Cruel Romance / 锦绣缘·华丽冒险

Cruel Romance / 锦绣缘·华丽冒险 / Jin Xiu Yuan · Hua Li Mao Xian

Well, well, well what do we have here? Is it a Lady and Liar knockoff or is it something of it’s own? I would be lying if I said I didn’t see hints of Lady and Liar in Cruel Romance in the beginning. However, after 4 episodes, the similarities are only apparent at the start and the paths are already diverging.

With Cruel Romance, we have JinXiu, a girl of a prominent family in the more rural areas of China who is pretty spunky and dislikes being fit into the ladylike mold. However, one night her entire family befalls tragedy after she helps a wounded individual. Her family is executed at gunpoint by this unknown evil enemy and she sets out on the mission of finding the enemy with only a controversial compass that the wounded man passed into her possession. On her way, she meets Zuo Zhen, triad leader, Er Yei (hello there White Wolf pt. 2), whom she saves on a ship and who saves her as well as they land in Shanghai. While in Shanghai, she meets Ying Dong who becomes her friend and someone she has a crush on later. He is actually her brother-in-law as JinXiu’s long lost sister is married to his brother.

However, that sister hates JinXiu’s guts because her mother and her were pushed out of the family and starved on the streets JinXiu’s other came into the family. While in Shanghai, JinXiu passes of the compass to YingDong (not that she knows it was him) and still tries to search for her parent’s killers while being pushed and bullied by her sister. Luckily, we have Zou Zhen looking out for her as well as Ying Dong. By episode four, we have Zou Zhen, who really hates romance and entanglements with women, gradually appreciating JinXiu as they save each other’s lives multiple times. Oops, and I almost forgot, our villainous Japanese gentlemen who has some nefarious plans. But wait! He lost his love before who coincidentally looks like JinXiu! That will be a mess for sure!

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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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Lady and the Liar (千金女贼)

千金女賊

Lady and the Liar

Instead of progressing on my job searching, what do I do but start a new drama? I remember maniac Ride anxiously awaiting this drama, and decided to have a go as I wait for Cruel Romance (the same time period/style but with Huang Xiao Ming)  Set in the 1920s’ era, one of my favorite time periods, the Lady and Liar is full of birth secrets, lies, and mystery. Jiang Xin, our main girl, makes her living as a magician with her father, but they live in poverty. However, we find out that she is adopted and that her true family is of high class and has been trying to find her the past few years. Jiang Xin, though poor, lives happily in the slums and is in love with a gentlemen from another high class family. However, that man used to be doctor before an accident made him blind. At her urging, he decides to travel to London to receive operation on his eyes. He tells her to wait for him to come back. Meanwhile, the White Wolf is our main male lead and is an astute businessman. However, he isn’t called the wolf for nothing as he is very calculating and constantly has people trying to kill him to take his place. After Jiang Xin saved his life during a magician act, he falls in love with her. Though he tries to press his suit with her, she rejects him totally and prefers to be with her blind gentlemen. After the White Wolf decides to let her go, Jiang Xin is found out by her true family. She had tried to sell a necklace that had her family token on it to get money for her dad’s sickness. Her true family then sends for her, but she gets into an accident on the train. A female thief that she knew before decides to “let her hand go” and steal her necklace while they were hanging from a cliff. The thief takes Jiang Xin’s place in the high class household while Jiang Xin gets amnesia from the accident trauma. Meanwhile, the White Wolf is also in town and finds out about Jiang Xin. He decides to keep Jiang Xin next to him and lies that they were deeply in love before.

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Inspiring Generation Episode 24 Recap (FINAL)

EPISODE TWENTY FOUR (FINAL)

The episode starts off with Ran Ran being taken by Baek San to Hong Kong. However, before they can get into the cars, the cars are blown up by JT’s gang. Leader Seul is shocked that JT would do that to a child. He decides to gather all the men and make layers of defense around Hwangbang. Leader Seul is freaking out. JT’s gang decide to let his gang rob all Hwangbang’s casinos since they are now defenseless. If the police appear, they are to cross into Bangsamtong so that the police can’t cross the border. Baek San reports back to Leader Seul that all their casinos are being robbed and asks Leader Seul to release a unit of men. However, Leader Seul knows this was JT’s technique for destroying Il Gook Hwae and is unwilling to fall for it.

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The phone rings at Seolrak and Ggoo reports to Leader Seul that the anti-opium office called and that their all financial dealings have been made public for all the citizens to see. Leader Seul goes to the wall and finds the papers that JT had stolen from the Intelligence Office. He had given Hwangbang the originals, but had made copies. The Security Director forces Leader Seul to take down all the papers by themselves. Meanwhile Mo and Jae Hwa take out a unit of Hwangbang men by themselves. They find the opium in the back of the trucks and decide to light them on fire.

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Inspiring Generation Episode 23 Recap

EPISODE TWENTY THREE

The episode starts with lovely romantic music playing during Jung Tae’s wedding proposal while Leader Seul watches sinisterly in the background. Ok Ryeon is incredibly happy and JT kisses her to seal the deal. Baek San is sent to prepare the celebratory drinks while JT takes Ok Ryeon to his father’s memorial to tell him of the good news. Leader Seul slowly opens the bottle of liquor and Ok Ryeon remembers the night where she saw Baek San handling the drink. Leader Seul shakes the bottle vigorously before pouring the last bit and gives that to JT. He gives one to Ok Ryeon and takes one himself while making a toast. Ok Ryeon stops JT from drinking and takes his cup. Leader Seul teases and provokes JT about him being suspicious that the drink is poisoned. While Leader Seul is distracted, Ok Ryeon switches hers and JT’s cups.

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JT drinks his portion and so does everyone else. Ok Ryeon begs to leave quickly with JT while Leader Seul is smirking. JT and Ok Ryeon get into a car. Ok Ryeon is looking woozy while in the car and tells him to hurry home. JT carries her inside the restaurant, but Ok Ryeon already knows it is too late for her. She begs him not to go and he grasps her in his arms. She thanks him for everything and tells him to fight in moderation and to always win. She wonders who will treat him now? And she passes. JT is shocked and devastated. He is literally choking on his tears. THIS IS A GAKSITAL ENDING FOR JIN SE YEON AGAIN. The wedding curse has struck again!

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Inspiring Generation Episode 22 Recap

EPISODE TWENTY TWO
Jung Tae gives his people a speech to prepare them for the upcoming war. Leader Seul goes with JT to the funeral while leaving Hwangbang in Baek San’s care. JT asks Leader Seul to return Ok Ryeon back to him after the war is over, but Leader Seul says to win over Il Gook Hwae first. JT says he will win and to keep that promise. Both are incredibly tense. They arrive at the funeral and JT sees Gaya. They exchange loaded stares. Gaya says if he returns, he will survive and to not die for Hwangbang. He says he won’t die and she tells him to stay alive so that he can meet who he longs for (Chung Ah?). Leader Seul insults Aoki by saying he will be eliminated soon. Aoki smirks and counters the verbal attack and says goodbye to JT.

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Leader Seul is shocked and angry at JT for his plan. The whisper about it while surrounded by samurais. JT explains that he and Leader Seul went to the funeral so that Hwangbang and Club Shanghai will be empty for Aoki to mobilize his troops against. JT says he will take care of what is going on here. They stand back to back and JT looks like he is ready for a fight. Aka walks in and Gaya says the war has started. Gaya commands Aka to kill Leader Seul and Leader Seul hides behind JT asking his “son” to defend him. Aka attacks and though JT blocks that blow, he let Leader Seul feel fear for a second when he did not act as quick as he would have. JT tells Aka that he will fight him.

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Inspiring Generation Episode 21 Recap

EPISODE TWENTY ONE

The episode starts with Ok Ryeon finding Jung Tae in Hwangbang. JT masks himself and decides to get Ok Ryeon out of the place first. Meanwhile Shinichii is about to die before Gaya rushes in to kill off all the other attackers. Baek San refuses to let her take him alive. However, Gaya says Shinichii is her swordsman and she will protect him. Leader Seul takes this as a declaration of war from Il Gook Hwae to Hwangbang, but knows that Denkai doesn’t approve. He commands Baek San to take their heads.

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Shinichii tries to attack, but is shot down quickly by Baek San. Gaya tries her hand. While JT is trying to get Ok Ryeon out, he sees the battle between Baek San and Gaya. Gaya is faring very badly against Baek San and is coughing up blood from his harsh blows. JT lets go of Ok Ryeon’s hands. Ok Ryeon tells him that he will die if he goes. JT goes, anyways. Gaya tries her last attempt and JT punches Baek San. JT tells Gaya to take Shinichii and go quickly. He starts fighting the people instead. She knows its JT, but somehow Baek San and Leader Seul have no idea who he is.

 

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Inspiring Generation Episode 20 Recap

EPISODE TWENTY

Club Shanghai opens again for the fight between JT and Jae Hwa. Even Chiringbang comes to watch. Hwangbang is wondering where there Mongolian missionaries went. Leader Seul only now learns that Mo met the missionaries and he decides to send out people to find them. Hwangbang soon stroll in with Ok Ryeon and co. Mo seems to planning something as he watches from above. Jae Hwa’s lackeys come to get him. Sun Woo gives Jae Hwa her half-supportive comments and Jae Hwa is pleased with even that before he goes off to fight. Jung Tae walks in to the cheers of the crowd and takes in the crowd. Jae Hwa also receives a warm welcome.

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Jae Hwa arms himself with his tiger claws. Meanwhile Leader Seul figures out that Mo has the mercenaries and plans to expose them to the Bangsamtong as the murderers. He orders Baek San to go kill the mercenaries. JT and Jae Hwa circle each other and Jae Hwa says that it’s a duel to the death. Although Jae Hwa attacks first, JT is doing a decent job avoiding and even landing a few punches. However, Jae Hwa is too quick with his claws and manages to get a few strikes in. Ok Ryeon and So-So go to see Sun Woo, unable to take it anymore. Jae Hwa finds out about JT’s injured shoulder while forcing him to the ground.

 

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Inspiring Generation Episode 19 Recap

EPISODE NINETEEN

The episode starts off with Leader Seul trying to convince Jung Tae to kill Jae Hwa. Meanwhile, Aoki serves up a deal where if Jae Hwa sides with him, he will pay back the debts and even forgive the escapee. He even offers up 10% of the Il Gook Hwa’s casino club’s profits and to help attack Hwangbang. Jae Hwa looks interested, but is suspicious. Aoki also reminds him that Jung Tae will stage him up and that even Soo Won is watching. Jung Tae meets Ok Ryeon on his way back and she reassures him. He asks Ggoo to protect her well and Ggoo replies that Ok Ryeon is his singer before Jung Tae’s girlfriend. Ggoo says even he is learning how to fight these days. Haha.

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Aoki is positive that Jae Hwa will accept the offer since the “stray dog” will bite everyone when it feels threatened. Their musings are cut short by the arrival of Yakuza boss and his posse. Everyone is told to gather and recount for their sins. Uh Oh. Jae Hwa is waiting for Jung Tae, seemingly drunk and tells him that the intelligence officer made an offer to him. Jung Tae surprises Jae Hwa by saying to crush Hwangbang now, but Jae Hwa is still cautious that Hwangbang is too powerful. Jae Hwa reminds him of his promise that Jung Tae will only follow his actions. Jung Tae apologizes that he may have to dethrone Jae Hwa.

 

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Inspiring Generation Episode 18 Recap

EPISODE EIGHTEEN

This episode starts off showing Ok Ryeon being released to Ggoo. He gives her a meal and makes some pervy comments. Ggoo wants her to sign a contract in order to release Jung Tae. He tells her that it holds Jung Tae’s life and she better sign it now. He drives her to the prison and shows her that Jung Tae and co are scaling the wall to go save her. She wants to warn them, but if she does, Jung Tae will get shot. We see that Gaya has just entered the complex as well. She wants to go interfere with the fight between Jung Tae and Aoki. Jung Tae figures that Aoki’s weakness is his pride and provokes him by making insults about his fighting skill. Aoki gets more emotional as he fights and Jung Tae bides his time. Jung Tae lands several hard punches bringing Aoki to the ground.  Aoki brings the firing squad instead.

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Leader Seul uses this chance to confirm how good Aoki is and how much Ok Ryeon matters to Jung Tae. Baek San is still massively suspicious of Jung Tae and thinks the boy is sly like his father. However, Leader Seul has a twisted hope in Jung Tae’s survival. Gaya saves Jung Tae’s live by setting a fire to distract the prison. Aoki gives the signal to shoot, but the explosion stops his order. He releases Jung Tae for now. Jung Tae is still focused on Ok Ryeon’s location and almost gets shot again. Gaya comes back from her deed and Yamamoto warns her that this deed may block her career.

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