The Magicians of Love


Reviewed by: CatchyPhrase

July 16, 2006

Rating: four-point-five

English Name: The Magicians of Love
Chinese Name: Ai Qing Mo Fa Shi
Cast:
Joanne Zheng: Bei Ruo Yi, or Xiao Bei
Ming Dao: Du Ya Si, or Artz
Sam Wang: Lin Er Qi, or Richie
Jacky Zhu: Fei Nan Du, or Fernando
Huang Yu Rong: Zhe Ming
Xiao Jie: Tong Tong
Sui Tang: Ye Ke Lan
Lin Meng Jin: Qing Kong
Ke Weias: Mango
Sun Ai Hui: Emma

Personally, I was a little doubtful that I would enjoy this series when I first started watching it. I didn't recognize anyone from the cast, and the review said that it was about hair stylists. I wasn't all that interested, but I decided to give it a chance anyway. Well, I was pretty glad that I did, because I started to enjoy it tremendously. It was very cute. There was no extremely bad guy for me to hate, or frustrating plot where the main character doesn't know anything about anything. The only complain I can make is probably that the animation REALLy sucks!

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Storyline-Synopsis. (Spoilers!!)

Xiao Bei (Joanne) is a young, aspiring hair stylists who works at her dad's Zhong Nan Barbershop, which has thrived in the community for over 30 years now. The family is able to make their house payments and live a decent life from the shop. Trouble in paradise occurs when a large chain-salon called the Neo-Image Salon opens up right across the street from them. Its famous and classy and boasts three top international designers Du Ya Si/Artz (Ming Dao), Richie/Er Qi (Sam Wang), and Fei Nan Du/Fernando (Jacky Zhu). All of their customers flock over to the corporate salon, and the family business starts to fail.

Xiao Bei, curious about what it has to offer, sneaks over there to spy on their opponent, only to find that the director, Ya Si, is the same man who kicked her off the stage yesterday during an international hair styling competition! The two start of hating each other right away, but when Xiao Bei loses a bet to him and ends up having to work as a hair washing girl at his salon, they start to warm up to each other. Ya Si sees the talent that Xiao Bei has, and he wants to hone it and make her his assistant to teach her the techniques. Their love story and relations are strained by the other conflicts in the story, including:

-A love conflict that exists between Fei Nan Du, who loves Ye Ke Lan, a top model, but is cheating on her with rising model Emma. Ye Ke Lan turns to Er Qi for comfort, only to find herself slowly falling for him. Er Qi, on the other hand, is falling in love with Xiao Bei, who is innocent and kind-hearted. Xiao Bei likes Er Qi back because he was the first designer to be kind to her, although she is mysteriously drawn to Ya Si. Ya Si likes her back, but a part of him still loves Qing Kong, the ex-girlfriend who left him to pursue her career in London. With so much drama, who will choose whom in this mess of love?

-Ya Si finds himself falling in love with Xiao Bei when she walks across the legendary Water Maze to reach him. The myth is that if a pair of lovers are on opposite ends of the water maze and can make it across to each other, the two were meant to be together. When he tried this with Qing Kong, his previous girlfriend, they were not successful. He thinks it is fate that Xiao Bei was able to make it to him. (I don't even know how to explain the water maze. It's in a sort of man-made pond with clear blue water and stepping stones of different colors. From what I've seen on the show, one is supposed to walk across on the stones which are probably set in different paths.)

-Trouble also ensues when Qing Kong returns from London three years later (as promised) to look for Ya Si and continue their relationship. She chooses to not reveal herself to him and observes him in disguise. She sees him being intimate with Xiao Bei several times and thinks that the two are a couple now, but is determined to get her man back. To add to the mix, Xiao Bei and Qing Kong (under the alias of Sarah) have become great friends.

-Ye Ke Lan originally kissed Er Qi in public to spite Fernando, who had been cheating on her, but now finds herself falling for Er Qi. Fernando, although is the one at blame, cannot bring himself to let Ke Lan go and, when she fires him as her personal stylists and hires Er Qi, he begins to cause great difficulty for both Er Qi and Ya Si at the salon.

-Ya Si's twin brother Ya Jun and his mother both died in a car crash 6 months ago. Because his grandmother is 80 years old and lives in a nursing home, he dresses up as Ya Jun every week to visit her, hoping to make her happy. He doesn't want to let her know that her only living family members are dead now. Xiao Bei, who frequents the nursing home to cut the elder's hair sees him, and when she finds out about his charade, admires him and begins to like him even more. What happens when grandma finds out that her grandson and her daughter are dead?

-When Xiao Bei left all of her hair design sketches unattended on the steps of a building, she came back later to find that they are all gone. All of her other belongings are still there, but the sketches have disappeared. Baffled and broken hearted, she is forced to start all over again with her designs, which she hopes to use one day to help her Zhong Nan Barbershop gain popularity and fame in the hair styling world. It turns out that the person who took the designs was Qing Kong, who later submitted them for a contest in London and won a 100,000 pound contract ($200,000 American money). Will Qing Kong end up doing the right thing and turn down the contract or return the sketches to Xiao Bei? Or will her jealousy cause her to hurt her in as many ways as possible?

-Xiao Bei, when she was very young, witnessed her mother having a breakdown and cutting her own hair wildly with a pair of scissors. Her mother then locked her in the attic and left the family, never to return. Now, her mother is back as Annabelle, a woman with great power who works for the Neo-Image chain salon's owner, Ya Si's father. She is currently in a relationship with him. Her actions and disappearance has caused Xiao Bei to suffer several phobias and personality problems. Now that she is back, will she be able to make it up to her daughter whom she has abandoned for so many years? Will Xiao Bei learn to forgive her mother?

-Also, there is the matter of Er Qi, who has a 9 year old son. He originally didn't even know about the kid, but when his girlfriend from his teenage years was getting married, she sent his son to Taiwan for him. Er Qi has become a dad in a moments notice, and to protect his image, he calls him his brother when they are out in public.

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The Cast

Joanne Zheng as Xiao Bei: I found her to be a great actress. Her crying scenes are okay, but her scenes with the other actors are very good. She has REALLY good chemistry with Ming Dao. The reason that I like her is because she isn't afraid to make a fool of herself on TV to get her point across. Her acting is very aggressive and direct.

As her character, I find her 80% amusing and likeable, and 20% annoying. Her character is very nice and fun. Xiao Bei is outgoing and friendly, but at the same time she is very ignorant. Her actions tend to be rash as she never thinks about consequences. Throughout the drama, Xiao Bei ends up maturing and becoming wiser and becomes a great improvement on what she once was.

Ming Dao played Du Ya Si, who starts out cold and cruel but turns warm and caring from Xiao Bei's influence. He is very committed to his family, and hates Annabelle for breaking up his parents. He really loves Xiao Bei and was devastated when she was with Richie. His designs and hair styles are like no other, and that's why he is THE top designer!

Ming Dao is a very good actor. He can play cold, and he can play warm. He's very flexible that way, and has very good 'presence' when on screen. With Qing Kong, he is gentle, but with Xiao Bei, he is very passionate. He always stays in character, and since his character is in love with Xiao Bei, his eyes always follow her around the room. Ming Dao is a must see in this drama!

Sam Wang played Richie, and I mostly like him. His acting is pretty okay. I think that his facial expressions and reactions to some of the bad news on the drama could use a big more exaggeration. His character is one of a bad boy who has lived life on the rough edge. Of the three designers, he's the suave, bad boy. I really enjoy his character.

Jacky Zhu is the most amusing of the three. As Fei Nan Du, he is dashing and he knows it. His hair style and clothing are always ridiculously over the top, but on Fei Nan Du the hair stylists, it works perfectly. His appearance reminds me of Cinderella's Prince Charming, dancing with all the girls at the ball. And that he is: because he can never bring himself to be with only one woman!

As an actor, his facial expressions are always exaggerated, the exact opposite of Sam Wang. But the effect, when paired up with his handsome face and personality is just perfect. I really like Jacky Zhu, even if I wasn't too crazy about Fei Nan Du. He ends up doing wild things and scheming with the bad guys in order to win back Ke Lan, which is a no no for good character.

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Some of my favorite scenes are:

-At the competition in the first episode, when the model that the three guys had been working on walks out into the stage. Her dress is GORGEOUS and she looks beautiful when compared to the model from the other team who is wearing a slinky black dress. She absolutely glows, while the other girl doesn't even hold a candle up to her!

-Xiao Bei walks across the Water Maze toward Ya Si and after they fall into the lake, he helps her up and dries the water from her face so very gently. It was an adorable scene.

-Xiao Bei is locked inside Neo-Image after hours, and after Ya Si saves her, she flies into his arms and he hugs her tightly.

-Xiao Bei falls into a river and Richie jumps in after her.

-At Richie's house where she is changing clothes, Xiao Bei accidentally falls on top of Ya Si and kisses him, then falls on Richie and kisses him too!

-The two guys immediately rush into the bathroom to brush their teeth and Ya Si yells at Richie for only having one toothbrush. The latter replies with "I live by myself, so how many toothbrushes do you think I need?"

-Fei Nan Du teases Richie about having a girl over at his house who changes clothes with only him there and gets him to admit that he has feelings for Xiao Bei.

-In episode 8 or 9, Ya Si helps change Xiao Bei's appearance and does her hair and makeup for her. The intensity that he studies her while he's working is so...hot!

-Xiao Bei sees Fei Nan Du stabbing at a watermelon and sees red juice splattering the whole room and later sees Richie handing people what seems like a body bag and some money. She hears him telling the people to bring it up into the mountains, and thinks that they have just killed someone and are disposing the body. She holds a press conference while in tears and makes Ya Si very angry at her for ruining his image.

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Anyway, to sum things up, I really enjoyed "Magicians of Love". It was lighthearted and interesting, providing a mix of action, fashion, and romance. The couples in the show really seem to care about each other and have amazing chemistry. The hair, makeup, and wardrobe are all wonderful and this film seems to be very high budget because everything is beautiful and well-done.


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