Autumn’s Concerto

I’m not sure if you remember my post on My Top 6 Taiwanese dramas, but I would like to add a drama to that list! At number three, it’s Autumn’s Concerto (2009). It’s one of the most popular Taiwanese dramas.

This drama just gets sadder and sadder. I continue it because I know it has a happy ending but you need a tissue box ready. One tissue box might not be enough! It’s a love story and the events that happen to the couple are unfortunate but they are meant to be together. Fair warning: I did not like the male protagonist at all in the first episode but he becomes a really good person pretty soon.

This drama reminds me why I love Taiwanese dramas so much. I’m hesitant about writing a synopsis because I really don’t know how much to spoil. It gets progressively sadder so it feels like everything is a spoiler to me.

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Also I’m bummed that I can’t find my Death Note books. I wanted to write a blog post on Death Note and use the books as references but I guess that’s not happening until I find them… IF I ever find them. TT_TT

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BL Review: HIStory 2: Boundary Crossing

The 2018 Taiwanese drama is also known as HIStory 2: Crossing the Line. I started the show this morning and was immediately hooked. There are 8 episodes and I just finished the show, haha.

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The show makes me so happy. In 2017, same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan. I’ve been a BL (Boys Love) fan for many years but felt frustrated at Asian dramas because of the censorship. For example, in China same-sex marriage is not legal and in the BL series and films I’ve watched, the kiss scenes were deleted. Doing this made the shows confusing to watch because key scenes were removed, and sends out an unfortunate message to everyone. One of the series I enjoyed was discontinued.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan was a great thing (and still is) for people in the lgbtq+ community and for the country. Now in 2018, we have great BL dramas and the kiss scenes are not deleted.

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Xia Yu Hao and Qiu Zi Xuan

Xia Yu Hao and two of his friends, Wang Zhen Wu and Wang Zhen Wen, enrol into a new high school. Yu Hao was kicked out of his old school because of a fight. Yu Hao reluctantly joins the school’s volleyball team after being coerced into joining. He becomes close with Qiu Zi Xuan, a senior student who is the team’s manager. Due to an injury in the past, Zi Xuan is unable to play volleyball.

Wang Zhen Wu and Wang Zhen Wen are step-brothers and later join the volleyball team as well. Zhen Wen starts to ignore Zen Wu and it frustrates Zen Wu a lot. Zen Wu and Zhen Wen are the secondary couple in the series and don’t get as much screen time as the main couple. I like that there is more than one couple in the series because it mirrors a lot of BL manga. Yu Hao actually reads BL manga (probably for research), hahaha.

Although this is a BL romance drama, volleyball was a huge component of the series. There was even a Haikyuu!! reference! We get to know some of the other volleyball players and I liked that the show was not just about the two couples. While the couples are certainly the main focus, there are other things going on with the plot. I also loved the other characters in the series, like the captain of the volleyball team. This was a problem I had with the shojo manga, Dengeki Daisy. I dropped the series because I didn’t like how there wasn’t much plot apart from the couple.

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Wang Zhen Wu and Wang Zhen Wen

This drama was a refreshing break from disturbing BL manga and webtoons. If you’re a reader of Korean BL webtoons, you will know that they have a lot of disturbing ones out there. Maybe that’s your thing, and I’m not going to judge! But for me, personally, I hate webtoons like Killing Stalking. The relationship is not healthy. For manga and webtoons in general, consent is important to me. If there is no consent, I will probably not like it.

In this series, both couples are so gentle with each other. When one person is sleeping, the other covers a blanket over him and does it in such a lovingly way. The way the characters look at each other is so cute. It’s hilarious when the characters get jealous.

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In comparison to other romance dramas (including straight couples), it is less dramatic because there aren’t really any threatening people trying to sabotage their relationship. I liked this about the show a lot because it feels more realistic this way. When a drama gets too intense because of an evil person getting in the way, it’s usually not as good. I like it when all the characters are fairly decent and understanding people.

None of the characters displayed discrimination against people in the lgbtq+ community. Unfortunately, it happens way too much in Korean webtoons and Chinese manhwa where a male character feels “disgusted” by the boys’ love. -.- Both couples talk about liking another boy and it’s clear that they do not see anything wrong with it because love is love. They also don’t like it when another person discriminates against lgbtq+.

One of my biggest pet peeves in BL series (manga, webtoons, anime, dramas, movies) is when a female character tries to break up a couple between two gay men. The female is aware that they are gay but “refuse to believe it.” -.- Rest assured, this does not happen in this show.

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Other notable aspects of the show:

I loved the character development in Xia Yu Hao because he goes from a delinquent student with a cocky attitude to a sensitive and caring person who is passionate about volleyball. Maybe he was always like this, but it is less obvious in the beginning.

Overall, I definitely recommend this series. It’s a great BL drama because of the reasons mentioned above, and the volleyball team side to it was enjoyable to watch!

Korean Dramas I Loved

Korean dramas are really good quality because they have a high budget, especially since they’re super popular in Korea and throughout the world. The actors and actresses are always attractive too.

I do have some problems with them because most of the time, they are very dramatic. Sometimes the drama seems too unrealistic and I feel like I need to take a break from watching them. I also don’t like how so many dramas follow the same storyline: Rich, attractive boy falls for poor, average-looking girl. Now that you know a bit about my tastes, here are Korean dramas I loved!

Thanks Neko Nyan for giving me the idea for this post. These aren’t in any order.

1. Lie to Me (2011)

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Okay, this one follows the rich boy, not rich girl trope but Ki-joon (the CEO) is so sweet! I hate Boys Over Flowers because I think that falling in love with a rich guy who bullied you is problematic. It’s different here. In order to impress her friends, Ah-jung (the female lead) lies and tells her friends that she is married to Ki-Joon. Her lie spreads like wildfire and everyone in the country finds out about it through the media and news outlets. I love how he agrees to pretend to be married to her HAHAHA! I definitely think this drama deserves to be more popular.

2. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)

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I don’t have strong opinions about the male lead but I love the female lead, Mi-ho. She is so kind-hearted, funny, and naturally gorgeous. She will defend herself if she has to. Mi-ho is a gumiho, which is a nine-tail fox. She is found by the main lead, Dae-woong, and tries to live life as a human. Dae-woong does treat her well and it’s a good love story. The soundtrack is beautiful – I love this song the most.

3. Cunning Single Lady (2014)

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I enjoyed this drama a lot more than I anticipated! It’s binge-worthy and the female lead is so beautiful. The main couple were married in the past but got a divorce because Jung-woo, the male lead, was too poor. Years later, Jung-woo is the CEO of a huge company. Ae-ra starts working at the company for revenge.

Okay, you probably think Ae-ra is a horrible person. She’s actually a really good person! I don’t want to spoil anything so you’ll just have to trust me. I love romance dramas with sweet male protagonists. Even though Jung-woo thinks that Ae-ra is trying to get close to him for his wealth, he’s still so kind to her. T_T

4. 38 Task Force (2016)

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I LOVE dramas that involve con-artists or deceiving people. In this show, a tax collector sees injustice because he works for a government agency but the people who are not paying their taxes are very rich and get away with it. The tax collector, Baek Sung-il, teams up with the con-artist, Yang Jeong-do. Yang Jeong-do gets a team of people and together they scam the rich people. It’s super interesting and when it came out, I checked every week if the new episode was out because I was so excited to watch it.

5. Liar Game (2014)

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I blogged about this drama before in my “10 Live-Action Manga Adaptations I Enjoyed” post. You can read that here.

In Liar Game, the goal is to deceive the other players. If you win, you will get a lot of money but if you lose, the money lost becomes your debt. Da-jung is tricked into joining the game. She’s very naive, and gets former con-artist and former psychology professor, Ha Woo-jin, to help her. Ha Woo-jin is brilliant.

This drama is based on a manga but they made a lot of changes to it. I usually don’t like it when shows deviate from the source material but these changes were refreshing and pleasant to watch. They made the Liar Game into a reality TV show and so the game is watched by a lot of people. They also changed the games, which was nice because I didn’t know the outcome of the games. The two main protagonists are similar to their manga counterparts but the other characters are very different. I didn’t have complaints about that. It’s a really good remake. The Japanese drama, Liar Game, is more true to the manga but this drama is worth watching.

6. Money’s Warfare (2007)

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In this drama, Na-ra becomes homeless after a series of unfortunate events. These events happen early on. Na-ra picks himself up and becomes a loan shark. His job is to collect debt from poor people, but he uses unconventional methods. There are some really funny scenes. Na-ra is awesome.

10 Live-Action Manga Adaptations I Enjoyed

Many anime fans don’t like live-actions of anime. Period.

I also (mostly) agree. But… live-actions dramas are better than films. With episodes, it allows the show to have more depth. One major problem in all live-action films is that they cut a lot of important scenes and most of the time, they cut out important characters.

These aren’t in any particular order. I won’t be talking about the plots of these shows, just what I liked about them. I don’t watch as many dramas as I used to, so the newer live-actions will probably not be on here. Nonetheless, I still find value in making this list because good shows are good shows, no matter how old they are. 😉 If you’re interested in knowing which dramas I’ve watched, you can view My Drama List (still incomplete) here.

1. Bloody Monday (2008)

I enjoyed this Japanese live-action because Haruma Miura and Hiroki Narimiya played their characters really well. The instrumental soundtrack is beautiful. Listen to this and you’ll know what I mean. Also, both seasons played music by Flumpool, which is my favourite Japanese band.

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2. Boku dake ga Inai Machi (2017)

This is better known as Erased. It is a Japanese drama. I didn’t think I would be interested in time travel but I was proven wrong. I often take breaks from dramas and anime (My Drama List reflects this by the number of dramas I am “currently watching”) but I binged this show. Special thanks to Fed for watching it after my recommendation!

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3. GTO (1998)

This Japanese drama stands for Great Teacher Onizuka. I watched this before I started university and I feel like it changed my life. That’s a really bold statement but I began to see life a little bit differently in “unconventional” ways.

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4. Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (2007)

This Japanese drama is also known as Hana Kimi. There are so many actors!!

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5. Hotaru no Hikari (2007)

This is a Japanese drama based on the josei manga with the same title.

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6. Kurosagi (2006)

I’ve watched every episode in this Japanese drama at least 10 times, and the reason is because I used to really, really like Kurosaki, the main character.

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7. Liar Game (2014)

This is the Korean live-action adaptation. It is different from the manga because they made the Liar Game into a TV game show. I love how they changed it to better suit the current generation.

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8. Liar Game (2007)

This is a Japanese drama. I do prefer this over the Korean live-action of Liar Game.

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9. Smiling Pasta (2006)

This Taiwanese drama is based on a manhwa. I haven’t read the manhwa because it’s really hard to find English scanlations of it (or even the work in its original language). However, this drama was able to make me cry and laugh in the same episode.

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10. Switch Girl!! (2011)

This is a Japanese drama. Mariya Nishiuchi was perfect for the main role because she was a model of Seventeen at the time, and so were other actresses (her character does modelling in the drama too). I am her fan. ❤

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My Drama List

If you watch Asian dramas, I recommend you use My Drama List if you haven’t already. It’s like My Anime List, but for dramas! Basically, you mark down the statuses of different shows and movies you’ve watched, record the episodes you’ve seen, give them ratings and leave comments.

I do have some issues with My Anime List, but I like it better than My Drama List because  it is harder to find shows on MDL. The shows should be separated by genres and in categories such as ‘Korean drama’ and ‘Japanese drama,’ etc. They don’t have that. That’s why I’m missing a lot of shows on my list!! I can remember the plots and characters’ appearances of certain dramas, but I don’t remember the names of the dramas.

If you’re interested, My Drama List can be found at https://mydramalist.com/dramalist/alpaca_xx 

Please note that it is incomplete because of the reason I explained above. I actually just filled out the list recently so I have not entered any episode data on my ‘Currently Watching’ list. I don’t know if I will be able to because I haven’t watched dramas in a LONG time, which means I don’t remember what episode I’m on! T_T With that being said, my ‘Currently Watching’ list is not being counted in my Profile’s episode number and time watched information. Most of these shows are from 2009~ because that was when I watched a lot of Asian dramas.

My Anime List is private, but I can tell you that it’s longer than My Drama List. My Manga List (this is on the My Anime List website) is longer than My Anime List.

What does this all mean? 

It means I’ve watched a lot of T.V. and it’s no wonder I have poor eyesight AND I’m not sure whether I am proud or if I pity my soul…

Moving forward…

Now that I have My Drama List kind of filled out, expect some drama recommendations and favourites posts in the future!!! Even though I do not plan on ranking any of these dramas and movies, I still remember what I enjoyed (or hated) about them. ^_^

My Top 6 Taiwanese Dramas

The reason why I like Taiwanese dramas is because they bring me happiness, inspiration, hope and comfort. When I feel upset, watching a Taiwanese drama or rewatching parts of a drama is like a cure. Some spoilers ahead.

1. My Lucky Star (2007)

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Synopsis

Shortly after Ah Xing is released from jail, the jewelry ex-con artist finds herself in a situation where she is handcuffed to Tianqi. Tianqi is running away from suspicious men in suits because he stole a valuable jewel from E-shine, a famous jewelry company. They spend time with each other, and Ah Xing believes that Tianqi is a poor thief. Little does she know, he is actually E-shine’s young master!

Thoughts

I love this drama because Ah Xing is an ex-con artist who went to jail. It shows me that it is possible for a person to change and become a better person. Second chances are possible. It takes away the guilt and negative feelings I have about myself from minor problems and also gives me hope. The actress who plays Ah Xing is Korean. It’s one of the earlier Taiwanese dramas with a Korean actress and Mandarin voice over.

Jimmy Lin is a singer, actor and race car driver. In this drama, he plays all three! He also sings the ending theme which is nice. I really like it when the actors or actresses sing songs for the drama because it feels so much more meaningful. A lot of the dramas in this post have that music element. Jimmy Lin plays the main male lead, Tianqi.

If a main male lead has unconditional love for the female, I feel very touched. It’s something I look for in a drama. Jimmy Lin does it so well. Often times I feel so bad for him because of the sad events that happen to him, but he still loves Ah Xing very much.

One of the songs in particular, “Our Memories” by Shivia Lee, makes me cry. It’s a powerful song and it is so effective. I cry often and easily when it comes to sad shows. If you’re like me, expect to cry in this one.

2. Fated to Love You (2008)

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Synopsis

Xin Yi is often called “sticky note girl” at her workplace because she is too kind for her own good. She lets people take advantage of her, even paying everything for her boyfriend. Cun Xi is the opposite – he is the heir to a company and is outspoken and rude. Due to a misunderstanding on a boat cruise (Xin Yi lost her glasses and walked in the wrong room), the two have sex and Xin Yi becomes pregnant!

Thoughts

A theme I love is when the couple separate under unfortunate circumstances. They meet some years later and it gives me hope that people can reconcile after a fall out. Of course, it’s not going to happen all the time but if it is “fate” as the title implies, it will happen. This also happens in My Lucky Star which makes me very happy.

“Wo De Kuai Le” is a powerful song which has made me cry several times whenever it played in the series. This drama made me cry a lot, but also made me laugh a countless number of times.

There is a Korean remake of the drama and I still prefer this one. The Korean version is nice because the main male lead is an effective and likeable character. However, the Taiwanese version is still the best because of their chemistry and the feel in general.

3. Love Keeps Going (2011)

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Synopsis

Mei Le is a hardworking, young woman and is about to marry her fiancé, Yi Feng. Yi Feng’s younger brother Yi Lie is rude, loud and outspoken. Mei Le tries to get on Yi Lie’s good side since they are about to become one family. Yi Lie finds himself falling in love with Mei Le, but she is his brother’s fianćee.

Thoughts

Mike He plays Yi Lie, who was definitely my favourite character in this drama because of how much he loves the female lead. He loves and cares for her so much… It really screams out ‘boyfriend goals.’ He even sings a song for her, which is rare for Mike He. Cyndi Wang sings a few songs on the soundtrack. Mike He’s character is Yi Lie and Cyndi Wang’s character is Mei Le.

When I feel down by a failure with love, I am instantly comforted after watching the same clip from this series. It’s a scene when he comforts Mei Le. Not only are his words motivational, but you realize how much better of a person you deserve. You realize that the last guy was a jerk and that it was better that it did not work out.

The ending is a little disappointing. However, it does not take away the experience of the rest of the series. It is not a sad ending, if that’s what you’re wondering. I absolutely detest sad endings because I feel like I wasted my time watching those kinds of dramas. With that being said, it is fair to assume that these dramas have happy endings – and that makes the watching experience more satisfying.

4. Smiling Pasta (2006)

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Synopsis

Xiao Shi is your ordinary girl who is unsuccessful at love. She has had nearly 20 boyfriends but none of her previous relationships have made it past 3 months. He Qun is a famous pop star. While running away from the paparazzi, he bumps into Xiao Shi and they kiss by accident on the street. Their accidental kiss gets caught on camera and now Xiao Shi has to pretend to be He Qun’s fianćee.

Thoughts

Smiling Pasta is very funny, but also makes you cry in the same episode. It’s not too serious and I enjoyed this series thoroughly. As with 1-3 on this list, I would not mind rewatching this one. Nicholas Teo plays a famous pop singer and idol in the series. It’s great because he sings the songs himself and he is a singer in real life. Cyndi Wang also sings some of the songs in the series, including the opening song. She’s the same actress from Love Keeps Going.

5. Hanazakarino Kimitachihe (2006)

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Synopsis

Lu Rui Xi watches high jump athlete, Zuo Yi Quan, on television and he becomes her idol. She decides to leave her school in America and flies to Taiwan to enrol in Zuo Yi Quan’s school. The drawback? It’s an all-boys school! No worries, she cuts her hair short and pretends to be a boy. He also happens to be her roommate. When she meets him, he is not very friendly!?

Thoughts

Here we have a lot of famous lead characters. There’s Ella Chen from S.H.E, and Wu Chun and Jiro Wang from Fahrenheit. JJ Lin also makes a guest appearance as Ella’s brother. S.H.E. and Fahrenheit are popular music groups and JJ Lin is a popular singer. Ironically my favourite character was neither one of the two male leads, but Danson Tang, the actor who played a minor character. S.H.E sings the opening theme song.

This series was based on a manga. There is a Japanese version of the drama and I enjoyed that a lot as well. Both have a different feeling to it and it’s a different watching experience. I think that I liked the Japanese one slightly more, but this one is still worth watching.

I’ve heard criticism that the acting in Taiwanese dramas is not that good. I do agree to some extent but the acting has gotten a lot better throughout the years. I want to point out that sometimes the acting is exaggerated – and this is done deliberately to create a comical effect. This is not a sad drama. It’s a funny watch to pass the time.

6. It Started with a Kiss (2005)

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Synopsis

Yuan Xiang Qin (very clumsy and not very smart) confesses her love to Jiang Zhi Shu, the smartest and most handsome guy at school. He rejects her in a humiliating manner. Just when things couldn’t get worse, an earthquake tears down her house. Yuan Xiang Qin and her father move in with her father’s friend… who happens to be Jiang Zhi Shu’s father. So now the two of them are living together under the same roof.

Thoughts

I was going to make this a ‘Top 5’ post, but I couldn’t leave this one out. This was my first Taiwanese drama and I watched it when I was about grade five. Jiro Wang was the second male lead in this one and Hana Kimi (see above), but I’m glad he finally got the girl in newer dramas.

There are Japanese and Korean drama versions, and an anime – but none of the other dramas capture the same chemistry as this one. Compared to the first three dramas on the list, this is not that sad. It’s a light-hearted watch to pass the time. There’s a new Taiwanese remake of this drama staring Dino Lee but I have yet to watch it.


Other dramas that did not make the list but are very good include Hi My Sweetheart and Peach Girl. If you’re interested, definitely check those out as well.