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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Moon River Episode 1-4 Summary & First Impression

8:31 PM Posted by ninja 6 comments

Drama: Moon River (明若曉溪)
Airs: Two Episodes every Tuesday & Wednesday
Episodes: 29

Synopsis: In an alternative universe of Hana Yori Dango/ Boys Over Flower/Meter Garden what if the heroine was more than simply a gutsy girl but one who can kick some serious backsides and our hero was actually nice for once?

Episode 1-4 Summary
Carrying all the hope and dream of her village on her back, our heroine Ming Xiao Xi arrives at the elite Guang Yu school on a scholarship thanks to her status as the national martial art champion. Unfortunately for Xiao Xi's good intention of being a model student, she gets in trouble the very first day of school when she beats up a member of Guang Yu's school club to protect her fellow village friend Rui Yi and ends up indirectly offending the three men that pretty much rule the whole school. 
As the school body president, our hero Mu Liu Bing is not only from an elite background but is also smart and a natural leader. Surprisingly, Liu Bing seems strangely un-offended by Xiao Xi's guts to beat up one of his people and remains silent even when the whole school waits to see what he would do to punish Liu Bing. 
Immediately classified by the whole school as an outcast, an undaunted Xiao Xi sits down in front of Liu Bing since he was the only one that didn't leave the dining hall to avoid her. A clueless Xiao Xi tells Liu Bing all about how lame the student body president must be and even jumps up to do some rather painful pressure point message on Liu Bing when his stomach stomach starts to hurt. 
Showing up at the hospital to personally apologize to the student she beat up, Xiao Xi is puzzled when her victim (it was actually Liu Bing pretending to be the student) demands that she does a song and dance number as her apology. 
Still treating Liu Bing as one of her fellow students, Xiao Xi finally clues in on who Liu Bing is and formally apologizes for beating one of his people up. However, Liu Bing doesn't accept her apology and tells her that he is still undecided on what he will do to her. 
When Xiao Xi finally gets an answer from Liu Bing she is dismayed to be told that Liu Bing wants her to leave the school. Remembering all the hope her family has placed on her, Xiao Xi vehemently refuses to obey Liu Bing's decision. 

In a flash back we finally gets some answers as to why Liu Bing seems extra patient with Xiao Xi. Apparently on Xiao Xi's first day at school she inadvertently chanced upon a bunch of Liu Bing's father's men trying to forcefully take Li Bing away and uses her famous fighting skill to rescue our damsel , oh wait, our hero.
While everyone at school avoids Xiao Xi like a plague, but fortunately Xiao Xi also gains a fan in Dong Hao Xue who despite being the school principal's daughter insists on becoming Xiao Xi's friend. 
With her new found friendship with Hao Xue, Xiao Xi also gets more chance to be close to Feng Jian Che, another member of the three idols on campus. Gentle and soft, Jian Che makes Xiao Xi's heart beat wildly anytime he gets close to her. 
Thanks to a video of her catching a pervert in a night market going viral on the internet, Principal Dong reaches an agreement with Liu Bing to not expel Xiao Xi from school. Thankful to Liu Bing for not kicking her out of school, Xiao Xi decides to personally brew a ancient Chinese medicine to cure Liu Bing's stomach problem. 

Eyeing the thermos in Xiao Xi's hand with doubt, Liu Bing tries to find any excuse to not drink the strange medicine Xiao Xi insists that he has to take. Frustrated with Liu Bing's stubbornness, Xiao Xi decides to physically persuade Liu Bing to drink the medicine. 
Unable to bring himself to drink the truly nasty smelling medicine Xiao Xi brewed for him, Liu Bing secretly dumps it down the toilet. However, still moved by Xiao Xi's thoughtful gesture especially when he finds out from her roommate that she had not slept for two days in order to brew the medicine properly, Liu Bing can't seem to stop thinking about Xiao Xi whenever he sees the thermos. 
A picture of Xiao Xi in an intimate gesture with Liu Bing (the one she is forcing him to drink the medicine) surfaced on the school website and immediately Xiao Xi becomes the whole school's enemy. Out right attacking her now, Xiao Xi suffers in silence as everyone gangs up on her to make her school life difficult. Watching Xiao Xi being picked on at the dinning hall, Liu Bing is about to intervene when Jian Che makes a grand entrance by showing up with a violin to play just for Xiao Xi. 
After killing lots of brain cells, Liu Bing finally decides to accidentally run into Xiao Xi to send her a text to thank her for the medicine. 

Deciding that maybe Liu Bing is not such a jerk anymore, Xiao Xi starts to feel guilty that she has been the cause of so much trouble to him and Jian Che. Vowing to stay away from Liu Bing and Jian Che from then on, Xiao Xi starts to hide from the boys whenever she sees them. 
Xiao Xi makes the school's headline again when she is accused of stealing test questions. Insisting in vain that she only scored 100% because of her friend Rui Xi's tutoring, Xiao Xi is shocked when Rui Xi betrays her by lying to the school that he never helped Xiao Xi. 

Her world falling apart to not only be falsely accused of cheating but to have her trusted friend betray her, Xiao Xi can only sob as she wonders why Rui Xi would set her up. Informed of Xiao Xi's situation already, Jian Che shows up just in time to comfort her. 
Sensing right away that someone has framed Xiao Xi, Liu Bing secretly starts to dig around and gets evidence to show that Sha Xing, a spoiled rich princess and a girl that is very possessive of Liu Bing has set Xiao Xi up. 

Rushing to Xiao Xi's house to stop her from packing up to go home, Liu Bing successfully makes Xiao Xi too angry to leave by accusing her of running away like a coward. 
While Liu Bing was able to skillfully uses both threat and his friendship card with Sha Xing to get her to stop framing Xiao Xi, but obviously Liu Bing's repeated involvement with Xiao Xi has only increased Sha Xing's hatred for her. 

Proving not all rich girls are bad though, Xiao Xi's new friend Hao Xue seems even more determined to not turn into rich jerks like many of her fellow students but to find a way to be rich and kind. 
It finally dawns on Xiao Xi that Liu Bing has been helping her all along and forces Liu Bing into accepting a promise from her that she will fulfill his three wishes to repay him. The bandana and the mustache is Xiao Xi's "disguise" so her meeting with Liu Bing won't be another scandal at school. 
The always calm and collected Liu Bing loses his cool after an argument with his father and taunts a bunch of guys in a bar. Hauling a giant statue home by herself, Xiao Xi is alarmed when she sees a drunken Liu Bing stumbling past her with a bunch of thugs following closely behind.

First Impression
I am in love! I had fairly low expectation of this show but this one is sure turning into a big surprise. Now, the plot is pretty predicable for sure but I really do like the fact the characters in Moon River are surprisingly refreshing even if on the surface they should be stereotypes.

It is probably not fair to compare this show to Hana Yori Dango since Moon River is based on a novel but come on! Three guys in a super rich elite school and a poor girl that doesn't fit in? Any self respecting drama addict would make that comparison.

Plus the heroine even starts to like the violin playing second male lead first before she will fall in love with the hero! I rest my case. 

Anyhow, since my mind keeps comparing Moon River to Hana Yori Dango I have to say I really like Xiao Xi and Liu Bing's characters more than the leads in Hana Yori Dango. It is probably just personal preference but I love that instead of the bumbling angry hero in Hana Yori Dango, Liu Bing is actually smooth and smart. Of course the cool exterior that Liu Bing keeps on at all times just makes it even more comical whenever he loses it in front of Xiao Xi. 

On the heroine's end, I find Xiao Xi's character rather endearing. I was afraid Xiao Xi's innocence might get annoying but so far I have find her obstacle filled journey to maturity really gratifying and worth cheering for. It doesn't hurt that Xiao Xi often does the most surprising thing at the oddest time which makes the show that much more funny to watch. 

All in all, I have high hopes for this one! By the way, as a fan of Hana Yori Dango I do feel the need to clarify that it is one of my favorite J-drama so do watch it if you haven't! 


  1. Thanks for review this show. I'm super happy that this show finally air. Took forever to get on air.

  2. It is strikingly similar to flowers over boys but as you say also refreshing that there is a strong female lead and some likable characters. I wonder how similar to the novel it is, because at this point some might claim copyright infringement.
    Please keep giving these thorough and enjoyable recaps of the episodes. It certainly helps as I only know a few words in Chinese so your recaps filled in the gaps for me.

  3. i love it!!!
    and ran over here to see if you were seeing it because i knew yoy would too

  4. Thanks for this first impressions recap! I am already obsessed with this show, mostly because of your recap :) Yes, it is similar to HanaDan/BOF, but I feel like it takes the best parts of the story and amps them up. Looking forward to this one.

  5. Thanks for this first impressions recap! I am already obsessed with this show, mostly because of your recap :) Yes, it is similar to HanaDan/BOF, but I feel like it takes the best parts of the story and amps them up. Looking forward to this one.

  6. super excited that you did a recap for this. I went in with pretty much no expectations at all and realized, wow, this is going to be my drama of the month...lol