Devil Beside You

Reviewed by: amandirie

November 13, 2005

Rating: four-point-five

Title: Devil Beside You (Chinese title: Er Mo Zai Shen Pang)
Aired on CTV: 2005 (From July to September)
Number of Episodes: 14
Main Cast:
Mike He as Jiang Meng
Rainie Yang as Qi Yue

WARNING! This review DOES contain spoilers! Read at your own risk!

Coming from my Korean drama addiction, I was at first reluctant to watch any recent Taiwan Idol dramas, thinking that they would now be too silly or childish for my liking. But after seeing all the hype at various discussion forums, I decided to try out "Devil Beside You" with fairly low expectations. Much to my surprise, however, this series blew me away and went beyond my expectations. It was one of the sweetest, most enjoyable idol dramas (reminded me of the good ol' Meteor Garden days) that kept me pretty much glued to the screen for all fourteen episodes.

Brief Summary
In short, "Devil Beside You" is your typical 'good girl is attracted to bad boy' story. Adapted from a famous Japanese manga, it features Qi Yue, a second year college student who is the regular innocent, honest girl. Accidentally, she presents a love letter to the wrong guy. The guy who she meant to give it to was her crush, Yuan Yi, the captain of the basketball team. Instead, much to her humiliation, she ends up handing this sacred note to a boy named Jiang Meng (Ah Meng). He is a freshman, the son of the President of the school, and a total bully.

Ah Meng, using the love letter as blackmail material, then orders Qi Yue to become his personal servant. She, after hearing about his reputation and being terrified of him, agrees to his wishes. Eventually, a series of events occur and Qi Yue finds herself extremely attracted to this 'devil' and vice versa. Things start to get really complicated though when they realize that Ah Meng's dad is planning to marry Qi Yue's mom! What is to become of their 'jie-di' relationship?

I really felt that the cast was simply PERFECT for this drama. The casting directors definitely did a great job in finding the appropriate lead actors. They all had so much chemistry and I think that is why series was so appealing.

Mike He Jun Xiang (also known as Xiao Mei) as Ah Meng
Ah Meng can be simply described as 'hard on the outside, but soft on the inside'. Due to his unhappy and at times, painful past, he may come across as a jerk and is rebellious, stubborn and arrogant. This probably stems from his lack of motherly love (his parents divorced when he was little and his mom left him to be taken care of by his grandmother). Nevertheless, Ah Meng is really a softie on the inside despite his tough outer appearance.

Consequently, when Ah Meng is with Qi Yue, he is a totally different person. He becomes understanding, romantic, caring and protective; basically perfect boyfriend material! Ah Meng really knows how to treat his girlfriend, and he doesn't need a reason or anyone's approval to be with her.

I found myself really loving this character because not only did he care for his Qi Yue, but he was also a great, loyal friend and a considerate brother/son/grandson. Like what Yuan Yi said, Ah Meng was an extremely mature individual that took in everyone's emotional problems and blamed himself for it. He really had compassion for others around him.

I thought Mike He was very suitable for the role of Ah Meng. He definitely is very tall, 'shuai' (handsome), cool, charming and can also be very adorable at times, not to mention a good kisser! I think I might have to watch all of his series now that I've seen how gorgeous and good-looking he is! Although Xiao Mei is still a newbie with acting, he's only been in several series and has plenty of time to improve. I usually don't have high expectations with acting when I am watching idol dramas anyways. On the plus side, he definitely had tons of chemistry with Rainie, they were just too cute!

The only thing that really bothered me during this series was Mike's hair and some of the clothes he wore. I get that he is supposed to have a bad boy look, but what's up with all the bobby pins and that ugly white spotted jacket? Seems like his stylist went a little overboard even though they were supposedly 'sticking close to the manga character's appearance'.

Rainie Yang Cheng Lin as Qi Yue
Qi Yue is a very lovable girl who also has a lot of consideration for others. She's agreeable and sweet, and would rather suffer than see anyone around her hurt. She has had a close relationship with her mother ever since her father died when she was little. Feeling that her mother's well-being should be a priority, she keeps her relationship with Ah Meng a secret, fearing it would jeopardize everyone's happiness.

I found Qi Yue extremely likable. Unlike Shan Cai in "Meteor Garden", Qi Yue actually has some common sense and is not delirious the entire time. She is understanding, determined and level-headed, a perfect balance for Ah Meng because he can be quite temperamental at times. Her innocence is what attracts Ah Meng to her.

In my opinion, Rainie Yang was lovely as Qi Yue. Even though her facial expressions are over-exaggerated at times (perhaps the director asked her to do so?), she definitely has that 'cute and cuddly' factor. She's also got a lot of talent when it comes to singing and looks very adorable when she pouts or smiles. Unlike some of TVB's actresses (especially the newbies and Miss Hong Kongs), her crying is very convincing and didn't make me cringe while watching. Again, she made a perfect couple with Mike, finally a female lead who I can like and root for!

Kingone Wang Chuan Yi as Yuan Yi
Yuan Yi is basically the goody-two-shoes captain of the basketball team. He is, of course, a very nice, considerate person as well. Qi Yue was, at first, attracted to him because of his gentle nature. After getting dumped by Qi Yue though, Qi Yue's best friend, Qing Zi begins to pursue him.

Kingone Wang is great at being serious and doing comedy! From the beginning I thought that Yuan Yi would be the stiff, serious guy, but as the series progressed, he is the one who has some of the funniest scenes! Bonus points for Kingone because he is also very charming and has a very cute smile.

Other Supporting Actors/Characters
I won't go into too much detail about the actors or the characters, but I found myself really enjoying the huge supporting cast. The characters were all likable and there was no truly evil, psychotic villain (like in practically ALL Korean dramas). My favorites were Ah Meng's dad and Qi Yue's mom. It was so funny how they were constantly so 'lovey dovey' to one another that it made it so embarrassing to be around them.

"Devil Beside You" was overall an extremely sweet, engaging series. I found myself liking it and being hooked from episode one. The story was simple, but the cast and the script gave the conventional plot a very refreshing twist. It really goes to show that good girls do fall for 'bad boys' (at least in Taiwanese dramas). The only thing that bugged me about the series was the ending. Even though it was indeed a happy ending, it did not satisfy me at all and it left me wanting more. Although this might have been adapted from a manga, the plot is not overly silly or far-fetched and is at times, truly touching.

Favorite Scenes/Lines From the Series
What would a review be without mentioning my absolute favorite scenes or quotes? It was quite hard for me to narrow it all down though because there are A LOT of great lines in this series. Forgive me if the lines are not verbatim with what the characters say due to my brain having a possible memory lapse or poor translation. These are not in any particular or chronological order.

-One of my favorite lines from early in the series was what Yuan Yi said to Qi Yue when she was crying: 'There are people who intend to hurt you, but there are also people who get hurt because you are hurt'. Aww...

-Qi Yue misunderstands and blames Ah Meng for posting up her love letter around the school. She later finds out the truth and apologizes to him, saying that he can hit her if he wants. Ah Meng makes her close her eyes and prepares to swing his fist, but instead, he pulls her in for a kiss!

-Ah Meng is pedaling his bicycle with Qi Yue hanging on behind him. They almost get hit by a car at an intersection. While lying on the ground after the bike was knocked over, Qi Yue cheekily asks Ah Meng, 'Why is it always so dangerous when I am around you?' Ah Meng in return replies to her, 'It is dangerous, but I can protect you'. They end up kissing on the ground in the middle of the street!

-Ah Meng gets sick from standing outside in the rain. Qi Yue later rushes to his house and is angry because he did not tell her that he had a fever and for making her feel like she cannot be depended on. Ah Meng replies and says something like, 'No, I need your smile and your laughter the most', puts his hands on her face and tugs her in for a kiss. How sweet!

-Whenever Ah Meng says to Qi Yue, 'It's your 'like' that makes me the happiest', or, "You are the most important person to me." Any girl would melt if a guy said that to her!

-Another freshman declares that he wants to go out with Qi Yue (it is later found out that the freshman was actually Ah Meng's younger brother, Ah Rang). When Ah Meng hears of this, he tells Qi Yue, 'Other guys may like you, but I will like you the most'. Seriously, this guy has so many romantic lines!

-Ah Meng is leaving for Italy to stay with his mom. Qi Yue tells him to find out if the moon is rounder and bigger over there than in Taiwan. Ah Meng laughs and calls her an idiot, but later, when she is not in the room, he silently says to himself, 'There is only one moon in my heart'. (Note: 'Yue,' depending on the context, can mean 'moon' in Chinese) This really shows how much he needed and loved Qi Yue!

-Qi Yue is crying because she feels guilty for hurting the people around her due to her relationship with Ah Meng. Ah Meng declares to her, 'I don't care who I hurt because besides you, I don't want anyone else!' Qi Yue then pounces on Ah Meng and hugs him, making both fall down. This was such a sweet and cute scene.

-Last but not least, the bed scene (plus before and after it)! LOL, I don't need to elaborate on that...

There are of course, a whole lot more memorable scenes but if I write them all, I?m afraid I would practically be re-telling and spoiling the whole series!

Other Bits/Random Facts (credits to Asianfanatics and Soompi and other sources)
"Devil Beside" You and another idol drama, "Prince Turned Into a Frog" were in a cutthroat ratings competition when both series aired. Although "Prince Turned Into a Frog" earned the highest ratings (6.79 for episode 6) for an idol drama ever, "Devil Beside You" managed a rating of 6.04 on its second episode, which was quite good as well.

-Rainie Yang sang two of the sub themesongs for "Devil Beside You". I especially liked ?Ai Mei,? it was a beautiful ballad and suited the series well.

-When asked on a talk show about which of her previous co-stars was the best kisser, Rainie said that Mike was definitely the best, then came Lee Wei and Shawn Yue (I would think so because Rainie and Mike had so many kissing scenes throughout the series!).

-Figaro Zeng, the actor who played Mike's younger brother, Ah Rang, is actually two years older than Xiao Mei! I would have never suspected that because he definitely looked significantly younger than Mike.

-Much to their fans? approval, Mike and Rainie worked together again in the music video for her song 'Li Xiang Qing Ren', aka 'Ideal Lover' Watching the MV brought back all the good memories of "Devil Beside You", plus Mike looked so good in it (Yay! No more bobby pins)!

My Rating for This Series
I am definitely giving this series 4.5 stars (if it were soley based on the cast and the kissing scenes then I would have given it 5 stars) because I love almost everything about it! I just felt the the ending was definitely rushed and could have been at least a half an hour longer (the last episode was only 30 minutes long) and given me more closure. Also, I think they needed to work on the hair and wardrobe more (Mike's hair!).

Most importantly though (enough of my ranting), "Devil Beside You" has renewed my hope for Taiwanese series, so I hope to watch more idol dramas in the future. Perhaps now is the time for me to watch "Prince Turned into a Frog" because everyone has been raving about that too.

I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a comedy, romance or drama (perhaps a mixture of all 3?). You will certainly get a fair share of memorable scenes, great dialogue and a whole ton of eye candy!

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