Far from being the drama with the most mind blowing and unique plot out there, A Love So Beautiful (ALSB) still boasts a coming-of-age story that ultimately touches friendship, evolution of love and reaching for one’s dreams in life.
A Love So Beautiful synopsis as provided by MyDramaList: “It starts off with high school classmates Chen Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen who are also neighbors. Xiao Xi, a cheerful girl who doesn’t study much, is expressive about her admiration towards Jiang Chen, the popular guy known for his looks and high grades. Together with their fellow classmates the funny Lu Yang, athletic but loyal Jingjing, and cool swimming team member Wu Bo Song, they embark on high school life to university until their adult life.“
It has been along time since I’ve watched a drama outside of my Korean drama scope and so I don’t really have any expectations going into this. I didn’t insta-like this drama. I even had the watch – pause – back to watching – pause routine and I could take a full day break from continuing on. I think it took three or four episodes for it to fully grab my attention and for me to warm up to it. But once I got my groove and ALSB had finally set it’s roots on me, I just powered through every episode and unconsciously invested more and more of my feels towards the sweethearts, Chen Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen.
Remember It Started With A Kiss (ISWAK, Itazura Na Kiss), A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Princess Hours and the recent Korean hit drama, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo? Remember the feels you had when you watched those? A Love So Beautiful sure did remind me of those dramas, not exactly because of their plots but I noticed tidbits of their story elements splashed through. Though, most especially It Started With A Kiss. When I started watching ALSB, for a second I thought that it’s a remake of ISWAK because that’s how unmissable their similarities are. It was later on that I knew that ALSB is actually an adaptation of the novel, To Our Pure Little Beauty by Zhao Gangan.
As I didn’t have any expectations, I found myself impressed with its cinematography. For a web drama, I do believe that they did really well with its treatment. The color palette or the tone that they used fits the mood, even the year in which the specific part of the story line was set. Every shot was nice, captured the vibe and enhanced the scene even more. Though, I noticed some transition shots that repetitively appeared and I snickered at that.
When most dramas of today are wooing us over with complex plot lines, here comes A Love So Beautiful dangling us with its clíched romcom in which Shen Yue (Chen Xiao Xi) and Hu Yi Tian’s (Jiang Chen) pairing making the drama fresh. With 23 episodes in total (me thinks, they could’ve compressed it more), the story could get dragging and frustrating af (because what can you really expect from a tsundere (aloof) male character???) but the story’s build up and the progress of their love line makes staying put worth it.
Shen Yue and Yi Tian are both rookie actors and I do commend them for doing a great job in portraying their characters well. Shen Yue is a breath of fresh air. Such a fresh face too that perfectly fits the young, bubbly and persistent character of Chen Xiao Xi. She probably needed a lot of energy to channel Xiao Xi. As for Yi Tian, I’m sure it was a huge effort and change for him to portray Jiang Chen. Seeing some behind the scene clips of Yi Tian and then remembering how smart, timid and tsundere (but he’s like more on just the aloof side to it and not the totally hardcore tsundere) his character is gave me whiplash because I’ve noticed that he’s quite playful around Shen Yue off cam.
While Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen’s love line plays a big role in the story, know that it isn’t just about that.
Youth & Friendship
When I think about Xiao Xi and her friends (Lu Yang, Lin Jing Xiao, Wu Bo Song and Jiang Chen), odd is the word the pops into my mind. Odd, because their personalities were truly mismatched from each other but it sort of just clicks. Lu Yang with his chill and game obsessed personality, Jing Xiao’s focused and strong, the ever loyal and caring Wu Bo Song, Jiang Chen with his serious and aloof personality to Xiao Xi’s bubbly and full of spirit one – they just fit and balance out each other.
There are a lot of scenes in the drama wherein their friendship and bond were at the forefront of the story. I love how they stood up for each other when they figured out for themselves that they’re quite the group already. Even though there were times wherein Jiang Chen is a bit questionable with their decisions and seem forced to do it, he still sticks with them. The feeling of oneness was there through and through.
Watching A Love So Beautiful made me miss my teen years wherein days are spent inside the classroom and most of my problems are to hand over my assignments and projects. But looking back to those years, I do not regret a single bit of the things that I did and decisions that I made. Especially when it comes to my friends.
Xiao Xi’s group of friends formed in an it sort of happened kind of way. Just like how mine was. We may have attended different universities, few left the province, but here we are now and I do think we’re still each other’s fall back group. We may not meet up as often but when we do it feels like time hasn’t gone by.
Evolution of Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen’s Love (and other love lines…)
My affinity for this drama can be compared to how Jiang Chen’s love for Xiao Xi evolved. The story didn’t hit me right off the bat but with each episode that I watched, I didn’t noticed how the drama is sinking it’s claws into me. About realized it when I only have a few episodes to go before the finale.
I’m such a sucker for slow burn romances and tsundere characters (either in books or dramas) and A Love So Beautiful nailed it to a tee. Such combination could reach an “I want to pull my hair out of my head” level of frustration but we have to admit that in the end it can get so rewarding. Rewarding in a sense that you will be able to witness a tsundere’s heart little by little thawed by the love (warmth) given by the other person which slowly leads to one’s love finally reciprocated. The slow burn romance that envelopes it just turns the kilig meter into another level.
In the drama, there were moments wherein I want to kick Jiang Chen’s shin, shake some sense and surprise the heck out of him for him to go do something. Why aren’t you doing anything? Him being a tsundere does run at an all time high and it’s uber frustrating, I tell you. (During the first few episodes, his reactions were a bit dragged out and even got me bored. I’m so sorry.) I badly want to breathe life into him. But all thanks to Xiao Xi for bringing in some brightness and liveliness to him.
The chemistry between Shen Yue and Hu Yi Tian is so (so so soooo) adorable. They fit perfectly. With an adorable chemistry, tsundere character and slow burn romance in tow – I’m in heaven. The story line and their acting was effective because I truly felt my heart throbbed so bad because of the frustration and my stomach swarmed by butterflies because of the kilig. The joy of having a tsundere, every sweet action that Jiang Chen does can make me squirm in my seat or earn a little squeal out of me. Girl, I couldn’t handle the feels and needed to calm myself down.
The other love line in the series is Lu Yang and Lin Jing Xiao. Theirs might have similarities with Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen’s, with a bit of heartache here and there but they definitely had it smoother than the other. Weak-hearted boy and fierce girl. All games (like literally games, as in computer games) while the other is too focused on her studies and what she wants to achieve in life. (In which I kind of wished to see more growth with Lu Yang’s character.) But despite their contradicting personalities, they were still able to make their relationship work. They’ll always be the funny and crazy couple of the group.
As for Wu Bo Song, sweetie you deserved better. There were parts wherein I hated him being for not seeing clearly. For not seeing that Xiao Xi’s in love with Jiang Chen. But come to think of it, when we’re in love sometimes we are just too focused with the person that we’re in love with and end up completely neglecting other factors that could be game changers.
I relate with Xiao Xi on a spiritual level during those scenes wherein she was thinking of what course to pursue, feeling clueless and her fears of never making it big in life. I have those fears, as well. Almost haunting me. Anybody can relate to that.
I loved seeing Xiao Xi and the rest of them mature and make the most & the best of their lives in their respective careers. Even when set backs happened along the way, they didn’t let those deter them from their goals. Instead it made them even eager to continue on to be able to achieve it. Especially, Xiao Xi. Though, I wanted to see more of this aspect in the story. It felt like things were sped up in the latter part of the drama and were skipped through. I don’t know if you felt that as well. Still a good job for being able to inject this one in the story.
Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen’s story may not be similar to mine, to others, or anybody else’s, yet at the end of watching this drama bits & pieces of it will comfort you. You can easily relate to it as much as you can easily learn from it.
I’ve talk too much already, am I right? I leave you now but please know that this isn’t even everything that I have on my mind when it comes to A Love So Beautiful. I just wrote this blog post down because I have this thinking that my series hangover may lessen once I decide to publish this… 😊