Year End Drama Review 2020 Day 1: Fly The Jumper

You would think that a four episode drama would have the issue of being underdeveloped, but that definitely wasn’t the case with Fly the Jumper (違反校規的跳投). This surprisingly had enough depth and good acting that four 25 minute episodes really did feel like there was enough time and plot to establish everything. Wu Nien Hsuan did an amazing job as the leading male Zhang Jian Yi who was passionate about basketball but suffered from a health condition that did not allow him to play. I also give props to Snowbaby as I really liked her in the role of Lee Yan Xi, who was Jian Yi’s number one supporter. I really didn’t like her Chu Chu in Lost Romance. Not that she acted badly in that role, I just didn’t like the role itself.

Taiwanese drama Fly the Jumper poster

Zhang Jian Yi is a 16-year-old with a passion for basketball. Until the age of 11 he was able to live life normally and play the sport he loved. During a game, he passed out and it turns out he has the same genetic heart defect that his father has. Thus his mother became super overprotective of him and forbade him from playing basketball as she wanted her son to live. Can’t blame the woman can you? Since he cannot actively play basketball, Jian Yi will shoot hoops with his best friend Lee Wen Jing (Kagami Kota) and he’ll play a shooting game at a local place where he works hard to top the high score. One day Lee Yan Xi happens to see his amazing three point skills and decides to recruit him.

While you do understand that Jian Yi is stifled by his mother’s coddling, you do get a bit vexed when he acts like a petulant toddler. If you don’t want your mother to worry and baby you, you really should try to be a bit more mature. But I get that it’s hard to find a balance in that relationship when she is super worried about you. She has to understand as well that while he does have this condition, he and his father are still luckier than many others with the same condition so while they are fragile, they aren’t made of glass and can be allowed to do some things. Likewise…having an illness is not a card to get away with things…but then you can also say that he’s a moody teenager, so maybe it’s just normal rebellious behavior.

Jian Yi knows his mother would never approve, but he decides to go through tryouts anyway. The coach (Frederick Lee as Li Sha Mo), who is known for his demon training style, does approve of Jian Yi’s shooting skills, but the problem is his stamina sucks. So Jian Yi doesn’t get a spot on the team, which crushes him, but Yan Xi won’t let him give up. She helps train him to boost his stamina enough where the coach will accept him. Thus he lands a spot on the team which rubs Su Hao (Richard Lee) the wrong way. He doesn’t like Jian Yi who is so weak and brings the team down.

I did like it when the owner of the store took the depressed Jian Yi away after he initially failed basketball tryouts to play basketball with his own buddies. Jian Yi had a lot of fun and he even gained encouragement from a basketball player. This player told him that while he only got to play one official game (I think he was injured and therefore couldn’t play professionally or something like that), he doesn’t regret it and would make the same decision. The point is to never give up and keep trying. Don’t let regret eat away at you because you know you didn’t do your best. This is actually what helps spur Jian Yi to take Yan Xi up on her training offer to help build up his stamina. I will admit during the training montage, I was surprised we didn’t see more issues with his heart condition flaring up as well as when they were practicing.

During their first game, Su Hao wouldn’t pass to Jian Yi so he returned the favor and they ultimately lost the scrimmage. A fellow coach warns Li that it seems that Jian Yi has some type of special condition and he should remove him from the team as schools won’t allow for such a liability as that. In the end, Li decides to let Jian Yi play. Ultimately, the motive is to produce a winning team and thus, against better judgement, he allows Jian Yi to be on the official roster.

Su Hao does come to learn that there is something wrong with Jian Yi so he scolds him for playing when he knows he isn’t physically able to. Jian Yi then lights into him with an impassioned speech about how lucky Su Hao is. Why does Su Hao play? Is it for the love of the game? Jian Yi plays because he really, truly loves basketball. It is one of the only things that makes him happy (and puts him at odds with his mother who has his father tail him during the day to make certain he’s behaving). How lucky is it that Su Hao has the ability to play like he wishes when poor Jian Yi can’t do it? It’s after this that Su Hao comes around to start liking Jian Yi as Su Hao plays down his own love for the game, but you know he does truly love basketball as well.

I will admit to not 100% liking Jian Yi’s attitude during the scrimmage when it came to Su Hao. The coach even said he wanted everyone to pass to Su Hao as he is the star player. Of course, if you know basketball, singling out one player means the other team will, too, so it makes it all that much harder for Su Hao to be able to score. When Jian Yi is open, you understand Su Hao has prejudice, but he should think for the better of the team. The same with Jian Yi. Ultimately, he fails in making the majority of baskets when he decided to NOT pass to Su Hao. Of course, part of this drama is these two in particularly needing to come to an understanding and become an official team with team spirit and faith in their own teammates’ abilities. The coach also bawled the boys out as it is a team sport and they shouldn’t be arguing about WHY they didn’t pass the ball and be reflecting on their own actions.

Of course, during the first official game they play, you know something bad will happen when Jian Yi goes in. His dad followed him to the game and sits in the stands. You can see the pride in his son and also the worry for his son. The coach keeps a watch on Jian Yi and does try to keep him off the court for long bursts of time, but when push comes to shove, he needs Jian Yi’s skills to go for the win. Jian Yi wears himself out and suffers an attack. Jian Yi’s father who was happy for his son doing well in the game rushes to the court and yells for Coach Li to quickly call an ambulance.

Jian Yi is okay. He has to stay in the hospital and recuperate for a little while. His mother is livid. You can understand. This is her precious little boy. And of course the school is unhappy as this reflects badly on them to let a player with such a condition into their school’s team. Thus Coach Li loses his position. The team cannot believe this. They have made the finals for the first time and believe they cannot win without their coach. They go to the principal to plead for the coach to no avail. It’s interesting as you could see them bulk against the coach’s training and decisions at times, but when push comes to shove, they really do admire him and his coaching skills.

When Jian Yi learns of this he visits the school by making a hospital break (and terrifying his parents) and says he will definitely quit the team and that the coach did not know of his condition so he is innocent. Coach Li does confess he was suspicious, but still let him play and he’s sorry for that as he doesn’t want to sacrifice people for the win like he did in the past. But Jian Yi stands firm and turns in his jersey.

He goes home and you can tell how unhappy and lifeless he is. His mother won’t budge. She loves her son too much to lose him just because he loves basketball so much. His teammates who have come to love and respect his talent come to his home to beg his mother to let Jian Yi play. She refuses. Su Hao says that he had a serious discussion with Jian Yi’s doctor. The boy could play as long as they limited his playing time to five minute stretches and they will do their best to protect Jian Yi during his time on the court. Jian Yi’s mother still refuses. Su Hao then reminds Jian Yi of his passion. Is this all that his love for the game amounts to? In the end they are forced to leave without getting Jian Yi back on the team.

The day of the finals come. Jian Yi’s father takes his son in the car and tells his wife that he wants his son to be happy. So he and Jian Yi go to the game. His team is struggling and he ultimately decides to get in the game during the second half. Jian Yi’s mother comes to watch her son and while she is afraid, you can tell she is also happy to see the happiness that Jian Yi expresses on the court. He, Su Hao, and the rest of the team work hard and it’s a tight battle. Ultimately, the opposing team gets one last basket to win the game. It’s disappointing that they didn’t win the game, but it is the personal victories this short drama was focusing on.

The little tidbits of romance between Jian Yi and Yan Xi were cute and Nien Hsuan played the awkward boy in love so well. He is truly talented and I look forward to seeing more dramas with him in it and I’ll look forward more to seeing Snowbaby in more diverse roles. I was thinking that Su Hao would be the mystery shooter that Jian Yi was competing against, but it was actually Yan Xi and she is Coach Li’s daughter! They had to have a few fun surprises thrown in at the end, lol.

While I think there was enough development, there are a few issues. Namely how they like are only showed playing two games-a scrimmage and one official game-and next thing you know they are in the finals for the championship. And then what happened with the coach. You do see his internal struggle and even though he’s a domineering coach and not necessarily the best coach for the well-being of his players, you do see his moral struggles and his own development. But to allow Jian Yi to play with his health condition…wouldn’t that require a doctor’s note and a waiver of liability? So there are some loopholes for the drama that weren’t 100% done properly, but for the time constraints, they actually did a wonderful job.

The acting of the team was good and especially are main cast. If you’re looking for a nice short and sweet teen drama with a little bit of romance, a little bit of friendship, and a whole lot of overcoming your own limitations to find your own type of happiness, this is a nice drama for you!

Viki has kind of made it hard if not darn near impossible to do screenshots…which sucks! So I can’t include any here for you. Sorry.

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