Monthly Archives: August 2009

New Crush: Wang Seokhyun

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Isn’t he SO CUTE???

Wang Seokhyun shot to stardom after playing Hwang Kidong, Cha Taehyun’s adorable grandson, in the movie Speedy Scandal. The movie went on to become one of the highest grossing Korean movies of 2009. He was just 6 years old then. Now, he’s probably one of the most popular child actors around. He’s doing CFs, a drama (Lady Castle), variety show (KBS Invicible Saturday), heck he even had a song called I Love You (Noona). Gosh, such a young age with a lot of achievement.

I enjoyed Speedy Scandal a lot and one of the reasons is Wang Seokhyun. He didn’t have many lines in the movie, but just the sight of him playing games, walking to the bathroom, and eating gets me into fits of giggles. Right now, he is playing Kang Sumin, the baby chaebol cousin of Yoon Eunhye’s Kang Hyena. Ah oh my gosh, he is one of the highlights of that drama, for sure. His role here is of a no-nonsense young master who is rich and fabulous and is fully aware that he is. It’s funny because some have said that Wang Seokhyun does ‘arrogant rich kid’ better than Yoon Eunhye herself, haha.

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I hope that his popularity is something he truly enjoys not just something he is fed to take. Only 7 years old but with a lot of engagements here and there, I wonder if he’s going to school at all. But he’s really a source of joy for me, what an entertaining cutie. Catch Wang Seokhyun in the Wednesday/Thursday drama Lady Castle and in the KBS Invisible Saturday: I Got an Uncle.

And last, this is a swoon (or in his case ‘aww’) worthy video:

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Lady Castle/My Fair Lady: Ep 1-4

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Following ripgal’s My Fair Lady’s First Impression, I want to do a little bit of a review of Lady Castle thus far. First of all, this drama goes by a bunch of names, similar to the case of the Kim Ahjoong/Hwang Jungmin’s drama Just Looking. Lady Castle, My Fair Lady, Take Care of The Lady, Take Care of Agasshi, it’s enough to confuse people. Personally, I like Lady Castle better so I’m going to refer to this drama mostly with Lady Castle.

I wanted to do a little write up last week, but last week episodes were rather weak that I decided to wait another week, to see if things would get better in episodes 3 and 4. It did and it didn’t.

Like a lot of people, I think I set my expectation too high. All the main leads graduated from great dramas, 3 of them this year alone, and Yoon Eunhye back in 2007, so it seemed natural that as a viewer, I expected to see good things. Coffee Prince, Brilliant Legacy, and Iljimae Returns are among my favourite Korean dramas, and while Queen of Housewives didn’t quite make it into my Favourite list, it is one of the most enjoyable dramas of 2009. Having seen what Yoon Eunhye, Yoon Sanghyun, Moon Chaewon, and Jung Ilwoo are capable of, Lady Castle became my most anticipated drama. I literally counted down to the day it aired and immediately watched the first episode within hours of its broadcast.

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It was with a heavy heart that I lowered my expectation by a lot.

I didn’t really notice the way Yoon Eunhye speaking in the first episode, I thought she was doing okay, a little awkward, but passable. But now, after 4, I thought to myself “Was she always like this?” I didn’t really notice it when I was watching Goong and Coffee Prince (granted, a while ago) but now that I am watching Lady Castle, it is painfully apparent. Sometimes she talks as if her tongue is growing inside her mouth, most notably in the scenes where she has to speak slowly. And that IS distracting because when Kang Hyena is talking slowly, she is supposed to infuse her character with grace and sometimes arrogance, but now all I could concentrate is the weird way she speaks.

To be fair, I think Yoon Eunhye does fantastic job when it comes to a slightly more somber moments. I think she is one of the best crier in the business because she can really make a crying scene more than just a simple teary moment. Whenever she cries, she actually looks pained and hurt, she really embodies the character and the feeling at that moment. This is something I noticed since her Goong days. She might be lacking in a lot of other areas, but her crying scenes are always something to remember. I still remember that scene where Eunchan of Coffee Prince cries in the bus, such a great scene.

I am still patiently waiting to see if Yoon Eunhye will be able to step it up and exceed her Eunchan. For now, it looks like her improvement in Coffee Prince was just because she was under the wing of a great director. Hopefully by the end of the drama, I can say that Kang Hyena is Yoon Eunhye’s best interpretation just yet.

Yoon Sanghyun is great to me. I am willing to cut some slack for his overacting here and there because he is truly entertaining. I also feel for him because it seems that because he is a lot older than the rest of the main cast, he isn’t getting as much love when in fact he seems to be the one working the hardest and in all honesty, he’s walking around carrying this drama in his shoulder. He has a lot of charisma and that special something in his acting that I think one can only get by getting older and more mature. True, we are supposed to root for the main lead, but Yoon Sanghyun is one of the main reasons why I majorly root for Dongchan. And that’s with cutie Jung Ilwoo in the 2nd lead!! That’s saying a lot.

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Now Jung Ilwoo as the chaebol son turned lawyer. The level of acting demanded of him will never amount to what Iljimae Returns asked for. And I accepted and respected that Jung Ilwoo probably wanted to take a breather after that intense but rating failure of a drama, and that was why he took on this drama, a modern mainstream romcom. But in all honesty, he is the one that I feel is most wasted here because this acting job really does nothing for him. Of course, I enjoy seeing him all smiles and pretty, but I was disappointed to see that his character and his acting is not being utilized and challenged to its fullest.

Lee Taeyoon, his character, has not been able to lift himself up above being an eye candy. He’s the usual prince charming perfect guy, tall and handsome but also kind with high integrity. An heir of a rich family but chose to work himself and live the ‘commoner way’. Beneath, I detect something ‘asshole-ish’ about his character and while my first impression was that I liked it because it made things more interesting, but now I am not so sure now. Hitherto, Lee Taeyoon has not been able to evoke much sympathy more than because he is played by Jung Ilwoo. As a comparison, remember Park Junse (Bae Soobin) from Brilliant Legacy? Look how HE was able to make a lot of people root for him. So far, Lee Taeyoon is just…meh.

Moon Chaewon is my goddess!! Gosh, I love this girl. Frankly, if her character Euijoo had more screentime and more significance in the story, I am pretty sure she would overshadow Yoon Eunhye just like she stole the show from Han Hyojoo in Brilliant Legacy. I AM SURE. The few scenes Euijoo has have been nothing short of wonderful. I perk up whenever Euijoo is on because she’s a ball of fun.

Moon Chaewon gives a lot of spunk and energy to Euijoo but the amazing thing is, she does it without having to go overboard with the acting. You know you can spot an overacting easily when you’ve seen it a lot, but Euijoo is lovely and bright because Moon Chaewon is so. Just like she threw herself in completely to portray Seungmi, her Euijoo feels natural. It doesn’t feel like acting anymore. For such a young and green actress like her, this is a big achievement. I really wish she can have more screentime in the future. Actually, I am rooting for Euijoo and Taeyoon to get together. Why? Because Moon Chaewon and Jung Ilwoo look great together, that’s why! They have had 2 scenes together so far, but oh my lordy, chemistry is flying all over the place!

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The script itself has a lot of logic holes and it’s usually in the smaller details rather than in the grand scheme. You know when things play out, but you just don’t think they make sense. There’s that element of ridiculousness in Lady Castle here. But because they are the less significant things, I feel too nitpicky for mentioning them. An example would be right off the bat, how can Kang Hyena, THE richest and most fabulous heiress in Korea, go around without an arm of bodyguards? Even when later she has Dongchan as her private assistant, how come she only has one?? How come she can go around by bus without any supervision? THAT truly doesn’t make sense to me.

Another one: Kang Hyena is shown to be a master of Kendo, she’s physically tough and has a wee bit of a violent tendency in her. But then in episode 3, she is suddenly a damsel in distress, reduced to a weak lady screaming for her life. Come on! I really wish the scriptwriters (and directors for making the script come to life) pay more attention to these details and not take the easy ways to deliver the story. I think viewers would appreciate a little more thoughtfulness and subtleties when it comes to storytelling.

Last, I will say it straight. I fucking hate the music. The songs are quite catchy on their own, but not when they translate into becoming a background music for a drama. The overall feelings that the music gives are cheap and tacky. I hate thatDavichi (apparently) song they always play at the end, I hate that song sung by Yoon Eunhye (gosh, she really can’t sing), and while I don’t mind Yoon Sanghyun’s song, it often just doesn’t go with the scene. The instrumental score is also nothing impressive at all. I think if they want to come across legitimate, pay more attention to the songs.

I think if things don’t change, Lady Castle or My Fair Lady will fall somewhere in the realm of Boys Over Flowers (and god, I hate to think that), only with better acting. It will be highly entertaining and perhaps fun to watch if you can check your brain at the door. But you know that quality wise, it’s a total fail.

Gag of the Day

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Here’s something funny: Kim Hyunjoong is leading the race, vying for a Best Actor in Seoul Drama Awards.

OMG.. I literally laughed out loud.

Call me an anti or anything, but for Hyunjoong to win (or even being nominated as) a Best Actor is just..unfathomable. Did these people who voted for him actually SEE him acting in Boys Over Flowers? Because I truly believe that the human minds are inherently smart. If they had seen Hyunjoong in it, they couldn’t have possibly thought he was a good actor, deserving enough to be called a Best Actor. Either than that, or they are just voting for the heck of it. At times like this, it seems that blind devotion rules over all reasons and logic.

To put it shortly, Hyunjoong is a painfully terrible actor. And I am being nice here.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of Hyunjoong, I think he’s a good singer and all the times I watched him in variety shows, I totally loved his 4 Dimensional character. I also appreciate his bluntness, be it in interviews or in shows. I am glad that he’s becoming really popular these days. But an actor, he isn’t. He totally does NOT have an acting gene in his body, and that is one of the reasons why he aces so well in variety shows, because his real characters shine through, without needing to put an act. Sure, with lots and lots and lots of practice, he might become okay in acting, but I truly believe that at this point in time, he sucks at acting, plain and simple.

I saw the recent music video of SS501 with Hyunjoong as a killer (and another one with Kim Joon), and I  cringed until my cheeks hurt. I saw Hyunjoong’s episode in Nonstop 5 and that wasn’t half bad because he didn’t appear much and barely talked. And his acting in BOF did improve over the course of the drama, but in the end, he was still mediocre at best.

To put him up as a Best Actor is just a treason. But more than that, I feel sorry for him, because if he wins, everyone will know that he wins it just because he is popular, not because he wins by merit. On top of that, this will only present him a burden and a pressure for his future (if there ever will be) projects.

Oh well, there goes my rant.

Before and After: Plastic Surgery Clinic (2008)

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“Plastic surgery cannot be a compromise, it is a choice.” This seems to be the message that this drama wants to convey. With plastic surgery becoming an almost common practice in Korea, people come and go to do surgeries for various reasons. Some want to become more marketable, more competitive in the job market. Some want to look friendlier, less scary for people to see. Some want to do it for someone else, such as a playboy husband or a domineering mother in law. Some other just want to appease their vanity. Any reason is fine as long as it is a conscious choice on the patient’s part.

BA is about the workings of Before and After: Plastic Surgery Clinic, one of the hundreds plastic surgery clinics in the trendy Apgujeong, Seoul. There’s Dr. Han Gunsoo (uber cutie Lee Jinwook) the clinic’s director who inherits it from his deceased father. Unfortunately, along with the clinic, his father also left him a gazillion won worth of debt with the loan sharks. Determined to keep the clinic open, he struggles every month to pay the debt’s interest. Enters Hong Ginam (So Yihyun) the new nurse at the clinic who’s got 4 younger siblings, a sick mother, and a jobless father. With nowhere to live, she ends up living with Gunsoo. And I’m left groaning in frustration, yet another one of these????

Dr. Choi Yongwoo (Kim Sungmin) is the genius plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive surgery. His moral values make him clash with Gunsoo often because he doesn’t like doing cosmetic surgeries. But behind it, he’s actually addicted to Botox. Yoon Seojin is the tall and gorgeous clinic manager/Chief PR  and is secretely holding a candle for Gunsoo. She rounds up the love rectange here.

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The Bad:

The drama started out fantastic. I had A LOT of fun watching 3/4 of it. However, like many other dramas, it falters towards the end. The moment romance and love rectangle come into equation, the series lost the spark that drew me in from the start. It just descended into doom and gloom and while it didn’t have the time to get repetitive as it only has 12 episodes, BA became boring. I fast forwarded several times in the last 2 episodes and that is a total shame especially because I repeated a lot of scenes in the early episodes. The biggest problem is that not only does it get dramatic with its love lines, the story also takes a sudden left turn.

Suddenly, the clinic is rocked by a fake malpractice lawsuit, designed simply to destroy the establishment. But wait, that’s not all, the hospital goes into a chaos because obviously, someone bertrays the team. But oh wait a minute, that someone is merely acting as a double agent and is not really a traitor. That’s not all, after all is over and done, dear ol’ director single-handedly decides to shut down the hospital. We then jump forward a year (oh dude, I hate it so freaking much), and everything ends in a happy ever after, because the clinic is revived and the old team is back together!! OMGGGGG…

The drama can get ridiculous. Now, I cannot decided if the drama treated the over the top moment as some sort of satire or it was being serious. So I can’t fully categorize it as a bad. But there are things like gangster kidnapping, clinic hijacking, bertrayal/backstabbing, and when a character ‘bursts into song’, it means it literally. They are freaking hilarious, in a ridiculous kind of way.

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*swoons* Hey you, delicious!

The Good:

Despite having their main characters living together, the drama doesn’t make that into significance. We’ve got some quickie scenes about Ginam and Gunsoo eating together and stuff, but they are not made into a big deal. They don’t come to work and go home together and they don’t exactly see each other all the freaking time. It’s like, oh yeah they live together, but oh well. If you’ve had a roomate before, you’d know that you probably barely see each other.

Tho the series failed to hold up the romance until the end, I thought they handled it really really well in the beginning. Right from the get go, Ginam’s got a huge crush on Dr. Choi and tries to impress her, but the no nonsense Dr.Choi doesn’t take notice or return the feeling until much later. This is fine, but I really like that Gunsoo’s feelings for Ginam gradually develops, but this process does not take a center stage. We notice that Gunsoo’s started to like Ginam, but that is not constantly shoved in our faces. It is too bad that later in the series, the overly dramatic romance and how annoying Gunsoo gets are the contributing factors that are ruining the drama.

I also like the episodic angle. Each episode deals with a certain sub-theme and customers who have different motives of doing surgeries. But always, at the end, this drama draws back that core message that plastic surgery is a choice, it’s something you do for yourself, not at the insistence of someone else, not at the pressure from society. Each episode then ties back to that and wraps itself up nicely.

Last but not least. One of my favourite reasons to watch BA. 3 words. Lee. Jin. Wook. Oh man, this guy is SO FINE! He is like super super cute. I remember his short stint in Alone In Love as a stalker hottie then of course, he was the one reason why Air City was at least bearable. I didn’t stick around for Powerful Opponent long enough to see episode 2, but now I’m reconsidering that decision. I like Lee Jinwook a lot, but he barely has projects that have him safe and sound as the male lead and as it is, his projects haven’t really been the ones I necessarily gravitate into.

At the end of the day, there is an impression that this drama is giving that makes me a little uneasy. That Koreans have such an obsession towards outer physical appearance that it could override anything else. In the drama, you have people wanting to look like Song Hyekyo or Han Gain and change their face and body at all cost. There are people wanting to shave their jaw because their right side profile doesn’t match their left side. In order to get a decent job, you need to be fix yourself up to become pretty. In order to secure the love of someone, you need to change yourself, look older or younger.

I am well aware that this is a drama and in no way should be taken as a true portrayal of the real issue and even if it is real or close to being real, I fully respect the drama for telling it like it is. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like this drama for probing into something sensitive like this in a more relaxed but matter of fact manner. I see bit of tendency to gloss over the notion of plastic surgery, but I appreciate that it neither condones nor condemns the idea.

All in all, an enjoyable and entertaining drama but the home-stretch ruined it too much for me. I’d rate this a 7 out of 10.

Hmm, if given the chance and the cash, I wonder which part of me I would change through cosmetic surgery?

Lee Dong Wook: Bye For Now

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This one hits rather hard.

Lee Dongwook, one of my (first) Korean crushes, is off to do his military service today. News of his enlistment broke out last week, and he’s fresh out of his last drama Partner and a movie shooting with Lee Yowon (movie isn’t out yet).

Gosh, I just realized that there are SO MANY stars in the military right now. Jae Hee, Chun Jungmyung (who should be out this year?), Gong Yoo (early next year), Lee Jinwook, Eric, Kim Dongwan, Jo Hyunjae, Kim Raewon, Jo Insung, and the names go on.

But Lee Dongwook is just different. Right after My Girl, for a long time, I was following Lee Dongwook religiously. I waited patiently for his movie The Strongest Couple because I couldn’t stomach his horror-thriller Arang. Then, rumours had it that he would star in Bad Couple, but that didn’t work and the role went to Ryu Sooyoung. Again, he was supposed to star in a drama I Love You, but that also busted and the role went to Ahn Jaewook. When early summer last year I heard he was going to do a drama called La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life), my fangirlism had waned, and despite vowing to watch it no matter what, I got turned off by how depressing the drama is. When Partner aired and was so enjoyable, I realized how I excited I was to finally see Lee Dongwook again.

I remembered tuning to every single news, articles, interviews, photoshoot about Lee Dongwook and participating to discussions and spazzes regarding Donghae. Aw man, that was such a long time ago, and we used to have so many ‘evidences’ hahaha..

I’m so going to miss Lee Dongwook. I hope 2 years would go by fast and he will come back better than ever.

Dang, maybe I should finally man up and watch La Dolce Vita.

Iljimae Returns: Fin!

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Gaawddd! It’s been an AMAZING week! Not only has Javabeans finished her Return of Iljimae recaps, the god in heaven has also seen fit to bless me with Drama Fever who has this drama FULLY SUBBED, from the beginning to the end.

Literally, I shrieked. I was SOO ecstatic to find the drama subbed. I had to stop around episode 19 and waited for the subtitles, which I didn’t mind, but my heart leapt up upon seeing episode 1-24 fully subbed by MBC America. Yayness.

I just finished the drama today and I had to take some time before coherent thoughts can seep in. You see, there are a lot of different kinds of endings. There’s the overly satisfying ending that it becomes overkill. There’s the downright shitty shitty one that you refuse to accept. There’s the disappointing ending that you don’t quite despise, but you don’t exactly like either, there’s just something lacking. There’s the one somewhere in between, the ending is good, everything is good, but it’s not particularly memorable. Then, there’s THAT ending, the remarkable one, the one that leaves such an impression that even after a long time, you will still remember it.

Obviously I have not seen a lot of dramas, but to date, only I’m Sorry I Love You has been able to be in that last category. I knew from the beginning what was going to happen, but it didn’t stop me from bawling at the impact of that ending. Right now, Iljimae Returns/Return of Iljimae/Moonriver is joining MISA in that category. Gosh, what a beautifully moving ending. There is nothing dramatic, no fanfare. It is quiet, and it stays true to what Iljimae Returns is, as a drama.

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I think a good ending is very tough to pull off. Even my favourite dramas do not always have great endings. My Girl is an example. I don’t care what everyone says, but that drama is among my Top 5. I have to concur that its ending is just… blah, I’d go as far as sucky. Long drawn out, overly theatrical, and way too typical. I remember the first time I completed My Girl, I remember feeling ‘huh’. The out-of-the-blue love declaration, topped with the teary kiss after barely missing each other at the elevator is a contender for the cheesiest finale in history. Thank god, the parody at the end saved the ending from taking itself too seriously.

But anyways, I went off track. Let’s go back to Iljimae Returns.

Iljimae Returns is about the life of a fictional character in the Chosun era, Iljimae. Not unlike Robin Hood, Iljimae is a thief who steals from the rich, corrupt government officers and helps the poor society. Iljimae is born in Korea but is banished to China where he grows up. In his young age, he finds out that Korea is his native land, and returns to Korea. There begins his search for his parents, the people he will come to know and love, and his identity. With the war between China and Korea looming in the air, Iljimae rises up in these troubled times as a criminal for some and a hero for others.

Iljimae Returns is officially the first period drama I watched, finished, and loved. Nothing else has come as close as this. I didn’t plan on going with IR. In general, I approach saeguk with a lot of caution because the few saeguk I did watch were such borefest even if they are fantastic production. It also doesn’t help that many saeguk dramas are super long and blame it on my attention span, but I rarely bother with dramas that go for more than 30 episodes.

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The Bad:

While I cannot call IR perfection, the drama is damn near. Some dramas have big open flaws where everything just festers in the face of them. Some have smaller ones that viewers can overlook because they do not affect the core of the dramas that much. In the case of Iljimae Returns, there is barely anything to go with. Big or small. Festering or insignificant. At the time of its first episode, IR had finished about 70% of the shoot. They had the benefit of time. So the finished product is something they have executed and edited well.

So, at the risk of being repetitive, I will just give a couple of ‘less than brilliant’ moments of the drama.

Slow start. Like I said, the first few episodes (4 to 5) are the point where you need to push through. These episodes lay out the foundations regarding the birth of Iljimae, the people who are important to him, the political circumstances between Korea and China, to where Iljimae will start his journey in finding himself in his own soil. The part where Iljimae will meet someone who is his first love (and lose her), who will become his saviour much later in the future, his enemy, and so on will only begin in episode 5. This is where things really get going. It took me a lot of time to pull through and I almost gave up.

The first episode starts with contemporary, modern world, and voila, Iljimae is kicking butt too over in this world. I actually like this intro, but yes, there’s a discrepancy in logic right away as to why Iljimae is here and there. From the modern world, we then transition to the old Chuseon, the Hanyang, not the Seoul. This is somewhat explained a little at the end, but yes this is still confusing.

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This logic suspension is further challenged by the fact that Iljimae’s first love Dalyi and Iljimae’s ultimate lover Wolhee look way too much alike. Well of course they are played by the same actress and this lady is also in the modern world, seemingly narrating the story. Dalyi and Wolhee are not sisters nor do they know each other despite having similar name, so what is up with the similarities?

Yet again tho, I am not bothered by this because the drama plays this Dalyi vs Wolhee really really well. In the drama’s profound moments, Iljimae is forced to face the fact that he has not gotten over his first love Dalyi even though he is cohabitating with Wolhee now. In its lighter time, Wolhee is literally keeping a written tally between herself and Dalyi on ‘whose name Iljimae mumbles in his sleep’. It’s hilarious.

See, even with the supposedly cons, I am finding a lot of reasons to refute it back.

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The Good:

Breathtaking scenery. Overall, the direction is great, but the visual scenery is just gorgeous. Even just houses at Hanyang, the river border between China and Korea, or simply the plum trees are shot in such a way that they just come out really stunning. I notice how the director is fond of shooting through an open window or door. Since Goong had quite a few scenes with that angle, I think it’s becoming a habit and perhaps a signature touch. Oh, the fighting sequences are great too! They are quick and reflexive and they are really fun to watch.

IR is not a comedy by a mile, but there are a lot of funny instances here and there. I mentioned about the narration before and I totally heart it. A fortune teller (Harisu) is seducing an officer in her room and the narration goes ‘This drama is only rated 15, so we can’t go in’. Another example is when two kids note Iljimae as the man they found unconscious. I was trying to place when and where that was, and suddenly the narrator goes ‘Go to episode 18’ LOL

The supporting characters are another shining quality about IR. Kim Namgil and Lee Hyunwoo as Bae Sundal/Chadol duo are heeeelarious, a little slapstick at times, but a thousand times lovable. I have always loved Lee Kyein because he’s an adorable old man. He is equally funny and cute here as a beggar who found Iljimae baby. Oh Yeongsu as the dry and witty Monk Yeolgong sometimes annoys me with his blunt realistic view, but dude tends to always be right!

But my favourite supporting character has got to be Park Chulmin as Wang Hwengbo, a Chinese spy who followed Iljimae to Korea. Just the sight of him is enough to bring me laugh. Be it his sidewalking, his supposedly ‘Chinese’ way of speaking Korean, his mannerism, everything about him is funny.

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Jung Ilwoo. Out of his fighting and ‘thiefing’ scenes, he is often awkward in terms of body language, sometimes even stiff (something I’m noticing as well in the newly aired Lady Castle). But this gives Iljimae, who is dubbed as ‘looks like a girl’, a certain innocent and endearing nature. His eyes are what help him the most. He expresses anger, serenity, happiness, vengeance, agony, all through his eyes. I saw him in a variety show and he seems to be the type who laughs a lot, in fact he’s known for his smile/laugh I think, but this series doesn’t allow him to laugh or even smile very much. So the few smiles he managed to sneak in have a big impact. It’s heart-warming. BTW, while I was watching Soulmate, I noted how alike Shin Dongwook and Jung Ilwoo are, only the latter are prettier and softer in looks.

Yoon Jinseo. It must be tough playing two characters. You need to look similar, but you cannot act the same. There are some similar traits between Dalyi and Wolhee, they are open-minded, though Wolhee is the more conservative/shy of the two. Dalyi is a pure girl, in the sense that she barely interacts with a lot of people, living on the mountain with his father only. Wolhee knows more about the good and the bad that is going on, living in the middle of the city. Yoon Jinseo has the ability to distinct her Dalyi and her Wolhee so even though they are played by the same person; they do not feel like the same person.

The chemistry between Jung Ilwoo and Yoon Jinseo is sizzling. Seriously. In this kind of drama and with the kind of portrayal of Iljimae and Dalyi/Wolhee, I was not expecting much. As long as they look good together. But JIW and YJS are perfect. Whereas Iljimae is quiet, Dalyi and Wolhee are more talkative. Whereas Iljimae can’t quite show his feelings, Wolhee is brave in telling him how much she loves him. They complement each other when sometimes Wolhee can’t quite see things objectively, Iljimae reminds her of what is realistic. It wasn’t until halfway the series and I began researching for the series that I connected that YJS is older by 4 years. Just goes to show that age is only a number.

All in all, IR is an amazing journey, both in the story as well as in the enjoyment. Such a travesty that ratings were low for most of its broadcast. It deserves a lot more recognition. Though it might not be likely, I hope come the award season, Iljimae Returns will be lauded for its quality. I enjoyed it greatly and it’s become one of my favourite dramas.

To buy the original DVD (no English subtitles unfortunately T___T): YESASIA The Return of Iljimae DVD

Wanted to go all out with 10 out of 10, but I’ll be objective. 9.5 out of 10.

The Best Trip

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I am on a personal mission. 1 Night 2 Days have had more than 100 episodes for the 2 years it has been broadcasting. Compared to many others, I am a total latecomer to the show. I think it was around March this year that I finally buckled down and watched an episode of 1 Night 2 Days just to see what the fuss was all about. It wasn’t until then that I realized how much I have been missing out.

1 Night 2 Days started out a variety show with the name ‘Are You Ready?’ and the concept was changed into a trip show, along with the name, 12 episodes into it. Legitimately, there have been 106 episodes of 1 Nigth 2 Days and definitely, I have not watched all of them. Even if I watched most of them, I have mostly only watched the episodes that were aired on KBS World, and KBS World used to chuck like 20-30 minutes of the 80-ish minute show to fit their slotted airtime of 60 minutes. So all in all, there are still a lot of stuff to watch.

I’m just on a mission to watch every single episode of 1 Night 2 Days and develop a list of the 10 (or 20) best episodes/trips in regards to whether it a)is funny, b)has amazing/exciting things happening, and c)shows great interaction between the members, the crew, or the guests. The category is not hard for the show and I already have a couple of episodes that I am almost sure will make it into the list.

With episode 119 coming this Sunday, this is pretty much like watching Dae Jang Geum twice!!