A Comparative Commentary on Love O2O 微微一笑很倾城: the Canon, Drama, and Movie

(This article was first posted on shoujoinvestigation’s Tumblr. Some minor edits to spelling mistakes and stylisation are made in this updated version. I’m crying because I can’t find some of the typos I noticed before now.)

I may not be your biggest fan of the franchise, but I’ve been wanting to finish off this overdue commentary which have been sitting in the drafts for months… This is a comparative commentary of the two live action adaptations, with knowledge of the novel as a basis. (I have read the book first, watched the drama, then the movie.)

Disclaimer: This commentary is fundamentally still coming from my own perspective and opinions. Differing opinions are welcomed but be nice!

TL;DR:

The drama and movie have different focuses, each with their own strengths and flaws.

The drama worked better as a live action/lighthearted romcom, while the movie better as an adaptation.

[spoilers and long post ahead]

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Master Devil Do Not Kiss Me 恶魔少爷别吻我: PSA FAQ

Adapted from my Tumblr post here on Master Devil Do Not Kiss Me (Seasons 1 and 2), a Chinese web-drama adapted from a web novel of the same name.
The drama is school life, friendships and relationships of protagonist An Chu Xia who is forced to move into male lead Han Qi Lu’s house due to her own familial circumstances as well as attend the prestigious Si Di Lan (Steinland) school which her parents had attended together.

1. Where did you watch this show?

I watched it on YouTube on the official TenCent (or Teng Xun) Channel and other Chinese drama sites for several reasons.

I can understand Chinese so the problem of “raws” is not a problem for me
– Somehow other Chinese sites ended up uploading the last few episodes faster than the YouTube releases (probably because of Tencent’s subscriber early preview option) –> Yes, I have already completed the show (S1+S2)

THE LINKS ARE HERE: (OR SEARCH 恶魔少爷别吻我)

SEASON 1: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMX26aiIvX5oWv-JZEEI6zWTUK0MULOtl

SEASON 2: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMX26aiIvX5oomrxI-59MznAY1NwsKDdN

2. WHERE ARE THE ENGLISH SUBS? WHERE CAN I WATCH IT WITH ENG SUBS???

Literally the links above have a CC option for ENGLISH with 100% (pretty decent but still not necessarily professional) FAN-PROVIDED SUBS.

To my knowledge Season 1 should be completely subbed and now can be found on other drama sites or DailyMotion as discussed in communities like MyDramaList and more. I’m sure you can just Google it by now.

3. WHERE ARE THE SUBS FOR SEASON 2??
EPISODE X HAS NOT BEEN SUBBED?? WHEN WILL IT BE SUBBED?!??

As aforemnetioned, ALL SUBS are probably FAN-PROVIDED out of the willingness and goodwill of the subbers’ hearts (even including some people around me). The fact that Season 1 was subbed consecutively by 1 particular user in quick fashion was already ASTOUNDING to me. At the rate of all the wonderful and kind effort of the subbers, it’s seriously only a matter of time before it is subbed.

Please. Be. Patient.

4. Can you (whoever in Chinese-speaking community) please help sub it?!?  PLEASE PLEASE I WANT TO WATCH IT. I WILL THANK YOU A LOT FOR IT. / Where else can I watch for Eng subs for Episode X?

I had also seriously considered this endeavour precisely because I wanted to share my love for this drama when the CC option for this show JUST RELEASED. Yet ironically, being asked to sub it simply because I had watched it and understood the raws (amongst other dialogue) actually put off my own motivation to sub it. Because subbers are probably doing it more out of their own desire rather than the “need to be thanked by you” yet YOUR request somehow sounds to like making others obligated to sub it for you. Especially with no consideration whatsoever given to the lives of the subbers being possibly busy and not being paid for their efforts in any other way.

In any case, referring back to Q3, I’m already amazed at how the fanbase already managed to sub the eps SO QUICKLY such that I didn’t even have to contribute much subs. The official YT links (ABOVE) are also honestly probably the fastest way that MORE people can contibute to the subbing all at once. So it’s seriously your best bet at getting subs the quickest. I have no idea where the other posts have been getting theirs in any case.

Conclusion: please refer to the SAME LINKS from Q1. And please be patient. 


Further Clarifications:

5. So wtf is this show about? What tropes does it have? Is it like X (another drama)?

There are seriously many places you can easily find out this information. Such as this MDL page with also the SAME YouTube official links mentioned in Q1.

http://mydramalist.com/22132-master-devil-do-not-kiss-me

DISCLAIMER ABOUT EXPECTATIONS:

Despite its currently increasing popularity, this originated as a pretty OBSCURE WEB-RELEASED CHINESE (not Taiwanese) DRAMA based on a webnovel of the same title (which I have not read). So its standards in terms of its mostly young and new cast, production quality and even filming style MUST BE GIVEN some SLACK.

To put it simply. my friends and I can safely say, it has A LOT OF typical shoujo-manga style romance tropes and can be said to be a combo of Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers) + Itazura na Kiss and a bit of Fated to Love You (TW version) even. Whatever else dramas comparison I may not have watched, and I’m pretty sure the above SUPER classic dramas may have already covered it.

In any case, my thoughts about this show, specifically for Season 1 have been aptly summarised in this review over here (http://mydramalist.com/profile/jernahorizon/review/28153) OR on posted here on Tumblr which other reviews also seem to cover similar points (as far as I know).

6. Is there a Season 3? I heard there was a possibility of Season 3?!

So far, at the time of posting, after stalking the relevant Weibo official accounts of the drama, there seems to be TALKS of Season 3, based on S1 and S2′s director’s post comments which HINTED at this. The director responded that he would not be free to direct S3 in any case due to schedule clashes.

HOWEVER, there doesn’t seem to be any confirmation on ANY OTHER information per say as to the CASTING (whether the leads will remain the same) OR when it will be filmed (which is unlikely to be ongoing because Xing Fair the female lead is currently filming something else it seems).

And honestly after finishing Season 2 and I’m actually GLAD that I don’t think S3 is technically needed. (Though I’m also not sure where the story stands now in the canon novel since I have not read it.)

There are serious time-variability to the accuracy of these answers, such that such questions hopefully no longer need to be addressed. These responses are as far as possible based on accurate information at the time of posting. 

If it wasn’t obvious enough, I’ve been giffing this show on Tumblr and plan on continuing in which would also include a huge ass rambling of my thoughts on the finale which I have watched (as explained from Q1 already).

~ Admin JY (Jayne)

More content/posts on Master Devil Do Not Kiss Me here on Tumblr!

Master Devil Do Not Kiss Me 恶魔少爷别吻我 (Season 1) Review

This review was written prior to the release/watching of Season 2 which directly continues from Season 1.

I never thought I would sink so deep into this show after starting it out of pure curiosity of its good ratings… but for all its light-hearted classic romance, comedy, and extremely easy-to-watch enjoyability, it was hard for me not to. uwu. I really enjoyed this and actually suffered withdrawal for once from this show…

Highly recommended: 8.5/10 (objectively) but 9/10 for enjoyment!

While Master Devil uses many familiar romcom tropes (namely Itazura na Kiss and Hana Yori Dango e.g. moving into male lead’s home, popular but unapproachable male lead, elite school etc.), the show stands out well in being a GOOD well-written romcom WITHOUT all the unnecessary angst, frustration over stupid/extreme characters or developments, and exaggerated/pointless drama.

Here, we have a truly independent and intelligent female lead Chu Xia who is given a lot of opportunities to develop her relations with other characters in a NON-hopeless-girl-against-the-whole-world context, without always involving the male lead Qi Lu. And for the male lead, contrary to the title, he really isn’t an unreasonable arrogant ass at all, even if he may be unfriendly in general. He still has ego issues and is reminiscent of the lovely-bastard-style character that was Ji Cun Xi (in Fated to Love You) even, but is still not that bad, for all his childish and nerdy hilarity. Really, to my delight, all of the characters are generally really nice and not hateful at all, which really makes the watching experience so much more easy to watch and enjoyable.

Perhaps given its short 20-minute-per-episode format, the plot moves relatively fast from one arc to another with a good balance between the leads’ romantic tension/development and relationships with other characters, ending on enticing previews and building on previously mentioned things (making the developments more natural and coherent). Although the characters all have a kind of general stereotype we can identify, their interactions with each other are refreshing and light-hearted and never fail to amuse me every time, especially with the male lead Qi Lu ;))

What is even better really is how the plot develops in a very reasonable and logical way!! (to think that most romcoms don’t even have much of this tho lol) To not be so hung up over a single kiss, to thank someone even though you don’t necessarily like them, for antagonists to also be reasonable rather than extremely single-mindedly bent on something??

image

But seriously, there is only arguably ~10% of plot development that doesn’t quite make a lot of sense and requires some suspension of disbelief, such as the first episode lol. (But once you get over that bridge, all will be well ;))

Since many of the cast members are fresh faces to me, I am less able to vouch for their acting. But they still did a good job in my opinion to represent the characters with the depth and distinct personality to make the show reasonable rather than flat. (Also a plus since they all also have good looks haha)

The OST is amongst some of greatest faults of this show, other than the questionable fade-to-black transitions that the production team chose to use. Attributable to the lower web-drama budget of the show, the OST is definitely not spectacular compared to more popular OSTs, especially the opening theme which just makes me orz. Nonetheless, I managed to grow into the other songs of the OSTs with time in my bid to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

That being said, it’s very important to note that these 23 episodes CANNOT be viewed as a completed story, given the way it ended that leads in to the next season as if it were just another episode. Hence, despite the completion of a season, the story seriously is not over yet, given the number of questions left and the HUGE POTENTIAL for further romantic development that has left me in my current withdrawal state.

image

As a result, the rewatch value for the show is definitely high for me, given the current anticipation for Season 2 and simply the fact that the show has such classic elements without causing the heartache, that there will always be something you can enjoy from watching it again. :))

Master Devil Do Not Kiss Me 《恶魔少爷别吻我》 Season 2 airs on YouTube (in raw Chinese) on March 8, 2017!!

EDIT: English Subs have been slowly added to the official YouTube releases searchable with the Chinese title”恶魔少爷别吻我” ! Season 1 has since been fully subbed and can be found on other drama websites while Season 2 has subs for at least half the season already.

~ Admin JY (Jayne)
(Adapted from my MDL review for this drama)

Moon River 明若曉溪 – Speed Review

MRXX7
What are you saying – this isn’t a good drama??

Expectations: Sounds like the Hana Yori Dango (HYD) premise

Reality: Is a less dramatic, less exciting, less angsty, less romantic drama of a similar premise

Rating: 6.5/10

While the good news is that this drama is less melodramatic version of HYD, the problem is that it is just as lacklustre in many other aspects of the drama. While it has the feel of a TW-drama and the budget of a C-Drama, Moon River ends up right smack in the middle of nowhere.

MRXX10
Surprise surprise and welcome to nowhere-impressive-dramaland

Although armed a rather extreme premise similar to HYD’s and a character like Xiaoxi, none of the exaggeration is utilised to much benefit – little exaggerated comedy, few dramatic romantic feels, not even the most basic angst of people from different social stratospheres getting together, letting good potential go to waste. That is not to say that the drama did not have its fair share of tropes – familial obligations, guardian angel admirer, antagonistic childhood friend in love with male lead and even a dramatic revenge plot.

At the beginning of the drama, novelty still existed in how the characters would be affected and changed by the school based events, especially since it still seemed loosely inspired by HYD. However, as time passed, even the plot’s happier undertones faded and were replaced with sometimes illogical train of reasoning for the main leads to react to supposedly dramatic but draggy and sullen plot progressions.

MRXX3
I cry everytime too when the drama gets draggy.

There was also little character development to speak of that was impressive, if any. Perhaps it was because I was too busy skipping long inconsequential conversations, but there often seemed to be a lack of logic as to why the main couple had to face their acting-like-married relationship struggles despite their obvious mutual affection. But then again, I don’t even remember when did they start expressing that mutual affection (especially on Xiaoxi’s part). Few characters changed other than at most growing to accept Xiaoxi as an amazingly influential person that brought positive effects on the school’s life (even though school increasingly grew irrelevant as the episodes passed).

MRXX5

There were some still interesting points in the drama such as some unexpected change of hearts and lack thereof. It probably is a good thing too (in some ways) that despite being in love, Xiaoxi’s dowdy style of dressing did NOT improve, nor did her personality drastically change as a result. Similarly, I was glad that they did not completely forget the aspects of action that only Xiaoxi’s character would reasonably be involved in.

All in all, a good way to kill time, with an okay beginning and an unimpressive ending. However, being of both TW and C-drama origins, it could have lived up to better expectations especially on the feels, if not characterisation that never truly came through even if the plot was lacklustre.

MRXX11
When you finally finish a meh-drama so you can move on with life

~ Admin JY

(A not that comprehensive review/rambling for this drama)

Why to Watch: Boss & Me (杉杉来吃)

(May contain spoilers)

  1. Relatable and mentally strong female lead
    While Shan Shan is optimistic in nature, she is not simply a ball of sunshine that radiates ignorantly no matter what meteor comes her way. She has very understandable doubts in herself, her abilities and her compatibility with someone seemingly faraway from her, Feng Teng (the male lead). however, she chooses to discuss her doubts with her friends, family and most importantly, her love in question, FENG TENG himself.

  2. A+ Communication in Romance –
    Even though Feng Teng himself took a while to admit his affections, Shan Shan has set a wonderful standard for romance dramas to look up to. While she was still doubtful about her compatibility with Feng Teng and even Feng Teng’s feelings, she so bravely confessed to him first. She explained that she was not sure what love felt like, that she was not sure what he felt like, but she wanted to confess her feelings anyway. *applause* And even more importantly, their communication and mutual understanding for each other continues even as their relationships develops.

  3. Sweetness with minimal Melodrama –
    The development of Boss & Me is fairly unusual for an Asian romance drama. Korean (romance) dramas are rife with melodrama and angst, sudden illnesses, family conflicts, and hidden blood relations/revenge back-stories. This C-Drama however works perfectly well with minimal angst at all. The problems faced in their relationship are straightforward and expected right from the beginning of the story (with the exception of the third-party arc in the drama). Nonetheless, their relationship development is sweet and entertaining with good comedy in their interactions (and Shan Shan’s reactions).

    Instead of seeing them painfully separate from each other due to having to travel abroad and such, a more realistic picture of their relationship is wonderfully portrayed. Their longing for each other is not angsty, but a slow reminder of their significance to one another. Instead of seeing grand magnificent dates that other rich millionaires in dramas may have set up, we are treated with scenes of the couple doing simple things like reading and eating together (as the title suggests). This is why Boss & Me is perfect as a feel-good and sweet drama to watch!

  4. Improved & Independent Female Leads!! –
    Although Shan Shan began as an ordinary and mediocre entry-level employee, her romance with a rich, capable and handsome person does not merely give her a straight ticket to live the easy and comfortable life. Instead, it gives her new aspirations and motivates her to improve herself. She takes up an accountancy certification course (CPA) (although initially as somewhat of a joke), adapts to her position as Feng Teng’s girlfriend rather than being intimidated by it, and even eventually starts her own business with her cousin Liu Liu.

    Liu Liu is also another female character in the show who overcomes her challenges to improve herself. While she was bound to her mother’s expectations and a bad fiance, her capabilities as an entrepreneur shine through and enable her to eventually start her own business and forge a living for herself instead of living by her mother’s expectations.

  5.  Good-looking Main Characters –
    Not only are the interactions between the characters pleasant, cute, uplifting and adorable, the main characters look really good too. While Hans Zhang may not have the best reputation as a celebrity in the world, his looks and style have been refined over the years to arguably reach its peak in this show. His eye candy power in this show is strong… >.>  Zanilia Zhao also does well in portraying a bubbly, cute and relatable Shan Shan, making their interactions truly heartwarming.

    The best part about Chinese dramas are that many of them are available online in HD and on YouTube!
    The downside is of course that one would need to understand Chinese to hear and read the subtitles to understand. However, I am hopeful that the show would have been popular enough to warrant English subbers to have worked on them!

    In the meantime, the YouTube Playlist to all the episodes of Boss & Me (HD w/ original Chinese subtitles):
    杉杉来吃 Boss & Me – Congratulations to the show for getting over 1 million average views for many episodes!