyways. She just doesn’t have a purpose or ambition and thinks its okay to live off her mother until she hits it big with her writing. This drama also breaks the 4th dimension where she talks straight at the camera at times. This gives the drama a disjointed feeling for me even though it is trying to make the drama more like her “diary”. While I know her immaturity is a point where the drama is going to make her grow, I really couldn’t drag up the courage to continue. So while for me it is mainly a character problem that is keeping me from continuing, I am sure that watching the rest of the youths overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals will be interesting. Don’t be put off if you can tolerate Duo Duo!

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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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Destined to Love You – Military Style / 偏偏喜欢你

偏偏喜歡你

When it comes to Chinese dramas, I tend to marathon them. Breaking away after watching 10 episodes, I am finally here to write about this hilarious sausagefest. Destined to Love You is set in the 1920’s era and takes place in a military academy. In the beginning, Bao Bao, our main character is circus entertainer by trade, but is trying to escape from loan sharks and save her ailing mother. She manages to slip onto a train heading to LongCheng and makes friends with a psychology professor, Xiao Han, a lady who is heading to the military academy to teach. She is also heading there to marry her first love and with whom she is in an arranged marriage with. Meanwhile Xiang Hao, wayward soldier who lived on the streets for about a year is being dragged back to the military academy that he had rebelled and quit from. He is a very skilled soldier, but a huge jokester and prankster. He takes nothing seriously except loyalty for his brothers in arms. Of course these Bao Bao and Xiang Hao cross hairs due to multiple understandings. Unfortunately on the train, several people are already trying to assassinate Xiang Hao and Xiao Han is accidentally thrown off the train and into the river beneath. Because Bao Bao is trying to save her mother, she decides to pretend to be Xiao Han in order to get military health benefits. Of course Xiao Han has not really died and seems to be still recovering.

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