One and a Half Summer is a Chinese drama starring 2PM’s Nichkhun. He plays Zhang Hao a Chinese-American who meets Shu Qing (Fu Wen Wen) while on trip to Santorini, Greece and quickly falls in love with her. He moves to China as a foreign exchange student with the hopes of finding her. While in university he becomes best friends with Luo Man (Xu Lu) and Li Xiu Qi (Jiang Jin Fu) and joins their school circle of friends. They form lifelong friendships and memories by forming a rock band.
Being a college youth drama, it was a easy and breezy watch. The biggest draw factor of course was Nichkhun because duh he’s my bias of 2PM and I also tend to enjoy school/youth related dramas. I don’t normally watch C-dramas because I don’t like dubbing and C-dramas aren’t as readily available compared to K-dramas. Surprisingly for this drama (besides Khunnie), the actors weren’t dubbed which was quite refreshing. I expected Khunnie to be dubbed, well because we all know he isn’t fluent in Mandarin. However, I appreciated how he did try to speak Mandarin, because in some scenes you could actually see his lip movements matching with his dubbed voice. In terms acting, I wasn’t expecting much from Khun as it is his first drama (besides previous drama cameos) and leading role! I would say he fit his character of Zhang Hao who’s optimistic, bright, playful and a little mischievous… I would say his acting was passable or serviceable. Of course the scenes that required more emotional depth, he was definitely lacking and needs further improvement. I think with time and experience he’ll definitely improve. I look forward to seeing him in more dramas in the future.
I’m not going to lie, I was pretty disappointed by the ending. Dare I say even felt a bit cheated. The drama was really long being 29 episodes (I watched the DVD cut version) and at times it was very slow paced. I continued watching because I really wanted to know what would happen to our characters in the end, especially the romance. Usually I don’t mind open ended endings for some dramas but for this one, I wanted a more definite ending. If I could re-write the ending, it would go something like this: Xiu Qi realized that him and Luo Man are better off as friends and lets her go. Luo Man and Nickhun reunite again in Santorini and finally expressing their honest feelings to each other FACE-to-FACE. Saying how much they’ve missed each other and Zhang Hao telling Luo Man that he really likes her as well. They move on to hug and/or kiss, THE END. Gosh isn’t my ending a lot better? I mean even if they didn’t say anything, they just saw each other again and hugged, I would have been more satisfied. Was that too much ask? The ending felt like it could open up possibilities for a second season, which I highly doubt there will be.
I was also disappointed in Jia (Miss A)’s role. I found her character almost useless and very annoying. All her character did was study and yell at everyone to be quiet so they wouldn’t waste her precious study time. I thought she’d have a slightly bigger supporting role and a bigger involvement with our group of friends.
Going back to the positives of the drama. Even though it was slow paced, I really did enjoy the friendships and bromance between our characters. I especially loved the bromance between Zhang Hao and Xiu Qi. They were really cute together and they looked out for each other like really good brothers. Luo Man’s father-daughter relationship was really sweet and touching as well. The romance wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to be but the other types of relationships made up for it. The cast as whole had great chemistry together and it looked like they enjoyed filming together, even having tons of fun off-screen.
Other than Khun and Jia, I am not familiar with the rest of the cast. Xu Lu is really pretty and cute, she reminds me of a lot of Zheng Shuang (Meteor Shower). I thought she had really good chemistry with Khun and they looked great together. Jiang Jin Fu, wow he’s a really good looking guy and has such a HOT body, dang! I would say he was probably one of the stronger actors of the ensemble cast. I really liked his Xiu Qiu character, who’s really kind and considerate, not only towards Luo Man but his friends as well. Jiang Jin Fu is definitely an actor I’m going to be on the lookout for in the future! Yu Wen Wen, I was so amazed by her electric guitar performance. I was thinking “Dang this girl is legit” and after reading up more about her, she’s actually a musician and singer who can play various instruments. She’s also a fellow Canadian too, woot! Didn’t really care for her character too much, she always had a cold and unhappy expression for most the drama. I was the most surprised by how young the cast is! Nichkhun is actually the the big brother (oldest) out of the main cast. Well I guess if you’re going to film a youth drama, the actors shouldn’t be too far off from that age haha.
I liked the running theme in the drama, how when you’re searching for something in life, you may not always find it, but instead find something even better. Zhang Hao came all the way to China to find Shu Qing. Things never quite worked out with her the way he planned. Instead, he gained a great group of life-long friends and an experience of a lifetime studying and working in a foreign country. Also I wanted to mention that this drama was beautifully shot! I normally watch more dramas from Hong Kong and Taiwan and usually the production value is significantly lower compared to dramas from Korea or Japan. I loved the angles and even the up-close shots of actors and the color palettes used. This drama also makes me want to visit Santorini, it’s so breathtakingly beautiful!
So should you watch this drama? Yes if you’re a big fan of Nichkhun because he’s super adorable in this drama. If you enjoy watching youth/college focused dramas, then give it a try but you’ll need to have patience because it’s a lot slower paced than most dramas you’d watch, especially K-dramas. I did enjoy the drama overall for what it was (besides the ending), it was an easy watch like I mentioned above and nothing is overly dramatic. It’s focused on university students and their everyday lives, from juggling school, work, friends, romance, etc. For me personally, I felt a connection with our characters based on what they went through going to school. I think university/college for everyone was a nostalgic period (besides the school work), it was time when we were discovering more about ourselves, creating lifelong friendships and and even having some romance on the side. I think the best thing to do, is to watch the drama without much expectations and perhaps it will even help you recall your own happy memories of your youth.
Also I wanted to share this article I came across of an interview with MICHAÉL who was the dubbed voice actor for Nichkhun in the drama. He’s actually an American, living and working in China, who is fluent in Mandarin. Check out his interview here to learn more about him what it was like working with Khunnie.
He also sang one of the OST songs from the drama, 同一片星空 (The Same Starry Night)
Nichkhun’s song Let It Rain is also part of the OST. I love this song a lot and I was listening to it a lot even before I watched the drama!
And as always here’s a bonus for all my ladies who will appreciate this, *RAWR* Your welcome.