Based On The Novel:
Just One Smile is Very Alluring
By Gu Man
Directed By: Lin Yufen
No. of Episodes: 30
Original Release: August 22 – September 6, 2016
Singer-actress Zheng Shuang and Weibo Power Star winner Yang Yang star in a romantic comedy that is sure to log in to the heart leaderboards and score a 1UP for love. Xiao Nai (Yang Yang) is a gaming expert who, courtesy of his basketball skills, academic excellence, swimming talent and game company presidency, also happens to be the most popular student on campus. When he first comes across the gorgeous computer science major Bei Wei Wei (Zheng Shuang), the infinitely talented wunderkind immediately falls in love. But it’s not Bei’s looks that he notices; it’s the ridiculous mastery with which she is commanding her guild and owning everyone in an online multiplayer game that makes her impossible to forget. Now, Xiao Nai must use his skills both in real life and online to capture the adorable but dorky Bei’s heart. But does their love have the XP to succeed, or will this relationship never level up?
Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers! Please do not proceed if you do not want to read spoilers.
Plot & Pacing
The story of Love O2O is what I consider a very satisfying slow burn. If you’re looking for a dramatic and intense love story, this isn’t it. Our OTP has their moments of sizzling sexual tension, but there are no arranged marriages, meddling second leads, crazy parents, amnesia, or any life or death situations.
Xiao Nai and Wei Wei’s relationship gave me a “細水長流” kind of feeling. It might be slower and calmer compared to others, but their love is absolutely beautiful and most certainly everlasting. Love O2O follows the progression of their relationship, from the early stages of courtship all the way up to marriage. We are shown the little things in life that matter. And I have to mention that these are two fully functional individuals that feel very real, despite how perfect they might appear on paper. It was a joy to be able to watch them on screen.
However, I was concerned about the drama length as it didn’t seem like the source material would be enough to fill up 30 hours. And I was right, by the midway point there were filler episodes that focused on the secondary couple. The addition of their story was nice, but I think Love O2O could have definitely been a few episodes shorter.
It was almost perfect! They followed the book closely and didn’t change any of the characters personalities, which I am thankful for as this was one of my favorite novels. And I really like how smoothly the drama transitioned between the real world and the gaming world! The scenes in the game were one of the things that made the novel special. Therefore, I’m pleased it turned out so well, and the CGI was actually good!
After watching this and Eternal Love, I have to say Croton Media and director Lin Yufen definitely knows how to do an adaption right! Can they please helm all future book-to-drama productions? lol
Zheng Shuang as Bei Wei Wei
Bei Wei Wei is a very likable character, who acts and thinks like you and me, making her someone we can all easily identify with. She’s smart, pretty, outgoing, a skilled gamer, and most importantly, no marysue. Wei Wei stands up for what she believes in and isn’t afraid of facing challenges or her enemies. She never makes decisions that make me question WTF why. So, yes I like her, which was why I was incredibly disappointed when I knew Zheng Shuang landed the role. She looked nothing like the Wei Wei in my mind. But, after watching the drama I thought she did fairly well. Although her acting was awkward at times, she was believable as Wei Wei and was able to show all of the character’s strong points.
Yang Yang as Xiao Nai
Yang Yang’s Xiao Nai was exactly how I imagined the character to be. He’s a man of few words, but he has a very sharp tongue. So, whenever he does speak, people around will often regret asking for his opinion. But, his friends do acknowledge the fact that he’s pretty much always right (lol). They have complete faith in him and he is a dependable guy, who never fails to protect the people he loves. He’s handsome, intelligent, and an even better gamer than Wei Wei. There wasn’t anything that I disliked about the character or Yang Yang’s portrayal. He is totally the Xiao Nai in my heart.
Mao Xiao Tong as Er Xi
Mao Xiao Tong is a really good actress! The first time I watched her was in 2014’s Romance of the Condor Heroes as the despicable Guo Fu, where she was proud and selfish. But here as Er Xi, she is so lovable and cute without being annoying. Then there’s Princess Wei Young where she transformed into cold, calculating, and evil Li Changru. Ma Xiao Tong is climbing up quickly on the list of young actresses that I’m keeping a close eye on. I’ll definitely be checking out her dramas in the future. As for the character Er Xi, she was always a good friend to Wei Wei. She’s sweet, bubbly, and cheerful which Mao Xiao Tong had no problem portraying.
Bai Yu as Cao Guang
OMG Bai Yu! After seeing him in Love O2O as Cao Guang, the geeky journalist with curly hair, I followed up with watching him as the sexy badass male lead Han Chen in Memory Lost and… he’s just so different! He is without a doubt a good actor. I loved him as Han Chen! lol, but I’ll talk more about that next time in my review of Memory Lost. So… back to Cao Guang! I liked this character and was desperately waiting for him to fall in love with Er Xi. I wish they got together earlier, instead of at the very end of the drama!
Vin Zhang as K.O
Zhang Bin Bin didn’t really have a significant role in Love O2O, but I have to talk about him because he totally caught my eye! This was the first time I watched him in a drama and I am now a fan. He reminds me of Mickey He, who I also really like. However, I’ve noticed Zhang Bin Bin looks much better in motion than in photos lol… Anyway, K.O the quiet, lonely, and mysterious hacker is the type of character I always fall for! It never fails. Zhang Bin Bin played the role just right, and I often found myself searching for him on the screen, even when Yang Yang was around XD
Yang Yang & Zheng Shuang
Yang Yang and Zheng Shuang had decent chemistry… This couple was super cute and the romance was oh-so-sweet! But, I think much of that should be credited to Yang Yang. He was able to show how utterly in love Xiao Nai was with Wei Wei through his eyes and body language. As for Zheng Shuang, I can tell she tried really hard, yet at the same time it always felt like something was holding her back. Especially during their kiss scenes, and there were a lot of them too! However, she is like this in most of her dramas and I assume it’s because she’s just shy in nature. Hopefully she will be able to overcome that barrier in her future dramas. And finally, I just want to say Yang Yang is a very very very good kisser. Go watch some clips to see him in action 😉
(Left To Right: Yang Yang as Xiao Nai, Zheng Ye Cheng as Hao Mei, Niu Jun Feng as Yu Banshan, and Cui Hang as Qiu Yonghou)
One of the highlights of this drama is Xiao Nai’s group of friends. They’re often joking around, but they’re actually incredibly loyal and they share an unbreakable bond. It’s always fun when they’re around and I love how they take care of their “sister-in-law” Wei Wei. Like the way they support Xiao Nai, they always have her back.
(Left To Right: Mao Xiao Tong as Er Xi, Song Xin Jia Yi as Si Si, Zheng Shuang as Bei Wei Wei, Yu Qin as Xiao Ling)
Not to be left out, Wei Wei also have her own group of friends! And they’re just as awesome as the guys. These ladies are always looking out for each other. I love that both Xiao Nai and Wei Wei have their own friends to fall back on when things get rough. The friendships here feels so nice and genuine (which is rare in drama land), I wish we can get more of it!
Knight in shining armor aka Yixiao Naihe proposes to marry Luwei Weiwei in the grandest wedding ceremony. While Wei Wei doesn’t think much about it, I was already swooning.
First Campus Meeting
The moment they “officially meet”! Wei Wei discovers that Xiao Nai is Yixiao Naihe and everything that follows is so cute! I loved their awkward lunch and adorable bike ride. While I enjoyed their online interactions, it was about time they flirt in person lol
Walking over to the bleachers and sitting down next to Wei Wei with his eyes full of love, Xiao Nai announces to the world, through his actions, that he is dating Bei Wei Wei. I squealed so loud and had to watch this scene twice!
At the “Dreaming of Jianghu” gathering, Wei Wei shocks everyone with her gaming skills and beauty, completely humiliating the girls who had intended to embarrass her. Zhen Shao Xiang, Wei Wei’s ex-husband in the gaming world immediately regrets breaking up with her. This was so satisfying to watch! The big payback to the mean girls. Even though Wei Wei never cared about them or what they thought of her, as a viewer I lived for this moment!
Jealous of Wei Wei, one of the evil girls from the “Dreaming of Jianghu” game asks Xiao Nai if he knows that his girlfriend has many complicated relationships with different men online and that she’s not as innocent as he thinks she is. Instead of telling them directly that he is the player Yixiao Naihe (and thus Wei Wei had never cheated on him), Xiao Nai says, “As long as she’s willing to be with me, I won’t mind those things,” *dies*
Is this drama worth watching?
Yes! Love O2O was an incredibly fun and breezy watch. I still remember how excited I was as I waited for new episodes to be released back when this first aired last summer. It gave me something to look forward to every evening. The fact that Xiao Nai and Wei Wei’s love was so strong made the watching experience super relaxing, as I never had to worry about people affecting their relationship or breaking them apart. There was basically zero angst involved, yet at the same time, there was never a dull moment. The drama was sweet, funny, and extremely addicting. If you’re in the mood for some fluff and haven’t watched this yet, you should check this out now! You will thank me later! 🙂
Overall Rating: ✩✩✩✩✩
What did you think about Love O2O?
Comment to let us know!