Ordinary high school student Yan Ze is secretly in love with her desk-mate Ji Xiaowho is not only the most handsome boy in school but also a top student. But Yan Ze is neither particularly beautiful nor does she have a particularly good figure, and her grades are only so-so as well. Her best friend and adopted sister Gu Xi Ye, however, is the opposite of her, beautiful and an outstanding student. Yan Ze thus can’t help feeling that she will forever be no more than Xi Ye’s shadow. When Yan Ze discovers that her crush might like Xi Ye, her restrained negative emotions towards Xi Ye only become stronger until she explodes.
Transfer student He Xin Liang sees through Yan Ze and always “miraculously” appears when she’s at her lowest point to cheer her up with his positive personality. Xi Ye, however, is secretly in love with Xin Liang and hates seeing the two become closer and closer. Actually, Xi Ye has always envied Yan Ze for easily getting along with everyone while she has problems blending in because people tend to think she’s arrogant. As it turns out, the two friends both secretly wish to become like the other.
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Cast & Credits
This show doesn't really focus on romance that much (compared to A Love So Beautiful- though I did hope it would focus a little more on romance) but rather it focuses more on our dear characters' growth as a person, finding themselves, passionately chasing their dreams, and learning to love themselves (and even how to love others).
I loved how each and every character (even the seemingly perfect ones) had their own moments when they were envious of other characters. This show painted all the characters very 'human' with only 31 eps, I can't think of one character who was flat (though there were some unnecessary and unreasonable actions done for the dramatic effect).
Going on to characters, I will try not to spoil!!!!
On to THE female lead - Yan Ze. To put it simply - she's a naive yet adorkable character. I wouldn't go so far to call her strong af but she holds her ground and her loyalty is definitely unrivaled. She's someone you would call a true friend in real life. Out of all the characters, she was the most relatable to me in terms of her troubles and honestly, I loved her despite her stupid moments (which low key makes you want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her hard).
On to the next female lead - Xi Ye. She's your perfect goddess and the school beauty but she's got her own troubles. Struggling to love and be loved (by the people she cares about), a character you would definitely want to root for. I admired her pursuit of her own happiness and her self-control. She's loyal as well and would definitely pull all stops to protect you/get you out of trouble.
Now on to our male lead - Ji Xiao. He's got the brains, the looks, AND the great personality. Although he's real smart but I would say he's a little socially awkward (can't really pick up the hints/cues given) so yes he's a very cute character that makes you want to giggle or roll off your bed laughing sometimes. He's also a very sweet, mature, logical, and understanding bro and honestly it made me love him so much more (also 很心疼他） with him trying to make people who matter to him happy. Love you bro.
Our other male lead - He Xin Liang. He's like Ji Xiao - got them brains, looks, and a great personality as well. But the similarities stop there (okay not really but yeah, they're different). He picks up on social cues easily and he's got a dream that he passionately chases after. He's someone you know that definitely got your back and someone who would secretly help you behind the scenes. Like Ji Xiao, he wants his friends to be happy and he does many things to make sure of that -- even with his heart at stake.
Enough said - Every character was likeable and relatable in some aspects. I loved each and every one of the characters and as the show progressed, I genuinely wished for their happiness no matter where they are or who they are with.
The ending although rushed (in my opinion) and we hardly got to see the amazing people they've become (it's implied alright) but it still wrapped up pretty nicely. I would've liked a bonus episode showing a bit more of their current lives but I will have to make do with the actors' interviews and behind the scenes.
Overall I would watch it again and really kudos to the actors. They acted very well - I couldn't detect much awkward acting or terrible acting. I really hope they get more projects in the future!
I hope this show gets fully subbed so everyone can see what a heartwarming drama this is!
(time for my drama withdrawals)
I highly, highly recommend this drama for people to watch because, in summary of what's been put below, the plot and the characters are just amazing, yes it's another school love drama but its really good, its not so typical for it's genre as theres aspects which differ from it, I don't want to spoil anything this drama is so, so well made and the characters are so well portrayed by the actors.
This drama has possibly become my favourite drama because of not only the plot but the characters themselves have amazing chemistry that only made me love it more. The plot is quite basic in a sense but also not very typical of a romance drama, as seen on the plot summary provided, but it is so so good! Everything is really well done and actors are simply amazing.
This story doesn't have the typical 'cold hearted' and quiet male lead as Xin Liang, is what you see in a 'typical' second male lead who never has his love returned; fun, outgoing, knows how to sort problems out and probably the sweetest guy, in any dramas that I've seen, portrayed. He constantly looks after Yan Ze without her knowing, which is highly frustrating but gosh it makes the audience fall in love with this character, and he helps her with everything, literally with everything. This is only one of the things that I love about the drama because Just An Encore also follows the growth of two best friends who is seen be to jealous of one another which I find interesting as the typical pretty character is jealous of the "ordinary" friend while still being (kinda) nice, which I haven't seen in a while. Although her character did annoy me a bit.
Yan Ze, had a character that's seen in a lot of Chinese school dramas with a very similar hair cut with an amazing personailty but Yan Ze is also very popular, not because of her looks or grades but because of her personality and I think that's intriguing to me because in a lot of dramas, the male lead is often very popular among girls and the female lead gets a lot of hate but in this drama, theres none of that which I love so so much and everyone supports and loves her. In my opinion this drama has a more, almost, mature vibe to it as it doesn't have the childish high school drama of this and that (it has some but not to the extent seen in some other dramas) everything is so well portrayed.
The ending, now I'm not going to spoil it but dang I wish the drama was longer so we could see how the characters turned out, it seemed kind of rushed to be honest which is disappointing but nonetheless, has a very happy ending and it's so sweet and lovely.
I've seen some behind the clips of the drama and honestly, the two people portraying the main leads (Jiang Zhuo Jun as
Yan Ze and Ding Yu Xi as Xin Liang) have an amazing friendship as they were on the variety show I Actor in 2018 so I'm assuming they're quite close and familiar with one another. The chemistry they have in real life is definitely seen in the drama as they're very comfortable with each other but as they're supposedly new actors (?? Correct me if I'm wrong), they're amazing, their expressions, their voices and their overall acting are really well done, especially as they're new so well done to them.
Overall, I do recommend this for people to watch because its so, so good and I hope people can support these actors in their upcoming dramas!! :)