Nothing Makes Me Feel Better Than Hana Kimi

 

I just finished watching Hanazakari No Kimitachi E for the second time. Hana Kimi, in case you don’t know, is by far THE best Japanese drama there is. It is hilarious to the point of pain and heartwarming and sweet as any mushy romantic comedy high school drama has the capability of being.

As a massive fan of this drama, I rewarded myself on my birthday with watching this drama for the second time, and reliving all the glorious comedy I had forgotten since I saw it about a year ago.

Horikita Maki, Shun Oguri and Ikuta Toma absolutely SHINE in this tremendously entertaining drama about the classicly wonderful girl-disguised-as-a-boy plot in this story. It’s about cute darling Horikita Maki playing Ashiya Mizuki, a girl who crossdresses in order to attend an all-boys school with the love of her life Sano Izumi (Shun Oguri) and the many other ridiculous colorful characters of the school.

One of my favorite quotes of this drama is said in the very last episode, when Akiha-san, the local photographer, hands Ashiya a photo album of all the great memories of the school and says very simply: “When you feel like crying, look at these idiots and laugh”.

This quote, to me, just about sums up all that is Hana Kimi. Idiots and laughter. So, so so much laughter.

I will never forget: the adorable sweet tomboyishness that is Horikita Maki, the shining gleaming hilarious comedic PERFECTION that is the character Nakatsu Shuuici, and all the unfathomably entertaining amounts of idiocracy which surround all three of the dorms in this crazy school.

Hana Kimi was a huge success when it came out back in ’07. I was a nerd in middle school at this time and didn’t discover this drama until 2011, but it is still timeless and classic as one of the funniest J-dramas ever created. I am certain of that.

It’s hard to mention comedy without bringing up Ikuta Toma, and his golden character Nakatsu Shuuici, who is BY FAR my #1 favorite-character-of-any-drama-ever. Yes, I just created that title. Anyways, Nakatsu is completely and utterly everything that is Hana Kimi. Just ask the fans. As much as girls always choose the cool, tall dark and handsome type (Shun Oguri as Sano Izumi here), the hilarious, loud, and sweet-heart best friend seems to always garner the most love from viewers. Viewers meaning me.

In every K-drama romance triangle I have witnessed, I have never been on the right side. The guy I always root for NEVER wins, you know, the nice guy who doesn’t treat her like crap, is open with his feelings and is always supportive? Yeah, well that’s what happens here once more. No, I’m not spoiling anything since it’s pretty obvious from the get-go that poor fantastic amazing Nakatsu, with his red hair, wide grin and long charming monologues which leave me crying of laughter, is in the loser’s seat.

Oh welll….Nakatsu may not be Ashiya’s first choice since she is stupidly hung up on boring Sano (sorry, not a big fan here) but there is enough outside plot- if the foolish games in this drama can be called ‘plot’ – to subdue any viewer who doesn’t favor the spotlight romance. The shenanigans of the outsiders such as Hibari Four, Kagurazaka and his strange rivalry/love for Sano, Dr Umeda and his enemy/lover? Akiha-san, the three Dorm heads Tennouji-sama, Oscar and Nanba-senpai, minor, but adorable characters such as “aura-boy” Kayashima, the-name-no-one-remembers Sekime, Nanba’s stalker Nakao, the dog-who-is-oddly-a-major-character Yuujiro, and all the crazy people within each dorm never cease to be extremely entertaining.

You will laugh, you will cry, and you will miss every scene that Nakatsu is not in. At least, that is the basic jist of MY emotions. Ha Ha.

If you are someone who cannot find a J-drama worth watching or has lost any faith in the misunderstood comedy of Japan, you must watch Hana Kimi. It is reveered and loved by all, and will forever and ever by my all time favorite Japanese drama.

I just keep in mind that when I’m feeling down, and I want to cry, I can look at these idiots and laugh. What more could anyone ask for? 😀

Sou da, arigatou ne, minna-san! Jaa, matta! Tanoshikatta yo!

^_^ ~

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The Greatest K-Drama I Have Ever Seen: The Princess’ Man

 

Excuse me while I wipe from my eyes the tears of outpouring emotion which seems imposible to contain after finishing the final episode of The Princess’ Man. If I can manage to keep the post short of being a full fledged novel to describe this impeccable drama, I will try.

I’ve seen many dramas in my time (too many) ranging from regular ole cookie cutter modern-day romantic comedies to ancient Chosun dynasty war stories and love stories. All Korean Dramas are certain to be exquisite and to fully consume my life to the extent of ruining all my hobbies and social life and replacing them with too much laptop time. I feel as though my typical over-emotional crazy exaggerated tendancies may cause my many many many K-drama posts to all sound overly fantastic and ridiculous. So, I guess I will have to say: Here’s one more.

Okay I’ll get to the point. THIS IS THE SINGLE GREATEST K-DRAMA THERE IS. Sure whatever, you can say “it’s a matter of opinion” or the classic “ancient dramas with less-known actors aren’t my style” but when I think of all the greats, the classic K-dramas that any K-drama lover has seen, I can’t seem to convince myself that they are better than this one.

The acting. The plot. The cinematography. The character development. The music. The romantic chemistry. The nail-biting action scenes. The deception. The joyful moments. The horrific and tragic moments. The suspense. The having-the-urge-to-scream and/or actually-screaming when those cliff-hanger moments sneak up on you. It’s all there. And together an impeccable drama is produced.

Moon Chae Won, (little Seung Mi from Shining Inheritance) and Park Shi Hoo (I-forget-his-name from Iljimae) join together as the classic duo of star-crossed lovers who battle against the romeo-&-juliet family fueds of their powerful familes. Before you throw up from that cliche’ and overly used concept as I wanted to prior to watching, try to imagine Romeo and Juliet- then take out all the pathetic unrealistic crap, minus the foolish, thoughtless romance, and get rid of all that sappy ‘forbidden love’ stuff. Now imagine the characters are beautiful Chosun dynasty nobles, who, rather than being the primary focus, become the beautiful backdrop for what becomes a harcore full-blown rebellion and uprising against the unfathomable evils of politics and throne-coveting. Not to mention, of course, their ridiculously amazing chemistry together.

Then, add into the mix some juicy “minor” characters, who were so unbelievably talented I feel shamed to even use the word “minor” to describe them. Princess Gyeoung Hye, who makes the term ‘snobby egotistical princess’ seem like the greatest thing in the world, as she is thus the greatest ‘snobby egotistical princess’ I have ever encountered in her courage and overall awesomeness. Then there’s Jong, the unlikely nerd at the beginning who slowly but surely becomes the most fantastic, powerful, and endearing character of all. He and Gyeoung-Hye form an unlikely but soon-to-be perfect romance in their fight to abolish Su Yang.

Su Yang is the epitome of EVIL. No, not Shining Inheritance step-mother evil. No, not Wang Ji Hye’s character in Personal Preference evil, but satan-like, bloodthirsty, insane, murdering kind of evil. In other words, not K-drama evil, but actual realistic noble-who-wants-the-crown-of-the-King-and-will-do-ANYTHING-to-get-it kind of evil. God, I hate him. He caused all the drama of this drama. Evil Su Yang. UGH.

Shin Myeon. He gets his own paragraph. The majority of people who watch this drama will shed all the attention on the tragic love of Se Ryeong and Seung Yu, and ignore (as much of the plot did) the single greatest character of this whole show. Say whatever you want, you can disagree if you like, but I am convinced. Shin Myeon was BY FAR my favorite character. He was always pushed to the side, always shadowed by the main couple, but his influence, to me, was the strongest of anyone. He starts off as the best friend of Seung Yu (Park Shi Hoo) and the two have the sweet happy little friendship. Then he decides to join ‘the dark side’ with Su Yang to protect himself. Goodbye innocent Shin Myeon, enter new crazy disturbed broken-hearted Shin Myeon. The latter being my favorite. He is the example of the good guy stuck on the bad side. He is forced to kill so many people, even his own friends, and is never at peace. His eyes (bravo Song Jong Ho, I love you) are always so damn sad. He is disturbed and tormented constantly, and no one- NO ONE- ever gives him a break. He falls in love with Se Ryeong, only to have her hate him with a burning passion throughout the entire show. Thus he covers up his true feelings with constant creulty. Oh, I loved him so much. He was such a beautifully tragic character. Every scene he was in, even if he just sat there with his wide nervous eyes and distraught expression, I adored. I love it when the “villans” are the most sensative and endearing of all the characters. Poor Shin Myeon, so misunderstood 😦

Okay. No I know, I need to talk about the main characters. Se Ryeong, played by the FREAKING AMAZING Moon Chae Won, who I love to death, progressed from being a weak, pathetically romantic melodramtic girl at the beginning to a strong, back-talking, rebellious (but still ever so cute and innocent) opinionated princess. She rocked. Plain and simple. Her love for Seung Yu felt so real I could feel it right through her tear-filled eyes and constant desperation.

Then, of course, we have Mr. Hottie over there, Park Shi Hoo, transitioning in the drama from the wide-eyed schoolboy Seung Yu to the crazy, long-haired black-wearing badass assassin man out to get revenge. His anger hinges on his being a full-blown lost-his-goddamn-mind madman at times, but when he shapes up, he does become sweet and romantic. Even if when he’s not loving and protecting Se Ryeong he’s out slicing people into little pieces. Woo.

This a bloody drama. I mean, ACTION-PACKED lots-o-blood stuff. I’ve come to lift the title of my being a strictly-romance kind of girl, since I can’t help but start cheering and squeezing the hell out of my Japanese plushie toy (which I unconsciously hug whenever I watch super intense scenes) while I watch the fights and the actiony suspense scenes in excitement and fear. If I could even count the number of times I would scream out loud and startle my family, or how very painfully low I would bite my nails, I might be able to provide you with a decent estimation of just how much suspense and action fills this drama.

THE MUSIC. That is all I will say. Listening to it as I wrote this.

Damn. This drama was literally THE example of K-drama perfection. As I myself am the kind of mature, intelligent (sure, I’m bragging) kind of teen that loves convoluted politics, and historical cinematography, I feel I may appreciate the greatness of this drama more than the average teen girl. This show is no Boys Over Flowers or You’re Beautiful, we’re talking DEEP stuff man.

If you’re too hopped up on romantic comedies with hallyu idols (not that I’m blaming you, as I myself am one) this drama honestly might not be for you. It requires alot of thought, and nerves of steel. But, my, what entertainment. What emotion. When I wasn’t watching this drama, I was thinking about it, all the time, almost everywhere. It took me nearly a month to watch, and I still feel like it ended too soon. I never got tired of it for a moment. I wish there were more.

Oh well. I shall close this now. And tomorrow, March 20th, on my 18th birthday, I shall try to recover from the loss of this perfect drama and move onto some ridiculous Japanese one or another. Ha.

Goodnight now. Saranghaeyo Moon Chae Won, Park Shi Hoo, Song Jong Ho and others whom I can’t name off the top of my head. You all created something so beautiful. I commend thee!

Oyasumi now. Owari. ❤ ^^ HOORAY FOR SAGEUK DRAMAS!!!! Always the best.

Personal Taste Overview

 

Well, I thought I owed it to Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin to report on the lovely drama Personal Taste, I have just finished. On my growing list of dramas, this one was definitly quite sweet.

Though this drama did cover all the K-drama cliche’s from top to bottom, there were so many fresh and new concepts thrown into the mix. I think the most important element would be, obviously, its attention to  homosexuality.

The synopsis for this drama is about Jeon Jin Ho (played by the wonderful Lee Min Ho) pretending to be gay in order to become the roommate to Son Ye Jin’s character Park Gae In, who lives in a house he is researching for an architecture project. The entire show is one huge love drama after the next, with the most tangled twisted love triangle, squares, and pentagons swirling around. Some, dare I say, even involving gay characters.

Quite frankly, I was really amazed that there was FINALLY some realistic coverage on homosexuality. Though I personally am not gay, I am a huge advocate for gay rights, and I found this drama incredibly touching. The character of Director Choi (who is gay in the show) was really emotional. The actor was obviously quite talented, but I was honestly stunned that a Korean drama was actually addressing a gay romance. As we all know, homosexuality is still a taboo topic in Korean (and pretty much every countries) media, so I thought it was really cool that they could bring it up in a way that wasn’t over-the-top, but wasn’t closeted and ignored.

Don’t get me wrong though, the amount of homosexuality in this drama barely touches on being super in-your-face and in the spotlight. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it the main theme. The man-woman romance triangles obviously dominate this sugary romantic comedy, but aren’t everything.

I thought this was a really romantic and sweet drama, and was definitely funny.

I think the characters were the best part of this drama. Wang Ji Hye’s character Kim In Hee, has officially ranked #1 as the most evil mean girl bitch of any drama I have EVER watched. I have never hated the sight of a character as much as her (not even the mom from Shining Inheritance was this bad) and as much as I want to resent Wang Ji Hye for even playing the character, I guess I should give her props for sucessfully creating a character that was such a fake bitch I could hate her so much, haha. Someone who could-have-been-but-wasn’t an evil character was Han Chang Ryul, who, like many men in K-dramas, started out as a shallow, heartless douchebag but transitioned into being one of the sweetest, most endearing characters of the show. Maybe I’m just sappy, but I really came to like him alot. He really blossomed. Also, a special shout-out to the character of Sang Jun (played by Jung Sung Hwa). He was FANTASTIC, literally one of the single most hilarious K-drama characters I have ever had the pleasure of watching. As the best friend of Jin Ho, he pretends to be his gay partner, and his behavior is so incredibly hilarious, his role itself is unforgettable.

Obviously the main characters Jeon Jin Ho and Park Gae In were charming and adorable as ever. It renewed my love for Lee Min Ho, and introduced me to the eternal sweetness of Son Ye Jin. Their relationship reminded me extremely of Hotaru no Hikari, and I swore half the time, as they were sitting on the porch of their traditional Korean style house, that I was watching the Hangul version of Hotaru and Buccho joking about life again. It was really lovely. I will admit that I felt the whole “pretending to be gay” scheme should have gone on longer. Their romance kicks in too early, and by the end I was starting to get sick of it. I guess I just like it better when characters have to fight harder to be together.

Anyways, overall, a sweet, funny, entertaining drama which I would highly recommend. It was really lovely, and I’m glad I decided to check it out 🙂

Oyasumi! ~ ^^

K-Dramas: My Sickeningly Unstoppable- but Educational- Addiction

AHHHH! I have legit lost my mind over Korean dramas. Since I got back from Japan it’s been like this crazy non-stop marathon of never-ending K-drama watching. I was convinced I could watch them guilt-free and neglect my Japanese studies since I had spent soooo much time in Japan. Thus, this is the first day in literally MONTHS that I have not had a K-Drama to watch. I start to feel so strange…I have so much free-time, what am I supposed to do with it all? I find that I actually do things such as leave my room and get off my laptop once and awhile to talk to real people. It is sick and wrong, I tell you, JUST PLAIN WRONG.

So today I had this hopeful inclination that I would FINALLY try to watch some Japanese stuff. Japanese dramas are…eh (I’ve expressed my particular loathing of them before) and it feels like a physical chore to even watch most of them. I have such a scarce, sad little list of J-dramas that I even have any mild interest in, and I have a massive-literally massive- list of K-dramas that I am actually DYING to see.

Here’s my problem: I am an avid Japanese student. I study (try to) often -though not lately- and watching Japanese dramas is like studying without trying too hard. The amount of comprehension I get out of the average episode (sometimes I don’t even need subtitles) is golden. Few people probably realize the immense educational potential of dramas.

For example, due to my sickening obsession to K-dramas, I am actually learning Korean. I don’t mean Annyeong and Saranghae, I mean, I’m beginning to pick up A LOT. I find myself sometimes saying things in Korean. I find myself all too often trying to translate words in French or Japanese and thinking Korean instead. I find myself picking up a bit of a Korean accent when I try to speak Japanese. If that’s not a dangerous sign I’ve been watching too much K-Drama, I don’t know what is.

So, I try, oh how I try, to NOT watch them. I feel like I am turning into a Korean girl for god sake. But I’m supposed to be JAPANESE! Erg. I can’t even listen to J-pop. AT ALL. Never have, never can. I find J-pop as uninteresting as J-dramas, and therefore, I exclusively listen to K-pop. ANOTHER PROBLEM.

I need my Korean drama damn it. I NEED IT.

Food, Water, Sleep, and Korean Drama. Take away one of those things and my frail human self may just disintegrate. My life feels so sad and empty without it. What do I do?

I plan to resist it- at least for a week or two- but I have a feeling that such a task may be easier said than done! >_<

Wish me luck! ~Ganbatte! ^^

 

Iljimae! Iljimae!

 

Okay. So I just spent the last 4-5 hours cooped up in my room with this laptop while I sobbed, bit my nails ferociously to the stubs and screamed and squealed loud enough to possibly wake the rest of my family this late at night. All of this as I watched the final episodes of Iljimae.

Let me start off by saying what I normally say: I wasn’t expecting this to be that great of a drama. After finishing Secret Garden, I had lost all faith that pretty much anything else could measure up to it, and settled on a random, completely impulsive last-minute choice, the historical action flick Iljimae. It was slow-moving, too action-packed, not enough romance, and pretty much just all around not appealing in the beginning, however, I saw the ratings, despite my questioning the first episode, and decided, if this much of South Korea loved it (it was #1 or #2 the entire time it was on the air) then I guess I can too.

So, here’s the plot in a jist (with no spoilers that you don’t find out within the first few minutes): Joseon Dynasty (for those of you non-history buffs, just say medieval olden-days Korea) is the setting. Boy has nobleman father. Boy’s father is framed as a traitor and killed in front of him. Boy loses his memory. Boy is adopted by a peasant family. Boy grows up as a beggar, one day gets his memory back and embarks on a quest to avenge his father. Boy does this by dressing up as a badass Robin-hood-esque thief to search for his father’s killer. Boy becomes increasingly more badass as time elapses.

Who is this boy? Well, he goes by three names: his birth name Gyum, his adopted name Yong, and his badass name, Iljimae. But I like to call him the amazing actor Lee Joon Ki, who I had not realized would ever end up as fantastic and lovely as he did.

My first impression of both the main character and the plot was mild interest, but mostly confusion and annoyance. Yong starts off as a whiny, obnoxious arrogant douchebag (pardon my language) that cries almost constantly, is lazy, mean, and honestly just the perfect example of the worst possible hero/main character ever. But I knew, I just KNEW, it wasn’t going to stay that way.     As for the plot, it is really slow moving in the beginning. You literally have to watch the kid grow up, and it gets to a point where you are practically tempted to just click on episode 10 and get the whole affair over with. But YOU MUST BE PATIENT. Please remember: All good things come to those who wait. Or, in this case, GREAT FANTASTIC things 😀

There comes a point when everything changes. All the things you may have hated are suddenly all wiped away and it becomes increasingly more intense, engrossing, suspenseful, heart-wrenching, and GOOD. Yong/Iljimae develops from an annoying little weasel to the hottest, coolest, strongest, most lovable character ever with his badass (honestly, I don’t feel I can overuse the word ‘badass’ enough here) character, who makes every scene more wonderful than the last.

In this drama, you will laugh often, cry more often, and sit on the edge of your seat biting your nails the most. I’ve always though the term ‘a nail-biter’ was cheesy, but it is literally the case here. My fingers are sore. I guess I really got into this drama 😀

If you’re a sappy, over-emotional teenage girl like myself who NEEDS- and I mean NEEDS- romantic comedy to live, and cannot possibly imagine yourself enjoying a drama which is about 5% romance and about 95% crazy fighting, political conspiracies, and suspense, then change your mentality. Give this drama a chance. Lee Joon Ki, while unappealing at first, absolutely glows in this drama, and the characters seriously grow on you.

This is an example of a drama which grows exponentially greater and greater as it moves forward. You become gradually more interested after each episode until you can’t pull yourself away. I’ve never watched so many episodes of a drama in a row before- I just couldn’t stop. And for those nerds out there like me who scout out soundtracks, this one has a goodie (I downloaded the ENTIRE thing). Give this drama a chance! And don’t let those words “historical” and “action” turn you away.

Much love to Iljimae, and my new favorite actor Lee Joon Ki ^_^ Annyeoung!

The Absolutely Astoundingly Amazing Awesomeness That is Secret Garden and Hyun Bin

 

Okay. So I REALLY have been dying to write about my current craving for Secret Garden, but I wanted to wait until I was a little deeper into the series before I decided to delve into it. Or should I say, delve in Hyun Bin.

In all honesty, this drama IS Hyun Bin. I swear Ha Ji Won is just there for color commentary and a dosage of a pretty girl. But, I swear, almost every scene is reserved exclusively for Hyun Bin, and the character I thought to have been the main (Gil Ra Im)is proving less adorable than the male lead. Hard to believe? Allow me to explain.

First of all, let me start by saying that when I read the synopsis for this drama, I was less than impressed. A story about a guy and girl who switch bodies, and the twisted form of so-called “romance” that develops from it? No thanks. I like my men as men, and my girls as girls. Not the other way around. OR SO I THOUGHT.

This plotline is BY FAR, the most unique, hilarious, and fantastic of anything I have ever watched. I have NEVER laughed so hard during a Korean Drama. It builds with several episodes with the characters (Poor, sweet Gil Ra Im and snobby, rich-guy smartass Joo Won) who meet as their “normal” selves and battle between class differences and their growing attraction to one another. You think it’s just going to be your cookie-cutter sugary little K-drama romance, and then BAM! An accident causes them to switch bodies.

I kept waiting for it to happen, thinking to myself “this drama is going to be SO lame when they do the stupid switch up”.  But, OH MY, did it make things fun. I never thought this kind of thing could work in a K-drama, but it DOES!

Now we have the smart-ass, snobby, selfish personality of Joo Won in the pretty body of Gil Ra Im, and the soft, girliness of her in the body of Joo Won (Hyun Bin). Sure the whole “take a walk in another’s shoes” concept is big (especially since she is poor and he is rich), but better than any morale-teaching, self-discovery plot, is the acting.

This drama PROVES that personality overpowers appearance, and, even moreso, how cute Hyun Bin is as a girly, clueless, bashful feminine character. I was never a big Hyun Bin fan; he always seems to play the dominant, rich, snoody kind of alpha-male. I hated him as Joo Won in this, he was annoying as hell, and then BAM he turns into a soft, darling girl character, despite still looking like a man. And then, suddenly, I absolutely LOVED Hyun Bin. Personality can COMPLETELY change a person. Gil Ra Im is cute and lovely when she is herself, and then she becomes Joo Won, with that arrogant, sarcastic attitude, she suddenly doesn’t seem cute anymore.

Sounds weird? Trust me, any potential weirdness is completely overruled by how incredible of an actor Hyun Bin is. Regardless of which character he is (Joo Won or Gil Ra Im) It’s still Hyun Bin, one guy, playing the part of two strongly opposite characters with such a natural grace, you feel like he IS the character. Ha Ji Won, also, manages to completely make you believe she is both a guy and a girl. However, Hyun Bin, being a giggly, innocent, sweet character is too adorable to bear. I laugh SO hard. In fact, I do truly believe that Secret Garden takes the prize for the most I have laughed over the course of a K-drama.

If this were the Academy Awards, and I was the Committee, this guy would get my vote:

 

Hyun Bin, You Rock.

You’re Beautiful: It’s Beautiful

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Oh my god. I am so crazy about this drama right now.

You’re Beautiful is just my style of K-drama; it’s got the unrealistic but fantastic plot, the sickenly adorable cross-dressing female, and the juicy, heartbreaking romance that can only be found in one hell of a great love triangle. Yeah, it’s all there.

I’ve always heard this drama being raved about. It can easily be said that “You’re Beautiful” is one of the very highest in the ranks of some of the most popular and famous K-dramas, and now, at last, I understand why.

First of all, the cast. We’ve got Park Shin Hye, who, up until now was nothing more to me than a famous name, who is beautiful both in her acting and in her looks. She is the kind of boyish, naive, sweet little character that I always pray for in a K-drama, and her acting is superb. I enjoy every minute she’s on screen. In addition to her, there’s Jang Geun Suk, who’s name alone promises some really high-quality acting, singing, and just plain charisma. He is really perfect for this role; and I hate his snoody, stuck-up, jerk-of-a-character as much as I adore him. He’s the kind of character who can make you pissed and super mad one minute, and then have you swooning and sighing “Awe” the next moment. Together with Park Shin Hye, there is one great pair.

Then, there is also Jung Yong Hwa. (Isn’t he lovely?)

 Though his character is slightly more minor, I felt compelled to give him his own paragraph in my blog here, particularly because I think I have seriously fallen in love with him over the course of these few episodes of You’re Beautiful (6 to be exact). I don’t know who I love more, him, or his character. I remember reading his name on the cast list and thinking “Isn’t he some guy from CN Blue?” I happen to be a HUGE CNBlue fan, although I’ve never been all that familiar with the actual members. Anyways, aside from his obvious overwhelming talent as a singer/songwriter/musician in his band, I am so happy to see him in a drama. His character Shin Woo might just be the sweetest, most heart-wrenching character I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. I almost cry every time I see him, and I am constantly thinking to myself “Please, OH PLEASE, let the next scene have Shin Woo in it!” Sadly, he has very few scenes, but the scenes he does have are packed with so much shy, sweet, love and sincerity that I think I’m going to melt from all the adorable darlingness of he and Go Minam’s relationship (Team Shin Woo, NOT Taekyung, thank you very much!) ❤

Okay, okay, so aside from my clear fondness for Jung Yong Hwa, and my consitantly recurring attachment to drama’s that feature a cross-dressing girl (Is it just me or are those drama’s always the best?), I am more than loving this drama. I have to fight the urge not to watch about ten episodes per sitting, and painfully must will myself to only watch 2-3 a day.

The romance, the drama, the comedy. It is so addicting and delicious, I don’t think I can possibly keep myself from anymore episodes.

As of now, I shall go watch another episode. And, as usual, hope for more Jung Yong Hwa ❤

Much Love, Ria

Can’t Get Enough Hotaru no Hikari!!

                OMG. I am crazy about this J-drama. Not only did I fly through the first season (thank god there is more than one) but I am now heavily in love with the second season; possibly moreso than I was in season 1.

This drama encompasses everything I love about J-dramas, and dramas in general. I have NEVER adored a character as I do Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka). I laugh so hard watching this adorable drama. Her and Buchou and all their sweet little antics, such as beers out on the porch or a nice little “gororororo” rolling segment just melts my heart. Amemiya Hotaru is both incredibly hilarious, and hopelessly endearing. I see so much of myself in her, as well as so much I wish I could be. She is a perfect all-around character, and I shall forever have enormous respect for Ayase Haruka based on this role. Buchou as well! AHHH! I love him. And Futatsugi-san and Yamada-ne-san, funny Seno “Himono-Otoko”-san, and even Makoto-kun from Season 1 who I earlier ranted about hating,

Oh gosh I just love everything about it.

I know in my last entry I sounded like an angry anti-fan, but I assure you that pet peeve has passed (it ended up being resolved within the next episode) and now I am hopelessly in love with this show.

Sure, it ‘ain’t no K-drama, and it doesn’t have all that high quality glitz and glamor or deep plotlines. Rather, it is just the silly mishaps of the ditzy and clueless Hotaru, and her weird, but sweet, friend/lover relationship with her boss, but current roommate, Buchou. I know, sounds confusing, but trust me, this is perhaps the simpliest drama ever. No crazy, in-depth drama or sadness. No intense or suspenseful twists. No cliche’ plot hang ups. Just pure and simple fun.

That’s all it is, just pure fun. Plenty of laugh out loud comedy, without the over-the-top animeness one might expect from a J-drama. It’s the kind of comedy that even someone as stuck-up (yeah, I’m stuck-up) as I can enjoy. Trust me, it’s good.

It’s a perfect feel-good drama about the awkwardness of young love, and the main idea of “if someone loves you, they should love you as you are” concept that is forever lovely.

I would HIGHLY reccommend this show. It is very beloved to me, and I am enjoying every minute of it.

And one more thing: Season 2 is honestly even better than Season 1, which is a sweet rarity. I feel so connected to the characters having known them for so many episodes, and the silly charms of Season 1 that I loved so much are (in my opinion) even more apparent and lovable in Season 2.

Can’t wait to watch more of Aho-Miya and Buchou, and see what other ridiculous trouble they get into 😛

Oyasumi! Jaa~

(P.S. To me the pic below sums up this show PERFECTLY. Hotaru doing something stupid and weird, and Buchou, as always looking at her as if to say “How can this kind of stupidity truly exist?” Ah, I love you Buchou. And you too Hotaru, of course.)

Since When Are Sweatpants a Sin? Himono-Onnas and Hotaru no Hikari

Okay. I seriously need to rant about this drama. Hotaru no Hikari. It is one of my very favorite J-dramas (is it me, or am I finding many good J-dramas lately?) and there is so much I feel I need to rave about, whether it be how great the plot is, or how frustrating it is.

The setting, the characters, the actors, the comedy. It is really just a perfect, delicious little combination of great acting and adorable romance. I have never identified with a character more than I do Amemiya Hotaru (played by the talented and lovely Ayase Haruka) and I feel like I am watching myself. Seriously.

But there is something I really feel frustrated with. My anger and confusion has been mounting throughout the series, and it seems to have reached it’s breaking point.

Please, someone tell me: Since when are sweatpants a sin?

This drama projects Hotaru, who likes dressing in sweats and jerseys and being a lazy beer-drinking slob while at home, to be this somehow tragic Himono-onna character with this deep black scorching secret of being that laid back at home. Okay, please, someone, englighten me with your opinion.

I know that in America, people wear sweats in the grocery store for god sakes. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t “relax” while at home and change into what I personally call “my home clothes” when they are just chillin at their place. Okay, so maybe some aspects of our personal lives can be embarassing, and I wouldn’t want to wear what I wear at home out in real life, but this drama is REALLY emphasizing the evils of what I assumed to be a totally normal way of life.

Hotaru is honestly shunned by society because she wears sweats at home. Literally. Her boyfriend, who “loves” her ran off on her when he found out what she was “really” like at home. I mean, WHAT THE HELL. So much for “I love you”. What is this? So because she wears sweats and not, I don’t know, a formal suit or dress, while hanging out at home, this makes her somehow a repulsive creature that he can suddenly not even love anymore? AH!

Is this somehow normal in Japan? What are women suppose to act like at home? I mean, really. Like, am I suppose to put on makeup, doll up my hair and pick out a nice outfit in order to be a couch potato for the day? And, one more thing, what’s wrong with Hotaru’s “home hair” I love it, and think it looks super cute.  Just saying…

Bucho is the person who I really love, aside from Hotaru. I love how, for once, in this drama a man and woman can honestly live together as best friends, without any awkward feelings for each other getting in the way. Bucho (I honestly can’t even think of his real name) is so delightful. I love every scene with him and Hotaru sitting on the porch or joking around at home. But hey, Bucho, lay off on the mean comments! She is just wearing sweatpants, not committing some kind of mortal crime! >_<

I read many comments on the video (since I watch all my dramas online) and everyone was just as pissed as me. If being lazy and wearing sweats qualifies a woman as a Himono-onna, then I, as well as about 150 million Americans are Himono-onnas. And, guess what? We’re not hated by society for it!

I’m protesting the strict crazy dress code that Japanese society seems to be enforcing. Those poor women! If you can’t be yourself in the comfort of your own home, then when can you be? And, moreover, Teshima, if you can’t love your girlfriend for everything she is, sweats and all, then you are an awful boyfriend. Yeah, that’s right Teshima Makoto-kun, you lost my vote as an awesome character. I thought you were better than that!

Ah, well, I still have a few episodes to go, and the Season 2, YAY! Maybe things will get better, and my anger will diminish. After all, as I watch this drama, I am dressed in some pretty unflattering “home clothes” and I don’t feel this guilt and self-hatred, I just feel comfortable!

After all, comfort is what home is all about right? ^_^

Jaa~ Matta!

Zettai Kareshi: The Ending, and My Overall Opinion (Many Spoilers)

I know what you might be thinking: Two posts in a row about the same topic? WHY?

Ahhgghhh! I really fell in love with this drama, and though it’s over, I still feel under it’s spell. I felt compelled to rant about the ending and the ‘Special’ episode, as well as more of the more minor elements of this great J-drama. It is for sure one of my all-time favorite dramas, and possibly my favorite Japanese one.

The story really developed from a somewhat irritating and impossible romance to something truly golden and touching. I became attached to Riiko and Night’s relationship, I was really crying hard at the end. I think this takes the prize for the most tears shed during a drama. The screen kept blurring from all my tears, I could barely watch it.

I wasn’t sure whether to be pissed off, devastated, or touched by the ending. Night “dying” was certainly sad, and I was really crying over the little memoir video and such *tear* But somehow, despite how heartbreaking it was, I found it strangely sufficient, and I felt comfortable with it.

Then came the Special. I totally knew Night was going to be revived, and that the love triangle would be launched once more, but I found the Special to be MUCH less lovely than I had hoped for. I was happy to see that the characters and setting were blissfully unaltered (despite the Special being filmed years later) and I was excited at the prospect of Night and Riiko’s love being restored, but…it was just different. As much as I love Soshi-san, I really don’t feel much emotion from him, despite his so-called “love” for Riiko. I just see him as kind of the best friend type, and seeing those two as a couple is just super weird to me, it doesn’t fit.

Anyways, aside from a very un-romantic reunion, I felt the plot to be too long, complex, and unnecessary. The Special was TWO hours long, but they could have shaved off a good hour. The little romance between whats-her-name Robot creator and her robot lover-look alike was cute, but took up a little too much of the story line. I also felt that the creators were pumping a little too much action (aka, the secret agent/fighter robot/badass Namikiri segment) into the show. Perhaps if there had been a little less Kamiya and Nanase and more Riiko, Soshi and Night, I would have been more of a fan.

This whole Special wouldn’t have bothered me at all if I wasn’t still super pissed at the ending. I mean, what the hell?

IT ENDED EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE FIRST ENDING! What was the point of making a sequel if Night just ended up going off to die in the end AGAIN. I was practically on the edge of my seat saying “No, Riiko will turn around any minute and stop Night from leaving! Any minute now!” but she didn’t. And then, like before, she just went on back to Soshi, who she ignored and treated like crap and barely seems to spend much time with anyways. But, I gotta give him credit, he IS a human 😛

Errgg.

Well overall, despite my crazy and seemingly hateful ranting, I ADORED this sweet beautiful drama. The romance was oh so heartwarming, and I cried and said “awwww” far too many times. It was just…wow. What a great drama. This was K-drama quality for sure, and I really applaude Japan for turning what could have been a potentially stupid storyline into something really wonderful and moving. Yay!

“Absolute Boyfriend” Korea is being made, or I think might be airing right now. My beloved adorable Goo Hye Sun from BOF is the “Riiko”, so I might be tempted to watch, despite my usual aversion to watching the same drama in different nationalities, haha! Oh well, I’m sure it will be great.

The worst thing about J-dramas? Only 10ish episodes!! K-drama’s usually have close to 20, and are individually about 15-20 minutes longer. ARG! I wish Japan put more into length. 

 Ahh well, since I am headed to Japan in about 2 weeks (for the first time ever!) , I need to stock up on as much Japanese  as humanly possible, so I am dedicating the rest of August to watching strictly Japanese dramas, despite how difficult it can be to find good ones :/ My language skills depend on it! (If only I could find some juicy ones in Kansai dialect, grr)

Oh well, time to go!  Oyasumi, tomodachi!! ^_^