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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

Episodes: 18
Synopsis:
Hong Ra On is a young woman during the Joseon Dynasty who disguises herself as a man named Sam Nom. She ghostwrites for people and also offers relationship advice for men. As she brings people together, she also ruins other relationships in the process. As people try to find her to get "revenge," she is brought into contact with the crown prince through a love letter she helped write for a client. Through a series of events, Ra On ends up getting sold into the Royal Palace as a eunuch, gets accepted by chance, and is then assigned to work for Royal Consort Soo Ki and Princess Young Geun. As the crown prince enjoys her presence and realizes she is a girl, he begins to order Ra On to be his own personal eunuch. As a political power struggle ensues, Ra On will have to try harder to hide her identity, maintain her relationship to the crown prince, and also learn new things about herself and politics.

Review:
           This drama is originally a web novel. I read somewhere about how much this story means to the author because she wrote it in secret after promising her husband to watch over her newborn baby for the first few years. She wrote this to regain her own identity and she came to discover, that with the birth of her child, she was able to write in a new style that was more happy and colorful than her previous works. She must not have realized how popular her story would get nor did she imagine that her writing be turned into a drama as it has today. So I'm actually very proud for her in regard to that and figured it'd be nice to include a bit of the story behind the making of this story. Now, I'll give my review about the drama.
            This drama is a cross-dressing drama where the girl character is dressing up as a boy in order to survive on the streets and she ends up becoming an eunuch for the crown prince. While I do not enjoy dramas that have oblivious boys wondering if the girl is really a boy, I enjoyed this one because the male characters were pretty fast on catching on with the situation. Also, the fact that Ra On had to hide her identity and become a Sam Nom is a big factor in relation to her history as well as how it ties into the story. Therefore, it is easier for me to follow and not feel frustrated by the boys in the drama.
          There were some scenes in this drama that I found were pretty slow for me but the scenes were all extremely aesthetically appealing.
          I really liked the actors in this drama. I have been following Kim Yoo Jung from when she starred as a child actress in dramas to now, where she is the main lead. It has been a pleasure of watching a girl grow up alongside with me (and do more things with her life in comparison to me haha). I also loved Park Bo Gum as the prince because he is the perfect mix of intensity and softness mixed in one. The chemistry between the two was amazing and all the scenes they filmed together were beautiful.
          One downside of this drama is that things moved really slowly for me. I started to get bored with the drama toward the end. It didn't appeal as much and there was more "setting up" the storyline than anything actually happening.

Lie To Me

Episodes:16 
Synopsis:
Gong Ah Jung is a young woman who is a government employee of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. In order to not lose face in front of a friend, she lies about being married and this lie begins to spread like wildfire. Soon everyone is gossiping about her supposed secret marriage to Hyun Ki Joon, the wealthy president of World Hotel. Ki Joon begins to be burdened by this lie as well as he has to constantly address these rumors. Thus, he decides to get Ah Jung to correct the situation by revealing that she had lied. However, when things don't go as planned, Ki Joon decides to take legal action against Ah Jung. They begin to bond more and more in the time being and the two find that they could mutually benefit from this situation if they pretend to be married for a short while and then divorce. Ki Joon is still bitter about the rumor and says he will continue to follow through with the lawsuit after this pretend marriage. The two begin to fall in love in this pretend marriage and when his ex-fiancee returns from France, he questions his commitment to her as he is becoming increasingly fond of Ah Jung.

Review:
I watched this drama a long time ago and I don't really remember the details nor do I remember how I felt about it. I do recall enjoying it and thinking that it was an interesting drama. However, I do not want to state any more opinions on this as I don't really recall this drama.

The Third Love (Movie)

           It is actually kind of hard to gather my thoughts for this movie. I'm very half-half about this movie. I enjoyed it for the most part but there are things that I didn't enjoy. Some scenes could've went differently and some scenes seemed a bit over the top. This movie definitely had potential to be this bittersweet type of movie but by the end I wasn't sure how to approach this. The ending was definitely not satisfying for me because it showed me how sometimes even the best relationships don't get "happily ever afters" and that love isn't always answer. 
           This movie tells the sad love story between Zhou Yu and Lin Qi Zheng. Zhou Yu is a young and beautiful lawyer who lives with her friend. Her friend is obsessed with Lin Qi Zheng, the boss at her company. As her best friend dives into a self-made fantasy about how she and Lin Qi Zheng are dating and even attempts to commit suicide when he wasn't reciprocating the "love," Zhou Yu decides to take things into her own hands. In order to help her friend, she goes to the company to confront the young and rich CEO to get him to make himself clear to her friend and to fire her so that her friend can move on. Lin Qi Zheng is extremely confused by Zhou Yu's angry outburst for he had never even interacted with her friend before. Realizing this, Zhou Yu goes back to apologize and the two begin meeting each other more often for work. They slowly begin to fall in love while trying to keep it hidden from Zhou Yu's delusional friend. However, Lin Qi Zheng is from a rich family and the two were never meant to be as they were worlds apart. As friendships fall apart and traumatizing events happen, the two can only go on separate paths despite all the beautiful and loving memories the two made together. 
           I enjoyed the romance for the most part and that is the main focus in this movie. It is realistic, it is a slice of life for a lot of couples, and the chemistry between the actors were crazy. This movie is a Chinese movie but the male character is played by the Korean actor, Song Seung Heon. He also talked in Chinese but I'm pretty sure it is dubbed for the most part (thankfully in a way that isn't that obvious). Fun fact, the actors in this drama (Liu Yi Fei aka Crystal Liu) and Song Seung Heon are actually dating in real life and they are both outstanding actors and I have looked into many films that they have done. If you are to watch this, just be prepared for scenes that seem a bit "extra" and be prepared to not get the ending you hope for. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ryeo (aka Moon Lovers)


Episodes: 20
Synopsis:
Scarlet Heart started off as a Chinese internet novel. After the story got turned into a Chinese drama, it was an instant hit among the viewers in China and other Asian countries. Korea also enjoyed watching the Chinese drama and after a few years producers decided to make the Korean version of Scarlet Heart. This drama is called Ryeo and it is also known as Moon Lovers. The story revolves around a girl who ends up traveling back in time into her previous incarnation's body after "dying" in the modern world. As she interacts with the princes of that time, she finds that the history she knows is as it is because of the things she said, influenced, and acted upon back in the day. Not only is she caught in the political battle and power struggle as the princes fight for the throne but she is also caught in numerous love triangles. This drama follows the basis of the characters, the plot line, and the history from the Chinese internet novel/drama but also adds in it's own twists and turns. It is similar yet very different from the Chinese drama all at the same time.  

Review:
             For those who have followed this blog since the very beginning, you would know that I am a huge fan of the Chinese drama Bubujingxin and that I recommend it to almost everyone I meet. When I found out that the Korean version was going to be a thing, I was excited yet worried that it would disappoint me. The thing with Korean dramas is that it is more widely watched by international fans compared to Chinese dramas so I know that for many people, Ryeo is their first encounter to the story of Bubujingxin and I know it is going to have similarities and differences to the Chinese version. I don't mind differences because that gives the Korean drama it's own charm. However, I was worried about it disappointing or not having good acting or not showing the true intensity in some of the scenes. For example, the Korean remake of Fated to Love You was a huge disappointment to me because I watched the Taiwanese version a long time ago and the emotions involved with the characters in each scene hit closer to home than the Korean version did (they made the guy too nice when the whole point of the drama was that he was a dick to her and that you're supposed to feel bad for her). Similarly for BBJX, I cried in so many scenes as the drama went on and I truly applauded the acting of these actors because they did such a great job. I hope that this is the same case for Ryeo and that they're able to get the audience to follow along with the story and feel everything these characters may be feeling.
           One point I want to note is that Ryeo is not based on Korean history as they are using the Chinese history as the storyline. In BBJX, they actually followed real Chinese history and made it so that the main character (who got transported  back in time) caused the way history was made. In Ryeo, they are using the same storyline with their own twists and they are also using new ways to express the characters such as by making the 4th prince a lot darker and more mysterious. I found it interesting when they changed the backgrounds of some people, altered their personalities a bit, or even adding in childhood trauma to the 4th prince. It was nice to watch. It felt like I was watching a drama that was similar to the plot line of BBJX because they made it very unique to itself. 
             I actually really enjoyed this drama because it followed the general plot of the original story and the characters acted out based on the original guidelines for what their personality was like as well. However, despite following the Chinese drama, this drama also made it it's own by adding in scenes and changing the way scenes play out. I truly enjoyed it. There were some scenes that were very unexpected because it didn't happen in the Chinese one and the ending is just as heart-wrenching in it's own way as the Chinese one was.
          The actors all did an amazing job. The main characters had amazing chemistry and IU did a great job as Hae Soo. Lee Jun Ki definitely had me head over heels throughout the entire drama and his backstory makes their relationship even more beautiful. Also, the idea of him having a scar was not seen in the Chinese one but using that, you can see how much Hae Soo means to him because she covered the scar for him and wasn't scared of it. The OSTs were also absolutely beautiful. They are happy yet sad at the same time--especially when you go back and listen to it after watching this drama.
         I would highly recommend this Korean drama but I would also highly suggest that you watch the Chinese version first so you can compare and contrast. You may come to like both dramas as much as I did. Ryeo is done in a very fantasy-like, cheerful way where the story adapts to the main character  and a lot happens within a few episodes without much buildup whereas for BBJX it was definitely more realistic and hit closer to home because you get so involved in the life and story. BBJX also takes its time to let the story slowly unravel. The characters in BBJX also followed mannerisms of the time whereas Ryeo made the characters seem more modern. I really enjoyed the Korean drama but I feel like I definitely enjoyed Ryeo more because I was able to compare and contrast with the original. All in all, I was not disappointed by Ryeo and I greatly enjoyed it. It was cheerful, fun, fast-paced, and almost fantasy-like. It definitely was very comfortable to watch and the way scenes were shot were very aesthetically pleasing.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND! AND I HOPE WE GET TO SEE A HAPPY ENDING SOON--WHETHER IT'S FROM A FEW SPECIAL EPISODES OR A SECOND SEASON! I'LL BE WAITING!!!
(P.S. If you're feeling sad about the 10th prince, I highly recommend you watch the Chinese version because he gets a happy ending there since he stayed out of politics--because he didn't really understand it. Haha!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Alice: Boy From Wonderland (Movie)



         With less than a week from Halloween, I decided to watch a horror movie that seemed pretty interesting. In this movie, Hye Joong is a graduate student who has bad nightmares which keep her from being able to daily tasks and go along with her life. She knows that she has once killed a person and can't seem to shake it off as it continuously haunts her in her dreams. As she constantly feels unwell, she is unable to remember things or do things well. People around her begin to look down on her and criticize her as well.
         She ends up going to a doctor but they find nothing wrong with her. Her aunt makes Hye Joong goes to a shaman to help take care of her problems and to stop these nightmares from happening. The shaman tells her to go to a place called Wonderland. Wonderland is a villa where Hye Joong and her family had vacationed when she was younger. Hye Joong doesn't remember much of her childhood and so she has to retrace her steps back into her past. She is to find something that she lost within the 15 days that she is there so that her nightmares can go away. If she fails to do so, all will die--herself, her aunt, and the other characters that she is to meet.
         There she meets a young man named Hwan and a woman named Ryun. Hwan is constantly by Hye Joong's side and speaks of her as though he is familiar with her from the past. He is often frustrated by the fact she doesn't recognize him. While living here, she notices strange things and strange figures showing themselves and so forth. At the same time, she also gets these flashbacks from when she was younger of being in the house and they begin to correlate with the figures she sees in the house. As she starts making an effort to find what she has lost in the house and trying to piece things together, she has to deal with the other characters in the movie. Ryun is constantly looking for her when she's alone, prepared to kill her, but Hwan is trying to protect her. As the movie goes on, reality and dreams seem to blend and blur together. The truth also slowly comes out as well as Hye Joong remembers. As it went on, it got extremely twisted but it was still nonetheless interesting.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Secret Garden

Episodes: 20
Synopsis:
Gil Ra Im a stuntwoman. Despite doing hard tasks that most people can't do and despite dressing like a tomboy, she is a young girl at heart. She gets involved with the CEO of a luxury department store , Joo Won, after he mistook her for the actual actress. After leaving a strong impression on one another, Joo Won cannot forget his meeting with Gil Ra Im and continuously goes to find her. Their fates are intertwined with one another and they get closer as they experience a strange body-swapping moment with one another. Throughout the process, they interact with other people and help other people see the power of love. It is a comedic and interesting drama.   

Review:
           I finally got around to watching this drama after years of finding it hard to get into. However, this time, I pushed through and I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Sometimes dramas are considered good/bad depending on the time you watch them. As you grow as people, you may find some plots likable and others unlikable. My first time watching this was hard for me to get into this drama but now I really liked the plot, the characters, and so forth. However this does not mean that there are some parts to this drama that I didn't like and certain elements of the character that I didn't like as well. 
         I really liked Ra Im's character because she's such a strong person both physically and mentally. She also treats her friends very well too. However, under her tough exterior, she's a woman at heart and likes being complimented for her hard work, likes girly things at times, and also is very cute. However, this plot felt slightly stereotypical where they start off with bad impressions of one another, the girl likes someone else, the guy likes her after never having a crush before, he's rich, he's cool, he saves the girl and helps her out, and she ends up falling in love with him. The only interesting element was that they added in a few episodes where they changed bodies which was humorous and interesting and unexpected.
        I also love the side characters as well. The relationship between Ah Young and Secretary Kim and the relationship between Oska and Yoon Seul were so nice to watch and the three relationships all had different dynamics. I loved all the relationships portrayed in this drama and a lot of the characters were so fun to watch. I did find Joo Won's mom a bit harsh, to be honest. But she is still pretty funny and I thought it was realistic how she still didn't accept them but accepted the grandkids they gave her.  Oska is my spirit animal--"Do you want my autograph?"
              The songs and OSTs were also so pretty though and this drama had some of my favorite songs as their OST. I would highly recommend you watch this because the last episode made me so happy. The entire drama made me happy (in all honesty). 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

W : Two Worlds


Episodes: 16
Synopsis:
Oh Yeon Joo is a resident doctor whose father mysteriously disappears from his drawing room one day. Her father, Oh Sung Moo, is the popular cartoonist who draws/writes a well-liked webtoon series called "W." When Yeon Joo goes to her father's house to figure out where he could have gone, she is sucked in to the world of "W" when the main character, Kang Cheol, reaches out of the tablet and pulls her into the story. From there, she ends up saving Kang Cheol's life as he had been stabbed. However, when she exits the story, she finds that she has been included in the webtoon and the webtoon was uploaded with her in it. Everything she did in the world of "W" appeared in the webtoon. This began to cause more occurrences of her transporting back into the webtoon without warning and also situations in which the question lies in the idea of how much is created by her father and how much of the story is driven by the character's own free will. 

Review:
           This drama is absolutely amazing! The plot is so unique and fascinating. This drama really sucks you in from the very beginning and I knew from the start that this drama had great potential. I hoped that the ending would not disappoint me because of how amazing the beginning was. The concept and the idea of an artist creating a world and no longer being able to control them because they became characters with their own thoughts and opinions was probably one of the most unique and insane things ever. There were so many times that I got scared because of how unpredictable and intense some of the scenes were and there were other times where I couldn't stop laughing at the characters. The main character, Oh Yeon Joo, is so full of life and so funny. Her reaction to being sucked into this webtoon is basically what everyone would be like and I loved her interactions with Kang Cheol.
              This drama was nothing that you could predict. It was filled with different twists and turns throughout the drama. It surprised me each time. As it went on, there were times of innocence and romance that reminded the viewers of how this drama originally started and then there were also many moments of corruption and darkness. The drama began to take interesting, dark, and twisted turns and it definitely kept the viewers on their toes. I really enjoyed it as I watched this drama because it felt like it would take forever for us to reach the "happy ending" the audience is all hoping for. A lot of my friends and myself included have been keeping up with this drama. It is such an amazing drama considering the recent drama slump that the kdrama world seems to be having lately. This drama was the kind of drama that had everything a viewer looks for in a romance and a thriller. At the same time, none of these things were overdone without a plausible cause or reason. 
              I also must applaud the amazing actors in this drama. I have always been a fan of Lee Jong Suk and he has once again confirmed the fact that he can act very well and look attractive throughout the entire drama. I also greatly enjoyed Han Hyo Joo's performance as well because as I watched some of the BTS scenes and interviews, she reminded me of the actual character she played in this drama. She was so natural and fun to watch. She had amazing chemistry with Lee Jong Suk. The actor who played the Dad and the Real Culprit was absolutely amazing. The way that he was able to act both roles so well and be able to switch personalities so quickly in one scene was really admirable to me. This is a romantic comedy in some scenes, a thriller in others, a serious and touching drama in another sense, and also a drama filled with amazing actors. I would highly recommend this drama to everyone I meet. However, I can understand if some people do not like this drama because it does have a lot of twists and turns and as a viewer you always have to be on your toes and get ready to understand situations despite being confused at first. However, as I watched this myself, I personally found it easy to follow along with this drama. So I definitely think that you should all watch it and decide for yourself! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Doctors

Episodes: 20
Synopsis: 
Yoo Hye Jung has a rough childhood with an abusive family setting. She grows up dealing with challenges as though she doesn't care about them and appears to be emotionless. After being sent to live with her grandmother who helped guide her on to the right path by showing her love and affection, Hye Jung begins to work hard in school and even makes friends at her new school. She even started having dreams as to what she wanted to do in the future. However, when a medical malpractice occurs to the one closest to Hye Jung she does the only thing that makes sense to her. Work hard, find out the truth, and demand the apology that she never received. Throughout the process, she bumps into her love interest once more and has to confront her biggest rival Seo Woo personally and professionally.

Summary: 
         The character that Shin Hye played was very unique.  In the beginning, I was a little turned off by the character but yet also fascinated. Often our characters aren't shown as bratty, emotionless, cold-hearted, mean, or tough. Park Shin Hye's character, Yoo Hye Jung, was a tough, emotionless character who rebelled in ways like not going to school, wanting to appear older, or shoplifting. Her personality was not likable as she was rude to those who tried to help her and cold-hearted to those around her. She is basically the image of a rebellious child who does not trust or believe that those around her are there for her. She believes that everything she is doing is right and refuses to listen to anyone else which is why she is so flippant toward everyone. The one thing that was admirable about her in the beginning were her fighting skills. However, behind that unlikable character, there is a child who only wants to be accepted,to be loved, and to be guided. All it needs is the right amount of care and love and the right discipline.
            I really liked her grandmother for trying to teach her that there are people who are there for her and that there are people who are willing to show compassion and guide her on to the right path of life. At her age, the grandma shouldn't have had to worry about raising her grandchildren to be better people but she chose to take Hye Jung in because she knew Hye Jung's parents were not good for her at the moment and not actually worrying and helping her. Because of her grandma, Hye Jung begins to work harder to change herself for the better. Her grandma also tries to do her best to show love and care for her granddaughter via words, actions, and so forth. It is a very intimate and loving relationship between the two. I was heartbroken by episode 3.
          I don't know how to feel about the teacher because in the beginning he felt like an older brother or even a parent in the way that he was teaching her right from wrong. I liked how their relationship progressed and how they were mutually supportive to one another. However, I still couldn't get the fact that they were once teacher-student before. I guess it is normal in some sense since their relationship only started after she became an adult and a doctor...but I guess it was still slightly unsettling. However, I did enjoy their interactions. He was genuinely kind and supportive to her as she was to him and it is those kind of relationships that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
          In her new school, I also liked the friend she made in the beginning. She had saved the girl from getting bullied and thus the girl began to idolize and like Hye Jung as a friend. She was incredibly innocent and cute. Her character was like a little puppy dog. We've all heard about bromance dramas. This is one with sismance! I also liked that it ended with friendship with Seo Woo despite years of rivalry and petty remarks back and forth. It made me feel some kind of ways that they went from best friends to rivals to friends again. This is the kind of drama that makes you feel good as it goes on. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Doctor Stranger

Episodes: 20
Synopsis: Park Hoon is raised in North Korea for most of his life after his father, a heart surgeon, was sent there for a top-secret operation and is not able to return to South Korea. After experiencing traumatizing events in  North Korea, Hoon becomes an accomplished surgeon and manages to escape to South Korea. As he adjusts, he also desperately tries to keep in touch and find his girlfriend from North Korea so that she could come join him. In the process, he meets new people and catches the eyes of many others as he struggles to find his girlfriend and to avoid getting killed off.

Review:
          I actually watched this drama a long time ago but never got to this review.  I actually enjoyed this drama a lot in the beginning. It was filled with suspense, action, and romance. I also liked it because Lee Jong Suk was acting in it and he's the ultimate eye candy. However, as the drama went on I started getting bored of the consistent action and always be suspicious of everyone around them. It seemed so weird to watch the girl that he loved before seem to almost butt heads with him and it felt weird that her character seemed to completely shift 360 degrees. It got tiring after a while. It was a drama with great potential but as it went on it started to get boring. A lot of people rave about this drama and so I feel kind of bad that I didn't fall in love with it like they did. I loved the first few episodes because it was so intense but the drama just felt too repetitive for me.

Time to Love (movie)

             I was really excited to watch this drama because the Chinese title for this is literally "The New Bubujingxin." And my favorite drama of all time is Bubujingxin aka Scarlet Heart. (It is also why I'm extremely excited for Ryeo because it is supposed to be the Korean version of BBJX). However, I want to make a note that this movie has nothing to do with BBJX. The only thing similar to the drama was that it involved time traveling and the girl was called Ruo Xi in the historical time period. I did not enjoy this movie like I thought I would. I just had a difficult time getting into it and spent most of my time confused by the drama. I also found it weird in a lot of ways and I didn't think a lot of things made sense. The attire and the setting was not historically accurate and it felt more fake. I was so confused when a carousel appeared out of no where with no one to push it or anything. It just felt too modern and wrong for a time travel drama. I can accept the things where the girl introduces new things into the past since she came from the present but it got to a point where the movie just seemed like a make believe rather than something plausible like the drama BBJX.
          If you watch this movie, I highly recommend that you think of it as a fun, fake movie and just enjoy whatever romance or eye candy they give you. Other than that, I would not recommend this movie as I did not enjoy it. But shout out to Shawn Dou (14th prince) for looking cute in this drama!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Rise of A Tomboy (Movie)

         I wanted to watch this movie because the actors from Shan Shan Comes to Eat (aka Boss and Me) and did a fantastic job together. I knew that the actors, Zhang Han and Zhao Li Ying, had amazing chemistry together and looked extremely compatible. In the drama, they played a very realistic couple with their cute inside laughs and serious moments as they took on their relationship and life together. This movie and the characters they played this time around are very different from the drama. This movie was very comical and the characters were also very lively and funny as well. Ii loved seeing Zhao Li Ying act as the tomboy and watch Zhang Han be the one who is always just doing his own thing and following along with her pace. It was actually really interesting to see how they were able to adapt to new roles so easily and so well. 
       The movie starts off with two students at the University of Sydney. He Xiu Wu is trying to perfect a true love formula that allows people to find their perfect matches in the most efficient time possible. She is doing this to try to reduce the number of divorces and broken families. However, she lacks funding to do this research and her formula does not seem to work as she tried it on her roommate Lily and her formula failed. Thus she decided to use herself as an experiment to try to prove that her formula works.
        She meets Ye Si Yi by chance. Ye Si Yi is an amateur composer from Beijing and is kind of the opposite of the tomboy, He Xiu Wu. Ye Si Yi is doing everything he can to profess his love towards his crush and pop star Sun Qiao Qiao but nothing is working as Sun Qiao Qiao is constantly using Ye Si Yi as a rebound. Sun Qiao Qiao also used Ye Si Yi's song to rise to fame. When He Xiu Wu goes to Beijing for her experiment to work, her luggage is lost and she ends up living with Ye Si Yi for the time being. She then bumps into Sun Qiao Qiao constantly and also into Sun Qiao Qiao's boyfriend, Ge Yang (Jung Il Woo), who later would hired her to use her true love formula and to provide her with the funding she needs. When both Ge Yang and  Ye Si  Yi fall in love He Xiu Wu, she is faced with a dilemma about following what her equation produced or what she wants, 
     This movie revolves around He Xiu Wu attempting to complete her true love formula. The question is when it comes to love--is she going to follow her heart or follow her most trusted mathematical equations? 
          This was an amazing movie and I genuinely enjoyed this a lot. Highly recommend. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Zhen Huan Zhuan (The Legend of Zhen Huan/Empresses in the Palace)


Episodes: 76
Synopsis: 
          This drama follows a young girl named Zhen Huan as she enters the palace to be one of the emperor's many concubines. As she gains the favor of the emperor and moves up in social ranking within the palace walls, she has to face numerous challenges and schemes that threaten everything she has. She has to learn to use her wisdom and wit to hold on to the emperor's favor and to deal with the other women in the palace.

Review: 
        This drama was extremely popular when it came out and I recently just watched it. This drama follows a clever and beautiful girl named Zhen Huan as she lives the life of the emperor's favored concubine. It was extremely interesting to watch the way she deals with problems and the interactions she has with all the other wives in the palace. This drama focuses mostly on what goes on within the palace and what goes on with the emperor's women and it was such a fascinating drama. At first, I was interested and liked watching it. As it went on, it scared me how scary these women can be to scheme, manipulate, and hate on one another. All the drama within the palace roots down to jealousy whether it is of affection from the emperor or of the power other people hold.
       This drama shows that despite being admired by many for being the wife of an emperor and for living a life of luxury, the women of the palace are often plagued with feelings of doubt, jealousy, and loneliness. There is the constant worry of one day losing the favor when one gets favored the worry of never getting favored when one doesn't get favored. These negative feelings and ambition for more power and affection cause these women to start competing with one another, acting cautious around friends, and fighting off plots that other women set up.
        In this drama, the most arrogant and hateful characters can't be hated because they are so human. If you take into consideration what they have to deal with in the palace and all the feelings they suffer with, you can see why they did the things they do. When they explain themselves and their feelings, your heart breaks for them because the palace just isn't as glamorous as it seems and being highly ranked or most doted on isn't the safest thing at times.
         I also like how this drama has things like affairs because I've always wondered if all these women were loyal to the end even when the emperor didn't visit them or when they start to lose feelings for the emperor. I also liked how it focused on women and just how smart, virtuous, powerful, and witty women can be. Despite the ugliness of competition, these women were all smart, well-respected, and many of them got more powerful as they continued life in the palace. It was nice to watch.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mirror of the Witch

                                    
Episodes: 20
Synopsis: 
The Queen is unable to conceive a child and so she visits the shaman Hong Joo to help her conceive an heir. After using dark magic and sacrificing another woman's life, twins are born to the queen. But the children are cursed and the only solution was to have the boy's curse moved to the girl as well and then kill the girl as an infant. Hong Joo may have helped the queen but her ultimate goal was to bring down the royal family. The king realizing that sacrificing the princess may have dire consequences asks his loyal subject to save the princess. The princess, Seo Ri, is saved and is then raised by the father of Poong Yeon without ever knowing about her identity or of the curse. She was raised in seclusion (like Rapunzel) and always surrounded by talismans that protected her from the evil shaman. One day she goes out of the protective barriers and the curse becomes reactivated again which leads to Seo Ri's life being endangered and for her to learn the truth about herself and how to lift the curse. As more people get involved, the more lives are endangered or lost. As she tries to change her fate and lift the curse, she is helped by Heo Jun, Poong Yeon, and a couple of other people. 

Summary:
       This drama had a "The Moon Embraces the Sun" vibe but it was a whole lot darker and creepier. In the beginning, it felt like "The Moon Embraces the Sun" because there were shamans, a death, a curse, and a killing of a princess. However, this drama showed a lot of gruesome scenes such as finger nails breaking when the curse took hold and so forth. I actually liked the creepy vibe because it gave the drama more suspense. It was also very interesting to watch the good fighting against the evil and it was nice to see the little "protect the princess" squad form as the drama went on.
       The acting was fairly good throughout the drama in my opinion. All of the characters had their flaw, their own fears, and their own insecurities but many of them were able to be selfless enough to help others and work to lift the curse and help with the greater good. The antagonist was also very good at acting and you really start to hate her or be scared of her because of her psychopathic, manipulative ways. At the same time, the curse was also very creepy because it was literally a little dark cloud with a childish, cackling voice that enters the bodies of people in very weird places (LOL). 
         I feel like a lot of drama would never have happened if the Lord trusted his family with the truth and also telling the main character the truth as well. Because only few people knew of the curse and her princess identity, their ignorance as to what they should do and what they can't do caused a lot of drama throughout the show. I also loved how this drama showed the main character moving on and becoming stronger with those who truly support her by her side. It also showed people that struggled to let go of the past and refuse to see that people have to grow and change. It was an interesting contrast between the two "love" interests (even though I find it hard to see the brother--not related by blood to the princess--as a love interest). Not only did I enjoy a lot of the characters but I also loved the chemistry all the actors had when acting together. The romance was so innocent and carefree and the two main characters were so supportive of each other all the time. The drama was pretty enjoyable for me. The ending was also beautiful and so bittersweet. It gave me all the feels. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Penny Pinchers (Movie)

   

       This movie is about two people who live next door to one another. One is unemployed and always bluffing to attract women. His name is Chun Ji Woong and he is played by the actor Song Joong Ki. The other is a woman who lives in a frugal manner and saves money in every way she can.She is called Gu Hong Sil and is played by the actress Han Ye Seul. The two are complete opposites. When Hong Sil hears that Ji Woong was going to be evicted, she tries to help him and at the same time get him to help her reach her financial deposit goals at her bank. However, things don't turn out so well even as the two get closer to one another.  
       This was a movie that was filled with comedy. There were also some sexual jokes that were made such as when he ran to go buy condoms but didn't have enough money and so forth. Personally, other than the comedic scenes, this movie was really boring for me. I wasn't that interested in the story line nor was I that invested in the characters of this movie. I found the characters kind of annoying even though I loved the actors. I feel like this movie would've done better if it had more depth, character development, and an interesting story line. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Oh My Ghostess


Episodes: 16
Synopsis:
 Na Bong Sun (Park Bo Young) can see ghosts and because of it she rarely sleeps at night and is often very timid. She works at the Sun Restaurant which is run by the chef Kang Sun Woo (Jo Jung Suk). Kang Sun Woo was once a pushover as a child but grew up to be a cocky, confident fellow and often finds Na Bong Sun's timid personality a bit frustrating. Na Bong Sun has a crush on Kang Sun Woo but hides it away and watches him from afar. Shin Soon Ae (Kim Seul Gi) is a high spirited ghost who has amnesia about her past and how she died. She wanders about trying to go to heaven peacefully and believes the one thing holding her back is because she is a virgin ghost. Thus she begins to enter the bodies of attractive women to seduce men but was unsuccessful in all cases because the men would all fall in. That was until she entered Na Bong Sun's body and found they were compatible to each other. The two then strike a deal that Na Bong Sun will let Shin Soon Ae use her body to lose her virginity and Shin Soon Ae would help Na Bong Sun seduce Kang Sun Woo.

Review: 
This drama reminded me of Master's Sun in a way since the main character can see ghosts and can't really sleep because the ghosts come to see her or bother her. The ghost reminds me of Arang from Arang and the Magistrate because she's very quirky and sassy. I loved this drama because it was very fast paced, comical, cute, and funny. It is also nice to see characters be so sexually open as the ghost was literally trying to seduce a man the first half of the drama so that her soul could go to peace of not being a virgin. As it went on, it was so interesting to see more of the spirit world and physical world tie in here and there. There were a lot of themes going on about friendship, family, life, and death. It was a very beautiful drama and it did not focus on the idea of losing a virginity too much. I felt like that goal was more for the comedy effect and it worked because it was funny.
        I liked how this drama tried to tie up a lot of plot holes that wouldn't have worked out well. For instance, I felt a bit suspicious at first and I thought: "If Kang Sun Woo falls in love with Na Bong Sun...he's not really in love with her but is instead in love with the ghost." Thankfully, the writers took care of that in a very mature way and allowed the drama to continue successfully along the way. I also liked the relationship that Shin Soon Ae had with everyone and how she used Na Bong Sun's body to establish the same connections to her past life. I like how in a way Shin Soon Ae got Na Bong Sun to watch over her remaining family as well. It was very touching.
       There was also a lot of character development as well. The once quiet and timid girl was possessed and befriended by a confident, loud ghost. The two learn from one another and slowly Na Bong Sun also begins to find her voice with a little help of Shin Soon Ae. I was also fairly satisfied with the ending as it was touchingly sad at first and then it ended on a very happy note. I liked this drama a lot as it was light-hearted with great characters and amazing actors. (Props to Park Bo Young for being able to portray two roles both so well. When she acted as the ghost, she really did give off that vibe).

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pure Love (Movie)


            After seeing clips of this movie all over my Facebook feed, I decided to check it out. This movie was so beautiful and touching. It gave me all the feels and even made me cry. The story is a nostalgic look on the past by a couple of friends. Radio DJ Bum Sil receives a letter that makes him remember his teenage years. His friends, listening to the radio, also reminisce on the past. They think back on friendships, first loves, and their youth. It was very touching watching the friends play together and support one another. It was very realistic and heartwarming in a lot of scenes. I enjoyed this movie greatly and would recommend this for others to watch. I won't get into detail with this movie because I think it is better to watch this and feel the full impact of it yourself without giving you any spoilers.

          It got pretty sad and depressing as it went on but it was still a wonderful watch nonetheless. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Splash Splash Love (Movie version)

    
      This drama was very comedic and simple. It definitely isn't as detailed as many other time travel dramas/movies and it isn't historically accurate either. The main character got sent back in time to Joseon and got to meet the emperor and so forth. A lot of the historically inaccurate things probably could've been overlooked because it is a movie after all. But it seemed like the emperor would probably get killed off by assassins with the way he's running here and there and out of the palace with ease. That was my main concern. How is he able to just leave the palace? How are other people in this palace able to just leave? It's a palace with guards and rules and everything that would prevent the royal family from leaving so easily like that the way these characters were. At the same time, being the wife of an emperor would mean that she is heavily watched. Any contact with any other man would've been deemed inappropriate. That is why I think the queen is also not historically accurate but instead driven by emotions in this make-believe drama world. But enough of me nitpicking at how this movie isn't historically accurate. I'll dive into the synopsis a bit more and also my views on the story and characters. 
          It is a very light watch with very cute and fluffy characters. There wasn't much depth to the characters. The story revolves around a high school senior, Dan Bi, who hates math and has given up on her future dreams and even her SATs. On the day of her college entrance exam, she runs away from it and jumps into a puddle which brought her to the Joseon  Dynasty. There she meets the king and is mistaken as eunuch because she called herself a "gosam" (high school senior) which also meant a  eunuch. It was believed that she would help bring rain as the country suffered from a drought. The two begin helping one another as she teaches him more about the more advanced world and introduce the information of the future. 
           I liked the actress Kim Seul Gi because I've watched a couple of her dramas before and I am currently watching one she acts in. Yoon  Doo Joon plays the role of Joseon's emperor. It is a very light watch and a very cute friendship and then romance. It was comedic with the way modern day things were implemented and brought into the Joseon dynasty. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Cheese In The Trap



Episodes: 16
Synopsis: 
Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun) is a very diligent student who has just returned to college after taking some time off to work part-time jobs to pay for her tuition. Consistently studying and doing her best in school, she strives to be the greatest and hopes to be able to help her family in the future financially.  Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin) is an extremely popular student (a senior to many of the underclassmen) who has returned to college as an upperclassman after serving his mandatory military service. After Seol notices that Yoo Jung may not be as nice as he appears to be, Yoo Jung begins to make her life harder through small actions and through people. However, one day, Yoo Jung helped Seol get a scholarship that paid for her tuition and she begins wondering what kind of person he is exactly. As she falls in love and deals with school life and friends, the story unravels as she is caught in a romance with Yoo Jung and is also mediating relationships between him and his friend Baek In Ho. 

Review: 
         This drama definitely had a different feel than most dramas. This one combined romance with mystery. It felt like I was watching a thriller at times. This drama had a lot of creepy vibes and almost all of the characters appear to be slightly crazy in some way. In my opinion, the only normal people in this drama were the main character and her two friends. Everyone else all had this creepy element to them that made me think that some of them just weren't sane or mentally stable. It was either that or they were just kind of annoying. However, do not let this be a turn off as to why you won't watch this drama. This drama had a lot of its own appealing factors that allowed me to enjoy watching it. 
         I liked how Hong Seol isn't one of those typical Korean drama characters and the human relationships she holds with other people are also very realistic in my opinion. Hong Seol notices the small details of people and notices certain factors of their personality right off the bat without others having to hint at her. She noticed that Yoo Jung had two sides to him and how he hides behind a kind exterior while manipulating others and situations to get what he wants. She doesn't do what a lot Kdrama characters do which is talk about their thoughts out loud. Hong Seol was able to go about, noticing things, make her mind about things, and so forth while having the entire thought process in her head only. It made me really appreciate her character. Also, she is from a family that does not have a lot of money and so she struggles in a lot of aspects in comparison to her peers. However, she doesn't make it into a sobfest nor does she expect others to do things for her or fix anything for her either. She does everything through her own hard work and expects other people to know that and respect her character. As scary as Yoo Jung sometimes appeared to be, I did like him for certain factors. He was very smart and he was able to control situations without really getting his hands dirty. He had a side to him that was wary of people. He thought everyone had their own motives for things and so forth. He's also somewhat protective at times but also very supportive. He is manipulative (the drama does not try to downplay it) but there are so many other layers to him. Baek In Ho and Baek In Ha were also very interesting case as well. I really liked the difference between Yoo Jung and Baek In Ho because personally I felt that Baek In Ho felt more normal. The thing about a lot of the characters that you see in the drama is that they aren't really just side characters. They are all fueled by different things and all have different personalities. So it is very interesting to watch the characters interact and how some characters reach a breaking point based on the way they interpret things and so forth. I really liked that about this drama. 
      I really enjoyed the drama because it felt so realistic to me. This drama was also set in a college setting and it showed how much Hong Seol worked to get her good grades. It is somewhat motivating for the viewers to also start being as diligent and so forth. I would recommend this drama because the actors did an amazing job and the story line was very realistic. You'll meet all sorts of people in school or at work. Some people imitate you and follow you around, some obsessively like a person, some are manipulative with a kind exterior, some have traumatizing backstories, and some will make others do their tasks for them. This drama was definitely very interesting, realistic, and also somewhat creepy at times. I enjoyed it greatly. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Reply 1988


Episodes: 20 
Synopsis: 
This reply drama takes place in the late 1980s as five childhood friends live together in the same Ssangmundong neighborhood of Seoul. They played with each other as children growing up and now reply on one another during their transitions from teenagers to adults. Each of the characters came from a different family background and it was interesting to see the way they bond with one another and how they resolve familial issues. Sung Deok Sun (Hyeri) struggles for attention as the middle child in her poor family. She's the goofball among their friends and also isnt the smartest of the bunch. Kim Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol) is obsessed with soccer and hopes to be a fighter pilot one day. He lives with his parents and his brother (who has been trying repeatedly to get into college). His family became rich overnight and he was the richest among his group  of friends. Sung Sun Woo (Ko Gyung Pyo) is the perfect son and perfect student. Living with his mother and little sister, he holds a lot of responsibility as he struggles with his family's financial issues and holds on to the memory of his past father. Ryu Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi) is the son of the school's dean. Rather than being smart, he focuses on trivial facts such as girls and so forth. He struggles with his parents constantly working and not paying attention to him. Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum) is a genius baduk player who dropped out of school to be a professional baduk player. This drama follows these characters and their families around as they transition to adulthood and move on to new phases of their life. 

Review: 
      I definitely liked this a lot because this drama not only portrayed the times back then but also managed to show off the charm of the neighborhoods back then and the connections between people. The friendliness between the neighbors was endearing to watch and it made a lot of people, not only myself, look back on the simplistic ways we used to live and interact with one another back then. The scene with all the mothers calling for their children to come eat dinner from their doorsteps was very interestingly filmed and brought a lot of life to this drama in the beginning. I loved how all the families were portrayed differently as were the relationships the characters had with each other. The different ways families functioned and their different statuses in wealth and the jobs they did all played a role in making this drama so realistic. That's the thing with the Reply series. The characters and relationships are all portrayed very realistically---a slice of life---and the story lines are also very realistic yet endearing. It's the sort of drama that makes you see the romance in daily life.
     Once again this drama played with our hearts as we tried to figure out who Deok Sun's future husband is. It rotated between Choi Taek and Kim Jung Hwan throughout the drama. I liked both boys because they both really liked Deok Sun but in different ways. I liked the silent watchfulness of Kim Jung Hwan and the way he teased her when confronted on anything. They were playful and normal. You could see he tried to hide his feelings and sort of maintain their old way of friendship while slowly shifting to something more. I also liked Taek's kindness and the way he smiled so brightly around her. Even when he was tired or feeling down, he would always smile upon seeing her. Personally, I was drawn more to Taek but I do know a lot of people who rooted for Jung Hwan. For me, I was always on Taek's side. His simplicity, his smile, and the way he was always the nice, quiet type made me fall for him.
      This drama made me cry so much at the end. Not because it was sad but rather it filled me with nostalgia and gave me all the feels. I think this is probably my favorite Reply drama out of all the Reply dramas. And that says a lot because the Reply series are probably some of the best dramas I've watched. But this one really gave me so many feels and told me to remember to cherish my youth, my friends who are also in their youth, my parents who will never be as young as they are now, and so forth. Absolutely amazing drama about growth, life, and romance. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Goodbye Mr. Loser (Movie)

This is a Chinese comedy movie about a middle aged man named Xia Luo. He's always been a loser from high school to adulthood. In school, he was the class clown and was often laughed at and never taken seriously. In adulthood, he was lazy and rarely did much to help support his family. When he gets invited to a wedding of his high school crush Qiu Ya, Xiao Luo is determined to at least show up in a cool car and with cool clothes just to put on an appearance of how far he's gotten. However, even in that case, he gets made fun of for past memories and also on how overdressed he was. Xia Luo gets drunk at the wedding and embarasses himself. His wife, upset that he was at the wedding when he said he was going to visit his mother's grave, gets angry at him and exposes his true self to all his friends about how he's been living and how lazy he is.
       After getting chased around by his wife Ma Dong Mei, he locks himself in the bathroom. When he sobered up and walked out, he finds himself back in time and at his high school. He is given a chance to relive his entire life again and so he decides to make the best of it. He decides to chase after his high school crush and he also became famous by plagiarizing popular songs that haven't been produced yet. He gets to relive his life again from high school to adulthood. He becomes rich and famous and looked up to his peers. He got the girl of his dreams. But he soon realizes that he isn't happy with what he has and begins to realize that he should have cherished what he did have instead of wish for something else.

Very funny movie and very interesting to watch how his new life played out and how it changed a lot of his friends' lives as well.

Descendants of the Sun


Ep: 16
Summary: 
Yoo Shi Jin is the leader of a Special Forces unit and meets the trauma surgeon Kang Mo Yeon during an incident that happened with his second-in-command on their day off. Yoo Shi Jin falls for Kang Mo Yeon and asks her out on a date. However, on their date, Yoo Shi Jin gets called to duty and Kang Mo Yeon realizes the difference between their jobs and the differences in the way they view things. She would spend hours in the operation room with the sole purpose of saving a patient while Yoo Shi Jin puts emphasis that he would kill to protect his country. The two decide part ways but their relationship was fated. It just so happened that Yoo Shi Jin and his second-in-command, Seo Dae Young, were deployed to a fictional war-torn country called Urk to keep peace and Kang Mo Yeon and a medical team were assigned to go there as well. The two fall in love again and learn to understand one another, help one another, and overcome many obstacles together. The two also learned to adapt to one another in situations where she can't always be with him or when they have to do long distance for a while.Throughout the drama Seo Dae Young's relationship with the lieutenant's daughter, army doctor Yoon Myeong Ju was an interesting contrast between the main couple.

Review: 
      This drama was absolutely amazing and definitely one of the best dramas I watched this entire year. It pulled on all my heartstrings, it made me fall in love with every single character, it made me ship everyone together, it made me excited, it made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me fall in love with it. This drama is a roller coaster of emotions and I loved the chemistry between all the actors and actresses. They did an amazing job portraying their roles and their characters were all full of life. It is impossible to dislike any character in this drama because you learn to understand them and they are all comedic and realistic at the same time. I liked how realistic the relationships went and how they used the main couple and the other couple as a contrast to each other to show that all relationships are different but sincerity between them two still remain. I really enjoyed this drama and one minute I'll be laughing and one minute I'll be crying. It got to a point where I started watching the drama during my free periods at school.
    I liked the way the guys often treated the girls. From what I remember, there were no yelling or acting like a macho/controlling type of guy. They were all very caring toward their girlfriends and often would talk it out half jokingly/half serious about minor issues and hug one another when it came to serious issues. It definitely made it easier for me to fall in love with the guys because they had a lot of respect toward their girlfriends and both were also very mature when they needed to be. I really enjoyed seeing a very positive and healthy relationship in this drama.
      Definitely an amazing drama with many memorable scenes. It's no wonder that this drama was such a big hit. Highly recommend.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Please Come Back, Mister



Episodes: 16
Summary: 
Kim Young Soo (Kim In Kwon) was a hard-working employee of a major department store. He awas always optimistic and worked so hard that he sometimes disregarded himself and his family. Han Ki Tak is a tough guy who runs a restaurant and has held on to his first love, who is now a celebrity, after all these years. Kim Young Soo dies in what looked like a suicide after a tough day on the job. Han Kki Tak also died on the same day in car accident as he tried to help his actress ex-girlfriend Song Yi Yeon. As the two are on a train bound for heaven, Young Soo decides he has to go back to make sure his wife and daughter are taken care of and so both he and Ki Tak jump off the train. The two end up making a deal with the angel Ma Ya who allows them to go back to Earth to take care of certain matters under certain conditions. The two have rules during the time they are at Earth or else they would be faced with a deadly consequence.
       Upon waking up, back on Earth, the two find that they are in a different body constructed from an image of their minds. Young Soo wakes up in the body of a good looking young man, that by accident resembled Lee Hae Joon, the illegitimate son of the department store's chairman. Han Ki Tak wakes up in the body of an attractive woman. The two learn to work with their new bodies and also deal with any of the new issues that come in the way. They begin to tie their loose ends. One trying to help his family and to also reveal the truth of his death and the other trying to help the woman he loves. The stories of these two become intertwined as Han Ki Tak's actress ex-girlfriend was the ex-wife of the chairman's first son Cha Jae Kook who is battling Cha Hae Joon for the position in the department store.

Review: 
This drama definitely was one of my favorites. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me ship all the characters together simply because the chemistry between all of them was so  good. The acting was also off the charts. I absolutely adored this drama because it was the perfect mix of all that life is: romance, laughter, hard work, family, friends, letting go, happiness, and pain. This drama felt both raw and comical at the same time and it really pulled on all of my heart strings. I wish that the ending could have explained a bit more of what happened to them all and so forth but I also appreciated the beauty of it once again tying together the fates and destinies of people together. There were so many plot twists and moments where you realize all their fates are interconnected. It was absolutely amazing. I loved how mutually supportive a lot of the characters were to each other. I loved the new relationships formed in the new bodies with their old friends and families. Definitely a must watch for all those interested in a drama that can make them laugh and cry at the same time. This drama also has a great share of amazing actors and eye candy that played their roles unbelievably well.

There's not much to say other than that I highly recommend you watch this!!! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Imperial Doctress

                                 
Episodes: 50
Synopsis:
The Tan family spans many generations of doctors, with many past ancestors who were imperial physicians. But when powerful enemies frame their family, the royal court passes a ruling that future generations of the Tan family are forbidden from practicing medicine. Thus the Tan family are forced to change their last name to Hang. Hang Yunxian (Liu Shi Shi) secretly learns the art of traditional Chinese medicine from her grandmother and helps to cure plagues and illnesses among the common people. Yunxian overcomes many societal obstacles in her passion and pursuit of medicine. And when she meets Emperor Zhu Qizhen (Wallace Huo), he wields a great deal of influence in Yunxian fulfilling her destiny to become the first female physician of the Ming Dynasty. 

Review:
    I enjoyed this drama for a lot of reasons. I watched it primarily because some of my favorite actors feature in this drama. The main character, Liu Shi Shi, has been a personal favorite since I saw her in the drama Bubujingxin. In this drama, I saw that beauty and strength once again (especially at the end of the drama). At the same time, her character was also very different in this drama but I enjoyed how she gave this very comfortable/familiar vibe. The emperor, Wallace Huo, is also a favorite simply because I absolutely enjoy his acting, his piercing gaze, and everything about him. 
       I appreciate this drama so much in the fact that the characters have both the societal/traditional values of the time back then (as it is a historical drama) but also want the best for our main character with a more advanced kind of thinking. All of the male leads (love interests) have continuously pushed the main character forward in her desire to learn more about medicine and to work as a physician. All of them did have the whole “the man is the dominant one and you are the female” type mindset at one point but they also took pride in the main character’s skills and admired her and respected her. They also slowly started seeing her as their equal as her skills came to play more often. I wasn't surprised when I liked the emperor more than Prince Cheng because I had a lot of issues with the character Yun Xian (our main character) loved. But I was surprised when I began to start liking Ye Xian more (her love interest when the emperor and Yun Xian were captured by the Oirat clan). He wasn't the best at times and had these dominant tendencies in which he would try to force her to do things such as marry him or be with him (etc) but as he developed more feelings for her, I truly saw his respect for her and admiration for her grow more and more. It got to a point where he put her on a pedestal and chose her happiness over everything else. He let her go and never went to disturb the life that she chose for herself.
         The emperor was definitely an all-time favorite for me. During his reign and during his fall, he maintained a benevolent king (hot-headed, yes...but a good king nonetheless). Throughout the drama, he respected her feelings and did not force his or her emotions into doing anything that would make her unhappy. He helped her rise socially so that she had more freedom to practice medicine as a woman. He supported her even when he suffered when he lost his power. He protected her the best he could in all scenarios and despite almost being killed, he comforted her first. His kindness and the freedom he gave her were absolutely amazing. He was also a great husband to the empress. He respected her and was extremely loyal considering he had an entire harem to his disposal yet he only maintained his relationship with the empress. He also had similar thoughts as Yun Xian to not hurt the empress by getting together. It was very evident to a lot of viewers that they definitely had chemistry between one another (Yun Xian and the emperor) but they couldn't be together because of other people, their morals, the situations at hand, and so forth.
        As for Prince Cheng...I did not mind him in the beginning. I was pretty open-minded to her liking him more and wanting to marry him. But I was already turned off in the beginning when he started to try to "temporarily" stop her from practicing medicine just to appease his power-hungry mother and to get married with her. When she chose not to, he would get upset or do something that made me annoyed. He continuously hurt her...on purpose or whatever. He got married to someone else to protect her but his wife would continuously threaten Yun Xian because she had the prince's favor.  When he later took over the throne when the emperor was captured by the Oirat, he became tyrannical over time. When the emperor and Yun Xian safely made it back home, he would get upset every time someone challenged his position as emperor. He would hit people. He would yell at people. He would say hurtful things. One thing that I refuse to forgive this prince for is that toward the very end of the drama, due to his jealousy, rage, and suspicion, he raped the main character (who was technically his consort but still she didn't consent) and afterward when she was evidently distraught he got annoyed that she wouldn't stop crying and defending the emperor. (So if you plan on watching this, I recommend being careful...I think around ep 45. They will have a scene before it warning about it happening so this is just a warning). He was a character I didn't like and afterward the screenwriters tried to redeem his character and make his apology seem sincere. But for me it was hard for me to view him as someone I would ever want our main lead to end up with ever.  However i did google the history in which this drama was based on and the screenwriters did try to keep it as close to history as possible from the emperor, the empress dowager, the kidnapping of the emperor and being held hostage by the Oirat, Yexian letting him go and Yexian's struggle over time, and the Prince becoming emperor and not giving up the throne, and his wives did include a woman with the last name Wang and a consort with the last name Hang (which was our main character's last name). Thankfully, the screenwriters hinted at a relationship forming between Yun Xian and the emperor at the very end of the drama because I wouldn't be happy that she lived her life being loyal to this emperor who was so emotionally abusive. 
          Also the OSTs of this drama were beautiful and befitting for a lot of scenes.
          I did have an issue in the beginning because Yun Xian's constant need to save people and against traditional/societal values that her family were trying to place importance on started to bug me. Her family wanted to make sure her reputation didn't go down the drain but she would constantly fight it. So I didn't like Yun Xian's relationship with her father in the beginning and I wished that she could have more balance since considering the time everything she was doing was unfitting for a woman. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Madame Antoine

                                   

Episodes: 16 
Synopsis:  
Go Hye Rim uses her strong instincts and observational skills to run a Madame Antoine Cafe and play the role of a fortuneteller for her clients. Pretending that she can talk to the spirit of Marie Antoinette, Hye Rim is pretty successful in what she does. However, one day, a psychotherapy clinic opens right above her cafe. After constantly butting heads with the psychotherapist, Choi Soo Hyun, they come to an agreement in which she helps work as an adviser to him. 
    However, there is more to this plot when we find that Choi Soo Hyun is running a top secret experiment on her. He says that the experiment is about what one's ideal type is and its relation to one's immune system. Instead, it is an experiment on love in which he presents three different men to her who all treat her amazingly well. As she falls in love with one of them, she will go through certain phases of the experiment to show her love. The final part of the experiment includes tying ribbons around a tree and calling out "I love you!" 
     He decides to run this experiment on Go Hye Rim. However, Hye Rim is smarter than expected. Will she beat him at his own game or will she fall in love with him despite it all? 

Review: 
I really enjoyed this drama initially because it was quirky and cute. The characters were all very intelligent and unique. It was very nice to see a woman with so much experience, knowledge, and insight as Go Hye Rim did. She was also very smart as she doubted certain aspects of the characters, of the experiment, and she wasn't scared to take revenge when she needed to do so. Go Hye Rim is a divorcee and she has a daughter who soon went to go live with her father. Her ex-husband and daughter didn't play that big of a role throughout the drama and I think it was more to get a back story about her and how harsh love was to her. 
     I liked how both Choi Soo Hyun and Go Hye Rim involve themselves with psychology. This drama used a lot of psychology concepts in treating different clients and it greatly influenced the interactions between the characters. It was very interesting to see them come together because they both used psychology in a different way. One used in a very factual sense and based it all on science, anatomy, and chemistry. The other based it on emotions and noticed little details to get insight. It was very interesting to see how they both worked together to help out clients and how together they were able to help the people more than they would have on their own. 
      I liked how the main character wasn't fooled by the experiment and that she found out pretty early on. She was also very smart in how she cautiously tested waters and so far. However, I did start to get annoyed that she started disregard that fact and fall in love, hoping that Choi Soo Hyun would give up on the experiment. However, nonetheless, she was still a strong woman throughout the drama and managed herself pretty well despite being deceived and despite possibly being heartbroken. I didn't like how she treated her sister at times because she felt as though she was the center of attention. Her sister really was looking out for Hye Rim but Hye Rim was always pushing her down at times. I did like how the sister found love with someone who really saw her as beautiful and I loved how they shared a cute romance throughout the drama. 
      It was harder to get into the drama as it went on because it was hard to trust or enjoy the romance when I knew about the experiment and Choi Soo Hyun's intentions. Even though feelings were developing for both parties, I couldn't trust it. I also found it amazing how quickly the other two men who started developing feelings for her during the experiment immediately lost feelings soon after they decided to drop out of the experiment. At the end, they all had other people they interacted with more than they did with her. I didn't enjoy the romance as much because it was built on false pretenses and revenge. It was fun to watch but it was really hard to get into the drama. 
      I also felt bad for Doctor Bae Mi Ran as she suffered from thyroid cancer. But I didn't like how the drama kept constantly bringing Seungchan and her together and kind of forced this idea of how she just had an "innocent one-sided crush on him" and all that. She's fine to do that but I wish it wasn't forced and I wish the other characters didn't always mesh them together. I liked their friendship toward one another and all that. But it was weird every time the fact that she liked him in a romantic way came up considering they had a 36 year age difference. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chronicle of Life


Episodes: 37
Synopsis:
       The story starts off when our main characters are all children. The young emperor and his loyal subject Nalan Rong Ruo defeat subjects who are planning treason under the careful guidance of the Empress Dowager. Liang er is the daughter of one of the subjects tied to acts of treason. On the day of her tenth birthday, she witnesses the slaughter of her entire family. Her mother protects her from death and makes her promise to live on and to go to the Nalan Residence before passing away. Liang Er encounters numerous dangers and meets the young emperor. The two help each other and make the young emperor makes a promise to come back for her. Liang Er finally makes it to the Nalan Residence.
      After a series of traumatic events, Liang er hits her head and develops amnesia. For the next 8 years, the Nalan family mask her as a servant and rename her as Wei Ling Lang. Nalan Rong Ruo, having grown up with her, takes care ocf her and the two eventually fall in love. Their love is met with great opposition from the Nalan family as they know the truth behind Ling Lang's identity and so she gets sent to the palace as a maid to prevent the relationship from further continuing. This begins the friendship of the emperor as he meets her again after 8 years of seeing her.  The two end up developing romantic feelings for each other and must overcome the politics of the inner court and also the past resurfacing. At the same time, another survivor (Liang Er's brother) is in the palace as a eunuch to seek revenge on the emperor for his family. In this drama, love, family, friendship, sacrifices, and being torn between hate and love is all present.

Review: 
     I really enjoyed this drama. It gave me a lot of feels throughout the drama, especially at the end. The end basically makes you feel a nostalgic sadness that fills up your soul. The characters are all very fascinating, unique, and all have their own character. They all play a role throughout the entire drama. It was nice to see the changing relationships between the characters and to be a part of the internal struggle of continuing revenge and living a hate-filled life or choosing love and giving up on vengeance. The internal politics of the court played an important role throughout the drama. However, this drama definitely was extremely cute and endearing in the romantic aspect. I greatly enjoyed it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Battle of Changsha


Episodes: 32 
Synopsis:
      This is the story about a family living in Changsha, Hunan Province, China. The story takes place during the Anti-Japanese war and reflected what their lives were like during that period. With air raids and student protests, their stories are all linked to one another and also to their changing surroundings. Characters grow and develop over the course of events both blissful and depressing.
       The main character is a girl named Hu Xiang Xiang. She is a spoiled, naive young girl who is running away from a blind date set up by her brother in law. Her brother in law was hoping to marry her off so that she could avoid the war in Changsha but her stubborn personality and reluctance causes her to run around town like a madman while being chased by her brother in law. All the while, her twin brother is trying to help her out. It's a very comedic scene. While running, she bumps into the very man that she was supposed to be going on a blind date with, Gu Qing Ming.
         They started off with bad terms and butted heads upon meeting one another causing the brother in law to have to find another blind date for her. Despite being innocent and ignorant to her surroundings, war soon reaches her family and forces her to grow up quickly. After a series of deaths and killings carried out by Japanese troops, her family gets involved with the war. Xiang Xiang becomes a nurse to help save lives. All the while, she constantly receives help from Gu Qing Ming whenever needed and the romance between them begins to develop in a time of chaos and war.

Review: 
      Wallace Huo was such brilliant eye candy. The relationship was absolutely endearing and mutually supportive of one another and very befitting considering the circumstances presented. The war, politics, and the different lifestyles as people accommodated to the times were all linked together and well executed. I enjoyed the comedic relief in the beginning and I loved how the drama had a change in tone as it got more serious and as the characters were growing up and learning more about their world. Really enjoyed it for the story, the relationships, the side-plots, and so forth. Highly recommend.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Oh My Venus



Episodes: 16
Synopsis: 
     Kang Joo Eun is known as the Daegu Venus back in her hey-day. With her beautiful looks and perfect figure, she was extremely popular with the boys and envied by the girls in her high school. Despite coming from a poor family, she is determined to go to law school and become an attorney. Im Woo Sik, a swimmer, professed his love for Kang Joo Eun and the two end up dating.
     Now, at age 33, she is a lawyer and have been dating Im Woo Sik for 15 years. Due to her hypothyroidism and not taking care of her body, she is now overweight and is constantly disregarded and overlooked by society and her coworkers. In a situation in which she had a life-threatening situation, Kim Yeong Ho aka John Kim, helps her. He is a celebrity personal trainer going by John Kim who was involved in a scandal in the United States so has come to Korea until things cool down. In Korea, Kim Yeong Ho is appointed by his grandmother as the new president of the family medical services company and prevents him from returning to the United States.
       Kang Joo Eun's life then changes when her boyfriend of 15 years breaks up with her and is involved with an old friend Oh Soo Jin. Eager to get her life back together, Kang Joo Eun ends up coming to Kim Yeong Ho to help her lose weight. With the help of his two side kicks, the tough coach, and her strong personality, she begins on this journey to lose weight and become healthy. She also learns to rediscover love and happiness of her own.  

Review:
     This drama was really motivating as I watched Kang Joo Eun work hard and also accomplish her goal in losing weight. Her optimism and perseverance is admirable. I couldn't hate on any of the characters in this drama, which I am grateful for. True, at some points, I felt upset. However, all the characters did things within reason and also weren't bad people at heart.
      I loved the side characters and the love lines of the minor characters. As for the main leads, I loved their romance. Their friends were extremely supportive of them and kind to them. At the same time, it was a mutually beneficial relationship. Kim Yeong Ho took care of her health and also helped her get her life back. He loved her regardless of what she does or what she is like. Kang Joo Eun adds color to Kim Yeong Ho's life and also offers her support during his time in need.
     One thing that I didn't like about this drama was the fact that they kept passing used band aids around. It wasn't exactly romantic for me but rather gross.

Highly recommend.