Petition for Tin Yat Hung to attend a workshop on gender and sexuality studies. I feel like we’d all be less stressed if he did.
Like with my First Impressions of the series, I am going to begin my review of Ossan’s Love Hong Kong by pretending that I have no knowledge of the Japanese Original, because it deserves to be seen as its own entity first.
When we last left certified disaster human Tin, he had been confessed to by his very male roommate and his very male boss while still holding onto the shreds of his assumed heterosexuality, and things in his life were taking a turn for the bizarre. Without giving away any spoilers, Ossan’s Love Hong Kong takes its protagonist on a journey that he’s only about fifty percent aware of, and we’re only along for the entertaining ride.
What I Didn’t Like
If you’re familiar with the original Ossan’s Love, you should know it follows all the major plot beats pretty accurately, for better or for worse.
If you’re not familiar with the original, like this review is going to assume, then prepare to be frustrated with Tin and Sui Muk at different points in the narrative. Just when you think the two are getting their act together, something happens to disrupt it, and you just want to shake them and make them communicate.
Yes, we’re back to that age-old trope of a communication gap as the source of conflict in a relationship, with one character making decisions for the other and not bothering to explain why. It could have been handled better, but ultimately isn’t.
Also, as I said at the outset, Tin needs to come to terms with his sexuality because for fourteen-ish episodes he is mostly floundering over the life choices that brought him to this point.
What I Liked
There’s a lot to like about Ossan’s Love HK. While Tin and Sui Muk both need a good shaking, Edan Lui and Anson Lo have great chemistry, and every scene in which the two are on screen is a delight because of it. They play off each other well – the calm Sui Muk to the often manic Tin, and Anson Lo is especially good at communicating his feelings with micro-expressions.
Kenny Wong’s KK started off as creepy but eventually grows into a great character. You honestly understand his fondness for Tin and his genuine desire for him to be happy, and it takes a harder heart than mine to not melt for him a little bit.
The supporting cast of characters is also one of the high points of the series. Tin’s coworkers each have their own stories and personalities, and they’re fleshed out and genuinely likeable, from Darren, who is Sui Muk’s ex and hasn’t quite been able to get over their relationship, to Louis, playboy turned love interest to KK’s ex-wife Francesca.
Which brings me to the women in the series, whom I genuinely enjoyed. Francesca as an older woman coming to terms with her divorce and being courted by a younger man is a great character. She’s mature and very relatable in making her choices, and I especially love both her relationship with Louis and the friendship she forms with KK after the divorce. Tze Chin, Tin’s childhood friend who once confessed her love to him but was ultimately rejected, also plays an important role in trying to help Tin deal with his relationship woes. She develops a friendship with Sui Muk during Tin’s brief absence from Hong Kong, which is also a refreshing development that’s far preferable to her being an obstacle in their relationship.
As a fan of the original, what I consider to be a significant departure is the greater number of episodes that allow the relationships between characters to be developed in a believable manner. Even the dreaded but inevitable dramatic separation of the leads is given a sufficient build-up and does not seem to come out of the blue; the pacing definitely benefits from the longer runtime.
Also definitely included in the ‘what I liked’ section are the end-credits scenes of every episode. They are all absolutely worth sticking around for and in later episodes pack an emotional punch.
If you’ve watched the original Japanese version of the series, you will either love or hate this version – it’s significantly more toned down, obviously owing to cultural differences and possibly to target audiences as well, but this did not take away my enjoyment of it. The production values, settings and the cinematography in some scenes are absolutlely delightful.
If you haven’t watched the original, I recommend that you check this one out, or watch both and compare if you like. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
Score: 4 out of 5