July 16th, 2020 – it’s been four months since COVID swamped the country with still increasing cases every day. With Metro Manila now under GCQ, let me just ask, how have you been? Well whatever your situation, I am hoping for your safety and wellbeing. May you and your family be always safe and free from any sickness!
Having a reduced work schedule and feeling all tired and stressed because of news that never fail to surprise us, I kept myself busy and distracted by, as usual, watching Korean dramas until I ran out of supply. I choose what I watch and found Mystic Pop-up Bar somewhat interesting, well, to my liking. But at that time it was ongoing and I had to wait for new episodes to watch. 😦
I have this dongsaeng (younger sibling in Korean), Ruthleen, whom I’ve known for 10 years already and who’s very close to my heart. ♥ I was actually scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I saw a short clip of a Chinese drama. I must admit, the lead actor’s visual caught my attention, not to mention his height. 😀 so I sent a message to my dongsaeng, knowing she’s currently in to Chinese series. She recommended 3 series and one of which had that good-looking guy as the lead. :”> His name is Ryan Ding Yu Xi by the way! ^^
The first one she recommended to me was Skate Into Love. It was very dear to her, it was her most favorite Chinese drama. Second, Intense Love, where Ryan Ding (my baby) was the lead actor. Third, A Little Thing Called First Love, starring Lai Kuan Lin. ♥
So these were the 3 Chinese dramas she suggested, and me, being an obedient unnie (older sister), abided by her sequence. 😉
First on my plate was Skate Into Love, basically the subject of this write-up. 🙂
At first, I was actually hesitant to watch this. My mind was like… I’m not really a fan of ice sports – ice hockey, figure skating, and short track speed skating… the story revolved around the protagonists’ college lives which included these sports which were also their majors. It didn’t hurt to try, I affirmed and so I went and watched the first episode. The next thing I knew, I was already binge-watching. > <
Skate Into Love was about young passionate college students chasing their dreams. Well, except for Tang Xue (Janice Wu) who was forced to take Veterinary Medicine as her course. She was once an athlete, a member of her school’s short track speed skating club until an accident during a competition which made her choose to give up.
Years after, she entered college with her best friends Liao Zhen Yu (Qin Tian Yu) and Xia Meng Huan (He Xuan Lin). There, he met her childhood deskmate, Li Yu Bing (Steven Zhang), who was labelled Bing Shen or Ice God in their university. He was well-known for his good looks and of course, his playing and game skills as the leader of the university’s Ice Hockey team.
From that point onward, Tang Xue slowly opened her eyes and came to a realization of what she really wanted for herself. Seeing Li Yu Bing passionately play in the ice rink knocked her senses and made her want to chase her own dream. But of course, it wasn’t easy at all. She needed support and boosting, she also had her parents to worry about. But her friends cheered for her, they helped pave the way in achieving what she once thought was impossible – to get back on ice.
What I liked about the series?
I did it on purpose, not giving away all the good and heartwarming stuff because maybe a part me was hoping you would try and watch it too? 🙂 There’s just a bunch of things that I came to like while watching Skate Into Love. Sooo~
First off, the actors. They really wowed me. I was in awe watching every scene on ice with the thought “was it really them?” hanging in my mind and remained unanswered until I finished all the episodes and went hunting for behind the scenes. I would describe their acting as natural. It’s like you’re a college student casually walking past by them, seeing them, hearing them – just like how college students typically were. Steven and Janice did a really good job on this one. Their words and actions pierced right through my heart. 😥
Steven on the other hand, held a college diploma for Chinese Opera which, according to my dongsaeng, was the reason why the way he acted seemed so professional and natural. Like in this scene, look at how his facial expression progressed. Bonus: he sings and plays the piano well too!
Usually, Chinese dramas are dubbed to improve noise cancellation and proper standard pronunciation (Mandarin). Sometimes the actor would dub himself, sometimes not. But for this one, they used their own voices. There were scenes in particular where even their voice acting exceeded expectations. You know that sense of feeling the person’s anger, sadness, and pain whilst listening to their voice as they spoke? I felt that and it felt real. Ang sakit.
I have nothing but praises to give the actors who made this series a success. Not to mention the months of training they underwent to make the scenes breathtakingly real. /claps/
Second, the story and side stories. Being a romance comedy, like any other series out there, it gives the same giddy feels to the viewers. But the first episodes of Skate Into Love focused more on the characters’ lives which meant their dreams and their professions, something to be taken seriously of since it’s about their future. The story actually emphasized more on each character’s struggles, pain, fears, and passion more than the love story itself.
The romantic part gradually appeared somewhere at the middle, with a normal progress I should say. I’m not sure if this may seem unrealistic to some but the message conveyed, or the message I received rather, spoke of selfless love. The way the story developed and adding how the actors portrayed the roles somehow met with my idea of selfless love; especially with Zhen Yu and Meng Huan’s love story. :’) The guy was continuously giving and exerting effort as a way to show his love and it was very moving for me. Oh and not only did the students have love interests, but the coaches as well. ♥
Third, the story also focused on family and friendship. I think it’s quite normal for families to have arguments and disagreements, right? In this series, Tang Xue and her cousin Zhou Ran (Chu Yue) attended the same university. Zhou Ran disliked Tang Xue for always stealing the limelight during their childhood, thus, making her college life somewhat troublesome. Tang Xue had a close relationship with her parents, until she kept something really important from them. We all make mistakes, and Tang Xue made one mistake which made her father furious to the extent that he had to travel from their hometown down to where Tang Xue attended college.
This part showed the fears and worries parents have for their children. At first we get to only see one point to be considered, and that was me siding with Tang Xue, until I heard what her father had to say. Believe me, I bawled my eyes crying at this part because her father only wanted what’s best and safe for her.
Tang Xue and Li Yu Bing just have the best friends ever who would wholeheartedly look after them through ups and downs. I admire how sturdy the foundation and bond of their friendships were, and, not to mention, how it was formed. 🙂
Fourth, what’s a series without quotable quotes? 🙂 Here let me share some of the quotes that moved me I had to screenshot and share them through this post. I may have passed that expected age where young teens strive and dream, but then I question myself, is it really too late to dream?
Last, but not the least… the soundtrack! I love the songs from this series. Some of the songs are heartbreaking, like when you hear it, even if you don’t understand the lyrics, it will bring sadness into your heart. 😦
My personal favorite are Steven’s A Ray of Hope because of the song’s meaning which actually tells you to go for your dream. I liked the song too because Steven’s voice was so rich and powerful, as expected from an opera actor. *o* and hearing him singing made me want to sing too, like sing well and correctly, not just casually sing. 🙂
Another favorite is Land of Ice and Snow, performed by none other than one of the story’s actress, He Xuan Lin. I loved how her voice sound cold and relaxed. I also found it challenging to sing because of the curls? I don’t know what you call them but it’s progressing from one note to another in a short span of time. I’m now able to sing it well and properly, thanks to casual singing in the shower. 😀
Sorry it’s in Chinese TT
Would you re-watch? A BIG YES! ♥
So there you have it, my review of Skate Into Love. It’s really a good watch, it’s a hidden gem. Even I didn’t expect to like it this much, to the point of writing about it and sharing to the world. You can relate with the characters and part of the stories, but I think what brings us together is the common yearning to dream.
“Make your passion your profession.”