Even if the spectre of war is a historical legacy, I think mandatory military service does a boy good. Or a man good, because these days guys seem to defer service until later and later when normally it was either after high school or after college. Earlier this year two high profile Taiwanese actors got their honorable discharges, and Ethan Ruan and Ming Dao promptly dove right back to their red hot careers without missing a beat. Joe Cheng enlisted a few months after them and this week the Coast Guard Corporal Cheng got his discharge papers after serving his full term despite having a broken foot that needed surgery a few month into enlisting. Joe held a fan meeting in Taipei attended by a few hundred of his diehard fans, some of whom came from Japan, Southeast Asia, and Hong Kong just to welcome him back. Midway through the fan meeting a surprise guest popped up and the squealing was off-the-charts to see Ariel Lin coming to support her good friend and former co-star Joe. It was totally fitting for this It Started with a Kiss reunion to happen this week since it just happened to be the final episode of the latest ItaKiss adaptation that is going on in Japan called Itazura na Kiss: Love in Tokyo. At the fan meeting, Joe and Ariel warmly hugged after such a long time not seeing each other, because who doesn’t want to see Zhi Shu and Xiang Qin being cute together even if its just for show. Also at the fan meeting was Joe’s new protege Toby Lee, the first artist Joe signed when he started his own agency right before enlisting. Clearly Joe was just signing his own mini-me. What everyone wanted to know was of course Joe’s first project post discharge and he revealed that he was doing a TW-drama that was being custom created with him in mind by famed Director Winnie, who did ISWAK and recently propelled Ariel to her second Golden Bell Best Actress win for In Time With You. I’m so thrilled to seeing Joe back and looking fantastic and ready for action. I hope he’s going to evolve his acting back to the early days of The Rose and ISWAK because his recent works have all been lackluster for me but I know he has it in him.
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