Are you ready for a Chinese drama with the LONGEST title in the world? What about one that’s a prequel to a ridiculously popular drama from 2019? Do you love robot combat, longing gazes, and noona romances? Then come see if Go Go Squid 2: Dt. Appledog’s Time is the right drama for you!
First, A Little Background
From MyDramaList.com: “Through his hard work and talent, Wu Bai managed to become the youngest star player of the national robot competition. He formed a team and entered the final round of the competition, and on the same stage with him is Ai Qing, the person who initiated him into his passion. Both are determined to promote the popularization and application of technological robots in the younger generation group through the robot competition, which will accelerate the speed of the country’s rejuvenation of science and technology. As competitors, Wu Bai’s persistent and extraordinary talent attracts Ai Qing; while Ai Qing’s passion toward her job, persistence in chasing her dreams and outstanding tactics earned Wu Bai’s respect. The two of them supported each other through the competition, and lead their respective team to victory.”
Something’s A Little Different Here
In Go Go Squid!, Wu Bai was on his cousin’s competitive computer programming/hacker team. He was mostly silent, supporting his cousin, being indispensible to the team, and throwing out the occasional dry remark that totally cracked me up.
Much like our lead female, the scenario has been recast — we’re now dealing with robot combat instead of hacking, Wu Bai TALKS, and he’s the one in charge of K&K instead of his cousin.
Clkytta: Ok, this isn’t as much of a stretch as you would think at first. We have to think hard, but Gun was overseas and Wu Bai was the leader and team captain. Gun had just come back to help get the Chinese team settled. So the timeline isn’t as wonky as it feels. Wu Bai has been in charge of running the team. The recasting of Appledog had to happen, and I approve.
Karie the Maknae: Clkytta had to talk me down a bit — I was expecting something parallel to the original drama, and the changes were throwing me off. Unexpectedly, it turns out that robot combat gives me a giant case of the ZZZZZZZZZZZZs — thankfully, it’s not the focus of the drama so far!
We Approve of the Leads
Wu Bai is still quiet and competent, but currently he’s the confident leader of a robot combat team that consists of 97, Zhou Yi, and the charismatically arrogant Grunt/Shen Zhe. They still live together and train together, but now they build robots and do their best to annihilate the competition.
Ai Qing is the retired Appledog, a former member of ex-boyfriend Solo’s robot combat team. She now works for a sponsor of robot combat and leads young robot combat teams on camping trips and during weekend workshops. She wanted to fade quietly into the background, but can’t quite seem to do so.
Clkytta: We have to remember that this isn’t a sequel. It’s a prequel, so what we know going into this drama is from a far distance. Both Appledog and Wu Bai are experts in their field (I approve of this!) While Wu Bai has stayed with the game, Appledog’s priorities have changed. She’s older and doesn’t have the same rich family background as Wu Bai. After the breakup of her team, she wasn’t able to just start over like Solo and Gun.
Karie the Maknae: I appreciate the recasting of Appledog — she’s closer to Wu Bai’s age now and the romance makes more sense. I love what this drama is doing to show both of them as the leaders they are, even though they are the quiet kind, leading from the back.
Mixing New and Old Faces
Most of the team cast from Go Go Squid! has returned to become robot combat experts. Grunt, formerly played by Joseph Wen, is now being played by the very compelling Wang An Yu, who appears to be having the time of his life as the highly sought after robot combat artist. He’s all charm and ego and fun, elevating the game and the performance by 97 and Zhou Yi (Marcus Li and Xu Le Wei).
Adding to the storyline is the romance between Grunt and Appledog’s sister, Ai Jing. It’s love at first sight, as Grunt overwhelms Ai Jing at a vending machine and steals the water she had just purchased. Their obvious attraction and straightforward pursuit are in direct contrast to the longing, hidden relationship-to-be between Wu Bai and Ai Qing.
Clkytta: I am totally sold on the new Grunt. Old Grunt was hot, but Wang An Yu brings a playfulness to the role that makes you fall in love with the character. This side romance is fun and funny. It doesn’t interfere much with the main storyline and it gives us a new perspective to Grunt’s meltdown when he is accused of being in a romance with Tong Nian in Go Go Squid! Ai Jing’s character is also fun and fresh. As Appledog’s sister, she knows what is going on in their world and that means our side couple can have a grown-up relationship.
Karie the Maknae: I love this team and how well they seem to blend together. Have to agree with Clkytta — Grunt and Ai Jing’s grown up relationship is refreshing and so much fun to watch.
Would We Recommend?
Clkytta: Yes! But — and it’s a big “but” — you HAVE to separate it from the other drama. You have to go into this one not comparing Wu Bai and Appledog to Gun and Tong Nian. This relationship spans several years and lots of misunderstandings. We meet them at different points in their lives and they don’t always connect like we want them to connect. Once you move past the comparisons, you will love this drama just as much.
Karie the Maknae: So here’s the struggle — I’m having SUCH a hard time separating the two dramas! The pacing is also really, really slow. I absolutely trust Clkytta and I know she’s right. I just have to admit that Appledog is not on the top of my list to watch right now. I love the sweetness between Wu Bai and Ai Qing, so I don’t want to give it up completely.
What about you, drama fans? Will you be watching?
Until the next round in the ring, we remain —
Karie the Maknae & Clkytta
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi