Endless Love Series: Winter Sonata (Korean Drama 2002)

Synopsis:

Kang Joon Sang moves to a new high school in search of his biological father. In that new school he meets Jung Yu Jin and Kim Sang Hyuk who seemed to be best friends, but in reality Sang Hyuk liked Yu Jin more than a friend, but she could only see him like a brother.

During a trip together with other schoolmates an accident occurred in which Joon Sang saves Yu Jin. Due to this, both become close and develop romantic feelings for each other. However, circumstances and fate dictate that their love for each other is impossible because Joon Sang disappears from Yu Jin’s life without warning.

Ten years later, the old High School buddies gathered to celebrate Yu Jin and Sang Hyuk’s engagement party. Despite being engaged, Yu Jin still longs for Joon Sang even though it’s been years since he disappeared. To her surprise, one of her friend’s new boyfriend arrives at the party and he appears to be Joon Sang.

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Words from Me:

I’ve been deliberating with myself if I should or should not add this up in my blog review because first, I’m not much of a Bae Yong Jun or Choi Ji Woo fan, second the drama didn’t really leave me any lasting impression. Then it dawned on me that I will be covering all three series of the Endless Love series but then leave this alone for good? That’s unfair. So despite my inner retaliation, I will review this for the sake of completing the whole series. Then maybe someone out there is into this kind of heavy melodrama and would be able to appreciate it more than I did.

Winter Sonata is the second installment of the Endless Love series, it is also far away from being Rom-Com. The drama is all about romance, spice of life and deep conflicts not just within the characters but their roots. Meaning their family, where all conflicts usually starts in this kind of setting. The main characters meet and fall in love during their high school until one day, they were separated for vague reasons. After 10 years, they meet again in an engagement party in which one of them was getting engaged.

I wouldn’t dwell on the story since that’s the part of this series that I didn’t like at all. What I did appreciate were the actor’s portrayal of their characters, they were really amazing if I may judge how much their caliber on acting is. The emotions on each role was poured out on scenes and even those melancholic-angsty moments move me against my own volition. That part of this drama definitely touched my heart and I wasn’t really expecting that. I remember my mom tearfully pointing at me for making her watch another melodrama and making her cry out once again. I made her watch Autumn in my Heart, the first melodrama she’s seen and she’s the one who insisted on watching Winter Sonata. NOT ME.

Aside that, the cinematography is beautiful. It made me feel cold just seeing them with all the snow around, but it really showed how great Korea looked even if it was winter. Lastly the OST. That was the best thing in this drama, it coincides with all the scenes and left me all kinds of emotion while listening to the back ground music simultaneously with the drama. All in all, the drama was alright, thank you for the great production but not really to the writer.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE, CREDITS TO WHOEVER OWNS THEM.
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Endless Love Series: Autumn Tale in My Heart (Korean Drama 2000)

Synopsis:

Yoon Joon Suh and Yoon Eun Suh grew up as siblings but Eun Suh was in fact from a different family as there was a mix up at the hospital where she was born. The switch came to light when Eun Suh was involved in a car accident and it was discovered that her blood type was different from her parents. Eun Suh’s life took a complete turn when the two girls were returned to their respective families. Soon after, the Yoon family left for the States and Eun Suh was left living in sordid condition with her real family in Korea. Years after, Joon Suh returned to Korea and by chance the two former siblings were reunited.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

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Words from Me:

The first in the Endless Love drama installment directed by Yoon Seok-Ho is the famous drama Autumn Tale in My Heart. This was the drama were Song Hye Kyo and Song Seun Heon’s fame went skyrocket.

Honestly, I’m not much of a fan when it comes to heavy melodrama because I tend to get carried away with all the melancholic stuff happening on screen but then this drama got to me back in the early 2000 where KDramas were still scarce in my country and so… I just could not resist. It became too hard to ignore that I had to seat the whole drama through and finish it up to the last episode. I am kind of proud to say that I only cried once around the ending part. Heh.

It wasn’t much like the melodrama I have encountered lately whereas in every episode I can’t stop crying out loud in sadness and in pity. Basically this drama was something more on the side of a frustrating watch along with a sense of bittersweet romanticism all throughout the show. If it’s possible to pull out all my hair during the first half of the drama I would have done so because it has that redundancy of I’m-not-yours-you’re-not-mine-we’re-not-meant-for-each-other-so-let’s-just-forget-about-everything then it will go back to the same old I-know-you-love-me-and-we-love-each-other-so-let’s-stay-together-and-forget-everything-else.

Having that out, why on earth am I recommending this?

Because this drama is worth the sound track, worth the background, worth seeing Song Hye Kyo in her younger years.

The root of the story line may have been too much of a cliche. Does having babies exchanged at birth even new in a drama? Ehem! However the overall concept of the story is worth the watch. The characters within the story and the actor’s portrayal of their roles were amazing that I was able to feel all the love, the hurt and the desperation.

I say give it a try because it’s just that good despite its short comings.

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE, CREDITS TO WHOEVER OWNS THEM.

The Master’s Sun (Korean Drama 2013)

Synopsis:

Joo Joong Won is the stingy and greedy CEO of Kingdom, a conglomerate that includes a major department store and hotel. He meets the gloomy Tae Gong Shil, who started seeing ghosts after an accident. Their lives take a new turn as they work together to deal with the terror and sadness brought about by the spirits, while delving into a kidnapping incident in Joong Won’s past. And unknowingly, they fell in love with each other.

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Excerpted from: My Dramalist

Words from Me:

The Hong Sisters outdid themselves, again. For a creepy-horror-romcom-drama genre, Master's Sun ep03.avi_003784784.pngMaster’s Sun was awesome. I am not crazy on horror themed shows but horror mixed with comedy and romantic scenes? I’m sure I have a huge space for something like that to fit into my scheduled drama watching. Truth be told, I am not a So Ji Sub or Gong Hyo Jin fan. I only watched this because of a friend’s recommendation and out of sheer curiosity, then after checking it out, this is what I get: Pure satisfaction for the year of 2013. That year’s drama season had a lot of good drama’s to offer. I can’t believe they are making good Kdrama’s again after the drama slump from 2012.

This drama’s story line isn’t very original, however the characters are very interesting and although plot lines are freaking full of cliches as what the Hong Sister’s usually do with their drama’s… the heck! It doesn’t matter because they use all cliche stuff in their full potential. Episode 1 was a strong entry for this drama and as for a sucker of romcom, it hooked me so much I had to watch episode per episode, week by week. Which is very unusual of me because I usually watch a drama when it’s done airing and all episode/subtitles are out. The last time I did that was when Hana Yori Dango was aired in Japan and that was the year 2007! So this drama is dear to my heart because I felt the potential from episode 1 and it never disappointed me until episode 16. However that specific episode sort of felt like a filler that’s why I had to rate it an over all of 9/10. BUT! Episode 17 made up for it so their’s no point in worrying for just one episode.

Master's Sun ep06.avi_000257090The characters were very solid, I loved the mannerism Ji-sub came up for his character Joo Joong-won. He had that hand gestures which I find rather appealing for the type of guy he was portraying. An egoistic rich guy who cares less as for whatever happens in the world as long as he gets his money, he’s okay with everything else. Though he’s like this, he has a weakness and that’s dyslexia. He couldn’t even read his name but that doesn’t mean he can’t function as a big time boss, because he still could. There’s a reason behind his problem and that’s something to look forward to in this drama.  Then there’s Gong Hyo-jin, she was very convincing and really catchy as Tae Gong-shil nicknamed Taeyang, the counter part for Joo Joong-won. There’s a good reason why she stuck herself with him like a glue and she also thinks he’s pretty special, that one of a kind person whom she couldn’t get away from not because he’s rich or good looking but because of that specific reason which is a clincher for the show. Without it, there’s no story at all.  I totally love the way Taeyang clings on Joong-won as if her life depends on it,Master's Sun ep04.avi_000155955 well it actually sort of does. Although within the drama there were sudden shifts in her character. I am not referring to the times she was possessed, I’m talking about when she’s being the strong/angry type of Taeyang and not the seemingly sweet-naive-candy type of Taeyang. There were sudden changes in her character’s attitude and it was pretty annoying because it felt like she was getting out of character. I think I had to find that fault in the writers or director, it was a bit frustrating to see the sudden changes. I think that if her character was the soft one – it has to be consistent all through out. If they were going to make her strong… that personality had to stick-like in what they did to episodes 16 and 17. But when her character shifted to a strong one in around episode 11 then revert to her old self at episode 12, it was a bit confusing. If you get what I mean… and because of that I had to give another 9/10 for the story because the character is based on that.

There were supporting casts that also shined through in this drama and that was Seo In Guk as Kang Woo, he’s the security guy who falls for the weird Taeyang. He’s so cute in this drama because even if he’s trying to act all cool in front of the woman he likes, he also has a weakness and it has something to do with what usually chases after Tae Yang. Then there’s the girl who was full of insecurity even though she’s a popular actress, she hates the fact that she was being compared to Tae Yang when they were younger and her surname doesn’t help because her name is Tae Yi Ryeong which was acted by Kim Yoo Ri. This actress is so pretty and had so much potential that she was able to deliver her character spot on. Her character was someone I could have easily hated and loved at the same time. Lastly there are the two cute kids who live in the same building with Taeyang. I can’t get enough of them because I always enjoy the conversation they have with her. Lee Seung Mo and Lee Seung Joon were portrayed by child actors Lee Do Hyun and Hong Eun Taek. Both children have so much acting skill and they look so natural that I hope they grow up to become popular stars in the future.

Now that being said and done, I have to give compliments for the music, because it was catchy and unforgettable. It’s like nostalgia sticks to the music and as for the re-watch value, I say… HELL YEAH! I am going to watch it over and over again, never mind those ghost infested scenes since they aren’t really scary if I don’t think too much about it. If someone out there is a fan of romcom and of the Hong Sister’s writing style, I am highly recommending this drama. It’s going to be worth it.

 

The Last Princess (Japanese Movie 2008)

Synopsis:

Makabe Rokurota (Hiroshi Abe), a loyal retainer of Princess Yuki-hime (Masami Nagasawa), has been commissioned to transport Yuki-hime and Akizuki’s ample treasury of gold bars safely to the politically stable Hayakawa. They disguise themselves as humble firewood peddlers, hiding the gold bars inside the logs they are carrying so as to pass safely through roadblocks set up by Yamana, which is under the control of Takayama Gyobu (Kippei Shiina), whose attire bears a striking resemblance to that of Darth Vader.

Along the way, Rokurota comes across Takezo (Jun Matsumoto) and Shimpachi (Daisuke Miyagawa), who have escaped from forced labor in a gold mine. Takezo and Shimpachi first frown on joining the journey, but eventually agree to help out in the hope of escaping Yamana’s oppression and cashing in on the gold reward Rokurota offers them.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

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Words from Me:

I find the whole story pretty amusing and yet it was like a stale bread, it looks good but once you eat it, you get that bad consistency of a tensile food. The plots were loose and there were a lot of loopholes in it. My complain is that there could be so much more added to the story line but I was left empty handed as I finished the movie.

Jun Matsumoto was a good actor that’s for sure, but I should have guessed that this would just end up on my bummer list of films. The killing effects were too obvious, even the gushing out of blood was exaggerated, not that Japanese films do not exaggerate it as always, kill bill had that but still had a fantastic effect out of it but here… in an era where blood bath should look more realistic, it didn’t fit at all. The film also looked dreary as everyone seems to be dirty through and through, although it fits their characters since the retainer and the princess are supposed to be under cover.

As for the soundtrack… for the love me, I could not recall it at all. It’s not something that would stick in your head, it’s all a hum and dumdimdumdums.

Acting wise the main characters were good. Only the setting wasn’t because the CGI effects were so obvious. Other than that it was an OKAY film to watch, but not worth your time. I love Abe Hiroshi, Jun Matsumoto and Masami but they couldn’t save this film with their good looks and acting.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE, CREDITS TO WHOEVER OWNS THEM.

Delightful Girl Choon Hyang (Korean Drama 2005)

Synopsis:

The story begins when Lee Mong Ryong is transferred from Seoul to a high school in Namwon, North Jeolla Province. Choon Hyang does her best to help Mong Ryong, her first love and the son of the Namwon Police Station chief, to enter a prestigious university. However, after meeting with Mong Ryong’s first love, Chae Rin, Mong Ryong’s love toward Choon Hyang is shattered, although Choon Hyang’s love remains unwavering. One day, Byeon Hak Do, CEO of a famous entertainment company, appears in her life. He exudes confidence that he can make any woman fall for him. But as Choon Hyang shows no interest in him, his self-esteem is damaged profoundly. Byeon Hak Do is determined to make her love him.

~~ “Sassy Girl, Choon Hyang” is the 2005 interpretation of the “Legend of Choon Hyang”.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

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Words from Me:

Choon Hyang is the modern version of a folk tale in Korea. I have no idea what that story was about though. What I know is that this version is one heck of a rom-com Kdrama. It reminds me of that Taiwanese drama entitled It Started with a Kiss. Two very different story lines, but the acting concept is so much alike it makes me laugh my ass out thinking about it.

During the first half of the drama, it starts light and really wacky. The two protagonists clashed so much that they both got so much into trouble. There were many misunderstanding that it was hard not to laugh with the absurdity of it all and because of those misconceptions, the two protagonists end up getting married. This was not because of love but it’s due to an incident which could ruin both of their family’s reputation. As they both struggle to live harmoniously with each other amid the forced marriage, both eventually realize that they liked each other but was denying it too much. That’s it for the first half, for later half of the show, it goes much more serious since the main characters are grown up and live as adults with remnants of conflicts which set them apart for some time.

With this story line, it was fun, entertaining and gave me little room to be bored since the drama would serve the right amount of serious moment then revert to it’s old theme romantic comedy theme. In additional, the actor’s are really cute! Given that their age are a bit mature to be seen as high school students, still, the way they acted was really fun to watch. Given that this is an old drama, I could say that watching it was worth it.

The OST is memorable and the feeling of giddiness inside still remains whenever I hear the sound track of this drama. I’m recommending it to those who feel like watching an old feel good romcom.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE, CREDITS TO WHOEVER OWNS THEM.

Which Star Did You Come From? (Korean Drama 2006)

Synopsis:

Choi Seung Hee left Korea for three years after losing his girlfriend in a tragic accident. When he finally came back, he wanted to make a film in a rural area. During the time he was doing an ocular visit, a woman named Bok Shil caught his eye because she looks exactly like his deceased girlfriend, Hye Soo. Seung Hee followed Bok Shil around in order to get some answers and ended up falling for her. 

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Words from Me:

What Star Did You Come From is a Kdrama in which I have total bias in.

The story is about a movie maker Choi Seung Hee who caused the death of his girlfriend named Lee Hye Soo due to a car accident while he was driving. After the horrible incident, he incurred a trauma in driving cars and was consumed with guilt that he swore to never love again.

I know… I know… I told you the cliché!

Anyway… one day during a movie project, he met Kim Bok-Shil, a woman with the exact replica of his dead girlfriend’s face. In total denial, he started to follow her around and discovered that she’s a completely different person. bfb948f31c0ae04aecbd94d2db163ab3The girl was a country bumpkin, uncouth and had no proper breeding of an elite person. She was the exact opposite of his refined deceased lover. As he got closer to her, he eventually falls in love again… but there is a catch! Is he actually in love with Bok Sil because of her face which reminds him of his Hye Soo or does he love her as she is? Aside from this, there were a couple more twists which led me to tear my hair out in frustration, but I gritted my teeth and held my annoyance at bay for the love of Rae Won and Ryu Won. Aren’t they just perfect for each other? Their names are even a match made in heaven! Yeah… that’s just me and my wishful thinking. Aside from the main casts, there’s the perk of the comedy within the drama which made it more bearable to watch.

Although the story line is a total wreck with all the drama cliché, Kim Rae Won and Jung Ryu Won gave justice for the whole show. It even garnered 17% viewership which isn’t that bad in Korea if you ask a couple of netizens. Maybe it’s because of the main lead’s popularity and how they a enacted their characters. I personally liked Bok Sil’s character and her naivety during the beginning of the show. However, as the show progressed and she had to shift into a serious one, it kind of bored me out but still… for the love of hqdefaultwatching her on screen I continued on and rooted for her character. As for Seung Hee’s character, he’s definitely angsty but because he became involved with Bok Sil, his character gradually mellowed out and became more likable. The supporting cast and second leads weren’t that memorable for me. I guess this is just one of those dramas that had a passing through in my memory since I was too focused on the main leads. The story is totally makjang mixed with bits of comedy here and there. It may have been a great drama back in 2006, however it wouldn’t be able to ride through the current dramas airing these days. It’s just not cut as a classic drama. What makes it worth it is simply watching two popular actors with great chemistry on screen.

I couldn’t remember the OST even if I try to rack my brain about it. Over all it was a funny and  melodramatic show. I wouldn’t rewatch it as having seen it once is already enough but I would recommend it to those who love both the main actors because they really did their best for this drama.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.

Pasta (Korean Drama 2010)

Synopsis:

Seo Yoo Kyung is an aspiring chef while Choi Hyun Wook is the head chef with a very bad personality. He hates female cooks so he tries his best to remove all women from his kitchen. However, despite everything he does, Yoo Kyung is the most resilient person he has ever met. She’s the kind of person who never gives up no matter the kind of hardship thus making him drawn to her despite his utter dislike for women.

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Words from Me:

The main story wasn’t much to begin with. Head chef falls in love with one of his co-worker who is a dimwit when it comes to cooking good pasta. The truth is, this drama could have ended at 10 episodes but the producers just had to prolong it and make the story go around in circles, like a merry go round with nothing really exciting happening on the show. They did try to make it exciting by adding good looking casts in the kitchen, but that isn’t enough for me to like it. It was predictable and just made me hungry with all the cooking they did.

pasta11_13This is the kind of drama I would watch just for the sake of finishing it. I wish I could have enjoyed it as much as other people did, but I just can’t. I have this affinity for the male lead character. He’s trying to be a complete jerk by shouting all over the place but it’s not really working. It just makes him annoying. The only redeeming character I like is the female lead. Her life alone makes the whole drama more interesting. Being the daughter of a man who owns a small Chinese restaurant and basically earns ep3_13nothing much has the gall to dream of becoming a professional chef. Without any other culinary experience, she embarked into the hellish kitchen of Le Sfera and worked as a kitchen assistant for a couple of years until finally she gets the chance to hold the pan, but then a new chef comes in and took away that opportunity just because he has an attitude and huge distaste with female chefs. Despite that, she dogged her way back into holding that precious pan she’s been aiming for and incidentally made that evil chef fall for her in the process.

The supporting casts in this drama may have been a bit helpful in making the seriesPastaE0621-30-40 more bearable because there are a couple of eye candies who entered into the drama around episode two. The original La Sfera chefs though doesn’t have that appealing look that’s pleasing in the eye. What made them seem memorable is the way they complained behind the head chef’s back none stop, they’re not even that good looking which Pasta-8made it more irritating to watch, thus making them unforgettable. There’s also the second leads who made a bit of an impact at the later half of the drama, but in my opinion we could all do without having them in the picture. I do get they are supposed to be vital in the story line however, they seem more like a filler to me since the story mainly revolved around the two main character who was always in the kitchen bickering at each other.

I have nothing against the actors because setting the drama’s story line aside, I totally love the two main leads. Lee Sun Kyun is a great actor from what I’ve seen him in the pasta10-00021dramas Coffee Prince and Triple, while Gong Hyo Jin is simply pure love. She may not be the best looking actress in Kdrama land, but believe me when I say that she’s one stunning actress when they dress her up real good. One of my favorite drama’s she’s acted in was Master’s Sun. She also usually has great chemistry with her co-stars, which is the case here in this drama. I just wish that the male lead character had a better character substance because there could be more into that head chef than trying to act as an almighty being.

There was nothing much remarkable about the OST and I wouldn’t rewatch this for the life of me because it’s a complete waste of time. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if someone is looking for a recommendation about food or kitchen settings in Kdramas, this could be one but just forget about the story line.

Photos are not mine, credits to whoever owns them.