Falling Into Your Smile (2021)

My love for this drama has no limits. It truly captured my heart, ruined my sleep schedule and I’m not mad at all. Personally I love sports themed dramas and I ADORE them even more when they hit that balance between focusing on romance and sports. Falling Into Your Smile gave me everything I was looking for in a sports drama and so much more!

I discovered this drama thanks to Soph @ Bookwyrming Thoughts, who sent me the OST for this drama being like ‘oh look the songs cool, I want to watch this drama’. Me being me decided to snoop on the OST and was like ‘ooooo yes I want to watch it too!’. I promptly binged it, forgot what sleep was and Soph currently has not yet watched this drama (her power is terrifying).

Falling Into Your Smile follows Tong Yao’s journey as the first female professional gamer in her country. Encountering various challenges from her mother’s disapproval, to toxic fans, to learning how to be a team player and much more. Gradually with each episode we get to witness Tong Yao grow as a person, as she forms friendships, learns to stand on her own two feet and falls in love whilst doing her best to prove to everyone that being a professional gamer has no gender.

Featuring the grumpy x sunshine and slow burn tropes paired with found family in a world of professional gaming. If you give this drama a chance, you will find yourself laughing at all the comedic moments, falling in love with our main characters and hopefully unable to stop watching this amazing show.

It’s been a year since I first watched this drama. Safe to say it has lived rent free in my mind for this long. Pinpointing why I fell for this drama was quite tricky I fall hard for drama then slowly forget about them. Not this time. The OST for this drama is what initially grabbed my attention. The specific OST is below, listening to the music with clips of the drama really gave me good vibes and I’m so glad I trusted my gut and dived in.

I first watched this drama back in 2021 whilst it was still airing and the agony of waiting for other episodes to be released with English subtitles was painful. My love for this drama is infinite, genuinely think this is going to be one of the dramas I come back to just to re-watch various clips for the serotonin. Speaking of re-watching, I am currently re-watching this glorious drama for the second time with Jayati and Ruby. Honestly sharing the experience with two of my friends has elevated my re-watching experience. We’re noticing so many things we didn’t the first time we watched it.

The Characters

Now with the majority of dramas I’ve seen I typically only end up caring about the main leads and maybe one or two side characters. It really depends on the drama, how well fleshed out the side characters are and the overall dynamics between the characters. Falling Into Your Smile was the first drama where I fell for ALL the characters (give or take!). The show doesn’t really dive too much into the backstory of the side characters, it mostly focuses on the main leads and the secondary lead couple. We do get a glimpse into a few of the side characters backstories but it’s not a whole lot and I would totally be down to learn more to be honest. The dynamics and chemistry between all the main characters really stole my heart.

From left to right: Lu Si Cheng, Xiao Pang (Fatty), Lu Yue, God Ming, Xiao Rui, Lao K, Lao Mao, Tong Yao is sitting down

I absolutely adore ZGDX, both the main players as well as the team members who are supporting the players. There is nothing better than watching the found family trope slowly unfold in front of your eyes. Whilst the team took several episodes to warm up to Tong Yao, watching them slowly start to accept her as part of the team, was truly heart warming. The dynamics as well are just *chefs kiss*.

Tong Yao and Lu Yue have such a sibling dynamic, it’s a joy to watch when they’re teasing each other and acting like total goofballs. Paired with Lao K being exasperated at their antics and usually saying something witty, I was often cackling at these 3.

Speaking of Lao K, he is my favourite character from the entire show, we get a glimpse of his backstory yet I wish we had more. K’s attitude towards Tong Yao early on was quite cold, making it pretty clear that he didn’t want her there. Gradually though he accepts her as a teammate as well as I love that you could see it through his actions and sometimes through his words. I think I properly fell for K when he decides instead of going out with the rest of the team, he would stay at the base and decides to have a full on dance party by himself. My introverted self can relate.

Chen Jin Yang is the second female lead and I absolutely adore both her character and her friendship with Tong Yao. Jin Yang’s confidence and overall attitude really made me like her. She’s supportive of the people she cares about and she’s unapologetically herself regardless of the situation. Another thing I admired about her character is how she has virtually no interest or knowledge of professional gaming but her best friend and eventually boyfriend are both professional gamers. She may not fully understand that industry yet she still supports them both and shows her support in various ways.

This picture of Tong Yao is from the first episode. It was also the moment I went in my head ‘YES!!! I have a good feeling about this drama’. I wasn’t wrong. Tong Yao’s character goes through significant growth over the course of 31 episodes. She’s one of my favourite female protagonists out of all the dramas I’ve seen to date. I appreciate her, she’s not perfect and she’s young, sometimes naΓ―ve and other times a little reckless. However she’s willing to put in the work to better herself and rather than admitting defeat, she’ll figure out a way to rise above the problem.

Lu Si Cheng is almost perfect. There was a moment where I wondered if he was going to be a flawless character, who is able to fix seemingly all problems. Any doubts I had were swept away when we reached the episode where Cheng’s character finally goes through some development. Until we reached an episode where it all unravelled. He’s human and despite the image he portrays of never needing support from others, he does and I love the scenes where he realises that and owns up to his mistakes. I adore his marshmallow self, how soft he is for Yao and to be honest Cheng strikes me as someone who just wants to feel loved by the person he loves.


The romance between the main leads has me cooing and swooning. During my rewatch sessions with Jayati and Ruby, I’m literally a broken record exclaiming over and over ‘look what a squishy marshmallow Cheng becomes for Yao’. I’ve seen a few other dramas before this one and for some reason this one took up residency in my heart. The love these two share is not puppy love. Sure there are many moments of playful ness between the pair, which is balanced as they grapple with the expectations of their fans. I am a sucker for slow burns in any and all forms but this is on my list of favourite slow burns of all time. It was so well done. There are so many smol moments between the pair which have me squealing and melting. Equally I was laughing so much in some of the early moments, the lines and humour are right up my alley.

Whilst the drama predominantly focuses on the romance between Lu Si Cheng and Tong Yao, our secondary leads and their romance deserve a moment of spotlight too. Ai Jia and Chen Jin Yang’s relationship is equally as wholesome as the main couples but for slightly different reasons.

Having previously been in a relationship, which ended due to Jin Yang going to study abroad and Ai Jia being focused on his career, this couple’s dynamic is perhaps underrated? I just really appreciate their scenes together, how they quietly ended up getting back together. The fact both of them are willing to stand up for the other, their friends and how they take a different approach to dealing with fans.


The friendships in this show are just everything to me. Yao and Jin Yang’s friendship captured my heart from the get go. They are polar opposites in many ways both in terms of how they approach problems as well as preferred style. Despite these contrasts their friendship is one of my favourites in the show, they have each others backs and are willing to help one another out. They may be opposites but they complement each other well.

K and Lao Mao’s friendship is also a favourite of mine. Lao Mao is often very slow on the uptake of getting various jokes/witty comments etc. It’s hilarious actually to see the rest of the team staring at him in disbelief but with a fondness. He may be slow on the uptake and to clue onto things but the team still love and appreciate him. Particularly K, they’re pretty close and you will often see them bickering during matches which is entertaining.

Fandom Toxicity

As someone who has frequented fandom spaces for many years now, I am always down for shows tackling this topic because it really does need to be tackled. The truth is the larger the fandom the more toxic it can become simply because it’s large. In the case of team ZGDX, they are a popular group in the professional gaming world with an established fan base, before Tong Yao ever entered the scene. For some reason fans can get really possessive over their celebrities/Idols – I think it’s important to remember they are human like you and me. You don’t own them, they shouldn’t have to be scared or worried about falling love, being seen with people of the opposite gender etc in case of dating rumour speculation. This show does a great job at carefully exploring this topic from the celebrity/Idol’s perspective, which is an important perspective to put out there. There are consequences to your actions and it was refreshing to watch those consequences unfold on screen.

Witnessing Tong Yao struggle with adjusting to being a public figure, realising that people are willing to spin things out of context and point the blame to her. Along with the other main characters, who deal with fan backlash at various junctures simply for falling in love or doing/saying something that got spun out of context. This drama really highlights how we don’t know the whole story to any situation and we won’t know everything about the celebrity/Idol. Just because you look up to someone, love what they do etc does not give you the right to try to dictate who they should and shouldn’t see/associate with or to act possessive over them. It’s a reflection of the struggles many Idols no doubt face because certain fans don’t respect boundaries or understand that their Idols are human.


The main reason I jumped at watching this drama was the gaming aspect. Just from the OST it looked like a show I’d love and hopefully with a nice balance of gaming and storyline. I was right. The game lingo they use may not make much sense and there were instances where I was forgetting who was playing who in the game. However I will never shut up over how gorgeous the game graphics are, or the fact they include scenes where you’re inside the game, it really elevates the experience. Otherwise we’d just be stuck constantly watching the characters playing on the computers and viewing things from say a fan’s perspective. By actually including those scenes it felt like we were playing or at the very least closer to the action and could feel the characters stress/pressure over needing to make the right move. (The game they’re playing Onmyoji Arena, which is free to download and play. I haven’t played it yet but I may do at some point.)

If you need MORE reasons to try this Chinese Drama then I highly recommend you check out Jayati’s post with 8 Reasons You Need To Watch Falling Into Your Smile. If you’re after a more in depth post then I suggest checking out Sumedha’s review of Falling Into Your Smile.

Do you have an all time favourite drama? I think to date Falling Into Your Smile is my all time favourite drama, I’ve not found one yet that tops it just yet. If you’ve seen this drama, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. If you’ve not watched it yet please go and watch it! It’s on YouTube, Viki and on Netflix too now!


12 thoughts on “Falling Into Your Smile (2021)

  1. Great post!! I am so glad you loved this drama and got me into it too! The characters were definitely some of my all time favourites as well and the reason I fell in love with this drama too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh I do like what you’ve mentioned – found family, grumpy x sunshine. Definitely putting this higher on my list ahha – after I’ve finished one or two other series and then eventually Fairy Tale and Devil – you know how it is πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yesssss it’s such a good drama, would highly recommend it’s so good. I’ve rewatched it once and I can totally see myself rewatching it again in the future! Thank you so much for reading πŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh I never got round to finishing this drama but I did enjoy it when I was watching it !! I absolutely LOVED the OSTs for this drama, especially WayV’s oneβ€”it’s just phenomenal!! Along with SEVENTEEN’s and Zhai Xiaowen’s songs, ofc. Really enjoyed reading this post!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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