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.

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First Impressions: Encounter (Korean Drama 2018)

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I thought of writing my first impressions on dramas which piqued my interest on the get go. Meaning from the moment it was announced and to the moment I have started the first episode. This may not be a regular segment from this blog but I hope the readers would enjoy my thoughts.

For those who have no idea what the drama is about, here’s a link to read about the synopsis and the characters: Read Encounter at Mydramalist.com

To be honest, I was not a big fan of the pairing but I totally love Song Hye Kyo and Park Bo Gum. It’s just that the noona thing doesn’t work well for me for these two since Hye Kyo is basically a newly wedded woman while Bo Gum is currently the Oppa of KDrama woman fans these days and he’s pretty much close with Kyo’s hubby, Song Joong Ki. Seeing them together during the press conference and drama posters felt weird. Anyway,DsggpUFWsAAwGnS I had to throw out that repulsive feeling out of me and swallowed all precautions that told me I might not like this drama. I’m glad I did, because the actors were professionals and they did their best to portray the characters that they have to. I guess I can say that I have finally matured as a viewer. After years of watching different drama series, I have learned to like a show as it is, regardless of biases or an actor’s personal history. Initially, I did start watching Kdrama without knowing about the actor’s background. However, these days, information is so accessible that a star’s image can be marred by their personal history that their hard work is simply put aside. Therefore, I’m going back to my roots and enjoy shows as they come along.

Now about the drama – although it was very slow on the uptake, the entire cinematography was beautiful. The first episode screamed at me with its beauty. Cuba may look dirty and dingy if you search it in the internet, but with great video panning and cinematography skills, it became a picturesque place. Third world countries does have the best and worst places there could ever be. Another thing that I loved about the first episode was the back shots. Everything started with a back shot of Cha Soo Hyun wherein the video showed how she started from being a politician’s young daughter up to the time she got divorced but became successful. Then add up the back shots of Kim Jin Hyuk and the ones he had together with Soo Hyun, they looked very much artistic. I like the way the scenes were done and to be introduced in such a way was a smart idea to lessen all the fuss about the characters with unnecessary screen time. Kudos to whoever conceptualized that.

A story line between star crossed lovers is not an original one and more on the cliché-makjang type of Kdrama but the way that the actors were able to deliver those simple conversations with a subtle nonchalant smile plus the unintentional skinship, everything went quite well. The main characters drew me into their charm and their palpable onscreen chemistry. Park Bo GUm seriously can release big amounts of pheromones with just a simple smile. Gaaaaad… I’d like to know what his parents fed him while growing up to become such a great guy like that. As for Song Hye Kyo, next to the shining guy, she does seem look older and yet still beautiful. I love the way she age beautifully. It suits her unlike other artists I know. Both artists were able to portray their character well enough that I don’t feel icky or weird while watching them but instead look forward to the next episode.

I also have high hopes to the sub characters who I think would be an essential part of the story, ie. Cha Soo Hyun’s secretary. She’s pretty uptight and yet when she’s off work, she could be quite snarky and definitely not a pushover. I’m definitely looking for her character growth along with the rest of the cast. I wasn’t expecting to like the drama but I’m pretty surprised that I’m drawn into it and hopefully things get more interesting when these two get back in Korea and not become too draggy like most melodrama usually end up to.

 

Endless Love Series: Autumn Tale in My Heart (Korean Drama 2000)

Synopsis:

Yoon Joon Suh and Yoon Eun Suh grew up as siblings but Eun Suh was in fact from a different family as there was a mix up at the hospital where she was born. The switch came to light when Eun Suh was involved in a car accident and it was discovered that her blood type was different from her parents. Eun Suh’s life took a complete turn when the two girls were returned to their respective families. Soon after, the Yoon family left for the States and Eun Suh was left living in sordid condition with her real family in Korea. Years after, Joon Suh returned to Korea and by chance the two former siblings were reunited.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

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Words from Me:

The first in the Endless Love drama installment directed by Yoon Seok-Ho is the famous drama Autumn Tale in My Heart. This was the drama were Song Hye Kyo and Song Seun Heon’s fame went skyrocket.

Honestly, I’m not much of a fan when it comes to heavy melodrama because I tend to get carried away with all the melancholic stuff happening on screen but then this drama got to me back in the early 2000 where KDramas were still scarce in my country and so… I just could not resist. It became too hard to ignore that I had to seat the whole drama through and finish it up to the last episode. I am kind of proud to say that I only cried once around the ending part. Heh.

It wasn’t much like the melodrama I have encountered lately whereas in every episode I can’t stop crying out loud in sadness and in pity. Basically this drama was something more on the side of a frustrating watch along with a sense of bittersweet romanticism all throughout the show. If it’s possible to pull out all my hair during the first half of the drama I would have done so because it has that redundancy of I’m-not-yours-you’re-not-mine-we’re-not-meant-for-each-other-so-let’s-just-forget-about-everything then it will go back to the same old I-know-you-love-me-and-we-love-each-other-so-let’s-stay-together-and-forget-everything-else.

Having that out, why on earth am I recommending this?

Because this drama is worth the sound track, worth the background, worth seeing Song Hye Kyo in her younger years.

The root of the story line may have been too much of a cliche. Does having babies exchanged at birth even new in a drama? Ehem! However the overall concept of the story is worth the watch. The characters within the story and the actor’s portrayal of their roles were amazing that I was able to feel all the love, the hurt and the desperation.

I say give it a try because it’s just that good despite its short comings.

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE, CREDITS TO WHOEVER OWNS THEM.

Full House (Korean Drama 2004)

Synopsis:

Han Ji Eun, an aspiring scriptwriter, lives in a house called “Full House” built by her late father. One day, her two best friends trick her into believing she has won a free vacation. While she is away, they sell her house. On the plane, she meets a famous actor named Lee Young Jae. Through comedic events, they get acquainted during her vacation and when she returns, she discovers her house has been sold to him.

Though they don’t get along with each other, as she is messy and he has a bad temper and likes cleanliness, they agreed to live with each other. At first, Ji Eun works as his maid in order to buy her house back, but because of Young Jae’s wish to make the love of his life, Kang Hye Won jealous, they get married. They set up a contract for the marriage to last six months. During that time, complications arise and Ji Eun and Young Jae become attracted to each other.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

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Words from Me:

So far it is still my ALL TIME FAVORITE Korean drama series. I even re-watched all 16 episodes for I don’t know how many times in the past 15 years. Another thing that won me over was the OST. It just sticks in your head that you would want to hear it over and over and over again.

Although some people had commented it becomes all stale and boring in the long run, I don’t see that. Yes. I’m totally blinded with this drama. All I see is Song Hye Kyo and that cute chemistry she had with Rain. The bickering and never ending I-hide-my-feelings-because-I-think-I’m-falling-for-you-now charade is what made me love it more. It was a romantic comedy which made me laugh my ass out and then squirm in the inside when things aren’t going well for the main leads. I also look forward to the main character’s cat and dog antics: I’m starting to like you. You’re starting to like me. BUT we’re SO not going to tell each other about these absurd feelings.

That’s the whole concept of the main character’s convoluted feelings.

In Full House, it was all fair in love and… eerrr debt? That’s how everything started. A contract (oh what a cliché!) and the jealousy induced acting between strangers. In the story, the ever bright Han Ji-Eun is a wacky lead female which lead to a ridiculous story line. Crazy as her character is, Lee Young-jae is the logical one but eventually becomes irrational when it comes to Ji-Eun.

I will still re-watch this despite being an old school drama, because honestly, this is the drama that paved the way for me to love most Korean Dramas.