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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Mr. Sunshine (Korean Drama 2018)

Synopsis:

During the 1871 Shinmiyangyo- U.S. expedition to Korea, a young slave boy from Jeoson fled to America to escape his bitter fate from the hands of a noble family. When this boy grew up, he was sent back to Jeoson by the American government which he served as a soldier to be assigned as a commission officer and as a secret agent. From there he falls in love with a noble woman while harboring feelings of revenge for the family who was responsible for the loss of his parents.

Words from Me:

The setting of this drama was during the transition of Korea from Jeoson to the modern era and probably closing on to becoming a democratic nation. Story wise it was full of fictional characters and settings but was also somehow mixed with bits of truth here and there. I haven’t researched much about Korea’s history in regards with the drama’s time table because I didn’t want to compare fiction to reality. I have this thing about getting disappointed when I’ve set my expectations already. The drama was also filled with wit, thanks to the writer who seemed to enjoy on sneaking in a couple of funny moments using words to make a comical scene out of this serious drama, but a huge thanks should be given to the actors who were able to deliver these humorous lines. They were able to lighten the drama atmosphere by inserting some comic relief.

Setting that aside, I love the fact that this drama was dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives for their own nation. Though the drama summary seemed to revolve around two people who fell in love against all odds, there is a deeper meaning beyond the romance and that’s patriotism. Most of the lead characters in this drama weren’t keen in protecting their own country, except for one. They didn’t even want to get involved with anything that pertains to Jeoson, however, as time passed by and the situation got worse, these characters cross paths with each other and are eventually thrown into the chaos. The only lead character that was so sure of protecting Jeoson was Go Ae-Shin, a nobleMr. Sunshine ep10.mp4_004261294 woman with a high status and was bound to marry a man with the same standing in life. This steadfast character was portrayed by Kim Tae-Ri which she gave so much justice for. Ae-Shin is a stubborn woman with an amusing personality at times. Due to her all-knowing attitude, she seems to put herself in a pinch and ends up embarrassing herself in the end. Despite this little quirk in her character, she’s a woman who can wield a gun and shoot anyone spot on, that’s why she was chosen by the rebels whom they call themselves “The Righteous Army” to become their sniper. Her counterpart in this drama was Yoo Jin Choi/Eugene Choi performed by the hallyu veteran Mr. Sunshine ep10.mp4_004254954actor Lee Byung Hun. He was the servant boy who ran away from his country to avoid being killed. He had his own sheer of bad luck and dire circumstances that he ended up being an American citizen only to return to his birth county as an American soldier with big responsibilities. Unfortunately he fell in love. Yoo Jin could have lived a peaceful life as an American commander stationed in Jeoson, but no… he didn’t choose that kind of life because he decided to fall in love and choose the sappy path of romance and bits of revenge. I won’t say more about his character because it would be a big spoiler if I do, but I’d like to add that Byung Hun nailed his character. He may not be my favorite in this drama nonetheless he did a perfect job as Eugene Choi, he was able to speak English fluently with very little Korean accent, also adding up the fact that he can converse in Japanese was another feat that made me like him more than Ae Shin.

I have listed three other characters in this drama that is worth mentioning. First is myMr. Sunshine ep10.mp4_002111378 most favorite character – Gu Dong Mae also known as Ishida Sho. He was acted by Yoo Yeon Seok, he’s also one of my favorite Korean actors. The reason why I love his character is that he’s a total ladies man! He has this nonchalant way of helping out ladies in distress in a very cool way. Dong Mae was a son of a butcher and back in Jeoson days, being a butcher means being in the lowest ranks of commoners and more like equal to a slave. He lived like a dog when he was a young boy and resented everyone even Ae Shin who tried to help him escape during a certain incident, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t grateful because he was. He also have this weird way of showing his love, he does hateful things to aggravate the person he likes so as she wouldn’t forget him and that his memory will embed in her mind forever. He’s the typical bad boy who can kill anyone with his shiny-sharp cherry blossom sword and yet go through an unrequited love. The second character in my list is the hotel Mr. Sunshine ep15.mp4_001524758owner Kudo Hina who was once called Lee Yang Hwa. When she was a young girl, she was sold off by her own father to marry a rich but old Japanese man. Her character is quite peculiar because she does things on her own pace and she also has all kinds of agenda in her plate, but one thing is for sure, she’s a strong willed woman who cares for other people despite how feisty she is. With the kind of personality she has, I’d bet she’d bite off anyone who would mess with her. Just the kind of woman I’d like to be friends with. The last character in my list is Kim Hui Seong and he was personified by Byun Yo Han in an epic way. Hui Seong hasMr. Sunshine ep16.mp4_000128962 deep ties with Yoo Jin and Ae Shin, since his family was the one that made Yoo Jin’s life a living hell in Jeoson and he was pre-engaged by his grandfather to Ae Shin. I love how his character evolved up to the end. At first, he may seem like an easy go lucky like kind of person but underneath it all, he wanted to be of use in more ways than one. Another thing that I liked is how Yo Han was able to sparkle between the charismatic guys, Yoo Jin and Dong Mae. I find myself looking forward for the trio’s scenes together because they always end up with such witty and funny lines.

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All in all, everything in this drama looked beautiful, the actors and the back ground setting was a highlight of its own. I also have this thing for cinematography and those Mr. Sunshine ep20.mp4_003823890back shots which looks so good in screen captures. The drama also didn’t shy on killing those seemingly important characters in the middle of the show which totally tore my heart into pieces and made me anticipate who’s going to die next. It may have a bittersweet ending but it’s not about that, because the drama is about the journey and the sacrifices one has to make for the bigger picture and for those they love. By the way, OST was so good I had it running inside my head days after I’ve finished the drama. I felt happy and sad every time I hear the songs. TvN once again made a popular drama that would stay in the hearts of people who’ve seen it. I’m definitely recommending this for those who love watching historical dramas with heroic tendencies.

Queen Seon Duk (Korean Drama 2009)

Synopsis:

The series begins at the end of King Jinheung’s reign and continues until the end of Queen Seondeok’s reign. Deokman was born as one of the twin daughters of King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya, but due to a prophecy, King Jinpyeong had to send his daughter away from the palace with the help of his clumsy but loyal servant Seohwa, in order to save Queen Maya from being ousted by Mishil, whose ambition was to become Queen. Seohwa raised Deokman as if she were her own, but a turn of events eventually led Deokman into finding out her real identity – only to be abandoned once again by her family in order to save the throne from Mishil’s hand, with the exception of her twin sister Cheonmyeon, who ended up losing her life while trying to help Deokman escape. Out of hatred, Deokman set out to take back what was taken from her and avenge her sister by bringing Mishil down and becoming the first female king of Silla with the help of her trusted friend, Yushin and troubled rogue Bidam, who eventually led a rebellion near the end of her reign.

Excerpted from: Wikipedia

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Words from Me:

I wasn’t actually planning on watching this drama but my parents started it when it was aired in our local channel back in 2010 since they loved saguek. This is the second long running sageuk drama I’ve ever seen, next to Dae Jang Geum. Since this was depicted from Korea’s own history, I tried to research a bit while I was watching the whole thing. That’s when I discovered that the drama was very far from reality or even from its original history. Just like Dae Jang Geum, it was altered a lot.

The drama’s setting was when Silla (post Goryeo period and pre Jeoson period) was a broken country, it was during 57 BCE–935 CE within the Korean timeline. I’m a bit confused with regards to Korean history since there are a lot of Kingdoms that has risen before it was known as Jeoson which was the most popular setting for saguek dramas and has the most historical documentation in Korean history. There were so few historical records pre-Jeoson period so the drama producers had to do with what they have. During that time, Silla was always at war with its neighboring countries and at the same time had internal conflicts within its own regions. People were still ignorant about science and had firm belief in myths. The main character Seon Duk or first known as Deokman was born during those times of conquering kingdoms and ignorance. She had to be separated with the royal family right after birth due to the nation’s cruel beliefs . It was then, a prophecy was given that a chosen one will unite the kingdom of Silla. Though, never in their wildest dreams did they think it would be a Queen and a twin nonetheless. Twins were actually seen as an abomination back in those days that’s why one of the twins was supposed to be killed but instead, that specific twin was stowed away by the kings’s faithful servant, who grew up as Deokman. That’s why Deokman’s journey from being a poor traveler, to a soldier then finally to being a queen called Seon Duk was an epic one. During her growth, she had a handful of help from different people she get to meet along the way. Her perseverance, wit and loyalty has touched people’s heart around her and because of this, they become loyal to her in return.

What I liked about the drama was the political conflicts in every aspect. The more problem there is on the top of the ladder, the larger the problem becomes at the bottom. Politics has always been a mar in society due to the scoundrels who take advantage of their power. It’s sad that if one person tries to be righteous in his ways, a flock would try to bring him down. Solving political problems was never easy to begin with, but this drama, even the antagonist named Mishil had the same thoughts as on how to control the government properly. She was one of the reasons why I liked this drama, I had this love-hate relationship with her character because the even though she is the bad guy, she had good intentions for the betterment of the country but unfortunately she executed her awesome plans horribly which turned the table around in favor for the Seon Duk. Though Mishil is very much witty like Seon Duk she chose the fastest way to conquer and make people follow and that’s fear. By killing anyone who gets in her way, she got to do what she had to do. The show got more interesting because two great female minds collided head on with their own tactics.

Inserted along the way is a love triangle within the story line. I can’t believe that the producers just wouldn’t let romance get away in sageuk dramas! In the story,  there is the ever loyal Kim Yu Shin from Seon Duk’s childhood days to her puberty up until she was the queen and then later on comes in the feisty Bidam. This part of the story isn’t your average love story, there were so many twist and turns that in the end it just made me pull out my hair and cry out loud for all the things these three people had to go through. I had laid out my cards for Bidam when his character came up, but my heart was just torn into pieces because of him.

I am recommending this drama, because it is a good watch. An eye opener when it comes to political aspects. It made me think how the rulers of my country are running things behind the scene. The actors were also top notch, they portrayed their roles with superb acting skills that it’s hard not get carried away. OST was also unforgettable as they have used different music scores to accentuate important scenes. I may rewatch this drama in the future if only to see Bidam’s character once again.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.