Moon Embracing the Sun (Korean Drama 2012)

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Drama Rating: 9/10

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Heo Yeon Woo belongs to a noble family and is a daughter of a high-ranking official. For the first time at the age of thirteen, she was able to enter the palace when she attended her older brother’s civil service examination congratulatory ceremony. Coincidentally, she meets Crown Prince Lee Hwon during the event and they get in all kinds of mishaps. Eventually the two of them falls in love and by chance, Yeon Woo was also chosen as the Crown Princess as she was seen to be fit for the Crown Prince.

KYJ_1Prior to getting married, wicked intents were being plotted against the Yeon Woo since the Queen Dowager wanted the Crown Prince to marry someone from her own family clan to be able to secure her power within the palace. Thus she orders a shaman to cast a spell that can kill Yeon Woo from an unknown illness. Fortunately, the shaman tried to save Yeon Woo from an eminent and was able to bring her back to life, but with dire consequences. Yeon Woo was able to come back to life but she had lost all her memories thus she was given a new identity, she became a shaman named Wol.

After eight years, Wol shows up in the palace shocking Prince Lee Hwon as she brings back all the precious memories of his lost love. To his curiosity, he started investigating what exactly happened to Yeon Woo and who Wol is and where she came from. Not knowing that he was racing against time because there were conspiracies within the palace walls which was set to bring down the royal family. 

This series is a fantasy-sageuk fusion with lots of drama, intrigue, secrecy, sorcery and a mix of law defying love story. In short it has all the elements a proper kdrama should have and would definitely suit both the young and the old. What made this drama appealing is the fact that the premise is a love story between two young children who grew up still in love with each other regardless of the hardships they have gone through. Even though politics brought them apart, their love was still able to surpass all odds. It defied the malicious intents of the people around, prophecy made by shamans and yes… even death.

Man… I don’t know what the writer had taken while writing the story plot, but everything the two main lead went through was quite unimaginable specially during the Joseon era. Though there were still quite a few loopholes, they are still forgivable since there is nothing such as a perfect story in drama land.

The characters in this drama were never wasted. Not even the supporting roles. Each of them had vital reasons to be on screen because you never know that this person may be the reason why both main leads were able to survive.

Music wise, it was a memorable one for me. It had this old and modern type of background tune which makes the scenes more cute, emotional, dangerous, eerie and memorable. I am definitely recommending this drama no matter what their genre preference is and I will also re-watch this in the when all the new sageuk dramas have failed my expectations.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.
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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.

Mushishi (Japanese Movie 2007)

 

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Synopsis:

Some time between the Meiji and Taisho period… A mother and son walk through heavy rain. The son, YOKI, sees strange, iridescent creatures float from the mountainside and then disappear. He does not yet know such creatures are called “Mushi” and can not be seen by ordinary men. Suddenly, there is a landslide and Yoki’s mother is swallowed by the flood. A Mushishi woman named NUI finds the child, who miraculously survived, and takes him home with her…

Some years later, we meet Yoki again as an adult. Having lost his memory in an incident he can not recall, he is now called “GINKO.” He is a “Mushishi,” one who studies the Mushi he could see as a child and protects ordinary men from the illnesses that they inflict. He travels alone through the thick mountain snow, looking for a night’s lodging. We see that his hair is white like the snow and one of his eyes is now missing.

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Words From Me:

The movie depicts a time were demons and humans co-exist and only the selected few humans can detect the demons which normal people perceive as ordinary bugs. That’s where Ginko (Joe Odagiri) comes in. The story was excerpted from a manga, so for those who are familiar with the manga version they might be slightly disappointed since it was compressed into a 160+ minutes of live action movie. I only have a vague introduction of the manga, so the film-manga comparison didn’t bother me much. Story wise, some would think that the pacing was a bit slow but for my two cents, I felt there was something more to those scenes than just the dialogue or the characters. Another plus factor is the visual effects. The colors were all in different hues, not much bright colors but in pastels and it was really beautiful to look at.

What made me watch it in the first place was Joe Odagiri as Ginko and Yu Aoi as Tanyu. Both actors are big names in the Japan entertainment industries and their acting was not subpar at all. They played their roles amazingly.

Music was in sync with the scenes but it was not that special. Although I would have to take note of the background music during a scene with Tanyu and her magical skills using long metal chopsticks. That scene was really brought out by the music, I think without the sound track that specific scene wouldn’t have been as powerful as it seemed.

I re-watched segments of the film just for the sake of ogling on Joe Odagiri and his white hair. Not sure if you’re interested in that, but if you are, then share the boat with me.

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