At first glance, high schoolers Xiang Hao Ting and Yu Xi Gu appear to be polar opposites: While Xiang Hao Ting is an outgoing, hot-headed extrovert and some-time bully, Yu Xi Gu prefers to keep a low profile and focus on his schoolwork. They seem bound for totally different futures – the bookish Yu Xi Gu looks destined for academic success, while life is just a long popularity contest for Xiang Hao Ting. But a quirk of fate – and a crucial intervention by a female schoolmate – results in the two young men’s paths crossing. But there is more to both young men than first meets the eye. Xiang Hao Ting was not always this way. He started out as a perfect student until he discovered the joys of going off the rails. And Yu Xi Gu has a reason for being so aloof and studious: His parents died in a traffic accident while he was younger, and he is being fostered by his aunt. As such, he works hard to get good grades in an effort to win a scholarship and ease the financial burden on his relatives. Yu Xi Gu also works part-time at a convenience store, where his manager Liu Zhi Gang has developed a crush on a man he has met at the gym. Back at school, meanwhile, Yu Xi Gu and Xiang Hao Ting find themselves drawn together, and passions ignite. The former notices that he has the unique ability to bring Yu Xi Gu out of his shell – and becomes intent on melting his cold-as-ice exterior. What will happen when their two worlds collide? And can love be the catalyst that helps bring these two unlikely students together – as their high school days draw to a close? (Source: Viki) Edit Translation
- Tiếng Việt
Cast & Credits
I, first of all, have to say that it was possibly the worst ending I have seen if any show I have watched (including Game of Thrones and GOT is the worst ending for me up until this), I am never watching anything that the writer is in charge of ever in my life, I mean I will personally be checking who the writer is because of her. Like I was wondering what nonsense of an ending that was. Like I hate the fact people try to cover it up by saying it is real life or realistic (and I would be addressing it in my review).
The show started a fun, I mean Xiang and his dumb ass friends being the cool and popular kids, then the nerd that the coolest kid in school falls for but then the story is very not cliché.
Starting this out, I know everyone first had an issue with Sun Bo and his behavior (stalking and assault) but I would like to remind people that he is kind of meant to be a dumb, naïve and impulsive teenager who is kind of falling in love for the first time and doesn't know what to with himself. I am not saying what he did was all right by any standard but understand that this was the first point being driven.
Also, still on Sun Bo, the next thing people highlighted a lot was the age difference and being in high school. Now I am quite happy that everyone is taking Pedophilia more seriously but at the same time, we should realize that countries differ and laws in those countries are not the same as what it is in our countries. Now, I was rubbed the wrong way but when I checked and I saw that the age of consent and majority in Taiwan is 16, I couldn't do anything more about it but move on, this is their country and these are their norms.
Now moving on, things I loved about the show in generality
1. The true representation of LGBT acceptance: Hao Ting Parents, The Gang, and Finally Lu Zhi's family. The showed different reactions to LGBT youth around the world as it happens. Some people just naturally accept LGBT youth especially because of their humanity and personhood and that was represented in the gang, others don't accept it but rather tolerate it for one reason or the other and that was Hao Ting's parents and the last class per se are those that are straight-up homophobic and cut LGBT people out of their lives that was Lu Zhi's granddad. I loved the fact that they represented all these in the show, which is more than a lot of them BLs give us.
2. That age gap should not be a determinant in a relationship (when the people involved are off legal age). Our societies tend to treat age gap as something that should be almost non-existent and that one party is taking advantage of the other but I love that MODC showed that sometimes, real love doesn't care about age as far as you are meant to be together, you would work out.
3. I loved the fact that they didn't revolve the story around Hao Ting struggling to accept that he was in love with a guy (although I didn't particularly like the I am not gay just in love with him trope we often see but whatever). Like it was very straight forward, he suspected he had feelings for Xi Gu and rather than fighting it as we often see, he accepted them and moved forward on and most importantly, he didn't cheat on his girlfriend per se, he broke up with her before properly chasing Xi Gu.
4. I love that consent wasn't forgotten per se in the terms of Xi Gu and Hao Ting. I was scared at several points that with the type of temper Hao had, he would overstep boundaries with Xi but he was honestly patient and surprised me a lot.
5. Sex scenes, now I get a lot of people did not particularly like this, but I like the realism to the sex scenes because most BLs tend to was to Fetishize gay people but they didn't do that here, plus I mean they are high school students, sex tends to be on their minds a lot.
6. The acting and production value were all phenomenal, I hated Hao when he made Xi miss the exam, I cried with Xi when he lost the scholarship, I felt all of the naivety of Sun and his jealousy, like the actors delivered and the quality was insane, to say the least bit. I felt everything, rejoiced with them, laughed with them…. That is what acting is meant to do emote properly, I even felt the ending particularly because of Wayne
7. The portrayed the mistake we have all made as high school students properly, from cruelty, meanness, etc.
8. Character development was great and natural compared to other shows
9. I loved Hao Ting and Sun Bo's friendship, it was beautiful to the end
Things I hated
1. The ending and the writer
2. The fact that they did not properly develop some stories, which I guess was to keep the focus on the main story but still at least resolve them. Like the twin that appeared he had feelings for Xi Gu, we did not get the foundation of the feelings of what connection there was or how did it end up? Another was the guy that made the fake picture of Xi Gu to spite Hao Ting, like what happened to him or even the ex-girlfriend? Then the way they just threw away the Fujoshi?
Now to the controversial ending if you want to portray a real-life relationship or a realistic relationship, then break them up. I am not saying people do not die in relationships, they go off course, but in a world where people always try to tell LGBT people they can't have happy endings, this just drives the narrative because Xi Gu's death was pointless except for shock value and nothing else just break the couple up. I mean, what's more common - breaking up or being killed by a car (or a white truck of doom, for all we know)? Yes, way too many people die in accidents every year, but still... that's not what usually happens, fortunately. So, for me, the "that's life/that's a realistic portrait of life" argument falls a bit flat. My impression is that they didn't necessarily want to portray a "real life" situation, rather they wanted to shock and manipulate their audience, they wanted to present a "clever" twist, maybe because someone, someday, came up with the idea that tragedy equals depth and artistry. Then, secondly - do you know what hurts me the most? I realized it's not, contrary to my expectations, YSG's pointless death. It's how miserable XHT still is even 6 years after the tragedy. Even if he says "Yes, I'm over it", even if he has survived and tried to get on with his life (did he get a girlfriend, or am I wrong? I was in a daze for most of the episode, trying not to cry too much, so there are parts I'm not 100% sure about), even if he says he's ready to hike the Himalayas. He's still so deeply grieving that you just have to look at him to know he's living an unhappy life - he seems to be living only halfheartedly, only half-conscious... and that's heartbreaking, and that's what made me so devastated. I don't see much hope in this ending. It hurts so much because I cannot help but thinking that I would be just as lost in a similar situation. Finding love is so rare, and when you lose it like that... Thirdly, poor YSG. He drew the short end of the stick, didn't he? Was his purpose as a character just to tug at our heartstrings? Was his death just a cliched plot device contrived to squeeze out our tears (and how many of them!)? He, as a character, deserved better! Also, the doppelganger: was his purpose just to trick us in the preview of the last episode with a face that looked like a future YSG? So that people, seeing him, would think "No worries, here he is with a different hairstyle, so he's obviously still alive, maybe they just separated for a few years", just to be then shocked at the revelation? I can't help but feel that my emotions were being manipulated. And lastly - I'm kind of low-key angry with myself for letting myself being so emotionally involved in this drama. It's so silly to be this upset (feeling depressed, feeling there's no hope in this world, feeling like dark clouds are weighing heavy on my heart, crying!) because of a work of fiction.
I know I won't be able to go back to it - and what's worse than that for a drama? Even the forgettable ones are sometimes revisited. And even the soundtrack, that I loved, will be off-limits for the foreseeable future.
Now I’ve always loved the HIStory series, and there’s no different with this one. I must say, this one is my favourite of them all simply because of the realism of it all, it’s a simple storyline of enemies to lovers set in a high school surrounding, but, it’s also so much more than that.
I didn’t really care for the side couple as much as I did whilst watching Trapped but I’m honestly very tired of the age gaps in BLs. However, despite this, their story was beautiful and you get to see a realistic couple and their struggles. However, in this review, I will mostly talk about the main couple, Haoting and Xigu. (or xianggu lmao)
Without spoiling anything, the story has a very nice pace, it never felt too rushed nor too slow, and you could really tell how the characters were evolving throughout the series. Haoting being really aggressive in the beginning as he thought Xigu was flirting with his girlfriend to later realise he has feelings for him might be cheesy but I also think that it’s charming, not every LGBTQ series has to go deep about social norms, the gays also deserve a cheesy romance like this one. Just a big guy being head over heels a boy who is the polar opposite of himself and doing everything to get him to like him back. This premise is often a very grey area as consent often is forgotten in BLs and with an aggressive main lead I was very worried he might overstep his boundaries but the way Haoting tries to get Xigu to like him is so different from what I first thought and I was surprised by him many times. We get to see how love can change a person and I think that’s beautiful and although Haoting is aggressive he is always respectful and always wanting the best for the people around him. He makes mistakes but you can really tell that he knows when he’s in the wrong and does everything to make up for it even though he even might hurt himself in the process. (Also wanna talk about how much I love their entire friend group!! Precious!)
I keep seeing people complain about this series focusing too much on sex but remember that they’re in high school so it’s completely normal to think about that sort of stuff when you’re that age + I wouldn’t say it’s focused on sex all that much. The scenes that DO focus on it are so well thought out, meaning the cinematography is amazing, passion, intensity, build-up and climax, it all just made me sit in awe and I really want to applaud everyone who created it. They never fetishize gay people like BLs tend to do as they want to appeal to fujoshis and I appreciate that, they make it all feel so realistic and that might not be super interesting to some but it’s perfect for me.
Now the acting, one word. Amazing. You could feel every single emotion of the characters, despite most of the actors being inexperienced in acting. You could feel the love, the confusion, the sadness, happiness, everything. When the character was in pain my heart hurt too because the way it all was displayed really just made me feel as if I was right there with them, experiencing the struggles myself and that is very powerful.
Although not a lot of songs, the ones that you hear fit perfectly, it never felt out of place or awkward to watch any scenes as the music fit very nicely. The intro is also probably my favourite HIStory intro of all time and the outro is also very very nice to listen to after you sit and stare into the void after finishing every episode lmao.
I have so much to say about this incredible drama but I will never be able to put those feelings into words I just hope you watch it and get to experience it by yourself.
Onto the only negative with this drama, the ending… Don’t worry there aren’t any spoilers here!!
Well going from the best drama ever to a horrible ending, uh I truly do not know what to say about this ending. It felt so out of place and with all the characters so different it just didn’t sit right with me, I truly feel like this ending could be from an entirely different show. It was so sudden and just felt like they didn’t know how to end it which is very disappointing. Watching the preview for the last episode I never would’ve imagined it would end like this and despite the characters not feeling like they used to I cried like a baby, I probably cried throughout the entire 55-minute episode… I can myself think of at least 10 different endings that would fit better with the characters and tie the plot up nicely, it just feels like they threw away all of the work they put into the series right in the last moment which is just so sad.
I will definitely rewatch this but I’ll probably skip the last episode…