Beautiful Days


Reviewed by: sukting

October 02, 2003

Rating: four

How long
24 episodes

Foreword
This is a story on brothers and sisters. There is rivalry and love between the siblings (or sworn siblings too). You will be touched by the story development although it can be long-winded, predictable, unbelievable for being too self-sacrificing at times.

Introduction on characters

1. Li Min Zhe - Lee Byun Hun
Min Zhe is a rich man's son but bears hatred for his father. He is so bitter towards him that he goes to France to study for his music degree to get away. However, he still works in Victory as the GM for the sake of the company's interest.

He is only warm to his younger sister, Min Zhi. Noticing that Yan Xiu is doing the same for her sworn sister, Shi Na, he gets interested in her. The scenes create lots of humour and also surprises. He can be unreasonable, commanding and also hungry for her attention. His over-possessiveness, however, attracts me as he is really charismatic and irresistible.

Lee is marvelous in delivering natural expressions and his voice is low yet attractive. I am glad that TCS provides most Korean dramas with dual sound. The viewers can listen to the artistes’ own voices. He is successful as the caring brother and devoted lover. Min Zhe can be ruthless to Xuan Zai but not totally heartless. When he knows of Xuan Zai's identity, he treats him better - even to the extent of giving Yan Xiu to him. Although shorter than him, he carries himself well as an authoritative person.

By dying his hair golden, he can look unfeeling but yet melt hearts with his childish and reassuring smiles. However, many feel that he looks better when he is cool and Min Zhe’s personality doesn’t turn out that striking in the end because he becomes weaker. No wonder this serial is a direct hit. If not for his presence, this serial is another boring and predictable story.

2. Li Xuan Zai - Ryu Si Won
Xuan Zai is innocent and is ill-treated by the Lee siblings since young. Being mild-mannered, he is forced to give up his love for music. He likes Yan Xiu and woos her despite Min Zhe's threats. Can you imagine Xuan Zai to be so scheming to know Yan Xiu's cellphone number? He can also pretend to pass the shop by coincidence when Yan Xiu is searching a MP3 player for Shi Na. How this man changes because of her!

He has a headache handling Shi Na because she is selfish and completely different from Yan Xiu. Once when Shi Na calls him when he is having a meal with Yan Xiu, he removes the battery. Although he has proven to Yan Xiu that he IS the son visiting the orphanage, she still remains faithful to Min Zhe. To help Shi Na to make Yan Xiu happy, he joins Muse as the song producer. He dyes his hair to have a completely cold outlook and quits his studies.

Ryu's character isn't as remarkable because he is the underdog. The expression after joining Muse isn't scheming enough. His sad scenes aren't very well depicted. Plus he looks bloated in sweaters - because he has gained weight? Thankfully, he looks thinner in summer clothing. But in latter scenes with Byun Hun, he is quite impressive when Xuan Zai shows that he is not vulnerable anymore and both really create fiery sparks.

3. Wu Zheng Hao
He is Xuan Zai's friend who is a music composer in Victory. He likes Shi Na and gives her extra training. He even writes songs especially for her. He is uneasy when forced to impersonate Zero. He is made a laughing stock when the real Zero is revealed. I don’t see him anymore after Victory closes down. Why???

4. Lin Ji Can
He is Min Zhe's capable assistant in promoting the albums. Although short, he is very sharp. The scenes between him and Na Lan can be very amusing. He has to raise his head to look at her because she is taller!

5. Lee Cheng Chun
He is Min Zhe and Min Zhi's father. He frames Mei Mei for having drugs, causing her to lose the best singer award. Yong Jun confronts him and he kills him accidentally. He deceives Ming Zi to sell Yong Jun's company to him, so Victory is formed.

He later marries Ming Zi. Zhang witnesses his killing and he never stops blackmailing him. He has a hard time keeping the truth from the suspicious Min Zhe. I despise him for trying to deceive the two brothers.

After Ming Zi's suicide, he loses interest in living. The two siblings help him back to his feet. But he is so ashamed to face Min Zhe and Yan Xiu that he doesn't dare to attend their wedding openly. He is consoled when Yan Xiu doesn't blame him and even wishes her well before she goes for the operation in the hospital.

This man doesn't know how to act. His expressions are so stiff, reminding you how Taiwanese actors acted in the 70s. Please watch him in 'The 4 Sisters ' - he is more bearable there.

6. Zhang Feng Da
He is always involved in gambling and always tarnishes Victory's reputation. Min Zhe loathes him for being a parasite because he causes a lot of trouble. Zhang is furious when Cheng Chun fires him although he still gives him a house and a car. He is never contented. Being captivated by Mei Mei's beauty, he becomes the sole witness to declare Cheng Chun's killing in public. Lousy acting from this actor too.

7. Jin Yan Xiu - Choi Ji Woo
She grew up in an orphanage. She gave Shi Na one of her parents' rings on a chain while she wears the other on her finger. Both decided Christmas would be their birthday. They met Xuan Zai when he visited them with Cheng Chun. Xuan Zai gave Shi Na his watch while Yan Xiu gave him a drawing. She felt very remorseful when Shi Na was scalded by hot water and vowed to take good care of her when they grow up.

She wanted to meet Shi Na when she ran away from the orphanage but she had a car accident. From then, Shi Na became a karaoke waitress. Yan Xiu works in Victory, hoping to see her because Shi Na wants to be a singer. She is often hurt and confused by Min Zhe’s unpredictable temperament.

Choi is marvelous in crying scenes. Yet she also shows the strong side of Yan Xiu when she is adamant in not putting up with Cheng Chun's insults. But I dislike this character pushing Xuan Zai to accept Shi Na. Doesn't he have a say? And why can't she explain to Shi Na or show her the hospital bill to explain why she can't appear on the day? She looks unfocused and blur in many scenes. I also dislike her sacrificing for Shi Na - to the extent of stopping her cancer treatment.

8. Lee Min Zhi - Shin Min Er
She is Min Zhe’s younger sister. Min Zhe still insists on moving home. Min Zhe wants to show Cheng Chun that they can still live despite their misery. Since they are his children, they have the right to spend his money. But to Min Zhi, it is an agony to stay in a house where no one is concerned about her.

She goes around doing graffiti and gets herself drunk. Noticing her drawing talent, Min Zhe brings Yan Xiu in. She accepts Yan Xiu as her future sister-in-law and is devastated to know the truth of Cheng Chun being a murderer. She realises that Min Zhe breaks up with Yan Xiu to bring her overseas because of this.

But she is not as vulnerable as Min Zhe thinks her to be. She is determined to stay and face the consequences. She takes care of Cheng Chun and is still firm in attending Yan Xiu’s classes. She has grown mature and is so sensible to plan Min Zhe's wedding too.

9. Jin Shi Na - Lee Jyun Hyun
She is very selfish and stubborn. She hates Yan Xiu for deserting her. Being revengeful, she doesn’t forgive Yan Xiu. When Xuan Zai helps her, she starts to fall for him. Knowing that he likes Yan Xiu, she becomes very possessive. She expects people to give in to her all the time.

But you will admire her confidence and the suffering she is willing to go through to be a successful singer. Lee is very good in her acting as the vulnerable but aggressive person. A pity that Shi Na still doesn't get Xuan Zai's love in the end. Her performance is even more spectacular than Choi as she really shines despite looking petite. As a good singer, she sings well and performs well in 'live' singing scenes too.

10. Jiang Na Lan – Li You Zhen
She is Yan Xiu's friend at Victory and is also her roommate. She is very wary of the icy Min Zhe and is often afraid that Yan Xiu might get hurt by him. But knowing that they are really in love, she brings them together. Sometimes, I find her a nuisance because she doesn’t seem to be able to keep secrets. She always dreams of being a manager. At first, she wants to be Shi Na's manager but is dismayed to be Jin Shu's manager instead. Finally, she resigns her Victory job and joins Muse to help Shi Na.

11. Huang Jin Shu
She is Min Zhi's friend who wants to become a singer. She and Shi Na are in the same training class and often argue with each other. Strange that she likes Xuan Zai so much and yet it is not shown in later parts.

12. Liang Mei Mei
She was popular in the 70s, winning singing awards annually. She is banned from singing again after discovering drugs on her. She loves Yong Jun but hides her feelings. She makes a comeback by setting up Muse. She is determined to make Xuan Zai follow Yong Jun's path in writing music.

Shi Na reminds her of her past although she has no knowledge of reading musical notes. Mei Mei grooms her and creates chances for her to be with Xuan Zai. She scolds Ming Zi for keeping the truth from Xuan Zai. To find out the truth of Yong Jun's death, she uses her looks to attract Zhang. Upon knowing the truth, she holds a conference to cause Cheng Chun's downfall. However, she really dotes on Xuan Zai and gives him full control of Muse before she returns to the US.

This actress is superfical in acting in delivering angry expressions. Wonder how she can survive in showbiz for such a long time?

13. Zhang Ming Zi
Cheng Chun is Yong Jun's most bitter business rival! Yet Ming Zi still sells his company to him and marries him??? Because she is too delighted that he is willing to give Xuan Zai a name and home? She is so selfish. She sees Xuan Zai suffering from his no-siblings' treatments but still keeps his parentage from him. And telling him to please Cheng Chun and give up music to pursue medicine is really too much!

She only lets him know about the truth when Mei Mei gives her pressure. Actually, she has tried hard to be a good mother to the siblings. Upon knowing the truth, she is too ashamed to face Xuan Zai and kills herself. A stupid decision made.

Favourite character
Min Zhe, he can be cold and hot. It is interesting to guess how he will react in the next scene.

Most hated character
Cheng Chun – not because he is a villain but because this actor doesn’t know how to act well.

Songs
There are a total of 12 songs together. Many songs are by Zero, Si Won and Jung Hyun. Zero and Si Won sing the same songs ‘Till We Meet On That Day’, ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Promise’. Si Won also sings ‘Missing You’ and ‘Scar’. Jung Hyun is undoubtedly Korea’s queen of pop. She sings the fast songs ‘Heaven’ and ‘Dream’ well. Byun Hyun’s song "For The Last Love’ isn’t good. It is better for him to act instead.

Other songs by Zero are the fast-paced song ‘For You’. He sings well for fast and slow numbers. No one has seen Zero. It is said that he is a university student majoring in music and only wants to be a cyber singer. Just like Xuan Zai and so BD producers wrote this story. Others say that this is only an imaginary voice tuned to perfection.

I like Zero’s singing with more feel. Especially ‘Promise’ and the theme song ‘He Is In The Backstage’ with an anonymous female singer. Both really sing very well. It is quite unfair that the female singer is not recognized because she deserves the credit.

I like a humming music piece combined with the guitar which is very touching. Those who recall the cherry garden or airport scene will remember it. This OST is the best that I have come across so far.

I bought the OST at S$15 at a shop with a friend, Gin’s recommendation, without the screensaver and the 2003 calendar. I wished to buy the MTVs but I have not seen it till now in Singapore shops.

Story
Min Zhe returns home after graduating from a French musical academy overseas. He is shocked to learn that Min Zhi has moved to stay with his grandmother. He comes in time just to see her before she dies. Min Zhe ignores Xuan Zai totally at home. The poor man feels so neglected.

Min Zhe has trouble getting his popular singer out of the crowd. He gets Yan Xiu to disguise as the singer. He is cruel to remove the coat and his sunglasses to tell her to walk all the way back to the shop in the cold.

Yan Xiu catches Shi Na stealing a CD. She cries upon knowing Shi Na’s sad life. Min Zhe tries to wipe off her tears with a glass blocking them. His fingers only touch the glass, signaling the action. He walks in and approaches her... only taking a brochure away! What a cool man! This gesture is romantic.

Min Zhi is drunk and wants to remove her clothes in Victory’s D & D. She reminds Yan Xiu of Shi Na. She covers her with her coat. Min Zhe takes Min Zhi home and Ming Zi hurts her foot when picking up broken glass pieces. Xuan Zai bandages her wound and feels that it is unfair to her. Min Zhe sees Yan Xiu on the way when he returns to the party. He regrets not being able to send her home. Later he forces her to accept a new coat from him as compensation – no one can reject him at all.

Yan Xiu requests Min Zhe to groom Shi Na. He feels that she is not cut out to sing during the selection. Min Zhi wants Min Zhe to stay single. He replies no one will dare to marry him as he has a nasty sister.

Cheng Chun throws Xuan Zai’s musical keyboard away. He wants to groom Xuan Zai to be a doctor because he only wants Min Zhe for Victory. Xuan Zai cries as he is forced to give up his dream.

Yan Xiu works overtime in the company to complete her art homework. Min Zhe switches on the CD player and stuns her. He gives her another shock by getting her a drink. He suggests playing music to drive away creepiness and loneliness. He tells her to keep up the good work... with his back facing her.

Min Zhe offers to drive her home as it is unsafe for her to take a cab. She refuses initially as she finds his motives questionable. Later they have a discussion in the car. Min Zhe finds her as stubborn as Shi Na and is surprised that they are not real life sisters.

Min Zhi and Shi Na fight in the KTV and Shi Na burns the shop. Yan Xiu cries while having dinner with Min Zhe when both go to bail their sisters out. Min Zhe quietly gets her a full pack of tissues upon seeing that she has finished using the last piece at their table. Both sit in the MRT back home. She peeps at him secretly. He asks her why she doesn’t wear the coat that he gives her.

Yan Xiu agrees to be Min Zhi’s governess to help Shi Na to get selected. Min Zhe gives her a handphone. She drops her things and Ming Zhe picks them up for her. Be prepared to laugh when his fingers slide through her hair and she tries to avoid him. Actually he is only trying to reach for the things on the floor!

The stern and serious looks that Min Zhe has on his face whenever he surfs the net for Zero’s information at night trying to find out who he is. Byun Hun looks very intellectual with spectacles.

Min Zhe drives Yan Xiu to work. She sees Shi Na and hesitates getting down from the car to avoid her. Min Zhe smiles and says this doesn’t help as she is going to see more of her later. Min Zhe decides to work in the sales department to find the public’s response to Zero’s music. He gets to see a lot of Yan Xiu then.

Min Zhe visits his mother’s grave on her death anniversary because he is afraid that Min Zhi can’t control herself. He laments that she should have lived longer so that he can do more for her now. He weeps at her grave. This scene is memorable as it shows that Min Zhe has a sentimental side.

Cheng Chun wants Min Zhe to attend a cocktail reception to woo another MD’s daughter. Min Zhe is displeased that he has forgotten his mother’s death anniversary. He brings Yan Xiu for a make-over. She refuses but gives in when he says that he needs her. He is stunned after seeing her in formal dressing. He places a necklace tenderly on her and feels her hair. I feel that Byun Hun has displayed a lot of charm and tenderness in this scene but I don’t really like Ji Woo’s presentation. She looks blur but not uneasy!

Min Zhe brings her to the reception. Cheng Chun is angry and both have a quarrel. Min Zhe doesn’t wish to get married as he doesn’t know how to love a woman. He notices that Yan Xiu is looking at an exhibition brochure so he brings her to the gallery. Although the exhibition hall is closed, he has special privilege as he often patronizes it. Yan Xiu is glad to see one art work ‘Family’ which she longs to see from art books.

She tells him that this is her dream to have a family. Ming Zhe says bitterly that he can only recall how miserable, angry and afraid he was 15 years ago when Xuan Zai and his mother moved in. Her warm hands that fed them suddenly turned cold when his father announced that he was going to marry her. She tells Min Zhe that he should thank his mother for giving him a younger sister.

Xuan Zai gets drunk when Min Zhi doesn’t appreciate his mother’s help in preparing for her mother’s death anniversary. He asks Min Zhe whether he will attend his mother’s memorial ceremony if he dies before him? Xuan Zai knows that he will not offer her wine or flowers. Min Zhe replies coldly that since he knows it, he should make sure that he lives longer. He even drags Yan Xiu away to prevent her from caring for him.

Yan Xiu takes Min Zhi out to draw sketches and earn money. At first, Min Zhi is uncomfortable. Later, she enjoys it. Yan Xiu tells her to buy something for someone close to her with her first pay. She buys pink underwear for Min Zhe. Min Zhi wants to go out with her friends. Min Zhe tells her in a stern voice to return home early. She hugs him and he gives her a slight smile.

Min Zhe gives Yan Xiu a cheque. She is annoyed and asks if he is going to pay her whenever his sister is happy. He tells her to draw his sketch. She tells Min Zhe to relax but he says that he is already feeling at ease. So she starts drawing from the eyes, nose and later the mouth. Min Zhe keeps the cheque. He wants it as a gift from her. This is the first time when they come into close contact face to face.

Xuan Zai wants to tell Yan Xiu that he was the one who visited the orphanage but stops upon seeing the couple going home together. Min Zhe returns home after the day and holds Yan Xiu’s hand saying that he meets her the first time as he never sees her in the company earlier. Xuan Zai plays the piano at the shop when both are choosing an MP3 player for Shi Na. The crowd is impressed and wants an encore.

Min Zhe decides to make use of Zero’s girl fan dying from a heart disease to lure Zero out. He decides to pay for her hospitalization expenses to lure Zero out.

Xuan Zai and Yan Xiu play an eating game after she knows his identity. Min Zhe gets jealous. Later Min Zhe sees Xuan Zai in hospital and suspects he is Zero. He finds Xuan Zai’s laptop locked in his room when he tries to switch it on. Xuan Zai is innocent and offers to help him to check his laptop. Min Zhe denies and asks him whether he still continues learning the piano. Xuan Zai says bitterly that he has given up.

Xuan Zai thinks that Cheng Chun loves Min Zhe more because when they were young and were drowning, Cheng Chun called Min Zhe’s name first although he saved him first. Moreover, Cheng Chun sent him overseas to learn music and lets him manage the company. What more can he ask?

Min Zhe drags Yan Xiu into his convertible. She avoids him in the car thinking that he is going to hug her. He smiles as he only wants to loosen the handle from her side to shift the car cover. This is really hilarious.

The two sisters cry when Shi Na doesn’t get recognition for her hard work in preparing for her first concert.

Min Zhe quarrels with Yan Xiu. It is a remarkable scene. She is about to knock on his bedroom door and stops to return to her room. Min Zhe thinks she is there and is disappointed to find no one when he opens it.

Xuan Zai ties an accessory to Yan Xiu’s handphone. He keys in his number into her phone. Min Zhe knows that Xuan Zai is really Zero. He takes out his CD from his car and breaks it into pieces before leaving. The next day, he bashes him hard in a tennis game. He looks so fierce here. Min Zhe asks Xuan Zai if Zero should remain as a cyber singer. Xuan Zai says Zero’s wish should be respected but is uneasy when Min Zhe says that he will not give up.

Yan Xiu tells Na Lan that Min Zhe is like a deep well – dangerous but luring people to see how deep his is. Na Lan tries in vain to tell her to give up on him. Shi Na may get a contract and they hold a celebration for her. Yan Xiu puts a coat on Min Zhe when he is sleeping. He suddenly opens his eyes and grabs her hand. She thanks him but he wishes to be the first one to tell her the good news so as to see the joy on her face.

Her handphone rings and Min Zhe’s smile vanishes completely. He becomes stern, telling her to answer the call. She is too shocked. Min Zhe grabs it and is very furious to see Xuan Xai’s number so he throws the handphone on the ground. He says that ONLY he can call her but how did Xuan Zai get the number? Byun Hun is excellent here in depicting Min Zhe’s anger. Shi Na is angry that her party is ruined.

Xuan Zai reprimands Min Zhe for deceiving Yan Xiu. Min Zhe exposes his Zero identity. He picks up the handphone and returns to her. She turns him down so he drags her out. She is so fed up that she runs to a bus when he refuses to drive back. He is disappointed and finds that the bus leaves but she is still there.

Min Zhe brings Yan Xiu to the beach, telling her that the sea is cool to drink but he will get thirstier after drinking it. He always craves for more so he is thirstier than anyone. Yan Xiu jumps into the sea with him and they have a close hug. Both get wet.

During the night, Yan Xiu thinks that he is going to unbutton her blouse but he does the reverse. Min Zhe wonders why she seldom smiles when with him but not with Xuan Zai. He wants her to be completely conquered by him. He is a very possessive person.

Xuan Zai gets worried when both don’t return home for the night and confronts Min Zhe. Min Zhe replies that Yan Xiu is not his woman. He tries to talk to Yan Xiu, believing that Min Zhe is only making use of her to hurt him. But she believes that he loves her.

This scene is quite unexpected. Min Zhe wants to ask Yan Xiu out for lunch but he is too busy. He returns her the handphone. He kisses her on her forehead and walks away. Suddenly, he returns to kiss her on her lips before leaving with a mischievous grin. Yan Xiu then removes the fortune cat to return to Xuan Zai.

Shi Na is not chosen for the album release in the end as Jin Shu is selected. She vents her anger on Yan Xiu, saying that she hasn’t tried her charms on Min Zhe. What a selfish woman!

Yan Xiu rushes to meet Min Zhe. Xuan Zai follows her and the three have a meal. Min Zhe forces Xuan Zai to address her as elder sister but he refuses. Min Zhe leaves because of work. The waiter takes the two in a photo. Both don’t want to keep it so it is pinned on the notice board.

Min Zhe asks Ming Zi about Xuan Zai’s parentage but she says nothing. He sees Mei Mei looking for Xuan Zai and is furious. He warns Xuan Zai not to betray Victory. Xuan Zai storms out, wanting to talk to Yan Xiu. Min Zhe reaches her first. Min Zhe looks at the laptop and ignores Yan Xiu. He gives her the publicity posters to tell her to pass to the promotion manager. She is angry with him for treating her like a servant.

Min Zhi sees Min Zhe’s sketch in Min Zhe’s room and tears it. Yan Xiu cries bitterly. Min Zhe hugs her from behind to give her consolation.

Min Zhe gives Yan Xiu Shi Na’s contract during dinner. This is to keep her by his side. His impression of Shi Na still remains the same, though thinking that she is not prepared to cut an album. His act is actually against the rule as no contract should be given before an album is cut. She wants him to be frank to his emotions but that is beyond him.

However, many will be touched by the following scene. When he is looking at the menu, he stretches his hand to hold Yan Xiu’s hand tightly. How sweet he is! Before they leave, he even gives her a slight smile when paying the bill. But his smile vanishes when looking at the photo that both have taken.

The promotion manager throws cds at Yan Xiu as she is jealous upon knowing that she works as a governess at Min Zhe’s home. Min Zhe only tells them to settle it quietly. Min Zhi thinks Yan Xiu asks for it. Min Zhe tells her to meet his girlfriend for dinner and she agrees reluctantly.

Mei Mei has found out that he is Zero. Yan Xiu asks what happens between the two brothers and Min Zhe gets angry. He gives her the photograph and wants her to tell him her stand so that he has no more ideas. He holds her back to invite her to have dinner with him then.

Yan Xiu refuses at first but later gives in when he says he wants to tell Min Zhi that they are dating. From then on, no one will dare to be rude to her in front of him. Only he can share her sorrow and joy. She walks out of his office stunned but smiles later. Min Zhe also smiles to himself in the office.

Both siblings wait for her for a long time. Min Zhe calls her but Xuan Zai removes her handphone battery, asking her to keep him company. He is depressed after finding out that he is not Cheng Chun’s son. She takes back the handphone and tells Min Zhe that she can’t make it. Xuan Zai doesn’t dare to touch Yan Xiu’s hand although he has the urge to do it.

Min Zhe is disappointed, waiting for hours till the candles burn out and the roses wither too. He doesn’t see Yan Xiu at home and Min Zhi says that Yan Xiu must be losing face at work so she comes home late. Xuan Zai decides to learn medicine to forget his identity. Min Zhe is angered to see them together. He will allow it on other days but not on this special day. Both fight and Min Zhe hits his face. Yan Xiu refuses to leave with him so Min Zhe leaves alone. This scene shows the rare, stubborn side of Yan Xiu.

Min Zhe knows of Shi Na taking part in Muse’s contest. She decides not to wait and jumps at the chance. He suggests a breakup. Yan Xiu cries to Na Lan as he is so cold to shut all doors to the world. He gives her the feeling that he always wears a pair of shoes and can leave anytime after getting her heart.

Xuan Zai informs Min Zhe that Yan Xiu is moving out. Min Zhe is cool about it and only meets her the next day. He stops himself from telling her to stay.

Xuan Zai tells Min Zhe if he doesn’t arrive at the cherry garden before 8pm, he will woo Yan Xiu. Min Zhe still works and even turns the clock with the back facing him. It already shows him 5 minutes to 8. We can see his fingers moving on the keyboard. But they stop moving soon and in seconds, he rushes there in his convertible. Initially, he walks but then he runs, passing her twice unknowingly! Probably he is too frightened to lose her. He is so relieved to see her finally that he hugs her in the midst of the crowd. The music comes at this perfect timing. Xuan Zai leaves quietly with a bitter smile. This scene is very touching.

Min Zhe knows about the truth from Ming Zi. There are tears in his eyes and he confronts Cheng Chun. Even Zhang is so frightened of him that he runs away. How can he treat Xuan Zai better than his own son? And why does he hide the truth from his own children? Min Zhe has felt awful seeing him any time, any place. How can he destroy their happiness?

Min Zhe congratulates Yan Xiu on Shi Na’s success in winning the song competition. He asks her whether she knows of the truth on that fateful day. Xuan Zai declines his help. Min Zhe feels that they could have become friends if they know the truth all along. Min Zhe tells Cheng Chun that he will not let the incident affect work as he is working for the interest of the company.

Min Zhe smiles at Yan Xiu when he walks past her at work. Na Lan says that she has tamed a wild horse successfully. Min Zhe and Cheng Chun are shocked to see Xuan Zai with Mei Mei. He has dyed his hair and becomes Muse’s music producer. He even ignores Min Zhe when walking past him. Both brothers stare at each other during the annual meeting.

The brothers try to find the best songs for Shi Na and Jin Shu to compete with each other. Shi Na and Jin Shu have a quarrel. Shi Na grabs Jin Shu's CD at the television station because she doesn't wish to spend money on it and runs away quickly before telling her to buy her album. Jin Shu is very angry over it.

Min Zhe visits Min Zhi at her class. He is overjoyed when she says that they should not leave Yan Xiu behind when he mentions that his car can only sit two people. This shows that she has accepted her. They go to the karaoke. Min Zhe sings and dances with Yan Xiu to kiss her on the forehead.

Shi Na wants the song ‘Promise’ but Xuan Zai writes it for Yan Xiu. So he writes ‘Heaven’ for her when he looks Yan Xiu’s drawing. Yan Xiu finds it hard to accept Xuan Zai who becomes indifferent. Min Zhe asks Xuan Zai whether he joins Muse because of the sisters. He can’t be so heartless to betray Victory.

Muse holds a promotion for Shi Na on a cruise ship while Victory promotes Jin Shu's album by using the display screens on the streets. Min Zhe congratulates Shi Na and she vows to make him regret over it. He doesn't mind and smiles. Min Zhe used to hate Xuan Zai when he is weak. Now he feels sorry for him.

Min Zhe and Yan Xiu watch Shi Na's performance. Mei Mei reveals that Xuan Zai is Zero. Mei Mei asks reporters to confirm with Victory's GM since he is here. We can see how composed Min Zhe is - he says that Xuan Zai is the best person to answer. But he is enraged when Xuan Zai admits that he is Zero.

Min Zhe kisses Yan Xiu. His father discovers them. Yan Xiu decides to move out. Min Zhi is vexed to be alone again and persuades her in vain to at least say good bye to Min Zhe before leaving. Zhang forces her to accept the breakup money. Xuan Zai gets angry and thinks that Min Zhe is behind this.

Min Zhe says that Yan Xiu is silly to leave. But she says that she can't let Cheng Chun insult her and hurt her pride. Min Zhe is speechless and hugs her. Xuan Zai sneers at Min Zhe for pretending to look strong when he can't even protect his lover. He will seize her if there is a chance.

Min Zhe tells Min Zhi that they have something in common upon seeing her disturbed over Yan Xiu’s departure. He reveals that Yan Xiu is his girlfriend and is glad that she has accepted her. Min Zhi looks at Yan Xiu's painting and smiles.

Min Zhe brings Yan Xiu to a room. He lets her sit near the window and asks her if she wants some wine. She declines and he takes a big gulp. He kneels before her, not knowing what to say. He tells her to open another room door herself. She is delighted to see a love design of roses with a ring in the middle of it. I have never seen Min Zhe so shy and romantic before so I am quite amused.

He suddenly stops putting the ring on her finger and places it on her palm. They should wait for Na Lan, Shi Na and Min Zhi to be with them. He wants her to think about it - spending her whole life with him isn't easy. She replies that she needs not consider. Both have a passionate, long kiss. Shi Na gives Yan Xiu a sample CD as an engagement present.

Pirated copies of Victory's CDs are found. Someone has stolen the master tape. Min Zhe is furious with both schedules to appear the same time but Shi Na gets priority before Jin Shu because Zero's album will be out soon. He meets Xuan Zai and tells him about his engagement.

Xuan Zai is heartbroken. Min Zhe can be so ruthless to add that he should not give any trouble since he has given them his blessings. Xuan Zai asks if he really loves Yan Xiu. I don't understand - Min Zhe replies maybe not as much as Xuan Zai! Xuan Zai gets so upset that he breaks his guitars in the music studio.

Min Zhe meets Yan Xiu, telling her that she has 30 hours left and doesn't have much time to run away. He is amused when she still calls him Mr Li although she is no longer in Victory. She suggests 'brother' or 'Mr Min Zhe' and he can't stop grinning. He will rather be called ‘darling’ but she is shy as that address is only for intimate moments. He then turns serious saying that he has not considered marriage. He is unsure on how to provide her happiness. She replies that she will make him happy and he is touched.

Min Zhe informs Ming Zi about his engagement and is sorry for the past. He calls Yan Xiu and she gives him a kiss over the phone. Min Zhe is about to call the police to arrest Zhang for stealing the master tape. Zhang tells him that Cheng Chun killed Yong Jun.

Ming Zhe is so shocked to know the truth. He wants to sue Zhang but Cheng Chun dissuades him. Min Zhe knows that he is not a person to bring up another person's son. He must be pricked by conscience. Min Zhe drives to church but he can't face Yan Xiu. He gets drunk after seeing Xuan Zai leaving in despair. He is like a child crying upon seeing Yan Xiu. She touches his hair fondly as he rests on her lap. He ignores her and tells her to leave.

Xuan Zai comes to see Yan Xiu at her workplace. He gets angry and will never forgive Min Zhe. Min Zhe suggests a breakup and pulls her hand away before leaving in tears. Min Zhe is hesitant to tell Ming Zi the cause of Yong Jun's death. Yan Xiu is angry that both siblings are going to France without any reason.

Yan Xiu faints at home and Na Lan contacts Min Zhe. Min Zhe rushes there to find Xuan Zai holding her hand. Xuan Zai calls him but he deliberately removes his handphone battery. Xuan Zai is mad when Na Lan says that Min Zhe is informed but yet he doesn't turn up at all. Both brothers fight and Xuan Zai throws the breakup money at him. Min Zhe picks it up quietly when he leaves.

Xuan Zai is too worried for Yan Xiu to eat with Shi Na. She storms out of the hospital ward. She hates Yan Xiu for being unable to keep Min Zhe. This causes Xuan Zai to return to her. Xuan Zai learns about the truth and is furious with Cheng Chun for still trying to deceive him. Min Zhe requests him to keep the news under wraps until he brings Min Zhi to France.

Yan Xiu requests Min Zhe to stay but he has no courage to face her since he is a murderer's son. She sends him off at the airport. Be amused when they nearly miss each other again when they go up and down the escalator. Yan Xiu agrees to stay beside Xuan Zai to console him. So both should forget each other.

Yan Xiu throws her ring into the wishing pool before leaving. Min Zhe watches silently and Min Zhi behaves hysterically upon knowing the bad news. Xuan Zai regrets telling Ming Zi the truth when she kills herself. Yan Xiu consoles him. Min Zhe tells Ming Zi that Cheng Chun wasn't that upset over his mother's death. Her death is the greatest punishment for him.

Min Zhe gets Cheng Chun to stay with him after Victory's closure. Min Zhe takes the MRT and doesn't notice Yan Xiu in it because her back is facing him. Both recall the past when they sit the train together.

Min Zhi will rather Cheng Chun yell at her instead of being in a daze. Min Zhe gives Ming Zhi’s things to Xuan Zai. Xuan Zai goes to see Yan Xiu and is upset to see her drawing Min Zhe's face. She is afraid that she may forget how he looks if she doesn't do it now.

Min Zhe goes to see Yan Xiu from afar on the bus. Yan Xiu runs to search for him. When he hides at a corner, she sits on the ground. Afraid that she is sick, he pats on her shoulder. A long-winded conversation between the two. Both still decide to part and wish each other well.

Min Zhe is worried to find Cheng Chun missing and calls Min Zhi. He is dismayed to see Yan Xiu with her. He tells her to leave him alone as he is coping hard to take care of his family and also put up with his poor state. But he is able to get help from a sponsor to open a new company and get Ji Can to help again.

Min Zhe passes the gift shop and sees the picture. He recalls Yan Xiu’s words of dreaming to be an artist to draw till she dies. He feels that he can’t help her and walks away. Min Zhe says that he is selfish. Xuan Zai finds out that Yan Xiu has leukemia but keeps from her.

Yan Xiu knows of her illness and wants Min Zhe to be with her for a day. She becomes drunk and he replies that he will not to go through another painful break up. Yan Xiu tries in vain to get a toy rabbit. Min Zhe helps her to get it. Min Zhe wants her to get back alone in a cab. In the end, they take a bus together. He touches her face, thinking that she is sleeping but she is actually in tears. When he refuses to give her a goodbye kiss, she makes the initiative. Min Zhe tries to find out from Xuan Zai but he says nothing.

The news of Shi Na’s past of her being a karaoke waitress is posted on the net. Shi Na gets scolded by Mei Mei for deceiving her. Feeling down, she calls Xuan Zai and he says that he is busy. She is furious upon seeing him doing the laundry for Yan Xiu.

Min Zhi cuts Cheng Chun’s fingernails and is overjoyed when he thanks her for the first time. She coaxes Min Zhe to go with him for a public bath to improve their relationship. A touching scene on their improved relationship.

Shi Na gives Yan Xiu her ring back that she gets from Xuan Zai. Min Zhe gets a call from Yan Xiu and consoles her over Shi Na’s ordeal. She throws his sketch aside and goes for a week’s holiday. She tells Xuan Zai off for pressurizing her. She lies to Min Zhe that she wants to get over the shock of the breakup. He holds her face towards him and tells her not to hide anything. She denies and tells him to leave, but faints. Min Zhe carries her to hospital.

Xuan Zai is alarmed when Yan Xiu doesn’t go for dialysis. He tells her that she owes him too much for making him love her and rejecting him. Now to repay him, she has to get well. He will take care of Shi Na for her. It is alright for her to like someone else. Si Won acts very well in this scene.

Na Lan drags Yan Xiu to congratulate Min Zhe on his company’s opening. Yan Xiu leaves upon seeing him. He runs after her, telling her that she looks more pitiful when she doesn’t cry and weaker when tries to be strong. She hides in the lift. Min Zhe is about to walk off when he discovers that the lift still stops at the same level. He pushes the lift door open and finds her in tears. He gives her a tight hug but she runs away. He gets to know the truth from Na Lan, who begs him to try to save her since both are in love.

Min Zhe is in shock. He is so distracted that he stands in the MRT all the way to the last station. He looks for Yan Xiu the next day and both visit the cinema. He says it is unbelievable that both have not visited the cinema although they have known each other for long. But it is better to start now than never. He takes a picture with her. Both walk home together. He says initially he doesn’t know how to visit places without his car. Now he can spend more time with her on the bus and also waiting for it.

On his way to the bus stop, he calls her, wanting to hear her voice. She says that she knows why he treats her so well now. She is touched but is afraid that such a day will come as he knows the truth. Min Zhe quickly runs back to her to console her.

They buy lovers’ clothes and wear them. Laugh when Min Zhe looks so uncomfortable in it. Min Zhe buys her coffee that shows a heart which indicates that she is going to drink his heart. He places their photo in a photo frame so that she can look at it before sleeping. Xuan Zai is down upon seeing it.

Shi Na gets to know Yan Xiu’s illness and is upset. Knowing that Yan Xiu has a fever after a jab, Min Zhe visits her at work and touches her forehead fondly. He proposes to her with the same ring that he gets back from the airport. She is reluctant but he is insistent to see her any moment daily. She is contented with the present state. Min Zhi draws the wedding invitation card and shows Min Zhe.

Seeing that he says nothing, she asks whether she has done wrongly. He gives all viewers another surprise - Min Zhe looks at her and says well done! He hugs her to thank her. Na Lan lies to Yan Xiu that she wants her to be her bridesmaid. Yan Xiu is touched to see the wedding gown at home. Xuan Zai asks her out for dinner in the new Mercedes that Mei Mei has gotten for him. How sad – he says that he is going to spend the last day with her before she marries someone else.

On the big day, Min Zhi jokes that it is a pity to give away such a handsome brother. Yan Xiu is late and Na Lan runs with her to the wedding ground. Cheng Chun watches secretly from far and walks away upon seeing Xuan Zai. He tells Ming Zi the news and sees Xuan Zai there. Their rivalry weakens.

Yan Xiu is shy when putting on the sexy nightgown that Na Lan gets for her. She cries in the toilet and Min Zhe hears her. But he pretends not to know about it when she walks out. But he is stunned upon seeing her so sexy that he gets so distracted to step on her feet!

The couple list out the expectations for each other. Min Zhe wants to see her smile every morning while she wants him to eat everything she cooks. This is not a problem as he likes all kinds of food. She asks him not to show his charming smile to women. He says that he can’t help it if women flock to him. She then asks him not to worry behind his back while he wants her not to cry behind his back. She doesn’t want him to be sadder than her while he tells her not to desert him and leave by herself.

All go for the blood tests to save Yan Xiu. Min Zhe is disappointed when told that Shi Na’s bone barrow isn’t suitable too. He cries before going home to console her. This scene is heart breaking.

The hospital finds a donor but still consults Min Zhe’s decision on the risk as he is Yan Xiu’s guarantor. When he is about to tell her his decision, she tells him that she doesn’t want him to have any regrets so she will make the decision. Another rare scene showing the strong side of her.

Yan Xiu and Min Zhe discuss with each other what they wish to do. She laments that they have not quarrel before. Min Zhe can be so humorous to say that this will not happen no matter how long she puts off. They are so loving so this will not happen. She complains of not attending social functions with him to chat with other wives over their husbands. You will laugh when Min Zhe replies that he will win hands down and other husbands have a hard time at home then. What he misses will be that he hasn’t bathed with her!

Yan Xiu gives back Shi Na her ring. Min Zhe waits outside the operation theatre anxiously. He is so relieved that it was a success. Both sisters hug when Shi Na’s concert is a success after Yan Xiu’s recovery. Xuan Zai and Min Zhe watch them with smiling faces from the top of the concert hall.

Interesting facts

This serial was shown at the same as ‘Hotelier’ in Korea. BD won fans within age 20 to 40 while Hotelier got more Bae fans from 20 to 30 years old. But in SEA, audience comes from all age groups.

The producer wanted to let Xuan Zai and Yan Xiu to be together while Min Zhe was the ruthless man who toyed with her feelings. However, Byun Hun is so attractive in the role that the switch was made. Even men can’t help admiring him. Some reflect that he has inspired motherly love. As cool as he may seem, his yearning for love and having a family touches a chord in their hearts. The white shirts and the watch that he wears become another direct hit.

The initial decision was also to make Yan Xiu die of leukemia in the end. This was so common and unoriginal in many Korean dramas that I practically hate it. Due to viewers’ protests as they wished to see the couple together, they created a happy ending.

The OST had 15 000 orders even before it was out. This had never happened before which was even better than ‘Tale of Autumn’.

The CD shop becomes a hot spot in Korea after filming. The Mercedes convertible belonged to Si Won in real life. He has many cars and lent it to Byun Hun.

The scene where Byun Hun hugs Ji Woo to dance in the KTV room was the most embarrassing moment for Byun Hun. He had to wear high heels to be taller than Ji Woo! Byun was displeased with the script changing drastically from episode 16 onwards. It was said that Si Won was unhappy over the uneven distribution of work and wasn’t on good terms with Byun Hun.

Notice that Byun Hun turns wan and his performance isn’t as eye-catching as before? He was so seriously ill that he lost 10 kg in the 4 months. If not for the 3 pills taken per day, he could have been hospitalized. The workload was equivalent to filming 12 movies. Many wept when work was done while he longed to have a good sleep. So only Si Won and Ji Woo went to Taiwan to promote the serial.

Byun Hun was one of the nominees for ‘Best Actor’ in 2001 SBS television awards. A pity that he lost to Ryu Dong Gan who gives a spectacular performance in ‘Empress Ming Cheng’.

Conclusion

I miss Min Zhe's absence of arrogance at the end. I still think that due to his arrogant personality, it is very impossible for him to give Yan Xiu up to Xuan Zai. Probably the producer wants to show the warm side of Min Zhe but it doesn't really convince me.

Many others miss Min Zhe's Mercedes convertible when he becomes poor. I adore its cool colour that matches with his aloofness. Wonder why he isn't rich again in the end?

At first, I din’t really like the serial – it is too slow moving. But later, it has so many classical scenes as mentioned above that move me. I enjoy watching them. The producer is an expert in using windows or glasses from the MRT, the crematorium and showcase to project the sadness and happiness of the leads.

It is amusing to find that all the younger artistes act better than the older ones in this serial. Jung Hyun and Si Won can sing and also act well. I like the acting from both actors more because they manage to instil more rivalry towards the end. Actually they should have started earlier. I dislike Xuan Zai to be the underdog for so long. A pity Zero is still a secret, though.

To me, the main attraction is Byun Hun. He is a joy to watch as he keeps all guessing Min Zhe’s mind and actions. He simply steals the show although he may be shorter than Si Won and is about the same height as Ji Woo. I was so captivated by his role that I bought the hard cover version VCDs at a discount at S$28.

Jung Hyun and Min Er are outstanding among the actresses. They are better than Ji Woo. She doesn’t offer surprise in reprising weak roles although she is better in crying scenes. But the two are different. They show their selfishness and later care for their elder siblings. Especially Min Zhi in becoming mature and also Shi Na willing to give her bone barrow to save Yan Xiu. Both have appreciated what their elder siblings have done for them.

The veterans are very bad in their acting with their stony expressions. Luckily, they don't appear in many scenes. It is quite sad that this story has a boring start, an attractive middle but it gets too predictable towards the end. The pace is so inconsistent. Using Yan Xiu's leukemia illness as the development towards the end is a lame excuse, as seen in so many Korean dramas. But at least it is a happy ending which satisfy all.

Songs : * * * * * (Scale of 5)

On acting : * * * * (Scale of 5)

On story : * * * (Scale of 5)


Add your own review and become a featured critic on spcnet.tv!

Or, add your comments below:





Advertise on SPCNET.TV


Buy DVDs
Beautiful Days

DVD


Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle