The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog


Reviewed by: Adel

November 24, 2005

Rating: four-point-five

Cast:
Ming Dao as Dang-O/Shan Jun Hao
Wang Shao Wei as Xu Zi Qian
Chen Qiao En as Ye Tian Yu
Xiao Qiao as Yun Xi

Characters:
Tian Yu lives in a poor village (Guan Mei village) with her step mom, Jin Zhi, and step brother, Zheng Zhe. Since young, she has dreamt of marrying a rich prince who can bring her out of poverty. Influenced by Jin Zhi, she has always viewed money as an important element in life.

Shan Jun Hao is the GM of Senwell Hotel Corporation. He is cool-headed, sharp and arrogant. He believes in himself and despises people who are not serious in their work. Jun Hao has a fiancée, Yun Xi, whom he grew up with.

Xu Zi Qian grew up with Shan Jun Hao since he was 9 years old. After his family tragedy, Shan family took him in and brought him up. He is easy going and he is fond of Yun Xi.

Yun Xi is an orphan who is brought up by the Shan family. She has been brought up as Jun Hao's future wife and it has been her dream in life to be his wife one day.

Synopsis:
The story begins with Tian Yu bumping into a conman who disguises himself as a fortune teller. He cheated Tian Yu of 500 dollars to buy a sachet that has a little bell attached to it. The fortune teller says that will help her find a rich man and when the rich man appears, the bell will ring...and from this day onwards, Tian Yu always keeps the sachet with her.

Tian Yu's step father, Lao Ye, is the owner of Guan Mei Hotel (in Guan Mei village). Due to some financial issues in Guan Mei Hotel, Senwell Hotel Corporation is planning to take over the entire Guan Mei village based on the agreement between Lao Ye and Senwell.

Tian Yu and Shan Jun Hao first met each other at Guan Mei village when he goes to view Guan Mei Hotel. Not knowing Shan Jun Hao is the GM of Senwell, Tian Yu tries to trick him into buying chewing gum at a ridiculously high price. Shan Jun Hao is disgusted by her greediness. They meet again when Yun Xi drags Jun Hao to take the hot air balloon managed by Tian Yu. Jun Hao is hesitant but because Yun Xi really wants to go on that balloon, Jun Hao gave in. He proposes to Yun Xi during the flight. The hot air balloon dies in mid air and crashes. Though Jun Hao and Yun Xi are unharmed, the wedding ring was lost during the fall.

It is so coincidental that Tian Yu found the ring on the ground and happily puts it on. Jun Hao and Tian Yu meet again on a yacht. Jun Hao sees the ring on Tian Yu's finger and gets furious. He tries to snatch it back and while struggling, Tian Yu falls into the sea. Jun Hao jumps into the water and saves her. As Tian Yu is unconscious, he does a mouth to mouth resuscitation to revive her. Tian Yu regains consciousness and gets angry that Jun Hao kissed her. In the evening, she goes to the hotel and wants to return the ring to him but is unable to remove it from her finger. Jun Hao recalls the ring designer saying that only when true love appears, it will hold on tightly. Tian Yu confronts Jun Hao for molesting her in the day. Jun Hao scolds her for not able to differentiate between mouth to mouth resuscitation and a kiss. With that being said, he pulls her to him and kisses her. "This is a kiss" he exclaims to her. Tian Yu shivers in anger because that is her first kiss! She pulls a poster from the wall, flips it over and writes a note saying that Shan Jun Hao has stolen her first kiss, she wants him to pay her back one day. She demands that Jun Hao sign on the note, which he does.

Jun Hao's deputy in Senwell has always been very jealous of Jun Hao's success. He plots to have Jun Hao killed. The plot did not go as planned and Jun Hao was saved by Tian Yu's family. The problem is Jun Hao has lost his memory when he awakes at Tian Yu's house. Jun Hao is then given the name Dang-O by Zheng Zhe.

Jin Zhi does not want to keep Dang-O at home and decides to trick him to a deserted land on a mountain. Tian Yu drives him there. As she turns away, she accidentally falls into a deep hole on the mountain. She screams for help and Dang-O comes to her rescue. While trying to pull her out of the deep hole, he falls into the hole instead. When both of them regain consciousness, Tian Yu hysterically says that she does not want to die because she wants to marry a rich guy. Dang-O consoles her by asking her not to give up hope as he is sure they can get out. And he is right, they get out of the hole in the morning and Tian Yu is touched by how he takes care of her during the journey.

Being as materialistic as ever, Jin Zhi plans to sell Dang-O away for some hard cash. Tian Yu is a little reluctant to see Dang O leave but she agrees to Jin Zhi's plan anyway. At the sea port, Dang-O falls off the boat upon seeing Tian Yu. Tian Yu jumps into the water without second thought. In the water, her foot gets caught between some rocks and she lost her consciousness. Dang-O saves her and performs mouth to mouth resuscitation on her. He experiences some flash back that he has done similar act on Tian Yu before but he just cannot be sure. Just at this point, Tian Yu pushes Dang-O away using her body as a shield when she sees some boxes falling off a crane above Dang-O. Dang-O is touched by Tian Yu's act to save his life. At home, he asks Tian Yu if she is showing too much concern for him. He reminds her that he will leave her place one day when he regains his memory and asks her not to get serious with him. Tian Yu walks away feeling disappointed.

The day arrives when Senwell is coming to the village for the official take-over ceremony. Dang-O suddenly remembers about a protected flower he saw in the hole at the mountain and tells Tian Yu that if the flower is really one of the protected species, Senwell will not be able to abolish the place and rebuild a resort. Dang-O falls into the deep hole again while searching for the flower and in order not to waste time, he takes the picture of the flower and asks Tian Yu to go back to the village to stop Senwell from pulling down the village. Tian Yu did it and bring Lao Ye and Zi Qian back to the mountain to save Dang-O. Lao Ye tries to stop Zi Qian from seeing Dang-O for fear that Dang-O's real identity will be disclosed. While he tries to save Dang-O from the deep hole, Dang-O falls and hurt his head.

Lao Ye sends him to the hospital with Zi Qian and Tian Yu arriving later. Lao Ye attends to Dang-O, leaving Tian Yu alone at the hospital waiting area. She mistakens another patient for Dang-O and donates her blood to that patient. Later on, the nurse informs her that the patient has died and she breaks down, wailing in the hospital. Dang-O and Lao Ye are shocked to see her crying in front of a dead patient (with the face covered, of course) calling the person Dang-O. She asks Dang-O if he will be lonely for going to a faraway place and if he will be afraid for not being able to find her. Dang-O is touched by her words and walks towards her. When she sees Dang-O, he smiles at her and she fainted upon hearing that he has heard what she has said earlier on. Dang-O carries her in his arms and while walking towards the car, he kisses her. Tian Yu awakes and wonder if she was dreaming.

Tian Yu's old classmates invite her to a party. She boasts about having a rich boyfriend and they place a bet with her such that if she fails to bring one, she has to dance at the party wearing a bikini. She approaches Dang-O to impose as Shan Jun Hao at the party but he declines angrily. He does not want to cheat. Zheng Zhe explains to Dang-O the reason for Tian Yu's behaviour is because she has been bullied by them in the past and she lies to protect herself now. Dang-O decides to help. At the party, when everyone is poking fun at Tian Yu, Dang-O arrives as Shan Jun Hao to save Tian Yu. He appears smart, cultured and presentable at the party, which leaves everyone believing that he is indeed Shan Jun Hao.

On the way home, they drop by a vacant terrace house. Tian Yu and Dang-O play the piano and chat over wine. Dang-O asks Tian Yu if she will be upset if he leaves one day and Tian Yu replies if it matters because he will leave anyway. Dang-O teases Tian Yu that depends on circumstances. Tian Yu asks Dang-O two questions. She asks shyly if there was anything happened on that day when he carried her from the hospital to the car. Dang-O smiles mischievously that he wants to skip this question. Tian Yu then asks if he will stay for her sake and he says that depends on how she is going to make him stay. Tian Yu thought for a while and moves her lips towards his. Dang-O smiles at her act and naughtily reprimands her for making the first move when it should be the man doing it. He then kisses her and asks if it feels the same as the day they kiss at the hospital. Tian Yu realizes that the kiss at the hospital is not a dream afterall. Dang-O smiles and kisses Tian Yu again.

Zi Qian meets Dang-O at Guan Mei Hotel and confirms his identity. Tian Yu struggles with the truth and decides to throw a party for Dang-O, knowing that she is going to lose him. Dang-O is touched by the warmth of the people. At the rooftop, Tian Yu tells Dang-O that even when she reaches 100 years old, she will feel blessed as long as she remembers this moment with him. Dang-O replies her that even when he reaches 100 years old, he will remember how she makes this confession to him.

Tian Yu plans for a date with Dang-O before "returning" him back to his fiancee. They go to the theme park. While riding on the horse, Dang-O asks Tian Yu about the ring on her finger. He is surprised to know that the ring belongs to him (when he was Shan Jun Hao). Dang-O says that only when true love appears, it will hold on tightly. Tian Yu smiles and says that she will remember this phrase for life. Dang-O holds Tian Yu's hand and kisses her ring. The theme park worker takes a picture of them and sells it to them.

Tian Yu tricks Dang-O back to Shan Jun Hao's house. He is upset to see Yun Xi and Zi Qian in that house and dashed out looking for Tian Yu. Both met an accident and are sent to the hospital. Shan Jun Hao regains his memory but he lost his memory of Dang-O. Yun Xi is happy to hear that and Zi Qian keeps mum about Dang-O at the request of Yun Xi.

Not knowing Dang-O has lost his memory, Tian Yu is shocked to see how Shan Jun Hao treats her with harsh words at Senwell. Zi Qian is angry with Jun Hao and leaves with Tian Yu. In Zi Qian's car, Tian Yu makes a call to the radio station to talk about her love story. She talks about how Dang-O has changed her life and makes her feel important. She says Dang-O has lost his memory and she is now a stranger to him. Shan Jun Hao hears all that she says from his car and he feels a little touched deep inside him.

Zi Qian gradually develops a liking for Tian Yu and he lets Shan Jun Hao knows about it too. Zi Qian brings Tian Yu to work in Senwell and Jun Hao is happy about it though he does not show it openly. Shan Ju Hao is not exactly pleased to see Zi Qian and Tian Yu together. Tian Yu spends two sleepless nights helping Jun Hao fix some issues at work and Jun Hao is touched by her act. He allows her to rest at one of their hotel rooms during work hours. Zi Qian confronts Jun Hao for doing this but Jun Hao pushes it aside as something trivial. Jun Hao does not realize that he feels differently towards Tian Yu now. Yun Zi shows Jun Hao a picture of Dang-O and Tian Yu taken at the theme park which she found on the day when Jun Hao returns home. Jun Hao stares at the picture speechless. He hesitates before burning the picture in the presence of Yun Xi to prove that he has no feelings for Tian Yu but deep inside him, he feels pained for burning the picture.

One evening, Jun Hao subconsciously walks into the vacant terrace house and plays the piano. Tian Yu, upon hearing the music, walks into the house too. They exchange stares. Jun Hao tells Tian Yu that he dislikes being influenced by others and he dislikes her from making him feel different now. He finally knows that he likes Tian Yu and he attempts to put on the ring for Tian Yu. Tian Yu rejects him saying that they are from two different social classes and he is no longer Dang-O. Tian Yu leaves the house in tears, leaving Jun Hao in despair.

On the wedding day of Yun Xi and Jun Hao, Zi Qian finds out that his family tragedy is caused by Jun Hao's father. Jun Hao realizes that he still likes Tian Yu and asks for her hand but Tian Yu declines because he is married to Yun Xi now. Yun Xi decides to let Jun Hao leave and agrees to divorce him. Jun Hao rushes to Guan Mei and informs Tian Yu. They patch up. Zi Qian plans for revenge and drives Jun Hao out of Senwell. Jun Hao and his mom moves into Guan Mei but because of Zi Qian's threaten, Jun Hao is being forced to leave Guan Mei. Before he leaves, he makes a date with Tian Yu on the hotel rooftop. Jun Hao tells Tian Yu he loves her and wants to see her smile everyday. Tian Yu awakes to find Jun Hao missing.

Senwell's deputy GM is unhappy with Zi Qian trying to sell Senwell to a hooligan, He approaches Jun Hao for help. Jun Hao's mom calls Tian Yu and informs her that Jun Hao may be in danger. So Jun Hao and Tian Yu meet again at the hooligan's place. They manage to escape but Tian Yu was shot at the head by the hooligan's men.

Tian Yu pretends to lose her memory of Jun Hao. She is upset with Dang-O for forgetting her and with Jun Hao for leaving her without a word. Jun Hao finally knows that she is pretending and promises her that he will never leave her. He kisses her and they patch up. On their wedding day, they go to the mountain in their wedding gowns to fix some pipes for a customer. They are obviously running late for the ceremony. While they are walking towards their car, they fall into the deep hole again and Jun Hao decides to have their wedding ceremony in the deep hole. He puts on the ring for Tian Yu and Tian Yu uses the sachet as the ring for Jun Hao. Jun Hao kisses the bride.

Review:
This is the next best Taiwanese drama I have watched after "Meteor Garden" so far. The fairytale storyline is good enough to make everyone smile even long after the drama has finished.

Ming Dao acted well in both Dang-O and Shan Jun Hao's roles. He is cute and good natured as Dang-O; intelligent and arrogant as Shan Jun Hao. I like both characters. Chen Qiao En is surprisingly impressive in her acting here as compared to MVP. Some of her act-cute scenes are exaggerated but you just want to believe that this is just Tian Yu and it is acceptable. Ming Dao and Qiao En are compatible on screen (as compared to Ming Dao and Cyndi Wang in "Tian Guo de Jia Yi", which is horrible). Besides the main cast, I want to give credit to the supporting roles in the drama. Tian Yu's step mom is one whom I really like. You just want to laugh at every scene she has a part in. Wang Shao Wei as Zi Qian is so sweet in this drama, he is that kind of gentleman who will melt your heart away.

I would have given a rating of 5 if not for the later part of the drama. It gets a little draggy towards the end. I found the part where Shan Jun Hao goes looking for a job irritating because it just does not match the Shan Jun Hao that has been portrayed all this while. I found it unnecessary and a little over-done during the part where Tian Yu pretends to have lost her memory and everyone starts re-playing the scenarios to help regain her memory. The plot where Jun Hao/Dang-O forgets selective part of his memory always gets on my nerves because it reminds me of the plot in the Korean Drama "Save Your Last Dance For Me". Comparing "Prince Turns Into a Frog" with "Save Your Last Dance for Me", Ming Dao and Qiao En have better chemistry on screen than Eugene and Ji Sung. The Taiwanese version is a love/comedy while the K-drama is more serious, centred on Eugene's unconditional love and sacrifice for Ji Sung.

Conclusion:
Having said all these, without this ridiculous plot to start with, we will not have this wonderful drama. It is definitely a drama not to be missed.


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