It’s been another whole year, and Valentine’s Day is dawning upon us once again. For some of us, this might mean a huge eye roll, while for others, it might be the perfect excuse to be a little extra with displays of affection toward significant others. Regardless of whether you like or hate Valentine’s Day, I personally think every day should be like Valentine’s Day, where we show our love and appreciation to everyone around us. As a way of showing my love, I want to recommend five dramas I’ve been enjoying that celebrate the greatness of love and romance.
If sweet innocent romance is your thing, I would say “A Love So Beautiful” is perfect for you. The drama stars Shen Yue as Chen Xiao Xi and Hu Yi Tian as Jiang Chen, depicting their love story spanning 19 years. Chen Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen have been neighbors since they were children. Xiao Xi is the happy-go-lucky girl who always liked the cold and indifferent Jiang Chen. The two are complete opposites in terms of personalities and even height (Jiang Chen’s extremely tall to Xiao Xi’s very petite size). The drama depicts their journey through high school and university as well as their adult lives.
There have been many comparisons to the “It Started With A Kiss” series and its many remakes, but this drama has its own radiating charm with its portrayal of youthful love. Some of the major differences are that we see right from the beginning that Jiang Chen also has a crush on Xiao Xi. He shows in subtle ways how much he cares about her, and we get to see how his love grows for her throughout the drama. And despite Xiao Xi’s huge crush on Jiang Chen, her life doesn’t completely revolve around him, as she has her own dreams and goals that she wants to fulfill.
This drama was extremely popular when it aired during the end of 2017, surpassing 2.5 billion views with raving reviews for its fresh characters and sweetly nostalgic storyline. Leading actor and newcomer Hu Yi Tian gained immense popularity both in China and internationally for his portrayal of Jiang Chen.
Start watching “A Love So Beautiful”:
“Every person has a migratory bird in their heart. Looking at this feather you can imagine that bird once appearing in your life.” – Li Li
“Fifteen Years of Waiting for Migratory Birds” is a real slice of life drama with a touching love story. Li Li (Sun Yi) and Pei Shang Xuan (Zhang Ruo Yun) have been best friends since high school. Li Li has always been in love with Pei Shang Xuan, but never confessed her feelings due to the fear of losing their friendship if she is rejected. The drama chronicles the 15 years of the evolving relationship of Li Li and Pei Shang Xuan. Li Li always stands by Pei Shang Xuan as a best friend through thick and thin, never expecting anything in return. She’s the kind of female lead that you can root for: intelligent, pretty, kind, and strong, yet vulnerable at the same time.
The drama is built around Li Li’s hobby of watching migratory birds. The key importance of migratory birds is that each year the birds fly thousands of miles for migration, and no matter the distance or length of time, they always return to the same place they had left. Therefore, for both Li Li and Pei Shang Xuan, they always continue to wait for each other because they believe in the promise of always returning. My favorite part of the drama is how Li Li links her love of migratory birds to her love for Pei Shang Xuan through her eloquent, poetic dialogue and inner thoughts through subtle metaphors.
Start watching “Fifteen Years of Waiting for Migratory Birds”:
“Iron Ladies” stars Ben Wu as Su Tsan, a country side boy who has arrived to the big city of Taipei, Taiwan seeking job opportunities. He meets Chou Kai Ting (Aviis Zhong), the vice president of marketing of Love U Shop, an online cosmetics retailer. Through a turn of events, Su Tsan unexpectedly becomes the new spokesperson of Love U Shop, going by the name Ivan. Through Kai Ting, Su Tsan discovers a talent in the art of makeup that he never knew he had.
The biggest attraction about the drama for me is Su Tsan, a sweet, boy-next-door type of guy who’s in love with an older woman. It’s not hard to see why he immediately fell for Kai Ting from the get-go: she’s a successful career woman who is beautiful, confident, intelligent, and genuinely takes care of the people around her. The way Su Tsan looks at Kai Ting with such admiration, warmth, and love will make you swoon to no end. The sweet chemistry between Ben Wu and Aviis Zhong is sparkling from the moment they meet, and I’m so excited to see new upcoming episodes and how their relationship plays out.
Start watching “Iron Ladies”:
If you’re in the mood for a younger-man-older-woman romance, the new Taiwanese drama “My Dear Boy” might be just for you. Luo Xiao Fei (Ruby Lin) is a successful TV commercial director; however, her love life is a complete mess after realizing there is no future with her long-time boyfriend Xiao Ye Shi (Archie Kao). Xiao Fei loses all confidence and no longer feels she is worthy of true love. Xiao Fei meets An Qing Hui (Derek Chang), a college art student who is awkward, a little immature, and lacking experience when it comes to love and women. They quickly become friends and learn from each other how to navigate the roller coaster of life and finding love.
Our OTP is hilariously fun, with Xiao Fei acting as the older sister. She takes An Qing Hui under her wing, teaching him the ways of life, career, and relationships. Despite the age gap between Derek and Ruby, they have charming chemistry together with their interactions. I like the contrasting portrayals of mature relationships through the eyes of Xiao Fei and the experiences of a sweet innocent first crush in the eyes of An Qing Hui. The drama is heartwarming, funny, reflective, and in itself is a real slice of life with relatable, realistic characters.
Start watching “My Dear Boy”:
If you like romance with a bit of mystery, then I’d recommend the new Taiwanese drama “Lion Pride” starring Yen Tsao and Amanda Chou. Wang Qiang Da (Yen Tsao) is a math teacher and Wang Qiang Wei (Amanda Chou) is a history teacher working at the same cram school. They’re complete opposites in their approaches regarding teaching methods and views on life. Qiang Da sees everything through logic and reasoning, while Qiang Wei cares more about the process of learning and ensuring people around her are happy. They start off on the wrong foot with each other initially, but as they get to know each other, their attraction grows steadily with each day. They also have a connection to each other, as they both lost their parents at a young age to a crime that occurred 23 years ago.
The mystery/crime aspect of the show is interesting, and it keeps you intrigued with a good balance of comedy and romance thrown into the mix. I really enjoy how we get to know our drama characters little by little with each episode, as if we’re becoming best friends. The overall execution of the drama is done so well, continuing to give us answers to the things we want to know. It also throws out more clues to keep us on our toes and to continue desiring more answers.
Romance-wise, I’m loving our OTP Qiang Da and Qiang Wei, and they are one of the cutest drama couples of 2018 so far. Their slow and steady attraction transitioning them from colleagues to friends before becoming an official couple has been a pure delight to watch. “Lion Pride” has aired more than halfway, and I hope our OTP will continue to stay strong as they continue to seek the truth behind the deaths of their parents.
Start watching “Lion Pride”:
Hey Soompiers, are you watching any of these Chinese/Taiwanese dramas? What other dramas would you recommend?
blacksesame88 is an Asian drama and entertainment addict. She enjoys discussing her favorite dramas, and sharing her knowledge of Asian entertainment. Follow her on Twitter and join her for recaps of the current dramas she’s watching, also feel free to say Hi and have a chat!