by cassiopeiastars, June 28, 2021
76

My Dear Guardian

Li Qin and Johnny looking into each other's eyes in military uniforms


Chinese Name: 亲爱的戎装

Airing Dates: Jun 1, 2021 - Jul 7, 2021

Episodes: 40

Duration: 45 minutes

Genres: Military, Romance, Drama 

Tags: Cohabitation, Drug Cartel, Military Officer, Military Medic

Where to Watch: iQiyi


Li Qin and Johnny in their uniforms with masks on


Minor spoilers from episodes 1 - 18 may be present in the information, photos, or comments provided below. 
No major plot points will be mentioned in this article.

Summary

My Dear Guardian (亲爱的戎装) is a drama that is adapted from the novel "Round Fingers Under Military Uniforms" (军装下的绕指柔) by Zhe Zi Ma Yi (折纸蚂蚁). The drama tells a story of a resident surgeon, Xia Chu, and a military officer, Liang Mu Ze. Their story starts with their fateful but rocky encounter on a mission abroad. Their fate continues to intertwine as they come back home to China and end up living together. Through their interactions, Liang Mu Ze and Xia Chu came to understand one another and fall for each other. They will work together to fulfill their duties and protect their loved ones through the twist and turns their jobs bring them.  


Characters

Poster of all main and supporting characters from the show

Johnny Huang as Liang Mu Ze

Liang Mu Ze is a military officer in the G Zone Special Forces. He is proud to be serving his country and works hard to lead his team to success on missions. While he has a cold exterior, he is a softhearted individual who does a lot for the people around him. His strong and stubborn personality will make him butt heads with Xia Chu, but they eventually come to understand each other. 

Li Qin as Xia Chu 

Xia Chu is a resident surgeon that works for a hospital affiliated with the military hospital. She is not a military medic that works in the field but has volunteered to help on missions where she will meet Liang Mu Ze. Xia Chu is a strong-minded individual who speaks what is on her mind. However, as a doctor, she is hardworking, warm-hearted, and wants to do her best to help all of her patients. 


Nie Zi Hao as Zhuo Ran
Zhou Ran is Xia Chu's high school deskmate and sweetheart. He disappears one day and appears back into her life and tries to reconnect with her again. However, Zhou Ran's disappearance holds more than meets the eye as he returns with a hidden agenda. 
Yang Shu as Mi Gu
Mi Gu is Xia Chu's best friend. She is a reporter and falls in love with Zhou Ran at first sight. Will she pursue Zhuo Ran or forget him and stay by Xia Chu's side? 
Zhao Xun as Tian Yong
Tian Yong is part of Liang Mu Ze's G Zone Special Team. He becomes Liang Shao Xue's love interest. One of his habits is reading and reciting poems, particularly from Three Hundred Tang Poems.
Jiang Yun as Liang Shao Xue
Liang Shao Xue is known to be Liang Mu Ze's younger cousin. She becomes interested in Tian Yong and actively pursues him. 
Xu Hong Jie as Zhang Yi Chi
Zhang Yi Chi or Dr. Zhang is the head surgeon at the military hospital. Xia Chu is under his department and he sees a lot of potential in her. 
Fu Cheng Peng as Rao Feng 
Rao Feng is part of the police force and works hand in hand with Liang Mu Ze on secret missions to catch the person behind the drug trades. 


Five Negative Points

Camera angles during action scenes. This is a personal opinion negative point. I appreciate good action scenes where we clearly see the person's objective in action, whether through the first-person perspective or third-person perspective. I felt that the chosen angles when it came to directing weren't my cup of tea as they look busy and swamped. The rigorous training scenes that we see seem to lose their details because of this. That isn't to say that the action scenes weren't good. In fact, we get some good shots of Liang Mu Ze exercising and hand-to-hand combat. 



Inconsistent character writing. The two characters I see this issue with the most are Xia Chu and Dr. Zhang. We start out seeing Xia Chu as a volunteer doctor in a foreign country. She gets stuck in a hostage situation but she was able to be calm and help the injured. Then we see Xia Chu get stuck in another situation where she needs to make a medical decision, and she freaks out before she can calm herself down. Back at the hospital, she's this resident doctor who doesn't know much and is trying to learn the ropes. However, she can solve this weird medical issue by just looking at the lab information. Her character direction leaves me in confusion because she comes off strong and then weak at different points in the story. 

Dr. Zhang is an experienced doctor who has done countless surgeries and has years of practice. He's this calm and collected mentor one moment and lashes out, saying, "I'm tired!" the next. While I understand that losing your patient is always hard to stomach for doctors and anyone, the consoling scene felt off to me. They write this scene of Dr. Zhang losing one of his patients and Xia Chu coming to console him. This scene made me question his character role. Is he a mentor character, or is he just any doctor who experiences difficulties on the job? 

Unrealistic Professionals. While I knew coming into these dramas that they probably wouldn't be depicting realistic military officers and doctors, I was hoping for a bit of believability. There's no feeling of action and consequences for the show. Xia Chu makes a mistake, she gets confronted about it, and she doesn't try to be better or acknowledge her wrongs. She gets told she breaks rules but not much is done to reprimand her actions.

Writing. Another writing issue. I find it interesting that the writers take us as a fool sometimes. Like we're supposed to accept it as it is because that's what they've decided to do. There are scenes where I think, "it's so obvious that this won't work," or I furrow my eyebrows in disapproval. We have bad characters who get away with things because they're supposed to. There's no sneaky logic behind it except that the show much goes on. Then some scenes feel like they are thrown in for extra fluff because it doesn't add value to the drama. 

Editing. The weird light blurs on characters when you know it's not natural lighting, and they don't try to make it look natural at all. There are times when there's a yellow light on them, and when the scene pulls out, there's nothing around that would indicate a yellow light. The little audio inserts of "what?" and other comical sounds aren't too appealing to me. I'm assuming they are supposed to be like sitcoms where it indicates a funny moment, but I don't find it funny so it comes off odd. It could just be my sense of humor, but it throws me off when I hear it. I'd much rather take over their cute little sticker inserts over the audio. 


Five Positive Points

Little to no jarring product placements. These days, we can't get away from the obvious and jarring product placements in Chinese dramaland where they'll pop open a can of soda or give a brand of medicine and have it linger on the product WITH the label "coincidently" facing the camera. I'll have to say that if there was product placement, I probably missed it because it was not intentionally thrown in my face. I love this because there are so many moments in dramas where the product placement ruins the flow of the drama and my experience with the drama itself. Nothing is worse when you're in the zone, and an advertisement pops up. 

No voice dubbing. Johnny Huang and Li Qin use their own voices. I have to mention this every time I notice there's no dubbing because it adds to their characters' emotions. While I disliked it, their bickering and bantering were all in their own voices. In the scenes when Xia Chu got emotional, we can see it in her eyes and hear the quiver in her voice. 

 Tropes aren't too cringey. There are still many unrealistic trope situations in the drama. I just wanted to applaud the moments where it could turn into another trope-gone-wrong situation, but it doesn't. For example, we have Xiao Jun's mom, a widow of Liang Me Ze's now deceased captain. He feels the need to take care of the mother and son, even though it's not his duty. Instead of trying to hang onto Liang Mu Ze for dear life like other dramas might've done. Xiao Jun's mom is mature and smart about the reason why Liang Mu Ze is in her life, and she respects that line.

Story connection. I like stories that have some connection between characters. Our male lead is part of the military and our female lead is a military doctor. So while they have different jobs, they're connected through the military. Some of their missions may coincide with each other. This makes it so that we don't get so many weird shifts in the environment's scene. Or these intentional incidents make it look like fate that the leads meet or stay relevant to the plot for the rest of the show. That isn't to say that the leads didn't have a few fateful encounters of their own. With a connection between the characters, it makes the story feel a bit more cohesive. 

Finn Han portrays Xiao Jun. He plays the son of Liang Mu Ze's deceased captain, Luo Liang. Xiao Jun highly looks up to Liang Mu Ze, especially as a father figure. He wants the best for his mom and does his best to find her a suitable suitor. I think he deserves a positive point spot as I enjoyed his story and scenes the most so far. If you've seen this young actor do his job, you'll understand what I mean.  He can depict emotions and make us viewers feel the conviction when he's upset or sad. He has participated in other well-known dramas and has a few more lined up for release. I can't wait to see him play more roles with a bigger focus on his character. Finn Han will go places in the future! 


Personal Thoughts

I'm halfway through the show and so far, it falls into the category of a romance drama that tries to be a serious career-driven drama but fails at it. There's no big theme, no satisfying development in the character or story (so far), and no real growth so it feels kind of pointless at times. The reason why there's not much character or relationship development because the leads are already intelligent and too stubborn in their ways. Their personalities push their feelings to the side, making it turn into a slow-burn romance.  A type of romance I like, but don't see it being well executed in here. 

Why do we watch these characters go through so many trials if they don't get anything out of it or we don't learn anything from it? The goals of the evil character get prolonged throughout the show, and instead, we get menial scenes that don't do much for the two leads. 

This is one of the dramas that I'm on the fence about. Do I love it? Not really. Do I hate it? Not really. Will I finish it, though? Most likely, on the terms that the drama doesn't take a horrible dip before we get to the end. There are moments, scenes, or dialogues that I do really enjoy. So far, nothing is really off-putting where I feel like I need to drop the show. 



Is This Drama For You?

This drama is for you if you like:

This drama isn't for you if you dislike:

  • Military and doctor trope dramas
  • Johnny Huang or Li Qin
  • Slow burn romance
  • Clingy second male leads
  • Best friend of female lead that isn't so smart
  • Characters that screams a lot with no good logic behind it

We all have different tastes in dramas, and that's okay. If this drama sounds like it isn't your cup of tea, you don't need to sip or finish it, just set it down and walk away. Hopefully, my opinions give you guys some insight into the drama if you plan to watch it. 


If you're currently tuning in, what are your thoughts so far? I would love to discuss this with other viewers. Make sure to checkmark that spoiler box in the comments if needed!


Photo Credits: DoubanMy Dear Guardian Photo Gallery | Cover Image
Edited by: devitto (1st editor)

romance drama military doctor li qin my dear guardian johnny huang

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