If you read my recommendation for The King’s Avatar, you may remember that I mentioned a rather convoluted way of coming to the decision to finally watch a show that had been on my Netflix list for a year. Well, this is how. Someone I follow on Tumblr was reblogging gifsets for You Are My Glory and it looked interesting (and, you know, Yang Yang), but the show was still airing and I wanted to wait until it finished. So I watched some of his other dramas first, and then once I finished Love O2O, I started You Are My Glory.
But let me tell you, this show. This show. I’m in love with this show. If this show were a person, I would be planning a wedding. Words cannot adequately describe how much I loved You Are My Glory. I honestly don’t think there is a single thing that I disliked about this show (other than, you know, the characters you’re not supposed to like). If you’re ok with me simply gushing about this show for 1000 words, then you’ve come to the right place.
You Are My Glory is the story of Qiao Jingjing (Dilraba), an actress and the official endorser of the popular mobile game Honor (Glory) of Kings (which is a real game). When a video of her gameplay is leaked, revealing that she is actually terrible at the game, it causes a minor scandal. To save her image, she volunteers to play in a special match at the awards ceremony featuring a mix of pro gamers and contest winners. While practicing, she discovers that her high school crush, Yu Tu (Yang Yang), also plays – and is really good at it. She conspires to get him to teach her how to play in order to reconnect with him, and then they *gasp* reconnect.
Honestly – and this is not a criticism – this show feels like two different genres meshed into one. The first half of the show (which runs for 32 episodes) is a gaming drama. There is a lot of focus on the mechanics of the game, the characters, and strategies. This half of the show features some very cool transitions – showing the characters as they play side-by-side with what’s happening in the game – as well as some neat special effects (at one point, Jingjing imagines one of the characters from the game in her apartment). If you’re not into gaming, it can feel like a slog to get through the first few episodes, which are very explanation-heavy.
After the all-important match, however, this show switches to a romance drama and focuses almost entirely on the development of their relationship as well as what’s going on in their respective careers. It loses the CGI and the long-winded explanations of how the game works (because they rarely play it anymore), but it gains nifty little animations detailing how long the two have been separated as they navigate a long-distance romance. As much as I enjoyed the gaming aspect, I think the back half of the show is where it shines, largely due to the amazing chemistry between Dilraba and Yang Yang.
Unlike other dramas I have seen, which usually have multiple subplots centered on the side characters, You Are My Glory is basically entirely the story of Jingjing and Yu Tu’s relationship. There are side characters, of course – Jingjing’s manager and assistant, Yu Tu’s colleagues, their high school friends – and there is a brief subplot with one of Yu Tu’s coworkers, but for the most part, the narrative is only about the two of them. While Jingjing manages the fallout from her mini-scandal, Yu Tu is suffering a crisis of confidence as he wonders whether or not he should leave the space program for a more lucrative career. As they grow closer, Yu Tu then struggles with feelings of inadequacy, believing that he isn’t good enough for someone like Jingjing.
Jingjing and Yu Tu have a great rapport, even when they first start hanging out. I really enjoy their banter and they both have fantastic facial expressions. After they get together, they are so cute it makes me want to die. Dilraba is super adorable in this role, and I need virtually every sweater that Jingjing wears. Also, I love that every character Yang Yang plays has the ability to be absolutely savage when the situation calls for it.
I legitimately love their relationship. They are romantic and tender but also they tease each other. Despite the stumbles along the way, once they are together, they are solid as a couple. There is some serious yearning, particularly on Yu Tu’s part. I like how they both have lives independent of each other, how they commit to being together even when they’re often apart because of the demanding natures of their jobs.
I liked how natural the kissing scenes seemed, because in a lot of the dramas I’ve seen, the woman always looks surprised by the kiss even though the man telegraphs it well in advance (and often she doesn’t seem to actively participate). When this happens, it can be really off-putting, so it was nice that both Jingjing and Yu Tu come across as totally into it.
While the side characters don’t really get their own stories (except for Yu Tu’s colleague Guan Zai, who has a health scare), they have great interactions with the two leads. I really loved Jingjing’s relationship with her manager, Mrs. Ling, and assistant, Xiao Zhu, because I am a sucker for healthy female relationships. Both women have some great moments, and I like seeing a sort of behind-the-scenes look at showbiz with how they discuss Jingjing’s commitments.
There is a lot of focus on Yu Tu’s career since it’s such an important part of her character arc, and I found it really interesting because he works in deep space exploration and I love space. But someone who isn’t really into scientific explanations might get bored with how much time is spent on them, particularly in the few episodes where Yu Tu is away from Shanghai.
If I had one teeny, tiny complaint, it would be that there are some moments and side characters that I would have liked to have seen more of. Pei Pei and Chen Xue, Jingjing’s friends, were sadly underutilized. There was a pretty boss scene early in the show when Jingjing helps Yu Tu show off in front of a condescending college classmate that I would have loved to come back to later. But for the most part, I thought the show did a good job of balancing Jingjing and Yu Tu’s relationship with other aspects of their lives.
I loved the soundtrack, particularly the opening song. In fact, I love the entire opening sequence so much that I was legitimately disappointed when I switched to Tencent and discovered that it skips the credits. Taking scenes from the show but superimposing the characters on stylized backgrounds, I just thought it was very clever and creative.
You Are My Glory can be streamed for free in its entirety on Tencent’s official YouTube channel, but fair warning that several of the episodes have this weird audio issue where instead of the dialogue, there is a music track. During those moments, it has Mandarin subtitles, so you can tell people are speaking, but there are no English subs. It doesn’t happen in every episode, but it happened often enough that I caved and bought a Tencent VIP account.
Essentially, I cannot recommend You Are My Glory enough. I even liked the cinematography (some solid framing choices), which I tend not to notice. If you like video games and space exploration and are looking for a show with adorable leads and a happy ending, this is the show for you.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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