Queen For Seven Days Is A Bittersweet Love Tale That Will TUg Your Heart

Once in a while, you witness a beautiful love story that you want to tell everyone about it because you want to share that stunning experience with them.  That’s the exact feeling I had when I was watching Queen For Seven Days.  It brought me to the sweetest highs and despondent lows as the story lured me in a web of doubts, betrayals and love.

Queen For Seven Days pushed me to the limit of my tears.  I usually avert melodramas, but KBS’ historical offering has this interesting visage that draws you in as a viewer at the moment you meet the lead characters.  Staged in traditional background, it narrates a breathtaking chronicle of a woman, who relies on love but falters on trusting that love which eventually leads to her misfortunes.

I smiled, melted, wailed, begged and a lot more on my drama journey in Queen For Seven Days.  When you think of those tragic love stories, you will remember them only as a sad tale. But not in this drama. While you grieve with the love couple who are forced to love each other from afar, you will accept that true love is kept in the heart with the best memories you have with someone, even if you cannot have future moments together.  This drama, though not achieving a happy ending fully, is still a satisfying romantic tale, which will appeal to people that knows love waits, love goes on, and love endures.

Read my FULL REVIEW at hellokpop.

Stranger Binds Deft Writing and Brilliant Characters For a Classy Legal Drama

The moment you decide to watch Stranger, you subconsciously wear an invisible prosecutor robe and a police-thinking cap in trying to decipher the motivations that makes a person become less human.

Stranger deserves more from the above average ratings it has received, to be honest. Skipping pointless subplot conflicts, it maneuvers through the treacherous world of conniving detectives and prosecutors with finesse and a rational method. I have been forced to watch legal dramas indiscriminately as it is the prevailing genre actively produced lately.  So out of all the law-oriented dramas this year, Stranger is that one drama which I will think fondly of in the future.

“Stranger” has a treatment of a drama presented in film scale. The cast delivers top-notch acting calibre, which is one of the best from what I’ve seen this year. Having less than 10 people navigating the story helped a lot in a balanced screen time, which makes even the minor characters indispensable to the series. It secures the highest rated viewership so far for TVN, hitting 4%+ in average rating. I credit that to the seasoned role immersion and character ownership of Cho Seung Woo and Bae Doo Na. We sure do have memorable prosecutor and detective performances for K-Dramaland this year, but this duo just claim their fictional characters down to the smallest detail.

Out of all the legal dramas this year, this series is cut for adults who want less drama and more story depth in the plot. It bravely dissects the cover ups happening in the police organization along with the corruption in the Prosecution Office without tiring the audience with pointless stop-overs. The series gives no more than what is required to story building, yet it makes sure how every detail conspires to present a comprehensible picture.

It is the focus on the conflict and clear role functions of the characters that makes “Stranger” a work of art that you should not miss. Despite the relaxed tempo, the intelligent writing probes efficiently on one major conflict and a clear delineation of the protagonists and villains. “Stranger” never swerves to pointless curves. It goes straight to the problem while building up the tension to make the culmination gratifying.

“Stranger” is my best legal-crime drama for 2017 due to its flawless plot progression.  You cannot watch this casually because you have to savor the implied life lessons.  Calm and composed, it won’t give you any moment of frustration over the characters and the story.  It will leave you satisfied and wanting for more adventure with Prosecutor Hwang and the team.

Read my FULL REVIEW at hellokpop.

New KDrama Premieres: Save Me, Strongest Deliveryman and Manhole

We will get to the extremes of reality and fantasy for new Korean dramas that will kick off in the next two weeks.

Save Me (OCN)

Ok Taecyeon will rescue a damsel (Seo Ye Ji) trapped by a creepy cult following in OCN’s new offering.  I have pretty much been loyal to OCN this year and have enjoyed most of their dramas so I trust in this new project.  “Save Me” will replace “Duel” on the weekend slot.

Manhole (KBS)

Kim Jae Joong’s post army comeback drama has released adorale teasers so far that I have already added it on my weekly watchlist.  The promise looks like “Operation Proposal” to me where the lead guy travel back to the past to prevent the wedding of his long running one-sided love.  KBS is chirpy with their drama line up this year so we can fairly look forward to this new romcom.  “Manhole” is slated every Wednesday and Thursday on KBS.

Strongest Deliveryman

Go Kyung Pyo sports a crazy hair for his breakthrough lead man role.  He rises from the bottom to become a CEO after delivering a hit app he developed.  KBS has been successful with their undedog stories this year so let’s wait and see where the deliveryman will take us.  “Strongest Deliveryman” will ride his motorbike every Friday and Saturday.

“Duel” is a Heart-Racing Pursuit To Claim a Death-Defying Medicine

 

Duel delivers a mind-bending chase thriller with unwavering excitement and grit.

Duel

Trust OCN in conceiving crime stories that disregards the conventional cop drama approach by using conflicts that will make the most out of the viewers’ time. Duel navigated a heightened quest of heroes who blindly trusted each other to achieve their personal goals of saving a loved one and remembering lost memories.

“Duel” caught me off guard because I thought it will be straight cop and crime drama. So, I was not prepared when it broke my heart into pieces with its main conflict of a father seeking the abductor of his sick daughter who happens to be a human clone supported by a big conglomerate company. “Duel” will not sink in right away to engage you, but once you patiently cross the 6th episode, you will forget what your current real-life problems are, and would just want to reunite the hero to his beloved child.

Highlights

Insanely Wicked But Engaging Plot

If told in scientific form, the detective’s daughter Soo Yeon is like the sun in the solar system, moving around her are the heroes and villains. The mystery solving plot unravels the details of the story that are traced to a 24 year old prohibited medical research on human cloning and a sort of cure-for-all vaccine. The story progresses as the serial killings of an evil clone happen. The movements of the plot are dependent on the quest to save the young girl until the discovery of the holy-grail-human-cure, who notches a more ardent contention for the dying people who needs her to survive. The ambitious medical plot about stem cell therapy and human clones seem awkward to a crime drama, but the moment your attention is settled to the story, your brain will become busy processing the what-ifs and OMG’s of the story.

Staunchly Intense Tone

The frantic pace and overwhelming tone will exhaust you every episode, but you end up craving for more. I tend to avoid problem-laden stories, but Duel breaks the exception easily as it made me see the importance of reaching the end of the tunnel for everyone in the story. I was so drawn in all the characters that the fight scenes full of blood spatters, broken bones and ripped flesh did not make me flinch as the episodes go on. In the waning moments when the coveted vaccine has been found, I really had hair-tugging moments on why the story always chooses the complicated road versus the easy one, but then the strength of the story is how the characters have good and evil resonance of their own that justify their growth in the story to the point of ludacris and selflessness.

Excellent Male Cast Portrayal

Given that the action-packed drama will cater more to the male audience, I really enjoyed the men-dominated cast because even with the heart-wrenching moments, the tear-inducing scenes are kept nicely at a bearable level. Yang Se Jong is a revelation. For a barely new actor, he is sensitive to his shifting roles. I can only imagine the focus he had to work on in giving two facets of distinct characters. Jung Jae Young showcased his seasoned acting to a point where I want to beg the writer to stop hurting him. *chuckles I won’t say that the lady cast are lousy in the story. They supported well, but it’s the boys that really held the story in place.

Impeccable Finish Line Race

Duel gives a satisfying closure after wrapping neatly all the conflicts presented in the story. After Episode 16, I heave a sigh of content because it made me feel like I am one of their team members in that neverending pursuit to destroy the evil villains. The heroes and villains in equilibrium give a gripping pendulum sways as the characters push the momentum of the narrative. I got what I never asked for in Duel, and that really made me happy.

Drawback

Fight Scene Gaps

While chasing the fugutives, the prosecutor’s team with the police reinforcement have tracked them on the crime scenes, but they are always a step behind in the entrapment operations. The execution of getting through the sneaky villain and the people behind him are always failing. My patience was tested on the warehouse hostage exchange scene because I can’t believe they were outwitted again. I know that it’s possibly because the story was just hitting halfway and I’m exhausted as they really live up to the “chase thriller drama” tag, but come on, it was not logically possible for the villains to slip through a band of detectives. There are evident gaps on the execution of the fight scenes. Duel is bloody and brutal in the brawl scenes, but the characters seem to be invincible with their ability to regain their strength for almost every episode of dark and twisted exchange of nasty squabble. Like they can’t take a 2 hour nap and will be back in full health after altercations like that of MMA bouts. That for me is unbelievable.

Plot Summary

Jung Jae Young plays Detective Jang Deuk Cheon who is saddled with financial constraints due to his daughter’s leukemia. Left with no choice when his daughter, Soo Yeon, is hospitalized, he agrees with Prosecutor Choi Jo Hye (Kim Jung Eun) to close a recent investigation so they can get the promised money he can use for Soo Yeon’s urgent expensive stem cell therapy.

After Soo Yeon’s emergency treatment they head home but the driver of the ambulance managed to subdue Detective Jang and takes off with the patient. Ransom money is demanded by the culprit to which the detective hysterically obliges, but the kidnapper flees with her daughter after learning the money is fake.

Enter the supposed kidnapper of his daughter, a man who has no recollection of his memory which the detective believes owing to how he remembers the evil eyes of the man who took his daughter. He helps him escape the impending prison time as he relies on his memory to track down his daughter. The amnesiac man encounters the mysterious man, Lee Sung Hoon, who shares the same face, DNA, and fingerprints as what he have. He also learns his name as Lee Sung Joon.

Sung Hoon mercilessly goes on a murder rampage as his evil deeds are blamed on Sung Joon. In their confrontation at an illegal dog-fight den, the latter meets a journalist who shares a connection from the past that Sung Joon is trying to remember.

In 1993, a doctor Lee Yung Sup who shares the same face as Sung Hoon and Sung Joon is engaged in an illegal stem cell research. The unlawful experiment backfired on him when the patients on trial escaped and took his organs for donation. The situation got complicated because he has injected the stem cells on his body not knowing that he will be killed the same day. That same stem cell research is given to the detective’s daughter who was kidnapped by one of the clones made from the dead Lee Yung Sup. Sung Joon regains his memory when they locate his friend and remembers his identity as a clone, like Sung Hoon, to the dead doctor Lee Yung Sup.

It turns out that the real vaccine was not injected by the dead doctor to his body, but was infact given to his dying daughter who was later adopted by a nurse he trusted. The daughter turns out to be present day Mi Rae who has been helping the Sung Joon and Detective Jang. Sung Joon who remembers glimpses of Doctor Lee’s memories uses his clone’s identity for a bargaining ticket to save Soo Yeon. He baits Sanyoung Pharmaceutical Company’s Chairman’s daughter of his recent memory recovery on where the real vaccine is. He successfully rescues Soo Yeon with the help of the police team as Prosecutor Choi demands the Chief Prosecutor to have Detective Jang be reinstated.

Prosecutor Choi who has connected the Chief Prosecutor’s involvement to Sanyoung devises a way to trap the evil business and evil boss. Sung Joon is reunited to Doctor Han Yu Ra who raised him and Sung Hoon when they were young. But Sung Hoon succumbs to the Chairman’s evil ploy to raise doubts by blaming Doctor Han’s inability to protect him in all those experiments done to him in the past 12 years. Sung Hoon calls the Doctor for a meet up, but accidentally eavesdrop on Mi Rae’s role as a carrier of the vaccine when Detective Jang consulted the doctor about the options for his dying daughter who responded to the stem cell treatment, but has been rapidly developing tumors in the body. Sung Hoon directs the doctor to another place to get through Mi Rae, but Detective Jang quickly stops him from leaving in the basement parking. Sung Hoon confronts his doctor-mom about what Chairman San Young revealed. In his rage he triggers the gun to Sung Joon but the doctor takes the bullet for him. The doctor ill-fatedly dies, just as Soo Yeon hits a critical condition. The evil chairman orders ro kidnap Mi Rae and the police team traces her to a suburb laboratory owned by the pharmaceutical company. Detective Jang and Sung Joon dress up in doctor’s robes to infiltrate the place. They get through the main door but outnumbered by the security officers of the building, Detective Jang sacrifices his body for Mi Rae and Sung Joon so they can drive away from the place. Mi Rae gives off her bone marrow as soon as she reaches the hospital, but the villain intercepted it by threatening Soo Yeon’s doctor.

Mi Rae’s bone marrow tug-of-war ensues as Sung Joon retrieves the box from the chairman’s minion. Sung Hoon heads to his evil clone’s lair to get the bone marrow so they engage to a fight where he is left no choice but to drug him to unconsciousness. The chairman’s bullies arrive in the house so Sung Hoon pretends to be his clone and claim that he injected the bone marrow to himself already. He is brought to the facility to get the bone marrow just as Sung Joon wakes up and realized what happened.

Sung Joon bravely goes to the Chairman to demand the release of Sung Hoon. Knowing how he will go sneaky with his words, he visited the recovering Detective Jang to present his Sung Hoon rescue plan. He also gives Mi Rae the bone marrow box to carry on with Soo Yeon’s procedure before heading to a final showdown with the villain. Pretending that he is subdued, he releases himself with a scalpel to slash the chairman’s neck as bullets rain on his body.

A year later, Soo Yeon with her now family of five visits Sung Joon in his resting place.

Recommendation

Duel is the second scifi drama that will enter my personal favorite list for 2017. I’m also surprised how it consumed me, and how I stayed patient in reaching the culmination of the story. Probably it is because Duel made me feel like I am part of the team and we are all in that moment together. *wink

If by any chance you want a real drama with pounces of action elements and inventive scifi plot, then by all means consider this excitingly crafted drama. “Duel” secures important messages about how human greed is neverending. It is a disease that will corrupt someone to the highest level of selfishness. It also gives a lasting impression on what makes a person as we see a human clone with a heart as big than what a real person could ever have. There are a lot more lessons on love, friendship and family that are neatly interjected in the story. Yes, it is amazing how they were able to blend that given the rip-roaring battle scenes. Duel is served best on a spree for you to feel the rush of the thrilling chase of the story.

Rating:  4/5 

 

“The Best Hit” of Your Life is Yet To Come

So there goes my favorite feel good drama this year.  The Best Hit has made my weekends zippy recently that I wish it was converted to a family drama that I would definitely love.
The Best Hit is like meeting your drunk treasured friend who would blab about insane ideas, and you would stay by his side listening patiently to all those crazy things.  My favorite outtake from this drama is how we won’t be having a time traveling chance like Hyun Jae to settle the mistakes we have done in our lives.  So we can avoid choosing the wrong thing or take the long route of fixing what has been broken.
Here is my FULL REVIEW of THE BEST HIT.

At the end of it all, it is still thanks to Ji Chang Wook

As a Ji Chang Wook fan, I suffered a rebellious jealousy while watching Suspicious Partner.  *grins  When it got to the sweet kiss scenes where he glided his lips luxuriously on his lead girl, I squealed along with all the girls around the world, but I slept with tears in my eyes. *lol

So when he went to giving her morning kisses as the story progressed, I rested my case, and decided to cool off my one-sided fictional romance with him. *giggles

On that note, Suspicious Partner soared up on how the romance inevitably happened between a man and a woman, who found themselves trusting each other.  The love declarations are impulsive outburst, which gives a relatable nudge for people, who at some point in their lives, recklessly chase a relationship that just beat excitedly in their hearts.

Here is my FULL REVIEW at hellokpop

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

suspicious partner

K-Drama Review: Justice Well Achieved By Team Lookout

Dear Lookout,

I have no regrets staying beside you since Day 1.  Warts and all, I enjoyed the thrilling ride.

Love, abby

I am still shookt and recovering from the gripping finishing kick of Lookout.  But as a rational KDrama fan, I have moved on because I have no choice left since I am bound to review a few dramas until next week.  lol

Here is my LOOKOUT REVIEW at hellokpop.  

Hope you will include it in your list if you are catching up with 2017 KDramas.

Fight for my way

Fight For My Way” Threads On Loving Someone Who Has Been A Friend For A Long Time

Yay!  It will be a busy week that will extend until next most likely.  I only have good words about the Fantastic Four’s story.  

Having a simple narrative in a way made me enjoy it so much because I get to focus on the individual stories of the main cast. I mostly basked in bliss and laughter fit while Dong Man and Ae Ra’s friends-turned-lovers paraded before my eyes. The humble rom-com premise breaks the predictable reputation of K-Drama rom-coms.

I say you catch up on this drama soon if you have not watched it yet. There’s a scarcity of charming love dramas this year so make the most of those that will be worth your time.

Here is my FULL REVIEW through hellokpop.

Happy Wednesday everyone! -jediprincess

“Circle” K-Drama Review: A Tale of Twin Brothers Separated By Time, Bound by Family Love

Here goes my Best Writing pick for 2017 K-Drama so far.  It helped that it was only 12 episodes, although it also became a disadvantage as some details were not elaborated.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the exciting thread “Circle” initiated. 

Circle ambitiously taunts a revolutionary science fiction premise that is risky and exciting at the same time.  Every episode just keeps on unlocking a revelation after another, making me decide that it is futile to decipher its trajectory.  I felt fulfilled on the closure of the twins’ journey to be with each other, owing to how the writer elaborated all those reasons why I had to have faith that they will get a happy ending.

Here’s the link for my full hellokpop review.  Below is the plot summary for you romance.

Kindly like my abbyinhallyuland facebook page as well.  Happy 4th of July from my side of the world!  -abbyinhallyuland

PLOT SUMMARY

Divided into two parts, Circle: Two Connected Worlds take turns using the present and future time frames in chronicling the story of twin brothers Kim Woo Jin and Kim Beom Gyun.  The current timeline is named Beta Project while the future timeline dated 20 years after takes the Brave New World title.

BETA PROJECT

When young Kim Woo Jin (Yeo Jin Goo) gets lost in a mountain, his twin Kim Beom Gyun (Ahn Woo Yeon) finds him to bring him home.  Little Beom Gyun castigates his younger brother on his alien hunting adventure. But then a flood light shines at their direction, rushing them to escape the scene.  Luckily, their father comes to their aid as an alien approaches them, turning herself into a beautiful woman before losing consciousness.

Fast forward to 2017 – when Kim Woo Jin is trying to make the ends meet with the financial constraints he has to shoulder after their father vanished with alien Byul.  His brother, who got obsessed by aliens, served a prison time after being admitted in a mental facility.  An unfortunate murder happens at Woo Jin’s school, and he suspects his elder twin has something to do with it, which the latter flatly denies it.

Woo Jin catches his twin brother on the act after following him to a motel.  From there, he confirms that his elder brother’s alien delusion is still on full swing.  Beom Gyun brings his younger brother to a place where he can prove his sanity – only to find an empty space.

Woo Jin argues to get him treated. But Beom Gyun runs outside with his brother chasing behind. They stop at their tracks, when the alien girl who took their father away from them, walks from the other side of the road, appearing with her same youthful appearance.

Beom Gyun ends up getting a treatment at a hospital, and insists how the alien girl is involved in the serial suicide cases happening at Woo Jin’s university.  The twins engage in a heated argument, making Woo Jin to rant how confronting the alien will not do them any good.

Beom Gyun argues that their father is taken by her. But his twin has enough of the burdens which he has had to bear from his dysfunctional family. Woo Jin vows that his brother will not see him anymore if he walks away, and not heed his request to stop his illusions.

The next day, the alien girl, Han Jung Yeon (Gong Seung Yun), appears in front of Woo Jin as a new classmate.  He dismisses his brother’s claim as everything she does looks human to him.  When he looks for his older brother, he notices his camera and finds a recording of Jung Yeon inside his motel room.

Beom Gyun continues his alien investigation when a flash of light blinds him. Woo Jin confronts Jung Yeon on why she is at his brother’s motel room.  She responds how she thinks his brother is the culprit of the suicide incidents in the university.  She teams up with him to look for his missing brother, and explains how she is investigating the suicide events due to her friend who died because of it.

The two go through Woo Jin’s brother’s notes, and stumbles on a possible list of future victims.  They fail to warn the next victim as she commits suicide, showing the initial signs of the death streak happening in the school.  They discovers a blue worm that comes out from the victim, dissects it, and realizes it is a micro-robot.

Woo Jin remembers his last conversation with his brother when he sees Jung Yeon’s email address note.  He rushes to her place and finds another blue worm thriving on a soil pot.  At an abandoned building, Beom Gyun wakes up, realizing he is locked up inside a room, while Jung Yeon walks to the very same place where he is imprisoned.

Jung Yeon is attacked by someone but Woo Jin comes to save her.  He runs for the attacker but lost her in an alley.  Jung Yeon clears his discovery of the blue worm that he found in her place.  She explains that the worm came out from her dead friend’s body.  Beom Gyun feigns unconscious when his captor approaches to attempt an escape route. But the latter subdues him with a tranquilizer shot.  A blue worm is planted inside his body while Detective Hong surveys the deserted hospital.  Woo Jin is summoned to a park by the same woman he chased who attacked Jung Yeon.  The two head to the park where the woman fails again to charge on Jung Yeon.  Woo Jin questions her about his brother and she has cited a proof of Jung Yeon’s alien identity.  Woo Jin recognizes the star he gave the alien when they were young and shows the picture to Jung Yeon who admits that she does not have memories.  Prof Han, Jung Yeon’s father, receives a phone call that her daughter skips her treatment again and we see him monitor the unconscious Beom Gyun from his computer. Puzzled by Jung Yeon’s declared past, Woo Jin seeks answers through the research conducted by his father.  Jung Yeon debates whether she will open the star keychain Woo Jin claimed to have been given to alien “Byul” when he was young.   He meets his brother’s friend, Park Min Young, and they go to where she is supposed to meet Beom Gyun before he disappeared.  They bump with Detective Hong who is also investigating.  They stumble on a crime scene, at that same moment, Jung Yeon confirms Woo Jin’s words to be true about her real identity.  Woo Jin chases after an ambulance with a bluebird logo where he sees Beom Gyun trying to reach him in his bloodied hands.

Min Young remembers the van that took Beom Gyun as a roving blood donation van.  Her selfie captured the first victim also donating blood to the roving van.  Min Young chides Woo Jin for withholding Jung Yeon and Professor Han’s relationship.  Jung Yeon teams with Woo Jin to discover details about Prof Han’s lies.  Woo Jin discovers old pictures of Prof Han working in Hansung hospital along with a picture of Woo Jin’s father with him.  Detective Hong gets the same information from a patient who used to be subjected to an experiment in the hospital.  Detective Hong confronts Woo Jin and Jung Yeon about their fathers’ experiment.  Prof Park learns about Prof Han’s activity behind his back.  The former is aghast about how his blue microbot invention is the cause of the recent student deaths, but the latter smirks that they are together in that research.  Min Young tells Detective Hong about the people in the van when she had her blood taken while Woo Jin finds the video footage of his brother from Prof Han’s computer.  He calls the police station and is met by Detective Hong’s subordinate who secretly works for Prof Han.  He is brought in the hospital where the scientist discloses the experiment he was working on with his father on erasing memories that would make life better for the people.  He mutters how when Byul came she gave the solution to their problem but his father hid the research results.

Prof Han begs Woo Jin to help with the research details but the latter responds that he does not know anything about his father’s work since he just learned that he is a neuro-scientist.  Prof Han makes a nonsensical bargain to make Woo Jin finds his father’s research or he will continue killing people.  Woo Jin rummaged on his father’s things and retrieves his old calling card for his previous work email.  He cracks the security code of his father’s email to get information about the experiment.  Detective Hong visits the research team’s office where he inquires Prof Park about the bluebot to which he denies association with.  Prof Park corners student assistant Hyun Seok and he learns from him about the research on saving memories in the form of video files.  Second bout of confrontation happens as Jung Yeon speaks with her foster-father who discloses why her memories as Byul will resolve all the problems he has at that moment.  He explains how she has cracked the resolution on the neuroscience research they were working on before, but Prof Kim locked her memories somewhere.  He threatens her to stay still or the twins’ lives will be at stake.  Prof Park goes back to the research office and finds the video planted by Jung Yeon, Min Young who is hiding underneath a desk takes away the camera and threatens the professor with a taser.  Prof Park appeases her and offers to join hands in locating Beom Gyun.  Woo Jin on the other hand walks to the neighborhood of their old house and receives a call from Prof Park that Beom Gyun is in their old house.  Woo Jin finds two men in the yard and rushes to look for his brother.  The men block his way so he grabs a shovel to smash on the bad guys.  With blood dripping from his head, he heads to find his brother who is unconsciously laying down on their father’s old office floor.  Beom Gyun wakes up to the sound of his crying brother.  He apologizes for putting him up to trouble.  While the two brothers got reunited, the computer screen powers up back to life.

The twins are rescued and they rush to the hospital.  Prof Park figures that Woo Jin is the key to open his father’s computer that stores the hidden research data.  Jung Yeon escapes her foster crazy father who heads to meet Hyun Seok to retrieve their research data.  Prof Park who is already there confronts him about his fatal experiments.  He reveals how he needs it to complete the research Prof Kim started which is viewing human memories in videos and tampering the memories as well.  Prof Park feigns knowledge on the blue microbot he created when Woo Jin and Jung Yeon visits him.  He leads the two to Woo Jin’s old house after learning that Prof Han planted a secret camera in the room.  The three confirm the memory viewing and alteration Prof Han is obsessed about as Woo Jin’s memory is displayed on his dad’s computer screen from the yellow star that was given to him by Byul when he was young.

Prof Park pretends as an emissary of Prof Han in negotiating with Woo Jin.  The latter lay his condition for his brother to get the surgery in exchange of his father’s research.  Woo Jin who learns that his father destroyed the research tricks the villains by sacrificing himself.  He bargains that he has the recollection of the research details and destroys the USB card that contains his father’s warning video that he already destroyed the result of the study.  Woo Jin learns Prof Park’s ploy and conspiracy to the same company who initially sponsored Prof Han.  He leads them to their old house and successfully eludes his captors.  They chase him into the woods where he reaches the road, but accidentally got driven over by Hyung Seok.  Prof Park keeps Woo Jin who is slowly deteriorating.  He meets up with a scientist who has studied human cloning.  Woo Jin eventually dies and a clone was created from his memory.

BRAVE NEW WORLD

20 years later, Seoul is divided between the utopian “smart earth” where no crimes and clean city exists versus the dystopian “normal earth” struggling with pollution and a trouble infested society. Detective Kim Joon Hyuk (Kim Kang Woo) tracks down an infamous hacker that will help the police unit he is part of in their operation to hack smart earth. They surprisingly receive a help call from a resident of smart earth reporting a murder case. Together with his chief who is obsessed on a felon he let go a long time ago, they head to smart earth portal to work on the case. The lead peacekeeper of smart earth Lee Ho Soo (Lee Ki Kwang) refuses their presence citing the impossibility of the claim due to the stable care system planted to all citizens of smart earth that monitors and calms human emotions. But another video evidence back up the police intention so he is escorted to the smart earth where he wants to be, owing to his secret goal of finding his missing brother.

Joon Hyuk proceeds with his investigation of the runaway murderer just as he is being probed by “Human B (the security department of smart earth), due to him having no history trace except for the last 10 years.  He obtains the chip card of the first victim and sends it to normal earth so his resident hacker can work on cracking something useful for his inquisition.

Joon Hyuk investigates on Jin Gyu, the guardian of Min Ji based on a phone call 20 years ago. He deduces how memories of the chip enabled smart earth people have been tampered. They go to normal earth to conduct and investigation, but bluebird hacker prevents them from retrieving the information they need. Ho Soo, who is experiencing strange memory flashbacks, ponders on Jin Hyuk’s deduction on how Human B is “bluebird”. He starts reclaiming images of a woman who turns out to be his dead ex-girlfriend. Joon Hyuk and his team track down “bluebird” moving in smart earth, but failed to catch him when Ho Soo interfered. Joon Hyuk berates Ho Soo who reasons how letting the memories be buried is a good thing as long as people are happy. Joon Hyuk reveals that he lost his memories too.

Joon Hyuk tells Ho Soo that he does not have any memory and narrates how Detective Jang gave him a new identity. Smart Earth people regains their blocked painful memories due to “bluebird’s” messing up of the system. Joon Hyuk and his team realize that bluebird has been unsealing the memories and is not affiliated with Human B.  Joon Hyuk heads to smart earth to find bluebird. On his way he receives a phone call from the exact person he is looking for. Joon Hyuk is given a map to follow so he goes back to normal earth stopping by at a university, an apartment, a bakery and to an old motel room. Through those stops he remembers pieces of his memory with his twin and he finally remembers his brother Woo Jin, as it turns out the he is 2017 Beom Gyun. At bluebird’s lair the hacker’s face is finally shown revealing Jung Yeon.

Joon Hyuk is kidnapped by Human B but Minister Park (2017 Prof Park) halts the plan to insert the monitoring chip. Joon Hyuk wakes up and Minister Park arrives to talk to him. He divulges how Woo Jin could possibly be the chairman of Human B to which Jung Yeon agrees.
Joon Hyuk meets blue bird who turns out to be Han Jung Yeon. Ho Soo tips “Human B” and they are on a standby on what the meeting people would do. Jung Yeon escapes the scene as Human B chief who is Woo Jin’s college senior in the past Hyung Seok, reminisces on his memory of Jung Yeon. Joon Hyuk meets with Detective Hong and Min Young about the recent development about bluebird. Joon Hyuk meets with smart earth city mayor so he can get permission to enter their world again. He bargains his need to meet bluebird who will confirm how Human B is instigating memory blockage to the citizens. City Mayor approves and shows how Ho Soo has made a secret deal with Human B chief as well. The mayor meets Minister Park who is Prof Han’s assistant researcher in the past. He discusses Human B’s illegal business but the Minister refuses to let go of Human B’s system. Ho Soo is still ordered to trail Joon Hyuk. When they are about to eat dinner he receives a message to meet the Human B Chief as Jung Yeon appears to where Joon Hyuk is.

Joon Hyuk is in denial that his twin is Human B’s chairman, but Minister Park believes that it is possible given that Woo Jin had the technology before he vanished. He reveals that he knows his twin well and reveals to the latter that his memories are all of Woo Jin since he lost all his memories. Jung Yeon visits normal earth and narrates how it was Joon Hyuk who pushed the idea to his twin when he was found 20 years ago without memories but feeling happy. It was then that Woo Jin realized the potential of the technology so he might have made the choice to work on that project.
Mayor Yoon refuses to reveal the glitch of Human B technology with an excuse that it will alarm the citizens. He requests time from Minister Park to sort out their options. Mayor Yoon releases Human B Chief with the condition of meeting Human B chairman and speaking with him only about matters regarding Human B. At normal earth, Min Ji’s abductor, Park Jin Gyu, is released since there are no crime evidence to pin him down. Detective Hong tells him that he will pay for his crime as it will haunt him and responds that they don’t know where Min Ji is. Soon enough Min Ji corners her abductor. She she cuts her pulse in front of him with the goal of making him remember a horrible thing that he did to her.

Joon Hyuk argues with Detective Hong if working on the case makes sense since he is torn into accepting the idea of how erasing bad memories prevents pain from happening over again. Ho Soo who has remembered everything meets the abusive father of his ex-lover living a normal life unaware of how he sexually violated his daughter. From there, he counters Joon Hyuk’s idea citing how memories serves justice and will make humans responsible for their actions. Joon Hyuk heads to Human B and advises the Chief to relay his message to the chairman of his proposed closed door meeting with him and bluebird. At that same moment a mysterious man walks on Joon Hyuk’s room and left a phone with details of a rendezvous.
Joon Hyuk videocalls bluebird of his intention to meet Human B’s chairman. Human B chief advises chairman of Joon Hyuk’s deal. Ho Soo and Joon Hyuk finds the old cellphone left by the mysterious man and Joon Hyuk notices it to be his old phone. Mayor Yoon recalls where he met Minister Park. It dawns on him that he is the chariman of Human B. Mnister Park blocks the memory of their conversation.

Joon Hyuk and Jung Yeon stalk Hyung Seok’s right hand in an attempt to locate Woo Jin. They go to a house where deranged Prof Han is babbling nonsense on how Woo Jin is already dead, but counters how the super computer of Human B is working fine so Woo Jin is not supposed to be dead. Ho Soo finds out that the hostaged villain sends a danger sign to her superior. He sacrifices himself for the two to escape. Jung Yeon plants a virus on Ho Soo’s smart care chip disabling Human B’s system. The two infiltrate the building but the fiends realize their intention. Just then the power shut down so she takes advantage to escape the holding cell.

At another room, Woo Jin wakes up appearing to have not aged at all. He goes out and bumps with Joon Hyuk and Jung Yeon. They take advantage of the chaos to run away meeting the normal earth police team who are off to rescue Joon Hyuk. They settle to a nearby chapel where they learn that Woo Jin is indeed a clone with all the memories of dead Woo Jin. They debate on what to do with him when an arrest order is issued for the twins and Jung Yeon. Joon Hyuk rushes to find clone Woo Jin who is about to turn himself in to Human B. Upon realizing how his younger brother made the sacrifice for his treatment, they embrace each other after the long battle to be with each other.

The team devise a plan to battle Human B by using Woo Jin as a bait. Minister Park retrieves Woo Jin’s memory so the team has 45 minutes to hack the system while it is up. Minister Park figures their plan, but misses the part how the twins trick him by using the secret communication code they used to do when they were young. It was not captured in Woo Jin’s video film so Joon Hyuk and Jung Yeon, who pretended members of the SWAT team are able to follow the fleeing Minister Park with Woo Jin. But Hyung Seok and his men appear to protect Minister Park.

Detective Hong and his team meanwhile carries on with the other part of the twins’ plan by rescuing Mayor Yoon so Woo Jin’s student hacker can retrieve back the piece of evidence that Human B has been blocking the citizens’ memories. They stream it for all smart earth citizens to see finally cornering the evil villains. Woo Jin who secures the cube that connects him and the memory technology throw it in the air, and the greedy Minister chases after it meeting his death as he falls down from the building.  Mayor Yoon takes over the ruckus that happened in smart earth as the twins and Jung Yeon go back to normal earth.

 

The Spy Who Loved Her and Him: Man To Man Review

It’s Monday and I kinda miss Man to Man’s slot for my watch list today.  I pray that Woman of Dignity will continue the lucky year of jTBC.

There are a lot of things that I like about Park Hae Jin’s recent spy drama.  It totally obliterated the nightmare he gave me in “Cheese in the Trap”.  So I guess Kim Go Eun and him are forgiven for that abysmal definition of plot turn of events.  

What I will remember most about “Man to Man” is the rightly mixed concoction of story, humor and amusing cast… not to mention the bromance.  I was not that swayed in the romance, but I appreciate that it added more layers to the hero.  Anyway here is my hellokpop full review.

Happy Monday yorabun!  ^_^

-jediprincess

chicago typewriter

K-Drama Full Review: Chicago Typewriter

I have included ‘Chicago Typewriter’ on my Top K-Drama Picks for 2017 because I was blown away with how the story was knitted to a blend of real and imaginary emotion on a premise of switching timelines.

Here is my full review published at hellokpop.

 

Liplocks and Fated Love on ‘My Secret Romance’

I thought this drama will be at 16 episode so I was surprise that it was really set at 13 Eps.  But given the lengthening job they did to finally end Sung Hoon’s kissing prowess spectacle, I think reaching the 16th episode would have really made me furious and no amount of Sung Hoon’s hot self can appease it.  *chuckles  

Here’s my full review for ‘My Secret Romance’ published at hellokpop.

‘My Secret Romance’ follows the traditional make of Korean rom-coms without any embellishment.  If truth be told, on a woman’s point of view, you will really stay because of Sung Hoon’s handsome face and his vacuum kisses.*Wink  There is really not much going on as the story gives away the surprises, not with twists and turns but with predictions if they will kiss or not.

If you need a drama that will require you to just rest, and bask in honeyed moments while sipping a hot chocolate on a rainy day, then this short drama will serve the purpose.  But be warned that the barren storyline is borderline cathartic that you might feel like you are watching it only because of the liplocks.

my secret romance

 

New KDramas Alert: ‘Lookout’, ‘Circle’, and ‘Fight For My Way’

We had new dramas that hit the small screen last week.  In case you have not checked on it yet.  These are the initial drama premises that you should look forward to.

 

Lookout

“Lookout” exhibits an interesting mixture of characters that the audience can look forward to.  The editing is clever as the story pace attracts the viewer’s attention immediately.  It goes straight to an emotional moment, where the lead girl gives all the reasons why we should root for her to avenge the death of her daughter from a young psychopath, hiding behind his parents’ wealth and power.

A woman vigilante in the making, a cunning prosecutor with an ulterior motive to take down the corrupt office he belongs to, the adorable CCTV genius girl, and diligent field worker team are what made up the cast of these neighborhood heroes.  They don’t possess any super power but their joint skills and abilities in solving crime and raising righteousness flag will make you cheer for them.

‘Lookout’ is all business in its promise to provide an exhilarating ride in pursuing redemption with the ultimate verdict that no man is above the law.  Here’s the link for my complete article in hellokpop.

 

Circle

‘Circle’ effortlessly drops an auspicious chronicle that is unafraid of possible limitations along the way.  As an avid K-Drama follower, I am scared and happy at the same time on how TVN pushes to present this cutting edge plot, owing to how deft writing and intelligent scene-execution would make or break the story.

‘Circle’ energetically runs on establishing the seamless connection of the characters, the timelines, and the past, present and future events.

If you are in search of an interesting K-Drama to stimulate your brain and thrill your heart, ‘Circle’ is definitely up to your challenge.  Here’s the link of my first impression on ‘Circle’ at hellokpop.

 

Fight For My Way

‘Fight For My Way’ tosses a reality check that features characters who are failing at their current adult life after missing their chances to work on their young dreams.

The unidealistic vibe of the friendship circle in ‘Fight For My Way’ affirms an engaging invitation to sit in for a drama that is coated not with the most fancy things, but remains beautiful just the same.  Here’s my take on Fight For My Way’s initial episode at hellokpop.

The Dark and Creepy Path of Deciphering Criminal Minds in ‘Tunnel’

For my objective review on crime drama ‘Tunnel’, please check it at hellokpop.  Since this is a genre that I have grown to love because of my attachment to Criminal Minds, at some point I joined the highs and lows, but the safe and neat narrative felt lacking in the end because it was always leaning on a safe side in explaining the links presented in the story.  The trite flow and complacent writing that circled to the villain overshadowed the heroes and gave an imbalance on the character dimensions of the story.

I wish they had explained the catalyst of the time jump but they just sort of let it happen in the story.  I know that it was laid as part of the plot framework, but in kdramaland everything has to be explained.  lol

Overall, ‘Tunnel’ is still an exciting drama watch.  The unexplained time element is the only thing that set it apart from the crime dramas focusing on serial killing and also my minimal complaint along with the predictable storyline.

KDramaland Weekly Round Up (May Week 2)

We had three new dramas opening this week and some more in the coming weeks.  Hopefully this will be a start of a lively weekly drama line up.

My Secret Romance (Mon-Tue) Ep 7

Episode 8 was preempted just when the romance plot is thickening.  argh  The appetizer kiss scene in Episode 7 surprised me.  I just felt that coming from their one night stand and meeting after, the awkwardness if will not be discussed should have at least drawn some line or urged Yoo Mi at least to question Jin Wook’s right to just kiss her as he pleases.  I will still give the love plot in this drama a chance to redeem the story since we will be crossing the middle part so hopefully we can balance the romance and comedy.  Technically they are trying to insert mushy scenes more than yarning the story, and even if it is acceptable in rom-com dramas I got a bit disappointed because I like the director’s work in Something About 1% last year.  Give me a story next week, I like Jin Wook’s vacuum kisses but I want us to talk as well.  *chuckles

The Liar and His Lover (Mon-Tue) Finale Week

So Rim and Han Gyul wrapped up their story on a safe landing.  I have written the full review for hellokpop so if you want to watch it soon, check my recommendation.  Overall I like the story before the pandemonium of conflicts in the closing sprint.  It would have been nice if So Rim and Han Gyul were not pushed behind because of unresolved problems that they had to fit in the dying episodes.

the liar and his lover

Suspicious Partner (Wed-Thurs) Premiere Week

I signed up for this of course because of Ji Chang Wook oppa since they bribe me with his “first rom-com role” premise.  What’s strange was that it felt weird seeing him slumped on a chair with paperworks.  lol  The love vibes with his lead girl is not yet settling in me, but I like Nam Ji Hyun so I’m positive that she will win me over.  Here’s my opening thoughts for Suspicious Partner at hellokpop.  

suspicious partner

Ruler Master of the Mask (Wed-Thurs) Premiere Week

I skipped Rebel and Saimdang period dramas because I was not drawn by the initial premise and the actors playing on it.  I like how the water system exploitation conflict will be the basis for the story’s premise.  It is reminiscent of Flower in Prison and Tree With Deep Roots so I have picked up this drama on my list.  Here’s also my hellokpop first impression for ‘Ruler’.

Ruler Master of the Mask

Man to Man (Fri-Sat) Ep 7-8

Ghost Agent K feels like Healer all over again and it’s making me feel so in love.  *giggles  Everything about this drama is perfectly executed so far.  I like the placement of the conflicts as the spy missions for the hero, and I like how his character is showing amusing facets that is making the story more adorable.  The bromance with action star Woon Gwang is also commendable along with the heroine’s intuitive nature.  Friday and Saturday dramas are what’s keeping me happy weekly.  If you are still considering watching this drama it won’t disappoint you.

Chicago Typewriter (Fri-Sat) Ep 9-10

Se Ju and the gang never looked back and keeps throwing on cryptic puzzle pieces little by little as the picture and connection of their past lives is reaching clarity at present time.  What I am anticipating is whether the mistakes from their past lives will finally be atoned in their present lives.  I think the limbo situation of ghost Jin Oh will be unraveled soon as well as the backstory of Seol’s trauma.  ps.  That 1930’s kiss scene was so hot.  lol

chicago typewriter

Bad thief, Good Thief (Sat-Sun) Premiere Week

For a 50 episode drama the first two episodes are not enough for me to understand the intention of the production team.  So I’m going to give it 10 episodes to prove its worth.  The premiere week displayed back story that I did not feel entwined at all so come on drama entice me! 

bad thief good thief

Chasing Dreams and Young Love in ‘Liar and His Lover’

the liar and his lover

I think I fainted to sleep after my full review of this drama which I already published at hellokpop so you can view the full review from there.  I did love this drama from its onset because I look forward on how the heroine’s character will progress and because her character is such an endearing watch.

the liar and his lover

‘The Liar and His Lover’ sans a complicated story is heartfelt at the very least, in conceiving relatable characters for the audience to cheer and be inspired.  The age group, which this drama targets, would enjoy the budding romance, quirky and cute boys of the idol band and the music, tailored to the setbacks that they encounter in pursuing romance and life achievements.  For the young-at-heart viewers, the immature scenarios and the shallow narratives might test your patience, yet it will also remind you about how being young has ventured us for life experiences, and how all those memories will always stay special in our lives.

the liar and his lover

‘The Liar and His Lover’ showcases catchy music that befits the angst and ardor of the characters as they navigate working on their personal issues and the central discord which binds all of them. The music industry setup is projected less chaotic and more inviting to inspire young people, who are fascinated in pursuing their music dreams.

the liar and his lover

The storyline seeks to depict an impressive lingering effect out of a simple narrative by strongly preparing moments for all the characters.  From its onset, ‘The Liar and His Lover’ is sensitive to the harmonious link of the plot and the characters moving inside it. The lessons shared on each hurdle being solved, leave encouraging wisdom on achieving personal goals and loving faithfully with an unfeigned heart.

the liar and his lover

The strength of the first half fades at the second half. While conflict is an integral part of the drama, it is carelessly placed to a position where the narrative is rushed, causing a timid impact of the dispute bombarded at the latter part of the story.  The conflict matches the light tone of the tale, but the timing and length of the problem-solving strides has almost hit the finale episode without serving fan-service moments, which is a standard rom-com staple.

If ‘The Liar and His Lover‘ is a symphony, the first part of it reflects bright tones before surging to a sporadic interval, and then cautiously landing to safe notes.  That being said, the drama fails to keep the consistency of the bouncy setting to make its run enjoyable.  The closing episodes at some point feel lethargic because it is not befitting to the initial sketches of the love couple that appears to have lost their vigor after being swarmed by adversities.

Photo Credit:  The Liar and His Lover Facebook Page

The Strong Woman who Stole Depunim’s Heart

 

“Fated love is seeing your happy face in the eyes of the person you love”

And that’s how you tie up the loose ends, execute a heartfelt closure for a love that missed its timing, and celebrate how true love happens when you are patient enough to wait.  If you are on a k-drama slump, this will hook you up back to oppa-land.  The fast paced quirky rom-com promised an addictive run and delivered it in flying colors with a riveting thriller plot incorporated on the side.  

It was a whimsical love ride with thugs, a psycho, a police, a gaming company CEO and a woman with extraordinary strength.  The labyrinth was a whirlwind of cuteness and mirth and everything a fan would ask k-drama gods for a gift. Consistently endearing with amusing surprises along the way, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” is a steady delightful drama that deserve all the raves and hype it has been getting from k-drama followers.

I was always in a trampoline of stimulating emotions while watching Do Bong Soon’s story.  From thrills to laughter to poignant bliss to heart flutters and to sweet tears, I already placed it in my all-time k-drama favorites.  What made this drama so endearing was the perfect blend of the engaging love couple/triangle chemistry, the warranted humor even the slapstick travesty, and lastly, the charming tale of the heroine who bloomed to become a woman who acknowledged her strengths and frailties.  Hers is a story that any girl can relate to.  From those love confusions, career-where-I-am-going-questions and finding her worth as a person.  “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” might have been coated in chocolates and marshmallows, but it gave a tangible encouragement especially to women watching it.  

 

Cast, Storyline and Conflict

I usually pick k-dramas to watch based on the history of the production team. There are a few that I chose because of the actors like how I signed up for “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”. This is my no-reservations-i-just-love-parkhyungsik-so-im-going-to-watch-it drama.  So, I was surprised that the premiere week gave me more than I expected and steadily raised my anticipation all throughout my devoted trailing.  The energetic pacing, the charming CEO zooming on a hoverboard, the small framed heroine with herculean strength and the uptight hot detective, are some of the reasons why this drama has charmed and chained me in so many ways.  Because of its intriguing plot, knee-weakening sweet moments and cute bickering, Bong-Bong and Min-Min’s love ride has been so invigorating.

We sure had a second lead syndrome with Ji Soo playing Bong Soon’s long running one-sided love, and it was a relief that the transition given to us so we can move on along with Bong Soon was well enacted in the narrative.  Bong Soon’s one sided love to Gook Doo was cute as hell.  Gook Doo’s line of how he was so overwhelmed with his emotions towards her that he missed knowing that she felt the same way made me sob and sigh as his pain attacked me in the finale episode.  I liked how that scene properly sent off the alternate love pairing with a breathtaking moment which you rarely see from past rom-coms once they hit the culmination of the main love line.  Usually the second lead will be disregarded like he never helped in highlighting the main love tale.  The right love at the wrong time story of Bong Soon and Gook Doo was established well propelling an exciting race for the lead girl’s hand and perturbing heartache for the second lead that we also want to keep in our heart.  The love triangle premise broke my heart when it has not even happened yet, so when we got to the steamier love plot it made everyone happy and confused at the same time since we have an equally adorable second lead.  

My shameless noona romance with Park Hyung Sik was rewarded well, and I’m so happy for him landing a drama that was loved so much by the viewers.  I love how our hero has figured out all the answers to his illustrious life and how he lives to his gaming company owner persona and treating every life setback as a challenge to overcome for him.  Hyung Sik was awesome in projecting the same bread and butter rom-com element of bickering with the lead girl that seeing him caught in a love bug was quite a delightful watch. What’s amusing about his character was how he diverted from the lead man prototype by being soft-hearted and crazy over his girl dummy.  It’s hard to put it in words but his interaction with Bong Soon cracked me up a lot because we got to see him hilarious without the love connection, so when we hit the romantic rope, he was a bundle of gaiety since he was drawn to rationalizing everything about their relationship and literally translating it to how his weird mind perceived it.  Park Bo Young who has always been known for her brilliant portrayals owned her Bong Soon character by giving it a unique resonance even when her image was sketched with imperfections.  And her stunning connection with Park Hyung Sik along with the ardent gazes and heart-stopping kisses has made me hug my pillow so hard while squealing like a highschool girl watching her crush shoot a basketball from afar.

The love progression turned so effective in inducing laughter fits because Min Hyuk’s one-of-a-kind hubris was always at lost, as his lady love knows what buttons to push to make him surrender at her fingertips.  The dynamics of Bong Soon and Min Hyuk’s reversal of roles are clearly defined thanks to Park Couple’s committed portrayals.  As a cushion for my weak heart, I did not give my all in trusting the production team, but I have a big faith to the awesome actors playing in the tv stage.  

15 years of Korean drama following will give you a power to predict stories from its onset and a liability to easily give up on dramas showing no kick off promise.  In a way, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” resurrected my old fan girl spirit, and made me reminisce when I was at that stage of being so forbearing with any kind of drama given to me regardless if it was good or bad.  I found myself watching the drama without subtitles and scavenging YouTube for any drama related uploads available to kill time while waiting for the next episode to happen.

I only have a minimal complaint on the narrative.  There were scenes I wish did not linger more or were used as fillers like the excessive thug frames.  But overall, I am mostly satisfied with its simple premise and gleeful romantic realization.  On this note, the only 1% pout I will give the story was how the writer should have capitalized more to Bong Soon’s power’s back story anecdotes or how Min Hyuk established his company, or any love couple’s mushy moment, than placing those gangster scenes that I am already not interested about after the 1 vs 30 encounter with Bong Soon.  Bong-Bong and Min-Min’s story gave us a hybrid of fantasy and reality characters that helped in making the vibrancy of the story conspicuous.  I like how our creepy conflict functioned as a neutralizer to the witty love interlude and the satire comedy we were high on for the most part of the story.  We had a solid love triangle, a vivacious main cast, a cute storyline, and an exciting pacing that encouraged my usually swaying heart into 8 weeks of faithfulness in this series.  The uncomplicated resolution of the side conflicts and the gripping chase of the focal problem were achieved reasonably without giving us the run arounds.  Strong Woman Do Bong Soon sprinted an amazing spectacle with the stunning and lively depictions and comical storytelling.  It was technically bare, but the simplicity and the fascinating cast synergy accompanied by the palpable humor kept the viewers warmly sedated and feeling good after watching it.  While providing the gist of the background of our characters, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” presented the love premise and conflict in a smooth way.  The ratings justified everything that we got from the narrative.  Sometimes there are stories like Bong Soon’s that we all need a taste of each week to relieve life complications and uncertainties.

“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” marked everything required on a k-drama rom-com checklist.  It was also the brightest and most cheerful bulb that opened K-Dramaland 2017.  The thing about first quarter k-dramas is that you tend to forget it if another beautiful drama comes in like what happened with “Descendants of the Sun” and “Goblin”.  Both are equally amazing but we remember Goblin more.  Now I don’t think it would happen to me.  There were two points I know for sure I will still do after the finale.  That it will stay on my phone to function as my cheering up pill and that I will rewatch it again this year and the next years to come joining my resident drama rejuvenating playlist.  That’s what I did not do with the top two dramas last year.  The hype was high while it was airing but the rewatch value is not that strong.  That’s the advantage of feel-good rom-coms, you see it again because it is easy to watch and will just make you smile and giddy-ish even if you have seen the heart fluttering moments a lot of times already.


2017 K-DramaLand is so far not as explosive and busy compared to 2016 KDrama Parade so you have ample time to dive in this exceptional and amusing love tale.  I rave on dramas that deserve to be praised, and that’s the case for me with Bong Soon and Min Hyuk’s story.  I’m sure you will enjoy it the same way I did.  

-jediprincess

 

Summary

“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” highlights the tale of Do Bong Soon who inherited a superhuman strength that is passed on from her maternal ancestors. Her incredible strength cannot be used for personal interest though, as it would cause an inevitable misfortune for her. An incident involving saving a bus driver bullied by thugs made her crossed paths with Ahn Min Hyuk, a pompous CEO of a gaming company who offered her a job to become his bodyguard. Bong Soon agreed considering the huge amount of money tied up with the job offer.  The strange working agreement opened a connection for them, but he must wait for her to end a long running one-sided love with her police friend – Gook Doo.  Complications arose when a neighborhood psycho abducted women and ended up taking Bong Soon’s best friend – Kyung Shim.  She could rescue Kyung Shim, but the psycho’s failure triggered an obsession to punish Bong Soon.  Min Hyuk promised Bong Soon that she will be transferred to Strategy Development Team if she will do a great job protecting him as well as uncovering his secret stalker.  She managed to unravel the culprit and soon after she revealed to him her secret power.  The thugs who cannot move on from the humiliation they got from Bong Soon’s hands tricked her to going to a place where they staged a 30 vs 1 combat with her.  She pulverized the gangsters but failed to punish the big boss when a hiding thug zoomed to attack her with a knife but Min Hyuk ran to take the hit for her.  From there, Min Hyuk who has been interested with her from the start escalated to being officially smitten as he recognized the girl from his dreams who once saved his life was Bong Soon.  Bong Soon’s heart who has harbored a secret adoration with Gook Doo soon realized how her heart already changed who it beats for.  Bong Soon’s friend was taken by the psycho again and in the process of saving her, she lost her power.  During her most vulnerable moment, Min Hyuk stayed by her side.  When he asked her to love him back she finally admits how she also have him in her heart.  The villain who was chased by Gook Doo and fell on a cliff survived the fall and went to plan another revenge game with Bong Soon and Min Hyuk.  He disguised as a reporter to enter the office and drugged Bong Soon who regained consciousness and a ticking bomb attached to her.  Min Hyuk finds his girlfriend at the rooftop through the tracker necklace he gave her but was unable to open the door that separated them.  Bong Soon begged with all the love she had for Min Hyuk and the heavens opened to give back her power enabling her to throw the bomb for an amazing firework display.  Bong Soon who wanted to catch the psycho with her own hands asked Min Hyuk and Gook Doo to help her and they managed to trap him in a steel cage which Bong Soon threw in his escaping motion.  Bong Soon who has been working on a game successfully got the nod for the first game she developed and officially entered the Strategy Development Team she so wanted to join.  But working to save and help the weak people was causing her attendance issues at work so she ended up being sent back to Min Hyuk’s office as an intern.  Min Hyuk proposed marriage when all the ruckus was settled and just when he thought that it will be an ever after, they got a twin daughter who took after their mother.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Ep 14 Recap

 
We had a lot squeezed in for this adorable and gripping episode.  Let’s cut the chase and go straight to the story.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode Recaps

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode 14
Gook Doo engages to a car chase with Jang Hyun.  The latter winces from the pain of the gunshot wound.  He maneuvers at a fast speed but a car approaches so to avoid a collision he swerves the car and falls on a cliff.  Gook Doo steps out of his car to check on Jang Hyun but he cannot spot any movement.  The police arrives at the cliff to perform a thorough investigation but Jang Hyun’s body remains unrecovered.  Chief assures worried Gook Doo that the case is closed as the team deduce how the psycho won’t be able to survive the fall.  He receives a message from Min Hyuk that he took Bong Soon home.
Aboji paces the room waiting for his daughter when Bong Ki arrives.  At the same time, Min Hyuk gazes at Bong Soon’s weary face as she sleeps.  Park Hyung Sik has really one of the best oppa gazes ever. period.  He gets Bong-Bong’s phone to call aboji and he apologizes for not letting him know earlier that she is with him. 
Aboji responds not to wake her up if she is fast asleep and tells him that he trust him.  Min Hyuk promises that he will take care of Bong Soon to rest aboji’s woes.  Bong Ki hands a can of beer tohis father and confirms that his noona is with her boss.  He mutters if they are in a serious relationship as aboji replies how Min Hyuk seems to be a nice guy so he feels assured.  Aboji speaks about how when Bong Soon was growing they were scared that she might accidentally used her power in the wrong way and how they were always scared that she might get hurt when she is outside.  Bong Ki also confesses that he went to medical school so he can do a research on why the family had that inherited genes so he can help his noona live a normal life.  
Bong Soon regains consciousness and sees Min Hyuk sleeping beside her.  She moves her hand to touch his face but changes her mind at the last minute.  She tries to get up but he felt her move so he locks her back to on the sofa with his arm as her pillow.  His eyes meets hers, and she finally returns the love he deserves.
Min-Min:  Look at me.
Bong-Bong:  I am looking at you.
Min-Min:  Love me Back.
Bong-Bong:  I do love you.
Min-Min:  You’re as small as a peanut so you fit inside my heart.  But I don’t think I fit inside yours.
Bong-Bong:   You are in here.
 
Min Hyuk embraces Bong Soon with all his love as she rests in his comforting arms.
Omma beams when she realized that Bong Soon did not go home and her son affirms that she slept at her boss’ house.  Her cheerful mood fades when she receives a call from Kyung Shim and the latter cannot help but sob on the phone.  
Min Hyuk wakes up without Bong Soon by his side so he hurriedly searches for her and finds her struggling to reclaim her strength through an apple.  She notices his presence and asks for Kyung Shim right away, he responds that she will go to their house after her treatment as she does not want to stay in the hospital.  Min Hyuk gives her a love filled scolding for not listening to him and now wanting to push her despondent mood for losing her power, he slices the apple she was trying to break earlier and made a morning apple drink and gives it to her.  He mutters how he remembers she mentioned how she eats apple in the morning as her routine.
Gook Doo is busy writing the case report of what happened last night.  Chief appears and inquires if Jang Hyun’s body already showed up but he gets a negative response.  He chats with Gook Doo and babbles how Kyung Shim insists that Min Hyuk saved her but her statement does not seem to fit the story.  Gook Doo guarantees that he will take care of the report and goes back to his computer.
Omma is flustered on why they were not informed of what has been happening with Kyung Shim as the family waits for her in the living room.  She enters the house and they catch up in the living room.  She narrates how her mother knows about it but she was threatened not to call the police or she will die.  Omma insists on preparing food for her before she leaves for Busan while waiting for Bong Soon.
Min Hyuk drives Bong Soon home and fumbles on her seatbelt when they reach her house.  She stops and recalls the security guard she accidentally hurt, but Min Hyuk soothes her to rest her worries because he will take care of it, and just meet Kyung Shim to take care of her.  She steps out of the car and was about to close the door when he mumbled that he needs to be taken care of too.  Bong Soon smiles and promises him that she will which made Min-Min grins.
Bong Soon goes straight to her room and reunites with her best friend.  They cried and embrace together as she checks on the hardships she suffered from Jang Hyun’s hands.  Bong Soon is relieved how Kyung Shim has a strong heart and tells her that she saves some money from her salary because she will buy her the nice dress she wanted.  Kyung Shim also asks if she is okay aftet what happened in the construction site, and she admits to her that she lost her power.  She sobs while saying how for the longest time it was what she wanted, but she is feeling uncomfortable not having it at the moment.  Bong Soon appeases Kyung Shim not to worry about her strength because she is more important than having it.  
Bong Soon prepares a serving of soup for Kyung Shim while mom blabs on how Bong Soon hid what happened to her friend and gives her back a quick spanking.  Bong Soon complains how her mom’s spank stings surprising her family.  She leaves the dining room so Kyung Shim explains how Bong Soon lost her power.  
Bong Soon bids goodbye to Kyung Shim who will be escorted by the police to Busan.  Omma calls Bong Soon when she enters the house to do a heart-to heart talk with her.  Omma soothes her woes by saying how it is normal that she would get depressed after losing her strength because that’s what she felt.  She narrates that the first thing she did after her power was gone was to lift weights and started on the light ones again. She stresses how she went back to her routine life like nothing happened.  She advises her to do the same so she can easily move on.  Bong Soon promises she would.  Omma promises that she will take care of her more and explains the care she gave Bong Ki was because he was a weakling while growing up since all the strength in the family was absorbed by the female line.  Omma sneaks im to check the progress with her future son-in-law so Bong Soon whines for ruining the moment.  Aboji who is pretending he is asleep smiles at that moment.
The next day, Bong Soon dressed up for work and waits for the bus.  When the bus alights, she falls down as people rush to ride it.  She thinks about how she is not special anymore so she has to live a typical life from then on.  She ruminates how she may not be able to roam around at night, protect other people from bad guys and help out those who needed help.  Bong Soon reaches the office and does her usual greeting to the game character image at work after pledging that she will go on with her life after everything that happened.
Bong Soon enters the empty face and heeds her mother’s advice to do her usual life.  She preps her laptop to work on her game character image and wonders if she will tweak her with a necklace.  She receives a text message from Min-Min not to worry about the security guard as he is recuperating well.  At the hospital Bong Ki checks on Hwang Bok’s pained bum so he tells the patient that it was a stuck bandage that is causing him discomfort.  eeewww He gets upset again remembering why he ended up battered and screams Do Bong Soon’s name out of frustration.
Hwang Bok’s doppelganger frets about the Bong Soon’s metal bracelet to Secretary Gong but the latter is disregarding him.  They spot Bong Soon so Dong Byeong picks on her again.  He drags her to the break room and orders her to get the bond paper bundle like the last time.  Min Hyuk just came back from the hospital and Dong Byeong calls him and Secretary Gong to show Bong Soon’s super strength display, but when they proceed to his room.  Bong Soon is carrying the bondpaper rim one by one.  Dong Byeong nips at the show he claims she is putting while Min-Min is giving a serious expression.  Secretary Gong scolds Dong Byeong for tiring out Bong Soon as depunim takes her hand and brings her outside.
Min-Min speaks about why she came to work when she is supposed to be resting, but Bong Soon quips that she worked hard to get that job so she has to put an effort on it.  He mentions how Kyung Shim is safe and the psycho is dead so at least they could go on a normal date.  He adds how because of his spectacular girlfriend, it is hard to go on a single date with her.  Bong Soon replies that he can now go on a date with her anytime since she is not special anymore and feels sad about it.  
Min Hyuk places his hands on her shoulders and checks if she is okay so she responds that she will be honest that she is not, but she is optimistic that she will move on fast just as what omma told her.  Min-Min utters that it does not matter to him whether she is peculiar or not because he just wants her to be happy.  He remarks how he can do everything that requires physical strength for her since he is her oppa.  He smirks how he will open a jar for her this time remembering how Gook Doo did it for her before.  Bong-Bong is dubious of his claim so she teases if he is really older than her so he insists that he is.
 
Bong Soon bluffs that she knows they are of the same age so Min Hyuk gripes at how he can never trust the police because he thought Gook Doo revealed it to her.  She gets the affirmation of her speculation so she starts playing cute on how she would drop the honorifics and will just talk casually with him since they are friends.  He retorts that he is still an oppa for her since he has more life experiences, however she continuously teases him leaving him mutter tondo as she pleases while trying to walk away.  Bong-Bong carries on with her mischievous attack and calls his name sweetly.  He chases her mumbling how she is making his heart flutters by doing it.
Baek Tak and his men joyously celebrates the approval of redevelopment counting the profit they will earn because of the project.  Jaws receive a phonecall from the Indian monk and delivers the conversation to his boss about the monk’s request to relax at a bath house.  Baek Tak agrees citing how the monk loves water a lot since he used to bathe at Ganges river for meditation.  Meanwhile, omma and friends mope on the failure of their petition to stop the redevelopment program.  Just then Gook Doo’s mom enters the store to buy some walnuts for her son and mutters how he seems to lost his appetite lately.  Omma calls her and informs her that she is refusing to sell her goods to her.  Aboji steps in the bantering mothers and bawls out at his wife for her bias selection of customers so omma escalates to a super saiyan mode as aboji orders the store helper to pack the product fast before his wife erupts.
Min Hyuk coaches Bong Soon to make the villain’s face on her game look sharper.  They pause and feels weird finding the image look familiar to them.  Just then Secretary Gong appears to remind him of a meeting and they both realize how he resembles the villain.
After work, Bong-Bong and Min-Min goes home and passes by the chocolate store.  He buys the sweets for her and grins when she offers him a piece of it only to be annoyed because she eats it at the last minute.  She pleads her to eat a piece again but he remains poker face on her urging.  
Then he inches closer to the chocolate but go straight to kiss her lips catching her off guard while making all of us faints from that sweet scene.  Min-Min chews it happily exclaiming in double meaning how soft the choc and her lips were.  She whines how he did it on purpose and he kids how he wants another bite.
Baek Tak and his gang sweat in a bath house.  He inquires any news related to Bong Soon so Jaws reports that she is dating Min Hyuk which alarms him since he is not over in the idea of trying to recruit her.  Indian monk emerges from laying down and complains that the bath house session is not helping at all especially in his skin problem.  He asks Jaws to scratch his back for him since he cannot reach it.  He urges him to put his hand inside so he can feel it more and he finds a map drawn on his lower back showing the Korean peninsula map.  
At the police station, Chief and his team learn about Jang Hyun’s clothes being found but his body still has not resurfaced.  Chief calls for a soju session with his men for the hardwork they gave in the past few days.  Bong Soon gets home to her parents’ quarreling.  Omma demands a divorce with aboji as they banter on his close relationship with Gook Doo’s mom.  Bong Soon mediates to avoid further conflict and was pushed to the ground in the process.  Her parents continue to fight so she lets them tussle as much as they can.
Bong Soon takes the family’s record book and feels sorry how she will not be able to write on it.  Her gloomy mood lightens up when he receives Min Hyuk’s message reminding her of their picnic tomorrow.
Bong Soon wakes up early to prepare the cheerfully the lunch box for her picnic date with her boyfriend.  She stands in front of the mirror swaying here and there while picking what she will be wearing.  Min Hyuk feels good on the great weather while he waits for Bong Soon outside their house. 
Bong Soon shows up and he beams as she looks pretty in a summer dress and hat.  He can’t stop staring at her so she has to snap him back to reality and remind him that they should be leaving.
 Min-Min lays down on Bong-Bong’s lap as she shields his face from the sun rays.  He realizes what she has been doing so he quips that he is getting sunlight and takes her hand muttering that she will get hurt doing it.
They read comic books together but she teases him for crying over it.  She exchanges the funny one she was reading and learns why her Min-Min sobbed while reading it.  Bong-Bong carefully opens the packed lunch boxes she brought to Min-Min’s shocked and happy face.  She feels disappointed that the heart design on one of the boxes was scattered so he takes action claiming that he is expert in drawing hearts.  She dotingly feeds him food as he exclaims how he has already known it before how she is a good cook.
Finally, Jang Hyun’s body resurfaced but it is alive and kicking.  He winces and curses from the pain of his wound, and gets back to his revenge plan right away researching on Min Hyuk and his company.  Psycho with the chiseled abs cuts his hair to prepare for his next villain move.  
Secretary Gong praises his boss for his photogenic face on his recent interview.  He feels proud for 5 seconds but reminds his secretary to check on the Strategy department meeting than fussing about his interview.  
Gook Doo calls Bong Soon and advises her that he will visit her office since he is nearby.  Bong Soon accidentally drops her tea cup as Jang Hyun enters Ainsoft’s building pretending to be the reporter who interviewed Min Hyuk last time.
Gook Doo who just came from meeting Bong Soon passes by Jang Hyun and realizes it was him.  He tackles the psycho but he escapes when the elevator opens and he grabs an employee as a hostage.  Gook Doo loses him and calls Min Hyuk to alarm him of a looming danger in his building.  Min Hyuk orders the security team to close all the exit points of the building and rushes to go to where Bong Soon is.  Gook Doo chases Jang Hyun on the fire exit stairs but loses him eventually.
An announcement airs in the building that the exits were all sealed because of a suspicious person.  Min Hyuk confirms Bong Soon’s suspicion that Jang Hyun is in the building as his evil laugh broadcasts in the air.  He taunts Min Hyuk on proving his competitive spirit by finding him or his company will explode in 15 minutes.  He walks to his secretary to make sure Bong Soon is safe as she reaches for his hand worried of what might happen to him.
Gook Doo goes to the broadcasting booth and finds it empty with the personnel tied and gagged.  Min Hyuk comes after and announces to have all employees aave their files and evacuate the building premise.  Gook Doo asks where Bong Soon is and he replies that she is in his office.  Little did they know that Jang Hyun’s target is really Bong Soon as he takes advantage of the ruckus and knocks out Secretary Gong while drugging her to lose consciousness.  Min Hyuk orders the command center to shut off the power source but Jang Hyun manage to reach his destination.
Bong Soon recovers consciousness and finds the psycho putting her in a tight bind.  He coaxes her to free herself and when his rage erupts he punches her and she fainted again.  Gook Doo informs Min Hyuk that Bong Soon is missing so Min Hyuk frustratingly reaches for the wall to gather strength.  He checks on her tracker and advises Gook Doo to proceed to the roof top.  
Jang Hyun mutters how Bong Soon broke her promise of not marrying him so she ought to  die.  Min Hyuk climbs to the rooftop looking for Bong Soon and shouting her name.  Gook Doo misses Jang Hyun again and follows the sound of a music box which turned out to be a prank.  
Min Hyuk spots a locked door and calls to check if Bong Soon is on the other side.
Bong Soon wakes up to Min Hyuk’s voice and to the sight of a ticking bomb due to blow up.  She sobs upon realizing Min Hyuk is there to rescue her so she begs him to leave the place as there is a time bomb ready to explode.  He tries to unlock the door with his body and might until his hands are covered with blood but the door won’t open.  Bong Soon continuously pleads for him to go away.  He replies he will not go anywhere without her.  Bong Soon tries to wriggle out of the metal bind to no avail.  She weeps so hard making all of us weep and begs Min Hyuk to leave as time is almost running out, but he utters how he will stay by her side so she won’t be afraid.
Bong Soon makes a last attempt and pleads to give back her power so she can save Min Hyuk.  Because the power of love defies everything, the heavens and the book in their house light up and showers her with a blessing.  Bong Soon feels her power coming back and rushes to free herself.  She picks up the bomb, destroys the door lock and runs to throw the bomb exploding painting the sky with a pyrokinetic festival.  
Episode 14 Thoughts
I will give the 2017 Best Kdramaland Boyfriend award to Ahn Min Hyuk already, and I think everyone will agree.  This is the best episode yet in the series for me and it put me on a whirlwind of sweet bliss, exhausting thrills and all is well sigh closure.  I was hoping two episodes of fan service but given the amount of laugh and heart fluttering scenes this drama gifted me, I am so looking forward to the finale even if we will have to finally do a last showdown with Jang Hyun.  I know that I will be sad after this drama ends and will miss Park Hyung Sik terribly so I hope he will get back to dramaland soon like the last quarter of this year to entice me.
 
 

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Ep 13 Recap

Worried about her friend in peril, Bong Soon can’t keep her promise to Min Hyuk and sets forth to the junk yard in trying to rescue Kyung Shim but psycho Jang Hyun moved to another location.  In the midst of her woes, Min Hyuk was at lost on how reckless her decisions were.  Bong Soon willingly accepted getting lured by the psycho, and thanks to Min Hyuk’s necklace tracker, he came in time to save her at the moment when she helplessly needed to be saved.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode Recaps

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode 13 – “Nevertheless”

Bong Soon rushes to Min Hyuk to tell him that Kyung Shim is with the psycho.  She asks for his help to trace their whereabouts as he tries to calm her sobs and made her promise that they will work on it together.
Gook Doo is with Chief deciphering what so far they have established on the case and how his victim’s pattern changed to confuse the police since he was aware of their plans but a turning point happened when he failed to abduct Kyung Shim hence he is determined to avenge his failure against Bong Soon.  They worry on how to tackle the culprit since he will become hard to handle from then on.
Min Hyuk lecture Bong Soon how Hee Ji was a decoy for his plan when psycho was really intending to abduct Kyung Shim.  Since he knows her connection to Bong Soon he mutters how he is worried about it.  He moves closer to her and pleads her not to do everything on her own.  
He gets the necklace tracker he intends to give to her and locks it on her.  He tells her to wear it all the time as it will protect her.  He calms her down and asks her to get some rest and sleep as he will work on finding the person to which she agrees.
The next day Gook Doo’s team discuss the information they gathered about psycho Kim Jang Hyun who had an impressively bad resume of being sent to juvenile prison because of killing a person through arson and skipping military service because he was said to have psychiatric concern.  Gook Doo voices out that the Sudan alibi never happened since he did not leave the country.  They arrive at the conclusion that Jang Hyun’s employee is really an accomplice who does what his master tells him so he can get his drug supply.  Chief assigns task again to each member and they set forth to help out in pinning down the culprit.
Bong Soon wakes up zombie-ish trying to organize her thoughts.  She goes back to Kyung Shim’s video and recognizes the metal welding sound which she heard from the junk yard the night before so she proceeds to the place again.  She receives a text message from Secretary Gong for her presentation, but she opts not to go to work and head to the junk yard.  
Ajussi welcomes her and asks if she is looking for her friend.  He tells her that Jang Hyun is not at the place and answers he does not know where his boss is when she asks his whereabout.  Bong Soon frantically searches the place by flipping and kicking the parked cars surprising Jang Hyun who is in his lair.  He goes to the girls and gets Kyung Shim escaping the place before Bong Soon comes.
Bong Soon hits a door and it leads her to the basement.  She rescues the girls by pulling out the metal doors.  One of the girls tell her that Jang Hyun got Kyung Shim and has left the place frustrating Bong Soon.  Jang Hyun order ajussi to blow up the place so Bong Soon covers her body to protect the abducted girls.  They successfully get to the ground just as Gook Doo arrives to capture Jang Hyun’s accomplice.  The rest of Gook Doo’s team appears to search and seize the crime scene as the kidnapped girls are taken to the hospital.
Min Hyuk works on tracing Jang Hyun ignoring his secretary who just noticed that Bong Soon has still not arrived yet.  Min Hyuk rubs his face out of worry on Bong Soon’s absence for her PT and goes back to his office to track his location only to find out that she did not listen to his pleas and works on her problem alone.  He drives to the junk yard and sees Bong Soon leaving the already busy place. Silence creeps between them while they are in the car as Min Hyuk does not know how to handle her risky decision making skills.  
They pull over to talk as Bong Soon gets a scolding from him for going alone without him.  She says sorry and confirms that she rescued the victims, but Kyung Shim was taken by the psycho.
 Gook Doo’s team proceeds in obtaining evidences from Jang Hyun’s underground prison as Gook Doo discovers his monitoring room and finds Bong Soon’s picture along with the other girls pinned on the wall.
Omma and her friends watch the news report about the police raid in the junk yard to save the abducted ladies.  Manhunt has been issued for psycho Jang Hyun.  Chief visited the victims for their statement on how they survive the explosion while the girl who saved them wallows in agony worrying about the fate of her best friend.  Min Hyuk broods on his problem with Bong Soon and goes to let go of his fury steam on a punching bag.
Min Hyuk watches the morning news intently so Secretary Gong decides not to disturb him.  Bong Soon is watching the same news and disregards her mom when she mumbles to tell Kyung Shim not to go to Seoul yet.  She meets Gook Doo who was upset for not telling him that Jang Hyun is in contact with her.
 Bong Soon responds that she has an unfinished business with the psycho so it agitates him even more.  He advises her to leave the investigation to the police, but she insists on doing it on her own afraid of Jang Hyun’s warning that Kyung Shim will die if she will involve the police.  Gook Doo promises that they will conduct a close investigation and will hide who save the victims just as Min Hyuk finds them at the cafe.  
Min Hyuk leads her to the library and asks Bong Soon if he matters to her at all.  He speaks about how he knows that she is not his priority and he cannot do anything when she has set her mind on it because she is special.  He adds how he relented to change himself because he loves her so much.  Bong Soon replies how she has set expectations that she is different from the start and he counters how he know it very well but it is not helping him to go crazy worrying about the thought of her facing the psycho alone.  She argues why he trained him in the first place if he will whine like that.  Min Hyuk replies how he did not expect that he will love her that much.  Bong Soon remains unwavered and tells him that they have to stop dating because she will choose to live as a monster.  She walks away and in her thoughts she tells him how she wanted to live a normal life while Min Hyuk vows that he will never lose someone he loves ever again.
Gook Doo reveals Bong Soon’s secret to Chief so that they can have a closed investigation.  The Chief agrees having no other option but to hide it since the victims’ statements are all ludicruous stating she took down the metal door using her bare hands.  He adds no one would believe that kind of secret anyway but Gook Doo insists on keeping everything private as his friend wants to have a normal life. Gook Doo tells him how the psycho knows about Bong Soon’s power and how he has kidnapped Kyung Shim to get a revenge from Bong Soon.
Omma and her friends see Aboji and Gook Doo’s mom together so the latter explains that there is a charity bazaar in the neighborhood where she was asked to do a signing event and aboji volunteers to teach children how to bake cookies.  She replies they would not know the event since they only go to gossip websites and advises to visit the community office sometimes as there are information there they can learn from.  She walks away leaving omma angry so she directs it right away to her husband who gets a beating right away.  Gook Doo’s mom goes back to interfere chiding omma of how she is vulgar and how her husband does not deserve her spite.  At the police station, the Commisioner welcomes reporters to the team that solved the abduction case but Chief shoves them away babbling that the culprit has not been found yet.  
Min Hyuk is venting his Bong Soon related troubled mood to his poor secretary whom he asked to look for Bong Soon.  Secretary Gong finds her and she apologizes for not making it to the presentation the other day.  He asks if she fought with Min Hyuk but she remains silent.  
Min Hyuk goes to the break room and sees Bong Soon slumped on her seat.  He orders her to eat but she declines mumbling how Kyung Shim has not been eating for days.  He stops her from walking away and tells her that she has to eat to have strength in saving her friend.  He appeals again by not eating as well if she won’t eat but she stays defiant of her decision.  Min Hyuk has had enough and storms out of the room muttering he won’t care for her anymore.  
Min Hyuk sits in the cafeteria with the untouched food in front of him contemplating on his recent debacle with Bong Soon.  Unable to sway my heart away from her, he gets his phone to order her favorite comfort food.  dear kdramagods can you please send me a real life boyfriend like depunim *wink
Chief interrogates ajussi accomplice but cannot exhaust any useful information from him.  Baek Tak’s men visit him in the temple to convince him to end his spiritual cleansing session but he is resolved to living away from money and material things but when Jaws receives a good news that the redevelopment plan was approved, Baek Tak gets hurries to leave the temple mumbling the money they will profit from the project.  Meanwhile Bong Soon’s minions raves at the increasing likes they are getting from their noonim’s uploaded video.  The indian monk tells Jaws that he will contact him so they can go to a bath house next week.
Jang Hyun uses a grandpa to steal a cellphone from another grandpa who is busy playing baduk.  Bong Soon receives a call from Jang Hyun and taunts her amazing strength to withstand the recent blast.  She demands to know Kyung Shim’s whereabouts so he tells her to meet him that night and advises that he will text the location so make sure that she will come pretty.
Min Hyuk places Bong Soon’s comfort food that he ordered on her table.  He wonders where she is and steps out of the office.  Bong Soon waits for his text message and goes to Min Hyuk’s office to leave a note that she will go home early.  She sees her favorite food on her table and takes it with her.  Min Hyuk returns to his office and notices that the food he bought is missing and sees the note that Bong Soon left for him.  
Bong Soon reads the note on the food Min Hyuk bought saying how no matter what she said or did, his feelings will stay the same.  Min Hyuk debates if he will call Bong-bong or not, and eventually decides not to.  She paces on her room waiting for the text message of Jang Hyun.  She finally gets the direction of a construction site and heads to the place immediately.
Min Hyuk notices Bong Soon’s movement through his tracker and alarms Gook Doo to proceed to the place where she headed.  Bong Soon reaches the place and calls on her friend as Jang Hyun’s evil cackle airs welcoming her to the place.  She finds her friend tied and above her is a moving heavy metal cage ready to smash on Kyung Shim.  Bong Soon runs with all her might and succeeds in blocking the cage and throw it eventually in the process.  She hugs Kyung Shim and helps her out.  Kyung Shim tells her that psycho is not the one inside the cage lift so Bong Soon checks on him.  
Jang Hyun appears from her behind grabbing Kyung Shim and when she stands she sways and falls on the ground as her power is stripped by her accidentally hitting an innocent.  Bong Soon is not aware that the smart psycho learns about her strength so his premeditated plan to undo her power worked.  
He points a shotgun to her heart as she holds on the gun and he sneers if she lost her strength.  He pulls her closer and chokes her just as Min Hyuk approaches them enraged on seeing Bong Soon being hurt by the psycho.  
The two engage in a brawl but Jang Hyun runs to his car to escape. Gook Doo also arrives and shoots him but he steps on the gas leaving Gook Doo behind.  Gook Doo goes to his car to chase him as Min Hyuk cries out loud as he cradles Bong Soon who fainted in his arms.
Episode 13 Quick Thoughts
While I can understand Bong Soon’s stubborn head, I also feel Min Hyuk’s frustration because his girl does not want to listen to him.  The lovers quarrel I hope would mean sweet moments when it ends.  In fairness to the villain his sinister acts are really annoying.  I think Gook Doo’s team should just implore the guidance of Jang Hyuk oppa and the Golden Time team.  *chuckles  I love how Min Hyuk who was so miffed on Bong Soon is still behind her even if she pushed him away.  This was an emotionally draining episode and I can’t wait to see what will happen on the next episode. –jediprincess

The Binding Love of a Time-traveler to His Wife

I can’t remember an emotionally draining drama where I did not cry, but “Tomorrow With You” really knocked my heart out, because I was hoping for the best that can happen to So Joon and Ma Rin’s love story given the arduous time-bending road they had to overcome to finally get a tomorrow with each other.

Lee Je Hoon oppa was so cool with the time-bending walkie/talkie sleeper hit “Signal” last year so I never pictured myself swooning over him because he is known for his poignant character portrayals. “Tomorrow With You” caught me easily with its time-traveling hero and his quest to prevent his eventual death in the future.  We uncovered  layers of mystery to another as we were presented with the future focal conflict of the love couple’s death that can be saved only if our hero can work on the circumstances happening at his  present life, which of course he does not know about, but us viewers have already fathomed.  Working out the strenuous hitch was no easy task if you have a perceptive wife who wanted everything in her married life done together.

I was thrilled watching the scenes unravel, and yet I was also frustrated trying to decipher the hindered rules as So Joon travels to the future. I like the sudden marriage plot.  I like the back story.  I like that he was forced to confront the main problem not with his initial urge to survive, but because he slowly but surely felt that his future involved Ma Rin because she crept in his heart without him realizing it… that he cannot picture a future without her anymore.

The way the story withheld the future twist by furtively hiding the key turning points and yet presenting well the essence of the time-traveling plot on the romantic premise, has made me on the edge of my seat trying to decipher the puzzle pieces that will help So Joon in case I bump with him in one of his sojourns.  I like the laid-back-we-will-not- be-rushing here tone, so I was surprised that the big reveal to Ma Rin that she married a time-traveler came sooner than I expected.  It was most of the time maintaining the wistful sphere thanks to our caught in between time wrinkling love couple.  I can understand the urgency on So Joon’s end trying to protect Ma Rin, but how the latter responded after learning the truth was understandably confusing if So Joon keeps on hiding what their full story was about.  In a way the narrative was sort of intermittently detaching on its own accord, but it finds a way to wake me up and entice me again.

That’s what it did when it crossed the middle part when we have established the villain and his wrongdoings.
Then we got to the conflict of So Joon conflicted between leaving Ma Rin of the present because of a warning from Ma Rin of the future, but true love always prevails so we got past that hurdle and they compromised to work on the repercussions of their actions that could make an impact to their supposed future fall out.

What I cannot understand sometimes, because we have so much going on in the future was how So Joon stubbornly overlooked the present moment.  And whenever he goes to the future, it’s like he was getting bits of information that was not able to back up the premise of the integral conflict which was the future that won’t happen in two years time for them anymore.  True that it started smoothly at the first half and every episode since then was problem stricken and gave a half-baked resolution.  The villain conflict was resolved and he got jailed, but he still ended up vanishing in the subway.  Ma Rin who could meet So Joon of the past decided not to and told Ki Doong to tell her husband a lie in a futile hope that his life will change for the better if she will not happen to his life at all.

On the finale episode, I was hoping for a glimmer of hope that he was still alive because hey dokpang is a time-traveler, goblin braved and endured that frozen limbo for 10 years to be with his bride so give me a time-traveler who could do as much for Ma Rin who patiently waited for him writing those future emails all those times.  Someone from kdramagods haven heard my plea and gave me answers.  But not after pushing deep the invisible knife piercing my heart as it gave those minutes of So Joon recovering from coma and waking up to the knowledge that his wife died 3 years ago, and she has a few days left to see and save her at her present living moment.  I mean man that was so mean.  It’s really a must for writers to be at their happiest moment when they are writing.  I was tired worrying and hoping and going back to the past and future and living their present lives as well.  So I was resolved to failing the drama for real.

But the drama literally saved the best for last. The frames of So Joon’s future escapades started to make sense as explained in the finale episode.  Along with how Ma Rin chose to lie about their supposed failed marriage so that past So Joon can be reprieved of his fate.
The scenes that marked in me most were first, that scene when Ma Rin told So Joon how she got through those lonely days by stalking his time traveling past self who would constantly leave food and even send video messages for her.  The other one was how when they survived their inevitable tragedy and lived as a normal married couple bickering with the usual wife’s nagging and the husband’s stubbornness, Ma Rin’s future emails would pop up to remind him of how much he was loved by her during those tumultuous times.  I knew that ajussi will do the sacrifice when the camera panned at the scene when So Joon visited Ma Rin’s year 2022 graveyard so I was not surprised as their fate has been intertwined since the Namyeong station accident.

Since time-warping is a complex plot where the writer of the imagined world is the boss, I am okay with how he gave us the answer to how present time So Joon survived the fatal injury by skipping the year he was supposed to die,  in exchange of losing his powers temporarily the moment he recovered from coma.  It was a pertinent move to propel the climax of whether he can save his wife with all his might and yearning to her looming demise.  So yes, I heaved a sigh when after all his attempts he successfully arrived to the present time where he belonged, to give everything he has for the last chance of saving himself and his wife to their imminent misfortune.

Unrequited and patient love was the binding tangible that cushioned So Joon and Ma Rin’s tale as it was a tough job to unlace the intricate connections of the characters’ present, past and future.  But all those hints So Joon discovered were key points to how they eventually freed themselves from the initial burden.

“Tomorrow with You” tested my fortitude as together with the heroine I serenely calm myself and focus on the love promise dokpang gave to her.  Although it was a sad ending for ajussi, it was a heartfelt gesture of a father’s love… to make sure that his daughter will be showered the love she deserved which he has failed to give.

This drama felt like a roller-coaster as I hiked on the twists and turns and got lost in time and space continuum.  It might even give a frustrating ride so consider you are forewarned if you are not used to a story that you have to analyze from start to finish.  Nevertheless I got my closure even if they fit it in less than 60 minutes.  So Joon and Ma Rin’s road to ever after was definitely something I would not dare to have, but they gave me lessons on how compromise, patience and love are essentials that secure an unwavering relationship. -jediprincess

 

Why you should watch Love 020?

I used to watch KDramas, Doramas and Taiwan dramas religiously when I was younger, but since I find Korean dramas more well conceived, I have decided to just focus on hallyuwave dramas.  But every now and then I watch other dramas recommended by friends, and that’s why I watched the Chinese drama Love 020 last year.  My review is a bit late, but who knows you have not seen this gem yet so I’m giving you one of the best fan service asian dramas ever.

To be honest the love story is too trite, but the lead man will burn you with so much cuteness and heart flutters.  You will sure develop a fictional romance with him, one sided of course… and you will thank me later for introducing Xiao Nai. *chuckles

Love 020 is set in a university where Bei Wei  (Zheng Shuang) a sophomore Computer Engineering student fell in love with her department senior (Yang Yang).  Unbeknownst to her, he was also his virtual husband in a popular role-playing game they were both playing.  He finally revealed his identity and they became an official campus couple.  When she graduated, he eventually asked her to get married with him.

So there’s no heavy love conflict in the drama, there was a girl who loved the lead man, but he was quick to disregard her because he has only his eyes for the lead girl.  There was also a guy who likes the heroine, but she was quick to draw lines that it will never work out between them.  The plot is easy to digest and never swerved to anything remotely unrelated to developing the romantic ride of the love couple.

Xiao Nai will sweetly haunt your dreams.  I promise.  He was my year end addiction for 2016 and until now his 30 eps drama is sitting pretty along with Something About 1% for my quick relief drama pills on my phone.  The mushy scenes were nailed to induce girly squeals and hyperventilating moments every time the camera captured Xiao Nai’s lazy smile and handsome face.  It is a drama cure for pms or when your boss annoys you. *chuckles

Again we only have a plain, just cotton candy romance in the story, but it’s a feel good spectacle perfect for drama spree-ing weekend.  If you can have a pj party with your girlfriends, then it’s a drama I would recommend to munch on your video plate.  It is a love drama full of ideas on how to make female viewers happy by reminding us of our very own campus crushes and those untold coy memories we had of our first loves.

Time-defying cops and an ultra wicked psychopath

 
Even now, I am baffled on why South Korean film/tv production companies are so enamored on making projects with a serial killer as a main character.  I have seen a lot of psychopath driven stories over the years, but nothing has impressed me or made me cringe so far.  I still give it to the Americans on how they have seamlessly conceived stories on cop and crime dramas as well as serial killing themed ones.
 
 
So “Voice” was a tremendous surprise.  It brought me on the edge of my seat everytime, although I have slight headache issues with the camera movements and the lead girl’s sometimes-okay-most-of-the-time-contorted-face acting. *chuckles  
 
OCN’s ‘Voice’ takes me back from the fantasy world dwelling to the real world of psychopath’s wickedness.  Given the creepy premise, it is disturbingly amazing.  It gives me mini cardiac arrest on every episode as the team solves its cases in a gripping finish accompanied by nifty editing. The suspense-filled drama displays one major conflict when it begins, and connects efficiently to the clues and personal battles of the characters as the story progresses. It enables the audience a thrilling experience while cheering the protagonists in capturing the psycho-villain.  There are no irrelevant frames as every episode is polished, and it paved a well-explained preparation to the succeeding story arcs presented.
 
 

 

‘Voice‘ narrates the story of a special police division team — Golden time. It is an exclusive task force group that solves urgent real-time incidents from phone calls received through the city’s emergency service line. Golden time team was formed in cooperation of the emergency call center and local police officers. Its prime responsibility is to race through the precarious time left for crime victims, who are held captive or being chased by their assailants and save them from the imminent danger.

Kang Kwon Joo  and Moo Jin Hyuk lead the team. Their history goes back three years ago when Jin Hyuk’s wife was violently murdered by a serial killer and Kwon Joo’s police father who was near the site came to fulfil the police dispatch order, but ended up suffering the same fate. Kwon Joo, who has an incredible hearing prowess, listened to both murder scenes that night and vowed to avenge the death of his father. The police present the culprit, but Kwon Joo who knows the true voice of the culprit, denies that the man they caught is the true murderer. It causes a stir and headache on the police officials, who are already on a tight spot due to the public attention given to the savage killings. Kwon Joo is ordered to shut up, and even altering his father’s death cause to a hit-and-run case.

Three years later, Kwon Joo and Jin Hyuk’s path cross again. Through cases they solved in the Golden time unit, they establish trust between each other as Jin Hyuk learns of Kwon Joo’s hearing ability.  She reveals to him the story of what happened the night their family members were slayed. She voices her thoughts on how someone in the police organization is covering the tracks of the main villain. As they investigate the recent serial killings, they uncover the clues to finally pin down the psychopath, who mercilessly took the lives of their loved ones and other innocent victims. When they finally solve the puzzle, they must deal with money power plays to overcome the insanely rich maniac, whose iniquities are overlooked because of his father’s powerful protection.

 
 
 
 
 Think Criminal Minds and CSI but they trap the villains through what the heroine’s ears can picture and Jin Hyuk’s smooth police rescue operations.  With Jang Hyuk’s gritty police detective portrayal, I assure that you will be left on the edge of your seat every time and feel elated about the police task they conquered.  The villain’s inventive and perturbing display of his abominable crimes is to be applauded because it placed the momentum of the story in equilibrium while the heroes decipher the fitting resolution he deserves.  The cold verbal spats he exchanges with the hero are wow moments to watch due to the protagonist’ dauntless attitude.
 
 
‘Voice’ is always at a high note, and not taking a chance to rest the grit and vigor of the story-building.  If you are up to a police procedural story with ingenious characters and a balanced outwitting game from the heroes and villains, I highly recommend you to watch this enthralling psychopath chase.
 
 
 

Teacher Kim’s Life and Love Prescription

This is the only drama from the year-end group of 2016 that I have not written my thoughts yet on so I better take this opportunity before the 2017 opening dramas hit their endings.  *wink

I admit I miss Gregory House and Teacher Kim is a sure reminder of my favorite doctor TV character, so I willingly jump in his arms.  He is eccentric and yet brilliant… calculating and yet warm hearted.  He battled through the career sabotage that he had and emerged victorious through it all.

“Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim” narrated the story of an amazing triple board certified surgeon, Boo Yong Joo, who shunned his life to a remote provincial hospital when he became a victim of politics in the big city hospital he worked before.  There he met three young doctors whom he inspired and nurtured to become righteous and skilled surgeons.  But his past came haunting him back as the villain who pinned the medical malpractice to him before was determined to destroy him fully so he can achieve his greedy aspirations as the CEO of the top hospital in Seoul.  A VIP patient though left his operation in Teacher Kim’s hand, and the almost not possible to survive surgery was nailed deftly by Teacher Kim and his team leading him to redeem his stolen and lost glory.

I have not seen a lot of nicely done medical dramas in kdramaland so I did not set my hopes high when I was watching Romantic Doctor.  I am glad that the story progressed along with polished and make-sense connections of the surgeries showcased.  The characters’ stories moved well with the main conflict and provided resolutions to each character’s established problem whilst achieving the climactic bounce back from the focal conflict.  That is the case where “Doctor Crush” suffered, the ability to make a cohering plot to the character’s individual stories.

The teacher-student relationship between Teacher Kim and his young surgeons was well-played in presenting their strengths and weaknesses through the furtive ill-fated links they had with each other.  The romantic plot was just a bonus for its sassy insertion and for a refreshing note after those quick thrilling and emotional surgical side stories wrap up.

Teacher Kim and his team deserved the ratings they received because they worked well in delivering an outstanding cast ensembles in a genre that is hard to be successful on.  It will be hard not to like this drama because it knew well how to play with the audience mind and emotions in hooking them up till the very last episode.

It is hard to pin point where the drama struggled because it was well written and well executed by the cast.  Han Suk Kyu is a well-respected actor, and this is one definite reason why he has that reputation.  A perfect everyday drama to watch after work before you sleep, “Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim” will teach you love and life lessons taken from real life pain, bliss and experiences.

 

KDramas that screams Girl Power

In celebration of the international women’s month, let’s take a trip to some of the most memorable female characters who celebrated the passion and beauty of being a woman.

“Jumong” – Celebrating the woman who supports her man unconditionally with all she has

 

“City Hall” – Celebrating the woman who is not scared to share her dreams with her man

 

“Dae Jang Geum” – Celebrating the woman who knows how to win her battles

 

 

“Queen Seon Deok” – Celebrating the brilliant mind of a woman

 

“Scent of a Woman” – Celebrating the courage and faith of cancer-inflicted women

 

“My GF is a Gumiho” – Celebrating the woman who can become stronger for her man

 

“Personal Taste” – Celebrating the woman who embraces her vulnerabilities and works to convert it to become her strengths

 

“Dong Yi” – Celebrating the woman who made her rough journey an inspiration to make her push through her dreams even more

 

“Sungkyunkwan Scandal” – Celebrating the woman who understands and values her worth

“Secret Garden” – Celebrating the woman who is not afraid to challenge herself may it be love or her dreams

“The Greatest Love” – Celebrating the woman who hits her life’s rock bottom but rises again in the most graceful way

 

“Faith” – Celebrating the woman who knows how to be patient in love 

 

“You Who Came From Another Star” – Celebrating the woman who hit a career slump but stayed being optimistic in life

 

“The Master’s Sun” – Celebrating the woman who overcomes her insecurity because she knows it has to come from her first

 

“Secret Love” – Celebrating the woman who was wronged and persecuted but remained steadfast to go on with her life

 

“Miss Korea” – Celebrating the woman who knows she is beautiful inside and out.

 

“Mask” – Celebrating the woman who is not afraid to admit she committed a mistake

 

“The Legendary Witch” – Celebrating the woman who chooses to become a blessing to the people around her

 

“On the way to the airport” – Celebrating the woman who chooses not to stay in a non-loving and disrespectful relationship

 

“The Flower in Prison” – Celebrating the woman who did not let life’s cruelties change how she views the goodness of life

 

“Another Oh Hae Young” – Celebrating the woman who wants a love that beats in her heart

 

“Jealousy Incarnate” – Celebrating the woman who chases her dream even if people puts her down

 

“One More Happy Ending” – Celebrating the woman who trusts that a divorce does not end her life

 

“Oh My Venus” – Celebrating the woman who challenges herself to work on her weight insecurities for her own self fulfilment

KDramas that you can watch over and over again… because… Part 1

I have this recent pensive moment when I realized how there are amazing Asian dramas during its run that I won’t feel the urge to watch again for another serving.  A good example of that for me is “Goblin”.  I was raving and anticipating the episodes, but I would choose “Weightlifting Fairy” for another round if in case I need a kdrama pill to get me through a stress battle or if I just want to relax.  

Though Goblin is addictively charming, the narrative was thorough so you get everything in one shot.  It’s a kind of drama that you will remember the plot even ten years after. It’s weird, isn’t it?  But there are really great dramas that are magical only on the first serving.  Melodramas suffer a lot on this note because hey we won’t be liking to do a weep fest again since we saw that the evil villain was punished well, right?  

What makes the dramas on my list timeless and enjoyable for a rerun would be the excellent pacing and impeccable cast chemistry.  The writing was also sporadic hence you forgot the details often so when you rewatch it, you’d be surprised that you missed it.  The key scenes in these dramas were also polished to perfection that you melt like crazy even when you have seen it a hundred times.  Off I went to kdrama dungeon and pick the dramas that would work wonders to any kind of rollercoaster emotions you might be having or when weekends need to be spent in kdrama binge-watching. 

Let’s start with the last 7 years list for this first part, and we will delve on the classic kdramas for the second part.

 

Legend of the Blue Sea

Because the mind-reading conman perfectly loved back the always curious mermaid who only dreams to be loved by him…

Key Points:

  • lead man mind-reading ability
  • quick to uptake heroine
  • the no reservation kisses
  • the smooth timeline transition
  • the careful use of reincarnation plot
  • the hilariously cute one-sided love of the second lead woman
  • the bromance ala Ocean’s Eleven
  • the effort of Lee Min Ho to match Jun Ji Hyun

tlobs

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Because you have all the license to be happy, stupid, hopeful and sad when you are chasing your college romance…

Key Points:

  • the swag girl friends
  • the friendship turned romance
  • Joon Young is your college boyfriend poster boy
  • the lively heroine who loves and lives incidentally
  • the mushy new couple dates and jealousies

weightlifting_fairy_kim_bok-joo-p1-1

Descendants of the Sun

Because no other man can suavely chase a woman and love her amidst disaster and career barriers like Captain Yoo Si Jin…  

Key Points:

  • the cool Captain portrayal of Song Joong Ki
  • the topless morning jog of the soldiers
  • the equally engrossing second love pairing
  • the love chase fulfilment
  • the crazy humor scattered and neatly placed in the story
  • the nifty writing

descendants_of_the_sun

Something About One Percent

Because it is your perfect rom-com drama trimmed to remove all the unnecessary fillers, making you just fell and enjoy the kisses and the sweets…

Key Points:

  • fast-paced and lively writing
  • engrossing love couple
  • lee jae in is a rare prototype of kdramaland chaebol
  • the lead couple always communicate
  • the melting kisses
  • the heroine who knows how to tame her lead man well

one_percent_of_anything_2016

Another Oh Hae Young

Because there’s no other kdrama character that can teach you how to be brave when it comes to loving like Oh Hae Young…

Key Points:

  • heartfelt screenplay
  • beautifully captured what-i-did-for-love scenes 
  • a memorable heroine
  • Eric Moon oppa’s melting and intense kisses

another_oh_hae_young

  Reply 1988

Because it is a nostalgic growing up story that will remind you of the neighborhood you grew up with along with the memories you shared with your friends and family…

Key Points:

  • perfectly selected cast 
  • the husband guessing game was well hidden
  • the outlandish and witty humor spread evenly
  • a deserving second lead syndrome
  • an engrossing love tale that never gave up
  • Bora and Sun Woo’s noona romance
  • the sibling fights
  • the neighborhood friendship

reply_1988

Healer

Because the basic need of a woman in love is to feel safe in the arms of the man she loves…

Key Points:

  • Ji Chang Wook slayed his “Healer” character
  • ajumma hacker is the best side kick ever
  • the narrative was neatly written considering a socio-political premise
  • Yoo Ji Tae is the uncle you will wish you can have
  • the love progression was intricately written and that’s why it was so affecting

healer_official_poster

Punch

Because the character portrayals are mindblowingly wicked…

Key Points:  

  • the hero and villain showdowns are amazing
  • Kim Rae Won oppa at one of his best element
  • the cliff-hangers were superb and yet the continuity of story was never compromised
  • the grit and the passionate cast chemistry 
  • the intelligent and thrilling writing

punch_2014

Finding True Love

Because this first love drama will haunt you of your very own love failures and bliss…

Key Points:

  • the spectacular transitioning narrative based on the characters’ memories
  • the equally fought love triangle
  • Jung Yu Mi as Yeo Rum perfectly captured the faces of woman in love and falling out of love
  • the mushy moments were fortified to a more realistic romantic scenes
  • the screenplay is relatable to the audience who lost and find love again

 

discovery_of_love

You Who Came from the Stars

Because an alien and a top actress falling in love in fictional world does not need any further teaser to entice you.

Key Points:

  • the neat and mischievous storytelling was consistent all throughout
  • Jun Ji Hyun owned Cheon Song Yi’s character very well
  • all those crazy things Song Yi did for Do Min Joon’s love
  • all those secret things Do Min Joon did for Song Yi’s love
  • the fusion of fantasy and reality in a romance setting was well-conceived and well-played
  • Do Min Joon is love

 

you_who_came_from_the_stars-p1

 

Misaeng

Because once in a year in our adult lives, we hit mid-life crisis syndrome that no chocolates can heal…

Key Points:

  • brave characters and inspiring storyline
  • is equivalent to 100 self-help books
  • Jang Geu Rae will remind you of your past, present and future career woes
  • the best workplace drama for me so far

misaeng

The Master’s Sun

Because a CEO who loves a ghost whisperer heroine and waits for her to settle in her own fears is everything but romance…

Key Points:

  • So Ji Sub oppa in his first rom-com role was refreshing
  • Gong Hyo Jin channelled her ghost-seeing character so well
  • the romcom resident bickerings and mushy scenes are ever present
  • another stellar writing from Hong sisters

masters_sun

Nine:  Nine Times Travel

Because no matter how many times you watch it, you will be awed by its labyrinth twist…

Key Points:

  • the brilliant time traveling premise and timeline switching scenes were neatly tied to perfection
  • the editing and directing were notched superbly
  • the young versions of the main actors did well in their roles
  • Lee Jin Wook at his best

nine

  Queen In Hyun’s Man

Because this is the best time-traveling romantic comedy drama yet so far…

Key Points:

  • the smart hero and the quirky heroine 
  • the neat alignment of the time traveling premise
  • the time traveling rules was explained well
  • the kisses are sigh-inducing coming from a Joseon scholar
  • Kim Boong Do’s flexibility in adapting to different worlds was impeccable

queeninhyunsman

Reply 1997

Because any fangirl can relate to the hilarious journey of the lead girl to claim her fangirl and real romance…

Key Points:

  • the high school friendship circle will remind you of the one you had before
  • the sweet unrealized young love that was given a second chance 
  • Jung Eun Ji nailed the boygroup fangirl character superbly
  • Yoon Yoon will remind you of your high school crush who is also every other girl’s crush
  • without Reply 1997, nostalgic siblings of the Reply series would have not been aired so just pay respect lol

 

 

answerme1997

  Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

Because this is your perfect noona romance drama, and it threw in an equally hot second lead to confuse your heart…

Key Points:

  • the cohabitation of the flower crew felt like watching the Starwars’ Ewoks enjoying a Rock festival
  • the romance built up was slow but surely sweet and addictive
  • the lead girl tug-of-war between long lost half brothers was mind bogglingly sweet
  • the storyline is flirtatious
  • brimming with sweet and comic scenes

flowerboyramyunshop
 

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

Because this is the epitome of how a fusion-sageuk should be done… youthful and flirty but thrilling with character conflicts and political conspiracies…

Key Points: 

  • the sassy historical school setting
  • the cross-dressing heroine was energetic in promoting girl power
  • the Sungkyunkwan Scholars were the best PMS pills ever
  • the narrative was fresh and amusing
  • the love line was mushy
  • Yoo Ah In will give you a second lead syndrome

 

sungkyungwan_scandal

  My GF is a Gumiho

Because the folk-tale infused romance will make you remember Mi Ho in rainy days…

Key Points:

  • Mi Ho’s character will wake you up from a kdrama drift
  • The folklore infused love tale was engrossing to watch thanks to Mi Ho’s childlike take of the mundane modern things
  • Lee Seung Gi secured his leading man belt with his easy-go-lucky-chaebol-grandson who dreams to become a movie action star
  • the reversal of roles span the comedy and propel the romance in the story

mygirlfriendgumiho

Secret Garden

Because the body swapping chaebol-stunt-woman romance felt good and cute at the same time…

Key Points:

  • The almost kiss scenes like the sit-up scene will make anything flutter
  • the eccentric CEO in sparkling tracksuit chasing the girl of his dreams was epic
  • the strong-willed lead girl who makes a point to straighten up the chaebol who loved her
  • the swift and zippy narrative
  • the romance satiating screenplay

secret_garden_sbs-2010-korean_drama-p3

KDrama Bucket Listing: Trusting the Actor for your KDrama/Movie Binge Part 1

Here goes another spree watching suggestion perfect for when you are currently in an imaginary romance with your favorite Korean actor.

Jung Woo Sung

He rarely does linger in kdramaland and works incessantly in stringing movies in the past ten years. Jung Woo Sung oppa is your quintessential poster boy for your ideal action/drama star, but he did well in Romantic Melodramas as well.

FAMOUS WORKS: The Fox with Nine Tails, Born to Kill, Beat, City of the Rising Sun, Musa the Warrior, A Moment to Remember, Sad Movie, Daisy, The Good The Bad and the Strange, The Restless, Reign of Assassins, Athena the Movie, Cold Eyes, The Divine Move, Scarlet Innocence, Don’t Forget Me, Athena Goddess of War, Padam Padam

jung-woo-sung

 

Jun Ji Hyun

As the other half of the pairing that led me to kdramaland, Jun Ji Hyun secured a special place in my heart. I have been religiously watching her movies and her recent side trips in dramaland.  She has reinvented herself over the years. Watching her will educate you on the difference between a real actress’ portrayal versus a girl group idol turned actress role playing.

FAMOUS WORKS: Il Mare, My Sassy Girl, Windstruck, Daisy, The Thieves, You who came from another star, The Berlin File, Assassination, Legend of the Blue Sea

junjihyun

 

So Ji Sub

I have been in a long running one-sided romance with him. Who won’t? His mesmerizing gaze and his countenance just disarms me and sends me to a world where only the two of us exist. *giggles In movies, he typically do action so when he made a comeback with the hit Master’s Sun in an engrossing and eccentric department store CEO role, I loved him even more.

FAMOUS WORKS: We Are Dating Now, What Happened in Bali, Sorry I Love You, Cain and Abel, Road Number One, Ghost, Master’s Sun, Oh My Venus

sojisub

 

Son Ye Jin

A chameleon actress, she can easily transition to any role given to her with her expressive gaze and almost perfect rendition of her roles.  Most of her movies were a hit for me as she can easily draw you to her characters.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Lover’s Concerto, The Classic, Crazy First Love, Summer Scent, A Moment to Remember, April Snow, Alone in Love, My Wife Got Married, Spotlight, White Night, Personal Taste, Spellbound, The Tower, Blood and Ties, Shark, The Pirates, The Truth Beneath, The Last Princess

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Jo In Sung

I first met him in The Classic but fell in love with him in What Happened in Bali. Jo In Sung oppa fits the leading man role especially in Romance genre because of his handsome features. He has also experimented on his roles to challenge himself and improve his acting.

FAMOUS WORKS: Piano, Shoot for the Star, What Happened in Bali, Spring Day, The Classic, Love of North and South, A Dirty carnival, A Frozen Flower, That Winter The Wind Blows, It’s Okay that’s Love, The King

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Han Hyo Joo

“Dong Yi” made me a fan of Han Hyo Joo since I was not that into her in her earlier dramas.  Since then she has successfully crossed the film scene with memorable pictures in the most recent years.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Spring Waltz, Iljimae, Shining Inheritance, Dong Yi, Postman to Heaven, W: Two Worlds, Adlib Night, Always, Love 911, Masquerade, Cold Eyes, Cest si Bon, Beauty Inside, Love Lies

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Kang Dong Won

Kang Dong Won oppa is more famous in the big screen.  His last stint in dramaland was “One Percent of Anything” which is a dear watch.  As a sought after movie actor, his collection includes box office and critically acclaimed films.  

FAMOUS WORKS:  One Percent of Anything, Magic, Too Beautiful Too Lie, Temptation of Wolves, Duelist, Maundy Thursday, Voice of Murderer, M, Jeon Woo Chi, Secret Reunion, Psychic, Camella Love for Sale, The X, Kundo Age of the Rampant, My Palpitating Life, The Priests, A Violent Prosecutor, Vanishing Time, Master

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Song Hye Gyo

A known kdrama royalty, we first loved her in the tearjerker Autumn Tale and loved her even more in Full House.  Her charming demeanor and stunning beauty transcends through time a decade and a half after and still going on.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Autumn Tale, All In, Hotelier, Shining Days, Full House, Crazy First Love, A Reason to Live, Hwang Jin Yi, The World that they Live in, That Winter the Wind Blows, The Grandmaster, The Queens, Descendants of the Sun

Yoo Ah In

I actually liked Yoo Ah In when he was just a second lead in Sungkyunkwan Scandal.  He has rich emotions when working on his roles without appearing exaggerated.  He initially got me with his kissable lips *chuckles, but he has clearly proven his passion for his craft as he progressed to a bankable actor of his generation.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Fashion King, Jang Ok Jung Live In Love, Secret Love Affair, Six Flying Dragons, Antique Bakery, Punch, Tough as Iron, Veteran, The Throne, Like for Likes

Park Bo Young

Acting wise, Park Bo Young is definitely the front-runner in the batch of actresses in her generation. Her knack on owning her roles has made her synonymous to the projects she starred in. Whether it may be young or zippy or heartbreaking, she always bring her A-game to her portrayals.

FAMOUS WORKS: Our School ET, Jungle Fish, Speedy Scandal, Don’t Click, A Werewolf Boy, Snow Queen, Hot Young Bloods, The Silenced, You Call it Passion, Collective Invention, Oh My Ghostess, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Cha Seung Won

The young generation might not find this ajussi hot, but his Dokko Jin and Jo Gook characters I keep dearly in my heart. You have to watch City Hall and realize how the wedding proposal there looks so surreal. He is known these days for his chajumma stint in variety show “Three Meals a Day Fishing Village” which is fun to watch if you like laid back cooking show set up.

FAMOUS WORKS: City Hall, Athena: Goddess of War, The Greatest Love, You’re All Surrounded, Hwajung, Blades of Blood, 71 Into the Fire, Athena the Movie, Man on High Heels

Gong Hyo Jin

Like a wine, Gong Hyo Jin keeps getting better and her drama choices hits home in me. She’s best served in rom-coms. She was able to establish impeccable chemistry with her lead men and her comic timing is also impressive.

FAMOUS WORKS: Sang Doo Let’s Go to School, Biscuit teacher and Star candy, Thank you, Pasta, The Greatest Love, Master’s Sun, It’s okay that’s love, The Producers, Jealousy Incarnate, Crush and Blush, Love Fiction, Missing Boomerang Family, Sisters on the Road

Song Seung Heon

I have a complicated relationship with Song Seung Heon oppa because I was not consistently drawn by him since his projects are kinda sporadic.  I sure lovw his classics so he deserves a spot on this list.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Happy Together, Calla, Autumn in my Heart, He Was Cool, Make it Big, Summer Scent, East of Eden, A Better Tomorrow, My Princess, Dr. Jin, Ghost in your arms again, When a Man Falls in Love, Obsessed, Wonderful Nightmare, Saimdang Light’s Diary

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Kim A Joong

She is that one actress who surprisingly made this list without me realizing it.  *chuckles  Her excellent choices on tackling roles given to her in varied colors made her roles memorable hence she is trusted with amazing offers.

FAMOUS WORKS:  200 Pounds Beauty, My PS Partner, The Accidental Couple, Sign, Steal My Heart, Punch, Wanted, The King

Eric Moon/Moon Jung Hyuk

This oppa I dearly love. He is quite lucky because the history of his works is quite successful. He has also picked interesting roles and made it his own. His previous three rom-coms were all love drama spectacle for me.

FAMOUS WORKS: Invincible Parachute Agent, Diary of June, Que Sera Sera, Strongest Chil Woo, Myungwol the Spy, Discovery of Love, Another Oh Hae Young

Lee Yeon Hee

Smartly traversing films and television dramas, Lee Yeon Hee has picked her acting challenges very well based on the positive outcome of her works.

FAMOUS WORKS:  A Millionaire’s First Love, M, One Fine Day, My Love, Hello Schoolgirl, East of Eden, Paradise Ranch, Phantom, Marriage Blue, My Way, Phantom, Miss Korea, Detective K, Hwajung

Kim Soo Hyun

I know it’s surprising but Kim Soo Hyun has not reached yet the oppa stage for me. As we all know the rule is anyone younger as long as he is cute and gives you the hear flutter, he is considered oppa. I enjoyed his recent dramas and movies, but I don’t swoon that much the way I do with my resident oppas. I’m still waiting for that one drama that will make my knees weak.

FAMOUS WORKS: Jungle Fish, Dream High, Giant, The Moon the Embraces the Sun, You Who Came from the Stars, Producer, The Thieves, Secretly Greatly, Real

Kim Ha Neul

As a veteran actress she has explored various genres on her decorated celebrity life.  What I like most about her is how she reinvents herself by taking risks on her acting choices than playing safe to roles she is comfortable with.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Secret, Ditto, My Tutor Friend, Piano, Stained Glass, Too Beautiful to Lie, Almost Love, Lovers of Six years, My GF is an Agent, On air, Blind, You’re my Pet, Road Number 1, A Gentleman’s Dignity, Don’t Forget Me, On the way to the Airport, Misbehavior

Lee Min Ho

His mother might have prayed a lot for his son’s success and we cannot disregard how he has been honing his craft through the years to prove that he is more than just a pretty face. From trendy to action dramas, we can’t help but be amazed at his charisma and dimples. *chuckles

FAMOUS WORKS: Boys Before Flowers, Personal Preference, City Hunter, Faith, The Heirs, Legend of the Blue Sea, Bounty Hunters, Gangnam Blues

Han Ji Min

Her charming demeanor helped a lot in landing her lingering roles and commercially successful projects. While she has an impeccable comedic timing, she is also good when tears are to be summoned from her arsenal.

FAMOUS WORKS: Capital Scandal, Yi San, Cain and Abel, Padam Padam, Rooftop Prince, Hyde Jekyll and Me, Detective K Secret of Virtuous Widow, The Plan Man, Salut d Amour, The Age of Shadows

Kim Sun Ah

She is famous as Kim Sam Soon from the kdrama classic “My Name is Kim Sam Soon”, but I loved her more in City Hall and her stint in Scent of a Woman inspired to make the most out of my life. She is best in portraying women empowering stories celebrating girl power and assuring that vulnerabilities are but normal. While she is not that consistent in hitting big kdrama hitters, she gave me three classics that I watch when I’m sad.

FAMOUS WORKS: My Name is Kim Sam Soon, City Hall, Scent of a Woman, I do I do, Masked Prosecutor, S Diary, She’s on Duty, Happy Ero Christmas, Pitch High, The Five

Joo Ji Hoon

I loved him as Crown Prince Lee Shin in Goong (Princess Hours). Since then, even when he had that scandal, I think he is one of the most expressive actors that can slay characters in romantic melodramas. His movie portfolio is a bit varied but he is known to make his portrayal poignant and neat.

FAMOUS WORKS: Goong, The Devil, Five Fingers, Medical Top Team, Mask, Antique Bakery, Naked Kitchen, I am a King, Marriage Blue, Love Suspects, Confession, The Treacherous

Don’t panic if you are looking for your favorite actor/actress, and it’s not here yet.  This is a two-part list so kindly bear with me until I publish the next part.  -jediprincess♥♥♥

Permission to swoon on Hwarang Flower Boys Granted

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Because I remained faithful to the end, I decided to ruminate and write my thoughts about Hwarang before I fall asleep.

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dear Goblin, saranghae.

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1.  Hello  breathtaking cinematography!
2.  Gong Yoo oppa in long mane and warrior clothing is hot.
3.  Thank kdramagod we don’t linger much on the backstory.
4.  That is a fiery red scarf.
5.  If the Grim Reaper with kissable lips will escort me to after life, I will gladly oblige.
6.  The gutsy heroine had me at that cheery love declaration.
7.  Autumn in Canada is pretty.
8.  Cohabitation with two hot guys with supernatural powers is such an intoxicating kdrama plot.
9.  Goblin and Grim Reaper struggling with smartphone is epic.
10.  Goblin ruminating on the pros and cons of loving his bride is hilariously cute.
11.  I’ve got to give it to Lee Dong Wook for bringing out the Grim Reaper’s adorable character.
12.  Goblin and Grim Reaper is the best bromance ever.
13.  Seriously, that villain is creepy.
14.  All the pieces are laid out, it breaks my heart on the ill-fated love of Wang Yeo and the Queen.
15.  *sob This Wang Yeo – Kim Shin reveal drained my tears.
16.  Hail to the second leads and to that emotional kiss-me-forget-me scene.
17.  Wow!  Just wow!  That Episode 13 is like a full movie in acting and plot scale magnitude.
18.  True love rules!  Yay for Eun Tak summoning Goblin back from limbo.
19.  Just as how I love the pain, forgiveness and reconciliation between Goblin and Grim Reaper, I was sad to see Reaper voyage to his next life.
20.  How many times are you going to make me cry?  Why did she have to die?
21.  Dear Goblin, it’s me Abby.  I’m here for you, I still have three lives in case your bride will take time to reincarnate.
22.  I wish Sunny and Grim Reaper’s future lives linger more, but it’s the drama’s last episode.
23.  I think any girl wishes now to have a summoning power to the man they love.
24.  Oh there you are Ji Eun Tak, yes Maam, you are the one and only Goblin’s bride.
25.  Goodbye Goblin!  *saranghae

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Arguably the best korean drama that aired for 2016, “Goblin” affirmed my kdrama fan girl spirit with its addictive pace, perceptive characters, detailed back story and the exciting race to its closure.  I was at constant awe at how the yarning of the folklore and supernatural mise en scene fit so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The cast portraying a whole new chimeric world that I want to be a part of moved through the story seamlessly alternating a wistful and lively performance that burrowed straight to my kdramaaddict heart. *chuckles

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Cursed to immortality, a Goryeo warrior captain lived for 9 centuries waiting for his bride that will vanquish the jinx laid by a deity.  He finally meets his bride who has the ability to see ghost and has been aware of her status through the metaphysical grapevine gossips she heard through the years.  Goblin fell in love with her in the process and she is all willing to wield the sword stuck on his chest not knowing that by doing so, it will make him vanish.  Their romance bloomed fully, but they had to face the villain responsible for Goblin’s immortal fate.  Goblin used the stuck sword to finally kill the ghost fiend and was transported to a limbo clear of his initial curse, but trapped and had to journey for years to be with his bride again.  10 years later, Eun Tak who has always been bothered by missing pieces she felt in her heart but lost in her memories, summoned Goblin back to her world through her honest and painful longing.  Goblin worked on winning her back and her memories of him were retrieved and they finally tied the knot.  Just as they had a taste of the love they so bravely fought, Eun Tak who has lived a borrowed life faced death when she sacrificed herself to save a bus loaded with school children.  Years after, Eun Tak was reincarnated on her second life and sought the man she vowed she will only love for the rest of their lifetimes.

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The summary does not justify all that happened in the story as the cast were intricately connected through their past and present lives.  What made Goblin such a novelty for a love story with transcendental element is how it neatly blended the mystical notes and sensible realities to propel the narrative without losing focus and as simply told as it can be.  The drama made me yearn a romantic interlude with men like Goblin or Grim Reaper.  I was on a long moony phase struck with the impact of the characters who fervidly brought life to their sketched personas.

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 Goblin marked all the bullet points of a lingering story eventhough the metaphysical milieu was very tricky. Although set on a melancholic tone, the dynamics of the cast and the lively humor cushioned the viewers so well given its inevitable tragic scenario ending.  At times there are moments when it was languid, but it was necessary for the built up of the character connections to make the climactic conflict confrontation solid and stunning.

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Breathtaking – Goblin has always been beautifully done from its cinematography, storyline and character portrayals.  The writer did a lot of impossible tweaks and conceived an intricate realm and made sure that she will succeed on the labyrinth she has set for her story.  With actors embracing their roles so well, the exquisite tale of a man searching for the woman to end his immortality curse established a memory that kdramaland followers will still love in the future.

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There are a lot of things to rave about “Goblin”, but I feel like Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook’s stellar chemistry in their very own bromantic world was what kept me in love with this drama as a whole.  Sure the love lines for the main and second leads were notable, but the supernatural boys swept me off my feet with how they kept up with human induced emotional conflicts that their powers can’t resolve.  Kim Go Eun and Yoo In Na were both amazing in their roles and a great support to the main character’s chronicle.  The heartrending love rides these foursome sojourned yielded a memorable impact due to the efficient layering of the reincarnation plot.

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Goblin explored the boundless creativity of Korean culture through writer Kim Eun Sook’s sweet story manipulation.  See for yourself why this drama raised a cult following.

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Bok Joo’s college boyfriend that we all wanted to have

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“Everyone spends their youthful years. It’s a time that we are beautiful because we can be immature and yet we shine brightly. We are not afraid because we have nothing to lose and our hearts flutter because we can have anything.”

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Credit the cast for their commitment to this coming of age drama.  It created an international cult following especially on the teens and the early-twenties.  “Weightlifting Fairy” was my first and last kdrama binge for 2016.  I initially had reservations if I will put it on my plate, but one night when I don’t have anything scheduled to watch anymore, I took it and was uncaring if I wake up the entire village with my laughter festival.

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This is the drama I will make my daughter watch when she goes to college so she can have an idea of what a perfect college boyfriend is.  *wink  I still have a lingering one-sided noona romance with Nam Joo Hyuk.  Gawd that guy is just swag!

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This campus romance will poke any person’s buried love memories set in their college life.  Yes sir, it was also the case for me.  “Weightlifting Fairy” lunged to a momentum that is so binding and relatable for the viewers as it somehow gave us another peek of a love story that we were once in the same kind.  Lee Sung Kyung was just a pretty face actress for me prior to her role as Kim Bok Joo, but I can’t imagine anyone who can fit to that role the way she pulled it off in the series.

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“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” narrated the story of a prolific college weightlifter who just like any typical girl fell in love with a weight management doctor.  Nurturing her one-sided crush she signed up for a weight loss program and suited up for a new identity as a cello player.  Her secret second life bumped to a reality when she learned that the doctor is the brother of her gradeschool classmate, Joon Hyung, whom she recently met again at the Sports University they were both attending.  She was forced to be nice to Joon Hyung to keep her secret going but Joon Hyung’s ex-girlfriend who wanted to win him back and jealous of Bok Joo, discovered her weight loss management appointments and used it to hurt her by letting her coaches know about it.  Bok Joo was punished and was locked down to keep her weightlifting figure so she was forced to stop coming to the clinic.  Joon Hyung and Bok Joo became closer and as her puppy love towards his brother faded, he realized he has fallen in love with his sassy friend.  She soon returned his affection and they made every girl in the planet envious of the young imaginary love they shared.

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Buoyant and feel good, Bok Joo and the rest of the sports athlete in Haneul University gave us an awesome time with their interactions and side chronicles.  It was such a simple story with an almost non-existent conflict, but it was told in a smart perspective hitting the familiar situations we also had at some point in our lives when we were young and unafraid to love.  Jung Joon Hyung is now the prototype for an ideal  college boyfriend ever.  The #relationshipgoals captured in their friendship turned love adventure was mushy and cute that I was so shamelessly having a noona romance in my very own world with Nam Joo Hyuk. *chuckles

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Bok Joo and her girlfriend moments were also hilarious in keeping up the upbeat tone of the story.  Being easy to digest and not traversing complications without basis, what I love about this drama is how it was straightforward with its plain premise, but the characters made me feel like I’m watching the thrills in Criminal Minds coated in the sweetest chocolate frosting. *wink

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When I sent off the “swag couple”, I was all smile and teary-eyed remembering my youth days in them. I wish we can have Bok Joo and Joon Young’s story 5 years after.  The hours spent watching them fall in love was like a comfort food and bubble wrap combined.  I picked “Weightlifting Fairy” as one of the best kdramas of 2016 for being such a genuine coming of age story that beautifully captured the joy and pain and everything in between of being young… of building dreams and of falling in love for the first time. 

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KDrama Bucket Listing: Bundling Kdramas by Trusting the Writer or the PD

Just how do I choose which dramas to watch when a new set of drama premiere in hallyuland?  I actually rely on the production team more than the actors.  There are a few exceptions like So Ji Sub, Jo In Sung, Cha Tae Hyun, Yoo Ah In, Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun dramas, but I mostly put my faith on the works headlined by the conceivers of the story.  Deciding on which dramas to keep, park and drop is a skill you should work on in order for you to still get a life and plenty of sleep while nurturing your kdrama-addiction.  *chuckles  Trust me, you will eventually hit that stage when you have seen a lot so you want to see something new for a change.

 I have learned to trust the previous works of these writers and directors.  Those who hit one or two dramas in me, I still have reservations.  So if the first eight episodes of their new work seems not going anywhere, I will skip it and move on to another story.  

I still do trust new writers and directors. It is important that we do because the more narratives and worlds these growing production teams want to explore, the more happy we will be as viewers.  

This list will help you whom to trust in case you have specific genres you prefer to binge watch.

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The Seasoned Writer

Choi Wan Kyu’s works span 23 years of classic favorites and modern surprises.  If you want to have a grasp of Korean history, he is great in exploring period narratives and is also strong in character-driven stories.  He is superb in handling big cast productions and long-running storylines.

NOTABLE WORKS:  General Hospital 1 & 2, All In, Jumong, Lovestory in Harvard, Gourmet, Swallow the Sun, Iris, Midas, Lights and Shadows, Triangle and Flower in Prison

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The Sentimental Writer

I loved how almost all her love stories led me to warranted self-introspection because of her ability to sketch poignant stories and lingering characters.  Noh Hee Kyung can switch from refreshing comedies to tear-jerkers inside her love stories.  She also dares to traverse variety of love setting that surprisingly endeared the viewers.

NOTABLE WORKS:  More Beautiful than a flower, Goodbye Solo, The world that they live in, Padam padam, That Winter the Wind Blows, It’s Okay, that’s Love, Dear My Friends

 

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The Star Writer

Her ability to tap to what the general audience like has been an amazing talent.  I once thought she is overrated, but I got to give it to her because her recent works in the past eight years were all striking.  Kim Eun Sook works wonder mostly on romantic-comedies.  She has forged indelible love couples and bromance through the years.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Lovers in Paris, City Hall, Secret Garden, A Gentleman’s Dignity, The Heirs, Descendants of the Sun, The Lonely, Shining Goblin

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The Nimble Director

I had a lot of fun in Myungwol the Spy and Sungkyunkwan Scandal while I had some retrospection in Goodbye Solo.  Director Hwang In Hyuk is stunning in designing polished dramas and injecting clever humor all throughout the story.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Goodbye Solo, Empress Chunchu, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Myungwol the Spy, Assembly, Laurel Tree Tailors

 

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The Flexible Director

Deft on bringing life to ardent melodramas, Boo Sung Chul PD can throw charming humor when required by the plot.  I just found out that I like him while doing my research, so I made sure he is marked well for his future projects.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Lobbyist, Star’s Lover, You’re Beautiful, My GF is a Gumiho, Jang Ok Jung, Living in Love, The Heirs, Mask, Our Gab Soon

 

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The Trendy Director

One look at his works and you will know that he is the god of trendy, youthful rom-coms.  He has a knack of keeping up well on heart-fluttering scenarios even as the time evolves.  I look forward to him proving this claim  on his future projects.

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The Master of Thriller Writing

His pace will surely leave you at the edge of your seat, but he sure knows how to weave a story by making the characters and the plot as one.  I fell in love with him at “Punch” but the rest of his works are equally amazing.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Punch, Empire of God, The Chaser

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The Mushy Screenwriter

Yang Hee Sung writer’s character sketches are vibrant and energetic.  His recent works made me feel warm and he can sure blend romance and comedy right on point.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Oh My Ghost, Highschooler King of Life, Soonpoong Clinic

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The Sassy Screenwriter

Before her big hit in You Who Came from Another Star, she already showed that addictive cheery vibe in her earlier dramas.  The situations she has written in her stories have brought out the best of the comic timings in the actors starring in her dramas, and I thank her for that.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Legend of the Blue Sea, Producers, You Who Came from the Stars, You Who Rolled in Unexpectedly, Queen of Reversals

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The Affectionate Director

Baek Sang Hoon can transition from young love themed dramas to real romance stories by stirring the plot well and hooking the viewers with the actors’ portrayal.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, Descendants of the Sun, Who Are You School 2015, Secret Love

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The Chameleon Director

This director’s portfolio boasts with great actors in various genres.  Analyzing his works made me realize how he is quick to uptake in building the synergy of the love couple without forcing it, but by perfecting scenes that captured the characters well in their moments of falling in love.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, Secret Love, Discovery of Love, School 2013, Dream High

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The Exciting Director

As reflected on his noteworthy creations, Yoon Sung Shik can go on serious storytelling to perky narratives.  His strength is he knows well when to place the hook on his stories and he makes the cast as a whole shine together.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Hwarang, The King’s Face, Bridal Mask, Lee Soon Shin is the Best

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The Storytelling Guru

Expert in long-running stories, Lee Sung Joon PD has made memorable dramas mostly on period drama setting.  He can do standard narration, but he is also stunning when he tweaks it to a fusion sageuk.

NOTABLE WORKS:  The Scholar Who Walks at Night, Empress Ki, The Moon that Embraces the Sun, May Queen, Gyebaek, The Duo, Creating Destiny

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The Romance Sensitive Director

The string of dramas on his file screamed a lot about painful and patient love.  He can be charming with the light scenes, but he will throw you at a weep fest on the emotionally stirring scenes.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, Discovery of Love, Who Are You School 2015, Dream High

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The Mischievous Romantic Screenwriter

Jung Hyun Jung writer is my long lost friend from parallel universe who might have peeked on my very own lovestories, thereby translating it in the TV screen.  *chuckles  What I like about him is how she creates those love frames that anyone can relate to.  From the blooming romance, to sad goodbyes, and to love second chances.  She is also great on lively ambiance and his screenplay is top knotch.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Five Children, Because it’s the first time, Discovery of Love, I Need Romance 1, 2 and 3 

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The Ardent Director

Known for emotionally draining melodramas, Kim Kyu Tae induced witty humor in his directing, but never lost his focus in displaying the tearjerking scenes.  He is excellent in capturing the love progression of the main couple.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo, It’s Okay, that’s love, Padam padam, That winter the wind blows, Iris, A Love to Kill

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The Snappy Director

I love how Jang Tae Yoo PD is flexible on historical dramas and modern dramas.  Just ruminating on what he did in Tree With Deep Roots and You From Another Star was fascinating.  He deftly navigates the story without losing its footing and neatly wrapped everything to a plausible closure.

NOTABLE WORKS:  You from Another Star, Tree with Deep Roots, The Painter of the Wind, Money’s Warfare

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The Cheerful Writer

The love lines he created are lingering and engaging.  The love couples he introduced to us have lived well in the setting he created so naturally that we were able to relate to them easily.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Full House, You’ve fallen for me, Producers, The World that they live in, Which star did you come from?

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The Innovative Writer

Song Jae Jung writer is unfazed in establishing realms where he can bring the viewers in awe and wonder.  His impeccable skills to draw chimeric worlds swept me off my feet.  He is a master of push and pull when it comes to inducing excitement.  

NOTABLE WORKS:  W: Two Worlds, The Three Musketeers, Nine: Nine Times Travel, Queen In Hyun’s Man, Highkick through the Roof

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The Nostalgic Writer/PD Tandem

Giving us the elaborated “Reply Series” required thorough research and attention to details.  A trip down to the memory lanes of our high school and college life as well as our growing up years in the local neighborhood was achieved to perfection by these wonderful duo.  The Reply Series are kept dear in my heart and belong to the drama pills that aid me during rainy days.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Reply 1997, Reply 1994, Reply 1988