Bromance the Taiwan Drama is exactly what it seems to be – the Taiwanese idol drama adaptation of a very cliché gender-bender shoujo manga that never existed.
Rather than a review, it would probably be more useful to judge whether this drama fits your personal preference and expected type of feels. So, here’s a list of what to expect in the show (with some commentary in between):
- Gender Bender
It almost goes without saying that it would be a girl cross-dressing as a guy. This time, it is out of a school setting but into a slightly more adult context, eliminating the unnecessity of a male harem
- Super Nice Second Male Lead Childhood Friend
- Action Setting with “Triad” Background
Every so often, a good shoujo manga comes along and throws in that tension and excitement with this “bad boy” context where he is STILL a nice guy, but badass and tough to everyone else is always a typical sort of appeal. (Not everyone can go into a military setting like DOTS, right?)
- The “Strong” Female Lead
Pi Ya Nuo starts off with a convincing enough neutral
behaviour while showing off her (physical) strength and capabilities as a respectable (wo)man. However, Bromance suffers the same problem as many other gender benders – unrealistically effeminate behaviour that gets way too obvious for the context of hidden gender as the female lead falls in love.
- Second Pairing Just Because
While I have nothing against the second pairing of Bii + Katie Chen, it is also just as unimpressive. Their only purpose seems to be to act as a foil of an ordinary relationship to the extraordinary circumstances of the main pairing.
If there was any source of concern, it would be how their relationship develops:
Katie Chen’s Nana character is a bubbly sunshine girl that talks almost one-sidedly to the stoic, unresponsive Qingyang (acted by Bii). She sticks to him and somehow, love blossoms~…
Bii’s acting skills aren’t particularly impressive either to me, which definitely contributed to my disillusionment in an already far-fetched idol drama
- The Must-Have Getting-Together scenes (non-exhaustive)
- Accidental kiss, arising from an amazingly unrealistic set-up
- Getting sick/injured for one another in dramatic fashions
- The Long Lost Childhood Connection
- Increasing skinship (through outdoor camp scenario)
- Second Male Lead’s interruption of interaction
- Being seen in girly female clothing (whether by accident or not)
- Convenient and non-disruptive Discovery of Female Identity OR Acceptance of “Gay” Feelings
- Falling into Fanservice
It’s both a boon and a bane that Bromance has plenty of intimate and cheesy scenes of the main pairing after they get together in ways that would definitely give you your cheap feels fix. However, this ends up sacrificing the still-decent plot progression in the initial stages. At some point, you may begin to wonder, is there anything really going on as a driving plot anymore? Of course, if you’re just here for the second-hand embarrassment, then this should not be a problem
8. Behind the Scenes
The irony was that I probably found more enjoyment watching their behind-the-scenes (titled Men’s Talk) after every episode and skipped less of that than the main show. It was definitely amusing to see the actors also cringe and die of laughter from the second-hand embarrassment of the characters’ cheesy acts. If not, there are always plenty of jokes going around between the cast.
9. **SPOILER ALERT – The Reveal**
This used to be one of the most crucial turning points of any gender-bender – the lies, the feeling of betrayal, the angst, the fall out. However, following the path of non-angst in this romantic comedy, rest assured this is no longer the case at all. While there seem to be moments of confronting their love for a “male”, what was supposed to be a fall out dissolves into becoming an open secret that most accept with no qualms.
Bromance is definitely one of the more recent epitomes of the classic Taiwan idol drama, in a slightly more updated and decently less brainless form. If you’re in the mood for good ol’ cheesiness, shoujo romance tropes and plenty of intimate fan-service scenes, then Bromance is definitely the drama for you.
Bromance is not for everyone, for example if you are looking for character development and plot. But in terms of being a reasonable enough premise for shoujo romance tropes to work, this drama fulfils its purpose and expectations well. After all, sometimes we can be suckers for some brainlessly satisfying romance.
~ Admin JY