GuMan's novels are very light - if you have seen Boss and Me, and Silent Separation - you will understand. Love 020 is the latest adaptation from the author, also known as Just a Smile is Alluring (微微一笑很倾城). The drama follows rather closely to the novel with some minor characters being fleshed out and a little more conflict being introduced. The novel itself is a relatively short one so the plot is rather thin and in my opinion it was kind of a stretch to push it to 30 episodes. Anyway, the plot revolves around Bei Wei Wei, a goddess-like beauty as a second year student in the largely male-populated Computer Engineering Faculty of a University. She is an avid online game player and her skills made her the only top ten-ranked female player in the game (within that server). She gets dumped by her online partner (the game allows players to get married and complete missions and stuff) but was almost immediately proposed by the top ranked player, Yi Xiao Nai He.
The story weaves between their real life and alterna-personalities in the game especially in the early part of the story when she does not realize that he is actually her real life senior, the legendary Xiao Nai who is handsome, good in sports, excel in studies, plays the zither well, and owns his own software developing company (in other words, perfection). The drama follows how he woos her (in and out of the game) and how they navigate the relationship together. There are little stumbling blocks here and there but no major heartbreak. Their circle of friends are adorable and a joy to watch as well, especially when they gang up to tease the two. Xiao Nai's group of buddies are especially funny and left greater impression on me.
There is another hallmark of this drama - the honest-to-god cheesy dialogues (and scenes) - which may put off some people haha. I did not mind it cause I read the novel but I can understand if some find it cringe-worthy. I did wonder how the actors manage to deliver their lines with a straight face. Yang Yang, the actor behind Xiao Nai was perfectly casted in my opinion. He really personifies the character both in looks and aura. Zheng Shuang, as Wei Wei was serviceable, the most animated I have seen her so far in anything she's been. I felt she also managed to capture Wei Wei's personality; demure but not a pushover, shy but also confident. I did not warm up to her more because I find she sometimes looks a little awkward, made worse by the fact that she looks so anorexic that clothes seem to hang off her (Wei Wei was supposed to be well-endowed).
Koe Koi (j-dorama)
I love when my two favourite universe collide, in this case anime and drama. This drama literally translates to Voice Love and it is based on a manga by Doruru, published via Comico. The story begins when first year high schooler, Yuiko Yoshioka (Mei Nagano) had to stay home in bed after catching a cold in the first week of school. The class representative, Matsubara-kun called her in concern and she was left flustered by his voice. She literally falls for his voice. She attends school the very next day, only to discover that Matsubara is a strange boy who wears a paper bag over his head! Do I see face-palms? Haha especially for those unfamiliar with the often far-fetched themes of animes or jdoramas. Despite that, the story is rather sweet, not unlike most Japanese shoujo mangas and always leaves me with a smile.
The episodes are very short, only about 20 minutes per episode (at the time of writing I'm at Episode 10) and airs once a week. Mei Nagano is wonderful in the role, it's been a while since I've seen a young (only 16!) Japanese actress so natural in her acting (I have to admit though I don't really follow j-ent regularly). She looks so effortlessly sweet and cute, a perfect match for her character. I will definitely be following her projects closely after this. The other draw of this drama for me is the voice behind Matsubara-kun, Sakurai Takahiro. I really love his gentle voice and realized that he was the VA behind many of my favourite animes as well!
Of course the other reason I am watching is to find out why he wears the paper bag and if they are ever going to show his face. At this point, I already know the reason but I won't spoil anyone here. However after 10 episodes, I still don't know the face behind the paper bag and it's killing me haha. I'm just curious who is the actor who spent episodes acting with a paper bag over his head haha.
Proud of Love 别那么骄傲 (c-drama)
This is another soul-switching drama, so if it's not your cup of tea you can skip this. I'm not sure why but my taste tend to veer towards outlandish themes. Again it's an adaptation of a webnovel. I was alerted to this drama on another site and was intrigued by the fact it stars the lovely Vivian Sung who won me over completely in the movie Our Times. She acts as Shen Xi, a dance major who is heads over heels in love with her childhood sweetheart, Lin Yu Tang (Guan Hong). She is a little on the ditzy end, passionate but not really bright. Our male lead is He Zhi Zhou (Tong Meng Shi) -a smart, cold and proud transfer student who shares a dorm with Lin Yu Tang. Lin Yu Tang is a gentle guy, caring towards Shen Xi, but a hesitant guy who does not really know what he wants.
After the body switch (courtesy of some random magic mirror), hijinks naturally ensue but what impressed me was the "extent" of hijinks. There were quite a bit of sexual innuendos I wondered if it can be aired on TV. Shen Xi gets into most trouble by failing to understand how the male body "works". LOL. There are so many LOL moments for me. Shen Xi (in her host body) getting aroused by looking at semi-naked Lin Yu Tang during shower - the towel raising scene was a shocker for me! Shen Xi attempting to raise her male hormones by looking at porn. Shen Xi getting overly familiar with her female friends leading to the misunderstanding that they are dating. In comparison, He Zhi Zhou (in Shen Xi's body) has less LOL moments. But my favourite so far has to be when he got his first experience of menstruation. His conversation with the small boy in the park had me in stitches. The scene goes something like this.
HZZ was lying on the slide in a park, the lower half of his white dress stained with blood.
Boy: Who stabbed you?
HZZ: My aunt (Usually when girls get their menses they would just say their aunt is visiting. It's a roundabout way of explaining their condition)
Boy: Your aunt is very cruel. My aunt treats me well.
HZZ: Good for you.
Both leads have dorm mates who are all hilarious in their own way. But the boys, Hou Zi and the muscular Yuan Wei Ren are especially outstanding especially when dealing with Shen Xi (in He Zhi Zou's body). They kind of think he is gay right now. Anyway, the show is only at Episode 10 at the time of writing so I do not know how things will progress from here but I will certainly continue to tune in for my laughing dose.
Both leads are pretty good although to be honest I do not know a single actor besides Vivian here. I just love how everyone attack their quirky characters with gusto. I only find Guan Hong to be the weakest link, but not distractingly so I can still enjoy the show. The drama is produced by Angie Chai (Meteor Garden Taiwanese version) so I am not surprised the show follows the format of Taiwanese idol dramas (slightly over the top scenes) but again that doesn't bother me. What did surprise me is how short the episodes are, only a mere 20 minutes per episode.
Moonlight drawn by Clouds (k-drama)
I'm pretty sure everyone who follows k-dramas knows about this one. Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jong are adorable as the haughty crown prince, Lee Yeong and the mischievous eunuch, Hong Ra-on/ Hong Sam-Nom who moonlights as a love counsellor. He is a powerless crown prince trying to wrestle back his monarchy which is currently being controlled by Premier Kim and his cronies. She is the daughter of the revolutionist who was trying to overthrow the monarch. Based on the plot itself you wouldn't have guessed that it is a light story...but it is, at least for the first 10 episodes. K-dramas tend to turn more melo at half-point so I reserved my opinion on the drama as a whole. However, the first ten episodes are so sweet and swoony that I probably wouldn't regret it if it turns to sappy later.
There may be more fluffy dramas out there but so far I'm only caught up in these and like them all enough to recommend to others. I have actually been reading more C-novels recently (more than drama watching!), some of which are being adapted. But I have to say it might actually better to watch the drama then only read it so that you don't have much expectation. But that's just me.
Phew, that's one post up. Till next time then.