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2023 has certainly been a good year for dramas.
One of my favourite dramas ever, Hidden Love with Zhao Lu Si and Chen Zhe Yuan came out. Now, there’s also When I Fly Towards You that’s pretty decent as well.
In this blog post drama review, I’ll break down the different elements of this drama.
Let’s get started!
When I Fly Towards You Synopsis
Su Zai Zai fell for Zhang Lu Rang on a rainy day at a convenience store without knowing who he was at first. When they meet again at school, their interactions become more frequent, and start to become close. With their other three friends, Gu Ran, Guan Fang, and Jiang Jia, they help each other achieve their goals.
When I Fly Towards You – Characters
Zhang Lu Rang
At first glance, Zhang Lu Rang seems like he should be a confident person.
He has a seemingly outstanding academic background and is good-looking but he does not have the best family background.
His mom’s obvious favoritism towards his genius younger brother causes Zhang Lu Rang to lack confidence and not be able to express himself well. The lack of motherly love makes him constantly doubt himself. He is aloof and emotionally distant from everyone.
Meeting Su Zai Zai made him come out of his shell more. She’s a ray of sunshine and encourages him helping him build his self-esteem. He changed for the better because of her influence.
Su Zai Zai
Su Zai Zai is the type of person you want in your life. She is encouraging, loyal, and assertive.
She’s not afraid to go after what she wants aka her ‘Rang Rang.’
There is secondhand embarrassment in the way she expresses her feelings to Zhang Lu Rang but again, as a teenager, who hasn’t done some embarrassing things?
A vibrant girl crushing on a quiet and handsome guy isn’t anything original. Her description fits a lot with other female leads in Chinese campus dramas but she’s portrayed realistically.
In other dramas, the girl might be dumb in school all around like A Love So Beautiful but Su Zai Zai has her strengths. She’s good at English while Zhang Lu Rang is good at math. They tutor and lift each other academically.
Gu Ran and Jiang Jia
Gu Ran and Jiang Jia are a part of the friend group alongside Guan Fang, and, of course, Zhang Lu Rang and Su Zai Zai.
This side couple became a fan favourite. From unrequited love to lovers, their relationship developed slowly and naturally.
I enjoyed watching their storyline. Usually, the main couple has all of my attention. The last time I remember being invested in a secondary couple is Eternal Love.
Many other drama fans also felt strongly about Jiang Jia and Gu Ran. Some even went as far as saying they prefer this couple over the lead couple.
The casting team deserves a round of applause for picking two couples with sizzling romantic chemistry.
Side note – Jiang Jia is a character that many young adults can relate to. She didn’t know what she wanted in life and if you’ve never experienced that, boy are you lucky.
Guan Fang is forever the fifth wheel. There is no romance going on for him. Rather, Guan Fang stood out with his touching storyline with his grandmother.
When I Fly Towards You – Lead Actors
Zhou Yi Ran
Although Zhou Yi Ran has been in plenty of Chinese dramas before, this is his breakout role and also my first time watching his project.
I can see why Zhou Yi Ran was cast as Zhang Lu Rang. He does have that introverted, quiet, first-love hottie type of look.
He did well as Zhang Lu Rang but to be honest, the way how the character was written, an actor doesn’t need superb acting skills to carry out the role of Zhang Lu Rang.
Zhang Miao Yi
Zhang Miao Yi was born for this role!
She has that cutesy good-girl look that suited her character, Su Zai Zai.
Did you know that she is actually two years older than Zhou Yi Ran? I was surprised by that too! I would think they’re the same age or younger.
Both lead actors are so believable in their roles that I wouldn’t be surprised if their real-life personality is extremely similar to their characters in When I Fly Towards You.
When I Fly Towards You – Pros
1) The Chemistry
The romantic chemistry between the main leads was solid but also the chemistry between the second couple. The five friends had a great dynamic together which makes the audience yearn to be a part of their friend group.
The chemistry between the group and the couples is a HUGE contributor to the drama’s success. It’s also nice that the supporting character had stories of their own.
2) The Cinematography
There are many scenes with a video camera diary. This use of cinematography feels more intimate as if these characters are truly people you know and they’re updating you on their lives.
Watching the characters transition from high school to adulthood will make you get attached.
1) When Su Zai Zai acts fake in front of this girl that has a one-sided crush on Zhang Lu Rang. Su Zai Zai behaves oddly but sees right through the female student. It was funny to see Zhang Lu Rang play along.
2) When a video was ‘accidentally’ played that showed the class how much Su Zai Zai loves Zhang Lu Rang. She’s beyond embarrassed but the audience can tell how much Zhang Lu Rang loved it.
3) In episode 22, Zai Zai teases Rang Rang thinking he would be shy but she became shy instead (sofa scene).
4) Rang Rang’s uncle’s golden retriever. Golden retrievers are my favourite dog breed ever (fun fact) so watching scenes with the dog makes me want to reach inside the screen and pet him myself.
When I Fly Towards You – Cons
1) This is a high school drama and in China, the real romance and dating don’t start until after the high school graduation.
The biggest complaint is the slow love story. Their romance doesn’t go officially boyfriend and girlfriend until episode 19. In all the episodes before that, they were in a ‘some’ relationship.
When they get together, there’s no unnecessary conflict but it did move pretty quickly in the end. The high school part of the drama took up about 19 episodes. It would have been nice to watch the couple overcome real-life problems together as adults.
2) This isn’t exactly a con but the quiet guy falling for the bubbly girl has been redone so many times already. The story has the common themes that often happen in dramas like mistaken identity and falling in love at first sight. However, it’s the way the actors brought the characters to life that didn’t make everything cliché. It shows that a simple story can still be portrayed beautifully if written properly and picking the right actors.
Hidden Love VS When I Fly Towards You
There are a lot of comparisons in online communities between the two dramas for a good reason. Zhu Yi is the author behind Hidden Love and When I Fly Towards You.
It just so happens that both of her novels got adapted into dramas and were released in the summer of 2023.
There are a few similarities.
Both dramas are under the umbrella of youth, sweet, and campus drama. Both female leads also grew up in healthy households with love surrounding them. Their male leads were the opposite. They have a more complicated family background.
Another similarity is that the female leads fall for the male leads first but in the end, Zhang Lu Rang and Duan Jia Xu love their partners fiercely and equally as much.
Even the drama episodes were of similar length. There are 24 episodes in When I Fly Towards You. There are 25 episodes for Hidden Love.
The chemistry between the lead couple in the drama is also very strong romantically. Sparks were flying on the screen but there are also differences.
With Hidden Love, there’s more focus on the romance between Sang Zhi and Duan Jia Xu. The rest of the characters revolved mainly around them and played a supporting role in their love story. There is a heavier emphasis on romantic love but also touches on family love.
On the other hand, When I Fly Towards You touched on other themes like family, friendship, and school on top of romance. There is also a longer period of school life in this drama.
Why I Started Watching When I Fly Towards You
After watching Hidden Love, I felt a bit empty without my Sang Zhi and Duan Jia Xu fix. Since When I Fly Towards You was written by the same author, I decided to give it a shot and am glad I did!
I didn’t think I would be interested in this drama so it was an unexpected surprise. It was one of those finds like A Familiar Stranger where I happened to stumble upon it.
In the end, I got to write another Chinese drama review AND coo over another fictional couple.
I tend to follow closely with projects that have bigger name actors attached to them. Actors like Zhao Lu Si have a greater fan base that automatically looks forward to their dramas. However, it’s also nice when there are new faces in good dramas. There are no expectations attached and the actor has a blank slate to impress the audience.
For actors like Cheng Yi, being in the same genre, he probably has to worry about portraying his character differently from Love and Redemption versus Immortal Samsara when he knows the audience will make constant comparisons between the two characters.
Actors like Zhou Yi Ran and Zhang Miao Yi don’t have to worry about that sort of thing because they’re new faces. They’ve made a favourable impression and are probably new to most of the viewers of When I Fly Towards You.
I sincerely hope they will team up again in another Chinese drama. I bet a lot of their fans are rooting for them together too.
Final Thoughts – When I Fly Towards You
Overall, this is a sweet love story that is worth watching.
This coming-of-age drama is wholesome and will have you reminiscing back to your school days and remembering when life was simpler.
By airing this drama on Netflix, more people will know about this drama – deservingly so.
What are you waiting for?
Go watch When I Fly Towards You on Netflix!
Now to You – When I Fly Towards You
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P.S. If you enjoyed this show, Zhang Miao Yi has another campus drama called Exclusive Fairytale that you might want to watch. The male lead is Jun from the K-POP boy group, Seventeen. It’s about a pair of childhood sweethearts falling in love.
Exclusive Fairytale came out quite close to When I Fly Towards You so you’ll probably see a lot of comparisons between the two dramas, especially since it’s with the same female lead with a similar personality and a youth/campus drama. If you like the first love type of drama, don’t forget to add that drama to your to-watch bucket list!