My eyes, are still swollen, 2 days after I have finished the C drama Battle of Changsha.
I have used up all my emotions and energy marathoning this marvelous piece of work the weekend. I have stared at this screen and been asking myself: what is there to say? All my feelings are wrung out, purged in the best way, I am not worthy and I am regretting nothing. I have not gathered my thoughts, probably never. In mourning and will be in a stupor for however long it takes to mend my heartbreak for a story handled with such dedication and all the characters I will love and care forever.
This exceeded my expectations every possible way, I was wishing for a decent drama to droolz at the very insanely beautiful Wallace H’s face but never thought I would literally have to put a hand over my mouth from shrieking fangirl nonsense every time he makes an entrance, futilely brushing off my tears to stare at him a bit more clearly, so emotionally invested in the story and devastation… He is so so pretty, but I could’ve been as emotionally invested with everything else without him. That amazing.
✪✮☆✪✮❤ ♡ ❤ ღ☆✮ Go. WATCH. ✮☆✮❤ ♡ ❤ ღ✪☆✮✪
…when tolerable quality streams are out, rumored to be in June. And a full cut. As is, this is too terrific to settle on grainy blurs and the stupid channel broadcasting it posting spoilers right and left on screen of every next scene. The cuts are noticeable just making me lament and craving more.
I am going to spoil, the story is nothing unexpected and take it as a lure…
the OTP has a Happy Ending. Hallelujah~~~!
This is a Wallace appreciation post, but I can be thoroughly immersed, singing same praises if the story skipped the OTP romance entirely. Every element is top of its game. There are literally thousands+ hours of C dramas produced a year and yes, 99.9% are utter waste of time. This has my vote of the top of the 0.001 percentile.
Almost every other character though , will break your heart so many ways, giving you a hopelessness of geez, I know it is coming, I have embraced myself if I cry some more, I would physically lost eyeballs, so stop it! Alas. Still, I cry till I am disgusted with the waste of tissues and marveling at myself how the heck can a person produce more mist there. This is already the story of the Haves, involving the Hu family of the very upper crust of landlords, educated scholars and the only heir of the powerful political royalty almost Gu with all the connections yet war is a nightmare for all, most can not awake from. Every OTP scene is sweepingly romantic, aptly flowing along with the main narrative I have a fuzzy warmth overcoming me squeeing. The swooniness is a bit too heightened, but I love our protagonists are not hopeless romantics, the care and concern build and grow, yet they never lost touch of the bigger picture of the looming war, the uncertainty of whether one will live another day. It is perfectly sensible they do not dwell more, yet they are not shy to show the feelings they are in tune with, the reality of going any step further is meaningless. There are quite many fateful encounters building up the romance, handled poignantly, even though I could do without all the slow-mo, and their cheesy ballad theme song because their story and chemistry are effective carrying it all, anything extra are drawing legs on snakes…the nice touch is, it is not just fate doing the cupid. How they compliment as a couple, how their romance can flourish in this impossible era, is not dealt with any laziness, but the summation of nuances how their personalities will push and pull the other, maturing and clicking. It was not love at first sight, even when sparks were flying when their eyes crossed the very very first moment. It is also the family unit at work, especially my favorite character Brother in Law whom I am reserving a whole heart chamber for.
Here he is hardselling his sister in law, in freaken ep2!!!
But he does not force things to happen if not with his very keen eyes of catching an officer Gu taking slightest glances at XiangXiang, even when she has freshly humiliated him in public and now up to some more ignorant menacing.
BiL: You can’t ignore how often your paths crossed, as fate plays a hand, you always bump into our XiangXiang.
Gu: It’s not fate, but enemies bound to meet on narrow road /冤家路窄
BiL: Who cares if the road is narrow? You need paths to cross in order to know it is narrow.
Without BiL’s shameless, relentless savvy, without his ridiculous smarts in reading people, and constant canoodling with his words that can push mountains and win every little battle, flattening every obstacle in his way, our proud prince and princess would probably not happen and be the unforgettable regret of first love, of could’ve been. All the characters are built fully to its sharpness, fleshing to us, growing, event by event as intriguing individuals on their own, without ever breaking fronts. Wise Seer Grandma always speaks subtle morsels of dignified wit I perk up my ears listening every drop, every word out of her mouth is never a thread out of the construct of the wisest strongest broad of Changsha, serenely doing her family proud, the matron of one of the respected lineage in the area, and to get the point our very young feisty heroine XiangXiang is a doppelganger sharing the soul of Grandma so understatedly takes intricate work of good writing in every exchange they share, and lovely acting. The characters also form cohesively as wheels of the family unit, and how with every part churning, we are hopeful they could brave it all. On top of it, the bigger picture of war and the sacrifices and responsibilities of a citizen during conflict to one’s own self, family, country, no facet is left unturned and undeveloped is as flawless as I can imagine. I am amazed we have such a thorough essay in 32 episodes that breezed by. I savored all the fighting scenes, it does not have the scope and budget of an HBO show, but it was an ugly crude war fight with bare knuckles and primitive grenades. It was a budget super effectively used and that deserves praise. And to balance it all so seamlessly, fluently, confident in the characters, the acting, the story to deliver is a very good writer and director at work. All the emotional punches are spot on, nothing extraneous, no heavyhandedness, I do not feel ever disrespected nor manipulated with my feelings. It is a drama experience I abandoned any brain work, throwing away every rein of my emotions and let it freely flow as the drama takes me to the delightful swoony and utterly terrifying traumatic ends, I trust and am honored to have crossed eyes with this hard to swallow gem. I am planning on rewatching this asap as HD is out. Rewatching a WAR!drama is as out of my mind as it goes.
GEEZ. As I said, WH is too pretty for this in a most welcomed way.
Wallace is not perfect here, but it is asking too much from him to be on par with all the seasoned terrific veterans he is surrounded with. He blends in well enough, that is more than a good job. What he is short on, on techniques, he repays with his own superficial beauty. His gorgeousness, in uniform, is unreal. I am not exaggerating when I said he looks like a manga prince war hero the second he pops up and every entrance thereafter. It is slightly out of place but serves the character very well. His Gu is this eye-catching dazzling prince all the soldiers know he is the princeling leagues above everyone else, never to mess with, higher order from his powerful Dad is to never sent him to the front lines, never in line of fire, and he requires his own envoy of soldiers as blood shield in transporting him from any spot A to B, against his will. We need this vision of off-putting irresistible flawlessness right away even just to leave an indelible impression on our XiangXiang, right?! The OTP also serves for me as a reprieve, breather almost, for all the dense, heavy, realistic storytelling going on around them they are a foot into themselves. The tiny flourishes of fantasy shoujo romance, a welcomed shot of booze in the midst of all the heart-wrenching, without them, I am not brave enough for the material. Wallace’s little breaks of greenness, and at times when his idoldrama habits of I’m very handsome and swoonworthy, droolz at me can rear head slightly, but fits his character. I think that is why the PD lets him be in the slight slips because it makes sense he can have moments he indulges in being a bit full of himself, with a terrific upbringing, education, the brains, all the looks. But his laser focus on the war and his stubborn duty and hotheadedness on being a hand’s on soldier occupying every fiber of his being also makes sense romance is at the bottom of his bucket list. He cares about XX, over and over again we witness him saving her life over and over again:
The night of the Great Devastating Fire of Changsha where the citizens are kept in the dark as human toll, a strategic maneuver by the KuoMingTang army, is also XiangXiang’s engagement night. Officer Gu is there standing, protesting, pleading for a meeting in front of the commander’s mansion to halt the tragedy, in vain, yet his mind is on her every word she lectured him on. She is fresh a runaway bride, whole town is celebrating the birthday of Dr Sun, life is going on. In the horrifying chaos thereafter, he rescues a young lady, and it is the girl whose words are replaying in his head. And worst is yet to dawn on the city.
He properly said his congratulation to her engagement. That is not a happy for you face, but can not hold his emotions: pensive, wistful, elegiac. You name it.
To have the power to break this smile on Officer Gu, a first, just overlooking her reflection from his side mirror, a nod to a brave, ignorant, beautiful deed she is doing, and him helping her out behind the scene:
Officer Gu puts up an impermeable front for any personal matter to fester, and it takes someone as gutsy as XiangXiang to break him. She would give Officer Gu a thank you hug stepping over a field of landmines he just saved her from, screaming how glad he is alright, when she is running off from a forced marriage, the ridiculously swoonworthy Gu way…putting all his guard down, deadly focused on his task of highest priority at hand, saving this young lady, but no noble idiocracy, as he approaches every tribulation in life, his well being in line with calculated risk, however a nuisance she could be, and he tolerates her, but he never thinks nor wants more from her, nor for himself.
To have the formidable Officer Gu taking a command of a slight frown by our heroine, and follows her command like a loyal soldier to plead for her case against her marriage in front of grandpa, that is the power of some special tugging of his heartstrings. And kudos to Officer Gu to not only follow the order, but bringing on his smart honest game of asking XX’s Grandpapa to consider him a suitor for XX.
It is such a lovely surprise his straightlaced perfect Offficer Gu can be the bromeo of the teddy bear slickest ruffian BiL. Gu is the only son of his Daddy, the big money backer funding the KMT government in ChongQing, much higher rank, but BiL shows him ropes and loopholes, life lessons in dire times not taught by proper upbringing nor top notch education in best military academy. Once our no nonsense Officer Gu lets a person worms into his heart, he is so trusting, so loyal and extremely loving he makes my heart swells up and makes my day. There is a passing scene when Gu offers to write down a will for BiL as his underling, considerate of BiL being illiterate, and our cunning bear BiL seizes the opportunity and speaks his mind on what he wants for his sister in law, whom he has the softest spot for: a suitor.
Brother in Law: …who is a soldier, preferably graduated from the top German military academy, from a very powerful family so he can take care of XX and our family if I am not around…
Wallace gives us a few twitches, a fine job. His Gu ChingMing may not care to be skilled in anything sociable, he is not slow on the uptake, he immediately gets the shameless hints and his mind starts spinning how to handle the situation the best, diligently following the promise and order of writing every word of the will down as the impromtu subordinate of BiL: by not writing every word down. BiL is not letting Gu off easy without getting his way, throwing in why has he stopped writing. And only a Gu Ching Ming will come up with how to say the perfect genuine smart thing, ‘ I have it all down in my head.’ ‘Every word?’ ‘Yes, every word.’ And he is a man of his words. Wallace’s Gu here is the right amount of shaken slightly off-kilter , but not without a jolt of boyish glee of how genuine this is an approval and a big push from the fiercely protective BiL of a girl he has on his mind but dares not give more thought on. I enjoy the friendly bickering rapport between the two lovely men very much.
BiL to XX’s older ‘brother’ under the big Hu family clan: You should change how you call Commander Gu to Brother in Law
Flustered, our Officer Gu walks away and I bet he will blush some more when his own wingman underling bff is always sticking a foot in the shipping of our OTP since way back:
After Officer Gu saves her life, AND twin bro XiaoMan’s life as well, XX sincerely thanks him and promises she would repay him whatever he wants. Cute underling wickedly quips, in all the operas and novellas, after the hero saves the beauty, it is always repaid by her body, her hand in marriage.
haha our poor Officer Gu is turning scarlet.
Commander, you must be blind, Our sista XX has her eyes fixated on you! How could she not running away from the arranged marriage?!
Gu: I have given it a good thought, I should apprentice under you. I should live life as shamelessly. We can put our lives on the line, saving face is nothing worthwhile.
BiL: Ah. This is the difference of being so well educated. You are a fast learner at how to be a cad.
His love declaration when they are nowhere near dating, is basically BiL manipulating him (and XX) to give up one of their future children when BiL has no hopes of having an heir of his own, and he told XX he has agreed to what she has agreed upon, BiL’s arrangement, he is fine with giving BiL one of his(their) children, like her. It is so deadpan, cringeworthy but so adorable a Gu ChingMing in love at work. haha XX hides her face in her hands and must wants a hole to hide after his obtuse ‘I love u and want to have babies with you’ hahaha I wanted to do the same for Gu Ching Ming (hey, without any fangirl mindfulness of my own to caress Wallace’s face).
Again, an improvement on our typical tsundere princeling, he is never cold and ambivalent even when nonchalant, let alone in love. He can smile so warm like a flower in bloom coming up with a cute compliment on the spot for his love, overhearing her singing a romantic Changsha folksong to her gf:
XX: I did not sing it.
Gu: How regrettable, it was lovely.
XX: It was me singing!
Gu: *Smiles at his XX*
Father in law says… Come here, I am your Uncle… My fiancee and her (my) family.
It does not take a moment of thought and it all slips out so naturally.
That is before they even get married. It is an era that makes romances purer and absolute: I love you, and I will take care of your family for you. My family will take care of you like you are part of me. And when death is over the head of everyone, time is ticking, you do not compromise, there is no ifs, or buts.
When BiL is leaving, and has mustered up an obvious ‘I Love you’ at the tip of his tongue to his wife he loves with all his life and might, these two are standing there ogling like the intruding younger brother and sister they are:
*SOBZZZ I stared and cried at this for half an hour. You know and need no spoiling. T_________T
He is about to leave for the frontline after transporting the gravely wounded soldiers now under her care.
Duty first and foremost, she still turns and never breaks a good stare at the man, and he takes a step towards her, a pause, giving her the best view and in their mind the last eye they see of each other, a memory that must last forever.
I would have love this subtle but poignant goodbye and nothing more. We have more:
I will write to you every day.
The wedding, worthy of a good chapter in the best of shoujo mangas:
I will not run off, you too. From now on, I will listen to everything you say.
I want to have your baby…so I won’t miss you so much when you are away.
Not with much of a blush, only our XiangXiang.
It is just a hug. Just. No measurable comfort it gives me. :~~~)
I wrote this listening to: 李健 拾光/ Li Jian Classics
And I keep thinking if they want a lovely ballad for our OTP, why not go a bit folksy with Li Jian with my favorite song of the album:
What beautiful lyrics from the singer songwriter:
What kind of night, makes us melancholy, linger…
You said remember this moment, even if we will be eternally parted.
What a stirring wish, how can we let it be gone with the wind?
The autumn breeze brushes upon the lake, leaving ripples in our hearts.
How hard is it to leave our love behind?
That moment we turn our back and leave….is the End of the World~
You said this moment, this very moment…
us. ( Forever.)
I am fine if they pick even a mass popular Faye Wong’s Liu Nian 流年:
Not saying their theme in drama was atrocious, it is just not good enough as this:
Fell in love with a serious past time…
time spent: the blooming of a flower.
You brush a hello, by my side.
Like a jolt of lightning in my fine May day.
I truly have Wallace to thank. Thank you for producing the frothy Perfect Couple, the guiltiest pleasure so sweet it is a sickness of me and the very rabid viral fandom to love it to bits still despite its flaws.
Look at the squees. It is just a kiss bebes! lol
Because you would need this crazysweet skinship cut of silly giggles braving Battle of Changsha just to function, you do:
Just the kisses:
Cut 5 (yup there is 1, 2, 3, 4…)of ALL the cute fluffy bits:
An aside: They did a fanvid of SH love story with Wallace and Han Xue to the theme song of Tokyo Love Story, THE piece of music just the intro will forever jolt my Ren’ai heart fluttering off the charts. This can only be more terrific if they get SHnites TangYan and Hu Ge (and of course sneak in my YuanHong and ShiShi) and bring on the most glorious mess of C drama real/reel love polygon. I am not getting out of this fandom ever, am I?!?!
Especially not when Wallace has upped his uber period gorgeousness giving us his new official stills for Hua Qian Gu/花 千骨 that causes the entire fangirl world to let out the loudest squee I have witnessed. O__O I was not terribly interested in the drama, past tense. WANT the Wallace cut! This is the exact vision of his Changqing/White Tofu from Chinese Paladin 3 reaching enlightened Taoist deity sainthood. All things considered, his Changqing is still dearest to my heart, he is a much improved actor now, but that is a character he owned and the precious prime timing when he possessed that purist aura of the ascetic young monk on screen. He can’t be Changqing now, no more, but we have what a jaded, heart is stilled Changqing with Bai Zi Hua. From all I’ve gathered, the writing will definitely suck and I am not too hot for Zhao Liying, our heroine. It would be interesting to see if they have the right chemistry for the perverse sifu-teacher/teenage girl student romance, a RoCH in reverse, huh!?
^My favorite of the bunch. That misty tender warmth oozing out of his eyes under the white out frigidness the character is set a facade of.
Ahh this is lovely. He is reminding me of a more delicate, prettier Winston Chao from 大明宫词 :
Ah! CHANGQING!!! Do you remember your ZiXuan?! *Why yes I am rewatching their cut in CP3 and totally swept away from their gorgeousness combined and my heart is bleeding*:
Pretty fanarts are already out: