It Started with a Kiss (ISWAK)

ISWAK -Title Pic  After Meteor Garden 1, this is the next taiwanese drama that I really liked a lot.  I wasn’t able to watch it from the beginning when it started airing over a local channel and i kept on missing episodes so I decided to buy a DVD.

Said to be the kiss that really started it all!

Said to be the kiss that really started it all!

I had an initial impression that this drama will be as uninteresting as the how the lead female character looks like.  Probably a more subtle ‘betty la fea’ story.  After watching some episodes over tv… it somehow resemble meteor garden only this time its the girl who is pursuing the guy.

Overall I enjoyed watching this taiwanese drama. I even went back on some episodes that I particularly find cute and funny. I am a big fan of Cinderella type of stories. Categorically, Xiangqin is not your typical Cinderella. She is not someone who is so poor who finds a rich prince who falls in love with her. Arile Lin who played the lead role was very effective on her role. She looks too average, the way she was styled. How can someone like Zhishu played by Joe Cheng fall in love with her? She looks ordinary and worst she is a slow learner. Zhishu on the other hand had everything, a well off family (but not ultra rich like in most Drama), drop-jaw looks and an IQ that everyone envies.

Xiangqin finds herself liking this super genius guy Zhishu after hearing him render a speech in front of entire school. Since then she knew he is the one that she truly likes. She made a letter hoping that one day she would be able to give it to zhishu. When that day came… Xiangqin had the time of her life, Zhishu just pass by her while trying to give the letter she made. This became a big joke in their school now everyone knows she likes Zhishu who turned her down saying she doesn’t like dumb girls. What made the situation a little exciting (though traumatic for Xiangqin and A-cai) is when their house has been damaged by an earthquake. Zhishu’s parents happens to watch the sad news on the television and recognize their friend Acai (he was instrumental to their wedding). They quickly offered him to stay in their house and this is where the fun begins.   

Love-Hate relationship that is Zhishu and Xiangqin

Love-Hate relationship that is Zhishu and Xiangqin

Surprisingly, the good samaritans who offered her father their house to be their shelter as well happens to be Zhishu’s parents. Zhishu’s mother likes Xiangqin as she always wanted to have a daugther. Zhishu quickly ordered Xiangqin to keep their situation a secret… he doesn’t want the school to know that they are living in one roof. But later on this little secret was unfolded by her friends. Using Zhishu’s old picture (when he was still small) dressed like a girl, Xiangqin asked him to tutor him to be able to pass.  Zhishu in the light of protecting his image agreed, leading her to pass the school exams.  Their high school life was full of struggle for Xiangqin to be close to Zhishu.  Until the graduation party when the top class to which Zhishu belongs and F class of Xiagqin had a clash,  this is where the big (intentional) kiss happened.

Surprisingly, Zhishu who is very bright and could easily enter the famous Taiwan University, entered the same school with Xiangqin.  This period of the drama was filled with twists and turns.  Zhishu became close with Ziyi, a classmate who possesses beauty and brains.  The girl turns out to like Zhishu a lot and enjoyed the pleasure of being a ‘close friend’ to him.  Xiangqin after discovering this started to do foolish things to keep an eye to Zhishu.  At certain point in college, filled with the need to find himself and be independent, Zhishu decided to stay out from their home and live by himself.  His parents initally disagreed on this but later on gave in. 

Xiangqin initially an unwelcome guest to Zhishu's heart...

Xiangqin initially an unwelcome guest to Zhishu

Half past the drama, Zhishu returns to their house after learning his father had a heart attack.  He has to take over leading their company (Panda) which he refuses to accept during early part of the drama as he is dreaming of becoming a doctor.  Nearing the climax of the story, Zhishu in order to submit himself to what his father is longing for him to accept (that is to take over the company) made a decision to engage himself to the Huilan.  She is the granddaugther to the President of the company they intend to get partnership with.  This move was to make their presence in the market stronger but resulted to a broken hearted Xiangqin.  Towards the end Zhishu realized that he has learned to love Xiangqin. She is the only girl who can truly understand him and be himself all the time.  With a little help from Xiangqin’s loyal friends, Zhishu realized that he can never let A-jin (long time suitor to Xiangqin) have her. 

The drama ended with a wedding with Xiangqin dressed as the groom and Zhishu in gown.  This is to honor a promise that he made to Xiangqin that he will do anything she wants if her strategy of kneeling down to get forgiveness of Huilan’s grandfather works. 

 Why I Like this Drama?

Aside from being a Cinderella type of story (the duck meets a prince then turns into a Swan…at least during the wedding), I enjoy dramas with happy ending.  The story is very light and the plot is not that complicated.  No evil-like antagonist but just funny and trivial characters. 

Too many cute scenes to remember - ISWAK is Taiwanese Drama household name

Too many cute scenes to remember - ISWAK is Taiwanese Drama household name

In most scenes i find Ariel funny and Joe equally effective as a snub type of guy.  They had a certain chemistry that makes them look good together.  I was never bored watching this drama. 

 The sound track of this drama is really great.  There are 6 songs from the OST that i’ll never get tired of listening to.

  • Practical Joke
  • Come Near a Little Closer
  • Say that U Love Me
  • The Whole World Knows
  • Meet
  • Can or Cannot

Meet and Come Near a Little Closer are two of my favorites.  Practical Joke and The Whole World Knows are equally nice.  The music is soothing and through a chinese friend i was able to get some translation in english.  I think these songs were specifically made for the drama as it speaks the different emotions of the main characters at certain point of the drama. 

Come Near a Little Closer is so Xiangqin.  Almost 2/3 of this drama showed how she tried so hard to be close to Zhishu.  She did everything to flatter and serve Zhishu, who by just being there makes her happy.  Seeing him smile or pay attention to her is enough to keep her love strong.  Meet on the other hand sounds half melancholic (its a little fast but listening to how it was sung makes it sad). 

Feelings hidden inside his heart...revealed in simple and small ways like sharing a cake together on Christmas when Xiangqin is left alone at home.

Feelings hidden inside his heart...revealed in simple and small ways like sharing a cake together on Christmas when Xiangqin is left alone at home.

Listening to this OST made me appreciate Asian music that are not necessarily written in English.   If you like the beat or the rhythm the lyrics would not matter but getting to know what the song means will add inspiration as you listen to it.


  1. Rosa Macias Said:

    Hi, I love Asian drama and I am trying to find other good ones like It Started with a Kiss, right now, I am looking at one that’s called hana yori gango, im trying to find some like Hana kimi, Devil Beside You, etcc… can you recommend anything else? Thanks!


    • charlene stacey c. asuncion Said:

      i love them very much i realy really love you ISWAK- ITS STARTED WITH A KISS

  2. janey_bei Said:

    Thanks for dropping by my site 🙂 I have not posted my other reviews on drama in my blog… It started with a kiss is really a nice drama i am waiting for part 2 it will air in Taiwan on Nov 25 according to dramawiki.

    I am also looking for Hana Kimi, i heard its a good drama… unfortunately there are few chinese drama in DVD here in my country most are Koreans. I have Hanayori Dango 1 and 2, its the japanese drama version of the manga it is a little different with the taiwan version Meteor Garden. I have Devil Beside you but I have note watched it…its next in line.

    Have you watched Goong? Its a nice drama from Korea… I made a review of that drama as well its really good its called Princess Hours in my country. It has a special edition called Goong S it was equally nice and it stars se7en — a famous actor singer in Korea.

    If you like feel good drama that has a romantic touch and with a little comedy try watching Coffe Prince 1st Cafe its Korean also, it is somewhat similar to Hana Kimi. It stars the lead actress in Goong Yoon Eun Hye. I highly recommend this drama. You may also watch Hello Miss! — this is also good i actually have review of this drama but i have not published it. If you have watched My Girl the same girl is the lead in Hello Miss!. My Girl by the way is very popular in Korea. If you are into taiwanese drama try Magic Ring. Its another Joe Cheng drama (lead actor in It Started with a Kiss). There are so many nice drama to watch… What Planet are You From? is also a good k-drama.

    I hope I have helped you find a good drama to watch.

  3. Kame-chan Said:

    =D I love this Drama! it’s soooo cute!!! by the way,did you know there is a second season to this Drama? x] oh! and I was wondering if you could e-mail me or something,I’d really love to chat for a bit about this Drama or anyother.

  4. janeybei Said:

    Yes there is already a sequel to this drama entitled THEY KISSED AGAIN. In fact episodes are already posted inYou Tube unfortunately its not subbed in English but you can visit look for dreammer90 she already subbed up to episode 5 in english.

    You’ll gonna love this drama too

  5. Ver Said:

    i luph dis drama too
    fun n easy 2 wtch
    now, im watching d 2nd sequel
    n as usual, it’s still fun n nice

  6. mecan Said:

    i can’t say anything a bout this drama this sis the most beautiful drama i ever seen hope that theres part 2…

  7. mecan Said:

    hope that there is someone a kind and very hearted people will send me a dvd so that i can see the movie a 100x hope so hoohoo…

  8. Venice Said:

    This show really rocks my world!!! Just seeing the moments between Zhishu and Xangqin makes me want to jump out of happiness!!! It’s a very cute story…

  9. jill Said:

    i thought it was one of thost boring cdramas.. but when i saw my twin watch it.. (i made fun of her when she bought the cd).. i ended up liking it.. because it was funny.. it started with a kiss and they kiss again are my faves after devil beside you and why why love.. and to think im a jdrama addict.. so yeah this show was good!

  10. Rice Said:

    i thought this drama dragged a little and there was too little scenes between the main couple to show the development bewtween them. I thought that joe should have had to fight for ariel longer. plus the drama is call it started with a kiss but they didn’t even kiss that much. there was like a 2 year gap between the first time they kiss to the second time they kiss. joe didn’t even show that he liked ariel that much and was always do mean to her. I also thought ariels character was a little too stocker type that it got annoying…

    overall i like this drama for its unexpected funny scenes. I thought ariel did a great job during those scenes. joe kinda bother me a little…he needs to add some meat onto him. i guess it’s because i like my guys to look like they actually work out…lol

  11. kristy Said:


    • Chii Said:

      i think that scene was a flash back.. on their wedding day xiang qin remembered those days. 🙂

  12. I am just starting to watch Taiwan dramas. I did not really like Meteor Garden because the boys there are mean to the girls but i liked Vic Zhou as Hua Ze Lei. So I watched Mars and Silence. In the Philippines, Fated to Love You is currently being aired from Monday-Friday. I’m liking it a lot. From the internet, I learned that Started with A Kiss is also a good drama. I’m trying to watch it right now, patiently because sometimes the signal is not very good. Thank you for your review. I really appreciate it because I can understand the drama more than just watching it.

    • janey_bei Said:

      thanks for dropping by… I like Meteor Garden all the versions =) I have known Jerry Yan because of this.

  13. dayan's kie Said:

    i love it

  14. Hi I’m back! I read some of your suggestions/reply and started to look for other good Taiwanese drama. Thanks for suggesting Magic Ring. I’m now watching it and enjoying it very much. I am looking for reviews on Magic Ring. Did you make a review on this drama? If you did, may you post it? I will read it the next time I visit your site. I’m now trying to watch it but the site with English subtitle has not yet completed the series. From the some of the episodes I watched, the place where there is the lake is simply fantastic! It is so wonderful to know that there are places so beautiful. Hope it stays that way. Okay this is all for now.

  15. jeffrey Said:

    love asian drama after this show!!Never knew it existed before ISWAK let alone that both I and my entire family would like the show AND its’ music.bought the soundtrack,first soundtrack I ever bought and I’m 21 so thats sayin’ alot lol

  16. Siriz Said:

    HI!!! i am knew on this program but i relly am into Taiwan drams..I love watching all of it especially THEY KISSED AGAIN..i have alredy watched season one and it was AWESOME!!! but in my country (Western Samoa) theres harly any Taiwan dramas in all the DVD could you please if you could e-mail me or something, i would reall much appreciate if we could chat about this drama..I just wish a kind hearted person would send me a dvd so that i could watch it..
    Oh!!! my country is in the Pacific Ocean!!!..lolz..

  17. aleah Said:

    I was so obsessed with this drama that I even made my own review about it. Lalalalalove ZhiShu and XiangQin. :))

  18. jigsaw Said:

    I’d need to verify with you here. Which is not something I normally do! I enjoy reading a post that may make folks think. Also, thanks for permitting me to remark!

  19. Brit Said:

    to me this drama not only sounds really good, but it sounds like the anime Itazura na Kiss.

  20. may alba Said:


  21. may alba Said:

    i love this movie talaga bacause its related in my true life narealize ko na ganito pla ang mainlove…………………………

  22. Chii Said:

    Where did you buy your dvd copy? Is it original and has behind the scenes, special scenes or something like that? OMG! I wanna have an original copy too. But i dont know where can i buy. Makes me frustrated! 😦

    Season 3 please. 🙂 Hope it will be soon. 🙂

  23. jadie Said:

    hi.. is there any update for ISWAK 3??? please let us know..thanks.:))

  24. angela Said:

    so beautifull

  25. mz mah kulit Said:

    so very like this movie…

  26. hannie Said:

    hi just wondering can you tell me what episode it is when XiangQin told ZhiShu she’ll stop loving him.. thanks a lot i’ve been crazy looking for it..

  27. shein Said:

    I really love this series as well as the sequel they kiss again. Hope to have an0ther sequel wherein they have their kids and how they will handle it. 😉

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