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Currently Watching: My Dear Brothers


Warning: MINOR SPOILERS from Ep 1 – 10

Can be viewed in Dark or Light Mode


Genres:  Adventure,  Comedy,  Romance,  Fantasy

Episodes: 35  

Duration: 45 min.

Aired: Sep 15, 2021 – Oct 22, 2021  

Aired On: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Adapted from the novel “Jia Xiong You Zai Zuo Si” (家兄又在作死) by You Qian (尤前)


Since the synopsis on MDL comes from the novel, which is slightly different, I wrote a drama-related summary:

This cross-world travel drama tells us about the adventure of a smart college girl, Shi Xia, who, in order to find her missing brother Shi Dong, accidentally comes to a strange ancient world. She meets Hou Chi from Yuhua Sect, who asks her to be his newfound sister, inspired by the sister concept at his recent confrontation with the Devil Lord. Later, Shi Xia finds out that her new adopted brother’s infamous archenemy is none other than her real brother, Shi Dong!


Wu Qian Ying as Shi Xia

Shi Xia is a Forestry major sophomore college student. She is very smart and motivated to be the president of the university’s student body. Shi Xia and her brother Shi Dong are orphans, so they have depended on each other since they were young. A year ago, her brother went missing on her birthday at the amusement park. Since then, she has been looking for him. One day, she gets a mysterious text from an informant claiming that he knows about her brother’s whereabouts. Ditching an opportunity to get a scholarship, she goes to the place mentioned. While looking for him, she steps into a puddle of water and is transferred into a strange ancient world, right into the pond where an ancient garbed man, Hou Chi, is meditating. When Shi Xia tells Hou Chi that she is a sister who is looking for her brother, he asks her to be his sister. 

Zhao Ying Bo as Hou Chi

Hou Chi is a young priest from Yuhua Sect. He was abandoned as a baby, which was when the sect leader found him. Since he is pure and has immortal perception, Hou Chi is groomed to be the next leader of the sect as well as the next leader of the Immortal Alliance of all tribes. He has lived in isolation to cultivate his power for 200 years. During his recent fight with the Devil Lord, whom he was supposed to beat for the Immortal Alliance competition, his archenemy taunted him of not having any mission to protect anyone, unlike the Devil Lord, who fights to protect his sister. So, finding a girl in a pond is like a heavenly gift of a sister. However, having no knowledge about worldly affairs, Hou Chi doesn’t know how to treat Shi Xia as a sister. He, as the MDL synopsis says, ‘accidentally over-does it’. Meaning, he treats her more like a lover instead…

Dai Yun Fan as Shi Dong

Shi Dong is Shi Xia’s older and only brother. Unlike Shi Xia, who is a good student, Shi Dong is the opposite. He is the bad boy and ditched classes to play games in internet cafes. He also fought in school, especially with boys who liked his sister. So far into episode 10, it is still a mystery how he went missing and how he became the Devil Lord. Whatever the secrets are, Shi Dong enjoys being a hero in the adventurous fantasy world. Although Shi Dong doesn’t like studying, he is a genius. He managed to survive in the parallel world and invented a lot of gadgets to secure his leadership position in the Devil Sect. A lot of his inventions are designed to look like tools and weapons from the gaming world, and his world is like his favorite place to hang out: the amusement park. Adding to this are steampunk garbs and gears as his signature wear.


Bi Hong is from Yuhua Sect but can’t study cultivation. He is a plant master and knows about the mortal world. Bi Hong is Hou Chi’s friend and helps him a lot, including his ‘sister’ matter.

Qing Feng is actually a woman, but she disguises herself as a man to be in the Yuhua Sect to learn cultivation. She becomes Shi Xia’s bestie once they know that both are females.

Yi Yao Gua is a school bully. He and his friends look for faults in both Shi Xia and Qing Feng’s backgrounds. He idolizes Hou Chi and is jealous when Hou Chi favors Shi Xia over him.

Yuan Zhao is the Yuhua Sect leader. He doesn’t allow women to enter the sect to interfere with the disciples’ life and study. Hou Chi and Shi Xia have to hide Shi Xia’s identity from him.

Er Ha (nickname: Huspuppy) is the Devil Lord’s right-hand mand. Until episode 10, I haven’t seen more of his role than as an assistant, though he and Shi Dong are more like two goofy friends.

This character has not shown up yet  by episode 10. My guess is that Qiu Li is related to Qiu Ping, the former Devil Lord. Will she become Shi Dong’s love interest… and Shi Xia’s rival?


Ancient vs Modern Worlds

This drama is unique in that so far, it’s not even categorized as a historical genre. The clash between the ancient and modern point of views are presented in a lot in humorous scenes and dialogues. I have watched many time travel or cross-world dramas where the hero or heroine travels to an ancient universe, and they are somehow familiar with old stuff and easily adapt to the ancient lifestyle. This drama is a bit different. Shi Xia uses the knowledge she got from watching historical dramas on TV and pays the price when it doesn’t work. For example, when she tries to help Hou Chi’s cultivation and gets hurt. Shi Xia’s use of modern words is misinterpreted hilariously (if you plan to watch this drama: keep note of how her ‘double day vacation’ term causes her big trouble!) Out of a lot of misinterpretations, however, Hou Chi accepts Shi Xia’s explanation that she comes from a modern world as, apparently, he has knowledge of parallel worlds. Their sitting together discussing their different worlds is so sweet to watch as it signifies their understanding and acceptance of each other.

Another thing that makes this drama unique is how Shi Dong, having time-travelled to an ancient world, instead of adjusting with its customs, created stuff with ideas from the modern world! The computer game’s weapons and gadgets, the amusement park architecture, the steampunk clothes! He even recreated bubble milk tea, his and his sister’s favorite drink. I’m looking forward to what other eccentric things Shi Dong comes up with in the future episodes.


Romance

Hou Chi and Shi Xia’s romance is like their cotton candy kisses: “sweet, soft, and melting in the mouth”. Because of the ‘brother-sister’ condition, the romance is considered a slow burn romance. But take note that Hou Chi doesn’t understand how to have and treat a sister, having been secluded from worldly matters for 200 years since he was little. This is not only Hou Chi’s first love. He is plainly clueless, naive, unaware about a man and woman’s relationship. When asking Bi Hong how to please a sister, his friend who is accustomed to worldly matters takes it as Hou Chi having a woman he likes. Audiences see Hou Chi protecting and treating Shi Xia more as romantic gestures than what brothers do for their sisters; and his over-protectiveness as a lover’s jealousy.

On the other hand, Shi Xia is well aware of the budding romantic feelings among them. But of course, it’s a difficult situation they’re facing with the fact that they’re from different worlds and the future of Shi Dong and her in the parallel world. Subconsciously, though, she likes the attention and care given by Hou Chi and reciprocates with the same appreciation. And it also seems that she gives more time to Hou Chi than Shi Dong she just reunited with!  

The gummy bear candy pack and the ugly doll gifts are so simple yet so cherished by them and truly adorable to watch.

So, we are sure and happy that there is no love triangle. Now, here is the thing: for some reason that I cannot spoil for you, Shi Xia and Shi Dong cannot reveal to the parallel world that they are brother and sister. On the contrary, it’s publicly known that Shi Xia is Hou Chi’s sister. And since he and the Devil Lord are rivals, Shi Xia is taken by the Devil Lord to be his woman. People from Devil Sect even call Shi Xia with the grand title Devil Lady, lol.


Friendship: Sismance and Bromance

Though mainly the focus of the plot so far is developing the relationship between Hou Chi and Shi Xia, there are some friendships built between Shi Xia and Qing Feng, and Hou Chi and Bi Hong. As I mentioned above, both Shi Xia and Qing Feng disguised themselves as men since women are not allowed in Yuhua Sect. Once they both know that they’re females, they become fast friends and watch each other’s backs, especially from Yi Yao Gua!

Hou Chi and Bi Hong are actually the same age, 200 years, so they have known each other for a looong time. However, with Hou Chi’s mandated seclusion, they can’t freely meet each other. Bi Hong, since he can’t study cultivation, spends more time downhills with the mortals. They only communicate through a magic umbrella. So, I’m glad about Shi Xia’s appearance; their friendship seems improved with more face-to-face interactions. 

With more episodes to come, as Bi Hong and Qing Feng are sent to go down, accompanying Hou Chi in his competition, I hope to see both girls and guys spend more time together to develop a stronger friendship.


The Visuals

This drama is considered a xuanhuan drama (mystery/adventure fantasy costume Cdrama); therefore definitely CGI and other visual effects are prominent features that could make it a success or a failure. This is not a big-budget drama, therefore, don’t expect to see amazing CGI applications. But I have seen worse. The cinematography is okay. So far, I don’t think the mediocre CGI ruins the watching experience due to the good plot.

Above is the cottage where Hou Chi lives. The production team actually built a miniature of this complex, complete with the ancient tree, pond, and entrance. A lot of viewers actually like this ethereal yet cozy setting.


Although so far the plot is still considered light-hearted, an event that happens in episode 7 and 8 foresees a more serious story. Also, there is darkness looming on the horizon. No, I’m not talking about the revelation of the truth that Shi Dong and Shi Xia are indeed brother and sister. Or the star-crossed love being Hou Chi and Shi Xia coming from different worlds. Either condition is a given that will be revealed sooner or later. The darkness I’m talking about is the fact that this drama is considered traveling to an alternate universe. The Chinese government censorship agency NRTA is usually hard on any type of fantastical traveling (time travel, alternate universe travel, body swap, space travel). Therefore, I’m afraid that the rest of the story will have plot holes with odd endings butchered by the tight censorship.

With the dark cloud on the horizon, still, the rest of the story in this drama is interesting, in my opinion. Although there are already 10 episodes released by the time I’m writing this article, there are still a lot of questions/secrets remaining, such as:

  • Who will win the Immortal Alliance competition: Huo Chi or Shi Dong?
  • What will happen to the main romance? To the second romance, if any?
  • Will Shi Dong and Shi Xia ever go back to the modern world?
  • Why doesn’t the Yuhua sect allow women? Did something happen in the past with their leader Yuan Zhao?
  • What happened with Bi Hong in the past that he can’t study cultivation? What about his future?
  • What will happen to Qing Feng disguising herself as a man?
  • Who is the Devil Lord actually? Who is Qiu Li? There is also another character mentioned by Er Ha: Immortal Aunt. Who is she?

My Dear Brothers has taken me by surprise! I was not even thinking of writing a Currently Watching article before. There is no actor I know in it that would have made me put it in my PTW at the beginning. No popular actors/traffic stars to boost viewership. So far, it’s a fun, light-hearted rom-com, yet the odd ‘brother-sister’ concept lures the viewers to keep wanting to know what happens in the next episodes. Moreover, the interesting fusion between ancient and modern aspects is uniquely remarkable. The caveat, though, from how the story will go, I guess it may have melodrama parts towards the end. Since it’s a romcom, I really hope it will end happily for the main couple and any additional couples. SPOILER ALERT! In the novel, the main romance ends happily, and the couple meets in the modern world. Let’s hope the censorship did not mess up the storyline, editing, and/or ending! Thank you for reading, and happy watching!


ARE YOU WATCHING THIS DRAMA? WILL YOU WATCH IT IN THE FUTURE OR ARE YOU NOT INTERESTED?

And the brothers’ rivalry continues!


Acknowledgement and credits: Thank you to the editors who edited this article. I do not own any of the images; credits go to their respective owners. The images are from drama poster, stills and screenshots. GIFs are self-made from drama screenshots.


Edited by: YW (1st editor), devitto (2nd editor)

my dear brothers





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