Chocolat


Reviewed by: sukting

August 03, 2014

Rating: three

How long
13 episodes

Foreword
It is adapted by Manga Chocolat by Eisaku Kubonouchi. It is about gangsters giving up their fighting careers to seek a peaceful life as bakers. Will they be successful when s woman suddenly joins them?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Nagasawa Masami as Maya / Cheng Yi Qian Hui Maya is Qian Hui's mother who is forced to leave Qian Hui with her ex-husband in order to be with Song Qi. She normally bakes a cake when Blood Gang is out for fights for their safe return. She dies of cancer and Song Qi decides to open a confectionary to retreat from the underworld.

Qian Hui escapes to Taiwan with her cello when her father runs into debts and comes to look for Song Qi. Song Qi has financial trouble enrolling her into the musical school till Qian Hui's father sends money over. Shi Wu becomes her chauffeur, fetching her to school. Unlike her demure mother, she is very rebellious. She slowly gets moved on how devoted he is to Nai Nai and falls for him.

She doesn't even want to leave him when he is in trouble with the other triads after Chui Ming's death. Chui Ming is from Mexico triad and the people send men to kill him. He has no choice but to let her tag him along. Qian Hui risks her life to save him. They are finally in love and are together.

It is commendable that she says her own lines and sounds fine with a Japanese accent. Her acting is also natural and pairs up well with Zheng Long.

2. Lan Zheng Long as Qin Shi Wu He is an ex-gangster who just gets out of jail after 5 years. He is ready to return to the gang life but is dismayed that his ex-counterparts have changed jobs. He plans to make a comeback. After saving Qian Hui from Crops Gang, he finally accepts the fact. When Nai Nai appears again, he sinks into low spirits again after knowing that she is going to marry Chui Ming. He even agrees to be the best man and Qian Hui is going to be their bridesmaid.

On the wedding day, Crops gang conspires with Chui Ming to kidnap Qian Hui. Shi Wu rescues her and demands to know why he betrays them. It affects him badly so he slowly shifts his love to Qian Hui. Zheng Long has not changed much in his previous rebellious roles.

3. Ma Ru Long as Mai Song Qi He is the ex-gangster head of Blood Gang and is now a bakery chef. Qian Hui ends up becoming his stepdaughter. He dreams of becoming a master baker but he sucks in baking. He keeps his word and doesn't want the young ones to follow his previous footsteps. He gives in to Qian Hui all the time. He can be so strong that to destroy guns and tables or to throw opponents far away.
Brilliant performance from Ma. He should have acted in an idol drama long ago! I enjoy watching him in every scene. He is plump and short but he has the authority air to be the underworld boss.

4. Hung Tin Cheung as Chu Chui Ming He grows up in the same orphanage as Shi Wu and is once Blood Gang's member. Song Qi has not trusted him then. He feels that he can't read anything from his eyes. 5 years ago, Shi Wu goes to jail due to him. Song Qi is injured as Chui Ming betrays them. Chui Ming deliberately stabs himself on the leg and walks with a limp after that. He isn't aware that Song Qi witnesses this but chooses not to tell Shi Wu.

He joins Mexico drug triad and sets to ruin Shi Wu. Shi Wu protects him too much and he feels pressurized. Thus, he seeks revenge. This feeling is maximized on his big day when the others turn up due to Shi Wu and not to him. When Shi Wu confronts him, he chooses to jump off the building and dies after losing to him. Quite a good performance from Tin Cheung.

5. Tseng Pei Yu as Nai Nai She is Shi Wu's ex-girlfriend and wants Shi Wu to quit the gang. Song Qi is attacked by the crops gang and Shi Wu is insistent of seeking revenge. To her disappointment, he doesn't so she studies music overseas. She returns to teach at Qian Hui's school.

After he gets jailed, he keeps writing her letters but she has not read any of them. She returns all to him, expecting him to destroy them himself but he gives back to her. She finally reads but she is a person who doesn't change her mind even though Qian Hui tries to help him.

She is adamant to marry Chui Ming – not sure if she wants to start a new life or to make Shi Wu forget her. after Chui Ming's death, she decides only to become Shi Wu's family and returns to the US. She is pretty but her character isn't as striking as Qian Hui's role.

6. Ying Wei Min as Xiu Zao He loves to wear dark shades and is the only one in the bakery who knows how to speak Japanese. He acts as their translator. He likes collecting guns. Knowing that Song Qi doesn't like it, he disguises them as kitchen tools so that he will not discover them. He dresses his own style and the guns never leave his side. He looks cool but is loyal to Song Qi to be a quiet observer.

7. Wu Jian He as Li Nan He likes to dye his hair golden and is short. However, he is more of a follower of Shi Wu. He is thin ans skinny to be ridiculed. Thus, he gets angry and impulsive easily. He is actually kind and loyal to friends. Many like him as he is able to crack jokes.

8. Wang Wei Hao as Ah Men He is big in size but is mild-mannered. He looks upon Qian Hui like Maya and adores calling her mother. He is killed by Crops Gang and thus that is why the two gangs clash.

9. Kitamura Toyoharu as He He Gan Ren Qian Hui's father runs into debts so he is told to kidnap Qian Hui. The crops gang bribes him to work with them. He finds it tough to get her as she is either with Shi Wu or Song Qi. His plans fail repeatedly. There is once Qian Hui runs away from home and his wish is granted.
Qian Hui goes to him and wants him to keep her. He is delighted but she later becomes his nightmare. He and his henchmen have to treat her like a princess to escort her to the amusement park. They get so tired that they beg Shi Wu to take her back. This actor also provides plenty of comic relief.

10. Zhang Kui as Ye De Long He is the head of Crops gang. He is interested to pull Shi Wu to join his gang. He tries all sorts of ways in vain. He is jealous of Song Qi. Song Qi's words count even though he has retired and many others have not treated him as a new boss. As a last resort, he reveals to Shi Wu that Song Qi is responsible for killing his parents in a fire. Song Qi has adopted Shi Wu out of guilt then. Shi Wu is shocked to know the truth. Wonderful performance from this veteran actor too.

11. Zheng You Jie as Ye Da Ren He is De Long's only son who has a serious heart problem. He could have died many years ago and it is a miracle that he survives till this day. He is interested in Qian Hui when both study in Japan. He woos her despite getting bullied by many others repeatedly. Qian Hui has forgotten all about him till he comes to work in the bakery. Zhe makes the request after helping Song Qi once.

Shi Wu gets jealous of his presence and sets rules that they must not kiss each other. Da Ren knows that Song Qi fails in baking the angel cake that Ma Ya has created. He tries hard, wanting to make it as a love token to Qian Hui. He neglects his health and nearly faints when sending Qian Hui to school.

That is how the others learn about his identity in the hospital when De Long and his gang visit him. He is successful when Song Qi praises him for mastering 90% of Maya's skill in baking the angel cake. He then decides to roam the world within his remaining days and all promise to wait for him.

12. Lu Xue Feng as Grandmother She is De Long's ex-wife. Crops gang is set up by her father but De Long snatches it from her. She has to set up her own gang. She isn't exactly old as Qian Hui imagines when Shi Wu asks Qian Hui to look for her for help as Qian Hui's father is caught by Crops gang.

She urges Shi Wu to take over Blood Gang. Song Qi can't say anything as he is no longer a member of the gang. All are delighted by his comeback although he is reluctant. She even prepares funds for them. That is unexpected on De Long's part so he tells Shi Wu the truth to give him a hard blow. She actually wants to make use of Shi Wu to seek revenge on De Long.

13. Tian Zhe as Xie Zhe He is De Long's right-hand man. He rescues Qian Hui when she is kidnapped. Although Shi Wu and him belong to rival clans, they are not hostile to each other. In fact, they admire each other's ability. Zhe's real identity is an international cop dealing with the triads.

He stages a scene in front of Grandmother and De Long that Song Qi and Shi Wu shoot each other dead due to their feud. This attracts the two to the scene and they kill each other. The two rival triads are disbanded. Qian Hui is sad to after visiting their graves.

Have a good laugh when Xiu Zao and Li Nan keep driving in circles after that. They are circling the town where the two are living under a new identity. The two men have set up a new bakery. Shi Wu even masters the art of baking the angel cake with Maya's recipe. He then proposes to Qian Hui with it.

14. Na Wei Xun as Brother Shen Jin His boss is helped by Song Qi so he is grateful to him. He helps to discover the dark side of Chui Ming.

15,Cheng Yi Zhong He is Qian Hui's father who gets the guys into trouble. Shi Wu returns to the triad in order to get him out from Crops Gang. Before leaving Taiwan, he reveals to Shi Wu that Qian Hui is Song Qi's daughter. He keeps her with him as he is too selfish so he now returns her to them.

Interesting facts from Wikipedia
This drama achieved record high viewer ratings for its network GTV during its time slot in the evening. Nagasawa and her co-star Lan Zhenlong also concluded their 3-day long extensive promo event with a fan sign session for those who bought the related photobook.

It was only the 2nd fan sign event for Nagasawa since her debut 14 years ago and she was clearly delighted by the enthusiasm of her Taiwanese fans. The event took place at an outdoor stage where they also played games with the crowd made up of about 1,200 fans and answered questions.

Some of her female fans couldn't hold back their tears of joy and even received a hug from the actress. Then fan service continued when the two actors were supposed to pose for pictures and Lan Zhenlong suddenly decided to carry Nagasawa in one arm. Many laughed at his gesture.

Zheng Long had not considered taking up this assignment as he had just finished shooting another drama. However, after knowing that it was an adaption of a manga and a Japanese actress was involved, he became curious. He was won over upon knowing that even the director, Kitamura Toyoharu was in it too. He enjoyed the scenes of bullying him.

He knew that it was hard for Masami to read the lines so he helped her as much as he could. He praised her for being diligent and brave to take up the challenge as she did not want her voice to be dubbed.

Most favourite character
Shi Wu, he is wild and it is hilarious to see black smoke around him when he gets angry – thanks to the special effects. But when he is with his beloved, he can become so gentle.

Most hated character
This woman is a nuisance. She is too much to go out with another professor. Shi Wu beats the fellow up due to jealousy to discover that he is gay. She can't forget Shi Wu and why is she so determined to marry Chui Ming to hurt him? She just wants to keep the promise to herself. It is also ridiculous to tell him to take back the letters. She only wants to do what she wants.

Conclusion
This drama is average but the acting is good. The director manages to make all come in by loud entrances. The cast also put in their best to make it convincing. Do watch it when you have the time as the cast is refreshing with new foreign faces.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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