[RECAP] Just An Alluring Smile (Love O2O) Ep 1-8

Disclaimer: In a strict sense, this isn’t a scene-by-scene recap of the drama — it’s more of a thoughts/commentary/fangirling review thing. For a detailed explanation of each episode of Love O2O in English, you can read them all at Dreams of Jianghu, then come and read up my thoughts. Oh, and spoiler alert. (Duh). 

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School. Youth. Romance.

The Basics:

  • Name: Just One Smile is Very Alluring, Love O2O, Kiss Me, 微微一笑很倾城(wēi wēi yī xiào hěn qīng chéng)
  • Length: 30 episodes
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Genre: Gaming, College romance
  • Airing: Two episodes per day Monday to Saturday, one episode on Sunday
  • Based on the original online novel by Gu Man

The Cast Of Characters:

  • Yang Yang (杨洋as Xiao Nai (肖奈)/ ID: 一笑奈何
  • Zheng Shuang (郑爽) as Bei Wei Wei (贝微微)/ ID: 芦苇微微
  • Mao Xiaotong (毛晓彤) as Er Xi (赵二喜)
  • Bai Yu (白宇) as Cao Guang (曹光)

How To Watch:

  • Raw, unsubbed episodes on YouTube via Croton Media
  • Subbed episodes on DramaFever

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The Plot:

Bei Wei Wei (Zheng Shuang), a computer science major and avid gamer, “divorces” 真水无香 in the role-playing wuxia game Dreaming of Jianghu (梦游江湖). Her gaming abilities soon capture the attention of Xiao Nai, who, through the character  一笑奈何 — the highest-ranking player on the server — joins forces with Bei Wei Wei’s 芦苇微微。


The Actual Recap (Ep 1-8)

Considering how hard I fangirled over everything, it seems a bit unfair to just shove eight entire episodes into one single post. Yet everything just passes so quickly — I’ve literally never watched a drama at such a quick pace.

As I’m a student, this is just ridiculous and there’s been a whole lot of espionage on my own part. I’ve been so impatient that I even installed a frickin’ VPN so I could watch the episodes earlier on YouKu — a futile attempt to satisfy my insatiable thirst for more episodes.

This is just so weird because I’ve never felt this way towards dramas in the past — Chinese PaladinSchemes of a Beauty, Bu Bu Jing XinSealed With A KissLegend of Zhen HuanRed SorghumNirvana in Fire, etc. And truth be told, I doubt I would really consider Love O2Ofavorite — more of a cheesy/ “cringy” ass guilty pleasure?

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Yang Yang‘s face is officially too beautiful for my eyes. ❤

Normally, I don’t trod in the territory of so-called “idol dramas”, so it’s rare that I ever see the featured actors. I did, however, watch Divas Hit The Road (both seasons I and II), and vaguely recall lots of heavy Zheng Shuang x Jing Boran (I also saw a bit of Love Across Centuries) and Yang Yang x Ivy Chen shipping (am I the only one still who still thinks of Ivy Chen and Eddie Peng from Hear Me?).

My ultimate conclusion is: eye candy is too beautiful.

The story/drama basically lives for the romance that is bound to occur between Zheng Shuang’s Bei Wei Wei and Yang Yang’s Xiao Nai. And it’s so cheesy — the kind-hearted, brave, and capable yet innocent girl basically develops a relationship with the most popular dude at school — who happens to be “the cream of the crop” in both academics and sports, humorous, good-looking, and is even starting up his own frickin’ company. (And yet here I am, blogging about a drama.)

Yet perhaps even more ridiculous is that Yang Yang — who I used to sort of dismiss as one of those “little fresh meats” who relied on just his looks — actually embodies the perfection that is Xiao Nai. Really well. Heck, I’m even becoming convinced that Yang Yang himself is basically perfection (although his singing isn’t that great 😉).

It’s really not just Yang Yang’s face and body (*covers mouth*) — it’s his stoic, yet commanding aura, dry humor, and aloof character. Despite his bad singing abilities, his voice itself (it was confirmed that Yang Yang himself dubbed his own character) is just so nice and I could go on and on . . .

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Bei Wei Wei is another incredibly lovable and charismatic character — she may be kind at heart, but knows how to deal with the many challenges thrown her way herself. She single-handedly dealt with classmate Cao Guang, who spread a harsh rumor about her dating a rich tycoon, and even got him to develop feelings for her.

Which . . . turns out to be an annoying and inconvenient part of all the drama.

Of course, she also gained the affections of the usually stoic Xiao Nai via her mad gaming skills.

Zheng Shuang does a stellar job portraying the facets Bei Wei Wei’s persona — not a tomboy, just a quiet girl interested in gaming and becoming a game designer. She holds a good philosophy — when tasked with convincing her student to quit gaming, she decides to experience it herself first.

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Wei Wei and her close dormmates (in China, most college dormmates end up becoming really close friends, as they usually stay at least all four years) are convincing enough, but her three friends often tend to fade into the background.

They are there to worry about her, provide moral support, sit/eat with her, bring her shopping, and gawk at Xiao Nai’s perfection, but aside from a constant presence, there’s nothing really much about 丝丝 and 晓玲. For now, we know they’re on Wei Wei’s side, but nothing much noteworthy has come up.

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Er Xi plays the larger role — a greater involvement in the plot. In an attempt to get close to Wei Wei, Cao Guang purposely approaches Er Xi. (Cao Guang is cool and all, but have you met Xiao Nai? No?)

For various reasons, her online role-playing identity is mistaken as Wei Wei’s (and vice versa) — an understandable yet annoying development, perhaps necessary for the drama to flesh out for 30 episodes. A rather ironic situation, considering that Er Xi and Cao Guang are basically mortal enemies IRL while considering teaming up as a couple within the role-playing game.

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Unfortunately, Er Xi turns out to be that generic boisterous side character — basically a character trope in all C-dramas alike. Some may find her annoying, while others may find her cute.

Speaking of annoying characters, the stereotypical “dumb rich” girl Meng Yiran and her even more frustrating “friend” are just aggravating to watch — at one point, I just started skipping her scenes.

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She basically makes this pouty face all day while longing for Xiao Nai to notice her. As all drama-verses are small, however, she also happens to be the niece of the CEO of the huge gaming company that Xiao Nai is secretly plotting against.

Oh, and her cousin plays the role of 真水无香, or Wei Wei’s “ex-husband”, on the game Dreaming of Jianghu. The families are basically pitted against each other.

Yet amid the over-used character tropes, obnoxiously obvious product endorsements, and overall ridiculously cringy premise/drama (I can imagine how it might be really nice to read in a novel, though), there is actually a lot of enjoyment from watching this. How, you may ask?


The Gaming Universe

As Wei Wei puts it, “Gaming is its own world.”

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One of the main aspects that differentiate Love O2O from other college love dramas is its gaming universe — depicted with an entirely different tone and feeling from the real-life scenes. Though the CGI is obvious, its contrast with the real world is actually quite refreshing to see. The game is not real life but is indeed its own world.

A credible thing is that the drama doesn’t depict the virtual world as perfect — there are still online trolls, manipulation, and all that messy stuff that actually appears in the real world, as an online role-play game still consists of real people.

Still, it’s so strange that Xiao Nai takes a liking to Bei Wei Wei just because of her mad gaming skills. So after he stalks her at the 网吧 (“internet bar”) his uncle happens to own, using his own ID, he virtually “marries” Wei Wei’s 芦苇微微.

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芦苇微微 and 真水无香 getting a “divorce”.
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Yang Yang in gu zhuang/ 一笑奈何 = FRICK I CANNOT
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Do you want to enter a marriage with me?
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Did your account get hacked? ._.

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As their online relationship develops and Wei Wei befriends Xiao Nai’s own dormmates, Wei Wei starts realizing that she has a liking for this 一笑奈何.

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Similarly, Xiao Nai does a whole ton of creepy stalking.

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The problem with eye blessing idol dramas is that you literally want to screen shot each and every frame.
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Stalking at its finest.

He then purposely approaches her at school.

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There were so many empty seats and he chose the one next to Wei Wei.

Though Wei Wei doesn’t know about the whole thing, it’s pretty dang obvious that they’re meant to be — and it’s really cute and fluffy.

Though Xiao Nai acts all stoic and aloof, he clearly has feelings for Wei Wei (just because of that one time?).

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Heck, even a 12-year-old ships it.

Still, it’s so aggravating — it’s been eight entire episodes and they still haven’t officially met IRL. To be fair, the storyline has to first develop for them to be realistically close enough online before getting to the fluffy offline dating — hence the name “Love Online 2 Offline”.

Episode 8 is where the plot starts to pick up from the lighthearted college drama — Xiao Nai gets into a car crash. And that’s where it’s evident that he and his roommates are actually really close. Once it becomes an almost life-or-death situation, suddenly things like online gaming become irrelevant. D:

But thank goodness there’s still over 20 episodes to go — I’m rooting for the fluffy drama to make its way through.


To Conclude

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The drama is all sorts of cheesy, cringy, and stereotypical, but also so cute and fluffy. *ducks head*

I’m really really looking forward to when the pair finally meets, both knowing each others’ online identities.

This is my first time recapping a drama. A few thoughts:

  • Why do I feel the need to screenshot all of YY/XN’s scenes? (rhetorical)
  • Recapping actually takes a lot longer than most of my other posts D:
  • At this rate, I might as well run out of media space before the drama is finished

Finally, thank goodness episodes are released each day! I doubt I would be able to bear the wait otherwise.

— moon148

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Ame says:

    Hey there. I completed watching (and rewinding and screen-shooting) love o2o and just read your blog. I think you did a pretty good job. 🙂
    I wanted to ask you if you’ve got any good sugestions for another drama(s) that would make me fangirl like I did for this drama.
    P.s. thankyou for posting such awesome pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moon148 says:

      Thank you so much for dropping a comment! Ah, yes, Love O2O is simply such a pleasant gem to rewatch! Normally I tend to watch heavier historical period C-dramas, wuxias, or xianxias, so fluffy rom coms aren’t exactly my forte. But here’s my two cents:

      1. Boss And Me (Shan Shan Comes To Eat): written by the same author, Gu Man, this technically takes place in the same universe as Love O2O (Xiao Nai and the male lead Feng Teng are business partners)
      It’s a more realistic/less ideal relationship, but still an incredibly cute watch!
      2. The Whirlwind Girl Season 1 (starring Yang Yang)
      The eye candy in this drama is real! Basically a shuojo manga set-up featuring yuanwudao/taekwando
      The only downfall to this is that things take a rather angsty turn in the latter part, only to reach an unsatisfactory conclusion and a poorly done Season 2, with major parts of the cast missing. But take it for what it’s worth.
      3. Beauty Private Kitchen (starring Zheng Shuang)
      It seems . . . fun? I know it’s airing sometime in early December haha.
      4. When A Snail Falls in Love (this!)

      These below maybe I recommend?
      1. Silent Separation/My Sunshine, also by Gu Man. IMHO the male lead He Yichen is rather problematic, even more so than Xiao Nai or Fenf Teng, but I like the ending 🙂
      2. Princess Weiyoung: Since it’s really popular right now?

      Like

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