When we were migrating the blog over to the new platform a while back, I kept seeing the posts on Love O2O show up. I didn’t read them because my maknae self said, “Holy CRAP, Chinese dramas are LONG.”
HA. Then I watched Legend of Fu Yao and I realized that 30 episodes was NOTHING.
There was also that podcast my Chinese drama-watching fellow fangirls did, in which they mentioned Love O2O AGAIN. I couldn’t get away from the series!
So here I am, months later, and I’ve finally watched the drama and the movie. Come see what I thought and if my response was the same as The Fangirls’ response when they first reviewed them.
The drama: There were a LOT of characters to love in Love O2O. I especially liked Erxi, Wei Wei’s plucky, bouncy roommate, and Xiao Nai’s rowdy homeboys. Cao Guang was hit-or-miss, but I shipped him with Erxi. Wei Wei was fine — she was at her best in the actual video game, in my opinion, because her personality in real life felt a bit washed out. I wasn’t entirely convinced that she was a computer major, honestly, aside from her keyboard fluency.
The movie: HERE is a computer major Wei Wei I can get behind! Angelababy channeled the confident, slightly tomboyish gamer girl much more effectively. Jing Bo Ran was less tsundere (Mr. Darcy-esque) than Yang Yang’s portrayal of Xiao Nai, and his circumstances were closer to what I’d expect of a college-level gamer and his startup company. I missed the rich cast of secondary characters, though I did laugh at Bai Yu playing Cao Guang in both. Interestingly, he was a darker version in the movie.
The drama: Love O2O is sweet and the drama is slow-moving. The interplay between the video game world and the real world is very strictly separated, and the video game world is rich and varied. I did laugh at Xiao Nai’s weapon of choice a lot. He played the deadly zither/zheng, which was used a little ridiculously in some of the battle situations–he had to settle into a sitting position to use it properly! Who has time for that when they’re fighting?? ANYWAY. I really like the cameraderie between Wei Wei and her roommates and Xiao Nai’s homeboys. The last part of the story annoyed me somewhat — Wei Wei lost her spark when she started working for Xiao Nai. I can’t quite put my finger on why.
The movie: The pace of the movie was on FIRE. I loved how the video game world was more integrated with the real world — having been in an online community before, this felt more true to my experience; the digital environment doesn’t get left behind entirely. I also enjoyed the opportunity to see Wei Wei and Xiao Nai fighting together more in this one, and I LOVED Xiao Nai’s weapon. It was better utilized in the movie. That being said, the compression of the timeline and the cast meant that there were a few things I only understood because I’d watched the drama.
I found the twist of the male lead knowing who the female lead is long before she figures things out interesting and only slightly creepy. HA! I kid! I kid! I really do love that Xiao Nai was attracted to Wei Wei’s gaming skills and in-game characteristics first, and then fell for her even harder when they got together in real life. In the drama, Wei Wei would run away or do the pop-eyed stand still thing when the romance got a little too heated, but in the movie, she gave as good as she got. That seems more in keeping with the character of Wei Wei, so I’d have to say that I preferred the romance in the movie a smidge more.
Yes and yes. I liked how the various challenges in the drama were handled and overcome. There were hints of that in the movie, but the movie was more focused on the romance instead of the challenges of starting a gaming company. Either way, I was rooting for our characters to overcome and rise above in both, and they did. That always makes for a good ending for me.
REWATCH AND RECOMMENDATION POTENTIAL
I would absolutely recommend both versions of Love O2O. They were delightful, well-grounded, and worth the time I spent binge-watching them. In fact, I would say they complemented each other very well. If I were recommending them to someone else, I’d tell them to watch the drama first, then the movie. This was a great way to start exploring Chinese dramas on my own.
Until the next log on, I remain —
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi