I am hesitantly sticking my drama toes back into the Tdrama pool. 2014-2015 were not a good year for me (Taiwanese dramawise). So much messed up potential, which made me very, very cranky. So why would I go back? Mostly because I am a total sucker for a good gender bender drama and “Bromance” is one of the better ones out there.
That’s right, there is a new female, pretending to be a boy, on the block. And at least this time she is totally believable you don’t have to constantly roll your eyes at the men’s stupidity (thinking of you “You’re Beautiful” & “To The Beautiful You”).
Before we get into our countdown lets take a minute to discuss the backstory. Why is our heroine cross dressing? How do the OTP come together as besties?
It turns out that our heroine, Pi Ya Nuo, had the misfortune of being born a girl when her parents were expecting a boy. According to a fortune teller (who had previously informed them of their impending parenthood to a bouncing baby boy) they had messed up in having a girl and her future would be horrible unless they dress her as a boy (and not let anyone know until her 26th birthday). If her secret is revealed then she will die …. DUMDUMDUM …. So hence their son is created.
It has been 25 years since that day and Ya Nuo is happily living her male life and selling hot dogs in a cart outside the local amusement park. She is all things male. She walks like a boy, she talks like a boy, she attracts the ladies like a boy. Pretty much she is the perfect boy next door. She is also highly trained in martial arts and one day helps leading man, Du Zi Feng, against a gang of thugs.
It also happens that Ya Nuo saves Zi Feng’s sister from a runaway horse and his sister falls instantly in love with our manly woman. In an effort to get her daughter what she wants, Zi Feng’s mom declares that the “boys” must become blood brothers (theyliteral blood drunk…….ewww) and connect Ya Nuo to the family.
I guess it is easier for a daughter to seduce a brother’s friend than someone that hangs outside the family workplace. Either way a bromance is created.
With our backstory now known, let’s chat about the three aspects of this drama that I enjoy.
#3 Hidden character depth
(at least for a Tdrama)
Tdramas are known for their fluffy stories and characters that have only a single level of development. Sure you might see the occasional lead who has a tragic past. But most Tdramas usually develop something along these lines
Leading Man – “I am a total jerk, but my dad/mom/favorite fish died when I was a child. There was a girl who comforted me for 5 minutes along a riverside and now I search to recreate that comforting feeling/her to this day.”
Leading Girl – “I see that you have great angst in your life. I am pretty (insert sympathetic eyes and possibly a hair toss) and I just happened to also comfort a boy when I was twelve who also lost his father.”
Leading Man – “I realize that you are my first love and because you are a good person I will strive to be less of a megalomaniac. Please Marry me”.
Outside Forces (usually in the form of the 2nd lead girl, evil uncle, or controlling parent) ” I see that you are both in love and we can’t allow that to come to pass. I shall do something nefarious and cause one of you to have amnesia/cancer/an injury that causes a case of noble stupidity/etc.
Main Couple “We are noble idiots and must separate for the good of some unknown reason that really doesn’t make sense to anyone.
INSERT 8 episodes of pointless plot and a separated OTP (One True Pairing)
Main Couple “I guess that issue wasn’t really that important to begin with. Let’s get married and live happily ever after…..THE END”
Thankfully we are missing most of these tropes so far. No Amnesia, we have decent parents who actually love their kids and nice second leads that (so far) keep their scheming to just hanging out. It is a tad bit disconcerting. And before you burst my bubble by saying that there is still a ton of drama to go through…… SIGH, I know and I am sure amnesia will show up before too long. But for now I am going to keep my hopes up and enjoy my OTP gazing adoringly at each other in all their, gay but not gay, glory.
#2 Kisses & Chemistry
I love the chemistry of our OTP. We get tons of great sizzling moments including an awkward public kiss thrown into episode one. You have to appreciate a show that is not beyond forcing our OTP’s lips within kissing proximity every ten minutes. Before you cry out how unrealistic this is, you have to remember that it is a Tdrama. Reality is not this countries drama forte.
#1 Ya Nuo is by far the best girl pretending to be a boy in a drama …….by far!
I don’t know how she did it, but Lai Megan is awesome being a girl playing a boy. She has that androgynous look that just works for this type of role (Am I the only one that thinks she looks like a female version of Lee Soo Hyuk?)
Ya Nuo’s walk, the way she interacts with everyone around her, even the way she stands and sits are very masculine. If you were to tell me that this is really a story about two guys finding out they were gay and falling in love, I would have totally believed it. It is this attention to detail, that gives this drama an extra oomph that most gender bender shows are missing.
This completes my brief look into “Bromance”. If you are interested in the feel and styling of this drama and our OTP, check out this fan video covering ep 1-3. It makes me want to rewatch the episodes all over again.