Queen In Hyun’s Man (Korean Drama 2012)

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Drama Rating: 9/10

Choi Hee Jin is a struggling actress in the modern society of Seoul but despite her hardships she keeps up an optimistic attitude in life. When a big break finally comes in inhyun16-00314-1her career, one in which she has to act as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama, she is aslo spiraled into a romance like no other when she accidentally meets Kim Boong Do – an actual scholar who has supported the reinstatement of the real Queen In Hyun during the Joseon era. Unexpectedly, he was able to traveled through time from 300 years ago while on the run from his pursuers who was trying to kill him because of his alliances.

When I think of a drama theme regarding love in different time lines, Queen In Hyun’s Man is my most memorable series for so many reasons.

I like the fact that this drama had the setting of modern day and sageuk at the same time.08212045It was a good drama and the story line was very much my cup of tea. I love how it began and I love how it ended. I’m not going to dwell much into the story since I don’t want to go spoiling people around… but what I would like to share about this drama is that it has a very unlikely finale. I rarely find this kind of ending in a time loop kind of drama. Maybe in a movie, yes… but not much in dramas. They usually end up weird and unsatisfying for me, but this drama has deviated from an expected bitter ending.

queen-in-hyuns-man-yoo-in-na-3The characters where solid and the actors/actresses in it were really good in portraying them. The main actress which was portrayed by Yoo In Ah, had an initially annoying character but I did find her cute at some extent. I like the way she was able to hold a steadfast attitude when the situation needed it, though most of the time she is as clueless and as naive as she could be. Then there is the main actor from Joseon era acted by Ji bscap0142Hyun Woo who can skip time from present to future. He had this aristocratic aura around him and I find it weird that he was able to easily fit into the modern time instead of freaking out. It was so logical of him. I usually ask myself why do I like such men from sageuk compared to the modern day? I think it’s the hanbok or something. Heh.

As for the music, it wasn’t something that grabbed my interest but it was able to convey the feelings on each characters emotion which was good enough for me. As for re-watch value, I’m not sure I would re-watch it due that the mystery was already over for me but I would definitely recommend it to people who are into time jumping themes and all those lovey-dovey shiznits. I’m sure this drama will hook them up.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.
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You’re the Best Lee Soon Shin (Korean Drama 2013)

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Drama Rating: 7/10

Lee Soon Shin is the youngest member of her family and it seems as if nothing ever goes right for her. Despite being different from her two sisters, she has a bright personality and an optimistic view in life. Her ultimate goal and dream is to become a part of the entertainment industry but she always ends up being conned, until one day a You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (9)guy named Shin Joon Ho gives her an opportunity and a legitimate offer which turns her life upside down. Joon Ho is a cold, ambitious and calculative man but when he starts to get involved with Soon Shin, his attitude changed little by little. He starts to warm up to her despite the circumstances in which lead him to scout her as an artist.

During Soon Shin’s time with Joon Ho as a budding artist, a family tragedy occurs and long forgotten secrets are revealed that almost tears the Lee family apart.You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (6)

Man… this drama was long.

For a 50 episode drama, there were still a lot of loop holes which got me scratching my head in a WTF manner.

Why can’t the script writers make a solid character out of Lee Soon Shin? There was so much potential into the character which was instead wasted into having her in a constant inner turmoil and misunderstanding with her family. She kept on bailing out on her manager, then at work, then at her family. Watching her be like this was quite You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (11)confusing because she’s supposed to be the strong protagonist and this is supposed to be her story but instead her character felt faded. The supporting roles were so much more interesting to me than hers. Then there’s also the main lead guy, Shin Joon Ho. I felt the same way for him like Lee Soon Shin, why did the guy have to run around and try fixing things but end up empty handed? He tries, but never really gets to resolve anything. These main characters are sad… their story are being much overshadowed by other elements. I blame the writers for this.

What made this show bearable to watch are the actors. If it hadn’t been for IU and Jo Jung Suk as the main roles I wouldn’t have the patience to finish this drama but since You're the Best Lee Soon Shin (12)they are my bias and there were a lot of cute scenes (not just on the main leads but as well on the other characters), that made me rethink of dropping the drama. The supporting roles were quite interesting as well. They have brought balance to the story and made it watchable. The families were such a mess, but the three sister’s different characters really brought this drama to life so I guess it is still worth the watch.

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I couldn’t say that this drama was great, but I would have to admit it was a good watch if you could get past the circling theme with long dragging plot lines full of cliche. It was an average drama, it made me laugh-cry-hate-love the characters but at the end of the day it’s not something I would want to brag about or recommend to people. It’s more of a drama that would let me pass time until I finish downloading that specific drama I have been pegging to watch. When watching this drama, be mentally prepared that Lee Soon Shin’s character isn’t actually the best because the supporting roles were better.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.

Reply 1997 (Korean Drama 2012)

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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.

Who Are You: School 2015 (Korean Drama 2015)

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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.

Encounter (Korean Drama 2018)

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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)

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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.

Legendary Witch (Korean Drama 2014)

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Drama Rating: 8/10

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This drama is about four innocent women who were imprisoned for false accusations and reasons that only they can explain but since society and the judicial system had already given their verdict, they are left behind prison bars. Amidst their dreary conditions of their confinement – Soo In, Bok Nyeo, Pung Geum and Mi Oh found solace from each other and bonded over their common problems. Despite not being blood relatives, they became a family inside and outside of the correctional facility and set off to seek justice against the people who tried to harm them.

Since half of the story line of this drama is about baking, I would like to compare this to a sponge cake whipped with lots of cliche white icing all over. Then add great acting by the cast as a strawberry topping and sprinkle with light cinnamon flavored OST. Tada! You get a taste of Strawberry Short cake drama in return.

The Legendary Witch is a drama appropriate for middle aged woman, mothers and single parents but it doesn’t mean it cannot be watched by people who doesn’t fit this description. It’s just that these set of viewers will very much relate with the drama’s story line. Admittedly there were a lot of cliches and short comings in this drama which I wouldn’t mind skipping. Adding to that is also the part in which the story could have ended at episode 30 but they made a really unbelievable twist which pissed me off big time! However, it was eventually redeemed at around episode 37 but still not quite forgivable. What really made up for my nit picking about this drama is the fact that they gathered good main actors together (minus Ha Suk Jin who played as Han Ji Hye’s love interest, yes he’s really really good looking but he doesn’t give me enough feels in this drama and acting wise – he still has more room for improvement… but this doesn’t mean he’s not an eye candy! Because he totally is! I like how all the four ladies complemented each other and supported one another with the kind of acting which others lacked.

LegendaryWitch17Ji Hye’s character as Moon Soo In was such a pain for being the kind of woman who attracts trouble due to her naivety, she’s simply too nice for her own good. Half of the time I want to strangle her for her stupidity and the other half I want to hug her and ask why was she born under unlucky stars. Thank goodness there’s the old lady Shim Bok Nyeo to pick her up even though her own life is broken into bits and pieces by being convicted with arson and familicide. She lost her husband and son through fire but she still has room to act as a mother to girls like Soo In, Seo Mi Oh and Son Pung Geum. One got impregnated by a mama’s boy and the other lived as a con-seductress to mooch off money from rich men. Ah… the complicated life of these women. It’s hard to fathom how they got together as a family but they did it anyway and more successfully than the blood related ones.

Aside from the main characters, there are two side characters whom I have taken note of and is dear to my heart. First is Ma Joo Ran acted by Byun Jung Soo. This woman is seriously nuts, almost like her dad. Her character is really really over the top of a spoiled middle aged woman who has a mind set of a teenager. Jung Soo played this character with flying colors and she’s very much effective in it. She made me want to tear her hair out and feel bad for her at the same time. Secondly there’s Kim Yeong Ok aka Ono Yoko played by Kim Soo Mi. This old woman almost killed me from all the air I released from laughing. She’s annoyingly loud and really childish for a woman who’s supposed to be 80 years old, but oh man… she definitely gave me the laughs with all of her antics. This supporting actress is one of the high lights of this show. I might also re-watch some parts of this drama solely because of her.

Having said all that, I’m giving it 8/10 because the drama affected me in a way I shouldn’t and it got me to laugh, cry and get pissed off all at the same time. Hence, I’m recommending it to people who would have the patience to watch all 40 episodes and willing to feel what I felt about the drama.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.