KDrama Diary:  KDramas I’m watching

July 4th Week 2017

Annyeong yorabun!

Two dramas kick off this week as one will end over the weekend.  I ended up missing to write my reviews for Ruler and My Sassy Girl.  I will move them to join Defendant, Whisper and Chief Kim in the parking lot of my reviews-to-do.  Hopefully if time allows me I can really get to write a full review.  Next week will welcome Manhole and Save Me for our weekly roster so Yay!  Dear life, when will I have time for you seriously?  Seven Day Queen will hit the finale next week so I will slate it for a marathon.

Bride of the Watergod (TVN) Ep 7&8

I want to fall in love both on the romance and mythology but the story is really distracted to a fault.  The vague romantic notion by now should have gone to a thorough understanding for the lead couple, instead they throw in another conflict.  I mean we have not solved yet the missing powers of Habaek.  He is in a limbo on his road to being a King task.  So why throw another punch?  sigh

The King Loves (MBC) Ep 5-8

I’m still addicted to the cinematography and Im Si Wan.   I’m not expecting a lot from Yoo Na just a little less scenes which I know is impossible.  I’m cheering for our mudblood Silla prince to whatever will make him happy.

Falsify (SBS) Ep 1-4 “Premiere Week”

Chief Kim is back in a serious face.  I like happy-go-lucky Nam Goong Min and his vein-popping villain face.  So I don’t have any doubt that this drama will drain me even if it’s another legal drama for SBS with the same corruption conspiracy plot on the side.  I will trust my fondness towards anything journalistic in honor of my failed dreams so I’m going to give a trial period for this drama.

Reunited Worlds (SBS) Ep 5-8

There is something thought-provoking on this drama.  And no, it’s not because I have a hangover with Circle still.  It is the character interaction that makes me like this drama still.  Wven with a probable sad ending, I am willing to take the risk just like how I watch The Best Hit each week when it was airing.

Criminal Minds (TVN) Ep 1&2 “Premiere”

The Korean adaptation will require a lot of convincing for me to appreciate their take of my favorite police procedural drama ever.  They know very well how to do it, and that is by showing Lee Jun Ki oppa all intense and handsome on the screen.  hahaha  I like the opening salvo, but I’m expecting them to find something unique that will make the remake a lot like the original yet with a little something of their own.

Secret Forest (TVN) Finale Week

Review Coming Up!  If you haven’t hit on this drama yet, it’s about time you do.  

 

This is abbyinhallyuland reporting how KDramas has drowned me each week.  *grin

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.

 

 

For Love is not Love Without Pain and Memories

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Sprawling to a grand setting and power house cast, I did expect a lot on “Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo”.  I sure have issues on the languid built up of the story in the beginning episodes, but I came to realize the staid plot yarning was necessary to cushion the heaviness of the tormenting conflict faced by the lead couple heading to the culmination of their romance and eventual break-up.
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To balance the screentime of the supporting characters while threading their linked stories requires a lot of effort from the actors in committing an earnest portrayal every moment they are captured by the frame.  And I am glad to say that the Goryeo princes put their heart in sufficing the roles given to them.  Albeit the tormenting emotional strain I got with Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it will belong on my favorites for this year because I love that it became even more believable and fervent due to the plot’s instability and the main characters indecisiveness.  It was a situation that might have killed the drama, but because the essential character motivations were clearly drawn, as a viewer I enjoyed that feeble  and vulnerable facet of the production.
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Scarlet touched not just the long-suffering unrequited love of a damaged prince to a woman who shared his pain without prejudice.  It also sadly and yet beautifully expressed the betrayals of a dysfunctional Royal family who raised devious ways in order to claim the throne for them to use it in protecting the ones they love.
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When Scarlet turned all business hitting the halfway mark of the series, I found myself wanting to offer myself as a sacrificial lamb to make things better for 4th Prince So who endured his agonizing relationship with his mother and loving Hae Su one-sidedly.  When 8th Prince severed his relationship with Hae Su, I wanted to take him out from the TV screen and castigate on how coward he was, opting not to use his heart and taking the easy way out. But I think that it was a turning point of the heroine’s realization that he was let go by the only man she trusted.  And that was also why Prince So and Hae Su’s romance turned so meaningful because they were at each other’s side when they have nothing beside them. Though Hae Su took time to reciprocate Prince So’s love declaration it was all the more fulfilling because his faithfulness paid of.
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So what ending can you give when Scarlet Heart Ryeo started on a drowning woman who got transported back to a different era?  I was not expecting a happy ending given that most of the characters were killed.   It was still Hae Su and 4th Prince So’s love journey for me.  The sweets, the tears and the angst… all of it.  I took So’s last word as an open-ended closure on his acceptance of losing his one great love and longing to find her in the future.  I witnessed how they defied the shrewd political struggle in the royal family to get to a point where they can freely love each other and share memories together.  So I’m good that I know they love each other and they know it very well too.
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Just as life is short, love is also fleeting.   The all important love lesson #ScarletHeartRyeo taught us is how loving someone does not stop when we gave up on the person because the love does not belong anymore in the future.  It is a sweet reminder on keeping as much happy memories as you can to keep you going in moments when you yearn to be with them in the future, but they can’t stay by your side anymore.
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  I was bracing myself to the finale episode.   If truth be told, I was not expecting something cohering anymore because I was so scared the writer will kill all the characters at the last minute.  *chuckles  Did the closing chapter satisfy me?  Though I did not get the happy ending, I was okay with it.  I know that it was bound to be a sad ending so I was prepared for what will happen.  I was okay that they did not push to a scene where Hae Su of the present meets So while he passes by the cosmetic store where Su was working to ask for a BB cream .  *lol  So I was relieved.  Though Scarlet has a lot of flaws, I was fond of it because the love story was pragmatic in tapping on melancholic memories where viewers can relate to especially if they have once loved crazily like the kind of love they paraded in the drama.  The middle part of this romantic ride is the best part of it so make sure to catch up if you have been lagging behind.  ^_^
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I will miss the Goryeo princes and the dashing look of the Royal Family with their full make up and elaborated wardrobe and jewelries.  hahaha I will miss the bromance, heck I will even miss Hae Su who I wanted to burn in the waning episodes of the series.  She is a picture of every woman who fell in love, lost it, find it again and kept it safe in her heart. Lastly, I will miss 4th Prince So, who I wanted badly to cradle in my arms. lol Even with the unfazed heartrending tone all throughout, I take Scarlet Heart Ryeo with all my heart because I believe that a happy ending does not measure how great a love can be.
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KDramaLand Weekly Round Up (October 1st Week)

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The Flower in Prison (Ep 40-41) – Is there any more room for the upcoming evil deeds left for Jung Nan Jung and Lord Yoon? 9 more episodes left and we finally discovered that Ok Nyeo is a princess, and I can’t wait for her to finally strip Nan Jung of the powers she has been abusing. Also, I wish I could see a little bit more of romantic scenes for Ok Nyeo and Tae Won after all the hardships they went through in challenging the villains. “Flower in Prison” remains to be consistent on its neat storytelling even when it has been running long.

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Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds (Ep 13-14) – The cruel fate of Ra On and Lee Young’s young love sent me to tearland. I wonder how Lee Young would fight for their love when he is still in an unstable power due to the band of politician villains joining hands in robbing him of the authority he has. I just wish that Ra On would push a little more strength in her character and not make Young cry again because it really broke my heart when I saw him crying like that. *chuckles

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Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Ep 12-13) – The Goryeo princes and Hae Soo went on a business face as soon as it crossed the halfway mark of the story. I hated the 8th prince indecisiveness and hated more Hae Soo’s unrequited love towards him. I’m glad that she did not linger on that phase and I look forward to her love story with the 4th prince this time.

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Jealousy Incarnate (Ep 13-14) – The last two episodes were very fulfilling for the lead girl’s character and the love triangle frame. The HwaShin-JungWon bromance is so far a delightful watch with their don’t-like-my-gf-confrontation and drunk-i-love-you-friend-soju-night. I’m excited on the aftermath of the kiss and how Na Ri would choose whom she will really love.

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Shopping King Louis (Ep 5) – Though having a simple premise, Bok Sil and Louis are so far entertaining me with their sweet and hilarious chemistry. I like that this drama is so light and upbeat and does not trigger any negative emotions, but just pure feel good spirit. Since Kdramaland is packed with varied stories weeklong, “Shopping King Louis” is like a comfort food for me.

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I have not been up to date with K2, On the Way to the Airport, Fantastic, and Woman with a suitcase. Hopefully next week I will be, so I can include them in the round up. What are you guys watching these days?

The Boy the Girl love, but can’t love even more

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Having two equally gorgeous men fighting for the lead girl’s love has always been a kdrama rom-com cliché.  It challenges how unrequited the love of the main couple is and most of the time functions as a consolation for the female viewers.  I always have moments like that when I get hit with second-lead- adoration syndrome, where I like the other man more than the lead man.  But it will always take a very strong portrayal to sway me otherwise in focusing on the prince in a kdrama story and whenever that happens, and I’m sure most of kdrama addicts like me would agree, it will be a hair-tugging moment because of its sweet dilemma effect.  So because in some Heavenly reason, I am enjoying a princess moment here at work, and because I keep seeing Yoo Ah In/King Sukjong when I’m not thinking of something, I remembered how I fell in love with him for the first time and has been loving the moment of being in love with him everytime… *wink

So I delved more in the memory lane and thought of my favorite KDrama Second Lead Men.  Who’s yours?  ^_^

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♥Sungkyungkwan Scandal – Yoo Ah In as Moon Jae Shin

Who wouldn’t fall for this bad boy by day rebel at night Sungkyunkwan scholar?  After his F4 Joseon stint I became his stalker.  He gets even steamier as you stare at him and he has the sexiest smile from all the sageuk characters I’ve seen so far.

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♥ I Miss You – Yoo Seung Ho as Harry Borrison

I struggled big time in disliking Barry in this tearjerker.  I remained firm in understanding his noona-romance and vengeance driven self.  Why?  His face was just so drowning to watch I can’t bring myself to hate him.

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♥ Flower Boy Ramyun shop – Lee Ki Woo as Choi Kang Hyuk

The topless scene sent me in ohlala land.  Another I-have-to-give-way-to-my-brother kind of love that was almost in equal contention and considering how I loved Jung Il Woo, Lee Ki Woo was really a delightful treat in this first flower boy spectacle.

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♥ I Need Romance – Choi Jin Hyuk as Bae Sung Hyun

Before being the cute daddy-gumiho-turned-devil, he was the rebound-guy-whose-love-was-reciprocated but the first love of the lead girl still prevailed but at least he got to kiss the lead girl a lot.  *giggles

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♥ Gaksital – Park Ki Woong as Kimura Shunji

In Gaksital I enjoyed both the bromance and the real romance tug-of-war.  I liked how Shunji embraced his dark side overnight but was easily disarmed because of the love he harboured towards the lead girl.

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♥ You’re Beautiful Jung Yong Hwa as Kang Shin Woo

The gentle band member who secretly loved the kind-hearted-novice-pretending-to-be-her-twin-brother and the guy best friend who always offer his shoulder to cry on.  He was too late to realized he should have been braver enough to get the love of the girl he liked.  When it hit him, she already fell in love with another guy and he settled in loving her from afar.

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♥ Boys Over Flowers – Kim Hyun Joong as Yoon Ji Hoo

Playing this classic side of a love triangle, he has a lot to prove but his serious attitude and princey face has won so many hearts including mine.  In those times when Jun Pyo’s indecisive nature can’t stood up for his woman, I was thankful Ji Hoo was there to stay by the lead girl’s side.

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♥ My Girl – Lee Jun Ki as Seo Jung Woo

I am not a Lee Jun Ki fan but I best remember him in My Girl.  He started that Hyung-loved-the-same-girl-I-love-I-have-to-give-way mantra but I really felt sorry for him not getting the girl even if his love was super sincere in that drama.

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♥ The Greatest Love – Yoon Kye Sang as Yoon Pil Joo

The sweet dork doctor who saw through the best of the lead girl and was firm in believing her pure heart amidst the reputation she gained due to the cruelty of the people who judged her without even knowing the story.  One of the best showdown on who can love more the lead girl I have seen so far. 

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♥ I Do I Do – Park Gun Hyung as Jo Eun Sung

The stethoscope “will you marry me?” scene will always be one of my favourite romantic love declaration scene done by a second lead.  I actually was routing for the lead man in this drama the whole time.

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♥ May Queen – Jae Hee as Park Chang Hee

This was a case of borrowed love but then eventually the love destined to happen overpowered Chang Hee’s seasoned love and found another love again which he deserved.

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♥ My Flower Boy Neighbor – Kim Ji Hoon as Oh Jin Rak

Bubbly Enrique amused me but I was also into Jin Rak’s secret love-daily milk and encouragement giving way of showing he likes the girl so much.  When the series ended I equally loved them both.

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Feisty Arang and the Cheeky Magistrate

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