Please visit me at kdramadiary.com

Hello everyone!

I am finally moving to a new site. I apologize for the delay but yay! it is finally happening!

I am in the process of moving all the stuff here to kdramadiary.com

I will be on a soft launch starting tomorrow with my most popular articles here. Then my site will hopefully be up and running with all the tweaked articles beginning July 1st.

I hope to meet you guys there. My words are still on Hellokpop but I want a site where I can write comfortably like a fan girl in a short and sweet tone.

Hope you will read my future contents on my new website. Stay safe everyone! -abbyinhallyuland

 

Doting Noona Spotlight: Park Ji Hoon – The Cry Baby Child Actor Who Grew Up To Keep Us In His Heart

Admittedly, I bloomed late appreciating K-Pop, but it does not mean it is less special. Working at Hellokpop forced me to instant crash courses and extensive research on the thriving K-Pop industry to keep up with our job each day.

Wanna One
(MBC)

On that note, among the selection of K-Pop acts that I’ve come across with, Wanna One was my first ever K-Pop bias. Only because I have followed their growth from “Produce 101 Season 2” to their debut as Wanna One.

“Produce 101 S2” came at a time when I was having a K-Drama saturation moment. It was a whole new world to me. Back then, I was only familiar with BIGBANG. From time to time I checked on music artist from drama OSTs, but I was not particularly enthused in following boy groups.

Wanna One
(MBC)

Then Wanna One happened. Ergo, I have special fondness to the 11 boys who journeyed to accomplish their dreams of debuting as an idol.

That’s why I am a happy noona because “wink boy” Park Ji Hoon will be coming over on March 15. Arguably, the most well-rounded artist of the group, Park Ji Hoon can sing, dance, rap and act. Skills that will surely propel his now career as a solo artist.

Park Ji Hoon
(MBC)

This week, we will hang out to get to know the variety of colors Park Ji Hoon has. What better way to start it than tracing his early beginnings as an artist.

The handsome boy who can cry

Before being popular for his heart-stopping winks, Ji Hoon was once known for his ability to make tears fall very easily.

He first made his small screen appearance as the crying child in the historical drama Jumong back in 2006-2007.

In 2007, he also bagged stints in SBS’ “The Stories of One Thousand People” and MBC’s “Kimchi Cheese Smile” which aired until 2008.

Consecutively, he appeared in “The King and I” (2007-2008) and “Iljimae” (2008). His emotional tenacity as a child has had him cry his way to collect viewers’ hearts.

He even beat out BIGBANG’s G-Dragon in a competition to gauge who could cry faster during an episode of KM Idol War – and we’re pretty sure that that was one of the universe’s signs that this teary-eyed child would end up smiling to a lot of fans as he stands in front of them onstage.

Flashback to circa Wanna One, and the boy who can cry a river still rocks in evoking silent tears from his eyes – even with immense pressure caused by a private joke related to Ong Seong Wu.

Lucky for Philippine fans, who like me might be on Wanna One withdrawal syndrome still, the boys are moving on to start solo and new group activities. And we must have been special to Ji Hoon’s heart since he chose us for his FIRST EDITION fan meeting stop.

Park Ji Hoon in Manila

Park Ji Hoon is set to make his Filipino fans keep him inside their hearts on March 15 at the Araneta Coliseum. Tickets are now on sale via Ticketnet online and outlets.

All ticketholders get to participate in “Goodbye Session” and will bring home official poster. Signed posters will also be randomly given.

Visit PULP Live World and Happee Hour for updates regarding the fan meeting.

Why #SOJISUBinManila Is Such A Sweet Bucket List You Should Not Miss

If you have been following my blog and reading my reviews at Hellokpop, you would understand how the devotion to write about K-Dramas required a lot of time, effort and patience.

With a regular job and my passion to experience new things and go places, yes it is really hard to keep up with my passion in promoting watching K-Dramas as a therapeutic activity.

Being in my 30’s, my individualist life has evolved to sticking to what works for me. Interestingly, I never had a moment of wanting to take a break and not watch K-dramas because it has been incorporated to my life, that skipping it feels like not getting enough sleep.

But at least now, I have set my drama viewing at a manageable pace. Since joining Hellokpop, I have this “oppa drama” checklist that I have been working on to accomplish. Yes, being greedy to meet the actors in person who delighted me with their dramas seems an acceptable direction for me.

On that note, next month, I am off to meet the “oppa of my dreams”. My K-Drama age leans towards the batch of So Ji Sub, Jo In Sung, Lee Dong Wook, Hyun Bin and Gong Yoo. Hence, those actors have a free pass to do bad dramas that I will watch no matter what. *wink

So Ji Sub in Manila

That’s why, I am a successful fan girl since I will be meeting So Ji Sub in less than three weeks.

My home country’s top event promoter is bringing the elusive actor on March 16 at the New Frontier’s Theater.

Why you should not miss #SOJISUBinManila?

The batch of actor So Ji Sub belongs is not really into social media. For that reason, as a fan there’s excitement to meet them when they can be as candid as they can be.

Also, the fact that he writes, rap and can throw in some decent dance moves are just a done deal for his fans not to miss the opportunity.

Inevitably, I’m not going to miss it. I hope my fellow fans here in Manila will do the same.

Check out the Ticketing Details to #SOJISUBinManila below:

Read more

K-Drama Review: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

My ID is Gangnam Beauty thankfully proves how youth dramas does not warrant immature characters, while treading on excess baggages of being young, chasing dreams, and discovering love.

It easily hooks due to its refreshing mood, and successfully elevates its game through romantic notes in the waning episodes.

One of those rare few youth dramas that I gladly recommend if I will be asked for K-drama suggestions on the spot, because of its nicely paced, decently acted, and engaging overall appeal.

Read my FULL REVIEW at Hellokpop.

K-Drama Fangirl Diary: Meeting Nam Joo Hyuk in Person Washed Out All Habaek Disappointments Instantly

I expected the Dara + Joo Hyuk fancon to be a big event. And I was right, we were greeted by an enormous crowd, tantalizing lights and party music to hype up the festivity.
We were grateful for the VIP tickets Penshoppe provided our team, and even more happy from the prepared neat program flow which showcased song and dance numbers by local artists, brand fashion show, and the highlight of the night — meeting the K-star brand ambassadors of Penshoppe.

Joo Hyuk remarked it was a first time for him to meet such a big crowd, and his multitude of followers did not disappoint in throwing in loud cheers to welcome him.
Social media has already feasted on some fans who failed to mind their manners in the event. That “spur of meeting the oppa of my dreams” won’t justify the unacceptable behavior. Hopefully, Nam Joo Hyuk would be understanding of what happened since his demeanor is really patient and nice.

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He took time to master how “I love you” is said in the vernacular. And yes, we know he just want to please us, and we are all willing believers that he loves us all. When asked what his ideal date was, he responded bringing all of us in a nice beach in the country making us feel frenzied, that even when he cutely said it will be “dutch treat”, he is still the squishiest ever.

There was also a big runway in the arena… Joo Hyuk and Dara take turns changing spots to make sure that all fans have a taste of their visuals. Our lucky spot has had the actor going near us a few times, so you can only imagine how many times my noona heart burst because of heart-flutters. And I don’t care but I have proof that our eyes really met a lot of times. *chuckles*

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So given the fascination I got from meeting him up close in person, I will erase the memory of Habaek and promise to rate all his future dramas 5 stars from now on. *just kidding* Needless to say, I’m already vouching full support to his next drama, hopefully we get to see it very soon.

Check out some more pics on the album at my Facebook page as well as well as the first few photos I posted last week.

K-Drama Fan Girl Diary: Meeting Jung Hae In Twice Would Never Be Enough

I am going to start this “diary” segment to share with you guys my experiences going to fan meetings of Korean actors and K-pop artists based on my media coverage via hellokpop. As HKP, is usually in a standard news feature format, my thoughts for this fan-girling adventure would be more freestyle, well hopefully, I’m so used to writing brief and concise now that I can’t even post on my facebook personal account without following the rules. *lol*

This year, I covered two “SMILE” fan meeting events of Jung Hae In in Thailand and my home country, Philippines. Usually, the program flow is the same with some alterations that would appeal to local audiences. The Bangkok leg is memorable for me because it is my first overseas coverage, I had to use my limited Hangeul to translate the event highlights. But I and Danica enjoyed the festive mood while waiting outside the venue hall. Not to mention, the freebies we were able to haul.
Here is my fan meeting recap for Jung Hae In in Thailand.

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(We are quite far so my camera can only rely on the big screen)

We did not get the best seats in Thailand, but we were surprised how everyone including the media people were asked to line up for the high touch session. And that sweet fleeting moment of close proximity with Jung Hae In, really weakened my knees. Experiencing it real and not coming from the small screen was a bit different.

And he has such a small face that I wonder how small Son Ye Jin’s face is. The next time I met Jung Hae In was on his fanmeet in my home country. It pretty much has the same program, with him giving hugs generously to lucky fans who won games. He was more relaxed compared to how he was in Bangkok probably because the host VJ is Korean so the communication barrier was barely felt.
I touched his hand with my left and right hands thanks to those events. But I still want to ask for more. *lol* Btw, here is the Manila leg recap.

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Just like any k-drama fan, meeting an actor whom I really liked in a particular drama is a fangirling fulfilling experience. So if ever you will get a chance to meet them in your city especially since high touch is typical for Korean actors fanmeet, don’t hesitate to save money for the tickets. This is also part of work-life-k-drama-life balance, you see. *chuckles*

Check out some photos from the events.

 

K-Drama Review: What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?

A BREATHTAKING LOVE JOURNEY THAT ENDEARS PROPELLED WHAT’S WRONG WITH SECRETARY KIM?

There was no dull moment on watching the romance blossomed for the love couple of What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? Embellished with saccharine scenes and made even more lively with ample quirks, Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young’s collaboration was a darling treat for rom-com followers.

Rating-wise, the workplace drama succeeded with flying colors for keeping impressive ratings as well as ranking well in terms of online presence. But the addictive spur that did not waver in each episode was what had made the series commendable.

Read my FULL review at HELLOKPOP.

Watch on Viki!

 

K-Drama Review: Lawless Lawyer

FROM THE EXPECTED SOLID LAUNCH, LAWLESS LAWYER IS EVERY BIT AS RESONANT OF ITS POLISHED AND THRILLING NARRATION DOWN TO THE LAST MINUTE.

Consistent to “law-thugs-and-disharmony” mood, Lawless Lawyer keenly navigates to a steady direction where the heroes ultimately reach an edifying redemption.

One unambiguous conflict plus precise hero-villain showdown make Lawless Lawyer a thrilling crime drama that does not suffer with pointless plot insertion and indecisive characters. The airtight narration consistently conforms to the shifting of the plot bends.

Read my FULL review at HELLOKPOP.

Watch on Viki.

 

K-Drama Review: Miss Hammurabi

ALBEIT THE SAD AND REALITY BITING LIFE LESSONS, MISS HAMMURABI IS EMOTIONALLY UPLIFTING.

Intelligently written and superbly acted, Miss Hammurabi thrives on warming up the viewers’ hearts despite the painful situations encompassing the myriad of relatable human disputes discussed throughout the series.

Read my FULL REVIEW at HelloKpop!


Watch it on Viki.

K-Drama Review: Something In The Rain

GENUINE AND AFFECTING, SOMETHING IN THE RAIN SURPASSES EXPECTATIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD ON THE USUAL MAKE OF ROMANCE K-DRAMAS WHICH HAVE BEEN TYPECAST THROUGHOUT THE YEARS.

Taking subtle storytelling that is focused on the bliss and complication of the love tale, viewers would be immersed to cheer for the fulfillment of the romance that was belatedly realized, crazily enjoyed, and painfully let go in Something in the Rain.

Something in the Rain reinvents the romance drama landscape with how it fervently keeps the serenity of the storytelling by its heartfelt dialogues and spontaneous scenarios.

True love has its own way of proving a relationship that did not initially work – may still work at the right time. That has been one of the myriad takeaways you can ruminate about in the drama.

If you are needing a binge-worthy romance story, consider adding Something in the Rain to your watchlist.

Read my full REVIEW at hellokpop.

 

K-Drama Review: Prison Playbook (2017 – 2018)

PRISON PLAYBOOK FULFILLS ITS INITIAL PROMISE OF SHOWING AN INTERESTING DARK COMEDY ABOUT LIFE OF THE CONVICTS INSIDE A JAIL HOUSE.

A sweet, funny, and at times, painful daily isolated life is sketched vibrantly with ample life pep talks in tvN’s high-rated dramedy, Prison Playbook.

Up to its finale episode, Prison Playbook maintains its pragmatic tone. Although I wished for a happy reunion outside Wing 2 Room 6 brothers, I am happy that each personal issues of the characters are neatly tied up in a realistic fashion.

I highly enjoyed the small screen visits at Seobu Penitentiary that I cry at those scenes when one by one, the jail birds are set free  to the outside world. *chuckles

Prison Playbook lets you understand how mistakes are not supposed to define you as a person. It teaches you that personal battles are given to be won over, and that having a good heart is a blessing at all times.

Read my FULL REVIEW at hellokpop.com!

 

K-Drama Review: I’m not a Robot (2017)

I’M NOT A ROBOT SKIDS TO A BIZARRE LOVE TALE THAT GETS BETTER WITH EACH STORY CHAPTER!

Arguably a collective favorite of rom-com followers from 2017 tail-end K-dramas, I’m Not A Robot is a happy and easy watch with graspable direction and endearing romance on the side.

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Pacing to an interesting love milieu, the story of a man who stumbled on the peculiar cure for his extreme human allergy, confronts the reality of how his newfound liberty to interact with people, comes with the price of admitting that he is in love with a robot. To complicate his situation, he learns that his reservations are pointless since the supposed android he can’t love, is actually a woman, who is commissioned to pretend that she is not a human.

I’m not a Robot communicates how the heart believes what the situation tries to conceal. It affirms how reciprocated love is felt even if it is not vocally declared. It is  easy to love due to its quick pacing and endearing cast.  Less the corporate world related conflict attached to the hero’s character, everything in the drama sails smoothly.

If you like saccharine stories, this drama is perfect for you. It notches well the bullet points of addictive romantic comedy. Light and sassy… sweet and steady.

Read my FULL REVIEW at hellokpop!

2017 Best Korean Dramas

 

This is by far my busiest year watching and writing about K-dramas. I put up a lot of patience in finishing dramas even if some dramas struggled to stay in the finish line direction. *chuckles Nevertheless, it was a great year since I got one drama to add on my all-time favorites list.

Here are my Best Picks For 2017 Korean Dramas!

 

Chief Kim (KBS)

chief kim

Workplace comedy-drama Chief Kim delights with Nam Goong Min’s impeccable attack on his unique underdog role seeking to take down corporate politics through his keen mind and elaborated grasp of turning problems to opportunities. The upbeat tone and cast synergy fuel the quirks and lessons of the narrative.

Defendant (SBS)

2017 Korean Dramas

Carving a commanding impression as a legal drama to beat for 2017, the outwitting game of the hero and villain in Defendant triumphantly gifted its followers with nerve-wrecking mind games in a good versus evil theme. With solid performances from the hero and villain, Defendant deserves a spot on 2017 Best Korean Dramas.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (jTBC)

Korean Romance Dramas

The quirky fantasy rom-com secured immense following through the love couple’s endearing chemistry. Amidst the noticeable plot fillers, the love frames are what made Bong-bong and Min-min couple’s impressive social media branding.

Voice (OCN)

voice

Chasing a clever psychopath was brilliantly executed by the dauntless detective team of Voice. It is always at a high note, and not taking a chance to rest the grit and vigor of the story-building.

Circle (tvN)

Circle leans to an amazing sci-fi story perceptive to viewers, who may or may not be a fan of the genre. It never went wrong for being ambitiously inventive.  It never showed any signs of defiance, and was always sure of the track it was taking.  The brave movement of the story plus the incorporation of brotherly love would just blow your mind away.

Fight For My Way (KBS)

Fight For My Way

What made this modestly written K-Drama a hot topic can be credited to the unadorned narrative that describes what regular people do and feel in their mundane living. It incidentally creates its own kind of beauty by presenting a cheerful cast, who channeled the honest storytelling to a good-humored spectacle. This leaves lingering lessons on chasing dreams while finding true love.

Chicago Typewriter (tvN)

chicago typewriter

Chicago Typewriter defies creative boundaries as it switches the past and present timelines without losing the brilliant writing and fascinating characters that moved in the story. It takes pride on balancing romance and friendship. The ingenious weaving of the fictional thread sets a basic rule that the viewers have to accept — the dynamic reincarnation plot that involves a life affirming friendship between two friends who love the same girl.

Queen For Seven Days (KBS)

Seven Day Queen

Queen For Seven Days efficiently maximizes the staple government intrigues and character motivations to balance the frustrating love line. 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.

Stranger/Secret Forest (tvN)

Stranger

Stranger 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 showcased sleek showdowns where intellect and power function as chess pieces proving how excessive tears and evil doings need not to be elaborately shown on-screen as long as it is neatly narrated.

Duel (OCN)

Duel

The mystery solving plot unravels the details of the story that are traced to a prohibited medical research of 24 years about human cloning and a sort of cure-for-all vaccine. The ambitious medical plot about stem cell therapy and human clones seem awkward to a crime drama, but the moment your attention is settled, your brain will become busy processing the what-ifs and OMG’s of the story.

Because This Is My First Life (tvN)

Because This Is My First Life

Powered by a vibrant cast, the heartfelt writing reinvented the trite rom-com cohabitation premise to a whole new level, leaving traces of feel-good love affirming moments that would make you smile after each chapter. If you want to deviate from the standard romance stories, with a relaxing drama that is intuitively penned, an overnight marathon of Se Hee and the gangs’ love journey will make you sigh and ponder about the sweet little moments of being in love.

While You Were Sleeping (SBS)

While You Were Sleeping

Bringing together the thrills of the legal drama premise and the fated love frosted story is the strength which mobilizes the addictive surge of the drama. Thumbs up to the clear delineation of the heroes versus villain showdown that does not exaggerate. The quick-witted main leads maneuver the tale through their shared visions and are never stubborn to think ahead of the imaginary conflicts thrown at them. They patiently tackle together the maze-like answer to the final conflict.

Deserving of the Name (tvN)

Deserving of the Name

The smartly written time-slip drama of a celebrated Joseon acupuncturist transported in the modern times achieved the neat placement of time bending element on its supernatural stage. The medical plot fuses well to the intricate comparison between technology based and traditional medicine due to the winning performances of the main leads.

The Package (jTBC)

The Package

The fleeting romance of the lead couple in The Package radiates a resonating message that you can love instantaneously, fall out of it and love more at the right time. It is a romantic gift that is ironically spirited while running on a wistful narrative. The supporting chronicles appear like puzzle pieces meant to complete the entire picture of the plot. It results in an excellent capture of the drama’s ultimate message – how personal relationship, romantic or otherwise, won’t reveal apprehensions due to a man’s self-sacrificing nature.

 

 

 

 

KDrama Review: Because This Is My First Life (2017)

BECAUSE THIS IS MY FIRST LIFE PROVES HOW PREDICTABLE DRAMA PLOTS CAN BE REINVENTED TO CREATE AN ENDEARING LOVE STORY OF MINIMALIST APPROACH, YET FILLED WITH LOVE RETROSPECTION.

Armed with equally captivating side romance stories, the heart-fluttering affair of two people who found love through a marriage contract is my highly-recommended rom-com drama for 2017.

Who would have thought that Because This Is My First Life would pull off a unique attraction based on its familiar tune? Surprisingly it did, and I think followers of Lee Min Ki and Jung So Min’s adorable love story agree on the sweet highs the story brings each week.

No self-help books can teach how life can be lived perfectly the first time. In this emotionally perceptive drama, we are given pep talks on how to burst happiness on our faces by living and loving to the fullest.

Read my FULL REVIEW at HELLOKPOP!

KDrama Review: While You Were Sleeping (2017)

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING CLEVERLY FUSES ROMANCE AND FANTASY IN A THRILLING COURTROOM DRAMA THAT WILL LEAVE YOU WANTING MORE.

What the rest of supernatural themed dramas missed this year, While You Were Sleepingaccomplished in full marks consistently.

At some point, I imagined the writer meticulously penning the script with a big board of connecting scenarios similar to how detectives work on criminal cases. The heedful writing contributes to the seamless linking of the mini conflicts up to the eventual climax.

Lee Jong Suk, Bae Suzy and the rest of the gang put up a superb collective performance. It highlights the stable storytelling and unswerving focus to present the inventive picture

While You Were Sleeping proves it deserves the hype it got prior to airing. The polished storytelling reflects why they lead the midweek drama race considering it was pitted against impressive dramas on the same time slot.

It switches from comic highs, courtroom thrills and heart-fluttering moments while treading on the exciting fantasy landscape.  If you are up for a binge, this is the perfect Kdrama for you.

READ MY FULL REVIEW AT HELLOKPOP.

KDrama Review: The King Loves

THE KING LOVES CONTRIVES A QUAINT FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE STORY BEFITTING OF ITS PICTURESQUE STAGE AND REMARKABLE CHARACTER SHOWING.

Clever and sassy, The King Loves shapes up to a conventional period chronicle thriving on political conflicts. But the spirited writing and role portrayals soften the usual heavy tone, which do not saturate the viewers like how usual thickly-plotted historical dramas are.

I want to say that this drama is a tribute for second leads and one-sided romance because as much as I have enjoyed the whole picture, I am dissatisfied on the lack of romantic love gratification. Sans the gap in living up to its title, everything is fairly conceived for the breathtaking chronicle. The ending broke my heart in many ways as I put a blind faith on the love fulfillment that never happened, and the hero’s disheartening tale which remained one-dimensional.

The King Loves is beautiful without love seasonings.  It is a case where the writing hesitated if it would go romantic or just plain drama, yielding a lack of strong finishing kick on its end game. Nonetheless, if you want a relaxing period drama with the right amount of conflict and superb story-telling, Won, Rin and So Hwa’s story will suit to your taste.

Read my full review at hellokpop.

Loving 2017 Fall Korean Dramas

I finally managed to free myself from the year-end strain thanks to the rom-com treats which premiered recently.

Yes, I’m talking about “While You Were Sleeping” and “Temperature of Love” which are currently what I am not missing to watch each week.  

8 Dramas will premiere next week, yes full force 8!  So good luck everyone.  I have skipped reviewing Manhole because there’s nothing to review anyhow.  I feel apologetic towards Go Kyung Pyo since I dropped his drama halfway not because it was not good but because I was on a writing slump when it ended.  And I had to decide which dramas would matter.  I will update my review list here by Monday.  But the last dramas I reviewed thru hellokpop – “Save Me” and “The King Loves” are available for reading.  I am now working on “Deserving of the Name”.  If my oppa love to Lee Jun Ki will sustain my will to finish Criminal Minds, then I might write it as well.  

Of the 8 drama premieres next week, I only look forward to “Mad Dog”.  The shower of thrillers this year has turned my heart cold I don’t like romance anymore.  *chuckles  So I am waiting if the new dramas will surprise me.  I hope this batch will since we only have November dramas to look forward to and I can finally work on the year end recap spree.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

KDrama Review: School 2017

I think all the followers of School 2017 would agree that not much happened on this coming-of-age drama, except the sweet boy crush we all felt towards Tae Woon. *wink

I want to say, I was put on a cute school boys’ trance, that’s why I ended up binging on this youth drama.  But it is really because the predictable and light dramas are sometimes more therapeutic to watch instead of the heavily conceived ones.

School 2017 lacks story depth but the light premise and the young love progression easily melt the hearts of the viewers. Following the recurring elements of its predecessors, it painted a picture of students along with their woes, dreams and bliss we can all relate to.

Read my full review at hellokpop.

KDrama Review: Bride of the Watergod

Brode of the Water god

Bride of the Water God is my kdramaland heartache for 2017 since I am rooting for its artistic promise – only to be disappointed for failing to achieve it. There are a few addictive runs, but the cliff-hangers and direction of the supernatural plot kills the budding love, just when you think it is finally settling to a decent narration.

I keep hoping for a miraculous spurt, but the writing remains unaware of its sporadic trajectory.  Savor the sweet moments and sigh on the nonsense events. Bride of the Water God gives you sufficient reasons to enjoy the love affair, yet the picture as a whole leaves you bereft of emotions.

There are a lot of poignant events in Bride of the Water God which are overshadowed by the lapses on the story framework. The central problem of the romance impossibility between a human and an immortal is unreasonably amplified by throwing in fragments of character driven conflicts that do not involve the love couple. If truth to be told, those side stories and unnecessary supporting characters turn the plot messier.

It is not visually unpleasant, to be honest. However, the narrative requires the viewers to be understanding of the plethoric ideas which happen recklessly in the story. That has been my big complaint for the series. But then again, I applaud how they settle on a romantic fix that works well, with how they lean firmly on the pragmatic belief of the drama.

I question why they pace back and forth when they can crown Habaek as a King. Then since he is infamously powerful, he can visit So ah at his will. But when the resolution is revealed, the disarming of Habaek’s supernatural abilities finally makes sense to me.

Bride of the Water God is hard to deconstruct as a viewer. It does have good and bad points, so you have to rely on your patience to finish it.  If Nam Joo Hyuk is your cup of tea, it is still a tolerable watch.

Read my full review at hellokpop.  

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

Fight for my way

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

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 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?

Hello! I moved to a new website.

Please visit this POST at KDRAMADIARY.

Bookmarking my new website (kdramadiary.com) for future K-DRAMA recommendation needs would save a lot of your time.

Aside from that, I will also write about various Korean and Asian entertainment articles. I hope to meet you there.

Stay Safe.

-abbyinhallyuland

 

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.

 

The surreal brilliance of Descendants of the Sun

descendants-of-the-sun2-800x450

Dazed and intoxicated in a fictional one-sided love, I got more than what I bargained for choosing “Descendants of the Sun” as my first pick this year in my favorites and placing it on my all-time-favorite list.   And no, it’s not because of Captain Yoo Si Jin’s dashing and magnetic appeal nor the running topless army guys doing their morning routine.  It is simply because it deserves all the hype and kdrama addicts’ rave it got because of its superb screenplay and well-executed story.

7a20

When a drama is great, I usually am lost on how I can possibly write about it without prejudice, but the case for me now is how I can contain not thinking about Captain Yoo Si Jin and blushing and smiling like an idiot as if we have an existing romantic relationship.  *chuckles 

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I will try to focus with all my might.  If I get sidetrack for a bit, forgive my romantic self.  *aigoo

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I never had a standard pattern when writing on reviews, but since the hallyuwave rennaisance suddenly surged again because of Mo Yeon and Si Jin’s story.  I will now patent my flow of thoughts for a more pleasant reviews.

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SYNOPSIS

On their break after a successful military operation, Special Forces Alpha Team Captain Yoo Si Jin and Sergeant Major Seo Dae Young were lost like children playing in a bullet shooting range, they got sidetrack when a thief was declared in the area and they used their military skill in stopping the teenager who stole a motorbicycle. 

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The soldiers hit the wheels rendering the inexperience thief in place on the ground with evident body injuries.  He was sent to the hospital after a quick first aid fix done by Captain Si Jin and the two headed to a cafe with stuffed toys as their dates.  They soon realized that Sergeant Major Seo’s handphone was missing and they headed to the hospital where they saw the young thief being bullied by a gang after escaping the hospital’s ER.  They took back the fleeing stubborn patient after giving some lessons to the bullies but Dr. Kang Mo Yeon insisted on getting Si Jin’s details as she thought they cause the patient’s bruises even when the patient backed up the story.descendants-of-the-sun-song-joong-ki-song-hye-kyo

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Soon the growing attraction became evident between Mo Yeon and Si Jin, but Mo Yeon’s personal conviction that a relationship with Si Jin was not workable.  They met again after Mo Yeon was forcibly send to a volunteer work in Urk where Si Jin was leading a station.  Si Jin pushed for a second try but Mo Yeon still refused to give in.  On their way back to Korea, the medical mission team was caught up by reviving lives from an earthquake.  The outbreak summoned the Special Forces led by Si Jin for the rescue operation.

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Even when Mo Yeon accidentally declared how Si Jin occupied a place in her heart when her last will recording was aired in the camp after almost dying on a car accident, she stuck to being stubborn by not wanting to admit her true feelings to Si Jin.  But when they unfortunately landed to an active land mine and have to hitch their ride back home, she finally gave in and reciprocated his emotions.

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The second lead has a great supporting love story too.  Having been forced to not continue their relationship by Myung Jo’s general father but through their undeniable display of true love, the father finally blessed their relationship.

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STORY & SCREENPLAY

Rarely do we get a story in dramaland that is so affecting when the narrative is relying on the love plot.  Most of the time it maintains a decent showing but in the waning part of the series it will lose its magic.  No romance kdrama has made it to my top favorites basing on the screenplay and the acting.  What they all failed to achieve, DOTS casually slayed in a watch-us-this-is-how-it-should-be-done manner.

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The drama was pre-produced and raked millions with its budget.  KBS really gambled in taking over the drama meant to go to SBS, but the risk paid off a thousand fold because of its success.  So why did a drama set in a not so positive environment won over the viewers’ heart?  The raves it got can be attributed to how fit the actors to their characters were, the realistic-sometimes-cheesy-most-of-the-time-pure-love of the main characters, the snappy lines and giggle inducing captured frames and how the story depended on the fulfilment of the romance just as the romance bloomed because of the flowing story. 

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I am a Hong sisters’ fan and I will be a new Kim Eun Sook follower.  She was so efficient with how she writes the pictures of her drama.  I have lots of favorite scenes but that one scene that I love was when Si Jin rescued Mo Yeon and having left no choice but to kill the villain, he pulled the trigger while covering Mo Yeon’s eyes.  It was so beautiful that I cried and I think I’m the only person who cried over it.  *chuckles  The buoyancy of the lines she wrote suited well to the blithe characters she created.  She was very clear on the roles of her characters and she didn’t misplace or misuse all the people that moved in the story.

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CAST & CONFLICT
I am still moving on from the fictional separation to my favorite imaginary soldier.  I’m sure as of this moment, a lot of kdrama addict girls are still viewing back episodes in trying to cope up with the mass break up we have with Alpha Team and Captain Yoo Si Jin.  So far Descendants of the Sun is the yardstick of what to achieve by upcoming kdramas this year.  That being said it has one of the best cast ensembles that communicated with impeccable chemistry to grace a superb kdramaland show. quot-Descendants-of-the-Sun-quot-Episode-16-final_97bbeddb709304e6b91b5137a5f153a00346fede20

Even the supporting casts who are newbies were not sleeping and did well their homework.  The main lead hands down displayed a memorable love couple we can all relate to and we wished we could have.  Wolf and Myung Joo’s love affair was equally amusing as the main leads which made me realize why all those past dramas relied on making the second leads hinder the success of the lead couple when they can do it neat like this.  I didn’t suffer on a second-lead-syndrome but I was always all smiles to Alpha team’s bromance.

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The issues resolved in the story focused on braving the odds for love and the death defying conflict in the finishing kick of the series.  The charm of Captain Yoo Si Jin would have not been possible if his lead girl was not as endearing as our clever surgeon Mo Yeon.  I have to admit that episode 15 was the weakest episode because it struggled in a denouement or conflict limbo.  I was hoping the finale week would just be a fan service but they scared me when I thought it would push an open ended closure or everything-is-a-dream-lead-man-is-dead ending.  That’s the only negative point I had in its entirety but it was definitely forgivable given the balanced conception of a drama thriving in a love premise.photo697049

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RATINGS & RECOMMENDATION
I gave a 10/10 score for Descendants of the Sun for its ingenuity in capturing the heartfelt romance even with violence and disaster plot.  It left lessons on patriotism, life, career and friendship.  There are stories that need not to be embellished because they can stand alone when you chronicle it without confusion and with a direction.

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It was a finale befitting of the beautiful story we all watched from day 1.   It is safe to say now that “Descendants of the Sun” will become one of the best korean dramas that ever aired in kdramaland.  It defied all the resident kdrama cliches and presented a balanced character portrayals and heartfelt, unscripted romance.  I have never seen a drama so beautiful in each chapters and even more stunning as it flows in the culminating closure.  I’ve never been so dazed until Captain Yoo Si Jin strut his army uniform looking dapper and manly honoring the call of the country he serves while fulfilling his promise to the woman he loves.  

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Now I won’t be confused and answer right away when asked for a kdrama recommendation.  Not only did the drama nail the romantic notes to an almost impossible perfection, but it created a story where every person who knows how to love can relate to.  It left an inspiring message to become the best that we can ever be to the person we love, to the profession we have and to the life we live. -jediprincess♥♥♥

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Haunted broken radio, cold cases and police officers: Signal Kdrama Quick Review

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Halfway through the drama, I liked what I saw even if I saw it already.  The only peculiar thing in the drama was the use of the haunted radio that linked the main police officers from the past and present.  But I have religiously watched Criminal Minds, Dexter, The Mentalist and the rest of police procedural hollywood tv series so there’s nothing surprising that I saw with the criminal files they tackled.   It was more of me waiting if the writer will niftily tie the loose end and connect the relevance of the supernatural twist as a whole.

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While the story conflict was resolved, I didn’t like the open-ended closure.  I followed the thrill and analyze the situations like I was also a police officer, and then I was given something to ponder on in the dying minutes of the drama.  I was like what was that?  You already baked a satisfying conclusion, why cool it down and put it in a fridge?    But for the record, that’s my only concern about “Signal”.  Over all it was excitingly projected.  The runs on how they made the cases simultaneously being solved from different timelines were easy to follow and the main actors exhibited great chemistry.

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Signal tells about two police officers from the past and present communicating through a broken radio in solving cases that were happening in the past and were re-opened from cold cases vault in the present.  The cases involved led them to discovering the connection they had in the past and the clues from the present to be given, so the future can be changed to save them and their loved ones.  It’s a crazy timeline but when you watch it you won’t be lost.  Plot like this isn’t supposed to be described in details so I’m just going to warn you that the ending is the only thing that I thought felt lacking, but the narration all throughout was well directed and engaging.

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If you are up for quick fix of cop drama with a supernatural serving, plan your next binge-watching activity and set it to the radio frequency of Signal.

jediprincess♡♡♡

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oppa virus: the best kdrama lead men


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Oppa virus (n) – is a virtual addiction caught when the lead man in a Korean drama hits the heart of a kdrama fan.  The affected woman will exhibit dreamy state after watching the episodes, grumpiness while waiting for the next episodes and craziness watching the cute and sweet scenes over and over again. 

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Let’s look back on the best Korean drama lead men in the past years who have covered almost every dream guy character there is.  And as a known rule regardless if the character is young… if he is handsome, we call him “oppa”.   *chuckles Let’s see if you remember them all.

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Lee Young Jae/Rain in Full House – The top star who always have an everyday bickering session with his lead girl.  He is so full of himself, but he sure know how to nurse his girl when she is sick.  The cohabitation plot and the eventual romance build up is perky and engaging.  I’m sure legit kdrama addicts will agree.

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Jung Jae Min and Kang In Wook/Jo In Sung and So Ji Sub  in What Happened in Bali – This is my first serving of second-lead syndrome.  Who won’t be crossed between them?  Albeit the sad ending, I enjoyed the promising portrayals So Ji Sub and Jo In Sung oppa offered that I accepted the let’s-all-die-together closure without any objections.  *lol  Now that I’m looking back on old melodramas, I can’t help but compare how agonizing they did it back then without so much weep fest compared to how they do it these days.

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Kang Hyun Woo/Ji Sung in Save the last dance for me – Hyun woo’s story paved the pay to “the problematic chaebol prototype storyline mixed with series of unfortunate events before the love finally gets realized” drama trope prevalent to love stories in kdramaland.  He went through the go-to-amnesia-conflict, survived the you-and-me-against-my-rich-family problem hence making my college self root for him. Brimming with cliches, the romantic melodrama maintained its beauty because of the heartfelt love fulfilment.

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Kim Hyun Woo/Kim Rae Won in Lovestory in Harvard – Kim Rae Won can fit any dream guy character and make it work.  His I’ll-be-your-hero love journey to his girl while challenging law school in Harvard was just as piercing as when they finally claimed their disrupted love when they  became  lawyers.

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Choi Seung Hee/Kim Rae Won in What star did you come from – Laid back Seung Hee oppa moved mountains and solidified his top actor who really knows how to act status in this I-fell-in-love-with-twin-sisters drama.  He made sure that his girl would not feel that he was trapped in her sister’s memories.

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Hyun Jin Hun/Hyun Bin in My Lovely Samsoon – The guy who made all the chubby girls feel happy on the thought that a you-and-me-against-my-flabs-and-pesky-ex-gf is achievable.  *chuckles

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Gong Chan/Lee Dong Wook in My Girl – With the premise of hiring a fake cousin to appease his ailing rich grandpa and finding himself loving his fake cousin in the process, Gong Chan melts every woman’s heart with his cute submission to admit that he is in love.  His impeccable chemistry with the con girl he hired established K-Drama trademark scenes that are modified and used in trendy rom-coms these days.

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Lee Shin/Joo Ji Hoon in Goong/Princess Hours – Lee Shin I think is a fan girl favorite due to how he suited up well to the prince character he portrayed.  His character emotions progressed in the story.  He easily puts the women viewers  on a romantic trance.  His projection of a crown prince who got in an awkward arranged marriage to a normal girl is a runaway hit because every girl secretly wishes to meet their princes.  He literally came out fresh from a fairy tale adding his sporadic temperament for a modern twist.

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Jung Ji Oh/Hyun Bin in  The World that they live in – This underrated drama is one of my favorite because of its spontaneity.  Ji Oh oppa’s character is not coated and tailored fresh to feed on a woman’s euphoric delusions.  His being rational in his approach to love is relatable and his interaction with his woman is soothing and realistic.

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Choi Han Kyul/Gong Yoo in First Shop of Coffee Prince – Aloof cafe boss who struggled overanalyzing if he was falling in love with a guy is adorably fun. period.  When he is liberated with the truth about his lead girl’s identity, boy he is so smooth in showering love to his woman making all lady viewers wanting to cross dress and find the hottest cafe owner in town.  *wink

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Gu Jun Pyo/Lee Min Ho in Boys over Flowers – Suiting up for a famous manga character, Gu Jun Pyo sweeps the women of kdramaland with his undeniable charisma and pretty face.   His love approach started off bullying his girl but when he realizes how the girl seems to be lingering in his heart, he did adorkable things by parading his wealth and protecting his girl at all cost, even defying his witch-like mother.  He is a living imaginary character testament that rich-guy-poor-girl love affair can be achieved at the right time.

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Jo Guk/Cha Seung Won in City Hall – My ideal man is very close to Jo Guk’s brilliant character.  He is smart and encouraging to his woman’s dreams.  He listens well, contemplative and yet he gives you some charming surprises.  His declaration of love amidst the lighted garden in the closing scene of this drama is still my favorite up to this date.

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Seo In Woo/Park Shi Hoo in Prosecutor Princess – With his killer gaze and the secret-vengeance-twist-turned-love-wins plot, I liked that In Woo’s pained character chooses his emotions over revenge.  He is blithe at one moment and then blatant at the next which makes an interesting combination on how he settled his issues with the woman who proved to him that she is more than his half-hearted-i-love-you.

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Hwang Tae Kyung/Jang Geun Seok in You’re Beautiful – In the spirit of presenting how idol stars could be when they are in love, Hwang Tae Kyung and the rest of ANJELL’s fire up a following on how an idol star faces the same dilemma coffee prince did.  He emerged victorious even with the second lead’s equally mesmerizing run for the lead girl’s hand.  He operated on a stuffed toy, took care of her when she was sick and a lot more little things that melted the drama followers’ hearts.

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 Sungkyunkwan Scholars/Park Yoo Chun, Yoo Ah In, Song Joong Ki in Sungkyunkwan Scandal – Before they became established lead men of their generation, they are the righteous, the charming and the dangerously sweet scholars of Sunkyunkwan.  If you haven’t seen this drama, please free your time.  More than the amazing story, you will be showered with pretty  boy faces that will bring you good vibes.

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Jun Jin Ho/Lee Min Ho in Personal Preference – He just walks in a drama set effortlessly bringing out the vibrancy of the character with his handsome face and charming demeanor.  Architect Jin Ho not only protected Kae In’s heart, but he is there by her side while she chases on her dreams.  

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Cha Dae Woong/Lee Seung Gi in My GF is a Gumiho – Going extra mile to provide meaty food for his supernatural dream girl whom he has to protect against the rain, this vivacious love affair is well handed by Dae Woong’s yolo attitude matching the memorable quirky portrayal of Shin Min Ah.  His I-will-be-here-for-you promise is enough to win every girl’s heart.

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Kim Joo Won/Hyun Bin in Secret Garden – His sparkling jumpsuit, dimples and the thirst to prove his devotion to the stunt woman he loved took kdrama addicts in frenzy.  The curl-up sweet scene as well as the coffee foam kiss frame still give a smile on my face when I remember it in passing.  

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Dokko Jin/Cha Seung Won in The Greatest Love – The top actor who fell in love with the struggling then-famous girl group member is lively with upbeat track turning the drama to a superb watch.  The crazy antics and the zesty development of the love story is a runaway hit and the see how much i love you showcases of the mushy-man-in-love Dokko Jin will sweep you off your feet.

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Kang Woo/Eric in Myungwol the Spy – Another top actor who uses efficiently a manual to woo a secret North Korean spy.  It is no easy task but with genuine yearning, Kang Woo oppa moved me with his unwavering strength to conquer the divided country conflict that is hindering his romance to come true.

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Lee Shin/Jung Yong Hwa in You’ve Fallen For Me – Served youthful and cute, Lee Shin is every college school girl’s dream boy.  He reminds us of those days when we have secret crushes and when we do those silly things for our crushes to take notice.  

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Lee Yoon Sung/Lee Min Ho in City Hunter – There’s something appealing to a man with a dangerous job.  His enigmatic performance is a high-octane hit and the added bonus of his suave ways of making his girl’s heart flutter is an icing on the cake.

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Kang Ji Wook/Lee Dong Wook in Scent of a Woman – All a woman needs is for a man to stay by her side and support her dreams and worries.  Ji Wook oppa encouraged his woman to chase her dreams and do whatever she wants when she realized too late how she has not done anything fulfilling in her life after unexpectedly receiving her death notice.  He makes sure his terminally ill girlfriend would be loved by a man who knows how to love and stayed with her even if she kept pushing him away.

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Cha Chi Soo/Jung Il Woo in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop – The persistent love chase of Chi Soo to his noona romance are most of the time hilarious, but definitely worth the effort.  The rest of the flower boys alongside the main lead are added perks.  The hero patiently warms up his heroine’s heart by playing cool, reliable and true to his love declaration.

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Lee Jae Ha/Lee Seung Gi in King2Hearts – He proves that a man’s pure love can be a driving force to change for the better.  In this utopian unified korea story, he is a delightful mix of a man every girl wants to have.  Cheeky and charming, not perfect but caring, refraining from complicating things yet loving.

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Choi Young/Lee Min Ho in Faith – Wielding sword has never been sexy until Choi Young.  His suave and manly ways in protecting the time traveling lead doctor resurrects those girly dreams of a knight in a shining armour.  *giggles  That scene where he chewed on the meds to give to the sick lead girl through a fleeting kiss is oh so sweet.  

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Prince Lee Gak/Park Yoo Chun in Rooftop Prince – The quirky prince who traveled from the past to solve the murder mystery of his princess-to-be threw me at laughing fits when it was airing.  He is so cute that Yoo Chun finally made my list of actors to watch.  With an era he is not accustomed to, he is able to do one thing that is constant from the past and present – a sincere love.

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Kim Boong Do/Ji Hyun Woo in Queen In Hyun’s Man – My smart dream man dwelled in my heart with his nimble mind and spontaneous ability to melt his woman with mushy scenes he is not aware of.  He remains to be on my top favorite KDrama hero characters to this date.

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Kim Tan/Lee Min Ho in The Heirs – What makes Kim Tan different from Gu Jun Pyo is his reckless attitude defying his family and not waiting if time will resolve something.  He takes the risk to be with the girl he loved because it is how reckless love should be dealt with.  

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Joo Joong Won/So Ji Sub in The Master’s Sun –  So Ji Sub leaving his comfort zone to do a rom-com is already a treat.  So the supernatural love ride with a ghost seeing woman is a hilariously blissful experience.  His straightforward attitude in love cracked me up and drew sigh from me at the same time.  

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Kang Tae Ha/Eric in Discovery of Romance – Discovery of Romance is a secret kdrama gem you should take time to watch.   What I liked about Tae Ha is how he did not give up on love and his realization that just because the first serving in love didn’t go well, it doesn’t mean the second chance won’t be too.  He made his first love realized the reason why after all those time fate still keeps binding them together.

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Do Min Joon/Kim Soo Hyun in You Who Came From the Stars – If aliens are really as hot as Do Min Joon then all girls would be permitting alien invasion.  *chuckles  The stranded alien who fell in love with a top actress has used his ability to protect his woman even defying time.  His unmatched chemistry with Cheon Song Yi raised a frenzy addiction through his alien love definition.

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Jang Jae Yul/Jo In Sung in It’s Okay That’s Love – Jae Yul’s unconventional character won my heart because of his vulnerabilities.  Because he made me think that if I was in that position, I would also become his shield.  You see some girls would appreciate more if their men will be brave to admit to something they can no longer bear.  That’s what made his character special.

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Seo Jung Ho/Ji Chang Wook in Healer – My 2015 kdrama hero crush knocked my heart down because of his manly-McGyver-ish charm.  A courier of impossible missions with peerless attitude made all the girls want to be a damsel in distress just so he can be there to save them.  His dangerous side made my eyes turned to hearts.  The Healer hideout kisses left me on trance.

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Kim Young Ho/So Ji Sub in Oh My Venus – Coach-nim is women’s solution to weight loss problem.  It would be heaven to do sit-ups with him… to feel his hands and body in the workout drills… and before my thoughts turns R-rated, I have to go back to reality.  So Ji Sub is my dream guy period so if the drama is bad or good I don’t care as long as there will be topless scenes.  *chuckles  Thankfully the drama is generally okay with ample fan service moments.  The romantic cuteness is a bonus.

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Kang Sun Woo/Jo Jung Seok in Oh My Ghost – When he thought his lead girl is suffering from bipolar disorder because of her ghost-possessed body, I was so amused with his line of thinking on how his being hard on her incited her mood swings.  Chef-nim resolves conflicts im a way that he can only understand.  In the end, it is a relief how he did not linger on sulking over the absurdity of his situation with his woman by ultimately accepting that love always wins. 

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Choi Taek/Park Bo Gum  in Reply 1988 – He only knows baduk but he warms my heart with his gentleness and knowing when to surge forward when it comes to claiming the love he waited for a long time.

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Yoo Si Jin/Song Joong Ki in Descendants of the Sun – He is the reason why I came up with this post.  hahaha  His melting gaze, sweet remarks and soldier bearing are and will be putting me in frenzy right now.  

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Kang Chul/Lee Jong Suk in W:TwoWorlds – Strutting his dapper look and protecting the woman he loves while crossing two different worlds sent me to varied emotions ranging from a giddy-ish high-school girl, a woman tapping on her inner goddess and a lady who wants to fall in love again.  Kang Chul is that imaginary dream guy girls dream of marrying when they were in high school.

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The neighborhood of the 90’s youth: Reply 1988 Korean drama Series Review


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They say that as you age along, you get more sentimental as you look back on what has happened in your life. Sitting on this neighborhood drama set between 1988 – 1995 made me reminisce the good old days of endearing family love and friendship full of memories and laughter. “Answer me 1988” pays homage to the irreplaceable bliss of being young – of our young dreams and our young love. It gives you a trip to memory lane when technology hasn’t taken over the world yet— when friends meet up at a house to watch movies, to eat and to chat and when romance comes true by heartfelt love declarations, stolen kisses and warm hugs.

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Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that were fused together to bring up a chronicle that warms the heart and lingers in one’s mind. The setting, side stories and the cast ensemble will make the viewers feel like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories we could ever have in our lives.

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Answer Me 1988 tells the growing up years of five childhood friends living in a same block as they go through their studies, dreams and life. Relying to one another, the friendship circle’s families were also entangled as one big family thriving happily and harmoniously in the changing times. Sung Duk Seon the only girl in the friendship circle belonged to a family of five with a scary sister she always bicker with and a younger brother who doesn’t look young at all. They live humbly with his banker father’s salary which has been immensely diminished due to his kind heart always extending help to people in need even sacrificing the finances meant to be spend for the family. Choi Taek is the son of a clock repair man who is also a widow. They live quietly amidst the crazy families surrounding them. Choi Taek was a Baduk prodigy but since not having a normal life, he was often sheltered by the people around him because he was kind-hearted to a fault and didn’t bother much about the cruelties in life. Kim Jung Hwan grew up not being wealthy but in a stroke of luck, their family won in a lottery and became rich overnight. He has one brother who didn’t run out of a new hobby to try in his life as their parents worried about him not being able to secure a normal career in his prime. Yoo Do Ryong was the easy go lucky and the dancing machine of the group. He craved for his busy mother’s attention and was scared of his teacher-father’s scolding. Sung Sun Woo assumed taking care of his mother and little sister when his father died young. He was a model student and the most responsible in the group. As a trademark of the “reply franchise”, the drama will also give hints on the main love couple that will blossom in the story. But out of all three Reply dramas, ’88 was the most discreetly conceived and it took the last two finale episodes to finally reveal who the lead girl married. 

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One of the many things I loved in this show was the genuine on-screen bond of the cast giving life in the best possible imagination of the sketched characters in the story. There was no passerby among the cast. All have contributed to an almost perfect depiction of how uncomplicated life then. With neighbors living up to become a functioning support group with their fellow parents whose dreams were mainly directed to the well-being of their children and of children who were pressured to chase their dreams so as to make their parents proud. That is definitely not the case today with the internet controlling human interaction. People will choose to just browse on the superficial social media status of their family and friends than to take time to catch up with them in person.

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Another wonderful feature evident to all Reply-dramas would be the building up of the romance which has been fixed in presenting a love triangle and would always break the viewers’ hearts as they want both guys to get the same girl they were chasing. I was Team Taek-i all throughout. Who wouldn’t fall for Taek-i’s puppy face? I just really go for cute nerds who are clueless in life but advances strong when the situation required them to go for their one great love and Taek-i rose to the occasion by waiting for the right time and seizing the moment without looking back. Jung–hwan had his fair share of sweet moments capping up with that heartbreaking love proposal practice which Duk-seon never realized to be what really was in Jung Hwan’s heart.

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But the one great love lesson learned from JungHwan-Dukseon-Taek love triangle is to not blame timing or fate for your one great love to happen. Taek-i braved the odds and defied a 20 year friendship and sealed every love he had for Dukseon in a heart-stopping kiss because he wanted to know right at that moment if there is just not a chance but if love was really there for both of them. It’s not just knowing that love is there, it is being in absolute certainty that both of you feel the same way.Reply_1988-012

I only have the very best things to say for the neighborhood I grew fond watching, for the childhood buddies who defined lifetime friendship and for the sincere love that bloomed from the purest friendship and memories.  Reply 1988 was a great spectacle to seal K-drama parade of 2015 and I can only hope that the writer won’t get tired of delving on nostalgic premise like this.

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Reply 1988 is on my top 3 dramas for 2015 because of its brilliant use of sweet melancholia and sending the followers back to their very own youth, like it did to me. It made me want to pay a short visit to the street I grew up with and reminisce the times when I hang out with my childhood friends to play traditional local games. It made me glad that most of my precious memories were not digitally induced as is the case of the youth nowadays. And it reminded me to still go for the purest romance I can ever have that won’t make use much of the world- wide web and social media.

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The ever present humor, the love stories and the amazing neighborhood are surely a quick relief for life stress. Reply 1988 is a strip of mementos any person with a euphoric youth can relate to. I strongly vouch for this drama if you have a weekend to spare. –jediprincess ♥♥♥

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P.S Images Source Asianwiki

A Dying Man’s Dangerous Punch! (Punch KDrama Series Review)

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Awed and at the edge of my seat every episode’s finishing kick, I can’t help but wondered how brilliant the writer of this story by bringing out a drama where heroes and villains don’t waste time outmanipulating each other to secure the highest possible position befitting to their greed and wickedness.  With a dying man as a lead hero in charge to intellectually brawl with his superiors in the Prosecutor’s office, the stake was always at the highest as the people involved raced to protect their families, reputations and personal ambitions.

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Punch is a badass with its intelligent writing.  It was full of surprises that will make the viewers grab their hair out of frustration.  I wondered how much hate the writer might have stored in himself to motivate him to write a chronicle that was able to maintain a level of grit all throughout the depiction of the corrupt Korean Prosecutors’ Office.

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The characters centered to high ranking officers of the Prosecution’s office who were able to propel an amazing cast ensembles that will take your wit all the way to Milky Way.  It was a nerve wrecking display of shrewdness played equally well by all the characters who were in the running to claim the most vilest of ’em all crown.

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At some point, I was already exhausted on how the writer can’t seem to just put every trick he has in his sleeve in one go, as he kept bouncing up my brain left and right that I was left with no choice but to worry about Park Jung Hwan.  Park Jung Hwan who I believed deserved to share the best kdrama character for me in 2015.  I’m sorry Healer, I liked you but I like him also and I can never go wrong with an insanely smart guy.

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I ruminated on why the drama was titled Punch.  After finishing the series, it made sense owing to every episode of combat spectacle in cleverness and wiliness .  Punch is a story of a dying prosecutor who is on a quest to clean up the corrupt high officials of the office he belongs to.  His strategic thinking defied the power his superiors used when he was on a spree to reveal their evil doings.  It was a hard and frustrating battle but he managed to expose the truth before his passing.

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What viewers would love about Park Jung Hwan is his ability to bounce back from the oppression even with nothing on his hand to fight off the huge power and walls his superiors built to hinder his outrage.  It’s your classic underdog story but very well polished in a Mafia grit kind of way.  They made phonecalls, afternoon tea and eating jajangmyun so thrilling in my eyes.  hahaha

The antagonists displayed impossible levels of wickedness that even when they got what they deserved at the closing chapter I was still fuming and wishing they suffer a bit more.

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There’s no fleeting romantic interlude in this drama but it is filled with family love and lessons about choosing the right decisions in your lives. 

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I will definitely pick “Punch” as the best 2015 KDrama story-wise for its remarkable writing and heartfelt character portrayals.  If you want a dose of serious themed dramas, this one is for you.  The thrill and the pace will surely blow your mind away and will make you crave for some more.  -jediprincess

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The 9 Sticks that made him travel through time

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Notching superbly those climactic cliff-hangers and seamlessly presented the consistent timeline transitions and convergence, this drama would have mocked all the time-traveling stories last year.  Halfway through 2013, story, directing and editing wise, I found my kdrama to beat.

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My Sherlock veins was immensely gratified that I paid less attention to the romantic side which in all fairness was also a satisfying bliss.  It was a balanced fusion of a character and plot-driven tale where its incredulous premise was chronicled unembellished and not leaning to injecting inconceivable trajectories due to its supernatural setting.

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It was the story of a man who obtained 9 incense sticks that functioned as a time-trekking machine which helped him leave clues to his past self in escaping his looming death in the future.  His time warping brought him to events of 20 years ago and divulged pieces of information that his future self utilized to change the course of time in the past to protect the people he loved and his soon to be taken away life.

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The incomprehensible plot paraded a stunning picture closed to perfection where I was set into constant debate with my thoughts, but Nine Times Travel was always emerging victorious when I’m deconstructing the path and curves on where it was heading.

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Park Sun-woo, a broadcast journalist, went to Nepal to validate the news of his brother’s passing and to propose a short-stint marriage to a junior at work, Joo Young-min.  He retrieved his deceased brother’s possessions and was drawn to the incense stick his brother was holding when he died.

Min-young was boggled at the sudden love offer and unbeknownst to her, Sun-woo was actually dying of brain tumor thus he wanted to live the remaining moments of his life with her.

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On his news program, Sun-woo was posed to interview Choi Jin Cheol about his stem cell therapy research breakthrough.  All was going well until the journalist threw unscripted allegations of the unethical procedures and casualties done for the research.

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Min-young learned from Sun-woo’s doctor bestfriend Young-hoon about his diminishing days and was upset knowing that it was his motivation to marry her.  Sun-woo finally uncovered the mystery of the incense sticks as time portal and was sent back to his room of 20 years ago.  He got his old beeper back to the present time.

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Sun-woo appeased Min-young’s angered heart with his sweet convincing and when he went again to Nepal to prove his deductions on the stick mojos which his brother was in search before his death, he acquired not just the 9 magical incense sticks but also Min-young’s heart.

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Sun-woo discussed with Young-hoon the impossible power he just obtained and told him that he will be using it to honor what his brother wanted to have.  So off he went to meet the woman his brother loved so much.  He rescued her from a suicide attempt and gave her daughter Shi Ah his brother’s number for her to call to make her mother feel better.  Jung-woo bound to his filial duty broke up with her but softened when he got the call and decided against his father’s will.

Sun-woo didn’t know that the change he made to happen will affect the present time as Min-young who was with him vanished and became his niece since his brother in the past time line married her mother Yoo-jin.

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Sun-woo and Young-hoon faced the dilemma of the altered memories as the former has to accept that his girlfriend became her niece overnight and that she will also be soon engaged.

Jin-cheol hinted how he owed nothing to his family and that he never killed his father and to uncover the events of his father’s murder, he leapt through time and got the biggest surprise of his life.

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Sun-woo woke up his younger self and ordered him to prevent their father’s imminent death.  The younger Sun-woo was asked to phone aboji to make him come home, he agreed half-way but blurted an intrusion.  Worried aboji left office to go home as younger-Sun-woo was knocked down accidentally by his future self.  Before his 30-minute time lapsed, Sun-woo told younger self that he will be saving another life and he has to meet him the next day if he wants to know who it was.

Back to present time, Sun-woo was almost done unriddling the connections but was afraid of his suspicions.  Jin-cheol’s taunting was not helping too as he told him how his father has been dead even before the fire started.  Sun-woo left his just starting news program and went back again to face the sad truth that it was his brother who killed their father.

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Enraged at finding the truth, Sun-woo punched his brother in the current time and fainted afterwards.  When he gained consciousness, he went back to the scene of his dead father.  He saw the camera feeds he recorded and witness Jung-woo out of protecting their mother accidentally killed their father.  It was also revealed that Jung-woo was Jin-cheol’s son.  Sun-woo made it back to present time, collapsed in exhaustion and since his time-trekking took also his life span while doing it, an emergency surgery was set to save him.

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In the midst of battling for his life, younger Young-hoon stumbled on the medicine pack that made them realize why Older Sun-woo didn’t show up.  Having knowledge that he will soon suffer brain tumor, they have made adjustments on it to save future Sun-woo.

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Sun-woo bought a Whitney Houston LP when he went to Nepal to get the sticks and Min-young.  While he was asleep, Min-young wrote an “iloveyounote” on the record and accidentally discovered by her fiancé who jumped into assuming her infidelity.

Min-young sat to write again the text and the lost memories dawned on her.  She confronted Sun-woo about it but he was left no choice but to deny it.  Overnight Min-young reclaimed all her memories of her togetherness with Sun-woo and went missing trying to reconcile what was happening to her.  She called Sun-woo who was frantically searching for her and told her that she was in the place where they shared their first kiss.  Sun-woo showed up to Min-young’s wondering, and Sun-woo kissed her in the pouring rain.  He reeled off the unearthly fate he unintentionally unfold and gave her an option for them to flee in a far place or stay as family.

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While taking care of sick Min-young, younger Sun-woo sent a message to his future counterpart if he has received what he sent him.  And presto! The remaining sticks were back in Sun-woo’s hands.

Sun-woo sought his brother’s opinion in using one of the two sticks by revealing all that has happened.  They were intending to surrender evidence that would pin Jin-cheol but in the past time line, Jin-cheol has warned younger Jung-woo of the witness who might approach him.  Sun-woo luckily escaped the record store after eavesdropping on Jung-woo and Jin-cheol’s conversation but was chased madly by the villain’s man Chang-min.  He stabbed Sun-woo but he was able to speak again to Jung-woo to convince him to turn himself in.  Sun-woo was cornered and in the dying seconds he jumped to the river and appeared fatally wounded in his dressing room.

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Jung-woo from the past finally saw sense in his conflicted life and went to the police station but unfortunately he spoke with the detective who was also bribed by Jin-cheol.  Jung-woo from the present informed Sun-woo that their plans failed.

Min-young’s fiancé also confirmed of her true relationship with Sun-woo and as Sun-woo wants to use the last stick to hope for making it right one last time, Min-young insisted on him not doing to protect him from the adverse effect of utilizing the unpredictable sticks.

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They decided staying as family.  Jung-woo visited his hermit-ing brother and blaming that he was the source of the problem attempted to kill himself.  In the morning when Jung-woo died, Young-hoon and Sun-woo fought for the stick as the latter wanted to use it one last time.  Young-hoon was in the brink of destroying it but it vanished.

Aware now of the mystifying trick Sun-woo has played Jin-cheol ordered his men to look for clues of what his secret was.  The incense was highlighted from Sun-woo and Young-hoon’s conversation as Jin-cheol remembered it while waiting for the verdict of his crimes to be in his possession when the detective 20 years ago gave it to him.  He feigned losing consciousness and commanded his right hand to get the incense stick in the archive. 

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Jin-cheol lit one of the two sticks but it transformed to ashes, so he lit the second one and landed him to his office.  He called Chang-min not to stalk about the body of the man he stabbed and just kill younger Sun-woo.  Older Sun-woo forced himself to Jin-cheol’s room and abated his time warping but he has already sent out the command for Chang-min to kill.

Young-hoon and Sun-woo delved to their memories but they can’t recall what errand Sun-woo did and in the past timeline, Chang-min found younger Sun-woo and they engaged to a fight.  Younger Sun-woo was able to escape and went back to the store but the psychopath broke the lock, but just as he would swing the hammer to kill younger Sun-woo, future Sun-woo stopped it and knocked the killer down.

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Older Sun-woo asked him to go to the police station with the evidence that will convict Jin-cheol and called younger Jung-woo who was about to get married.  Deciding that he will atone the sin he committed, he walked away from the wedding.  Sun-woo waited for his 30-minute time to end and hoped earnestly that he has made everyone happy in the future.  The clock ticked to the end time but when he opened his eyes, he was still in the past time line.

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In the present timeline, everything changed and people were getting ready for Sun-woo and Min-young’s wedding not realizing that the groom was suspended 20 years ago, to make it worse, Jin-cheol from past timeline saw Sun-woo inside the telephone booth and his character reeking of Darth Vader’s theme geared up to bump the telephone booth fatally wounding Sun-woo.

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In the present time Young-hoon and Jung-woo got the police report about Sun-woo’s accident and death 20 years ago.  In his dying moment, Shi Ah saw Sun-woo when she returned to get her favorite teddy bear before their flight abroad.  Sun-woo summoned his strength and made the little girl promise that if she see someone who look like him in the future, she has to stay away from him.

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Then we jump to Sun-woo working at a crime scene.  He headed to new recruits party where he knocked out Min-young.  Min-young was initially smitten by his pretty face but remembered the promise she had 20 years ago.  Sun-woo learned of her stupid trauma story and promised her that them together will never happen but over the years, Min-young’s adoration grows stronger. 

Sun-woo met up with his brother who was set to go to Nepal and when he arrived in the station, Min-young was waiting for him.  She was also sent to cover an expedition.  He played with her locked the door, kissed her sweetly and muttered that he will kiss her again in 5 years.  Confused at how Sun-woo was playing with her emotion, she went back and ranted that what he’s doing was really what the dying man he met him 20 years ago meant. 

The last piece of saving my life quest dawned on Sun-woo so he set off to Nepal to reach his hand to his brother lying down in the frosty land.

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For a change, I witness this hindered love story not because of vengeance or inability of the couple to sit down and talk about the usual jumping into wrong conclusions.  This time around there’s no trusting blindly, there’s no let’s leave it to fate or love something resolution but a pure, most of the time cute love tale fighting to survive 9 incense sticks.  *giggles

For me it was a satisfying ending that fulfilled the hard work of all those time warpings.  I stuck to my preconceived notion that it will be the couple’s love that will resolve everything so the dying part I thought didn’t make sense and even the lead man’s suspension in the past he doesn’t belong, but the finale explained that it was bound to happen for him to give an unrealized warning that he will be needing for him to survive and to make everything right.

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The connection of the sticks and Sun-woo was not explained to the fullest and we can only conclude that when he used it, its binding power can be luck or curse depending on how his mind works to process the incidents presented to him.

The fluidity of the characters from past and present helping each other out to pin down the villain whose evilness transcended time was depicted efficiently even if the antagonist was a more contrived worker than the joint protagonists.

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 Sun-woo has always been leaving clues for his future self to pick up, so the last clue he left to Shi Ah enabled him to save his brother’s supposed frost accident which span his awareness of changing the past.

True, this was a hard to follow drama as the supernatural kicks bordered to beyond impossible but that’s also what made it strong.  It was not afraid to push its limit without abusing the “this is metaphysical banner”.

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The well linked conflicts and the focus on just one villain helped in drawing a clear flow on the main character’s battle.  Instead of myriad problems coming from the usual meanies appearing most of the time with no basis, the hero-villain showdown here was solid except the part when the baneful old fiend’s does his habit of mouth twitching.

It was an exceptional labyrinth themed story where the enchanted incense sticks functioned like Ariadne showing proudly the coherent flow of events and the liaison of the past and present time.

With its smart characters, nifty writing and dexterous editing I fell in love with this drama big time.  –jediprincess ^_^

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 Nine Times Travel Episodes Recap 1-4

 

 

Best Korean Romance Films

Hello! I moved to a new website.

Please visit this POST at KDRAMADIARY.

Bookmarking my new website (kdramadiary.com) for future K-DRAMA recommendation needs and other Asian drama content and features would save a lot of your time.

Aside from that, I will also write about various Korean and Asian entertainment articles. I hope to meet you there.

Stay Safe.

-abbyinhallyuland

abbyinhallyuland on Hellokpop and future new blog

I hope everyone is safe and taking advantage of the quarantine period in catching up with your shelved K-Dramas.

I am also good, but 24 hours seem not enough for me while working from home, doing Hellokpop website housekeeping, and working on freelance projects.

I will be transfering my posts here to the new one that I hope I can launch on my birth month this July. Eventually, I will have to close this blog and build new stories as abbyinhallyuland. I will keep this particular post updated with details of the new blog I will set up, but will probably clean the rest of articles and redirect you to its new place on my new blog in the next 12mos.

For now, I and my team at hellokpop are diligently keeping tabs of all k-drama, k-pop and k-entertainment news. Visit us at https://www.hellokpop.com for insightful stories and features.

 

K-Drama Review: “Her Private Life”

Tidily executed, Her Private Life has an energizing habit of presenting its narrative in a bright light as much as possible.

Given the plot-heavy laden roster of 2019 Korean Dramas, this tvN series easily makes K-Drama fans put it on their favorite’s list this year. Kim Jae Wook’s first rom-com role gave the actor an irresistible role. Proving her bankable reputation, Park Min Young scored yet another work to add on her robust portfolio. For self-confessed and closet fangirls, make sure to add this addition on your watch list.

Read my FULL REVIEW at HELLOKPOP.

K-Drama Review: “Doctor Prisoner”

Rallied by a brilliant male-dominated cast, Doctor Prisoner has moved to exchanges of ploys and deceptions that keeps you high with its thrill. Providing equally engrossing textures of its protagonists and anti-heroes, the series expertly constructs its vengeance-driven story.

In the waning episode, there was a line from Na Yi Je that summed up the message of the series. “Why is it so hard to punish the wicked?” Although circling to a simple story, the corruption scenarios presented about how the rich can manipulate everything through money is just saddening.

Deserving of full marks, although unlikely to initiate a rerun for viewers, Doctor Prisoner deserves a perfect score for its overall picture.

Read my FULL REVIEW at HELLOKPOP.

K-Drama Review: “Welcome To Waikiki 2”

Keeping the good times, the amazing cast and the refreshing vibe, Welcome to Waikiki 2 gifted a second serving of amusing friendship circle operating a guest house.

Admittedly, while I did have fun hanging out with the guys, I noticed how the lack of story upswings yielded to me enjoying the moment as it happened. I didn’t have a happy and content smile after watching the final episode to be honest. Choosing a safe path and betting the comedy to do all the tricks was a bad idea. Some of the comic scenarios were just plain fun, but did not make me laugh for a few seconds savoring the clever humor served by the characters.

You may read my FULL REVIEW AT HELLOKPOP.

The Things I am Grateful For This Month

I have a lot to be thankful for this month. 

In the past two weeks, I’ve been getting a lot of sleep. That is more than enough to be grateful for especially since writing really exhausts the brain.

I have a lot of to-do list in the coming months with polishing Hangeul as my primary goal to help with work duties. Hence, I am really happy that the company I’ve been working for in the last 11 years, granted me time to pursue my goal to master the language. I’m not denying also that since I have a lot of time now, it will make me work on writing variety of things aside from drama reviews.

On that note, I am quite feeling exhausted thinking about the next two weeks àlready. *chuckles A lot of drama premieres and finales will be happening soon and I am stuck with the last two episodes of Voice 3. Fortunately, Arthdal, based on last night episode, seem to be really concluding in September. As oppose to early released information that the 3rd part is a prequel. So at least, there’s a breather.

Hopefully, I will get to update all my most recent posts here. But you can always visit Hellokpop for my most recent K-Drama reviews and updates. 

 

K-Drama Fan Meeting Diary: Charmed By Seo Kang Joon

I have been to a few Korean actor fan meetings, and so far Seo Kang Joon has the best prepared song numbers. He amazed me with his vocal prowess, yes complete with amazing riff and falsetto…

“The Third Charm” is one of my favorite dramas last year, and it was Seo Kang Joon’s first drama that really impressed me because I saw his effort to layer all scenes with his emotions.

You may read my full fan meeting recap at Hellokpop.

And you can view photos from the press conference and fan meeting via my IG page.

 

K-Drama Review: Big Issue

COUPLED WITH EXPECTED BRILLIANCE FROM ITS LEAD CHARACTERS, BIG ISSUEMADE THE MOST OUT OF ITS PAPARRAZI WORLD SETTING.

Holding its ground well, Big Issue has to thank Han Ye Seul and Joo Jin Moo’s credible portrayals. Giving life to cold and desperate characters, they introduce the world of shutterbugs that somewhat change the way viewers see celebrity photographers.

Read my FULL REVIEW at Hellokpop.

K-Drama Review: Haechi

THE JOURNEY IN BECOMING A WORTHY KING SUMS UP THE TRIUMPHS AND SUFFERINGS OF YI GEUM IN HISTORICAL DRAMA HAECHI.

Witnessing how a prince reconciled his emotional breakdowns to man up as a virtuous King has helped to achieve the unswerving direction of SBS series Haechi.

Dramatically effective, it became easier to root for the victories of young King Yeongjo. Plagued with adversities without a family to rely on, he created a bond with friends, who eventually became his family.

If you want a quick serving of a Joseon-set series that celebrates bravery and patriotism, pocket this SBS offering for your next binge-watch schedule.

Read my FULL REVIEW on Hellokpop.

K-Drama Review: Item

WOBBLY FOR THE MOST PART OF ITS RUN, ITEM ACHIEVED A HAPPY ENDING DESPITE THE PATH TO REACH IT WAS BLURRY.

Past the halfway mark of Item, I knew that I had stayed watching it because of the efforts of the main actors. Item would go down to the history of 2019 Korean Dramas which had the most interesting plot, that was not executed properly.

Purportedly aiming an extraordinary supernatural picture, Item was fortuitous on how its message as a whole was achieved. But the road to get there lacked proper sequencing, as well as, thrilling cliffhanger kicks.

Read my FULL REVIEW at Hellokpop.

 

K-Drama Review: Romance is a Bonus Book

IF YOU LIKE ROMANCE AND READING, ROMANCE IS A BONUS BOOK WILL BE A PERFECT GIFT FOR YOU.

Brimming with life, love and career encouraging messages, Romance Is A Bonus Book ran an impressive healing-romance drama this season.

For people who genuinely like to read, Romance Is A Bonus Book is a perfect treat. In its 16-chapter run, it abundantly goes through the challenges of adult living, whether someone may be single or raising a family. Mostly woman empowering on the majority of its airing, it has managed to leave contemplative lessons about human interaction, friendship, and the concept of family and belonging for people who are not blood-related.

Topping up the engaging plot is the romantic story between two friends, who have transitioned from the love-that-was-there-all-along, to the-love-meant-to-be-there-always.

Read my FULL REVIEW at Hellokpop.

 

Park Ji Hoon Definitely Captured Hearts in First Solo Fan Meeting in Manila

Park Ji Hoon Manila Fan Meet

Wink Boy is all grown up and I am a proud Noona as I witnessed how he developed from being a cutie to a young lad full of manly charms.

Park Ji Hoon kept his promise and treated PH MAYs to a night packed with fun activities and awesome performances. The resident (former) WANNA ONE cutie held his very first solo fan meeting in Manila, aptly titled 2019 Park Ji Hoon Asia Fan Meeting in Manila “First Edition” on March 15 at the Araneta Coliseum. The venue was filled by MAYs and WANNABLEs alike who were there to support Ji Hoon in his solo endeavor.

Amidst the loud cheers from the audience, Park Ji Hoon kicked off his fan meet with a mesmerizing performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”. After that dance number, bubbly host Kring Kim formally welcomed Ji Hoon on stage and he greeted the crowd in the vernacular.

His talk portion was divided into four corners: Study Edition, MAY Edition, DIY Edition and Limited Edition. For the Study Edition, questions about Ji Hoon were flashed on the screen and the crowd need to guess which answers corresponded to Ji Hoon’s choices. In one of the questions, he divulged that apart from him, his hyung Ha Sung Woon is the cutest, because “he is small but precious.” Also revealed in this corner was his favorite fashion accessory which is a pair of slippers because “it is comfortable.”

In the second corner, MAY Edition, Ji Hoon engaged in a cup-phone conversation with two lucky MAYs. They were presented with two scenarios to which they have to act out. I think Ji Hoon particularly enjoyed that segment because the cup phone really worked (even I was amazed!). He signed the phone cups and the ladies got to take home the items.

Besides engaging with the fans, Ji Hoon also treated the audience with awesome performance stages. He brought some major nostalgic feels as he sang WANNA ONE songs such as “Eleven” and “WANNA” and “Hide and Seek.” He also gifted the crowd with a performance of the song “Young 20”, a track produced for him by former groupmate Lee Daehwi.

In the third segment, DIY Edition, Ji Hoon crafted a personalized tote bag complete with cute patches and his signature. Two lucky MAYs (ahem, I mean ME and another lucky lady) took home the one-of-a-kind eco-bags (I promise to take good care of it Ji Hoon and as of this writing I still haven’t eaten the chocolate bouquet; it’s sitting pretty inside our refrigerator).

In the Limited Edition corner, Ji Hoon had to battle it out with a claw machine to get two stuffed animal toys. He succeeded, after multiple tries and laughed when his interpreter translated the crowd’s chant of walang uuwi (no one’s going home). In addition to the plushies, he gave out two Polaroid pictures.

For his encore stage, Ji Hoon wowed the crowd with his fiery performance of Taemin’s “Press Your Number.” PH MAYs surprised the multi-talented idol with a short video highlighting Ji Hoon’s talent and personality. He thanked all the fans and promised to see them again. This kid sure knows how to worm his way to our hearts, as he did another fan service, by going around the venue to get closer to his adoring fans before officially closing his fan meet.

It was a truly memorable night, not only for fans but for Ji Hoon as well. Looking forward to seeing you again, I’m sure all PH MAYs feel the same.

abbyinhallyuland would like to thank PULP LIVE WORLD and Happee Sy for the invites to this wonderful event.

Event covered by Emylyn and Irish.

10 Things We Discovered About Park Ji Hoon That We Absolutely Love

PH Mays are still giddy with excitement at the thought of seeing Park Ji Hoon in the flesh last March 15.

We were there during the Park’s press conference in Novotel Manila where Park revealed several things about himself. Learning more about him just made us love him more!

Park Ji Hoon | abbyinhallyuland
Park Ji Hoon | abbyinhallyuland

For instance, Park loves chicken breast and can’t live without it. We’re glad to know he eats healthy! Additionally, Park would like to try out parkour.

Did you know that Park loves Memories of the Alhambra? When asked what movie or drama he’d recommend to his fans, he immediately thought of the Hyun Bin starrer. He explained that it’s also because he likes games so it’s a perfect fit for him.

Although it’s challenging for him to be a solo artist after being a member of Wanna One, but thanks to the support of his fans, Park strives to do his best all the time.

And speaking of Wanna One, Park still keeps in touch with the other members through a group chat. They share pictures and songs with each other. His advice for those aspirants joining Produce X 101 would be to practice hard.

Although he’s currently busy promoting his album, he still wants to go back to university and see his classmates and professors. In line with this, he promises to do his best in his career, so he asked the PH Mays to support him. He let them know that our smiles inspire him.

And lastly, he worked hard on his solo debut album. He shot the MV in Prague and kept it a secret during the press conference. But he wanted to let the Mays know there were a lot of beautiful sceneries. He hopes that they will support the MV and his album.

Park Ji Hoon | abbyinhallyuland
Park Ji Hoon | abbyinhallyuland

And there you have it, ten things we discovered about Park Ji Hoon that made us love him more! Although there are more than 10 things of course, we’ll reserve that for next time!

 

51 Things We Learned About So Ji Sub From His “Hello Asia Tour” In Manila

So Ji sub treated us to a night full of fun and swag.

Last night was a blast, not only did we get to see our ULTIMATE OPPA, So Ji Sub in the flesh, we also got to know him a little better through a Q&A video.

He was candid and playful and we just can’t get enough of him. Here are the 51 things we found out about him that made us love him a whole lot more.

Q1: Who are you?
A: I am actor So Ji Sub
Q2: Did you have your meal?
A: Yes, I already ate a while ago.
Q3: Which do you hate more, Work out or Diet?
A: Diet
Q4: What do you usually do on rest days?
A: Workout!
Q5: Where do you usually go on rest days?
A: Gym!
Q6: What do you bring with you other than your phone, wallet and key?
A: Then nothing <insert So Ji Sub giggles>
Q7: What game did you play recently?
A: Gun Game
Q8: What song did you listen to recently?
A: Failed to answer
Q9: What song do you sing when you go to noraebang (Karaoke bar)?
A: I don’t go to noraebang.
Q10: Why not?
A: thinking…
Q11: Any drinking habits?
A: I just go home.
Q12: Can you show us your home?
A: Do I have to?
Q13: What tourist spot in Seoul do you recommend?
A: 51K office <laughs at his answer>
Q14: Top excellence award, did you frankly go for that award?
A: Not to be greedy… But I did anticipate it a little bit.
Q15: Who is more handsome, Yoo Seung Ho or So Ji Sub?
A: Seung Ho is handsome. But I am attractive <poker I-am-hot face, beams at his remark>
Q16: If you are a woman, would you date Yoo Seung Ho?
A: Why should I think about this? (Director’s comment: So Ji Sub thinking seriously)
Q17: What do you want to say to the young So Ji Sub?
A: Work hard and do your best
Q18: What is the role you are most attached to?
A: I think all actors have similar thoughts about this. Eventhough I have a particular role I am attached to, I am what I am right now. Because all those previous works done so all characters are precious to me.
Q19: Which actress is beautiful in person?
A: Too many
Q20: Follow up question: Please choose only one.
A: As I told you, too many!
Q21: Which type do you like most among the two: woman who cooks or woman who exercises
A: I think I like the one who exercises as a hobby
Q22: Which type do you like between the two: understanding woman or a woman with a lot of aegyo
A: Understanding person
Q23: A person I like or a person who likes me
A: failed to answer… said it was difficult
Q24: Pure woman or sexy woman
A: I think it’s better if they have both. (Director side comment: But we want to know and the fans too!)
A: Pure woman for now
Q25: Twice versus Red Velvet
A: For me BLACKPINK
Q26: Do you like skinship
A: Yes, I Do. <with conviction>
Q27: Were you betrayed by a woman before?
A: WHAT??! What do you mean by betrayed?
Q28: Is your love cell alive this 2019?
A: I am always alive.
Q29: Who do you think will get married later So Ji Sub or Song Seung Heon?
A: I think the older brother who is one year older should get married first?
Q30: Do you want to get married?
A: I still want to get married.
Q31: In your raps, what is your most favorite?
A: <rapper So Ji Sub dropped his head> I cannot answer. <suggested full body cute armor>
Q32: What makes you happier? Rank No. 1 in a music chart or best selling book.
A: I think if I get no. 1 in a music chart would be good. Should I ask IU?
Q33: Thriller versus romantic comedy
A: Romantic comedy
Q34: Soybean versus kimchi stew
A: Soybean
Q35: Is there any threatening junior actor or actress?
A: None
Q36: Hip hop clubs or EDM clubs
A: I don’t go to clubs
Q37: Watch versus bracelet
A: Watch
Q38: Cream pasta versus tomato pasta
A: Aglio Olio
Q39: Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise
A: Brad Pitt
Q40: To do Radio Star or Knowing Brothers?
A: I won’t do both. I think it is really awkward. Entertainment shows seem stressful
Q41: Tteokbokki or Sundae
A: Tteokbokki
Q42: Jjajangmyeon or Jampong
A: Jjangmyeon
Q43: Forever meat or forever vegetables only
A: You will die it’s dangerous
Q44: Who did you spend your New Year’s party with?
A: Seung Heon hyung
Q45: Which has a higher possibility? Showing your family or your house?
A: I will not do both
Q46: Kiss or peck
A: For me I like peck
Q47: Why?
A: Because you can do peck anytime conveniently. But a kiss you cannot do it any time, and a peck can be done anywhere.
Q48: Have you tried searching your name online?
A: I think I do it once a day.
Q49: Do you write comments?
A: <laughed hard> NO!
Q50: Any memorable fan support/cheer?
A: During the recent fan meeting, a fan spoke with a bit of a louder voice saying she felt happy after watching my works and acting. I felt happy when I heard that.
Q51: Is there anything you want to say to the fans who came today.
A: Have fun today and I hope it will become a happy memory.

We truly enjoyed his answers and his reactions to these questions. He even gamely wear the silly and cute accessories given him as penalties for the questions he failed to answer. Hoped you had fun learning these things about So Ji Sub, because we sure did.


abbyinhallyuland would like to thank PULP LIVE World and Happee Sy for the tickets to this event.

K-Drama Review: The Last Empress

“The Last Empress” had me feeling like one of the hobbits on a journey to Mt. Mordor after all the heartbreaking difficulties in the series. Sadly though, I did not get a happy-I’m-back-to-Shire moment because along the way I lost the passion to root for its happy ending.

Although I laud the main cast for staying true to their characters with conviction, my reproach is mostly on its lengthy duration. Additionally, the stimulating twists were healthy crossing the halfway mark of the series. But when it seemed not going to tone down, the sentiment buildup became too much to handle.

If you like solving the usual period drama perpetual problems or if you like Jang Nara, then by all means to indulge.

Just pure drama, The Last Empress is a satisfactory watch that can thrill but won’t set your heart on fire with its message.

READ my FULL REVIEW at HELLOKPOP.

K-Drama Review: Encounter

Encounter proves that love is for two brave people willing to take each other’s pain, viewers are expected to feel those contemplative nudge of appreciating little things that we tend to overlook when relationship problems seem too hard to handle.

While not tautly executed, its soothing effect and that invisible drive to support the couple’s ever-after goal draws its mesmerizing hook.

The story of Jin Hyuk and Soo Hyun is for patient viewers – those who love taking time to savor the quiet and meaningful moments of being truly in love.

READ MY FULL REVIEW at HELLOKPOP.

Park Hyung Sik ‘Fun Meet’ 2019

Just like most of K-Drama fans, I once went gaga over Park Hyung Sik. That phase when one of his dramas triggered an entire week of binging on the rest of the dramas he starred on. 

His Hwarang character did the trick for me. From there I went over “High Society”, “What Happened to my Family” and the rest of his early dramas. By the time, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” happened, I am already a self-confessed fan that I ended up recapping the whole series complete with screen captures.

To make this long blab short. I finally met him last Feb 16. And yes, it was a dream come true.

Here is my fan meeting RECAP published at HELLOKPOP.

 

K-Drama Review: Memories of the Alhambra

Sans the safe landing, and if we were given a definite answer if Jin Woo’s return in the game also transcends to his real life, the series would have been perfect.

Memories of the Alhambra still scores high among the dramas I saw in the recent years owing to how it kept surprising me with its imaginative premise and well-utilized cast.

(Netflix)

It was all magnificently gliding up to the last episode that I refuse to wallow in the frustrating last note of the series. Still my drama-to-beat parameter for parade of 2019 Korean dramas this season.

READ MY FULL REVIEW at HELLOKPOP.

#SOJISUBinManila: The Weight Loss Coach All Girls Should Have

Having been active in K-dramas for more than a decade now, I’ve certainly had more than enough of my share of dreamy oppas.

But every time I daydream about my oppa-of-the-moment, my mind wanders and I keep coming back to this actor whose smile lights up my dreams like a million stars in the sky. His eyes twinkle and sparkle as he sternly looks at me, pushing me to do ten more push ups.

Yup, my forever favorite K-drama oppa role is none other than John Kim from Oh My Venus.

Maybe it was the story line that immediately enticed me to the drama. Having gone through weight issues myself, I kept thinking if I had Coach Kim as my personal Coach, I’d definitely cooperate as well as Kang Joo Eun did.

But actually, it’s So Ji Sub himself that drew me to the drama and kept Oh My Venus as one of my most favorite dramas.

As I am eagerly anticipating #SOJISUBinManila, I figured I’d while my days away by revisiting his K-dramas again. Oh My Venus tops the list, and let me show you why.

That So Ji Sub Charm

As Kang Young Ho, So Ji Sub commanded attention every time he was on screen. The camera absolutely loved him.

As a sports coach, he was strict. Whenever he was on the mat, he looked dangerously sexy grappling with Sung Hoon’s character Jang Joon Sung.

Whether he was clad in a crisp white polo or rugged sportswear, Kim was hot and captivating.

I loved the way he was very deliberate with his actions. He wasn’t sloppy or sluggish, but he held himself with dignity and ease. Up to this day, I can still remember how he looks with his arms crossed and with a cool gaze on his face.

As an actor, So Ji Sub utilized his eyes and eyebrows to convey his emotions. The tone of his voice and the way he delivered his lines just screamed sexy for me.

Sexy and Athletic Charm

Wouldn’t you want to do 100 second planks if you had Coach Kim staring at you while you endured? I definitely would want to exercise all day if I had him, hehehehe.

Sexiness aside though, I really appreciated how compassionate Coach Kim was to Joo Eun. Initially resisting at first, he pushed her through hard workouts and inspired her to be a better woman. Giving her inspiration through his sexiness isn’t also a bad thing!

SJS23

Silly and Sultry

Oh My Venus was not without its silly moments too. Maybe because his presence is so domineering, it was an absolute delight when Coach Kim let his guard down and was just silly and lovey dovey with Joo Eun.

sjs1

Rewatching Oh My Venus gives me serious So Ji Sub fever. I feel like it will be further ignited when I will finally see my oppa face to face!

This March 16, So Ji Sub will be making all his fans’ dreams comes true as he finally visits Manila to say hello! 🙂

Oppa, I can’t wait to see you!

 

So Ji Sub in Manila

#PARKJIHOONinManila: Wink Boy of “Produce 101 Season 2”

Since kicking off this fan meeting project, I have been awash on back tracking video to rewatch the guestings of Park Ji Hoon in variety shows.

As I previously announced, I am having this “doting noona blab nights” for my cute advocacy of encouraging everyone to meet Park Ji Hoon live in Manila on March 15 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Also, I am running a game so you may participate and win ticket to see him in person. You can choose to participate via my Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Kindly be guided of the rules for the game I set.