I was 10 when I got addicted to this Asian drama that started it all. 15 years later, I found myself in the same spot, giggling like a kid who has seen her first love whilst watching this remake.
I've watched all the versions of this series/story, from anime, first live-action (Taiwanese Meteor Garden), Japanese adaptation (HYD), Korean (BOF) to Let's Go Watch Meteor Shower (the Chinese unlicensed drama prod), and so far, I'm really loving this 2018 adaptation.
I guess it really just boils down with personal preferences because as much as I'd like for this version to stay faithful with the original, I don't really like the bullying part/scenes of the other versions, including those scenes that are borderline harassment.
When I watched the other versions at a young age, I don't really mind them at that time, but now that I have come off to a better understanding of the society, it knocked off some sense to me and those kind of scenarios really do make me uncomfortable.
I've seen and read a lot of comparisons between the actors/actresses and I must say they have their own strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, Dylan Wang portrayed a really childish and short-tempered Ah-Si/Domyouji. Admittedly, I was skeptical at first if he'd be able to pull off the main lead's character. There are a few scenes where the acting is a lil bit off-putting but then again, considering this is his first drama, he's doing really well. And don't get me started with his stares! Man, I don't know how Shen Yue is still alive after their scenes together lol. I can barely even breathe when he's on the screen and giving her the intense gazes and stares. He's legit giving me heart-attack and I'm ending up helplessly in love with him. His existence should be illegal!
Anyway, Darren as Hua Ze Lei is so cute, giving off that pretty/good boy vibes. Though not as mysterious as Vic/Shun Oguri, him being a silent type of person is just okay for me. Meanwhile, Connor and Ceasar are doing alright with their bromance scenes at the later episodes.
Shancai in this version though is kinda nosy, annoying and had tendencies to be weak. Idk if that's because the storyline calls for it, so that Dao Ming Si could show how a supportive guy he is (dude, I don't remember JunPyo, Tsukasa and Taiwanese Ah Si being supportive like that) to Shancai but then again, where is my badass female lead?! Nonetheless, Shen Yue is too cute for my sanity. She's a perfect match with Dylan Wang. To be honest, this is the first time I actually shipped Dao Ming Si and Shancai because in all previous versions, I really like Lei and her to be the end game. I got a major second-lead syndrome for the longest time, not until this remake. So to those who have Lei-Shancai as their OTP, just a soft warning that you might swerve lanes.
Anyway, these are just my random musings after watching (and re-watching!) the first 14 episodes in raw and with English subtitles. Oh, the agony of waiting. Makes me regret that I didn't take Mandarin class back in my school days.
PS. I shipped the Yue and Dylan so hard rn, I'm dying.
PPS. I think there's a rumor that Yue and Connor are dating because they're being seen together? Though they're actually just filming for a new drama. I forgot the title but definitely they have a project together.