The time transcending pure love of a mermaid to a conman

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A lot of expectations were already thrown at this drama even before it was airing due to A-list actors and top writer/director headlining the production.  I say it did exceptional in maintaining the fantasy, romance and comedy as it progressed along the story.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  I was so fond of Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way.

True, that it can’t be helped for it to be compared with “You From Another Star”, having the same psycho villain and supernatural love defying theme, but the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its delightful run. 

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Lee Min Ho overturned the table and took in the reign of carrying the story by leveling up to Jun Ji Hyun’s expected brilliant portrayal by polishing his comic timing halfway through the narrative.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  He owned Heo Joon Jae’s character so well that I can finally say he’s grown from a pretty face to a now versatile bankable actor.  On the other side, Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way made me cracked up a lot of times because of her optimistic approach to her new-found world.  Her love ride with Heo Joon Jae was an amusing and love-affirming watch as they learned to understand each other’s flaw and adjust when necessary in appeasing their fears and celebrating what makes them happy.

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The fusion of reincarnation plot and the mermaid-human romance appeared trite on its onset, but as the plot thickened, it felt like the mythical element was stronger as the driving point than the real-life premise projected in the story.  Another thing that was nicely done by the writer was how the melancholia of the past timeline seemed to complement the quirky flow of the present timeline.  Legend of the Blue Sea made me smile a lot and warmed my heart as I cheered on the impossible fulfilment of Cheong and Joon Jae’s reincarnated romance.  It effortlessly kept me piqued on how the plot will unfold and did not give me a slight annoyance because it came well prepared on its weekly spectacle and knows when to trigger the adorable points and cast the entrancing spell for me to stay invested on its future. 

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I struggled giving the proper love “Legend of the Blue Sea” deserves because it is airing with equally amazing dramas on its run, but I remained steadfast and faithful even with the penultimate episode’s joke.  

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The consistency of the plot while using alternate timelines of the past and the present would have gone ambiguous.  But the writer strategically switched the focal character point from the heroine on its preliminary episodes, then maneuvered to the hero halfway through the story, and converged them in equilibrium as we hit the waning events and push through the conflict resolution.  “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. 

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Having time-transcending and supernatural love defying themes appeared to be ambitious and risky due to its tendencies of not being able to expound on the development of the characters moving in the story.   But the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its engaging ride. 

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I was impressed on how the story stayed focus while fusing the two timelines by not over-using the technicalities and details, but by enhancing the emotional connection of the main leads.  Instead of me having a kdramaaddict moment like “why is Cheong physically adept in the present but not in the past?”, I was more of “come on now, he took a harpoon from the past to save her and she took a bullet for him in the present, let’s give them the ever-after they deserve”.

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I chose to say the best things about this drama given that it was steadily amazing on its ride.  Each episode was a satisfying watch that propelled me to look forward on how the story will unfold.  My only issue was the safe landing or more of auto-pilot ending on the last episode.

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Legend of the Blue Sea was strong on the candied-heart-fluttering moments of Joon Jae and Cheong, but even stronger on relaying the couple’s sweet and yet agonizing journey to endure the love they have in the present in the pretext of a human-mermaid romance impossibility.  It neatly executed the narrative by using simple rules considering its metaphysical premise.  It modernized the reincarnation plot, by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes anything and beyond everything. 

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The surreal brilliance of Descendants of the Sun

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

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

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

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

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SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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STORY & SCREENPLAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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