Flashback KDrama Review: Secret Garden

 

Hyun Bin + Ha Ji Won = I’m a happy camper! 🙂  The drama woke up my inability of falling in love again with a fictional character Kim Joo Won.  Engaging and strong performance by the characters, amusing screenplay and a story that will linger and can work as a coping pill to boredom or heartbreak.  I had high expectations about this team up, and they did not fail me.  Sunny characters, a twist worth of de Maupassant, and an endearing-classic-my-mom-doesn’t-like-you-but-i-love-you love story. 

The pairing of two of my favorite Korean actors does not need any effort to convince me to stay glued at it.  Endearing and heart flutters can be felt everywhere.  And even if there were some faulty, unnecessary plot, the acting prowess and the chemistry of the lead couple can suffice whatever there may be lacking in the story.  This is a classic example of the lead couple bringing the best to one another.

This body-swapping stunt woman and chaebol love story exceeded everyone’s expectations in nailing an experimental supernatural love story.  “Secret Garden” showed a heroine with unfazed attitude who fell in love with a rich man who did everything to make her love him too.

Now that I remember the “rain twist”.  There’s something about rain that makes it a recurring twist in kdrama stories as projected in Goblin, My GF is a Gumiho and Secret Garden.  Anyway, I loved Hyun Bin here more than his stint in Samsoon probably because I am more inclined to unusually imagined story premise.

The sparkling tracksuit, the sweet sit-up kiss and coffee kiss, the hilarious body swap, and Hyun Bin’s melting gaze were some of the things that I remember most about “Secret Garden”.  It was a breather from generic romcoms with its perfect blending of fantasy and romance and with its main love couple’s reversal of roles having a strong heroine and a weak-hearted but charming lead man.

“Secret Garden” is your drama to see when you want a kdrama marathon vacation.  It played well in keeping its excitement stable and hit a love progression where the viewers were left all cheering for it to happen.  The fantasy body-switching plot was a brilliant addition to keep the story interesting, but the strength of how the love couple communicated or should I say bicker along the way eventually realizing they were both rendered by the love bind they threw at each other unconsciously was the hook factor that is why it was a hit when it was airing.

 

A rite of passage kdrama for kdrama-addicts, make sure to include this in your watchlist if you have not seen it yet.

 

 

The Father who sold Blood for Love ( The Chronicle of a Blood Merchant 2015 KMovie Musings)

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I have watched a lot of what-i-did-for-love movies, but nothing has prepared me to the lead guy willing to sell his blood just so he can marry the girl of his dreams.  *chuckles

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Crafted in a traditional post Korean war background, the family featured in the film will leave you affirming realizations on love, family and life.  I guarantee you will love the hero of the story in his bold ways, idiot times and fatally sweet acts.

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The humble and cheerful narration from the onset of the film piqued my interest as the smooth flowing momentum when the main story conflict was inserted convinced me that it was a nice film that followed diligently the essentials of a great family movie.

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There was a scene there when he asked the woman out to eat some buns and chat, and I can’t help but giggle how dating was so laid back and yet so sincere then.  They were happy like that then, strolling in enjoying the night sceneries and just chatting.  These days it’s a different story.  ㅋㅋㅋ

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Anyway going back to the movie I had so much fun watching the love couple and the blithe storytelling of this film.  Ha Jung Woo oppa usually plays those kickass roles so it was refreshing to see him lovestruck and adorable in his character.  It was also a pleasant and nicely done directorial project for him.  The period setting was lively captured and the humor was also well-placed.  I think the simple plot, easy to follow narrative and the blending of the cast propelled the invisible thread that got me hooked with it.

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The initial main character’s dilemma of learning he raised someone else’s son and being petty after the big revelation was taken in a slight comedic approach given Sam Gwan’s established kind hearted character.  Although fighting for the male ego which took the majority of the reality bite, he wavered because of his love for the family.

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The child actor playing Il Rak has so much potential I think eventhough the acting torch was mostly handled by Ha Jung Woo all throughout the film.

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The touching scene of Sam Gwan rescuing Il Rak who was forced to do shamanic spell to call his dying father was the drawer of my first tears in the film.  The captured scene was a real life reminder of how blood relation can never be a validation to prove a family connection.  Sam Gwan showed a father is a father when he is willing to give his life for his son.

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I laughed and cried and felt warm in my heart after watching this chronicle and I greatly recommend it for a weekend family movie night.

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SUMMARY

Heo Sam Gwan has been living a routinary life in a village after Korean war.  He is constantly teased by his work friends into getting a woman in his life. 

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One day, his heart leapt for a pretty woman selling popcorn to the raving male population resting on their lunch break.  Her name is Heo Ok Ran, sadly though she was rumored to have already been spoken for by a rich guy named Ha So Yong.

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Suddenly feeling the urge to get married after experiencing love at first sight, Sam Gwan told his uncle of his plan to sell his blood which then was a lucrative way to earn money. 

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He was directed to seek Mr. Bang, a known blood merchant to help him with it.  After giving him tips of drowning himself with water and holding his bladder before the blood donation process, the doctor in charge agreed to have their blood extracted.

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They went to eat after and Sam Gwan asked Samchon Bang an advice on how he can marry a pretty girl with a boyfriend.  Sam Gwan followed the advice given to him and off he went to Ok Ran’s house to speak his sincere love intentions.  She declined going out to eat some buns as she is already full, but agreed to meet him the next day.

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Sam Gwan paraded his hard-earned blood money and bought Ok Ran perfume, some meat and cotton candy.  They sat down for lunch and Sam Gwan feeling like a king ordered delicious  food for his lady love. 

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They finished with some coffee and Sam Gwan went straight away to his business by enumerating the cost of what he spent for Ok Ran and asking her when she  will be marrying him.  *chuckles 

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Surprised at his sudden question, Ok Ran tried returning the gifts and even when Sam Gwan promised her he will work hard to provide for her each day, she told him honestly that she can’t marry him because she is engaged to So Yong.

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Unfazed of her rejection, Sam Gwan bravely visited Ok Ran’s father to introduce himself and discuss his intentions and thoughts about his daughter marrying a known womanizer.  He further pitched that he will make sure that the 30-year old pop corn business will live through and that his family name will be preserved since they have the same last name. 

 

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Ok Ran’s father liked Sam Gwan’s honest proposition and commanded her daughter to break the engagement with So Yong because she will be marrying Sam Gwan.  Ok Ran obediently followed her father and soon after married Sam Gwan.

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After 11 years, the couple had 3 sons.  They called them 1st, 2nd and 3rd happiness names, Il Rak, I Rak, Sam Rak.  Meanwhile, the townspeople gossiped about how the first child of Sam Gwan and Ok Ran looked a lot like So Yong.  But on the other side Sam Gwan is in deep belief that his first born looked a lot like him.

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Il Rak went to visit his father to bring his packed food and curiously asked his father who Ha So Yong is since he always hear people talked about how he resembled that person. 

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Sam Gwan was surprised and brought him to where So Yong’s house is and told him that he is a pompous man who used to court Ok Ran, but Ok Ran chose Sam Gwan because she loved him.  He further reversed their love story in telling how Ok Ran was pure and innocent and begged him to marry her even if he was not yet ready. 

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The sky got mad at his story so the rain suddenly poured and they went to the nearby store to seek shelter.  Sam Gwan made sure Il Rak will remember not to believe the rumors.  As he was paying the snack he bought for his son, the mailman who sought shelter accidentally gave the letter to Il Rak thinking he was So Yong’s son.

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To stop the rumor, Sam Gwan ordered a blood test and the village people gathered for the result.  He ordered Il Rak to pretend he is So Yong’s son and had him request for his blood type report to know his blood type.  In the age where DNA test was not yet available, people validated paternity through blood test, faith in your lover and facial resemblance to parents. 

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Sam Gwan strut the letter that held the blood result and explained that Il Rak should either have A (from Ok Ran) or O (from Sam Gwan) blood type, but voila!  Il Rak has an AB blood type.  Sam Gwan’s was disappointed since he knew So Yong has a B blood type.

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Sam Gwan raged to confront his wife and they sat down  to piece out the mystery of Il Rak’s blood type.  He asked if she had slept with him and she  confirmed that indeed she had one unfateful encounter with him.

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Sam Gwan depressed on the recent revelation gave cold treatment to his wife and children and leisurely cried his heart out over the unexpected betrayal to his wounded male ego.

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One day the youngest son Sam Rak brawled with one of his playmates.  He was taunted to fetch his older brothers and when he dragged his sleeping second brother, I Rak can only apologize to the big sized brother who fought with his younger brother.  They fetched Il Rak to defend them, and the brave eldest brother didn’t waste time and slammed a stone to the bully and warned him to stay away from his brothers.

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Il Rak damaged the opponent and the family was demanded to pay for the medical expenses.  Still fuming about his wife’s infidelity, Sam Gwan denounced taking responsibility and pointed his friend to go to the true father who also showed the family registry without Il Rak’s name.  Ok Ran was left no choice but to watch her things taken out from the house to cover for the hospital payment.

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Donning her prettiest hanbok, Ok Ran marched to So Yong’s house to demand him to take responsibility of his cheating act 11 years ago, but the vile man and his wife denied her request and after punching the wife, So Yong pushed her to the ground with the village people ogling the humiliating scene.

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Ok Ran went home battered and empty-handed as she pleaded her non-responsive husband to avenge her, but he remained focused on their cat.  When Ok Ran went inside the room, he noticed his wife’s dirty shoes.

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Then we see Sam Gwan back in the river where he started his get-my-first-love conquest and lectured his two sons about the cheating man who went behind his back which caused the family problem they are facing now.  He made him son promised to get So Yong’s daughters pregnant when they grow up.  *giggles

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Sam Gwan ended up going to the clinic to sell blood and bumped with the woman he also considered marrying then.  He helped her reached her house as she has some knee problems and was startled to see Il Rak waiting for him.  He told Il Rak that he is allowed to call him “father” only when his mother and neighbors are present.  They head home after getting back all their things together. 

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Sam Gwan surprised Ok Ran with their things back together when she entered their room and while he was helping her wear new shoes, the husband of the woman Sam Gwan helped earlier caused ruckus accusing Sam Gwan of raping his wife.  Sam Gwan denied it and as the onlookers feasted on the encounter, Il Rak backed up his father to end the issue.

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At night the younger children complained that they were hungry so Sam Gwan and Ok Ran helped their children imagine yummy dishes.  Feeling the urge to provide for his family, Sam Gwan went to the doctor’s office again to sell blood.  He saw his brother blood merchant pale and eating canned food but the latter quickly ended the reunion.
Sam Gwan picked up his wife who was doing the laundry and asked her to prepare the boys because they will eat out.  Annoyed by Il Rak’s happy face, he discreetly called his attention and ordered him to eat sweet potato with his grandfather.

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Il Rak went home still fixated about the yummy buns his family enjoyed.  He even ran to So Yong’s house and bargained that he won’t call him father if he will buy him some buns, but the evil dad just slammed the window.  Ok Ran who was worrying about her son confronted her husband who denied saying something to Il Rak.

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So Yong met an accident and was in coma so Sam Gwan’s family had a picnic.  So Yong’s wife went to see a shaman and his resolution was for his son to offer prayers.

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So Yong’s wife begged Ok Ran and Sam Gwan to get Il Rak for the spirit calling to be done.  She promised them that they will raise him and send him to school.  Ok Ran convinced her husband who doesn’t want to give Il Rak but after some pondering of the child’s future, they had Il Rak sat down and told him about him moving to his biological father’s household.

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Ok Ran accompanied her first born to So Yong’s house and they commenced with the ceremony.  Il Rak was being stubborn which made the wife and shaman mad.  Forced to call So Yong’s spirit, Il Rak chanted the spell given to him with a heavy heart.  He spotted Sam Gwan peeping through the window whose heart was swaying about the decision to let the son he raised go and it made him cry even more.  Sam Gwan listened to Il Rak’s tears and wasn’t able to hold it anymore.  He forced himself inside the house and took back his son and wife.PicsArt_09-25-01.40.50

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While playing in the field, Il Rak suddenly fainted and was rushed to the hospital.  The doctor recommended them to go to a bigger hospital.  Sam Gwan  ran like hell around the village to borrow money from his friends for Il Rak’s surgery. 

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Diagnosed with encephalitis, they needed big money for the operation.  Left with no options, he jumped from one hospital to another to sell blood while heading to Seoul until he fainted from too much blood extraction.

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He finally reached the hospital where his son was confined.  He called Il Rak’s name in his dazed state and miraculously his son heard his call who was at the other side of the building.  He was cast off by the hospital security and when Il Rak saw him being dragged, he rushed to be with his father.

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Sam Gwan who arrived late learned that Il Rak already received surgery because Ok Ran was able to find  a way for that.  (Not mentioned if she sold internal organ or blood, I’ll go for the former).  Sam Gwan embraced his wife and son in tears apologizing for the fate they had to face because of him.

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In the last scene, we see the family together happily munching the food they once imagined eating.

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KMovie quick peek: Closer To Heaven (2009)

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CAST:  Ha Ji Won and Kim Myung Min

Closer to Heaven was a very painful and yet love-affirming romance between a dying man who wants to live, and a woman who makes a living when a person dies.  Ji-soo was twice divorced because of her job as a she-undertaker, the love that was deprived of her, she fully realized when she met Jong-woo who will eventually die because of Lou Gehrig’s disease. This was a lovestory that will make you realize how blessed you are in a relationship because there are those who really want to love one another all the days of their lives but they have to battle death for it.

 

This movie has had me made me feel so weak with my convictions when it comes to loving someone.  You see I’m always the practical type, if I survey the situation and I know for a fact that there’s no common ground to hit, I won’t consider dating someone.  But there went Ji-soo – she knew right there and then that the man was dying but she never cared of the future together but of what she was feeling.

 

On a viewer’s perspective, the eventual outcome is already expected, but the strength of this film, was how it narrated the progression of the “sickness conflict” while the lovers involved fought hard to rely on an impossible love even on the onset.

 

A perfectly portrayed and a moving story of understanding the pain that comes when loving someone and loving someone when you are in pain.  With solid acting from Kim Myung Min and Ha Ji Won, this will touch your heart and will make you cry. Quintessential yet saddening, poignant and affecting… ^_^

and the Pink Lightsaber goes too… (Abby’s 2012 Korean Drama Picks) Part 2 of My Year-end Korean Drama Review

Last year, I started on looking back and giving my hard-earned thank you’s for these dramas and characters I really liked.  I never thought of a name, just your regular, year-end awards something, and then since my world wide web name calls for it, I guess I would have to acquiesce.  This will be my First Pink Lightsaber year-end appreciation day.  Let’s roll in my 2012 DRAMA FAVORITES.

PS:  My Basis for Choosing… Well, let’s just say if I will be asked about these dramas in 2 or 5 years, I will still remember everything about them.

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♥  HISTORY OF THE SALARYMAN – I watched Yoo Bang and Yeo Chi just as I was running out of time this year, and the splendid story and cheeky characters has earned an applaud from me.  This is the most DARING and the SNAPPIEST Drama this year.

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♥ OPERATION PROPOSAL – No matter how many times Baek Ho made me joined him in his “renovatio spree”, I remained faithful and intertwined in this I-realized-too-late-I-love-you-please-give-me-a-chance-to-prove-we-are-meant-to-be-kind-of-love.  This is the most TIME-DEFYING Romance Drama this year for me.

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♥  A GENTLEMAN”S DIGNITY – This blow-up F4 swept me off my feet with their unmatched friendship and opening anecdotes.  The wit, humor and love maturity was ever present until its culmination.  This is the Most FULFILLING Romance Drama and the Best Ensemble Cast this year.

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♥ GHOST – Riveting and Stimulating, GHOST was able to put me on an addictive level while stalking it.  This is the Most THRILLING and SMARTLY WRITTEN drama this year.

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♥ FAITH – Although slowly-paced the lingering effect of the romance, the villains and the story itself won my heart in a slow but surely and no looking back manner.  This is the Most HEARTFELT ROMANCE drama this year.

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♥  QUEEN IN HYUN’S MAN – Drawing a well-pieced plot and nailing the best time-traveling trick from the time voyaging drama pack this year, Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man was an exceptional love yarn that made me giddy-ish, girly-ish and princess-ish.  This is the Most MEMORABLE and SUPERBLY WRITTEN Romance this year.

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♥ FIVE FINGERS – I felt like I was in a trance while my usual romantic self enjoyed my favorite dysfunctional family ever. Five Fingers has managed to surprise me with the retaliation battle among the characters.  This is the Most FEISTY drama and the Most WELL-ACTED Drama this year.

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♥  ANSWER ME, 1997 – Nostalgic and a sure humor pill, Answer Me, 1997 sent me back to memory lane reliving the sweet feel of falling in love for the first time.  This is the Most CHEERFUL Romance Drama this year.

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♥  KING 2 HEARTS – The situation that brought Hang Ah and her Prince took a “now or never approach” and elevated to a strong commitment because of the efficiency of the villain.  This is the Most POLISHED Drama this year.

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♥ ROOFTOP PRINCE – Addictive and very pleasant to watch, my Joseon Beatles replica made me root for them throughout the story.  Park Ha, Prince Lee Gak and the 3 Adorable sidekicks have given me so many laughter and induced plenty of love sighs.  This is the Most REFRESHING Romance Drama this year.

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♥ THE MOON THAT EMBRACES THE SUN – It was a bracing romance that played and won over fate.  It was not that perfect but was very persistent in what it was trying to achieve.  This is the Most FATED and FULFILLING Romance this year.

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♥ GAKSITAL – A bromance defying all bromance invented… Gaksital stripped me of my feminine lines and has made me at the end of my seat because of its thrilling pace, engrossing mise-en-scene and resonating characters.  This is the BEST WRITTEN and DIRECTED drama this year.

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And Now Here’s to the Winners of Pink Lightsaber

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FAVORITE SUPPORTING MALE ACTORS

Eun Shi-kyung in King 2 Hearts

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Jo Eun Sung in I do, I do

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FAVORITE FEMALE SUPPORTING ACTRESSES

Kim Dong Ah in Wild Romance

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Im Me Ah Ri in A Gentleman’s Dignity

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BEST SCENE-STEALER CHARACTERS

The Three Musketeers of Prince Lee Gak in Rooftop Prince

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HALL-OF-FAMER-CHARACTERS

Kim Bong Gu in King 2 Hearts

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Chae Young Ra in Five Fingers

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FAVORITE KICK-ASS CHARACTERS

Kim Woo Hyun in Ghost

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Baek Yeo Chi in History of the Salaryman

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FAVORITE FEEL-GOOD CHARACTER

Arang in Arang and the Magistrate

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Kang San in May Queen

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FAVORITE BLUSH-INDUCING CHARACTER

Jung Jae Hyuk in Fashion King

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Lee Ja Ha in King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE CUDDLY BEAR CHARACTER

Park Moo Yul in Wild Romance

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FAVORITE LOVE-YOU-HATE-YOU CHARACTER

Kim Kyung Tak in Dr. Jin

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Yoo In Ha in Five Fingers

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Shunji Kimura in Gaksital

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FAVORITE LEAD MAN KISSER

Seo Joon in Love Rain

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Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

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FAVORITE I-WANT-TO-SEE-YOU-IN-MY-DREAMS-CHARACTER

Choi Young in Faith

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BEST FIGHT SCENES

Gaksital

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FAVORITE BROMANCE

Shunji and Kang-to in Bridal Mask

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F4 in A Gentleman’s Dignity

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FAVORITE ROM-COM COUPLES

Park Ha and Lee Gak in Rooftop Prince

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Sung Shi Won and Yoon Yoon Jae in Answer Me, 1997

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FAVORITE UNYIELDING ROMANCE

Kang Baek Ho to Ham Yi Seul in Operation Proposal

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Choi Young and Yoo Eun Soo in Faith

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FAVORITE PICTURE PERFECT ROMANCE

So Yi Soo and Kim Do Jin in A Gentleman’s Dignity

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Choi Hee Jin and Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

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FAVORITE VILLAINS

Jo Hyun Min in Ghost

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Ki Chul in Faith

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FAVORITE STORY

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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FAVORITE SCREENPLAY

A Gentleman’s Dignity

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BEST EDITING

King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE ENSEMBLE CAST

A Gentleman’s Dignity

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Five Fingers

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BEST IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Love Rain

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BEST DIRECTING

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE DRAMA

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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Gaksital

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FAVORITE CHOCOLATEY-SWEET DRAMA

A Gentleman’s Dignity

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FAVORITE TEARS-AND-BLISS DRAMA

Five Fingers

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FAVORITE PERIOD DRAMA

Faith

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FAVORITE TIME TRAVELING DRAMA

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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Operation Proposal

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FAVORITE TEAR INDUCING CHARACTER

Yoo Ji Ho in Five Fingers

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Eun Shi Kyung in King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE SEE-HOW-MUCH-I-LOVE-YOU-SCENE

The Skin-care Gifts to Hang Ah in King 2 Hearts

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The Beach Painting Gift to Park Ha in Rooftop Prince

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FAVORITE COTTON-CANDY DARLING SCENE

Lee Tae Sung painting Go So Ra’s finger nails in Haeundae Lovers

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FAVORITE DRAMA ONE LINER

“I’ve never felt this way before” in Haeundae Lovers

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BEST KISS

Love Rain Fountain Kiss

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Queen In Hyun’s Man Neck-tie-tip-toe Kiss

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BEST LOVE DECLARATION SCENE

Jo Eun Sung stethoscope Will you marry me? scene in I Do I Do

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Ki-Joong and Dong-Bi’s Common Law Marriage Scene in Can We Get Married

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BEST FINALE EPISODE

King 2 Hearts

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Ghost

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FAVORITE LEAD ACTRESS

Kim Hang Ah in King 2 Hearts

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Chun Hae Joo in May Queen

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FAVORITE LEAD ACTOR

Kang Ma Ru in Innocent Man

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Lee Kang To in Gaksital

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FAVORITE DRAMA CHARACTERS

General Choi Young in Faith

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Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

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Sung Shi Won in Answer Me, 1997

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It was so hard deciding on what I should pick, but I will stick to my simple rating rule.  My final stop for this year-end review, I’m hoping to accomplish before the year literally say goodbye.  

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Flight KD2012: Korean Drama Parade 2012

Hail to the year of time traveling, super natural, smoking hot lead men, equally steamy second lead men and a lot more awesomeness waiting to be unveiled. 

I was upfront Flight KD2012, and so far half-way to the year I’m much enjoying my stay here .  There are some in the list I didn’t include because…

a.  I don’t like it for reasons I don’t know either 

b.  I found the storyline not worthy of my time and

c.  I’m not a fan of the actors or the production team

P.S  My annual drama picks will be reserved for the year end so this will just be to keep up with the so far amazing 2012KDrama ride.

♥ Wild Romance (Jan-Mar) ♥

Dear Wild Romance,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

It was one hell of a sweet, wild ride, and although the romance manifested itself in the latter part, I found this drama charming and endearing. I will miss the humor, the bickering and the adorable geek and geeker second leads, more than that I will miss Dong Wook oppa in his childish but still melting hot prince-like self. I will miss the heartfelt, true-about-love sweeping lines and the simple and yet vibrant attitude of the drama itself. This is how to open my KDramaLand stay for this year. No clingy hopelessly vulnerable ex-gf of the main male lead. check. (although the ex-gf here, even at the end still can’t figure out her character I’ll just let it pass, she didn’t ruin the drama anyhow).

With amusing deutero-couple in their amazing wit, extraordinary relationship and erotic fantasies. check. A villain who sent me to annoyance but redeemed herself in the end because she threw the-best-who-do-you-choose-to-love-on-the-spot-situational-quizbee in the KDrama History. check. One of the best episodes I’ve seen and I hope I can justify it in recap well. check. This was another memorable love story full of fun, transparency, understanding and realization that love is choosing to make a change with your feelings to the point of even defying fate. check. This is a love tale you won’t overlook and will make you appreciate love even more.

When a baseball star got an anti-fan for a bodyguard, a series of unfortunate events will certainly be eventual and a sure delightful to watch. Thus Eun-jae and Moo-yul’s literal evolution I didn’t hesitate to be bought by. The story is simple taking care of the baseball superstar who has been hindering your favorite baseball team to claim a championship under its belt. With side dishes of ex-robotic gf, a psychopath and the breezy supporting cast, the story unfolded and left me wondering on how it was able to creep inside me in an addictive kind of way.

This deviated from the usual male domineering “I’ll protect the girl” kind of thing as I marveled on how Eun-jae candidly grace the TV screen. And while she took charge, she manifested her cute girly side when Aphrodite forcedly gave her girdle to the bodyguard who in time fell for Moo-yul’s devilish but adorable charm.

It has a simple scriptwriting, it was not that super neat, in fact there were some frustrating notes. It was nothing fancy but I love that they were able to inject crisp and fresh ideas. A few oh-so-worth-it quotes here and then and the danger of leaning to “the habit of assuming when it doubt with someone’s love” was presented in a piercing my love veins approach. The thriller mode was predictable all along but ajumma was able to pull off a gripping climax posing as a puppet master blinded by her out of place love for Moo-yul.

To be honest, I felt like I’m Paris while I’m trying to decide on my take about this drama. But like Paris, because I have a soft side on everything “love” even if Wild Romance was not barbie-like pretty, I loved it.

My recapping this drama is so far still a work-in-progress, and given my now extremely limited time, I just hope that in time I will be able to finish it. *super keeping my fingers crossed

And although this will not be the best drama of ‘em all for 2012, without a mirror to ask for, I would still say that this is one of my favorites this year.

♥ The Moon That Embraces The Sun  (Jan-Mar) ♥

How’s that for a title huh?

This has long been overdue, guess the push came to the thought of having four darlings currently airing and I might lose myself if I let my musings pile up to the size f a skyscraper.

My motivation for watching this drama is of course Jung Il Woo, and I’m gonna spoil a little but I hate his character’s closure here. Well come on,he didn’t get the girl and you let him die… that’s my boyfriend over there trying to be a man for the love of his life, and a brother to a King who sometimes forget he is a King.

*deep breath calming myself now, I’m sorry I got carried away.

This drama opens the year with a grand fireworks display. The ratings stay 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 are about to doze off so I remain positively raving.

The young love which blooms and defied time, reasons, and political issues are what makes the production applauded I believe. The strong and consistent character portrayals, supernatural seasonings, family issues and brotherly love cemented the viewers’ loyalty I say…

Set in the traditional Joseon era, the Crown Prince fought for the love of his life against the pressure of the position he held being manipulated by his grandmother who was intent in keeping the Royal line under her family. Just as he got to get the girl of his dreams, an evil plot through shamanic ability was disposed to kill the princess-to-be. The woman who put up the fake death took care of the princess who lost her memory after being traumatized waking up inside the wooden box.

Years later their paths crossed again, and what the mind can’t remember for the lead girl, was felt strongly by the King.

I like that the villains annoyed me to a hilt and made me scold the King when I felt he was not realizing he has actually the power to use as a King, but since he was really caught in between a not so good eventual outcome for the people he was protecting and the evil ploys of the head queen, I let his state of being caught off guard pass, and just prayed hard to heal his brother’s pain.

The second leads I can’t really complain much. They have justified whatever their roles require to help the story spinning.

The series as a whole was creatively conceived, but I won’t say I’m all praises to it compared to what I felt with the recent sageuks I saw (Tree with Deep Root and The Princess Man). It was 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.

♥ DREAM HIGH 2 (Jan-Mar)

in progress and wondering if I will still finish it… it just felt  like a lousy mess and no amount of ice cream can encourage my appetite to go on.

♥ History of the Salaryman (Jan-Mar) ♥

And I’m back to modern-day living!  I halted finishing this drama that was aired in the beginning of the year and it spited me sweetly, giving me a lesson to finish all the dramas on time next year.  Looks like my “Fabulous Four” will become LUCKIEST SEVEN after all.  *wink

History of the Salaryman was a very intelligent story of people moving around the corporate world.  The recent World Wars would fail in comparison to the forming and disbanding of alliances in this drama as they race to who will snatch the contest for “the most ambitious of ‘em all”.

Playing on deceit, out-foxing and counter-scourging, I say this is the Most DARING and the SNAPPIEST Korean Drama for 2012.

 

In his quest to make a line of sight to his life, Yoo Bang hit the jackpot when he got the chance to be employed at ChunHa, a huge conglomerate, what he was not aware of was that he was set up to become a mole by the rival company who was determined to take down the company to ashes.  Just as he realized the situation, he was framed for the murder of the son of the Chunha Group’s chairman along with Baek Yeo-chi, the grand-daughter of the chairman who harbored hatred towards her uncle whom she knew was the reason for her parents’ death.  Yeo-chi and Yoo Bang joined their hands together and was able to clear their names with the help of Cha Woo Hee, an analyst for a “miracle drug” who was thwarted by the murdered executive after she stole the drug for them.  Accidentally though she put the medicine on Yoo Bang’s bag  and upon learning of its rsurrection, he and Yeo-chi used it as a weapon to get back on track and save the company for a threat of investors pulling out their support.

The mastermind of the rival company Choi Hang Woo held a grudge towards Chairman Jin Si Hwang whom he blamed for the death of his father who spent his youth in helping to build ChunHa group.  To avenge his mentor, a high executive in ChunHa posing as a spy to carry out their evil plan, Hang Woo shifted his movement with executive Bum Jung’s encouragement to be motivated on his mentor’s death.  The High Executives here are all so shifty and feeds on power I tell you that I have my suspicion radar on because they tend to switch places and loyalty overnight.

So Choi Hang Woo moved to ChunHwa and it’s time to battle out the position for the Vice President left behind by the murdered chairman’s son.  The chairman held a contest and two of the teams were able to sort out a plan involving one of the company’s factories.  Yeo-chi was moved under Hang-woo’s wing and they were up to wiping out the company.  They were able to secure bidders for their project with the help of an infamous gang lord who is also known to have good reputation in the Chinese market while Yoo-bang with executive Jang Ryang were up to restructuring the company.  In the end though Hang-woo and his team won the fight but Yoo-bang secured an ace which he will be using on his Yoo-bang-strikes-back-plan.

A blood sugar monitor was in the process of being constructed in the company but because of a missing blueprint that was stolen by Hang-woo’s jack-of-all-trade-boy-Friday Han-shin it was not completed.  Yoo-bang holding on to his gut feel was able to secure a capital to start his business and set the ball rolling for them.  Han-shin joined his camp and from him they were able to retrieve the blueprint of the blood sugar meter product that sparked his return to the scene.  ChunHa disputed and moved to stop the product by claiming it was first conceived in the company premises and stole the product information to file for a patent, so a contest was the solution to close the contention.  Team Yoo-bang copied exactly the product look of ChunHa to give them a dose of their own medicine.  On the day of the contest Yoo-bang who has made Han-shin spied his old master switched the product container and after the judging which was won by ChunHa he stopped the short lived Hang-woo happiness and pointed out that the product was switched revealing their company’s initial on the product cover.  Team Yoo-bang emerged victorious and has also mended a once broken relationship with Chairman Jin who lent them money through Jang Ryang’s investment company.

While all these guys were playing the out-smarting game, they didn’t notice an evil queen emerging on the side lines.  Executive Secretary Mo Ga Bi, whom Chairman Jin trusted the most, has changed the amount of insulin medication, and on the day that the chairman asked her to help writing the will.  After drafting the will, he tested her true colors, and when she stepped out to get him water he read what Mo Ga Bi wrote bequeathing all his shares to her instead of his grand-daughter, Yeo-chi.  In his furious self, he suffered an attack and the evil secretary left him to die.

 

The heiress lost her fortune as Mo Ga Bi claimed the Chairwoman position and the final bout for Yoo-Bang and Yeo-chi to oust the deranged Mo Ga Bi was a no easy task to conquer.

 

Divided in three parts, the three conflicts each quarter was an enthralling and exciting watch and I was like watching poker match as the defendants lay down their cards, one after the other, better than the last.  I like it when villains are smart and not just evil, and I liked it more that the main leads are not just smart but cheeky.

That girl Yeo-chi was a revelation, she was so superbly played I was enjoying her the same way as I enjoyed Dokko Jin.  Yoo-bang’s street smart abilities has also proven that good education cannot assure someone that he can also be good in strategy.  It was a character ensembles where there was no weak link thus bringing about a fluid and crisp movement of the actors in the story.

The corporate world is such a big, dangerous world and what this drama achieved was to present a miniature version of it that will leave life lessons that we always reap what we sow and that greed has two sides, when you became passionate in doing good you’ll earn a reward, but when you overwhelmed yourself with things you did not work hard, you’ll face your downfall.

The outwitting deals in kdramaland keeps getting better and I’m a happy camper because of it.  With the most vivacious cast for this year, and a story well plotted with no loose ends left hanging, it would be a waste not to see the story of the Salaryman.

A consistent gripping drive culminating to a fulfilling kick-ass who’s the boss now finale? — History of the Salaryman is a stimulating watch that will taunt you while leaving you inspired at the same time.  -jediprincess

 

♥ Feast of the gods (Feb-May)

haven’t started yet…

♥ Take Care of us, Captain (Jan-Mar)

halfway and I’m meaning to go back soon…

♥ Shut up Flowerboy Band (Jan-Mar)

don’t know when I will be starting on it…

♥ What’s Up? (Dec-Feb) ♥

last 6 episodes…

♥ Padam… Padam (Dec-Feb)

almost there last CD coming up!

Operation Proposal (Feb-Mar) ♥

Once upon a time there was a man who lacked confidence in declaring his love to the woman he loved since they were young so the girl was left no choice but to accept another man’s love.  Realizing too late that he let go of his one great love, the man cried and a bored time conductor was moved by his lamentation over losing the woman she cherished most.  So he was given a magical potion to drink and a weird renovation incantation to say for him to go back to the past to correct the wrong choices he made in his life and make room for the love he thought was meant for him and his girl.

Operation Proposal was sweetly and richly narrated that even if I went to a lot of time travelling this year, I enjoyed it so much.  I love how they moved the romance from young childish love to a taking time to realize kind of love to a love that didn’t understand reasons but felt what’s important and to a love that was meant to have and to give… 

Kang Baek Ho and Ham Yi Seul met when they were in grade school.  Baek Ho’s father died when he was young and his mother rarely do her duties so Yi Seul has been his rock while growing up.  Yi Seul kept her best friend in her heart as Baek Ho harbored the same hidden feeling, but she got tired of waiting and decided to marry another man.  After her wedding, Kang Baek Ho read Yi Seul’s “Ilikeyou” letter and cried like he has never cried before because of the pain of losing his everything sank deeply in his heart immobilizing his system.  Then a man handed him a handkerchief and introduced himself as a Time Conductor, he gave him a chance to time travel to make things right.  He did a lot of time wrinkling and was able to claim his almost losing of his baseball career but everytime he got back to the present time Yi Seul was still bound to be married.  In his desperate attempts to change the past it brought about a final blow in the present causing Yi Seul’s death and to alter what happened he begged the Time Conductor for a last chance to time warp even if it means not being able to see the Time Conductor who turned out to be his father.  He was able to save Yi Seul from the accident but woke up with a selective amnesia remembering all but Yi Seul.  On her wedding day, Kang Baek Ho’s final attempt to declare his love was played which was done prior to the accident, Yi Seul runaway and found the man she has loved all her life in their elementary school room waiting.  She introduced herself again to him.  After a house party Yi Seul and Baek Ho was again locked in Baek Ho’s small room, Yi Seul hummed the song Baek Ho liked to hear and she offered to teach it to him.  When Yi Seul woke up the next day, Baek Ho left a note for her to go to the playground.  He asked her to tell him about the letter she wrote when they were in 9th grade, but she refused so he narrated all that was in the letter.  With his memory back, and taking all the chances to be with the woman he loved, the girl who has waited all her life and the boy who regret what he could have done threw themselves at each other’s arms.

I lost count of how many times he went back and forth to correct something in the past to avoid the eventual wedding of the woman he loved, but I was so fond of Kang Baek Ho that even when I was tugging my hair because he can’t do it right when it came to expressing how he felt… I still gave him a chance… actually he’s the only person I’ve given myriad of chances to prove his love, and it paid off…  it was such a fetching feeling to be with him in his rollercoaster ride to be with someone who has been with him all his life… to finally own what other people may say to be love written on the stars. 

The fantasy element fusing to the reality was layered in such a way that you don’t question the magic pull they put in the drama.  In the latter episodes I was also begging for more chances of going back to the past because like most of the people around him Kang Baek Ho grew fond in my heart. All throughout I was feeling what the lead girl was — “there’s this man I’ve loved all my life, I’ve sent signals for him to realize that I like him, but he’s so clueless about it.”  Being a lady-in-waiting, I was able to relate to what she was feeling… it’s hard to be in a situation when you love someone all your life, and in that long span both of you are groping if there will be a romantic future that you can both share. 

There were a lot of love situations tackled in this drama but it all goes down to two main points:  How far you are going to wait for someone for them to realized your worth and that you are waiting?  And being brave to fall in love and discarding the what-if’s and saying it at the very moment you are feeling it.  I’ve seen a lot of beautiful love stories this year but Operation proposal took me from blushing to crying to understanding that in love someone can run to you that’s why he might have let you wait.

The time-space continuum voyages of Baek Ho was an endearing journey full of twist, oh no’s and romance.  It was a refreshing feel to have a conflict that was not evil motivated that’s why I loved the supernatural spike in this drama.  The lead character was competing with himself – with his past self for that matter and his forebearance endured his painstaking drive to be with the girl he loved.

The pacing and the timing were injected smoothly in the movement of the time wrinkling happening in the drama.  It was neatly done that I didn’t lose interest in it.  If you are looking for a complete romance drama with a magical side dish – Operation Proposal would serve the purpose.  It will be one of my favorites this year and in the brink of making it to my Best 7 while I’m just waiting for I Miss You and May Queen’s conclusion.  – jediprincess ^_^

 

♥ Syndrome (Feb-Apr) ♥

Twelve Men in a Year (Feb-Apr) ♥

haven’t started anything yet…

Love Rain (Mar-May) ♥

In a love intertwining tale that involved the main leads parents’ unfated first love interlude, Seo Joon and Jung Hana have struggled to forget their feelings for each other to give way to their parents’ unfinished romance (Seo In-ha and Kim Yoon-hee).

A famous photographer, Seo Joon bumped with Jung Ha Na when he was in Japan for a photo-shoot, her mobile phone accidentally slipped on his jacket so she was left no choice but to trail him to get the device back. Wanting to get a scenery inspiration for a project he’s working, he got an idea after watching something on Hana’s phone, and from watching the “Diamond Snow” their romance started to unfold. Hana who was shortly disappointed after learning her crush was engaged was rescued back by Joon who was also confused on how he started to like her. Eventually with Seo Joon’s sweet moves Hana and I were swept off our feet by him. But then his father’s undying first love was revealed so he had to let her go even if it pains him, because her mother was his father’s first love. Hana who was heavily smitten didn’t want to surrender on their love and when she eventually learned of the reason why he turned his back on her, she made a choice to have her mother be happy again even it broke her heart.

Flashback to In-ha and Yoon-hee’s love affair. The two met when they were in college, In-ha was literally in love at first sight when he saw Yoon-hee for the first time. In 3 seconds his world changed but his bestfriend also fell from the same girl. Their friendship circle included another girl who will be Seo Joon’s future mom and quasi-villain. It was a pathetic kind of love for her all along not being able to get the love of the man she has loved all her life.

It’s comforting to have light villains for this drama, well after a parade of annoying opposing people, this drama was a breather. She’s still annoying but you will understand why. Love can make people not see reasons and will claim their personal love afflictions as justification to spite those who hindered in their love quest. Having said that, it’s very true on Joon’s mother and she going Miranda on her ex-husband and Hana’s meek and overly patient mother with the old couple just letting her do it her style was at some point tiring, and yet I don’t have a choice but accept it because it goes with the plot.

It was a “first love” drama festival that made me wept plenty of tears. I always cry when the lead man is left no choice but to hurt the lead girl for some reason I don’t understand. The director really made the scenes in such a way that it will hit your emotions.

This is leaning in the feminine side, if Fashion King is masculine and full of angst; Love Rain is your typical sweet submissive girl.

I liked that this drama has only one conflict – how to defy your parents’ love to get your one true love… I know what barrier they will have to break and I was excited on how they would be able to overcome it.

So the eventual Joon’s mom ‘s disapproval was already expected, that supporting problem was already expected but when they clung on the sickness conflict in the end to sustain the “you-can’t-be-together” hindrance in the storyline, it made the drama even simpler, and I didn’t like it. There’s just more to problems than sickness. I bet Romeo and Juliet didn’t like it either.

I got my closure when Hana claimed Seo Joon again… that “I want to be with you” scene was done so bravely sweet, I would want it to happen to me someday. There were a lot of romantic scenes in this drama, heartfelt if I may say… and hitting straight to my heart.

I loved that Hana is vulnerable and loved it more when she’s defiant. I loved that Joon is sensitive and loved it more whenever he assumed that lead man character you can’t help but drool with.

Love Rain… less the oldies’ side love story turned eventual conflict you made me smile and somehow you let romance rain… You are relaxing and very eye-pleasing to watch… you may not be the best romance drama yet so far this year, there’s a lot of opportunities to insert romantic interludes and took out unnecessary story arc… but hey, I did took time watching you… and for that I blame it to your sweet and simple love take.

Coming from the director who gave the “season dramas” (Autumn in my Heart and the rest of the bunch), you are worth the hype even if some of the adorable scenes I already saw from other dramas. What stood out in this drama was the beautiful cinematography as what the director’s trademark is and of course this is Jang Geun Seok’s way of bouncing back to my boyfriends’ list after the disappointing ride with Mary. You are soothing and serene… a nice watch when you want some time to be alone. ^_^

♥ The Equator Man (Mar-May) ♥

The outwitting game and the friendship that fell but found back its footing were some of the reasons why I gave a shot on this drama.  In a vengeance thriving and friendship betraying world, I was left moved and appalled.


 
We started with small town friends Jang-il and Sun-woo who became brainy and brawny besties after the latter helped the former in his father’s loan sharks trouble.  In a twist of fate, Jang-il father’s was forced to be an accomplice to Sun-woo’s father’s demise after Jin No-shik, an old friend of Sun-woo’s dad, beat and strangled him till he passed out.  Jang-il’s father was promised by Jin No Shik of helping him to send his son to study in the city so out of his dream to provide a better future for his son he agreed to the dirty deed, but Sun-woo’s father rose back to unconsciousness and instead of helping and being blinded on the help offered to him, Jang-il’s father hung Sun-woo’s father to death.  Sun-woo was convinced his father did not commit suicide and after scraping evidence to appeal to the case, Jang-il learned of his father’s involvement to the crime.  He begged his friend not to pursue the appeal but determined to get justice for his father, Sun-woo dismissed his friend’s request.  To protect his father and in his selfishness to claim a better life forcedly laid to them, Jang-il hit his friend at the back of his head and pushed him to the cliff.  Sun-woo regained consciousness after being in coma for a while but lost his eyesight.  With the help of his late father’s friend, Sun-woo’s life changed, and as he regained his eyesight he was also posed to seek justice on his father’s death and to face the people who betrayed him.

 
Uhm Tae Woong has certainly acted his part well and showed various facets of his character from being devil-may-care-youngster, loving son, reliable friend, vulnerable blind, strong-willed man, smooth romantic and power player.  Seeing how he used his wit and persisitence as he held his grudges and goodness at the same time was no easy task given what Sun-woo had been through in the drama.  Here I got to that reality of always understanding the motivation of people to betray you.  What possible reason would someone have to turn his back on you and how will you forgive that act and understand his reason for doing that.  


Jang-il”s character was hard to digest, it was cold, and distant and dangerously ambitious.  I liked that prosecutor oppa (whom I’m lazy to google the Korean name) was able to fill in the shoes of that persona.  His ambitions drowned him but I liked that at the end he felt human acknowledging that he did what he had because he is his father’s son.  

This was a classic father-and-son love relationship spectacle.  A lot of faces of family attachment were shown… good and vile.
As for the ladies in the story, they supported well but their acting were mediocre… the main female lead was even on a stagnant acting note all the while, but then again the drama focused on the friendship so it doesn’t really matter.  The men really took the load to secure a strong story and a gripping ending.

Equator Man commenced on a dark vibe.  I sat on it because I want to know how everything will turn out fine.  I won’t say that it’s a great drama because I’ve seen a lot underdog bouncing back from the unfairness of life stories, instead I will say that it’s a decent watch, but something that you can see when you don’t have something to watch on priority list.

If it involves your family or a romantic attachment with someone no matter who is right or wrong, you will always be left to choose to turn your back on a friend…(felt familiar to me) That’s human nature and that’s what the Equator Man focused on in a drama fest where ironically the main leads are men. That’s what this got me hooked, it was thriving on emotions but not a weep fest. It was solid and steady and has never derailed throughout the series. This gave a different meaning to the word “Bromance”. Serious and stellar, this is a delight for its amazingly woven human struggle plot and friendship affirming vibe.

♥ The King 2 Hearts (Mar – May) ♥

Or so I think.  I’m having a princess moment yet again here.

King 2 Hearts was staged in a quasi-utopian Korean world where the North and South Koreans are sort of in peaceful communicating terms.  The current monarch Lee Jae King is pushing for dream unification but has to face barriers from opposing regions as well as big corporation.  His first step to attain his goal is a joint participation of officers from the two regions to the upcoming World Officer Championship (WOC), a tactical-military-team-game participated by countries acclaimed for their military service.  To spice up things, the King decided to include his prince brother Lee Jae Ha to the joint training for the upcoming event to his refusal given his easy-go-lucky and bum nature.  But because his luxurious life was the bargaining point, he was left no choice but to succumb to his hyung’s order.

His future lead girl is a North Korean general’s daughter, Kim Hang Ah, is a trained assassins specializing in bombs.  Her martial prowess is over the top that even men in her field evaded her.   Hang Ah’s line of work has been a liability in her search of ever-after as the men set up with her can’t bear her strong nature.  In desperation she agreed to participate as Northies’ delegate for WOC when her commanding officer stated an offer she can’t resist – that is to give her a man of her choice.

Soon the forced prince and the love seeker lady soldier meet up and start on a wrong foot when the training commenced as their culture differences become evident.  The slacking prince is causing delays to the enhancement program so the Northies use their commanding presence to make him focus to what they are intending to do, but his devilish side picks up fast and is able to reverse the situation by targeting Hang Ah’s yearning for a man she can love.  He plays with what she trusted to him and wounded her vulnerability.  They settle their dispute by treadmill running, and when they are in the brink of giving up, they are commanded not to halt because of a bomb planted inside the treadmill.  Drained with sweat and exhaustion the bomb squad successfully disarmed the weapon and the cat-and-mouse couple in time engaged in do-i-like-you-or-not- game.  The eventual love came to pass but they have to deal with the sporadic wrath of a psychopath-billionaire-evil-than-Voldy Bong-gu as well as the literal line that separates them.

King2hearts has always been polished, calculated but never failing to entice and push me to my assumed outcomes. That being said, what I applaud about this drama is how it seems predictable but will prove the viewers otherwise. But I would have wanted a different closure for Bong-gu… I could think of a lot of possible evil ways to end him because I was closed to calling the Criminal Minds team to help the North and South pin him down because of so much annoyance. Seriously I think they are now tired of having the male leads fought over the lead girl, so they are killing the second lead now… give way to the new face of the second-lead syndrome… It was a perfect Korean drama for the second quarter, all criteria were met… began well and ended with conviction. King 2 Hearts you are officially nominated on my Best Korean Drama this year.

I would also like to add Rich’s take on King 2 Hearts.  He is my newest dongsaeng.  I also just watched the end of King 2 Hearts, all im going to say is the last episodes really messed up what i thought was going to happen but still a fitting end, being able to watch as Hang Ah & Jae Ha’s relationship build throughout all the obvious pressure against it was great, also seeing Jae Ha develop and mature throughout the series was great to watch, from a sniveling childlike man to an all-powerful king, oh and if you want a perfect insane villain, look no further than the actor Yoon Je Moon, he is also in a tree with deep roots, plays the evil guy amazingly well, Amazing drama, time well worth spending to watch =)

Probably going to end up being my favorite drama of 2012.  (I won’t bet on that Rich, I said that to Moon that Embraces the Sun, and there they go gave me King 2 Hearts.  *wink)

♥ Fashion King (Mar – May) ♥

Opening the goodbye spree for the second quarter KDrama finale week is Fashion King.  I’ll try to separate my personal forever feelings for Yoo Ah In as much as I can so kdramagod, help me be.

Fashion King kicked off in a darth vader-ish tone… It was dark, cunning, treacherous and hindered.  It takes the realistic tone, no fancy playing and leaning to character driven conflict.

Dongdaemun’s market’s Fashion King is Kang Young-gul.  Witty, cheerful, smoking hot and talented he runs an RTW factory and is constantly in trouble with gangsters and loanshark.  He bumped with Lee Ga Young after the latter was cast off by a lady boss designer who raised her up when her parents faced their untimely demise.  She started working as a designer at Young-gul’s factory and when he learned of her scholarship for a Fashion school in New York, he scraped some bucks to send her to work on her talent.  But when she reached New York, she was informed that she was cut in the program because they received a response letter from her declining the program.  Meanwhile, Young-gul faced money problems and was forced to isolate himself but then ended into trouble and was donned an escaped criminal.  By virtue of kdrama magic, he was swayed to New York and was reunited with Ga-young who was helped by chaebol Fashion Empire CEO Jung Jae-hyuk to get back to the program.  To earn a living he sold jackets in the streets and it was there that a famous designer noticed his skill.  The designer liked Young-gul’s sample items and decided to buy his talent.  Just as lady luck was finally smiling with Young-gul and Ga-young, the unnecessary envious daughter of the designer who cast away Ga-young spilled the beans with the police and held and held Young-gul back to be jailed in Korea.  A period of suffering ensued as our lead couple yet again struggled in their lives while they were separated.   I’m wondering why they didn’t title this Suffering King.  Young-gul got out of prison and searched for Ga-young again.  He rescued her to the evil designer and they headed to start their dream back.

The usual fight-for-the-lead-girl was presented in the story in an annoying kind of painful way.   It was the girl who secretly loved the man who doesn’t want to love anymore because he has long lost faith on it and with the pathetic and shrewd Jae-hyuk between them, I have long set my mind that they could not possibly get to a point of loving each other happily and comfortably.

True to my words it was a sad ending, sadder than the Autumn in My Heart ending.  I was hoping that with all that painstaking and half-cooked victories, in the end it will be inevitable for the deprived lead couple to be blissful and at peace, but then again if that will be the case it will break the dark tone of the story.  You already have Vader so why did I u get Voldy for reinforcement? I want to blame it on the korean drama ending syndrome but my mind thinks otherwise. I know the closure has to be sad because the story tone is dark and cunning… and a happy ending won’t fit in.

 

But why a disheartening death?!  You could have just let him live alone planting crops in the suburb or be blind. You could have traveled back to Joseon era and get King Suyang to spite those loansharks… or had Young-gul on a shower scene for the entire finale episode for a mind blowing closure, yet you remained firm and snob.

The angst that the series has been carrying around the whole time I thought would be transformed to something light that sprout out of the bravery and forebearance of the lead characters, but it did not.  It disappointed me, yes.  But it is what was expected to happen.

It has been a long ride.  What I will miss about Fashion King is its straightforwardness and strong vibe.  It’s your typical underdog story and it gave us the reality that underdogs sometimes no matter how hard they tried, they will remain suppressed and bound by their limitations.

Fashion King had a lot of weak points and loopholes.   There were a couple of dozing episodes and it was predictable, but kept escaping from it because they thought of a different way out plan than what would have been normally done.   If not for the immersion of the actors to their characters the drama would have been a failure for me.  I stayed with it because of Yoo Ah In mainly, but more than that would be its maturity and the transparent feel.   It thrived on my emotions.  It stood there tapping on my emotions annoying me, making me feel giddy, making me sigh and making me anticipate.

 

Compared with the rest of the second quarter kdrama bunch, what set apart this fashion world themed production was its fixed conflict of power manipulation and struggle that was concluded in a heart-wrenching fashion.  It’s a drama I won’t recommend to watch right away, but I will recommend to someone if he wants some time alone. 

My verdict?   Watch.  Go with the flow.  Drool at Lee Je-hoo and forget he’s evil ways.  Munch Kang Young-gul as much as you can.  Be prepared for the ending.

♥ Rooftop Prince (Mar – May) ♥

Dear Rooftop Prince,

Can you time-travel again and go straight to my room?

So here’s my official Rooftop Prince ramblings… *sniff *sniff

Joseon Era –  All was doing well with Prince Yi-gak.   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 laid dead on the 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 were transported 300 years after to modern Korea and landed to Park Ha’s rooftop house.  From there the real adventure began.  They have to face the difference brought about by the time and villains with equally pathetic motivations who failed miserably to their evilness act.  I guess they didn’t complete Voldemort’s workshop. 

The finale episodes were heartbreaking for me, but I at least got the closure I deserved.  I’m particularly stern with this drama but the refreshing soul won me over.  So even if I have to absorb a lot partuclarly in the last episode, I have no regrets.  Bu-yong eating all those persimmons because of her secret love to the Prince, who has the right to argue?!  

   

This was the first drama I saw with reincarnation plot in full swing (memory searching… really no other drama with reincarnation plot yet).  The adorable 3 Musketeers were a bundle of bliss, a sight to behold, a manna from Heaven.  The laughter I got from their modern transformation supplied enough happiness pills to cover the recent job nausea I’m getting at work. 

The cute lead couple exhibited on screen chemistry.  Lead couple for rom-coms has a tendency to be so tiring to watch if they get either super-insensitivity attack or overly-loving complex.  Yi Gak and Park Ha were smooth as a couple.  The romance was not rushed, and with that love-transcending-time premise, excuse me Romeo and Juliet here’s the couple to beat.

It was not your perfect drama technical and script wise… in fact there were a few labyrinth-bound story plots and out of place conflicts, but then again the sweet moments and the laughter were all so worth it, so you would hardly notice the lapses…  It’s that love tale that I don’t want to end and I can’t get enough of, and the reincarnation storyline somewhat helped me to move on…

Well actually Tom oppa was praying that Prince Yi Gak gets reincarnated, I yearn the same but I’m wishing he will end up straight to my room, if that will not happen, let he be reincarnated as a cat and lose his way until he is left no choice but to agree to be with me.  *giggles 

Tom Oppa and I will miss the squabbling blockhead couple and their loyal power ranger ducklings… Heck we will even miss the one-sided villain who can’t even kill a mobile phone or his same confused facial expression all throughout the series.  I wonder what’s wrong with him not being able to successfully execute his vile prowess.  Is it him or the writer of the story?

I begged that the drama will not end.  Honestly, I felt that they could still have made it longer.  It made me feel so insatiable watching it.  Rooftop Prince is breezy, blithe and beautiful…  It’s my rom-com of choice so far this year.  ^_^

♥ Queen In-Hyun’s Man (Apr-June) ♥

It’s over and done but Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man has left me insatiable.

This year you are my best drama yet so far…  ^_^  Your drive to bring your viewers to your spontaneous romance binge whilst holding the reign to an incessantly bewitching plot was quenchless and I thank kdramagod for that.

Joining the KDramaLand time pilgrimage cortege this year is Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man.  Making me forget the recently concluded dramas who were all beautiful and gorgeous was a feat so worthy of this fusion presentation that has oppugned the nitpicker side of me.   I love the unconventional as my excessively diverted self can normally hold on because it’s just important and not because it’s what I really wanted, but disarming me each and every episode with your deviant drama pulls and going maverick to what I was predicting had me grab my tarot card to check if my seer abilities need a refresher.

Let’s meet Kim Boong Do aka Abby’s Man, a quick-witted scholar trusted by King Suk-jong who was working on the reinstatement of the deposed Queen In-hyun in Joseon era.  His apparent goal has had him earned the ire of the opposing faction engaging him to life threatening dangers thrown by the evil perpetrators.  His big heart has obtained him loyal people and one of those faithfuls, Yoonwol, gave him a talisman for his protection.  In one of his life attempts, the talisman took him 300 years after to modern times and meet the perky TV actress, Choi Hee-jin playing the TV role of Queen In-hyun at present time. 

The time-trek causing talisman has a catch though it will permit its power only when the owner is in grave danger, and its loyalty can be swayed by either Boong-do to where the amulet was prayed for and given, Yoon-wol – whose yearning to protect and make her master achieve happiness had the talisman’s power binding, or to the head-monk who created the paper periapt and initiated its mojo.   Boong-do’s nimble self easily perceived the sort of magic he has acquired and used is at his advantage to resolve the Joseon circa conflicts alongside exploring the advancement of a different time and falling in love for the first time with He–jin.   With his keen mind, he was able to maximize the time and resolved the discordance in his era, but the same power he has with time will endanger his own personal bliss.

I was somewhere either reading or wide eyed sleeping when they showered sticking attention ability, and with so much watching done over the years, I rarely get to watch something that has bragged straight to my face on how exceptional it was… and that ladies and gentlemen was notched satisfyingly by Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man.

I just so love how it deviated from the typical KDrama conflict norms of unresolved unfinished love issues, family problems, useless vengeance driven characters, personal exhausting battles and all those other tiring fillings they would insert to make the spectators just go with the flow.  Apparently though, I ain’t gonna go with something unless it is worth clinging to.

I have this habit of focusing on camera movements when I’m watching something, in short I’m particular to editing, so given the time-voyaging premise of the story, I was amazed on how the production team worked on the smooth transitions.  It was playing at past and present ends without losing the spontaneity and fluidity of the story.  The writer whom I will be stalking from now on was a delightfully mischievous conceiver who got down to the nitty-gritty of the screenplay and pulling off the conflicts and its deliverance in a make-sense and you-got-me-there kind of vibe.  Quintessential writing, editing and directing.  period.

The love couple stood by each other side well.  They were so steadily moving and claiming their love with the right elements, right reasons and right intentions.  The era difference trouble having neatly done was conveyed sweetly sending me most of the time to the World’s Giddy-est Girl” moment.  Hee-jin corresponded to Boong-do’s character in a mischievous-kiss-note but even better.  I like that she’s all set to go for her happiness and the man she loves regardless of the mystical and time restraints surrounding them.  She knew it was a crazy love on the onset but because she understood that it happened for a reason, she went Jack Sparrow and bravely plunge.  Her candidness was complementing well with Boong-do’s serious and smart views in life providing us romantic moments that made me remember all those precious love memories I had in my life.  As for Kim Boong-do, he had me at being smart and for being a clueless player.  He made me forget about chaebols and funny guys.  He’s that man I’m hoping real life will be able to give me, well not necessarily the time travelling part though.  *wink  His cleverness and his character took the drama at an addictive level that even when I’m stuffed, I’m still subconsciously craving.  Considering that I was not that familiar with the main leads I have found myself deeply immersed in their time and talisman defying romance.

Queen In Hyun’s Man has managed to outwit me and convincingly swayed me with what story drive I imagined to be achieved… He was playfully smiling at me in a “and you thought you had me figured out abby” kind of way.  With the time travelling and fantasy parade in the KDramaLand, he has managed to surprise all the players with his neat time transitions enabling a consistent and enticingly appealing plot.  Rarely would you remember equally the story and the characters, but with Queen In Hyun’s Man, the characters synchronized well with the story and strangely the characters would be able to stand alone as the story retain its brilliance and vice versa.

It was a supernatural and reality love drama at its best and is a romance story that is so worth my time and even curing my recently running emotional-limbo-bound-self.   It definitely deserved a slot in my hall-of-famers.  Yes it did!

P.S  I love you Kim Boong-do.  I’m now off to get a talisman to claim you.  ^_^

♥ The Marriage Plot (Apr – June ) ♥

♥ BIG (June – Aug) ♥

I will have to include a “worst ending category” on my year-end summary, and I really hope that I won’t see another closure like this, well come to think of it, it was not even an ending.

But really BIG?  What happened to the ending?  It was so flat and it didn’t really end.  You got all the watchers who dragged themselves to finish the drama really disappointed.  I stayed even when I was dozing the first 6 episodes, I said Gong Yoo oppa can make it up for it, and hope that halfway I’ll see a light… you obliged and I was close to buying the soul switching-secret siblings who were vitro fertilization twins born years apart and who fell in love with the same girl who was all confused and weak throughout the drama.

It took me 7 episodes to settle in the groove and I was perturbingly holding my emotions on the get going of the series because it was not hitting on my love niche.  It was so different… it felt so different if you are a Hong sisters fan.  They are my favorite kdrama writers, they gave me My Girl, Gumiho, Greatest Love, Dokko Jin and You’re Beautiful , so it really got me staring at the ceiling face palmed after I ended watching it.

Kang Kyung Joon and So Yoon Jae got into an accident and putting up the former in a coma as the latter survived.  But the sort of magical accident switched their souls thus making the 18-year old rowdy teenager inside a 30-year old doctor’s body.  Before the accident, So Yoon Jae was supposed to meet his fiancée Gil Da Ran who was all mopey and unsure if her fiancé really loves her.  She was also Kang Kyung Joon’s teacher.  When Kyung Joon woke up in Yoon Jae’s body he was forced to deal with a life that has a connection to him and experience loving for the first time a woman who was waiting for her beloved to come back.   It was then revealed that the body he was thriving was in fact his long lost fraternal twin brother but they were born years apart.  Yoon Jae needed an operation when he was young to survive and the only solution was to produce another sibling.  Through vitro fertilization Kyung Joon was carried by Kang Hee Soo, who was also their father’s first love.  The brother’s weren’t aware of each other’s existence until they fatedly meet again and this time Yoon Jae did the saving.

With the supernatural, time travelling and impossible stories I have seen this year, I was not surprised with how they wove the miracle conceived brothers.  I was not perplexed but I won’t applaud it.  I was groping what the main conflict they were trying to arrive… was it Gil Da Ran’s emotion and who-i-really-love-analyzation?  Was it Kyung Joon’s why did my long lost family forsake me questions?  They presented a love story and didn’t give a decent ever after?

I was waiting for Yoon Jae to come back and answer the million dollar question.  I was rooting for him, yes even in comma, because I thought that it was really their love story and his little brother was just someone who will make them realize each other’s worth, but it diverted 360 degrees forcing a May-December love affair that looked good but didn’t feel right.

BIG was half-baked story wise, and you can barely feel its romance because it was not meant to be.  Signature Hong sisters’ humor went in every now and then, but nothing much special like how they used to insert it.  To be honest I didn’t like how indecisive and somewhat faltering GIl Da Ran was and that’s maybe the reason why even if KKJ paraded the most adorable teenager trapped in a full grown man’s body I was not left fascinated nor interested on how their love has progressed.

Yoon Jae was a character they should have built up more, he could have been an equalizer… well actually, he was the runaway hit I was expecting.  It will be interesting to see how love will be realized if they let him give a fight, but making Gil Da Ran struggled to let go and sacrifice love in a circumstance where the love triangle was not achieved, it definitely didn’t hit the love drive.

I didn’t like the love story period.  I didn’t like how the characters went to play their part but failed to salvage the drama potentials.  BIG was “not big enough” to have held on my diverted self.  It made me crawl on my way to finish it.  It made me wonder if some evil spirits took over the Hong sisters’ body.  It made me sad that Gong Yoo oppa was all pretty and hot and funny there, but I won’t remember everything about it.

I hauled myself to get through it.  I went to 5 stages of grief to let go of it.  I ended up feeling lost, empty and not in love after seeing it, that being said you have to love Gong Yoo and the Hong sisters soooo much to finish it. 

P.S  I love Jang Ma Ri and the music… but that’s just it.

Mr. D’s Comments

Hmmm, well then, lets just say, Imagine this….. You get the best writers, take on some amazing acting talent, veteran and new and you throw it all together and create a drama, oh did i mention you decided to not bother finishing the story!!!!

Had amazing potential, great chemistry between So Yoon Jae (kkj) & Gil Da Ran and Ma Ri’s sheer determination to get what she wanted was great.
 If there isn’t a special (additional) episode i will feel hard done by after waiting every week for the english subbed version.

The sisters have what i am rather upset to say, their first failure in my opinion, lets just hope its a momentary dip in their, up to now, unblemished record.

Mr Ð

♥ Bridal Mask (May – Aug) ♥

I don’t know why I can’t finish it…

♥ I do, I do (May – July ) ♥

So what do you do when you are happy living alone with a powerful job and you suddenly got knocked up by a man you never thought of having? 

I do I do was very endearing to watch and for people like me whose emotional involvement can be swayed by our love of our independence, it was a sweet somewhat reality bites nudge. 

A successful shoe designer in a devil-wears-prada-persona lives a very comfortable life but thriving up to the inversely proportional love and work success idea.  She had a one night stand with a man younger than her who in the future ended up working in the shoe company where she also was designing.

As the baby grew up in her tummy and so was the realization that the one night that accidentally started it all happened for a reason.

The 7th episode where he drunkenly declared her claiming his virginity in the police station sent me to a laughter spree and the park brainstorming scene was my favorite.

 

I suffered the second-lead-syndrome all throughout.  How can I not love Dr. Jo In Sung.   That stethoscope-will-you-marry-me scene made me sweetly sigh more than Tae Kang’s song production wedding proposal. 

It was a smooth flowing 16 episodes with the right insertions of peevish soon to be mom who struggled a lot with her emotions and equally disarming male leads whose love runneth over and yet the woman they are wanting to have it don’t know how to reciprocate.  It occasionally have made me asked what I’m going to do if I’m on those situations.   (I bet I will sleep *giggles)  Will I be firm like her?  Will I falter to be rescued?  Will I let fate decide what’s next to happen.

I will just overlook the get married or leave the company taunt by the witch as well as the villainous small deeds to make the lead girl flounder as I deemed Ji An’s personal issues to be the stressor and driving force of the drama, and how she overcame it was the fulfillment.

Ji An presented women with power jobs and how they trudge to decide commiting themselves in a relationship as well as taking the responsibility to become a mother.  Ji An wo confuses romantic relationship to her passion for the craft she worked so hard was able to sustain the pressure in her gracious vulnerability and fierce convictions.  The spotlight was on her and she delivered.

I did love the boys here.  They were both worth having in their own ways but at some point both of them displayed vehement adoration that would go either way.  A person loved by someone would always feel grateful about it even if he can’t return it, but you have to know when to stop and when it’s enough.  The main male lead I understand was still lacking maturity in so many ways that he didn’t win me over right away.  I expected him to show an overnight “ownership”, it did but not so very firm.  An age difference in a relationship doesn’t matter if you know how to claim that person…  If you settle to insecurities that you are still lacking and you have nothing to offer to that someone then you will lose. 

 

It was a character driven film and I liked that it concluded with Ji An’s arising to accept fully the decision she was apprehensive before… that is to be a mother and to be in someone’s arms.

I say this is a passing drama, nice to watch when you are doing it, but is forgettable.   It was a story of a love that you can almost have, but you can’t have because life intervenes and throws in circumstances were you have to decide if it really matters.  But if you did bravely choose, you’ll learn that an ALMOST LOVE is one of the sweetest love… you can have and you will have.

♥ Time Slip Dr. Jin (May – Aug ) ♥

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:  Time Slip Dr. Jin fused with the reign of King Gojong, the last monarch of Joseon dynasty in the latter part of Joseon era.  It touched the waning 60-year wielding of power of the Andong Kim clan that was obliterated by Prince Lee Ha-Eung who served as a Regent of Joseon after his young son emerged as the new King.  It also plunged on the persecution of the Catholic Faith that was initiated by the French Missionaries which also led to the French Invasion of Ganghwa Island – Korea’s first war with Western power.

And yes, I have that Historical Background something now.  *wink  I’m beginning to think I could pass for a Korean History teacher, after dissecting all the tales of antiquities relating to the period dramas I’ve seen lately.  I’m not complaining, a little research helps in assimilating the plot.  I struggled in finishing this drama, as Dr. Jin really took time to have all the pieces fall together.   Most of the episodes were open-ended, switching from the blending of the medical plot, the political dissensions and the paranormal insertions, which in my unbiased opinion was a no-nonsense attempt to present a different blend of sageuk drama.

Jin Hyuk is a brilliant neuro-surgeon who is all business with his profession of saving lives.  After successfully removing an embryonic tissue inside a patient’s head, a supernatural surge will change his future.  He was planning to propose to his girlfriend Yoo Mi Na one day, but they engaged to a heated argument because Dr. Jin refused to operate on a patient who was already dead.   She walked away and got into a car accident putting her in a comatose state.

Meanwhile, a patient gathered medical supplies from the hospital storage.  He took the fetus which was stored inside a jar and was about to escape but Dr. Jin saw him and recognizing the voice which kept calling his subconscious mind, he tried to confront who he was.  The patient disregarded him and was about to jump from the rooftop but Dr. Jin tried to stop him, grabbed the medical bag but the patient was able to throw the embryo.  And it doesn’t make sense why he jumped to get hold of the embryo jar, but he did, then the embryo jar suddenly dispersed unearthly light and transported him back to the Joseon times where the police was currently chasing a group of native bandits.  Running for his life, he almost fell on a cliff but a man was able to save him, Prince Lee Ha-eung.    

Thought to be a part of the rebel bandits, a bounty for Dr. Jin’s head was issued by the police the next day so he has no other choice but to stick with the wily Prince.  While he’s trying to comprehend the tesseract joke played on him, he saw a woman, Hong Young-Rae, who looked exactly like Mi Na. 

Prince Lee Ha-eung pawned Dr. Jin to settle his debts with a notorious gang lord.  While the gang lord was eating though, there was a blockage in his air passage and instead of following the prince’ advice for him to escape, his doctor instinct kicked in to save the gang lord’s life.

On another pursuit of the police for the local bandits, the doctor who has a knack of being at the wrong place and at the wrong time bumped with a wounded man who turned out to be Young rae’s brother,  Yong Hwi, who was the secret leader of the local bandits. 

He performed a surgery on him but upon learning that Dr. Jin was on a “wanted list”, Young-rae sent their servant to notify the police of the “wanted person’s whereabouts”.  Not realizing the repercussion of what she has done her being grateful after saving her brother’s life can do no good as the police took the doctor for interrogation.  He was on the verge of the punishment, but was saved when the Left Minister lost his consciousness.  He performed another surgery to revive the minister and was waived of the crime accused of him.

From then on, his medical knowledge has been of great use to a country that hasn’t reached the advancement of modern medicine.  He improvised treatment that doesn’t have a cure yet at that time.   As he get on with helping out on illness that was thought to be incurable and as he carried out complex surgeries that has saved people on the brink of death,  the political faction strife was taking its toll to the country. 

Through Dr. Jin’s medical miracles, Prince Lee Ha-eung was able to go a step closer to the mother of the King, and from there, Lee Ha-eung’s son secured an adoption from the reigning King and eventually became the young King of the nation, but being minor, his father became the Regent of the Nation and administered new policies and trapped the head of the leading faction Andong Kim clan in his hope of building a better Joseon.  It was a no easy task defeating the seat of power but with proper drawing of the necessary cards, Lee Ha-Eung was able to strip the dominion that has been suffocating the nation for a long time.

The metaphysical aspect of the storyline was at first nebulous but it was a feat they were able to overcome at the end even if they explained it on the tail episode and in just 30 minutes.  (Well at least, they did, BIG did not) The multiple identities of the characters time travelling to an alter universe but coinciding with a time from the past made me so bewildered if not for my Fringe TV experience knowledge where everything is possibly impossible. 

Dr. Jin thought that his wrinkling of the time would be of help in saving his dying girlfriend from the world he left, but the time-travelling gisaeng, Choong Hoon warned him that his meddling with people that were supposed not to be saved will dig a depth to the mystery he was undertaking and could have worsen his chance of going back to the present time, but in the end, they pulled a parallel universe yarn which explained that his time travelling identities loved him so much, they find ways of putting his life to perspective by getting him trapped at a different time where your other person was at the same time living and still somehow connected with you – a trick they used with Mi Na and Young-rae.  Thus it equated to having the girls going to near death experience, and if one can be saved, the other will survive too ergo, before he warped back, his attempt to save the wounded Young-rae made it possible for Mi Na to live in the present time.  In the end, his alter universe escapade has saved the woman of his life.  Choong Hoon revealed to him that he was taken by time so his life can be saved… it was an unfathomable question for me… save from what? And in the end I came to a conclusion that losing someone you love is also a form of death – a kind of death that will not be healed no matter how time passes by. 

The ending epiphany talk with Lee Ha-eung at least tied the loose end of the merging of two different eras, but I hated how they sent back Dr. Jin to the real world!  Well, duh? Stabbing a man in the middle of the war and letting him fall of a cliff was a lame time warp move.   I deduced the connection of the runaway patient, the embryo and the headache attack when Dr. jin operated on his yet another soul living in the Joseon time, so when they swerved to the culminating Dr. jin realization that he was in fact that runaway patient, and that the fetus tumor was actually taken from him, I said “okay, make use of your multiple identities, time and space continuum plot every way you can and wherever you want!“  *pout

They really struggled in keeping hold of their paranormal twist, it was not that polished that it could either make or break the viewers understanding, if you are Fringe-bound like me, then you’ll be able to grasp it, if not, most likely you will be lost.

The main characters Dr. Jin and Lee Ha-eung were the focal point of the narrative.  While I have learned to like Song Seung-heon oppa, I still am going to wait for the best drama he will be making.  Lee Beom Soo was amazing in Salaryman, he was still the same here, so I look forward to seeing him again in the future.  Kim Jae-joong oppa made me tugged at my hair, he lost me with his super lost self and inability to have his loyalty in place… his character has the worst filial piety ever, but I still love him.  Park Min-young was still at her best, come to think of it, she really does suit well in classical themed dramas.

In the tradition of period dramas, the death of the main characters, the daring moves of the villains and the counter-attack of the underdogs, the double-crossing and last minute betrayals kept hold of the sageuk feel.  The bromance and the supernatural-defying romance were also present and spun the major conflicts of the story.  It was flowing and got there without minding the bridge.  Albeit the craziness and lapses, it was still a good watch for me, but incomparable to sageuk classics.

♥ The Chaser (May – July) ♥

no DVD yet… *pout!

♥ GHOST (May – Aug) ♥

There were no guns triggered… no swords drawn… it was a battle between heroes and villains equipped with digital powers. It was an enthralling power game that involved, system hacking, all-knowing CCTV cameras, secret bugging, and heroes and villains almost equally genius to take one step ahead of each other.

 

Ghost/Phantom broke my love drama binge 360 degrees and I was left dumbstruck and on a cliff hanging state all throughout the series. I was like in a trampoline were I was bouncing up and down without the rush hitting the bottom level.

 

I knew how powerful technological breakthroughs are, and seeing it in detail made me yearn to have the best hacker in the world as a boyfriend. *giggles

 

Park Gi Yong and Kim Woo Hyun were bestfriends when they entered the police academy. But when Park Gi Young in his curious playful self used a virus to steal in random emails in the academy, he accidentally retrieved an email about a chaebol group involvement to public funds slush. He confronted Woo-hyun’s father who was then a high-ranked police officer, but was left to be silent about his discovery. His faith in the academy wavered and left his friend and his once dream to become a police.

 

Years later Kim Woo Hyun emerged as the leader of the cyberspace police investigation team. When a rising actress was found dead, the team connected her apparent death to the hacker they were tailing – Hades. Woo-hyun successfully tracked Hades and was surprised to see his old friend. Gi Young explained that he didn’t kill the actress and was able to escape his friend in that encounter.

 

He tried to look for links to find proof to what happened to the actress only to find out a video where he saw his friend and an old man dying after drinking a poisoned wine. He confronted Woo Hyun about what he saw and in exchange of principles and truth, they were halted by a big explosion causing Woo Hyun’s death. Gi Young survived and with the help of Woo Hyun’s girlfriday, Yoo Kang Mi, he assumed his identity in a quest to reveal and avenge the demise of his best friend.

 

Ghost/Phantom will hold your interest in a very gripping fashion. The cunning powerplays and counter measures were ever present to the story as it progressed. The brilliantly done ending emancipated the withheld secrets that were carefully and nifty hidden so as to achieve a closure befitting of this cyberworld investigating drama classic.

 Be prepared to be stimulated and trust me there will be no give-aways here… so you cannot defocus less you will be lost to the story.

 

The right amount of wit and the exemplary plot pulled a lot of “omg-they-really-can-hack-that-moments” in me… I knew technological advancements are dangerous if used for evil reasons, but the extent of how it can be destructive in our digital world was scary worth of 10 Voldemorts.

 

The showdown between the shrewd villain operating in a Lord Sith kind of persona and the computer geek Gi Young was like a chess game… and they have utilized their pawns to their advantage very well — that being said I love the villain here because to the very end he was cunningly and smartly vile, but of course the main character along with the cyberworld investigating team rocked big time in a thrilling sprint overcoming the dead ends.

 

The race on who gets to maneuver efficiently the power of the computers will earn the opposing team an instant digital karma so all the while, the villains and heroes have worked double time to raise the bar in outwitting one another.

 

If you want a breather from rom-coms, this cyber crime drama should be on your list. The dexterous cast and perceptive plot will take you all the way to an exciting oblivion where you will feel like you are also part of this buffed cyberspace police officers. –jediprincess ^_^

♥ A Gentleman’s Dignity (May – Aug) ♥

From the production team that brought Secret Garden, City Hall and Lovers in Paris comes an addictive, relationship contemplating rom-com drama in a Sex and the City male version vibe.  The quirky and engaging cast and the quaint story made me a doper of the best F4, blow up middle-aged-hotties F4, that graced the kdramaland.

These quadruplet 40+ men grew up as friends since Highschool and nurtured 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 were some of the reasons why this would be my “MUST-WATCH ROMANCE DRAMA” this year.

Every episode was humor and wit overload.  Each character can stand alone and has his own remembering note.  All throughout there was never a dull moment.  It was exceptionally comic when the four main leads do their antics and so heartfelt when the scenes require them to tap on their emotions.

The female leads have played their part so well complementing the different personas of the four princes.

Kim Do Jin and So Yi Seo

The smooth alpha playboy who vowed not to be married because he can’t love only one woman in his life met his match alongside two declarations of love that were not meant for him.  Do-jin oppa was a classic example of an alpha-playboy and has won me over with how he can assess when he needed to be a knight in a shining armor, and when he can disregard someone because she already stepped on his mark as a man.  The one-sided love that eventually became two-sided was a fetching tale and a reminder that love just happens, and it will change you and your life overnight.

Choi Yoon and Im Me Ah Ri

The you-and-me-against-my-brother-who-is-your-bestfriend love affair was worth the wait when they eventually claimed what was rightfully theirs.  It was a long ride and if not for Me Ah Ri’s persistent and lovable bratty princess attitude, I would have been annoyed, but what made their tandem charming was her non-restrained “i-love-you-you-belong-to-me” attitude which warmed the cold widowed snd friendship bound heart of Yoon oppa.

Lee Jung Rok and Park Min Sook

They are my favorite husband-and-wife this year so far.  The playboy-of-them-all who occasionally hides his wedding ring when there’s a hot girl in a meter radius has always made me laugh big time whenever he faces his wife in a My-Wife-is-a-Gangster mode.  Jung Rok oppa was the stimulus of most of the laughter in this drama and how his friends would cover up for his womanizing was so fun to watch.  I would have wished for more of their marriage cute quarrels but I deem they have the most out of their screen time to be remembered well.

Im Tae San and Hong Se Ra

Tae San oppa was your typical good boy playboy… he plays but he knows when to stop.  He was ever reliable, nice and protective.  His relationship with a woman who was afraid of settling down and their love fights along the way presented what most middle-age relationship are… leading to marriage or forever single life.  Their pairing up solidified the main love plot, in fact the characters they played were the tying knot of the drama.

A Gentleman’s Dignity’s cast achieved a chemistry that was able to sustain and balance four love stories tied by love and friendship.   At first I was crossed between Yoon oppa and Do Jin oppa but then eventually I became too greedy I vouched for the whole set.   It was laid unpretentiously, realistically and happily.   So there if you want to make a drama in a real world setting, you have to put real life events, if you play with supernatural, you have to make sure that you will take care of all the lose-ends, and will not leave your audience in an annoying jaw-dropping moment.  (*BIG I still hate you).

For a woman’s perspective, I never thought I would enjoy this so much and I felt that even if Jang Dong Gun was the main attraction among the boys, having them all together were the strongest points of the drama.  All four of them were a big pile of mirth and love. 

They say life begins at 40, and these men who were friends since Highschool rocked it.  Having their own stable life, they have to balance personal, family and relationship issues while maintaining the best bromance I’ve seen so far.

The conflicts mainly focused on their finding and keeping love.  Do jin and Yi Soo depicted how sweet a one-sided love can be when it became two-sided.  Yoon and Me Ah Ri defied friendship and age to hold on to each other.  Tae San and Se Ra had a rough ride before they finally realized they belong to each other.  Jung Rok and Min Sook defeated jealousies and discovered that you sometimes have to lose love so that you can find it again. 

 The 20 hours I spent with this drama has made a very jumping on the air happy girl.   The only thing that hindered me from liking Do Jin oppa and eventually erasing Kim Boong-do in my heart is because he looked like a boy I used to date.  *giggles

I have very positive feelings towards this drama.  All those minor so-what-situational-supporting-conflict I just disregarded because the story and the characters have such reverberating resonance that has made me reflect on how I’ve been dealing with my own relationship and commitment issues.  Come to think of it, they made this to make you remember how vulnerable and how defiant you can come after because of love.  This will definitely make it to my top 3 this year.  So I only have one slot left to give.   Come on kdramas indulge me.  –jedipincess ^_^

 

QUOTES:

 

If you’re not going to sleep with me, don’t flirt.

You do not bait a fish that was already caught.

You forgot a man, with another man.

All break-ups done for another person do not make sense to the person who loved more.

By nature, a man’s first love is always beautiful.

Do you know what words a man can’t say after “iloveyou”?  “I’m sorry.”

Why don’t you let your emotions lead you?  Or the alcohol lead you… or let me lead you?

Do you know how it feels to have someone yesterday and then “you wish you have her” the next day?

♥ Answer Me, 1997 (July-Sept) ♥

Coming from a Neal Caffrey movie marathon, Answer Me 1997 sprinted all the way to my heart with its vibrant characters, nostalgic premise, fan girl foolish escapades, friendship we all have at some point and we still have at the moment and of course the crazy first love.  

TVN offered another late year delight like what they did in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop.  It was suave, witty and comic, the kind of what I want for an ideal love.  I know nothing of the actors in this drama and surprisingly, they have hooked my very elusive heart.

Kdramaland was all out and has maximized the use of time element in the dramas this year, and this time for Answer Me 1997, it was nostalgic… I sighed, cried and laughed out loud as I joined the characters in their younger years memory delving.  Nothing magical, mythical and supernatural, just a pure trip down to the moments everyone watching can totally relate.  Spicing the flashback element, the drama will be switching from present to the later part of the ‘90’s showcasing the trademark of that generation where tamagotchi, flip top phones and the rest of the ancestors of the modern technology in their conceiving stage.

A group of high school friends sat down for a sweet reunion and reminisce their High School life.  The story mainly evolved to best buddies Yoon-Jae and Shi-won in their quirky friendship progressing to a secret love and turning to a first love that ripened at the right time.

Shi-won has made me look so prim and proper when I saw how she maneuvered her fan girl antics.  From idol stalking to product buying to blood shedding to fan meet camping… she took it all, and she took it in her bossy and feisty style Miranda Priestley cannot afford to do.  Her addiction has made the people around her forcedly support her in her quest to be close to her celebrity crush.  While she’s doing her craziness, their High School life in the year 1997 was narrated.  Yoon-jae who has been beside Shi-won has realized that his being protective towards his childhood friend was the result of cupid’s predestined meant-to-be-arrow, but because his brother who has devoted his life to him after their parents passed away liked the same girl, he gave up his first love.  Before they move to university life, he emotionally confessed his feelings and vowed to forget all the love and all the friendship they shared to move on with his life.  At that same night Yoon-jae’s brother also declared his intention to be together with his first love’s little sister but Shi-won rejected him because she realized too late the love that has been with her all her life.

Years later they met again, and in her all business let’s not talk about the details attitude, Shi-won got straight to the point and tried to claim the offer she last denied.  


Watching how the love entanglements unfolded in this drama hit home in me and made me really pensive at the time when I was not shielding myself because of love.


The familiar feeling of first love if given another chance could become a “fated love”.  I finished the drama in one sitting, that’s how engrossing and fetching the story was.  It was just there sharing a wonderful friendship and love story without hassles and annoying conflicts but the emotions were resonating and striking at the memory veins that it will make you recollect the good old times when you first passionately and recklessly fell in love.

The charming screenplay and story have brought out the best of the newbie artists.  The novelty and evasion from the drama rom-com clichés has made the plot a winner.  It was like reading a predictable book… you know what’s going to happen but how they made it happen was sweet, comic, beautiful and realistic so you stayed fondly watching them.  The story will grow on you without you realizing it.

This is a wistful memoir of that point in time that we first fell in love… and when you finish the story, you might wonder what if you tried to go back.
“The reason why first love is always special is because you kept the memories… because you can never go back”.  Answer Me 1997 will prove this quote otherwise. -jediprincess

♥ Haeundae Lovers (Aug-Sept) ♥

The hotel-tug-of-war, the quirkiest-quasi-mafia-ish-fisherman family I have ever laid my eyes on, the stubborn-quick-to-anger-but-adorably-handsome-prosecutor, and the love story that was brought about by a criminal chase and one after another jumping into wrong conclusions were reasons enough to enjoy this light drama from the writer of one of my last year’s favorite — City Hunter.
 
 
Go So Ra and her uncles have been conquering the waters of Busan on their quest to pay off all their debts and to reclaim the Haeundae Hotel that her father founded but was taken away by a gangster rebellion initiated by his father’s second in command, Yang Man Ho.


 
Yang Man Ho, the man who snatched the hotel was dying and wanted to see his long lost son for the last time and a star scar would be the key to finding him.
 
Lee Tae Sung knows nothing only but to please his father who adopted him from the orphanage when he was young.  All his life has been channeled into succumbing to what his father commanded him, that including his fixed marriage to a daughter of a rich family.

 
Through these people, a love was fated to happen with a Romeo and Juliet background between a prosecutor and a fisherwoman-princess.


 
After failed attempts to catch a notorious con-man, Go Joong Shik, who has a lot of crime medals to brag about, Tae Sung was determined to seize him to appease his father’s disappointment and to prove his worth to the prosecutors’ office who are doubting his capabilities and who hasn’t had a smooth relationship with him because of his being egoistic.  

The slimy Joong-shik narrowly escaped his encounter with Tae-sung on a pier brawl so their team last chance was to locate him through Joong-shik’s girlfriend.  Go So Ra went to a night club where her cousin was said to be working, and to bail her out of the club, the boss wanted her to pose as a geisha and dance.  In the same night club, Tae-sung was preparing for the operation, and mistakenly thought So-ra was their secret mole.  “I’ve never felt this way before” – Tae-sung kept telling So-ra this line puzzling her while being annoyed at his insistence.  As So-ra found her way to escape the night club, Tae-sung who almost caught Joong-shik inadvertently let him slip away and in his fading consciousness saw Joong-shik on board So-ra’s truck which happened because she bumped at him while he was running away and while she and her cousin were in a hurry to get out of the place.

Even after just getting off his wedding day, he set off to Busan to look for So-ra as he thought she was Joong-shik’s girlfriend.  He worked his way to So Ra’s family in the hopes of getting a lead and when he finally traced him, the villain assumed his cat-like existence and won over their fight leaving him drowned in the water, but was luckily revived by So Ra’s family who has been thinking he was the culprit who took all their fish catch which was earlier sold by her cousin.


 
Lee Tae Sung woke up but due to a head damage, he can’t recall his identity. On the same hospital room, he was revived, Yang Man Ho was not aware that his long lost son was sharing a room with him. 


 
While battling amnesia, Tae Sung was taken in by Sora’s family as his family and wife thought him to be dead because of a car accident.

As Tae-sung/Nam-hae got used to ocean life, he has learned to rely on the only person in the world who can be there from him, and more than him realizing his vulnerability, his amnesia made him aware to listen to his heart more.

To save So-ra’s face when her groom ranaway, Tae-sung bravely marched down the aisle to assume a knight in a shining armor role, but in a twist of long standing Haeundae gangster fate, it was revealed formally that Tae-sung in deed was the long lost son of Go family’s arch nemesis Yang Man Ho.  But eventually Tae-sung and So-ra submitted to the mutual emotions they were both feeling and formed a plan to reclaim the hotel So-ra has been dreaming to have in the past 10 years. 

And just as their love story became crystal clear and freed from their father issues, Choi Joon Hyuk who harbored a one-sided love with So-ra did his chess move when he learned of Tae-sung’s real identity and revealed it to him in an off-guard-coming-out-of-amnesia-torn-between-two-lovers deal.

 

When Tae-sung’s memory resurfaced, to protect So-ra to the claws of power his father and his wife have, he left Seoul and buried his hours to his prosecutor job, and I’m happy that in a hurried pace, this drama made him bounced back so fast to come to terms with his daddy issues by blurting all the things he has wanted to say and also to confront the wife he has never loved not minding the guilt she was pressing on to him.

My favorite scene was surprisingly that one liner who has started their love story.  When Tae-sung told So-ra “I’ve never felt this way before”, with all his memory back and all the series of events that happened between them… and with all the love he was able to realized because of her, I smiled that I got lucky chancing upon this sweet love tale.


 
This drama totally deviated from the supernatural-time-travelling trend this year to settle to a realistic love narrative that built up so perfectly I was almost falling in love at the same time as the couple was feeling it… amnesia plot and all that off-beat elements, I ended up appreciating it.

It stayed on low key but was consistent with the romance and mirth all throughout.  So I guess the City Hunter writer was not a fluke at all, she was a real thing.  I liked that they gave the couple love hindering conflicts and made them so strong with their convictions to overcome it.  They took one step back and then 10 steps forward to claim what is rightfully theirs.

It was swift and well-paced.  It was predictable and yet so fun to watch.  Amidst the 3rd quarter drama, Haeundae Lovers was not that conspicuous, underrated if I may say, and the irony of it is that it has the biggest heart so far from what I’ve seen… tapping on love, family and friendship in an uncomplicated and stirring way of defining life’s real moments.

Just like the serene ocean background setting, Haeundae Lovers was an endearing, calming drama that will drown a stressful week.  I am sure right now that it will certainly not be one of the best this year, but at least it didn’t disappoint me at all and was always making me smile while I am watching it.

 

♥ Innocent Man (Sept-Nov) ♥

Dear kdramagod,

Thank you for giving me my Sungkyunkwan boys in the dramaland this year.  Seeing Song Joong Ki in his devilish playboy charm and kissable lips was the sole reason why I remained faithful watching this drama.  Please give him another one in the future, his potentials are really brimming.

Last quarter in the kdramaland is a melodrama short stop where vengeance, money-tug-of-war, misplaced love primarily span the main ingredients to watch out. 

Tutututut…. I neither liked nor hated Innocent Man, I loved Kang Ma Ru so much, but the story was not able to engross me…  I’ve been there in that kind of story a lot of times, the only novelty was that the main character was given the ability to hold both the yin and yang torches and rescue the people around him, and he did the rescuing unfavorable to him.  He wants a one-man show in becoming the best sacrificial lamb ever. 

This is the story of Harry potter’s twin brother – “THE BOY WHO LOVED”  *chuckles

Kang Ma Ru, a bright young aspiring doctor has been a caring brother to his sickly sister.  He is your nice, intelligent guy in flesh and blood whom every girl’s mother wants her daughter to marry someday.  He cherished Han Jae Hee, a girl from their neighborhood who has been living in a dysfunctional family that has treated her like garbage all her life.   Ma Ru dreamt of a future with her, but she dreamt a different future for her.  Working as a junior reporter, Han Jae Hee met a man for a big scoop that will put a business conglomerate, Taesan group, to a scandal, but she accidentally killed the man.  Kang Ma Ru clouded by the idea that the girl he loved more than her younger sister will be behind the bars lost all the wit he has and took the murder blame to save Han Jae-Hee. 

Years after, Han Jae Hee became the wife of Taesan group’s CEO as Kang Ma Ru after imprisonment became an expert player and did every job he can to provide for his sister’s medical expenses.   Their paths crossed again and to spite the woman he was jailed for but forgot everything about him after, he made her stepdaughter, Seo Eun Gi,  fall in love with him.  Seo Eun-gi was caught in Ma Ru’s trap and while she’s also battling her position in the company, she learned of the man she love’s past relationship with her step mother.  Eun-gi asked Ma Ru and the latter confirmed the truth she found out.  They parted ways after throwing icy “that’s what you get when you fall blindedly in love” confrontation but she shifted back her driving to hit Kang Ma Ru’s approaching car.  That was a hell hath no fury when a woman got scorned move, and I know I’m weird but I loved that scene. 

After a year, Eun-gi who suffered brain damage from the accident has most of her memory loss so she was hidden by her secretary and her lawyer out of loyalty and guilt to his father and their company.  To protect the company from Jae-hee and her right hand’s evil clutches, (I forgot the name of the right hand because he looked so weird in poker face),  Kang Ma Ru re-entered her life to assist her in regaining her memory.   As Ma Ru feared the day when Eun-gi gets her memory back, he began to realize that a person doesn’t love once only in his lifetime.  And as Han Jae Hee’s greed chastised her because I think the people in hell hasn’t invented yet a place for her, she realized that she was wrong turning her back to the man she loved.  In the end, Han Jae Hee redeemed herself and confessed all of the sins she’s done together with her right-hand accomplice and they were put in prison for 7 years.  Kang Ma Ru survived a brain surgery, studied abroad and put up a small private clinic in the neighborhood he grew up with.  It was hinted that he lost his memory after the surgery and he also narrated how he prayed fervently for another chance in life and another chance to be in an ordinary love.  (Well I’m yours for the taking baby!)  *wink 

Kang Ma Ru was a memorable character this year, Joong-ki oppa was able to justify the facets of the many characters he had and was forced to have.  He was decisive and can kick asses when he needed to.  He didn’t throw a fit when the world was unfriendly to him as long as he got to protect the people that mattered to him.  How his character evolved I think most of people can relate.  He was unyielding and never backing out to what he believed, but his weakness was his embracing to his inner hero self to shield the people he cherished.

Seo Eun-gi in her tough front was fierce but she failed to disengage her feisty self most of the time in her showdowns with Han Jae Hee, the latter still made her looked like a strong-woman-wanna-be-heiress.  But what I liked about her is her willingness to abandon herself all because of love.  She was not scared to admit it and her love declaration to my battered Ma Ru was one of my favorite scenes in the drama.  When she got to the amnesia part I was paying that they might pull a supernatural trick because I really hated that part when she was in it, so when she got it all back, I was hoping for her former feisty self reprisal to beat all the odds and help Ma Ru together but instead they gave us that cut to 7 years after ending.

How Ma Ru and Eun-gi arrived to the point of they both love each other and there will be no turning back was strengthened by the conspiracies and deceit that surrounded before and after the actual falling in love part, but when they were supposed to be together to finally claim and own it, they were able to achieve it but it was lacking because of the time constraint, so it was salvaged by the narration, which was prettily written, but after all they’ve been through, they deserved some happily loving each other scenes, near the sea or in a beautiful garden maybe. 

Han Jae Hee and her 3-man-sometimes-2 minion were not my favorite villains this year, they were better than Tae-suk and Se-na from Rooftop prince who can’t kill a cellphone but failing to attend Voldemort’s workshop perhaps was the reason why the evil ways they released didn’t have a finishing kick.  They also  have that same facial expressions they carried whenever they cast off their dark moves and whenever they are cornered in those few paybacks they got from the main leads. 

After catching the viewers in a web full of deceit, hatred, annoyance, angst, and the rest of the negative vibes they can think of they settled to a bright, happy ending.   My take on the ending was fair but considering the dark tone set in the story all throughout, I would have preferred a retribution deserving to the characters. The redeeming ending  for Han Jae Hee realizing too late her being ambitious didn’t leave her happy after all was I think not matching her style.  I love it when “yin” prevails, but I didn’t like how they placed it in the concluding episodes – “okay sleep now tomorrow morning everything will be alright.”  She went as far as killing someone, letting someone took the blame on it, and then suddenly because she apologized and ready to be jailed, we have to forgive her because of it.  It just didn’t make any sense for me.  Actually that’s what I learned from Jerry Yan hubby.  There’s no such thing as I’m sorry.

Innocent Man was able to bring out an excellent protagonist, even with unequal footing and at times annoying goodness, he still managed to bounce back from the evil doings the villains shot at him.  On that note, I didn’t like that all of the players are on the same level but the retaliation for the protagonists was snail-like when the villains weren’t that even scary compared to the bad guys I’ve seen in the past.  In short, Ma Ru’s support team was not efficient enough to make the story worth remembering for me.  Even if you have a star player on your team, he still need some help. 

It was an unreasonable one sided love after one sided love after another one sided love that my love veins pulsated in irritation.  Much to what they were trying to arrive at how the story would progress and which love will be affirmed, it formed a lame basis and futile attempts owing to the unlimited blackmailing disposed all over.  Injecting that memory loss plot was a very dangerous thing to do, and I say it was an unnecessary move.  Closing the deceit plot and resurrecting it again by causing an amnesia trick just lengthened the strife which has been won by the bad guys since the onset of the story.  Had they made the protagonists more valiant and understanding in dealing at the stones thrown at them it would have been more rounded, instead of clinging to the amnesia cliché and the lead girl who I had a love-you-hate-you-relationship when she was strong and stubborn and meek and vulnerable. 

A quarter left through the drama, I was screaming “Give her memory back! or I will go straight to the prosecutor’s office!”  There are just so much intentions going on but no meaning to what they are trying to do.  It started intense, wavered relentlessly, gasped some strong punches in the last quarter, and ended safe… no apologies for the viewers they annoyed and put up to cursing mode because the story and the characters moving around it seemed to be having their own business and was not aware that they are supposed to play their part, out play their enemies and declared what they should have been.  If I dissect the drama, it was just a story of man who loved the wrong woman, became cold and distant, met another woman and fell in love again.  But they have to go all the way to the scenes borrowed from previous dramas, the weak villains, chaebol group managing rights and the memory loss.  It was just another love and goodness will conquer kind of thing but they made it so dragging and tiring to munch at. 

But then again even after all my incessant whining which I really limited, I’m not a fan nor did I dislike “Innocent Man”.  It was safe to a point that I liked so much the texture of the main lead’s character Kang Ma Ru, but I won’t vouch for how they contemplated on the movement of the story.  I liked that it gave us a feeling of relying that there’s always another day to hope and believe in life even if you’ve gone through days of tears, pain and sacrifice. -jediprincess

 

♥ Arang and the Magistrate (Aug-Oct)  ♥

Once upon a time IlJimae was playing solitaire… feisty Gumiho got bored by it she taunted him to play poker instead.  This basically explained what happened to Arang and the Magistrate 20-episode stride.  It was like an Amazing Race where ghosts, Jade Emperor, humans, Hades, Grim Reaper and Heavenly-Fairy-turned-she-Voldemort mounted their moves to the slowly set pit stops and finally arrived at a momentous conclusion that sort of apologized for the dallying first half of the series.

 

In search of his mother, Kim Eun Oh, a son of a notable government official went to Miryang, but was halted of his main objective when a wandering ghost, Arang pleaded for him to help her seek justice for her death.  The magistrates who were supposed to be leading the town died of unknown reasons which were comically revealed to be because of Arang’s pestering of them to find the truth about her demise but technically the town was being reigned by a tyrant – Lord Choi.

 

Resigned to the idea that he will not help the feisty ghost, he ended up obliging after learning that it could uncover the trail to his goal of finding his mother when he saw the hair pin he last gave his mother worn by Arang.  Kim Eun Oh used his position as magistrate to investigate about Arang’s death and has done improvements in running the town where people were bound to the fright Lord Choi has brought them about.

 

The new magistrate soon learned Arang’s previous life’s identity who turned out to be the previous magistrate’s daughter Lee Seo Rim.  She was supposed to be engaged to Lord Choi’s adopted son Joo-wal but she went missing and was believed to have eloped with a low born man.  Eun-oh and his men stumbled on Seo-rim’s cadaver one day and when Arang learned of his ill-fated death she bargained with the Jade Emperor of the injustice she got.  With the help of the shaman she devised a way to personally visit the Jade emperor by trapping the Grim Reaper – the Angel of Death and forcing him to accompany her to the Jade Emperor.  She got what she wanted and was given a chance by the Jade Emperor to live for 3 full moons and has to find out the truth about her death, if she will fail to do so, she will be sent to the deepest recesses of hell.

 

So then Arang became human again and helped Eun-oh to track the mysterious cause of her death and the connection of her mother to her.  The magistrate also soon fell in love with her but knowing her short lived pardon to stay she can’t return the favour even if she was feeling the same way.  Joo-wal was also smitten by Arang, but was forced not to pursue it because of him serving his adopted aunt who was in reality the magistrate’s mother but was possessed by a fallen heaven fairy – Moo-yeon.

 

Moo-yeon was also revealed to be the Grim Reaper’s sister who harboured secret love towards her brother.  In her discontentment of things she cannot do because of heavenly status, she escaped Jade Emperor’s realm and possessed human bodies to survive on earth.   Only Moo-yeong aka Grim Reaper can stop Moo-yeon with her vile powers but his attempts has not been successful so he asked Eun-oh to help him, who was torn in choosing his mother and the woman he loved.

 

In the end, Eun-oh and Grim Reaper defeated Moo-yeon and was able to save Eun-oh’s mother’s soul.  Together with Arang, they embarked on her assignment to seek who killed her, and in doing so, he also learned of the truth that his life was also borrowed from the Jade Emperor.  It was revealed that Lee Seo Rim gave her life to protect Joo-wal and in the end Joo-wal became a Grim Reaper and Kim Eun Oh and Arang were reincarnated to continue on their fated love.

 

 

The one-sided love of the magistrate, the too-late-reciprocated-and-realized-love-for-Joo-Wal-to-Lee-Seo-Rim/Arang, and the restricted-by-full-moon-love-of-Arang-to-the-magistrate illustrated a heart piercing and yet understanding kind of love that I greatly appreciated because for a change, I saw characters not ending up twisted because of the love they so wanted to have.  Instead, they respected whatever emotions they are feeling and they are getting, and for that reason I found the romance in this drama compelling.  Whatever they said about “letting love go, and if it returns, it was meant for you” was achieved by the main players of the love entanglement.

 

It was an incessant shower of disappointing sighs as I groped my way to finish Arang and the Magistrate.  Halfway through the drama, it was still bland and bleak with a plot not coherent to the characters or shall I say, the characters were all good but the story moves in literally a mysterious way, that I ended up mystified and wanting to know why it kept withholding the covert truths indispensable to the movement of the plot.  But then alas! On the 13th episode it became lucky and started showing signs of promise.

 

 

Although Arang and the Magistrate showed languid episode movements, it sustained a convincing closure that has made it escaped a drama disappointment tag.  The main characters vibrant portrayals attributed to my not giving up on the drama, that being said, it helped that there are not that much characters to munch, and them being effective to their personas has helped the drama survive its slow-footed premise.

 

It has a light villain shock so the thrill and driving point relied on the main characters’ do or die choices.  The myriad nexus of the story arcs and the paranormal conflicts crept blindly relying on a climactic conflict that salvaged the slow evolving drama.  The casper-ish elements catenated the central theme which focused on the yin-yang-yearnings of the human heart. 

 

Arang and the Magistrate was able to evade an almost drama fury on my end.  It was a safe drama, period.  It goes down to the point of how you manage to end something, no matter how unsure and average the narration of the story was, as long as you give a decent ending that would suffice.  I really applaud the characters… I liked the concept but how they thread on the bridge to get to the other side could have been better if they wove a straight yarn and minimize the holding back of what should have happened.  I was able to predict what will happen eventually, but I stayed with it because the dragging storyline in the first half was compensated by the fast-paced-surprise-after-surprise second half.  Had they made it consistent it would have felt better considering the stellar performance of the cast and the richness manipulation of the folklore from where the story was derived.

 Safe, fun and feisty, I still recommend this as a Korean drama to watch this year.  -jediprincess

♥ To The Beautiful You (Aug-Oct)  ♥

To The Beautiful You – this will be the 3rd adaptation of the Japanese shojo manga “Hana Kimi” and my favorite of ’em all I say.. Well Koreans have this knack on doing their adaptation even better than the original.  I think Apple will agree on that. *chuckles

So given its quite familiar story, two adaptations Kdrama viewers can compare it with, I was just expecting how the following of the plot and turn of events will make me feel good, and I was not prepared it will hit me really good that my teenager self from 10 years ago assumed herself and was kicking her legs, giggling endlessly and hugging her pillow so tight in every surge of romantic scenes.

I was in constant tug-of-war between Eun-gyul and Tae-joon that I deviced a “who-abby-really-likes” scoresheet to break the sweet confusion.

Eun-gyul was your typical funny and thoughtful guy… the guy the writer would claim to be the main lead girl’s soulmate because it also breaks her heart that he will not be chosen.

Tae-joon, the distant-hot-you-can’t-help-but-drool-with descendant of Darcy and was a fictional fulfillment of every teenager girl’s dream boy.  He has had my love security blanket stripped while he showered me with romantic meteors in his smooth suave ways. 

Now the lead girl, Jae Hee whose stubborn hair has resurrected Helen of Troy in her body as cute boys lined up to win her heart subconsciously and knowingly. The typical vulnerable and warm lead girl who sometimes struggle with her understanding of the way things move around her.  She thrives on self-sacrificing but her being clueless spins most of the romance moments in the drama.

Any drama with a clingy girl who can’t grasp and digest that the boy he likes doesn’t like her always irritate me.  I just can’t stand girls who thrive with their insecurities in real life and even in kdramaland.


So the story simply goes like this… Jae-hee was a fan of a high-jump athlete Tae-joon.  He was the person who inspired her to come out of her shell when she was discriminated at school being a foreign student.  Tae-joon met an accident, lost his mother and lost his passion as an athlete so Jae-hee disguised herself as a boy to enter the same school Tae-joon was studying and imposed herself to be his resident encouragement-human-pill.

In a twist of cupid luck she ended up sharing the same dorm room with him and little by little she has crawled inside his lonely-angsty-secluded-self.

Jae-hee’s life in a male-infested school was such a refreshing dose of young love that you will find yourself reminiscing the first time you fell in love. Unbeknownst to Jae Hee, Tae-joon learned of her identity secret, and when he was able to define the strong fondness he felt towards her, a clingy-assuming-girlfriend, daddy issues and Eun Gyul’s one sided love would shake their teenager romance.

This is another teenage love drama at its best… no worries, just purely cuteness, sassiness and first love vibes. I will miss Eun-gyul’s social media shout-outs and weird mind wanderings, Jae-hee’s radiant smile and pure heart, and Tae-joon’s… well everything about him.  *giggles

Candid and totally charming, To the Beautiful You will promise you smiles and refreshing feel.  If you are looking for something serious or evil induced story, then you won’t find it here.  Everything about it was lightly done even the conflicts.  Simply laid, progressed smoothly and stopping at a happy ever-after note… this drama will be one of my favorite among the rom-coms this year.

♥ Faith (Aug-Oct)  ♥

Dear Lee Min Ho,

You are god’s gift to women.  If we can bottle you up, we will be free from mood swings, heartaches and all the rest of unexplained emotions men rarely understand.  Seriously, like every close-up shot zoomed in your newest drama drew ohs and ahhs from me.  We are really meant to be!  *giggles

I will be having a hard time on my year-end drama ratings and the reason for that would be because of this beautiful warrior and modern doctor love story set in the latter part of Korean history’s Goryeo period.  I love this drama not because of Lee Min Ho *lightning strikes*… *giggles nah, but seriously there’s a lot of excellent dramas shown this year but Faith was a complete package that I felt so Jerry Maguire-ish all throughout my drama stalking.

It was not as polished and calculated as City Hunter or Ghost, in fact it was sort of slow moving but it was moving to a direction where it was making the viewers joined 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.  To make it simple, Faith was successful in establishing a connection that will not make it forgettable.

Choi Young, the strong and steamy hot Woodalchi warrior was a General serving the Goryeo King.  His last mission before embarking to his dream of becoming a bummer was to escort the new King and his queen that was held hostage by the Yuan Empire.  The opposing forces tried as much as they can to have the King not reach the palace.  They were unsuccessful with their intention but were able to harm the queen.  Should the queen die, Goryeo will be facing Sauron’s eye because the queen was a Mongolian Yuan empire princess so the King desperate to find a cure to salvage the wounded queen resorted to an urban legend of a famous doctor who just suddenly disappeared.  He commanded the General, Choi Young of the Royal family’s elite soldiers to go to the Heaven’s Door to bring the doctor. 

Choi Young bravely went to the portal and what they thought to be a heavenly place turned out to be modern day Gangnam city in Korea where he found Yoo Eun Soo, a plastic surgeon.  Not realizing and buying the craziness of the whole deal I guess, the general grabbed the doctor to Goryeo period to fulfill the King’s command with a promise that he will return the abducted doctor.

But complications arose when the news of a doctor from heaven swept the Kingdom, the wily Prince Gi Cheol, who has sworn brothers and sisters with supernatural abilities wanted Yoo Eun Soo for his invincibility dreams.

The major conflicts were mainly divided to the political assertions and the save-the-doctor-struggle in the winding part of the drama.  The main character Choi Young, weary but bound to his responsibility to the king was always resolved in prioritizing him, and it has pained him that he cannot protect the love of his life.  When his inability to wield his sword struck in the home stretch I was so worried that they may not get an ever-after, so when he went back to his nothing-fazes-me attitude and went Kenshin Himura to all the people who has been blocking the road to happiness with his woman, I just told myself that it’s really not a bad idea to be single as long as this man will always be there on the TV screen.

The time-travelling doctor was the source of zest and held the magical twist in the story.  At the latter part I enjoyed immensely the sweet nothings and the lines she shared with Choi Young, but it doesn’t erased the fact that Lee Min Ho has now proven that he can carry a drama by himself.  In all fairness Eun-soo was able to give justice to the general-in-the-black-and-grey-armor with her vibrant attitude.  She was strong and serene at the same time and avoided the lead girl theatrics of always wanting to be rescued, instead her steadfast love patiently found its way to the man of her life.

Eun-soo who was actually the wandering doctor they were really looking for on the onset of the series has travelled through time in the hopes of fulfilling her fated love with Choi Young.  She lost her way many times, and in her sojourns prior to her eventual meeting of Choi Young has left clues for her future self which she was not aware of on the presumed present time. 

Assimilating the action plot with the supernatural spices and decorating it with folklore, having a band of villains equipped with mojos and x-men powers, a sassy and bubbly modern day doctor that was lost cutely to a new kind of living she was forced to live and of course the Thor-ish General who made my Kenshin Himura looked so inferior… were 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.  I know that goodness will prevail in the end, and I’m so looking forward to how the protagonists will take their final stand considering how smooth the pounces were of the bad guys.

This year most of the things in kdramaland involved paranormal activities and strongly portrayed characters.  A k-drama-addict like me was preoccupied year long because of these devastating beauties I uncovered.  Having Lee Min Ho in this drama really triggered my adoration, but more than that it was really the effective way of how the drama sweetly chained my easily bored self by presenting an astonishing picture of a balanced treatment between the characters and the story itself.  The story was there to make the characters shine as the characters made the story span.

Our lead couple Choi Young and Eun Soo came from different time and extremely different personalities, but they have nailed their romantic scenes so perfectly…  the loving gazes, the watching each other while asleep, the cheeky arguments, the no-matter-what-I’ll-protect-you-assurances and the love that was fated to happen was a convincing and fetching depiction of love that can surpass reasons and beyond reasons.

A drama moving through governance contention and draped by the traditional settings normally sets a serious tone, but how the heroes and the villains pulled the tricks on their sleeves eased out the ambiance to set an immersing watch.

The baddies who were at a fight-club mood all the time has brought out the best of the protagonists.  They had a firm atmosphere that never wavered its proportion all throughout even at those times when the narrative was at a billowing pace after the first 4 episodes of setting the mood of the story.

Faith is a remarkably premeditated tale where notwithstanding the consistent dawdling and sageuk clichés it successfully notched the path where it was directing the audience – hope, holding on faith and happiness.  Faith’s ability to balance the transcendent elemental nonsense was plausible and cohering to how it mounted to the story’s peak.

The back to the future arc linked the primary message and the title of the drama – FAITH.  Every essence of it and how a person should have faith to claim the love he deserves.  “Was I lacking of my yearning to see him or was I lacking faith?”  This was a very strong line I remembered and has pierced directly to my romantic veins. 

For people who expect an ending with a kiss to seal it, the closing scene might looked “that’s it?”, but the meaningful smile of the two people who fell in love by defying time and never giving up on their love even if the time played with them has OFFICIALLY made FAITH my KOREAN DRAMA THIS YEAR.

 

♥ May Queen (Aug-Dec)  ♥

 

♥ Ohlala Spouses (Oct-Nov)  ♥

♥ Five Fingers (Aug-Nov) ♥

KLM101: crash course to the Best Korean Romance Movies

And that’s me being overly assumptive but I’m pretty sure these are initiating Korean romance movies you have to see first, but consider you’re forewarned because these love flicks might erase the existing favorites you have right now …

In response to one of my blog friend’s request of making the best 24 Korean love movies  and because I’m in a sleeping contest with Harper Lee’s book  I’m pausing now to pick the Best Korean Romance Movies my eyes have ever laid on.

This will be hard considering love is subjective and love has different faces, but I’ll select the movies based on their peculiar storyline, evolving characters and knockout directing and overall make.

So Aunt Aphrodite, in no particular order here it goes… please accept my love offering.

P.S  If your favorites are not on the list, charge it to personal preference or I might have not seen it yet.  ^_^

♥ My Sassy girl (2001)THE GIRL WHO LEARNED TO LOVE AGAIN AND THE BOY WHO WILL DO EVERYTHING FOR LOVE.

Gyeon-woo would make your current BF right now in danger because most likely you will entertain that “I wish my BF can be a little like Gyeon-woo kind of thought”.

The initiating movie for first time watcher on the Korean movie land. This was released in 2001 and was based by a blog post written by Kim Hyo Sik. Director Kwak Jae Yong helmed the production.

If you haven’t watched this movie, then you haven’t watched a really good romance movie.  Needless to say, this is one of my favorite love films. Captivating, vibrant and worth watching… 

A perfect date movie that will leave you laughing and loving at the same time.

This is love tale of losing love, coping on the loss, helping yourself with whatever you can have to find love again.  Most girls undoubtedly can totally understand how the girl might have felt because of how emotional girls can be when dealing with heartaches. 

And I think most of us girls, can relate to the pain she was bearing all through out the movie. It’s hard to get over and start a new when your heart gets broken regardless of the reason why.  All of us want “Gyun-woo”, a not so perfect man but will be there for us no matter what.

A girl who has some past love issues was saved by a cheerful young man when she almost got caught by a train.  Fate played with them and the boy slowly became fond of her and decided that he would heal whatever that pain she has.  If I can marry someone like Gyeon-woo, I’ll be damn happy.

MY SASSY GIRL MOVIE RECAP

♥ Il Mare (2000) – THE PENPALS TURNED LOVERS BECAUSE OF A TIME TRAVELLING MAIL BOX.

Hollywood made a remake of this movie (The Lake house) but still I prefer how Koreans did it. A man and a woman engaged in a romance as they exchanged love letters and leaving it inside a mail box.  Time element executed perfectly. Addictive love story… Deeply touching and moving

IL Mare literally screamed soft and moving love story of time-crossed lovers.  It’s very simple, and yet well narrated that even my attention problem was won over by it.

It’s a nice watch on a lazy afternoon in the arms of someone you love. 

Love they say is magic and I say a sort of magical mail box which made a man and a woman fell in love regardless if they were living at different times was more than fireworks and raining rose petals.

IL MARE MOVIE RECAP

♥ Daisy (2006) – THE SECRET LOVER YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE

I like how Jun Ji Hyun reinvents herself as an actress, that’s why I love all her films.  Set in Netherlands, Ji Hyun played the role of a street painter that will become the love interest of a secret service agent and a professional hitman… Thrilling, lingering, and romantic elements were put in splendidly

This was narrated gorgeously in a three-way view point, there’s not a single kiss scene, but for some reasons it’s overflowing with love.  It was like the feeling when Pacey gave Joey a whole wall for her to paint.  If I’ll have a stalker like Park Yi, I’m sure I’ll fall for him.

Most movies that I’ve seen with time flashbacks were really good, but in Daisy it was extra special. 

It is unconditional secret one sided love at its best, and the shoot out scene where Park Yi reads Hye-young’s lips is one of my favorite scenes ever. 

And although the ever after was not achieved, this is one love story that really made me happy.  It was a love full of wonderful memories even before it started.

DAISY MOVIE RECAP

♥ Daddy Long Legs (2005) – THE MAN WHO LOVED A GIRL EVEN IN HIS FADING LIFE AND MEMORY

Ha Ji Won played a role of a radio scriptwriter who was always dreaming of meeting the guy who helped her pay her tuition in college. She accidentally bumped into emails that tells about a girl’s long time admiration over a guy. She finally had a chance to meet her daddy-long-legs and there she learned that it was his younger brother who asked him to do all the things for her. She also learned that it was her daddy-long -legs who wrote those emails, however he switched his gender when he was writing the emails. Daddy-long-legs lost all his memories including that of the girl’s because he was dying and he asked his brother to make the girl happy once he lost his memory. You’ll never get tired of watching it. Amazingly sweet and mesmerizing.

Daddy Long Legs is one of the sweetest movies I’ve seen so far.  It is laid back and serene.  The tricky identity switch can either fascinate you or pull a “make no sense” plot in your eyes.  In my case I like how it was laid. 

This feels like that “one summer walk” with your crush that you dearly keep in your heart. 

Eventhough the ending is sad, it is worth your afternoon break.

DADDY LONG LEGS MOVIE RECAP


♥ My Little Bride (2004) – THE LOVE THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE AND IT TOOK A WHILE FOR THEM TO REALIZE

An ordinary high school girl who worries about grades and has a crush on her school’s baseball team ace was forced to marry a guy out of her grandfather’s wish. Her being young and the hidden marriage made this movie so charming. Dandy, cheerful, playful… will let you remember that feel you have on the first person you ever had a crush on.

My Little Bride is a sweet tale of young love.  It reminds us that sometimes we may become blinded or too pre-occupied to notice a “love” that has been there all along.

We should not mistake thrills over true love.  This is a charmingly cute cradle snatching love story full of vibrancy and true love.

I don’t have a childhood sweetheart, books perhaps, but isn’t it amazing to be sharing the rest of your life with someone who has been there with you and who stayed without you demanding it.

MY LITTLE BRIDE MOVIE RECAP

♥ The Classic (2003) – THE SWEET LOVE AND  ROMANCE THAT WAS FULFILLED AT ANOTHER LIFETIME

Very nice, enthralling, amazingly unsurpassed romance… I can’t find words to dislike this movie, so just watch it. This is a love story that you will tell your grandchildren rather than “Romeo and Juliet”. 

A young woman accidentally bumped on her mother’s love story and she got deeply engaged with it.  The parallelism was well portrayed and there was just so much love in the air.

When I first saw this movie, I was deeply moved I named all my pet dog…  Sang-min.  *giggles  Until now, my pet is named Sang-min.  It was a time-transcending love at it’s best.  This made me love Director Kwak Jae-young much more.

“CHANCE is a GIFT for those who TRY”


THE CLASSIC MOVIE RECAP

My Wife got Married (2008) – THE HUSBAND AND WIFE IN AN UNCONVENTIONAL COMMITMENT AND HEARTFELT LOVE

I was really amused at this movie. Son Ye Jin was a player who hates marriage until she met a guy who showed her that it’s possible to enjoy being committed. Then she kinda like the idea of marriage so she asked her husband if she can marry another guy and there goes a kind of marriage you won’t think would happen in real life… So playful and mischievously flirty.

Marriage is kind of an exhausting topic for me as all my friends have been praying for me to tie the knot and that’s maybe the reason why I can’t because the love angels are annoyed with the buckets of requests.  But this movie was one of a kind, it’s a kind of set up I would want wen I decide to be with someone forever, well not the unfaithfulness perse but the light and comfortable feel of being married.

Sexy but in place.  Buoyant and Bouncy.

♥ A Millionaires First Love (2006) – THE RICH REBEL WHO LOVED A GIRL AND MADE ME CRY

Hyun Bin was a millionaire’s heir but in order for him to have his fortune, his dead granny forced him to finish High School in the suburb. There he discovered the past that he erased in his mind, and the truth that money can’t save the life of the girl he loves.

Most of the Korean Romance movies have sad endings,but then again it didn’t make them less beautiful.  That scene when Binnie’s character was so amazed at the lead girl’s back as she cooks, was one of the sweetest scene I have seen in a KMovie.  This was a dying girl movie that defied all the dying girl movies out there because it was not forced and was so heartfelt.

Passionate and bewitching.  This is a love flick that will remind you how you shared the pain and wanted to take away someone’s pain because of love.

♥ 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant (2004) – THE ENSLAVEMENT AGREEMENT THAT BLOOMED INTO A BINDING LOVE

After dumping her boyfriend just before their 100 day anniversary, she met a college guy when she accidentally kicks a can that hit him in the face and caused him to scratch his Lexus. He demanded she paid him $3000 on the spot and wrote up an “Enslavement Agreement” for her in order to pay for the damage to his car.   She got into a nightmarish slave life for 100 days, cleaning his house, running his errands, doing his homework and cleaning his car. Ooops.. I almost told the whole story… Upbeat, enchanting and one of my favorites.

This is a movie brimming with feel-good vibes.  It is nothing spectacular but always fun and nice to watch.  A slave-master love story refreshing, engaging and worth remembering.

100 DAYS WITH MR. ARROGANT MOVIE RECAP

♥ Romance of their Own (2004) – THE SWEET LOVE STORY THAT WILL SURPRISINGLY LINGER IN YOUR HEART

Two hot guys fought for a sweet naive, girl.  (I swear you would want to trade places with the girl on this movie.) 

This is what a guy should watch to get some  snappy smooth moves for is girl.  My eyes were literally flashing hearts and my heart was fickle every 5 minutes because of the adorable male leads.

The twist of the story is quite surprising, and I’m warning you that you might cry.  Tender, passionate and love-affirming.

4mn2

♥ Someone Special (2004) – THAT SOMEONE SPECIAL WE OFTEN CALLED “LOVE”

This is REALLY a nice watch… the movie you will force that special someone to watch with you before you decide to tie the knot… *giggles very witty, heartwarming, extraordinarily sweet, comfy and appealing.

This flick has one of the wittiest and funniest screenplay I’ve seen.  It was not complex and will keep teasing your heart in its entire duration.  It’s a movie were all pieces complements each other well from the story premise to how the characters played their role well to the amusing conflict and to the secret love and how it was returned back.  This is one of my hall-of-famers.

SOMEONE SPECIAL MOVIE RECAP

♥ A Moment To Remember (2004) – THE WORTH REMEMBERING LOVE OF A MAN TO THE WOMAN WHO CAN’T REMEMBER HIM

A couple striving to keep up their relationship against the struggle with the wife’s Alzheimer’s disease… A love story of a devoted husband who stayed with her wife even when she was slowly forgetting that he happened in her life.. Poignant, deeply moving, and I cried buckets of tears here.

This movie sent me to tear-land when I first saw it, and while recapping it my heart was still moved.  This is such a strong love story, the kind of love tale you’ll share your friend who has currently having inhibitions about love.  Considering the premise involved “sickness” as a conflict, I think what made this movie so strong is because of the superb performance of the lead couple.

One of the few movies, I dearly keep in my heart.

A MOMENT TO REMEMBER MOVIE RECAP

♥ Lovers Concerto (2002) – THE PAINFULLY SWEET LOVE TRIANGLE OF ‘EM ALL

Stellar acting and a gorgeously written script…  A deeply immersing love story…  Tied with friendship, secret adoration and almost love, this is a little charmer that will fill you up butterflies in your stomach.

I don’t know how to react to a love triangle were a friend of mine is involved.  A man should be worthy enough to make me join a tug of war, but then again how much I love my friend also matters.  This is one of those motion picture tat you can transfer to a book without losing its essence and beauty.

♥ 200 lbs Beauty (2006) – THE WEIGHT REDUCTION LOVE VENGEANCE CHICK FLICK

Brave, sunny and worth watching with your friends… A voice talent who has weight challenges worked hard to lose weight.  She became prettier and avenged her broken heart.  A love story full of courage and never failing to hope for what love can really offer.

If Mischievous Kiss gave hope to not so bright ladies that they have a chance to snatch a smart-prince-like-man, 200 LBS Beauty provided an encouragement4shared Personal Free Online File Storage – InnityIt was simple and not overly done and was an engrossing watch.

♥ Love Phobia (2006) – THE COUPLE WHO WILL MAKE YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST LOVE.

So I finally got the chance to watch this movie without interruptions.  Who wouldn’t fall for this darling?  I was so fond of the lead couples when they were children and loved them even more when they grew up.  So sweet, priceless and worth remembering. 

Watched it with my mom, and she loved it.  It’s a  charmingly woven love story.. and although it will make you cry in the end, I’m pretty sure it will be one of those love movies you will highly recommend.

love_phobia_2006-1

♥ Heaven’s Postman (2009) – THE SUPERNATURAL LOVE MOVIE THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU TO TRUST LOVE AGAIN

A very pretty and serene love story of moving on from the pain of a broken heart.   It has a very simple storytelling but with completeness that will touch the side of your heart that was once broken, and that was able to bounce again because of not giving up to the idea of finding love.

When you watch a love story with supernatural element inflection, you have to prepare yourself not to expect that much, and that’s what I did. Actually it was vaguely presented and was injected fully later in the story, nevertheless I love how this movie was not complicated and effortlessly endearing.

Surely worth of your rest day movie time.

HEAVEN’S POSTMAN MOVIE RECAP

♥ Lost and Found (2008) – THE GIRL WHO TOOK TIME TO REALIZE THE LOVE SHE DESERVED

If you are looking for an endearing and vibrant rom-com movie night with your boyfriend, this darling will delight you.  It’s ever moving and no dull moment.  From the feisty main female lead, the cholatey sweet lead man and the oozingly hot second male lead, this is a kind of Christmas gift you’d promise you’ll open on Christmas day, but when no one is looking out, you’ll sneak to see what it is.

Ji-ho has liked Min-woo since High School.  As her luck ran out with her current job, she bumped with her crush again when she was hit by his car while chasing the snatcher who took her bag.  She took that chance to pretend that she can’t remember anything to fulfill her 10-year dream of spending time with her crush.

But her neighbor-friend-who-secretly-loves-her, Dong-shik spoiled her staying at Min-woo’s house and brought her home while she still firmly held on her supposed amnesia.

She finally got Min-woo’s attention but Dong-shik was also determined to win the girl he has loved all her life.

This is about realizing the right love for you and chasing the romance no matter how long it will take.

♥ Once in a Summer (2006) –  THE NOSTALGIC LOVE STORY THAT WILL MAKE YOU REMEMBER A FLEETING BUT UNFORGETTABLE ROMANCE

It is one of the sweetest “summer love” movie I’ve seen unfortunately though they didn’t get their ever after.  Lee Byung Hun translates to the man you won’t regret committing infidelity if you are currently in a relationship.  He’s just so manly in an I-want-to-throw-myself-in-your-arms-kind-of-way.  Su-Ae has such an expressive eyes and her blithe nature in this love movie complements the endearing character of Byung-hun oppa.

A felicity filled tale that will leave you fetching and at the same time agonizing.  It was a sweet melancholic movie of finding love and holding on to it even if it has long been gone.

ONCE IN A SUMMER MOVIE RECAP

♥ Innocent Steps (2005) – THE LOVE THAT GREW AND FOUGHT FOR YOU

This sweet dance movie was an emotion pond..  It made me feel warm, giddyish, frustrated, disappointed, annoyed, sad, appeased and then eventually blissful.
 
The fake marriage, dance moves and the simple yet sure love launched a well deserved love sigh from me.
 
P.S  I love the footprints practice dance floor.

Never Ending Story (2012) THE SUPPOSED TO BE DYING COUPLE WHO FOUND LOVE IN THE LEAST MOMENT THEY EXPECTED IT

In tradition of the death bound conflict of Korean love story, this charming movie was able to balance the premise and have it set to both the lead couple’s having after life bargains.

What this movie achieved was setting a sad note to a brighter perception. It was a film about death but the lively scenes and characters have pulled a different take on life’s passing. The love couple were adorable and swung an Edward-Bella pull worthy of your smile and sigh.
I love that it was so natural and that they first slept together inside a coffin and never ending to a traditional bed.  A carefree movie I would definitely recommend.  This was a romance charmer that will raise mirth one moment and then tug your heart at another time.  Watching it made me not expect outcomes or predict what will happen because the conflict surged up when it commenced, but I was left watching them as they have a good time alongside the struggle with their inevitable death.
It was simply done but happily narrated, and that made it hit home in me.
Radiant and resonating, this is a must watch darling.

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♥ MORE THAN BLUE (2009) – THE BEST FRIENDS WHO SECRETLY LOVED EACH OTHER BUT FAILED TO CROSS THE ROMANCE LINE

More than blue less the falling in love and dying part made me yearn to have a boy bestfriend. A film so tender and heartfelt, it will give you that sweet regret feeling as you sleep. The dearest melancholic I-secretly-love-my-bestfriend-movie I have ever seen.

What I love about this movie is the transparency of the characters, it’s as if I’m staring at my neighbor’s life because they acted so naturally good and painfully remembering.

The sad ending was really sadder than sadness but how it concluded was clearly satisfying.

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♥ A WEREWOLF BOY (2012) – THE LOVE THAT WAS NOT BOUND TO HAPPEN BUT FELT SO RIGHT

I initially feared that this movie could go overrated considering the familiar plot and stellar main leads but I’m so happy to have chanced upon a very beautiful, unconventional, heartwarming first love movie. The last time I felt it was with the film “The Classic” and I couldn’t be any happier witnessing a young love that was not bound to happen but felt so right.

The fantasy element surprisingly blended to the heartfelt connection of the main couple as the simplicity of the narrative and the conflict failed to stripped the amazing progression of this moving love tale that will surely tug your heart.

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♥ ALWAYS (2012) – THE COUPLE WHO FOUND LOVE BECAUSE OF THEIR VULNERABILITIES

I received lots of raves about this movie and I must agree to the warm response “Always” has received.  It made me miss the feeling of being in love, and I was left smiling, calmed and inspired as I immersed myself in a love story between two people who found love in their vulnerabilities.

“Always” broke the romantic dry spell I’ve been having for a while now.  It played with the cutesies, the sweetness, the laidback and the contentment feel of a love movie.

On a distracting note, and I mean it to be really utmost distracting… So Ji Sub in his rough, untidy look was a sight to behold, and the short showcase of his abs was a manna from heaven.

Seeing the love grew, saddled, steadied, lost and fulfilled was I think the reason why it created huge admiration.  It was an ever after not of a prince and a princess, but by two people whose hearts can love each other with their eyes closed.

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ANOTHER PS:  I have a few parked movies somewhere in my mind as I have to re-watch it to secure a spot on my favorites.

Also you can check my Korean movie vault here:

https://jediprincess.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/top-korean-romantic-films/


King 2 hearts and my heart that the King first chose

Or so I think.  I’m having a princess moment yet again here.

King 2 Hearts was staged in a quasi-utopian Korean world where the North and South Koreans are sort of in peaceful communicating terms.  The current monarch Lee Jae King is pushing for dream unification but has to face barriers from opposing regions as well as big corporation.  His first step to attain his goal is a joint participation of officers from the two regions to the upcoming World Officer Championship (WOC), a tactical-military-team-game participated by countries acclaimed for their military service.  To spice up things, the King decided to include his prince brother Lee Jae Ha to the joint training for the upcoming event to his refusal given his easy-go-lucky and bum nature.  But because his luxurious life was the bargaining point, he was left no choice but to succumb to his hyung’s order.

His future lead girl is a North Korean general’s daughter, Kim Hang Ah, is a trained assassins specializing in bombs.  Her martial prowess is over the top that even men in her field evaded her.   Hang Ah’s line of work has been a liability in her search of ever-after as the men set up with her can’t bear her strong nature.  In desperation she agreed to participate as Northies’ delegate for WOC when her commanding officer stated an offer she can’t resist – that is to give her a man of her choice.

Soon the forced prince and the love seeker lady soldier meet up and start on a wrong foot when the training commenced as their culture differences become evident.  The slacking prince is causing delays to the enhancement program so the Northies use their commanding presence to make him focus to what they are intending to do, but his devilish side picks up fast and is able to reverse the situation by targeting Hang Ah’s yearning for a man she can love.  He plays with what she trusted to him and wounded her vulnerability.  They settle their dispute by treadmill running, and when they are in the brink of giving up, they are commanded not to halt because of a bomb planted inside the treadmill.  Drained with sweat and exhaustion the bomb squad successfully disarmed the weapon and the cat-and-mouse couple in time engaged in do-i-like-you-or-not- game.  The eventual love came to pass but they have to deal with the sporadic wrath of a psychopath-billionaire-evil-than-Voldy Bong-gu as well as the literal line that separates them.

King2hearts has always been polished, calculated but never failing to entice and push me to my assumed outcomes. That being said, what I applaud about this drama is how it seems predictable but will prove the viewers otherwise. But I would have wanted a different closure for Bong-gu… I could think of a lot of possible evil ways to end him because I was closed to calling the Criminal Minds team to help the North and South pin him down because of so much annoyance. Seriously I think they are now tired of having the male leads fought over the lead girl, so they are killing the second lead now… give way to the new face of the second-lead syndrome… It was a perfect Korean drama for the second quarter, all criteria were met… began well and ended with conviction. King 2 Hearts you are officially nominated on my Best Korean Drama this year.

I would also like to add Rich’s take on King 2 Hearts.  He is my newest dongsaeng.  I also just watched the end of King 2 Hearts, all im going to say is the last episodes really messed up what i thought was going to happen but still a fitting end, being able to watch as Hang Ah & Jae Ha’s relationship build throughout all the obvious pressure against it was great, also seeing Jae Ha develop and mature throughout the series was great to watch, from a sniveling childlike man to an all-powerful king, oh and if you want a perfect insane villain, look no further than the actor Yoon Je Moon, he is also in a tree with deep roots, plays the evil guy amazingly well, Amazing drama, time well worth spending to watch =)

Probably going to end up being my favorite drama of 2012.  (I won’t bet on that Rich, I said that to Moon that Embraces the Sun, and there they go gave me King 2 Hearts.  *wink)

Abby’s 2010 KDrama Picks

The OC-me-with-a-sort-of-eidetic-memory resulted in creating the list for my favorite dramas aired in 2010.  I know this is more than 365 days late but still I want to share it.  ^_^

P.S  Again, I’m more into romance genre so don’t ask if a critically acclaimed drama was not on my list.  ^_^

♥ Stars Falling From the Sky (Jan-Mar)I was clueless of who the lead couples were when I watched this drama and with no pre-conceived feelings with the actors and still liking it very much, that says a lot about how good this love yarn was.  I like strong heroines and I like them even more when they show their vulnerability and make adjustments to their liabilities.  A woman was forced to leave her usual girly and well-off life when her parents died.  She was left taking care of her color-coded siblings.  The instant family set-up and the love you have tried to give up but you ended up falling even more made me so fond of this drama.

♥ Prosecutor Princess (Mar-May) – Intricately woven narrative with great lines and superbly layered sequence build up plus effectively personified characters made me swoon over this drama. The “confrontation-kiss-scene” brought me to the edge of ever after and had me promised myself I will vow to be a single if it’s not Park Shi Hoo that I’m gonna marry with.. *giggles  Although I had some issues with the lead girl (partly because of jealousy), she has nailed the important scenes so that was good enough for me.  This is alluring and classic, a great watch and will live up to your expectation.

♥ Personal Preference (Mar – May) – It was a witty and sort of safe encore for Lee Min Ho to pick this drama because he was able to escape his Gu Jun Pyo character.  I mean when you hit stardom, viewers have tendencies to lean on the character they want you to be playing more than the character the actor wants to act on.  So I can say his choice to star in this romcom was a wise move and instead of focusing the attention to him, he and Son Ye-jin equally shared the glory playing yin and yang to this beautiful romance.  I have seen a lot of Ye-jin unni’s performance, this was not my favorite but regardless I like how she would challenge herself to deviate from the characters she portrayed before, like if someone will ask me where she was good at, it will take me a while to answer it.  Starred by my favorite actress and another one-sided love of mine, I could not ask for more. *giggles There were lots of bright tones here which I can say compensated to some dry moments and knots that were loosely conspicuous in a kdrama addict’s eye. The doting scenes melted me and made me craved for more so some scenes that are really unnecessary were left forgotten.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Aug – Nov) – I’m not a fan of sageuk drama and girl-pretending-a-boy-because-of-an-urgent reason is not something new for me, but I was blown away by the progress of the story and the build up of the romance in this love drama.  This is also the first time I equally like the first lead man and the second lead man.  (who wouldn’t fall for Geol Ah? *sigh).  The person you will love after your first love is like Sungkyunkwan for me.  I can’t help but love this drama each episode I was watching.  It was so addictive and full of love, and I was even surprised to have felt that way considering that it was a fusion-sageuk drama.  Having F4 like drama aired in the past few years, I say SKKS in its own right deserved so much applause.   Definitely this has a spot on top Korean dramas on Abby-land.

 

This is the perkiest period drama I’ve seen so far, if I may add it’s also the most romantic.  Considering the setting was in traditional times, they were able to execute love melting and love sighing scenes.

 

Kim Yoon Hee has assumed her sick brother’s identity and has been working as a scribe in a book store.  When financial constraint hit their family, she temporarily choked her personal convictions, and agreed to sit on the entrance exam on behalf of an aspiring Sungkyunkwan student, but another aspiring upright Sungkyunkwan scholar learned of her intentions and moved by her interesting character, he managed to have her entered the school. 

 

Under the disguise of a man, she ventured in a university populated by male and soon weaved a close friendship with intelligent Lee Sun Joon, debonair Goo Yong Ha and defiant Moon Jae Shin.  The exploits of this quartet will make you crave for more of them while they play on your TV screen.

 

This is also where your second male lead is equally as charming as your main lead, well in my case I liked Jae Shin more, and since his portrayal there, I became his stalker.   The romantic scenes laid were all heart blowing and amazingly done considering its sageuk premise.

 

Queen of Reversals (Oct 2010- Feb 2011) – Sweet and sent me to self-realizing for a day… Actually this drama got me because of Park Shi Hoo, didn’t read reviews about it which I normally do.  I’m just hopelessly in love with him so I just want to stare at his face even if I will not watch the story itself.  *giggles But I love how this drama turned out to be and there are lot of relationship ideas that were pointed out so prettily. 

 

My general perception on Hwang Tae Hee’s story is that of a woman forced to find her happiness, eventually getting it, but realizing that it was not the bliss she was supposed to have.  Her overcoming of setbacks and her guts to prove her worth is what you really call a success story, no big fortune presented, just achieving what she deserved and what she worked hard for.

 

Hwang Tae Hee worked as a distant team leader in an ad agency.  She met Bong Joon Soo in the same company and married him, but her main rival worked her way to strain their marriage.  She was forced to leave the company when her fate was manipulated by the Ad director, but after a few years, she was able to join the company again.  Just as her marriage was on the rocks and her career was in deep struggle, Goo Yong Shik, the chaebol son of the company she’s working with came in her life, and stood as her invisible butterfly wings.

 

Ain’t this woman so lucky?  She got another second chance in love, and that second chance was 10 times better than her former love. 

 

Hwang Tae Hee will be one of my favorite heroines.   It’s quite long so no chance that I stalked it online.  There were minimal lapses maybe because of the stretch of the story.  When I looked back I think it would have been better if it was not too long because the story itself was simply laid so extending it and adding unnecessary arc was safe but not really helping the story.  At any rate though, it was a worth gaping narrative. 

 

♥ My GF is a Gumiho (Aug – Oct) – Being a self-confessed fan of the Hong sisters, I really enjoyed the supernatural-mythical-romantic elements in this drama.  One of the most remembered couple I guess in the Kdramaland. I was already a Sin Min Ah fan even before and her light and natural take on her character made me love her even more.  Beautiful, never a dull moment and will always be on anyone’s top favorites. 

♥ Secret Garden (Nov 2010 – Jan 2011)  – Hyun Bin + Ha Ji Won = I’m a happy camper?  The drama woke up my inability of falling in love again with a fictional character Kim Joo Won.  Engaging and strong performance by the characters, amusing screenplay and a story that will linger and can work as a coping pill to boredom or heartbreak.  I had high expectations about this team up, and they did not fail me.  Sunny characters, a twist worth of de Maupassant, and an endearing-classic-my-mom-doesn’t-like-you-but-i-love-you love story.  Fresh and scintillating… worthy of being absent for a day… My top pick for 2010.

100 Days with Mr. Arrogant (2004) MOVIE RECAP

CAST:  Kim Jae-won and Ha Ji-won

Kang Ha-young wakes up from dreaming of an ugly Prince Charming kissing him while she is on her class to her classmate’s wondering and the teacher’s annoyance.  On the other side, Ahn Hyung-joon comes out of the water oozingly hot making the girls faint to his manly charm and appeal.

When she meets up with her boyfriend later, he tells her he wants to end their relationship, and to save face she leaves him after a bitter litany and blurting out that she’s going to end it with him anyway. 

While walking sadly after being dumped, she kicks a can which landed on Ahn Hyung-joon’s forehead.  It defocuses him causing him to bump his luxurious car on a wall.

She  runaway but she left her wallet bearing her school ID.  Later that night Hyung-joon calls but she dismissed him again. 

The next day at school she worries about the cost of the car repair expense and after the class, they are all curious about the commotion outside.  A wall full of paper banners of her asking to come out is the source of the school buzz. 

She tears the pages down, and then Hyung-joon appears and carries her on his back to her schoolmates envious-why-she-has-a-cute-guy-squeal.  While she sits on his car, she is having crazy thoughts of punishments that she might be getting from him.

He brings her to a cozy restaurant and asks her to sign a 100 days enslavement agreement which sends her to wild imaginations of her being sold to gangsters and being forced to marry someone, but he seems to be reading what her mind is conceiving so he cut her thoughts pointing out she’s not pretty enough to succumb with such ideas.

Hyun-joong visits his friend and brags about his new found slave.  When Ha-young gets home, she is about to rest her mortal body when Hyun-joong calls to assume his “master” role.   She gets another surprise when she sees him living to the apartment across their house.

The next day at her class Ha-young is hounded by her classmates asking about the details about Hyung-joon, so she makes up a dinner story and she even reversed the enslavement agreement making  her the boss and him the slave.   *giggles

On cue she receives a call from “her master”, and he demands her to leave her class to come to his place.  Furious of her newly acquired role, she hurt her eyes making her look like a Halloween character and asks her teacher to excuse herself because of her eye injury. 

She proceeds to his apartment and before she can enter, she is asked for a “password”, and that password is to imitate Sailor Moon’s heroine action chant which she does shyly and cutely.  When she enters his place, she is asked to clean it up because his father will be coming over for a visit. *giggles 

The enslavement relationship requires her to tag along with him when he’s shopping and watching a movie.  She also does the cleaning of his car, even pushing it when it gets stuck on the road, and all other unreasonable caprices he wanted to be done. (bad master!  *pout)


When Ha-young’s father’s car bumps on another car, she accompanies him to the car repair shop.  While her father is bargaining to cut the cost of the repair, she become extremely angry upon learning how cheap the cost of repainting was for a car scratch even if it was a luxurious car.

Upon knowing how he conned her, “operation-hell-hath-no-fury-when-Ha-young-got scorned takes in effect.”  Determined on her revenge she paints his car’s front window and leaves him a note that she painted it dark for him to be protected on the sun rays. 

She also presents a field demonstration starring Hyung-joon as the man who got her pregnant and left him afterwards. 

The car repair man tells Hyun-joong that his car window needs a replacement, so equally annoyed on what she did to his car, Hyun-joong hunts Hae-young down who is busy with her “Support the Vanishing of Hyun-joong Act” in public.   He drags her among the curious crowd and they exchange unpleasant sentences.  When Hyung-joon sends her a message to call him back, she sends an annoying video message of her to his irritation. 

He hunts her down at school and he chases her along the neighborhood but to no avail.

Hyung-joon posts an advertisement for a private tutor targeting Ha-young’s mother.  His effort pays off after his strategic attempts to have Ha-young’s mom notice his ad, when Ha-young’s teacher reveals her class standing to her mother.  Alas!  *evil laugh Hyung-joon was hired to tutor Ha-young.

On their first class together, Hyun-joong runs a diagnostic test of her basic knowledge, and he is amazed and annoyed of how sort of slow she is.  Their enslavement agreement continues with additional tutorial sessions.

They watch Hyung-joon’s friend concert which makes her really happy even if she  pushes his car when he runs out of gas and gets soaked in the rain when she gives her umbrella to him.  They also spend some time singing in a videoke house which triggers a special feeling the master and the slave haven’t realized yet.

Hyung-joon in his boredom asks her to go to a trip with him, but she declines because she is not allowed to go overnight.  So he sends her parents to Jeju Island by making them think they won a trip.


They have a fun and enjoyable trip and Ha-young and Hyun-joong become closer to each other. 

When they are about to try bungee jumping,  Hyung-joon is having an encounter with another man who is laughing at Ha-young’s weight.  While Hyun-joong is on an argument, she dares to look below and gets scared of the height.  She faints and then falls unprepared, but Hyung-joon jumps to caution her fall. 

She rests in the hospital after the bungee jump accident, as Hyung-joon contemplates on the budding emotion he is feeling for her.


Hyung-joon asks her to meet him up at a restaurant when he realizes that the 100 days of enslavement will be over.  When she shows up to what appears to be a meet and greet with Hyung-joon’s friends, she is coaxed to take a vomit soup recipe of waste, boogers, saliva and basically anything dirty coming from their bodies.  (eeewwww)

After his knight-in-a-shining-armor-move, he tells her that she’s officially free of being his slave.  When her friend notices that she brought a gift, they pass it around and it eventually lands on Hyung-joon’s hand.  He smiles when he reads the birthday card and sees the cute boxer gift.

When they reach the front of their apartments, he kisses her to her surprise.  Ha-young’s mother sees Hyung-joon kissing her daughter so when he visits for their study time she scolds him about thinking he was just playing with her daughter. 

The next day, Ha-young is introduced to a new tutor.  She tries calling Hyung-joon but he is not answering her phone calls.  When she gets the chance to talk to him, he tells her not to put an effort on him anymore because he is done playing with her.

In between private tutorial, Ha-young is having a hard time moving on with her first love.  When she goes drinking with her friends, they convince her that she can get over him in 10 seconds, but after 10 seconds she is still heartbroken.  ( 10 seconds?  Are you moving on from a lizard girl?)

Drunk Ha-young walks home and sees Hyung-joon. (You see in KMovieland the lead couples always bumps to each other when they are desperately praying not to)  She asks him if she is just really a toy for him but he ignores her and leaves her crying.

Hyung-joon leaves his apartment.  When she learned that he left, she iss extremely devastated.  When Ha-young notices a letter in their mailbox, she opens it and sees a ring.  She then realizes that Hyung-joon left it for her and she makes a promise to herself that she’ll study hard so that she can enter the same university where Hyung-joon also studies.

Ha-young confidently takes the University Exam and when she checks if she passed the entrance exam, she felt sad when she didn’t see her name on the list.  She goes to meet her tutor and mopes about her unhappiness.  Her tutor brings her to a place to make her feel better and leaves her alone to go the wash room.

Then lights burst in everywhere to her surprise and she sees Hyung-joon standing beside her.  He hands her the acceptance letter from the university and explains to her that he had her name purposely removed so that he can bring the good news to her in person.

He also tells her that he bargained with her mother not to lose her so he arranged for his friend to tutor her as the rest of his friends worked on the reviewer for Ha-young’s entrance exam.

He embraces her and kisses her while the fireworks display in the night sky. 

P.S We see Ha-young riding her car and is hit by a can kicked by a school boy.


COMMENTS:

This is a movie brimming with feel-good vibes.  It is nothing spectacular but always fun and nice to watch.  A slave-master love story refreshing, engaging and worth remembering.  ^_^

Korean Love Drama List

Might as well blog these K-Dramas who stayed with me when I’m sad, flirty, happy and in love…  Here’s a taste of feel-good Korean Romantic dramas, you might want to watch with your friends, partners,  and soon to be “future” person… ^_^ = my personal favorite

♥ Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (2011) – The light, feel-good and fast-paced vibe sent me wanting for more, and ended up being satisfied as each episode ends.  Without trying that much the characters grew on me and Cha Chi Soo tied with Dokko Jin this year for my favorite male leads.  One of the best for 2011, it swept me off my feet the way Prince Charming could have never done it to me.  Charming and full of romantic bliss plus an adorable Second Lead as an extra perk, you’re a descendant of Lord Voldemort if you fail to appreciate it.

♥ The Princess’ Man (2011)A period drama taking the Romeo and Juliet romance background.  With one of the vilest villain my eyes has set upon on television.  Nonetheless, for a not so sageuk fan like me it stirred emotions and glue-like substance to make me stay in touch with it and finishing it till the end.  Marvelously done music and editing and with richly personified characters, this is a drama worth of a red carpet recognition.  (10/10/10)

♥Scent of a Woman (2011) I won’t forget Yeon-jae and Ji-wook’s love story.  Theirs is full of passion, trust and commitment to love each other whatever the future holds.  To date this is my favorite Korean drama ever and Yeon-jae and Ji-wook’s lovestory will always be special in my heart.  A love tale that has made me cried big time, but still made me feel hopeful after the tears.  Scent of a Woman is so life and love affirming that it affected me in a way that it made me get so serious with making my own bucket list.  If a newbie will ask me what I can recommend for a first time watcher, without hesitation, I will certainly recommend this drama.


♥You’ve Fallen for me aka Heartstrings (2011) I would recommend this to anyone suffering extreme heartache to trigger their ability to love again.  This is refreshingly sweet and the kind of drama you’ll watch and never get tired of it..  Oozing with sweet moments and a lead actor who knew what buttons to tickle and make you filled of heart flutters.  A little lapses and a sort of rushed ending but Lee Shin made up for all those little things it was missing.


♥Myungwol the Spy (2011)The sort-of-chaos that happened during the airing of this drama didn’t stop me from being immersed on the characters and the funny, exciting. full of twist, and undeniably pretty story. I became interested with Eric because of his character here, and when I check on his other dramas, the man sure can act and is really hot. Since rom-com dramas are everywhere in the kimchidrama land, it’s hard to generate a love story of a man and a woman that you haven’t seen, heard or read before, true there may have been love stories about spies, but the crisp and outlandish of Myungwol took me by surprise, and I just love surprises.

♥City Hunter (2011) – I’m very fond of the lead couple after watching them in their respective Kdramas and I’ve loved them even more in this drama.  Very charming display of their characters. A story of revenge and realizing that there’s more to life than revenge.  It’s hard not to fall for this drama because it hit all the elements you can ask for.  Superb directing, scriptwriting and acting.  I could not ask for more.  ^_^

♥Best Love aka The Greatest Love (2011) – I was so in love with this drama when it was airing.  As always Hong sisters got me with their lead couple bickering-turned-to-loving.  It’s full of heart flutters and bliss.  A story of a striving-to-remain-in-the-Korean-showbizness woman and a top-Korean-actor.  It’s one of my favorites for 2011.  It might make you skip work if you watch it during work days so better watch it on a weekend.  It’s also the first time I fell in love to the second male lead almost at the same level as the first male lead.   I don’t know what kind of water Hong sisters drink for them to come up with really good love stories.  Dokko Jin entered my lead man Hall of Fame list and Pil-joo joined Geol-ah to my “really-they-deserved-the-girl” list.  This is something you will dream of when you sleep and a very good reason for you to bargain with time to speed up so that the day of its airing can happen.  Certified on Abby’s must-watch list. Full of ahhs and ohhs, this is one of the best rom-com dramas I’ve watched so far.  Consider you’re forewarned.

♥Baby Faced Beauty (2011) – it’s light, refreshing and full of hope and dreams.  The character development will slowly and surely capture you.  A story of a 34-year old woman who has to set aside her dream of being a designer to take the role of the breadwinner in the family.  She was given an opportunity to have her dream but she has to pretend she’s 9 years younger.  It may be slow moving but you will end up loving the story.

♥49 Days (2011)I found the premise intriguing as it involves fantasy intervention… it slowly picked up in my system but having a soft spot for I’m-here-for-you-all-along-why-can’t-you-notice-me kind of love, it won me over.  Neat and prettily written story with twists and gasps, and will be on my top 3 dramas for 2011.

♥Dream High (2011)Breezy, glee-like-maybe-even-better, and lead actors that will put you most of the time in the land of “i want to be with you”… I say this is a dark horse this year and the musical bearing sets it apart from the rest of the dramas this season.

♥My Princess (2011) – one of my favorite behind-bickering-they-love-each-other couple.  The only Song Seong Heon drama that I like.  Very appealing and enticing.  Kim Tae Hee proved she can do the light and classy… a must watch, eye-candy and worth recommending.  ^_^

♥ Secret Garden (2010) – Hyun Bin + Ha Ji Won = I’m a happy camper?  The drama woke up my inability of falling in love again with a fictional character Kim Joo Won.  Engaging and strong performance by the characters, amusing screenplay and a story that will linger and can work as a coping pill to boredom or heartbreak.  I had high expectations about this team up, and they did not fail me.  Sunny characters, a twist worth of de Maupassant, and an endearing-classic-my-mom-doesn’t-like-you-but-i-love-you love story.  Fresh and scintillating… worthy of being absent for a day… My top pick for 2010. ^_^

♥Queen of Reversals (2010) – Sweet and sent me to self-realizing for a day… Actually this drama got me because of Park Shi Hoo, didn’t read reviews about it which I normally do.  I’m just hopelessly in love with him so I just want to stare at his face even if I will not watch the story itself.  *giggles But I love how this drama turned out to be and there are lot of relationship ideas that were pointed out so prettily.  Hwang Tae Hee will be one of my favorite heroines. 


♥ City Hall (2009)I’ve watched this drama after I came across Dokko Jin, and the politics-based love story blew me away.  The closing scene was shot so perfectly I promised myself I will vow to be a single if I won’t get that kind of romantic scene for a wedding proposal.

♥ You’re Beautiful (2009) – Jang Geun Seok still lingers in my dreams because of this drama. Hong sisters have done a superb job crafting this drama.  One of the few dramas who killed me with so much anticipation. Great chemistry between our favorite K-band characters. After Jang geun Seok swept me off my feet here I hunted all his Korean movies and watched it. Amazingly sweet and with lots of love vibes. Fast paced, beautifully crafted, sweet moments at it’s best. ^_^

♥ My GF is a Gumiho (2010)Being a self-confessed fan of the Hong sisters, I really enjoyed the supernatural-mythical-romantic elements in this drama.  One of the most remembered couple I guess in the Kdramaland. I was already a Sin Min Ah fan even before and her light and natural take on her character made me love her even more.  Beautiful, never a dull moment and will always be on anyone’s top favorites. Incorporating folklore and romance on its best… nicely done, great acting, witty screen play, and definitely on my top 3 K-Drama of 2010. ^_^

♥Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010)Bromance incorporating a touch of traditional Korean history and way of living made the series riveting… such charming characters and will leave butterflies in your tummy.   The person you will love after your first love is like Sungkyunkwan for me.  I can’t help but love this drama each episode I was watching.  It was so addictive and full of love, and I was even surprised to have felt that way considering that it was a fusion-sageuk drama.  Having F4 like drama aired in the past few years, I say SKKS in its own right deserved so much applause.  Our F4 scholars made me so in love for a while and even now I still am in love with Geol Ah.  Definitely this has a spot on top Korean dramas on Abby-land.

♥ Personal Preference (2010) – Starred by my favorite actress and another one-sided love of mine, I could not ask for more. *giggles There were lots of bright tones here which I can say compensated to some dry moments and knots that were loosely conspicuous in a kdrama addict’s eye. The doting scenes melted me and made me craved for more so some scenes that are really unnecessary were left forgotten.  Your typical I’m-here-to-protect-you-love-story but with a twist.  ^_^

♥ Prosecutor Princess (2010) – Surprisingly sweet, comforting and a lead actor to drool and you can use as a calming pill.  More than safe storyline and will get you hooked when you least expected it.  Intricately woven narrative with great lines and superbly layered sequence build up plus effectively personified characters made me swoon over this drama. The “confrontation-kiss-scene” brought me to the edge of ever after and had me promised myself I will vow to be a single if it’s not Park Shi Hoo that I’m gonna marry with.. *giggles This is alluring and classic, a great watch and will live up to your expectation.

♥ Mischievous/Playful Kiss (2010) – I’ve seen how Japan and Taiwanese’ did their live adaptation so there’s always the comparison, I still prefer Taiwan’s version though, but this is quirky, lovely and you’ll have so many ways to love it.

♥ Iris (2009) – Since it was big budgeted and composed of top stars in Korea, it should definitely be worth watching… riveting, fast paced and top notch… But I’ve watched lots of spy dramas so it didn’t at all affect me.

♥ Boys Before Flowers (2009) – When it was aired in Korea, it was like the anticipation of Harry Potter book 7 for me, I’m so excited of Wednesdays because I get to watch it. Teen romance bliss at it’s best. ^_^

♥ Beethoven Virus (2009) – Great acting, scriptwriting and directing… It will slowly creep its way to you, and without you realizing it you are deeply immersed in each character’s life.

♥Coffee Prince (2007)Coffee Prince cemented my growing fondness towards Yoon Eun Hye.  *giggles  I liked her in Goong, and I like her even more here.  The music was so refreshing.  How the love grew between the lead characters was simply laid and yet so affecting and definitive.  If you are currently having a bitter heart because of a failed relationship it can surely disarm you and walk you through appreciating love again.  Addictive and will make you believe in love if you are unable to do so… ^_^

♥ Shining Inheritance (2010) –  I rarely watch mellow drama but there was something engaging in this modern-day-Cinderella-meets-spoiled-prince-romantic-interlude.  Seeing Han Hyo Joo in a different light was a surprise because I was not happy when I first saw her in Spring Waltz.  If not for the brilliant portrayal of the villain step mom here and how Eun-sung struggled and defeated the odds, the story will really not go beyond plain to interesting.  It took a while for me to fall in love, but I did eventually. A love story that builds up nicely.

♥ Love story in Harvard – Kim Rae Won is an actor that can easily sink in to any character he takes, and until now he still amuses me how he does that.  He’s so feel good and engaging to look at, and he effectively displayed that in LSIH.  There are a lot of heart-fluttering scenes which KRW nailed superbly.  I’m a sucker for finding-a-lost-love-and-realizing-the-love-is-still-there-drama so regardless of minimal inconsistencies and out of the context scenes, the fluidity and realistic appeal of the romantic elements were enough for me to put this on my favorite list.

♥ Goong (Princess Hours) – Growing love was really sweet in this drama and would make you remember your first love.   Great Music, great lines.  The build up of love is heart felt and lingering.  ^_^

♥ A Love To Kill – Classic directing and editing, decent conflict didn’t make the drama so dragging. Rain at his best.  ^_^

♥ Full House – Light and carefree. Cute couple fights and the famous 3 bear song made me smile a lot while watching it.  The sweet and simple storyline made tit a runaway hit.  ^_^

♥ Autumn Tale –  A very sad moving love story.  If serendipity has a twin evil brother, it was lurking the whole time in the story..  A few sweet moments, and a drama that is anti-ever-after.   The twist and simplicity of the story was very heartwarming. Heart-tugging storyline and will definitely linger in your heart.A lot of people cried over this KDrama. The twist and simplicity of the story was very heartwarming. Heart-tugging storyline and will definitely linger in your heart.

♥ What happened in Bali –  This is my favorite drama ending. There are only a few kdramas with decent endings, and if I’m strange because I love the ending of the ill-fated love triangle that this love interlude presented, I don’t care! *giggles At least they have provided a closure and a very strong closure for that matter.  Realistic and smokin’ hot.   Stirring and stimulating. Not a happily ever after drama, but definitely high grade scriptwriting and directing. Realistic and sensational. ^_^

♥ Love Marriage –   I was kinda hesitant when I first took my DVD copy of this drama to watch.  When I look at the lead couple it felt like they were not in sync physically.  There’s nothing spectacular about the story itself and is very laid back, and that’s maybe the reason why I fell for it.   Snappy scriptwriting, spirited lead actors and adorable love story.

♥ 1% of anything – A lovestory between a sweet middle school teacher and a hot tempered rich man. Fun, refreshing and one of the reason why Kang Dong Won is in my Korean Prince list.  ^_^

♥ Which Star did you come from – Poignant twist in the story can go either way depending on how you would want to take it. Neat storyline, but sometimes slow moving.  Light, eye-pleasing and another Kim Rae Won hit for me.

♥ Delightful Girl Chun Hyang – perky and bubbly… with lots of zest and romance…  Watched it after My Girl, and this sent me stalking Hong sisters from then on.

♥ Hanoi Bride – Lee Dong Wook is my favorite actor that’s why I watched it… quick, typical love story, somewhat great acting….

♥ Hello Miss – slow, sometimes entertaining, the only good thing here is Lee Dae Hee.

♥ La Dolce Vita – mature, splendid and realistic… marvelous acting and storyline…  If you have been induced by light rom-com dramas full of raining rose petals and couple bickering, this will be something new for your taste.

♥ My Lovely Samsoon –  I really think Hyun Bin was given by Heavenly Father to me, and until now I still have that illusion. *giggles He’s that actor whose gaze can make me so mesmerize and drool of what it feels like to be with him, in short I was meant for him, and it’s a one side love. Sam Soon is an addictive drama, subconsciously and in the real world. The writing and the weight of the story was justified by the endearing couple. It something which will nudge you of what you have experienced at some point sometime in your relationship.  Upbeat, mesmerizing, engaging and one of my favorites.  ^_^

♥ Fireworks – dreary storyline elevation… the only good thing to watch is the lead actor… tolerable and forgettable…

♥ Witch Yoo Hee – This was where I first noticed Jae Hee and his smooth smile. I have funny and sweet moments with this drama, but it’s just all that I guess. It was sort of more than an inch safe. Had it add more inflections and deleted unnnecessary scenes it would have been nicer.  Sometimes scattered and sometimes amusing.

♥ Stained Glass – typical, can be stirring at some point… sometimes spiritless… In between mediocre and above expectation I guess… Strikingly cute but not enough to make you remember it.

♥ Last Scandal – nice storyline, superb acting and chemistry between the lead actors, edifying and passionate.

♥ Save the Last Dance For MeA beautiful moving story of finding love and falling in love all over again to the same person.  It is my favorite Eugene drama.  At some point it was slow moving but it essentially helped the narrative of the drama.  This is like a love story taken out of your favorite harlequin novel but with a more pronounced lingering effect.  Deeply moving… fascinating characters… spell binding story…

best korean romantic films

mycollage

Initially this is just a page for Korean romantic films, but I’ve added some films that are not really romantic so that you can check whether to watch it or not.

I have included long recaps and short movie summaries for your reference, you can also see it all in my Korean Movie Recap Page.

I have rated it A(for Amazing), B+(for Breathtaking), B(for Beautiful), C+(for Cliche but Charming), C(for Crazy but Tolerable) D(for Disappointing), F(for Forget it).   I added additional tips for your reference.  My recent entries would be on a yearly basis from now on so the most recent dramas would be on the first entries.

I have included long recaps and short movie summaries for your perusal, you can also see it all in my Korean Movie Recap Page.

 

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♥ My Sassy girl (2001) – If you haven’t watched this love pill, then you haven’t watched a really good rom-com movie.  Needless to say, this is one of my favorite love films.  A perfect date movie. A girl who has some past love issues was saved by a cheerful young man when she almost got caught by a train.  Fate played with them and the boy slowly became fond of her and decided that he would heal whatever that pain she has.  If I can marry someone like Gyeon-woo, I’ll be damn happy.  *wink

MY SASSY GIRL MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy       GRADE:  A