Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Korean Drama 2010)

Drama Rating: 10/10

Rating disclaimer! I have rated this 8 years ago when it aired thus I haven’t seen any outstanding saguek yet and had less to compare to. So this was rated by my younger and ignorant self who really really loved this drama.

This drama was set during the Jeoson era, wherein women are not allowed to participate in the government posts and deemed less than a man. Kim Yun Hee is a young woman who lived during this time. Though brilliant in her studies, responsible and street smart, she’s still a woman and aside that, she’s a commoner. There’s nothing her family could even boast of. Therefore she pretends to be a man just to earn more money than being a woman could. When her young brother’s illness worsens and her family is in danger of being thrown out to the streets, she took the national exam under her younger brother’s name and disguised herself as a man when she passed it. Then she meets the arrogant Lee Seon Joon who comes from a noble family and befriends him despite his personality. In Sungkyunkwan University, she becomes roommates with Seon Joon and comes across Goo Yoo Ha and Moon Jae Shin who are also nobles with odd personalities. When she gets herself involved with the three men, she learns to adapt in the all male environment and tries to desperately survive the school by hiding her true gender.

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Sungkyunkwan Scandal is some sort of a modern type sageuk drama… if that’s even a possible description for it. Why is that? It has all the elements of a modern drama but placed in a historical setting. If this was a real saguek, the story line wouldn’t make sense. Thank goodness there is a disclaimer prior to every episode that this drama is completely fictional even though they did try to relate the timeline to one of the most brilliant king in Jeoson.

Aside that, the drama will consist of a female cross dresser who gets into a lot of mishaps.  This is also one of the dramas that skyrocketed the fame of the main actors. I’m sure anyone would recognize the names I will mention: Park Min Young, Park Yoo Chun, Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In. They are practically big names in the industry today, so it’s very impressive to know that they have become household names in Korea today.

As for the story line, try to imagine this: throw a girl in a room of hot blooded boys but ews20100901skk02 make her dress up and pretend to be just like them. That’s exactly the concept of this drama. Then again, I have to reiterate that this is a saguek. An era where women are not given a chance to hold prominence in schools, government or royal standing unless they get married to the king, prince or nobles. If they are caught associating in high ranks like Sungkyunkwan (Joseon’s most prominent university) they get executed as an imperial order. That’s how harsh it was back then. I like how feisty the Kim Yoon Hee’s character is, because despite being a girl, she still keeps fighting forward to protect those who are important to her. Her perseverance also pulled her out of risky situations. I 6d7784efb4c35854fbac82c233929820b1769b8cwouldn’t want any actress to portray her, Min Young was able to convey her character perfectly. Lee Sun Joon on the other hand is one of my least favorite character. I was actually rooting for Moon Jae Shin who was portrayed by Yoo Ah In just because he looked manlier than Sun Joon but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Anyway… setting that little frustration aside, Yoo Chun did hold up true to his character. Aside from being snooty and demanding, he did have the heart to protect Yoon Hee in times of trouble and despite his short comings, he had a pure heart who only wanted what’s good for Jeoson. Goo Yong Ha on the other hand is the ultimate ladies man. He likes women and they like him more in return. He’s charismatic and good looking that’s why Song Joong Ki gave skk20_029justice to this character. This is simply one of his methods to cover the actual wit that he has because despite being rich he has some secrets to uphold. Lastly, there’s Jae Shin, my favorite character next to Yoon Hee. I like how gruff looking he can be and how rough he acts. Most people see him as a lone wolf but actually, he also longs for companionship that’s why he’s pretty close to Yong Ha. Even though their personalities are polar opposites they still get along with each other pretty well. He is also the type of person who lurks around and protect people from behind the scenes, that’s why it’s so unfortunate that he gets the second lead syndrome. The guy who never gets the girl. There’s goes the deep sigh from my end.

If what I have mentioned was not interesting enough, then it’s best to drop this series. All in all, this drama is one heck of a show. With all those hot young actors to boost any pent up steam plus the fantastic OST that’s very much modern but with a taste of historical feels… it’s definitely worth the watch.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.

Triple (Korean Drama 2009)

Synopsis:

This drama is about a female figure skater, Lee Haru, who is hoping to make it big. Her life gets complicated when she reunites with her non-blood related step-brother, Shin Hwal, after many years of being separated. Hwal’s father and Haru’s mother died tragically in a car accident. Hwal and his friends; Hae Yoon, Hyun Tae, and Sang Hee all work at the same ad agency. While Haru is trying to make her dreams come true, she unintentionally brings together her skating coach, Choi Soo In, and Hwal together. Haru starts developing feelings for Hwal but things are complicated further as Soo In is her brother’s estranged wife.

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Excerpted from: MyDramalist

Words from Me:

The drama seemed to have a promising start… but it gradually made me want to tear my hair out in frustration. Why? There were those moments where Haru and Shin Hwal had this brother-sister affection but has to be marred by Haru’s other intentions which eventually puts a rift to their sibling affections.

I leave my hatred to the writers. There could have been MORE to this drama. They have all the means in the world to evolve the story line into an epic something!

The main characters were all solid ones, portrayed by great actors and yet it flopped and killed my heart in the end. I couldn’t say that I feel the same emptiness for the supporting cast because, I find liking the story of the supporting cast more than the main ones.

triple16-00016There were two consistent things that I liked in this drama. One, it was having Song Joong Ki as Ji Poong Ho. I love his persistence and his pure heart of a character. There are so many lines that he said to Haru but this one, I like best: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t love me. I’ll keep on loving you anyway.” How could not the girl fall for someone like that? Geez… the guy’s devotion all through out the drama was no joke even if you brought that to real life. I guess that’s the hard reality of being the second lead guy. Two, was the lovely music all through out. If it wasn’t for the music, this drama would have turned out more draggy that it seemed. It was a joy to listen to and the artists that mostly sang my favorite songs in the OST were Zitten and Tearliner.

Over all, I have a love-hate relationship with this drama because there were some elements in Triple that were in the mediocre level. The word I could use for this drama is disappointing. Since that’s what I was left feeling after finishing all 16 episodes and not having luck at my side when it comes to my coupled shipping. So don’t expect me to recommend this… although, I would recommend the sound track for easy listening.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.

 

The Battleship Island (Korean Movie 2017)

Sinopsis Film Korea The Battleship Island (2017)

Synopsis:

During the Japanese colonial era, roughly 400 Korean people, who were forced onto Battleship Island (‘Hashima Island’) to mine for coal, attempt to escape.

Excerpted from: CJ Entertainement

Words from Me:

This movie wasn’t really in my “To Watch List” due to the overrated reactions of those who’ve already seen it. After watching it I could understand the fuss since it was a good watch but it was not exactly the best in my book, it gave me mixed feelings as I went through with it. On another note before watching the show, I didn’t really go through the actor list. The only familiar face I knew was Song Joong Ki. To my surprise I found So Ji Sub and Kim Soo An, the little kid who played as the daughter of the main lead in that zombie movie entitled “Train to Busan”. Seeing them with diverse character backgrounds made my watching experience more enjoyable. I also discovered a new actor named Hwang Jung Min who caught my attention, his role was the father of Soo An which he acted so well and turned me into a believer of his talents. I’m sure I’ll be checking out some of his other movies soon.

Story wise the plot was cut in different segments to show several protagonists and their situations before arriving in the same place at the same time, however it was a bit off in some places. As if scenes were inserted here in and there without considering the back story and handing it off to the viewer’s imagination instead. I guess that’s one of the quirks that I had to deal with while watching films. I need to have a concrete backstory on everything before making a logical conclusion. Setting that aside, I still enjoyed it as it was despite having my heart clenched every time I see the hardships of Koreans who were forced to work under the Japanese regime. There was this particular scene that got to me, it was the part where they made a facade for human trafficking by indicating that they were employed. Someone was announcing in the speakers that the Koreans were employed by a certain company all the while they separated the male and female then handed them record books for their payment as they walked off the boat and were guided to their sleeping quarters, rifles were held behind their backs as they walked on. Men had their hair shaved off and brought to the mines while the women’s bodies were checked for any signs of diseases as they were going to be put in the comfort house where they were made into whores. The fact that these people were practically kidnapped, put into slavery and yet the Japanese still say that they were employed… it was a dark irony. That being said I believe that the movie has a serious tone, but despite that it still has its own happy scenes scattered about at unexpected moments.

The OST was fitting all throughout its run time. It had all the elements needed to represent how a person’s war torn heart could be put in a melody. I would suggest to wait until the credits part as the song used for it may hit a few cords of a melancholic heart and make a lasting memory about the movie. I’m rating it 8/10 for the way it affected me after I’m done watching. I could still hear the agony during the battle and the cry for freedom of the people who were forced to slavery masked by employment. I may not be rewatching this soon but I am recommending this to people who want to watch a dramatic-action-packed movie and know a piece of history of Koreans during World War 2.