Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] Her Private Life

Western-ish Korean romance of K-pop fan girl and their art museum setting.

Spoilers below!

Romance drama in Korean tends to tick the boxes, from fighting to loving people, cheesy words and act of service, this is a story of art curator Deok Mi and her life in pursuing her idol Cha Si An.

As you could expect, her initial under cover fan girling and a good mixture of art museum background was surprisingly nice together. A plus point for the aesthetic of this drama, actors and the visual of the series looks warm yet vivid.

And then there is the museum director Ryan Gold, adopted Korean which had a history of being abandoned and currently a US citizen. His obsession with a bubble drawing and coincidental Cha Si An flight landing brings more ‘fateful meeting’ to our female protagonist Sung Deok Mi.

They have more daring make out scenes, thus the more American style. If you are looking for a romance drama and likes to watch western dramas, this might feel more at home than other Korean dramas.

It was a well set story. Predictable yet still satisfying to watch. The side characters were not wasted and added some flares to the overall feeling.

Relatable K-pop fans and recommended for people that loves romance.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] The World of the Married

Good starting but lousy wrap-up

The hype was real. And like a rollercoaster departing, many got on the ride as it smashes the highest rating by Sky Castle and outdone itself a little more towards the end.

Quoting many elements of Dr Foster, I went and gave myself some spoilers. It was a slightly better version with the more compact story and faster pacing. Some of the momentum dropped yet it still serves as a nice platter in terms of sense of betrayal, excitement, anger and thrill of the unknown twist.

There might have been some good curve ball and I was truly entertained. If you like a good spicy drama where you feel what the characters do, give it a try but bear in mind the last two episodes might be a bit of a blur and weird.

Good one if you are bored but steer away if you do not want stressful situations.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] Hot Stove League

Baseball manager game

Carrying baseball knowledge from anime, this Korean drama was better than I expected. I used to love Moshidora, Ofuri and Cross Game so it piqued my interest.

As you could expect, it’s a dark horse tale of a baseball team where they always get the last place. Follow their journey as they change everything: from players, coach, scouting, advertising and management, in order to make the team good again.

This is not the usual series one would watch. But if you like a good story of team sports or likes baseball, this is the story for you.

If you have similar taste as mine, give it a try. It’s not mind-blowing but decent enough to be entertaining.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] Mr Sunshine

The weirdest title choice. Glory and sad ending. Love story? Oh I might have just forgotten that part.

Netflix have a special place in my heart, bringing some nice choices in original series that is not found elsewhere. However, Mr Sunshine was a hard watch for me. I cut a few episodes by reading spoilers and summary to save some of the torture.

Going back to the time prior to independence, where the King is weak and people even weaker, all these people gather to make their own choices, heavily guided by their history. In terms of character setting and motivation, no doubt they were strong. But the whole story comes out in a way that you would look away since the character focuses were better. Over the top cinematic not usually found in dramas were nice but gets old and familiarise by mid series. Was the shots nice? Yes, but only a handful memorable.

Not that it was a bad drama. It just tasted like a bitter herbal tea. You know those kind that is black and good for your health? The whole series doesn’t change in terms of that taste. The plot felt like a flat line. Bitter sour to your tongue and occasional sweetness aftertaste. Every single episode. So the 24 episodes were too long for my enjoyment.

If you like to watch those historical background stories, this is a good one. Make sure you watch other series in between so that you do not get bored by the similar pacing. War time story have a bad habit of killing their characters at the most epic timing, and this series have them well executed (pun intended, haha!). For the best of it I guess.

Be warned of open end and you could always read the summary if it didn’t fit your taste. Nothing a bit of spoiler cannot fix if you want to cut the hours lost short.

Reminds me why I prefer anime and Japanese drama.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] Melo is My Nature @ Be Melodramatic

Three women’s story in a mesh. I nodded the most with their witty conversations.

Jin Joo the drama script writer, Han Joo the young mother working in a production company and the final touch of spice with Eun Jung documentary director makes a well diverse population. This story telling format reminds me of Little Women. Separate yet whole.

After finishing all 16 episodes, I can say that the script’s main attraction seems to go in the sense of words and out-of-the-box thought. Most of the characters are richful. Special quotes were all compiled by the end of every episode and I do say I like to stay and watch it until the end.

Without spoilers, I’d say that this drama feels and tasted like steamboat. It’s a variety of material cooked in a pot where you might have some likes and dislikes yet it all balanced out. The downside of it? It isn’t something new and does lack in an overall impression where they had small Eurekas instead of a solid main arc.

The strength of this drama definitely goes to the rich background story Eun Jung where she can see her dead boyfriend. The process of her identifying her problem to finding her solution, it was a very well written process.

I guess maybe due to low budget, they have the same song repeating. Both as in drama and also off as a background music. It felt like cover songs that grows on you.

This drama feels like the side dishes. Get something else for your main meals but if you needed something to wash your palate or as an add-on, I highly recommend it. Even so if you are 30ish.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] Hi Bye, Mama!

For those who had experienced lost, this one resonates with you

This is a story of a woman, after her sudden departure, the days surrounding the people (and ghost) around her.

The lost of a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend and her own future, this story starts off with her staying by her loved ones for 5 years. Spending days unseen yet knowing all the sorrow and struggles, Cha Yu-ri was granted a chance to come back.

This is a typical 49 days return. I wouldn’t want to spoil the show but if there is one thing I could say, this is mostly an emotional journey and not the plot. The storyline has always meant or wished to go a certain way, even when you are rooting for another chance. This story would feel slow and uneventful in some way.

Some emotions run deep.

A series to cry along if you can relate.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] Itaewon Class

Diversity is still the same in humanity.


I think this series was successful in fleshing out all the characters: their quirks, motivation and action taken to pull the plot going forward.

This was a good script for the 3/4 of the series, alternating the spotlight between characters and the obstacles they made for the main protagonist was adequate enough to make all of us cheer for him.

Even for the love triangle, murky stance and all the people in Jangga Co., there was nothing much to complain about. They held the correct strength and logic behind. I was also quite impressed with their acting skills, bad guys could still shine in this series.

If there were to be some complains, I guess I would say that the way they ended the tale was a bit lack luster compared to all the background work they have done to make each character a story of their own.

Nonetheless, this was a drama worth the marathon. The most eye-catching drama in a while. If you have some spare time amidst Covid 19, have a go. I think many could relate in some way.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] Memories of Alhambra

Oh where should I start? Spoilers ahead!

aaa

 

For fellow anime watcher, this is the SAO-esque drama with the flaw of plot holes along the way. This is a story of an IT owner CEO Jin Woo flying over to Alhambra to buy a VR fighting game with the complication of a bugged game.

The whole drama was full of jumping timeline and repeating flashbacks, contributing to minor confusions and unnecessary time wasted in the scenes we have already seen it (even worse than filler episodes of anime, at least they entertain) by twice or more. The CG was good, no doubt. And I could even applaud the action director, there were good fight scenes with the sword and their costumes were complete. The actors were good and the romantic plot line moves so much faster than the main story.

There were a few point into the drama where I could just disagree with the writing direction:

  1. Deaths by in-game defeat felt flaky when they were faced with real life police and forensic sciences. Why? And how did the officer just assume everything? Logical flaw was thrown away while they pushed the story forward or by setting it aside with characters’ action. (Proper story would probably started blaming the developing game, causing bankruptcy of their company before more people die)
  2. Developer Se Joo after accidentally killing his partner Marco did not call the police or anything even when he realize he might be dead (body found long after that). Killer guilt was instilled when he came back after one year, a 365 days too late when he went into hiding.
  3. Hee Joo, the eldest daughter with the tragic story fells for the guy, just because she could? Empathy and ‘this is the savior that saved us’ feeling made our female heroine fully supporting Jin Woo. She did good in terms of story line, contributing a lot of tears and worry to the audience.
  4. Emma as NPC but held the main key to kill bug and reset the game system. For a game creator, it felt stupid to ‘award’ your top player with level 100 to this unless you already knew your system was going to kill someone. And besides, the pioneer developer could be the source of bug when they fought in Emma’s presence, Jin Woo as bug just isn’t justifiable (Oh yeah, the main character was deleted in game).
  5. Mr Cha side story was nice but the whole plotting to get the police arrest Jin Woo was too over the top. He serves the purpose to get the story there and that was it. Wasted gum after multiple chews.
  6. Se Joo just came out of his hiding and arriving home. Marco should be one of the bugs since Jin Woo was ‘deleting’ them (all the dead people caused by the game). An addition of ‘killing’ Marco with the Key of Heaven should be in before Se Joo could reach home.
  7. Jin Woo’s corpse should be there to be align with the previous death. Se Joo’s explanation where he could be in another dimension doesn’t make sense when Jin Woo’s ash was detected after the ‘bug terminating’ ceremony. Simple way to put it: Bug=ash=dead=corpse. If they wanted to make him disappear in the game, that ash is not supposed to be there.
  8. Reappearance in game of Jin Woo by the end of the series and the belief of Hee Joo that he is alive could only mean that he ‘survived’ in game, probably not in real life.

 

My mind was rejecting the whole idea while I watch the last few episodes. It was a good idea, nice setting and background with believable characters but the story did not live up to its potential. Shy away from it if you rely heavily on logical plot.

 

P/S: I apologize if I barely make sense, this needs to get out of my system. Oh how I hated the pent up feeling. Let’s move on!

 

 

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] The Crowned Clown

Spoiler alert! Unless I can hold my tongue, haha

I have always liked old school palace political dramas. Hong Kong dramas were the pioneer of such dramas and girl fights are as entertaining as war movies.

As the title suggests, this is a drama of a King with his substitute. Starting off with a constant rebellion and fear, the main protagonist tries to survive and gets into junkie mode.

Out comes the clown with the exact same face, it was fun to see the same actor with different personas. The writers had a distinct idea of the characters so the story and idea flows well. Actors were nice picks and I even liked how the bad guy with the beard can make you hate him and yet praise him for being a scary minister.

The best man Minister Lee which takes care of the King and the cute Eunuch Cho was another highlight of this show at the first quarter.

Proper tactics and palace dramas of three quarters of the drama was nice. However, the last part felt dragged out with romance fillers of the clown king and his now admittedly Queen.

Righteous low status King and part of the writer’s script was decent until the part the Queen had to make her stance. I do wished it was less cheesy and she did not made the choice by love. A feminist that puts the country first would be nicer but I can’t be that picky. I’m not those who likes Korean romance, but some are still bearable.

My drama rating: 7.5/10. Just because I’d like to write the script a bit different. Recommended for those who wants drama with a tinge (cringe worthy) of romance.

Anime/Drama/Movie Review

[Korean Drama] When The Camellia Blooms

Single mother is as tough as two men when needed

It was a tough first half. As I struggle to watch each episode. But the characters were nice and had a real touch of humanity to it. I would have passed this series if not for the main actress Gong Hyo Jin.

Her depiction of Dong Baek and even the elder moms of the community was dramatic yet entertaining to watch. I was worried of a bad end and waited for spoilers to reassure me to finish this series.

The story pace picked up after halfway and the characters matures and showed different side of the story.

Watching it without analyzing made it a decent plot twist (even though you can half expect it anyway) and the last few episodes were a real tear-jerker for me.

Upon finishing the series, I’m proud to announce that it was a ride worth while. Recommended for sentimental souls.