C-Dramas: Gank Your Heart

Promotional shot from ‘Gank Your Heart’ (2019) starring Wang Yibo and Wang Zixuan. Copyright goes to Mango TV and Grand Media.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Continuing on with my own apparent theming of couples for fall, this is another drama that I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while. After watching ‘The Untamed’ on Netflix I was absolutely in awe of Wang Yibo’s acting skills; so, naturally, when I found out he was in a romance drama playing a wildly different character I had to see it for myself. ‘Gank Your Heart’ is a romance drama that focuses on e-sports, so if you have any interest in that, this might be a good one to watch. Even if you don’t, it made me interested in learning more about the sport. But mostly, it features Wang Yibo in another featured role and it’s pretty much worth watching just for that. But that does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that this drama is all good.

LIGHT SPOILER WARNING: I would recommend watching this one if you’re bored, just for more Wang Yibo. But keep in mind that if you are using this as a review, I will cover things that are lightly spoiler-y.

The Good:

  • Wang Yibo (and his character). Obviously, this one was coming. Wang Yibo has a charm about him no matter what character he’s playing, and this show was no different. Wang Yibo’s character is delightfully intelligent and smart-mouthed. One of my favorite types of characters in fiction is the type of character that feels very sarcastic but very warm at the same time. That’s this character. Ji Xiang Kong is the type of character that you can’t help but like; and fortunately, that’s not because of a serious lack of flaws. He has a cruel and dismissive side to him that you see pretty early on in the series. But he’s also the type of character that makes you feel an immediate sense of comfort when they’re on screen. He wasn’t too over the top towards other characters, namely the main female lead, but he wasn’t at all detached either. This is the character you watch the show for. (Though I should mention here that there is an arguably non-consensual kiss that is caused by this character, which obviously, needs to stop happening in dramas.)
  • One of the sub-plot romances. This is another drama that features two sub-plot romances, and I’m glad that one of them was cute. Two mentors of Ji Xiang Kong have a pretty lengthy history and one of them begins the series attempting to stay away from the other. As the series progresses and everything begins to fall apart, they realize their mistakes in attempting to distance themselves. I legitimately cheered when they got together toward the end of the series. One of the best parts of this couple is that they get together a ways before the end, so you actually get to see a bit of them catching up from where they left off and being cute together. This is my favorite couple in the series hands down.
  • The friendships of the gamers. The unbreakable bonds that are portrayed between the old gamers and then the new gamers later in the series is absolutely incredible. It feels real and like a family. It’s so strong that it sucks the audience into it as well and makes you feel like you’re part of the family too. The lengths that these boys go to for each other is adorable and it’s heartwarming to see them cheer for each other throughout the series.
  • Pei Xi. I didn’t know what to call this category other than his name. He is an incredible character that I was expecting not to like. When he’s introduced he’s a bit of a jerk and the show tricks the audience into thinking that he’s another love interest for the main female character. As it goes on you realize that he was more interested in…another character entirely. And though you feel sorry for him initially, his chemistry with a character who only becomes a regular mid-way through the series is really cute. As the series progresses, his character changes the most and absolutely for the better. I loved his character development.

The Bad:

  • The main female character. Qiu Ying was annoying to me. It doesn’t help that when we meet her, she’s basically the bad and invasive type of paparazzi. She continuously tricks several members of Ji Xiang Kong’s sports team in order to get a story and then films several members talking privately without their knowing. Her plight is made even worse as, even though she does experience a job switch, she becomes worse as the relationship goes on. A lot of her horribleness is directed towards her little brother, who she dislikes just on principle because he’s not the son of her mother. All her little brother wants is to make her proud and she causes so much pain for him throughout the series that it’s unbelievable. They want to portray her as sweet and hard-working, but she just comes off as annoying and vindictive. I loved her wardrobe though!
  • The lack of trust. This is my other problem with Qiu Ying as none of this comes from Ji Xiang Kong. This is one of those dramas that uses the ‘famous ex-girlfriend’ card that I hate so much. She does not communicate to him about anything regarding her (or really, much of anything). She assumes the worst and leaves, getting irrationally angry with him in the process. He even introduces Qiu Ying as his girlfriend the first time they meet his ex, and Qiu Ying still thinks that there’s something going on. Later when they get past this, something pretty traumatic happens that Ji Xiang Kong blames himself for. Even though Ji Xiang Kong helped Qiu Ying through a similar experience earlier in the series, she decides that this is proof that they shouldn’t be together and abandons him to deal with it himself. They’ve been dating for so long at this point that Ji Xiang Kong has to deal with grieving over his breakup now on top of all the other things that have fallen into his lap at that point. She’s incredibly unsupportive and untrusting as a girlfriend and it’s frustrating to watch.
  • The other sub-plot romance. This occurs between the best friends of the main characters, as most sub-plot romances in romance dramas do. The issue is, I liked almost every character in this show other than these two best friend characters. I will give Ji Xiang Kong’s best friend a little more credit for being likeable, I just got tired of Qiu Ying’s friend’s constant skepticism of everyone. These characters didn’t have a lot of chemistry and every time they were on screen I was anxious to get back to the rest of the plot.
  • Love triangle. You thought we escaped this with Pei Xi? Sorry, but nope! The character that this happens with is unexpected and honestly disturbing. Definitely an uncomfortable power dynamic. Not to mention the fact that I absolutely hate love triangles; but that’s a personal preference.
  • Shanghai Disneyland. Ok, I would be remiss if I did a post about this show and didn’t mention this. Don’t get me wrong, I like Disneyland (though I hate their business practices). I grew up going to the Disneyland in California. I thought I would like this episode, even if it was just a giant advertisement. I have never cringed that much through an episode of anything. It was so bad! They pulled out all the cringe-y scenarios for this episode including; standing in front of the roller coaster to talk for a solid five minutes about how fast it was, buying a bunch of balloons at the beginning of the day, and the main character getting sad and Mickey suddenly showing up. Also, why were they yelling at each other through the firework show? I get that fireworks are loud, but not loud enough that you have to yell to be heard when you’re standing right next to each other.
  • The E-sports. I loved watching them practice and seeing them play. It really does put you on the edge of your seat (and the finale made me cry because of it), but I just wish they would have explained the game to the audience. I feel like I barely know any more about the sport after having watched an entire drama about it. The lack of explanation is what made me want to look up actual e-sports, but I wish that I would have been able to understand better while watching the drama.

I know I put more in the bad section of this than the good; but I promise I did really like this show! It isn’t the most beautiful or profound show that you’ll watch, but it’s a cute show. You’ll fall in love with a fair few of the characters and by the end you’ll really feel like you know them. It’s hard leaving this drama after you’ve finished watching it because it feels like you’re leaving behind friends. It’s definitely worth a watch, even if not everything about it is necessarily great.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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