While Sismance or Girls’ Love dramas (as they are infamously known) aren’t as popular as their BL genre, they have their own niche audience.
As such, Bilibili and China Huanyu Entertainment Official’s latest collaboration “Couple of Mirrors” premiered to high expectations. China Huanyu Entertainment won major accolades for their last BL magna opus “Winter Begonia”. So, the excitement surrounding this drama was pretty obvious and anticipated. Set in the same Republican era, Couple of Mirrors portrays the poignant romance between a famous author, Xu You Yi and Yan Wei, a deadly assassin. Adapted from the manhua “Couple of Mirrors” (双镜) by noftB (福特), the drama is a subtle rendition of the otherwise explicit relationship between the main characters (blame the Chinese Censorship as usual). Although GL dramas are low-key compared to the BL counterparts, this drama has managed to turn the tide in its favor. Zhang Nan and Sun Yi Han might seem too fresh-faced, but the romance between their onscreen characters is certainly riveting. Without further ado, let’s go review the first few episodes and figure out whether this miniseries is worth your time!
Xu You Yi & Yan Wei
☆ Zhang Nan plays the titular lead, Xu You Yi. You Yi is a young, innocent, and kind-hearted socialite and a successful author. She is adored as well as envied by many.
☆ Sun Yi Han portrays the role of Yan Wei, a young photographer with a cold personality. Unbeknownst to all, Yan Wei has a deadly secret identity.
Zhou Heng & Xie Yi Fan
☆ Prince Liu portrays the role of Zhou Heng. He is Xu You Yi’s unfaithful husband, who is caught cheating on her.
☆ David Chou plays the role of Xie Yi Fan, a popular reporter and Xu You Yi’s former lover.
Zhang Wan & Chu Hui Zi
☆ Anna Fang plays the role of Zhang Wan. She is Xu You Yi’s best friend. Zhang Wan betrays You Yi by having an extra marital affair with her husband.
☆Huang Xin Yao plays author Chu Hui Zi, Xu You Yi’s work rival and competitor.
Jiang Wu & Feng Hong
☆ Vincent He plays the honest Police Detective Jiang Wu. He is assigned to investigate the cases related to Zhang Wan and Chu Hui Zi’s murders.
☆ Chang Long plays Feng Hong. He is Zhou Heng and Zhang Wan’s mutual friend.
Couple of Mirrors follows the journey of two women, who are polar opposites. Xu You Yi is a kind-hearted socialite and a successful author. She is too innocent and as such naively trusts her best friend Zhang Wan. Zhang Wan has always been envious of You Yi and is engaged in an extra marital affair with Zhou Heng, You Yi’s husband. When You Yi comes to terms with this brutal reality, Zhang Wan is shot dead. With no one left to turn to, You Yi’s finds herself at the doorstep of her photographer, Yan Wei. As they grow closer, You Yi realizes that there is more to Yan Wei than her cold exterior. Yan Wei on the other hand, becomes You Yi’s silent protector. Caught in a web of lies and betrayals, will You Yi and Yan Wei find peace and happiness?
Xu You Yi’s Feminist Attitude
There are very few characters as well written as Xu You Yi. Zhang Nan portrays this role with such a brutal honesty, that her expressions resonate with the turbulence faced by her character. It is raw, particularly painful and also incredibly inspiring. The introduction scenes are set at portraying You Yi’s kind demeanor and her caring nature. She is far too gullible and easily influenced by her best friend, Zhang Wan. This might seem like major flaws, but the fact remains that You Yi trusts her best friend implicitly. A trust which is broken in the most tragic way, when she discovers Zhang Wan’s affair with her husband. The betrayal stings and we get to see You Yi’s savage side, as she makes life literal hell for Zhang Wan. Unexpectedly, Zhang Wan is murdered and You Yi becomes the prime suspect. Her husband’s familial connections offer her a safety bracket. But the situation turn tire when her competitor, Chu Hui Zi is murdered as well and You Yi gets stuck in an unwanted situation. The show does a phenomenal job of depicting You Yi’s weaknesses and innate strength. While she does bow down to familial pressure in the beginning, You Yi stands tall and beautiful when she announces her imminent divorce with her husband. She is done playing their game and can’t bring herself to live a fake life, being subjected to lies and deceit. One thing that instantly draws your attention to this character is her unique styling. Despite the major upheavals in her life, You Yi is always elegantly dressed and strikingly beautiful. Major kudos to Zhang Nan for embracing this character wholeheartedly!
Yan Wei’s Controversial Past
Sun Yi Han’s Yan Wei evokes mystique and intrigue. Everything from her styling to personality is a complete contrast to You Yi. While You Yi projects feminine sensibilities, Yan Wei has a more masculine demeanor. This is could be attributed to her traumatic upbringing, where she was trained to be an assassin. Although Yan Wei has retired from her former job, her killing instincts are easily triggered. Yan Wei is hugely depicted as a cold-hearted, ruthless killer. Underneath this gruff exterior, lies a warm-hearted loner, who seeks love and affection. While she is mostly anti-social, there are only two people she truly cares about- Hong Mei and You Yi. When Hong Mei (the milk delivery girl) is killed in an accident, Yan Wei sets out to avenge her death. Unknowingly, You Yi becomes a suspect in her random killing acts and as such, Yan Wei acts as her protector. The show gives us abrupt depictions of her tumultuous past, where Yan Wei was trained to fight for her survival. Sun Yi Han does a great job depicting Yan Wei’s micro expressions. Her fierce attitude is due to the utter lack of trustworthy people in her life. Something that changes when You Yi barges into her life and evokes emotions, that Yan Wei has never experienced before!
Opposites Definitely Attract Each Other
Despite the high quality production, distinctive settings and exquisite styling, unfortunately the script is quite lackluster. The only saving grace is the far-fetched romance, which could be attributed to the sizzling chemistry between the main leads. Their uncharacteristic first meeting isn’t memorable. But their second meeting is. While the heartbroken You Yi walks around aimlessly, entirely drenched in rain; Yan Wei offers shelter and solace. The beauty of this moment will probably remind you of the memorable scenes between Shang Xi Rui and Cheng Feng Tai from Winter Begonia. Zhang Nan and Sun Yi Han share slow burn affections, which develops into romance overtime. While Yan Wei unknowingly gets You Yi embroiled in her killing spree; You Yi still trusts her blindly. For someone who got betrayed by her best friend and husband, trust should be a luxury. Despite Yan Wei’s various misgivings, You Yi attaches herself to Yan Wei quickly. From cooking porridge to safeguarding Yan Wei from police investigations, You Yi does it all. Yan Wei on the other hand, stands guard outside You Yi’s mansion to protect her from gangsters (who are hellbent on punishing You Yi). For now, You Yi doesn’t realize that she has been caught in scandals because of Yan Wei’s revenge game. Zhang Nan and Sun Yi Han have an interesting dynamic. You Yi is naive and vulnerable, while Yan Wei is strong-minded and pessimistic. You Yi often leaves Yan Wei flustered and shy with her bright nature and flirtatious attitude. It was actually hilarious to watch their interactions while our cold-blooded assassin tries to save You Yi from the thousand death traps installed in her household. The only thing these two contrast characters share is loneliness. You Yi was betrayed by the two people she trusted the most, while Yan Wei has been bought up as an assassin trained to kill. They never had any true friendships and as such, always find their way back to each other. If you want to find a valid reason to watch this miniseries, You Yi and Yan Wei’s underrated romance is the only plausible explanation.
The glaring differences in the above pictures obviously explain the entire discourse of this storyline. While You Yi struggles with marital difficulties, her husband’s family try their level best to manipulate her emotions. The story is pretty regressive and it fails to grasp your attention. While the detailing is intricate and resplendent of the Republican Era, there isn’t much to drive the narrative forward. It is slow paced and honestly at times, it feels superfluous. I’m unaware of the differences between the manhua and the drama; but I have only heard good things about the book version. In comparison, the live action seems lackluster, has a disappointing script and focuses too much on the prejudiced society of the foregone era. The drama falls short of the hype that created during the promotions. But atleast we are getting a GL adaptation, which might pave way for future projects. The main attraction is the refreshing chemistry between the main leads, Zhang Nan and Sun Yi Han. Despite her humble upbringing, You Yi has a sophisticated demeanor and Zhang Nan embodies her classy outlook. Sun Yi Han on the other hand has perfected Yan Wei’s odd behavior and volatile nature. If you look beyond the minor indiscretions and focus on the romance, then Couple of Mirrors is definitely a worthwhile watch. Two gorgeous women and their adopted cat surely make an adorable makeshift family!
Rating- 3.5 out of 5
☆ We have some amazing photoshoots of the main couple, who were recently featured in Cosmopolitan China. Their offscreen chemistry is even better than their sublime onscreen romance.
☆A video compilation of their sweet moments-
☆ Stills from Bilibili’s Publicity Event
☆ Because we are still not done wit the sizzling romance
Keep watching this space as we bring you further updates from this GL romance!