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! ~ ^^

Shining Inheritance! K-Drama At Its Finest.

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It’s Christmas break, and despite many nice things that I’ve done and recieved this season, perhaps the best part of this entire vacation has been watching Shining Inheritance.

This delicious soap-opera-esque K-Drama is sophisticated, stylish, and downright addictive, and not to mention 28 episodes (that’s almost twice as long as a normal drama) so I can watch many episodes without fearing they will dissappear and the drama will end too soon!

This drama is more mature and dramatic than the average bubbly boy-meets-girl romantic comedy. In fact, considering most teenage girls (I speak for the demographic) require some juicy romance in any show to survive, this one is shockingly entertaining despite very minimal romance initially. It’s less about lovey dovey couples and more about the twisted webs of lies and deciet that crazy rich people will spin when money and status are threatened.

You get plenty of annoying rich snobs and selfish greedy evil stepmothers to last a lifetime, but there is more to this drama than just whiny aristocrats and spoiled brats, and much of that lies in the two lead characters: Han Hyo Joo and Lee Seung Ki.

I already liked Han Hyo Joo from Iljimae, but she is now by far one of my top actresses. Not only is she beautiful, but oh so endearing, and her performance is just unforgettable. When she cries, I cry. When she smiles, I smile. And THAT is true good acting.

As for Lee Seung Ki, who was only an over-rated celebrity in my book before this show, his cuteness and charm are so overwhelming that I actually adore his character, despite the fact that for a great deal of the show he is a spoiled, arrogant Grade-A douchebag. For once, I think I will actually pick the mean guy over the nice guy in this love triangle (Hwan Vs. Joo-Sae)

Gosh this drama just keeps me on my toes. All the lies, the greed, the heart-breaking darlingness of Han Hyo Joo, the whole Cinderella-story concept; it’s just too wonderful.

In case you didn’t already know, Shining Inheritance is one of the highest rated K-dramas of all time. It garnered a whopping 40% viewer rating (that’s almost half of the South Korean population) and was BY FAR the best drama of 2009. And I certainly can see why.

This drama is DRAMA done right. It has every kind of shocking wonderful, emotional, twist you can think of, and yes, for you teenage girls, there is some good romance and some serious love-triangle rivalry and jealousy.

This drama is long, and thank god, because this high quality entertainment has got me hopelessly addicted, and for the moment, I really don’t know what I would even do with myself if I didn’t have episodes of Shining Inheritance to watch each day.

As my title says: this is, most certainly, K-drama at it’s FINEST. Beautifully done and worth every minute of my time.

Please, do watch it.

For now, I go! Oyasumi! Annyeoung! ~ ^^

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

My #1 All-Time Favorite Drama

For the first time ever, I am rewatching a drama.

Typically, when I finish a drama, I think of it as a chapter of my life that has closed, and I move on. When I finished Nodame Cantabile a few days ago (which was wonderful!) I moved on to watch Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, in hopes of enjoying another J-drama. While it wasn’t particularly bad, by the time I reached episode 3 I realized I was beginning to go through K-drama withdrawal and needed to quench that intense thirst for good acting and beautiful Korean actors.

Unconsciously, I drifted back to my favorite drama. The best drama I’ve ever watched. The most unique, the most enthralling, the most “mature” as well. All in spite of my aversion to “repeating” old dramas.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

I am watching it again, as it brought me so much joy and fufillment the first time. And you know what? It’s just as great the second time! Really!

We’ve got Park Min Young, sweet and cute, as the lead Kim Yoon Shik, and her costar is our little Mickey Yoochun from DBSK as the stuck-up Lee Seon Joon. Plenty of other charming, wonderful actors and actresses light up this historical period drama about the prestigious Sunkyunkwan University in 18th century Joseon Korea.

So, I know alot of teens want to puke at the though of a ‘historical’ drama, and hey, I can understand your feelings to some extent, but bare with me here. Sungkyunkwan Scandal may take place in the ‘olden days’, but what it lacks in modern flair it makes up for in fantastic acting, strong dramatic plot twists and even a colorful soundtrack.

This drama is the most unique I’ve ever seen. It’s not your average bubble-gum romantic comedy boy-meets-girl kind of drama. And, while many parts may bring about smiles and laughter, overall, this is not a comedy, and the crazy, unrealistic quirkiness seen in average dramas is absent. In fact, this drama actually is a DRAMA, and though it is fictional, it is not terribly unrealistic. In fact, of all the dramas I’ve seen (which is a lot) this one seems to be the highest quality one I’ve ever watched.

Sure, I love the classic kidnappings, relationship quarrels, love triangles, terminal illnesses and dark tormented pasts of your typical cookie cutter Korean dramas, but it really is refreshing and incredible to finally watch a drama that doesn’t need so much flair and hype, and seems to be crafted so carefully.

But don’t get me wrong, this drama is not by any means a serious, stern, complex drama that you must be super mature and appreciative of history to enjoy. There is plenty of romance and suspense, and the characters are all so god-damn lovable I can’t even pick a favorite! Overall, I enjoy (for once) a heroine that is an intelligent, academic scholar (kind of like me) who doesn’t act like a typical “teenage girl” like we are used to. Nevertheless, she is so cute, and paired with Yoochun, the two of them compliment each other perfectly.

I cannot rave about this drama enough. If you love dramatic, girl-disguises-as-a-boy-to-save-her-family historical plots, good acting, plenty of intelligent drama and some of the best characters out there, you MUST at least check out this drama. In my opinion, it deserves way more recognition. I will always be prepared to advocate for this drama!

Well, I’m off to watch more Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Annyeoung!

 

Korean Vs. Japanese Dramas

So, I’ve deduced that my Asian-drama addiction has lately breached the simple scope of merely ‘watching’. Aside from my growing collection of drama OST’s, I unconsciously spent about two hours today merely READING about dramas on DramaWiki. And that brought me plenty of fufillment, let me tell you.

It’s hard to resist the urge to watch strictly Korean dramas. They are FAR better than anything Japanese I have seen, but I have yet to explore the Taiwanese drama industry. I read about plenty of Taiwanese and Japanese dramas today (to the extent that I began recognizing actors and actresses in the cast list) and tried my best to be as interested in them as I was in the few-but incredible- Korean dramas I’ve heard of.

I think of it like this: Korean dramas are the ‘Hollywood’ (bear with me) of the Asian drama kingdom. They are high quality, glamorous and beautiful, with superb acting, regardless of how seemingly ridiculous the plotline. Japanese dramas, however, are completely NOT Hollywood, and resemble moreso an Indie film- enjoyable, but almost in the sense that you’re forcing yourself to like it simply because it seems so cute and low budget.

I know that sounds terrible, but I’ve only finished two of the Japanese dramas I ever started, and one wasn’t even that great. Like J-pop, I force myself to “enjoy” it merely because I love Japan so much, but UGH. I’ve never once walked out on a Korean drama, and K-pop is a constant element to my life.

I decided that the major difference between Korean dramas and their Japanese neighbor lies in the culture of the countries themselves. Koreans are more conservative when it comes to comedy and romance, where as the Japanese are much more liberal (for example, sexuality, and even homosexuality, are not nearly as big of a deal). Japanese entertainment in general is based so heavily on anime and manga that it seems that when Japanese use REAL people, rather than anime characters, the  actors still retain that traditional “anime” behavior, and it simply doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong though, Japanese dramas are not bad, I am simply a drama snob; too accustomed to Korean dramas and good anime to wrap my mind around them. I do admit, however, that Japanese have a talent in humor. I do believe I laughed more watching Hana Kimi (my favorite Japanese drama) than I probably ever did with Korean dramas. Also, Japanese dramas feel less “fake” than Korean dramas, as characters are less celebrity and polished.

If you like the fun, crazy exaggerated acting of anime characters, you will surely love Japanese dramas (most are based off manga) and if you ever need a good recommendation, check out Hana Kimi (a crazy fun cross-dressing comedy) or Orange Days (an emotional drama about a deaf girl). Or possibly the heartwarming Proposal Daisakusen. I plan to give Japanese dramas more of a fighting chance over Korean dramas, and I hope others notice their indie charm as well 😉

Oyasumi~