4 people found this review helpful
Aug 22, 2020
30 of 30 episodes seen
Completed 7
Overall 7.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
I watched this drama because I was on a Jang Na Ra binge and the poster for this drama had a interesting image of Jang Na Ra on it. There doesn't seem to be much information on the drama and I couldn't find any English subtitles (except for an incomplete one from Viki) so I watched it in its native Chinese (You can find it freely on youtube).

Now for the review:

First its flaws:
What I found immediately annoying about this drama was its stilted dialogue. The flow of the conversation was never natural and lacked emotion and people would just repeat the same things over and over again. It was so cringe-inducing that I almost wanted to drop the drama in the first episode. However, the dialogue got progressively better with each episode, and I quickly got used to it, so it wasn't too bad of a problem.

Besides that, I really disliked how much the plot of the story was driven by chance encounters. Perhaps this is just par for the course of a standard soapy pseudo makjang-esque story. But even so, the amount of fires, plane crashes, car crashes, and sudden sicknesses that conveniently shifted the course of the story really cheapened an otherwise interesting premise.

In a similar manner, I didn't really like the pacing of the story. The pacing starts pretty evenly, but then it gets faster and faster until episode twenty. Honestly, this was fine, and the story was quite interesting. But then after that, for the last 10 episodes, the pacing suddenly became extremely slow and in some parts it almost seemed as though they were trying to turn the drama into a suspenseful horror thriller with dark ambiance and creepy music. This is extremely jarring and out of place when the first twenty episodes was your standard romance story. This change in pacing of the last 10 episodes were exacerbated the shift in focus away from the titular main heroine Hu Die. Other than a few scenes of walking around, she virtually dissipated from the show with no more character development.

Speaking of Hu Die, I disliked how inconsistent her character was. This is a problem other characters also faced, but I felt it was most apparent with her. Throughout the show, she faces a lot of tragedy, so its expected that her personality would morph. However sometimes, the change in personality is sudden and in inexplicable ways that don't make any sense. For example, in the beginning Hu Die is portrayed as this kind, innocent and compassionate girl who slowly becomes more bitter and resentful from all suffering she has. While this change is expected, later, after she becomes the famous singer, she somehow also suddenly becomes a snobby b*tch that acts condescendingly as if she is above everyone. This change is very sudden and when other characters comment on this, she literally says "Sorry, I also don't know why I'm acting like this." Yet, after a while of this personality, she randomly changes again back into the more compassionate version -- which then changes again. The inconsistent character growth and personality is just annoying and makes it hard to understand Hu Die.

Lastly, the dubs were not that great in the show either. I quickly got used to it so it wasn't much of a problem. But the lip syncing for some of the actors were never exactly on point. This was especially true for Hu Die (Jang Na Ra), which while understandable as she is a Korean actress being dubbed with Chinese was still somewhat annoying.

Now that I listed a bunch of gripes with the story, I will go down with the positives:

First off, while the story itself used a lot of cheap plot devices to move it along, the overarching story was quite unique. The premise of a girl saving a guy only to get pregnant and abandoned was quite interesting, and the drama develops it in an unique enough way that kept me watching until I finished all thirty episodes despite all the flaws. That being said, I must qualify this statement by saying that the end wasn't the best out there. It didn't necessarily leave me craving for more, but I still felt it was somewhat rushed and could of been given a longer conclusion. Similarly, even though the overall story was pretty good, I feel like they could have done so much more with the premise that was given. The premise could have been used to explore and provided commentary on the challenge of single-motherhood or the effects of a celebrity career on raising a child etc, but instead only brought about a superficial if interesting tragic ill-fated love story. This, I feel is a big missed opportunity.

Now for what I most liked about this drama, it is definitely the set design and the clothing. The set truly evoked the feeling of a Shanghai set in the Republic of China era. The architecture and streets were all amazing and somewhat unique, pointing to an era of China that has all but disappeared. Similarly, I loved the clothing. Especially for Jang Na Ra. In a qipao, Jang Na Ra looks absolutely amazing. Similarly, when she wears the mask, she truly looks like some mystical figure that could perhaps been a famous singer in those days. Honestly, of all the Jang Na Ra dramas I've watched (which is most of them), she is the most stunning looking in this one. Thus, if you are also a Jang Na Ra fan, I suggest skimming through this drama if not for the plot just to see some amazing (albeit dubbed) acting from her in amazing costumes.

Lastly, I also enjoyed the music in this show. Especially the song "Twin Fish", it really was quite beautiful and evoked the feeling of tragic love Hu Die was entwined in. I'm not sure if Jang Na Ra had personally sang the song, but I really enjoyed it.

Overall, the story and dialogue wasn't amazing and had a lot of untapped potential that could've made it an actual masterpiece. Even so, it with the set design, Jang Na Ra and the music kept me interested till the end.

I doubt I will re-watch the show, but I don't regret watching it. And I'd say, if you can understand Chinese and are a Jang Na Ra fan, give the drama a go. It doesn't seem to be very popular and a google search of the English title essentially yield nothing relevant other than a link to this page. But even, so I'd say the music, set design, unique premise and Jang Na Ra are enough to warrant a watch.

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