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.
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The Producers (Korean Drama 2015)

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Drama Rating: 7/10

The story revolves around four people: Ra Jun Mo, a veteran variety show PD who has 10 years of experience under his belt but has no notable show under his name whatsoever. Tak Ye Jin, a music show PD who entered the business at the same time as Jun Mo. the producers 01Initially she was a timid person but as the harsh environment caught up to her, her personality has changed completely to one who doesn’t care what anyone thinks and instead voice out her own thoughts without thinking of the repercussions. Baek Sung Chan is a young rookie PD who can be a promising prosecutor but instead left the field to become part of the broadcasting team due to personal reasons. Cindy, a young top celebrity who has been in the entertainment business for a decade is deemed to be the ice princess of the country because she’s known to be a snotty person who doesn’t like to get close to anyone.

These characters have their own careers and lives to be busy about but because they are in the same company, it’s unavoidable for them to meet. Aside that, they also have their own personal history with each other that interlinked them together. Through these people, the show will give the audience a glimpse of the things that occurs behind the scenes of the entertainment business like work politics, relationships, friendship and love.

The casting was great, however story wise… it was so-so. I think 12 episodes for this drama was a bit too short.

the producers 02The actors played their characters well, it was surprising to find Kim Soo Hyun going back to his usual character and that is the dorky love stricken type of guy. Then there is IU, who I may say I have taken a keen interest and biased liking due to her previous drama character in “Dream High”. As for Gong Hyo-Jin and Cha Tae-Hyun… these guys are veterans. What more can I say about them except that they have superb skills in acting? All these combined, I was still left hanging all throughout the drama. I have this the producers 11nagging thought, “This is it? After all those 12 episodes, this is it? Where are the accomplishments?”, I was left unsatisfied and that was a bit sad. It was rather short, they could have added at least 4 or 5 more episodes to give fulfillment to each of the main characters, to their careers and over all life. Setting those aside – I did like the ending, although it felt a bit rushed at least there was closure for the characters, but then again I still wish there were more episodes to elaborate on what happened after. I seriously wanted to see snippets of “2 days and 1 night” but sadly they didn’t show us anything more than what they wanted to.

Over all it was a fun series, nothing dramatic or too funny. It’s all light and entertaining, though it’s not something that entirely left a mark in my drama watching career. I would recommend it to pass the time but not a priority choice for watching. If there are fans on any of the main characters, then I highly suggest this drama – to indulge on the eye candy.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.

Korean Odyssey (Korean Drama 2017)

Synopsis:

This drama is also known as Hwayugi.

Jin Seon Mi is a human child who can see ghosts and other creatures beyond the sight of a normal person. Due to this, she was able to see and recognize a monster named Mawang in a guise of a human. She saw him drive away the ghosts who was chasing after her with the use of an umbrella. When Mawang realized that she can see him, he made her go to the marble mountains to retrieve something of importance and in exchange he will give his umbrella that Jin Seon Mi wanted from him so she can protect herself. However, instead of retrieving what Mawang requested, she accidentally released a different monster disguised as a human being. The monster called himself Son Oh Gong who was previously a deity equal to the heavens. In the process of releasing him, they exchanged a promise that Son Oh Gong will protect her if she calls out his name, but he tricked her by removing the memory of knowing his name and so he was able to get away from her.

Years later when Jin Seon Mi was in her 30’s, she has once again crossed paths with Mawang and Son Oh Gong. This time, she has become the “Samjang”, a human who has the scent of a lotus flower which could only be smelled by monsters. This makes her the ultimate human prey which makes a monster become strong with the taste of her blood and if they eat her, they become powerful as well.

Destiny made Seon Mi and Son Oh Gong meet for a higher purpose in the future but the deities never expected that the samjang would fall in love with the monster and so their story is told.

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Words from Me:

When my cousin recommended this drama and told me that it’s a really good show and worth the watch, I had some second thoughts since she said there was a catch, the show consists of monsters and supernatural beings that could be quite scary. But since I was able to survive the drama Master’s Sun, I was okay with this.

For a hyped drama such as Hwayugi, it definitely lived up to its expectations. This drama is totally my cup of tea because I love all elements of fantasy, action, drama, comedy and romance. The story isn’t lacking either and it never felt rushed. I also think that the script was well thought of because there are so many quotable quotes in this drama especially from Son Oh Gong. There might be bits of loop holes here and there in the storyline but it’s forgivable because the ending made it all seem senseless. Though the series was a typical horror-drama-romcom type wherein a human can see ghosts, monsters and other entities, the thing that set this drama aside from the rest was the execution of all the characters, including the supporting casts. The all the actors where really good and nobody looked too stiff. It was as if the roles where made for them.

 

A lot of people thought that the final episode felt like a cliff hanger or that it needs a second season, but for me, there is finality in the story between Jin Seon Mi and Son Oh Gong. If ever they plan on making a part two, I think it is going to be a different story all together. There were several things that surprised me upon watching this drama which I need to put under a spoiler tag (please see below of this post) because my thoughts are connected to major incidents that happened to the characters.

The cinematography was very pretty along with the OST. I would probably remember the songs and associate it with certain scenes from this drama if it gets played out of the blue on the radio or wherever. I would also re-watch this in the future if I forgot the details and wanted to be reminded of how cool the main characters where. Over all I’d rate this drama 9/10 and would highly recommend it to anyone who’s not a scaredycat.

 

*MAJOR SPOILERS* 

Highlight to see text below.

One of the things I noted and got me confused was when the octopus prince named Ok Ryong inhibited a female body, an actress called Alice. It was really weird when he-Ok Ryong fell in love with PK just because the woman he’s possessed liked PK, the thought that his feelings got swayed simply because he was inside a woman was really a tricky thing. Because of that he gave up his life for him… so basically what he felt was really genuine, right? Another one is Summer Fairy, since she’s sharing General Winter’s body the guy had to cross-dress which is another taboo for Kdramas. We don’t usually see guys cross dressing in Kdrama world.

Finally, the scene when the main character died shocked me. Literally died and had no sense of being reincarnated soon. I know that Samjang is actually destined to die but usually, KDrama land makes the main characters survive or get into the cycle of reincarnation, ie. Goblin. Does this drama ring a bell?

The fact that the writer wasn’t shy to portray about LGBT or kill off main characters was a huge thing. Usually, KDramas try to pacify things and generalize to fit whatever seems alright for the viewers, however in this series, they just went on the roll and disregarded the norm. This was a great surprise and made the drama more appealing.

The Ultimate K-pop Survival (Korean Drama 2012)

 

Synopsis:

Ji Seung Yeon dreams of becoming a hip-hop legend and unexpected events set her on the path to achieve just that, although there is an added obstacle – she has to dress up as a boy in order to join a male idol group. In the process, she meets Kang Woo Hyun, the leader of the popular idol group, M2, who captivates fans with a killer smile that masks his rude and selfish personality.

Excerpted from: Mydramalist

Words from me:

The drama started off rather bland for my usual KDrama taste. There was nothing catchy for its premier and it basically dragged about up to the 3rd episode but after sticking up with this drama, things started to get more interesting. The story line has picked up to a much better pace. There were more interaction between the characters and everything started to finally make sense.

I was already having a fun watching it for all the humor and what-not’s until episode 12 came about. That’s when the story line drastically changed, it began to spin around senselessly aiming nowhere and it was plainly a disaster. I realized that the writers never really thought of giving a proper closure to each of the characters problems, specially on the main ones due to the cut episodes. This drama was supposed to be 16 episodes, instead they decided to make do with 14, ending up with a rubbish ending.

Episode 13-14 was produced in a haste. Maybe its the production management but I have a hunch they couldn’t extend the drama up to 16 episodes due to the bad ratings, which would have given them time to put a much better ending. The story, the characters and the over all production had so much potential if only they have been developed properly.

Yes, everything has been all fun and cute in the middle of the series but the ending plainly sucked. There was a lot of loopholes and never ending problems. Episode 14 had this sort of time snap where everything was cut and then here comes out the protagonist saying “everything is going to be okay” just to resolve the very main conflict in the story which is: The female protagonist pretending to be a boy in an all male K-pop idol group gets discovered, information leaked out online and chaos it is for the entertainment industry.

How the heck do you resolve that in one freaking episode?

Episode 14 was clearly telling the audience that the conflict was resolved, but in reality… they just don’t have the time to resolve it. Period.

There… I finally got that out of my system. I don’t even like Kpop music, or Kpop Idols in general. I only wanted to watch this because of the story line: A girl pretending to be a boy for some important self-inflicted reason.

Sigh. I need a better drama to watch or a movie. Rating this drama 5/10 for the sole reason that I enjoyed the middle part of the series but at the same time want to forget that I even dared watching it.

Keizoku Spec 2 (Japanese Drama 2010)

Synopsis:

Like the original series, “SPEC” will revolve around a pair of police detectives as part of a special division solving difficult cases (Mishou). Touma Saya is a woman with an IQ of 201 and an inability to “read the atmosphere” in social situations. Due to a previous case, her left arm is in a sling. Her partner Sebumi Takeru used to be the star performer of the Metropolitan Police. After some incident however, he was transferred to Mishou. Those two track down offenders with special abilities(SPEC) who managed to get away with their crimes.

Words From Me:

I haven’t seen the 1990’s version of Keizoku Spec where this latest drama was based on, but I sure did love the latest one.

Toda Erika as Toma Saya was perfect. It was like the character was made for her. She usually had cutesy or prim-proper roles but here, it was like an overhaul of every drama she did. As for her co-actor Kase Ryo (who speaks perfect English with a US accent), I haven’t seen him in a starring role and am not too familiar with the guy but his acting here as Sebumi Takeru was in perfect sync with Erika’s. The chemistry between the actors was so smooth there were no dull moments even in silence. There character had this specific peculiarities and that’s what made them really interesting. Like in Toma’s case, she has an IQ of 201 which doesn’t really define her – because in actuality she is already eccentric in the first place. She has this great feature of annoying people because of her mannerism and certain habits that are out of place to any normal person, but this does not make her insane, it only makes her different. As for Sebumi, he is the usual honor police with really good fighting skills and a really uptight person. This type of character is what would seem normal and boring, but what makes his role peculiar? It’s the way he handles situations and most of all that specific thing he always carries with him; a brown paper bag which consists of his things – gun, wallet, etc. It kind of makes me wonder why that paper bag never rips and spills all his stuff. LOL.

The story line was continuous, it reveals enough on every episode to make you seat at the edge of your chair to continue on watching and ask yourself, “What’s going to happen next?” or just plainly say “WTF?!?”, yes this is how this show was for me. There were wtf moments, but those are the times which made the show much more fun.

Another boost for this drama is the fact that the soundtrack was also nice. It was kind of funky-pop-ish-rock themed sang by the band The Ricecookers. For those who are into the jrock genre, the theme song would not disappoint. As for the whole OST – it was very much appropriate for every scene.

If you are into sci-fi and mind boggling suspense things with a twist of weird wackiness on the side-lines, this may suit you as it did to me.

Rating this 8/10 – because though I really loved the characters and storyline, there are still limits on this drama, like the fact that there are times when the characters go overboard. I know that’s part of all the drill to make this drama more interesting but still, there’s that point in which how much of that silliness you can take in.

Yong Pal (Korean Drama 2015)

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Synopsis:

Kim Tae Hyeon is a talented surgeon. Desperate for money to pay his sister’s medical bills, he adopts the code name Yong Pal and offers his medical skills to those in need of medical attention but who cannot do so publicly, dealing with gangsters and corrupt plutocrats. It is while making such a house call that Tae Hyeon rescues “sleeping beauty” Han Yeo Jin, a chaebol heiress, from a medically induced coma, leading to unintended consequences.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

Words from Me:

This drama did own up to its hype. It made me binge watch it in one go because it was really good. However… the drama could have finished at around episode 16, but they had to milk the fame up to episode 20. It was also kind of hard to distinguish the good and the bad since the characters all have their own agenda. All throughout each episode, there’s always that gray area in between what’s right or wrong, basically it’s up to the watcher’s moral standards to decide.

What I liked about the story was the complicated relationship between Yong Pal and Han Yeo Jin. If this was the typical drama trope, it would have been full on makjang stuff but no… this isn’t the usual stuff offered from Kdrama land. The story line is mixed up between a commoner doctor and an heiress who was put into a comatose state so that the bad guys could rule the poor woman’s empire, and so here comes in the lead guy whose role was to save Yeo Jin from all the baddies out there. Meanwhile, Yong Pal gets himself into a more complex situation than he already was in. All in all, it’s actually about mishaps of conspiracies and devious plots. Also, it kind of helps that the female lead is so pretty that whatever it is she’s doing, it’s too hard to think she’s scheming something beforehand. Well it’s all about survival of the fittest in their kind of world. If you don’t stand up and conquer the wolves, you get eaten. It’s dog eat dog when it comes to the rich and the famous.

Music wise, it wasn’t really that much memorable for me. Even the cinematography wasn’t that outstanding, what really brought this drama to life was the storyline and characters. The actors were really good and that’s what made a whole lot of difference from the other dramas out there.

 

 

Will it Snow for Christmas? (Korean Drama 2009)

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Synopsis:

Cha Kang Jin is the son of barmaid, Cha Chun Hee. His life is difficult as he gets into fights and has to watch other people push his mother around yet he can’t do anything to stop it. He met Han Ji Wan when they were teens but they weren’t able to continue their relationship as Ji Wan ran away. He meets Ji Wan 8 years later, when he’s attending her engagement ceremony to Park Tae Joon. However, he is heartbroken as Ji Wan pretends to not remember him at all.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

Words from Me:

This drama, I have no idea why I took the liberty of putting it in my list of “To Watch” dramas for the year of 2009-2010. This is one of the most melodramatic drama’s I’ve seen for that year.

It have made me cry a bucket but it was all worth it. Having seen the show made my sense of Kdrama more diverse, since I tend to choose rom-com to genres like this. My heart is just weak like that, but this show made my threshold on tears much stronger… or so I thought until I saw Cinderella’s sister and 49 days. Heh.

This drama would always be dear in my heart because of the story line. It may sound unbelievable or ridiculous or even annoying for some because everything was such a mess. The main character’s past was so jumbled up that the future became dim for them. You would tend to watch and wait and watch some more, thinking, when would it ever stop?

Until one day, things would just fall into their proper places.

The ending wasn’t that satisfying for me but the whole journey of the drama was worth it. Once again, I got my mother crying out of this drama and she had to point her fingers at me “again” for doing so. I so love my mom when she does that but still continue on watching anyway.

Acting wise was superb, so maybe that’s what got me hooked after seeing the first episode.