Love O2O (微微一笑很倾城, One Smile is Very Alluring)
Directed By Lin Yufen
Love O2O, also known as One Smile is Very Alluring, is a 30-episode Chinese drama that is based on a manhua of the same name by Gu Man.
Bei Weiwei (Zheng Shuang) is a 2nd-year computer science student who aspires to be an online game designer. She is known as the computer science department’s goddess and is also a popular player in an online role playing game called Dreaming of Jianghu. When her “in-game” husband, Zhenshui Wuxiang wants a divorce, Yixiao Naihe—the number one player in game—asked her hand in marriage right after. However, Bei Weiwei doesn’t know that her new “in-game” husband is actually her college senior, Xiao Nai (Yang Yang), the most popular guy at her university.
I like the concept that this show is based on, two people meeting online and then meeting in real life—it’s something that is common nowadays with online dating. Yet, in this scenario, the fantasy world these two people meet is an online game. I am not an expert in online gaming, but I do know that people marry each other as a strategy to team-up and get some fun equipment. Yet sometimes, you don’t necessarily know the person behind the computer and don’t consider it as a “real commitment” since it’s just a game and you are getting married for game benefits. This drama took that concept and suggests the possibility of what would happen if two people in-game meet in real life.
The main girl, Bei Weiwei meets up with Xiao Nai when they both realize that there may be a day when one of them stops going online. (I think we all have that fear when our favorite bloggers disappear without a word.) So in order to not have that happen, they both agree to meet at a bridge near their school for the first time. Now, I’m not encouraging people to do this, but the what-if of meeting an online friend in real life is fun to think about.
Although I don’t play online games, this idea of meeting an internet friend in real life could apply to my blogging experience. I have met some awesome online bloggers and I do wish to meet a majority of them in real life someday. In one scene of Love O2O, Bei Weiwei meets with her previous guild at a dinner and they all have a fit when they find out that Weiwei is a beauty which disproves the rumors about her being a guy. I think one of the reasons as to why people would want to meet up with others is the curiosity of seeing how an online friend is like in real life. I actually get this a lot from people online when I talk to them on voice chat—they have a different image of me when they only read what I wrote. So when they hear my voice and how I actually interact, their perception of me is thrown off—I honestly find that amusing and funny. I think it’s a real life example of “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Love O2O also dives into a serious topic on cyber and school bullying; in which Weiwei has been subjugated to mean remarks made by her peers. But what is great about her character is that she has so much confidence in herself that she doesn’t let what people say about her phase her.
Although I like the online game concept in this series, the execution of it was poor. I didn’t like the plotline and the chemistry of the two leads. In regards to the plot, I felt that after the two leads finally meet, the progression of the story stopped. The other half of the show was mainly focused on developing their relationship, but nothing much goes on between the two really except their lovey-doveyness which makes the story somewhat dry. In fact, in the latter half of the show, the characters stopped traveling to the in-game world which is a disappointment since part of the uniqueness of this show is the concept of meeting people in online gaming and in real life.
Now I am all for the romantic chemistry between the two leads in a series, but the chemistry between Weiwei and Xiao Nai was disappointing. I think they are poorly suited for the roles they played since their acting doesn’t make their love for each other believable. I enjoyed the flirting through their cunning and sly remarks, but when it came to skin-ship and intimacy, the actress that portrays Weiwei, Zheng Shuang, was really stiff and unemotional as opposed to the actor that plays Xiao Nai, Yang Yang, who expresses his doting and possessiveness over the main girl. Yang Yang’s acting is believable but Zheng Shuang does not reciprocate the same type of emotion which makes their relationship imbalance—the chemistry isn’t there; thus the audience isn’t easily moved by them.
Furthermore, the genre of this show is a romantic comedy but I felt that the comedy was a bit flat—the jokes were demonstrated in puns and sarcasm, and so if you don’t understand Chinese, you will miss out due to mistranslation and lack of cultural knowledge.
I only like the first half of this show. I slowly started losing interest when the characters stopped traveling to the “in-game” world. The storyline isn’t as dramatic or entertaining as I thought it would be since the acting is a bit flat and the plot doesn’t really progress.
Yet if you are interested, you can watch this series on Dramafever.