Reply 1997 (Korean Drama 2012)

Answer.to.1997.e01.120724.720p.HDTV.H264-noname.mkv_000406573

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.

Advertisements

Osozaki no Himawari (Japanese Drama 2012)

36dorama-puente-chinkabashi.png

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?)

vlcsnap-2013-01-28-01h39m51s58.png

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)

love-forecast

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)

who-are-you-school-2015.jpg

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.

Tomorrow I will Date with Yesterday’s You (Japanese Movie 2016)

Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You (2016).mp4_005653653.png

Movie Rating: 9/10

Based on the novel by Takafumi Nanatsuki – Boku wa Ashita, Kinou no Kimi to Date Suru (Tomorrow I will Date with Yesterday’s You) was made into a live action film starred by Fukushi Sota and Komatsu Nana. Their roles as Minamiya Takatoshi and Fukuju Emi are characters that would bring forth a love that transcends through time making romance itself not just a simple coincidence but an act of fate that the universe has conspired.

Takatoshi meets Emi in a train for the first time and yet he felt that he had fallen in love at first sight. Plucking the courage to ask her name and confess his feelings, he chased after her on the train platform and talked to her. After that fateful encounter, they began to date and spent their time together happily. One day Takatoshi discovers something about Emi, a secret that she has been keeping all along.

This movie reminds me of 50 first dates and The Tale of Benjamin Button but in a very different and more complicated way. That’s all I could say for a spoiler free introduction. I would write an indebt review about this, but the rest of my thoughts would be under the spoiler tag below.

Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You is a compelling and poignant movie to be exact, definitely worth the 1 hour and 50 minutes of screen time. The first few part of the movie seemed very odd at first. Even the first scene would seem peculiar for a simple romantic movie but as I gradually continued to watch, everything started to make sense. The lead female character seemed to be shrouded in mystery while the male lead simply Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You (2016).mp4_001018560looks hopelessly in love, but those things did not deter me from watching it because as boring as it may sound as I write about it in summary, the movie is very interesting. The pacing of the love story is a bit fast than the usual Japanese shows, which caught me off guard. I wasn’t really expecting a love confession at the get go, however it was a detrimental element in the whole point of the movie. So even though it seemed fast, there was a drawback… and that’s another part of the film that made it more fascinating.

Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You (2016).mp4_001023940The characters portrayal of Fukushi Sota and Komatsu Nana as Minamiya Takatoshi and Fukuju Emi was great. It felt like they were made for the roles, their acting wasn’t over the top and made me feel connected to each person. They had this bittersweet way of acting that made me feel melancholic about their characters and yet the same time happy. I liked how Emi’s personality was bubbly and yet tears off as fast as a raindrop and there’s the seemingly clueless Takatoshi who’s simply too much in love to notice anything else Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You (2016).mp4_002124374.pngabout his girlfriend. Aside these main characters, there’s that one special supporting character that’s worth mentioning – Kaminoyama Soichi , he’s one of Takatoshi’s sempai in the university and acts as his best friend and older brother. I liked the fact that he gives Takatoshi great advice in love and life. The guy acting this character, Higashide Masahiro is a veteran actor even though he looks young.

Overall the movie was a great watch. I loved the mystery factor and I did rewatch it immediately again because I wanted to pinpoint the clues that I had missed out during the duration of the film. Music wise it was alright, along with cinematography. Those things aren’t that much important to me though while I was watching because I was too engrossed with the characters that those two aspects of the movie simply made the whole thing better than it already was. It was like reading a book and I there’s great background music while the book had awesome pictures in it to give at least a good visual about what I am reading. I’m recommending this movie for those who are looking for a romantic watch mixed with mystery and pure love.

*MAJOR SPOILERS*

Highlight to see text below.

Now… as I dive into details, I’m guessing that whoever is reading this would have watched the movie. IF NOT – I HIGHLY SUGGEST TO WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST. The point of the movie is the mystery aspect. The film would lose its purpose if the mystery is gone.

So the secret about Emi is that she lives in a different timeline than Takatoshi. It’s like being in a different dimension but once every five years, they are able to meet for 30 days when the moon turns full. Another complicated thing about their meeting is that Takatoshi lives in the future, while Emi lives in the past. Does that even make sense? It will be explained in the movie but I would like to put it here because I still can’t believe that I have been succumbed into watching a romantic movie that was actually mixed with fantasy and sci-fi. And that’s in a very subtle form. Anyway… Emi lives her days with Takatoshi backwards, meaning she forgets the day she spent her days with her boyfriend and she ages younger while Takatoshi lives his days forward, keeping all the memories of them together thus making the title of the movie a very literal and appropriate one. That’s why I compared it to 50 first dates because Emi forgets everything after a day, while in Benjamin Button he ages backwards which is the same as Emi.

It’s a two dimensional thing and having two star crossed lovers makes a bittersweet ending. However, despite that sad note of not being able to be together forever, at least fate gave them a chance to be together as lovers even for a short time. That’s the part that made me love this movie the most because it simply tells people to live at the moment and love while it actually lasts.

 

Encounter (Korean Drama 2018)

encounter.jpg

Drama Rating: 9/10

Cha Soo Hyun went on a business trip in Cuba and coincidentally meets the kind and free spirited Kim Jin Hyuk in a series of unexpected events. They spent a couple of hours together to make the most of Cuba’s beautiful atmosphere. It was a trip that both of them would never forget but at the same time, they both knew that it would simply remain as a beautiful memory as they finally part ways.

Back in Korea, Jin Hyuk finds out that Soo Hyun is the CEO of the hotel he had applied for and got accepted in. He also realized that she was a divorcee and a daughter of a congressman. Despite all these things, he fell in love with her unconditionally while Soo Hyun was swept along with his ideals and passion. Thus making her fall for him in ways she never intended to.

I have written my first impression bout this drama and now that I have finally finished it, I could say that watching all 16 episodes was worth my time. The romance and the drama had the right mix along with subtle comic dialogues occasionally thrown here and there. There are a lot of elements that I love about this drama and I need to break them out, one at a time.

First the story line – it would seem like the average makjang theme with a foreshadow ofEncounter ep01.mp4_001702333.png rich parents trying to control the lives of their full grown children, however it doesn’t really focus on that and I’m really thankful to the writers for thinking otherwise. What made the story line unique was the act of pure love between a simple young man who falls in love for the first time and a woman who has been through so much that she is too afraid to love at all. I like how pure love worked for these two characters because usually this kind of set up is reserved to high school or teenybopper leads whose dealing with young love for the first time. To have something like this for middle aged people, it’s very unusual but worked pretty well for me and most of its audience.

As for the characters – I’d like to initially mention Cha Soo Hyun which was acted by Song Hye Kyo, for a woman who is rich and divorced, I would have thought she would be Encounter ep01.mp4_001616915fearless… but no. She is the complete opposite of that. She has too many inhibitions and reasons for holding back that she couldn’t live her life freely as she’s supposed to be. That’s why when she meets the free spirited Kim Jin Hyuk starring Park Bo Gum, he’s like a breath of fresh air for her. His character brought her back to her past self whom she tried to forget and bury. In some ways, Soo Hyun is a pitiable woman but somehow she emerges as a stronger person from all the trials and tribulations thanks to Jin Hyuk’s support. Due to their encounter, she was able to transform from a crawling caterpillar still bound in her cocoon to a magnificent butterfly. As problematic as Soo Hyun’s character may be, Jin Hyuk on the other hand is the polar opposite. He was young, good Encounter ep01.mp4_000747413looking and had such a bright personality that it was too easy to love him. Everyone around him seems to brighten up somehow whenever he’s around. It’s as if he has a circumference of magically filled happy aura that can envelope other people who are only a few meters away from him. Another thing about his personality is that he rarely thinks ill of other people, he also is the forgiving type and when he loves, he does it whole heartedly not thinking of himself but only the condition of his partner. In other words, he’s the perfect kind of mine… I mean MAN. Where on earth can a person be this perfect??? Yes. Of course, only in Kdrama world can we find someone such as the likes of him.

Other characters worth mentioning are the supposedly villains of the drama, the mothers. In makjang strewn filled drama, mothers tend to be the epitome of evil. TheyEncounter ep03.mp4_000272171 always ruin their children’s lives and this drama is no exception to that. What I liked about their characters though is that they are so effective in their roles that they automatically become the people I love to hate. Kim Hwa Jin acted by Cha Hwa Yun, one of the veteran actresses in Korea was the very image of a controlling ajumma. She’s simply can’t get enough that she even wants to eat the life out of her son and her ex-daughter in law. To think that her son has already divorced, yet she still wanted to be in control of Soo Encounter ep06.mp4_000994493Hyun through legal machinations. She’s the kind of woman who deviously schemes behind the scenes to make the lives of the people around her miserable. That’s how her character is through and through. Jin Mi Ok, on the other hand is a bit tamer but still an utter control freak when it comes to her daughter. Nam Ki Ae who acted Soo Hyun’s mother was perfect for the role. She’s the type who usually plays the bitchy mother or an utterly helpless one. Here though, she’s the kind of mother who had an awesome background as a reported and a great dream of being the first wife of the president. Thus she keeps pushing her husband to stay in politics and let her daughter suffer in the hands of a wretched household. I have so much animosity with her character but I like the fact that Encounter ep11.mp4_003482712Soo Hyun loved her unconditionally despite how her mother treats her because of those big ambitions. Last mother to mention is Joo Yeon Ja, Kim Jin Hyuk’s mother played by Baek Ji Won. She’s not in the same category as the previous mom’s I have mentioned because she’s actually the opposite. Yeon Ja is a loving mother and cares for the family the most, which is one of the nice things in this drama. She’s also soft spoken and always has a smile on her face, yet there’s something about her that makes her personality a strong one. I wouldn’t want to mention it to avoid spoilers, but she’s one the characters to really look forward to.

Other supporting characters that made the main ones shine – Jung Woo Seok, the second lead guy acted by Jang Seung Jo. There are so many layers of manliness from this guy’s character but I feel that it was utterly wasted with all the decisions he made which Encounter ep03.mp4_002603167.pngeventually made Soo Hyun unhappy. Their relationship could have been a promising one if he was just earnest with her from the beginning and didn’t hold back anything because of his mother. I would have even rooted for him if I could, but in the end Jin Hyuk’s sincerity over took Seung Jo’s hesitations thus keeping him at the losing end. Another character I love is Nam Myung Shik, Soo Hyun’s driver and one of her father’s best friends. Go Chang Seok was perfect for this role, he’s a chubby meddlesome guy who only wants best for Soo Hyun as long as it makes her happy. I like the fact that he butts in Encounter ep08.mp4_002893090.pngher life so she can spend more time with Jin Hyuk than necessary. He’s such a charming character that I’d like to have him as my uncle! There are also other characters I’d like to write about, like Soo Hyun’s secretary and Jin Hyuk’s brother and best friends but it would make this article too much about characters and might over shadow the main point of this blog. So I’m struggling to limit myself up to here.

Over all this drama was amazing. It wasn’t action packed or even raced my heart as if it would explode in excitement, but every episode kept me on my toes with anticipation. I liked the overall pacing of the drama as it was a roller coaster ride of deep heartwarming emotions that only I could get from a romantic love story. Everything in this drama, from start to finish seemed to be from a point of view of a true artist because the cinematography was so beautiful that a simple thing could look unique and out of the ordinary. The OST was also great because it added a dramatic touch to a viewer’s heart that it complimented well with the visuals. I would probably rewatch this in the future when I start missing Park Bo Gum’s character as the perfect boyfriend.

Orange Marmalade (Korean Drama 2015)

OM1-00240a

Drama Rating: 7/10

Baek Ma Ri is a teenage vampire who wants nothing more than to be a normal high school girl. In the current world she lives in, humans and vampires co-exist with each other. Vampires are able to live under the sun due to the change in their diet, they should only drink animal blood. However due to their nature and history, they are still feared by humans and are considered as an outcast in the modern society because of the havoc that they have brought to humanity in the past.

Upon checking the previous reviews and comments, I realized not a lot of people liked this drama and had almost the same complaint. I would also have to admit that I was the same. I had to put the drama on hold for a long time before resuming it. I guess the first few episodes were pretty much disappointing compared to the original story line.

Do take note that this live action drama is VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE WEBTOON. If you are watching for that reason, beware and do not put your expectations too high.

If I would be rating this prior to the saguek part, it would probably have received a 5/10 for me. For the saguek period, I give it a 7/10. Post sageuk and after finishing the whole drama, I give it an 8/10 and here are my following reasons for the different ratings.

Pre-sageuk:

I felt that the drama was a bit draggy and had this vampire teenage angst going on, thenOM1-00239 not to forget that I have read the Webtoon version which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was pretty much hard not to compare, which I did throughout the episodes and had myself disappointed a lot of times. It might have been better if I haven’t read the webtoon first prior to watching the drama, unfortunately… the drama came 1 month after I have read the whole thing. But anyway, the first few episodes for me was blah. The fact that I wasn’t a fan of the lead guy did not help at all. The other cast members were pretty much new to me as well, except for the parents of the main characters who I think brought something in at the table with their pro-acting skills.

Sageuk:

I know a lot of people hated this part, but not me. I love sageuk and this was probablyOM5-00493a one of the reason why I continued on with the show, despite the fact that this was not even part of the original webtoon story line. I’m glad though that they included this, because if not, the drama would have probably ended at 6-8 episodes. This part explained a lot of things about the vampire community, the history of their diet and the treaty between normal humans and vampires. It had the cute, the romance and the exact heart breaking scenes you need in a drama to keep you moving forward. It also told the backdrop about the fate of the main characters.

Post Sageuk:

Initially, I didn’t feel like continuing on with the whole thing because I was alreadyOM3-00474a satisfied with the saguek part so I put this on hold for a few months, but I knew I had to finish this and so I did. There was this sort of dismal feeling on the first few minutes of episode 11, but the songs and bits of change in the story line made me push through. I guess the last 2 episodes were able to give closure to the whole story and I accepted it with a whole heart.

Other bits that made me like the drama:

Second Leads – I enjoyed the fact that the supporting characters had shifted in their attitude. The way the actors delivered it may not be perfect but they still definitely gave me the feels. Compared to the webtoon – the attitude change did happen and I’m really happy about that.

Music – it was cute, bubbly and left me with a good feeling. Seol Hyun and Lee Jong Hyun’s voice were pretty good. In each of their solo songs, I was caught in a bit of trance. I’d prefer rock anytime, but having to listen to their music gave me a different feeling all over.

Overall, I liked the drama and how it changed my mind on rating it. I don’t feel cheated at all that I watched the whole 12 episodes. I’m glad that I had a different perspective for this drama.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.