Help… I’m stuck in Battle of Changsha and now I can’t get out…
I know that war dramas aren’t particularly popular, especially since there’s so many of them in China but Battle of Changsha is a rare gem. It’s made me, someone who usually avoids war dramas, jump on board and never look back. Yes, it has been a rocky, emotional ride but I love it completely and don’t regret watching it at all.
I started a few episodes of this a month ago but managed to control myself and patiently (in agony) waited for the HIGH DEFINITION version to come out. How glad I am that I waited. The HD quality and sound is so refreshing, it really lets you properly savor the greatness of the drama.
Before I scare you off with my completely swollen eyes from crying episode to episode, don’t worry! The show’s actually very heart warming and sweet, much like eating a batch of grandma’s fresh cookies, still warm from the oven. You follow a well off family through thick and thin and they slowly grow on you until you realise that they’ve become a part of you. What makes this show so realistic and endearing is that none of the characters are perfect, they all have their own problems and weaknesses and you, the viewer, watch them as they grow and mature, cheer them on as they fight through the hardships. You laugh with them, you cry with them, you essentially become one of the family that once it ends, you feel hollow inside. It really feels like someone has stabbed you with a blunt knife. I still hurt. But it’s all good, you must watch it!
The twins: Hu Xiang Xiang (胡湘湘) and Hu Xiang Jiang (胡湘江)/ Xiao Man (小满)
Somehow, it doesn’t feel right writing about them separately, they have different personalities but no one can separate the twinnies!! Xiang Xiang and Xiao Man start off as immature kids. Their family is well off so they live comfortable lives, not having to worry about shelter, money and food like many other families in Changsha. They are wild and get themselves into trouble, which in many cases, causes them to meet/bump into Gu Qing Ming (<3). Xiang Xiang is the bold, confident one. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand by what she believes in. The war causes her to grow up quickly and she becomes a strong, mature young lady. Xiao Man on the other hand, stays immature. Perhaps he’s been too sheltered growing up and hasn’t suffered through any hardships so while everyone else is working hard, he’s still happily ignorant and going by his own wants. A lot of viewers seem to dislike Xiao Man, thinking him too childish but I think that Xiao Man genuinely wants to help the family, he just doesn’t know exactly how to and sometimes ends up bringing everyone more trouble. Having lived such a comfortable life, he is much like his father as they both are unable to let go of their former lifestyles. But in the end, both men grow mature and take a stand for their family and their country, in the only ways that they know how.
Xue Jun Shan (薛君山)- The brother in law
Much like the(“山”) Mountain in his name, Xue Jun Shan is the pillar of the family. He works hard (often doing dishonest work) to feed the whole family which as you realise later on, is no easy task, especially with a war going on. Not everyone in the family likes him but he does try hard to help with their requests and when they’re in trouble, often pulling on his connections to do so. When he is in trouble, the entire family believes in him and tries their best to help him too showing that he is just as essential a member of the family as everyone else. Jun Shan is absolutely awesome, I love his dialogues, the smooth way he talks and persuades, and his attempts to get Xiang Xiang and Gu Qing Ming together are absolutely beautiful HAHA. However, due to his lowly background, he doesn’t feel he’s good enough for the sister (aww) but his love for her is strong and unwavering that you can’t help but admire him even more.
Gu Qing Ming (顾清明)
Ok, I admit that I started watching this drama purely for Wallace Huo (who plays Gu Qing Ming) but I found myself loving all the characters as much as I love him! That’s how good the drama is! I think Wallace Huo did an amazing job portraying his character- he is consistent throughout. His eyes, expression, every little movement he makes draws you in. Gu Qing Ming joins the army because he wants to protect his family, his country. The way he silently protects Hu Xiang Xiang is so admirable and GAH I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. At the end, when he humbly says “I am not a hero, I am only an ordinary soldier”, he is representing all those soldiers who bravely fought, not for recognition but for their country. It bought on a new wave of tears. Wallace Huo is perfect in this role, not to mention, he looks absolutely dashing in uniform- he seriously needs to take on more soldier roles! I love how Gu Qing Ming is in every single episode so you are never deprived of his awesomeness.
Xiao Di (小弟)
Xiao Di means little brother. Although he is only a minor character, his actions are so touching that I have to dedicate a little paragraph to him (see how amazing the drama is, even the minor character end up deeply affecting you). His family died when he was young (I think?) and Jun Shan took him under his wing as an underling. Xiao Di has nothing but admiration for Jun Shan who he sees as his true brother and follows him very loyally. In the end when he tells Gu Qing Ming about how he has watched Xiang Xiang grow up into a beautiful lady and how his brother Jun Shan fell in love with sister in law, he is bursting with pride and happiness.
It hurts!!! This has truly been a great drama and I don’t think I’ll get a chance to watch something this good for a long time. It focuses a lot on the ordinary citizens who fight to survive and protect their families so as a war drama, I’m really glad they spent a lot of time developing the characters rather than spending all the effort on the actual front line war scenes.
I have become so sensitive that even watching the MV makes me cry and brings on a fresh wave of sadness and pain.
WARNING- CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS!!!