For a show that had a lot of people and plotlines that I didn’t really care for, The Whirlwind Girl (旋风少女) still ended up being strangely addicting and watchable. I wholeheartedly believe that is because of two people: Ruo Bai (Yang Yang) and Ting Hao (Chen Xiang).
Enter: one girl, hard working, plain, “weed” type in the vein of your classic drama/manga tropes, and three pretty boys, all who fall madly in love with her. What do you think will happen?
Qi Bai Cao (newcomer Hu Bing Qing) is your classic hard-working female protagonist. She trains in Yuanwudao (a fictional martial art), but unofficially — her teacher, Qu Xiang Nan, was accused of using drugs at an international competition ten years ago, and since then has been banned from the Yuanwudao world in general. Bai Cao is one of the only people who believes in Qu Xiang Nan’s innocence, and because of that has never been recognized as a true Yuanwudao student, even though she’s pretty good. Through some circumstances, she ends up at the Song Bai School for martial arts, where she begins as a promising student and quickly rises up in the Yuanwudao world, backed by our three pretty boys.
The first pretty boy is Ruo Bai (Yang Yang), a cold but strategic and knowledgeable martial artist who is the best student at Song Bai and recognizes Bai Cao’s potential. He takes her under his wing and spends endless hours training her, falling in love with her in the process (obviously.) He’s my favorite. He does so much for Bai Cao without wanting her to know and expects nothing in return.
Second pretty boy is Fang Ting Hao (Chen Xiang), my other favorite. He’s a star in the Yuanwudao world, naturally talented, international champion, a total player who also falls in love with Bai Cao. She’s the first girl he’s ever truly liked and pursued, but she takes everything he does as a joke and doesn’t ever really give him a chance.
Third pretty boy is Yu Chu Yuan (Bai Jing Ting), another naturally talented Yuanwudao martial artist, perhaps the best martial artist of their generation, who dropped out of the Yuanwudao world two years ago for mysterious reasons. Now he’s a medical student, and he also falls in love with Bai Cao. Quiet, nice, and gentle, he’s the Hanazawa Rui type whom Bai Cao immediately crushes on. I find him about as flat and entertaining as his pressed khaki pants.
In addition to our main cast of characters, we see the typical jealous female antagonist in Fang Ting Yi, Ting Hao’s younger sister who is the best female martial artist in their area. She’s madly in love with Chu Yuan, and immediately becomes jealous of Bai Cao and sees her as a rival. We also get some entertaining side characters, such as Bai Cao’s best friend Xiao Ying, and Ruo Bai’s best bud Yi Feng.
Other than our main girl-rising-up-in-the-world plot, we also have a few side plots, such as the quest to vindicate Qu Xiang Nan, and the rivalry between Ting Hao and Chu Yuan, borne out of the fact that Chu Yuan’s mother put Ting Hao’s mother into a coma in a freak accident during a Yuanwudao match.
It’s inevitable that I compare The Whirlwind Girl to Moon River. They both involve martial arts, and are both adapted from novels written by Ming Xiao Xi, and it shows. The Whirlwind Girl doesn’t have the same emotional tug or manically addictive quality as Moon River. I don’t care as much about the characters or relationships. Quite frankly, I find most of the characters in The Whirlwind Girl annoying at one point or another, Chu Yuan is super boring, and the drama’s only saving graces are the actual martial arts-focused plot points and Yang Yang and Chen Xiang.
I finished the series before figuring out that there’s a season 2, so I had a definite WTF? moment after watching the last episode, which wasn’t much of an ending. While I’d love to see more Yang Yang and Chen Xiang, I’m also a little concerned about the fact that there’s a whole other 32 episodes to go. I don’t think there’s 32 episodes of story left, which means we’re bound to get at least 30 more episodes of angst, cliche drama plot twists, and the works.
But despite everything that annoys me about this drama, I still find myself caring about the story just a little, and looking for all the season 2 clips I could find. There’s just something about dramas that have a sports focus that at the very least draw me into the sports aspect of it.
In the meantime, the season finale has left me feeling hollow and incomplete, so I’m off to find some more Yang Yang dramas, youthful, fun dramas, or just some more eye candy pics and gifs of my two new favorite pretty boy actors, like this gif of Chen Xiang:
While I’m at it, here’s another gif. (Okay, Bai Cao, I’ll allow you some screen time…)