KDrama Starter Pack: The Flowerboys Starter Pack

 

The only rule for this starter pack is that the dramas on this list  celebrates our one-sided fictional love to kdrama oppas.  Nothing more, nothing less.  *chuckles  My list includes dramas with two lead guys battling for the lead girl’s heart, a drama with two or more handsome guys included in the cast, and a drama with unforgettable flower boy as a main lead.

 

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (2017) – The gamer CEO and police officer who fell in love with a strong woman

Park Hyung Sik as Ahn Min Hyuk and Ji Soo as In Gook Doo

Hwarang (2016-2017) – Silla period’s noble sons who became protector of the Kingdom

Hwarang Boys:  Park Seo Joon as Sun Woo, Park Hyung Sik as Ji Dwi, Choi Min Ho as Soo Ho, Do Ji Han as Ban Ryu, Kim Tae Hyung as Han Sung, Jo Yoon Woo as Kim Yeo Wool

Goblin (2016 – 2017) – Goblin, Grim Reaper and adopted chaebol nephew Bromance

Gong Yoo as Goblin, Lee Dong Wook as Grim Reaper and Yook Sung Jae as Duk Hwa

 

Legend of the Blue Sea (2016 – 2017) – Conman and Hacker Bromance

Lee Min Ho as Heo Joon Jae and Shin Won Ho as Tae Oh

 

Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds (2016) – The Prince, the bodyguard and the frenemy bromance

Park Bo Gum as Crown Prince Lee Young, Jin Young as Kim Yoon Sung and Kwak Dong Yun as Kim Byung Yun

 

Descendants of the Sun (2016) – Alpha Team + adopted newbie soldier bromance

Song Joong Ki as Big Boss, Jin Goo as Wolf, Park Hoon as Snoopy, Choi Woong as Harry Potter, Ahn Bo Yun as Piccolo and Kim Min Suk as Kim Ki Bum

 

W: Two Worlds (2016) – The manhwa character who is sexy in the imaginary realm and steamy in the real world

Lee Jong Suk as Kang Chul

 

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016) – The college boyfriend of our dreams

Nam Joo Hyuk as Jung Joon Hyung

 

Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016) – The dysfunctional brotherhood of Goryeo princes

 Lee Jun Ki as Wang So, Kang Ha Neul as Wang Wook, Hong Jong Hyung as Wang Yo, Kim San Mu as Wang Mu, Yoon Sun Woo as Wang Won, Byun Baek Hyun as Wang Eun, Nam Joo Hyuk as Wang Wook, and Ji Soo as Wang Jung

Something About 1% (2016) – The temperamental CEO who sure knows how to kiss

Ha Suk Jin as Lee Jae In

Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (2016) – Doldam Hospital Staff Bromance

Yoo Yun Seok as Kang Dong Joo, Kim Min Jae as Park Eun Tak and Yang Se Jong as Do In Bum

Jealousy Incarnate (2016) – The best friends since birth who fell in love with the same girl bromance

Jo Jung Seok as Lee Hwa Shin and Go Kyung Pyo as Go Jung Won

Cinderella and the Four Knights (2016) – The Kang Cousins Bromance

Jung Il Woo as Kang Ji Woon, Ahn Jae Hyun as Kang Hyun Min and Lee Jung Shin as Kang Seo Woo

Reply 1988 (2015 – 2017) – The Ssangmundong Neighborhood Bromance

Park Bo Gum as Choi Taek, Ryu Jun Yul as Kim Jung Hwan, Go Kyung Pyo as Sun Woo and Lee Dong Hwi as Ryu Dong Ryung

Oh My Venus (2015 – 2016) – Kang Joo Eun’s Weight Management Bromance Team

So Ji Sub as Kim Young Ho, Sung Hoon as Jang Joon Sung and Henry as Kim Ji Woong

Sassy Go Go aka Cheer Up (2015)  – High School Cheerleading Bromance

Lee Won Geun as Kim Yool, Ji Soo as Seo Ha Joon and Cha Ha Kyun as Ha Dong Jae

She Was Pretty (2015) – The reserved Editor and the wacky wayward feature editor/famous novelist bromance

Park Seo Joon as Ji Sung Joon and Choi Si Won as Kim Shin Hyuk

Healer (2014 – 2015) – The Night Courier of our Dreams

Ji Chang Wook as Healer

You Who Came From the Stars (2013 – 2014) – The adorable Alien we all fell in love with

Kim Soo Hyun as Alien/ProfessorDo Min Joon

The Master’s Sun (2016) – The shining love of CEO and protective instinct of a bodyguard to a ghost-seeing woman

So Ji Sub as Joo Joong Won and Seo In Gook as Kang Woo

The Heirs (2013) – The Chaebol Sons Campus Bromance

Lee Min Ho as Kim Tan, Kim Woo Bin as Choi Young Do, Kang Ha Neul as Lee Hyo Shin, Kang Min Hyuk as Yoon Chan Young, Park Hyung Sik as Jo Myung Soo, Choi Jin Hyuk as Kim Won

Flowerboys Next Door – The pretty boys who loved the introverted girl

Yoon Shi Yoon as Enrique Geum, Kim Ji Hoon as Oh Jin Rak, Go Kyung pyo as Yoo Dong Hoon, Mizuta Kouki as Watanabe Ryu

Reply 1994 (2013) – The boarding house bromance

Jung Woo as Kim Jae Joon, Yoo Yoon Suk as Chil Bong, Son Heo Joon as Hae Tae, Bar as Kim Dong Joon, and Kim Sung Kyun as Kim Sung Kyun

Rooftop Prince (2012) – The time-traveling prince and his loyal retainers bromance

Park Yoo Chun as Lee Gak/Yong Tae Young,  Lee Min Ho as Song Man Bo, Choi Woo Shik as Do Chi San, and Jung Suk Won as Woo Yong Sul

Queen In Hyun’s Man (2012) – The Time Traveler Scholar from Joseon era

Ji Hyun Woo as Kim Boong Doo

The Moon that Embraces the Sun (2012) – The Royal Cousins Bromance

Kim Soo Hyun as Lee Hwon and Jung Il Woo as Prince Yang Myung

Bridal Mask/Gaksital (2012) – The heartbreaking and gritty bromance of Gaksital

Joo Won as Lee Kang To and Park Ki Woong as Kimura Shunji

Faith (2012) – The War General Who Loved His Time Transcending Girl

Lee Min Ho as General Choi Young

Reply 1997 (2012) – The quirky and reliable high school bromance

Seo In Guk as Yoon Yoon Je, Hoya as Kang Joon Hee, Eun Ji Won as Do Hak Chan and Lee Shi Eun as Bang Sung Jae

A Gentleman’s Dignity (2012) – The Blow-up F4 Bromance

Jang Dong Gun as Kim Do Jin, Kim Soo Roo as Im Tae San, Kim Min Jong as Choi Yoon and Lee Jong Hyuk as Lee Jung Rok

City Hunter (2011) – The casanova on a mission to avenge his father

Lee Min Ho as Lee Yoon Sung

Flower-boy Ramyun Shop (2011) – The Flower boys who were happy to serve us with a ramyun

Jung Il Woo as Cha Chi Soo, Lee Ki Woo as Choi Kang Hyuk, Park Min Woo as Kim Ba Wool and Jo Yoon Woo as Woo Hyun Woo

Myungwol the Spy (2011) – The charming top actor and North Korean spy bromance

Eric Moon as Kang Woo and Lee Jin Wook as Choi Ryu

The Greatest Love (2011) – The almost perfect battle over the lead girl between a top actor and a traditional doctor

Cha Seung Won as Dokko Jin and Yoon Kye Sang as Yoon Pil Joo

 

Scent of a Woman (2016) The flower boy who stayed with his love in sickness and in health

Lee Dong Wook as Kang Ji Wook

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) – The Joseon Scholar Bromance

Park Yoo Chun as Lee Sun Joon, Yoo Ah In as Moon Jae Shin and Song Joong Ki as Goo Yong Ha

Personal Taste (2010) The flowerboy architect with a knee-weakening smile

Lee Min Ho as Jeon Jin Ho

Mischievous Kiss (2010) – The ideal high school crush any girl dreams about

Kim Hyun Joong as Baek Seung Jo

Secret Garden (2010) – The flowerboy CEO who can pull a sparkling jumpsuit like a dapper suit

Hyun Bin as Kim Joo Won

 

Boys Over Flowers (2009) – The rich high school boys’ bromance

Lee Min Ho as Gu Jun Pyo, Kim Hyun Joong as Yoon Ji Ho, Kim Bum as So Yi Jung and Kim Joon as Song Woo Bin


You’re Beautiful (2009) – The flower idol band who loved the same girl

Jang Geun Seuk as Hwang Tae Gyung, Jung Yong Hwa as Kang Shin Woo, Lee Hong Ki as Jeremy

One Mom Three Dads (2008) – The accidental flower – fathers

Jo Hyun Jae as Han Soo Hyun, Jae Hee as Choi Kwang Hee and Shin Sung Rok as Na Hwang Kyung Tae

The First Shop of Coffee Prince (2007) – The beautiful baristas, Coffee prince and his charming cousin

Gong Yoo as Choi Han Kyul, Lee Sun Gyun as Choi Han Sung, Kim Jae Wook as No Sun Ki, Kim Dong Wook as Jin Ha Rim, Lee Eun as Hwang Min Yup

 

Goong (2006) – The Prince Charmings of the Modern Korean Monarchy

Ju Ji Hoon as Crown Prince Lee Shin and Kim Jung Hoon as Prince Lee Yul

 

My Name is Kim Sam Soon (2005) – The dashing chaebol who loves his girl flabs and all

Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin Heon


Love Story in Harvard (2005) – The Aspiring Sweet Lawyers of Harvard 

Kim Rae Won as Kim Hyun Woo and Lee Jung Jin as Jung Min Hong

 

Full House (2005) – The debonairs of Full House

Bi as Lee Young Jae and Kim Sung Soo as Yoo Min Hyuk

 

What Happened in Bali (2005) – The tragic endings of two Romeos

Jo In Sung as Jung Jae Min and So Ji Sub as Kang In Wook

Advertisements

KDrama Classic Spotlight: My Girl

The sweetheart that made me cross Han River and indulge myself to the yellow dramas is this Lee Dong Wook drama, and it was also where I first fell  in love with him.  *blush  Lee Da Hae justifying her perky role plus you-can’t-help-but-feel-giddy over romantic scenes, this is a drama that should be watch by Korean addict newbies as a rite of passage for true kdrama fans.  lol

“My Girl” was part of the drama selections that I watched when I had my first heartbreak and it brought me back to living, even now it is a sure cure if you are feeling a bit sullen.  *chuckles “My Girl” is your prototype Korean rom-com in the sense that it targets the viewers’ emotions through the placement of sweet scenes and heart-wrenching i-have-to-forget-you crying frames.

Geol Chan, a son from a rich family took in a con-woman to pretend as his long lost cousin to appease his sick grandfather.  He was prepared to deal with the repercussions of the lie, but was caught off guard when he started falling in love with her.

The strong second leads supported well the romantic development by playing well the annoying ex-girlfriend, and the how-could-you-not-love-him second lead man.

“My Girl” had a consistently addictive run and nicely done closure credit to the adorable heroine and her chemistry with the workaholic chaebol lead man.  I think this is where I first saw that lead-man-following-drunk-lead-girl scene which became a guaranteed signature scene on rom-coms.

All throughout the plot, the characters were upbeat and the story was engrossing even when the love conflict was tangled with equally challenging second leads.  My Girl was a very patient drama when it comes to fulfilling the love promise of the story, and that’s why it was even more special.

 

 

dear Goblin, saranghae.

fb_img_1487848074625

1.  Hello  breathtaking cinematography!
2.  Gong Yoo oppa in long mane and warrior clothing is hot.
3.  Thank kdramagod we don’t linger much on the backstory.
4.  That is a fiery red scarf.
5.  If the Grim Reaper with kissable lips will escort me to after life, I will gladly oblige.
6.  The gutsy heroine had me at that cheery love declaration.
7.  Autumn in Canada is pretty.
8.  Cohabitation with two hot guys with supernatural powers is such an intoxicating kdrama plot.
9.  Goblin and Grim Reaper struggling with smartphone is epic.
10.  Goblin ruminating on the pros and cons of loving his bride is hilariously cute.
11.  I’ve got to give it to Lee Dong Wook for bringing out the Grim Reaper’s adorable character.
12.  Goblin and Grim Reaper is the best bromance ever.
13.  Seriously, that villain is creepy.
14.  All the pieces are laid out, it breaks my heart on the ill-fated love of Wang Yeo and the Queen.
15.  *sob This Wang Yeo – Kim Shin reveal drained my tears.
16.  Hail to the second leads and to that emotional kiss-me-forget-me scene.
17.  Wow!  Just wow!  That Episode 13 is like a full movie in acting and plot scale magnitude.
18.  True love rules!  Yay for Eun Tak summoning Goblin back from limbo.
19.  Just as how I love the pain, forgiveness and reconciliation between Goblin and Grim Reaper, I was sad to see Reaper voyage to his next life.
20.  How many times are you going to make me cry?  Why did she have to die?
21.  Dear Goblin, it’s me Abby.  I’m here for you, I still have three lives in case your bride will take time to reincarnate.
22.  I wish Sunny and Grim Reaper’s future lives linger more, but it’s the drama’s last episode.
23.  I think any girl wishes now to have a summoning power to the man they love.
24.  Oh there you are Ji Eun Tak, yes Maam, you are the one and only Goblin’s bride.
25.  Goodbye Goblin!  *saranghae

fb_img_1487848393198

fb_img_1487848286975

Arguably the best korean drama that aired for 2016, “Goblin” affirmed my kdrama fan girl spirit with its addictive pace, perceptive characters, detailed back story and the exciting race to its closure.  I was at constant awe at how the yarning of the folklore and supernatural mise en scene fit so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The cast portraying a whole new chimeric world that I want to be a part of moved through the story seamlessly alternating a wistful and lively performance that burrowed straight to my kdramaaddict heart. *chuckles

fb_img_1487848172487fb_img_1487848950450

Cursed to immortality, a Goryeo warrior captain lived for 9 centuries waiting for his bride that will vanquish the jinx laid by a deity.  He finally meets his bride who has the ability to see ghost and has been aware of her status through the metaphysical grapevine gossips she heard through the years.  Goblin fell in love with her in the process and she is all willing to wield the sword stuck on his chest not knowing that by doing so, it will make him vanish.  Their romance bloomed fully, but they had to face the villain responsible for Goblin’s immortal fate.  Goblin used the stuck sword to finally kill the ghost fiend and was transported to a limbo clear of his initial curse, but trapped and had to journey for years to be with his bride again.  10 years later, Eun Tak who has always been bothered by missing pieces she felt in her heart but lost in her memories, summoned Goblin back to her world through her honest and painful longing.  Goblin worked on winning her back and her memories of him were retrieved and they finally tied the knot.  Just as they had a taste of the love they so bravely fought, Eun Tak who has lived a borrowed life faced death when she sacrificed herself to save a bus loaded with school children.  Years after, Eun Tak was reincarnated on her second life and sought the man she vowed she will only love for the rest of their lifetimes.

fb_img_1487848639133fb_img_1487848663496

The summary does not justify all that happened in the story as the cast were intricately connected through their past and present lives.  What made Goblin such a novelty for a love story with transcendental element is how it neatly blended the mystical notes and sensible realities to propel the narrative without losing focus and as simply told as it can be.  The drama made me yearn a romantic interlude with men like Goblin or Grim Reaper.  I was on a long moony phase struck with the impact of the characters who fervidly brought life to their sketched personas.

fb_img_1487848720886fb_img_1487848706394

 Goblin marked all the bullet points of a lingering story eventhough the metaphysical milieu was very tricky. Although set on a melancholic tone, the dynamics of the cast and the lively humor cushioned the viewers so well given its inevitable tragic scenario ending.  At times there are moments when it was languid, but it was necessary for the built up of the character connections to make the climactic conflict confrontation solid and stunning.

fb_img_1487848444212

Breathtaking – Goblin has always been beautifully done from its cinematography, storyline and character portrayals.  The writer did a lot of impossible tweaks and conceived an intricate realm and made sure that she will succeed on the labyrinth she has set for her story.  With actors embracing their roles so well, the exquisite tale of a man searching for the woman to end his immortality curse established a memory that kdramaland followers will still love in the future.

fb_img_1487848205770

There are a lot of things to rave about “Goblin”, but I feel like Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook’s stellar chemistry in their very own bromantic world was what kept me in love with this drama as a whole.  Sure the love lines for the main and second leads were notable, but the supernatural boys swept me off my feet with how they kept up with human induced emotional conflicts that their powers can’t resolve.  Kim Go Eun and Yoo In Na were both amazing in their roles and a great support to the main character’s chronicle.  The heartrending love rides these foursome sojourned yielded a memorable impact due to the efficient layering of the reincarnation plot.

fb_img_1487848319124fb_img_1487848163459

Goblin explored the boundless creativity of Korean culture through writer Kim Eun Sook’s sweet story manipulation.  See for yourself why this drama raised a cult following.

fb_img_1487848274751

 

KDrama Bucket Listing: The Best Fan-service Korean Drama Romcoms

This new project of mine is a useful guide since you have decided to join the kdramaaddict community.  Kdramaworld has been running for quite a while so I’ll share you the dramas that you need to complete and you might have missed along the way.

Since we are celebrating the love month, let’s commence this bucket listing activity with trendy romantic comedy dramas.  These stories are typically what initiated your kdrama cravings.

The sighs, the swoons, the squeals, the hot flushes, the involuntary parting of our lips on the kiss scenes, the hot oppas, the we-wish-we-can-be-the-leadgirl-moments… There are a lot of reasons why we love these kind of dramas. Most of the dramas in this list are runaway hits, others have sweet chemistry between the main leads. These are love pills that we can watch over and over again every year, and yet we don’t get tired of it. These are my favorite fan service romcoms, what’s on your list?

 

♥My Name is Kim Sam Soon  (Hyun Bin and Kim Sun Ah)

Sam Soon’s love adventure gave hope to girls with weight insecurities that they can still snatch the man of their dreams as not all men are blinded by pretty faces and hot bodies.  *chuckles

This is where I first met Hyun Bin oppa and I fell in love with his then chubby cheeks. *lol  I was on my early 20’s when this was aired, and I was not hooked at that time.  But when I watched it in my late 20’s, I was able to appreciate it more because the heroine’s sentiments appealed to me probably because I was at the stage of my life when I endured love frustrations and experienced being blissfully in love.

This is my first dose of contract relationship and it endeared me a lot as it left a love lesson that no matter how extremely different a man and a woman is, spending time together and getting to know each other in the process would warrant a leap of romantic emotion that can result to a sweet love declaration.

 

samsoon

 

♥ Full House (Rain and Song Hye Gyo)

The modern Cinderella story of an aspiring scriptwriter and a famous actor who were forced to cohabitate when the former’s friends sold the house she inherited from her father.  We get a contract marriage plot in this love story which pushed the romance between a man and a woman who seemed unlikely to fall in love with each other.

The bickering scenes and the eventual falling in love were the strongest points of Full House.  The feel good premise still make me pick this drama when I don’t have anything on my plate to watch.  

fullhouse2004

 

♥ Princess Hours (Joo Ji Hoon and Yoon Eun Hye)

Any princess story appeals to most girls right away.  With a distant and yet secretly warm prince portrayed nicely by Joo Ji Hoon oppa, I can’t help but love the nines on the clouds of high when I was watching Lee Shin and Chae Kyung’s royal love story.

My pillows suffered a lot from strangulation on the emotional and heart fluttering scenes.  Actually Goong had mostly melodramatic tones, but it was neutralized by the lead girl’s vibrant presence and optimism to survive in the arranged marriage she was forced to take for the sake of her family.

This is one youth drama you should not miss as it is one of the kdrama staple classics.

princess_hours

 

♥ My Girl (Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae)

I know right?  Contracts are often part of kdrama plots.  For “My Girl”, we have a business conglomerate heir hiring a con-woman to pretend as his long-lost cousin to appease his ill grandfather, but ended up trapped in the lie they created when they started falling in love with each other.

The strong second leads supported well the romantic development by playing well the annoying ex-girlfriend and the how-could-you-not-love-him second lead man.

“My Girl” had a consistently addictive run and nicely done closure credit it to the bubbly heroine and her chemistry with the workaholic lead man chaebol.  

I think this is where I first saw that lead-man-following-drunk-lead-girl scene which became a guaranteed cute scene on rom-coms.

mygirl

 

♥ The First Shop of Coffee Prince (Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye)

This cross-dressing heroine and coffee shop owner’s love ride slayed the ratings with the unique premise on how their romance was imagined.  

It was so cute when Gong Yoo’s character disregarded everything and was okay to admit that he could possibly be a homosexual due to his growing feelings on his pretending-to-be-a-man lead girl.

Coffee Prince’s ending was also sweet as it wrap up with how the lead man let go of his girl for the mean time to pursue her own dreams.  This is a must-watch grandpa classic that will not lose its appeal even after a few decades from now.

coffeeprince

 

♥ Boys Over Flowers (Lee Min Ho and Gu Hye Sun)

Almost Paradise… Yay!  This is Lee Min Ho’s breakthrough performance that swept hallyuland like a storm during its run.  Finally adapting the famous Japanese manga, the Korean version gave a pretty depiction of the rich-boy-poor-girl love story by projecting an elaborated presentation of the wealth disparity of the main love couple.  Sprinkling it with the flower boy bromance and their side love stories cemented a victorious run for this youth drama.

“Boys over Flowers” is a great initiating drama to welcome you in kdramaland.  It is feel-good, buoyant and everything sweet perfect on movie marathon sessions and rainy days.

boysoverflowers-p2

 

♥ My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (Shin Min Ah and Lee Seung Gi)

Fusing Korean folklore to a modern lovestory was notched perfectly by chilsung cider addicted Mi Ho and her action star wanna-be lead guy.  When a nine-tailed fox was released from a painting she was imprusoned to, she sealed a deal with a free spirited guy who does not have any dream but to become an action star.

The arresting face and portrayal of Shin Min Ah made Mi Ho one of my all-time favorite kdrama characters.  Hong sisters blended the supernatural and folklore premise in this drama in an innovative approach to complement the modern setting.

This is where I first saw the reversal of roles for the lead couple.  The always curious heroine took charge in taking care of her lead man in the most part of the story.  

The quirky interaction of the lead couple until reaching the eventual love zone was something you would root for while you are watching the narrative.

my_girlfriend_is_a_nine_tailed_fox-p1

 

♥ You’re Beautiful (Jang Geun Seuk and Park Shin Hye)

When her twin brother met an accident, Go Mi Nyu, a nun-to-be was forced to assume her brother’s identity  (Go Mi Nam) who was posed to join a famous boyband.  Having spent most of her time in the convent Mi Nam worked hard to adapt in a new world of cohabiting with her fellow band members.

There are a lot to love about ANJELL and the main lead couple.  The second lead also made an impressive showing to shake the official love pairing.

“You’re Beautiful” was brimming with witty humor and sweet scenes which propelled its run to a strong fanbase.  I think this is also was the start of me stalking Hong sisters dramas.

yourebeautiful

 

♥ You’ve Fallen For Me (Park SHin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa)

This youth drama set in a Music school was the fulfilment of the second love pairing that we did not get from “You’re Beautiful”.  The refreshing tone and the campus romance drew smiles and sigh in me as Lee Shin suited up to his campus hearthrob role effortlessly and effectively.  

The music, the youthful vibe, the college setting dates endeared this drama to me.  Maybe because it just went free flowing and did not exert effort in placing overly conceived central conflict.  “You’ve Fallen For Me” is light and comforting perfect for your stoic days.

16427280_1771897079804536_6426704998074983823_n

 

♥ Discovery of Love (Eric Moon and Jung Yu Mi)

Now this was not as popular as the rest of the dramas in this list, but it belonged to my all-time favorite love dramas because of its superb screenplay and storytelling.

Yeorum is a furniture maker who was caught between her present boyfriend and her first love.  “Discovery of Love” took an ingenious path to uncover the woes and inhibitions of a woman in confronting love confusions that involved weighing down the amount of pain and love you are prepared to invest in a relationship.

You will thank me later after you watch it.

16427785_1771897299804514_8633796264864143767_n

 

♥ Another Oh Hae Young (Eric Moon and Seo Hyun Jin)

Yes I think I can declare that I stalk Eric oppa’s dramas as he mostly pick interestingly done projects.

Another Oh Hae Young was the best romance drama for 2016 banking on its realistic approach on the frustrations and bliss of trusting the love willingly given to someone only to be disappointed for not reciprocating it well.

The hot kisses, the brave heroine and the weird journey on how fate intertwined the love couples were some of the things you would love in this drama.

16472835_1771915799802664_2942448675390835363_n

 

♥ Legend of the Blue Sea (Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun)

Freshly caught from the kdrama sea, this mermaid-conman romance gave us laugh fits and heart-fluttering moments.  The love-fueled-mind-reading ability of Heo Joon Jae was a favorite twist of mine in this drama.  I got a lot of laugh trips from those scenes.

The writing was almost perfect except from that last episode auto pilot ending.  Nevertheless, “Legend of the Blue Sea” will surely warm your heart with the overflowing love vibes sketched in past and present timelines with reincarnation plot on the side.

16473094_1771897436471167_2334035073938868502_n

 

♥ The Greatest Love (Cha Seung Won and Gong Hyo Jin)

When a top actor, Dokko Jin got entangled to a third-rate actress, a hilarious romance ensues as he battled out his emotions only to succumb to it when an equally adorable traditional doctor wields his intention to be with the lead girl.

This is the third Hong sisters entry on my list and the trademark smart humor on the writing was evident.  I loved Cha Seung Won in City Hall and even more in his overconfident character in this story.  Gong Hyo Jin as always brings out any character given to her.  Her submissive and kind attitude neutralized Dokko Jin’s strong persona and forced him to become a better person worthy to accept and give love.

16473133_1771897063137871_7461818087515912205_n

 

♥ Rooftop Prince (Park Yoo Chun and Han Ji Min)

Time-traveling and a clueless Joseon prince who was transported to modern times made me a happy camper on its weekly run  because of the Prince and his warriors hilarious adjustments to technology powered way of living.

The romance was an added bonus, but when I look back it is really the cute bromance that sealed this drama in my kdrama memory compartment.

rooftopprince

 

♥ Flowerboy Ramyun Shop (Jung Il Woo and Lee Chung Ah)

Dear drama, you know you got me at Jung Il Woo.  

“Flower boy ramyun shop” checked the romcom essentials of cohabitation, mean love triangle, and rich boy poor girl love line.  The adorable chasing of the lead man to win the heroine’s heart was crazily sweet and in turn secured Jung Il Woo a spot inside my heart.  *chuckles

 

16473457_1771897073137870_491111157296229859_n

 

♥ The Lonely Shining Goblin (Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook and Kim Go Eun 

You have two wonderful love pairings to indulge on and an extra equally sweet bromance for dessert.  What more can you ask for?

Drawn in folklore and chimeric premise, consider Goblin as a karmic prize for kdramaaddicts’ loyal following.  The polished storytelling and amazing cast portrayal nailed a quintessential drama that you can share with your grandchildren in the future.

16473780_1771901979804046_3073742265094273912_n

 

♥ Reply 1997 (Seo In Gook and Jung Eun Ji)

I chose the first story from the Reply Franchise as it gave an impressive showing of a first love story as well as friendship turned romance narrative.  Nostalgic in its projection, “Reply 1997” will give anyone a trip back to those wistful memories of their young, unrequited love.

16507826_1771897296471181_849457431782116621_n

 

♥ The Master’s Sun (So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin)

My final Hong sisters drama on the list went to a spooky millieu and was successful in doing so.  A ghost-seeing woman has been burdened by her ability all her life.  When she finally bumped with the person who can shield her from the compelling ghost request she keeps getting with and without her warrant, she stuck by the prickly rich department store owner and soon after developed a relationship with him.

“Master’s Sun” exhibited the usual comedic and romantic writing brilliance of the Hong sisters.  I meant to watch this before because of So Ji Sub oppa and I got more than I asked for.

16507987_1771897269804517_3736552149564763168_n

 

♥ Queen In Hyun’s Man (Ji Hyun Woo and Yoo Inna)

Abby’s Man aka Queen In Hyun’s Man stirred an excitement in me due to its avant-garde story of a time traveling Joseon scholar who utilized his talisman powered time-space wrinkling ability to hide in the present time while brewing his next moves on fulfiling his duty to the deposed Joseon Queen. 

An actress helped him to adapt to contemporary living and they eventually fell in love with each other.  “Queen In Hyun’s Man” was hip and fun and affirmed that my decision to eat kdramas for breakfast was valid.  *chuckles  

16508713_1771897133137864_5420990560087790178_n

 

♥ Healer (Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young)

“Healer” put me on my longest kdrama character crush.  It was so severe that I watched all Ji Chang Wook dramas even the ones that were not worth watching.  That’s how much impact the drama gave me.  

The love progression was steady and engaging in this drama and you bet I was in dreamy land after that Healer hideout kissing binge.  “Healer” is the fulfilment of any adult woman’s ideal man.  

16508979_1771897553137822_1460877030429528343_n

 

♥ Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk)

Credit the cast for their commitment to this coming of age drama.  It created an international cult following especially on the teens and the early-twenties.  “Weightlifting Fairy” was my first and last kdrama binge for 2016.  I initially had reservations if I will put it on my plate, but one night when I don’t have anything scheduled to watch anymore, I took it and was uncaring if I wake up the entire village with my laughter festival. 

This is the drama I will make my daughter watch when she goes to college so she can have an idea of the perfect college boyfriend.  *wink

16586957_1771916433135934_6331488399067595102_o

 

♥ Oh My Venus (So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah)

There were a lot of sighs, swoons, melting moments and heart-stopping arrests when I watched coach-nim and Daegu beauty realized their love potential through a weight loss program.

To reclaim her goddess body, a woman sought the help of a famous weight loss coach to carry on with her project.  He was initially adamant about it, but she trapped him by threatening how she will reveal his identity to the world if he does not agree.  

“Oh My Venus” oozed with sweet, steamy scenes that will tickle your heart and imagination.  If you are on a weightloss program, watch this so coach-nim can inspire you.

 

16602931_1771915759802668_6100828860635311263_n

 

♥ Descendants of the Sun (Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Gyo)

Suave and prettily written, Captain Yoo Si Jin won my heart in his cool depiction of a military elite officer who got the girl he dreamt of even when their careers inhibit them to spend quality time with each other.

Thanks to Song-Song couple’s right on the dot chemistry, they were able to pull off a breathtaking lovestory that will be forever loved by many like me.

16603075_1771897429804501_3191514420077548152_n

 

♥ Something About 1% 2016 (Ha Suk Jin and Jeon So Min)

Cropping unnecessary scenes and light on its conflict, Something About 1 Percent is the exact description of a fan-service drama.

Jae In and Da Hyun’s love story progressed in an addictive pace through their sweet kisses.  It is a big, pink bubblewrap drama that will comfort you when you want to be alone after a break-up.

16641086_1771897779804466_5804825877504089298_n

 

♥ Oh My Ghost (Jo Jung Seok and Park Bo Young)

A virgin ghost hosted on a meek woman’s body to get a formal passport to afterlife.  The ghost helped the timid girl worked on the crush she harbored on the Chef of the restaurant she was working.  Chef-nim mistook the sudden changes in her personality as a psychological disorder and tried to help on but nurtured emotional feelings in the process.

“Oh My Ghost” was a quirky watch that will give you laugh fit and enough knee-weakening scenes to feed your love cravings.

16649360_1771897389804505_423856278737469680_n

 

♥ It’s okay, this is love (Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin)

Kdramaland has displayed refreshing love stories through the years and it keeps getting better.   The love story between a famous writer with some psychological issues and a psychiatrist was a runaway hit for me in 2014.  And not just because of Jo In Sung oppa, but due to the cast that you can’t help but fall in love.

It’s okay, this is love fulfilled the promise of a lingering chronicle of ardent love.  It may not appeal to tweens and young women but I’m sure that women in their 30’s will appreciate it a lot.

16682028_1771915769802667_8029347422696978909_n

 

♥ Fated to Love You (Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra)

When I look back on this drama, I can’t help but remember Jang Hyuk oppa’s outrageous laugh.  hahaha

“Fated to love you” tells the story of a one night stand that brought together an unlikely to fall in love couple.  Left with no choice they got married, but misunderstandings  and losing their baby separated them unfortunately.  Years after fate brought them together again and they finally get the validation that they have always been meant to be.

This is probably my favorite Jang Na Ra drama because it achieved a balanced story of how relationships have reasons why they are not meant to be at a particular moment.

fated-to-love-you-poster-2

 

♥ A Gentleman’s Dignity (Jang Dong Gun and Kim Ha Neul)

Before the Goblin-GrimReaper Bromance, the brotherhood in this drama was my most favorite.  The snappy storyline and side love stories were some of the reasons why I picked this drama.  This is one of the earlier dramas from Goblin/DOTS writer so you will get an idea on how she has really worked on her skills over the years.

gentlemansdignity

 

♥ My Princess (Song Sung Heon and Kim Tae Hee)

The long lost last princess of Korea was found and to prepare her for her royal duties, the grandson of a rich family who nurtured the princess family wealth prepped her up in facing her new responsibilities.  Think Princess Diaries + Pretty Woman.

This is the first bribe I got from both the actors to notice them and they were successful in forming a cheery love story.

myprincess

 

♥ Myungwol the Spy (Eric Moon and Han Ye Seul)

A serving of a North Korean spy who got entangled emotionally with a South Korean top actor needed nothing else to convince me in watching it.

This is one hilarious romcom spectacle you should not miss.

myungwolthespy

 

♥ Personal Taste (Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin)

The cute twist of the heroine misconceiving her lead man to be homosexual plus the cohabitation ride that slowly but surely built up the romance, this is the drama that secured Lee Min Ho a slot on my radar as I enjoyed their story immensely.

There are a lot of love and life lessons for women to learn on this drama as Gae In provided her insights on how focusing on personal dreams should come first before frustrations.

A must watch Lee Min Ho drama to add on your plate if you have just recently started liking him.

personaltaste

 

♥ Secret Garden (Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won)

This body-swapping stunt woman and chaebol love story exceeded everyone’s expectations in nailing an experimental supernatural love story.  

I swear that curl up sweet scene still make my heart flutters.  *chuckles  “Secret Garden” showed a reversal of gender roles as we are given a heroine with unfazed attitude who fell in love with a rich man who did everything to make her love him.

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

secretgarden

 

♥ Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Park Yoo Chun, Park Min Young and Yoo Ah In)

For me “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” is still my best pick for both school and youth drama even when the drama is set in Joseon era.  If you are curious why then take some time off and spend time with these scholar flower boys plus the cross dressing heroine.

If you liked the recent Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, the missing nudges on that drama were effortlessly notched in Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

sungkyunkwanscandal

 

♥ W:  Two Worlds (Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo)

“W” strode a scintillating first half but fell short on the labyrinth and depth of the ambitious plot the writer conceived.  Nonetheless, Kang Chul sweetly haunted my weak heart as he romanced his lady love.

Kang Chul is everyone’s dream guy and more.  If you want to forget a recent relationship set back feel free to enter the worlds of Kang Chul.

w_korean_drama-p1

 

♥ You From Another Star (Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun)

Since my favorite actress headlined this drama, it was already a given that I secured a spot for my busy time to watch it simultaneously as it aired.  In 2015, I let kdramas conclude first before I delve on them.  I had to break it because I trusted the girl who brought me to Hallyuland that she was up for a brilliant project.  She did not prove me wrong and I was on high savoring the beautiful alien and top actress love story that served as a lesson to current kdrama actresses roster to learn how rom-com should be done.  Kim Soo Hyun was a bonus like equivalent to $1 Million dollars.  The impeccable chemistry of the lead couple surged a memorable love story that would appeal to anyone.

“You From Another Star” is still my all time top pick for the Best Romcom Drama ever produced in kdramaland.  

youfromanotherstar

 

2015 KDramas You Might Have Missed

2015bkd

 

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.

northern_lights-banner1

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.

healer

 

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.

Punch_(2014)

 

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.

Kill_Me,Heal_Me

 

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.

the_girl_who_sees_smells-p1

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.

the_producers-p1

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.

beloved-eun-dong

 

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.

400px-Mask

 

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.

oh_my_ghost-p1

 

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.

YongPalp2

 

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.

She-Was-Pretty-Poster2

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.

Bubblegum-Poster2

 

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.

because_its_the_first_time-p1

 

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.

Oh-My-Venus-Poster1

 

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.

Reply_1988-p2

2013 Pink Lightsaber K-Drama Year-end Ramblings

image

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. 

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

image

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. 

image

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?

image
image

image

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.

image

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. 

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

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.

image
image

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.

image

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

image

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

image

The Freeing of the Fugitive of Joseon

Mandate-of-Heaven-03

Since they labeled it a thriller, I was wondering if the flu meds I was taking didn’t allow me to feel the gripping sensation they promised. A conspiracy laden historical tale where most victories were won over by an alliance of old villains and an evil Queen but ended at the truth that finally set the hero free note. It managed to live up to its title as the fugitive hero really was in search of justice in the duration of the series.

77271973

While they paraded interesting characters and showcased the adorable and sometimes disheartening love line of a doctor father who would do anything for his sickly daughter, most of the time I really folded my arms and sighed out of exasperation to how they thread in proving the hero’s innocence of the crime he didn’t commit. Ghost and Gaksital I guess spoiled me that much.

969143_595930173759865_1536121185_n

The effective vile Dowager-Queen-Sauron has her A-game unleashed to damage the consistently weak Crown Prince who if not for the last minute realization to put on his thinking cap would have really made me blame him on his out-of-joseon way of thinking. Is it really a constant to have an indecisive member of the royalty family in every sageuk drama? 

Seulong-n-Park-Ji-yeong-520x245

Derived from the reign of King Jungjong, the sickly Crown Prince was the target of assassination of the Secret Peony order that was backing up the ambitious reigning Queen who secretly coveted the Crown Prince’ position. They set to poison the Crown Prince but his physician, Min Ju-bu who was forced to take orders from the Head of the Royal Physician whilst inducing poison was counter-acting it with antidotes so as not to harm His Highness. The fatal blow was supposed to be taken by the Prince but Doctor Min countered the venom thus the Crown Prince survived the next morning.

Mandate-of-Heaven3

However, the old fiends intercepted a letter from Doctor Min to his bestfriend Choe Won, also a doctor but was hiding his medical aptitude to remain in the steady hierarchy of doctors because he has to tend his daughter who was suffering from tuberculosis. The letter supposedly asked Doctor Won to meet him at the restricted section of the library but he was sent to another location. Prior to his meeting Won has been having encounters to Female Physician Hong Da-in, and when he found out her tending of a sick palace maid and her knowing he stole a banned book in the library they were glued to an I-got-your-back understanding.

20130522_1369232157_68787700_1

Doctor Min didn’t show up and was found dead the next day with Won’s medical knife stabbed on his neck. Won who learned of the news rushed to the scene of the crime and saw his friend’s corpse and a chinese character “turtle” written on the floor, but he was seized by Red Demon and the Royal Investigation Troop for questioning. A broken trinket he has been carrying was also found in the crime scene along with its other half which was dropped by Da-in who as it turned out was looking for the doctor who has saved her life when she was young.

songjongho_12

Da-in tried to reason out with Red Demon but the witness minister gave a false testimony of her romantic involvement with Won thus her claims won’t be accepted in the investigation. Won’s father also died as ordered by the villains in trying to secure a document to clear his name but was able to hold on to a portion of the paper showing a red peony in his dying moments and it was later found by Won’s daughter Rang.

image_readtop_2013_337513_1367418519906798
Won took the opportunity when a prison break was launched by a bandit group whose leader was imprisoned in the same cell as his. Red Demon and his men chased him in one episode, all day, all night… in the city walls, in the forest, in the rice fields, until Won jumped from a cliff and was successful in warding them off.  He sought the help of his other friend and analyzed his instant fugitive status as his sister and daughter became slaves in the Royal Investigation Bureau.

20130612_1371046245_39140600_1

Won took refuge at the bandit’s lair and later rescued her daughter who was taken by Minister Kim as an ace card to make Won kill Deok-pal, who was a witness to all of Secret Peony Order’s wicked plans. When the witness died, the hope of clearing his name seemed opaque but he figured out that the “turtle” clue might not be the hunchback Deok-pal but his secret place with his bestfriend.  He went to the turtle rock and found a box where Min JuBu’s confession letter and the medical prescriptions were hidden. He gave it to Red Demon, who has now realized with his keen mind what power plays have been happening in the palace and was focused to bring out the truth about the connivance to frame innocent Won.

201303280815221112_1

Won who was in good terms with the Crown Prince fell into a misunderstanding when the latter saw the peony flower at Rang’s pouch thinking that Won sided with the Queen, but he deviced a plan to settle his supposed crime by having Red Demon posed as him as decoy while Won set to meet the King on his hot spring trip to bring the Confession letter that will pin down the Queen’s minister minions. But the Queen won’t budge and presented the King with a book that listed the names of a reformist group who was in contact with the Crown Prince. She stood firm in her belief that it was the Crown Prince who wished her harm thinking that there will be no evidence that will point her as the leader of the villains. However Won and Red Demon already secured the proof of the Queen’s connection which made the King order the Queen’s demotion and Won’s freedom.

mandate19-00397

The Queen ranted to the Prince her unreasonable and really irritating ideas and just as she was scolding him, the King emerged and gave the ultimatum, but the Queen responded hurtful and disrespectful litany to the King that made him fainted and finally died. The Queen got hold of Won’s freedom order and burned it as she made an agreement with the weakling Prince to kill Won, release her men and his men so that they can all live.

947065_592272017473025_443650440_n

The almost freedom was still swinging in mid air as the good and the bad camps tried to hit the final surge. Da-in’s adopted father’s right hand, Doo-mun, was luckily alive and sided with Won and his friends to stop the Queen and her minions. Doo-mun revealed a secret room in Minister Jang’s house where they might probably be brainstorming on their final attack to the prince who will become the King in two days. They gate-crashed the meeting and had the evil Queen caught raising a sword to the Prince whom they thought came alone in their tea party. But the Crown Prince people surprised them and again reversed the situation.

3e65122820b792da7f6d264c75a8c964

I don’t know what wall of non-sense the Crown Prince has really but he just demoted the crooked oldies and didn’t even do anything on the Queen who has been trying to kill him when he finally ascended the throne. The moment the clouds were cleared, the Queen got ready again in poisoning the King and this time it was lead poisoning thru scented candles. But of course, Won was there to save the day and they figured out of the Queen’s last fatal strike. Then the bandits, the yangbans and the palace were freed from constraints and entanglements in this really loong fugitive chase.

tm13Vl28

Ironically, this was a case where the characters were quick to uptake but the plot was moving snail-paced. The characters were all on board to find/free the escaped prisoner but they were always losing the evidences and the Queen can overturn the evidence to her advantage.  I liked that Won was smart in this drama but it was really a tiring Herculean task to absolve him of the crimes he didn’t commit.

07ef019e84880ffc27e75f59cf7decdb

The love sprinkles in the series thankfully were not forced and were always cute and were not hindering the let’s-help-doctor-prove-his-innocence storyline.

1819_4868_l

Although this is not a strong performance by Lee Dong Wook oppa, it was still hours of watching worthwhile for me. And yes, I’m playing favorite.  Well to be fair at least the writers have all figured out what to do with the opening and if the ending will fit perfectly unlike the makers of… that drama I know which ended in reincarnation twist. *wink Imagine if they did it on this drama?  A steady flowing drama deserved a real ending, because no matter what happened, the closure will leave the last impression.   On this note, I hope oppa would be back to chaebol prince role on his next drama. *grins

1820_4871_l
Interestingly while I felt the story moved slowly, the sole main conflict of uncovering the truth about the Crown Prince assassination plot framed to an innocent man has made me not lose my focus on watching it. Just like that one problem, although supporting problems arose, it was just that one big problem they were trying to resolve. So for me it was a breather, it was like listening to a courtroom battle where the defendant and the prosecutor laid down their evidences and it will be up to me to judge accordingly.  No twist and turns, no confusions rolled just clean narration of this sageuk tale.

ixbT8cxlCkK1g

I mentioned how the baddies have mostly the upper hand scenes, and if not for Won’s functioning brain, they will really be swallowed whole by the Queen, who I really hated the character. That’s why I have issues with the Prince, who I also disliked because he was really that sageuk character you don’t want to have because of his stupid filial piety. The queen has been trying to kill you in capslock, but you remained stoic.  *pfffttt

mandate20-00442

I have minor complaints mainly on the characters drawn in this series but the story regardless of the unnecessary lengthening was nicely moving for me albeit all the eye-rolling I did while stalking on it due to circumstances that really tested the endurance of the protagonist.  And because it was needed to strengthen the characters and make the plot thick, I can only comply.  Not ending at a confused state in each episode was good enough for me as I never put such high hopes on it.

tumblr_mncymo6w2X1qeqgxro4_1280

Certainly not extravagantly made or quaintly conceived, but it was a fair showing all throughout. -jediprincess

 48119_552018261504519_843429691_n

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

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

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

 

mycollage (9)

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

U0e3L

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

operation-proposal-3

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

gentlemans dignity poster

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

photo238551

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

faith-korean-drama1

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

yakamar.com-04a70d9879

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

photo253463

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

reply-1997-1

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

the-king-2hearts-wallpaper-1

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

rooftop-prince-korean-drama-1

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

the-moon-that-embraces-the-sun

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

1C4Aa

And Now Here’s to the Winners of Pink Lightsaber

mycollage (10)

FAVORITE SUPPORTING MALE ACTORS

Eun Shi-kyung in King 2 Hearts

The King 2 Hearts-Eun Shi Kyung (14)

Jo Eun Sung in I do, I do

ido-park-gun-hyung-gynecologist

FAVORITE FEMALE SUPPORTING ACTRESSES

Kim Dong Ah in Wild Romance

real03_11

Im Me Ah Ri in A Gentleman’s Dignity

GD18-00064

BEST SCENE-STEALER CHARACTERS

The Three Musketeers of Prince Lee Gak in Rooftop Prince

Rooftop-Prince-15

HALL-OF-FAMER-CHARACTERS

Kim Bong Gu in King 2 Hearts

bong-gu-cries

Chae Young Ra in Five Fingers

ff16avi_003018585_zps54b5eb63

FAVORITE KICK-ASS CHARACTERS

Kim Woo Hyun in Ghost

Ghost_09-00001

Baek Yeo Chi in History of the Salaryman

hots7-00077

FAVORITE FEEL-GOOD CHARACTER

Arang in Arang and the Magistrate

Screen-Shot-2012-07-30-at-7.13.25-PM

Kang San in May Queen

BRmnr

FAVORITE BLUSH-INDUCING CHARACTER

Jung Jae Hyuk in Fashion King

picture14

Lee Ja Ha in King 2 Hearts

king-2-hearts-lee-jae-ha

FAVORITE CUDDLY BEAR CHARACTER

Park Moo Yul in Wild Romance

4

FAVORITE LOVE-YOU-HATE-YOU CHARACTER

Kim Kyung Tak in Dr. Jin

22

Yoo In Ha in Five Fingers

60143051

Shunji Kimura in Gaksital

fullsizephoto254756

FAVORITE LEAD MAN KISSER

Seo Joon in Love Rain

seojoonhana1

Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

bscap0142

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

Choi Young in Faith

vlcsnap-2012-12-02-19h02m23s123

BEST FIGHT SCENES

Gaksital

bridalmask3

FAVORITE BROMANCE

Shunji and Kang-to in Bridal Mask

bridal-mask-2

F4 in A Gentleman’s Dignity

Jiro-Dennis-Tristan-and-Ron-of-A-Gentlemans-Dignity

Kenji and Kang-to in Gaksital

FAVORITE ROM-COM COUPLES

Park Ha and Lee Gak in Rooftop Prince

Rooftop Prince.E20.avi_003742676

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

be5cff39

FAVORITE UNYIELDING ROMANCE

Kang Baek Ho to Ham Yi Seul in Operation Proposal

jR15Cz74

Choi Young and Yoo Eun Soo in Faith

faith19-00114a

FAVORITE PICTURE PERFECT ROMANCE

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

A-gentleman-s-dignity-korean-dramas-31745471-1024-768

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

Queen-In-Hyun-s-Man-korean-dramas-32442466-1920-1080 (1)

FAVORITE VILLAINS

Jo Hyun Min in Ghost

bscap0179

Ki Chul in Faith

YooOhSungasKiChulEP11-02

FAVORITE STORY

Queen In Hyun’s Man

yakamar.com-04a70d9879

FAVORITE SCREENPLAY

A Gentleman’s Dignity

a-gentlemans-dignity-poster

BEST EDITING

King 2 Hearts

the-king-2hearts-wallpaper-1

FAVORITE ENSEMBLE CAST

A Gentleman’s Dignity

a-gentleman-dignity2

Five Fingers

tumblr_m7lp0q7ccv1r4qgs3o3_1280

BEST IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Love Rain

love-rain-03

BEST DIRECTING

Queen In Hyun’s Man

424px-QueenInhyunsMan

King 2 Hearts

the-king-2hearts-wallpaper-1

FAVORITE DRAMA

Queen In Hyun’s Man

424px-QueenInhyunsMan

Gaksital

1C4Aa

FAVORITE CHOCOLATEY-SWEET DRAMA

A Gentleman’s Dignity

a-gentlemans-dignity-poster

FAVORITE TEARS-AND-BLISS DRAMA

Five Fingers

Five-Fingers-06

FAVORITE PERIOD DRAMA

Faith

faith-korean-drama1

FAVORITE TIME TRAVELING DRAMA

Queen In Hyun’s Man

424px-QueenInhyunsMan

Operation Proposal

operation-proposal-3

FAVORITE TEAR INDUCING CHARACTER

Yoo Ji Ho in Five Fingers

ff18avi_004022989_zpsa4d15abf

Eun Shi Kyung in King 2 Hearts

The King 2 Hearts-Eun Shi Kyung (14)

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

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

h2018

The Beach Painting Gift to Park Ha in Rooftop Prince

rooftop_prince_ep12_kiss_small_214

FAVORITE COTTON-CANDY DARLING SCENE

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

fw43ry91

FAVORITE DRAMA ONE LINER

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

haeundae2

BEST KISS

Love Rain Fountain Kiss

yoona-love-rain-kiss

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

lg79fh58

BEST LOVE DECLARATION SCENE

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

IDID04-00018

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

Can We Get Married Han Groo Kim Young Kwang

BEST FINALE EPISODE

King 2 Hearts

the-king-2hearts-wallpaper-1

Ghost

photo238551

FAVORITE LEAD ACTRESS

Kim Hang Ah in King 2 Hearts

ha ji won

Chun Hae Joo in May Queen

20121216_1355667056_80165500_1

FAVORITE LEAD ACTOR

Kang Ma Ru in Innocent Man

nice-guy-screen-shot-2012-08-29-at-8-33-54-pm

Lee Kang To in Gaksital

a01a1_Bridal-Mask-01

FAVORITE DRAMA CHARACTERS

General Choi Young in Faith

vlcsnap-2012-12-02-19h02m23s123

Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

bscap0142

Sung Shi Won in Answer Me, 1997

Reply 1997 (5)

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

mycollage

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) ♥

The Bewitching Wild Romance

 

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 expected and a sure delight 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 in 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 sweet “Scent of a Woman”

Looking back what I loved most about this drama is how for a change I got the conflict first in one big blow at the beginning of the series and I stayed glued at it all throughout even if I knew the expected possibilities.

 

This was a favorite of mine for the dramas aired in 2011.  I felt that the tears, the smiles, the bright side, the falling flower petals, the optimism, the strong heroine and Lee Dong Wook oppa were all perfectly placed to the finish line.

Lee Yeon Jae deprived herself of the many comforts and pleasures of life only to find out that her wallpaper existence is bound to be shattered into pieces because of cancer.

She went through the stages of grief, and when she finally accepted that it won’t do her any good, she decided to fulfill her bucket lists and used her abundant savings to splurge on the luxury she chose to evade.

“To fall in love” was included in her wish list, but what she was not prepared was along with the bliss of loving she will have to confront the reality that it will be eventually short lived, and that she will only hurt the person in the process.

She had what she yearned for and met chaebol prince Kang Ji Wook who was so bored in his being rich and his predetermined life.  She met him after she made the best vocal resignation over her user friendly boss when she set sail for a vacation in Japan.  He accidentally mistook her as the interpreter that would help him with his market research for the family’s travel and tours business.

 

After their memorable encounter in Japan, they continued the blooming emotional attachment when they got back to Korea alongside learning tango and Yeon-jae’s struggle as her sickness is becoming more evident.

Yeon-jae’s doctor, Cha Eun Suk played the second male lead.  He was Yeon-jae’s oncologist who harbored secret feelings for her.  The other person completing the love square was Im Se Kyung who was supposed to be engaged to Ji-wook and was unreasonably jealous over Yeon-jae.

2i0yt8w

When the time came that Yeon-jae has no choice but to confront her feelings toward Ji-wook she faced the dilemma that she was not really prepared to give up on life.  When the time that Ji-wook learned Yeon-jae’s dying condition, he agonizingly dared to be brave against time and after embracing the anger, he remained by her side as they go together fulfilling Yeon-jae’s bucket list. 

Knowing that the conflict was initially laid, what I anticipated was how they will reach the climax, and how the characters will play together to achieve it.  Since the conflicts were mostly character-based, the portrayals should be able to thrive in the emotions of the viewers, I say I got affected so much and was moved beyond what I expected of it.  

I did expect and prepare myself for the pain because I know that she will eventually die because that was the main premise of the story, and I did appreciate that they were able to come up with an ending that Yeon-jae, Ji-wook and I deserve.   It was a conclusion that was so befitting of this death defying romance.

This was one of the most endearing love drama binge I have seen.   It was so love and life affirming.   If you are looking for a drama that will make you laugh, fall in love, cry and be hopeful all at the same time, this one is for you.

Wild Romance Episode 4 Round-Up

Episode 4 – When there’s a chance I always make a bonehead play.

BONEHEAD PLAY:  Making non-sense mistakes due to misjudgment.

Terror rises in Eun-jae’s face as she gapes at Dong-soo giving the cup of tea to Soo-young.  She rushes to the sliding door and knocks at it wildly.  Dong-soo stands to open the door for her as Soo-young raise the cup to touch her lips, but it was too late.  She already drank the tea for her sore throat.  Eun-jae crawls back to sanity and excuses her weird intrusion.

At night the love quadrangle goes hot spring bathing and Eun-jae hearing Moo-yul’s pain screams goes Nancy Drew checking if Dong-soo might be drowning her boss.  Dong-soo talks about his possible plans after retirement and worries what plan could possibly work for him?  His pensive mood is short lived as he devilishly teases Moo-yul of crossing the partition that separates them from the girls. 

Back on the girl’s camp, Soo-young is stoically annoyed why Eun-jae leans to the divider.  She praises Eun-jae’s nice body, and she returns the favor by acknowledging hers is nice too considering she had a son.  Then they go belly talk, and that is something girls should just let go I think, because Soo-young is not too happy about it.  Soo-young praises Eun-jae’s pretty chest even if it’s small to which she defensively explained that she just lost weight that’s why it became smaller, and this made the schoolboys on the other side cutely pretend they are not eavesdropping.  Eun-jae explains that her big breast is because of her breast milk feeding but Soo-young rebuts that hers were the same as before and that the size and the bounciness don’t have anything to do with her passing the lactation period.  The boys can no longer bear the female anatomy talk, and decides to leave as the girls carry on with their Aphrodite debate.

Eun-jae wakes up early and sees Dong-soo in deep reverie.  She greets him good morning and tells him not to go on with his intentions.  Moo-yul wakes up and sees the two talking. Eun-jae convinces Dong-soo to be strong, that it’s a hard situation but he will eventually get through it.  She is in the middle of a talk that can pass as a support group speech when Moo-yul interrupts them to her dismay.  She leaves giving him her deadly stare.

Dong-Ah walks in avant-garde mood n her French trench coat making the people in the restaurant stare at her.  She pants heavily while taking off her coat revealing her unbathed-fresh-from-the-bed-with-food-left-over-marks-on-her-superman-t-shirt.  She drinks water and apologizes for being late and gets into business with Director Kim. 

Back in Japan, the couple set to go hiking, they stop on their track as Moo-yul explains that the mountain they will climb is famous as a suicide mountain.  Eun-jae’s ears are programmed to pick on anything suspicious and hearing a place famous for committing suicide stops her.  They voted for the short hard path against the long easy road.  After disputes and deliberation, Eun-jae and Mo-yul ends up together tracking the short and hard road.

Moo-yul and Eun-jae arrives first and Eun-jae blabbers about her woes about Dong-soo meeting an accident.  Moo-yul thinks that she likes his hyung and that’s the reason why she wants to be on the trip, and just as he will confirm his assumption the couple arrives.  Eun-jae smiles happily which makes Moo-yul confirm his theory.

At another dinner time, Moo-yul gazes at Eun-jae as she throws glances to Dong-soo as taking care of his wife’s food.  After the sumptuous feast, Moo-yul blames Eun-jae’s battery operated tummy causing her indigestion as she creeps in pain.  Soo-young arrive with her acupuncture needles and treat the childlike Eun-jae. 

Moo-yul narrates that Soo-young got massage, acupuncture and all those girly certification so she can be a good wife to a baseball player, and on that note he reveals that Dong-soo and Soo-young passed through a you-and-me-against your family love story.  So here’s the funny part, Eun-jae wonders why Moo-yul engage in an affair with Soo-young knowing all that while Moo-yul is explaining those things because he’s trying to make Eun-jae realized that she can’t like Dong-soo.

Eun-jae rants at how pathetic those women are who left their life behind just to become someone else’s wife.  Soo-young overhears it, but stays calm and gives the medicine to Eun-jae and walks away. 

Dong-soo and Soo-young find time alone and they reminisce the old times.  He painfully remembers how his career was in full swing when he met her for the first time, and that he believed that his fate would even be better in the future. 

“I was so sure of my career that I took you from your mother… from your art…”

Soo-young stops his words and tells him that he didn’t take her away, but she held onto him, and that she didn’t regret her decision, and will never regret it in the future…  abby is moved… abby sweetly sighs…

Eun-jae impatiently thinks of the couple who went out for a walk, and when she can’t take it any longer, she stands up but is commanded by her master to sit down.  In circles he hints how Dong-soo is a good man but he’s someone she can’t like, when the insinuation hits her, it infuriates Eun-jae and throws back her assumption of him in a relationship of his best friend’s wife — and then the 3rd World War breaks…

They wrestle, they push and kick each other, and they throw punches everywhere… Anger breaks from one side to another.  And I swear I saw real bruises on Eun-jae’s face and neck and Moo-yul’s lipsYeah!  This is so great!  Is this a rom-com drama?  Who said lead couple fighting is not fun?

Eun-jae maneuvers her judo body lock, and while held by her legs, Moo-yul angrily shouts at how dare she is thinking the worse of him.  And then the referees finally emerge and drag Moo-yul away from Eun-jae.  When all the emotion subsides, Eun-jae realizes her mistakes and is confirmed a not so good woman’s instinct handler. 

Moo-yul rushes to leave the pension house as Eun-jae tails him.  They remain silent during the flight even when they sit beside each other.  She tries to apologize but he fires her from her job and warns her not to show her face again.  Again, I just want to complain on Eun-jae’s wardrobe.  I hate it.

Eun-jae informs her boss of the situation with Moo-yul .  MI Boss speaks of his longing to acquire a good office room that is not as temperature sensitive as what they have now.  He etches the wonderful  things they can get if they continue safeguarding Moo-yul, and keeps ignoring that she was fired as he drowns himself in his vision.  Eun-jae snaps her boss back to go back to reality that his dream of being Whitney Houston’s bodyguard is never going to happen anymore, but he insists on her to ask for forgiveness.  Bless her soul.

Director Kim advises Moo-yul that his request to remove his bodyguard is not feasible because it will raise suspicions from the press as it’s still hot.  He further adds that his stalker is getting serious, so he really needs a bodyguard.  So then, Moo-yul requests for a different one.

A woman stretches her body and finds a needle-eye-pricked Moo-yul’s picture. 

MI Boss replaces Eun-jae to protect our spoiled baseball supahstar who participates in a Fashion ShowNow that is what you call FIERCE in the runway!  *giggles 

Moo-yul attends the after-party and is coaxed by a vixen.  The vixen passes by  Eun-jae and she notices her tattoo.  Eun-jae who is on a different celebrity duty finishes her job early but is holdback by MI Boss so they can go home together. 

She waits in the lobby and notices a man with the same tattoo as the vixen.  Her protective instinct surges and goes back to the hotel to check on Moo-yul.  She tries calling him but he’s prepping on a big night so he ignores her call. 

Eun-jae punches all the elevator floors to hold back the maniac-villain looking guy and rushes to the stairs to rescue Moo-yul towel covered.  The devil tandem are left unsuccessful at Mo-yul’s hotel room.

Eun-jae scolds Moo-yul of the possibility of what could have happened if she wasn’t there and how he can’t see through a gold-digger’s lie…  She enumerates the money, bad publicity and all tragic events that could have hit his career if not for her. 

He steps on the car breaks to stop her from blabbering her super-heroic act, and while they argue, the phone rings.  They simultaneously stare at the back seat and an unfamiliar mobile phone is ringing.  When they didn’t answer, a text message comes in but they can’t crack the pass code.  The vixen finds Mo-yul’s necklace and took it under her possession.

Moo-yul and Eun-jae seek philosopher’s intervention to access the mobile phone, but Dong Ah who lives like a hermit with her books is clueless about the mobile phone she is holding.  Eun-jae explains that Dong-Ah is the long lost granddaughter of Einstein who devoted her life in studying. 

The all-knowing genius computes on the probability of the password that can be used, gets a 10,000 possible answers and sails on to the “access me if you can” game.  Moo-yul ‘s impatience triggers and tells Eun-jae that there’s no way she can make it, he stands up and is about to depart and then voila! 

Say Hello to the newest Numbers cast – Kim Dong Ah.  The cat-and mouse wrestle on the phone again, so Eun-jae gives him a chop.

Eun-jae and Dong-Ah marvels at the pictures of the vixen with different men in the phone as Eun-jae mutters how someone would have been included in that collection by being tempted by a professional gold-digger/scandal-maker, but Moo-yul retorts that at least it was a pro and not an amateur.  Oh well, you got your point there Moo-yul.  *giggles

Then Dong-Ah finds a video and they girly giggle in anticipation at the spectacle as Moo-yul shakes his head in disbelief of the two girls happily snooping on a sex scandal.  Moo-yul stands up to go home because he suddenly turned a wall paper in the room.  Eun-jae asks if he forgot something, but he replies he’s all good, so then she reminds him of “thank you”, but he just continues to walk away.  Eun-jae tells him that they are now even with the trouble she caused in Japan, and Moo-yul is left no choice but to oblige.

Then Dong-Ah’s eidetic memory kicks in and remembers seeing the vixen before, but Eun-jae dismisses it because she can’t possibly bumps with that kind of girl.  Eun-jae’s dad is interrupted with his old-fashioned flirting when he sees a man coming out of the girl’s door.  His son comes out and they are happy and surprised that the princess of the geeks is not as hopeless case in love as what they thought. 

Moo-yul in his topless self which made me drown and sigh notices his necklace is missing, and remembers that he left it in the hotel, but the hotel personnel can’t locate it anymore.

Eun-jae exhausts what the mobile phone can give to no avail so the only thing left for her to do is to get some money out of it, and just then her old boss calls to ask for the phone, so her 5-minute almost lottery win ends abruptly.

Moo-yul glares at Eun-jae after knowing that she sold the mobile phone, and he can only shout in frustration. 

She offers the money if the necklace is expensive, but Moo-yul retorts that the necklace is something he can never throw away.  He stands and leaves the office and Eun-jae gets the money anyway and feasts with her family at home but she is troubled about Mo-yul’s parting words earlier.

Moo-yul looks grumpy as he attends an awarding ceremony something and tries to grope on the necklace his hand cannot touch anymore.  So I guess that necklace is link to an old love, probably me in my dreamland.  I can only empathize, I still wear my ex-bf’s ring not because I love him still, but I’m used to having it in my hand.

EPISODE LINKS

WILD ROMANCE EPISODE 1

WID ROMANCE EPISODE 2

WILD ROMANCE EPISODE 3

Wild Romance Episode 3 Round-Up

Episode 3 – Role Model Bean Ball

 

BEAN BALL:  A ball thrown by a pitcher towards the batter’s face to scare him.

 

May I just say that I like how they use baseball lingos and relate it to the episode.   I really like it.

 

After their epic baseball face off – Eun-jae is declared… a girl, I mean a loser so she has no choice but to dress in a tube girly dress and attend a lunch out with the Red Dreamers.  I was expecting a Moo-yul jaw-dropping moment when he sees Eun-jae in a dress but there was none.  Alrighty then I’ll wait when the time is ripe.

 

Seated in front of Dong-soo and his wife, Oh Soo-young, she is confused on the couple’s sweetness because Soo-young is the same girl she saw twice with Moo-yul.  She quasi-growl affecting the food Moo-yul is about to eat  and of course it annoys him.

 

Eun-jae can’t hold back her being perplex on the girl in front of her so she asks if by any chance she has a twin or if she has a sister she resembles, and was relieved when she confirms she has a sister who looks like her a lot, but when she learns the sister is abroad, she goes back to her assumption of an illicit involvement with Moo-yul.

 

Moo-yul drops her jaw when she sees Moo-yul whispering to Soo-young in Dong-soo’s face.  He motions Moo-yul to give Eun-jae a lift.  He refuses drawing in the air how their cities are in separate direction, but ended up in the front seat with her clamoring the injustice of giving a ride to his bodyguard.  You’re adorably cute when your childish Dong Wook oppa.

 

Moo-yul narrates how Dong-soo has been there when he almost gave up on baseball and how he’s been a good friend/brother since college which makes Moo-yul hate rate on Eun-jae rises even more because of her assumed secret relationship between Moo-yul and Soo-young.   Who says maniacal laugh can’t be charmingly cute?

 

Writer Go tries a small talk with Eun-jae, but she won’t budge.  She sees Jin Dong-soo passing through bluer than blue so she asks Writer Go if he knows how Dong-soo helped Moo-yul before when he almost quit playing.  But cunning journalist wants information trade, she obliges so he chronicles how cocky Moo-yul was in college that no one wants to play with him.  His hot headed self made him beat up two of his teammates, and when Dong-soo arrives, he beat up Moo-yul big time.  Back then Dong-soo was the star player, but Moo-yul was badly beaten, so the school was in a dilemma of how to resolve the bull fight.  Dong-soo said he won’t play if Moo-yul will be cast out from the team actually he purposely hit Moo-yul to bridge the gap in the team.

 

Then it’s Writer Go’s turn for the trade, he tries talking about the noraebang’s mystery girl, but Eun-jae pulls her invisibility cloak and pretends he doesn’t exist.  I have a feeling this girl was a pirate in her previous life.

 

Dong-soo prepares for his wife’s birthday and a positive preg kit result catches his attention.    Meanwhile, Eun-jae disgustingly gapes at Moo-yul as he picks a jewelry piece. 

They attend Soo-young’s simple birthday dinner and Eun-jae can’t help but wonder where do the supposed secret lovers get their pretense powers.

Eun-jae looks at Dong-soo pitily as Moo-yul helps Soo-young with his necklace gift.  Dong-soo narrates how that the only good thing so far that Moo-yul did for him was to introduce his future wife when they were in college which makes Eun-jae play a talk show host trying to delve on her presumption, but Moo-yul cuts her intention.

 

Unable to concentrate on her eavesdropping on the love triangle of the year’s conversation, she plays a Jedi mindtrick to Dong-soo’s son for him to doze off.  She stares at the family picture and worries what would become of it.

 

On their way home Moo-yul gets nostalgic reminiscing the old days with Soo-young and Dong-soo.  Eun-jae reminds her how good Dong-soo has been to him and that he deserves to be happy.  She adds that good people tends to get hurt most of the time, and as she speaks, she thinks of her father.  I think Eun-jae is trying to play a super-hero because she understands the pain of a broken family.

 

Soo-young visits Moo-yul early in the morning and informs him of her fear that her husband knows of her pregnancy already. 

 

Eun-jae arrives early at the Red Dreamer’s camp and bumps with Tae-han.  He hands her the broadsheet where an article of her family being a Seagulls #1 fan and her being an admin to Moo-yul’s hater’s forum.  Tae-han hints that Moo-yul’s death threats is coming from a person who has access in the team.

 

Dong-soo talks with team manager again about career possibilities, but he seems lost where to start.  Then he sees Eun-jae and he pours his sentiments.

DONG-SOO  “It feels like I have had a crush for a long time.  She’s not loving me back.  I feel like I have given a one-sided love.  I thought that she will love me back eventually if I try hard enough.  They say that if you have liked something for a long time, it can become a religion.”

 

Eun-jae sighs a relief when he smiles and tells her that he’s taking about baseball.  Then Dong-soo got a call that his son was hurt so they rush to the school.  He embraces the kid and it breaks Eun-jae’s heart.  Soo-young and Moo-yul arrive a moment later when the father and son sit together with the rest of the children.  Moo-yul steals the limelight with his being famous so the kid stands up for his father embracing him.

 

Moo-yul asks Eun-jae to throw another ugly letter along with the death threat box and notices two orange glasses on the table which confirms her early intuition that he was with Soo-young earlier.

 

I don’t know why she brought the death threats delights back home, but she did, and while she curses at Moo-yul, she again devil draws on his pictures.  It’s becoming a cute habit, why didn’t I do it with my ex’s pictures.

 

Dong Ah comments that someone who sent Moo-yul’s photo knows that he has a girl.  Eun-jae connects the poetry meaning when explained that it was a poetry and the writer drink poison when she found out her lover was cheating.

 

Eun-jae asks Moo-yul to think of someone he betrayed that could have held grudges on him, but he can only joke about betraying Seagulls and her only, pointing out that she’s not a girl so she can’t be included.  She fumes at his being happy-go-lucky on the situation he’s currently with.  Ya Moo-yul!  When will you grow up?

 

Then they head to a restaurant and meets Soo-young and his son minus Dong-soo.  She tries to spy on their conversation but she can only get bits of info for the Japan vacation.

 

Moo-yul learns from team manager that Dong-soo is thinking of retirement.  Eun-jae bumps at Dong-soo  and picks up the things coming out of the box he’s holding.  He walks away and it dawns on her the methanol she saw on his box.  She then goes to her Sherlock self and starts linking the events and going to the conclusion that Dong-soo knows already of the secret affair, but Moo-yul cuts her reverie, and when she knows that they will be going to the trip, she gets bugged with what will become of the love triangle.