The year is 2019. The 27 year-old Huang Yu Xuan terribly misses her boyfriend Wang Quan Sheng, who has been missing for two years and is presumed dead. Her birthday wish for this year is to "see him." The year is 1998. The 17 year-old Chen Yun Ru is in love with a boy who doesn't feel the same way for her. Her birthday wish for this year is to "become the girl Li Zi Wei likes." One day, Huang Yu Xuan receives a walkman and a music cassette from an unknown person. She falls asleep listening to its songs and wakes up to see Wang Quang Sheng sitting by her side. She believes she has finally been reunited with her boyfriend, but there's a very big twist. She learns that she is no longer a 27-year-old woman but a high schooler named Chen Yun Ru, who is in the hospital recuperating from a head injury. The year is now 1998. And the man by her bedside is not her boyfriend after all, but a schoolmate named Li Zi Wei. Trapped in what appears to be the past, living another person's life, Chen Yun Ru's death in 1999 will be her death if she doesn't figure out how the girl landed in the hospital. All the while, Li Zi Wei finds himself strangely drawn to the girl who used to be Chen Yun Ru, despite the fact that he knows his closest friend Mo Jun Jie has had a crush on her... Can true love find a way to bridge a seemingly insurmountable time gap? Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
An Artistic MasterpieceHonestly, for the past year or so, I haven't seemed to enjoy watching dramas as much as I previously did.. maybe it was because there was too much going on in my life at the time that watching dramas felt more like an escape from reality rather than something I was doing for fun. I gave out high ratings to so many dramas I watched purely because they would help distract me from any problems I was facing. I haven't seen a Taiwanese drama before and didn't really understand the plot when I read it on here but I decided to watch it anyway because time travelling is interesting and something I sometimes wish I had the ability to do. From just the first few scenes, I fell in love with the relationship between CYX and WQS, it didn't feel like something forced, it was just a montage of the small moments that flicker through anyones mind when thinking about someone they love. Only later on did I realise, that beginning and that monologue would unfold into so much more.
This is something I wanted to talk about first because, the OST was so beautiful.. it definitely encapsulated the very essence of this story, each song was describing the emotions being felt at any given scene it was being played during. As the viewer, you could easily analyse what was going on in a scenario even when there is no explicit explanation simply through the song being played at that moment. I found this to be rather powerful as although in other dramas the technique of music being used to tell a story is nothing new, this is the first time I have seen it been used this efficiently.. It made me question scenes simply based on the BGM but also made me think I myself was thinking wrong and I have never watched a drama that has caused an inner confusion simply because of the OST. The two most significant songs in this drama, in my opinion, are the title song (Someday or One day - Shi Shi) and of course, one of the most important things in this whole drama, Last Dance - Wu Bai, China Blue. Last Dance is a song that from the name, to the lyrics, to the intro that spans over several seconds depict both the parting and the desire to see each other of our two main leads. The dreamy retro instrumental also perfectly manifests the 1999 high school nostalgia; the broken-audio shifts, even the lyric that triggers the shift, it all holds meaning to the story and the feelings of the characters. The title song, Someday or One day, and the music video that accompanies it both radiate such a deep seated feeling of melancholy. When I first heard the title song, I immediately thought that this song was so pretty and after hearing/watching it more as I progressed into the show, it became more than just a pretty song, the music video made me feel so sad and I could never bring myself to skip it as every time I watched it I would notice more symbolism simply from the opening song and video. In Conclusion, this drama has one of, if not, the best usage of OST: 10/10.
This drama's overarching storyline itself is so intricate, it cannot even be explained in words completely, even after finishing, although you understand it to an extent, it will still linger in your mind. I'm not even exaggerating when I say, this is probably the most unique way I have seen time travel being used in any sort of drama, movie or TV show. There are so many different plot devices and themes and genres used that worked unexpectedly so harmoniously together, there isn't a dull moment, it's well paced and has no fillers, everything that happens has a reason attached. I truly commend the director, production team and writers for constructing this story so well and executing it marvellously, even the serious themes, they were presented in a way that the viewers could truly identify, on a personal level with how the characters felt, which further added to the overall nostalgic sensation of the entirety of the drama. As I have mentioned previously, there is A LOT of symbolism throughout the drama and I find it incredible how they incorporated so much meaning into little details and various things but I guess even in reality that is something you will experience on a day to day basis. My favourite uses of symbolism in this drama are probably the red earplugs (the red string of fate), the goldfish from the opening and the cassette/walkman. What I love about the different uses of symbols are that there isn't technically a right or wrong answer, they can be interpreted in a number of different ways. The story's main focus is clearly fantasy however, everything feels so realistic, you will tend to forget this isn't just a slice of life tale. It combined ordinary with extraordinary and produced something astounding that will leave a lasting impression on the viewers. 10/10
All the characters were written so well that you could relate to them so well, their struggles, the causes for their actions are understandable, they didn't feel fake or generic, they felt like real people. Of course, characters can't be properly portrayed unless the acting is also up to par, as I stated before, this is the first Taiwanese movie/drama I've ever watched so I'm not actually familiar with any of the cast or their previous works (I had heard of the History saga Patrick is a part of but I haven't watched any of it myself) but as a standalone, I think their acting was outstanding and one of the best performances in a drama I have seen in a while. For example, Alice Ke and Greg Hsu were spectacular at playing their roles and their counterparts, it genuinely felt like they were two different people even without being clearly told who is who at the time. The relationships between each character were also depicted flawlessly, it didn't feel too heavy, everything felt real. Honestly, I can't fault a single actor in this drama, they were all amazing that I can't even choose ONE favourite character, even the villain made me feel so disgusted and honestly scared. 10/10
Overall, I think this drama is a must watch! It combines so many different genres, I think the storyline could appeal to a large audience and that it is something that has to be experienced (through watching) to fully comprehend how good it is. It is the sort of drama that is 10/10 perfect for rewatching because of the constant use of symbolism and foreshadowing and etc but it is also the sort of drama you yearn to watch again for the first time. I love this drama so much and I don't think I'll ever be able to find a drama quite like this again, it's already become one of my top dramas. I watched it all in around three days, but the journey this story has taken me on feels like such a long one. In conclusion, overall I would sincerely rate this drama 10/10, something which I haven't really done in a while, each aspect of it was just illustrated beautifully and it conveyed a message that will stay with me for a long time.
The writing/direction/production team all paid close attention to detail and crafted both scenes and sets with clues and forshadowing that make it the perfect sort of show to rewatch.
For anyone who is into story analysis, it struck me in the closing scenes that they wrote a Hero's Journey into a romance plot (not along side it, but literally, the romance IS a hero's journey), which is really something amazing. I can't say I've ever seen it before. So, I feel like it's not hyperbole when people say this is the best show they've ever watched. It's pretty amazing.
(Original review written around episode 8 below):
There's so much going on in this series that I love. The writing is tight, well paced, and presents at the same time a fascinating puzzle of a time travel story; a deep reflection on grieving; a thriller-type murder-mystery; and a double romantic comedy, played out in different timelines. It is genuinely a cross-genre show, so don't go in expecting pure comedy OR pure drama.
The acting is fantastic. I have always thought Alice Ke was an exceptional actress and she's not disappointing here. I liked Greg Hsu in Love Storm, and he's even better in this. The whole cast is great, but these two really shine. Directing. It's brilliant. Together, the writing and directing are letting the mystery of the time travel as well as the murder unfold in a way that raises new questions as it answers old ones. The directing includes so many little details that not only draw us into the mystery of the time travel, but hint at the more overarching explanation of what is happening. There are nice little symbolisms, like the red earbuds that the leads share at times, which creates a red thread linking them. There are also many conversations and dreams that we see early on that take on new meaning as the story unfolds, giving a sense that all the details matter... there's no filler here.
There are some more ambiguous symbols as well. There's some significant representations of enclosure and separation/isolation. These could represent grief and loss, which is a major theme in the drama, but they take on additional potential meaning in terms of what is really happening... that there is loss, grief, and perhaps the potential to heal or even change the past is a given. But what isn't given is that what we see is the actual story; many of the symbols reinforce the sense of fragmented reality that the female lead experiences in both her grief and her early experience of time travel.
For example, the "broken audio/video" shifts between scenes, especially with time travel, play into the fact that in the first few episodes the transition from an ordinary story about living with grief to a supernatural story about time travel/fate is started by the use of technology, once to find a "doppleganger" and the second time to use virtual reality to "reunite" with the lost love. While nothing much is made of this (and as of the 8th episode, it hasn't become a factor), these sorts of hints are beautifully done. They make it harder to guess the overarching explanation while at the same time they work on their own. That is, if it turns out that they were never anything more than a couple of scenes in the first few episodes and had nothing to do with the over-arching story, they still work. They aren't just red-herrings to obscure the truth, they are integral moments in the character development and plot that *could* mean more.
Long story short: it's fabulous, and given how well done it is so far, I'd really be surprised if it stopped being fabulous.
|[Translated/Very Long/Has spoilers] Interview and other infos by Chi Nguyen||3||0|
|On the 3 versions of ending & after credits of Someday or One Day (SPOILER) by Chi Nguyen||3||0|