What have we been watching this week? What kept you hooked for more or frustrated when you had to wait for episodes to air? What made you call quits? Here’s to sharing what we’ve been watching lately:
The Blooms at Ruyi Pavilion
Synopsis: Fu Rong, the daughter of Dayu State government official, Heng Jingling, is strong, intelligent, and lively. She was injured in an accident and gained a mysterious ability to prophecy in her dreams. At first, she thought that her dreams were absurd until one of her dreams came true. After that incident, she became determined to change the prophesied fate and protect her family and herself from a cruel fate. As one of her dreams was that she would be buried under the decree of Duke Su, also known as Xu Jin, she was determined to stay away from Duke Su, but fate brought them closer and closer. A covert spy network called Ruyi Pavillon as well as Duke An, who is Duke Su’s uncle, end up weaving a conspiracy and causing a series of mysterious events in Dayu State. Faced with their mysterious fate and the machinations of others, would Fu Rong and Xu Jin be able to stick to their values, solve the mysteries, and finally change their doomed fate.
Review: This was the second time I tried to watch The Blooms at Ruyi Pavillon and also the second time I couldn’t finish this drama. I had enjoyed the same cast in “Legend of Yunxi” and so really wanted to like this drama too but I think there were a couple of things that didn’t really work here. Fu Rong, although cast as an intelligent and lively female lead, came across as really silly at many key moments in the drama. She basically single-handedly kicked off Duke An’s revenge story by offhandedly giving him many details about a personal story that Duke Su had told her regarding the temple burning. She also very dumbly revealed who gave her the unique bracelet that she wore. In contrast, she refused to tell Duke Su, who arguably had saved her and her family from many serious consequences previously, about the bracelet. The marriage and divorce part was also kinda silly.
After watching as much as I could and trying this a second time, I just couldn’t bring myself to continue watching this anymore. The strengths were definitely good-looking leads who were riding out the success of “Legend of Yunxi”. The flaws were a boring and illogical plot line, characters that were supposed to be intelligent but really weren’t, and nothing more than a revenge story.
Overall Score: 4/10 (dropped after episode 20)
Gank Your Heart
Synopsis: Qiu Ying is a reporter and live streamer. She meets Ji Xiang Kong, a professional e-sports gamer, at an international e-sports competition in Vancouver. Qiu Ying makes a bad impression on Ji Xiang Kong because she tries to lie her way into meeting the captain of his e-sports team and ends up uploaded a video of the captain’s private confession onto the web. She later tries to use Ji Xiang Kong to boost her streaming views but that ends up backfiring because Ji Xiang Kong has a black reputation in the e-sports world. However, the experience turns out to be a blessing in disguise as Qiu Ying finds her calling. By chance, she discovers that Ji Xiang Kong is actually a misunderstood genius.
Review: I was in an e-sports drama mood after watching “Falling Into Your Smile” and wanted to give this a try. Wang Yibo is probably the most popular Chinese actor right now and I wanted to see what his drama would be like. In short, I was not a fan of this drama, not by any fault of Wang Yibo really. I was really annoyed with how the drama portrayed the female lead. I really could not see what about her was likable. She first pretends to be a passionate e-gaming fan and goes to the gaming competition but her live streaming is literally her taking what the audience members next to her are saying about the match and repeating that into her live stream. First ugh. She then lies her way into “meeting” the e-sports captain, films a private confession by the captain, and uploads it online to try to get more views. Second ugh. Lastly, she doesn’t find suitable content for her live streaming video and so to plug the gap, she does this dance that’s supposedly really amazing. I couldn’t hold back cringing while watching her just dance by herself in a public square, in order to fill up streaming time. Third ugh. I really wanted to stay for Wang Yibo but couldn’t.
Overall Score: 2/10 (dropped after episode 6)
Synopsis: Mikoto Misumi is a forensic pathologist who is working at the Unnatural Death Investigation Laboratory (UDI Lab) in Tokyo. The UDI Lab is a fictional facility recently established by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. Together with her colleagues, she solves a series of cases involving deaths arising from unnatural circumstances using forensic science investigation methods.
Review: If you love detective / investigation dramas, this drama is perfect for you! It goes deep on the science involved in discovering the truth behind unnatural deaths and also logically brings the viewer to a reasonable conclusion. There is also a bit of everything else that makes the drama a great one: statistics about autopsies and forensic pathologists in Japan, pieces of Japanese culture such as the perception of women as emotional, exploring what friendship between colleagues means, living up to one’s parents’ expectations, and many more. This is a must watch!
Overall Score: 10/10