Archives

They Kiss Again—-And Again and Again

They_Kiss_Again-poster

They Kiss Again (2007) is the sequel of It Started with a Kiss–the  2005 Taiwanese live action adaptation of the 1999 popular Japanese manga Itazura na Kiss by Kaoru Tada.  It stars Ariel Lin as Yuan Xiang Qin (袁湘琴) and Joe Cheng as Jiang Zhi Shu (江直樹).  This sequel starts with the honeymoon in Guam of couple Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu and ends with the anticipation of the pregnancy of Xiang Qin. It focuses on how the  young married couple weather the challenges in their lives while studying to become a nurse and a doctor.  Xiang Qin’s life is fully devoted to Zhi Shu, almost to the point of complete dependency on Zhi Zhu in the sense that she loses grip on her life everytime Zhi Zhu is away from her (here, Zhi Zhu goes on military service in remote Matsu Island for a year).  Zhi Zhu on the other hand, wants Xiang Qin to be independent to the point of not even answering her calls thus increasing the worries and fears  of the wife on the fate of her husband.   The drama shows a cold Zhi Zhu whose reaction to jealousy over a male nursing student, Yang Qing Tai, (played by Figaro Ceng, who I must say is a look alike of Japanese idol Kimura Takuya when he was in his 20s). was to completely ignore his miserable wife.  This was the part when I most hated Zhi Zhu when he was at the peak of his cruelty.   Not even Qiang Xin’s father could restrain himself when he hit his son-in-law to put some sense into his passive reaction or his “unhusbandly” behavior.  However, after this challenge was successfully overcome by the couple, the relationship between the two became more or less “stable.”  It was Ah Jin, former suitor of Xiang Qin (played by Jiro Wang), who made Zhi Zhu realize that what he was feeling for Xiang Qin was “jealousy” and since he didn’t understand the feeling or has never experienced such strong emotion in his whole boring and uninteresting life, he could not cope and thus the weird behavior unbecoming of an intelligent and mature husband.  As the drama progresses, Zhi Zhu develops  into a relatively kinder and more loving husband and professes his love for Xiang Qin more easily and more often.

Insterspersed with the story of Xiang Qin and Zhi Zhu are the love stories of Xiang Qin’s best friend Lin Chun Mei (played by Petty Yang) and her boyfriend, Ah Bu (Aaron Yan) , Ah Jin and  English exchange student Christine Robinson (Larisa Bakurova), and Zhi Zhu’s brother Yu Shu  and Lin Hao Mei.  Jiro Wang as Ah Jin was a bit overacting to the point of being  annoying.

As with the prequel, I like the OST.  My favorite songs were Ariel Lin’s NI (You), which was the ending theme and Joe Cheng’s Zhong Yu Yuan Wei (Loyal To The Original Taste).  The excellent music enhanced the mood of the drama.

An unexpected reaction of mine was crying at the sad ending when Xiang Qin learned about her incurable genetic condition and ran away while a frantic  Zhi Zhu looked desperately for her.  There was a scene  when  Zhi Zhu broke down  in frustration when he just missed Xiang Qin who visited the wall where he had first kissed Xiang Qin.

The last scene showed Zhi Zhu scraping the shit on Xiang Qin’s sneakers when she stepped on it  while videotaping  their walk to the OB-Gyne.   We are not sure if Xiang Qin is really pregnant or not but since it is Zhi Zhu who suspected it, being a doctor, he may be right  (if you will recall, there was a false alarm in the early episodes when a Xiang Qin had stomach ache). This kind of ending surely calls for a Part 3.  I am wishing….although it has been seven years since Part 2….

 

 

Advertisements

t-drama remakes vs original j-drama

I noticed that the Taiwanese dramas of the comedy/romance genre I like best are either based on Japanese mangas or usually adaptations of the original Japanese dramas (which are also based on a Japanese manga) shown ten or so years ago.   Are there differences, aside from the language, of the two versions?  Which one is better?

Generally, one noticeable difference is the length.  The Japanese versions will usually have about ten or so episodes while the Taiwanese ones will have around 15-20 episodes.  The t-drama versions would usually have several subplots and will try to stick as much as possible to the original storyline; the j-versions’ plot are usually centered on the main plot and would slightly have a “modified” storyline compared to the j-manga on which it was based.    Second difference is that the t-dramas would usually have an OST with a main title song and several pop songs which lyrics are related to the song.  These songs would usually be played in scenes where the actors are in a contemplating or reflective mode, scenes where the actors would usually be looking out the window or lying awake in bed while scenes are flashbacked. Thus a viewer would have to listen carefully to the lyrics of the songs to get an enhanced understanding of the scene.  The j-dramas OST are usually composed of one main title song and a so-called “insert”song .  The rest are background music and thus have no lyrics.  I noticed j-dramas have less or even zero reflection scenes of the t-drama mode but there are also flashbacks.  A third difference is the ending–for t-dramas, the endings are happy, boy and girl live happily ever after type of endings; in the j-dramas, one doesn’t directly see a straightforward ending where the girl and boy live happily ever after, although this is implied.  This leaves the viewer to expect a “drama special-SP” of two episodes to follow.  In the SPs, the “happily ever after” ending usually happens. 

Now, let’s see the four cases of the comedy/romance genre taiwanese and japanese dramas that I have watched and give my personal (subjective?) rating.

Hana KImi–I like the J-version better because I found the lead actress, Ella Chen, in the t-version not appealing.  Maki Horikita as Mizuki Ashiya was better (in fact, she won the Best Actress award in the 54th Television Awards in Japan).  Further, the j-version starred Oguri Shun (aka Hanazawa Rui of Hana yori dango fame) as Izumi Sano.  Oguri is one of my favorite actors, which explains the bias. 

The t-drama “It Started with a Kiss”(ISWAK)  vs j-drama “Itazura na Kisu”.  I like the t-drama version better.  It was funnier, acting was good although sometimes exaggerated, the actors had better chemisty esp Ariel Lin and Joe Chen, OST was excellent, the longer length allowed for development of the story, the ending really made me feel good.   The j-version, although made ten years earlier was also okay because acting was likewise good.  (BTW, the  lead actor is far more handsome than Joe Chen. ) Plot was short and really focused on the two lead charaters; absolutely no subplot. The lead actress’ acting was not as ” naturally cute” as Ariel Lin; she was really “trying hard” so her acting was exaggerated to the point of irritating. The title song cute for its time. 

“Sweet Relationship” (t-drama) vs. “Oishi Kankei” (j-drama).  Again, ST is a remake of OK which was shown in Japan ten years ago.  I like the t-drama version better because the lead actress, Patricia Hsu, was so convincing whenever she describes the food she eats.  Although I like Nakayama Miho (the lead actress in the -j version), it was Patricia that pulled it off better.  The J-version is more realistic though, but the t-version funnier.  Again, the length of the t-drama allowed for more development of the storyline, although the subplots were sometimes boring and tended to draw the focus away from the main plot.  I was a bit disappointed in the acting of Vic Zhou, one of my favorite t-actors.  His acting didn’t exude “authority” that his role asked for, in contrast to the Japanese actor who played the same role in the j-version.  (BTW, this actor looks better than Vic).  Vic looked  emaciated here and his facial expression was almost the same throughout (although he really looked  great when he smiled). Although both Vic and Patty looked good together, their chemistry was lacking  (maybe due to Vic’s “tired” acting).  But the ending of ST is better, as the j-version ended with the chef going to Paris with his girlfriend and leaving Nakayama Miho in Tokyo, with the promise that he will come back to Toko after two years to taste Miho’s cooking.  (I have a feeling there is an “SP” to provide the closure to the story, but have searched the internet endlessly for one but in vain).  Again, the t-version OST is good and I like Vic Zhu’s sweet relationship main song and Alan Kuo’s “Don’t say goodbye”. 

Meteor Garden (t-drama) vs. Hana Yori Dango (j-version).  Definitely, HYD lords it over MG.  Why?  I will save the comments for another day.

Vic Zhou_Zhou Yu Min_Hot Star

I have been watching lately movies or T-dramas starring Vic Zhou (n1981) of F4 fame, although I have not completely watched Meteor Garden 1, his debut drama.  He starred here as HWa Zhi Lei, which in the Taiwan version is an autistic guy (??). He was supposed to be 19 years old then. 

I have finished watching Silence (2006)and Mars (2004). I have not finished watching Sweet Relationship (2007) and Love storm (2003) since I am awaiting the subs on Mysoju.  I find Vic hot, although I don’t understand why because the Filipino comedian whom he reminds me of (Vic Sotto) was never my idol, nor did I see any of his film or watched his TV shows continuously.  But there is something about the guy that appeals to me–maybe his soft voice, or his hairstyle, his eyes  or his smile (he has a dimple).  I thought he had lost weight in  Sweet Relationship (which I don’t find appealing at all) and had caused his cheeks to become sallow.  Fanblogs say that he had just broken off with Barbie Hsu last January 2008, whom he had dated for two and a half years, after filming Mars (Barbie was his co-star). I don’t know how popular he is in Taiwan, but he is one of the most prolific in terms of making dramas among the Asian stars whom I consider hot (think Mike He, Lee Dong Wook, Joo Ji Hoon, Lee Ji Hoon). On the average, he has at  least one drama a year;not to mention several recordings.  He has a recent drama (Wish to See You Again, 2008) which was recently subbed and uploaded on MYsoju (episode one, that is). 

Vic/Zaizai’s  (his nickname) profile from Wikipedia

Profile

  • Name: 周渝民 / Zhou Yu Min
  • English name: Vic Zhou
  • Nickname: 仔仔 (Zai Zai)
  • Profession: Actor, singer, model
  • Birthdate: 1981-June-09
  • Birthplace: Taiwan
  • Height: 180cm
  • Weight: 66kg
  • Star sign: Gemini
  • Blood type: O
  • Music Group: JVKV (formerly known as F4)

*photo of vic zhou from http://www.chinatownconnection.com

why why love and other “ill” lead characters

Just finished watching the Taiwan drama “Why Why Love” starring Mike He, Rainie Wang and Kingone.  I patiently sat through all the episodes on various sites since no one site seemed to have a complete set. The series started on an upbeat mood, then towards the last three chapters, turned into a melodrama as the lead actor,  Huo Da, played by Mike He, faced his serious illness (he was diagnosed as having Wilson’s disease) immaturely.  He made life harder for his beloved girlfriend, Tong Jia Di (Rainie Wang) by bullying her more and becoming much meaner, thinking that this would make his girlfriend give up on him and thus lessening the pain of their parting ways when he dies.  The cruelest thing that he did (and the part that I hated most  and wish was deleted from the drama) is the part when  Hu Da invited everybody to his engagement party for his girlfriend and then while he was about to put the ring on his finger suddenly changes his mind, throws the ring into the pool and  and says that he loves his childhood friend, Yang Yan Shu and  kisses her in front of all the guests.  Although embarrassed and humiliated by the incident, Jia Di jumps into the pool to retrieve the ring, while Huo Yan (kingone) jumps also into the pool to restrain Jia Di.  I found this part and the actions of the characters so unrealistic and illogical.  Huo Da was ultradevilish and Jia Di so super martyr. 

But let me clarify that I have no expectations  whatsoever about  this drama being realistic; in fact I only chose T dramas that are of the romance comedy genre because I want to be entertained and to “hallucinate” so realistic T-dramas are not my type of genre.  So, you can imagine how glad I was when the ending was not “sad” unlike Silence so at least I was able to smile after watching the drama and was not left feeling heavy unlike “Love Contract” or “Silence.” 

BTW, my choice of dramas also depends on the lead actors–so I try to watch anything that stars Mike He, Rainie Wang, Ariel Lin, sometimes Joe Cheng (I couldn’t continue watching Summer x Summer even though Joe Cheng was in it because I cvouldn’t stand the lead actress), sometimes Vic Zhou (I couldn’t stand his autistic Wazu Lei character in Meteor Garden, which was also one drama that I couldn’t continue watching. His acting was terrible here.  I can’t help but compare him to Oguri Shun’s portrayal of Hanazawa Rui in the Japanese Hana Yori Dango, from which the Taiwan Meteor Garden was based on. Rui, although not really handsome, was gorgeous and lovable here). 

Going back to WWL, I think the direction was bad, overall.   The kissing scenes had a very unresponsive Jia Di  (how can a girl who is madly in love with her boyfriend not respond at all, considering this is also not her first kiss–the director should have guided her here).  Their kissing scenes in Devil Beside You were relatively better directed. And the crying scenes of Mike He in WWL,  too melodramatic. 

I also enjoyed the comments from the viewers.  One learning from them–in Taiwan, liver transplants are allowed only for relatives up to the third level of consanguinity unlike in other countries were non relative donors are accepted. Also, I learned that a liver transplant donor doesn’t have to donate his whole liver;  only a part since the liver regenerates.  I have not yet validated these statements though. 

Well, until the next drama….

about silence, taiwan drama

Just finished watching “Silence” starring Vic Zhou and Park Eun-Hye.  This is my first time to watch a sad love story where I know the lead actor would die–as early as the fifth episode, the lead already knew he had a terminal illness  (In “Love Contract” it was implied that the lead stars committed suicide, but I didn’t know the ending till I got there.)  Why did I watch it? Because I found Vic Zhou “hot” and the Park Eun-hye “beautiful.”  Problem is, there was not much “chemistry” between the two.  I got pretty bored as I found the scenes dragging and the comments from the crunchyroll watchers not so encouraging.  I found Park’s role as a mute but feisty Korean based in Taiwan as very “convenient”; she didn’t have to speak Chinese. Honestly, I only watch “dramas” of the romantic comedy genre, with the plot revolving around main characters in their very late teens or early 20s.  Watching these dramas are ‘stress busters’, so the more unrealistic, the better.  I had avoided watching these kinds of dramas in my youthful days, as I was into more serious stuff.  Now that I am near that point called “middle age”, I enjoy the less serious stuff.