Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2021? I’m going to go ahead and name You Are My Hero, which aired in March, my favorite modern Chinese drama of the year so far.
You Are My Hero is a 40-episode drama that mixes high-stakes, action-packed situations with a very sweet first-love romance, and it’s available on Viki and YouTube with English subtitles. I was initially skeptical about the pairing of Bai Jingting and Ma Sichun but they proved me wrong! Although there’s a six-year age gap between them in real life, they matched extremely well and had great chemistry. I hadn’t seen Bai Jingting in anything previously, but he really pulled off the humor and now I’m excited to see more of his acting. I was already a fan of Ma Sichun after seeing her 2015 drama Love Me If You Dare and 2016 film Soul Mate.
It’s refreshing that there are no prolonged misunderstandings for the main couple’s storyline, but it did sometimes veer into cheesy/cliché territory when I personally would’ve preferred a more slice-of-life vibe. Also, there were some frustrating storylines for the supporting characters that caused this drama to lose some points with me. Overall though, I watched this as it was airing and it held my attention for it’s entire 40-episode run!
Keep reading for more of my thoughts on the characters and storylines, with only minor/vague spoilers as usual.
Xing Kelei (Bai Jingting) is an extremely capable and confident SWAT team leader who is very strict in overseeing the emergency rescue training program that Mi Ka (Ma Sichun) participates in with her fellow doctors at the beginning of the series. They get off on the wrong foot, and only one of them realizes they’d previously met in the drama’s very dramatic opening scene. (Dramas like this never start subtly, do they?!)
It really makes sense that Xing Kelei and Mi Ka fall for each other because they are both independent, brave, and driven people who are passionate about their careers and helping people. Their mutual lack of relationship experience results in a bumpy road for them as they navigate confessing their feelings to each other, miscommunications, and progressing to the next step in their relationship. I’m especially impressed with how Ma Sichun portrays Mi Ka with an excellent balance of the cute, caring girlfriend and the clear-headed, smart doctor. She feels jealousy and loneliness just like anyone else, but she also speaks openly and honestly about her feelings. Fortunately, there’s no third party that gets in between them, no love triangle here. There’s only one brief storyline that involves a girl from Xing Kelei’s past and while it was somewhat dramatic, it was nice to see the way Xing Kelei handled it. However, their biggest obstacle though, is that they both face a LOT of intense, life-threatening situations.
Onto the supporting characters! Xing Kelei’s older sister Xing Keyao (Zhang Yao) is an absolute delight and I loved every scene she was in. Xing Keyao is a no-nonsense, efficient woman who returns from abroad. Her work for the family business, which is something like medical devices/equipment, results in her re-encountering Shao Yuhan (Wang Yang/Wayne Wang), the doctor that Mi Ka works under. (It’s always a small world, isn’t it?) Shao Yuhan is also pretty no-nonsense himself, a skilled surgeon who is quite shrewd when it comes to hospital politics. I love these two characters because they are wiser due to their life experience and know how to take care of matters. I honestly wish we’d seen more of them together.
I also loved Xing Keyao and Xing Kelei’s scenes together and they made me laugh so many times. Xing Kelei is so tough and strong, but he fears his older sister. 😂 She really knows how to set him straight, hehe.
(By the way, I think I’ve only previously seen Wang Yang/Wayne Wang in Joy of Life, and I’m impressed by his acting since the roles were completely different!)
And that brings me to the extremely frustrating second couple! Ruan Qing Xia (Jiang Pei Yao) is Mi Ka’s best friend and an outgoing, flirtatious TV reporter who sets her sights on Shu Wen Bo (Chen Hao), who is a member of Xing Kelei’s team. Although it was initially entertaining to see Wen Bo being completely oblivious to Xiao Xia pursuing him, it got old fast. They spent so much time in a back-and-forth situation that I lost interest in them completely. I felt like Xiao Xia crossed the line when she befriended Wen Bo’s mother, but Wen Bo also gave mixed signals when he rejected her but also couldn’t seem to let her go.
I did love the friendship between Mi Ka and Xiao Xia though, and how they confided in each other and talked through their respective relationship issues. Also, Go Go Squid fans will recognize Jiang Pei Yao, who played Yang Zi’s friend. Here’s hoping her next role is a different kind of character.
Xing Kelei and his team also had some fun scenes, and the character Li Nian had some hilarious moments.
Unfortunately, the last two episodes were underwhelming and overwritten. The finale feels like fan service? But I guess it could’ve been worse… So yes, definitely not a *perfect* drama but it did bring me a lot of joy and I eagerly waited for new episodes every day while it was airing!
One last thing, I did love the OST and especially the ending theme song, which I’ll leave you with.