The Beauty Inside (Korean Drama 2018)

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Drama Rating: 8/10

Han Se Kye is a top actress who’s known for her run-away-antics in all kind of crucial moments during her career, thus causing trouble to everyone around her. Despite that, she tries her best to keep up a strong personality in front of other people. All the while she wallows in despair at home with her trusted friends. It’s not that she runs away on purpose, she simply has a situation which causes her to do it.

Once a month, Se Kye literally transforms into a different person. She doesn’t know when the transformation would happen but she always has a feeling, as if a warning alarm has been set in her body that she’s about to change. In the midst of her chaotic life, she crosses paths with an airline CEO named Seo Do Jae whom she meets through work. Since she is the model/ambassador of the airline which the Seo familyBeauty Inside ep02.mp4_000250750 owns, Se Kye  and Do Jae had to occasionally meet through business deals. Things become complicated when she needed the help of Do Jae when her body changed mid-flight, causing both of them to have unexpected reactions. Se Kye was surprised that Do Jae wasn’t even fazed when her face changed, while Do Jae was curious as to what exactly was happening to Se Kye for her to overreact even to the extent of covering herself with a blanket.

Beauty Inside ep01.mp4_001081648Seo Do Jae on the other hand has his own secret, he has Prosopagnosia – an illness that makes him unable to recognize faces. Nonetheless, he was still able to recognize Se Kye in spite of having this kind of medical condition. This was something that has never happened to Se Kye ever since she started changing appearances. Both are perturbed by their situation but somehow it brought them closer to each other and filled in the void that they had in their lives.

This drama was adapted from the movie entitled Beauty Inside. I like the fact thatBeauty Inside ep04.mp4_000036770 the writers changed the gender and story line of the protagonist into a popular woman who only transforms once a week every month instead of a male protagonist who turns into someone else every freaking day or more likely every time he sleeps. For Han Se Kye, there’s no specific time for the changes which makes it more fun to watch. Another thing in the story that I like is that the male lead Seo Do Jae could not recognize faces which makes the story more interesting as different situations arise for both leads. There are a lot of mishaps and funny tag lines which was able to stick to my mind.

Beauty Inside ep02.mp4_003578274I love how Seo Hyun Jin and Lee Min Ki portrayed their characters. I personally think the roles were meant for them and no one else. I couldn’t imagine any other actors to fill in their shoes, because they were both perfect. The supporting casts were awesome as well. All 16 episodes of the drama would have been a bore to watch if they were not there. There were a lot of top actors who made a cameo in this drama and they did great acting as Han Se Kye, be it a man, a woman or a child. It was enjoyable to watch different people play as Beauty Inside ep03.mp4_000929528Se Kye, because despite the appearance, Se Kye’s character and essence was undoubtedly in all of them. As for the main supporting casts, Ahn Jae Hyun and Moon Ji In nailed being Hyun Jin’s best friends, the only person her character was able to confide in until Min Ki arrived in the picture. On the other hand, Min Ki’s character has a complicated family. From having a mother who is over protective, a grandfather who seems to love and hate him at the same time, an Beauty Inside ep04.mp4_001571004ambivalent step father who doesn’t want to meddle into their family business and a step sister who considers him as a rival every step of the way… but still, they managed to brighten up the screen every time the family members appear. My favorite character in the Seo household would be Kang Sa Ra- the seemingly evil step sister which was acted by Lee Da Hee. She totally nailed the role of a step sister who’s beautiful, elegant and feisty when it comes to dealing with assholes. I totally rooted for her from the get go. There was also this cute chemistry that she had with Ahn Jae Hyun’s character which I thoroughly enjoyed every time they had their screen time. She is definitely someone to look forward to up to the very end.

Everything about the drama was enjoyable except for one tiny detail in the story which totally put me off and annoyed the heck out of me because honestly, that kind of drama wasn’t needed in the whole show. I believe that kind of cliché was only used to extend the episodes and screen time. I would be talking about this in a spoiler section because it is a huge spoiler in the series. Other than that, I loved everything – actors, storyline (which made me laugh and cry at some point), cinematography (the colors are awesome here!) and the OST. It was definitely memorable that my time definitely wasn’t wasted.

*MAJOR SPOILERS*

Highlight to see text below.

The detail that I didn’t like from this drama was the twist they made near the end… which was kind of predictable. During the first episode it was shown that Han Se Kye transformed into an old lady for the first time in Europe and that she almost got into a car accident, but someone saved her. It was so obvious though that they will be using this scene to make everything more dramatic by the end because it was Seo Do Jae who saved her from that accident causing him brain damage resulting to his Prosopagnosia. So the clincher part is that when Se Kye learned about this fact, she couldn’t accept that she was the cause of his illness even though Do Jae was able to accept it whole heartedly just because he’s awesome like that. Se Kye on the other hand decided to stay away from him because of the guilt. Now because of this, Do Jae decided to have the operation to his brain just so Se Kye doesn’t have to be burdened by his medical condition, but the thing is… the operation only has a one percent success rate which makes it tricky.

That being said, I think this whole scenario wasn’t entirely needed because the fact that they both have their own peculiar thing in their lives and that they are able to deal with it despite all odds, it could have ended there. I would have wanted Do Jae with his Prosopagnosia up to the end because him, losing that makes him normal. While Se Kye, remains the odd person out. It was sort of unfair, but there’s nothing I could do about it but simply accept what’s given to me by the writer.

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You’re the Best Lee Soon Shin (Korean Drama 2013)

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Drama Rating: 7/10

Lee Soon Shin is the youngest member of her family and it seems as if nothing ever goes right for her. Despite being different from her two sisters, she has a bright personality and an optimistic view in life. Her ultimate goal and dream is to become a part of the entertainment industry but she always ends up being conned, until one day a You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (9)guy named Shin Joon Ho gives her an opportunity and a legitimate offer which turns her life upside down. Joon Ho is a cold, ambitious and calculative man but when he starts to get involved with Soon Shin, his attitude changed little by little. He starts to warm up to her despite the circumstances in which lead him to scout her as an artist.

During Soon Shin’s time with Joon Ho as a budding artist, a family tragedy occurs and long forgotten secrets are revealed that almost tears the Lee family apart.You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (6)

Man… this drama was long.

For a 50 episode drama, there were still a lot of loop holes which got me scratching my head in a WTF manner.

Why can’t the script writers make a solid character out of Lee Soon Shin? There was so much potential into the character which was instead wasted into having her in a constant inner turmoil and misunderstanding with her family. She kept on bailing out on her manager, then at work, then at her family. Watching her be like this was quite You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (11)confusing because she’s supposed to be the strong protagonist and this is supposed to be her story but instead her character felt faded. The supporting roles were so much more interesting to me than hers. Then there’s also the main lead guy, Shin Joon Ho. I felt the same way for him like Lee Soon Shin, why did the guy have to run around and try fixing things but end up empty handed? He tries, but never really gets to resolve anything. These main characters are sad… their story are being much overshadowed by other elements. I blame the writers for this.

What made this show bearable to watch are the actors. If it hadn’t been for IU and Jo Jung Suk as the main roles I wouldn’t have the patience to finish this drama but since You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (12)they are my bias and there were a lot of cute scenes (not just on the main leads but as well on the other characters), that made me rethink of dropping the drama. The supporting roles were quite interesting as well. They have brought balance to the story and made it watchable. The families were such a mess, but the three sister’s different characters really brought this drama to life so I guess it is still worth the watch.

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I couldn’t say that this drama was great, but I would have to admit it was a good watch if you could get past the circling theme with long dragging plot lines full of cliche. It was an average drama, it made me laugh-cry-hate-love the characters but at the end of the day it’s not something I would want to brag about or recommend to people. It’s more of a drama that would let me pass time until I finish downloading that specific drama I have been pegging to watch. When watching this drama, be mentally prepared that Lee Soon Shin’s character isn’t actually the best because the supporting roles were better.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.

The Fallen Angel (Japanese Movie 2010)

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Movie Rating: 8/10

~Synopsis~

“No Longer Human” tells the story of a young man who has felt since childhood utterly alien from others around him. Since that time he has learned to put on a face to hide his alienation. He feels incapable of belonging to the human society, especially so by society’s refusal to take him seriously. He then follows a descent into alcohol, drugs, & suicide …

Yozo Oba (Toma Ikuta) was born into a wealthy family in Tsugaru. As a child he practiced smiling to hide his true feelings and to get along with others. His classmate Dakeichi found out about Yozo’s eccentric behavior and told others about him. But Dakeichi also told Yozo a strange prediction about his life … that he will become popular with the ladies and draw beautiful pictures.

During Yozo’s high school years he moved to Tokyo. In Tokyo he meets Horiki (Yusuke Iseya), a guy six years older than him. Horiki is known for being a player and one day drags Yozo to the Blue Flower Bar run by Madame Ritsuko (Michiyo Ookusu). At the bar there is poet Chuya Nakahara (Go Morita) who proclaims “war is brown like the color of shit”. Yozo doesn’t say anything as he takes in the environment.

Yozo starts to drink more often and starts to live the fast life like Horiki. Like Dakeichi’s prediction, Yozo also becomes popular with the ladies and always has a woman next to him. But, Yozo starts to become sick of this lifestyle.

At a cafe, Yozo meets Hisako (Shinobu Terajima) a women who lets him drink without paying. Yozo senses that Hisako feels a heavy sense of loneliness like himself. One day Yozo and Hisako attempts to kill themselves out in the Sea of Kamakura. Hisako dies, but Yozo survives. His family then takes Yozo to a sanitarium.

Excerpted from: AsianMediaWiki

I have initially put this movie on hold, since I wasn’t really ready to handle a depressing film as per the initial summary I’ve read at Avistaz but I’m glad I finally got to watch it. The movie is mostly slow and has a really complex story line. Despite that, the portrayal of the actors was top of the line, it felt realistic and they have nailed each character with so much fervor it could actually affect the way you think of the movie.

Upon watching, I feel like the main character Yozo Oba has lived such a bleak existence. He had no sense of purpose and I felt bad for him as he trudged on with his life not knowing where to go, what exactly he wants to achieve or simply not knowing how to live in happiness. Near the end of the film though, there was a glimpse of a little fulfillment and joy in his desolate life, but it didn’t actually last long. Things simply happen and life was being a bitch to him.

Music wise, it was melancholic and enough to make the film into what its tone should be but it’s not something that has wowed me enough to remember it. I’m having second thoughts on re-watching it, probably I will in the far future if I wanted to re-analyze my own life if it has indeed become as depressing as Yozo Oba.

Overall, I would suggest that if someone would decide to check this movie out simply because Ikuta Toma is their bias, think again. It’s not romantic, it’s also devoid of anything funny because this film can sap the happiness out of you like it did for me and lastly it has a heavy atmosphere all throughout its run time. That said, I’m still recommending it because it happened in real life, it is a beautiful memoir and it has fantastic actors to back it up.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.

Reply 1997 (Korean Drama 2012)

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Drama Rating: 9/10

The story revolves around the life of Sung Shi Won, a female high school student and a full time fan girl of a boyband called H.O.T. She is surrounded by five close friends and they share experiences of being an adolescent during the 90’s and eventually crossover to being adults.

The timeline would go back and forth between 1997, during their high school days and 2012, the present day in which they had a high school reunion dinner. A couple will announce that they’re getting married and clues will be given episode by episode.

This is one of the dramas that really got to me. 1997 was a year where I was on my hype on boy bands as well. The drama brought me back to the times where VHS was such a vital home gadget so as not to miss my favorite drama, cassette tapes were a fad and friendship were in full bloom. Reply 1997 was a drama which conveyed a part of my past and that’s why it probably hit me right on spot. It gave me such nostalgic feelings that I was left laughing and crying at the same time when the drama ended.

This drama… I love, for so many reasons.

The story line was very much unique from all the drama’s I have watched. It did have a full on Rom-Com taste in it (like all the usual Rom-Com Kdrama), but the funny… the funny never stops in every episode, even though I was already tearfully crying out Answer.to.1997.e01.120724.720p.HDTV.H264-noname.mkv_000931264because of a heart breaking scene or because of a heart warming moment; the comedy never stops. Cliches were still used but I should say the writers have done that in a very creative way. I like the fact that they have used a bunch of odd personalities and put them together in a kind of relationship that would bond them as friends for life, then add their family members into it… TADA! You get a really great story to tell. Since all of these characters are peculiar, even from a deep to shallow background of each person, I never got tired of watching each one’s side of the story. That’s how they make the fun come out.

For the main characters, I couldn’t really pick my favorite. Even though we have the “very main” characters within the story, I still couldn’t really put them as my favorite. Maybe I would put bias on Yoon Yoon Jae because of his good looks, but other than that I Answer.to.1997.e03.120731.720p.HDTV.H264-noname.mkv_001789354still equally loved every character. I also personally think that their accents were cute, it was real and was not irritating (since they are all from Busan it would eventually seem natural, right?). Then there were the consistencies in their characters which I am so happy for, because not even one actor deviated from their role. To pinpoint the specific characteristics of each cast, I liked: Shi-won’s boisterous attitude, Yoon Jae’s undying love and loyalty, Yoo Joong’s inconsistencies, Joon Hee’s secrets, Hak Chan’s annoyingness, Sung Jae’s eccentricity, Tae Woong’s indifference to money/fame and lastly Shi-won’s parents; her dad who bickers a lot and her mom who cooks a mountain of food for some apparent reason.

Music wise, it added impact on the drama but it wasn’t something that really got into my head for me to remember much.

This drama is re-watchable, very much… but a vital segment in the story makes this unappealing for a re-play and that is the mystery part. That actually perked my interest into finishing the drama in the first place – “the guess who and what happened to whom?” guessing game was one of the important thing in this drama. But once you are over that, this drama would not be as interesting as it was the first time. I re-watch this for the sole reason of feeling giddy over the love triangles and the petty arguments. Those scenes were still awesome even for the second time around.

Over all Reply 1997 made it to my Top 10 best Kdrama’s and I would definitely recommend this to everyone. But this drama would most suit those who had lived in the 90’s, got addicted in boy bands and lived life with loyal friends.

Osozaki no Himawari (Japanese Drama 2012)

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Drama Rating: 9.5/10

Jotaro is a young man who finds himself at loss after losing his job and breaking up with his girl friend. In a desperate move to make something out of his life and find employment, he decided to move from Tokyo City to a small province in Kochi to join the “Revitalization Group” of the Shimanto River. In this place, he meets several people who becomes his friends and shares the same sentiments that he has in life.

What makes Osozaki no Himawari such a special drama is how it portrayed all these types of characters and slowly peeled off their facade to show the kind of person they really are… in a good way.

The story line is very simple, a guy named Jotaro came to a province as a temp worker and in this process he gets to learn and find more about himself then touch the lives of the people around him. The people he meets along the way has their own quirks, but upon watching the episode further, these people show some similarities specially in the way they thought about each other, which made it more interesting. One person envied the other for having what they don’t have but at the same time, that same person is thinking of the exact same thing of the other.

The characters in this drama were portrayed so well that it left me deep impressions on each actor. I am already a fan of Ikuta Toma so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see him back into a bubbly character such as Jotaro. Kiritani Kenta, I’ve seen this guy in the movie Solanin and Beck, he definitely has that gangster look and he can easily play that kind of character, but his character in this drama, Junichi – I would have to say that he definitely tried hard to portray a guy who can be really gentle and vulnerable despite his looks and he pulled it off brilliantly. Maki Yoko as Nikaido is one of the characters that really stuck in my head, not only is she pretty but her voice… it resonates in my ears and I love hearing her talk. I feel that she’s really a good actress despite the fact that this is the first drama I’ve seen her in. Her chemistry with Toma was great and I really love the scenes in which they start their phone conversation like this even though they already know who’s at the other end of the line:

Jotaro: Ore, ore. (It’s me, me.)

Kahori: Ore, ore Tada re? (Who’s me, me?)

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I also like the message the drama is sending its viewers, there is no contentment until you’ve experienced something without regrets. Finding ones contentment and happiness depends on the individual, people all get to the point when they’ve lived their lives the same way for so long, think about the past and the choices they made then eventually regret those choices and resent the current situation they are in. Another thing that makes this drama more meaningful for me is that the age of the characters are basically the same as mine, so I could relate so well to it.

The OST was well incorporated to the drama while the opening song was really catchy and very much enjoyable to watch specially when the main characters lip sync along with the song. Because of that, I don’t get tired of listening and watching the intro of this drama. I will also surely re-watch this drama as it has been marked as something dear to my heart.

Recommending it to those who are into a dramas that depicts life and reality, those who are at a cross road and for those who just want to watch something good, light and meaningful.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.

Love Forecast (Korean Movie 2015)

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Movie Rating: 9/10

Joon Soo is the kind of man who falls in head over heels, he gives his everything to the person he loves just to make her happy. Hyun Woo, on the other hand is an ambitious weather reporter who would do everything to make a name for herself in the industry she’s working at. Though she’s beautiful, she has a rowdy personality which turns off a lot of people in the long run. When these two best friends fall in love, things get really wild and complicated.

Words from Me:

The story line was quite simple but what really made this movie going for me was the fact that the main actors were good in portraying their characters. I’m saying this not as a fan because Lee Seung Gi is my bias, but because he really is good. Even Moon Chae Won, who I could care less of, did really well in this film. They really had a good chemistry going in every scene, it didn’t feel like they were trying too hard to be into their roles. It’s actually endearing to see them bicker, help each other out and eventually fill in the void of their own heart aches.

Music wise, it was a big help for important details in each scene but it was not something I couldn’t forget or get an LSS (Last Song Syndrome) from. I also have to confess that I re-watched the film again after seeing it, I just had to replay some parts which I found really eye catching, which I will be mentioning below.

Here were some key points in this film that I found really lovely:

Friendship of the main character – since I am a sucker for best friend themed film, the turn of events for me at the end was a plus point. I like the fact that both of them really cherished each other and counted on each other for consolation in their personal lives.

Back drop – the places where the main characters spend their time was really something worthy to take note of if ever I do get to visit Korea. I’m not much of a party person, but that club in which they spend their time drinking was pretty much awesome. I’ve never seen a club which had a theme of a bath house/disco bar. It was weird and yet it was working well. Then there’s those cozy apartments which belonged to the lead female and that house in which the main guy’s family lived. It shows the coziness of a korean living. Finally, Jeju Island. That beach back drop was really something indeed. I love how saturated blue the ocean was and the waves… it was something that could pull me into really visiting the island.

Ending – it was the average ending where two people reconcile and such, it was not outstanding and even border lines into cheesiness, but I loved the closure. I am delighted in a movie that gives proper closure to the main characters. It was cute and simple. And definitely something I enjoyed watching.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.

Who Are You: School 2015 (Korean Drama 2015)

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Drama Rating: 9/10

Go Eun Byul is a strong willed young woman who mysteriously disappears and in her stead, a long lost identical twin sister named Lee Eun Bi accidentally steps into her life due to her lost memories. Eun Bi’s personality is the total opposite of Eun Byul and it showed when she started attending Sekang High School, a prestigious high school in Seoul’s Gangnam District. Things gets complicated when she gets involved with two guys she barely knows. Kong Tae Kwang, a rich and spoiled brat who has his own reasons for acting up and then there’s the ace of the swimming team Han Yi Han, Eun Byul’s best friend.

The thing I like most about this drama was the realism of what exactly occurs inside the classroom, beyond the test papers, assignments, extra-curricular activities, etc. School life may be different from a working environment, but status and socialization is the same everywhere. No matter the country or the culture. This drama brought life to that. I’ve watched all types of bullying in dramas – this drama is no different. There’s always a bad guy and a good guy, then the good guy triumphs over the bad guy. What made this drama a bit different are the additional conflicts which overlaps with the bullying and made things more interesting.

The story line may be a bit far-fetched, but the cast portrayed their roles pretty well, making the issues at hand seem more realistic. It was heart-warming and sad all at the same time. The romantic plot was a bit of a downer for me though because I was sort of rooting for the second lead guy. My second-lead-syndrome attacked once again halfway through of this drama. I really didn’t have a choice because the guy was too cute and too persistent. *sigh*

Setting that aside, I really liked School 2015 and might probably check out School 2013 because of this. Adding up to it was the music, it was something that really made the whole drama more memorable. Up until this moment, I could still hear the music inside my head, playing in the background.

I may re-watch this again in the future if I feel like relieving my high school days all over again, but for the moment, I am recommending it to those who likes watching dramas in a high school setting with more substance about a student’s school life and hardships.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.