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Reviews on Korean and Asian Dramas

August/September 2019 Korean Drama Reviews September 27, 2019

Perfume-04

 

The first drama that I had finished was Perfume which starred Seo Yi-Do (Shin Sung-Rok) who is a fashion designer that is still hung up on his first love as a child and has many phobias that affect his life. It also stars Min Jae Hee who is played by two actors (Go Won-Hee) and (Ha Jae-Suk) and she is a overweight, neglected housewife that doesn’t want to keep living and is given a miracle that allows her to be able to enjoy living again. I was very skeptical about how they were going to portray the storyline but I took the chance because I wanted to watch Shin Sung-Rok.

 

perfume1

 

I thought that this drama may be insensitive with dealing with body image and especially with modelling and I was actually surprised that it wasn’t terrible. I didn’t really like the idea that they had to have two different actors for one character because it doesn’t really make sense that if you gain some weight your voice and looks would change that much but I get that the logistics would be hard to figure out with only one person. It may look really cheesy and fake if they tried to make the same character have two very different body shape and weight. I get that it would be hard but it still just feels unrealistic either way. The drama isn’t exactly body positive but I think it was a step in a better direction than some of the dramas that I have seen dealing with weight and looks. Again this drama had childhood friends that always seem to equal their soulmate. It doesn’t really make sense to me because memories only seem to get hazier when it comes to childhood. I mean you are not even close to the same person when you are child. I am not sure that those feelings you have as a child really stay that strong.

 

perfume2

perfume3

 

I really like Shin Sung-Rok’s character and how he had unconditional love for Min Jae Hee that he loved who she is and not what she looks like and I think it makes me feel depressed because I know there is no one out there that actually exists! It is super unrealistic but at the same time it still is satisfying to watch in a drama. The ending is also a positive one and I think the decision that is made is a good one. I felt satisfied at the end of this drama and was sad that it was over. The drama was filled with lots of fun and hijinks with her changing her form was always entertaining. There are some cheesiness with this drama but in the end it was positive and entertaining and I think it made a good comedy. I think the acting was really good and that Shin Sung Rok did a great job with his physical comedy with his crazy character and both the Min Jae Hee characters did a really good job trying to be the same person.

 
perfume4

 

This drama was a good comedy and was trying to be more body positive and trying to break the mold on what a female lead is supposed to look like.

 

 

Hotel-Del-Luna-03

 

The second drama that I watched was Hotel Del Luna which starred Jang Man-Wol (IU) and Koo Chan-Sung (Yeo Jin-Goo). The story line is about a hotel that only serves ghosts as their guests and IU has been the CEO for hundreds of years due to some choices she made in her past and is atoning for actions by running this hotel. Chan-Sung gets involved with the hotel because of his father and is forced to work there even though he could be running prestigious hotels. The hotel has many guests that need their help to be able to go to the after life and Man-Wol is no exception and Chang-Sung brings things from her past that she needs to deal with to be able to take the next step. This drama is written by the Hong Sisters and I knew I needed to watch this drama and I also think IU is so charming and I decided to watch this drama despite the whole ghost thing. I don’t really like watching dramas with ghosts and I think it settled down after a while and wasn’t that scary or anything. Some of the ghosts portrayed was a bit disturbing but the genre definitely wasn’t horror so it was easier to watch than I thought.

 

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The ending wasn’t the most satisfying but I don’t think it was wrong and it felt fitting for this drama. This drama was more about the human condition than about romantic relationships, which is funny because it was mainly about ghosts than even humans. I can honestly appreciate a drama more when it is trying to say something than just about a romantic relationship. Honestly I am not sure what to think about the romantic relationship in this drama at times it didn’t even seem like the leads were supposed to be a couple. Honestly after watching Yeo Jin-Goo in Absolute Boyfriend, I was sick of watching him but I still wanted to watch this drama and he was okay in this drama but IU definitely stole the show with her character and felt like he was okay but I could be because I am not that impressed with him and didn’t really feel that much chemistry from him. I took this drama as a complete work of fiction because the ideology of dying, ghosts and reincarnation I don’t believe in and honestly makes me feel depressed thinking about what the point of life if you keep living and don’t know what you did before, life kinda feels pointless. Honestly though it definitely makes an interesting drama story.

 

 

luna4

 

I loved IU’s character, it felt different from the usual female lead in a Korean drama. It was like the roles were reversed she is the CEO with the money and power and wasn’t the nicest or trying to solve everyone’s problems. She was a badass and could act anyway that she wanted to and it was like Chang-Sung was more like the usual female lead, he doesn’t have money, he is kind and tries to fix everyone problems and sacrifices himself and puts himself in danger for the sake of others. I liked the change and it really made it more memorable of a drama as a whole. I also loved IU’s clothes and hair changes it was very aesthetically pleasing with the sets and clothes. The drama has many serious subject matters about living and dying which was good but I also loved the comedy sprinkled throughout the drama. It was always unexpected and entertaining. I think this drama has a bit of everything for everyone. The side characters and different ghost stories each episode kept the drama interesting and fresh. I feel like the ending episode needed some work because it felt kinda rushed. I wished for more of a confrontational scene for IU with her past, it seemed a bit weak but the drama was about letting go of the emotional baggage that we carry around and letting go. I feel like this is so relatable, we all carry around things that bother us and people that we feel like have betrayed us even if it wasn’t on a large scale it still does affect us and maybe hold us back from different things in life.

 

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luna5

 

I think this was a great drama that had many twists and turns which isn’t completely unexpected from the Hong Sisters.

 

 

Doctor-John-02

 

The third drama that I finished is Doctor John/ Doctor Yo-Han and it starred Cha Yo-Han ( Ji-Sung) who is a genius doctor that Kang Shi-Young (Lee Se-Young) meets in prison when she meets him at a crucial time of whether she should continue her residency as a doctor or not. She starts to work with Cha Yo-Han and he changes her outlook on her own life and experiences which gives her the strength to make the right decision for herself. They are both work the field of anesthesiology and try to find the causes of patient’s pain.

 

john2

john1

 

So this drama also focuses on the controversial issue of euthanasia as it is not legal in South Korea and I thought that it was really interesting that they decided to go into this issue in a drama. I don’t really believe in euthanasia but at the same time pain is really a hard topic. Pain can change a person and can turn them into someone unrecognizable and if it is impossible to numb the pain, I can’t say what I would do. It is a tricky issue because any system that is put into place can be abused and it is such a hard topic because this is definitely is a grey area and every case is very different.

 

john4

 

One thing that confused me was that they are studying to become anesthesiologist and I thought there main role was using sedatives for surgery and etc. I didn’t think they had much role in diagnosing diseases I feel like that is more likely in a different field. The chemistry for romance I thought was a bit weird as he seemed to old for her and she just seemed more immature and young. Also their relationship really bothered me at the end, if he did that to me I would not have been able to forgive that behaviour so easily. Also it really wasn’t clear what happened to him and what the outcome for him really was and I wish they would have explained it better or even had her address it. I also thought Shi-Young’s hair was really strange, I’m not sure what they were doing with it if there was extensions added but when she had it down it reminded me of a mullet cut. Not that it really mattered but it was so strange that it completely distracted me.

 

 

john5

john3

 

I really liked the patient stories and thought it was interesting when they were trying to diagnose patients. I really loved Ji-Sung in this role I haven’t enjoyed his last dramas as much and his character reminded me of of his Kill Me, Heal Me character and thought it was such a good character for him. I thought that it brought up some interesting thoughts and I was sad to see the drama come to the end. If you like medical dramas this is a good drama to watch because it focuses on both the doctor and patients and it keeps you guessing. The romance could have been improved upon but overall it was a interesting and compelling drama.

 

 

Class-of-Lies-02

 

 

The fourth drama that I finished was Temporary Teacher/ Class of Lies and this was an OCN drama so I thought that it would be interesting and since it was a large cast that it would have a lot of stories to tell and I was well aware that there wouldn’t be any romance so I thought it would be compelling. It stars Ki Moo-Hyeok (Yoon Gyun-Sang) who is a lawyer that is always willing to play dirty as long as he wins his case and doesn’t worry about people’s feelings. He loses his license when he is put on a murder case and decides to solve the murder by becoming a temporary teacher at the school where the student went to school. It also stars Ha So-Hyun (Keum Sae-Rok) who is a teacher at the school who has a bleeding heart and wants to protect the students and she has to make a decision whether to help or stop Moo-Hyeok .

 

class2

class5

 

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch this drama because I am not a fan of Gyung-Sang but I thought OCN can have some good dramas so I decided to watch it and I was pretty disappointed. I think it was the script that wasn’t that good. The students were definitely were the more interesting and had the best scenes of the drama and all the adults were just so dull and there characters were just so undeveloped and it just fell flat for me. I found So-Hyun teacher just annoying and she kept trying to help the students but she was just making things worse and it was just frustrating to watch her. The whole story just seemed unrealistic as well. Beom-Jin who is so smart and able to control people really easily and what they make them do just doesn’t feel his profile and it doesn’t line up with his character.

 

class4

class6

 

The ending was a total cop out and I think it happened that way because they didn’t have any proof or evidence to solve the murder so they just decided to kill him off and doesn’t explain who or why did it that way. Everything just felt so random and strange and pretty much overkill for what they thought they were doing. I mean killing someone so your reputation doesn’t get ruined doesn’t even make sense, there would have been so many better ways to deal with these issues.

 

class3

class1

class7

 

The only good part of the drama was the students and did a good job in their roles and there was some interesting parts and it would have some twists and turns but as a whole I didn’t really enjoy this drama. This was my least favorite drama this month and I would rather have skipped this one.

 

 

I-Wanna-Hear-Your-Song-03

 

The fifth drama was I Wanna Hear Your Song/Let Me Hear Your Song and it stars Hong Yi-Young (Kim Se-Jeong) who is a timpanist that wants to get into an orchestra and she was in an accident and lost her memories about what happened. It also stars Jang Yoon (Yeon Woo-Jin) who is a pianist in the orchestra and works other jobs and offers to help with Yi-Young’s insomnia and calls her and sings her to sleep. He wants to help her find her memories about the accident because he needs to know what happened. It also stars Nam Joo-Wan (Song Jae-Rim) who has just become an orchestra conductor and seems want to keep Yi-Young by his side.

 

 

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This was a pretty good drama, I wasn’t so sure at first but I did keep getting better. The mystery in the drama was intriguing and I really didn’t know how they were going to solve it and I couldn’t immediately guess what was going to happen. It keeps you guessing and does a good job of keeping it interesting and fresh. Since the drama focuses on memory loss, I was waiting for her to do some hypnosis treatment since that is the go to treatment in Drama land and was really surprised that they never used this technique.

 

song4song1

The ending was a bit weird and just seemed uncharacteristic by the choices that were made and I didn’t like they did an unnecessary time jump it really didn’t improve or add anything. It just felt like it was a lack of communication and trying to do a twist but was a boring ending. I also thought that they whole murder thing that happened had some messy ideas that they kinda forced into fitting the story. I think a lot of people may find that the story was too slow trying to solve one mystery. I also think they often start with the focus on the character doing some job and in this case she plays the timpani and then after a couple of episodes they seem to abandon the topic and she is barely shown doing this thing that in the first couple of episodes she is so supposedly passionate about. When it comes to Jang Yoon (Yeon Woo-Jin) I found that I didn’t really believe his love for Yi-Young, I find his feels a bit flat in this drama. I think there were a lot of elements that worked for this drama but it did have some faults and parts that were a bit flat, but overall it was an entertaining drama with an unpredictable mystery.

 

Upcoming Dramas

 

Strangers-from-Hell-01

 

1. Strangers From Hell

This drama is based on a webcomic and is about a young man moving to Seoul and finds a cheap dormitory and all the residents are disturbing and full of secrets. I tried watching this show and only made it to 2 episodes. I thought it would be like a psychological thriller but instead I found it to be gory, horrifying and disturbing and it seemed to just be about killing people. I really wanted to watch Lee Dong Wook in a new kind of role and it seemed like the acting was really good I just couldn’t seem to stomach it. So this drama was a pass but if you like horror genres then you would probably enjoy this drama.

 

 

Flower-Crew-04

 

2. Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency

It is about a blacksmith that wants to marry his childhood love and he hires a matchmaking agency to help him marry her but gets taken away on the day of his wedding. His bride is left alone and starts to work at the matchmaking agency.I have watched a couple of episodes and it seems like a typical historical drama with evil government officials that are trying to control the King. It seems like a decent romantic comedy though.

 

 

Melting-Me-Softly-03

 

3. Melting Me Softly

It is about a man and woman who are both experimentally frozen and wake up 20 years later instead of 24 hours and have to keep their body temperature about 30 degrees Celsius in order to stay alive.

 

 

The-Tale-of-Nokdu-Poster-1

 

4. The Tale of Nok-Du

It is based on webcomic and is set in Joseon and a man who is being forced into a an arranged marriage and in order to avoid it her runs away and dresses up as a woman to live in a widow village with only women. He meets a girl there who is an apprentice to become a gisaeng and she doesn’t want to and they are able to help each other out.

 

 

Extraordinary-You-03

 

5. Extraordinary You

I am most excited about this drama because I have read some of the webcomic that it is based on and I hope that it will be good! It is about a student at a prestigious academy and she finds out one day that she is actually a character in a manhwa and her character is only a minor character and could be dying soon so she decides to try to change the story plot for her own good. The concept reminds me a bit of the Kdrama W.

 

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