Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Princess Weiyoung (锦绣未央)

Episode: 54
      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. 

      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

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 
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.  

       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.