Unsung Cinderella: Byoin Yakuzaishi no Shoboshi is an ongoing Japanese drama that stars Ishihara Satomi as the lead. It started airing on July 16th and will run for eleven episodes. This show is adapted from a manga series written by Mamare Arai, which is also titled Unsung Cinderella.
Synopsis: Aoi Midori has been working as a pharmacist at Tatsuya General Hospital for 8 years. She believes that pharmacists need to know about the patient’s daily life to ensure the proper medication is prescribed to them. She faces a lot of criticism, especially from the doctors, but she stays true to her beliefs and continues to help the patients. (Source – MyDramaList)
Expectations: I have been looking forward to this drama for a while, mainly because of Ishihara Satomi. Its premiere date was also postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus. So I had to rush in once a good number of episodes were released. Plus, this is my first time seeing a medical drama that focuses on pharmacists, hence why I was intrigued.
(warning – spoilers ahead)
The premise of this show is promising. I absolutely adore watching medical dramas because I get to learn new things all the time. I think they did an okay job with the execution of this drama, but I will admit that some aspects are quite unrealistic. I honestly do not need any pharmaceutical knowledge to tell that most scenes in this drama are over-exaggerated or out of line for a pharmacist. If I was a medical professional, it would be quite hard not to nitpick on every wrong detail, but since I’m not, I have been dwelling more on the overall sentiment of the show.
Before watching this series, I had the assumption that nurses were the ones who dealt with all medication-related matters. Although I don’t think pharmacists get invested as Aoi Midori, it has been educative to see the roles they play behind the scenes. Like assisting the doctors during emergencies and instructing patients on how to take each medicine. They are indeed part of the unsung heroes in hospitals. This is what I genuinely appreciate about Japanese dramas. They have a unique and raw way of providing viewers with very heartwarming stories. Therefore even though I do not agree with how Aoi Midori tastes new medicines or her attachment with every patient, I do acknowledge and value the emotional aspects of each patient’s story. Since this is based on a manga, a lot of cliches and exaggerations are expected.
From episode one to three, I appreciate how the writer used Hakura Ryunosuke as the layman information giver. This character was used to break down the medical terms to ensure viewers’ understanding. I also love how they tackled the difference between Aoi and her senior Kariya. These two proved that people in the workplace can have different valid opinions or personal approach but still work well together as partners. Kariya Naoko is practical and strict with separating the job from her emotions. She still cares for her patients but doesn’t go the extra mile like Aoi Midori. Aoi, on the other hand, familiarizes with each patient to be the best pharmacist for them. Both have their ways that work, respectively. Basically, they ‘agree to disagree.’ Another great touch of this drama is how we get to see each patient’s possible future after leaving the hospital. I think that aspect is remarkably exciting and beautiful.
Now here are a few lessons I got from Unsung Cinderella: Byoin Yakuzaishi no Shoboshi –
Be careful with the amount of unprescribed medication that you take, and this includes off counter vitamins. Once you notice something odd, talk to a professional.
A lot of individuals depend on daily medications or regular medical procedures to survive. So every day you wake up, be grateful because you can do a lot of things generally without any assistance.
To round up, here is one of my favourite scenes –
The way they all kept working and even clapped with their feet. Plus, the pure distress on Aihara Kurumi’s face was funny to see.
If you’ve started watching Unsung Cinderella: Byoin Yakuzaishi no Shoboshi, what do you think of the story so far? Let me know in the comment section.
This drama can be found on sites like Dramanice or Kissasian.
In my first review, I mentioned that this drama’s atmosphere slightly reminds me of Code Blue. Now, after watching all the episodes, I don’t get that same feeling because this series didn’t focus much on medical procedures. It was more about the stories of each patient and their impact on the lead characters’ growth and development. Of course, this difference doesn’t affect the quality, but I felt the need to address it since I touched on it previously.
Okay, that is out of the way. So let’s discuss episodes four to ten –
Right from the start, this drama showed great potential, and things only got better as the story progressed. Sakura’s character continued to impress me with her growth. She was able to balance her job as a nurse and her love for Tendo Kairi. As for Tendo, he proved himself as a severe Tsundere. He pretends to ignore things or act like he doesn’t care when he actually does care. This attitude made it so fun for me to watch him being jealous. All the same, Tendo also experienced some character development. He opened up more to Sakura, and we got to see him smile and even laugh. By the way, Satoh Takeru’s smile is so cute and sexy💘💘. Okay, Tendo became more proactive in their relationship. He was an excellent mentor to Sakura and also a very supportive boyfriend. I love that he encouraged her to go study abroad.
The way Sakura and Tendo started dating was adorable and funny, but quite abrupt. The confession in the ambulance showed how desperate Tendo felt at that moment. He really loves her, so I don’t know why he was playing hard to get all this while. He is such a cute tsundere😂😂😂. Plus, I love how he went from telling Sakura to keep their relationship a secret from their colleagues in the hospital to then making a public announcement himself.
Honestly, the chemistry from our leads was insane. I felt like I was intruding into their private space whenever they had intimate scenes. I love them, and I am going to miss them so much. What do I do with my Wednesdays now???😢😢 I am going to miss hearing Tendo say – Baka!!!
Moving on to the side characters and their relationships. Even though I was not too invested in everyone’s story, I still appreciated their presence. My favourite side roles were that of Sakai and Dr. Kisugi / Ryuko and Nishi. I was seriously rooting for Ryuko to get with Nishi, and I love how the writer developed her character. She got more serious by taking over her family’s hospital but still kept her right by refusing to go along with the arranged marriage. In the case of Sakai, she became the next “Warrior-Chick” after Sakura with she way the followed Dr. Kisugi until he took notice of her.
Another thing I didn’t care much for was the love rivals, and I am so glad that this drama did not drag things out. Both leads were sure of their feelings and never allowed any secondary party to interfere. So Miori and Kamijo failed to create unnecessary misunderstandings. At some point, I was really annoyed with Kamijo because of his ridiculous entitlement, but when they gave him some back story, I tried to understand him. Still, that didn’t excuse his wrong deeds from my book until he apologized to Tendo. In Miori’s case, I was genuinely baffled about how she came to fall in love with her dead sister’s boyfriend. Plus, the fact that she was so bold about it pissed me off even more. All the same, I came up with a theory that she might still be grieving; hence she was looking for a piece of her sister in Tendo. This theory was later confirmed. I really appreciate how both love rivals were resolved.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Ari-chan is another side character that I really loved. I am glad that she was able to get her surgery and go back to school.
Now, the only aspect of this drama that threw me off till the end was how Sakura never stopped calling Tendo, sensei. I really wanted her to try calling him by his name. Since it was not a big deal, I just rolled with her calling him sensei till the end.
There were a lot of moments throughout this show that made my heart flutter. So let’s discuss a few.
– Ryuko’s Constant Interruptions: Somehow, whenever Sakura and Tendo tried to get intimate, Ryuko always came in to interrupt. This became an ongoing joke for me because it happened quite a lot😂😂😂. One of my favourite scenes of such an occurrence was in episode seven. She came in, saw that they were kissing and just started heading back out like nothing happened😂😂😂😂 –
– Sakura Vs. Tendo Tease Battle: These two enjoyed teasing each other with their constant staring battles. Sakura is also an adorable and mischievous character, so she messed with Tendo a lot. A good example was when she made him kiss her after smearing ice cream on her face. My heart always went doki-doki during such moments –
– Tendo meeting Sakura’s family Vs. Sakura meeting Tendo’s family: Tendo’s meeting with Sakura’s family was really hilarious. Her family asked him the right questions, and that actually made Sakura realize that he had not said “I love you” to her yet. My favourite scene was when they caught her family peeping at them. In the case of Sakura’s meeting with Tendo’s parents, it was awkward but still quite funny. I loved her reaction when he declared that she’s the woman he plans to marry –
– Wedding Kiss: The final kiss was by far my favourite from Sakura and Kairi. It was such a sweet scene, and I caught myself replaying it a good number of times. They are so cute. Also, they looked so good. Sakura looked very beautiful in her wedding gown, and Tendo was rocking that three-piece suit –
Another moment I loved was when Tendo listed out all the things he loves about Sakura and finally said: “I love you.” I’m not going to include that clip, so go watch it yourself. It is in episode nine. That was a very emotional scene, and I died when Sakura said she was hungry after hearing him pour out his heart to her. Like what???… BAKA!!
Overall, this was an excellent series from start to finish. I will really miss it. Satoh Takeru and Kamishiraishi Mone are fantastic actors. They truly owned their craft. The supporting actors also brought their A-game, so we as the viewers were able to get such a perfect production.
I loved everything. Starting from the main couple’s chemistry to how well developed the story was. The pacing was also impeccable. There was never a time when the story felt like a drag, and the ending was solid. The original soundtrack was also very catchy. I love how the drama used different instrumental versions of “I LOVE” by Official HIGE DANdism. I already have a post about this OST, it can be accessed with this link 👉🏼 Official HIGE DANdism – I LOVE: Song Of The Week
I honestly wouldn’t mind if this show has a second season, but for now, I am satisfied. Therefore, my rating for Koi wa Tsuzuku yo Doko Made mo is 10/10. To get a better understanding of how I rate each drama, read this post 👉🏼 Drama|Movie Rating Guide
The chosen song for this week is “I LOVE” by Official HIGE DANdism. I have been listening to this song a lot since I discovered it from the ongoing Japanese drama, Koi wa Tsuzuku yo Doko Made mo. Official HIGE DANdism, also known as Higedan, is a Japanese pop band formed in 2012. There are four members – Satoshi Fujihara (lead vocalist, keyboards), Daisuke Ozasa (guitar, background vocalist), Makoto Narazaki (bass guitar, saxophone, background vocalist) and Masaki Matsuura (drummer, background vocalist). The band is currently signed to Pony Canyon. Official HIGE DANdism gained popularity with their hit song “Pretender” in 2019. I don’t know what it is about the song that got me so addicted. I didn’t take notice of it at first, then suddenly since the ending of last week, I found myself listening to it on repeat. Well, I do love a good rock song, and Japanese bands are amazing. So maybe, it was the instrumental that finally got to me. Plus, I like it when they sing “I love” because of the drums and clapping that comes in hard during that section.
Another thing might be the language, it sounds charming to me. Overall, I just think “I LOVE” by Official HIGE DANdism is a lovely song. Hence I had to share it with you all. I hope everyone enjoys listening to it.
I just finished watching this drama, and even though I initially did not plan to review it, I think it deserves to be discussed a little. This is going to be a quick review.
Tenno no Ryoribin, also known as The Emperor’s Cook, is a 2015 Japanese drama based on a novel with the same native name by Hisahide Sugimori. It ran for twelve episodes. The main character of this series is Akiyama Tokuzo, which was played by Satoh Takeru.
Sypnosis: Akiyama Tokuzo is a young man living in a rural area. He easily gets absorbed in things but quickly loses interest and moves on to something new. This behaviour continually creates problems for his family. One day while delivering goods to an army kitchen, he meets a chef who gives him cutlet to eat. Tokuzo immediately falls in love with cooking. So he decides to move to Tokyo to learn the craft. He later travels to Paris to study more about culinary arts. Fighting against discrimination and prejudice, Tokuzo becomes a chef at the Hotel Ritz in Paris. At age 25, he becomes the chef for the Emperor of Japan.
I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this drama. I felt like I was on a journey with Akiyama Tokuzo. Satoh Takeru is an astounding actor. I have watched him in a few movies, but this is such an intriguing and outstanding role. I clearly need to check out more of his projects. I already knew that he was a good actor, but this role completely took my love for him to another level. The way he showcased Tokuzo’s growth throughout the series was pure gold. Satoh Takeru definitely owned his craft with this drama.
I love how the story was written. We could see that Tokuzo did not achieve his dreams alone. His family, friends and mentors supported him along the way. Including every single person he met throughout his journey, whether bad or good, they all had an impact on his character. This also relates to real-life where we meet so many different people. Of course, not all turn out to be good influences, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn something out of the encounter. I also admire how his character never gave up once he discovered what he wanted to do in life. He stayed focused and knew that he couldn’t afford to disappoint himself or his family any longer.
There were a few times when I wished for Tokuzo to pay more attention to his family after marriage. My concern was later resolved during the time when his wife was ill. I could see that he genuinely cared for his family, but he also took his job as the Emperor’s chef very seriously. This goes to show that his character wasn’t perfect. He was a bit selfish and also had a quick temper, but these traits are what made his character intriguing.
The other two roles that really stood out to me were Tokuzo’s brother – Shutaro and Tokuzo’s wife – Toshiko. These two characters made me shed tears because of their love and support for Tokuzo. Kuroki Haru, who acted as Toshiko, is such a skilled actress. Her subtle and quite expressions were always a delight to watch. She gave so much life to her character without ever saying much. I applaud her and I will definitely check out more of her works. Suzuki Ryohei, who played as Shutaro, is also another experienced actor. His delivery was always on point. His support of Tokuzo’s dream was heartwarming to watch. I am glad he saw his younger brother succeed.
Another thing I loved was the music. It was well placed, so it sparked more emotions for me.
Overall, I think this was a well-written drama. The story progression was perfect, and the screen time was well divided among every character. All members of the cast did a fantastic job. No matter the amount of time they had on screen, each role had a purpose and made the desired impact. I could see the effort made by the production team to ensure they got every foreign country’s scenario right. Also, most of the non-Japanese actors gave a believable performance. This was an inspiring and excellent series to watch. Therefore my rating for Tenno no Ryoriban is 10/10.
Koi wa Tsuzuku yo Doko Made mo, also known as Love Will Last Forever, is an ongoing Japanese TV series set for ten episodes. It airs every Tuesday, which means we get one episode each week. It started on January 14th.
Sypnosis: Nanase Sakura met Dr. Kairi Tendo several years ago and fell in love with him. To meet her dream man again, she studied hard to become a nurse. Fast forward to five years later, Nanase Sakura is now a 23-year-old rookie nurse starting her career at the same hospital where Tendo works. After meeting him, she realizes that he has a different personality from what she imagined. Kairi Tendo is 31 years old and, his nickname at work is “Devil.” He often makes biting remarks to other doctors and nurses. Nanase Sakura works hard to receive his recognition and also confesses her feelings to him. Due to her persistence, she gains the nickname ” Warrior” from her co-workers.
Expectations: I saw a clip of this drama on Instagram, and I decided to check it out. Usually, I stay away from such storylines, but it’s Satoh Takeru. How could I resist? He is one of my favourite Japanese actors. Also, I have been searching for a current Japanese series to watch, and none caught my attention except this.
(warning – spoilers ahead)
Overall, I think this is a good drama, and it has the potential to get better with the current progress. I approve of how they showcased the past encounter and quickly rushed things to the present time. They have only ten episodes, so there is no time to waste. Although, I was quite baffled when they showed Tendo slowly wrapping her scarf while the ambulance was waiting for him. I don’t think any doctor would do that.
My primary concern was for Sakura to discover a better drive for her career. I believe that the encounter from five years ago inspired her, but she was also star-struck by Tendo’s good looks. This means, from the get-go, her desire to become a nurse wasn’t just based on her crush for Tendo. Sakura’s situation reminded me of Park Shin Hye’s character in Doctors. She admires Tendo’s skills. So once the series started, I was praying for her to come to that realization. I am very grateful she did because now I can continue watching with ease. Sakura knows that her actual dream is to help others, even though she likes Dr. Kairi Tendo. Kudos to the writer for giving her a personality outside of her crush.
This drama’s atmosphere slightly reminds me of Code Blue. Mainly because it’s been a while since I watched a Japanese medical series. I enjoy how we get to see their interactions with the patients. Their time in the hospital impacts the doctors and nurses. So far, Arin and Kanda are the patients that caught my attention. Kanda’s death made me cry. Honestly, human life is so fragile. One minute someone is here, and the next minute they’re gone forever. Death has taken so many young and bright souls, and as a doctor or nurse, you have to deal with loss regularly. I couldn’t imagine. I’m glad that Tendo was there to comfort Sakura, and I sincerely hope that Arin gets better. She is such a brilliant and nice little girl.
Now let’s talk about some characters,
– Kamishiraishi Mone as Nanase Sakura – The actress is doing a great job. Her expressions are not forced. Nanase Sakura is slow, but that does not mean she isn’t smart. Also, to get through nursing school, you must be extremely hardworking. Therefore, she already has potential. All she simply needs to do now is focus on improving her skills and being more careful. At first, she came off naive and unprepared. Her confession scene gave me major second-hand embarrassment.
Nevertheless, I can tell that Sakura sincerely cares for her patients, and she is willing to take advice. Just like Tendo mentioned, one of her best qualities is that she is quick to take action. She is also hilarious with her vivid daydreams. Plus, the way she beamed up after Tendo called her real name, and her sweet promise to make him smile again is quite adorable. I am sincerely looking forward to her growth throughout the series.
– Satoh Takeru as Tendo Kairi – He killed me when he said that he only has enough kindness for the patients. Like his boss asked – are you an internet bundle?😂😂😂 Also, when he wrote his insult on the paper instead of saying it out, I died. Can’t you let it go?🤣🤣🤣 Right from the start, Tendo seemed like a pineapple to me. He is full of thorns on the outside but sweet once you get past his cold demeanour. There is always a reason for such behaviour. His girlfriend’s death had a significant impact on him, so he needs time to heal. I am a bit confused about the timeline they gave us. If his girlfriend died eight years ago, and Sakura met him five years ago. How come he was kind to her then? Was it just a spur of the moment, or were my subtitles wrong? I can see that Tendo is already getting jealous, and he is beginning to open up. I am excited to see his healing process and how he mentors Sakura.
– Yoshikawa Ai as Sakai Yuika – I examined her character with an open mind. She is pissed at Sakura for not taking their profession seriously. What I do not appreciate is her looking down on Sakura. You might be excellent at the technical stuff, but that does not mean you are perfect. If you feel she isn’t going about things the right way, say it to her directly instead of being shady. Or lend a helping hand if you have enough time. Sakura does have some strengths that Sakai lacks. Thankfully by the end of episode three, she realizes that. She also needs to work hard.
Sometimes when creating this kind of post, most pictures do not fit the chosen theme. So they remain on my phone for way too long. 2020 is here; therefore, it is time to let go.
Basically, this is a vault release of all photos that caught my attention but did not make a themed cut yet –
(Please note: none of the images are mine, I got them from official websites and social media sites.)
First on my list is the Chinese actress Crystal Zhang in MIKAEL D for Esquire China’s 16th Man At His Best Award. She looks stunning in this white gown.
Cecilia Boey for NeufMode Magazine. I featured some other photos from this shoot in my Red Signifies A Lot Edition. This is actually my favourite because of how colourful it is.
Han Ji Min looks really radiant in this shoot for HIGH CUT Korea.
Vivien Li graces the Men’s Uno China December 2019 Issue. I adore this kind of flowy gowns a lot.
Chang Chen’s look for iQiYi Scream Night 2020. He won the Award for Drama Actor of the year that night with his recent series – Love and Destiny. He caught me off guard in the right way. He looks so chiselled.
Korean actor and singer Chani looks good in this casual shoot. I am kind of unsure about the magazine this is for, but I think it is HIGH CUT Korea.
Deng Lun for the documentary variety show – Palace Museum. He looks angelic and innocent in this photo.
Seo Ji Hye always breathes elegance. She is one of the most beautiful women I have seen, and her fashion taste is also incredible.
Yuan Bingyan for a Tiffany & Co. event in Shanghai. Every little detail for this look certainly stands out. The makeup, jewelry, hairstyle and dress fit so well together.
Janice Man glows in her gorgeous gown for the closing ceremony of the 2nd Hainan Island International Film in Sanya.
Elaine Zhong in Chloe at the premiere of her film Liberation in Beijing. She is lovely in yellow.
Xuan Lu on the cover of ONCE Magazine. I love her smile.
Leo Luo updated his Weibo recently with a beautiful set of pictures. He looks good in white, and I am looking forward to all his dramas set for release this year.
Newlyweds Lin Chi-ling and Akira strike a few poses for the cover of COSMOPOLITAN China January 2020 Issue.
I am literally dancing right now. Nothing can spoil this excitement. 2020 where are you? Also, I need a season two for the Anime. Let’s go 💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku, also known as Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Fujita. It tells the story of a female office worker named Narumi, who hides her fujoshi lifestyle and her close friend Hirotaka. He is a handsome and capable company man who also happens to be a game otaku. The two reunite in the same company after not being in contact too often since middle school. They begin to date and might seem perfect for each other, but love is hard for an otaku.
For clarification, Fujoshi is a Japanese term for female fans of manga, anime or novels that feature male-male relationships. And Otaku is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests in particular aspects of popular culture to the point that it affects their social skills.
This rom-com was first published as a web series on Pixiv. Pixiv is a Japanese online community for artists to showcase their illustrations and get feedback via a rating and comment system. On the 6th of November 2015, Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku got picked for a joint manga publication project between Ichijinsha and Pixiv. Ever since then, seven volumes of the manga have been released. In 2018, A-1 Pictures aired the anime adaption of the manga, and a live-action film will premiere in Japanese theatres on February 7th, 2020.
Here is a trailer of the anime for anyone interested –
This is my favourite rom-com story. I watched the anime first, and I fell in love. So I went ahead to purchase the manga. I already read volumes 1-6. The English version comes with two volumes per book. So that is why you will see only three books in the image below. Once I have enough money, I plan to preorder the upcoming volumes because I am addicted, and I NEED MORE. Okay, I need to calm down. Where was I again?…. YES LIVE-ACTION FILM.
The live-action will star Takahata Mitsuki as Momose Narumi, Yamazaki Kento as Hirotaka Nifuji, Nanao as Koyanagi Hanako and Saito Takumi as Kabakura Tarou.
So far two trailers have been released –
As much as I am excited, I am also worried🤦♀️. What if it does not live up to my expectations. I truly enjoyed the anime, and it is one of those few that I could rewatch so many times. Also, the fact that I got a paper copy of the manga means that I am already too committed to this story. So if the live-action is messed up, I will be severely disappointed. From the trailers, I anticipate that it will be okay. Plus, Takahata Mitsuki is a great actress, so I have hope. Anyways, even though the movie does not turn out great, I am still pumped for its release.
Also, I am waiting for season two of the anime. There is no official date yet, and I feel the producers might need more time because currently there is not enough source material for a second season.
If you have seen the anime or read the manga for Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku, please leave your mini-review in the comment section. I would love to get various opinions on this story. That is all I have for this post, so bye for now.💕💕💕
While watching Pretty Proofreader, I was really impressed by the styling for Ishihara Satomi’s character. Etsuko’s outfits were not too over the top. Instead, they were simple, colourful and well put together. I could definitely take some inspiration from her and go about my regular day without looking like I am about hit a runaway. Watching her on-screen really made me appreciate Japanse fashion.
So because I really loved the styling for Etsuko, I decided to make a post about my favourite looks from her.
#. One of my top looks from her was whenever she wore a long overcoat with a thick muffler. I like how the scarves shaped her face, and the coats were always elegant and colourful.
I absolutely loved this yellow trenchcoat on Etsuko. Yellow is not a colour I usually gravitate to when shopping, but I would not mind purchasing this. The choice of white for the inner clothes really adds to the elegance of this outfit. She looked stunning. I also love the beads and earrings she had on.
Here is another example. I love the grey muffler. I really need to get something similar for this coming winter.
A blue blazer overcoat with floral embroidery on it. The muffler for this outfit is cute, and I like how Etsuko’s hair was styled for this look.
#. Still on coats:
I really want this red trenchcoat. She was wearing a simple t-shirt underneath, and her shoes are perfect. I do not have the stamina for pointy heals, so chunky heels are my go-to.
I used to be into berets, but I left most of mine back home before moving to Canada. My two favourite pieces of this outfit are the coat and her boots. I plan to search online for something similar.
Here are other beautiful coat outfits from Etsuko’s wardrobe –
#. Now moving to jackets:
When it comes to jackets, I gravitate more towards jeans and leather because I feel that they can be paired with anything. And then I eventually purchase other styles just to boost up my wardrobe. Etsuko rocked a few impressive jacket looks, so here are my favourites –
#. Two-pieces outfits:
This is one of my favourite outfits from her. I love everything about it. The pieces of jewelry she had on were stunning, and I want her purse. I will probably have to search for something similar. Honestly, Asian dramas make me spend unnecessary money. Sometimes it is fashion, and then other times it is food.😂😂😂
Nowadays, people tend to wear pants more often than skirts, and I am included in that group of people. Most of the styles I see in stores are not what I like and shopping online can be confusing due to size variations.
I love how Etsuko rocked skirts in the drama. The only thing that threw me off was the socks with heels. That is a no for me.
These are my favourite skirt and blouse outfits from Etsuko –
I like the accessories for this particular outfit. From the round glasses to the neck scarf and her jewelry. Everything looked great on her.
More two-piece looks –
#. And finally the dresses –
These are the few dresses worn by Etsuko that I would definitely want in my wardrobe.
Another notable thing to mention about Kuono Etsuko is her hairstyles. She always had a different hairstyle for each outfit. They really did a lot with her hair, and Ishihara Satomi looked pretty with every one of these hairstyles.
My favourite is this –
And here are a few other hairstyles I was able to capture –
That is all for this post, guys. This is a bit different from my regular stuff, so if you enjoyed it, please let me know in the comment section.
Pretty Proofreader, also known as Jimi ni Sugoi! Koetsu Garu Kono Etsuko is a 2016 Japanese drama that focuses on Kono Etsuko’s career life. Etsuko has always loved fashion, so she applies to a publishing company with dreams of becoming a fashion editor. But instead, she gets assigned to the unlively proofreading department.
Pretty Proofreader is based on Koetsu Garu, a novel written by Ayako Miyagi.
The drama has a total of eleven episodes, and it is 13+ restricted. All episodes of this show are available with English subtitles on Viki – Pretty Proofreader – full episodes
My Expectations: I discovered this drama while searching for entertaining Japanese shows to watch. Although I noticed it a few times, I skipped because I did not feel it was going to be good. Finally, after some time, I decided to give it a try because of the main actress. I absolutely adore Ishihara Satomi, she is an amazing actress. Also, Japanese dramas are short and straight to the point, so I had high hopes of not being too disappointed.
(Warning – spoilers ahead)
Review: This has definitely become one of my favourite shows. It has everything I usually look for in a drama. I can confirm for sure that it exceeded my expectations. I thought it was going to be another classic romantic comedy, but instead, I got a perfect slice of life storyline with excellent acting. Everything was well structured. The writing is brilliant, and the show is very educative. In each episode, we got different stories that were really heartwarming, sincere and lesson filled. Although this drama had a bit of romance here and there, it definitely was not the main focus because the main couple does not start dating until the last episode. Still, I really admired how they both supported and encouraged each other. They were adorable together. The drama focused more on character growth, support and acceptance between co-workers and friends.
There is a lot to be learned from Kono Etsuko’s career journey. One of the most prominent lessons is to never give up on your dreams BUT always remember that everyone is allowed to have more than one purpose, so do not remain stuck for too long on the plans that fail. Find your fulfillment in something else. I will outline more lessons later on towards the end of the review.
After watching Pretty Proofreader, I have really come to appreciate how much work goes into publishing a book. It was sad to see that the proofreading sector hardly got recognition for a job well done, but once a mistake was found, it was ultimately their fault. Now I know for sure that editors get a lot of credit for their work, but I am not sure if all publishing companies have proofreading departments and how well they appreciate the members of that department. All the same, it gives a lesson that we should value the unsung heroes in various work fields. This is why I was so excited when Yukito decided to write his book about professions that hardly get recognition for how much they contribute to society.
Another thing I truly enjoyed about this drama is the cinematography. The landscape scenes were stunning. It definitely made me want to visit Japan even though I already have the country on my bucket list for travels.
Also, the opening theme for the series is cute. The song is catchy, and the scrapbook animation they used was fun to watch. I was able to find a short recording section of the opening song on YouTube –
#1. Kono Etsuko –Ishihara Satomi is beautiful. I have seen her in 5-Ji Kara 9-Ji Made, Dear Sister, and I am currently watching Takane no Hana and Heaven. She definitely brought life to her character in this drama. All her scenes were believable, and her expressions were great.
Kono Etsuko is shown to be smart, confident, determined, extremely honest and funny. She is also quite tactless, but as the show progresses, she becomes better. I love that even though she did not get her desired job, she was still very passionate and hardworking. Etsuko tried her best to perfect each task assigned to her. She went out of her way to verify the facts and also met with writers to make sure that everything written in a manuscript is logical and correct. While working in the proofreading department, she still maintained her glamorous fashion sense and gradually began to appreciate her job as a proofreader. She always had the best comebacks whenever someone tried to belittle her. And her cheerful personality never failed to brighten up the mood of everyone around her. I find it cute that whenever Etsuko got super excited, she would start talking very fast in a high pitched voice. I really loved a good number of her outfits in this show, but I will talk more about her fashion in a separate post. All these great qualities are what quickly made her enter my list for top female lead characters. Her story showed that sometimes adversaries in life can be an opportunity for growth. Another key lesson from her is that even though certain things in life do not go according to plan, it is still up to you to make the best out of your current situation.
One of my favourites scenes of Kono Etsuko is when she puts a few rude guys in their place by showing them that women are not only concerned with sweets and fashion –
By the end of the show, I could tell that Etsuko was meant for the proofreading department. Yes, she loves fashion, but there was a different kind of pleasure she got from proofreading. I am glad that they made out a way for her to take part in both sectors.
#2. Orihara Yukito –This is the first drama I have watched from Suda Masaki, so I do not really know much about him, but he impressed me with his role as Orihara Yukito.
Etsuko perfectly describes this character. This is what she said to Yukito – “you are always honest to yourself and living a slow life at your own pace.”
Honestly, I did not care much for Yukito at first, but as the story progressed, I began to appreciate how insightful and considerate he was. Yukito is a very mature and chilled character. He does not get angry quickly, but that also affects his ability to express his discomfort with specific situations. This became an issue when he had to deal with his new editor, who kept staying in his house till late and doing unnecessary chores. I honestly wish he had said something to the editor himself, instead of having Etsuko frustrated to the point that she had to storm in and point out how uncomfortable she was with the situation. But overall, he is a charming character. One of his good qualities that I admire was how quick he apologized whenever he hurt Etsuko’s feelings. I also found his smile to be very cute. He is one of those people that make you want to smile once they smile.
His insightful nature became more prominent with his choice of topic for his new novel. His book was really inspiring and informative. The scene where he shows his latest work to Esuko is my favourite moment of the entire series. Yukito got inspired by how much passion Etsuko put into her work and how frustrating it was for her that members of the proofreading department never get the recognition they deserve. This goes to show that as people, we never know who we are impacting or inspiring, so do not ever feel like you are irrelevant or unimportant. Keep doing your best because there might be someone who looks up to you.
I was so happy that Yukito finally found what he was passionate about. I understand how frustrating it can be to not know what direction to take. Also, working on something interesting does motivate you to achieve the best result.
#3. Morio Toyoko – Morio gave me a lot of mixed feelings for a good number of episodes. I was very skeptical about her. At first, it seemed like she looked down on Etsuko and was always avoiding her but also felt comfortable enough to hang out in her house. And when I discovered that the man she was dating was already married. I was quite confused and concerned.
As the story progressed, I got to understand Morio more. I love such characters because of the development and growth they go through. If the writing for her had taken a wrong turn, she would have come off to be the typical one-dimensional second lead lady, but I am so glad that they killed that cliche.
Yes, she felt inferior to Etsuko, but with time she grew past that and began to focus more on herself. This change made her realize that she did not need to beg a married man for love and that she was neglecting a sincere friend just because of envy. She also started showing more passion and sincerity towards her work and others. I definitely warmed up to Morio Toyoko by the end of the series.
#5. Kaizuka Hachiro –Hachiro and Etsuko always bickered like an old married couple. I love the nicknames they had for each other. She called him octopus, and he called her Kou Etsu because her name in some way translates to proofreading.
He might seem annoying to some viewers at first, but he is actually a great character. As an editor, he cares about his writers and goes the extra mile to make sure that their books come out perfect. He really impressed me by not giving up on Yukito and continuously encouraging him to try and write something substantial again. Also, when octopus met a writer who he had disappointed in the past, he tried his best to help out. So kudos to a character that was willing to own up to his mistakes and work to better himself. Here is a clip of my favourite moment from him –
#4. Co-Workers in the Proofreading Department –
Etsuko had a significant effect on her colleagues and the entire mood of the office. Evidence no. 1 – Office decor: I find it so funny that I did not take much notice of how different the office looked compared to when it was first introduced. I saw her bring in a few decors here and there but never took to heart the final result until it was pointed out in episode ten.
Anyways she made other members of the department start taking extra measures to verify the facts for each manuscript. Even Ms. Fujiwa, who was always against Etsuko’s methods, went out of the office for research. Ms. Fujiwa and Etsuko’s relationship is an excellent example of how unlikely connections can blossom into a good friendship. I was so impressed by how everyone in the office supported and cared for each other. They helped Etsuko when she made mistakes and were so worried about her the one time she did not dress up as usual or give her daily cheerful greeting.
There were a lot of gems given out in each episode. I have already mentioned a few, so here are more lessons that could be learned from this drama.
Everyone struggles at some point, that is life. So do not undermine another person’s pain just because you cannot understand or relate to it. Be kind, and if you are capable, try to be a sound support system through someone’s struggles.
Refrain from making assumptions or speculating based on what you see.
Communication is essential. Do not expect people to know exactly how you feel, voice it out.
Envy and jealousy can ruin you, Be yourself.
These are the little things which we might not really pay attention to, but as humans, we are prone to go against most of these lessons. Sometimes I also fall to the disease of making very drastic assumptions, but I try my best to stop it once I notice.
Before I end this post, let me share with you all a very hilarious moment in the show. I call it Etsuko’s bad outfit day –
I honestly laughed way too hard at this scene. The sequence of Etsuko’s realization took me out.
Okay… overall, this drama was very positive and inspiring. It made me very happy. There was no unnecessary tension. It was perfect from start to finish, and I could definitely rewatch it. I really recommend this series. So my rating for Pretty Proofreader is 10/10.
It has officially been summer for a while now and just like I did during winter with My Winter Playlist, I have created a summer playlist. On a regular, my favourite genres of music are RnB, soul, neo-soul, hip-hop, but occasionally I do dabble into trap, country and rock. During summer, I practically listen to anything, so far as it is groovy and upbeat.
So here is my summer playlist created for you all to enjoy, and as always I added short previews for each song.
#. Mamamoo – gogobebe
I absolutely adore Mamamoo, not just for their music but also for their quirky personalities. They are a fantastic group, and I always look forward to their comebacks. If you do not listen to Mamamoo already, you should because they are a vocal powerhouse that never disappoints on both upbeat and ballad tracks.
#. LAY – Bad
I already mentioned the EP – Honey by Lay in a previous post. If you have not read that post already, go check it out – Song Of The Week: LAY – HONEY. ‘Bad’ is my second favourite song from the EP, and I have been listening to it on repeat. So hopefully, you all enjoy it like I do.
#. WayV – Take Off
WayV was the group I wrote about in my most recent star showcase. If you have not read that post already, here is the link – Star Showcase: WayV. They are currently my favourite male pop group. “TakeOff” is a great upbeat song, and so I had to have it on this playlist.
#. I.O.I – Whatta Man
I discovered I.O.I’s version of “Whatta Man” while searching for the original by Salt ‘N’ Pepa. Usually, I am very skeptical about remakes, but this was done so well, and I like that they brought their own originality to the piece. I hope you all enjoy listening to this song and also check the original version by Salt ‘N’ Pepa if you have not heard to it before.
#. MOMOLAND – BAAM
So far, this is the only song from MOMOLAND that I have listened to. This is because I do not really enjoy overly cute concepts. But once in a while, I make an exception for amazing songs like “BAAM”. My favourite part of the song is definitely the rap section.
#. BTOB – Blowin’ Up
I LOVE BTOB. They are currently on the top of my list for Korean boy bands. Every single member brings something unique to the group. Their rappers are amazing, but my main man is Ilhoon. Also, this is another vocal powerhouse because all of the vocalists could be mains. Their voices are so beautiful. I groove a lot to “Blowin’ Up”, so it has to be on this playlist.
#. VaVa, Ty., Nina Wang – My New Swag
I am so glad that this song was featured as a soundtrack for Crazy Rich Asians. I would have been missing out on a rare gem if I did not watch that movie. It is a perfect case of the old and new coming together to form a fantastic blend. The entire song scream genius. Of course, I love VaVa and Ty.’s rap, but Nina Wang blessed my ears with the Chinese opera section, that for me is the best part of this song. Also, it has a great beat, so what else do I need in a song? Pure Perfection.
#. Ailee – Room Shaker
Ailee did not come to play with anyone on her recent album: butterFLY. “Room Shaker” is such a great party song. She is such a vocal queen, and I am always here for her. Currently, she is having issues promoting her album, but I sincerely hope that everything works out well for her because she deserves the best.
#. G.Soul – You
Honestly, Korean agencies need to manage and promote their solo artists better because people keep on missing out on such gems. I am okay with the fact that he left JYP Entertainment to join H1GHR MUSIC. Other similar artists like Crush, Dean, Sam Kim, Zion.T are out there, but he seemed so hidden (sorry I just had to rant a little). I am glad that I discovered him because he is a beautiful vocalist.
#. BANG YONGGUK – YAMAZAKI
No words can describe the epicness of this song. I am so sad that I cannot find it on Spotify but no worries, I will just continue listening to it on YouTube. Fair warning: the music video for this song is quite graphic, you will also get a notice before the video starts. With that said, let me just state the fact that BANG YONGGUK is AMAZING. The beat on this goes hard🔥🔥. Guys, please listen to this song in 8d, I promise that you will love it even more.
#. NCT 127 – Simon Says
Most people tend to feel that NCT 127’s music is too trippy, but I personally think that their sound is very futuristic. Once I hear a song from any NCT group, I can tell that it is them because of how distinct their music style is. Sometimes it takes me a few listens to really get into the groove of the song, but after then, it becomes a steady bop. I love “Simon Says”. This song never fails to energize me, and I find myself playing it on repeat for a long time.
#. Triple H – Feel
I was really into this group, and I am so sad about the messed-up situation that went down. But that will not stop me from enjoying their music. I love every single song that Triple H released, but for this playlist, I decided to stick with “Feel” becauseit never fails to hype me up.
#. SUNMI – Heroine
The first song I ever heard from Sunmi was “Full Moon”, and I have been in love with her music since then. I decided to add “Heroine”to this playlist because of how perfect it is for a summer road trip. It is such a perfect sing-along song.
#. ITZY – DALLA DALLA
For me,”DALLA DALLA” is the perfect balance between the cute Vs. the hardcore concept. I really love it and plus it promotes an essential message, which is to love yourself and that it is okay to be different. All the members of the group really shined throughout the song, and I am looking forward to checking out their comeback song “ICY”.
#. EXO – Ko Ko Bop
Summer is not officially summer without EXO’s “Ko Ko Bop”. I really love when Kpop songs add in some trap or EDM elements because it guarantees a sick beat. Anyways, EXO never disappoints, and this is just one of their long list of songs that are perfect for summer.
#. CHUNG HA – Gotta Go
Chung Ha was born to be a star. She just has something about her that draws in the viewer’s attention. “Gotta Go” is my favourite song from her. The chorus for this song is very addictive, so I always attempt to sing along.
#. KARD – RUMOR
K.A.R.D is the best group to play during summer. Almost all their songs have that standard summer groove vibe to it, and even their latest release “BOMB BOMB” is lit. I showcased it recently as a song of the week, check out that post here – Song Of The Week: K.A.R.D – BOMB BOMB.”RUMOUR”made this playlist because I wanted to go with a more laid back tune from them.
#. Gen Hoshino – Family Song
This is another great road trip song or a perfect tune to end a gathering with friends. I discovered this song from the Japanese drama: Overprotected Kohoko. The song speaks about wishing happiness and smiles to everyone and praying that such feelings last for a long time in their lives. Even though they might be feeling sad now, it is only a bridge to their coming joy. I hope you all enjoy listening to this song, and I wish that everyone reading this post will have a reason to smile for a long time.
#. Millic, Fanxy Child – Paradise
This is one of the grooviest songs I have heard in the longest time. I just cannot help but to sing along to the chorus and also attempt to mouth some of Penomeco’s part because his verse is straight FIRE. Millic did his thing with the production of this song. Also, the other members of Fanxy Child (Crush, Dean and Zico) brought their A-game. In conclusion, the entire song is TOO GOOD.
#. Jackson Wang – Papillon
Aite Aite Aite Aite Aite, You got me feeling like a, Feeling like a Papillon. Only one word can be used to describe this song – LIT🔥🔥. Jackson just has this deep voice that does wonders for my ears, and he blessed me with this song. So that is all I have to say, NEXT.
#. Bii – Be Your Light
AWWW BII. I already spoke about my love for Bii in my first ever star showcase on this blog. Here is the link to that if you want to check it out – Star Showcase: BII. I just love the progression of this song. It starts off very soft with just Bii singing, but then you get a full choir for the chorus. That perfect build-up creates a hopeful feeling. Bii’s vocals on “Be Your Light” is beautiful, he always gives me the best music. I might be doing a short review of his latest album, so keep an eye out for that post.
#. Jay Park, Cha Cha Malone – Feature
Every playlist to me must have at least one or two impressive RnB tracks for it be complete. And who else could provide that perfect song? “Feature”by Jay Park & Cha Cha Malone is such a smooth song, and both singers served vocals on this track. So I hope you guys enjoy it.
#. HA SUNG WOON – BLUE
While reviewing the drama Her Private Life, I mentioned that “Think of You” by Ha Sung Woon is one of my favourite OSTs. I also stated that although I did not know much about him, he is a great singer. So recently, while doing a little research on him, I discovered “BLUE.” It is a great song, so I just had to have it on this playlist.
#. DEAN – Bonnie & Clyde
This song is such a masterpiece. Dean always releases excellent music, and that is why the music video for “Bonnie & Clyde” deserves way more views than it has currently. He is a vocal king, so people need to stop taking naps on his music and fully get on the Dean train.
Now I know I listed hip-hop as one of my favourite genres, but honestly, I was not always into rap music. I just could never get into the grove of Western hip-hop. I only started listening to rap music after I discovered the Korean hip-hop scene. And then from there, I was able to find one or two American rap artists that actually suits my taste. This song “EUNG FREESTYLE” is on the top of my list for Korean hip-hop songs.
#. SOMI – BIRTHDAY
SOMI really did great on this song. For a debut song, it actually slays. I really love whenever she says “oops, you’re not invited, yea you’re not invited”. I also think the bridge towards the end of the song is lovely. Even though I do not really follow her, I am happy that she was finally able to debut. I hope you all enjoy listening to “BIRTHDAY” as much as I do.
#. DAY6 – I Wait
Day6 is definitely one of my top Korean bands, and “I Wait” is a very addictive song. I love how the song starts out with a very soft tone and then keeps building up towards the powerful chorus. That just made the entire track more appealing to hear. Also, Day6 has an impressive set of vocalists. I really feel that they are an underrated group and totally deserve more exposure. I hope that with time, more people will discover them because they make fantastic music.
#. HEIZE, Dean – Shut Up & Groove
Here is another addictive song. After hearing it for the first time, the chorus was stuck in my head for days. I found myself singing “shut up & groove” EVERYWHERE I WENT TO😂. For real, the song goes hard. Heize is a fantastic artist, and of course, Dean always slays me with his vocals. So yes, it has to be on my summer playlist.
#. BAEKHYUN – UN Village
Okay BAEKHYUN, I see you. This song just makes me do that grovy sway from left to right while nodding and snapping my fingers. Like for real, this song is legitly too good. The music video should have more views by now but who knows what drug YouTube is on again😒. Anyways I really love “UN Village”, it is a beautiful song, and the album: CITY LIGHTSgets an A+ from me. Excellent solo debut.
#. Taemin – Want
Are words even needed to describe the awesomeness that is LEE TAEMIN? He is a full, packaged artist. From his dancing to his voice and even his looks. He gets a solid 100% in all departments, JUST SAYING. “WANT” is another one of his great releases. Also, the video for this song is pure art, plus the choreography💕. Like DAMN, HE DID THAT.
#. BOBBY – HOLUP!
Another song that goes hard. Bobby is an amazing rapper, and he really did great on this song. “HOLUP!” is such a party song. I love that included the other IKON members in this track. You can hear their voices towards the end of the song.
#. Red Velvet – RBB (Really Bad Boy)
I might not be the biggest fangirl of Red Velvet, but I still love them. And I also know that a good number of people feel that their songs are not always the best, but I am not of their opinion. I really really love all the songs they have released so far including their lastest comeback song “Zimzalabim”. It is definitely not my favourite song from them, but it is still good. Anyways I chose “Really Bad Boy” for this playlist because I have been listening to it on repeat.
#. BLACKPINK – Don’t Know What To Do
This is the ultimate summer song. “Don’t Know What To Do” is actually my favourite song from their latest album: Kill This Love. I have to render some well-deserved praise to Rose and Jisoo because they both sound beautiful on this track. I also enjoy listening to “Kick It” and funny enough the title track “Kill This Love” is not my go-to on the album.
#. Simon Dominic, ONE, G2, BewhY – Who You?
I need ONE to release more music. I am glad that he decided to leave YG Entertainment and has plans to set up his own one-person agency. At least now, he can focus more on his music. I still love Jung Jae Won the actor, but I have been missing One the rapper for way too long. Anyways, Simon Dominic, G2 and BewhY also went in on this track, everyone brought their A-game. Try listening to this song with a speaker because the beat on the chorus section is legit🔥🔥. Also if you guys have not watched Show Me The Money, then go check it out because it is actually a cool show.
#. Eric Nam – Honestly
As always, Eric Nam brought his perfect vocals and blessed me with a great summer song. My best part of “Honestly”is the section right before the chorus, he just sounds beautiful. No words can describe what his voice does for me. I hope you all enjoy listening to this song.
#. Gallant, Tablo, Eric Nam – Cave Me In
Yesss, another song with Eric Nam. His voice on this is so smooth. In fact, the entire song is too groovy. Gallant did well when choosing artists to feature on this track. Also the genius rapper Tablo. His verse is so real on this song. The choice of words in all his songs are always so brilliant. It makes me feel like he is reciting a poem.
#. Lu Han – On Fire
Okay, we are heading over to China again. Random thought – I feel Luhan and Bii look alike in a way. Back to the main topic – Luhan brought the heat on this song, it is a complete BOP. I am glad that all the Chinese members that left EXO have been doing well for themselves. Luhan has been killing both the music and the acting game, and I wish him more success.
#. TVXQ – The Chance of Love
The OGs, TVXQ. They are just two, but they sound better and even dance better than most groups with a vast number of members. “The Chance of Love” is an excellent song from them. That “oooh oooh oooh” is so soothing to my ears and the rest of the song also showcases impressive vocals. So I just had to have it on my summer playlist.
#. Jun. K – THINK ABOUT YOU
Like I mentioned already, every playlist to me must have at least one or two impressive RnB tracks for it be complete. And here is my second top on the list after ‘Feature’ by Jay Park & Cha Cha Malone. Jun. K snatched my wig and threw it all the way to Mars with this song. Vocals, dance and visuals, everything was 100%. My favourite section of this song is the bridge, he really took it up to another level there. The music video for “THINK ABOUT YOU” definitely deserves more than 4.2 million views. People need to stop sleeping on such incredible artists.
#. Song Bingyang – U Make Me Strong
This is such a beautiful song from Song Bingyang. I discovered it while watching the Chinese Drama: Moonshine and Valentine, which I listed as one of my top 10 dramas for 2018. If you will like to see that post, here is the link – MY TOP 10 DRAMAS FOR 2018. “U Make Me Strong” is a great song with an excellent beat as well and it always gives me an uplifting feeling whenever I listen to it. So I decided to end my summer playlist with this song.
Of course, there are many other summer songs, but these listed songs were chosen according to my personal preference. Also, I am sorry about the length of this post. I had way too many songs in mind, and I just could not shorten it be less than this listed 40.
Feel free to leave me your own summer song suggestions in the comment section. Also If you were intrigued by the previews and would like to hear the full versions, here is a link to the YouTube playlist I created – YouTube Summer Playlist
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. Kanji Senkawa takes up cases that 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 it when this style of timeline setup is used in dramas. Because it leaves me guessing, which 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 SenkawaThe 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 KanesakaShe 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 Takanomi 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 a 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 TetsuoFuwa 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 Tominaga 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?
My very own winter playlist created for you all to enjoy, and I also added short previews for each song.
#. 1415 – When It Snows
This song was recommended by a friend, and she got me to quickly watch the music video for it because Nam Joo Hyuk features as the main character for the video. It was my first time listening to 1415. After my first listen, I went on to check out their other releases. It is a very calm and soothing song, so I wanted to share it with you all. Hopefully, you enjoy it like I did.
#. 1415 – I Am Blue
Yes, another song from 1415. They are amazing, and I hope that they get the recognition that their music deserves. “I am Blue” is a more upbeat song compared to “When It Snows” and the instrumentals on this song is absolutely beautiful.
#. Zion. T, Lee Moon Sae – Snow
Hands down, this is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever listened to. I expect nothing less from Zion. T, he is an amazing artist. Also, the fact that he featured Lee Moon Sae, a well recognized older generation singer, made this song even more beautiful. If you have never listened to anything from Lee Moon Sae, I recommend the song “Whistle.”
#. Primary, OHHYUK, Lim Kim – Gondry
Ohhyuk’s voice in every song I have heard from him continuously takes me by surprise. When I first listened to “Gondry,” I was completely in awe. No matter how many times I listen to this song, I keep on asking myself how someone can be blessed with such an amazingly rich set of pipes. It is not really the notes but rather the emotion that his voice adds to each song. I honestly hope that you all come to appreciate his voice and music just like I do after listening to this song.
#. Yang Da Il, Hyolyn – And Then
Yang Da Il caught my attention with his soundtracks from Korean dramas like Hospital Ship and Bride Of The Water God. But I was still never compelled to check out his actual songs. I came to know of this particular song through Spotify radio, and I was so mad at myself for such a late discovery. Also, with a feature like Hyolyn, who has a really enchanting voice, this turned out to be such a tasteful and relaxing song.
#. Primary, OHHYUK – Island
This is such a laid back song for me. Whenever this song plays, I find myself just snapping my fingers and rocking my head from side to side. It is quite an odd dance if seen in person, but that is just me being me. So do let me know what sort of moves this song ignites from you.
#. John Park – Thought Of You
The only song I knew from John Park before this month was “My Best,” which features Huh Gak. I never dived further into the discography of both singers until this month. So this song is one of my recent findings. I absolutely enjoy every minute of listening to “Thought Of You.” It is such a feel-good song, and it lightens up my mood.
#. MISIA, HIDE (GReeeeN) – Ainokatachi
This happens to be one of the first Japanese songs I listened to that was not from an anime. Sometime last year, I decided that I would like to hear what Japan’s music scene had to offer. So with my search, I came across Mika Nakashima and then she led me to discover MISIA. I really love this song because of the hopeful and uplifting atmosphere that it exudes. I have since then discovered other Japanese songs that I enjoy once in a while.
#. Jia Jia – Happiness Coming
“Happiness Coming” was featured in the Taiwanese drama Rock ‘n’ Road. This is a very calm and steady song, it gives off the feeling of not wanting to give up and hoping for the best no matter what. When I first heard this song, I was in a bad place, so I really needed that message. I am so happy that I discovered Jia Jia through this song because she is an awesome singer and really great at conveying emotions.
#. John Park – Smile
Another John Park song that soothes my soul, it is so soft and cozy. The way he starts the song with such a low register is really captivating. It is the perfect winter song to play while warming up by the fireplace with a cup of warm french vanilla. I specifically stated french vanilla because I do not drink coffee, and I am also not the biggest fan of hot chocolate. Anyways “Smile” is a great cafe mood song. I hope you all enjoy it.
#. Eddy Kim – When Night Falls
“When Night Falls” is the first soundtrack for the Korean drama While You Were Sleeping. I hardly know anything about the singer Eddy Kim, but I acknowledge that he has a lovely voice. I really love the slight whispering/falsettotone that he uses during the chorus of the song. It felt like he was speaking directly to me, and I always enjoy that personal feeling in any song.
#. Akdong Musician(AKMU) – Way Back Home
I absolutely adore Akmu. They have their own unique style. I tend to appreciate such stand-out artists more. I have listened to all their albums, but Winter is my favourite season-themed album. So if you have not listened to this album already, do check it out, and I promise that you will not be disappointed. I decided to add the song “Way Back Home” to this playlist because it is one of my favourite songs from the album.
#. Bii – I Will Miss You
I already wrote about my love for Bii in a previous post, and if you have not read that, here is a link – Star Showcase: BII. “I Will Miss You” perfectly showcases why I love Bii. His songs are so soothing and very easy to remember. All his songs have very catchy melodies that stay stuck in your head for days. Plus, he has a beautiful voice to back that up, so I cannot help but love this artist.
#. Ra. D – Just Missing You
Now the drama for which this song is associated with is quite gloomy. When I first watched the drama Just Between Lovers, I was too focused on the story to notice any of the original soundtracks. I only came to realize the beauty of this song just recently. This is such a well-arranged piece of music, most especially the chorus. I could not help but sing along with the few English lyrics I could understand, and I plan to check out the artist because I AM REALLY IMPRESSED.
#. Akdong Musician(AKMU) – Live
Another great song from Akmu. “Live” is my number one song from the album Winter. I sincerely admire the brother and sister duo, Lee Chan-hyuk, for his songwriting skills and Lee Su-hyun for her vocal talents. Right from the time I saw them in the Korean audition program, Kpop Star, they have never produced a bad song. Like I said, their style is unique, so not everyone might get right into it, but that aside, they are amazing together.
#. Park Hyo Shin – Beautiful Tomorrow
If you do not know of the vocal prowess that is Park Hyo Shin, please waste no more time. I advise that you start with his song, “Wild Flower.” This guy is a vocal beast and never fails to wow his listeners. His music is really touching. He tends to release songs that reflect his life experiences, so that makes it more relatable. This particular song, “Beautiful Tomorrow” is a powerful and smooth ballad, and the entire song is accompanied only by a piano.
#. South Club – Hug Me
Right from his time as a member of the Korean pop group Winner to when he became the main singer for the Korean band South Club. Nam Taehyun has always been one of my top vocalists. He has such a soft and smooth voice. This song “Hug me” is really comforting, but you can still feel the hint of sadness in his voice. I am not certain about the kind of guitar that was used in this song, but South Club definitely has great talents among them.
#. Park Hyo Shin – Breath
Another great song from the master himself. His album I am A Dreamer has a great set of songs to enjoy. My favourites, according to preference, are “Wild Flower,” “Breath,” “Home,” and “Beautiful Tomorrow.” This is another solid ballad from Park Hyo Shin. The message of the song is amazing, so I hope you all enjoy this song, as well.
#. Paul Kim – Me After You
I seem to always find the good songs so late. I need to get my game together and seek out more treasures like this song. This is another beautiful and well-produced piece. Paul Kim’s delivery on this song is charming. “Me After You” is a great love song, and I absolutely enjoy listening to it.
#. Noel – How About You
If you are not aware already, Noel is actually a ballad group consisting of four equally amazing singers. Their voices are so alluring, and I always find myself playing their songs on repeat. They are quite older in the Korean music scene and have earned the well-deserved respect and recognition from other artists. “How About You” is a great release from them, so I hope you all enjoy listening to this song as well.
So there it is, this is the end of my list, but I am sure there many other songs that ooze coziness for this cold winter season. So feel free to leave me your song selections in the comments. To hear the full versions of any of these listed songs Here is a link to the YouTube playlist I created –YouTube Winter Playlist