Amnesia. One of the most overdone tropes in drama-land. On occasion, when it fits into the context of the story, it can be a useful storytelling tool. But too often it’s used as a plot device whose sole purpose is to keep the OTP apart so that the drama can be stretched a few more episodes.
Prince Who Turns Into a Frog takes the amnesia trope and hangs a lantern on it. The entire drama revolves around multiple instances of amnesia and is completely unapologetic about it. Head injuries, mental breakdowns, and even a case of faked memory loss are used to bring people together and pull them apart.
I’m reminded of the old B-grade movies that took some creature – bugs, birds, lizards, etc. – and made them giant monsters that people had to fight. Prince/Frog took amnesia and made it the giant monster that had to be defeated. What made it work was that the drama never took itself too seriously.
Oh sure, there were plenty of overly-dramatic moments with overly-dramatic background music; you’d think that the fate of a nation hung in the balance with the way some scenes were played out. But just when you think the drama was trying to skew melodramatic…it undercut the scene with goofy sounds or manga-style cartoon effects.
Side note: I’m beginning to think TW actors come in sets. Ming Dao, Wang Sam, Huang Ehlo, Zhu Jacky, and Zhao Joyce were all in Magicians of Love, and here they all are again in Prince/Frog.
I found Tianyu to be a very likable heroine. Finally! A leading lady who was not some stupid, dense girl constantly in need of rescuing – though there was plenty of rescuing going around. She was simply someone who, because of her circumstances, had not had the opportunity to explore her potential. She had a good head on her shoulders and was sensible, even when it hurt.
Junhao was the typical cold, distant, unfeeling rich man. To be honest, at first I was confused about his feelings toward his fiancée, Yunxia. He came across as though their engagement was arranged, but at times he seemed to show true sincerity, like he genuinely had feelings for her. As the drama wore on, I came to realize that he did care for her, but their being together was more of a habit than anything else. At least for him. And sure enough, in the latter half he says as much to her.
For most of the drama I adored Ziqian, even when I wanted to throttle him. Watching him mope over Yunxia made me want to shake him and tell him to wake up. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do that; Yunxia did it herself. After Junhao’s disappearance, Ziqian began to truly see how obsessive Yunxia was over Junhao and he finally began to accept that she would never see anyone else but Junhao.
As for Yunxia…yeah, probably the less said about her the better. I didn’t like her, period. Not even when the drama tried to make her more sympathetic with a mental breakdown and blaming it on being abandoned by her mom. By that point it was too late. I already disliked her way too much. And her sudden “realization” that Ziqian was the one for her made me want to spit nails.
The romance between Tianyu and Junhao had a nice balance to it. There were several sweet kisses that fit the moments, and I was happy to see a fairly good amount of affection displayed…from affectionate looks to holding hands to cuddling.
When Tianyu and Ziqian were sorta-kinda together. They were all flirty and playful with each other and were freakin’ adorable! I could totally see them together, which made me sad for Ziqian. Once he finally realized that true extent of Yunxia’s tunnel vision for Junhao, he began to make a sincere effort to move on. Whereas he had been the typical second-lead with Yunxia, supporting her, being a good friend, silently loving her, etc., with Tianyu he became a different person. He didn’t deny that Yunxia still held his heart or that Tianyu was still in love with Junhao. I think he fully realized that their relationship was a rebound relationship, but he also believed that it could be more, which was why he becomes so pro-active with Tianyu instead of sitting back and letting things happen on their own.
When Junhao began to be affected by the green-eyed monster whenever he saw Tianyu and Ziqian together – especially when the two of them were flirting. I also liked seeing how Junhao was so different with Tianyu than he ever was with Yunxia. Even though he didn’t remember their time together, he felt a level of comfort with Tianyu that he obviously never felt with Yunxia. He opened up with Tianyu, telling her what was on his mind and how he felt. Yunxia always received the “I’m fine, don’t worry about me” spiel.
The ending was perfect for the tone of the drama and brought a smile to my face. This was one of those dramas that I went into half-convinced I wasn’t going to like it, that it was going to be over-wrought and ridiculous to the point of making me mad. I’m SO glad I was wrong on all counts. I enjoyed the drama from beginning to end and never had a moment where I wanted to quit. It may not suit everyone’s tastes, but it was a fun, sweet ride and I’m glad I watched it.