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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Princess Weiyoung (锦绣未央)


Episode: 54
Synopsis
      Born a princess of the Northern Liang Kingdom, Xin'er's life is fairly happy and she is loved by all around her. She is blessed with an auspicious sign upon her birth and it is noted that she has two fates seen within her. If things go well for her, the princess will eventually rise from the ashes like a phoenix and soar highly above the rest. However, although her life may be carefree, the kingdoms are warring against each other and power struggles are beginning to ensue. Xin'er's life changes overnight when a general from the Chiyun family clan of the Northern Wei kingdom decides to overrun Northern Liang. Driven by his greed and his hunger for power, the general frames Xin'er's father for treason and kills everyone in the royal family. Xin'er with the help of many loved ones manages to survive and escape.  
       Li Wei Young is the illegitimate daughter of the Prime Minister of Northern Wei. She is forced to live in the countryside away from her family's manor. Wei Young finds Xin'er and saves the princess from harm. The two become friends. However, the Li family's first wife is also sending people to kill off Li Wei Young. Wei Young ends up dying protecting Xin'er from the sword when an assassin comes to kill off Wei Young.  All alone, Xin'er holds on to the promise she made to continue to live on and thus takes on Wei Young's identity. (In my review and the rest of this synopsis, the main character will be referred to as Wei Young as she takes on the new identity).
        Seeking revenge against the Chiyun clan and also to live her life as Wei Young, she heads back to the Li family's manor. Using her beauty, wisdom, and strength, Wei Young gains many allies and many enemies along the way. Although she is constantly framed by others and often mistreated, Wei Young does not lose hope nor does she forget what she has to do. Wei Young unexpectedly falls in love with Northern Wei's prince, Tuoba Jun. Tuoba Jun constantly provides her with love and care throughout the entire drama. His support and love for her never wavered. The two share an extremely strong love that is to undergo many turbulences along the way and with many people trying to ruin their relationship. 

Review: 
      I absolutely adored this drama and I was hooked a few episodes into the show. I first found out about this drama because I loved the OST (especially the song by A Lin). I watched the music videos over and over again and I loved the aesthetics of the videos as well. The drama seemed to be fairly good and the music touched my heart. The beginning of the drama was a bit slow and cliche for me though. It seemed very similar to many historical dramas about powerful women. However, I think it was a good buildup in terms of character and you can really see the strength of Xin'er/Wei Young who went through so many hardships. The story would not be able to really flow the way it did without the beginning backstory.  
      A lot of the plot throughout the drama are things that the viewer has to watch themselves. As you can see, it is a 54 episode drama so I can't really get into too much detail. Some parts are definitely more interesting than others. However, I liked that this drama didn't seem to drag out certain scenes as much as other historical dramas have done before. It is fairly straight to the point. I also loved how when they were solving crimes or trying to prove that Wei Young is being framed, they make it so that the viewer has to figure it out along the way as well. At times, I was a bit confused when a certain plot is just immediately resolved. However, the drama immediately starts playing flashbacks to scenes and shows the whole story that the viewer wasn't shown at first. 
        I loved the relationship dynamics between Wei Young and Tuoba Jun. They are definitely relationship goals. The amount of trust and love that they have for each other is incomparable. I have yet to see a historical drama with a love that matches theirs. Tuoba Jun constantly supports Wei Young and trusts her time after time. He also reads her very well and knows when she is lying and when she is not. His ability to read her and care for her is what saves Wei Young many times and what allows them to plan out schemes that will eventually benefit many other people. The two are so selfless when it comes to each other and people always underestimate the strength of their love. Their love is so strong that they are able to withstand all the drama thrown their way and also work in sync with one another through trust and by picking up cues. I was stunned at the last few episodes when they were able to plan out a great scheme without once actually planning it out but instead basing their next moves off of how well they know each other. Also, FUN FACT! The main leads who play Wei Young and Tuoba Jun are actually dating in real life (Tang Yan and Luo Jin).
            The acting was also very good. I would like to praise Luo Jin for his great portrayal of Tuoba Jun. I thought his acting was amazing. Tang Yan also did a great job as Wei Young and I felt like she executed crying scenes perfectly. Their level of emotions and chemistry with all the other actors in the drama was impeccable. The rest of the cast also did an amazing job and the antagonists played their roles so well that you really do hate them and pity them for their lack of self-respect. I really enjoyed the acting and chemistry between all the actors in this drama. The costume design was also beautiful and the cinematic experience was enjoyable and high quality. 
           I highly recommend this drama and definitely recommend you all to check out the OST of this drama because it is really good.

I would like to point out that the ending may seem confusing. But it actually takes place over the span of five years and you can see that based on the addition of the little kid. 

Favorite Scenes: 
Episode 13: When Tuoba Jun was trying to get Wei Young jealous by playing a tune with Chang Le. However, seeing her upset, he immediately chases after her.

Episode 14: Tuoba Jun arranged a private meeting with Wei Young. The meeting was so cute and the part where he "kissed" her hand to suck the poison out of her hand from the poisonous bug was so intimate.

Episode 17: The scene where Tuoba Jun saves Wei Young from a scheme arranged by the first wife of the Li family. Tuoba Jun's confession in this episode was also endearing.

Episode 23: The cheek kiss scene

Episode 25: KISS KISS KISS

Episode 27: When Wei Young finally tells Tuoba Jun she is the lost princess of Northern Liang and how even so, Tuoba Jun still wants to love and protect her.

Episode 31: The running hug the two shared and how relieved Tuoba Jun looked to see Wei Young

Episode 33: Jun Tao and Cheng De's relationship that is developing is so cute. I really enjoy their side character relationship because Jun Tao is so tomboyish and Cheng De is like her mini fanboy. Wei Young and Tuoba Jun's mom interacting together was also so cute because you can see that his mom is starting to like Wei Young a lot.

Episode 40: This episode got me so sad because Bai Zhi!!!! And Wei Young is so depressed after that incident and she talks about how she feels like living is pointless because all that she cares about is gone. And it was so sad that Tuoba Jun was watching over her but cannot go to her because he has to pretend to be mean to her as he is trying to help find out who framed her. And it sucks because she doesn't realize he is pretending to be mean to her and is taking everything to heart.

Episode 41: Tuoba Jun trying to knock sense into Wei Young and basically trying to get her to go back to being strong and using her wisdom to overcome difficulties

Episode 43: Tuoba Yu is a shady character but I like the way he protects Wei Young in his own ways.

Episode 44: Wei Young blows up at Tuoba Jun and it is so sad because she doesn't trust him anymore and he can't even tell her he did believe her because he's trying to find out the truth for her. But I love that he finally told her that he is fighting for her and is willing to finally tell her the truth so they could work together.

Episde 45: The flower ocean Tuoba Jun planted for Wei Young! So romantic!
                 Ming De and the Princess's interactions were also so funny. He said something very touching and loving to her and immediately said "Why is that so corny?" before going off to do other things. They are such a playful and cute side couple. I enjoy watching them as well because the Princess is so sincere to everyone and is also so straightforward.

Episode 47: Tuoba Jun and Wei Young go to the lantern festival together and share cute, romantic moments. Tuoba Jun saves Wei Young from lantern fire and is so scared she's gone. When he held on to her and apologized and blamed himself for everything, I just wanted to give him a hug because he looked so scared.

Episode 49: Tuoba Yu says Wei Young is the only woman worth saving and that he only has her in his heart even though she says she only lo Tuoba Jun. The sad life of being the shady second lead (haha)
The scene where three men are trying to save Wei Young from this booby trapped room and the princess also is trying to figure out how to stop the booby trap.

Episode 53: The grand scheme and how strong Tuoba Jun and Wei Young's love and trust in one another is

Episode 54: DAMN WHAT IS THIS BITTERSWEET ENDING. GOT MY HEART IN SO MUCH PAIN.
Jun Tao and Cheng De are so cute and are my favorite side couple!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Episodes: 16 
Synopsis:
Do Bong Soon comes from a lineage of women who possess Herculean strength. This strength is only passed down to the daughters of the family. However, this strength can only be used to help other people. If she were to use it for personal gain or to mistreat others, she could lose her strength forever, like her mother did. Do Bong Soon dreams of creating her own video game one day but is struggling with unemployment. 
            When Ahn Min Hyuk, the young CEO of AIN Software, a gaming company, witnesses Bong Soon's strength during her fight against a group of gangsters, he decides to hire her. He hires her to be his personal bodyguard to help him catch a man who has been making death threats against him. As the two spend time together, Min Hyuk finds himself falling in love with Do Bong Soon. However, Bong Soon is still in love with her childhood friend, In Guk Doo, a police detective. As a dangerous kidnapper in Bong Soon's neighborhood runs loose, Bong Soon gets increasingly closer with Min Hyuk as they try to track down both the person making the death threats and the kidnapper. When the kidnapper continuously strikes closer to home, Bong Soon's relationship with Min Hyuk grows stronger. The two fall in love as they try to capture the criminal and protect each other and those they love.  

Review:
       I enjoyed this drama greatly. It brought a smile to my face with each episode. I enjoyed how it was both comedic and serious. The drama follows a crime that needs to be solved and also a  romance between a uniquely strong girl and her CEO. Throughout the drama, we meet characters that provide us with comedic relief while a psychopathic kidnapper is on the loose. I would recommend this drama to people to watch because the male lead, Ahn Min Hyuk, is absolutely ideal. He is what I would consider an ideal man because he is independent, intelligent, strong, caring, and extremely supportive. He supports Do Bong Soon in every way possible from her super strength to her dreams of creating and producing a video game at his company. He also doesn't try to minimize who she is. He takes her for how she is and accepts every part of her. He is okay with every part of her and finds himself loving with the things that make Do Bong Soon her. The way he treats her, watches over her, and pushes her to do better throughout the drama was extremely beautiful to watch. Their love story was mutually supportive, respectful, and caring. I think this is a drama worth watching for a romance that is not only extremely cute but also very healthy.
         The two are also entangled in the psychopathic kidnapping spree this drama also highlights. I thought that the crime and mystery added into the drama made it very suspenseful and it gave the characters a lot of purpose in planning their next moves. It also helped bring the characters together as new situations are thrown at them, forcing them to view things differently. A lot of people have also commented that the kidnapper is an attractive actor. I personally think that the kidnapper was a very good actor because he failed to become attractive to me by portraying the character so well. Don't take me wrong. He is a good looking man and if you were to give him a role as a good person in the drama, he'd definitely win a lot of hearts. However, since he is playing a psychopath, I found myself developing an aversion to him because of how creepy his character was. Therefore, I believe that he is a talented actor and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.
          Do Bong Soon's superhuman strength also makes an interesting point in the drama. In the beginning, she views it as a burden and that it hinders her from leading a normal life. She refuses to accept that part of her. As the drama continues, she comes to terms with herself and realizes how useful it is in helping people. She begins to enjoy using it to help others and sometimes she even uses it to help herself. I think this drama makes it a point in saying that we should learn to love and accept ourselves. You may want to lose or change a certain trait about yourself. However, if you were to lose it, would you really be you? Would you really be okay with losing it when it is actually gone? I think that this drama made a good point by giving Do Bong Soon superhuman strength.
             I loved all the side characters in their own way. I loved Do Bong Soon's family dynamic (although I do wish that her mother treated her father a bit better. It was later cleared up in the end that she did not hit him as the drama leads you to believe but it is clear that she is the head of the family and intimidates her father). I also greatly appreciated Do Bong Soon's coworkers and the adult gangsters and high school gangsters. They were hilarious to watch and actually fairly helpful in a lot of ways. I would definitely recommend this to people to watch because it gives me a warm, happy feeling. The vibe that I got (in terms of the romance) was similar to the vibe in "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo." Definitely recommend these two dramas if you want to feel happy watching a realistic love story unravel (even if Strong Woman Do Bong Soon has superhuman elements in it...such as her strength). 

Favorite Episodes:
Episode 7: This was such a cute episode. They got to go to the amusement park, solve the blackmail incidents, and they also started practicing together to control Bong Soon's strength. The scene with the punching bags were so funny to me, I couldn't stop laughing. I love Ahn Min Hyuk so much because he's precious in the way he accepts her just the way she is and doesn't try to lie to himself about what kind of person she is.

Episode 12: The development in the relationship was extremely cute.
-The scenes with the monk were extremely funny. The monk was meant to have a comedic effect and succeeded in making the scenes with the gangsters more entertaining.
- Minhyuk's fanboying for Bong Soon was extremely cute.

Episode 14: The rooftop moment with the bomb and Min Hyuk saying that he would stay with Bong Soon. It was touching and beautiful. It showed the strength in their relationship and their bond with one another.

Episode 15: The piano kiss between Min Hyuk and Bong Soon was extremely romantic and cute. It was also funny how intimate they get in the office after that kiss. Secretary Gong coughing in the elevator saying "Please don't do this in the elevator" while the couple stared lovingly at each other was very entertaining.
- Bong Soon's "Min Min" in the office and Min Hyuk's cute reaction
-The epic scene of catching the criminal--the dynamic trio of Min Hyuk, Bong Soon, and Guk Doo was amazing to watch. Each were able to use their strengths in catching the criminal. It doesn't work with just one strength alone, but together, they succeed.

Episode 16: Min Hyuk's talk with Bong Soon's father was cute and funny at the same time.
The happy ending. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Suddenly Seventeen ( 28岁未成年)

   

           This movie isnt the best in my opinion but I would still recommend people to watch it for the message this movie conveys. Although the cast is absolutely stunning and made up of actors that have exceeded my expectations in other films, I felt as though none of the actors were able to show off their true potential in the movie. The characters all felt a bit dull and hard to follow at times. However, this movie has a great message about self-love and self-discovery. It focuses on a 28 year old woman named Liang Xia who lost herself over the years. In a series of events, she learns to ocme to terms with herself, find herself again, chase after long-lost dreams, and fall in love with herself instead of with someone else. The idea that who you were when you were younger is still a part of you is very touching  to me and I think people should watch this to remind themselves that no matter how hard life gets, no matter what you're going through, no matter what kind of person you are now, you can still be the person you wanted to be when you were younger. Who you are now can still change for the better and it is never too late because the younger versions of yourself are still within you pushing you forward and cheering you on to be a better person.
         In this movie, Liang Xia and Mao Liang have been together for 10 years and have been living together for 5 years. Mao Liang is a successful CEO and Liang Xia just tends to the house. She has long given up on her dreams of becoming a successful artist just to be with Mao Liang and she has been anticipating the 10 year mark for as long as she could remember. Mao Liang had once made a promise to her that they would get married after 10 years of being together. However, Mao Liang has been more and more invested in business deals and with work instead of in her and eventually ends up breaking up with her. As Liang Xia desperately tries to get Mao Liang to stay, she eats some magical chocolates that she had bought earlier through a television advertisement. These chocolates turn Liang Xia back into a 17 year old mentally while still being in a 28 year old's body for five hours every time she eats a piece of chocolate. 
         17 year old Liang Xia is completely different from the 28 year old Liang Xia. 17 year old Liang Xia is full of life and constantly trying to pursue her dreams of becoming an artist. She's feisty and puts herself first before anyone else. 17 year old Liang Xia and 28 year old Liang Xia begin to communicate via videos they film for each other and constantly make deals to help one another accomplish certain tasks. 17 year old Liang Xia causes a lot of trouble and 28 year old Liang Xia would eventually have to face them and deal with them. However, despite the trouble, the 17 year old version of herself helped Liang Xia find herself again and allow her to return to her passion for painting. This story was heartwarming in it's own way and it really showed the importance of embracing and holding on to your own identity. By doing so, things in your life will fall in place with time. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Taegukgi (movie)


            I was introduced to this film through a friend who told me that this movie is well-acclaimed and extremely touching. Although this movie is a bit old as it is produced in 2004, I think the story and the characters are still extremely interesting to watch and heartfelt. This was also not a cheap production film so the cinematography was pleasing to the eye and easy to watch. This war film takes place during the Korean War and it shows the hardships of the civilians, the struggles the soldiers had to face and endure, and the undying spirit of family as two brothers become pawns on the battlefield of death. 
            The movie starts off at an excavation site in 2003 as an excavation team dug up the remains of a Korean War soldier. Identifying the belongings of the unknown soldier, the team contacts an elderly man saying that they found remains that appear to be his despite him being alive. The old man goes down to see the remains of this soldier as he has been trying to look for his brother, whom he separated with on the battlefield. Upon visiting the site, the movie takes us back to 1950 Seoul as the Lee family's lives are about to be changed by the war. 
          The older brother Lee Jin Tae works at a shoeshine stand to pay for his younger brother Jin Seok's education. Jin Tae's fiancee Young Shin works with the Lee's noodle shop and watches out for his mother. They were very happy and Jin Tae even buys Jin Seok a silver pen to encourage him in his studies. However, on June 25, 1950, their lives are changed forever as North Korea invades South Korea. Jin Seok is forced to become a soldier and in an attempt to prevent Jin Seok from leaving, Jin Tae is also forcibly conscripted. Both brothers are a part of the first Infantry Division and they were to fight at the Busan perimeter and then advancing North. 
              Desperate to send his brother back home to safety, Jin Tae makes a deal with his commanding officer saying that if he can earn the highest award for a South Korean soldier (a merit award), his brother would have to be safely sent home from the battlefield. Thus, Jin Tae begins to volunteer for many dangerous and risky missions to be promoted and to earn his medal. He eventually is nominated for the medal but it came at a cost as well. The brothers began to feel a toll on their relationship because of their different views and the changes Jin Tae was going through. The entire time Jin Tae is trying to earn his medal, Jin Seok has been trying to get Jin Tae to give up on the goal and said that it should be that they both go home or both stay. Jin Seok is unable to view Jin Tae in a possible light as this goes on and finds that his brother seems to be stuck in the clouds of heroism and that he seems to be increasingly cold-blooded toward others after numerous heroic feats.
              Jin Tae gets his medal but things don't go the way he expected them to. They were located at Seoul for the time being and they learned that his fiance was captured by South Korean militia who accused her of treason for joining the communist party. She tries to explain that they were forced to do so in order to be fed during the time they were occupied by the North Koreans. Jin Tae and Jin Seok try to save her but failed to do so and the two brothers were arrested to be further investigated. Jin Seok is locked up in a prison that was later set on fire which led to Jin Tae giving up on everything he was fighting for. He eventually joins the North Korean army. 
           Luckily,  Jin Seok was not dead and was instead rescued by a fellow soldier. Upon finding out his brother joined the enemy side because of the losses Jin Tae experienced, Jin Seok joins to fight in the next battle by joining the North Korean side. He asks to meet his brother but Jin Tae refuses to come to see him, believing his brother was murdered in the prison fire. While the North Koreans take Jin Seok to be interrogated, their base is attacked by American and South Korean forces. Jin Seok takes advantage of the chaos by searching for his brother. However, Jin Tae has completely lost control of his consciousness and failed to recognize his own brother as he attempts to kill him. Jin Tae eventually was able to recognize his brother and the two shared a heartfelt moment. However, the moment was short lived as Jin Tae tells his brother to leave first and that he would soon follow. Jin Tae tries to buy time for his brother to escape by shooting a machine gun at charging soldiers. Jin Tae eventually dies on the spot and the two never reunited. Jin Seok spent years wondering what happened to his brother and if he was alive. 
                We go back to 2003 where the old Jin Seok is standing at the excavation site staring at the remains of Jin Tae. Examining the items and recognizing the silver pen Jin Tae once gifted him, Jin Seok begins to weep and demands to know why promises were not kept. He also blames himself for not bringing his brother with him to safety instead of listening to Jin Tae and leaving first. This movie was absolutely beautiful because it highlighted the horrors of war and the importance of family in good times and the bad times. I really enjoyed this movie and I recommend that everyone watch it as well. Amazing war film with amazing characters and a heart-wrenching plot. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Flowers of War (Movie)

      Directed by the well known Zhang Yi Mou, this movie is fantastic and heart wrenching as it tells a story based on the rape of Nanking. With an absolutely stunning cast, including Christian Bale, and amazing visuals, we dive into the lives of a class of schoolgirls, a group of prostitutes, a young Chinese boy, wounded soldiers, and a white man in the middle of China during a time of war. 
        John Miller, an American mortician, arrives in Nanking to help bury the head priest at the church. As he tries to get to the safety of the church, he witnesses brutal murders and has to be extremely cautious so that the Japanese do not shoot him as well. Arriving at the church, he finds out that the head priest's body was not to be found after being exploded on by a bomb. Ready to leave, John is convinced to stay by a young boy named George, an orphan who was raised by the dead priest and taught how to speak English. George asks "Father John" to help act as the priest to protect the church and to protect the young schoolgirls who have come to seek refuge in the walls of the church.
          Soon a group of flamboyant prostitutes arrive at the cathedral, beautiful and laughing, seeking refuge as well. John agrees to shelter everyone while trying to repair the run down truck in the yard to prepare for an escape. During this time, a young sniper brings his wounded comrade to the cathedral begging them to take care of him as he helps protect the church to the best of his ability for the time being. He sets traps around the entire area to distract and to target the Japanese army. As the prostitutes and the wounded soldier occupy the cellar, the young girls had no place to hide from the Japanese when a group of them came to sexually assault the girls in the cathedral. With the help of the young sniper, who died a hero in the process, many of the girls were okay despite being shaken. Some girls were not so lucky as people did die in the process. 
          After that incident, a Japanese Colonel comes to apologize on behalf of his men and says that he respects the church greatly. Thus, he offers to protect the church by placing guards everywhere and requests that the schoolgirls sing at the Japanese Army's victory celebration in return. Knowing well that they are demanding more than just the school girls to sing, John declines. However, the Colonel would not hear no for an answer as he blocks the exits with guards and head counts the 13 girls. 
          The head of the school girls, Shu Juan, knows that this would mean the end for them and convince the young girls that death by suicide will be better than going with the army. In desperation to save the girls, the leader of the prostitutes, Yu Mo, offers to take Shu Juan's place. As a result, all of the prostitutes offer to take the girls' places to protect them from suicide. With John's skills as a mortician, he helps to transform the beautiful women into innocent school girls. However, as there were only twelve prostitutes, George volunteers to go as well sticking to his duty from the dead priest to protect the girls. It was an extremely touching moment as the prostitutes gave their most prized possessions to the young school girls such as -- life savings to buy herself out of prostitution, the mission to help find her beloved cat, and things they want the young girls to keep to return to them one day. 
            During the time these prostitutes and the young school girls were under the protection of John, John falls in love with Yu Mo. Her sad past, her goals to buy herself out of prostitution, her beauty, her song, and her love to care for those around her attracted John greatly. As the two argue and flirt with one another, they also share deep moments. Sadly, the two are forced to bid goodbye to one another and end their starting love story when the Japanese soldiers arrive the next day to pick up the "13 Flowers of Nanking." John manages to sneak the girls to safety by hiding them in the truck under supplies. However, it is a haunting feeling and more depressing than relieving. Their safety had come at a cost of other people's lives. And these school girls and John would never hear from those beautiful women and George ever again...for the rest of their lives. 
             It is an amazing movie with great visuals and acting. The plot is also very interesting. I would definitely recommend that you all watch this movie. I would just like to point out that there was a scene where 2 of the prostitutes sneak out of the church to go get lyre strings and earrings from their brothel. While this may seem stupid of them to sneak out during a time of war and rape, I would like to point out that back then certain possessions meant a lot to people. For those girls, the jade earrings must have cost a lot that she couldn't bear to just lose them like that. The other girl did it for her pipa strings broke and she wanted to play for the young wounded soldier who reminded her of her brother. Thus, through this scene, you can see that these women are just like everyone else with valuable possessions that they cherish enough to risk their lives and constantly thinking of their own families back home. 
            While I enjoyed this movie greatly and expected that things would eventually turn out the way they did as the story unraveled, a lot of people questioned this movie. There was the question of: how do you determine one's life is greater than the others? Why are the lives of these girls worth more than the lives of those women? Is it because those women are not considered pure? How do you decide who lives and who dies and who deserves to live more? These are extremely good questions that got me thinking. George and the women that ended up going in the schoolgirl's place at the end did so to help these girls but after going through so much, do they deserve to go to this condemned fate when even they fear it? Why must they sacrifice their chance to live and themselves for the sake of these schoolgirls? What is the difference between them both? Although I do not have the answers to these questions and often think about it myself, I enjoyed this movie and I enjoyed seeing the courage humans have in a time of war and fear. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Page Turner

Episodes: 3
Synopsis:
        Yoo Seul is a piano genius and the top student of an art high school. She has been extremely successful in her piano career and has won numerous contests under her mother's watchful eye. Her mother begins to invest her entire life into Yoo Seul because she saw that her daughter could achieve the dream of being a pianist that she wanted for herself when she was younger. As Yoo Seul's mother continues to push Yoo Seul to do greater and achieve more with her talent, Yoo Seul works harder and misses out on a lot of opportunities to live as a normal teenage girl just to make her mother happy. However, one day, everything changed. Yoo Seul gets into a car accident and loses her sight. Blinded, she loses faith in herself and is hurt when her mother cared more about her playing piano than about her health. She decided she was tired of piano, of pretending to like it, and that she was going to quit. It is through her rival Jin Mok and the happy-go-lucky Cha Sik that she learns to live her life the way she wants and in a way where she falls in love with piano for herself instead of for her mother. 

Review:
         This is an extremely short drama as it is only 3 episodes. It is a fast watch but very touching, comedic, and beautiful. This drama is more about finding yourself after losing yourself than anything else. The three main characters in this drama struggle with their own battles and find solace in their passion for music and for doing something they believe in. Yoo Seul lived her life playing the piano according to her mother's wishes. However, after the accident, she is able to make her own decisions to stop playing the piano, to play again, and so forth. She is able to fall in love with piano based on her own free-will instead of constantly being forced into it. At the same time, she is also given the ability to enjoy life as a high school student as she plays with Cha Sik, argues with Jin Mok, and rides on a bike for the first time in her life.
         Cha Sik was extremely likable for me because his personality was very endearing. He is a happy-go-lucky guy who is very impulsive in the things he does. However, once he sets his mind on something, he goes through with it. He starts off as an athlete on the national team for pole vaulting. After an accident, he finds out that the injuries in his spine would prevent him from being able to continue with sports. Despite being disheartened, he tried to keep up a positive image to not worry his mother. Cha Sik lost himself for a while because he didn't feel like he fit anything except for Thankfully, through his loving relationship with his mother and her constant support for him, he was able to rediscover himself in music after a white lie her mother used to get him out of his depression. He begins to put everything he has into playing the piano and becomes Yoo Seul's aid at school so that he is able to attend class and practice alongside with her.
          Jin Mok spent his entire life butting heads with Yoo Seul. He's second place in the school while Yoo Seul was first place. Constantly being torn by the idea that he was not good enough to become a world-reknown pianist, he begins to despise those better than him. After Yoo Seul's accident, he begins to actually see reality more clearly as he begins to help her more and also battle against himself. At the very end, he was able to confidently say that it didn't matter if he only became a piano teacher instead of a pianist because he still wanted to try and he still wanted to play piano. Jin Mok grew a lot as a character and finally became comfortable in his own skin as the drama went on. It was great watching him stop whining and actually figure things out and resolve his internal struggles.
         These three stories are all tied together. It was funny watching their interactions and touching to see them all fight their own battles, practice piano, and perform at competitions. I feel like this is definitely worth watching. I really enjoyed it (especially since I'm a big fan of Kim So Hyun -- watching her grow in each drama she acts in has been a wonderful experience for me over the years).

Monday, March 6, 2017

Goblin

Episodes: 16
Synopsis:
Kim Shin is an immortal goblin who meddles with human life every now and then. He is also the guardian of certain souls as well. He lives with an amnesiac grim reaper after a strange turn of events. Together, they watch over souls in different ways and also see the dead off into the afterlife while trying to piece together their own lives, past life, and fates. Kim Shin is looking for the goblin's bride who would be able to relieve him of the curse of immortality. One day, he meets Ji Eun Tak who has the ability to see ghosts and happens to be the Goblin's bride who is meant to end his misery that lasted for 900 years and let him turn to ash. However, fates and past lives and deities don't make it easy for them. As the two fall in love, they realize that one's life will lead to the other's demise. At the same time the Grim Reaper is trying to figure out what is the great sin that caused him to be a Grim Reaper and why when he meets the girl Sunny, a part of his soul aches for something he does not remember.

Review: 
      This drama is absolutely amazing and it made me question my entire existence after watching it. After watching this drama I went on rants to my friends about the meaning of life, soul mates, fates, and deities. This drama is a must-watch but it may also leave you in a drama slump after because it'll feel like nothing will ever make you feel the way this drama did. But in all honesty, this drama is just worth going through the pain of feeling lost when the drama ends.
    This drama incorporated fantasy elements into reality. The characters may appear to be supernatural but it is not hard to fall in love with them, empathize with them, and learn from them because these characters all started off human. So for them, turning into supernatural beings such as a goblin or a grim reaper does not change them from who they were as humans. I didn't expect myself to fall in love with the Goblin and Grim Reaper the way I did. They were both so funny and intriguing in their own ways. Their pasts and their personal missions to discover the truth of the past and to figure out how to stop "eternal suffering" allowed them to come together. These two characters also allowed us to see the way souls work and how deities work as well. Of course, we are never fully explained what it is like since a lot is left to your own interpretation and understanding. However, they provided a great insight to the idea of humans all having four lives, oblivion is a blessing from the almighty when you move on to your next life, and so forth. They were also the link into the past/past life where this story unfolds. By seeing the past and present throughout the drama, it made it more interesting and easier to connect things as to who these people are and the significance that the past has in the present times.
          I was also in love with Ji Eun Tak and Sunny. These two girls are very different from each other but get along extremely well. They both have amazing personalities and I enjoyed watching these two as well. Ji Eun Tak is young, bright, and in want of being someone important and being loved. She treats people warmly and is extremely helpful to everyone around her. Ji Eun Tak's interactions with everyone around her and especially the Goblin was very entertaining to watch. There's something about her that makes it very hard for you to dislike her character but she's really cute. Sunny is older and owns a chicken restaurant in which Ji Eun Tak works at. She is involved with the Grim Reaper and shares an interesting past with the Grim Reaper that they later find out. She's beautiful, confident, and also extremely nonchalant to the things that are thrown at her in her life. I loved how badass she was throughout the drama, daring to curse at the deities, testing things and accepting things as they come, and forcing herself along a path she knows is best for her versus what she wants. I really liked that all the characters in this drama were either amusing to watch or extremely likable.
         I loved that there was no love triangle. The love stories are made to be both interesting in their own ways. When you look at the relationships, it is clear that the two couples are very different and that the way they love is very different as well. However, you fall in love with each love story equally. You also fall in love with each person's way of loving as well as you watch the drama. This drama made it so easy to empathize and feel for the characters. It's also great to see the couples interact with each other and help each other. It was great to see a drama with great sis-mance and an absolutely hilarious and touching love-hate bromance.
          The OST of this drama is absolutely amazing. The songs were so well-placed throughout the drama that it gave me all the feels at the right time. Now, listening to these songs, I feel extremely song feelings of nostalgia from the drama and I feel so attached to the songs and the scenes this drama was used. It's an amazing experience to watch a drama with absolutely amazing visuals and aesthetics as well as with an audio as beautiful as this one.
        I felt like this drama was perfectly planned out and extremely well-written. I would not want this drama any other way (except maybe longer because I loved it so much). I read that there were some people who were not satisfied with the ending but I can't help but disagree with that idea. I felt that the ending was perfect for a drama like this. For a drama that portrays deities as almost human and supernatural beings suffering rather than feeling blessed with their gifts, this was extremely well done to show that fate is not always kind. Your "happily ever after" may not be what you expect but it doesn't mean it isn't happy. This drama depicted life in a very interesting way and like life, this drama left you with things that you felt like you would've liked resolved even though they didn't have to be resolved, it left you feeling bittersweet, it made you think about the regrets in life. And to me, that's perfect. It had that bittersweet feeling that all goodbyes and hellos give us in life and it was happy the way life works in it's own way. Happiness will always find you in unexpected times and places and we're always willing to accept happiness with open arms.
        I also liked the idea of humans having four lives because it allowed me to analyze some of the characters. I have a theory that Sunny's happy ending for her last life--the life of Harvest made sense. When she was the Queen in her past life, she was probably in the life of watering where was growing and learning and experiencing. Then as Sunny, she was at the life of waiting for the harvest, so it made sense for her to piece things together, resolve things, and wait for the love of her life to walk to afterlife with her for the happily ever after they deserve. While I felt this entire drama connected and flowed really smoothly, I was still slightly confused when Kim Shin came back as a Goblin despite relieving himself of the eternal curse. I thought the Goblin tied with the curse but I guess not? (I'm glad he came back though haha)
       This drama definitely made it to my personal favorites list and I highly recommend it to everyone. This drama is worth it. 


Favorite episodes: 
(Every episode was amazing because they all tied in together. But here is just some that I really enjoyed watching) 

- Episode 5: This was a really cute episode and you get to see the Goblin and Grim Reaper act like little kids. They're such powerful beings yet they do not know how to use a smart phone. They also constantly try to help out Ji Eun Tak in their own ways. Bromance is a lovely thing to watch. It was also cute to see the Grim Reaper try to contact Sunny and to appear more human for her.

-All the scenes between the Grim Reaper and Sunny aka Kim Sun.

-Episode 10: I liked this episode because it provided a lot of back story about the past and how it may tie in the future.

-Episode 12: GAVE ME ALL THE FEELS

-Episode 13: The King's backstory is so intriguing to me. As much as I love the Goblin and Ji Eun Tak together, I really love watching the Grim Reaper and Sunny interact and the way they reconnected through their past lives as well. This episode also made me cry a lot for both the Goblin, Ji Eun Tak, the Grim Reaper, and Sunny.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cinderella and the 4 Knights

Episodes: 16
Synopsis:
         Eun Ha Won is preparing to go to college to become a teacher because it was what her late mother wanted for her to be. However, Ha Won's preparations to go to college have not been easy after her mother passed away in a car accident when she was ten years old. Living under her stepmother and stepsister's rule, Ha Won takes on many part time jobs, doesn't get much to eat, and also is forced to sleep on the balcony. Her father is constantly out working so he's rarely home to see the mistreatment and her stepmother knows how to put on quite a show to hide what is done behind her father's back. Her father also doesn't treat Ha Won the best after her mother's death forcing Ha Won to fend for herself, work for herself, and also attempt to stay as optimistic as possible.
        Ha Won grows up to be an extremely strong and bubbly girl. She lives off the morals and values that were taught to her when she was young and tries to live in a way that would make her mother proud. Working for her upcoming university tuition fees is not easy but then life gets harder when she discovers that her father had not been paying for the storage of her mother's ashes at the cemetery and that her mother's ashes were removed and kept in storage because of the unpaid bills. That was when her life becomes entangled with the extremely rich Kang cousins.
         The Kang cousins are all unique in their own ways but they are all similar in the way they do not believe in family and do not like each other. The three boys Ji Woon, Hyun Min, and Seo Woo live in the mansion Sky House under the careful eye of their butler. They are forced to live in the house together because their grandfather wants his grandsons to get closer together and also so that he can decide who is to take over their family business in the future. When Hyun Min decides to ruin his grandfather's fifth wedding by bringing Ha Won along and calling her his fiance, the grandfather sees Ha Won's attitude toward Hyun Min and the way she stuck to her values. Thus, he decides to hire to work at the Haneul House to help change his grandsons and allow them to understand the meaning of family. By taking on this job, Ha Won becomes closer to the three Kang cousins, learns more about herself, and also is able to slowly start paying for her college tuition.

Review: 
       This drama is really cliche and it reminded me of a lot of the old dramas. This reminded me of Boys Over Flowers and Romantic Princess  in a lot of ways. I actually enjoyed watching this despite knowing how typical the plot is and cliche all the scenes were. I also really liked Ha Won's character because she was really cute in her own way and she was really strong. I liked that she held on to her morals and values throughout the drama and that she didn't really need the boys to rescue her. The scenes in which something happened to her usually were really comedic like when she fell in the bathroom and broke her leg. Her character made the boys seem more than just love interest but like best friends who need help dealing with personal issues. So as she got closer to the boys, the closer the Kang family got and they stopped ostracizing each other. I also love how she is constantly bickering with Hyun Min and Ji Woon because it shows that she isn't scared or intimidated by them and that she understands them better than anyone else does.
         I enjoyed all of the characters in this drama. However, I had a hard time watching  APink Na Eun's acting and I didn't like her role that much. Hye Ji wants to be that tough and really interesting girl but she just can't match with the main character's charm. She also seems to do the exact opposite of understanding the boys' feelings. Na Eun's acting was also really bad. It didn't feel natural and she seemed to have a hard time blending into her role without seeming awkward. There were a couple of scenes in which she looked awkward just walking. At the same time, it felt like she was being a little fake and that she was constantly trying to look pretty in all her scenes. It was also hard to understand her character and how she was so attached with Hyun Min's life because they were childhood lovers. It seemed that they didn't share anything special other than growing up together and being each other's childhood crushes. And that shouldn't mean that they end up together for life which is what Hye Ji expected throughout the entire drama. It made Hye Ji appear to be a really pathetic and dependent character with the way she kept trying to catch Hyun Min's attention and demand Ji Woon's care because she was going through heartbreak (caused by herself, to be honest).  The relationship between Hye Ji and Hyun Min was really weird and hard to understand in my opinion. Hye Ji's character in this story annoyed me more than it should have but I felt like it would've been more interesting if the storyline was actually focused on Ha Won and later on  splitting off to each other's happily ever afters.
          I enjoyed Ji Woon's relationship with Ha Won because the two are very similar to each other from their backgrounds to their attitudes about wealth and to the way they interacted with each other. The bickering and the way Ha Won was always so happy and energetic allowed the two to start falling for each other--especially when Ji Woon's change toward Ha Won throughout the drama was very drastic. He began to take care of her more and think of her more as well. But once again, Hye Ji's unnecessary appearance in this relationship bothered me. She obviously still liked Hyun Min but begins to confess to Ji Woon and starts acting possessive over him. It made her appear to be extremely selfish with the way she assumed everything she wanted to be her's. It made me enjoy Ha Won's character moreso because she was so giving and understood that nothing comes easy and that she has to work for it. I also enjoyed Seo Woo's interactions with Ha Won because he was such a bubbly and happy person. He was the first person to open up to her and help her out. As for Hyun Min, I enjoyed him in the beginning because he seemed like the stereotypical rich and arrogant jerk that eventually turns into a softie because of the main lead. However, because of his complicated relationships with Hye Ji, I didn't invest so much into him as it went on. Also, it slowly became clear he wouldn't really end up with Ha Won because he began to close himself off more which gave the spotlight to Ji Woon who was opening up more. The fourth knight, the butler, was also extremely endearing because he was righteous and did all the tasks he was given to do by the chairman. He is also very talented and he knows how to fight, cook, and also handle all the issues the boys cause under the Haneul House. Underneath his calm exterior is a huge softie who has a lot of good intentions and I enjoyed him in the drama because he was like a loving father figure to everyone in the house, including Ha Won.
           This is a light-hearted watch and very enjoyable to watch. I would recommend this to people who are looking for something cliche and romantic. If you're looking for a drama that gives off Boys Over Flowers vibes or Romantic Princess vibes, this is the one.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Let's Fight Ghost

Episodes: 16
Synopsis: 
Kim Hyun Ji is a young girl who died at the age of 19. She is now a ghost who wanders about without any memories of her life as a human and without any memories as to how she died. When she encounters Bong Pal, she gets a flashback of a memory from when she was living. Thus she believes that Bong Pal could help her greatly and decides to follow him around. Believing that she might be stuck as a ghost because she wasn't able to complete her SATs, she asks him to tutor her and allow her to stay with him while she helps him fight ghosts to earn money. The two solved many ghost-caused problems and helped send many ghosts away. As the story unfolds, the two begin to like one another and they slowly begin to piece together missing parts of Hyun Ji's story and Bong Pal's. 

Review: 
       This drama was fairly interesting and reminded me of a lot of other dramas that involved dealing with ghosts. I was a bit scared throughout the drama when the ghosts popped up but it was nothing as scary as watching a horror movie because you expect it. It was interesting how the drama showed how the ghosts were all once people, how they all had certain motives, and how they also had certain wants. It definitely helped knowing that there were good ghosts out there and that Kim Hyun Ji, herself was a good ghost who was willing to help Bong Pal fight off ghosts while attempting to recover memories. It was also interesting to see how Bong Pal dealt with his ability to see ghosts and how he dealt with his ability to fight them as well. 
        I thought it was interesting how they were trying to discover what really happened to Kim Hyun Ji and why she was a ghost without any memories. It reminded me of Arang and the Magistrate as they tried to figure out who her murderer was and it also reminded me of "Oh My Ghostess" as they tried to release the soul to heaven and also figure out the cause of death. I enjoyed watching Kim Hyun Ji and Park Bong Pal work together to fight against ghosts and they made an incredible team. I also enjoyed the comedic aspect of the duo who constantly followed Park Bong Pal around to ask him to join their exorcism club. They were really funny and also fairly helpful throughout the drama in helping Bong Pal find work and also watching out for him in different ways. I also really liked the monk because not only was he serious and extremely helpful in defeating the evil spirit but he was also hilarious throughout the entire drama. His goals to defeat the evil spirit drives him throughout the drama to help Bong Pal and to find the evil spirit again. The monk's story, Hyun Ji's story, and Bong Pal's story were all linked together through this evil spirit and it was amazing to see the team come together at the end to succeed against the evil spirit. 
  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Uncontrollably Fond

Episodes: 20 
Synopsis: 
Shin Joon Young and Noh Eul were high school sweethearts and shared a lot of meaningful and funny memories together. They were inseparable in many ways. However, life continuously got in the way as Noh Eul was trying to track down the person who killed her father in a hit and run while Shin Joon Young was trying to protect his biological father--a man who was never present in his life but who was in charge of burying Noh Eul's case to rise to a position of power and authority. The two were separated due to certain circumstances and went their separate ways. Shin Joon Young is a superstar actor and singer while Noh Eul becomes a producer-director of documentaries. Their paths cross again and the two learn to fall in love again as they unravel the secrets in regard to the hit-and-run. Not only were they rekindling their romance and solving a case, the two also are on a race against time as Shin Joon Young secretly suffers from a terminal illness.

Review:
        I watched this in a span of 2 days and I have never cried so hard at the end of a drama as much as I did for this drama. I am absolutely in love with this drama. It was the perfect mix of everything cliche in Korean dramas but also with just the right amount of emotion for it to be special and unique. I loved the relationship dynamics between Noh Eul and Shin Joon Young. It was cute watching them fight and argue while both having good intentions at heart. It was cute how he constantly teased her just to keep her with him and the fact that she was able to deal with him in her own way. The way their lives were winded together through a series of events and through numerous encounters made it all the more special. 
       Noh Eul's character was very likable in my opinion. She was funny, and worked hard and rarely did she project her worries on to other people as she found ways to confidently earn money to pay off her family's debt. She obviously is kind at heart but because of her circumstances she has hardened to be brash, impudent, and also to constantly seek ways to monetize at other's expense. I enjoyed how she never used a "sob story" to get away with anything but rather used actual ways to get the money. I enjoyed that about her character and I admired how strong she was. Meanwhile I found that the men in her life are all extremely supportive and loving of her -- Joon Young, her brother, and Ji Tae were all constantly watching out for her and understanding her regardless of what she does. They also all did it in their own ways. Her brother is constantly trying to protect his sister since she's doing all that she can so that he has a successful future. Joon Young was trying to watch out for her by keeping her by his side by teasing her and offering her jobs. Ji Tae constantly watches over knowing the truth of her father's death and even pretends to be poor to get close to her and take care of the siblings. He got so close to her brother and from taking care of him that her brother constantly comes up with ways for him to work out with Noh Eul. 
          The way this drama was filmed this was amazing because it allowed me to see both character's point of views, their past and their present, and so forth. It also doesn't just dump the information on you as it hops back and forth from present to past, showing both viewpoints. I enjoyed figuring out the links and the reason why these two people keep constantly running back to each other. I also loved seeing how Ji Tae fit into the story and his point of view throughout the story.