I blame it all on BTS! I discovered the boy band in 2018, when one of my daughters showed me a music video of their Not Today song. I was sucked in faster than a speck of dust to a wormhole. I became an ARMY and began following BTS and trying to learn more about them, their home country of South Korea, and Asia in general.
During this time, I was also introduced to Asian drama through the Japanese drama, Good Morning Call. This live-action drama originally was a manga (comics or graphic novels originating in Japan) but I found the drama on Netflix and inhaled both seasons. At that time, in late 2018 or early 2019, Just You was also on Netflix and that's what I clicked on next.
Just You stars Aaron Yan as Qi Yi and Puff Kuo as Cheng Liang Liang, the main leads, and Dean Fujioka as Dean Kamiya and Lyla Lin as Ding Jia Yu, the second leads. I will be honest here. I enjoyed Aaron Yan in his role, (that hair though!!) but it took me some time to appreciate Puff Kuo's Liang Liang. I didn't mind her quirky personality, but her shouting took adjustments on my part. Whether that was written into her character, or it was a director's call, I don't know, but I couldn't imagine someone just shouting something randomly in the middle of a major city in Taiwan. Also, they made her look more generic for this role, but Puff Kuo is gorgeous! I'll post another photo of her below this post.
From here on out, there will be spoilers. You've been warned. Qi Yi and Liang Liang meet when Qi Yi buys his childhood home and find Liang Liang living in the house. He tries to buy her out of her lease to get her to leave, but Liang Liang isn't having it. She has three months left, she's living there! And so begins the co-habitation trope, which, when done right is pretty fun to watch. But wait! There's more!
Liang Liang gets to work right after their introduction and finds that her company has also been sold to Qi Yi and he's her new boss! Que the boss/employee trope! Not only that, but Qi Yi has made office romances a high crime worthy of termination!
While Qi Yi and Liang Liang try to navigate their boss/employee and landlord/renter relationships (with the last being top secret), they learn more about each other than either of them is comfortable with, although Liang Liang is more at ease throughout, due to her easy-going nature.
Dean, the male second lead comes in early on. He is an old friend of Qi Yi's and knows him well. He is intrigued with Liang Liang initially because of Qi Yi's attention to her, but is won over by her personality and begins to fall for her. He is truly Qi Yi's friend, however, because he doesn't do anything that would hurt him. Jia Yu, the female second lead, is a different story entirely. She brings turmoil.
Jia Yu is introduced to us just as Qi Yi and Liang Liang are starting to make headway in their relationship. Jia Yu does everything she can to separate them. She steamrolls her uncle into assigning her to Qi Yi's company so that she can work in their office, and when she can't seem to break them apart, she sabotages Liang Liang at the company. Qi Yi, who isn't interested in getting back together with Jia Yu and is always rejecting her advances, knows something happened and trusts Liang Liang so he puts her on leave while they investigate.
Dean saves Liang Liang's reputation and job by finding proof of Jia Yu's sabotage and Liang Liang returns to work. However, and this is where I find it hard to stay immersed in the story, Jia Yu is not exposed as the person who framed Liang Liang, nor is she required to apologize to Liang Liang for her behavior. It is swept under the rug, evidently because her uncle, who has a high-value contract with Qi Yi's company, asked them to do so.
Jai Yu is frustrated when Liang Liang returns and does what every villain does when they can't get their way, they get meaner. She tells Liang Liang that Qi Yi is the man she was engaged to and shows her the engagement ring. She then asks Liang Liang to do her a favor and get out of their way. This leads to my least favorite trope: noble idiocy. (I mean, if idiocy is in the title, it can't be good, right?)
Liang Liang does what Jia Yu asks and moves out of the house. A frustrated Qi Yi keeps trying to get closer to her, but she keeps shutting him out and running away. After a few days, Qi Yi literally runs after her and Liang Liang finally tells him she likes him. It's a moving scene. And it ends like this.
Yep! Worth the pain!
Everything is back to normal at work, meaning Liang Liang has returned and the lovey dovey, if illegal, activities can recommence. Qi Yi and Liang Liang are quite cute together and their romance is fun to watch. I won't tell you why Qi Yi put the no office romance rule into effect. You can watch the drama yourself to find out. It is also worth the watch to understand how damaged he is emotionally and why Liang Liang shines so brightly for him.
As anyone who has watched dramas knows, when you get the beauty and you've just started to breath easily again, it's time to hold on to your hats because the road is going to get bumpy. Jia Yu proves that she is a true villain in this series. The emotional blackmail and backstabbing is truly painful to watch. Liang Liang's naivete is also hard to watch.
Jia Yu pulls out all the stops. She gets a man who likes her to lie for her. She manipulates their past break up into a sacrificial story of love. And Qi Yi, seeming confused about his feelings toward Liang Liang and threatened with the no office romance rule by Jia Yu, pulls back from Liang Liang to be with Jia Yu, hurting everyone in the process. The lovely trope, Noble Idiocy, has returned. I don't know why. I certainly didn't invite him to the party. (It was probably Jia Yu's idea.)
Qi Yi's hurting, Liang Liang is in incredible pain, her friends suffer as they watch her, and Dean steps in to be Liang Liang's dependable guy friend while Qi Yi tries to walk an emotional tight rope between the two women. Communications break down completely here, and understandably so, because Qi Yi strings both women along. The only happy person in the drama at this point is Jia Yu, who is so delusional she can't see the truth in front of her. At her breaking point, Liang Liang finally releases Qi Yi from any responsibility toward her and tells him to take care of Jia Yu. At the end of that scene, Qi Yi and Liang Liang weren't the only ones crying. (Aaron Yan and Puff Kuo are incredible actors!)
It is only when the man who likes Jia Yu and who lied for her gets so frustrated that he kidnaps Liang Liang that the truth is uncovered. In a final showdown, Jia Yu tries to force Qi Yi to tell her he loves her and chooses her. And Liang Liang, fed up at last, tells everyone the truth and Jia Yu is definitively rejected.
With a kiss so passionate you might have to grab a fire extinguisher in case your TV bursts into flames, (It would still be worth it. And you can buy a larger TV. There is no downside.) Liang Liang takes everything into her own two hands. Or lips, I guess I should say. And Qi Yi doesn't seem to mind. At all.
We can finally breath again. Our shoulders relax and we welcome the return of cuteness between the OTP. Qi Yi apologizes to Liang Liang for the pain he's caused her (and us) as they walk to their home hand in hand.
Jia Yu goes into a deep depression, except that I have trouble buying it because she still dresses beautifully and fixes her makeup every day! Anyone who has ever experienced severe depression knows that you feel like you've climbed a mountain when you make the herculean effort to just take a shower. Forget the flowy dresses and red-carpet makeup!
Liang Liang, true to her nature, is the first to reach out to Jia Yu to make sure she's okay when she doesn't show up at work. (I sigh and shake my head.) She even tells Qi Yi to text her as well! (*facepalm*) Liang Liang also goes to Jia Yu's home, alone, and goes in to fix her a meal. (I can't even.) At Liang Liang's request, the whole office texts Jia Yu to lift her spirits and the woman gets up off the couch to open her patio door and see that the world has still gone on while she's been moping.
Honestly, the redemption arc could have been cut completely from this story and I would have been happy. (Especially since there was no true remorse, no apologies, no consequences, and the police didn't even show up to arrest the kidnapper! Seriously!?) She could have just stomped away after being confronted with the evidence of her lies and manipulations and dealt with the truth that Qi Yi has moved on and doesn't love her anymore in the silence of drama oblivion. (Overzealous, clingy, won't-take-no-for-an-answer, delusional second leads! Sheesh!) But no. We have to watch her and the guy who kidnapped Liang Liang begin their happily ever after (while I gag).
Nevertheless, Qi Yi and Liang Liang's lives return to normal and we see a series of happily ever afters as the series nears its finale. I won't give it all away, but I was smiling and hitting rewind at the end. These two are so cute!
Conclusion: I enjoyed this series and have rewatched it many times, hitting fast forward a lot whenever Jia Yu's character is the center of attention. It's definitely worth watching, as long as you know when to fasten your seatbelt and to wear a neck brace to prevent whiplash. I give this drama a 9 out of 10 stars for the lead actors chemistry and a story that is cute, for the most part. I also enjoyed the soundtrack and bought the music. They tend to play the songs too often, and Aaron Yan only sings one of them, but it's still worth purchasing.
While, at the time of this writing, Netflix no longer carries Just You, it is still available at viki.com. Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to know your thoughts on this drama.
P. S. Here's the picture I promised. With bonuses for reading to the end! <3
Aaron Yan and Puff Kuo