The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog


Reviewed by: Faith

December 21, 2005

Rating: four

Cast:
Ming Dao - Shan Jun Hao/Dang Ou
Joe Chen Qiao En - Ye Tian Yu
Sam Wang Shao Wei - Xu Zi Qian
Joyce Zhao Hong Qiao - Fan Yun Xi
Ehlo Huang Yu Rong - Da Wei
Gino - Zhang Ming Han
Wang Juan - Chen Jin Zhi
Anthony - Ye Zheng Zhe
Zhao Sun - Tang Shun Ming

Synopsis:
"The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog" (Wang Zi Bian Qing Wa) is a story of love and fairytales. Shan Jun Hao is the arrogant, charismatic manager of Senwell, a hotel of international standards. He is about to get married to his childhood sweetheart Fan Yun Xi, but he gets involved in a car accident and loses his memory. Ye Tian Yu is a small town girl who dreams of marrying a rich man. After the accident, Jun Hao wanders about and is nearly hit again by Tian Yu. Tian Yu, mistakenly believing that she caused his injuries, brings him home. When she realises that he does not remember anything, she gives him the name Dang Ou, and tells him that he is her cousin. Soon enough, she finds herself falling for this kind-hearted and intelligent stranger although he does not have a cent. Dang Ou also sees through Tian Yu's greed and discovers that there is an angel that lives in her heart.

Xu Zi Qian, Jun Hao's childhood friend, secretly harbours feelings for Yun Xi. As Yun Xi copes with the loss of Jun Hao (who they think is dead), he silently stays by her side, providing support. But one day, Zi Qian discovers that Jun Hao is actually staying in Tian Yu's house in Guan Mei Fishing Village. He is torn as to whether he should tell Yun Xi the truth. However, Yun Xi discovers the truth eventually and demands to meet Jun Hao. Tian Yu promises that she'll "return" Jun Hao to them, but when Dang Ou knew of this, he went after Tian Yu and both of them become involved in another accident. When Dang Ou wakes up, he is no longer Dang Ou - he regained his memory as Shan Jun Hao and forgot about his days with Tian Yu!

Character Review: (Spoiler Alert!)
Ming Dao - Shan Jun Hao/Dang Ou
On Shan Jun Hao/Dang Ou:
Shan Jun Hao was brought up in a wealthy family. He grew up following his parents' plans by taking over Senwell and by marrying Yun Xi, who was adopted by the Shan family. He is an organized and confident person, and extremely egotistical. He refuses to bow down to others or to ask for help even though the reputation and future of his hotel is at stake. Dang Ou is as business-minded and logical as Jun Hao, but Dang Ou is much more down-to-earth. Dang Ou has what Jun Hao sorely lacks - humility. Dang Ou does not know his own identity, so when he finds himself teaching the Guan Mei workers how to run their hotel, he himself seemed a little surprised that he has all that knowledge. However, after he regains his memory as Jun Hao, he no longer remembers his days as Dang Ou. But Dang Ou still lives within him, and Tian Yu manages to bring out Dang Ou from him. Although it is not clearly said, it is implied by the end of the series through his words and actions that Jun Hao did regain some memories as Dang Ou. He became Jun Hao with a tinge of Dang Ou's personality.

On Ming Dao as Shan Jun Hao/Dang Ou:
Ming Dao did an excellent job here portraying both characters which are as different as night and day. Shan Jun Hao is arrogant and inconsiderate towards others; Dang Ou is down-to-earth and kind-hearted. Ming Dao managed to bring out the best of both these characters, and he used to his eyes very well to express himself. There were 3 parts to his character - first it was the arrogant Jun Hao, then the kind Dang Ou, and finally a mixture of both. He also had very good chemistry with Joe Chen, which made their pairing so enjoyable to watch. All the Dang Ou/Tian Yu scenes were extremely memorable.

Joe Chen Qiao En - Ye Tian Yu
On Ye Tian Yu:
Tian Yu is the stepdaughter of Jin Zhi, because her birth mother passed away when she was young. Her father then married Jin Zhi and had Zheng Zhe. Tian Yu regrets that she never learned to play the piano like her mother, and Dang Ou teaches her to play her first song. At the beginning, Tian Yu was a very money-minded girl who only wants to marry a rich man. She helps Jin Zhi run a store, so she is used to doing heavy work such as carrying gas tanks and fixing pipes for people in Guan Mei Village. After meeting Dang Ou, she slowly falls for this penniless stranger, and she realises that marrying a rich man is not that important after all. But her heart is broken when he regains his memory and forgets about her. She tries to let go, but her heart believes that a part of Dang Ou still lives in Jun Hao. When Zi Qian starts to grow closer to her, he allows her to work in Senwell, causing her to face Jun Hao every day.

On Joe Chen as Ye Tian Yu:
Joe Chen played Tian Yu remarkably well. Tian Yu may seem a little greedy at first, but I grew to like her when I knew her story. She loves her family and her village, and is willing to do anything for them. Meeting Dang Ou changed her outlook on life, because he made her realize that love is more important than money. Joe Chen managed to make the audience love her despite her weaknesses, throughout the show I felt myself rooting for her, especially when she had to deal with the loss of Dang Ou. I admire her for her courage to stand up for Guan Mei and to deal with all the things that happened to her. Joe Chen did well showing Tian Yu's emotions, and her crying scenes were amazing.

Sam Wang Shao Wei - Xu Zi Qian
On Xu Zi Qian:
Zi Qian's father, together with Jun Hao's father and Ming Han's father, were the founders of Senwell. But Zi Qian's father died many years ago in a gas explosion, and his mother fell into a coma as a result of the incident, which was actually planned by Jun Hao's father so that he could take over Senwell. Zi Qian was taken care of by Jun Hao's family with no knowledge of the truth. Zi Qian grew up playing second fiddle to Jun Hao, even falling for Yun Xi, Jun Hao's fiance. When his love for Yun Xi is unrequited, he is heartbroken. Soon, he grows closer to Tian Yu, because Tian Yu and the people of Guan Mei made him feel the warmth of a family, a feeling that he never felt with the Shan family. Eventually, he finds out the truth about his father's death, which sparks a rage in him, causing him to turn on the Shan family to reclaim what rightfully belongs to him. He becomes ruthless, and plots to sell off Senwell out of his hatred towards them. Luckily, Yun Xi's need for him gave him something worth living for.

On Sam Wang as Xu Zi Qian:
This is Sam's first leading role in a series after acting in supporting roles in "My MVP Valentine", "Westside Story", and "Top of the Forbidden City". His acting was a little wooden at the start of the series, but as the show progressed, his acting improved a lot. In the first part of the series, his character was rather simple as Zi Qian was a pleasant person with not much variation. However, in the second half of the series, his character went through a sudden transformation and Sam portrayed the change convincingly. I felt that he did his best and his portrayal made the audience feel more pity than hate for him. His best scene was during the death of his mother, where he wept so naturally.

Joyce Zhao Hong Qiao - Fan Yun Xi
On Fan Yun Xi:
Yun Xi is by far the most pitiful character in this story. Her mother left her at Senwell when she was a child in hopes that she will be adopted by a well-to-do family. A young Jun Hao found her, so she was adopted by the Shan family. It might be a blessing for her but I think otherwise. She was raised to be the perfect wife for Jun Hao, as she was never given a chance to do anything else. Her only dream was to marry Jun Hao. When that could not happen, she was lost. She had no other direction in life, and she had nothing to fall back on at all. I sincerely felt sorry for her when she started to go crazy, as it shows how obsessed she is over Jun Hao. I doubt she ever loved Jun Hao at all; their relationship was boring and too routine-like. Jun Hao was just something she could not let go. If she did not marry him, she would have no reason to continue staying with the Shan family. Throughout the show, she was clinging on to Jun Hao not out of love, but because she needed to belong to him and his family.

On Joyce Zhao as Fan Yun Xi:
For most of the show, Yun Xi's character was an unhappy one. But Joyce's portrayal of Yun Xi lacked depth; it was not heartfelt enough. Joyce did an average job only, partly since she was often overshadowed by other more outstanding cast members. Despite her height and elegance, she didn't really stand out much, even in scenes where she was alone after leaving the Shan family. Yes, she looked sad when she as supposed to; looked mad when it was required of her, yet something was lacking in her performance that left me wanting more from her. I hope her performance will improve in her next series.

Extra Scoop:
"The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog" has dethroned "Meteor Garden" as the most popular idol drama in Taiwan. The show gained a huge fan base when it was aired in Taiwan, garnering a large viewership and beating the ratings of "Meteor Garden" to be the highest rated idol drama.

I have also heard that this drama has a similar story line to that of a Korean soap, "Save Your Last Dance For Me", where a rich businessman also loses his memory and is saved by a poor girl who gives him a new identity. But I am sure that the Taiwanese version has a different flavour from the Korean one, but is just as lighthearted and funny.

Personal Thoughts:
Overall, this series is a heartwarming and funny fare suitable for all, especially young girls with fantasies of meeting that dream guy. However, the series should not be taken too seriously, as it never tries to emulate reality in any way. After all, it is an idol drama, where everything is like a Disney cartoon. But its charm lies in the extremely comical characters and the touching, fantasy-like love story of Tian Yu and Jun Hao. Hopeless romantics (like yours truly) can be assured that this series will not disappoint, as the magic of Dang Ou and Tian Yu will remain in your heart even after you finish watching the series.

Official Site: http://www.settv.com.tw/metro/m095


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