He Luo is a quiet and smart model student who excels in English and dreams of becoming a diplomat. Besides, she has a special hobby: She loves to fantasize and integrates the people and situations around her into manhua plots.
This summer, when He Luo goes to a tennis competition and sees the team leader Zhang Yuan, she falls head over heels for this beautiful and proud guy. Fate is on He Luo’s side as they happen to meet again in English evening classes and confront each other during the school’s debating competition. The two become friends, but in He Luo’s imagination, he’s the main lead in her manhua. When He Luo’s friends find their own love, He Luo and Zhang Yuan finally open up about their true feelings. They agree to apply for the same university, however, Zhang Yuan fails to get in.
From being in two different classes in the same school, they end up going to different universities in two different cities, and later even different countries, each making their own experiences while growing up. What will become of these two in the end?
Cast & Credits
STORY: It details the lives of the two main characters and their group of friends through roughly ten episodes set in high school, ten in college, and the last ten as they start their careers. I really love how this was split because it really feels like you are with the characters as they grow and mature throughout the story. (Not sure if this will be fixed later, but the synopsis on this site is slightly incorrect). There's really no villain, rather the story is driven by time and the changes in the characters as they mature.
ACTING/CAST: I'm sure the male lead is pretty recognizable from the very popular dramas Love O2O and Guardian. The female lead, however, is relatively new to acting and she's VERY good. In fact, most if not all of the acting in this drama is really natural. Granted, they look a little too old to be playing in the first arc as high schoolers, but ignoring that fact, they really make you believe in these characters.
MUSIC: It was quite good actually. If I remember correctly, they had the leads each do a song. There was nothing I particularly loved but the songs fit well into the drama.
Overall, I think this drama is very well made and pretty underappreciated. Sure, it's a simple story, but it was definitely a good quality production.
THE GOOD: Realistic relationships and romance done right. Also some pretty good acting and good pacing.
Having a realistic, wholesome romance seems so simple, yet it's amazing how much I love this drama BECAUSE of how well the romance and relationships are done. You won't find any cliche plot twists or evil and petty romantic rivals here. Instead, the villains in this show are time, distance, change, and circumstances of life. Sure, there are some romantic rivals, but it's astounding (and almost UNrealistic) how RATIONAL and normal they are! They respect the fact that the people they're interested in are in relationships and don't try to sabotage or intentionally mislead. Which seems pretty standard in real life but is really novel for drama-land.
Both Bu Guan Jin (who plays He Luo) and Bai Yu (who plays Zhang Yuan) are so great and natural in their respective roles and really bring each character to life. Part of what makes the show and the relationships and character growth feel so real is in the acting! There's no stiffness and they emote so well. The pacing of the show is also good, with time devoted to high school, college, and post-undergrad so that we can really watch the characters grow over time.
THE BAD: I'm being nit-picky but -- random anime scenes and confusing passage of time.
This might be a personal thing, but I really didn't like the anime scenes that frequently showed up in the beginning of the show, and gradually disappeared. I get that it might be an homage to the original novel, but to me they felt random and didn't really add to the story. I would rather get more time spent on some of the side characters!
I also found the passage of time really confusing throughout the show. The scenes flowed together, which made it feel like each episode was only spanning a few days, when in reality sometimes they would cover whole months or years. At one point I thought only a month of college had passed, when in reality the characters were already in their second year! What! I only remember two parts of the show where the passage of time was actually shown in captions. It would have been a lot less confusing if they had shown some sort of intermediate shot showing the passage of time. Maybe the seasons changing? It didn't really detract from the viewing experience, but just made me confused.
Overall, I would highly suggest watching Suddenly This Summer if you like realistic romance and slice-of-life dramas! It can be a little slow and doesn't have a ton of ups and downs -- I didn't really cry or squee -- but it's wholesome and will leave you feeling good.