Drama Geek and I had a tiny bit of an impromptu dramathon this weekend. We decided to try the latest Chinese spy thriller Rookie Agent Rouge, thinking it could be a filler drama. 10 Hours later we are all caught up and ready to shout our love for this show. This might not be a drama for everyone, so come see if you might be interested in giving it a try (spoiler free).
**SYNOPSIS: In the year 1937, Japanese troops have entered China triggering a surge of patriotism. Rookie Agent Rouge follows the development of Lan Yan Zhi during her exposure to hardships.
#4 – Do you like the spy trope?
KMUSE: This drama is so chock full of spies that I don’t think they could possibly add another one in. For that matter, our leading man is even a double spy attempting to become a triple spy. That is some pretty crazy spy action going on. I love the complexity of spy stories. But if you don’t like this genre then this is not the drama for you.
Drama Geek: I am a sucker for a female spy, no matter the country the drama originates. But only if the girl is smart enough to actually be a spy. You laugh, but this has happened before. I am happy to say our lady spy is completely capable even if she’s a tiny bit green. But hey, it’s not like she received any actual training.
#3 – Do you enjoy suave leading men?
KMUSE: It took a few episodes for him to grow on me, but I am starting to fall under Zhou Yu Hao’s spell. Yu Hao has a very controlled and mature vibe not to mention he is almost as smart as our leading lady. I can’t wait to see them hook up in the future.
Drama Geek: I have to say I was a bit shocked when our guy didn’t show up for the first few episodes. And when he did I still wasn’t sure about him. But then he stepped on screen with our lady spy and they sparked some major fire works. I love their back and forth and was happy to see another character that could finally keep up with our girl.
#2 – Do you like strong female characters?
KMUSE: WOOT! The ladies rock in this drama. I was a little bit hesitant when Drama Geek mentioned that the main guy hadn’t even shown up by episode 3. But Yan Zhi & Man Na are two awesome characters that deserve the spotlight. Watching them come to grips with a changing political landscape is fascinating and you just hope that their friendship will not be pulled apart because of political factions.
Drama Geek: I loved this actress in Shan Shan and find her completely different in this, and it’s totally refreshing. She’s everything you want in a spy girl, with all the feels too. With what I’ve watched she’s just getting started and I can’t wait to see how she navigates this very dangerous world. And I too hope that these two ladies come out the other end of the war with their sismance intact.
#1 – Do you like Shan Shan (aka Zhao Zanilia)
KMUSE: I love Shan Shan (I don’t know if I will ever be able to see Zhao Zanilia and not call her that in my head) so much. This is the fourth or fifth drama I have watched where she is the leading lady and I am never disappointed. Zhao Zanilia brings a believability to any role she takes on regardless of genre. I would even go so far as to say she is my Chinese girl crush and I will watch a drama just for her.
Mixed Bag of Pros and Cons
KMUSE: I think it is important to mention that Rookie Agent Rouge is not going to be everyone’s bag of tea. It is very story focused. Which means that you are not going to be getting a huge dose of romance right from the beginning. For that matter, the two leads are spying independently of each other to where the plot is right now.
Which, for me, is not a bad thing since we get a lot of wonderfully character development with both of the leading ladies. It is so rare that we get this kind of leading lady focus (especially in Kdramas) that I am enjoying the novelty of it. Viva la female!
Drama Geek: Okay, I will admit that I do zone out a tiny bit when they start start talking war strategy. Hey, I’m still the same person that did a paper on War and Peace and skimmed all the battle strategy sections. 🙂
KMUSE: We should also take a moment to mention how amazing the styling is. I am in love with the vibrant dresses and suits. It is one of my favorite things about watching Republican Era dramas and this one excels.
Drama Geek: I am in love with our lady spy’s clothes. I would hate to live during a time when you always had to look this put together, but dang does it make for some wonderful pretty. She always looks distinctly feminine while still managing to appear to be ready for anything. Reminds me of Agent Carter.
KMUSE: The realism of the spy stories is very believable so far. Something I appreciate since in the US we usually have the spies that are larger than life doing unbelievable stunts
I do highly recommend that people take a quick moment to do a quick brush up on the Japanese, Chinese, and Communist history (CLICK HERE) so you can follow who is spying for which group. There is a ton of political background that doesn’t get explained so trying to following who is on what side can be complicated. Especially once we start getting into the double spy stories.
Drama Geek: Thank goodness for Kmuse on this one. I’m a tad bit rusty on what was going on in China during this time. I’ve pretty much got Korea and Japan down, but was confused for a while. Mainly who our lead guy was working for. But hey, not my fault, apparently he’s trying to work for everyone. 🙂
I hope that this post helped you in deciding whether or not to give this drama a chance. Be sure to check out our other Chinese drama reviews HERE and watch subbed episodes of Rookie Agent Rouge on VIKI HERE.
Til next time,
**my drama list