2015 KDramas You Might Have Missed

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Just in case you did not see them, I want to share you the delights for the past year as 2016 is already waning.  Now I was not able to monitor last year’s drama the way I did this year, so most of it I was able to finish up to the first half of 2016.

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HEALER (Dec 2014 – Feb 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Action, Suspense

As a night courier serving privy and expensive tasks, Healer’s routine life changed after his encounter with a woman connected to the death of his father.  What made me like the drama a lot is how the storytelling was focused and neatly tied up without room to uncalled for sub plots.  It moved engrossingly while uncovering the link of the main characters in the past and their children in the present time.

The story’s main conflict focused on peeling the truth behind the lead couple’s fathers’ death while journeying on their fated love.  It aligned to Healer’s character strength to propel the excitement while he did his gripping missions… circled on Young Shin’s character as the focal tug-of-war battle between the Moon brothers’ villain and hero complicated relationship and surged high to the my-father-might-have-killed-your-father-but-i-promise-i-love-you-and-i-will-protect-you love plot of the main leads. Healer justified the superb writing with how the characters went passionately driven to bring out a scintillating storytelling.

While a lot progressed in the story, it never missed it steps in binding the romance, the back story and the conflicts together.  It made use of the parallel plot about upright journalists in presenting the same events of the characters in the past and the present.

There were small problems that were laid along the way to boost the main conflict of how the protagonists will bring justice to their fathers’ death by ruining the villains through innovative news broadcast.  In this crime-romantic-drama-thriller premise, the story got so intoxicating because it assimilated Healer’s Promethean skills and heartfelt media coverage to battle the conscience-less power players of the country.  When your cast is smart and the writing is nifty, there’s no way the notes will not be hit.  That is the case for Healer.  I would also like to commend how I enjoyed Healer’s theme music on its placement in the drama and how the villains even with their old personas masterfully made the lives of the heroes hard by utilizing their vile ways.  

Healer is one of the best dramas you should include in your list if you haven’t seen it yet.  It has a brilliant premise about a one-of-a-kind hero who chose to disconnect from the society, but accidentally grew attachment to a woman who drew him out of his hibernation.  The drama quaintly linked the furtive relationship of the characters while building up the plot’s climax and romance to perfection.  It is so addictive, stimulating and amusing — and that one drama you can sit on with family, friends and even your lover.

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Punch (Nov 2014 – Dec 2015) 

GENRES:  Drama, Legal

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 out-manipulating 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.

Punch is a literal badass with its scintillating and 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 his depiction of the corrupt Korean Prosecutors Office.

I thought why the drama was titled Punch, and after finishing, it really lived to that name because every episode was a combat spectacle in cleverness and wiliness .  Punch is a story of a dying prosecutor in his 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.

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 on the inside.  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.    If you want a dose of serious themed dramas, this one is for you.  The thrill and the pace will surely shoot up your mind and will make you crave for some more.

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Kill Me, Heal Me (Jan 2015 – Mar 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

The complexity of the multiple personality disorder fused with the fated but hindered romance of the main couple has made me ruminative deducting the precepts of the story premise of this smartly and quirkily written korean drama.  I knew it was all about trauma and I was happy that there was no extreme sacrificial bordering to stupidity acts done by the main leads in avoiding their destined love.

Overall I like the ambitious writing of this drama.  It was meticulous in inserting the conflict of the story, although it came to a point when it became too detailed dragging the denouement which they could have used in a few romantic notes in the penultimate episodes of the story.

The sending off of Do Hyun’s characters warmed my heart especially that of Perry Park and Se Gi scenes.  I don’t know the extent of this psychiatric condition, but I liked that it was explained well how each characters emerged.  It was like Voldemort’s horcruxes in a positive way.  *chuckles  Typically kdramas with chaebol power struggle plot involved unreasonable conspiracies and surprises so I think since the multiple personality is the carrying story conflict, it was good that it didn’t dwell on the money-filled but problematic chaebol world.

Beautiful in its strongest points and faint weaknesses, this is a perfect drama that will leave you happy and intrigued.

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A Girl Who Sees Smells/Sensory Couple (April 2015 – May 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Supernatural

Welcome to the psychopath chase where gripping episode endings build up to a long stretch of sweet annoyance and anticipation to a quaintly written story where the characters boarded on a race to outwit each other and the cost of each wrong judgment equates to starting points of a never-ending labyrinth.

Escaping from the man who murdered her parents, Choi Eun Seol woke up losing her memory and was given another identity by the detective handling a famous serial killer case.  Choi Eun Seol became Oh Cho Rim and along with her new life is her ability to know the smell of people through her eyes.

It was that brilliantly executed plot of the protagonists’ taking advantage of the killer’s inability to remember faces and the latter’s resilience in orchestrating evil ploys that drew my appreciation all throughout.   There were no unnecessary hassles and side stories written to confuse or to lengthen the narration.  The plot was very clear on its premise and has always headed to the direction of uncovering clues without making the protagonists appear dumb.  It sailed to a direction of making the viewers go along with the process of pinning the vile psychopath to admit to his crime against the usual dragging guess-the-killer story. 

The mushy sweetness here and there, the steady writing, the oneness of the cast and the deviation from the usual kdrama plot stereotypes had me resurrected from my gym induced hiatus to break my kdrama/movie review dry spell.  It is a buoyant romcom drama served with a balanced mixture of thrill, comic kicks and romance that I would highly recommend for when you plan a kdrama getaway.

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Producers (May 2015 – June 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Comedy, Friendship, Romance

The mixture of the inside production world of variety shows and the characters’ stories were nicely blended but it was the diversity and chemistry of the characters pierced my kdramaaddict heart.

For people expecting Kim Soo Hyun being captured in romantic moments, you won’t expect it in this drama so be prepared.  Nevertheless I think for legit kdrama followers you will get what you bargain for in this drama.  It’s how we root for Alice in Wonderland and love seeking Disney princesses all at the same time.  “Producers” came up in a very interesting format incorporating the variety show world in a drama attack.  To achieve that you have to even out the laughter you get from the variety show and the valuable content you should give to the audience.

And I immensely enjoyed the lessons focused in every episode which were derived from the variety program production world.  It gave meaningful life lessons and pointed out the challenges and limitations of human nature.  When joined together the four main leads were a delightful watch, even in their personal struggles.

Seung Chan is a reminder of any person who was trying to find his niche in the corporate scene regardless if the motivation is absurd, like in his case to follow his first love.  He is a reminder of the extent on how much we can persevere and how trying a shot on everything is better than being coward to take a chance on it.  Ye Jin is a reminder of how even a person with the coldest exterior has a warm spot hidden in her.  Of a person who would be patiently waiting for the love she yearned for than waste her time to nonsense.  Joon Mo is a reflection of those times when we built our character through standing firm with our principles and defying the norms for change to happen.  Cindy represented each one of us in our highest peak, when we hit a slump, and when we bounce back from it.

As I religiously watch 2D1N, I easily grasped the intentions and love the executions all throughout.  True, I might have wished for more love screentime but it superbly fed me stories that I have been on at some point of my life.  The engrossing 12 episodes will leave you lessons that basic self-help books have already vaguely discussed.  A breather from rom-com and melodramas, Producers will strip any work related stress you are having if you give it a chance.

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Beloved Eun Dong (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Melodrama

I haven’t completed my full review on this drama yet, but this is one of my favorite romance stories for 2015.  I love how the narrative approached me like I was sent back to when I was in High School reading those first love stories that made my heart giddy-ish and warm.  

“Beloved Eun Dong” chronicled the love tale between a top actor who found the only girl he loved in his life when she took a job as a ghost writer for the book he wanted to publish in search of his one great love.  He learned that Eun Dong lost her memory and was already married with a child to a former baseball player who met an accident and was saddled in a wheelchair.   While writing Hyun Soo’s story, flashes of familiarity and memories hit Eun Dong and eventually triggered her memory back.  But claiming the love that was deprived of them by her adopted father and husband was no easy task as they faced the controversy of Eun Dong being married legally.  To make the matter worse, Eun Dong revealed that her son is Hyun Soo’s, but his son is already attached to the father he was with while growing up.

Divided in 3 parts, Eun Dong and Hyun Soo’s story moved steady from that sweet young love to the complicated re-owning of the divested romance in a way where I was so affected by the enduring commitment of Hyun Soo to love only one woman in his life.  I have never seen someone like him in kdramaland.  I mean most of the boys surely did love their girls the best way they can, but his story with her left my heart on a painful twinge.  Having a villain that was wheelchair bound and acted selfish because of love has had me on a dilemma if I will hate or understand his pain.

This drama will remind you of your greatest love and will prove to you how love is meant to be when you work for it to happen.

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Mask (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Melodrama, Romance, Revenge

For once I got to see a melodrama with a rich family cast not going all war with excessive evil plots to claim the rein of a company, but doing it within the members as what I perceived the rich and famous should have done in reality.  “Mask” having dysfunctional characters will entice you by how much it deconstructed the main leads’ motivations, frailties and hair-pulling moments on what they are willing to give because of greed, vengeance and sacrificial love.
Swerving from the musty weep fest trademark of melodrama, “Mask” raised its fight club banner through lies, devious plots, and ruthless counter attacks for reasons of being blindly in love and the thirst to achieve a payback.

We have a solid cast who rose up to the occasion and gave meaningful portrayals to the very best of the wicked side and better versions of their characters.  What drew me most about “Mask” is the impeccable showing of the four main leads linked by painful love, betrayal and blood ties.  The supporting leads’ love story though not hitting a poignant and meaningful commitment in the end was messy and created a lingering impact of that definitive question on how much can someone go in the name of love.  I like how Ji Sook transitioned her image from a total push-over to a woman who knows her worth.  Her character as a focal point of the story pushed the problem in a coherent challenge where the surrounding people balanced out the struggle between the good and the evil.

I enjoyed the theatrics and the melodrama clichés because “Mask” in its entirety was not sporadically sketched and was focused to the penultimate closure.  I like it when dramas are overbearing because there’s an established premise to support it, and that was the case for “Mask”.  I got affected on the heavy scenes, but they did not overwhelm me with exhausting episode weep runs.

If you want a serious k-drama watch, then this will fill your craving.  The romance, the intrigue, the annoyance, the power plays were well-conceived and executed leaving a sense of fulfilment if you will sit on it for a binge.  I even prepared myself with some tissue rolls for the tear party because it was Su Ae and Joo Ji Hoon, but I was put at the edge of my seat because I was cheering earnestly for Ji Sook and how she found her niche and defied her old self to emancipate herself in the villain’s grip and be with the man she loved without secrets and lies.

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Oh My Ghost (July 2015 – August 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Supernatural

Bright, Cheerful and Feel Good have always been the after effect of an episode dose of Oh My Ghostess for me.  Supernatural plot is a make or break deal in kdramas.  It needs to be flaunting when the plot needs it, and it needs to see reasons when you over expose it.

I like the richness of the father-daughter filial love in the story as it literally transcended the after life.  I like how cheeky and sweet Sun Woo was at the same time, his reactions were adorable.  I like how Park Bo Young was able to differentiate Na Bong Sun and Shin Soon Ae’s characters to fit in with the way the actual Soon Ae was playing in the story.  I like how the rom-com elements fused well with the metaphysical plot of the story by  making the love leads face their issues straight on and seeing the reasons right away.  Every main character in this drama has his own story that the love line was not the main thing that got me hooked with it.  It was how each character’s story along with the conflicts that entwined them brought the love story closer and concluded the conflicts neatly.

It was the most consistent romantic-comedy for 2015, yes even with the slight tragic plot.  The chemistry of the love couple was impeccable that all the followers of this drama would agree how Bong Sun and  Sun Woo made our heart fluttered with their bipolar-disorder-misguided-romance.  It’s hard not to drum your feet on your bed and grin when Sun Woo went to his usual i’m-the-man antics and Bong Sun’s pesky man cravings guided by Soon Ae.

If you are needing a love elixir to boost your already blooming relationship of if you just want a perfect rom-com drama getaway, this one is for you.

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Yong Pal (Aug 2015 – Oct 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Medical

Quick-paced and great on cliff-hangers, Yong Pal was almost perfect but it faintly lost balance on its finishing kick.

Yong Pal enticed me with its exciting premise of a Prince charming doctor who saved an heiress in distress medically forced to be on coma by her half-brother who wanted the helm of the big company her father left for her.

Conspiracies and power struggles are fundamental elements necessary to build up a strong melodrama. The heroine has had her fair share of defiance and strength which made her an interesting character. She had a superb interaction with the lead man though I would have wanted some more sweet moments for them after all the predicaments they had. The hero was oh so cool on the onset of the story but his sparkle diminished after the second half when the story’s focus shifted on Yeo Jin. True, he was instrumental all throughout but there were moments when the heroine overshadowed him which I found weird because the drama was titled after him so I was expecting that Yeo Jin’s story is secondary only to his.

I think the conclusion was a useless do-over of the main conflict. It should have ended when she ascended to her position and had all the villains get their sad endings. But the over extension with the same scenario of her being destroyed and by something related to medicine again was a useless move. She already had her redemption so it would have been nice to see her and Tae Hyun just enjoying an uncomplicated life which they both yearned to have.

As a whole I still like the story because it maneuvered with rising excitement as the drama unfolds. It also stuck in the power struggle conflict and the protagonists and villains moved well to the direction of annoying and outwitting each other. The characters were less frills and full of grit. The narrative was simple and yet rich with emotions. Feisty and flowing, all that was missing was a fitting ending.

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She Was Pretty (Sept 2015 – Nov 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

I would consider two themes evident for 2015 in kdramaland… friendship-turned-romance and redeeming-a-woman’s-old-glow.   These two were present in the recently concluded love tale of childhood friends turned sweethearts who lost contact for a long while and met again at different expectations and fears more than 20 years after.

“She Was Pretty” was your typical rom-com drama tailored to make you feel giddy and warm. It will excite you while the story unfolds but it’s not something that you will keep dearly in your heart like the rom-com classics.  The characters were all amusing in their own right, but I gave Choi Si Won, the biggest applause among the cast for his perfect rendering of the quirky second male lead character. While Park Seo Joon is beautiful and Hwang Jung Eum is at her usual best although with slight hyperactivity, they were able to present a love couple you will root for.

The conflict’s lightness was an affirmative note in the story as it worked on the characters’ connection and sticking on their rational thinking come what may. I felt a bit of annoyance toward Ha Ri, but she beautifully redeemed herself by confronting Hye Jin to stop shielding her from the pain and accept the happiness that she deserved.  Neatly narrated, the always encouraging vibe of the heroine carried on sincere lessons about how much pain and understanding you can give to salvage a friendship that is more than a family and how much we have to give it to ourselves the limitless opportunities and love that fate won’t give us right away. Hye Jin just like our usual rom-com lead girls pursued love and dreams the best way she can by not sacrificing the happiness that she can create on her own. With her perfect hero who wanted to support her all the way with her personal bucket list, I witnessed a romance that is soon fading in our generation that is being supportive to our lover’s personal goals while maintaining a relationship dependent to a genuine love and unwavering commitment.

Next to chocolates, honeyed and heart-warming kdrama romcoms can help you survive melancholia and routine weekends. Uncomplicated with its romantic approach, Hye Jin and Sung Joon’s love story will surely hit your love veins.

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Bubblegum (Oct 2015 – Dec 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Family

I think out of all friendship-turned-romance dramas this year, Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah’s story in Bubblegum is perfect for 30-ish working people who struggled and are struggling to keep up on the sad truth that dealing with a broken heart and learning to accept a new love have different approaches as you age along.   It was such an enamoring narrative that drew strength from the free spirited and natural on screen connection of the lead couple.

It is sadly evident that the conflicts raised in the story were not tied up neatly. It was like probably hoping that Lee Dong Wook princey face can fade away the misses of the drama. It came very strong with how the characters communicated intrepidly and genuinely but fell short because of the wayward movement of the story.  It was a case where the beautiful characters were not justified by a well written fiction.

Although it got derailed on the closing episodes and the mom-doesn’t-want-us-to-be-together was misplaced and later on forgotten, I have enjoyed the heartfelt confrontations, the peaceful conversations and the life and love realizations. It was a consoling chronicle until the mom-got-Alzheimer’s plot, and less that annoying cliché, it would have been a perfect melodrama as a whole.  It did end up warm and happy for the love birds but the writing was not polished. It was ardent but somehow all over the place. If not for the unfeigned portrayals of the lead couple, I would have given up on it. But because it had me hooked on fast to cheer for the literal written on the stars love for Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan and the blossoming of the romance from the friendship tested through time, I sent them off with a smile on my face. Bubblegum is not a solid offering but it will keep you calm and comforted.

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Because it’s the first time (OCt 2015 – Nov 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Youth, Drama

Everything about this drama screams about the kind of friendship, worries and love confusions we had in our early 20’s.  The story was narrated unadorned but the characters were limned delightfully.

Tae Oh, Song Yi, Ji Ahn, Ga In and Hoon are five childhood friends who have relied to each another while battling the challenges of braving the world where they are expected  to face failures  and not warranted to give up on it.   The age when they have the freedom not to rationalize loving someone, but are restricted to chase their personal dreams because they either doubt themselves or they are forced to go against their will by their families. 

These hinged friends experienced life cruelties from their own families and unfortunate events, but they have managed  to shelter one another and gave strength to overcome their battles.  The story moved in presenting their usual bickerings and fun times and hit the conflict of Tae Oh finally waking up to the truth that he loved his girl best friend even when he finally got his dream girl.  No spices.  No heaviness.  Just culminating to the main lead’s decision to let go of his one sided first love. 

Yes I wish it would have been longer but given the simplicity of the  plot, it wouldn’t give a justified stretch.  It was a nice watch while you are on it, but won’t leave a lingering impact after. But if you want a short, feel-good 20’s drama that you can finish in one sitting on a weekend or when u want to feel distracted, “Because It’s The First Time” would serve the purpose of entertaining you.  Sweet and upbeat… I’m sure this friendship story will make you remember those blithe days of being wild, young and free.

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Oh My Venus (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy

Forget the grueling gym workout, home yoga sessions and sadness inducing diet plans… Just allot 2 hours in 2 days watching Oh My Venus and you will miraculously lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks. It’s true. No hidden agendas, no diet pills, and no aggravating body pains. Sign up for a 14-day trial period at Coach John Kim’s Venus boot camp and see for yourself what the rest of the women who tried the program have been talking about. *chuckles  Seriously now, if they want a solution to the alarming woes of women struggling to keep up with their weight, they should hire So Ji Sub oppa to be their personal trainer and the world will be a better place. *giggles

Oh My Venus went to the typical Korean drama rom-com milieu of a rich heir who fell in love with a normal girl but with a fitness program twist. Kang Joo Eun was a feisty Korean lawyer with a steady long-time boyfriend. She was living a calm life and the only concern she has was her weight loss struggle.  She used to be the high school boys’ dream in her hometown Daegu, but life’s complications took over and she failed maintaining her goddess self. She eventually lost her boyfriend to an old chubby law school friend who managed to discard her old fat self.

But seriously, I already outgrew the over-used rich guy-normal girl love story setting, but for the lightness and the girly-drooling moments, I would forgive the shallow conflict of this drama. Oh well and because anything is forgivable with So Ji Sub oppa in it.  But it would have been nice if they push it to Joo Eun’s initial dream to recover her old Venus self. Putting that Young Ho’s family’s company problem conflict was a bit awkward for the plot. It was not fitting.  Since they presented Young Ho’s broken self, I think they should have followed that lead.  There’s a lot of emotional struggles for couples in their 30’s because most tend to not unpack their baggages so they could have circled in their plot.  They could have lengthened Joo Eun’s rally to win Young Ho’s rich family to make the drama even more sassier and feel good.  But anyway, I got what I bargained for, if not for Joo Eun and Young Ho’s chemistry I would have really pouted.

I want to commend on the show’s drive to encourage women with weight worries to lighten up and push themselves to be even more disciplined in following their fitness programs as it would be a propelling force to reclaim their confidence and to live a robust life.  If you can get a supportive partner/boyfriend with that then you are definitely on the right track.  With ample cutesy love scenes and charming on screen adorable couple, this rom-com offering will wear out a week’s work stress. If you want an uncomplicated blithe and feel good love drama, this will definitely satisfy your craving. Add So Ji Sub on the side, and boy it’s definitely a winner all throughout.

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Reply 1988 (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Family, Friendship

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.  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.

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.  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.

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.  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.

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.  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.

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The faces we put on when we love someone

 

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For once I got to see a melodrama with a rich family cast not going all war with excessive evil plots to claim the rein of a company, but doing it within the members as what I perceived the rich and famous should have done in reality.  “Mask” having dysfunctional characters will entice you by how much it deconstructed the main leads’ motivations, frailties and hair-pulling moments on what they are willing to give because of greed, vengeance and sacrificial love.
Swerving from the musty weep fest trademark of melodrama, “Mask” raised its fight club banner through lies, devious plots, and ruthless counter attacks for reasons of being blindly in love and the thirst to achieve a payback.

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The story evolved around a family who accepted a new daughter-in-law (Byun Ji Sook) to strengthen their wealth with her government connection through her politician father not knowing that she was hired by the son-in-law (Min Seok Hoon) when his ex-lover, (Seo Eun Ha) died in an accident.  In a freak coincidence Ji Sook happened to be a doppelganger of Eun Ha whose fate was the exact opposite of the latter’s grandiose elite life.  Seok Hoon offered Ji Sook to play on the con to marry Min Woo and guided her intently on her cover.  But soon enough she developed pure feelings toward Min Woo and worked on reversing her life that has been mostly controlled by other people and her misfortunes.

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We have a solid cast who rose up to the occasion and gave meaningful portrayals to the very best of the wicked side and better versions of their characters.  What drew me most about “Mask” is the impeccable showing of the four main leads linked by painful love, betrayal and blood ties.  The supporting leads’ love story though not hitting a poignant and meaningful commitment in the end was messy and created a lingering impact of that definitive question on how much can someone go in the name of love.  I like how Ji Sook transitioned her image from a total push-over to a woman who knows her worth.  Her character as a focal point of the story pushed the problem in a coherent challenge where the surrounding people balanced out the struggle between the good and the evil.

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I enjoyed the theatrics and the melodrama clichés because “Mask” in its entirety was not sporadically sketched and was focused to the penultimate closure.  I like it when dramas are overbearing because there’s an established premise to support it, and that was the case for “Mask”.  I got affected on the heavy scenes, but they did not overwhelm me with exhausting episode weep runs.

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If you want a serious kdrama watch, then this will fill your craving.  The romance, the intrigue, the annoyance, the power plays were well-conceived and executed leaving a sense of fulfilment if you will sit on it for a binge.  I even prepared myself with some tissue rolls for the tear party because it was Su Ae and Joo Ji Hoon, but I was put at the edge of my seat because I was cheering earnestly for Ji Sook and how she found her niche and defied her old self to emancipate herself in the villain’s grip and be with the man she loved without secrets and lies.

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50 Korean Romance Dramas You Should Have Watched By Now

Schedule a weekend binge with these adorable and heart-fluttering Korean romance dramas.

Korean Romance Dramas

Kdrama fandom can all agree that a string of Korean romance dramas usually trigger the KDrama addiction.  The unique and imaginative plots deviate from the basic triumvirate plot of cops-lawyer-doctor TV shows.  On that note, it is one genre list that is hard to write because viewers have varied taste on what love stories would appeal to them.

I want to go as far as 10 years ago but video resources might not be available anymore.   We will focus our drama reminiscing instead from 2006 onward.  But let’s do a quick stop on those classic Korean dramas your mom or aunt might have told you about.  Early 21st century marked the surge of Hallyu wave.  The dominant genres are romance and melodramas.  Most of the recurring love plots we have seen in the past 10 years can be traced on these timeless Korean romance dramas.  It was this period that “Endless Love” series by revered director Yoon Seok Ho aired.  These seasoned themed dramas spark the popularity of most actors that are still active today.  Autumn in My Heart, Winter Sonata, Summer Scent and Spring Waltz are breakout performances of present top actresses – Song Hye Gyo, Choi Ji Woo, Sohn Ye Jin and Han Hyo Joo.

Benchmark rom-com dramas such as Attic Cat, Full House, My Lovely Samsoon and My Girl are forerunners of perennial kdrama elements like cohabitation, couple bickering, and rich-boy-poor-girl story premise.  The melodramas at present have toned down compared to its predecessors.  Stairway to Heaven, What Happened in Bali, Save the Last Dance for Me and A Love to Kill are dramas that would exhaust you emotionally, yet they are strong in giving you love affirming lessons.

There is no definitive yardstick on the best Korean romance dramas, but I’ll give you breakthrough and memorable dramas that you might have missed and you want to revisit.

Goong (2006)

Korean Romance Dramas

A high school girl becomes the country’s princess, but the prince she married is still caught up with his first love.

Crown Prince Lee Shin and Princess Chae-gyung’s love story is the typical I-was-not-meaning-to-fall-for-you-but-I-fell-anyway romance.  The love progresses from nothing at all to “I want you to be always beside me” kind of adoration.  There are frustrating moments but the eventual love admittance washes out some of the senseless and slow runs.  Princess Hours gives a youthful presence while combining the individual growth of the main leads that are forced to marry due to their ancestors’ promise.

My girl (2006)

Korean Romance Dramas

A rich man hires a woman to pretend as his lost cousin so his sick grandfather will feel better.  The con backfires as they fall in love with each other.

Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae’s first pairing is a zesty cohabitation where the couple bicker a lot until romance knocks them out to submission.  The road to the love realization threads on happy notes and lies.  My Girl leaves a message on how time makes you braver to love someone, and how love stays true when separated by time.

Korean Romance Dramas

Which star did you come from? (2006)

Korean Romance Dramas

After the death of his girlfriend, a film director secludes himself only to be reminded of the past he unhinged from, by meeting a woman who looks exactly like his dead ex-gf.  It turned out that the woman is indeed his ex-gf’s long lost sister, and her family is against their relationship since they blame him for the death of his ex-gf.

This is one of those pioneering love dramas where the writer is focused on conceiving a resolution for the conflict by trusting the magical power of love through fiction writing, instead of throwing unnecessary setbacks to hurt the main leads.  It pushes the love couple to tackle their indifference head on by relying on how they trust and love each other.

The world that they live in (2008)

Korean Romance Dramas

Set in TV drama world, the lead couple are both working as production directors.  It does not have quirky plots but it uses clever humor through Song Hye Kyo and Hyun’s Bin portrayal of a workplace couple struggling to give and receive the best love possible.  Without so much embellishment, the plain yet heartfelt emotions of the couple rediscovering their love for each other in varied ways shows what a normal relationship should be – messy, uncertain, forbearing.

Korean Romance Dramas

You’re Beautiful (2009)

 Korean Romance Dramas

Preparing to be a nun, a young woman is forced to assume her twin’s identity who is supposed to join an idol group, but fell on comatose after an accident.

Perky and fast-paced, the well written script is filled with sweet moments of being young and in love.  Looking back this is still my favorite Park Shin Hye drama because she displayed a memorable heroine that is naive but refreshing, vulnerable and persevering.  With 3 men battling for the lead girl’s attention and parading their skills regardless if it’s awkward or not, it is hilarious watch to see the love-struck idol members bleed love to claim her heart.  You’re Beautiful shows a clear picture of how love is meant to be enjoyed at the moment and chased at the right time.

City Hall (2009)

Korean Romance Dramas

 

This politics based romance drama crawled in my heart without me realizing it.  It beat the regular favorites Coffee Prince, Goong and even My Lovely Samsoon to get to the top of my list, because it’s not your conventional drama with cushioned and frosted romance.  It is a love story where the prince did not rescue his damsel in distress, but pushed her to be brave and resolve things on her own.  With uncomplicated premise, the writing is exceptionally thought provoking for any woman experiencing challenges in finding her worth not in the standard of what the society dictates, but on the dreams she has as a woman.  A memorable performance for Kim Sun Ah and Cha Seung Won who perfectly pictured a love declaration frame that is yet to beat from the rest of Korean romance dramas I have seen.

 Korean Romance Dramas

Boys Over Flowers (2009)

Korean Romance Dramas

 

A young man (Lee Min Ho) from a rich household falls in love with a girl (Gu Hye Sun) from a poor family background.  When she resisted his temperament, he starts bullying her but eventually fell in love with her charm.

This manga based drama swept my heart when it was adapted by Taiwan TV back when I was in my college days.  It was so popular and introduced me to my first fictional love Dau Ming Si.  So I had high expectations when Korea took it for their own production.  I say they presented it well and good, that I went back to being in my teens, and even watching it in raw videos every week when it was airing.  What made it different from the rest of the remakes done is it stayed on the original context of young and sweet high school love as well as a strong battle between the main and second lead in claiming the lead girl’s heart.  It may not be perfect because of the moments when the drama has to ride its popularity, but it is an addictive drama that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

My Girlfriend is a gumiho (2010)

Korean Romance Dramas

A rich, lazy college student (Lee Seung Gi) dreams of becoming an action star accidentally freed a pretty woman from an enchanted picture.  She turns out to be a nine-tailed-fox imprisoned for a long time.  The two work on their dreams of becoming an actor and becoming a human and soon enough fell in love with each other.

The fantasy and reality mixture of the story is what kept the engrossing vibe.  Shin Min Ah’s gumiho character perks up the drama in providing laugh trip moments due to her journey in adapting to the human world. The love fulfillment although hindered with the supernatural bead that binds the main love couple is a neat conflict catalyst cementing the love connection which grew on the course of them wanting to be each other’s protector and person.

Korean Romance Dramas

 

Dong Yi (2010)

Korean Romance Dramas

It is beautifully imagined and crafted.  The political conspiracies, woman-empowering message and the love story are the reasons why I enjoy this 60 episode period drama.  Dong Yi displays a stimulating TV drama while presenting the intricacies and controversies of Korean Joseon Monarchy.  They present the elaborated palace life, power struggles and vibrancy of the culture with clever layering of romance.  I love that the narration is subtle in its approach, yet daring on its conviction.  The beginning is disheartening, the ending will make you pull the strings for it to end out of weary, but you tend to hold on to feel gratified on the conflict’s dissipation.  Now the middle part, that is the best part of the series.

Personal Taste (2010)

Korean Romance Dramas

A vulnerable lead girl (Sohn Ye Jin) is betrayed by her best friend who seduced her ex-boyfriend.  She meets an architect (Lee Min Ho), who is on a mission to redeem his father’s lost glory by analyzing a house designed by a legendary architect who is the lead girl’s father.  Our lead girl mistook her hero to be homosexual and let him board in her house but then later on, they develop feelings for each other.

There are lots of bright tones which compensate to dry moments when the lead girl is stuck on wallowing in her lack of self-esteem. The doting scenes melt and made me crave for more.  Why it made this list is because even if I refrain from weak heroines, the romance is sweet and satisfying in the sense that the lead girl redeemed herself through her hero’s encouragement to be a better version of herself, while the hero learned to step back and appreciate the people around him instead of keeping all his woes alone.

Korean Romance Dramas

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010)

Korean Romance Dramas

I present you Sungkyunkwan Scandal – the drama that changed my belief that historical presentations are not fun.  A bromance-filled tale incorporating a touch of traditional Korean history set in Joseon era’s premiere school.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal is a Hana-Kimi-Boys-Over-Flower-fusion set in the Joseon period.  It is where I suffered the most mind-boggling Second-Lead syndrome, in the end the second-lead prevailed.  *chuckles  This is a kind of school life every girl wishes for which is having three gorgeous men as your friends and even two fighting for your heart. Considering the setting is in traditional times, they are able to execute love melting scenes while   studying in the library, getting stranded inside a wooden elevator, and all the rest of those happy moments shared by the scholars. Despite the political strain conflict, what I loved most in the narrative is the optimism and bravery of the characters which help in making their portrayals worth remembering.   The drama gives epic romantic scenes that romantic scenes that when you tell your friends, you get transported back to the moment when you were actually watching it.

Secret Garden (2010)

Korean Romance Dramas

The sparkling tracksuit, the sweet sit-up kiss and coffee kiss, the hilarious body swap, Ha Ji Won‘s stunt woman portrayal, and Hyun Bin’s melting gaze are some of the things that I remember most about “Secret Garden”.  It is a breather from rom-com prototypes with its perfect blending of fantasy and romance.

Secret Garden is your drama to see when you want a kdrama marathon vacation.  It plays well in keeping the excitement stable and hits a love progression which the viewers loyally cheer for.  The fantasy body-switching plot is a brilliant addition to keep the story bubbly as well as the reversal of roles for the strong heroine and weak but charming lead man.  The strength of how the love couple bicker along the way to realize they are both rendered by the love bind they throw at each other unconsciously will make you mark this drama as an all-time favorite.

Secret Garden

The Greatest Love (2011)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

The love drama staged in the showbiz land exhibits a top actor in his prime and a struggling actress who used to be from a famous girl group but was condemned unfairly by the public’s judgment.  In a series of forming-a-love-story event, they keep on crossing the same path every now and then, and before he knew it, the cutely egoistic and blithely mischievous Dokko Jin’s protective instinct is awakened by the pure-sometimes-vulnerable character of Ae-jung.

This is my favorite battle-for-the-leading-lady’s-heart showcase, as the two lead men warm my love veins with their creativity to let Ae Jung notice how much they love her. The Greatest Love s disarms the viewers from earthly life and draws them to thrive inside a protective romantic bubble.  It is done short and sweet with basket full of happy hearts delivered personally by cupid to all of us.

Scent of a Woman (2011)

Korean Romance Dramas

Looking back what I like most about this drama is how for a change I got the conflict first in one big blow at the beginning of the series and I stayed glued at it even when I get the picture of expected possibilities.  I felt that the tears, the smiles, the bright side, the falling flower petals, the optimism, the strong heroine and Lee Dong Wook are all perfectly placed to the finish line.

Knowing the initially laid problem, Scent of a Woman anticipates how they will reach the climax, and how the characters will play together to achieve it.  As a viewer, it made me prepare for the pain because of the heroine’s inevitable dying conflict.  I am happy that the story comes up with an ending that Eun-jae, Ji-wook and I deserve.   It is a conclusion that is befitting of the death defying romance premise.  This is one of the most endearing love melodramas I have seen.   It is love and life affirming.   If you are looking for a drama that will make you laugh, fall in love, cry and be hopeful all at the same time, this one is for you.

Best Korean Romance Dramas

City Hunter (2011)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

The reckless hero and action-filled drama City Hunter played by Lee Min Ho leaves a gripping impression that girls may want to be kidnapped, wishing the lead man would rescue them.  Lee Min Ho playing devil-may-care-ass-kicking-casanova is enough not to scroll down the teaser and go straight on board the drama.  Trust me on this.  With a pinch of romance, gorgeous fight scenes and definitive plot, it raised the bar to action drama set in modern times.  The nifty plot provides life lessons owing to the base pretext of the main character’s family issues.  Each episode is done where the tussles did not exhaust the viewers but place them on trance for wanting more.

Directing and editing wise, this is one of those dramas which knew how to pull cliff hangers even to the finale episode where the hate-you-love-you character of Jin-pyo showed a befitting redemption.  The main character ensembles are so buffed in making the story ever moving and exciting.  The show stopper “ajussi” and his online shopping addiction makes me look like an occasional shopper.  The other dark apprentice is also oozingly hot orchestrating ruckus for City Hunter.  I liked that lead girl Kim Nana (Park Min Young) is  strong-willed.  She does not go to the usual mopey and always looking for a rescue lead woman.  Overall, this is a drama that will satisfy your cravings.  It is exceptionally done and a must see Kdrama delight.

Best Korean Romance Dramas

Myungwol the Spy (2011)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

The endearing eye-candy Kang-woo and  equally charming Myung-wol are source of a few weeks of cheerfulness for me when I was watching Myungwol the Spy.  This dandy show is oozing with cute couple bickering.  The premise of having the heroine protecting the leading man is a novelty on the usual weakly pictured leading ladies needing a chaebol-in-the-shining-armor to rescue them.

A North Korean spy, Myung-wol, infiltrates South Korea in her goal to seduce Hallyu superstar Kang-Woo played by Eric Moon.  Her persistence pays off but her true intention will make or break an impossible love affair.  This lively rom-com lets you see the dynamics of a spy incognito heroine and the top actor with immense hubris who fell in love with his protector.

Best Korean Romance Dramas

My Princess (2011)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

The long lost princess of Korea embarks on re-claiming the honor of her royal family in the modern times.  But it is not easy owing to her need to prove her worth as a princess to the country along with the evident rivals determined to stop the Monarchy’s re-emergence.  She  relies between the devil and the deep blue sea to fulfill her filial responsibility.

This is the best Kim Tae Hee and Song Seung Heon performance that I have enjoyed.  Sassy couple fights, well rendered sweet hero display, and the mischievous yet vulnerable princess make up the delightful run of this love spectacle.  It threads on the princess-dark-knight love tale and maintains the bliss of the romantic narrative.  My Princess is that drama you watch with your girlfriends on a pyjama night when you don’t want to talk about work and love problems and just want to rest and feel each other’s presence.  Sweetly made for a woman who loves freely as it can be.

Best Korean Romance Dramas

The Princess’ Man (2011)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

This Romeo-and-Juliet-like melodrama sends the viewers due to the poignant  struggles and motivations of the love couple.  The directing and cinematography are captured efficiently projecting an emotionally draining love chronicle.  How they maneuver the movements of the conflict without making the protagonists looked so annoyingly pathetic is strategically done which made me admire the writer of the story.  It is a moving narrative of how the lead couple patiently wait to claim the love that is rightfully theirs.  It is an agonizing yet a loving tale that will remind you of the risks in committing yourself to someone, the bittersweet pain of coming to terms that love has always casualties, and the reality that until you learn to forgive, you will not be able to keep in your arms the person who defined you what is love.

I Need Romance (2011)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

I Need Romance is brimming with romance retrospection.  It might argue with your existing love standpoint and rules of dating.  It makes you yearn how it feels to be in a blissful, addictive, sometimes-painful-yet-binding and worth taking a risk kind of love.

Tailored in a sex and the city vibe, it narrates modern stories of women in their 30’s and how they struggle to keep their romantic relationship and the lack of it.  It features plucky characters and the  importance of sex and honesty in a relationship.  The sassy friendship of the lead girls cover different faces of relationships that make or break a person.  It draws the depth of commitment and the pain it comes when loving someone truthfully.  It is a drama can make you finish it in one sitting due to its addictive and realistic taste.

Best Korean Romance Dramas

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (2011)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is a ball of sweetness powered by endearing characters.  It is one of the quirkiest-so-pleasing-to-watch-cast-ensembles.  It is a love ride that you will keep in your heart because of the memorable characters in lead and supporting roles.  The humor and the love triangle keeps the engaging run topped by the eye candy relief of the flower boy filled cast.

What I love in this drama is when lead men are all business in claiming the cup on Eun-bi’s heart.  It reminds me of when Legolas and Gimli cutely belittle each other at their orc killing showdown.  The “you are mine” kiss scene after Chi-soo (Jung Il Woo) snatched Eun-bi while she is on a date with Pillar has been one of my favorite kdrama saccharine moments.  I crave for more and the drama sufficed me beyond what I expected.

Queen In Hyun’s Man (2012)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

The drive to bring the viewers to a spontaneous romantic binge while holding the reign to a bewitching plot is quenchless with this time-slip-rom-com delight.

Queen In Hyun’s Man disarms the viewers each episode through its creative drama pulls  by going maverick to is predicted to happen.  It swerves from the typical KDrama cliches of unfinished love issues, family problems, useless vengeance driven characters, and all those personal exhausting battles.  Given the time-voyaging premise of the story, the production team work diligently on the smooth timeline transitions with witty humor.  It plays the past and present ends without losing the fluidity of the story.  The story line pulls off and amazing conflict deliverance in a make-sense attitude.  It is a supernatural rom-com drama at its best, no questions asked, period.

Best Korean Romance Dramas

The Moon That Embraces the Sun (2012)

 Best Korean Romance Dramas

This drama open in a grand fireworks display.  The ratings stayed up even if there were times that I was wishing for it to speed up.  But the production team sure know when they should wake you up when you were about to doze off so I remain positively raving.

The young love which bloomed and defied time, reasons, and political issues are reasons why the production is applauded immensely.  The strong and consistent character portrayals, supernatural seasonings, family issues and brotherly love cemented the viewers’ loyalty.  It is euphoric on its strong notes and contemplating on its sad tones.  My verdict?  This is a drama full of love and anguish, but you will eventually CHERISH it.

King 2 Hearts (2012)

Best Korean Romance Dramas

King 2 Hearts is staged in a quasi-utopian Korean world where the North and South Koreans are sort of in peaceful communicating terms.

King 2 Hearts has always been polished, calculated but never failing to entice and push the audience to the assumed outcomes. That being said, what I applaud about this drama is how it seems predictable but it will act otherwise.  It meets all the criteria for a superb k-drama in terms of directing and acting plus it ends with conviction.  It has one of the most memorable villain who graced the evil camp land and a heartbreaking second lead character conclusion.  It is an honest yet tender love picture of a man and woman who overcome political ideologies and personal reservations.

May Queen (2012)

Korean Romance Dramas

Sitting on a 38-episode melodrama where birth secret, superhero villains, revenge-and-greed-driven plot needs to be munched is a feat so hard to do if you are impatient.  I love how Korean dramas are tailored in bringing fans to different worlds.  This time I learned something about the shipbuilding industry as the story evolves around characters moving in the oil exploration and shipbuilding business.  I feel elated exploring the ocean, ships, drilling rigs, oil discovery and the realistic and moving love story of May Queen.

All the fundamentals of a melodrama are present as the narrative crawled to its finale – the-most-vilest-of-‘em-all-villains, good-natured-overly-optimistic-lead-girl and the good-prevailing-over-wickedness-theme.  It is a slow-moving drama but all are explained on the conflicts raised — the motivation, the actions after the intentions and the resolution.  This drama compensates the long run to explain everything they have to explain.  They make sure that each main character revolved and redeemed their personas.  This drama is my yardstick to melodrama that’s not taking the romance as an integral part.

Faith (2012)

Korean Romance Dramas

Faith is not a polished drama, in fact it is slow moving, but it is moving to a direction where it urges the viewers to join the drama production — cheering for them, feeling each of the character’s pain, engrossed with the happy moments and frustrated with the inability to end the villains vile ways.  It is successful in establishing a connection that will not make it forgettable.

Assimilating the action plot with the supernatural spices and decorating it with folklore, having a band of villains equipped with mojos, a sassy modern day doctor that is lost cutely to a new kind of thriving she is forced to live, and  the Thor-ish General are the essentials that made this drama such an enthralling TV experience.  The provocative plot matches the annoying villain assaults and the firm, arresting retaliation of the underdogs  A drama moving through governance contention and draped by the traditional settings normally sets a serious tone, but how the heroes and the villains pull the tricks on their sleeves ease out the ambiance to set an immersing watch.  Faith’s ability to balance the transcendent elemental nonsense is plausible to how it mounts to the story’s peak.  The back to the future arc links the primary message of the narrative.  The essence of how a person should believe in the love he deserves.

Korean Romance Dramas

Cheongdamdong Alice (2012)

Korean Romance Dramas

What would you do if you truly love the person but you started not with the right intention?  This Cinderella-like tale brims with interesting characters and has splashes of mirth, reality slaps, gold-digging lessons, PTSD nonsense and thought-provoking love arguments.  There are a lot of reality check scenes in the drama inferring love disparities that has made the texture of the story different from your typical you-and-me-against-my-rich-family premise.  The heroine is blatant with her intentions even if she knew that it will destroy her.  She is not your typical “I don’t care if you’re rich I just love you” girl because she’s been through a relationship saddled with financial constraint, and in the real world when you build a future with someone, love will be a foundation but money will sustain it.

This love tale depicts a typical love story with twisted conflicts and characters.  It raises an imbalance that has made the story true.  Women dig any Cinderella-story because they want the feeling of being rescued.  In this love tale, the girl starts the conflict, she makes the the person who will rescue him part of the conflict, but she finds the way to overcome it.  Way to go girl!  This drama teaches a lesson that there are always reasons why you love someone and you can never ask for a proof of it.  When love fails, you can never go back but you can always start again.  Cheongdamdong Alice is able to hit all those considerations of people who are looking for the kind of love they deserve.  Sometimes love starts because it is meant to be but it has to end because we have to get the love we deserve.

Rooftop Prince (2012)

Korean Romance Dramas

Joseon Era –  All was doing well with Crown Prince Yi-gak (Park Yoochun).   The empire is smooth sailing and he enjoys afternoon walks with his princess and riddle games with his sister-in-law.  Until a morning of surprise when the Crown Princess is found dead floating on a lake.  Determined to catch the culprit on the Princess’ death, he gathered 3 of the most useful Joseon men he could find and off they go to uncover the mystery.  In their pursuit to unveil the cause of the Princess’ death, they are transported 300 years after to modern Korea and landed to the lead girl’s rooftop house.  From there the real adventure begins.

This is the first drama I saw with reincarnation plot in full swing.  The adorable 3 Musketeers are a bundle of bliss showering me laughter fits on how they acclimatize to modern living.  The romance is not rushed, and with that love-transcending-time premise, excuse me Romeo and Juliet here’s the couple to beat.  It is not your perfect drama technical and script wise, in fact there are a few labyrinth-bound story plots and out of place conflicts, but then again the sweet moments and the humor are overpowering so you would hardly notice the lapses.

Korean Romance Dramas

A Gentleman’s Dignity (2012)

Korean Romance Dramas

A Gentleman’s Dignity tells the story of a brotherhood of middle-aged men 40+ who grew up as friends since high school and nurture their friendship since then.  The morning breakfast forums, the constant cover ups to survive the feisty wife, the one-sided love, the mischievous-kiss-may-december-love-affair, the now-we-break-up-tomorrow-we’ll-get-back relationship, the opening hilarious anecdotes, the sweetest, heart-wrenching love declarations and love-believe-me’s, and the bromance are some of the reasons why I highly recommend this rom-com favorite.

From a woman’s perspective, I enjoy these blow up F4 boys as having them all together is the strongest point of the drama.  The conflicts mainly focus on finding and keeping a functioning relationship for them.  I have generally positive feelings toward this drama.  All those minor-so-what-situational-supporting-conflict I disregard because the story and the characters have sketched love anecdotes that can make people ponder on how they deal with commitment issues.  This drama makes you remember how vulnerable and defiant you become because of love.

Reply 1997 (2012)

Korean Romance Dramas

Answer Me 1997 sprints all the way to the audience’ hearts with its vibrant characters, nostalgic premise, fan girl foolish escapades, friendship and crazy first love.  Nothing magical, mythical and supernatural, just a pure trip down to the moments of when we were young.  Spicing up the story with flashback element, the drama switches from present to the later part of the ‘90’s showcasing tamagotchi, flip top phones and other ancestors of the modern technology in their conceiving stage.

This engrossing first love drama shares a wonderful friends-turned-lovers journey without hassles.  It will make you recollect the good old times when you first passionately and recklessly fell in love.  The charming screenplay brings out the best of the newbie artists.  The evasion from rom-com clichés makes the plot a winner.  Reply 1997 grows on you without you realizing it. This is a wistful memoir of that point in time that we first fell in love.

Korean Romance Dramas

Operation Proposal (2012)

Korean Romance Dramas

A young man who lacks confidence in declaring his love to the woman he adore since they were young cries in despair of letting go of his one great love.  A bored time conductor is moved by his lamentation so he is given a magical potion to drink and a weird incantation to go back to the past so he can correct the wrong choices he made in his life and make room for the love he thought is meant for him.

Operation Proposal is richly narrated by moving the romance from young love to a taking-time-to-realize kind of love.  It goes down to two main points:  How far you are going to wait for someone for them to realize your worth and that you are waiting?  And being brave to fall in love by discarding the what-if’s and saying it at the very moment you are feeling it.  It is a refreshing feel to have a conflict that is not evil. The lead character is competing with himself – with his past self for that matter and his forbearance endures his painstaking drive to be with the girl he loved.

 Korean Romance Dramas

The Master’s Sun (2013)

Korean Romance Dramas

In the sea of dramas where stories are usually woven from the rich-boy-poor-girl love affair or the male-pretending-lead-girl, a you-and-me-against-the-ghosts love story hit all the romantic nerves in my body even with its comic spooky vibes.

In a way the calculated but not false-hope promising story pace invites the viewers to back up the lead love couple in discovering the reasons why they fell in love with each other alongside why they are in denial and scared to admit it.  When you have a stubborn romantic lead man who with-and-without amnesia know how to claim the heart of the woman he loves, and a heroine who struggles in confusion to the path on how she is supposed to love her man, it will give you a love tale full of acceptance and understanding.  It will inspire you to trust why your heart falls in love with the person and how your mind will be overpowered by reasons.  It is a nicely blended romance that reminds how being with someone is not half-loving yourself and half-loving the person. It should be loving the person with all you can.

That Winter The Wind Blows (2013)

Korean Romance Dramas

“I pretended to be a long lost brother to a blind heiress because I need money to continue to live only to find myself waking up wanting to protect my fake little sister every single day” is the story premise of this melodrama.  That Winter the Wind Blows nails adequate emotional scenes to stimulate the heart and tear ducts, but not bordering to a draining weep fest.  Loving someone when you are literally blind takes faith beyond reasons, and finding a reason to live because you love someone takes bravery beyond faith.

A tale of not really brothers and sisters who are entangled by fate, unexpected fondness, blind trust, and true love, this drama surges up with the intense revelations and love conflict.  It was not a happy-yey!-ever-after closure, but at least they end up together.   Sometimes it’s really the pain that makes the love worth it, because without it you can never differentiate if you are willing to let go or to love the person.  That Winter, The Wind Blows was a poignant love drama that will make you remember how you are scared to start a love you are unsure of, and how you took the odds to claim it.   It is not perfect but it is emotionally stunning.

My Love From the Star/You Who Came From the stars (2014)

Korean Romance Dramas

Love stories need not to be so big romantic kind of way, not that I didn’t like the “alien-who-loved-me” twist but You Who Came From the Stars draws a great following because of the vibrant characters who bring  to life their fictional images to an unforgettable way. I think the lightness of the conflicts and not involving much negative emotion, but focusing on making the lead couple work their way to defy the cosmic problem inhibiting them from being together gives a gratifying closure for the story.

Feisty and fun, it has surely and splendidly built up the conflict, the romance, and the conflicting romance, binding me in perplexing contemplation on how a drama with typical love pretext propels a romantic bliss without never looking back.  It comes strongly and  surely each chapter seemingly faultless in executing the how-to-make-a-perfect-romcom guidelines.

Discovery of Love (2014)

Korean Romance Dramas

Discovery of Love walks on the unconventional path of presenting the love story between estranged couple and how they are able to realize that their love is true even then, and even years after.

The heart breaking dialogues during those “if you only did that” scenes rip me apart as a viewer due to its painful truth.  Given the situations and dilemmas raised in the story line, it is really how a normal person would have thrown words at his lost love who presents himself again just when you thought you are done and over him.  It gives a painful reminiscing of how after losing a cherished love, it makes us contemplate on how a lost love is a reminder of how beautiful things can change painfully in a moment, and there would be no way for you to prepare.  Hitting all the realistic elements of what it really takes to be in a relationship is the best part of the love triangle in this roller coaster romantic ride.  They dig on the root of love problems in a coherent world – the strength to let go of a half-baked love and the choice to be in a not so perfect but true love.

It’s okay, that’s love (2014)

Korean Romance Dramas

It might be the most unconventional modern romance drama but given that sickness in k-dramaland usually involves amnesia or anything fatal the unique illness conflict makes the drama attractive.

It’s okay, that’s love is just how relationship realities are translated in an ardent and unadulterated TV drama scenes.  It incites emotional outburst from a beautiful and heartfelt thread of painful and fervid love moments that will cut deep in anyone’s heart while recollecting memories of how it felt to love someone deeply without holding back.  Seamless and unfeigned, it progresses from warm to romantic to sacrificial to against-all-odds and eventually to you-were-meant-for-me love timeline. I saw all the faces of love tackled bravely and painfully in this love story.

Healer (2014)

Korean Romance Dramas

Healer is one of the best Korean dramas you should include in your list if you haven’t seen it yet.  It has a brilliant premise about a one-of-a-kind hero who chose to disconnect from the society, but accidentally grew attachment to a woman who drew him out of his hibernation.  The drama quaintly linked the furtive relationship of the characters while building up the plot’s climax and romance to perfection.  It is so addictive and a drama you can sit on with family, friends and even your lover.

The story’s main conflict focused on peeling the truth behind the lead couple’s fathers’ death while journeying on their fated love.  While a lot evolves in the story, it never missed it steps in binding the romance, the back story and the conflicts together. The story is intoxicating because it assimilates Healer’s Promethean skills and heartfelt media coverage to battle the conscience-less power players of the country.  When your cast is smart and the writing is nifty, there’s no way the notes will not be hit.

Kill Me, heal me (2015)

Korean Romance Dramas

The complexity of the multiple personality disorder fused with the fated but hindered romance of the main couple makes you ruminate the precepts of the story.

The ambitious writing of this drama is meticulous in inserting the conflict of the story, although it came to a point when it became too detailed dragging the denouement which they could have used in a few romantic notes in the penultimate episodes of the story.  Typically kdramas with power struggle plot involved unreasonable conspiracies but since the multiple personality is the carrying story conflict, it is good that it didn’t dwell on the money-filled but problematic chaebol world.  Beautiful in its strongest points and faint weaknesses, this is a melodrama that will leave you happy and intrigued.

My Love Eun Dong/Beloved Eun Dong (2015)

Korean Romance Dramas

A man’s unrequited romance to a woman who keeps being separated from him by fate.  My Love Eun Dong narrates a love story so blissful and agonizing like it came straight from a classic love novel.  The love couple meet when they were young and became each other’s puppy love, they meet again in college and they formally entered a relationship, but the girl, Eun Dong (Kim Sarang) who dreams of being an actress faces an accident which separated her again from the the lead man.  He becomes a top actor to fulfill her dream.  In his quest to find his true love, he commissions a ghost writer to help write a book about his love story.  Eun Dong who is suffering amnesia takes the job and while writing the book, her memory comes back.  She realizes the lies her current disabled husband and adopted father did to her.

The conflict of Eun Dong’s marriage situation while the lead man fervently waits for her is mind agonizing.  It is a test of justifying what you’ve been through to lose your greatest love and will you be happy if you reclaim your love that is legally not yours anymore.  The love triangle is in a helpless state trying to break out from that suffocating bind.  My Love Eun Dong uses a strong narrative which will put the audience on an emotional dilemma in finding a solution for everyone to be happy.  It leaves a lesson that love involves two people loving each other the best way they can and not how the people around them understands it.

Reply 1988 (2015)

Korean Romance Dramas

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 makes you reminisce the good old days of endearing family love and friendship full of memories and laughter.  Reply 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.

Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that are fused together to bring up a heartwarming chronicle.  It feels like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories of our youth.  Delving on nostalgic premise, Reply 1988 brilliantly utilizes sweet melancholia by sending the viewers back to their very own youth.   It is a strip of mementos any person with a euphoric youth can relate to.

Oh My ghost (2015)

Korean Romance Dramas

Bright, cheerful and feel good are the  after-effects of Oh My Ghost chapter doses for me.  It consistently run the romance and comedy by seasoning it with adorable supernatural twist.  A timid girl connives with a wandering ghost to build up her self esteem in her plan to seduce the man she likes.  The man she likes is a famous chef who thinks his employee is suffering on a bipolar disorder hence she is switching from perky to shy attitude.  As romance slowly blooms between them, the wandering ghost’ sad death is revealed.

Park Bo Young is able to differentiate the two characters she portrayed resulting to the rom-com elements being fused well with the metaphysical plot of the story.  Each character’s story along with the conflicts entwined neatly to the conflict making the love story binding.  It’s hard not to drum your feet on your bed and grin when the hero goes to his usual i’m-the-man antics and the heroine’s pesky man cravings guided by the spirit hosting her body.  If you are needing a love elixir to boost your already blooming relationship of if you just want a perfect rom-com drama getaway, this drama will serve the purpose.

Descendants of the Sun (2016)

 Korean Romance Dramas

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.

The raves it got can be attributed to how fitting the actors to their character portrayals are, the snappy lines and giggle inducing captured frames and how the story depends on the fulfilment of the romance.   The charm of Captain Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong Ki) would have not been possible if his lead girl was not as endearing as our clever surgeon Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo).  Descendants of the Sun takes pride on capturing the heartfelt romance even with violence and disaster plot.  It marks lessons on patriotism, life, career and friendship.  It defies all kdrama overuse tropes by going to balanced character portrayals and earnest romance build up.  It is a drama so beautiful in each chapter, and even more stunning as it flows in the culminating closure.  It sends 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.

Another Oh Hae Young/Oh Hae Young Again (2016)

Another Oh Hae Young narrates the story of a woman whom after all the betrayals and half-hearted i-love-you replies, she still chooses to be with the man she loves.  She might appear weak for letting her love for him consume all the reasons why she should let him go.  She might look desperate for throwing away the fears she felt, the days she half-lived and the moments she almost gave up.  But at the end of it all, she just wanted to love and be loved back.

We typically get utopian love stories, but that iss not the case for Another Oh Hae Young, they shared the pain and the bliss in its barest and heart piercing manner.  The angst and confusion of qualifying love is stripped to its messiest and yet sweetest state just how someone would remember how he fought for his one great passionate love.  It details the real emotion someone has to go through when he is bargaining with love and when he is angry and missing the person at the same time.   It induces a love lesson on how you don’t overthink when you intend to love someone all the way, how you say I love you because that’s what you felt at that moment, and how you embrace the love feeling because you believe it to be true.  This sweet melodrama takes pride on its keen perception of the difference between how a man and a woman take on distinct approaches on loving someone while weighing on their pre-conceived inhibitions that the relationship might not work.

Legend of the blue sea (2016)

Korean Romance Dramas

The fusion of reincarnation plot and the mermaid-human romance appears trite on its onset, but as the plot thickens, the mythical element supports the romance driving point of the story.   It effortlessly keeps the viewers piqued on how the plot will unfold to stay invested on its future episodes.

The consistency of the plot while using alternate timelines of the past and the present would have gone ambiguous.  But the writer strategically alternates the focal character point from the heroine on its preliminary episodes, then maneuvers to a hero-centric plot halfway through the story.   Legend of the Blue Sea succeeds in a lively pace of intelligent storytelling with smart characters you will not hate as they don’t play dumb at hindrances thrown at them.  It is superb on the candied-heart-fluttering moments of the love couple, but even stronger on relaying the sweet and yet agonizing journey to endure the love they have in the present in the pretext of a human-mermaid romance impossibility.  It smartly spins the narrative by using simple rules considering its fantasy premise by modernizing the reincarnation plot, and by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes everything between two people fated to be together.

Something about 1% (2016)

Korean Romance Dramas

With its swift format following how web dramas usually are, this sweet love treat explores the story with each closing chapter with stunning lead couple’s chemistry.  the drama generously displays heart-fluttering scenes every chance they can get.

The premise of contract relationship has tendencies to overkill rom-com drama if not elaborated with the right amount of love progression.  Something About 1% translates how romance happens in reality which is by sharing conversations, bickering and meaningful events.  They are on a clear agreement that strings will not be attached only to succumb to the emotion that springs as a result of spending time with one another.  They are intending not to cross the wall they set initially, only to realize how binding shared memories can be in a relationship.  It is  refreshing to feel a romance drama that is not fortified with misplaced conflicts and negative vibes.  It may not be that polished or creatively conceived with twist and turns and top actors that can make such a romantic drama spree amazing.  But it is with its heartfelt and pure storytelling that made me pick as one of the rom-coms I’ve seen.  It leaves a message on how love does not happen in an instant.  You’d be lucky if you recognize it happening at the moment.  It is when we are not beside the person that we realize we are in love, and holding them in our arms is when we want to love them even more.

W:  Two Worlds (2016)

Korean Romance Dramas

W: Two Worlds imbibes an electrifying writing but it fails to close the story with a befitting ending.  Sprinting in a mind-blowing setting this rom-com about a manhwa hero crossing the real world pushes the audience to the extent of an imaginary world where everything is possible to happen.  The transition of the alternating worlds is a visual treat along with the love couple’s charming renditions.

Less the staggering twists and turns in the narrative, I still like how W: TwoWorlds is ambitious on how it vividly displayed and chronicled a love story that defied alternate universe.  It maneuvers to constant deviation and possibilities having the premise of “everything is possible to happen as long as they can draw it”.   The fantasy premise lets you feel immersed on the extent of chimeric world the story threads to, even when it hits a frustrating circle. Accelerating to its proxy-universe-deriding setting.  It presents a surreal drama experience and yet the romance development for the main leads is pragmatic and memorable. Be prepared for a mixed emotion spin as you frolic on this enslaving k-drama spectacle.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016)

Korean romance dramas

This is the drama I will make my daughter watch when she goes to college so she can have an idea of what a perfect college boyfriend is.  *wink   This campus romance pokes buried love memories set in their school life.   Weightlifting Fairy lunges to a momentum that viewers can relate to.

Buoyant and feel good, Bok Joo and the rest of the sports athlete in Haneul University give us an awesome time with their interactions and side chronicles.  It is a simple story with an almost non-existent conflict.  The hours spent watching them fall in love was like a comfort food and bubble wrap combined.   It is a genuine coming of age story that beautifully captured the joy and pain and everything in between of being young, of building dreams and of falling in love for the first time.

Goblin (2016)

Korean Romance Dramas

Goblin affirms your kdrama fan spirit with its addictive pace, perceptive characters, detailed back story and the exciting race to its closure.  It gives a constant awe at how the yarn of the folklore and supernatural mise-en-scene fit  perfectly to the modern setting.  What made Goblin such a novelty for a love story is how the transcendental element blends the mystical notes and sensible realities happening in the narrative.  It marks all the bullet points of a lingering story even though the metaphysical milieu is tricky. Although set on a melancholic tone, the dynamics of the cast and the lively humor cushioned the viewers so well given its inevitable tragic ending.  At times there are moments when it is languid, but it was necessary for the built up of the character connections to make the climactic conflict confrontation solid and stunning.

Goblin is beautifully done from its cinematography, story line and character portrayals.  The writing does a lot of impossible tweaks by conceiving an intricate realm while managing the labyrinth set for the story.  The exquisite tale of a man searching for the woman to end his immortality curse establishes a memory that k-drama followers will still love in the future.  It explores the boundless creativity of Korean culture through writer Kim Eun Sook’s sweet story manipulation.  See for yourself why this drama raised a cult following.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (2017)

Korean Romance Dramas

It is a whimsical love ride with thugs, a psycho, a police, a gaming company CEO and a woman with extraordinary strength.  The labyrinth is a whirlwind of cuteness, mirth and everything a fan would ask k-drama gods for a gift. Consistently endearing with amusing surprises along the way, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is a steady delightful romantic-comedy.  It reaches a heartfelt closure for a love that missed its timing, and celebrates how true love happens when you are patient enough to wait.

What made this drama so endearing is the perfect fusion of the love couple/triangle chemistry, the warranted humor even the slapstick travesty, and the charming tale of the heroine who blooms to become a woman who acknowledged her strengths and frailties.  Hers is a story that any girl can relate to.  From those love confusions, career-where-I-am-going-questions and finding her worth as a person.  This drama might be coated in chocolates and marshmallows, but it provides a tangible encouragement especially to women watching it.

Fight For my way (2017)

Fight For My Way

Fight For My Way 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. Charting consistent impressive ratings, the chirpy synergy of four friends living a common life leaves an impression on how love and happiness are always within our reach if we are brave and forbearing enough to claim it.

Fight For My Way deviates from the idealistic rom-com stories by giving us characters living a typical life while adjusting to career pressure and  bleak future. The love story rides on an apprehensive note as the main couple works on giving a chance to a love that will break the friendship they shared for a long time.  The approachable framing of the love and life struggles makes this drama a comforting chronicle due to its vivid sketches on how common people fight their ways to claim the love and life they deserve.  It displays a well-thought scenario, from kickoff to its closure.  It is a rom-com delight that draws strength from the realistic and heartfelt conversations.  It has managed to avoid K-drama cliches, thanks to the genius depiction of how normal people live to dream and to love.

Queen For Seven Days (2017)

Queen For Seven Days

Queen For Seven Days tells the story of two brothers in contention of the King’s position.   It efficiently maximizes the staple government intrigues and character motivations to balance the frustrating love line.  That is one of the reasons why even with its weep fest premise, you end up forgetting the tears and being consumed on finding the best way possible to make the people of that eccentric love triangle to be happy.

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 who know that love waits, love goes on, and love endures.  Queen For Seven Days leaves a lingering message on how an enduring love may not picture an ever after at the moment, yet it does not mean that it won’t fulfilled in the future.

We finally reach the end of this love drama countdown.  We hope you include our recommendations on your k-drama watch list.

To:  Healer@moebius.com  I’m still waiting for you

 

Out of all my fictional boyfriends that change every now and then depending on my mood, Healer is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.  *wink  I could choose from princes, time travelers, rich guys, military and police officers, doctors and the rest of white collar jobs available to men, but the night courier who takes on highly confidential work commissioned secretly and dangerously by powerful men in the society is who I want to wake up with if it is permissible.  *wink

Healer is one of the best dramas you should include in your list if you haven’t seen it yet.  It has a brilliant premise about a one-of-a-kind hero who chose to disconnect from the society, but accidentally grew attachment to a woman who drew him out of his hibernation.  The drama quaintly linked the furtive relationship of the characters while building up the plot’s climax and romance to perfection.  It is so addictive, stimulating and amusing — and that one drama you can sit on with family, friends and even your lover.  I’m almost two years late to review this drama but I hope you can find time to watch one of the best dramas on my list.

BACKSTORY

In 1992, Moon Shik was friends with four other people – Kil Ahn, Myung Hee, Jun Seok and Young Jae.  They hang out at a junk yard where his 3 friends Healer’s father and Young Shin’s biological parents ran a pirate investigative radio program tackling society issues that were being hidden to the public. 

Moon Ho who has long harbored love to Myung Hee, took on an offer by the Elder, a powerful man that secretly calls the shot on the political and economic control of the country.  Later on he married Kyung Hee who was binded in a wheelchair because of an accident.

SYNOPSIS

Meet Joong Ho aka Healer – the best night courier in town.  He lives alone without social interaction aside from his partner hacker and a young lady in the team in a wide space dreaming of buying an island for his retirement.  He is skilled in avoiding CCTV cameras and can crawl, leap and climb from one building to another.  He works with an ajumma hacker in mission impossible courier service of stealing and delivering items ordered to them by clients who are usually from the rich and famous.  

 

We opened the story with Healer being asked to receive a package by JaeIl News, a big news company ran by Kim Moon Shik.  He faced another private team hired  by Kim Moon Ho, a famous newscaster also Kim Moon Shik’s brother, but successfully completed his mission beating the group of thugs assembled by the private team.  After his defeat, Kim Moon Ho placed a mission for Healer to find his long lost niece who disappeared 20 years ago and was believed to be dead.  Off Healer to chase Chae Young Shin, a writer from an online entertainment website specializing in tabloid news.  She hero worships Kim Moon Ho and dreams of becoming an influential Broadcaster someday.  Healer managed to get Young Shin’s finger nail for DNA and Moon Ho confirmed his sister-in-law’s  daughter is alive.

 

Healer was again commissioned by Kim Moon Ho to research about Chae Young Shin so he stalked her all night and day.  Young Shin witnessed a  woman, Joo Yun Hee being assaulted by a man, Hwang Jae Guk, who turned out to be an entertainment company president while she was stalking on a top actor.  When she realized the woman will be taking her life, she rushed to save her and brought her to their house where her father agreed to be his lawyer to plead her sexual assault claim.  

But Hwang Jae Guk is under the protection of an influential, top secret group where Kim Moon Shik is also affiliated.  Moon Ho who has long confirmed the puzzle pieces he was working on will have to stop his older brother succumbed to even more wickedness.  

When Jae Il company double-crossed him by pinning him as the murderer of the man involved in the work he did for them, he found the scenario on how his recent jobs are strangely hitting something inside him. While on the job watching over Young Shin, he saw Moon Ho late at night staring at Young Shin and figured the connection of the client who asked for the paternity test and his connection as the brother of Jae Il company’s president.  He followed him and broke into Moon Ho’s house and saw the group picture of his father’s friends which he also had. 


 Wanting to unveil his recent discovery, Healer assumed a new identity the next day as Park Bong Soo and went to work in Someday News and became Young Shin’s junior for him to get information in processing the mystery of his father’s death and his friends of long ago. Meanwhile Double S courier service teamed up with Moon Ho to do tasks that will cover their organization’s evil works. 

Young Shin asked her boss to publish her article related to Yun Hee’s case but the boss refused to challenge the repercussions of the article if it gets bigger since it involved a major political party player and a famous entertainment company president.  But after Young Shin got drunk from their team dine out, she published an article without his superior’s permission and caused a ruckus the next day as the parties involved in the story made a move to silence the scandal.  

Moon Ho offered to take over the story but Young Shin declined.  Soon Moon Ho’s men cornered Young Shin and Bong Soo.  Young Shin asked Bong Soo to run and call the police but he suit up to his Healer self and came back to rescue Young Shin.

Healer trapped the leader of Double S affirming the involvement of Kim Moon Ho in almost kidnapping Young Shin, but over Yoon Hee’s case, Moon Ho’s men was able to reverse the situation by naming Yoon Hee as a gold-digger and accusing her of slander so they had to halt on their initial plan.  While Healer is getting to the point of finding out how his father died, worried ajumma hacker and his master who has returned from his hiatus asked him to take a vacation but stubborn Healer wants to get to the bottom of the questions in his head bothering him.  

He visited Hwang Jae Geuk and secured the saved videos of the women he traded to his clients while Young Shin is being mentored by Moon Ho to her new role.  Healer asked Young Shin to go to the rooftop to retrieve the video he got from Jae Guk’s safe.  She tried talking to him about the DNA test and the last time he saved her, but Healer held back on the growing emotions he is feeling for her.

Kim Moon Shik and Congressman Kim meet with “The Elder”, the head of their untouchable triangle.  The Elder castigated Congressman Kim on his reckless scandal as Kim Moon Ho bought Someday News to build a more compelling online news broadcast site.

Healer paid a visit to Kim Moon Ho to clear his name or he will expose their secret organization, but on his way out Myung Hee was on the door and called him Jun Seok after Healer’s resemblance to his late father. Just as Healer taunted his superior’s to reveal the relationship of the woman who called him his father’s name, his master interfered and confirmed Myung Hee’s identity as the woman in the group picture.  Young Shin almost get to the verge of his connection to Moon Ho, but  the latter was able to dodge the tough spot he was on.

Sang Soo from double S met with Moon Shik and disclosed Young Shin’s details and we get a flashback on how Myung Hee asked Moon Ho to find Ji Ahn who was left near the garbage bin when their whole family fled after learning they will be chased by the people behind the risky scoop they got.  Moon Shik found Ji Ahn, but lost her when he bought a drink for her in a nearby convenience store.

The Elder learned from Moon Ho’s psycho secretary Oh about the latter’s wavering heart out of the guilt he has been carrying from the death of his friends.  He ordered Secretary Oh to give a warning to Moon Ho by trapping Young Shin in a broken elevator, but ajumma hacker alerted Healer and saved her from that near death experience.  Trembling from the experience, she worriedly thanked him for saving her life again and just as he walked away from her, it dawned on him how the woman he has been protecting has understood and accepted him without asking anything in return.  He went back and scoop a sweet kiss under the falling snow.

After Young Shin’s elevator encounter, Moon Ho rushed to warn his brother not to touch Young Shin or he will lose Myung Hee once she learned the truth that her daughter is alive, but the latter doesn’t know about what the Elder commanded his psycho assistant and that Ji Ahn was still alive.  Young Shin called Bong Soo from a telephone booth and cryingly confided how she is waiting for someone to meet her but worried that he will not come at all.

Young Shin confided to Bong Soo how her heart fluttered with Healer which made our hero smiled as his protective instinct has long been hooked by Young Shin without him realizing it.  Ajumma hacker and Master deduced how Healer/Jung Ho has finally fallen in love with a woman but it gets complicated because she is the daughter of Kil Ahn who was supposed to be the friend his father killed.

It was Congressman Kim’s press conference and Moon Ho’s company can’t get through it so he sent Young Shin and Bong Soo for a make-over and pretended to be attending a wedding on the same hotel of the conference.  Young Shin successfully threw in questions that made Congressman Kim felt off guard and was broadcast live on the internet website.  Back on the villains’ den, they were left no choice but to drop Congressman Kim as a Seoul mayoral candidate.

The Master met Jung Hoo to clear the things he wanted from his father’s picture only to worsen it by learning that his father committed suicide because he killed someone.  The Master challenged Jung Hoo to find out the real truth behind his father’s death by finding the person who took the group picture as he strongly believed his father won’t kill anyone.

Healer went to Moon Ho’s place, revealed his identity and questioned him about the missing pieces of the puzzle he was trying to solve just as Moon Ho found Young Shin’s cellphone on Bong Soo’s jacket.  Healer offered Moon Ho his night courier service in exchange of the story from 1992 but he made an agreement for him to reveal himself first after using Young Shin’s cellphone as a bait.  Moon Ho made Jung Hoo remembered a memory from his childhood where he played with a young girl.  Healer confirmed his identity as Joon Seok son and recalled the uncle who used to baby sit for him.  Moon Ho told him about who his father supposedly killed which made Jung Hoo frustrated because he was Young Shin’s daughter.  He challenged Jung Hoo to clear the suspicion on his father’s murder accusation.

Healer conversed with ajumma hacker on how he will continue working on Someday News and blabbed about his fondness over Young Shin and his plans to clear his father’s name so that he can like her freely.

Hwang Jae Guk committed suicide after Someday News’ exclusive online broadcast.  Moon Ho and Jung Hoo went to the old dumpsite to start unveiling on the what-happened-in-1992 project.  

Ajumma hacker told Jung Hoo about Young Shin’s email and intention to go on a midnight movie date with him without him showing himself but just his presence.  Jung Hoo and ajumma prepared a candle lit pathway and stuffed toy for their first movie date.  They sat silently watching the movie.  When the movie ended, Jung Hoo reached for Young Shin’s hand and held it tightly.  

Healer went to retrieve Joon Seok’s confession file but found it empty so he used his teue identity to get the information relating to his father’s death.  Moon Shik was alarmed of Jung Hoo’s visit for his dead father’s file and went to meet him directly.  Myung Hee who has started being suspicious of Moon Shik feigned ignorance when she saw their guest.  Jung Hoo learned about Myung Hee’s lost daughter Ji Ahn and confirmed with Moon Ho that Ji Ahn is present day Young Shin. Moon Ho explained that she had to hide Young Shin because he had to protect her. Jung Hoo denied him of involving himself to them anymore even with Moon Ho telling him how powerful their enemies were.

Jung Hoo conversed with ajumma on how she really cared for him thats why she tried to make his connection with Young Shin break. She knew about their fathers’ backstory so she didn’t want him to get hurt but Jung Hoo bluntly revealed that he can’t run away and just want to protect Young Shin because he liked her a lot.

Moon Ho and his Someday team went full throttle in attacking Kim Moon Shik with their online broadcast.  Jung Hoo asked Moon Ho to not make Young Shin in the dark and revealed everything but the latter wanted Young Shin to learn everything on her own.

Meanwhile Moon Shik threw a bait to catch Healer by using his mother after ajumma tracker was alarmed that the psycho assistant met with his mother.  Healer was disarmed by a poison gunshot but was rescued by his Master.  Ajumma hacker called Young Shin to find Bong Soo and took him to the hospital. While tending to sleeping Bong Soo, he reached for her hand and she suddenly realized the feel of Healer’s hand and realized Bong Soo and Healer were the same.

Master Young Jae was transferred from Moon Shik’s Men to the police station.  Young Shin pretended that she doesn’t know Healer’s identity yet.  The Master was interrogated by cyber police Yoon Dong Won but the poison given by Secretary Oh kicked in and killed the Master after admitting in to all Jung Hoo’s recent works.

 

Healer went off the radar after his master’s demise so ajumma  hacker was left no choice but to bring life to him by sending Young Shin.

Jung Hoo tried pushing her away but he surrendered the idea and let the pain in his heart washed away by Young Shin’s warmth.

Moon Shik finally confirmed Jung Hoo and Healer’s identity and was apprehended on how everything will turn out if Myung Hee the only thing he wanted in life will know everything soon.  Healer and Young Shin proceeded to obtaining information to support the news they are working on about Hwang Jae Guk’s suicide.  Moon Ho confirmed that his brother paid a man on Detective Dong Won’s team.  He made an agreement with Dong Won to get a scoop on the police officer who poisoned Healer’s master.  The police officer called Moon Shik’s assistant as he planned his escape route but Healer held him binded until Detective Dong Won’s team came.

Someday News aired the story of Moon Shik’s connection to Ki Young Jae’s death to ruin his Seoul Mayoral candidacy campaign.  Myung Hee almost reaching his breaking point wondering about how much lies her husband has been hiding refused to talk to Moon Shik. The Moon brothers had a phone spat and raised war to one another.  

The next day Myung Hee called Young Shin agreeing to an interview but Moon Shik quickly get to where the game is heading and asked her to spare some time for him.  Moon Shik asked Secretary Ahn to divulge the made-up lies of Healer killing people to frighten Young Shin adding the murder of Jun Hoo’s father to his friend.  Moon Ho rushed to Jae Il news and finally told Young Shin who her real mother was.  

Jung Hoo worked with ajumma hacker in tracing the interview files needed to absolve his father’s supposed crime not realizing that Moon Shik and his team already placed a bait. 

Young Shin called Jung Hoo about the revelation she had that day so he had to rush back to be at her side.  While thinking over the events of her day, Young Shin felt frustrated about being kept in the dark.  When she mustered to get back at her feet, she picked up the case files and realized Jung Hoo’s father and her father’s connection.  Jung Hoo arrived at Young Shin’s room and she trembled at his sight signaling she figured out everything.  He reached for her but she can’t help but act cold and stepped back so Jung Hoo had to walk away promising he will find the truth about their fathers.  Young Shin ran to catch up on Jung Hoo, embraced him and made him promise to come back even without not being successful with securing evidence.

Jung Hoo met with the police who took his father’s statement.  He learned how his father’s statement was fabricated and that how he has a tape recording of the interview.  Ajumma hacker thru Myung Hee’s bug information alerted Jung Hoo that Moon Shik’s men tailed them through the police.  Jung Hoo fought with Moon Shik’s men but the police got hit by baseball bat causing his death and making Jung Hoo appeared to be the culprit.  Before the police faded, he managed to tell Jung Hoo three numbers.

Secretary Oh was released from the jail and went back to Moon Shik’s house on the same day Young Shin visited Myung Hee.  Jung Hoo rushed to the location while Secretary Oh reported to the Elder.  The Elder ordered Secretary Oh not to reveal it to Moon Shik having known that he will fall apart is Myung Hee left his side.  Jung Hoo scared Secretary Oh and while fumbling on things at Moon Shik’s study room, he saw his Master’s charnel house documents and realized that the numbers given to him by the dead police was for a charnel house – his father’s charnel house.  Myung Hee narrated the story of what happened in 1992 to Young Shin and suffered an attack in the process.  Young Shin finally realized why she wasn’t able to talk when she was young as it was the last thing her mother told her to do.

Moon Shik met with the Elder to proceed with their future plan.   Someday News prepared to go on a live internet broadcast uncloaking the events of 1992 as Jung Hoo and Young Shin headed to the field site to support the report.  They went to So Jung Seok’s charnel house and went to retrieve the confession tape but acted as a decoy to thwart the men chasing them.  Jung Hoo’s junior already emptied the spot before they came and delivered the parcel to Someday News team.

Jung Hoo was captured and was brought to where Elder’s location is.  On cue his meeting with the Elder was captured to live online feed through his camera glasses.  The broadcast narrated how Kil Ahn and Jun Seok stumbled on a secret group that manipulated politics and laws to suit their taste.  Kil Ahn was caught by the men and killed him as Jun Seok fled with Moon Shik from the scene.  The same organization – Farmers is led by the Elder who recruited Moon Shik with the promise of making him powerful and letting him live with Myung Hee by his side.

Moon Shik retaliated by doing and impromptu interview to answer allegations about his candidacy and his relationship to the Elder. 

 

He reverted his current predicament by attacking Moon Ho’s irresponsible journalism move and made himself shine by presenting how he has fought for press freedom in the past.  Moon Ho received summons from government offices and the office was ransacked following his brother’s attack.  

Moon Ho was abducted by Moon Shik’s men so Jung Hoo left Young Shin to rescue Moon Ho.  Young Shin was caught by psycho Secretary Oh and held her captive while Moon Shik’s men coaxed Jung Hoo to reveal a tip they got from Russia and to state his involvement in the recent killing of the police witness while Young Shin is on the brink of being poisoned.  

He agreed to state the forced confession and went off radar to catch the Elder’s secretary.  Myung Hee finally left Moon Shik and went to Someday news for interview.  They disclosed a bridge accident that involved Omega Investments where the Elder is also affiliated to present their final story of the illegal venues of where the Elder’s money is coming.  Jung Hoo secured the finger prints of the dead police’ culprit and ajumma hacker handed it to Detective Dong Won.  

Unfortunately, ajumma hacker took the hidden bait of Secretary Ahn so she had to leave her technology crib just as Jung Hoo penetrated their headquarters.  Jung Hoo rushed to help ajumma and they stayed at Young Shin’s place in the mean time.

On the final win or lose match to end the Elder and his men, Someday news had to broadcast an interview with a biochemistry researcher who was a witness on a bacteria research to contaminate the public drinking water so that privatization will take place.  The research harmed and killed village people where the tests took place.  The company behind the research was also led by the Elder.  The villains pulled another shot by publicizing Jung Hoo’s confession so he was left no choice but to join Elder’s camp.  

Young Shin was able to lead the researcher to the rest room for an interview but Healer took on his role with the villains and dragged the researcher out.  They ran and chased each other and finally Detective Dong Won fired a shot to Healer.

It turned out that the heroes devised a plan to get rid of Jung  Hoo and Healer’s identity while catching the last story to put the main antagonist to jail.  

STORY AND SCREENPLAY

As a night courier serving privy and expensive tasks, Healer’s routine life changed after his encounter with a woman connected to the death of his father.  What made me like the drama a lot is how the story telling was focused and neatly tied up without room to uncalled for sub plots.  It moved engrossingly while uncovering the link of the main characters in the past and their children in the present time.

The writing made the audience cheer for the characters and even feel the heart fluttering romance that built up for the lead couple while being excited on how the main conflict will be resolved.  I think most girls will agree that Healer’s story just held us breathless and those moments when he kissed Young Shin we felt it leaving the TV screen like we were all kissed by him too.  *chuckles  His enigmatic charm will make any girl want to be in his arms for protection.   

The story’s main conflict focused on peeling the truth behind the lead couple’s fathers’ death while journeying on their fated love.  It aligned to Healer’s character strength to propel the excitement while he did his gripping missions… circled on Young Shin’s character as the focal tug-of-war battle between the Moon brothers’ villain and hero complicated relationship and surged high to the my-father-might-have-killed-your-father-but-i-promise-i-love-you-and-i-will-protect-you love plot of the main leads. Healer justified the superb writing with how the characters went passionately driven to bring out a scintillating storytelling.

While a lot progressed in the story, it never missed it steps in binding the romance, the back story and the conflicts together.  It made use of the parallel plot about upright journalists in presenting the same events of the characters in the past and the present.

Song Ji Na is a seasoned TV writer but it amused me how she pulled a modern story that will make superhero movie romance plots look stupid compared to Healer and Young Shin’s love line.  Even with Faith, she has shown a commanding conception of how each role players would give justice to the shifting of the narration.  She was patient in explaining the smallest details without losing the thrill of the conflict.

CAST AND CONFLICT

Having Old Boy’s Yoo Ji Tae on board is already a reckoning force in the cast but the drama has such impeccable main leads and supporting characters that stayed focused and immersed in their roles hence giving such an impressive life to the story.

Healer’s role is one that will sweetly haunt women in their dreams.  Ji Chang Wook pulled his kickass character so well I can’t associate him anymore but with Healer.  

The bromancenemy between Moon Ho and Moon Shik left me annoyed on how their blood relationship inhibits themselves to go all-kill on their endless battle of their opposing views.  The Master-apprentice relationship of Healer and Young Jae although short, brought life to building our main hero’s integral presence as well as tying up the mess of what happened to the friendship circle that he once belonged to.  The ajumma-healer partnership was the most amusing connection in the drama, it was even more fun because ajumma who likes making kimbap and knitting wowed me with her acting as an invincible hacker that defies the cyber police and tricks in the country.

There were small problems that were laid along the way to boost the main conflict of how the protagonists will bring justice to their fathers’ death by ruining the villains through innovative news broadcast.  In this crime-romantic-drama-thriller premise, the story got so intoxicating because it assimilated Healer’s Promethean skills and heartfelt media coverage to battle the conscience-less power players of the country.  When your cast is smart and the writing is nifty, there’s no way the notes will not be hit.  That is the case for Healer.  I would also like to commend how I enjoyed Healer’s theme music on its placement in the drama and how the villains even with their old personas masterfully made the lives of the heroes hard by utilizing their vile ways.  

RATINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

Healer is one of the best dramas of all time in my list.  I refused to number them because there’s not much on my list.  It’s already hard for me to fall in love with a kdrama so I always go for ingenious plot and how the cast suited up to their roles in bringing out the beauty of the story.

HOW MUCH I ENJOYED IT:  10/10

HOW I RECOMMEND IT:  10/10

GRADE: A+

The Sweet and Upbeat Memories of our 20’s: Because It’s the First Time Korean Drama Review

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Everything about this drama screams about the kind of friendship, worries and love confusions we had in our early 20’s.  The story was narrated unadorned but the characters were limned delightfully.

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Tae Oh, Song Yi, Ji Ahn, Ga In and Hoon are five childhood friends who have relied to each another while battling the challenges of braving the world where they are expected  to face failures  and not warranted to give up on it. 

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The age when they have the freedom not to rationalize loving someone, but are restricted to chase their personal dreams because they either doubt themselves or they are forced to go against their will by their families. 

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These hinged friends experienced life cruelties from their own families and unfortunate events, but they have managed  to shelter one another and gave strength to overcome their battles.

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Tae Oh the rich boy of the group had Song Yi as his first love and best friend.  When he thought he was able to escape in his crazy first love shadow he courted a lady at school, but whenever Song Yi is in need of him, he just felt compelled to be with her making his girlfriend jealous.

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Song Yi struggled with her mom while growing up after her father departed early.  To make the situation worse, her mother ran away leaving Song Yi and her sister.  She was left no choice but to plead Tae Oh to shelter her for the mean time.  Song Yi has long harbored affection towards Ji Ahn. 

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She thought it was mutual, but when she confessed, he had to let her down because he can’t entertain dating while he chasing his dreams and resolving the fnancial problems he and his father have.
But seeing Song Yi’s deflated self after the rejection, he pleaded come-what-may and feigning their relationship to the group they started dating.

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Hoon who came from a family of intellectuals was a disappointment for not having something he can be praised for.  Finally he was inspired to try theater acting and with Ga In’s encouragement, he pursue a new-found dream. 

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The group has been shielding Ga In in her own happy world.  They dared not to wake her up to the reality that her father died a year ago.  She vocally admitted her liking to Tae Oh  not realizing Hoon likes her a lot.

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The story moved in presenting their usual bickerings and fun times and hit the conflict of Tae Oh finally waking up to the truth that he loved his girl best friend even when he finally got his dream girl.  No spices.  No heaviness.  Just culminating to the main lead’s decision to let go of his one sided first love. 

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Yes I wish it would have been longer but given the simplicity of the  plot, it wouldn’t give a justified stretch.  It was a nice watch while you are on it, but won’t leave a lingering impact after.

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But if you want a short, feel-good 20’s drama that you can finish in one sitting on a weekend or when u want to feel distracted, “Because It’s The First Time” would serve the purpose of entertaining you.  Sweet and upbeat… I’m sure this friendship story will make you remember those blithe days of being wild, young and free. -jediprincess ♡♡♡

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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

John Kim – the long awaited solution to women’s weight loss problems: Oh My Venus Korean Drama Series Review

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Forget the grueling gym work out, home yoga sessions and sadness inducing diet plans… Just allot 2 hours in 2 days watching Oh My Venus and you will miraculously lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks. It’s true. No hidden agendas, no diet pills, and no aggravating body pains. Sign up for a 14-day trial period at Coach John Kim’s Venus boot camp and see for yourself what the rest of the women who tried the program have been talking about. *chuckles

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Seriously now, if they want a solution to the alarming woes of women struggling to keep up with their weight, they should hire So Ji Sub oppa to be their personal trainer and the world will be a better place. *giggles

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Oh My Venus went to the typical Korean drama rom-com milieu of a rich heir who fell in love with a normal girl but with a fitness program twist. Kang Joo Eun was a feisty Korean lawyer with a steady long-time boyfriend. She was living a calm life and the only concern she has was her weight loss struggle.

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She used to be the high school boys’ dream in her hometown Daegu, but life’s complications took over and she failed maintaining her goddess self. She eventually lost her boyfriend to an old chubby law school friend who managed to discard her old fat self.

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Wanting to reclaim the self-esteem she has been losing, Joo Eun took the opportunity of forcing herself to be coached by a famous weight loss trainer, John Kim, when she chanced upon their identities after retrieving their belongings which was left in her possession. When John Kim’s crew was visited by Joo Eun to impose herself on taking their training, she assumed the manager was John Kim and not Kim Young-ho, the crew was forced to accept her request to shut her mouth in publicly declaring John Kim’s hiding in Korean soil following a scandal he had with a famous Hollywood celebrity. They went on the quest to recover Joo Eun’s Venus body though unbeknownst to Joo Eun, the training was not being done properly.

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Young Ho unfortunately witnessed Joo Eun’s love humiliation with her old flame and has stood by her side to salvage her depleted self-worth. With Joo Eun’s unfailing determination, he corrected her initial understanding of who John Kim was and decided to formally coach her and bring her back to life. Sparks eventually connected them together and just as Joo Eun’s body fats were falling, they too began falling in love with each other.

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I could stare at So Ji Sub oppa’s steamy self all day and it won’t still suffice the sweet craving I feel for him.  He’s my dream guy, a manna from heaven and the only arms I dream being imprisoned with. hahaha Hallyu land is like a big aquarium of hot guys , but So Ji Sub oppa’s cold exterior and warm heart is just a solid punch on why he’s able to pull his cliché character in this drama and trance a multitude of women to an intoxicating bliss. Yup I’m not ashamed that my religious following of “Oh My Venus” stemmed from my undying one-sided love with him and I can’t be any happier when the story enticed me with enough Kim Young Ho’s smoking topless exposure and knees-weakening gaze to keep me from being inspired to the fitness goal the drama was trying to impart. So there drama… mission solved! *giggles

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But seriously, I already outgrew the over-used rich guy-normal girl love story setting, but for the lightness and the girly-drooling moments, I would forgive the shallow conflict of this drama. Oh well and because anything is forgivable with So Ji Sub oppa in it.  But it would have been nice if they push it to Joo Eun’s initial dream to recover her old Venus self. Putting that Young Ho’s family’s company problem conflict was a bit awkward for the plot. It was not fitting.  Since they presented Young Ho’s broken self, I think they should have followed that lead.  There’s a lot of emotional struggles for couples in their 30’s because most tend to not unpack their baggages so they could have circled in their plot.  They could have lengthened Joo Eun’s rally to win Young Ho’s rich family to make the drama even more sassier and feel good.  But anyway, I got what I bargained for, if not for Joo Eun and Young Ho’s chemistry I would have really pouted.

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I want to commend on the show’s drive to encourage women with weight worries to lighten up and push themselves to be even more disciplined in following their fitness programs as it would be a propelling force to reclaim their confidence and to live a robust life.  If you can get a supportive partner/boyfriend with that then you are definitely on the right track.

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With ample cutesy love scenes and charming on screen adorable couple, this rom-com offering will wear out a week’s work stress. If you want an uncomplicated blithe and feel good love drama, this will definitely satisfy your craving. Add So Ji Sub on the side, and boy it’s definitely a winner all throughout. –jediprincess ♥♥♥

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The love that was there all along (Bubblegum Kdrama Review)

 

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I think out of all friendship-turned-romance dramas this year, Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah’s story in Bubblegum is perfect for 30-ish working people who struggled and are struggling to keep up on the sad truth that dealing with a broken heart and learning to accept a new love have different approaches as you age along.   It was such an enamoring narrative that drew strength from the free spirited and natural on screen connection of the lead couple.

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Brought by their parents’ friendship, Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan grew up to be childhood best friends who always rely to one another. Haeng Ah’s mother died early as Ri Hwan grew up not knowing who his father was. His mother, a former daughter of a rich household left her family to raise her son alone, and with the help of Haeng Ah’s father who ran a restaurant she has managed to finish her residency in the hospital by leaving him in Haeng Ah’s father’s care. Unfortunately Haeng Ah’s father passed away early too and so she was taken to stay with a distant aunt. Her uncle came to rescue and asked Ri Hwan’s mother to let her stay in their house while he provides financial support for her. Haeng Ah was taken in but has always been careful in the presence of Ri Hwan’s mother who has mixed treatment towards her because she reminded her of her father whom she used to love.  

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Working as a Radio PD, Haeng Ah got involved in a cold relationship to a Senior/high-ranking officer in the radio station. Though she has loved the man deeply, she got tired of not being able to hit his priorities. When Ri Hwan learned about her new love misfortune, he did everything in his power to help her moved on, and in the process realized that his brotherly love has progressed to a romantic one. Haeng Ah who has learned early that she cannot date Ri Hwan because his mother will not agree to it mustered the right reasons and denied Ri Hwan’s love declaration but soon enough faltered and accepted the love that should have been hers all along. Ri Hwan who was set up to date a chaebol family daughter politely declined the one sided love and also chose to be with the love he had not realized to be there all along. When Ri Hwan’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the couple battled the odds and was initially defeated when Ri Hwan was left with no choice but to give up on Haeng Ah thinking of a future she will have with him if his mother’s disease will be passed on to him. Persistent Haeng Ah refused to be despondent and dauntlessly worked on making Ri Hwan realized that he has nowhere else to go but in her arms. In the end, they both chose to be happy and got back together while taking care and building memories with Ri Hwan’s sick mother.

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It is sadly evident that the conflicts raised in the story were not tied up neatly. It was like probably hoping that Lee Dong Wook princey face can fade away the misses of the drama. It came very strong with how the characters communicated intrepidly and genuinely but fell short because of the wayward movement of the story.  It was a case where the beautiful characters were not justified by a well written fiction.

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Although it got derailed on the closing episodes and the mom-doesn’t-want-us-to-be-together was misplaced and later on forgotten, I have enjoyed the heartfelt confrontations, the peaceful conversations and the life and love realizations. It was a consoling chronicle until the mom-got-Alzheimer’s plot, and less that annoying cliché, it would have been a perfect melodrama as a whole.  It did end up warm and happy for the love birds but the writing was not polished. It was ardent but somehow all over the place. If not for the unfeigned portrayals of the lead couple, I would have given up on it. But because it had me hooked on fast to cheer for the literal written on the stars love for Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan and the blossoming of the romance from the friendship tested through time, I sent them off with a smile on my face. Bubblegum is not a solid offering but it will keep you calm and comforted. -jediprincess ♥♥♥

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Love me when I’m pretty, love me when I’m not

 

 

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I would consider two themes evident for this year in kdramaland… friendship-turned-romance and redeeming-a-woman’s-old-glow.   These two were present in the recently concluded love tale of childhood friends turned sweethearts who lost contact for a long while and met again at different expectations and fears more than 20 years after.

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During their childhood, pretty Kim Hye Jin has been chubby Ji Sung Joon’s bestfriend but they were separated when Sung Joon moved to a different location. It was a freak coincidence that Hye Jin inherited her father’s flushed cheeks and her crazy curls have become unmanageable making her swan-like childhood features vanished. Things didn’t turn out well in their family business so Hye Jin grew up being frugal and relying on her endless part-time jobs.  Despite the reversal of their fortune, she was content with her loving family and bestfriend Oh Ha Ri’s support system. Her persevering nature and optimism finally paid off and she landed a job in a magazine company and to top the sudden positive surge in her life, she was contacted by her childhood friend Sung Joon who will be coming back to the country indefinitely.

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They agreed to meet but before their scheduled meeting Hye Jin got cold feet when her chubby friend emerged to be a dashing debonair after 20 years and was doing well in his career. She arranged for her stunning and rich best friend Ha Ri to assume her identity as she doesn’t have the confidence to meet him. But fate led them two together when Hye Jin was transferred to the Creative team as an assistant to the flagship magazine “The Most”. Ha Ri went on Hye Jin’s back by continuing to pretend that she was Hye Jin as she fell in love with Sung Joon’s sweet and kind personality but Hye Jin and Sung Joon are continuously being tangled with one another.

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Hye Jin earned Sung Joon’s ire when she claimed responsibility to an error in their on-site photo-shoot. She was fired right there and then and when Sung Joon calmed down he tried to appease her and offered her job again. Hye Jin initially declined the offer but after witnessing her father’s hardship in having old printing equipment, she summoned her filial love, did a make-over of herself and surprised everyone in the office with the upgraded pretty version of herself.   Sung Joon got caught in the realization that he is also falling for Hye Jin but was already tied up with Ha Ri. To complete the love square Hye Jin also grew fond in the eyes of a celebrated writer disguising himself as a feature editor in the magazine Kim Shin Hyuk.

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When Sung Joon thought Hye Jin got caught up in a car accident, he rushed to her aid and made her numb with his loving embrace. Confused at her situation, Hye Jin decided to return Sung Joon’s love but just as she was about to accept him, she learned about Ha Ri’s pretension.   Unable to place herself between her love for Sung Joon and for her bestfriend, Hye Jin decided to wait for Ha Ri to reveal everything to her on her own and just when Ha Ri planned to tell the truth to Sung Joon, he was one step earlier and realized her lies on his own.

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He rushed to see Hye Jin and made up for the lost times. Shin Hyuk revealed to Ha Ri how Hye Jin already knew her lies but was still kind enough to wait for her correct her mistakes. Hye Jin saw her bestfriend cried big time and it dawned on her that she must have really loved Sung Joon.   She tried to push Sung Joon away and after never-ending I-should-love-him-I-should-love-him-not pondering, and after a heart-to-heart talk with Ha Ri, she decided to go for her dream love.

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“She Was Pretty” was your typical rom-com drama tailored to make you feel giddy and warm. It will excite you while the story unfolds but it’s not something that you will keep dearly in your heart like the romcom classics.

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The characters were all amusing in their own right, but I gave Choi Si Won, the biggest applause among the cast for his perfect rendering of the quirky second male lead character. While Park Seo Joon is beautiful and Hwang Jung Eum is at her usual best although with slight hyperactivity, they were able to present a love couple you will root for.

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The conflict’s lightness was an affirmative note in the story as it worked on the characters’ connection and sticking on their rational thinking come what may. I felt a bit of annoyance toward Ha Ri, but she beautifully redeemed herself by confronting Hye Jin to stop shielding her from the pain and accept the happiness that she deserved.

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Neatly narrated, the always encouraging vibe of the heroine carried on sincere lessons about how much pain and understanding you can give to salvage a friendship that is more than a family and how much we have to give it to ourselves the limitless opportunities and love that fate won’t give us right away. Hye Jin just like our usual rom-com lead girls pursued love and dreams the best way she can by not sacrificing the happiness that she can create on her own. With her perfect hero who wanted to support her all the way with her personal bucket list, I witnessed a romance that is soon fading in our generation that is being supportive to our lover’s personal goals while maintaining a relationship dependent to a genuine love and unwavering commitment.

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Next to chocolates, honeyed and heart-warming kdrama romcoms can help you survive melancholia and routine weekends. Uncomplicated with its romantic approach, Hye Jin and Sung Joon’s love story will surely hit your love veins. -jediprincess♥

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Chasing True Love and Dreams 20 years Late: Twenty Again Series Review

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Almost each year, a women-empowerment-inspired Korean drama would hook me to become a faithful follower that even hopeless-romantic me can’t understand. Most of the time this type of drama also induce your desire to push harder in completing your bucket list, just like what it did to me. For this year, we have “Twenty Again”, the story of Ha No Ra and her quest to discover and redeem herself twenty years late.

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The premise of Twenty Again is about a woman, Ha No Ra, who married young and has lived her life taking care of her son, Kim Min Soo and husband, Kim Woo Chul. After 18 years, Woo Chul proposed a divorce agreement which will be effective as soon as their son enters college citing Ha No Ra’s inability to be on the same intellectual wavelength with him. Around that time, she learned that she was dying and also chanced upon her close friend in high school, who secretly loved her then. In her goal to match her husband’s intellect, she decided to enter college and landed on the same school where her husband and son are attending. Her close high school male friend, Cha Hyun Suk, a popular theatre producer is also a professor in the university. Ha No Ra has been Cha Hyun Suk’s first love but due to her leaving the country abruptly after high school and not even paying respect to her grandmother when she passed away, Hyun Suk has unresolved grudges towards her. When Ha No Ra accidentally dropped her diary, Hyun Suk learned that she was dying. He didn’t know that the dying diagnosis was a mistake incurred by No Ra’s doctor and started working on fulfilling his first love’s bucket list.

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Later on when he learned that she was not dying anymore, no matter how hard he resisted in not caring for her anymore, there was just an invisible love thread that connected them together. He also uncovered the truth about Ha No Ra’s husband’s (Kim Woo Chul) affair to the daughter of the university’s chairman who was also the person behind his acceptance as a professor in the university. Finally realizing the unhappy life, Ha No Ra has been going through, Hyun Suk decided to be his Black Knight again and shielded his friend and first love no matter what it takes to Woo Chul’s unfairness and urged her to go back to the path she wasn’t able to thread to make herself and her late grandmother proud. Ha No Ra’s kind spirit and self-sacrificing nature has imprisoned her to her husband’s grasp that when she finally learned the truth about his infidelity, she was painfully liberated from a world she has learned to accept because of love. Most Sometimes women are blinded by their innate nature to cushion whatever painstaking emotions thrown at them. They give chances because of their forgiving nature and because they dwell more in the past memories than in the future possibilities. Ha No Ra was a different case because of her functioning support system and because she realized early that she owed it to herself to make and fulfil her own dreams.

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Although the romance was languid until the last 2 episodes, I came to embrace the lack of it because the unveiling of the story focused on the heroine’s choices, failures and strength to move on and to put the past behind. There’s something resonating and encouraging to Ha No Ra’s character that made me stay cheering for her and her story. I’m sure most women who lost their dreams along the way when they were blinded by love and motherly duties would relate to her sweet but tenacious character.

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It touches how intellectual compatibility and sharing the same interest plays an integral part in marriage or relationship longevity and how the strength of a relationship relied on each other’s effort to be each other’s pillar by supporting each other’s weaknesses and encouraging each other’s passion. It was also a very nice presentation of friendship-turned-love story which I noticed was sort of the kdramaland theme this year.

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It is a story of every young girl who enjoyed what made her happy at 15… of a lady who braved the consequences of her wrong choices at 19… and of a woman who in the process of falling in love has forgotten that she once had her own dreams…

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Twenty Again may not be the flashiest drama but it has kept well an evenly tailored story without fusing a lot of negativity in the plot given the infidelity cliche. It is a reminder that you are never too late to set a goal in your life especially if you have regrets on the earlier choices you made when you were young.

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KDramaLandRoundUp: October Week 3

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Six Flying Dragons Ep 5&6

The ministers were in chaos after the news of Lord Baek Yoon’s murder erupted. Hong In Bang thought of Jang Do Jeon’s words that killing Baek Yoon would end Goryeo. The ministers were grilling Gil Tae Mi who was Baek Yoon’s nemesis. The search for who-killed-lord-baek-yoon ensued and all of the opposing factions were tracing the identity of the assassin.

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Lord Lee In Gyeom consulted the leader of Hwasadan, an intelligence agency that collates the nation’s valuable information as Hong In Bang sought Jukryong, head monk of Biguk temple who was also clueless about the situation.

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Gil Tae Mi gathered Sungkyunkwan students for interrogation while Yi Bang Won listened to the witness’ account of what happened. Someone blurted dangerous magpie, a skilled sword fighter who comes out when there were abusive Japanese pirates and was a famous storytelling subject in the market.  

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With the information he gathered, Yi Bang Won set off to the market and listened to the infamous storyteller. After the show Gap Boon, the masked storyteller’s sidekick was bullied by thugs asking for additional tax.

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She was helped by a swordfighting student Moo Hyul who was also Gil Tae Mi’s teacher’s student. He took down a fighter from a swordfighting brotherhood Plum blossom and when he told his master his first victory, his happiness deflated fast when his teacher told him that the swordsman came from an infamous group.

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Hong In Bang took charge to calm the rising strife by meeting Baek Yoon’s allies. He asked them to increase the taxes even more and to accept him as the new leader.

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Boon Yi, all grown up led the village people by planting crops in a discreet wasteland, but the governor’s men learned about their secret and killed half of their group’s population. They fled for survival but was captured by Japanese pirates. Yi Bang Won set forth to where the Japanese pirates were and met Moo Hyul who saw what happened to the poor commoners. It was no easy task to rescue the poor abducted village people so Yi Bang Won devised a strategy to take down the soldiers slowly while pretending to be members of a merchant group. But when Boon Yi was released from the sack she attacked Bang Won and Moo Hyul accidentally blurted that they came to free them which put the pirates on their feet to attack the intruders. Moo Hyul rose to the occasion and his fighter spirit saved the day in one flash eliminating and scaring the pirates.

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Bang Won advised Boon Yi that going to the magistrate’s office to complain about the massacre won’t do any good because of the existing law so Boon Yi ranted how he doesn’t have a right to speak his opinion because he has never lived the way they did.

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Worried about her, Bang Won was crossed on what he should do to help her situation and there they saw her walking all dirty from the fire and smoke coming from the magistrate’s grain storage. They bantered with the risky act she did, but she didn’t care anymore and just wanted the deceased people who were deprived with grains be able to take it in the afterlife. Taking a small wooden totem, Boon Yi, the fifth dragon made up her mind to find Sambong who previously visited her and instructed her to make use of the wasteland and to stop dwelling on her sorry life. Left with nothing to do again, she was determined to seek Jang Do Jeon’s advice.

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Boon Yi sought permission to leave their group for the meantime and while they were worrying for the expenses, Bang Won entered with his silk clothes and golden accessories. The village people tied him up naked and took all his things which they can buy. Moo Hyul confronted his swordmaster on why he lied about his ability and left his claw for good. Bang Won was rescued by his protector and after dressing up in shabby clothes saw Boon Yi talking to the owner of the room they were staying. He chased her to the grassy field and when they have pointed out clearly how she is mistreating him with all the kindness he has shown. He saw her wooden doll necklace which was the same he found in the secret room he was exploring.

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The news of unfair taxes from Baek Yoon’s land taken over by Ho In Bang reached General Choi Young and his followers pointed out how he should take action. Ddang Sae and Gap Boon listened to the talk as they were both part of the musical group performing. Ddang Sae was in a serious mode realizing that Baek Yoon being dead was not making any progress to a new world he has been dreaming.

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General Choi Young visited Lord In Gyeom and demanded him to have Ho In Bang stopped his unfair taxes to the people.  The latter upset about the scolding he got ordered to see Hong In Bang fast who was then in a meeting with Jukryong.

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Jukryong explained how he learned about the whereabouts of Sambong through his priest follower Lee Eun Chang who became a merchant at Sogam market. Boon Yi, Bangwon, Ddang Sae and Moo Yul were all at same market to seek Lee Eun Chang who was cornered by Jukryong monks but was freed by Ddang Sae. Boon Yi stepped on Lee Eun Chang’s place and was brought by the monks to their temple for questioning. They hid her as a corpse who died from the plague but Bang Won remembered the mark left when he bit her. They went to the temple but the monks came prepared and just when they will be slaughtered, Hong In Bang stepped in and they spoke about the situation.

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We saw how In Bang forced Bang Won to write a demeaning poster against Heo Kang’s father which forced the older Heo to commit suicide and how through the years In Bang has offered Bang Won to side with him but the latter was tough not to give in.

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While the scholars were debating, Ddang Sae came to rescue Boon Yi but was held up by the monks, Moo Hyul was also on the scene and was able to free and drag Boon Yi.

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Boon Yi brought the letter strip she was asked to decipher and went to the woods to crack the code through the doll necklace. While she was doing it, Bang Won who bumped with Lee Eun Chang got the same paper strip Boon Yi had. After breaking the code both of them set forth to Hamju where Jang Do Jeon was.

Now that the story is slowly tying the characters together it keeps getting better.  I like the contrasting passion of the young characters and the cunning ways of the seasoned personas.  Lee In Gyeom/Choi Young actually feels like Gandalf/Saruman *chuckles.  I look forward to the love lines and to a lot more trance moments with Yoo Ah In. *blush -jediprincess

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Sassy go go Episode 5 & 6

Cheerleading trainer arrived to the drunk high-schoolers floating in alcohol.  They rushed to go back to the school but Soo Ah burdened by the mounting pressure was left behind when they pulled over to rest a bit and pee.  They came back to look for Soo Ah but Yeon Doo hurt her ankle and took the kdrama piggyback chance ride which made me really jealous.  *pout  Soo Ah was found by Ha Joon and they raced through time to beat the opening ceremony at school.

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 Principal and her teacher minion were guarding the gate so cheerleading trainer took charge and performed an impromptu routine to cover the students getting inside the school premise.

Yeon Doo was bothered by her vague recollection of a drunk moment with Kim Yeol at the rooftop so she tried to confront him about what happened and he confirmed cooly that they didn’t.  Later when Kim Yeol was alone he recollected how he almost kissed Yeon Doo but she dozed off right at the moment.

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The cheerleading trainer divided them in two for a task to make a cheerleading routine.  Soo Ah was teamed with the Real King members as Yeon Doo headed the Baek Ho smarties.

Homeroom teacher was put in a predicament by a nosy producer who wanted to scoop about the illegal grading system done in the school and when one of the smarties acted careless and complained Yang Songsaenim brushed through her chest part while doing the cheerleading practice and it was made bigger by the rich mom’s club pushing to terminate Teacher Yang in his post.

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 Supergirl Yeon Doo wanted to help out and almost gave an interview but was dragged by Kim Yeol to lecture her of the repercussions of trying to resolve other people’s concern.  Yeon Doo’s mom also told her the same thing so she decided sadly not to pursue helping Yang saem for the mean time.  Grade conscious Soo Ah conspired with the girl who claimed sexual harassment and with that, Yang saem was ordered to exit the school.

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Ha Joon even begged his father to help the homeroom teacher but bad dad wasn’t fazed with his request.  The girl who overreacted about the sexual harassment regret her rash act and lie.  Yeon Doo talked to the girl to shake out some sense to her and in their festival performance, they raised apology and come back placards to the whole school watching.

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I am only watching this drama because Lee Won Geun is a happy pill but there’s no depth nor lingering effect this drama will give you.  It is not melancholic either but the young characters remind me of when I was not thinking much but just doing what I want.  I just want this to remain balanced with teen angst and filled with Kim Yeol’s face and I’m good.  haha  I think every girl who watches this drama would agree how our highschool prince charming day dreaming moments have Kim Yeol as the prince.  -jediprincess

 

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Because It’s the First Time (Episode 3)
After Tae Oh blurted his surprising “make me crazy” line, he muttered how he wants Song Yi to at least make an effort to appear like a woman in front of him if she has a crush on him.  Song Yi straightened out his crazy thoughts and admitted that she indeed likes someone but not him.  Humiliation poured on Tae Oh’s ego so he pestered Song Yi to spill why she likes another guy.  Song Yi walked towards him placed her hands on his shoulders and re-confirmed straight to his blushing face that he is not the guy she likes.

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Ji Ahn had a slight rebellion spree over the quality of life he had to endure with his father as Ga In and Hoon were together with the latter’s new found dream of becoming a theater actor.

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The next day Sherlock Tae Oh camped on Song Yi’s work places to figure out her crush.  He went to the gas station, school library and dragged Hoon and Ji Ahn to the restaurant where Song Yi does her part time jobs. 

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Song Yi worried about drunk Ji Ahn whose drinking habit is helping out anything moving in the vicinity.  Ji Ahn sobered up and as he returned Song Yi’s handkerchief, he told her that her crush feels the same way too. 

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Ji Ahn and Tae had a quick chat when they arrived at school the next morning about the girls who like them.  Tae Oh saw the blind date he ditched and tried to run after her but she was lost in the crowd.  The classmate who introduced the blind date mumbled how the girl thought he was weird sending text messages when she didn’t meet him and when he confirmed the face of the blind date, it turned out not to be the girl he met at the coffee shop.

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Ji Ahn opened a group chat topic of Tae Oh’s ghost date.  While he defended it to be true the rest of the gang thought otherwise.  Then Song Yi just realized the girl they were talking about was sitting all pretty beside her in the class. 

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The chat concluded with Tae Oh’s analyzation that the girl likes her and she could be the stalker who sends him  gift 3 times a year, but Ga In surprised everyone when she admits that the 3 gifts were her doing and had a ghost filled the chat room in silence momentarily.  Ga In broke the ice and invited everyone in their house for a party.

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Song Yi approached Tae Oh’s girl and introduced herself formally.  She learned a piece of information about her which she gave Tae Oh later.  

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At night as Ga In prepares the food, the guys were debating how to ask Ga In’s stalker confession but bright Ga In made it easier by verifying she was indeed the stalker. 

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Tae Oh asked her why and got another punch when she nonchalantly replied because she liked him since grade school.  Tae Oh explained how he cannot reciprocate her confession since he likes another girl but happy Ga In responded how she doesn’t expect anything but will continue to just like him to everyone’s surprise.

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Ga In bid farewell and asked Hoon to sleep with her father in the room.  Song Yi on the other end seriously talke to the remaining boys on how they were encouraging Ga In to a fault.  How they should make her face the reality that her father is dead. 

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But the next morning Tae Oh and Hoon accompanied Ga In who was imagining her father working out.  Hoon told Tae Oh not to take seriously what Ga In said last night and claimed that he is really the guy he likes while pointing out proof about his claim. 

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Song Yi got annoyed when Tae Oh told her about the morning work out.  Tae Oh explained how them boys believed that Ga In is strong enough to come out of her situation and that they are willing to wait for her.  Song Yi acquiesced to their thinking but insisted that she will bring Ga In to her father’s grave to pay respect on his death anniversary.  Tae Oh noticed that Song Yi used his washing machine and fidgeted when she laundered his underwear but she pulled Miranda Kerr’s (blind date girl) phone number and used it as a bargaining agreement for her stay in his place. 

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Tae Oh skipped his class and attended Miranda’s media class as Hoon’s mother visited her son at Ga In’s house and gave him a ticket to his theater dream. 

Tae Oh cornered Miranda/Ryu Se Hyun and recited the details he knew about her.

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Later he joined the movie club she was in and walked with her in the neighborhood while taking pictures.

Song Yi called Tae Oh and asked him to give her encouragement that it’s okay for her to confess her feelings to her crush.  Tae Oh questioned why she changed her mind when she told him she would only love him from afar. 

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Tae Oh’s mood changed after the phone call  and Se Hyun teased him that either he likes Song Yi or she is his first love.  His phone rang again with weeping Song Yi on the other line and pleaded him to meet her in their old house.  He bid farewell to Se Hyun and rushed to her crying friend.

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When Tae Oh can’t find something to wipe Song Yi’s tears, he took of his shirt and gave it to her while I swooned on the topless body and the gesture.  *chuckles  Tae Oh validated that she was rejected and insisted on knowing the identity of the man who made her cry but Song Yi refused to react. 

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Just then Se Hyun walked towards the bickering friends and they both explained the situation not to be misunderstood.  Se Hyun gave a non committal response and walked in the house when the two realized she lives in the house and they were blocking the way.

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So I’m excited to know the reason why Ji Ahn rejected her.  It has been fun to hang out with these neighborhood friends and they are really making me miss my growing up friends. 
I like the building up of friendship-turned-love premise of the story if this is where it is heading. -jediprincess

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She Was Pretty Episode 10 & 11

Hye Jin spoke with her superior at work when they were settled in Sung Joon’s car afterwhich the awkward moment coming from the dramatic hug lingered on the air as the car music played songs reminding of their very recent embrace.

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Hye Jin pondered on what has been happening with him and Sung Joon as she walked towards home.  Finally mustering her strength to reveal the reality to the man she likes, she headed back to look for him.  When she reached his place, Hye Jin saw Ha Ri talking to Sung Joon and her bestfriend’s betrayal dawned on her. 

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Sung Joon asked Ha Ri to let him rest for that day so she wasn’t able to give the letter she wrote to reveal everything to him.  Hye Jin finally pieced out the situation and opted not to confront her friend about it but went to an endless walk to wherever her feet will take her. Shin Hyuk came to her rescue and listened to her sob story.  He gave her a ride and when he asked her if she will go to Sung Joon once everything is settled, she confirmed that it’s where she is heading since their feelings are mutual.

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Hye Jin saw Ha Ri fixing her shoes to no avail.  Ha Ri told her it’s a hopeless case and that she will buy her new ones to which Hye Jin agreed for the first time.

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Sung Joon and Hye Jin were both sleepless that night contemplating about their feelings.

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The remnants of last night’s episode surged again in the morning when Sung Joon cornered Hye Jin and forced her to drink coffee with him.  Hye Jin was able to evade Sung Joon’s we-embraced-last-night-so-what-now attack and luckily spotted Shin Hyuk who saved her from that hot spot.

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Things get uncomfortable in the office  as Hye Jin tried to hide from Sung Joon’s gaze.  After the staff meeting he ordered her to bring the minutes and had her stay sitting high in front of him until he’s done reading, but just as he was trying to open the conversation again, Hye Jin stopped him and made an excuse of something she has to do.

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The Most People talked about the recent SNS update of famous writer Ten which I think is Shin Hyuk in real life.  Hye Rin came to find Sung Joon and asked him to buy her a lunch meal which he gladly obeyed.

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Sung Joon left the clothes he has to wear for the business meeting and no one wants to bring the clothes so it fell on Hye Jin’s hand.  He finally cornered her and asked her to have some tea before she leaves.  Sung Joon confessed about how he can no longer deny what he is feeling about her even if he tried to avoid it. 

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Nervous Hye Jin fumbled on the teacup after the revelation so her clothes got wet and was forced to change to Sung Joon’s clothing. Sung Joon adjusted the sweater while telling her that he didn’t mean to startle her and just want her to know how he feels.  Hye Jin who chose to wait for Ha Ri’s action even if she already wants to be in his arms opted not to respond to his thoughts.

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Shin Hyuk met with Ha Ri and revealed to her that Hye Jin learned about her lies recently but her kind heart wants to wait for her to say it first and that she believed she has good reasons for doing that.

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Ha Ri entered the house with a heavy heart and saw Hye Jin slumped down on her knees.  She apologized and thanked Hye Jin for understanding her and promised that she will return to her rightful place the next day.

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Hye Jin finished her first interview with the children’s book writer and bumped with Sung Joon in Heyri Art valley.  They went to see some paintings in a gallery and stopped on their favorite painting which I still don’t know what the title is and I’m so overdue to research about it.  *giggles  They were pestered by some nursery students on a field trip and a couple asked them to take a picture and offered to take their own picture too.

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Hye Jin finally learned that Editor Kim came to rescue her the other night and even got hospitalized because of it.  She confronted Shin Hyuk about it and he admits to it and further added how he also wanted her to worry about him.  He pulled the Jackson favor deal recorder and told her he will claim the last favor and took her to his arms.  He told her that he can’t take her as a friend because he likes her.  And yes the best second lead for this year is Kim Shin Hyuk.  ^_^

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Ha Ri and Sung Joon agreed to meet after work and when Ha Ri sent off a VIP guest.  She was about to call Sung Joon who was done with his meeting earlier when she heard someone called her name and she responded to it only to realize that it was Sung Joon who called her name.

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It turned out that Sung Joon saw Ha Ri’s employee of the month poster and Ha Ri confirmed what he just learned when he called her name and she replied.  Frustrated Sung Joon questioned Ha Ri and her identity, and she was left no choice but to disclose her lies. 

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Bewildered Sung Joon left Ha Ri and drove his car to melancholia while his brain finally processed what his heart remembers.  Flashbacks of real life Hye Jin and his memories suddenly coincided for affirmation. 

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Shin Hyuk hugged Hye Jin and told her to just be with him if she is hesitating going to Sung Joon but her phone rang and when she realized Sung Joon already knew the truth, she rushed to meet him leaving Editor Kim behind. 

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They talked and cleared the misunderstanding and had a great time finally freeing themselves from the confusing ties that kept pulling me together.  They agreed to put the past behind and move forward.

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Hye Jin rushed to their home and asked Ha Ri what happened and she revealed how Sung Joon learned the truth accidentally and how she wasn’t able to explain properly.  Hye Jin saw Ha Ri’s torn apology letter she was meaning to give to Sung Joon and ran to look for her.  She found her crying hard and felt sad how she can’t seem to figure out what’s best in their situation.

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Sung Joon was excited to go to work and bump with Hye Jin going to the office.  Hye Jin dodged his hand trying to hold hers and acted like she doesn’t remember their high school memories when he brought it up.

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Sung Joon was perplexed and annoyed at Hye Jin’s drawing of a friendship line so he interrogated her what happened overnight.  She explained how they should maintain a professional and friendly level which baffled him even more as he thought they both see each other as a man and woman.  Hye Jin can’t explain that she had to be distant because in doing so she won’t hurt her best friend.

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Sung Joon got grumpy when he overheard senior editor Kim teasing Hye Jin about Shin Hyuk that when she brought in the minutes of their meeting, he coldly muttered how she can just send it through email and paid for the regular coffee she buys him.  Hye Jin agreed and turned her back but heard him silently pleading that he can’t be just friends with her but she was saved by the bell when her superior entered the room.

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Hye Jin dragged Ha Ri back  to their house who was about to go out with a stranger.  She scolded Ha Ri who has been avoiding her but Ha Ri retaliated how she should be mad at her and pleaded that they stop their argument as she was tired.

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Hye Jin went to her house to sleep and all the family members asked about Ha Ri which irritated her even more.  Sung Joon called Hye Jin and learned from her sister that she was at their house.  Hye Jin who stepped out to catch some air was surprised to see Sung Joon.  Her parents were happy entertaining him and when his father offered him alcohol, he accepted it and just with one shot he fainted.

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Sleepless Hye Jin checked on knocked out Sung Joon and was surprised to see her parents staring at their future son-in-law’s handsome face.  She shooed them away but did the same thing they were doing.  Sung Joon woke up and he asked her if they can talk outside.  Sung Joon asked her again what changed overnight since he is having a hard time understanding it. 

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Hye Jin answered him that Ha Ri likes her so she wanted to take it slow to cushion her friend’s pain.  Sung Joon countered that it is her that she likes even then, right now and in the future.  He added that he won’t push her but he just wanted her not to run away from him.

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The whole office was flustered learning Shin Hyuk might transfer to the opposing magazine company.  Shin Hyuk entered the office and all eyes were on him about his interview but he stepped out to break the craze.  Hye Jin followed him and he denied going to New Look.

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The last magazine edition hiked up in sales so the Editor in Chief threw at them the company credit card to enjoy but warned that she’s expecting no. 1 on the next issue.  Sung Joon met with Shin Hyuk and convinced him to stay by divulging how the company needs him to survive.

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Hye Jin went home to their bare house and was nervous when a neighbor left with a lot of stuff.  She rushed to the airport and cried worrying on how her friend decided to leave when she doesn’t know how to survive without her.

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There’s something about Hye Jin and Ha Ri’s friendship that I found so amusing.  Regardless of the betrayal, each of them acknowledged their faults and knew well what they should be apologizing for and what should be comprehended no matter what.  Hye Jin is a tiringly sweet character but how she responded to what Ha Ri did to her really convinced me that she was a nice character.  She is a kind of girl friend I would want to have in a lifetime. ^_^

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P.S  I will have a separate round up for Bubblegum and The Village (if the village will give nice first 4 episodes) before I include them to October 4th week round up.  Please excuse my delayed recap as the autumn vacation held me exhausted.

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KDramaLand This Week: October 1st Week

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This will be my first entry for this project.  I aim for a brief recap only for kdrama series I follow, as time won’t permit me for long reviews.  Work still comes first before my kdrama addiction I guess.  I pick dramas to stay with based on first impressions, casting of the drama and the previous works of the production team.   Hope I will endure this project.  *chuckles -jediprincess

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She was Pretty (Ep 7&8)
Aww I finally got hooked in this.  We see Ha Ri’s selfish love digging on her bestfriend’s first love without the latter knowing it.  Just as Sung Joon recognized a strange fondness he was feeling for the real Hye-Jin, copycat Hye Jin/Ha Ri spoiled the moment by kissing him.  Sung Joon pressured from the magazine deadline went overboard and fired Hye Jin from a mistake she didn’t do.  Sung Joon tried to offer the job back after contemplating on his on-the-job-stress-rage but Hye Jin politely declined.  I hope the last minute preview is not a dream thread.   ^_^

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Six Flying Dragons (Ep 1&2)
Hello Yoo Ah In in gorgeous mane.  The series kick off episodes introduced us to young Yi Bang Won, a son of Yi Seong Gye who will later become King Taejo.  In the waning era of Goryeo, General Yi Seong Gye was summoned back to the palace with his sons to be of help in the rotten government, but his painful past with a former friend had his hands tied by the evil villain and Prime Minister Lee In Gyeom who used Seong Gye’s weakness to bow down to his command.  Yi Bang Won witnessed the powerlessness of his father that when he helped out a friend whose brother was held captive, he made a bargain to Jong Do Jeon who promised him a resolution to end the war and to take down Lee In Gyeom.  Jeong Do Jeon a brave and skilled politician proceeded with a plot to prevent war by staging a protest in the presence of the Yuan envoy administrative officers and the ministers of Goryeo government.  Such courage he shown that the people and students watching were moved and gave their bodies to protect him when the Prime Minister ordered for his capture.
Six Flying Dragon premiere was very promising so I can’t help but dig history articles again to supplement my limited Korean history knowledge.

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Twenty Again (Ep 11&12)
Ha No Ra is slowly becoming assertive and has bravely asked Kim Woo Chul to formalize the divorce.  She also confronted her husband’s woman. Cha Hyun Seok finally learned about the divorce as No Ra is starting to see Hyun Seok at a different light.  Finally Cha Hyun Seok revealed to Ha No Ra that she is his first love.

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Sassy Go Go (Ep 1&2)
This is another youth story about two high school student groups.  The first group composed of the last ranking students who teamed up and formed a dance club while the other group of students were the rich-kids-grade conscious students who study hard for their college dreams.  They got entangled after hitting back on each other during hours of practices by the dimwitted dancers and hours of study for the smarties and because of their leaders who went digitally viral because of an almost kiss captured by the villain who was desperate to get to an Ivy League school.  The premiere episodes establish Kang Yeon Doo as the leader of the dimwit-dancers’ s club – Real King and Kim Yeol as the top student and member of the elite smarties of the school – Baek Ho.  The villain Soo Ah played the part of a lady from a rich family constantly pressured by her mother to study even harder and get a Harvard education.  The principal decided to have the groups combined to participate in a cheerleading competition and pitched Real King’s revival on the line if they will win.  Quick-witted Kim Yeol saw through the principal’s action as a way of helping Soo Ah who needed activities for her Harvard university application.  Yeon Doo who used to be friends with Soo Ah learned the former’s true colors and that she perpetrated the almost kiss report.  She vowed she won’t be used by her again.  After participating in a dance contest, Yeon Doo’s dance group friends slowly leave the group because of the pressure put up by the school.  Meanwhile Kim Yeol’s best friend attempted suicide again because of depression from an abusive father and the cunning principal used it to make Kim Yeol participate in the cheering competition.  Kim Yeol asked Yeon Doo to join but she faced him bravely and said no.  Boy the lead guy will really remind you of your high school crush.  So far it is living up to its drama title.

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Because it’s the first time (Ep 1)
I have a very good feeling on this drama maybe because I like friendship circle stories.  The premiere episode introduced us to a neighborhood friends in their 20’s and their lives.  We also see a glint of love triangle on the side.  So far it’s the story of Yoon Tae O who is eager to date a nice girl to shrug of his first love emotions with his childhood bestfriend Han Song Yi.  Song Yi has been saddled with her family’s financial problems and the recent vanishing act of her mom.  She secretly likes Seo Ji An another boy in their friendship group.  I kinda like the premise of this drama maybe because we can all relate to belonging to a friendship circle.  I’m looking forward to how the story will move.

See you next week! -jediprincess

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The Doctor who Kissed the Sleeping Heiress

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Quick-paced and great on cliff-hangers, Yong Pal was almost perfect but it faintly lost balance on its finishing kick.

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Yong Pal enticed me with its exciting premise of a Prince charming doctor who saved an heiress in distress medically forced to be on coma by her half-brother who wanted the helm of the big company her father left for her.

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In order to raise money for the expenses of his sickly sister, Kim Tae Hyun was drowning in debts trying to pay a loan shark through administering discreet surgeries and treatment to gang syndicate members almost caught up by the police. He’s a part-time on-call criminal doctor and was also serving his residency at a big hospital where he is well-known to have the hands of surgery god.

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Through his quaint skills, he was promoted to work on the hospital’s 12th floor where the VIP’s are confined and was also set to do house calls for sensitive medical procedures. There Tae Hyun chanced upon the heiress, Han Yeo Jin, that was put to sleep by her evil older brother and when she woke up momentarily, she offered him a solution to his sister’s medical expenses if he will help her escape her situation.

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Pressured from the board members who were questioning the overstaying of the legal company CEO, Yeo Jin’s brother and acting chairman Do Min Joon ordered the doctors to shut down Yeo Jin completely. After careful planning with his trusted friends in the hospital, Tae Hyun managed to deceive everyone that Yeo Jin died after a surgery and had her assumed the identity of a Hanshin group employee the company took under custody to evade public scrutiny.

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Chairman Min Joon relayed the unfortunate death news of her sister and they were surprised when Yeo Jin revealed herself to her own funeral. Min Joon played the guardian card but Yeo Jin has set the back up well by asking Tae Hyun to marry her and be her legal heir and guardian. Min Joon was ousted and Yeo Jin took her throne finally.

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Conspiracies and power struggles are fundamental elements necessary to build up a strong melodrama. The heroine has had her fair share of defiance and strength which made her an interesting character. She had a superb interaction with the lead man though I would have wanted some more sweet moments for them after all the predicaments they had. The hero was oh so cool on the onset of the story but his sparkle diminished after the second half when the story’s focus shifted on Yeo Jin. True, he was instrumental all throughout but there were moments when the heroine overshadowed him which I found weird because the drama was titled after him so I was expecting that Yeo Jin’s story is secondary only to his.

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I think the conclusion was a useless do-over of the main conflict. It should have ended when she ascended to her position and had all the villains get their sad endings. But the over extension with the same scenario of her being destroyed and by something related to medicine again was a useless move. She already had her redemption so it would have been nice to see her and Tae Hyun just enjoying an uncomplicated life which they both yearned to have.

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As a whole I still like the story because it maneuvered with rising excitement as the drama unfolds. It also stuck in the power struggle conflict and the protagonists and villains moved well to the direction of annoying and outwitting each other. The characters were less frills and full of grit. The narrative was simple and yet rich with emotions. Feisty and flowing, all that was missing was a fitting ending. -jediprincess

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