你是我的荣耀》发海报,感谢潘粤明题字剧名_迪丽热巴

You Are My Glory (2021) 你是我的荣耀

Summary: A superstar celebrity Qiao Jing Jing (Dilraba Dilmurat) encounters her old high school crush Yu Tu (Yang Yang) while playing the mobile game Honor of Kings. What happens when they finally meet? 

Based on the book, You are my Glory from the author Gu Man (顾漫), the drama began airing in China on July 26, 2021. 

Let us know your thoughts!

-Cathy

 

Overall rating: ~ 9/10

If you want to enjoy a great rom-com drama without contrived plots, this the drama for you!

Key Highlights: 

  • A great and very faithful adaptation of the source material
  • Amazing chemistry between the two leads 迪丽热巴 (Dilraba Dilmurat) and 杨洋 (Yang Yang)
  • Great supporting cast with well known actors and actress from the Chinese entertainment industry
  • Healthy and cute love story that doesn’t shy away from adult responsibilities and personal goals
  • Unique inclusion of the Honor of Kings CGI
  • On location filming for the China’s Air and Space program in the Gobi Desert and Hai Nan

Spoilers below!

Story: Superstar celebrity Qiao Jing Jing 乔晶晶 is the brand spokesperson for the megahit game Honor of Kings. While practicing the game, she reconnects with her old high school crush and aerospace engineer Yu Tu (于途). The drama follows the two as they fall in love and overcome professional and personal struggles to finally become each other’s glory.

The drama begins with someone leaking a video of Qiao Jing Jing playing rather poorly in the game Hong of Glory. As the spokesperson, she needs to play the game during the Hong of Kings Awards Ceremony to redeem herself and keep the sponsorship. Unfortunately, Qiao Jing Jing is pretty bad at the game. While practicing at home, she is mistakenly added into a game by Yu Tu, her old high school crush, to play with his friends. 

Yu Tu doesn’t know it’s Qiao Jing Jing and the group continues to play a couple of matches together. Yu Tu is surprisingly very good at the game and Qiao Jing Jing decides to asks Yu Tu to become her personal coach for the game to prepare for the Awards Ceremony. Qiao Jing Jing invites Yu Tu to meet in person and the two begin a relatively professional coach / student relationship.

The story progresses as the two get to know each other better. Qiao Jing Jing’s feelings for Yu Tu resurface and Yu Tu, surprisingly, begins to have feelings towards Qiao Jing Jing too. 

During this time, Yu Tu is taking a break from his job as an aerospace engineer at China Aerospace Science and Technology. He’s reevaluating his professional aspirations as he has to face the reality that his career would not allow him to support his loved ones financially or even have time to spend with them. He turns his sights towards Investment Banking. 

Yu Tu decides to return to his job but in doing so, believes that he cannot take care of Jing Jing and rejects her. Shortly after, he regrets his decision and spends some time trying to win her back.  

The two finally decide to together and we see their cute and loving relationship blossom into one in which both Qiao Jing Jing and Yu Tu support each other to achieve their goals. Not gonna lie, I did tear up in certain parts of this drama. The drama ends with a very inspiring launch of the satellite that Yu Tu leads at the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan, China

Thoughts:

Pros: This is a great drama that gets a lot right!

Plot The drama rightfully focuses the attention to the two main leads Qiao Jing Jing and Yu Tu. Qiao Jing Jing is a superstar actress but she is willing to put in the hard work to prove to the naysayers and to her fans that she is deserving of their praise. She is extremely intelligent and has a very positive outlook on life. She is like a sun that shines brightly and gives warmth to those around her. Yu Tu is the brilliant ambitious aerospace engineer that is somehow good at everything but in the face of real life woes a.k.a. money, he still has to make difficult choices.

It’s refreshing to see a drama that doesn’t belittle anyone’s profession and actually shows that jobs require effort. Qiao Jing Jing is a professional actress and makes sure she is always ready for her roles. She also takes her sponsorships seriously. Yu Tu is an aerospace engineer that works overtime with his teammates to solve problems. How many dramas have I seen where the main leads are CEOs of a company but somehow are never in the office? I can actually clearly see that these two people got to where they are in life because they worked for it. There’s also no contrived plots with ex-boyfriends / girlfriends. Everyone behaves as adults and solves issues as adults. There are some really great friendships in the drama too and we see people actually supporting each other.

This is one of the first shows to really showcase China’s aerospace capabilities and it is clear that the drama did their research on the subject of aerospace. The author Gu Man is also the screenwriter of the drama. She made several trips on location and requested reviews of the script with senior aerospace engineers to make sure the story made sense. It’s rare that a show does this level of homework and I’m glad it did. 

  

Casting: This is probably one of the best casted Chinese dramas in years. Why do I say this?  The drama cast some very well known actors and actresses that are leads in their own respective dramas so the fact that Tencent was able to assemble this cast is very impressive! I don’t think there’s a bad apple of the bunch!

Let’s start with 乔晶晶 Qiao Jing Jing. When I read the book, the person in my head to play Qiao Jing Jing was Dilraba 迪丽热巴 and I was not the only one. She was by far and away the fan favorite to play this part when the book was completed. I couldn’t believe my eyes when it was announced that she would play this part! I’m very happy with her performance here as I believe she really brought the character of Qiao Jing Jing to life. I’m a huge fan of Dilraba and I’m grateful that she played this role. This is the 3rd time she played an actress in her career but it’s clear that Qiao Jing JIng is not like the other roles and indeed it’s not like her own self. Dilraba has really grown as an actress over the years and I’m excited to see her next roles.

Next up 于途 or Yu Tu. 杨洋 is a favored actor of from the author 顾漫 (Gu Man). He portrayed Xiao Nai in the megahit Love O2O back in 2016.  I initially was somewhat skeptical that he could separate this role from his role in Love O2O but he does a great job here. In the earlier episodes, he was able to portray the internal struggles that Yu Tu faced surrounding his job pretty well. Once the two characters get together, woo, Yu Tu turns up the notch and is a Grade A boyfriend! Overall the chemistry between the two is great! I mean two beautiful people acting as a couple? Sign me up please!

The rest of the cast includes a lot of very famous people that I actually watched dramas of growing up. Shout out to 高露, who plays the wife of Guan Zai, Yu Tu’s mentor. She is of course 林小娘 or Mistress Lin in The Story of Ming Lan. I’ve loved her work for ages and it was like a dream come true when her character and Qiao Jing Jing finally meet in the drama. 

CGI: Since this drama was produced by Tencent and Tencent also makes the Honor My Kings games, Tencent was willing to go all in on the CGI for this drama. The CGI renderings of the game characters are really good and I believe even game fans are quite happy with it. 

On Location Filming: I’m very happy that the drama decided to film on location in Shanghai, the Gobi Desert, and Hainan. These places are heavily implied in the book so it’s great to have these regions showcased in the drama. 

Faithfulness to Source Material: A+ here. Probably like 90% retention of the source material. This isn’t surprising as the author was the screenwriter for the drama. Keep this coming please!

Cons: No major cons! My main nitpick is that Yu Tu – you are an idiot for rejecting Qiao Jing Jing not once but TWICE! She should have made him work for their relationship a bit more.

Final Rambles:

I’m so happy that this drama came out this summer with the cast that it did. I’ve mentioned before but it definitely is a dream come true. It fulfilled all the requirements I had on the cast, the story, and faithfulness to the source material. I doubt we’ll actually see anything like this in the near future so enjoy this drama if you can!

Funnily enough, this whole entire drama is also quite meta. Dilraba and Yang Yang are actually the global spokespeople for WeTv and Tencent Video. Dilraba is the game spokesperson for 和平精英 or Game for Peace, another Tencent game. Dilraba is also a superstar celebrity in China with a growing name recognition worldwide. That’s partially why she was such a fan favorite. Who else should play Qiao Jing Jing other than an actual superstar actress? You’ll notice that a lot of the photos of Qiao Jing Jing in the drama are of Dilraba’s actual other media campaigns. 

I’ll be happy to ramble on about this drama for many many more posts. Until next time!

-Cathy

 

 

 

玉楼春》正式首播,白鹿官家小姐出镜,男主亦是仪表不凡- MP头条

 

Song of Youth (2021) 玉楼春

Summary: Set in the Ming Dynasty, this drama portrays the relationship struggles in the wealthy Sun family. 4th son Sun Yu Lou falls in love with the daughter of a executed minister, Lin Shao Chun and is determined to marry her. After solidifying their relationship, the drama turns to the other struggles within the Sun family to often times hilarious effect.

 

 

 

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Initial thoughts: The costume and production design are a delight to watch. The main female lead is refreshingly calm while the supporting characters are hilarious. There are certainly cliches that had me rolling my eyes in the drama but if not taken too seriously, is a fun time of a drama. 

 

Full review to come!

-Cathy

 

 

 

《长歌行》中的永宁公主李长歌 历史上真有这个人吗?

李长歌剧照女装_万图壁纸网

The Long Ballad (2021) 长歌行

Summary: Li Chang Ge 李长歌 (Dilireba 迪丽热巴) is the daughter of the Crown Prince 李建成。Following the famous Xuan Wu Gate Coup, her father was killed by her beloved uncle, Li Shi Min or Emperor TaiZong. Vowing for revenge, she crosses paths with a young prince from the AshiLe clan, A-Shi-Le Sun 阿诗勒隼 (Wu Lei 吴磊).

On her path to revenge, Li Chang Ge recognizes the suffering the people face in this period of war and uncertainty. Recognizing that her uncle strives for peace, she, along with AShiLeSun turn their attention towards bigger threats to their respective peoples. 

 

Overall rating: 8/10 

Initial thoughts: Solid performance by Dilireba where we witness her growth as a young woman seeking personal revenge to a true princess focused on the stability and peace for her people. 

長歌行》新路透:迪麗熱巴終於出女裝,失去美顏的臉引熱議- 人人焦點

 

Full review to come!

-Cathy

 

 

 

 

小成本制作也有春天?《御赐小仵作》热度好评双丰收! –

御赐小仵作》楚楚的身份是什么楚楚的爹是谁- 历史剧- 史文斋

The Imperial Coroner (2021) 御赐小仵作

Summary: In the late Tang Dynasty, the aspiring coroner Chu Chu 楚楚 (Su Xiao Tong 苏晓彤)heads to Chang’An to take the Imperial Coroner’s exam. In the city, she meets the young but powerful Xiao Jing Yu 萧景瑜 (Wang Zi  Qi 王子奇),Prince of An Jun who currently oversees the Judiciary Branch. Intrigued by Chu Chu’s attention to detail, the two work together to solve crimes and uncover threats to the Tang empire with their group of trusted friends and family.

 

Overall rating: 9/10 

Initial thoughts: Binge-worthy drama that does not insult the audience’s intelligence. Mysteries are thoughtful and challenges understandable. A small production that has been met with rave reviews in the first half of 2021. You’ll be surprised by this show.

This rather unknown drama premiered quietly in April 2021 but quickly garnered interest by viewers. Both leads are early in their careers and the funny story is that they didn’t do much marketing for this drama as it was airing because both Su Xiao Tong and Wang Zi Qi are both in school! I remember a trending weibo post from the female lead saying she still has to write essays, no time to pay attention to much else! How adorable.

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the drama. Only 36 episodes, it wastes no time in getting to the conflict and it doesn’t drag out plot points unnecessarily. The story progresses organically and plot holes I would say are kept to a minimum. You can tell the production quality of the drama is on a much smaller scale than other historical dramas but that does not mean this is a low quality drama. The story, the characters and the intrigue are all top caliber. 

The drama reminds me of the US show Bones quite a bit. Had absolutely no expectation going into this show and ended up loving it. The drama is not bloody or gory which may turn people away as the topic is about evaluating dead bodies but the drama cleverly uses drawings to depict the examination scenes which I thought were done quite well.

御赐小仵作百度云资源「高清中字」更新了| 滴答网盘电影

Story:

Set in the late Tang dynasty under the rule of Tang Xuan Zong (唐宣宗) named Li Chen 李忱 who ruled between April 25, 846 – September 7, 859, this drama focuses on the partnership between a righteous and justice seeking Prince Xiao Jing Yu, and a talented female coroner from a faraway village, Chu Chu in helping uncover plots against the empire.  They are aided by the Prince’s childhood friends, Jing Yi, son of a powerful court official and Leng Yue, daughter of a renowned general, as well as the Prince’s own older brother. 

The drama begins with the imperial coroner examination taking place in the Tang capital of Chang’An where Chu Chu dresses as a man to take the exam. Her dream is to be an imperial coroner and is discovered by Jing Yi who recommends her to the prince, Xiao Jing Yu. Xiao Jing Yu heads the Judiciary Branch which pretty much means he oversees various crimes. Through the imperial examination, he sees that Chu Chu is highly talented in her skills and hires her to help him solve murders that are tied to larger plots including one against the throne (typical), fake currency, the death of Xiao Jing Yu’s father, among several others. 

御赐小仵作》萧瑾瑜身世明了,父亲是被杀害的|唐宣宗|宦官|太监_网易订阅

 

History: The reign of this Tang Xuan Zong is an interesting time to set this drama. It’s what one calls the late Tang dynasty and there are certainly cracks to the foundation of this once venerated empire. This emperor is probably one of the best in the the late Tang dynasty as he tried to correct levels of corruption that had seeped through his imperial court. One of the biggest challenges during this time, and is something the drama touches upon, is the rise in power of eunuchs. Emperors relied too heavily on eunuchs in a variety of areas which helped them to a league of their own and led to the demise of the Tang dynasty. In this drama, Qin Luan is the head eunuch that conspires to amass as much power as possible which made for a worthy adversary.   

御赐小仵作》:又糊又穷的国产剧,就靠长相平平的女主逆袭了?【七猫影视】

Why I liked the show:

  1. The main character Chu Chu is naive but not stupid. She was raised in a family of coroners which means she was looked down upon all her life for their craft.  She doesn’t have many friends but is kind hearted and loving towards her family. She is dedicated to her profession and never let her gender stop her from achieving her dreams but she keeps a pure heart. The entire drama, her primary focus is to be a good coroner. This is quite a refreshing take on the female lead. 
  2. The main male lead, Xiao Jing Yu, is a young but powerful prince with astonishing deduction abilities. He solves cases with sharp insights and is extremely learned. The most important quality trait that he possesses though, is that he respects and trusts Chu Chu fully. Even though their upbringings are backgrounds are disparate, that does not stop him from treating her as an equal.
  3. This drama made me read up on another period of history I haven’t really paid attention to. Dramas may be set in the late Tang dynasty but did not pique my interest.
  4. Everyone operates rationally. The drama avoids a lot of cliches and where there are areas of mistrust, it’s very logically and easily explained soon after. There is no overarching miscommunication that is not resolved in a convincing manner.
  5. The relationships between characters are very heartwarming. The two main female characters don’t fight and be jealous of each other but rather help support each other. That is the type of female empowerment we need. Xiao Jing You and his brother also do not fight against each other for meaningless squabbles and avoid the regular fights over titles. The older brother actually lets his younger brother take title of Prince. Even though the group is solving mysteries and fighting crime, there’s a warm fuzzy feeling to the interactions between characters.
  6. I learned what Wu Zuo meant. I never read those words in my life and now I learned that there is a specific term for Coroner in Chinese.

Overall this drama was a fun and breezy one to watch. It may not be something I return to all the time like I do The Story of Ming Lan or Empresses in the Palace but I’m so glad I watched it and highly recommend it. The writers are working on a sequel and I am eager to see the next adventure for these characters.

 

-Karen

 

 

 

 

My Dear Guardian (2021) 爱上特种兵 Review

Summary: Liang Mu Ze 梁牧泽 (Huang Jing Yu 黄景瑜) is a special forces captain who meets the young military doctor Xia Chu 夏初 (Li Qin 李沁) while both were abroad. Their initial meeting was unpleasant but fate places them together. Sparks fly as each does not back down but soon learn to respect each other’s passion for their chosen career. 

 

Overall rating: 7.5/10 

View this drama primarily for the cute romance between Li Qin and Johnny Huang and their dedication to their career.  Take this as a light-hearted drama only, not to be taken too seriously.

Premiering in June of 2021, I’ve been chasing this drama the last month and have been struck by how sweet Li Qin and Johnny Huang are both in the drama and outside of it. The show released soooo many behind the scenes/blooper clips many of which are on Youtube and it’s just too cute to watch the two interact.

DouBan, the popular Chinese drama ratings system, rates this drama rather poorly at only 4.4. I can see why people rate it this way but one cannot deny that this drama was incredibly popular this summer. It trended multiple times on Weibo (Chinese Twitter) and the stars, Li Qin and Johnny Huang also enjoyed a surge in popularity. The primary reason is because of the chemistry between Li Qin and Johnny Huang.

I’m a huge fan of Li Qin as I think she is gorgeous but Johnny Huang does a great job portraying a military captain. He is one of the few actors who is actually quite strong and does many of his own stunts. That adds to the believability of his role even though many of the conflicts that happen seem rather contrived. That does not detract from the fact that Li Qin and Johnny are great casting for these roles. 

 

Story: This is a rather classic story of two incredibly attractive people starting off hating each other, and then somehow ending up roommates, then pretending to be dating, and then actually falling in love. 

Episode 1 shows the resident military doctor Xia Chu getting experience abroad at a fictional place called Isaia. There, she runs into Liang Mu Ze and they get into a fight over something rather trivial. Once she returns to her hospital though, she is caught up in a terrorist attack and has to try to remain calm in this hostage situation. None other than Liang Mu Ze’s team comes into save the hostages but his good friend Tian Yong is injured. After this experience, the two develop disgust for each other as Liang Mu Ze does not think Xia Chu is a good soldier or a good doctor.

Once back in China, it just so happens that Xia Chu is stationed at a hospital and looking for a place to stay. Her mother says she has a friend who has an apartment she can stay at. Xia Chu happily agrees but once she walks into the apartment, bumps into none other than a shirtless Liang Mu Ze. They of course bicker but given Xia Chu has to head to the hospital, they let it go for the time being. Oh and Xia Chu randomly picked up a cute cat on the street so she’s moved in with her cat.

On Xia Chu’s side, she is focused on becoming an accomplished cardiothoracic surgeon but the sudden reappearance of a childhood friend, Zhuo Ran, starts creating tension in the drama.

On Liang Mu Ze’s side, he is a highly trained special ops soldier and spends most of his time at base but suffers from guilt over the death of his good friend 8 years ago. He and his team participate in uncovering the cause of the terrorist attack in Isaia as well as stopping a drug crime lord.

 

Thoughts:

Pros: This drama shines when it’s focused on the interactions between Xia Chu and Liang Mu Ze. Xia Chu is a hard working and intelligent doctor doing residency. She does not back down from a challenge particularly when it comes to her patients. She also is not afraid to tease Liang Mu Ze. Probably one of the funniest scenes in the show is when Liang Mu Ze bullies Xia Chu into helping him change his bedsheets and Xia Chu provides him with a full Sailor Moon set! HAHAHAHAHA.

As a Sailor Moon fan, I absolutely loved this and am quietly wondering where I can get this set for myself. Hehehe.

As the two spend more time together, they slowly develop more respect towards each other. Each is passionate about their careers as a doctor and a soldier in the Chinese military. Liang Mu Ze, in particular, trusts Xia Chu unconditionally and is always there to support her. This is probably every young woman’s dream boyfriend/husband material. Of course, though, they don’t shy away from the realities of what it means to date a soldier -lots of moving, uncertainty and even death. The first 12 episodes of this drama in particular are so sweet watching these two change their attitudes towards each other.

It is impressive to see the actors physically fit and doing real stunts in the show. It’s a different type of action compared to kungfu dramas I’ve watched and this military subject is not one I’m usually keen on viewing so it was a nice change of pace.

 

Cons: The show falls short in executing the conflict beyond the romance storylines between Xia Chu and Liang Mu Ze. Xia Chu’s childhood friend Zhuo Ran’s return to her life causes all sorts of issues as he is not simply a childhood friend anymore, but is involved in the criminal ring of a violent drug and crime lord. The show threads this story line into the show to try to create challenges that Liang Mu Ze’s team must face. Certainly, it gives a lot of rather cool scenes where Liang Mu Ze is a badass fighter but to me, that whole story line was annoying and a drag. There are incredibly heavy topics in this show which were quite odd to balance out with the super cute and bubbly interactions between Xia Chu and Liang Mu Ze.

I could not care less about Zhuo Ran’s relationship with Mi Gu, Xia Chu’s best friend. The entire time I was thinking to Mi Gu, girl, get some self respect. Same thing with the story line of Xiao Xue, Liang Mu Ze’s cousin. The drama tried to take itself too seriously which I understand. It’s a great way to showcase the sacrifices people make as doctors and military soldiers which is admirable no doubt, but because these storylines moved beyond what was available in the book, the drama fell short in landing the impact on viewers.

 

Book differences and thoughts:

So when the drama first aired the first 8 or so episodes, I was like, OK, this drama seems super cute, let me read the book the drama was based on so I binged that. The book is actually much simpler than the story lines in the drama and it’s primarily focused on the romance between Liang Mu Ze and Xia Chu. The book I felt was a romanticized view of what a military doctor and a special force’s romance would be like.

While I just commented on how I think the added conflict in the drama could have been done better, I do think it was needed to round out the characters. In the book, I couldn’t tell why Xia Chu was a particularly good doctor which the drama actually emphasizes through her actions. I’m actually glad they gave Xia Chu more independence and the ability to hold her own, rather than being primarily focused on her relationship with Liang Mu Ze. The book also I don’t think did enough to highlight some of the true conflicts involved in being a military doctor and solider which the drama helped supplement. 

Some last thoughts – watch this drama if you want something super cute between two very attractive people where the man is actually fit enough to pick up his girlfriend. Sometimes you know it’s cliche but you just like it and that’s how I feel about this drama. There are WAY too many coincidences for this drama to work in real life but Xia Chu and Liang Mu Ze are adorable together. 

 

 

-Karen