Archive for category Chinese Language Television

Announcement- In Case You Forgot

I’m tagging this post not only as an Announcement, but also with the non-English movies and TV shows, so please read if you plan on watching something I recommended.

I watch all of my foreign (non-English) shows online with English subs, and I don’t usually link these shows to my reviews. I just wanted to give you the links I have so you can use them to check out the programs I’ve been reviewing or even to just browse and watch on your own then recommend back to me ^^

First I tend to check this site:

http://www.mysoju.com/

They’re brilliant- they update usually the day after an episode is aired (if the subbing teams have found it) and whenever a link stops working they are pretty quick to get at it.

If they don’t have a show usually this site does:

http://www.dramacrazy.net

One thing to keep in mind though: if you’re from anywhere but the United States you’ll run into problems with anything subbed by the teams on “Viikii.com” (usually marked just as “Viikii”). Their site has special licensing thingies (that’s a technical term) that keep you from being able to watch it in any other country. If you see that MySoju only has a show on Viikii then go over to DramaCrazy. Usually there you can click on an episode, then tell it which video to play (it shows you the links for just about any site the video is uploaded to). I hope that you can use the links!!! ^^

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Hana Kimi (Taiwanese Version)

This is an adorable story. That’s really all there is to say about it. Yes it is in Mandarin Chinese, so you’ll have to make due with subtitles. Trust me though, it’s worth it.  If you have some spare time and want to watch something overly silly, easy to follow, and not very complex, then this is the perfect show. I especially recommend this for anyone who is stressed with school exams and needs to wind down, or to entertain (and distract) kids from around 12-15.

Plot: 5/5
The story follows Rui Xi, a girl who moves from America to Taiwan in order to sneak into an all boys school to see her high-jump idol live. When she does get there however she finds herself as his roommate, and has some issues fooling people into thinking she is a he.

Eventually she meets codename Soccer Dude (I forgot his character name ^^), a very… effervescent and hyperactive and over-the-top guy who is also friends with Quan (pronounced Chan; high-jump idol boy). At first Rui Xi is confused by Quan’s apparent coldness and anger, but she soon learns that a car accident a year before left him with a broken leg and pushed him from the high-jump event.

It becomes Rui Xi’s mission to befriend Quan and encourage him to jump again, now that his leg is completely healed. What she doesn’t realize is that he hesitated on purpose when pushing a girl from before a speeding car- causing the injury (in other words, he wanted his leg broken so he wouldn’t have to face the pressure from everyone wanting him to jump). When Rui Xi is knocked out accidentally in a friendly soccer game with Soccer Dude, Quan carries her to the infirmary. On the way he accidentally touches her chest and realizes he is a she.

The rest of the storyline is a love story. Rui Xi encourages Quan to high-jump and promises to stick by him as a friend and support him the whole time. Quan enjoys acting as the protector and sometimes tormentor to Rui Xi, who doesn’t know he knows that Rui Xi is actually a girl. And then there is Soccer Dude, who decides he is gay because he falls for Rui Xi. Oh, and there is the gay school doctor who knows on sight that Rui Xi is a girl and becomes a highly unwilling mentor to her.

L-R: Jiro Wang (Soccer Dude), Ella (Rui Xi), and Wu Chun (Quan)

Acting: 5/5
There are many characters who come in and out of the show, and each of them is exceptionally well acted. Such Taiwanese acting legends as Ethan Ruan and Danson Tang have recurring roles in the show. Soccer Dude and Quan are played by band-mates Jiro Wang and Wu Chun (respectively), and Rui Xi is played by S.H.E. member Ella, who was said to have dated Wu Chun for a time in real life, and there is indeed great chemistry between everyone. My personal favorite is the school doctor, who does not hide his annoyance at Rui Xi for constantly coming to him for advice, but who helps her when he can. The best way to describe him is snarky, and I absolutely LOVE his character. Any scene he appears in is immediately funny, but in a more subtle way than the rest of the show.

One thing to mention about Taiwanese shows is that they seem to tend towards being slightly over the top. Compared to Korean dramas they use brighter colors and more exaggerated facial expressions. This also means a lot of the shows can be watched by kids. This show doesn’t have any nudity, and it is pretty clean humor wise. I think people who like younger styles of entertainment will prefer this series, but it is made for everyone to enjoy. It does dry up a little in the middle, but it recovers swiftly.

I would also like to point out that Wu Chun as Quan did a brilliant job. He is not actually from Taiwan, but from Brunei, and is not fluent in Mandarin. His Chinese comes out perfectly though, and you can tell he put a lot of effort into his role.

Show Link: Hana Kimi (Taiwan Version) [English Subtitles]

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Stage of Youth

This show is the slightly autobiographical tale of the show’s lead actor Han Geng, semi-former member of the wildly successful Korean boy band Super Junior (For more see “Artist Profiles- Super Junior”) and semi-former leader of Super Junior- M, a sub-group specializing in Mandarin Chinese songs. 

Plot: 5/5
Han Geng plays Xiao Lei, son of a former archery champion who is being forced to follow in his father’s footsteps. However, Xiao Lei has held a strong love for dancing since he was little, and finally manages to gain the courage to escape from his father and audition for a dance group which his friend Ah Boa is a part of. Arriving at the same time are two girls from Korea, one an archer, one a trainer for an entertainment company called to Beijing to find new talent after leaving her self-created superstar FLY. Ah Boa eventually tricks Xiao Lei into auditioning for the entertainment company and his career as a dancer takes off from there. 

Acting: 6/5
The story sounds kind of like a Disney drama, but the acting is incredibly above parr and is proof that Han Geng (Xiao Lei) is a lot stronger of an actor than he has let on previously. The story flows naturally, and at no point feels forced or rushed. Ah Boa is acted perfectly and his character brings laughter to each scene, even when he is being serious. 

Other Interesting Things:
Haha, this section is usually only in MV reviews, but oh well! Like I said this story is the slight-autobiographical tale of the lead actor. His story is that he was from a poor family and went off to a dance academy in Beijing so his parents wouldn’t have to work so hard to feed him. At the dance academy he was asked by a friend to come to a competition with him hosted by SM Entertainment. Han Geng went with the friend, danced and sang before the judges, and was given one of the top prizes. A year later he was contacted by SM Entertainment, who signed him as a trainee and flew him to Korea. So the stories aren’t exactly similar, but they are meant to be. 

L-R: Ah Boa and Xiao Lei

 

In the last episode we see Xiao Lei performing with another dance group on stage. This group is Super Junior-M, his group, and they are dancing the title song from their album that was released in China at the same time ^^ 

Show Link: Stage of Youth [English Subtitles]
**Note: Only the first 8/20 episodes have ever been subtitled and uploaded online**

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海派甜心 (Hi, My Sweetheart)

This is my absolute favorite Taiwanese show!  

Story
“Hi, My Sweetheart” (abbreviated HMS from now on) is a slightly over the top comedy about a mangled heart and its desire for revenge.  

The overly-coddled Xue Hai... This man is a college student

 

The male lead (played by Show Luo) is Xue Hai, heir to one of Taiwan’s most successful companies. His parents die when he is young and so he is raised by his two older sisters, one of whom is very strict and 30 years older, so she is often confused for his mother, and the other who is in her late 20s and has never been lucky in love. Overly nurtured from a young age and pampered by his sister, Xue Hai has grown to be nothing short of a big innocent kid who carries around his only friend as a child: a pink panther doll.  

Xue Hai leaves for college in China, much to the dismay of his eldest sister (who chases the car and announces she is coming with him last minute). When he is at the airport he hears a beautiful voice reading a poem, but he does not know to whom the voice belongs. At the college she has enrolled him under a false name: Da Lung (as in the Pink Panthers theme song, think about it). He meets and instantly crushes on Mo Li, the beautiful daughter of the school president who asked her to keep an eye on Da Lung without revealing she knows who he is.  

Xue Hai's personal bully, Bao Zhu

 

Da Lung settles happily into college life with the help of his two silly roommates. In his first class though he falls afoul of Bao Zhu, the school’s outcast bully classmate from Taiwan. He recognizes her voice as the one he fell in love with at the airport, but cannot believe it belongs to someone like her. In their class project Da Lung and Bao Zhu are paired up, and she cannot believe someone as innocent-minded and dumb as he exists. Sensing that she has no friends, and realizing he has very few as such a strange student, Da Lung decides he HAS to befriend Bao Zhu, no matter how painful it may be.  

As time goes on Bao Zhu must constantly save Da Lung, who interferes when she is in trouble and usually gets knocked out. They become close, until Bao Zhu’s former classmate with whom she is very close arrives with his company to sponsor a “Miss Sweetheart” competition. He begs Bao Zhu to enter, and she does to win the heart of Da Lung who is constantly distracted by Mo Li.  

Da Lung begins to hear rumors about Bao Zhu. That she is stuck up and rich, and that she once dumped a man for being poor. He refuses to believe this (Bao Zhu does not know who Da Lung really is, he keeps his secret).  

Bao Zhu forces Da Lung to dance the Pink Panther dance with him (adding a twist to the end). When he sees her in a beautiful dress without her normal scowl he falls in love with her. Da Lung and Bao Zhu grow closer and closer over the next three years of college, falling deeply in love. Da Lung eventually gives Bao Zhu his pink panther doll, so she can tell it all her worries and it will tell him.  

Bao Zhu’s mother hates Da Lung. She married a man she was in love with and he ended up being a loser, forcing her to work to keep their family afloat. She threatens Bao Zhu to leave Da Lung, or else she will ruin his family. believing Da Lung to be poor, she leaves her mother a note saying she will dump Da Lung, because he is poor and is no good for her. Meanwhile she plans to run away with him. Da Lung, on the other hand, has told his sisters of his love and went to buy a $20,000 engagement ring to reveal his wealth and beg her to marry him (he believes she may leave him because of his status as “poor”). On her way to meet him, Bao Zhu is hit by a car and hospitalized.  

Da Lung goes to her house to see why she never arrived, and her mother shows him the note. He believes he was dumped by Bao Zhu, who her mother claims has left for England to marry a rich man. He throws the ring in a lake and furiously leaves.  

Her classmate, who takes care of her through her suffering and patiently waits for her to forget Da Lung

 

Bao Zhu becomes estranged from her family and returns to Taiwan, desperate to find Da Lung. But he is not real, and so she falls into a deep depression when he is nowhere to be found. Her old classmate returns, helping her to move on so that she can one day forget Da Lung and fall in love with him. He sets her up with a radio program where she is known only as “Sweetheart” and becomes massively popular with her sad story of always searching for Da Lung.  

Three more years pass and by chance Xue Hai hears her program on the radio. Immediately recognizing her voice, he is launched back into his depression and rage at being abandoned (he has spent the last 3 years treating women horribly and refusing to believe in love). He buys the station and becomes her boss, planning on making her fall in love with him using his money and then heartlessly dumping her and leaving her with nothing (she stopped looking for Da Lung a day before he heard her program).  

Xue Hai trying to control skinship between Bao Zhu and her former classmate, who he believes is dating her

 

Bao Zhu is unnerved by this arrogant man who looks so much like Da Lung, and she grows to hate him with all her heart as he constantly makes fun of the man she claims to have loved. Xue Hai begins to fall in love with her again and realizes that everything Bao Zhu loved about Da Lung he slowly killed, denying himself his true feelings because of the pain he had suffered. He grows to hate himself and the arrogant man he has become. Instead he tries to make Bao Zhu fall in love with him for real, so he can finally tell her the truth.  

While it does sound like a complex story, it is worked out over the course of the series. The period where they are in college is the first six or so episodes, and the rest unfolds as it goes on. It is a very light comedy, with Xue Hai constantly being beaten by Bao Zhu. The end is as sweet as the beginning, and it is expertly written and acted.  

I highly recommend this show to anyone of any age. It is earnest and sweet and always keeps you entertained or angry at Xue Hai for his ignorance. Show Luo portrays this difficult character flawlessly, a performance I hope earns him an award. His co-star, Rainie Yang, is expert and both bring a strong and dynamic love/hate story to life.  

Show Link: Hi, My Sweetheart (English Subtitles)

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