I loved the Taiwanese adaptation of Itazura Na Kiss so much that I decided to watch more Taiwanese dramas. So I started with one of the most popular Taiwanese drama named Devil Beside You. I chose this show for two reasons, it is highly praised and recommended online and the plot is unique and interesting. However, after watching this drama I realized that what is popular among Taiwanese audiences may not necessarily appeal to Indian audiences. All this while I was of the opinion that, if a story is good, it will definitely touch the viewer no matter which country he or she belongs to. But this drama opened my eyes not only to the difference in perception but also to the cultural differences between countries.
Devil Beside You (2005)
Devil Beside You is a 20 episode long Taiwanese drama that deals with forbidden love between siblings. No, it’s not totally incestuous as the two central characters are not related by blood and their respective parents have not married each other yet. The show is about Qi Yue (Rainie Yang) who is in love with a classmate named Yuan Yi (Kingone Wang). She tries to confess her love by writing him a love letter. However, instead of confessing to Yuan Yi she accidentally speaks up in front of Ah Mon (Mike He) who is a year junior to her and is also known to be the most notorious boy in school earning him the nickname ‘devil’. She drops her letter in front of him and runs away out of embarrassment. He takes her love letter and threatens to make copies of it and distribute it in school. He tells her that she can stop him from doing so by agreeing to be at his beck and call. However, Yuan Yi eventually learns about Qi Yue’s feelings for him and reciprocates the same. Out of Ah Mon’s clutches, Qi Yue feels relieved till she gets to know that her mother is remarrying and the man she is about to marry is Ah mon’s father. With the two families now coming together, she has to face Ah Mon not only at school but also at home. Her frequent encounter with Ah Mon creates a soft spot for him and she gradually grows to like him. She breaks up with Yuan Yi and starts dating Ah Mon. Sadly, their love is doomed because they are to become siblings as their parents will be marrying each other soon.
Let’s weigh Devil Beside You on our show beam balance and see if this devil is worth being beside or no.
Good Chemistry: The two leads of the show Rainie Yang (the actress who plays Qi Yue) and Mike He (the actor who plays Ah Mon) complement each other. He is tall and broad she is short and petite. His character is mysterious while her character is like an open book. They are opposites that make each other look good.
The chemistry and love story between Qi Yue’s best friend Qing Zi and Yuan Yi was also creditable. I really liked their pair a lot.
Intriguing Plot: The show’s unique plot is what intrigues most viewers. Based on Japanese manga Akuma de Sourou, the show starts well and seldom deviates from the main plot.
Poor Production Value: This is a big problem with many Taiwanese dramas. The budget for Taiwanese shows is usually low which is why the video and audio quality is dismal. The show hardly had any background score and its lighting too seemed dull.
Poor Editing: It was weird to see a bleak bluish light flash occasionally on the characters during several scenes. How come did the editor pass such scenes? Why didn’t anyone notice it?
Unsightly Makeup: Mike He is handsome and has really thick hair, but he wears bobby pins!! I am not sexist and have nothing against guys wearing bobby pins, just that I have never seen guys wear it and it did not suit him. I have seen Rainie Yang’s pictures and she is pretty, then what was her problem with waxing her upper lip hair? It was so annoying to see a moustache on her face. If that wasn’t enough then her bluish green eyeshadow would distract me even more.
Forced Kisses: I have been watching a few Taiwanese dramas and some of their behind the scenes videos and I am amazed at how these actors are so comfortable doing intimate scenes. Taiwanese dramas have ample kissing scenes and these actors go through multiple retakes before they finalize the perfect kiss. So, kissing scenes hold great importance in these dramas. In this show, however, the director I suppose only remembered the fact that kissing scenes are important and not how they are shot. Most of the kisses seemed overly aggressive and abrupt. It was disturbing to see Ah mon force a kiss on Qi Yue every now and then. Ah mon is a ‘devilish’ character on the show but he is a good guy too, right? Then why is every kiss of his so sudden and forceful?
Bad Acting: I understand that the main leads were young when they did this show but that’s no excuse for such disappointing performances. Mike He is good looking no doubt but his suppressed grin looked more creepy than mischievous. Rainie Yang’s exaggerated facial expressions were not very pleasing to the eyes.
The show has plenty of bad weights and the only reason I saw all 20 episodes because I was extremely curious to know what happens to this ‘supposed’ sibling love. Yes, the plot had potential but the script just did not match up to it.
I give the show 2 out of 5 rating. If you are into crazy cheesy stuff or do not mind watching silly romance with a slightly different plot only then go for this one. Rest of you do not be misled by its extra high ratings online.