A cute romance between an adorable singer who develops a crush on a guy that she is too scared to approach, he is a genius in the field of computer engineering and a legend in the world of professional gaming.
It is late evening when Han Shang Yan walks into an internet cafe. While helping her cousin watch the shop, Tong Nian catches a glimpse of Han Shang Yan and immediately falls for him. She is usually brave, outgoing and has tens of thousands of followers from singing covers online, but she fumbles whenever she encounters him.
She is used to interviews, but can't even utter a word when speaking to him. He is cold, hard to reach and not the type of guy to be interested in girls, but Tong Nian's unique personality and her persistent ways to get close to him begin to catch his attention.
-- Adapted from the novel “Stewed Squid with Honey” by Mo Bao Fei Bao. Add Synopsis In Portuguese
Cast & Credits
Before I begin, I’d just like to say that I watched this drama up till about episode 25 with subs and the rest in raw. I almost never like to watch dramas raw as my knowledge in Mandarin is limited, yet I was still glued to my seat the entire time.
So there’s Tong Nian, a wonderfully bright girl who, like I mentioned, falls in love with our male lead Han Shangyan upon first meeting and continues to go out of her way to bump into him. HSY is cold to her at first, but inevitably ends up warming up to her in the end.
I’m also a really big fan of the sports/competition genre, and the CTF matches that were shown kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t tear my eyes away! They were simply so satisfying to watch.
I think what stands out about this drama isn’t the romantic aspect of it (which is amazing, but I’ll get into it later,) but rather the strong friendships and relationships shown throughout all the characters. You’re almost guaranteed to have your heartstrings tugged by the frustrating past of the original team SOLO, who add to the show in their own separate ways. My absolute favorites were the K&K boys! The bond between them all was something I absolutely adored.
Through the first few episodes, I didn’t really think TN and HSY’s relationship was anything worth exploring, but I was slowly proved wrong. TN was an incredibly persistent character in terms of wanting to get close to HSY, and it got to a point where I sometimes had to press pause because of the sheer amount of second hand embarrassment I was feeling. The entire ordeal was awfully endearing, and I really enjoyed watching how their relationship transformed over the course of the drama. There were a few times where it was dragged out a little too much for my liking, but the problems the couple came across were usually resolved within a few episodes which was something I really appreciated.
The cast was amazing. The chemistry between them all was believable and smooth.
My only complain is that I wish we could have gotten to see more of the story between Mi Shaofei and Yaya! As much as I loved HSY and TN, MSF and YY’s romance was honestly one of my favorite parts of this drama and I itched to see more of them. Alas!
Lastly, the music. It was absolutely beautiful. I loved both the opening and the ending plus all the songs played in between. So much that I even went ahead and downloaded the OST album onto my phone. If you only take one thing from this drama, take its music.
Adorable Couple, Wonderful Chemistry, Best Contemporary Romance of Summer 2019I’ve come to watch this drama, partly because Yang Zi is my favorite actress. Initially, I was holding some reservation because I was not familiar with the major male lead, Li Xian, portraying Han Shang Yan. At my first viewing, I was not very impressed by him; he wasn't that good looking, I thought; as Han Shang Yan, he was rude, mean, nasty - a total jerk. But then, something pulled me in - the contrast of the two main characters and the theme about reaching for your dream. After just the first episode, my doubts about Li Xian dissipated. I got more than what I bargained for.
Upon further research into what the term “CTF” stands for, repeatedly referred to in the drama, I find it is something even more intriguing and more complicated than I would have imagined. CTF means Capture the Flag. It is an information security competition between security professionals about cyber security. It challenges its participants to solve computer security problems and/or capture and defend computer systems. The competition is used as a learning tool to help sharpen the tools they have learned during their training. In another words, what seemingly “a waste of time playing computer” is actually teaching and training the next generation in the most advanced field of artificial intelligence in cyber security which is the next BIG thing.
Li Xian, playing the male lead, is absolutely incredible. The actor has a calm, cool, no-nonsense demeanor. He fits into the Han Shang Yan's character perfectly as if the role is written for him. What seemingly cold and tough on the outside, is actually tender and caring inside. He may talk mean and scold his people, but cares deeply for them. He is strict and uncompromising. He commands a breath of full authority that everyone looks up to, loves and fears. He doesn't care to defend himself. He doesn't care what others think of him. To him, everything is just noise. All he has wanted is the championship, until the love of his life comes along.
This is my first drama of Li Xian's. I find him super super cool and awfully good looking. Some viewers may not find him attractive at first glance, but he has the type of look that captures hearts. At the end of the drama, like many viewers, I fall head-over-toes for him like a little crazy school girl.
I have always liked Yang Zi’s acting. I find her genuine, beautiful, cute and sweet. In this drama, she plays the character of a prodigy girl. Tong Nian is so adorable that even the coldest stone heart can be melted. She melts mine. I'm just a little disappointed that the story hasn't developed on Tong Nian's intelligence and skills in helping Han in improving his teams.
Contrasting greatly to Han Shang Yan who almost always dresses in all black outfits, Tong Nian always dresses in cute and girly style (some viewers find the outfits outrageous). With her large round eyes and puffy outfits, she looks kind of like, a squid. No wonder she calls herself Squid the Fish. This contrasts greatly with Han Shang Yan who looks damn serious and yet stylish at the same time.
Having said that, the relationship between Han Shang Yan and Tong Nian is just amazing. Despite their differences in taste, age and almost everything, their chemistry is so wonderful and undeniable. Han Shang Yan, always being misunderstood by others, only Tong Nian sees through that iron facet of him. She thinks highly of him and treasures every bit of him. It is so satisfying to see they find each other from the very beginning and nothing can separate them.
Another young actor that captures my heart is Hu Yi Tian. He portrays Han's cousin, Wu Bai, who speaks few words but always watching and listening. He covers Han Shang Yan's back always, no matter what. It is so good to watch such a trusted brotherly relationship which needs few words. One look, Wu Bai would immediately know what his cousin wants. Both completely understand and communicate love and care for each other without many words. I wish we have more scenes of Wu Bai in the drama. Hu Yi Tian definitely has a lot of potential in future with his height at 188 cm (6'2") and awesome cool look.
This drama uses also quite a lot of incredible settings. One such setting is the Atlantis Sanya Resort Hotel that features aquariums in some underwater guess rooms. It is the most beautiful hotel I've ever seen. I am also impressed by the Disney Castle model that Han Shang Yan has in his room. It has taken him years to built from the lego bricks. The iconic Disney Castle, a symbol for dreamers, depicts the dreams he has. Multiple times it worries me that Tong Nian may crush it when she's topsy-turvy.
The official theme songs sung by Li Xian and Yang Zi are pretty good. But my favorite song would be the song called "Beyond's A Brighter Future" sung by the Solo and K&K teams under various occasions. The lyrics of the song are so touching that I tear up each time hearing them. The song is very inspiring, expressing the struggle of the dreamers. It calls for all dreamers to not give up when they stumble and face obstacles. It yearns for freedom and encourages determination. Composed by Wong Ka Kui, a Hong Kong musician, in 1993, the song expresses his own pain and struggle. Sadly Wong died within months of the release of his song. Another beautiful song that strikes me is "Couldn't Leave" sung by Dimash Kudaibergen, a very talented musician from Kazakhstan. The lyrics of the song is so beautiful and appropriately depicting the difficulties and struggle each dreamer is going and has to go through.
It is heart-warming to see a group of youngsters living and playing together, and enjoying each other's company and discovering themselves in the process. Han Shang Yan is not only their leader (they call him Lao Da - meaning big brother), he is also their guardian, parent, teacher and mentor. His relationship with them is simply lovely and moving.
This is truly an amazing drama for the summer. Don't miss it. Two thumbs up!