Insects Awaken (2019) poster
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 113 users
# of Watchers: 699
Reviews: 3 users
Ranked #80009
Popularity #9934
Watchers 113

In 1941 Shanghai, a man captured the attention of the Japanese due to his resemblance to a BIS spy. He gets pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, yet through the influence of another, he realizes his responsibilities as a citizen of his country and throws himself into the anti-occupation efforts. Chen Shan makes a living on the streets by trading intelligence. Because he resembles BIS operative, Xiao Zheng Guo, Japanese spy leader Huang Mu Wei kidnaps Chen Shan's sister Chen Xia so that he will have no choice but to do their bidding. To save her, Chen Shan undergoes special training and proves to be an exceptional spy. Assuming Xiao Zheng Guo's identity, Chen Shan infiltrates the BIS headquarters in Chongqing and starts a mission where one small misstep could cost his life. As a Chinese citizen, Chen Shan never really wanted to betray his motherland. He meets Zhang Li, a woman with firm beliefs and slowly turns into a man who is willing to give up even his own life for the sake of his country. (Source: ~~ Adapted from the novel “Jing Zhe” by Hai Fei. Edit Translation

  • English
  • Українська
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 45
  • Aired: Oct 22, 2019 - Nov 17, 2019
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Hunan TV
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Score: 7.6 (scored by 113 users)
  • Ranked: #80009
  • Popularity: #9934
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

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Insects Awaken (2019) photo
Insects Awaken (2019) photo
Insects Awaken (2019) photo
Insects Awaken (2019) photo
Insects Awaken (2019) photo
Insects Awaken (2019) photo


13 people found this review helpful
Jan 18, 2020
45 of 45 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

It had so much of a potential but developed to a propoganda drama and a waste good talents.

Story: ★★
The story started extremely well. You are always worried about whether Chen Shan will expose himself and wonder how he will survive his next mission/test.
However, starting from the middle of the drama the cases became more illogical and less realistic. I just suspect that the Communists Party started to alter the script to fit their propaganda: The Japanese are pure evil and have invaded their homeland. Many brave Chinese revolutionists had to sacrifice to save the country. But they all died gloriously because a strong belief supports them to the very last minute. The Chinese who worked for Japanese are national traitors and deserve to die. The Nationalist party is also bad while the Communists party is the only right and good party.
While there were 3-dimensional characters are the beginning, they all became extremely 2-dimensional at the end. The story evolved to be very one-sided and predictable. The spy missions circled around the same three topics (the pilots, the factory map and the boxes of penicillin) and the logics are always the same: the Japanese started to suspect Chen Shan but he managed to deceive them and the cycle starts again.
Some plots were added intentionally to extend the number of episodes; I think they could have finished the whole drama in 20 episodes instead of 45.
And is such a shame! For example, the Japanese spy lead Huang Mu Wei is such an interesting character! They could have developed this character with so much depth but the writer just ruined it by making him a killing machine without any emotions. You can see this clearly at interactions he has for Chen Xia, the sister of Chen Shan. Similar goes for his subordinate Qian Tian Ying Zi. And also the story of the Qian Shan’s spy colleague Qiao Yu who also worked for the Japanese. At his last scenes, I felt nothing but sorry for him which I think should not be the intention of the writer.
In the end, the story became so ridiculous that I started to laugh at the development. Each character started to do things completely without any logic and out of their character just to create dramatic and underline the message of the Communists party I described earlier. (I had a bit of Deja Vue with the last season of Game of Thrones...)

I gave the story a two-star to pay tribute to the good start and some intriguing development of the missions. If only judging the middle and end of the drama I could have even given it a one-star.

Cast/Acting: ★★★★
I watched this drama because of Zhang Ruo Yun. I was not disappointed and his acting is amazing as always. Half of the supporting cast is the same as Joy of Life; they and most new casts also did a great job. I especially applaud Adi Kan who played Yu Xiao Wan, the wife of Xiao Zhen Guo. She did an amazing job depicting a rather selfish party girl at the beginning who then slowly grew up stronger and more independent after having developed affection to Chen Shan and the love for her country. I thought she was better than Angel Wang who played Zhang Li, the 1st female lead. I understand it was her character but I found her too stiff most of the time and there was not enough chemistry between her and the male lead as compared to Yu Xiao Wan.
I really liked Wang Long Zhen who played the main villain Huang Mu Wei. Hus character was interesting and multi-layered. I just wished the scriptlet would let him have played to out, which unfortunately did not happen.
Chen Shan’s three friends are the only ones who brought some laughter into this otherwise serious and gloomy drama. Esp. Dong Kei Feng who played Liu Fen Fang performed well.

Production and music: ★★★
The quality of the cinematography is really high and the shots well made. All shots are well framed, colors and lighting are executed to the spot. You can see that it must have had a big budget. There were many really good actions and shooting scenes. All explosions are real and well captured. - No wonder, it's the same director as Joy of Life. The BGM underscores the suspenseful scenes well. There are two reasons why I deducted the two stars: editing and the voices. There were a few scenes which you found illogical: important scenes were cut out or scenes that supposed to come later came earlier instead. I really don’t understand why they did this and actually believe the audience would not notice? Also although the drama uses the real voices instead of over-dubbing, they did not do it consequently. There were so many lines that were over-dubbed and they were so obvious! I was so annoyed by them switching back and forth.

Summary: ★★
All in all, I barely made it to the end and force myself through so I can give a full review. The same director and almost similar actors do not guarantee anything if you have a bad script. Joy of Life and Insects Awaken are just miles apart from each other.
If you are a fan of spy drama + good cinematography and love Zhang Ruo Yun you might want to give it a go and start to skip from the middle onwards. Otherwise, I would really not recommend this drama.

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Dropped 35/45
Marina Fomina
0 people found this review helpful
Oct 1, 2021
35 of 45 episodes seen
Dropped 2
Overall 6.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 4.0

Really promising in the beggining, dragging at the end...

This drama has started all that promising - wartime Shanghai, spies and agents and special secret tasks. But got boring by the second half of the drama and failed to fulfil its potential.((

In the beginning, It was full of style - smart ML, unexpected turns, suspension moments when you really get anxious about the main heroes, and really want to know how on earth could they get out of that difficult situation that they got dragged into. There also have been quite an interesting love triangle situation developing. From the beginning of the drama, I have really been anticipating the moment when ML (Chen Shan) will become a double agent, thinking of the intricate mind games that he would play with the antagonist - Japanese special service agents. But, I was disappointed (((

The second half of the drama, when he actually became a double agent, has became not more entertaining and smart, but actually lost a lot of sense. No mind games between Chen Shan and Main Antagonist - Araki. Actually, the ways in which Chen Shan have been triking Araki have become really stupid, and for Araki to actually trust Chen Shan in those cases - just right away non-believable...

By the 35th series, the story became a little too boring and, like they're dragging it along with not much to say. I feel this is a problem of many Chinese dramas, they just don't feel when it's time to wrap up the story. So until some moment around 2/3ds, the drama is fine but then at around 30-35th episode, it becomes unbearable to watch at the same time you want to know how things will end. So you're just watching and thinking WHEN will this finally END...

The good points though are - beautiful and stylish costumes especially could be appreciated if you're a retro-lover. The actor's play was good as well, the characters are realistic and a bit more complicated - not just two dimensional beings. Zhang Ruo Yun is always good in every movie he plays, so he made his character interesting and someone to feell for. I also really liked the character of Adi Kan (Yu Xiao Wan) she's sassy but kind-hearted, brave and naive but smart.

Since I didn't finish it and dropped at the 35th series, am I really qualified to make conclusions?
All in all, it was interesting to watch until around the 30th series but did not worth the time after that.

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  • Drama: Insects Awaken
  • Country: China
  • Episodes: 45
  • Aired: Oct 22, 2019 - Nov 17, 2019
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Hunan TV
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated


  • Score: 7.6 (scored by 113 users)
  • Ranked: #80009
  • Popularity: #9934
  • Watchers: 699

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