Cdrama Review: Love O2O
In a drama world that believes the path of true love must be fraught with a million hurdles and misunderstandings and several break ups before a final make up, Chinese drama Love O2O is like a breath of fresh air. The interesting thing is that there a many situations for the leading couple to misunderstand each other…but they really don’t (at least not in any earth shattering way – Wei Wei doesn’t always get everything about Xiao Nai, but definitely no major hurdle there). That was the best thing about the drama. The biggest misunderstandings always revolved around the extended cast and the leading lady. It gets old…fast…but still, this is a drama I highly recommend checking out.
Love O2O is a Chinese drama centering around first love, computer science, and online role playing games. Bei Wei Wei [Zheng Shuang] is an intelligent young woman who is known as the department beauty for computer science. She lives with three other majors, Zhao Er Xi [Mao Xiao Tong], Xiao Ling [Tai Yu], and Si Si [Song Jia Yi]. She was once strongly against games, but decided she had to try them out in order to understand them better and became hooked. Her favorite game is A Chinese Ghost Story. It is when she is playing this game at a PC Café that she comes to the attention of wunderkind (and her senior in college!) Xiao Nai [Yang Yang]. He is immediately entranced by her playing. After she is dumped in the game by her long-time partner, Xiao Nai asks her to team up with him. The entire time he is aware of Wei Wei’s true identity while she has no idea that her department idol is the man she’s falling for in the game. Xiao Nai has his own apartment and lives sometimes in the dorms when his three roommates and business partners can keep it clean: Hao Mei [Zheng Ye Cheng], Yu Ban Shan [Niu Jun Feng], and Qiu Yong Hou [Cui Hang].
Of course, Xiao Nai being talented and good looking, he’s the senior every girl loves…especially campus beauty Meng Yi Ran [Ma Chun Rui]. She comes from a wealthy family and seems all sweet and innocent, but she does have a conniving side and tries to come between Wei Wei and Xiao Nai. Sometimes her poison darts are well intentioned…but her butting into their relationship earns her no warmth from either of our leads. And Wei Wei attracts the attention of a senior in the Languages Department. At first Cao Guang [Bai Yu] mistakes her for an immoral woman, but soon comes to like her once he realizes the truth. Wei Wei firmly rejects him, but he won’t give up and joins the gaming world in hopes of winning her over. Unfortunately, he gets Wei Wei’s game name confused with her roommate Er Xi’s and things get complicated and friendships are tested while feelings are hurt. While trying to get revenge on Wei Wei for leading him on in the game while dating Xiao Nai in real life, Cao Guang begins to fall for Er Xi.
But complications aren’t over with! On the relationship front we have ex-partner Zhan Shao Yang [Zhang He]. He dumps Wei Wei in the game for a weaker character who is a real two-faced beauty [Lu Ying Lun]. Of course, he forgets all about Yao Yao when he discovers the true beauty that was his old partner in the game. Knowing Wei Wei is dating Xiao Nai spurs Shao Yang on to fight with him on obtaining the rights to the newest launch of A Chinese Ghost Story.
The interactions between the the friends and the leads were priceless and well done. You could feel the friendship they had with one another. While there did seem to be chemistry between the leads, Zheng Shuang was not as good as Yang Yang in the kiss scenes. While Xiao Nai was being more passionate, Wei Wei just kind of stands there and doesn’t really return the ardor so that makes a lot of their kiss scenes more forced and awkward, which is sad considering how cute those two could be.
It’s interesting to note that Xiao Nai is played more straight. He doesn’t show much expression until after he starts dating Wei Wei and then his smiles and mischievousness take off and it just really works well. Wei Wei…while I got that she never wanted to be the center of attention, etc., when she first learns Xiao Nai and her husband in the game are one in the same, trying to keep away from him so others don’t know was on the sillier side. And speaking of Xiao Nai…he kind of does things without considering. Even though Wei Wei really did like him and would date him anyways, Xiao Nai takes it for granted their online relationship would translate into real life. In his mind they were already dating. I didn’t quite like that aspect as much.
I liked how even though Xiao Nai was the boy genius, he and Wei Wei were on equal footing more often than not. Wei Wei was a stronger female who could take care of herself, and did, but Xiao Nai was also capable of stepping up and helping her out. In all the situations where Wei Wei is misunderstood, Xiao Nai is there cleaning things up or helping her out, but he does say he knows its up to her to take care of things in the long run. The partnership they have runs solidly throughout the drama and we even get to see Wei Wei stepping up to help Xiao Nai, albeit not as much as he steps up to help her.
As for secondary cast…Cao Guang was irksome. True, he joined the game before Xiao Nai and Wei Wei became a couple, but Wei Wei was always insistent she didn’t like him in that way. Granted, Cao Guang was right in saying he could pursue her and try to get her to change her mind. The problem comes when he confuses Er Xi’s game character with Wei Wei’s, so when the truth is revealed, he does some despicable things in the game thinking Wei Wei is some horrible two-timer. Um…game vs. real life. I never liked that. A partnership and friendship in a game doesn’t necessarily equal being a couple in real life, so his anger and thirst for revenge I found difficult to swallow. Er Xi was cute and hopeless in a lot of things. Her crush on Cao Guang was adorable, too bad he smashed her heart to pieces when he confused her with Wei Wei in the game. While I do understand Er Xi’s frustration in being bullied because she was confused with Wei Wei and also getting her internship, since Wei Wei never actually contributed to the problem, it didn’t make as much sense when everything blew up and she pushed everything off on her friend. Granted, you can understand how horrible that would make Er Xi feel. Of course two wrongs don’t make a right.
Our trio of Xiao Nai’s friends were awesome and their bickering was cute. I also liked the friendship they developed between Hao Mei and genius hacker and gourmet cook KO (don’t know who played him). Of course, they hint at a bromance there that could be more romantically inclined, but nothing pans out in that department beyond the two living together (KO as a glorified maid so he has a place to stay).
As for the love rivals? Meng Yi Ran was a more innocent character than Yao Yao. Some of the bad things Yi Ran did was influenced by her roommate Nana and some things were from misguided attempts to keep Xiao Nai from being played a fool. But…jealousy also fueled some of the things she did. The sudden dropout of her character to study abroad and telling Wei Wei how much she envied Wei Wei’s true friendships, was too much too late. It did not seem believable how they left it. As for Yi Rang’s cousin…he was your typical spoiled rich guy who only cared about outer appearances and throwing around daddy’s money. As soon as he learned Wei Wei was a pretty young woman, he tried to pursue her and dumped Yao Yao (who was a two-faced wench who showed him a kind and innocent side while being more vicious behind his back). Of course she was quick to blame her friends and not herself when caught being bad. With Shao Yang, you just can’t invest in the believability of his feelings for Wei Wei, but him bowing out seemed a bit more realistic after losing to Xiao Nai. He left to better himself so to win over Xiao Nai at a later date.
And the ending! Oh, it’s a happy ending, don’t worry about that. Xiao Nai and Wei Wei marry immediately after the younger Wei Wei graduates from college. What I wanted was also to see more about the extended cast. We don’t know what’s going on with Hao Mei and KO, we don’t know what happened with Shao Yang and Yi Ran, or if Xiao Nai’s other roommates ever got the girlfriends they desired. I would have liked to see a little bit more about the entire cats and not just our leads.
Besides the romances and friendships in the drama, we get to see the business side of the gaming world. It’s interesting to note that the boss behind the company that originally released A Chinese Ghost Story had really no knowledge of gaming or coding and that Xiao Nai’s toughest competition didn’t know a whole lot either and was still relatively new to the industry. Go figure. The one thing that was sometimes hard to believe was just how perfect Xiao Nai was in the business sense. He came up with plan after plan, scheme after scheme, advanced counter moves. It’s hard to believe that he could do everything so well (except cook, lol). I get that he’s a genius…but dang! Another issue has to do with how scenes were cut and how they seemed kind of awkward without a good transition at times. Not too often, but there are several places where it just didn’t work.
Overall, it’s an endearing drama. I loved seeing the characters act out some campy RPG scenes in several episodes. Definitely check it out, but beware it is 30 episodes long! If you’re reluctant to bite off such a long drama, check out the abbreviated movie version that was released first and stars Angelababy and and Jing Boran in the leading roles.