Hello again! I’ve been spiraling into another Chinese drama and want to share Go Go Squid with you all. It’s fluffy, it’s business, and it’s great! Here are my top reasons for watching and why you should give it a go too.
This story is a cute romance between Tong Nian and Han Shang Yan. Set in a world of competitive e-sport and computer engineering and a chance encounter. Tong Nian is an adorable and bubbly 19-year old that falls in love at first sight with Han Shang Yan. Her awkward attempts at encountering him again then getting to know him will squeeze your heart. Han Shang Yan is a legend in the world of professional gaming and boss of the K&K team. He's so frosty but polite that it's hard to talk to him.
Adapted from the Novel: Honey Stewed Squid / Stewed Squid with Honey by Mo Bao Fei Bao.
Han Shang Yan/Gun God played by Li Xian
Tong Nian played by Yang Zi
First love and relationship
The first meeting where he walks into this internet café and hands over his ID. She falls hook, line and sinker.
The best thing about first loves and relationships are the stilted interactions, reflective agony of ‘why did I do/say that?!’ and a whole lot more. We get all of this in many ways. So yes, our main girl flails and flails hard. It’s endearing to see her trying, persisting and calmly considering what will actually make herself seem crazy and when to back away.
Equally, we get that side from our main guy as this seems to be his first love and relationship. He does have a lot of things holding him back from accepting her feelings, but he’s honest about what he can and can’t give to whatever this is becoming. What makes this so fluffy are their honest reactions and misunderstandings. There's not too much staged here. Except for the WeChat and gaming ID scheme that's as far as the staging goes.
It also pulls back enough that we can see her efforts to meet him again and go through these hurdles. But we can also see that they are still strangers and he’s going to treat her as such if they come across each other. Nicely done.
E-sports and friendship
While I don’t understand a lot of the business side of either of their jobs, I fully appreciate being included in it. We’re not over- or underwhelmed with the business side but we can see where things are going and know the stakes.
A lot of the friendship is described in two parts: the past and the present. So we have flashbacks into a wonderful team and friendship that has now crumbled. There’s mystery into what happened and if anything can be salvaged of those friendships. What we have now are the past bonds between them and their new relationships with their new teams. I really appreciate the different levels of friendships and groups, especially as we can see how they interact at multiple levels. The boss that gives a grueling training routine, provides you with snacks and equipment, the mother hens you into taking care of yourself, scares you to pieces sometimes and can disarm you with such understanding and acceptance? I’m a fan. You see it from his side too, wanting to take care of them, being an authority figure and wet blanket, struggling to find the best way to help them grow as a team professionally and as people. Have I mentioned how much of a fan I am of this entire process? HUGE.
How is it that I’m still captivated every scene this group is in? They honestly have a slide and fireman pole in their workplace/training facility/dorm and I’m liking it more and more. Also, the way they assemble anywhere and then scatter. Gold. As you’d expect, they’re still at the age where they’ll try to get out of things even if it’s going to build their strength and help them later on. I really like how we see them so childish then can hone in on a situation or character and we see another side to them. There’s always more going on than it seems. The grass is greener and all that. But it’s also about "the more you know about a person, the more you see other sides to them". You see them act differently around different groups, friends, colleagues etc. Thank you for giving them all such life and vitality – people are such interesting contradictions! The scattering when our boss is in a bad mood is still gold though.
We have to talk about this trope as it comes up so often in dramas! So we usually have a super supportive family and, no spoilers here, that is and isn’t the case in this drama. K&K team gives us all the love and support for our ship. It’s adorable how often they call her Sis-in-law. They’re honestly children excited about their boss’s first relationship and need to see this ship sail! Excellent!
Our main lead is frosty on the outside and knows it, but is actually a huge mother hen. So when he feels like he needs to lighten a situation, he calls his kids over. It’s honestly great.
Our main girl’s family is unexpectedly frosty for a Chinese drama. Parents are usually the first shippers and I like how they’re filling out each character and making them real. In their stead though is this great cousin, who's basically like her sibling and possibly the only reason she can meet Han Shang Yan. The schemes they come up with... I'm not sure if they're more of a help or an obstacle but he's really trying to support her! Their side-by-side panic playing that game together is so real, so like siblings and I can't wait to see what else they try.
Final thoughts: There’s misunderstandings, awkwardness, support and you won’t regret it! I’m not a fan of the voice-overs and reflective ‘if this had gone differently’ but it’s not as in-your-face as they could be. It mellows out and you can relax into this drama.
What are your thoughts on this drama so far?
Thanks for reading!