The King’s Avatar (Quanzhi Gaoshou)

The King’s Avatar (Quanzhi Gaoshou) is a light novel written by Hu Dielan.tumblr_op4xuxSep11uaylcyo4_500 Sypnosis: Ye Xiu, a professional e-sports player for the online game Glory. He is considered by others to be the best player on the game. However, due to some reasons, Ye Xiu is kicked out from his long term team and made to leave the pro-gaming scene. He later takes up a job as the night-shift manager at an internet cafe where he meets Chen Guo. She is the owner of the cafe and is also interested in forming a new e-sports team. While planning his return to the competitive scene, he keeps playing to develop his skills and find talented players for his team.

The main reason for my post today is to share my excitement💃🤗💃 for the current ongoing live-action series and the upcoming second season of the anime version for The King’s Avatar.

In order to prepare for the upcoming series, I started reading the English translation of the original novel – Quanzhi Gaoshou Full Novel


The anime version of The King’s Avatar was first released on April 7, 2017, by the Chinese internet streaming platform Tencent. It got a lot of attention and love internationally, and so three special episodes were released for fans on April 27, 2018. Currently, there is a season 2 of the anime series in works, and it was set to release this summer. Unfortunately, the release date has been pushed back a lot, so I am not sure of if it has been released yet, but I am looking into that.7d5426972e9ad8ab0615155c68bd73cb So far I have completed season 1 and the OVA (i.e. the three extra episodes), and I can guarantee that it was intriguing from start to finish. I loved 😍😍 everything about it, and that is why I am so excited to see season 2.

Here a link to the English subbed episodes of season 1: Quanzhi Gaoshou (2017)

Season 2 teaser/trailer:

– Season 2 concept trailer:

There is also an upcoming anime movie called The King’s Avatar Movie: For The Glory. It is set to premiere on August 16th of this year. It is a prequel to the storyline of season 1. The focus will be on Ye Xiu’s beginnings before he became the pro-player that we all know and love. I am also hyped 🙌🏼 for this. Hopefully, they stick to the announced date.The Kings Avatar Prequel Movie For The Glory – trailer 1:

– trailer 2:

– Behind the scenes:


Now for the live-action version. The main cast includes Yang Yang as Ye Xiu, Lai Yu Meng as Su Mu Cheng, Daisy Li as Tang Rou and Maggie Jiang as Chen Guo. It premiered yesterday and will run for 40 episodes. This series is also produced by Tencent. I loved Yang Yang in LOVE O2O, so I really hope that this version does not disappoint. yang yangHere is the trailer:

Episodes of the live-action can be found on NETFLIX and WeTV App with English subtitles.

Anyways, that is it for this post. I just felt the need to share how excited I am for all the upcoming and ongoing TKA projects.

So until my next post, take care.

 

HER PRIVATE LIFE: Review

Her Private Life is a 2019 Korean drama series that aired on TVN. The story is based on a Korean novel called Noona Fan Dot Com. img_2922Synopsis: Sung Deok Mi is a talented chief curator at Cheum Museum Art Gallery, but in private she is a fanatic fangirl of White Ocean’s Cha Si An. Ryan Gold is an artist who can no longer paint due to Stendhal syndrome. After the current boss of Cheum Museum gets involved in an embezzlement case, Ryan becomes the new Art Director of the museum. Due to a sasaeng fan’s post, rumours about Deok Mi allegedly dating Si An begin to spread. To ward off Si An’s fans who threaten to harm her, Ryan suggests that he and Deok Mi pretend to date. Unfortunately, the same sasaeng gets a job as an intern in the museum and vows to prove that Ryan and Deok Mi are a fake couple. Both now have no other choice but to continue the couple act even at work.

Going into this drama, I was not expecting much because this “fake to real couple” plotline has been overused. The only difference here was the fangirling aspect. So I went in with the mindset of “I just need some lighthearted romance story to refresh myself.” The drama also had a promising cast, so that was a plus and like many others, I was super excited to finally see Kim Jae Wook in a lead role.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

I absolutely enjoyed watching this series. It was exactly what I needed, not much suspense, just some feel-good romance. Although I feel that some parts of the story could have been omitted and also a few questions are still left answered. So I am going to make a little paragraph on that.

Okay, time to officially get into this review.

As I already mentioned, Her Private Life is nothing new plot-wise, but it felt fresh and exciting to watch because of how well the drama was executed. I fell in love with almost every character as the story progressed. The entire film crew and actors really brought their A-game on this one. I really enjoyed watching the comedic scenes, the extraness of it all gave me a good laugh. I also love how animated the depiction of the fansite world was made to look. It was a little bit “cheesy,” but I think that is what made it funny to me.

Now I am not sure if I should be giving praise to the director or the writer for what I am about to mention but anyways Kudos to whoever came up with the idea. There are some particular scenes between our main leads where no music or background score is used, the entire scene is just completely silent. I LOVED IT. The use of silence to show the tension between Ryan and Deok Mi was the best idea they could have come up with because it just makes it feel more real. Some people might not like the awkward feeling it gave, but I enjoyed it. Here are the scenes where I noticed that use of silence –  

Another thing to comment on is the fantastic dialogue, most notably during heartfelt scenes. In the last episode, there is a scene where Deok Mi’s mom and Ryan’s mom sit for a while and talk with each other. The dialogue from Ryan’s mom what absolutely beautiful. She said, “A woman who has lost her husband is called a widow, A man whose wife has died is a widower, A child who had lost his or her parents are called orphans But a parent who has lost a child… The sorrow is so great that there is not even a word that can be used to describe the person”. I am not sure if these words are directly from the writer or from another source, but they really touched me. If anyone knows the original source, please let me know in the comment section. For a more detailed review, I will go ahead and analyze a few characters.

First, our main leads – Kim Jae Wook as Ryan/Han Yoon Jae and Park Mi Young as Sung Deok Miimg_3194This drama portrays a very mature romance story, so the chemistry between Ryan and Deok Mi was intense and beautiful from start to finish. Their relationship felt more real and natural as the drama progressed. I also discovered that most of the intimate scenes towards the end of the series were actually improvised by the actors themselves, so I guess that’s why it felt very natural. I loved how understanding and considerate they both were to each other. There was hardly any misunderstanding between them, and anytime they had an issue, it was resolved very quickly. I honestly hate when little problems are dragged and dramatized for many episodes, so it was nice seeing that change here.

I also like that the secret about her being a fangirl was not hidden for too long after they officially started dating. The writer did a great job in making Ryan smart enough to figure out that Deok Mi was the fansite manager for Si An is My Road. And because Ryan already knew, the reveal was not a big issue for them. Although I still wish Deok Mi revealed it to him personally instead of hiding all the time. That aside, Deok Mi is still a very lovable character, she is an amazing daughter, a very supportive friend and I love that she could always tell if Ryan was not in the best mood and what exactly was bothering him without him actually saying anything. Also, Ryan had one of the most admirable traits ever. He was always quick to apologize whenever he realized that he was wrong.

I also appreciate the wardrobe choices for the lead characters. My favourite outfit for Ryan is definitely the three-piece suit he wore in episode 13. Also, Deok Mi outfits were great. Her clothes, shoes and jewellery were always well put together. But I wish they had blended her hair extensions properly like they did in the last episode. All the same, I would love to have her wardrobe for a week at least.

To close the chapter for our main leads, please permit me to fangirl a little. KIM JAE WOOK, no words needed –img_3195img_3196Alright, alright, I am done. LOL, I had to respect myself and not add all the screenshots I took.

Next on, the second leads – Hong Seo Young as Choi Da In and Ahn Bo Hyun as Nam Eun Giimg_3191img_3200 Honestly, I feel that these two characters should have been introduced just as friends or family to Ryan and Deok Mi because it would not have made much of a difference for their roles in the drama.

I initially found Nam Eun Gi annoying, and I knew that because of the brotherly relationship he had with Deok Mi, they definitely could not end up together. So the fact that he tried to control what she was doing with Ryan on the claim that he knew her better than Ryan was annoying to watch. Growing up with her or knowing a lot about her does not automatically give you the right to a relationship. Love is really not a first-come, first-serve matter. Towards the end of the drama, I noticed some significant character development with him. He really surprised me and made me love him as a character. He is a fantastic friend and brother to Deok Mi, and I was happy when he found someone that loves him as well.

Now onto Choi Da In, I honestly do not have much to say about this character. It felt like the writer just used her as a catalyst to make Ryan realize his true feelings for Deok Mi. But after that, I did not see the point of her character any longer. At first, I thought it was going to be the usual troupe were both second leads fall in love with each other, but it did not turn out that way. I feel that she did not have to be presented as a second lead because she could have made Ryan realize his feeling just by being a friend and saying something. If anyone has a different opinion on her character, feel free to do so in the comment section.

To close the section for the second leads, I will put it out there that I am a bit biased against second leads because I am tired of Korean dramas and their dead-end love triangles. The only show that ever made me love the second lead more was School 2015.

Deok Mi’s One and only idol – Jung Je Won as Cha Si Animg_3202At first, Cha Si An did not stand out to me. It felt like he was just there as the idol that Deok Mi loved but by episode 14, I had a big realization on the importance of his character. His talk with his mom after the discovery that Ryan was Heo Yoon Jae (her lost son) showed how much of a loving and caring person he is. I realized that right from the beginning, he has been the bridge connecting our main leads, and he also served as the bridge for Ryan to meet their mom. I remember in the very first scene between Ryan and Deok Mi, she kept on staring at him because he reminded her of Si-An and they starting the fake dating because of Si An’s scandal. Many other instances of such connection come to mind, but I cannot list all. His character definitely brought tranquillity, knowledge and understanding for other characters around him. He always seemed to know about things that you would hardly expect him to know of. I guess it took me a while to notice Si An, but I am glad that I did. I find it funny that somehow he was always on the elevator with Ryan or Deok Mi.  At some point, I wondered if he was living on that elevator. Also, I knew right from the start that Si-An and Ryan were brothers, so the reveal was not a big surprise to me. Here is one of my favourite scenes of him on the elevator – 

Kim Bo Ra as Cindy/Kim Hyo Jin and Kim Sun Young as Uhm So Hyeimg_3203Before I even start to go in on these two characters, I would like to share one of my favourite scenes which happens to have both characters in it. Here it is –  

Kim Sun Young is such an amazing actress. I first saw her as one of the mothers in Reply 1988. She really did a great job as Uhm So Hye. In scenes where I was supposed to hate or be irritated by the character, I definitely was and also in the scenes where I was supposed to laugh, I did. The entire look for her role was funny, from the hairstyle to her outrageous outfits and her personality, I just could not take her seriously. Thankfully she became less hateful during the few last episodes.

Cindy really started off as the annoying sasaeng fan, but I am grateful for the addition of her character. Her character portrayed how disturbing actual sasaeng fans can be. I mean there is a difference between being a fan and fangirling over your preferred kpop groups, but when it gets to the point of invading their privacy and stalking them during their personal time, then that is just wrong and uncalled for. Honestly, the stories I have read about a few kpop idols and their sasaeng fans are alarming. That aside, Cindy grew on me. I like how her obsessive passion was channelled into something more productive in the long run. I was actually surprised that she ended up with Nam Eun Gi. She developed into a great character, and one of my favourite scenes from her is when she confronts her mom about the celebrity collection exhibit that the Art Gallery was planning for. Here is that scene –  

Finally, here is my little paragraph on what I felt could have been excluded and the questions I still need answers to. First of all, did they really have to make the leads know each other as kids? I mean do not get me wrong, I absolutely love how maturely that part of the story was handled, but this is just an overused cliche. I am not a writer, so I try not to be over judgemental with a storyline. If I do not enjoy it, I just drop it and start something else but honestly this time around I just have to point it out. It is getting old and tiring because a lot of Korean dramas are using the same plot, I need to see something new people. PLEASE.

Another thing, the drama is called Her Private Life, but it did not really focus on her private life. Now that does not bother me much, but I was hoping that they would reveal to her co-workers and even Si An that she is the manager for Si An is My Road fansite. I cannot believe that it was not made into a big reveal. Also, what happened to the people that adopted Ryan. Are they alive, dead or even still in contact with him? I would love to know.

Okay, l am going to leave that and end this review on something else that I enjoyed, which is OSTs. When watching any drama, the one thing that always draws my attention is the soundtracks. There are two specific songs that I really love from Her Private Life. The first is Maybe by Lee Hae Ri of Davichi. Davichi always has the best drama OSTs, their voices are so beautiful. The second song is Think of You by Ha Sung Woon. I do not know much about Ha Sung Woon, but he is also a great singer. Here is the link to the music videos for both songs –  Official MV for Lee Hae Ri – Maybe     Official MV for Ha Sung Woon – Think Of You.

Overall I will rate this drama an 8.5/10. It was a good watch, and I would not mind rewatching it again. So before I go, I will leave you all with two more clips of my favourite scenes with Ryan and Deok Mi. ENJOY and until my next post, take everyone.

First Encounter: Do You Want Me? 

Fake Dating Photoshoot 

 

 

 

 

 

KINGDOM: Review

Okay, finally I have woken up from my long slumber. I am back with my review for the 2019 zombie-themed Korean series, Kingdom. I know that this is a late review, but I really wanted to take my time to do this properly.

kingdom-netflix[1]Kingdom is a 2019 Netflix Original Series set in the Joseon period.

Synopsis: The king has fallen ill, and rumours start to spread that he has actually died. Crown Prince Lee Chang is labelled a traitor by the Haewon Cho clan, which is the clan of the current Queen. Due to the political plot against him, he embarks upon a mission to investigate the spread of the mysterious undead plague that has beset the king and the country’s southern provinces.

Honestly, the main reason why I kept stalling on this drama was because of the zombie theme. I am not the biggest fan of the undead. So, going into this series, I expected some horrid scenes. I knew that I would be getting a well-written plot and delivery from start to finish. I hoped that since the series had only six episodes had to have been well planned out because of the short time provided to develop the story.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

My review on this is going to be very short and precise. Because the drama only has six episodes and ended with a cliffhanger. So there is not much to conclude on for now. I need the second season to be released as soon as possible because they cannot just leave me hanging with such an epic plot twist.

With that said, I have one word for this drama, INTENSE. This was such an action-packed series. A big thumbs up to all the actors for the fantastic range they showed throughout this drama. Their acting was very believable, most notably from the zombies. From the way they ran to their reactions, every move was made to look as real as possible. Their acting really sold this story for me because I usually do not enjoy zombie movies, but I was glued to my screen throughout the six episodes.

I noticed immediately from the start that there was a shift from the usual Korean drama series style of storytelling. Typically with Korean dramas, the audience is provided with some sort of back story to better understand the characters, but this drama did not have much of that. So my initial reaction halfway through the series was that the characters lacked depth. This caused me to be unclear on why precisely the Crown prince decided to rebel against his father for the throne. I know that he had enemies and therefore needed to do anything within his power to survive, but I still want to know more about the relationship between him and the king. Even with that lack of depth, I have nothing against the writer for not providing a backstory for the characters. This is because as I watched to the end of the series, I realized that the main focus was on the zombie epidemic itself and not necessarily the characters. So on that note, I concluded that this drama was not too concerned with character development and in-depth storylines. It had a definite plot, which was Zombie apocalypse, and it was well executed.

As already mentioned, I expected a good number of horrid scenes, and from the very first episode, I got it. Not even ten minutes into episode one and someone’s head was already on the floor. Now since we are discussing horrid scenes, let us look into how the epidemic began to spread in the first place. I get that the people were starving and the need to stay alive can make anyone take drastic measures but did Young Shin really have to cook a dead person as meat for sick people to eat. I was so grossed out by that. Did he not think about how unhealthy that will be. He started the entire zombie apocalypse. If he did not serve them that meat, they would not have been infected. I still want to know what his story is because as of now, I am not his biggest fan. He might have helped keep people alive, but I just cannot seem to overlook the fact that he escalated the situation due to his rash decision.

That aside, I enjoyed the comedic scenes that we got to see in the first half of the series. Especially the bickering between Crown prince Lee Chang and his royal guard but by the end of the series, I began to suspect his guard. I hope to be proven wrong in season two because if he is really a spy, it will be a big blow to the prince. In episode six, it was revealed that the Haewon Cho clan had planted a mole on the crown prince’s side and the only person who had been with Lee Chang from the beginning was the guard. So who could this mole be?

Now a little talk about the Queen, I had a strong feeling from the start that she was not pregnant and I was right. I also feel like she cares about the crown prince. As of now, her character seems quite mysterious and complicated to me. So I really want to see more of her story in season two in hopes of understanding her better. My radar might be wrong about her feelings towards Lee Chang, but one thing I know for sure is that she does not enjoy being controlled by her father. I feel like she might even betray him to keep her position and power intact.

Finally, I would like to discuss the cinematography for this series. It was simple, detailed and fitting to the Joseon period. The landscape shots throughout the series were breathtaking. I also noticed in episode one that the lighting indoors at night was executed perfectly. It was actually portrayed like they had only lamps and candles on set. My reason for mentioning this is because most historical kdramas tend to fail in the lighting department. They make it so evident that they are using electricity to film, but this drama was an exception, so props to the director for that. Also, the background scores really helped in creating the right effect for each scene. I believe that each instrumental piece helped the audience stay more intuned with the intensity of the show.

To wrap up my review, my rating for this series is 8.5/10. I am willing to give the remaining 1.5 points once I see the definite ending for this drama and some character depth. Overall, Kingdom was perfect. I did not find much fault with it because it was so well produced. I really hope that the second season provides answers to the few questions that remain unanswered for me. Also, I am praying that season two lives up to the hype of its predecessor. If you have not seen this TV series yet, you need to go check it out. If you have seen it, please let me know in the comment section if we share any similar opinions and what you noticed that I might have missed. That is it for this review.

I know I did not do my usual character analysis and notable scenes for this review. Here is my reason – I currently do not have enough information on each character to do that but hopefully by the end of the second season, I should be able to do my character analysis. As for the notable scenes, I simply could not decide. It was such a short drama, and almost every scene was essential and captivating.

So until my next post, take everyone.

 

ACROSS THE OCEAN TO SEE YOU: Review

img_2599Across The Ocean To See You is a 2017 Chinese Tv Show that tells the story of Su Mang, an executive for MG, a global tourism company. After failed attempts to have a child and dealing with an unfaithful husband, her marriage ends in divorce. To get a fresh start, Su Mang transfers to the company’s headquarters in Shanghai as a director. Unfortunately, rumours start to fly among the employees about Su Mang’s life overseas, and Zheng Chu is the unlikely employee who steps forward to protect her, despite the rocky start to their working relationship. This leaves a good impression on Su Mang and the two become friends, but how will the rest of their story play out?

Main Characters: 

#1. Zhu Ya Wen as Zheng Chuimg_2596#2. Claudia Wang as Su Mangimg_2589#3. Julia Ye as Tang Guo Guoimg_2586#4. Wang Yan Lin as Su Changimg_2588#5. Denny Huang as Tang Ming img_2575#6. Gao Yang as Yan Xiao Qiuimg_2583#7. Ma Qiu Zi as Chen Shan Shanimg_2592#8. Xie Gavin as Tony img_2587Okay now that I have the necessary information listed out, it is time for the main course. Going into this drama, I expected romance, drama, comedy and some form of character development because I had a strong feeling that I was going to be dealing with a few immature characters.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

Review: Well I got some of what I asked for, romance, very little character development and LOTS OF DRAMA. Honestly, this drama frustrated me to the point that I had to drop it for a long time, cool off and then somehow find the courage to complete it. Now, this does not mean that it was terrible all through. It started out great, but it got draggy and repetitive towards the end. What I have to give to this drama is that the comedic scenes were always on point. I was really excited to start this show because the synopsis seemed promising, but the execution was not the best. To explain my loves and hates for this drama, I have decided to break down my review according to character groups. Firstly let us discuss our main leads.

– Su Mang and Zheng Chu: The drama opens with Su Mang visiting the hospital for her IVF (In vitro fertilization) treatments. She later realizes after her divorce that she is pregnant. Now right from the start, I knew that her sperm donor was going to be our male lead, and I WAS RIGHT. He is the baby’s father, but this is not revealed until the very last episodes of the show. I found this to be the usual fate troupe, so I had no issue at all. I only wished that her pregnancy was depicted more realistically. All pregnant women develop baby bumps at some point, but here we are at about 3 – 4 months with an extremely flat stomach. Is that even possible? That aside, the leads had chemistry, their bickering was fun to watch at the beginning. The woman being the boss was a nice switch up from the usual male boss vs female employer and plus Su Mang had a strong personality. But what I did not enjoy was the way their relationship progressed. The push and pull game with both of them was excessively done. Zheng Chu is a very caring character, but he seemed to be a pushover and super clingy with Su Mang. Like if you keep on asking a lady out and doing everything to please her and she still does not want you, GIVE HER SOME SPACE. Also, in this situation, he could clearly tell that the other party felt the same way. She just was not ready to commit. Him bugging her all the time and receiving all the nasty treatments from her was honestly frustrating to watch. Due to this small issue I had with their relationship, I was not exited even when they finally got married. To me, it was more like good riddance to excess drama. All the same, I still have a few moments I enjoyed from the leads, so here is a good one. 

– Tang Ming and Yan Xiao Qiu VS. Chen Shan Shan: Now, these three characters were the biggest problem I had with the entire show. This has to be the most annoying love triangle mess that I have ever watched in my life. Xiao Qiu and Shan Shan are sisters, but they have been separated for years due to their parent’s divorce, and their relationship is not great either. Shan Shan also happens to be Zheng Chu’s ex-girlfriend, and Tang Ming is Zheng Chu’s best friend.  MY LEVEL 1 FRUSTRATION – Tang Ming clearly knew that Shan Shan broke up with Zheng Chu because she did not want to date someone who was not rich enough to cater to all her needs. Any average person would have the common sense to keep away from such an individual and plus she is your best friend’s ex, what happened to BRO CODE? The heartbreak for your friend was still fresh, not even a week old, like for real? Tang Ming is supposed to be a doctor. But throughout the show, I kept on wondering if he was ever using his brain. How can you misunderstood someone’s good intentions but yet keep on falling for another person’s schemes? Even when his family was against it, he still stubbornly went along with Chen Shan Shan. MY LEVEL 2 FRUSTRATION – I absolutely adored Yan Xiao Qiu as a character. She is a sweet and loving friend. Although I must admit that she lacked a backbone. I get it that not everyone can be outspoken about their feelings, but there has to be a breaking point. When you are always pushed to the wall, it gets to the point that you have to speak up. No matter how many times her sister lied, threatened and insulted her, she just took it all in silence. It became too tiring to watch. MY LEVEL 3 FRUSTRATION – What was the writer, director, and producer thinking when they made the decision to kill off Xiao Qiu character. She died so unexpectedly, and to me after her death, the happy ending for the other characters became meaningless. Like I already said, I did not like that she could not speak up for herself, but I respected her decision to give up on Tang Ming, go back to her hometown and stay away from all the drama her sister was creating. I feel that her character could have been given a chance to maybe travel abroad and focus more on her career because her death proved nothing to me. AND FINALLY MY BREAKING POINT – What gave Chen Shan Shan the right to blame Tang Ming for her sister’s death. EXCUSE ME but what drama have I been watching, am I still in the right show? Suddenly she is now a changed person and has reconciled with her dad. Excuse me?, this is not adding up because I do not feel that she deserves that happy ending. I know that in life, the unexpected always happens but did Xiao Qiu really have to die. I rest my case on these three. 

– Tang Guo Guo and Su Chang:  This was one couple that I did not really care about. Both characters were super annoying at the start, but they were actually the only ones to show some form of character development. Although at first, I was not the biggest fan of Tang Guo Guo, she actually grew to be the saving grace for me in this drama. She was funny and straight forward with everyone. I just did not care much for her romantic relationship with Su Chang. The only scene from them that really stood out to me was when Su Chang finally spoke some well deserved harsh truths to immature Guo Guo. So here is that scene. 

– Tang Guo Guo and Tony: Like I mentioned already I really loved Guo Guo’s character as the story progressed and I was even more invested in her relationship with her manager, Tony. They had more chemistry together compared to her and her boyfriend Su Chang, JUST MY OPINION. I admired the trust, loyalty, and friendship that both characters showcased and their incredible comedic timing. They had this little funny song and dance that they do, it was so adorable to watch. I can state for sure that they were my favourite part of this drama. Here is a clip that shows exactly why I love them. 

Although I did not really enjoy this drama, I must give credit, where credit is due. The cinematography for this drama was stunning. Each scene showcased vibrant colours.  Also, the actors did great in portraying their characters as directed, and their emotional and comedic scenes were top notch. I will be looking out for other projects from them. That concludes all I had to say about Across The Ocean To See You. I will rate this drama a 6/10. Will I be giving it a second watch anytime soon? The answer is NO. I would not mind watching the funny clips or the first half episodes of perfection, but I will definitely not be rewatching the entire show again. If you will still like to check out this drama for yourself and form your own opinion, here is the link: Full Episodes Of Across The Ocean To See You

So until my next post, have a lovely week

MAY I BLACKMAIL YOU?: Review

May I Blackmail You? is a 2017 Japanese drama series that tells the story of a man named Kanji Senkawa and his private blackmailing business.

img_2308Kanji Senkawa takes up cases which cannot be handled by the police or private investigators, and he solves them by blackmailing people. While doing his usual business, he meets the wealthy university student Mio Kanesaka. Kanji and Mio get involved in various situations, including voice phishing and kidnappings.

Going into this drama, I expected a short and sweet romance story. I also had a strong feeling I was going to enjoy it because I love the lead actor Dean Fujioka. My first time watching him was in the Taiwanese drama series Just You, and he was entertaining to watch, he brings his characters to life. I did not know much about the lead actress before watching this drama, but I had faith in the Japanese drama formula. Japanese dramas tend to have very few episodes, so everything is fast-paced. Also, character development and growth is a sure thing by the end of the show. So I was entirely sure that I would not be too disappointed.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

This was a concise and straightforward drama. It had only nine episodes with each lasting for a maximum of one hour or less. Also, the main characters had great chemistry. Although there were hints for something to bloom between them in the future, it did not happen. Maybe if they do decide to make a second season, then there might be some romance. So do not expect any romantic scenes from our leads. As I mentioned already, this series has nine episodes, so it was obviously fast-paced and straight to the point, and I enjoyed that a lot. But I still feel that essential background information for a better understanding of each character was omitted due to the number of episodes.

An excellent example of this is Mio Kanesaka and her grandfather. Right from the beginning of the show, it was made clear that Mio was not on good terms with her grandfather, but the reason for it being so was not clearly stated. They did show how their opinions differed on various occasions. I would have preferred if they gave us a flashback on the actual event that caused the hack to their relationship.

Another thing I really enjoyed from this drama was the timeline setup. The series started from the present and then flashbacked to the past to provide more depth to the characters. Now back in the present time, we are at this critical point where the characters have to make crucial decisions based on past experiences and their current learnings. I really enjoy when this style of timeline setup is used in dramas because it leaves me guessing, so that means the series is not entirely predictable from the start. That little mystery left by the timeline setup really made this drama more interesting to me. Plot-wise, this was a well-written drama. When I read the synopsis, it came off as the usual cute romantic-comedy, but I was wrong. It started out light-hearted and filled with dry humour, but towards the end, the characters became darker and had more depth to them. Just to clarify on the “dry humour” statement, I do not mean that the comedic relief moments were not funny enough. But rather such moments were quite mellow and sarcastic in nature, so not many people might pick up on the jokes.

Also, this drama gave me the number one thing I always desire, which is character development. Every character showed some essence of growth by the end of the show. So let’s discuss a few of the characters that really stood out to me.

#1. Dean Fujioka as Kanji Senkawaimg_2305The one and only blackmailer, Kanji Senkawa. Kanji at first seemed like a very nonchalant person without much to worry about except getting his assigned contracts completed. He is cunning and very money-driven, but there is more to Kanji. He actually harbours great regret regarding the death of his girlfriend. We later come to know that Mio Kanesaka is very much alike in behaviour to his ex-girlfriend and that is why Kanji always disagrees with her. He feels that she is too naive and that her belief in the good nature of people is very unrealistic. At some point in the drama, I could tell that Kanji was hiding his anger and regrets behind the nonchalant attitude. There was definitely something hunting him because he would sometimes go very dark with his words and actions. What I really liked is that at the very end, he understood that revenge is not always the best option. But people who do wrong deeds still deserve to be punished.

#2. Emi Takei as Mio Kanesakaimg_2292I definitely share the same opinion as Kanji, she starts off being way too naive and unrealistic with her belief in the good nature of people and their want to redeem themselves. At first, I was really thrown off by her behaviour. Gradually I came to admire her because she did something that many people fail to do when they hit a breaking point. And that is having the ability to stand by an initial decision. After a few fails, Mio Kanesaka realized that images portrayed by others in public cannot always be trusted. But she still held on the idea that everyone should be given a chance to redeem themselves. So in a way she remained the same but by the end of the drama, she definitely was not the same naive Mio Kanesaka from episode one. She admitted to her flaws but stood by her belief. To me, that makes her a really confident character, and I LOVE HER FOR THAT.

#3. Kasahara Hideyuki as Takanomi Nami img_2310Takanomi Nami, a politician and uncle figure to Mio Kanesaka due to her grandfather being his mentor. Takanomi played a significant role in making Mio realize how fake someone’s public image could be. In the public eye, he was the righteous politician and a hero. To Mio, he was also like a family member, but she was greatly disappointed when she discovered the monster behind the perfect face. He had her kidnapped and almost killed her grandfather just to make sure he won the upcoming election.

#4. Ozawa Hitoshi as Fuwa Tetsuoimg_2314Fuwa Tetsuo is the major gang leader in the neighbourhood. He is corrupt and capable of many wrongs, but his character stood out to me for two primary reasons. Number one is that his role was a big contrast to that of Takanomi, the politician. Here is a gang leader who the public clearly fears, but he was willing to help Kanji and his team on many occasions. Secondly, his character was also a good show of odd friendships. The friendship between him and Kanji was fascinating to watch. They were initially against each other due to a case Kanji had taken, but the truth is that friends can come from very unexpected places. Also, an extra bonus to his character is that he was an excellent comic add to the drama.

#5. Maya Kyoto as Tominaga Ayako img_2296Tominaga Ayako is the founder and leader of a very influential charity organization in the town. She uses the members of her organization to commit various crimes, including murder. For her defence, she claimed that she was helping the less fortunate to get rid of the people that once tormented them. So anyone who stands in her way will also be killed. She was the one who adopted Kanji’s girlfriend and nurtured her till she was old enough to be on her own. Unfortunately, Kanji’s girlfriend found out about her wrongdoings, so she had to be killed. This was an unfortunate character to watch because she honestly started her organization for a useful purpose. But over time, she had lost her way and failed to admit her wrongdoings. It just means that no matter who you are, it is possible for you to lose the essence of yourself at a certain point. Once you realize the problem, try to deal with it immediately. THE EARLIER, THE BETTER.

There were many other characters in the show, but these were the few that really stood out to me. As always, I have a few of my favourites scenes to share with you all.

Kanji and Tominaga Final Confrontation 

This was the final confrontation between Kanji and Tominaga. Tominaga killed Kanji’s girlfriend, and he plans to kill her as well. I really love this scene because of how well I could feel their anger, regret, and self-realization. The emotions were vivid.

Mio’s Initial Reaction To Being Blackmailed

Now, this scene is the perfect example of the dry humour I mentioned at the very beginning. It was a moment of shock and disbelief that somehow amused me. Mio’s initial reaction to being blackmailed was way too calm and unusual. Although this clip does not show it, she actually calls the blackmailer to negotiate the ransom for someone who has no connection to her. She also sends him a selfie just because he asked for a picture. I mean, who sends their picture to a blackmailer?

Kanji and Fuwa’s Game For Information

Here we have the iconic duo. A gang leader and a blackmailer betting important information on a game of building bricks. Not exactly what you will expect from such people. It was a hilarious scene to watch.

Mio Faces Her Parent’s Killer

Mio has the opportunity to kill the person who caused the death of her parents, but she does not believe in revenge. She admits that she hates him and likes the idea of getting rid of him for sure, but that will never bring her parents back to life. I already mentioned that I love how she stands by what she believes in, and this scene really sums up Mio Kanesaka’s character.

Alright, that is all I have to say about this drama. Overall May I Blackmail You? is an excellent drama and my rating for this is a 9/10, VERY SOLID. I recommend that you all take some time to check it out. It has only nine episodes, so that makes it a fast watch and I guarantee a delightful series from start to finish. It is available on Viki, here is the link: Full Episodes Of May I Blackmail You?

So until my next post, have a lovely week

THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES: Premiere Review

Expectations: I expect to see very relatable life experiences from this drama because the story plays around two characters who are at that critical career point and I know that life hits like a storm for many people during that time. So I expect some tear-jerking moments. Rather than romance, I am looking forward to the personal growth of all characters, and once I see the potential for that, I will be sold. I am also hoping for great acting from the leads. I know that Han Ji-Min has been in the acting game for a while now but not all her projects impressed me. The few that I loved absolutely showcased great acting prowess from her, so I am hoping for the best.

On the other hand, Nam Joo-Hyuk is relatively new in the game, but he has the potential to perfect his skills with time. So since this drama seems to have a good storyline and the lineup for the cast are majorly veteran actors/actresses, I believe he will showcase excellent anting. With that said, here is my review for the opening episodes of The Light In Your Eyes.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

Review: First thing that I noticed is that the characters in this show are “raw.” That is the only word that came to my mind to describe how the characters came off to me. By “raw,” I mean that there is so much growth needed for each character to get to their best self. I sincerely hope that the room created by this said “rawness” has been fully utilized by the writer to create some well deserved and grounded development for each character as the story progresses. Now the characters being raw does not take away from their complexity. For example, there is a scene where Hye-Ja tells Joon-Ha that she is fully aware of the fact that she is not fit to be an announcer, but she is also too scared to let go of her dream. She also talks about feeling inferior to the other applicants once she enters the interview room, so that is why she no longer sees the need to apply for any announcing positions. Life puts a lot of expectations on us. These expectations may be from our family, society and even our own dreams. Now if by chance we get to that point where we cannot achieve what we hoped for, we find it so hard to let go. Letting go at this point does not even have to do with disappointing others. But instead, it has to do with stepping down from the pedestal that you once placed yourself on. It feels like you have been stripped of your pride, and you are always at a fight with yourself. Change is hard. So that scene really renounced with me because it showed how fragile and complex we are as human beings.

Along with that, I also loved the simplicity of the drama. I think it had to do with the way it was filmed because every scene flowed so naturally. It felt real, no super flashy cars, dresses or houses just a simple neighbourhood with relatable individuals. Now, this is not to take away from the effort that is put into the more flashy productions. But I mentioned it to point out how this drama felt like a walk on a chilly night away from the norm of Korean dramas. I also loved that we got a really close insight into the family dynamics of both leads. I enjoy whenever families are actively showcased in shows because it gives me a good background of why each character is the way they are. This is one of the reasons why I absolutely adore the TVN Reply series, most notably the recent one. Also, the chemistry between the leads was easy going. I like the approach of letting them become friends first before crossing into the relationship phase. And from what I have seen so far, they both represent strong support and realization grounds for each other. This is great as it is the necessary foundation for every relationship, but I am not really sure of how it is going to play out from episode three since Hye-Ja is now much older in appearance compared to Joon-Ha. I am excited about how the writer plans to deal with this change. Will she let him know who she is or will they just come to be friends along the line and then he finds out some way or another, who knows? No matter how it plays out, I just wish for it to be done in a well-explained manner. I am not going to be accepting any extreme form of drama logic this time around. I know it falls into the fantasy genre, but it still needs to make sense.

Now about things making sense, I still cannot seem to understand how the watch works.  Because in episode one when the watch is introduced, we are just shown how Hye-Ja was able to change a few minor things over the years and how it led to her ageing faster than she was supposed to. At least I know a factual consequence of using the watch at this point, but I am still not clear on how far back in time it allows her to travel. In episode two this is seen as a problem for a few viewers because they expect her to just go back to the night before her father’s accident to save him but can she really go back that far in time? I am not sure, so I am waiting to get more explanations regarding the watch in the upcoming episodes. I need to know the origin, how exactly it works, why was she the one who got it, and why does it age the user faster than usual? There will be severe loopholes if these questions are not answered.

Another major thing I have noticed with a lot of Korean dramas is the constant drinking. I understand that the drinking culture is very different based on each society, but I fear for their livers. I also wonder if this is what they want to continually promote. Drinking is not harmful, but I personally believe that it should be kept at a minimum and not every day. Honestly, being drunk is not the best feeling, and I am saying so from experience, so when I see them drink almost every day, I sincerely question how they feel waking up in the morning. JUST SAYING.

Okay, back to the drama. So far I am enjoying the presence of a good number of the characters shown at this point and here is my take on them:

Notable Characters Introduced So Far:

#1. Han Ji-Min as Kim Hye-Ja img_2017She is someone who really cares about her family. I love the self-awareness of this character, she knows her strengths and weaknesses. I feel she has yet to gain the self-confidence to excel. I can also tell that she is a determined person from the scene where she tries to save her father. The only flaw is that she falls in love too fast, but I can validate her emotional actions for her. I mean we have quite a handsome male lead, he is also cute, caring and he listens. Now, who would not fall for such an adorable person? So I will cut her some slack in that aspect.

#2. Nam Joo-Hyuk as Lee Joon- Haimg_2029At first, he came off to be quite insensitive. Most notably, during the scene where he questions Kim Hye-Ja for wanting to become an announcer. I know that it was a needed reality check for her, but it could have been said less arrogantly. Anyways, later on, that misunderstanding is cleared up, and we get to see his more caring and considerate side. I love that he is straightforward and also opens up to the female lead, so it a two-way conversation and not just one person pouring out their heart.

#3. Son Ho-Jun as Kim Young-Soo (Hye-Ja’s older brother)img_2018So far, I see him as the comedic relief for the drama, and I love that, but I have a feeling that his character has been set up for so much more than that. At some point, he might need to get his act together and find a job or start up something of his own. I would not mind if he even starts helping around the house instead of merely sitting at home all day and asking for meat. But for now, he is a great comedic character.

#4. Ahn Nae-Sang as Hye-Ja’s father img_2028He is a taxi driver and a loving father. Right now, I see him as the good cop towards his children, unlike his wife. He is their protector, constant supporter and the one who always catches them in case they backslide a little but I can tell that he has a softer spot for Hye-Ja. I guess that is why he had to be the catalyst for Hye-Ja to use the watch again, although this caused her to age so suddenly, I am still happy that she was able to save him.

#5. Lee Jung-Eun as Hye-Ja’s mother img_2025She is a certified hairstylist and the “bad cop” parent in the family. I still love her. There has to be someone in your life to provide a well-needed reality check, and she executes it on a timely basis. She is at the same time the harsh encourager, she pushes you to see the best in yourself and not settle for less. I know that her expectations for Hye-Ja are very burdensome, but I like that she does not want her to end up as a hairstylist. At the same time, I see nothing wrong with being a hairstylist because, in this generation, everything can be capitalized on if done correctly.

#6. Kim Ga-Eun as Lee Hyun-Joo (Hye-Ja’s friend)img_2036First things firsts, I have a feeling that she might still end up dating Hye-Ja’s brother again. I do not have much to say about this character for now. I am waiting to see more of her before I decide on how relevant she is to the story.

#7. Song Sang-Eun as Yoon Sang-Eun (Hye-Ja’s friend)img_2037Now she is another comic relief to me but a very laid back type. The scene where the girls were discussing her contract with the management company is just funny, and I hope that as the story progresses, she also gets smarter with her decisions. And just like the other friend, I have nothing much to say about her for now.

#8. Kim Young-Ok as Lee Joon-Ha’s grandmother.img_2032 Grandma is one of my favourite older actresses, she really shines in every other drama I have seen her in. She is the captain to our leads’ ship, but unfortunately, she dies by the end of episode two. I was saddened by her death because it meant that Lee Joon-Ha was now alone because his father is not reliable. I was also really disappointed in her decision to side with her alcoholic and abusive son over her grandson with an actual future, but I guess that is the unconditional love of a mother.

Most Memorable Scenes: 

#1. Brother Rides The Ambulance.img_2020img_2022img_2024 Now, this was pure comedy. The brother is simply a character, and I am here for it. At first, when he began taping the door, the first thought that came to my mind was if he was going to be able to breathe with no air coming in and out of that room. But I guess he was too hungry to think it through. And the fact that even when he was being carried away in the ambulance, he still reminded the paramedic to help him flip the meat was pure gold. Like excuse me sir, but you nearly died, is your meat really that important at this point? He also did not seem to learn from that experience because the next day during breakfast, he still had the guts to speak about grilled beef. He got a good beating from his mom. He is definitely the comic relief, but I also need to see him adulting up at some point.

#2. Friends in Unisonimg_2040img_2054img_2055This was a funny and cute scene for me. It has been stuck in my head for a while now. The fact that they simply just analyzed the flirty announcer’s character in a few seconds was utterly hilarious and doing so in unison made it even better. I love Kim Hye-Ja’s friends, and I hope to see more of them. I know that she had her mom tell them that she left for Germany after her sudden change in appearance, but I really want her to let her friends know and see how they deal with it. I honestly feel that they will help her relax a little bit more throughout this ordeal.

#3. Lee Joon-Ha’s Drastic Move Against His Dadimg_2049img_2051img_2050Okay,  I was really shocked when Joon-Ha came back into the room all bruised and bloody. The first thought I had was on how long he must have held in that resentment towards his dad for him to make the decision of injuring himself to that point. That was a really drastic move, but I could understand the drive behind his decision to do that. Honestly, no one wants an alcoholic and an abuser for a father and the fact that his grandmother encourages such behaviour really disappointed me. Joon-Ha made that move to get his dad away from the peaceful space that he had living with his grandmother. Unfortunately, all his effort was ruined by the very person he was trying to protect. I get that a mother’s love for her child is undying, but at what expense are you willing to support such a son like Joon-Ha’s father. By helping her son, she might have just jeopardized the career of her grandson. I just hope Joon-Ha finds someone to talk to soon because by the end of episode two he was alone and lonely.

#4. Kim Hye-Ja’s Race To Save Her Dadimg_2046img_2047img_2044img_2045This part of the drama really proved the determination of Kim Hye-Ja’s character. Although she might say, she has given up and feels inferior to others, this scene showed that there was still this little fighter in there waiting to exhale. I love that she did not give up, no matter how many times she fell, she was quick to stand up and try again. This was an empowering scene because it shows that sometimes life throws things at you that you cannot seem to unravel in one go, it takes time, but you just have to keep on moving forward and not looking back. Even if you lose something along the way like Kim Hye-Ja lost her youth. Suicide, like she might be thinking of in the next episode, should not be your only option. I remember a quote from my favourite animation series ever, Avatar: The Last Airbender. It goes like this “when we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change”, but it all boils down to if you have the faith and the patience to fight for your situation to change and I know that Kim Hye-Ja’s character has just taken the first step towards her most significant change.

Overall, The Light in Your Eyes exceeded my expectation to a certain level. It was at the very bottom of my list for the dramas I was looking forward to watching in 2019. If you need to see that list, here is a link to it: My 2019 Drama List. It showcased the real-life situations I desired, and I love how it was done. I also got to see very emotional and fragile moments from our leads and their respective families, so Kudos to the actors and actresses for doing a fantastic job with their characters. Like I mentioned already, the characters are quite raw to me, so there is a potential for growth, which gives it another check from me. But since there is still a lot of information that I need to fully understand the time travel and ageing aspect of the drama, I will have to give this some time before I can be entirely sold on this storyline. As usual, I got my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

My rating for this premiere will be 9/10. I will continue watching, and by the end of the show, the final verdict review will be posted for you all to know my thoughts on this drama. If you have not seen the first two episodes of this drama already, go check it out and tell me if we have any similar views. Till my next post, take care.

 

My Kdrama Discovery

(The story of how I started watching Korean dramas.)

If I can remember correctly, I started watching Korean shows in 2012. At that time, I was actually in a boarding school and was set to complete high school the following year. It was during a school break, but I had to be in school to take extra preparatory classes for an upcoming exam.

A little background information: I attended high school in Ghana. I was in a boarding school, so students were not allowed to have any form of electrical devices on the campus. Also, in West Africa during the third year of high school, every student has to write what we call WASSCE. WASSCE (West African Senior School Certificate Examination) is a type of standardized test in West Africa. It grants students admission into universities and is administered by the West African Examinations Council.

With that said, I definitely should have been studying instead of watching dramas, but a girl needed to relax a little. A friend of mine happened to sneak in a mini CD player into campus. So she invited a few of us to watch movies with her. On getting there, I noticed that it was not an English film. So I asked her what country it was from, and she said Korea. Oh well, it did not really matter to me because I just wanted to hang out. So that was how I began watching Boys Over Flowers. I remember watching an episode each day because we all did not have that much free time due to the upcoming exams. As each day passed, I became more intrigued by the story and the actors. I was eager to know what next was going to happen between Gu Jun-Pyo and Geum Jan-di. After completing Boys Over Flowers, I went on to watch Playful kiss, You’re Beautiful, City Hunter, Personal Taste and many others. At this point, I had lost all control because the kdrama obsession had long begun.

In 2013 after completing high school, I came straight over to Canada to study. With access to drama streaming sites like Dramafever(it was great while it lasted, sad to see such an abrupt end). And also VIKI, I began to watch not just Korean dramas but also Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese dramas. I had a whole new world in front of me. I was mesmerized by the amount of work and dedication that went into each of these productions. At first, I simply watched kdramas because of the actors I knew, but with time, I became sure of what I liked and what I did not enjoy. It no longer mattered to me if you were my favourite actor or actress because I am not going to sit through anything that stresses me. Honestly, when I watch something that does not sit well with me, I easily get irritated by how the story or characters have been portrayed. All the same, my favourite actor starting out was Lee Min-ho, and my favourite actress was Park Shin-Hye. Currently, I have many actresses that I really admire, but my all-time favourite actor is Lee Joon-gi. I mean the man excels in all that he does (there is no room for argument here).

I also stumbled into the kpop world through kdramas, I remember that the first kpop group I ever listened to was Infinite. I discovered them through the drama High School Love On, which starred two of their members, Nam Woo-Hyun and Lee Sung-yeol. Over the years, I have listened to numerous Korean pop groups and solo artists from various genres (indie, hip hop, folk, neo-soul, RnB, etc.). I also listen to some good old Korean classics. Basically, when it comes to music, I listen to whatever I like, I do not restrict myself based on groups or favoured artists.

So there it is, my first Korean drama was Boys Over Flowers, and the first kpop group I listened to was Infinite. I just wanted to share what factors led me to this beautiful space. I will like to hear your stories as well, so do share.

Until my next post, take care, and if you’re in Canada, please try not to get swallowed in the snow.

THE CROWNED CLOWN: First Episode Review

As promised, here is my review for the first episode of The Crowned Clown. 

My Expectation: Going into this drama, I definitely expect intense scenes and well-planned execution of the proposed plot. I believe I can trust the chosen actors to deliver an entertaining show from start to finish. Plus I love historical dramas, so I sincerely hope that this does not turn out to be a letdown.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

Review: As expected from the stunning young actor, Yeo Jin-Goo. He really impressed me with his portrayal of two completely different characters. I have followed him for a long time as a child actor, and I know that he is going to become an even bigger star as he grows. The very first scene of episode one showcases the death of the previous king To me, this was a brilliant way to start the drama because the intensity of that scene immediately solidified my approval of the show. screenshot (29)screenshot (25)From the dialogue during this scene, I could predict the troubles that were about to come, and I knew that the little prince’s life was in danger. At this point, I honestly had no strong feelings concerning Lee Hun’s character, but as I watched to the end of episode one, I discovered that our king was quite bloody. He seemed too confident in his ability to manipulate others for his benefit without having any setbacks. Also, he refuses to listen to people that are actually looking out for him. In conclusion, he is a weak and muddled King. I mean, do not kill someone, if you cannot deal with the guilt and consequences, period. Anyways, throughout episode one, we get introduced to many characters. I love the balance between the new actors and veteran actors for this drama. This gives me great hope for future episodes to come. Here are few of the notable characters:

Yeo Jin-Goo – Ha Sun(the clown) / Lee Hun (the King): Like I mentioned, this actor does an excellent job in portraying the bloodiness of the King and the naiveness of the clown. It will definitely be hard for the clown to be a perfect imposter of the King right from the start, but I have a feeling that at the very end, it will be hard for anyone to point out who the real King is.

Lee Se-Young – Yoo So-Woon (the Queen): So far the queen seems like a calm and reasonable person. She is fully aware of what she desires and does not settle for less. I like that she can see through the petty tactics of the royal concubine and also stand up to the King.

Kim Sang-Kyung – Lee Kyu (King’s trusted aide): He’s trustworthy and always has the King’s best interest at heart. I predict that at a certain point, he might switch sides and support the clown fully because the King seems like a letdown so far.

Kwon Hae-Hyo – Shin Chi-Soo (War Minister): A very dangerous individual. At first, I thought he was controlling the King, but then I realized that the King actually used him as a weapon to get rid of his competition. Although the fact remains that a well-sharpened knife can also hurt its owner, if not handled carefully. The king’s recklessness in pushing power towards the wrong person will cause massive frustration for the viewers. Because we will be stuck watching such an annoying character for a long time.

Min Ji-A – Court Lady Kim: Honestly, I have concluded that she is a spy. I do not know who she works for yet, but I have a strong feeling that she has a purpose for being placed so close to the King. There is a scene where she hands him a pipe to smoke, and right after that scene, we cut right to the King’s bedroom. We can see that he deals with hallucinations. I feel She might be drugging him.

Shin Soo-Yun – Dal-Rae (Ha Sun’s sister): She is part of the performance crew and also a little sister to Ha Sun (the clown). I know she will be a significant factor to him taking his position as the King’s replacement more seriously and this has been proved in episode 2. Since I am just doing a first episode review, I will not reveal the upcoming events.

– Seo Yoo-A – Sunhwadang (King’s concubine): She is definitely a sly one but does not seem too smart about her plots. She is the niece of the War Minister and of course, aspires to be queen by conceiving an heir to the throne. She gets to spend the night with the King and gets caught using charms. She then tries to put the blame on the queen. That particular scene was really intense but also funny. I honestly did not know if to laugh at her failure or be angry about the way the king treated her.

– Jang Young-Nam – the King’s mother: Honestly, she is the most justified villain I have seen in a long time. She lost her son and wants revenge, quite simple. But I do not think that she was utterly a saint even before losing her child. There is definitely a back story to this mess, and I am looking forward to it.

Most Memorable Scenes from this Episode :

#1 –Little Prince’s Death

screenshot-34.pngI honestly did not expect his death. I know that he was accused of treason, but I did not expect our King to go through with the killing. When he decided to send him away, I had some hope that he was actually protecting his little brother. Sadly, I was left disappointed. It was a shocking scene for me. It broke my heart to see the little prince dead.

#2 –Killing Of Assassins

screenshot (55)The King is attacked by assassins, but he manages to escape, and the killers are captured by his guards. Now during the questioning, the king gets agitated and decides to kill one of the assassins. His facial expressions at this point gave me chills. I was lost for words, and the only conclusion that I could come to was that he was psychotic. Clearly, it looks to me like he was enjoying the slaughter of another human being, and that is very scary. I honestly do not know how the writer plans to redeem this character. That is if there is even a plan for such a development.

#3 –First Shown Interaction between King and Queen

screenshot (82)I found this scene very interesting because it represented to me a glimmer of hope for a change in the King’s personality. I can tell that he sincerely cares about the feelings of the queen, but because of all his other bloody and violent actions, the queen has refused to have any form of intimacy with him. This also shows that she’s a woman with her own values and opinions even though she always seems calm and collected. I predict that the future relationship between the queen and the clown will be the wake-up call for our wonderful King to act more appropriately.

#4 –The King and The Clownscreenshot (102)

screenshot (101)A well-executed scene for the first meeting of Lee Hun and Ha Sun. I just simply loved the way it played out, starting with the king getting closer to see for himself, to the transferring of ropes and the perfect imitation of command by the clown. The writer and director showcased excellent skills in setting the mood with the use of dim lighting. Once again a big thumbs up to Yeo Jin Goo for an extraordinary performance. I honestly look forward to seeing more great works from him.

Overall, the first episode definitely met my expectations. I got the intensity I desired, and I was immediately pulled into the world of these characters. The cinematography was perfect for me, I really enjoyed the simplicity because it fitted well to the story. Also, the background instrumentals for each scene was well placed. So far, the chemistry between all the characters seems natural and kudos to all the actors for that. I also watched episode two, I like that it started out with some comedy as compared to the intense first scene from episode one. It was an excellent strategy to relax the watchers and make the show more inviting because life cannot always be dark, there should be some light moments. I have not been able to keep up with all the released episodes because of school, but I will do so by this coming weekend. So if you were looking forward to the show as well, please feel free to share your opinions with me. I need some discussion partners to keep me going.

My rating for the first episode is 10/10. I will continue watching and see how things turn out, so stay tuned.

My 2019 Drama List

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Since it is the first day of 2019, I decided to share a list of my most anticipated dramas for this year. When these dramas are released, I will be posting a first episode review. So that way, you all can know if the drama met my expectation and if I plan to continue watching it.

(For the dramas that do not yet have posters, I have attached an image of the currently confirmed cast or referenced work)

#1 – The Crowned Clown / The Man Who Became Kingfullsizephoto1021297[1]Joseon is currently in a state of disorder due to uprisings and a power struggle surrounding King Lee Hun. A clown named Ha Sun is brought to the palace to pose as King Lee Hun. That way, the king could escape assassination. Ha Sun is identical to the King.

#2 – The WolfMajesty+Wolf+11[1]Towards the end of the Tang Dynasty, Zhu Wen usurped the throne and established the Liang kingdom. He then encounters a young wild boy who accidentally fell from a cliff while being pursued saving wolf pups. The boy is rescued and adopted by Zhu Wen and is renamed Zhu Youwen. Ten years later Zhu Youwen has been conferred with the title, Prince of Bo. He meets and falls in love with Zhaixing, the daughter of a governor and the two become involved in a struggle for power.

#3 – Kingdomkingdom-netflix[1]Set in Korea’s Joseon period, the drama tells the story of a crown prince who is sent on a suicide mission. He is to investigate a mysterious plague spreading across the country. But he later discovers that the plague is actually an atrocious epidemic in the form of zombies.

#4 – Welcome To Waikiki 2 / Eulachacha Waikiki 261fdb65e-409e-4a0d-8cb7-cadc31bece76[1]This is the season 2 of the popular series, Welcome to Waikiki. It is set to air during the first half of 2019, but no cast member has been confirmed. I wrote about Welcome to Waikiki season 1 in a previous post, if you have not read that, here is the link (MY TOP 10 DRAMAS FOR 2018).

#5 – Tears In Heavena6ed6855e4854a7eaa2182710ce9996d[1]Reporter Du Xiao Su falls in love with Doctor Shao Zhen Rong. Zhen Rong, unfortunately, meets an accident and dies, leaving Xiao Su in grief. All her suffering is being witnessed by Lei Yu Zheng, who decides to help her silently. This sparks hatred from the second female lead (Lin Xiang Yuan). Amid ongoing schemes, Yu Zheng loses his company, but Xiao Su helps him make a comeback.

#6 – Touch Your Heart / Reach Of SincerityTouch-Your-Heart[1]Top actress Oh Yoon Seo has a scandal that damages her career, leaving her with any job for two years. To get a role in an upcoming series, she agrees to get experience at a law firm while working as a secretary to a lawyer named Kwon Jung Rok. This marks the reunion of the secondary couple fro the popular Korean series, Goblin.

#7 – Dear Citizens 12-K-Dramas-to-Look-Forward-to-in-2019-04-Dear-Citizen-01[1]A comedic criminal drama that tells the story of a con man who gets married to a police officer. From then on, he gets involved in a series of unplanned incidents and even ends up becoming a member of the National Assembly.

#8 – Romance Supplement / Romance Is A Bonus Booklee-jong-suk-lee-na-young[2]The series follows the lives of employees in their 30s who work at a publishing company. Cha Eun Ho is a genius writer and the youngest chief editor at his publishing company. Kang Dan-Yi used to be a popular copywriter but is not anymore. Due to her impressive career and educational background, she struggles with finding a new job. Finally, she gets a job at the same publishing company where Cha Eun Ho works by lying about her background. The two begin to develop romantic feelings for each other.

#9 – My CountryMy-Country[1]This drama is to be set during the Korean Goryeo period to the early Joseon period. It will tell the story of two friends who come to aim their swords at each other due to their different opinions about “my country.”

#10 – Asadal Chronicle / The Chronicles Of AseudalThe_Chronicles_of_Aseudal-CSML1[1]The drama revolves around the power struggles, love, and growth between the people of the fictional ancient city of Aseudal. Eun-Sun was born with the fate to bring disaster to Aseudal. Ta-Gon is a war hero and dreams of becoming the first king of Aseudal. Tan-Ya was born with the same fate as Eun-Sun, and she is the successor of the Wahan tribe.

#11 – Itemfullsizephoto1000592[1]A criminal profiler and a prosecutor determined to save his niece, work together to decipher the secrets behind various objects with supernatural powers.

#12 – When The Devil Calls Your Namejungkyunghogeekjune2016_0[1]This drama tells the story of a man who sold his soul to the devil ten years ago for youth and success. As the soul collection day draws near, he begs the devil for an extension of their contract. The devil agrees on the condition that he will find three other people who have promised their souls and take their contracts.

#13 – Queen DuguEmpress+Dugu+0[1]A Chinese historical drama about the first emperor of the Sui Dynasty (Emperor Wen of Sui). He is known for having the fewest concubines due to his love and respect for his empress, Empress Dugu. They met during their teen years, and he promised that she would be the only woman to carry his children.

#14 – Empress Of The Ming: Legend Of Sun Ruoweiimage-w1280[1]Sun Ruowei’s entire family is killed on the orders of the Yongle Emperor in 1402. She manages to escape death after being secretly adopted by Sun Zhong but later on becomes the concubine of crown prince Zhu Zhanji by chance. She decides to use the opportunity to investigate the truth behind her family’s death. Touched by Zhu Zhanji’s kindness, she later decides to drop her personal goals. She resolves to become a virtuous empress who can support him through his rule. Unfortunately, Zhu Zhanji dies a decade after ascending the throne, and Sun Ruowei is honoured as Empress Dowager once her 7-year-old son became emperor.

#15 – Spring Must Be Comingbf008d111e20999237bce6983c5f1036[2]Kim Bo-Mi is a TV news anchorwoman who only cares about herself. On the other hand, we have Lee Bom, who was once a popular actress. She is now married to a lawmaker and focuses on being a housewife. Somehow both women switch bodies, giving them a chance to live their once forgotten dreams and gaining new experience.

#16 – Dazzling / The Light In Your Eyesd698b865cd1b4697ba6c3b4ed3f4a472[1]Kim Hye-Ja dreams of becoming an announcer, but suddenly she transforms into a 70-year-old woman with the ability to manipulate time. Lee Joon-Ha hopes to become a reporter and has worked hard to achieve his dream, but he now lives life hopelessly. These two somehow get involved with each other.

So this is the end of my list. Of course, there are many other upcoming dramas this year, but these are the few that I am really looking forward to watching. I will still be keeping an eye out for all the other dramas, so stay tuned for the reviews.

 

MEMORY LOVE: Review

Hey guys, as promised here is the review for the Taiwanese drama series, MEMORY LOVE.

index_02[1]

Memory Love tells the story of Qiao Jia En (our female lead) and her boyfriend, Wang Xiu Kai’s return to Taiwan to reunite with her estranged wealthy father after her mom’s death. Unfortunately, they both get involved in a car accident which causes Jia En to lose her memory, and her boyfriend is declared brain dead. On the other side, we have pastry chef Xing Shao Tian (our male lead); who collapses during a bakery banquet and requires an immediate heart transplant. Of course, he ends up receiving Xiu Kai’s heart. Now Jia En’s best friend, Zhoa Ai li takes advantage of the current memory loss situation and poses as Jia En.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

The elements of this drama include amnesia, switched and stolen identity and fictional organ cellular memory transfer. Honestly, this is a drama that you will either love or hate. I say this because the story is nothing new, but it will all depend on how the execution of the plot comes off to you as the viewer. From the start of the drama, I enjoyed the way the characters were introduced at fast speed. Which means that whatever back story to be told was placed throughout the upcoming episodes, so we got straight to the actual plot. Overall the drama was light and straightforward, so it made an easy watch, apart from some unrealistic developments. For example, I cannot seem to understand how Jia En’s friend, Zhao Ai li was able to get away with the switching of identities. It is the 21st century, DNA tests do exist. If I was the father and someone comes up claiming to be my daughter, I will definitely ask for concrete proof and not just some keepsake. But no worries, I decided to accept the drama world logic and let that slide. Also, I am no medical student but the way the transfer of cellular organ memory was portrayed in this drama, was a bit over the top but once again ‘drama logic.’ This series also showcased some super cringy scenes. Now I have admitted my love for cheesy romance, but when it gets to that cringe level, I cannot help but feel embarrassed for the characters. I was able to cope with the cringe because the chemistry between the leads was electrifying.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The interactions between them felt fresh and real. They were both supportive and loving to each other. Kudos to the Mandy Wei and Andy Chen for creating such sizzling chemistry. Because most onscreen couples can sometimes feel heavily scripted and that makes the pair really unbelievable for the viewers. There were a few moments when I wished the male lead was not written to be mean at the beginning. I would love to see more dramas where the male lead is actually a nice person from the start. Because I find it hard to believe that any lady would easily fall in love with someone who has been continuously harsh to her. All the same, their chemistry was legit, so it helped.

I also loved the bromance that came later on between the first and second male leads. They are also stepbrothers and love rivals (honestly, my head hurts from such a complicated relationship). It was fun to watch their bickering, and the little moments of them getting along was cute.21728122_1871212299559724_8591826461083716318_n[1]21558794_1875872269093727_3565027475593907083_n[1] I did not really care for the side characters or their stories because I felt that they were not as well developed as the main characters. I think the writer decided to add them in for comedic effect. Also, I noticed that a few random characters were thrown in at odd points of the story to push the relationship between the leads to the next level. I do not entirely hate the idea, but it was not properly planned, so these characters always felt out of place. Now one person that really annoyed me down to the last episode was our female lead’s best friend or in this case ex-friend. The writer thought the audience could be persuaded later on to feel some pity for this character by making Jia En forgive her so easily. After all the pretending, stealing and lying for so long, it came off quite unrealistic. I mean yes, she has to forgive at some point but that fast, I must say I WAS SHOCKED because I felt it did not allow for the friend to learn her lesson as well deserved. Let me be real, the friend and her super annoying fiance had been crossed on my list, there was no going back. Apart from these two characters, I absolutely adored every other character in the drama, whether random or not.

Now we have a pastry chef as our lead, so there were some baking skills showcased throughout the show. I enjoyed how the drama incorporated the stories behind the creation of these pastries and connected them to the emotions felt by the characters. This made the show more interesting. Another reason why I loved this drama was due to the original soundtracks used. I already did a review for the opening track. If you have not seen that already, use this link (Opening song review) and check it out. Most of the other songs from the drama came from the album Bii Your Light by Taiwanese singer Bii. My favourite song titled ‘You’re Gone’ was actually the closing track. If you would like to have a listen, here is the video –

Lastly, let’s discuss the execution of the plot. Like I said earlier, the plot is nothing new in the drama world, but I still gave the drama a chance. It definitely had the potential to gain a 10/10 rating, but it fell to the ongoing problem of many Taiwanese dramas. I honestly cannot tell if the writer got too relaxed towards the end or if the number of episodes should have been cut short. Recent Taiwanese dramas tend to be draggy towards the end. By draggy I mean, there was a point when I felt that the last episode had already been aired because the events from then on felt like fillers. This could have been avoided if the drama had ended sooner. Memory Love had so much potential, but I have to admit that the episodes towards the end felt like compulsory fillers required to reach the already announced number. Overall it was still a relaxing drama to watch, the main couple was sweet and amazing together so I will give it a 7.5/10. Will I be watching it again? Yes but not every single episode, maybe I might go back to watch my favourite moments. Also, I will be following future projects from both leads because they were the rock that held my interest throughout the show. If you would like to watch this drama for the sweet moments between the main couple, that is great. It is available on VIKI (Asian drama/movie streaming site), just use the link below, Enjoy.

Full Episodes of Memory Love

 

 

MY TOP 10 DRAMAS FOR 2018

Hello everyone. First of all, I would like to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance. I am hoping that the holiday season brings you great joy and may all your heart’s wishes be fulfilled.

So for today, I will be sharing a list of my top 10 Asian dramas that aired in 2018. I definitely watched more than 10 dramas, but these are just the few that really stood out for me. This is going to be a long post, so bear with me. I will be listing from last to first because I want my #1 to be anticipated.

#10 – A Korean Odyssey/Hwayugi5a25a22d025542119cd2d41bcdd289f7[1]Son Oh- Gong, the monkey king, finds himself bound as a protector for Jin Seon-mi. She is the little girl he had made a contract with 25 years ago. In exchange for setting Son Oh-gong free, Jin Seon-mi will be able to call on him whenever she needs help. Now, this was a highly anticipated drama for me, and it had a great start to it. The characters were funny, I also loved the way the story progressed, but the ending episodes were slowly paced with a few unnecessary scenes. The fact that I still enjoyed it on my second watch is the reason for it being on my list.

#9 – The Ghost Detectivey9eJNpSACBG9TgNbbO2Fgack3o1[1]Lee Da-il is a detective who has promised to help his assistant, Jung Yeo-wool investigate the bizarre death of her younger sibling. While doing this, he runs into a mysterious woman in red called Sunwoo Hye who somehow appears at every crime scene. This was a very intriguing drama, but the reason for it being #9 on my list is because of the horror aspects which I am not the biggest fan of. I had to keep my lights on whenever I watched it because somehow I always watched it late at night

#8 – Encounter6a5e2576286f437c81ba9e6c7ae95fa1[1]Fate threw a large dice for these two. A woman who seems to have everything and a young man who seems to have nothing. As things unfold, they have to choose between wealth and authority or an ordinary life together. I always enjoy a very well produced cheesy romance, and the cinematography is a plus for this drama, really amazing. The only reason for it being this low on my list is because it is still airing and my feelings might change if the story flops. So I got my fingers crossed for this one, but so far I love it.

#7 – Moonshine and Valentinejkl1u5JDRE2Y90IvhrwAzp1xGOO[1]Guan Pipi lived an ordinary and peaceful life until she met Helan Jingting; then her life took an extraordinary turn. Different from humans, Helan is actually a fox. He cannot see during the day but has great vision at night. Their unique relationship begins when Pipi faces betrayal from love and friendship. A check for romance, another check for fantasy, which I go crazy for and the last check for amazing chemistry. I really enjoyed this drama, and I am actually hoping for a second season. But at the same time, I am not sure if the second season can be executed as perfectly as the first.

#6 – What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?891a50a3318046e683efdc9ac302d238[1]The drama revolves around a narcissistic vice chairman of a major corporation, Lee Young-Joon and his very able secretary, Kim Mi So. The catalyst for this drama is Kim Mi-So’s intention to resign from her position, after working for Lee Young-Joon for nine years. Like I said earlier; I love a good romance, and this also had comedy to offer, so I loved every minute of it. It was also nice to see the vice-chairman begin to pay attention to someone other than himself. The pace was also on point from start to finish.

#5 – My ID is Gangnam Beauty17ba9005fa753843508e57ee568716d646c859f9r1-750-530v2_hq[1]Kang Mi-rae decides to get plastic surgery after being bullied in high school for her looks. Yet she ends up being nicknamed as the “Gangnam plastic surgery monster” of her university. The drama follows her story of recovering self-esteem as she gets to know Do Kyung-Seok. Really awesome drama from start to finish, there was never a dull moment for me. I absolutely loved the fact that the male lead could see through the second female lead’s tricky acts and plus the main leads were so cute together. LOVED IT

#4 – Welcome to Waikiki61fdb65e-409e-4a0d-8cb7-cadc31bece76[1]The story circles around three friends who run a failing guesthouse called Waikiki and the mysterious appearance of a single mother and her baby. If you need a good laugh, I highly recommend this drama. It was pure comedy from the beginning to the end. I enjoyed every minute of it. The characters bonded so well together, and there was a lot of personal growth going on for every character. I will definitely be watching this again.

#3 – Story Of Yanxi Palacee6111860825f49ba8f358b52fa555948[1]Smart and witty Wei Yingluo enters the court of the Qianlong Emperor as a seamstress to investigate the truth behind her older sister’s death. Upon discovering that the imperial guard Fuca Fuheng might have a hand in her sister’s death, she purposely attracts the attention of his sister the Empress Fuca. Over time she learns about the honesty and kindness of both siblings and also develops romantic affections for Fuheng. Can we please have a moment of appreciation for a strong and resourceful female lead, which is rare in Asian dramas. Wei Ying Luo outsmarted all her rivals without any major support, and that made me enjoy this drama.

#2 – The Rise of Phoenixes 43c552c4621fdc6ba3f92156[1]Ning Yi is a calculating and ambitious sixth prince of the ruling Tiansheng kingdom. He disguises his talents behind a carefree personality after corrupt officials charged his older brother with high treason. He establishes a secret information network with Qingming Academy’s headmaster Xin Ziyan and waits for the perfect time to strike down his enemies. Once again, a moment of appreciation for an amazing and well-written male lead character. The actor Chen Kun who played as Ning Yi deserves every award possible. He did a fantastic job of convincing the audience to accept every emotion displayed by his character. Also, the chemistry between the leads was 10/10. Honestly Chinese dramas shined this year.

#1 – Mr. Sunshinedfa7bb42-84b6-11e8-99b0-7de4d17a9c3a_1280x720_152105[1]The drama focuses on a young boy who is born into slavery, but after a traumatic event, he escapes to the United States during the 1871 U.S. expedition to Korea. He later returns to Joseon as a U.S. Marine Corps officer. During his stay, he meets and falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter and also discovers a plot by foreign forces to colonize Korea. There is only one word to describe this drama, “PERFECTION.” From the directing to the cinematography, chemistry between characters and beautiful soundtracks. It had it all. I laughed, smiled, cried and felt so attached to all characters throughout the series.


If you also enjoyed any of these dramas, please let me know what exactly you really loved about it. Even if you have a favourite that did not make my list, leave the title in the comment section because I will check it out. Now if you have not seen any of these listed dramas, please grab some popcorn and have yourself a merry Christmas movie night.

Once again, Merry Christmas.