This drama introduced me to the notion that different countries created their own versions of very popular stories. It also educated me that some of these repeating stories were based off of manga/manhwa. Thanks to this show I learned a great deal about dramaland and for that I’m very grateful.
While I was still watching all my dramas on HULU, this was suggested for me after I completed Heartstrings. When I realized that it was the very same story as Playful Kiss I was really very excited. Even though I wasn’t a big a fan as most with the execution of the Korean version, I really loved the story itself. So I was sold, I liked the concept so much I was very ready to give a different version a try.
As a whole, I liked this version better than the Korean version. However, I still couldn’t quite connect with the characters as much as I would have liked. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the show, because I did enjoy it a lot. Though I think it has something to do with the lead role, she was as immature and ditzy in this version as she had been in the Korean version. It might be that character archetype that I can’t handle, because that was one of my main turn offs with Playful Kiss. Everything about Yuan Xiang Qin was overly exaggerated and blown out of proportion. I could not empathize with her very well and that made it so I wasn’t as invested in the feels.
The main lead, Jiang Zhi Shu, was great. For me the actor, Joe Cheng, did a much better job with the role. Throughout the entire show he showed growth and he evolved as he realized that he truly did love her. Xiang Qin felt much more static, she remained somewhat childish throughout. Towards the very end she did take major steps in growing up, but for me it felt almost a little too late to really be effective. The thing that I enjoyed the most about Zhi Shu is that when he decided that he was going to accept his feelings for Xiang Qin he actually showed her affection. He hugged her, kissed her, and generally made contact with her in a warm and sweet way. You could see his love for her.
Zhi Shu’s mother was very intense as well. She falls into the same category as Xiang Qin herself. I had a hard time handling her and at times found myself fast forwarding through her scenes or wandering away from the computer for them. On the other hand, the bromance between the fathers Jiang Wan Li and Yuan Cai was so adorable. I could have watched an entire show about them. I also really enjoyed the romance between Ah Jin and Christine, they were very cute.
The chemistry between the main leads, Ariel Lin and Joe Cheng, was phenomenal. Even though the Xiang Qin character was a little grating and immature, I couldn’t help but love any scene that had Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu together. You could feel the attraction and tenderness when they were together, especially for the scenes when it was just the two of them. I would watch this again just for their romantic scenes.
This was an entertaining watch. I did like it better than Playful Kiss, but it was a little too immature all the way around for me. But for a light and fluffy watch with a huge does of the warm-fuzzies this is a great choice.