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!