2015 KDramas You Might Have Missed

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

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HEALER (Dec 2014 – Feb 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Action, Suspense

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

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

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

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

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

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Punch (Nov 2014 – Dec 2015) 

GENRES:  Drama, Legal

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

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

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

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

The antagonists displayed impossible levels of wickedness that even when they got what they deserved at the closing chapter I was still fuming on the inside.  There’s no fleeting romantic interlude in this drama but it is filled with family love and lessons about choosing the right decisions in your lives.    If you want a dose of serious themed dramas, this one is for you.  The thrill and the pace will surely shoot up your mind and will make you crave for some more.

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

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

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

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

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

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

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

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Supernatural

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

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

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

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

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Producers (May 2015 – June 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Comedy, Friendship, Romance

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

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

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

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

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

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Beloved Eun Dong (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Melodrama

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

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

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

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

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Mask (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Melodrama, Romance, Revenge

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

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

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

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

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Oh My Ghost (July 2015 – August 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Supernatural

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

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

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

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

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Yong Pal (Aug 2015 – Oct 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Medical

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

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

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

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

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

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She Was Pretty (Sept 2015 – Nov 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

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

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

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

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

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Bubblegum (Oct 2015 – Dec 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Family

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

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

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

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

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Youth, Drama

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

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

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

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

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Oh My Venus (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy

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

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

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

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

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Reply 1988 (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Family, Friendship

They say that as you age along, you get more sentimental as you look back on what has happened in your life. Sitting on this neighborhood drama set between 1988 – 1995 made me reminisce the good old days of endearing family love and friendship full of memories and laughter. “Answer me 1988” pays homage to the irreplaceable bliss of being young – of our young dreams and our young love. It gives you a trip to memory lane when technology hasn’t taken over the world yet— when friends meet up at a house to watch movies, to eat and to chat and when romance comes true by heartfelt love declarations, stolen kisses and warm hugs.  Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that were fused together to bring up a chronicle that warms the heart and lingers in one’s mind. The setting, side stories and the cast ensemble will make the viewers feel like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories we could ever have in our lives.

One of the many things I loved in this show was the genuine on-screen bond of the cast giving life in the best possible imagination of the sketched characters in the story. There was no passerby among the cast. All have contributed to an almost perfect depiction of how uncomplicated life then. With neighbors living up to become a functioning support group with their fellow parents whose dreams were mainly directed to the well-being of their children and of children who were pressured to chase their dreams so as to make their parents proud. That is definitely not the case today with the internet controlling human interaction. People will choose to just browse on the superficial social media status of their family and friends than to take time to catch up with them in person.  Another wonderful feature evident to all Reply-dramas would be the building up of the romance which has been fixed in presenting a love triangle and would always break the viewers’ hearts as they want both guys to get the same girl they were chasing. I was Team Taek-i all throughout. Who wouldn’t fall for Taek-i’s puppy face? I just really go for cute nerds who are clueless in life but advances strong when the situation required them to go for their one great love and Taek-i rose to the occasion by waiting for the right time and seizing the moment without looking back. Jung–hwan had his fair share of sweet moments capping up with that heartbreaking love proposal practice which Duk-seon never realized to be what really was in Jung Hwan’s heart.

But the one great love lesson learned from JungHwan-Dukseon-Taek love triangle is to not blame timing or fate for your one great love to happen. Taek-i braved the odds and defied a 20 year friendship and sealed every love he had for Dukseon in a heart-stopping kiss because he wanted to know right at that moment if there is just not a chance but if love was really there for both of them. It’s not just knowing that love is there, it is being in absolute certainty that both of you feel the same way.  I only have the very best things to say for the neighborhood I grew fond watching, for the childhood buddies who defined lifetime friendship and for the sincere love that bloomed from the purest friendship and memories.  Reply 1988 was a great spectacle to seal K-drama parade of 2015 and I can only hope that the writer won’t get tired of delving on nostalgic premise like this.

Reply 1988 is on my top 3 dramas for 2015 because of its brilliant use of sweet melancholia and sending the followers back to their very own youth, like it did to me. It made me want to pay a short visit to the street I grew up with and reminisce the times when I hang out with my childhood friends to play traditional local games. It made me glad that most of my precious memories were not digitally induced as is the case of the youth nowadays. And it reminded me to still go for the purest romance I can ever have that won’t make use much of the world- wide web and social media.  The ever present humor, the love stories and the amazing neighborhood are surely a quick relief for life stress. Reply 1988 is a strip of mementos any person with a euphoric youth can relate to. I strongly vouch for this drama if you have a weekend to spare.

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The Doctor who Kissed the Sleeping Heiress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Steal My Heart (2013) Korean Movie Quick Recap

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Steal My Heart is a case of rom-com imbalance where the comical moments sprinted a lot that it left the romance somehow behind.  Nonetheless it was still sweet and engrossing as the overload of quirky police officer hiding his con artist first love under the nose of the Police Department he belonged to was filled with hilarious events and cotton candy flashbacks.  Famed for his profiling ability, a police officer was on a quest to get a promotion, only if he gets the hit-and-run driver who bumped the infamous serial killer their police department has been  stalking for a long while.  When he cornered the culprit, he discovered it to be her long lost ex-girlfriend who disappeared just when he was about to propose marriage. 

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Blinded by love he swallowed the reality that she is a skilled pincher who has stolen quite impressive hard to steal items and is on the police chase list.  He has to deal with her quaint one-woman heist ability and possibly compromising his career for being an accomplice to her crimes.

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Steal My Heart is not a boring watch because the comic kicks were ever present, but it was not a romcom you will take another serving for when u don’t have something to watch in the future.  It was a good romantic treat while it lasted.  Feel good, fun and frolicsome.
-jediprincess ^_^

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2013 Pink Lightsaber K-Drama Year-end Ramblings

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While my entire stay in kdramaland for 2013 was not as faithful as I have been for 2012, I enjoyed it just the same, and I even added one drama to my all time personal favorites.
I hope I can find time next year to wrap up all my half-ways and quarterly done series reviews before 2014 first quarter wanes. 

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The deft writing and skillful directing of Nine Time Travels was a runaway hit for me sending me to pulsating “damn-this-drama-is-so-good moments.  There was no wasted episode and the characters and the time-voyaging plot harmoniously achieved an almost perfect production where conflicts and loose ends are tied and untied all throughout the story and then managed to climax in a euphoric scale where I was left marveling and renewing my kdrama addiction contract yet again.

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The ghost-seeing heroine and her adorable shield chaebol heir managed to etch their drama poster to my wall of kdrama favorites.  Joong-won and Tae-yang has had me really enjoyed the feeling of being in love just by watching how their romance blossomed.  True, that there were moments when the plot was trying to catch up with the romance but Master’s Sun notched a fun and yet epic love story of Harry&Sally proportion.  Refreshing and caffeinated, you will find yourself loving the main couple here.

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Reply 1994 worked its way to me and never looked back after once it felt that I’m hooked and addicted.  This drama rounded up the remaining spot of my top 3 dramas this year alongside Nine and Master’s Sun.  There’s just so much warming and reassuring feeling I felt while staying hooked at the cast ensembles and each of their stories.  And while I’m still waiting for Na-jung’s guess my eventual husband contest, I vouched that men and women of my age would really enjoy it as it is a reminder of us 10 years ago.  Sweetly nostalgic, I highly recommend this in your watchlist.

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I also enjoyed the love tearjerkers early this year… I Miss You That Winter The Wind Blows and When A Man Loves had made me forcedfully used up tissue rolls with the amount of weeping I spent stalking them through ups and downs, craziness and annoyance and heart flutters and bliss. 

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I am sorry I didn’t really enjoy I Hear Your Voice and Gu Family book.  The former didn’t hit the yellow chakra in me, the latter being not able to sustain the hype of the promising storyline. Heirs was surely overrated but I loved the two lead boys there, and the pantry kiss though the lead girl acted stoic was one of the best kiss Lee Min Ho has ever given in his career.  Marry Him If You Dare less the wtf ending would have been nice.  I mean I was all waiting for Mirae’s choice, but at the last minute the writer gave me the power to choose for Mirae, what’s that about?

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Joo Won didn’t wait for next year and worked on redeeming the disappointing and madly done Level 7 Civil Servant through his savant Good Doctor character which made me feast on heartwarming feelings and some new found medical knowledge.  I consider this a family drama that your mom would surely love.  Another drama mom would like is School 2013, although centered in the High Schooler’s life, the friendship and simply narrated but neatly acted story was a winning performance.

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Safely finishing their dramas, Cha Tae Hyun oppa lifted Jeon Woo Chi to a decent ending as my crush Yoo Ah In melted me over and over again to his King Sukjong role with the infamous Joseon concubine Jang Ok Jung.  Show me some magic and Tae Hyun oppa’s impeccable comic and winning performance and I’m on the ride babe.  And that swaying from the history book depiction of Jang Ok Jung story admittedly diminished my once felt angst towards Joseon’s femme fatale.  After all I’m a sucker of a two-way romance. 

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Mandate of Heaven following a Joseon fugitive plot who proved his innocence while saving his sick daughter against the court and Royal family conspiracies and the niftily done King of dramas which reminded me painfully of my once dream to become a TV drama writer were bubble wrap dramas which comforted me and made me feel good after watching them.

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Cheongdamdong Alice, Dating Agency: Cyrano, and Monstar gave me the after sweet taste of an afternoon in a park munching ice cream and cotton candy while The Great Seer and Flower-boy next door fairly amused me but certainly will be those forgettable dramas on my list this year.

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Two Weeks and Heartless City were the underrated but rockstars and dark horses in kdramaland for me this year.  The action packed thrilling plot had me most of the time on the edge of my seat anticipating the next badass move and powerplays that will unfold.

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Unfortunately I’m still trying hard to finish War of Flowers, Empire of Gold, Secret Love and Empress Ki so I can’t say much about them yet.  You From Another Star, Pretty Boy, Golden Rainbow, Miss Korea, Prime Minister and I will be on my 2014 list as it crosses over the Horse year.

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True this year was not as fabulous as last year.  It was mostly mediocre and passing dramas but there are a few good finds and 3 stellar dramas for me.  As my love time can only permit me for this quick recap, I am closing this with my pink lightsaber favorites this year.

Nine Times Travel
Master’s Sun
Reply 1994
That Winter The Wind Blows
Heartless City
King of Dramas
Jang Ok Jung
Mandate of Heaven
Two Weeks
Cheongdamdong Alice

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Hello 2014!  I’m looking forward to my kdrama treats from you!  ^_^

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Good Doctor Episode 7&8 Recap

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 7 RECAP

Si-on rushed to Eun-ok’s aid and inadvertently hurt one of the security officer in the process.  Eun-ok then fainted and she was rushed to the OR for surgery.

Do-han scolded Si-on on his presumed mistake as the affected patients during Eun-ok’s ruckus complained about the hospital’s situation.  The director saddened about what happened was left no choice but to make a decision.

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Eun-ok’s operation was successful.  The director believed Si-on was innocent but he can’t make the other people believed him too.  Another urgent meeting was summoned to officially decide on Si-on’s release, and when the doctor villains brought out the Director’s previous guarantee to leave his position, the management team disregarded it for the mean time.

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Assistant Director knew where to dig and was able to deduce that it was the Pediatric Head’s minion who last entered the isolated room.  The Director talked with Si-on and explained to him that he has to leave the hospital.  Disheartened and still not accepting why he has to leave, Si-on tried to check on Eun-ok one last time but Do-han won’t allow him to. 

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Yoon-seo rushed to see Si-on before he left the hospital but she failed catching up on him.  Eun-ok’s guardian paid a crude visit at the hospital and scared the recovering girl she has been abusing.  Yoon-seo, Head Nurse and Senior Nurse attended to her complaint of proceeding with the operation without her consent.  She insisted on taking Eun-ok out but the hospital people held their ground in refusing her request.

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The children patients who has been closed with Si-on learned about his leaving.  Patient In-hae called Si-on who was sitting at a bench.  She feigned she was hurt somewhere so he would answer her phone call.  She left the hospital and luckily found him at a robot museum as what she predicted.

When she asked him why he liked robots, he told him how robots stay still and believe in whatever he has to say that’s why he liked them.

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The Director explained to Yoon-seo how Si-on won’t understand illogical and irrational situations brought to him as he has been surviving in the world through memorizing what he was supposed to do.  He further explained how he was left by his parents when he was young and that after his brother died he has erased his memories except that of his brother’s.

Si-on was sitting lonely at his room when Yoon-seo barged in.  She told him that they will go to the library when she led him to a bar.  Drinking lesson 101 was taught to Si-on happily by Yoon-seo.   She cleared the misunderstanding of her possibly not believing him as he replied how he was okay if people don’t like him as long as he will not lie.  Yoon-seo suggested other fields in the medicine world where he can work for but Si-on remained firm in his dream of becoming a surgeon.  After drowning in soju, drunk Yoon-seo rode Si-on’s back and urged him to curse, but the latter refused doing so as he didn’t want doing it and listening to it.  Yoon-seo hit it again with the ajussi she always fought with whenever she’s drunk.  After exchanging unpleasantries, Si-on laid her down on her bed and just as he was about to leave, she sleepily called his name and mumbled how it was okay for him to cause trouble everyday so long as he won’t leave.  Si-on reached for her hair and touched it softly as he stared at her sleeping self.

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The next day Assistant Director met Pediatric chief minion and confronted him about his leaving the door open intentionally for Eun-ok to escape her room.  He denied the allegation but Assistant Director knew where to break his stance.

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Si-on prepared his luggage and was set to return to his hometown.  Meanwhile Assistant Director met with the Director and explained to him about the door incident being a technical malfunction issue and that it was not Si-on’s fault.  He proposed Si-on’s reinstatement and offered him a secret deal.

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Si-on’s mother learned about Si-on’s quitting the hospital and spoke with Yoon-seo about it.  She finally confirmed her connection with him and told her how she has been tailing him to at least become his mother from afar.  Yoon-seo explained why he can’t recognize her as Si-on’s mother made her promise to keep it a secret for the mean time.

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Si-on checked on Eun-ok through a video phone call.  He apologized for not saying goodbye properly and promised her that he will bring her in his hometown so she can play.  Eun-ok cried staring at his face on the phone showing how she missed the good doctor who has been taking care of her.

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Darcy Do-han met with his girlfriend about the robodoc that was cancelled because of financial constraints.  He argued about its value but she can only refer him to Assistant Director who does the budgeting of the hospital.  Do-han appealed to Assistant Director but the latter explained to him all those business decision run around.  He also took the opportunity to make a secret proposal to him.

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Just then, Eun-ok’s rude guardian showed up again with a police officer demanding the patient’s release.  Yoon-seo refused her request demanding her to present a legal document but the evil aunt went super sayan to her demand.  Their argument heated up, and just then Si-on cut the unpleasant patient tug of war scene by telling evil aunt that she cannot take Eun-ok.

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 8 RECAP

Si-on stopped evil aunt from getting Eun-ok by pleading his case to let the patient decide who she wanted to be with.  Si-on explained to Yoon-seo that it was found out that he really didn’t left the door open so he was called back to the hospital.  Eun-ok miraculously uttered that she wanted to stay at the hospital as she happily clung on Si-on’s hand so she was able to stay at the hospital under Si-on’s care.

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Assistant Director revealed in the meeting that it was a technical problem that caused the isolated door’s room that’s why it didn’t get lock properly.  The meeting concluded reinstating Si-on to the villains’ annoyance.  Pediatric Chief followed Assistant Director bursting in anger on how SI-on escaped the predicament, but AD just shrugged his shoulder muttering how technical issues are beyond his control.

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Do-han confirmed SI-on’s coming back and it has made Yoon-seo happy like finding her long lost brother and Do-han noticed how it was the first time he saw her so happy.  Yoon-seo went to Eun-Ok’s room and asked Si-on to go meet the rest of the team.  Yoon-seo hugged him as he hiccups continuously.  Unbeknownst to Yoon-seo the hiccups are because of Si-on’s growing fondness over her.

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The team welcomed him except for Pediatric Chief’s minion.  They decided to eat out to formally welcome him in the department and when asked about what he wanted to eat.  The student drinker answered he wanted alcohol to his teacher’s Yoon-seo’s amusement.

The director contemplated on his conversation with Assistant Director about the plan to boost the Pediatric department of the hospital as well as securing Si-on’s residency training.

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Si-on narrated how he has helped Eun-ok talk by always talking to her things that a mother would normally say to her child.  Yoon-seo asked him if he remembered his mother, but he replied that he can’t remember his parents but he is sure that they must have loved him.  Yoon-seo advised Si-on’s mother that her son came back as In-hae jumped at Si-on and gave him a bear hug to welcome him back.

Worried about the recent emotions he can’t understand, he confided to In-hae his recent unexplained feelings.  In-hae asked who was the woman he was feeling it with, but Si-on wanted to keep it a secret.  Annoyed by not sharing his secret love, In-hae explained to him that what he was experiencing were symptoms of liking a girl and of course his brilliant mind is having a hard time digesting it.  Still thinking about his newly revealed capability to love, he got distracted when he heard a heavenly voice airing in the hallways.  He entered the room and saw a talented young boy belting his magical voice to his television onlookers. 

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Yoon-seo asked Do-han if he will be coming to Si-on’s welcome party but the department head has a previous commitment.  He met up with Assistant Director who as a resident proposal guy, brought out his offer to Do-han who was skeptic about his visions of strengthening the Pediatric Surgery Department.

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Yoon-seo’s group were drinking soju and headed to noraebang to continue Si-on’s come back party.  Do-han was on a pensive mood as he thought about Assistant Director’s proposal.  Do-han stared at the happy faces of Pediatric department singing drunk and joyful.  Yoon-seo caught Do-han’s presence and they engaged on a small talk outside.  Do-han hinted about a decision he will be making but of course Yoon-seo was confused on the thoughts she was hearing from him.  They bickered about Yoon-seo’s military voice as Do-han insisted on having her changed it.

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Then we see our next patient coming up… the boy with the heavenly voice who has been singing all his life.  He was practicing with his vocal teacher and stage mother when his voice caught up in pain so he was rushed to the hospital.

Fully intoxicated with liquor, Yoon-seo and Si-on got back to the latter’s apartment but Yoon-seo insisted on a third round so she asked Si-on to buy some beer.  When Si-on got back, she was already sleeping like a baby. And our little boy who has just have his first crush stared at her as he entered a dear hyung diary confession about him liking the girl sleeping on his bed.

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The next day we see Do-han scanning a list and we flashback to Assistant Director telling him last night to recommend the best of his doctors because they will be scouted for recruitment.  At the doctors’ room Yoon-seo told Si-on not to drink alcohol anymore and then sprayed some perfume on her clothes.  She asked him if it smell good but he replied that because her perfume mixed with soju, it smelled like lemon soju and it’s making him want to drink again.

Eun-ok’s treatment was halted because her bills were not settled yet.   Unfortunately her aunt’s evilness extended to her even taking the money Eun-ok was getting for her disability.

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The boy with the heavenly voice, Kyu-hyun, sought Do-han’s expertise and the mother who only worried about her son’s performance kept rushing Do-han with the treatment.  Do-han ordered the needed tests and asked his team for a meeting.  The team drew the usual diagnosis and being always a lot of steps ahead, again Si-on was able to diagnose the illness.  Pyriform Sinus Fistula.  It is a congenital malformation of branchial cleft and the surgery would make the patient lose his voice.  So the dilemma was presented to the patient’s parents and stagemom expressed rage about the treatment presented.  The parents deliberated on what’s best for their son as Do-han ordered Yoon-seo to try to convince Si-on to give up on his dream of being a surgeon.  Irritated at the line of thought she was throwing at him, Si-on blurted a litany.

“Dreams and doing something well are different.  I draw the best.  I have confidence that my drawing skills are better than performing the surgery.  You can’t grow dreams because you just want to do it.  I think about it when I am eating or when I am sleeping.  That is a dream.  The thing that makes me feel good is a dream.” 

Grumpy Si-on stood and left Yoon-seo so to appease him with the rage she saw for the first time, she offered him to take care of Kyu-hyun’s case.

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The Director ordered Assistant Director to leave the hospital within a week.  Si-on was getting on the nerves of Kyu-hyun’s mother because of his always pointing out how he sort of miss his life because of too much singing.

Kyu-hyun was sleeping soundly sitting on the hallway’s bench when Si-on passed by and when he tried to listen to his MP3, he was surprised that there was no music on the playlist. 

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While the Director was eating at the cafeteria, his secretary came up for an emergency.  Pediatric Chief was put in question about his previous use of the prohibited drug by the Food and Drugs Administration.  Just as the commotion for the investigation was happening, Kyu-hyun’s condition was worsening but his mother won’t still allow surgery.  Si-on poutily quipped how a mother like her doesn’t worry about her son who was actually standing on the hospital’s rooftop on his sad quest to end his pain.

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P.S  Thank you HanCinema for the stills.

Good Doctor Episode 1&2

Good Doctor Episode 3&4

Good Doctor Episode 5&6

Good Doctor Episode 5&6 Recap

GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 5 RECAP

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Yoon-seo failed to prolong Min-hee’s life in the operation and has had her very first patient died on her operating table.  The grieving parents blamed Yoon-seo for the lost.  Pediatric Surgery Head threw a fit at Do-han for what happened.  Do-han later saw Shi-on sewing Min-hee’s blouse and the non-empathic surgeon again saw Shi-on’s act as foolishness and that he didn’t believe in Heaven, he again scolded Shi-on’s belief.  Toughie Yoon-seo went on with her life while she was unaware that her fellow residents were trying to shield her.  Do-han asked for a reprieve to his suspension to take care of what happened. Shi-on stayed in front of the morgue for him to accompany the little girl’s cadaver. 

No matter how he was asked politely and forced to get up for lurking in front of the morgue, he didn’t budge even if he was also scared and he explained to Yoon-seo how Min-hee might be so scared of what happened, that’s why he wanted to be with her.  Shi-on asked her if like Dr. Do-han she also doesn’t believe of heaven, and she replied that living in heaven and spending time with the love of your parents and they took that away from Min-hee.  Shi-on narrated how when he was an intern an incident like that of Min-hee’s happened, and the hospital would always reject the patient for surgery when they were in the brink of dying. 

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Shi-on:  Min-hee will be thankful to you.  They all gave up and didn’t perform the surgery.  The only person who didn’t reject the surgery was you.  The Director told me this before… Treating a patient is important, but giving an opportunity for the patient to live is also important.

Yoon-seo remained sulking and crying over why her patient didn’t arrive earlier for her to save her.  She sobbed how her heart also stopped when she heard the sound of her dying and she couldn’t do anything.  She poured on her fear of seeing Min-hee’s dying face and that she might not be able to hold a scalpel anymore because of it but Shi-on assured Yoon-seo that Min-hee is grateful for her so she should not worry… Shi-on tried to reach his hand to console her but Yoon-seo’s phone rang.  Do-han asked her to perform another surgery.  She complained on his intention to strengthen her after her failed first operation, but upon Do-han’s taunting, she agreed to do the procedure.

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After her successful second operation, Yoon-seo went to the wake of Min-hee to pay respect and overheard Min-hee’s parents talking to Do-han.  They apologized for the rash comments and asked him to extend their apology to Yoon-seo.  They admitted how they were unfair to the doctor who bravely accepted their daughter when all else rejected her for the operation.  Because of that, Yoon-seo’s heavy heart was relieved. 

Meanwhile in the hospital, evil pediatric surgery head met with assistant chairman to present the complaint he worked on the past few days.  The chairman was also meeting the hospital’s foundation head and she brought out the complaint petition raised about Shi-on.  She was worried that someone is orchestrating it that’s why it was brought directly to the foundation’s attention.

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Shi-on’s long lost mother who I was also wondering where she went was coincidentally working at the hospital’s cafeteria as well, and when she saw Shi-on she recognized the son she abandoned.  She turned her back as Min-hee’s parents approached; Shi-on took the opportunity to give Min-hee’s clothing that he sewed.

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Yoon-seo visited Shi-on at his room and she marvelled at the walled drawing of his brother, the rabbit and Min-hee.  When she asked him, if it was the heaven, he replied that it was not like that in trying to explain what he really drew, he motioned to his heart and sang cutely that “Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door song. “  Yoon-seo hugged Shi-on at his cuteness, and our boy-next-door who has his own world hiccupped at her action.  She thanked him for making her realized that it was not good being a surgeon without heart.

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Later on the two sat outside to eat and Yoon-seo learned about the tragic accident that caused Shi-on’s brother’s life.  He told him that because he was scared to go inside the abandoned land mine, his brother went to accompany him.  He showed him the toy green scalpel and told her that he wants to keep his promise to become a real doctor to his brother.

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As if the night bonding time was not enough, Yoon-seo showed up at Shi-on’s dishevelled, topless fresh from bed face the next morning.  He tried to cover himself, but Yoon-seo smiled at what he was doing teasing him that she has already seen it before.  She asked him to go out that day and they went to the zoo, and our cutie genius tired Yoon-seo exploring the place in many rounds.  Yoon-seo got the insight of how Shi-on’s extensive brain stretched to even animal sickness diagnosis which will be coming in handy because the next case they will be dealing would be werewolf boy’s long lost little sister.

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 GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 6 RECAP

So the ER was in distress and werewolf’s boy little sister has been biting and scaring the doctors that were trying to calm her.  Shi-on who deduced what might have happened with the little girl, tried to communicate with her in animal’s wavelength but his first attempt failed.  Just when he was gaining her trust though, heartless Do-han intervened and ordered his students to sedate her.

They learned of how the young girl was raised amongst the dogs her aunt was also taking care of thus she has an autistic and savage nature.  Yoon-seo put some medicine on the arm of Shi-on that was bitten and our shy boy is surely having a dose of cotton candy and romance which I am so excited to think of.  He explained to her why he needed to align his connection with her like he was communicating with an animal.  Yoon-seo told him not to say those things when the other doctors are around.

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The hospital officials were going crazy about the companies withdrawing investments on them and I’d rather not delve on it, but they were all fussing about the lost and they were all plotting to put the blame on the Director by using the current hospital’s troubles.

Little girl patient Ya-eun has been feeling some pain after her surgery so Yoon-seo and Shi-on went to check her.  What Yoon-seo can’t understand, Shi-on fully grasped as the little girl explained the sounds she can hear emanating from her body.  Shi-on translated the sounds so Yoon-seo can understand her.  As it turned out she was feeling the itch and discomfort as a result of the healing process after surgery.  Ya-eun thanked Shi-on for understanding her predicament and gave her some food stick that he can share with his girlfriend.  So who did he share the food with?  Yes, he shared it with Yoon-seo.

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Shi-on bravely asked Do-han to become werewolf’s girl attending physician to which he strongly declined but the pediatric surgery head who was furious because the Shi-on complaint he worked on was thrashed because of the on-going hospital conflicts saw an opportunity to make matters worse for Shi-on.  He ordered Do-han to let Shi-on took care of the werewolf girl, and the latter was happy about it.

When chubby senior nurse was having problems making werewolf girl to eat, Shi-on came to rescue and got a bowl of food for her.  He explained that she was accustomed in that way of eating so they have to proceed with what she was used to.  Yoon-seo saw what was happening and tried to interfere but the Director stopped her and reminded her about the talk he had before about the human-animal connection.  He narrated that he got the inspiration from Shi-on and his pet rabbit.

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Yoon-seo castigated Do-han and his harshness towards Shi-on but the drama won’t still disclose the reason for that except parading those sad Do-han moments while he grieved at the wake of a young boy.

Do-han stood up hospital-heiress who prepared a heavy and sumptuous dinner and he texted her that it was  because of an urgent surgery he has to attend to when in fact he was drowning himself of soju.

Yoon-seo who is now the resident audience for untold stories of this Korean drama listened as Do-han reminisced the memories of his younger brother who passed away.  He was also mentally challenged but received enough care from their parents.  He suggested for his parents to stop dropping him at school so he can learn his ways in the real world.  Unfortunately that advice caused his dear brother’s life when he had an episode attack and was hit by an approaching truck.

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The next morning Yoon-seo grabbed Shi-on for a quick bit as hospital-heiress learned about not having an operation at all from Do-han’s student.

The two ate at the cafeteria as Shi-on’s mother smiled while watching at her son from afar.  After eating, omoni felt a twinge of pain and collapsed, Shi-on and Yoon-seo came to her rescue.

Shi-on did a good job taking care of werewolf girl Eun-ok and the patient children also started befriending her.  Evil Chief of Pediatric surgery’s resident spy was seen spotting the children with Shi-on and Eun-ok at the isolated room.

Yoon-seo helped Omoni with the admission papers and when she got her wallet for her ID, her family picture showing Shi-on and his brother was dropped.  Smart Yoon-seo connected the dots to Omoni’s true identity.

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Meanwhile Assistant Director’s friend spoke with the latter about the current progress in the situation at the hospital and after chatting we see him entertaining another guest who turned out to be hospital heiress.  It turned out that it was her manipulation that made two investors withdrew from the hospital.  Hospital heiress Chae Kyung mentioned about Assistant Director  Kang Hyeon-tae who has been making her moves thwarted because of his keen mind in helping her step-mom.

So the doctor spy from the evil camp called Shi-on for assistance.  Shi-on made sure the door was locked before he headed to his destination.  Doctor spy left the door opened and Eun-ok eventually caused havoc in the hospital.  The guards have to subdue her and when Shi-on saw what was happening he shoved off a guard trying to get to the werewolf girl.

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EPISODE 5&6 COMMENTS

There were a lot of heartwarming notes and craziness for this week and as long as our Shi-on-ie is happy, I am happy.  What’s very amazing in this plainly conceived hospital drama is that they pay attention to the lessons you will be learning each episode.  Since this drama mostly involved human emotions, the situations raised have been so far satisfying.

I hope to see why Chae-kyung is such an unreasonable step-daughter here, because she appeared to be a nice girlfriend even if her boyfriend is robotic, her patience is undeniably CAPSLOCK BIG.  Actually the whole hospital political thing slowly injected in the story felt like a commercial for me, I don’t want to watch it but they have to be there.

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I am slowly being fond of the blossoming romance that Shi-on is now feeling but not understanding.  I am really worried on to whether the love story will even come to pass.

Thank you for drama for not dwelling on making life even harder for Shi-on.  I am excited for next week.  I hope omoni will try to make up for leaving Shi-on.

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P.S  Stills credits from hancinema. soompi, koreandrama,dramabeans.

GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 3&4 RECAP

GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 1&2 RECAP

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Good Doctor Episode 3&4 Recap

GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 3 RECAP

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Not grasping the weight of the action he made, Shi-on confessed that he approached the parents about the surgery idea.  Do-han got the ire of the senior doctor handling the case, and the former has to clean up the mess Shi-on created.

The patient’s parents were disheatened about the false hope given to them.  The baby patient was returned to its original doctor team.

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Back on the other villains’ camp, they were brewing a plan to take down Do-han and his father. 

They planned on purposely letting Do-han know that no treatment was even performed.  Do-han eventually took on the bait and claimed the patient for surgery.

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A medical meeting was called as the parties involved battled the responsibilities they should have taken and not, but in the midst of deciding what punishment should be done, the infant was crashing at NICU. 

An emergency surgery was performed while the evil pediatric head gloated at the urgent situation. Just when the procedure was hitting its success, there was a perforation in the billary tract.  Shi-on contradicted Yoon-seo’s diagnosis to remove the tumors to which Do-han agreed, and the surgical team froze to a medical miracle to save the day. 

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 4 RECAP

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The doctors were stuck on their next move to salvage the infant’s life while the doctors viewing outside talked about the inevitable dead end.  Shi-on again sensing the right track to take suggested draining the leaked bile and his last minute suggestion saved the day.

Now it’s time to continue the interrupted medical caucus earlier and given the weight of the surgical procedure done by Do-han, the severity of the punishment was reduced to a week suspension for him.

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Shi-on was bullied by the other residents so Yoon-seo dragged him out for a pep talk.  She told him how it is but normal to commit mistakes during the internship but his attitude would be the important factor to approach the undertakings, and of course Shi-on’s fixed thinking was only after the idea that the patient lived.

Do-han and his girlfriend hospital heiress went to a vacation so Yoon-seo led the team for the mean time.

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The villain head of pediatric stirred woes to parents of the children who were already having bad impressions on Shi-on.  It catapulted to an accident when the playing children were caught by Dr. Shi-on trying to eat snacks in secret.  One of the children mentioned the same line the ring leader form Shi-on’s childhood used to say to him and it brought out memories that shook him and caused the nearby glassy objects to fall on the floor wounding the kids.

An emergency case came in and against the approval of the Pediatric head, stubborn Yoon-seo called the shots to carry on with the surgery when the patient has a very slim chance of surviving.  Do-han who can’t focus on his getaway with his girlfriend, rushed back to the hospital upon hearing Yoon-seo’s tough call.  Yoon-seo struggled to sustain the patient’s life but the patient flat-lined.

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 3 AND 4 COMMENTS

Episode 3 and 4 delineated the line between the good and the bad doctors.  It was also establishing the underdog self of Shi-on which I will be taking in for these episodes, I don’t want this to become a permanent thing or a seesaw kind of thing.  If they will make him rise to the occasion, I hope not to the expense of always making him suffer first.  I love the complex relationship between Shi-on and Do-han and I hated the bullying scenes threw at Shi-on.  It’s unimaginable in the medical field I guess.  I fully comprehend the intention but it just doesn’t make sense.

I don’t know when I will start liking Moon Chae Won here but at times when she is not acting over the top, the rest of her acting is bland for me that I can’t feel for her character.

I hope for a lighter tone next week, I can only take a little of bullying.  I also look forward to the unravelling of the quasi-villains of the story and to how they will be leading to the romantic side of this drama.

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 1 & 2 RECAP

Good Doctor Episode 1&2 Recap

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This is it!  This will be the break I badly need from the sad summer kdramaland this year.  Joo Won-ie is really coming strong in this drama, I just hope that her lead girl would do her part as she seems to be in extension from her previous role in Innocent Man so far.  I worry on how they are going to create the love line, not that Shi-on’s character is not likeable it’s just unrealistic if it will lead to a full pledge love… maybe just maybe they will have him undergo a neuro operation that will touch a vein somewhere and will make her normal and not autistic anymore… I worry about these things when it’s just the pilot week… that’s how much I miss talking about Korean dramas.

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 I have tried and failed so many times to do the recapping in episodes, so I am hoping this time will do the trick.  So let’s get on board and cheer for our newest favorite doctor.

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 1 RECAP

So we opened at the sight of Joo Won already suiting up to his autistic savant persona. He will be playing Park Shi On. On his way for an appointment, he was calculating the directions given to him but got distracted with a 3D tv showing in the subway.

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His autism has caused him a hard life with his brother and his mother as a little boy. So that Si-on can join the local kids when they are playing, his brother agreed to get a train bearing as ordered by the neighborhood’s local children’s ring leader, but the ground erupted and just like the rabbit his father threw out of anger at him, his brother also died trying to make him a happy normal kid.

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Young Shi-on frequently visited a volunteer doctor and the doctor discovered the genius in him. With eidetic memory, he has mastered human anatomy at the age of 7 but his social and communication skills need to be worked on.

So the doctor who saw Si-on’s exceptional ability mentored him to become a medical practitioner and he stood in front of the director and doctors’ panel to present the skills of Si-on so that he can take a job post in the prestigious hospital but because of his mental issues the proposal was rejected.

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Meanwhile as Shi-on explored the wonderland thru 3D television, a young boy accidentally got caught in an accident when a suspended glass panel fell on him. Shi-on’s medical skills responded to the urgent situation and was able to administer a perfect first aid procedure. He rode on the ambulance who headed to the hospital where he was supposed to be going to and when he realized that another after trauma condition was happening to the little boy, his instinct forcedly made him try to deliver the message to the surgeon who later realized that the crazy man’s warning was essential to the operation and has made him save the young boy.

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After the autistic doctor’s evaluation, the panel got caught in the lobby when press people showed up to the hospital looking for the doctor who miraculously saved a little boy and was already going viral on the internet. The autistic doctor they first denied was eating with the hospital’s director and was given another serving to prove his efficiency as a surgeon with the director of the hospital guaranteeing his resignation from his position if the doctor prodigy will mess up in his probation. When asked why he wanted to be a pediatric doctor, Shi-on replied it was because of his rabbit and his brother who died young… he wanted to treat children so that they they can grow up to become adults.

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Shi-on was introduced to his fellow residents in training who were supervised by Professor Kim Do Han. The latter argued with his the Director about his decision to acquire the savant doctor in testing his ability and the possibility of him to function as a doctor but his mentor begged him to take care of him. They engaged in a pep talk but Shi-on’s eyes kept looking at the complex rubix cube on Prof. Kim’s table. Shi-on mumbled how he diagnosed the young boy’s condition to Prof. Kim’s annoyance and god-this-guy-is-really-amazing admittance. Their civil conversation was interrupted for a quick consult by one of the student resident, and Shi-on seized the opportunity to solve the cube.

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I almost forgot about Moon Chae Won, she played Dr. Cha Yoon-seo, a second year resident in the pediatric section. She was stubborn and got the ire of his superior because she was sort of Izzy Stevens with her temperament.  She’s that doctor who gets entangled with her emotions thus it clouds her judgment to what she is supposed to do as a doctor because she takes care of what her patient would feel and would be more comfortable with. She got scolded by Dr. Do-han… okay for the sake of easy talking I will just call the doctors by their first names. She went to a bar, which made me think of Grey’s already, are doctors really hanging out at bars?  I should try going there sometimes.

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Shi-on sat in front of his birthday cup cake and remembered that moment when he celebrated his birthday with his brother. He gave him his birthday gift and it was a doctor kit. His loving brother told him that he will become a doctor because he was very smart. His reverie was cut suddenly when drunk Yoon-seo muttered her hatred over Do-han started stripping her clothes and hit the sack. Shi-on watched the weird looking girl in amusement and wondering. Yoon-seo woke up and screamed at the top less man she saw brushing his teeth in front of her.

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 2 RECAP

Yoon-seo woke up bewildered at the sight of Shi-on’s bare top self and threw everything her hands were able to grab at clueless Shi-on. On cue, the remote control of the tv set start up to broadcast an escaped rapist and scared Yoon-seo even more. Shi-on who was focused on prettyfying and cleaning his teeth muttered that it was his room when she demanded him not to come near her. Yoon-seo asked the unit number and was embarrassed to realize she slept on the wrong house. She ordered him to turn his head around, and cute Shi-on moved his head like he was exercising. Yoon-seo shouted at him by not getting that she meant for him to turn his back so she can put on her clothes on. Shi-on turned his back and she hurriedly clothed herself and stormed out of his unit.

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They met again while heading out to work and Yoon-seo apologized for the incident which Shi-on really doesn’t care about. She explained that she used to live in his unit and she learned that he’s the new resident. She continued babbling about the incident but Shi-on was busy doing his monologue on the direction to go to the hospital. Not realizing his fixation to his own world, Yoon-seo thought he was being impolite at her. When they got to the hospital, she learned about his case with the fellow residents.

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Do-han stepped inside the department’s room to get his students in the morning rounds. Yoon-seo bickered at Shi-on’s not taking down notes and not meaning to impress, he told them that he has memorized it. When the team stepped out of a patient’s room, Si-on saw the butterfly drawings and praised the little boy patient for his artistry. His keen eyes then noticed the limpness of his body and the bile vomited by kid who had just a surgery for liver cirrhosis 3 days ago. The team turned their back to the patient’s room, and Dr. Kim scolded Si-on after mumbling relentlessly the danger the boy is having. Unfortunately the surgeon who operated on him was out golfing with his friends.

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The team assembled for Eun-ji’s surgery who was the cause of Yoon-seo and Do-han’s fight yesterday. Uneasy about leaving the boy he discovered to be in danger, Shi-on left the OR and called the Director.

The nurse team finally reached the doctor and he insisted to wait for him after 2 hours, but knowing the urgency of the situation, Shi-on kidnapped the patient with the help of the mischievous Senior Nurse and forcedly book an OR beside where Do-han and the rest of the team were performing a surgery.

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To resolve the dilemma brought about by Shi-on’s sage ability, Do-han operated on the 2 children simultaneously, just as Shi-on’s patient was cleared from the operation blood swelled in his body, and through his mumbling he directed Do-han to deduce what was done wrongly in the previous surgery. Do-han salvaged both children and hit Shi-on who smiled after being hit. He cut down his working hours as punishment and because he really don’t know what to do about him, and Yoon-seo tried to step up for Shi-on to no avail as Do-han has a closed mind to the feasibility of his autism being treated.

Yoon-seo learning Shi-on’s routinary dinner decided to cook for them while assistant director met with the careless doctor and his brother in law who was a high ranking person in the hospital. They tried to appeal the Department Chief’s carelessness and usage of banned medicine to treat the patient.

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While walking Yoon-seo jokingly babbled that Shi-on could really be perverted because he didn’t wake her up when she was sleeping last night. She teased that it can’t be helped considering her god-give body. Shi-on replied cutely who was the god who gave it, and told her that he was not looking at her body but at her pretty face being shone on by the moonlight. Yoon-seo smiled at the cheesy line which was of course unintentional on Shi-on’s part and muttered that he could definitely survive in the world. They reached home and started preparing their meal. While she cleaned up the messy table, Yoon-seo accidentally throw the green scalpel which was so important to Shi-on and when they found it inside the garbage bin, annoyed by disregarding it Shi-on threw her out of the place.

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The next day Assistant Director appealed to the Director to cover up on the malpractice done by the Pediatric Chief department to maintain peace in the hospital because it could be an act of retaliation when he was initially taunted of his prodigy doctor proposal. Do-han learned of the meeting cancellation and threw a fit at the director. He went to the department’s room to spit his anger at Shi-on but held himself up for the sake of his promise to the director. Just then evil doctor from vile doctor’s camp marched in the room furious about his patient being transferred to Do-han’s team.

Not sure about the instant outburst, Yoon-seo tried to reason out that the matter was already a closed case but doctor evil remained angered to everyone’s confusion.

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GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 1 & 2 RAMBLINGS

When I saw Joo Won embraced his persona right away in the opening scenes, I really felt good about it.  That was something he wasn’t able to showcase in his recent detective drama stint.  He really is that kind of actor who would take the extra mile in suiting up for the role he will be playing.

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The pilot week was strongly presented hitting the premise and the background story all at the same time so I think and I hope we won’t have problems with the pacing.  It will be more of what medical cases they will be bringing in the show.  Thank God I was House and grey’s anatomy educated I won’t have a hard time to grasp what will be happening.

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And yes, it’s not that I don’t like Moon Chae Won, but I don’t see her growing as an actress in her dramas.  I really thought the persona she played kicked off from her stubborn pretending to be strong heiress persona from Innocent Man, but i will be hopeful that I would be able to see a dimension of her this time.

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I won’t rave that much, in case the writer suddenly suffer some heart problems and make the drama move 360,but Episode 1 and 2 was neatly sketched and presented the main lead profoundly.  It has also established the rest of the characters and how they will be circling around the main role.   I am expecting medical scenarios that will be sanely conceived alongside the would be running permanent conflict difficulty to make Shi-on’s character jell with it deft and quaintly.

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FAVORITE SCENES:  That scene when Si-on was asked why he wanted to become a doctor and he replied that it was because of his rabbit and his brother.  he said he wanted to help children grow up  as an adult.

That scene when Si-on’s brother gave him the doctor kit birthday present.  I really dig bromance.. sometimes even more than man-woman romance.  *giggles

That scene when Si-on muttered that he was looking at her pretty face under the moonlight.

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 P.S Thank you hancinema.net, soompi and dramabeans for the images.

GOOD DOCTOR EPISODE 3 & 4 RECAP

variety land, spring dramas and birthday-girl abby

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Someone asked me if I do watch Korean variety shows too… I have only seen 4, so I am pretty much new and I’m intending to catch up because I laugh a lot when I’m watching those humor-filled shows.  I used to pay live comedy shows but really a eureka moment for me when I discovered the fun in variety land.

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I like 1 night 2 days because I am more drawn to humor in unscripted narration setting and I like that they go to nice nature trips.  I am chasing Running Man these days, I also like it but not reaching yet my fondness towards Dad, Where are We Going? which is really a delightful program to watch.  Barefoot Friends is a newbie, and so far they have some good episodes but battling consistency is really evident.

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I am done with Spring Dramas, and I am also surprised that among Jang Ok Jung, Gu Family Book, Mandate of Heaven, Nine Times Travel and When A Man Loves A Woman, the last I mentioned was my best pick.  I liked Ok Jung and Nine but the bertie botts every kind of love drama was really a comfortable watch for me.  

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I have included God of Workplace along with Yawang, Iris 2, and Incarnation of Money for my scheduled November kdrama bucket moment and I am really hoping I get to finish some of them before my dead line.  I dropped All About Romance, Ad Genius and The Virus for my 2013 drama watch list for good, and yes no regrets.  I am half-way through Horse Healer, Cruel Palace and 100 years of Inheritance… loong series is really a feat to conquer.

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I was hit by omg-I-will-become-30 as soon as July hit the calendar, and what I did to cheer me up was to listen to my favorite classical music pieces whenever emotional strain hit me, very traditional, and yes, it worked.  There are a lot to ponder whenever someone’s birthday approaches and a lot more when he will finally say goodbye to sweet 20’s.  And I really felt that, HARD and LINGERING.  Anyway, I am all good now, looking forward to my birthday vacation with my work buddies, munching summer dramas, and pushing hard to follow my reading assignments.  ^_^

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The lovestory of rich-Bond-wanna-be and bright-eyed breadwinner Level 7 Civil Servants

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Commencing at a very strong note with hilarious situations and a lot of cutesiness, Level 7 Civil Servant hit a boulder midway as it got struck with trust issues that would have been easy to explain scenarios if not for the writer’s sticking to unreasonable judgment perception that he only understood. The happiness saved from its early episodes dropped fast as it went berserk and confused on the main conflict the show was talking about and even in the dying episodes it was acting like it was a more than 50-episode sageuk when it will be soon hitting the closure.

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So there were two stories, the love story between rich-boy and poor-girl agent and NIS leaders being stalked out of revenge by the weak villains in the story. They put it together and they created chaos. Or we can just say there were two parts, the “happy” part and the “what happened?” part… they forced it together and left me disappointed… not Big-fashion-king-disappointment but it was a sad tv experience because I was so hooked in the first 10 episodes only to be left stranded when the drama writer switched to his Jekyll character.

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There were a lot of inefficient and inconsistent characters who functioned as annoying conflict and regular fillers to the story and I disliked how the cast have all moments of decreased IQ and skills in moments when they were required to use either their intellect and muscles. The cluttered patriotic sense was really all over in the series that I felt like I was watching Paris Hilton in a Criminal Minds episode.

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Rich, debonair-devil-may-care-I-have-rich-father’s-money to spend on dreamt of entering NIS (chief intelligence bureau in Korea) eversince he saw James Bond when he was young. Pampered by his mother and bribed by a new car he agreed to match-making sessions and met Kim Kyung-ja who was paid by her friend to pose as a daughter of a diplomat to attend the scheduled blind dates. After a not so pleasant first encounter, they met again at NIS training camp and slowly changed from bickering to understanding each other’s pain and dream.

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Pil-hoon’s rich father covertly engaged in a deal with an NIS wanted person and his connection was being used by the bureau to track down the fugitive. The discipline officer faked Pil-hoon’s dismissal and gave him a secret mission to stay close to his father and Pil-hoon who has aboji issues was left no choice but to comply out of filial duties and his patriotic drive.

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The villains in the story were composed of a 3-man crew who were children of then NIS accomplices who were also trading illegal weapons. After their families were wiped out, they vowed to avenge their families’ fate by killing the NIS leaders involved. They have managed to kill two already, but the second leader they killed also fatally wounded the leader leaving his girlfriend and younger brother to carry on their vile payback mission.

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Pil-hoon/Gil-ro started working in his father’s company and after a year, he got a surprise when Kyung-ja/Seo-won applied in their company as a new employee, little did he know that she was on an NIS mission to get closer to him to obtain the documents they needed which was under Pil-hoon’s father’s care.

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Seo-won knew that if her cover will be discovered, it will shatter Gil-ro and although she truly has genuine feelings for Gil-ro she has to accomplish her task. Then came the unveiling of his girlfriend’s intention which was also the turning point as the story turned hazy. Gil-ro was appeased by the betrayal he felt and his love for Seo-won overpowered the honesty issues he first can’t forgive.

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Gil-ro joined the team in their chase to track down the remaining two villains but the internal movement in the agency where the NIS Director conspired with the villain girl to obtain valuable information in the expense of selling down the bureau’s river was really uncalled for I think. I just can’t understand why in their immense power they were actually laying cards with the baddies when they should just take actions. I mean the fiend-duo didn’t hold a detonator for the agency building so I can’t understand why they made it look  so hard for the NIS people to close down the mission.

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I was not caring anymore when it hit the finale episode, I just want it to end because I can’t comprehend what they were trying to chalk up or if they were really trying to. And then they pulled that “kidnap-the-lead-girl-thing” and discipline-officer’s hospital absolution of sin moment and I was sent to purgatory. If the revenge and romance plot will be divided, it would have stood alone and it would have been okay but it was really a fusion gone bad. 

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The love moments of Gil-ro and Seo-won and the breaking of those love moments were the only flicker of bliss that gasped every now and then in that 20-episode series. It was a disheartening thought because it has lot of potentials but it got perplexed and wasn’t able to get back to its footing.

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Like a bubble gum it will be sweet in the beginning but it will turn tasteless as you chew it. Well, Joo Won will be there to drool with but this will be a forgettable project of his. 

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Level 7 Civil Servant was not badly thought but it was badly executed. So I won’t say that it was a bad drama as there were episodes that really showed promise but the more important ones were notched unsuccessfully. So I’ll be safe in saying “watch it at your own risk”. -jediprincess ^_^

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Gaksitaaaaaaaaaalll!!!! You are officially my favorite local hero. *wink

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Move over Ajussi, City Hunter, Masked Rider Black, Shaider, Spiderman, Superman, Batman… and all the rest of those superheroes who took the imaginary world by storm… Gaksital has only a  flute and superb martial arts move, but for the first time in my life, I fell in love with a local hero.

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Dear Gaksital,

I follow Lunar Calendar year, can I make it up by saying “I was saving the BEST for last”.  *sheepishsmile  I judged too soon.  I know that.  I was all swept by Lee Min Ho’s pretty face that’s why I set you aside, and what a sweet payback for you because you will make me update all my 2012 year-end ramblings. 

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A bromance defying all bromance invented… *giggles  Every episode, if not the same intensity as the last, always ended at a very strong note.  Boasting with its powerful stunts and whoa!-fight-scenes, my feminine lines were stripped.  Actually I don’t know what martial arts they used but the camera caught fist throwings, kick stretchings, gun shootings, sword wieldings in a thrilling and perfectly executed fashion that my jaw literally dropped and I just found myself immensely enjoying the gun shots, punch sounds, skin rips, sword slashes, blood spatters, and cat-and-mouse chase… In other words I embraced the dark side while I was watching it.  *evilgrin

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The mise-en-scene of this drama really got me feeling what it was like 60-70 years ago.  I love the wardrobe and fashion.  I love the club entertainment scenes and the circus acts.  Sigh I love everything about the production design. Period.

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Gaksital went to this milieu… “I accidentally killed my brother because our mother was killed by my bestfriend’s brother.  So I killed my bestfriend’s brother, but he caught me doing it and because of the circumstances and my family’s past which was just revealed to me when I have already denounced my patriotism to favor the Japanese empire, I’m not sorry I did it.  A test of best-friends-forever pledge.  Yes, that it was.  How’s that for a conflict?  Not to add that they both love the same girl whom they met when they were young.  Avenging the death of their family members, first love duel plus fighting the Japanese regime.  If this looks crazy in writing, it was astonishingly gripping in action.

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Staged in the post-Joseon-Japanese-Annexation era, Gaksital surprised me with its quintessential story and screenplay as well as the stellar portrayals from the characters.  I was reminded of the overwhelming feeling I got when I first saw the costume and set design of Gone With the Wind when I finally submit to liking Gaksital.  And while I was surmising and digesting the circumstances of the story’s premise, I marvel at the pace and intensity each episode rendered all throughout.

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Gaksital was a people’s champion protecting the Joseon people under the abusive Japanese regime.  He was hiding his identity as Lee Kang To’s deranged brother Lee Kang San, a once brilliant youth leader who was tortured by the Japanese empire due to his freedom movement campaign.   After his brother’s supposed mental breakdown, Lee Kang To worked his way to the police ladder thru Shun-ji Kimura’s Kendo teaching lessons.  A special appointment to become a police officer will be given to the winner of a Kendo match, Kang-to and his sensei-friend Shun-ji faced off in the finals but Shun-ji lost in purpose because he wanted to teach children and he knew it was Kang-to’s dream to provide for his family.  Kang-to became a prominent police but infamous to his fellow Joseon people because of his loyalty to the Japanese Governance.

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For him to catch Gaksital, he deduced that the key is to find the girl, Mok Dan/Boon Yi/Esther, whom he has already saved twice.  Once from the deposed Joseon leader’s burial where she threw a stone and the other was when she created a disturbance to the trial of another freedom movement leader Dam Sa Ri, who turned out to be her father.  Mok Dan was finally caught but she was able to flee again after Kang-to saw the knife she was trying to retrieve which was the same knife he gave to his first love Boon-yi aka Mok-dan.   Mok-dan treasured the knife so much because it was given by the young master-friend from her childhood.  Unbeknownst to her, that young master was Lee Kang To of present time, the man she despised most because of his cruelty to his fellow Joseon men.

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Kang-to eventually became best buddies with Shunji Kimura, a local teacher from a famous Samurai family.  His father was also the police chief and his brother was the superintendent in the police station where Kang-to was serving as a Lieutenant.  He has an unrequited love with Mok-dan.  He met her when they were young because she helped him when his nanny was hospitalized and in a twist of fate it’s the same girl Kang-to also loved when he was young. 

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Shunji’s older brother looked and acted like your pro-villain and has been picking on Kang-to because he envied his skills.  His wily thinking accidentally uncovered the probable connection between Kang-to and Gaksital (Kang-san), but Kang-to was not aware that his brother was using his mental retardation front to hide his local superhero role and shot his brother who was beating Ken-ji after the latter shot their mother while she was trying to conceal Kang-san’s identity.  When the truth of what happened dawned on him, in his fury and angst he donned his brother’s mask and clothing to assume Gaksital’s persona to kill his bestfriend’s brother.

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When Kang-to delivered the final blow to end Ken-ji’s life, Shun-ji witnessed it right on cue.  He chased after his bestfriend, but Kang-to fell to a cliff and his body was not retrieved.  He woke up later in the hospital badly beaten and bruised and in his still grief-stricken self, he vowed to make the people responsible for the death of his family pay for it ergo double agent Kang-to-Gaksital was born.

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Shun-ji torn between his filial responsibility and saving the woman he loved was left no option but to take over his late brother’s vacated post to protect Mok-dan who was standing as Gaksital’s bait.  He was switching from stern to defiant to why-am-I-in-this-position identities just so he can assure Mok-dan’s safety.  Kang-to on the other hand was tasked to guard Mok-dan 24/7 and decided to agree to Dam Sa Ri’s request for him to help them out in their plan to oust the Japanese.  But because he was Kang-to he can’t just walk in and tell them that “my family’s unfortunate death changed me overnight, so I am a good boy now”.   So yes my favorite boys here were in a game of who gave up everything for the woman they both love.  *giggles

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I liked that Shun-ji took over the conflicting villain role because Ken-ji was a bore, I hate his evil-looking face but he was a tofu-brainer so at least having Shun-ji faced off Kang-to was a relief because more than the reversal of the bad image role, my new favorite frenemies were on an equal footing when it comes to their skills, intellect and temper.  *chuckles

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So off Kang-to-Gaksital to avenge his father’s death who used to be a member of a covert brotherhood but his brothers betrayed him killing him and his people.  The brotherhood thought they wiped out his family but Kang-to’s family survived.  He also continued his brother’s intentions while using his police badge as a cover and because Boon-yi abhorred him in his uniform, he can only communicate when he’s in Gaksital mode.  She plead him if he can help her father in the plan to cause ruckus in the anniversary of Japan-Joseon annexation, and (because there’s a contest for Mok-dan’s hand) just kidding… because he’s really trying to live upright, he chose to help them.

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Dam Sa Ri and his comrade woman befriended the Joseon royalty couple, thus they were able to get an invitation on the event.  They were plotting a bombing to the event so they needed to raid the police armory to get bombs and guns.  They were able to cause trouble but Dam Sa Ri was captured.  The police went back to Boon-yi because of her connection with Gaksital and Dam Sa Ri, but she already escaped with other freedom movement members. 

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But then Shun-ji’s suspicion of Kang-to was cemented when he overheard him pleading with Dam Sa Ri to spill Boon-yi’s whereabouts.  When Mok-dan escaped with Gaksital in the previous chase by Shun-ji, she left a letter for Gaksital and signed it Boon-yi, and as Kang-to said her childhood name, Shun-ji linked the connection.  Shun-ji put a shadow on his best friend but everytime he’s close to catching his true identity, Kang-to was able to raise arguments to protect his cover.  Shun-ji plotted a trap to catch Gaksital by setting them up in a supposed meeting with Mok-dan’s fellow freedom fighters, Kang-to terrified of what might have become of her went to rescue her in his Lee Kang-to’s persona declaring his love for Mok-dan.  He got interrogated again, but was able to sway his bestfriend’s convictions thanks to his acting skills worthy of an Oscar, Shun-ji again believed him.  Then came their general who commanded Dam Sa Ri’s execution and even asked her to enter the cage full of nails.  (Omg if I lived in that era, I won’t survive long)Stubborn Mok-dan refused to give the information on their fellow freedom fighter’s whereabouts so she bravely agreed to it.  While Kang-to and Shun-ji battled to the horror of seeing the woman they love get tortured, the General decided to send her in the Prosecutor’s office and Dam Sa Ri to the penitentiary.

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On their way to the penitentiary, Dam Sa Ri’s people tried to ambush Kang-to and the rest of the police force, and in the brink of finally getting their leader, Shun-ji fire a gunshot so the exit strategy was thwarted.  Dam Sa Ri was put on extreme surveillance while Mok-Dan was sheltered in the hotel as Shun-ji bargained to retrieve pertinent information about the freedom movement from her but she didn’t budge.  Kang-to tried his luck too, and showing his vulnerability, he finally admitted to Mok-dan that he was the young master she knew from when she was young. 

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Mok-dan can’t accept how the man she was waiting for grew up to become a ruthless person, and remembering how she suffered in his hands, she despised him even more.  Ra Ra, the adopted daughter of Kishokai’s president (an elite dark organization) kidnapped Mok-Dan because she deemed she was a distraction to Shun-ji’s heart and because she was cherished by Kang-to the man she also kept in her heart.  But of course, Gaksital always saved the day and he can’t let his damsel be in distressed so he rescued her and wielded sword towards the non-smiling samurai bodyguard of Ra Ra.  Barely surviving Ra Ra and her protector’s grip, he was carried by his horse to where Mok-dan was. 

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Then fireworks, winged horses and angels sang in the heaven… *giggles Fighting for his consciousness, Mok-dan approached Gaksital and take off the elusive mask… and yes Bingo!  She got the biggest surprise of her life.  In 24 hours, her hatred became a full blown love that defied Japanese torture, pain and time.  Kang-to revealed why he turned 360 degrees from his old vile self and they reconciled and make up for the lost times.

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To avoid Jong Ro (police station) noticing her absence and also Kang-to’s absence, Mok-dan showed up to Shun-ji while Kang-to rested.  Shun-ji was preoccupied with the upcoming public execution plans for Dam Sa Ri and was very determined that he will catch Gaksital if he rescued Dam Sa Ri this time. 

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Public Execution came up and the circus leader stirred a slight upheaval that sparked the spectators emotions, my Shun-ji who I swore was really showing bipolar condition shot the ajumma in Mok-dan’s circus club so the crowd roared and ramble with the police.  The people were contained a little so they proceed with the death sentence. In split second timing, gaksital showed up to strut his heroic act but the officers subdued him to put him in the middle on the spot.  Then he undressed himself to reveal attached bombs in his body… then boom!  Surprise detectives!  You didn’t see that coming!  Then came another Gaksital, this time the true one, and off he rescued the freedom leader leaving Shun-ji wounded and frustrated.

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Time for Kishokai to make their move after failed attempts of the members.  The easiest path was to kill Konno, the police commissioner who favored Kang-to.  So now Kang-to has no family and no friends and will have to rely to his father’s bodyguard, Dam Sa Ri and Mok-dan.  Kishokai placed their people to the upper echelon, appointing Shun-ji’s father in the vacated commissioner position and another member as Jong Ro chief.

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Kang-to saw the man who killed Konno and remembered that he was the same Samurai he fought with when he was trying to save Ra Ra who was then a lowly gisaeng.  He drew the probabilities of what’s happening by the pieces of information he was getting with Ra Ra. 

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Shun-ji learned from Koiso (police officer) that his brother killed Kang-to’s mother and because he was not yet sure whether his friend knew about it, he decided to have his frenemy closer.  It’s good that the characters were quick to uptake.  I lost count how Shun-ji went back and forth to his inference relating Gaksital and his friend that I settled to the idea that well eventually he will know it.

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Yang Baek, a famous Joseon patriot and hero came back with Dam Sa Ri to Kyeong-seong.  They are set to make another attempt to fight the Imperial government.  While they were regrouping with other Independence campaign groups, Shun-ji’s growing doubts of Lee Kang-to’s identity reached finally the peak after failed attempt to make Ra Ra confessed about it.  When Gaksital helped rescue a reporter working for Joseon Independence group, he purposely used Kishokai President’s samurai warrior to hurt Gaksital, and when he laid motionless after barely escaping the fight, he finally… yes finally!  confirmed his suspicion.  For a moment there, I saw that glint in his eyes of still hoping that it was not the friend he treasured, but insanity, cruelty and betrayal got into him… so there I have to let go of Shun-ji.

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So they resorted to jedi-mindtricking now… anticipating each other’s move while knowing that they have to outwit each other.  Shun-ji feigned ignorance of Kang-to’s front to try and get the rest of the freedom people but they lost their track to the liberation legion.

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Before the waning of the story, I was still hoping that Shun-ji would go back to his smiling and good-natured self.  I was wishing that you know friendship and rationality will make him realized he’s on a wrong boat.  But then again Gaksital has always been a story of patriotism, friendship, love, family bond and how much you value those things.  So given his Ilbon roots, I understood that there was really no way out for him but to yield to what has been previously decided fate by his father.

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So freedom movement was all set in their plans while their counterparts were trying to capture them.  I love how the mind games formed the building of final conflict in the story.  They were misleading and leaving false trails to confuse the police department, but the strength of the Imperial force was not that easy to be defeated.

When Gaksital sided with freedom fighters, it was a relief for him to finally get people to fight with him, because hello?   I’m tired of making him fight bunch of people ALONE.  `

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So it all comes down to frenemies Shun-ji and Kang-to both realizing that they know what’s the score and it would a contest of “may the best man win”.  It’s Kang-to with the Freedom Fighters and Shun-ji with Kishokai members.  Freedom Fighters needed money and weapons to proceed with their plans, they were able to secure the money by defeating Kishokai but when they robbed the police’ armory, Shun-ji finally took off Gaksital’s mask.  He was rescued from the torture chamber by his fellow freedom group and gave a meaningful there’s-no-going-back-goddbye-bestfriend look to him. 

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Freedom alliance camped at Dong-jin leader’s group to prepare for the uprising.  Yang-baek will leave Kyeong-seong to get help from China as Dong-jin’s men will launch a rebellion inside the country.  Meanwhile the evil group will be baiting the insurgents by killing the comrades they imprisoned so Kang-to-Gaksital was left no choice but to take care of so it won’t hinder the main plan.  Shun-ji tracked his hide-out so Kang-to was also determined to finally get a payback from Shunji’s father who set up the ambush to kill his father.  In the end, it was Gaksital can’t live while his villains survive… aw So Harry Potter-ish. 

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The finale episodes saddened me because in the end Kang-to killed Shun-ji’s father to avenge his father’s demise.  It was so heartbreaking how their friendship has come to an end and after their fist fight where Kang-to still can’t make himself to kill his bestfriend I was worried on what would become of Shun-ji. Oh and the samurai fending Ra Ra finally talked declaring his love to her… better late than never huh?  I don’t know why they got so stressed out with that old man villain who just sat in the duration of the series and just went furious on their failed attempts to stop the mutiny… Duh? He’s old!  Ra Ra could have just thrown a knife at him.  *giggles

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It was a closure befitting to the brilliance of this narrative.  I liked how both parties maneuvered the spies they plotted at the most important arcs of the story.  When Freedom Fighters interfered in the sending of college students to join the Imperial army battling Manchuria, Shun-ji schemed student-spies on their side to report the other camp’s plan.  While Mok-dan was walking down the aisle to marry Lee Kang To, the Imperial police were also marching to raid the hide out.  Shun-ji rushed to where the wedding was happening and saw the bride and groom blissfully smiling.  He triggered his gun pointing at Kang-to but Mok-dan saw it and covered her body on him.  *sniff *sniff  At this time my aunt was annoying me because the rest of the men in the camp were pulverized by the army.  I kept telling her they were taken by surprise and more than fighting back they have to back off for the mean time.  When the heroes’ spirit were shattered into pieces, I don’t know how they will bounce back because they only have 45 minutes to wrap up the series and all I got was the lead girl dying to shield the man she loved.

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It was a series of retaliation where you can’t even question its impetus.  It was an incessant exchange of killing for both Kang-to and Shun-ji.  After mourning over his beloved’s passing, Kang-to stood up to fulfill Mok-dan’s dream to become a beacon of light to his fellow Joseon people.  He set forth to kill the old man leader of Kishokai who has been influencing the fortifying of the Japanese governance. 

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Then he went to Shun-ji’s house and they had some drama and tea.  Shun-ji gave him their wedding picture as both of them felt the searing anguish of realizing her death.  Then they went to business as Kang-to enumerated how many people died in his hands.  They agreed on their final duel and if I may say bitterly and calmly.  Shun-ji asked Kang-to to go to the yard, and as Kang-to was walking away, he shot himself to die.  *sooooob 

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Then we switch to freedom fighters in full swing with their final attempt for Independence and we saw a montage of Joseon people marching to claim their freedom.

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1 night and 2 days depicted Joo Won in his human adorable self, and in his bad boy and impeccable Lee Kang To performance, he won me over convincingly.  He gracefully danced, he sweetly sang in a humiliating-PSY-kind-of-way and he gorgeously kicked asses.   He was reckless, uncaring and has put up a strong face because of the hard life he’s been through.  Temperamental outside but frail and kind-hearted inside…

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Another second-lead-syndrome, Shun-ji broke my heart by how fast his escalation from goodness to Voldemort-self was.  He was teaching children how to sing one day and the next day he was beating people to death like a mad man.  *facepalm Why?  Why do I always fall in love with the wrong guy? *sigh  Shun-ji slowly destroyed himself in his effort to please his father and to find the culprit who ended his brother’s life.  His failing to connect the dots on Gaksital’s identity was more of because his mind was not accepting a feasible ill-fated confrontation with his best friend.  His unrequited love with the woman who loved his nemesis triggered his complete embracing of the dark side.

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Gaksital has held me at the edge of my seat on how they perfectly executed the endings where Shun-ji almost-but-not-quite uncovered those Gaksital-could-be-my-bff attempts.  The ladies gave a decent performance although at some point Mok-dan’s stubbornness annoyed me but I cried when she died.  I was hoping for an ever after but a hero needed to bleed and the pain of losing her will inevitably strengthen him to defeat the baddies.  The rest of the supporting cast helped out to make the presentation the most fluid and chemistry-filled cast ensembles. 

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There are a lot of reasons why I would highly recommend this drama but I’ll start with its strength to depict a stimulating story brimming with facets of history and layered with conflicts and resolutions that disheartened and made me happy at the same time.  It was as if my father’s World War stories came to life, and I can only imagine how life was hard back then.    I’m enjoying period dramas lately, there’s just so much to learn that’s why maybe.

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Gaksital was the best written and directed drama for 2012.  It has so much depth and substance and youth of today will learn a lot from it.  It was an epic tale that perfectly bloomed along with the characters and was so successful in sending out the Patriotic theme where love, loyalty, family and friendship where at stake.  Gaksital made me realized how living at present time in comfort was such a blessing knowing that the way we are living right now was because of the sacrifices and hardwork of our ancestors. 

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A must to watch… I hope they will continue producing dramas like this.  -jediprincess

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Living a life while looking at someone who can’t love you back is misfortune.

The price of sin, though slow, will be paid without fail. 

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) ♥