Tag Archives: Barbie Xu

Favorite Asian Dramas: #1-5 – Mars, Coffee Prince, Nobuta wo Produce, Thank You, Tsuki no Koibito Reviews

 

2)The First Shop of Coffee Prince(Korean)
Coming in at #2 is much-loved, wildly famous Coffee Prince, starring Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-Hye.

Eun-chan (Yoon Eun-Hye) plays a girl who’s had to grow up quickly in order to keep her family going after the death of her father. When a wealthy, irresponsible coffee-shop owner mistakes her for a boy and hires her to pretend to be his boyfriend so that his family will think he’s gay and let him off the marriage hook, a whole series of events are set in motion. When Eun-chan later goes to work at his coffeeshop, an intense attraction springs up between the two – but he still thinks she’s a man.

My take: Coffee Prince is just standout in Korean dramas – it’s well-written, well-acted, well-directed, with a lovely soundtrack featuring indie artists and stellar performances from both Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-hye; it’s funny, offbeat, and romantic, doesn’t drag until perhaps the very end, has a cast of charmingly quirky(and good-looking!) supporting characters, has an unconventional romance trope(guy falls in love with girl whom he thinks is a guy), and even more importantly has that extra spark of magic that just pulls a whole drama together and makes it out-of-the-world amazing.

When it gets good/Got me! moment: end of second episode

Fav scene: it’s tied between The Kiss(you know the one;) and the bumping-into-each-other on the street as they’re both picking up what she dropped

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3)Nobuta wo Produce (Japanese)

nobuta wo produce

Popular, good-looking Kiritani Shuji (Kame) has it all – the unofficial king of his high school, he’s loved by everyone from the cool kids to the nerds. There’s just one person Shuji doesn’t get along with – Akira. The quick-talking, hyperactive Akira rubs Shuji in all the wrong ways. When odd, reserved new girl Nobuko enters the school, she is immediately, viciously bullied. Shuji and Akira agree to work together to transform her into the school queen. An unlikely friendship springs up between the trio.

My take: I came late to the Nobuta fanwagon late, but when I did I fell hard. It was universally recommended to when to try when I first tried Jdramas, and while I liked it then, I just didn’t get it, and stopped after a few episodes. Two years later, with 9 other jdramas under my belt, I tried it again…and magic happened. It instantly shot past all the other jdramas I’d seen to become, not just my favorite jdrama, but one of my favorite dramas ever. And this for a show with very little overt romance!

It pitch-perfect, superbly acted (Kame as Kiritani Shuuji is basically a cross between Ferris Bueller and Jim Stark and won the Japanese equivalent of an Emmy for his lead role), well-produced and directed (light and dark are often interestingly played with and there’s just some lovely shots peppering it throughout), and completely funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and completely heartwarming. A love story, a coming of age tale, a romance, family, and friendship epic. It’s brilliant. It has something for everyone.

When it gets good: I already loved it by the end of the first episode, but the second episode solidified that

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HONOURABLE MENTIONSProsecutor Princess, Brilliant Legacy Aishiteiru to itte Kure, Hana Yori Dango 1 &2,  Yamato Nadeshiko Shiche Henge, My Lucky Star, Silence, Wish to See You AgainToGetHer, and Smiling Pasta. These are all dramas which are well-written, compelling, and hugely enjoyable, which I definitely recommend watching if you haven’t seen yet, but just didn’t quite have that spark of consistent magic that I require in my top dramas, or just don’t have my heart in the definitive way the others do.  

NEXT: Favorite Asian dramas #6-9

Quick Start Guide to Taiwanese Dramas

myluckystar

These are by no means the best Taiwanese dramas, though some of them would be, but rather some of the more accessible ones. For those unfamiliar, Taiwanese dramas are Taiwanese TV shows with an average runtime of 21 episodes, usually very romance-centered.

1)Meteor Garden– if you’ve already seen Hana Yori Dango and Boys Over Flowers, the Japanese and Korean versions of this story, you’re likely to be disappointed in this one, which is by far the lowest-budget, but Meteor Garden is the original adaptation, and it is amazing. It’s the gateway Taiwanese drama for many people, and the first drama ever for even more people.

Barbie Hsu absolutely lights up the screen as the most kick-ass girl ever(easily the best interpretation of her manga character) and she and Jerry have amazing chemistry and the script is just incredibly well-written and well, it’s just really good and has this magic about it that I can’t quite pin-down. It’s one of those classic stories that draws on some of the most basic ideas and impulses that drive us as human beings.

Shancai(Barbie Hsu) is a poor girl unhappily attending a wealthy school in which she doesn’t fit in at all. The school is led by four boys called the F4, a group of handsome, incredibly wealthy, domineering boys who hold absolute sway over all the school attendees and are headed by Daoming Si(Jerry Yan) the richest of them all. When one of Shancai’s friends is bullied by them one day, Shancai snaps and openly defies them, and immediately finds herself the target of bullying by the whole school. Daoming Si, however, fascinated by her stubborn courage, soon finds himself falling for her…Meteor Garden is a little bit of everything – part underdog story, part tragedy, part comedy, but mostly a Cinderella tale, and one of the original Asian dramas that contributed to the craze. It’s pretty much a must-see for Asian drama watchers.

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