Freitag, 25. Dezember 2015

I Need Romance 2

로맨스가 필요해 2012 (I Need Romance 2012 or I Need Romance 2) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 16 episodes that aired from June 20th to August 9th 2012 on tvN.

Story: Once again the story evolves around three women in their 30's. Joo Yeol-mae and Yoon Seok-hyun have been together - more or less since they broke up and got back together - for a long time. Because of Seok-hyun pushing her away while working with Kang Na-hyun Yeol-mae meets Shin Ji-hoon, the owner of a coffee shop.
Yeol-mae's friend Seon Jae-kyung, a former model, experiences trouble when her husband claims she committed adultery and her business as well as her life itself seems to be endangered. And Woo Ji-hee breaks up with her boyfriend and somehow her new boss knows about the reasons which makes working together a lot more chaotic.

Cast: Jung Yu-mi and Lee Jin-wook as Joo Yeol-mae and Yoon Seok-hyun actually show a nice charisma on-screen. Their acting was good, and, what's most important, it actually kept my attention. I did skip very few of their scenes just because their acting and charisma was great. But also Kim Ji-seok as Shin Ji-hoon did a great job showing some cute chemistry with the female lead. Kim Ye-won as Kang Na-hyun was actually the only one in this kind of love triangle (or square?) who seemed kind of.. off to me sometimes.
Kim Ji-woo as Seon Jae-kyung is the kind of perfect self-confident woman I love to see. Sure she faces some trouble because of her affair with her assistant Han Jung-min played by In Gyo-jin after her husband Lee Jang-woo played by Gong Jung-hwan accuses her of adultery though he himself isn't a saint but with her friends she manages to go through those hardships.
Beautiful and seemingly innocent is Kang Ye-sol as Woo Ji-hee in this drama, who ends up falling for a character we have seen in the first season of I Need Romance before, Kim Tae-woo played by Heo Tae-hee. I did enjoy their awkward situations the most, this couple made me laugh harder than the others, maybe that's why I especially liked them.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack got on my nerves to be quite honest. The title, "Waru Waru" by Han Su-ji only appears at the end and what I've heard already made me decide that I am never listening to the full song. Also the song "I Could Give You Love" by Lasse Lindh appeared way too often. I don't remember any of the other songs at all, they either weren't used that often or couldn't really capture one's attention.

After all my rating is 7.5/10. It's definitely better than the first season to me but then it's not memorable enough and the soundtrack is a huge minus. The most interesting part of this drama is to actually try and figure out why Seok-hyun behaves the way he does.
If you enjoy romantic comedy with some kind of Sex and the City-theme, you would like to watch this probably.

Freitag, 18. Dezember 2015

I Need Romance

로맨스가 필요해 (I Need Romance) is a South Korean drama series that was aired from June 13th to August 2nd 2011 on tvN. It consist of 16 episodes with a duration between 40 and 45 minutes.

Story: The story is about Sun-woo In-young, a 33-year-old woman, who has been dating Kim Sung-soo for 10 years when they face a crisis. After he cheated on her for the second time, the couple breaks up but In-young can't forget Sung-soo until she starts dating Bae Sung-hyun.
In-young's best friends, Hyun-joo and Seo-yeon, both also 33 years old, both face difficulties with love at the same time: While one tries to get rid of her virginity desperately, the other has to go to court because of 'adultery' after finding out one of her countless lovers was married.

Cast: The lead 'triangle' was played by Jo Yeo-jeong as Sun-woo In-young, Kim Jung-hoon as Kim Sung-soo and Choi Jin-hyuk as Bae Sung-hyun (who left me with a serious love for his character). While their acting was well done - at least I think so - it might be mainly because of me being able to understand Bae Sung-hyun's reactions. God, how I just wanted In-young to grow the fuck up! (Sorry for using that kind of language but the character seriously got on my nerves). As for Kim Jung-hoon, his 'suffering' was nice in the end but I still hated his character. Full stop. Maybe some of you will understand after watching the drama, some might not be able to. I can deal with this.
Anyway, I happened to find the side story between Choi Yeo-jin as Park Seo-yeon, Ricky Lee Neely as Alex and Lee Kwan-hoon as Seo Joon-Yi the most entertaining part of the whole drama. Though everything 'happens' rather late, I came to not only like their acting but also the development of the characters, especially Seo-yeon who has been present for such a long time.
Also, the relationship between Kang Hyun-joo and Kim Duk-soo played by Choi Song-hyun and Kim Hyung-min was somewhat cute and amusing and Hyun-joo was definitely one of the best and funniest female characters I've ever seen in a K-Drama. Especially the wedding was such a beautiful and perfect 'scene' that I couldn't help but watch it again and again.

Soundtrack: This is once again one of the soundtracks I don't know a lot about. While I did happen to like it somewhat it was too passive, mostly in the background and I just couldn't get used to it. I have to admit that I love the song Choi Jin-hyuk performed in Ep.14 (?) but it's sadly not included in the OST so I can't really count it.

What's left after watching this drama in about 3 days.. is a rating of 6/10. Maybe I lack some kind of sensitivity, that's possible. But:
What the fuck is wrong with this woman? I don't get it. While I do see that it's important to love yourself and your dreams more than a man I wonder what would be bad about staying alone..?

That's actually the main point that bothered me. But when it comes to talking about positive aspects, let's face a fact: When the leads are making out - it IS passionate and it IS awesome to watch.
Some scenes are funny, especially those involving the two best friends.

Would I watch it again? The whole drama? No. Scenes? Yes.
Recommendation? Well, give it a shot if you like Sex and the City and/or romantic comedies. At least if you're not bothered by a female character that doesn't know what she wants you should do well.

This scene broke my heart though, I just cannot deal with this..

Freitag, 11. Dezember 2015

Blades of Blood

구르믈 버서난 달처럼 (Blades of Blood, literally Like The Moon Escaping From The Clouds) is a Korean movie that was released in April 2010.

Please notice that I might give some more spoilers than usually because - as far as I've read - some people don't quite understand the story which is why I feel that I should try to explain the historical context as well as my personal understanding/ maybe some interpretation. If you plan on watching this movie, I feel like you should stop reading right now and come back when you've seen it.

Story: The story is set in late 16th Century Korea. It's the reign of King Seonjo, at least officially, but the Korean monarchy is weakend and the King has to rely on the support of the yangban class, the gentry. Due to some internal strife, mostly between the West and the East parties, corruption and the pressure coming from the Japanese the State Joseon is even more endangered. That's why in this movie an alliance was formed, firstly to defend the population against the Japanese forces. But it becomes obvious throughout the movie that General Lee Mong-hak has other plans and wants to become the King himself. He therefore killed a man that was later condemned a traitor. Hwang Jeong-hak, a blind swordsman, knows about this. He's also there when the alliance attacks the house of the Han family. After saving the illegitimate son of the family that son, Han Kyun-Jja seeks for revenge and asks Hwang Jeong-hak to become his teacher. While searching for Lee Mong-hak they meet Baek-ji, Mong-hak's lover/ girlfriend, who simply starts following them to meet the man who left her shortly before again. It seems that Kyun-ja and Baek-ji develop feelings for each other but in the end it seems she still wants to see Mong-hak again at any cost. In the end of the movie the showdown appears to be in Seoul, called Hanyang or Hanseong in the Joseon Dynasty, at the royal palace but the King and his loyalty had already left when Mong-hak and Kyun-ja meet and the Japanese forces invade the palace later. The scene following that showdown is something I don't want to talk about too much. But the moon's playing an important role, that's why I think it's necessary to know about the literal title as well. Personally, I would guess it's something otherworldly we see mostly due to the color effects used but it all depends on how you want to interpret it.

Now I think that's a pretty detailed story summary for my standards. I honestly don't get why some people couldn't make any guesses about it. I'm not saying that they're stupid, I would never do that, but I guess they didn't pay attention because a) I think the internal strife between the political parties was obvious, b) they've been talking about the Japanese all the time, and they even mentioned a Japanese invasion and c) actually the context isn't even that important because I personally thing the movie mostly focusses on Kyun-ja's revenge.
There is one thing I have to add to those short summaries I've found though: I DO NOT think that the characters are fighting for social equality. In the Joseon dynasty, Confucianism was the main school of thought. Due to the system the people accepted their role in society, they accepted that they were born into the system. And there were two 'rules' everyone had to obey: Filial piety and loyalty towards the State. Everything that endangered the system and especially those two rules/laws was unacceptable (which led to various persecutions of Catholics about 200 years later but that's something totally different).

Cast: Let's be honest, how many of us watched that movie because of Baek Sung-hyun as Han Kyun-ja? I bet a few did, and if you do watch it because of him, you might love it. His acting in this movie shows many different emotions and shades, though I would characterize Kyun-ja actually as a mostly young and impulsive man who wants to be accepted though he doesn't belong to the yangban class (I forgot the name for illegitimate children of gentry men with their concubines, sorry).
Cha Seung-won appears as Lee Mong-hak. Though he's listed in the main cast and definitely is one of the key characters he doesn't have too much screentime compared to Baek Sung-hyun and Hwang Jung-min. Most of the time I thought his acting was emotionless and therefore a little empty - there wasn't really a cold feeling around him but simply nothing - but in the latter half of the movie there were some really good emotions included. So his acting itself was at least okay (I would need to rewatch the movie a few more times to see whether I missed out on something or not).
Hwang Jung-min appears as Hwang Jeong-hak, the blind swordman. If I didn't miss out on anything important, which I don't think happened, it was never really explained why he behaved the way he did. Why did he turn against the alliance? I mean, why exactly? Sure it's said that he somehow realized the alliance won't make the world a better place and that in the struggle for power the situation might turn out worse. Anyways, I liked his acting after all. His eyes were closed basically 95% of the time and I don't think it's that easy to film some scenes without opening ones eyes so he definitely deserves respect for that.
Lastly, we have Han Ji-hye as Baek-ji. She's beautiful and I think her acting actually fit her role well but then again I wouldn't want to discuss whether it's a major or minor role. We don't get to know that much about her after all, only that she was Lee Mong-hak's girl, he somehow left her and she wants to see him again. That's why she follows Kyun-ja and Hwang Jeong-hak later.

Soundtrack: Since this is a movie, there is basically no soundtrack like there would be for a drama. However, I did enjoy the somewhat traditional feeling of many songs included in the soundtrack, especially of those sang by Baek-ji and played on an instrument called gayageum if I remember right. The music after all did fit the scenes. Especially in the fighting scenes some people will argue it would've been better to use rock songs but please remember that this song is set in the last decade of the 16th Century and imagine a hard rock song playing. That doesn't work, guys, it's just a huge 'Nope'.

After all I've rated this movie as a 7.5/10 mainly because I felt they could've shortened some scenes and maybe used less effects in the fighting scenes. This movie focusses surely more on action than on the plot but I think it's not that bad since the main goal, the revenge, still remained and the story therefore developed. Though it is indeed a rather slow development that's being displayed.

I hope I was able to clear up some things about the setting and the plot above though, and if you have any questions about the Imjin Waeran or Hideyoshi invasions that basically start during the time where the movie is set, you can either ask me - or simply try to find the information on Google or Yahoo search.

Freitag, 4. Dezember 2015

A Company Man

<- This is the German DVD Cover. Yes, there are at least two others I've seen but I honestly love this one so I'll just stay with this.

회사원 (A Company Man) is a Korean movie that was released in 2012. In Germany it's rated 18+ which basically means.. for adults only.

Story: Ji Hyeong-do is working at a company just like many other people. But while his company seems to produce metals, he's actually a professional murderer. After working with Hoon, he gets asked to kill the young man who begs him to give money to his family. Getting to know Yoo Mi-yeon, Hoon's mother, he starts to be confronted with guilt.
After his company finds out that Hoon is still alive, Hyeong-do's hunted down by his former colleagues but still thinking about the family he tries to save them as well.

Cast: I was surprised from time to time in this movie noticing familiar faces. So of course the reason why I wanted to watch this was, mixed up with the 18+ rating, So Ji-sub as Ji Hyeong-do. He IS an awesome actor. This story was basically written for the lead character only, it's his story, and So Ji-sub is perfect for this 'badass' role what some people call it but actually the emotional side of a contract killer also works perfect for him. Lee Mi-yeon appears as Yoo Mi-yeon. While I wasn't that much a fan of her acting, I thought it was pretty decent and believable at the end of the day.
Speaking of familiar faces, Kim Dong-jun of ZE:A appears as Ra Hoon, Mi-yeon's son. I loved his character a lot as well, caring for his family, a huge resposibility, trying to make money so his mom won't need to worry anymore. The story wouldn't have worked without him either.
Others that appear are Kwak Do-won as Kwon Jong-tae, Jeon Guk-hwan as President Jeon and Lee Kyung-young as Ban Ji-hoon.

9/10 is my rating for this movie. After finishing this movie, there was this huge emptiness I rarely feel so I would argue that it is a good movie. I like it. I'm only curious where's the difference between the 'normal' and the 'uncut' versions but that's just a minor thing at the end of the day.
There were some dramatic events. Otherwise 'revenge' wouldn't make sense. The story isn't that unique, that's true, but I don't regret buying the DVD and I would definitely recommend this movie if you're
a) a fan of So Ji-sub,
b) in love with dark and atmospheric action movies,
c) a fan of fighting scenes or
d) all of the above.

Freitag, 27. November 2015

One Sunny Day

좋은 날 (One Sunny Day, literally: A Good Day) is a Korean mini drama series broadcasted through the Line TV App aimed at a Thai audience from December 19th to December 30th 2014. It consists of 10 episodes with a duration between 10 and 14 minutes.

Story: The story evolves about Kim Ji-ho who travelled to Jeju Island because of finding a location for a festival his company is organizing. He meets a woman who's name is kept secret until the end of the drama. While spending their time on Jeju together, they fall in love with each other. Meeting again in Seoul, things become a little more complicated.

Cast: We have So Ji-sub in this drama as the male lead character Kim Ji-ho. I openly admit that I'm more into his badass roles but then again he's doing an awesome job in this cute mini series. The female lead role is played by Kim Ji-won whom I didn't quite like when I first saw her in a drama and you can hate me for this but I really liked her in this series, she just fits the cute girl somehow. What really confused me was the existing chemistry between the two leads though they have an age gap of 15 years. Now I'm not a person to really care about age that much but I think it's still surprising.
Other actors in this drama include Im Joo-eun as Kim Ji-ho's ex-girlfriend, Lee Jong-hyuk as Young-ho and Lee Jong-hyun of CNBLUE as.. well, the couple guy. We never get to know his name.

Soundtrack: There's basically one song by GgotJam Project called "Everyday" on the OST and it perfectly works with the cute love story and the beautiful scenery. Don't believe me? I admit that it's not one of the most memorable tracks. It definitely isn't. But it's a nice indie-folk-ballad song one might love listening to in spring.

So after all, my rating turns out to be a 8.5/10 because it is cute, has a beautiful scenery, is light-hearted without too many annoying misunderstandings - but it's simply too short for character development. It's basically the length of a movie. But then again, regarding the fact Line TV aired it and it's an app, it's not really surprising. A must-watch for fans of So Ji-sub and Kim Ji-won. If you're here for other actors, it's not really what you're looking for since the others rarely have any screentime.

Freitag, 20. November 2015

Chilsu and Mansu

칠수와 만수 (Chil-su and Man-su) is a Korean movie released in 1988 that is remembered to be a step towards freedom of the Korean film industry.

Just giving you a side note.. I didn't plan to watch this movie. Like not at all. But we've watched it in our Korean culture class so I thought writing a review wasn't that bad.

Story: Chil-su falls in love with Jin-a what makes him very excited about all the changes he's experiencing, inside and outside, after the democratization in Korea and finding out about those feelings. But things are not what they seem to be, there are many lies between the characters. They're also broke all the time, especially Chil-su and Man-su, while on the other hand many people experience the benefits of the economical and political changes.
While both characters experience difficulties due to their family and the circumstances they're in, they end up frustrated. As a result, they climb up to their just-completed billboard and vent their frustration at the "rich bastards" in downtown Seoul.

Cast: Park Jung-hun as Chil-su, Ahn Sung-ki as Man-su and Bae Jong-ok as Jin-a. Now I wish I could tell you a lot about their acting but I can't. I've watched this movie like last week and still can't remember.

As a rating in total I'd give a 6.5/10. The scenes I remember were alright. Some were funny, others dramatic. Thing is that I tend to end up bored by old movies most of the time. Especially when those are about social changes I've never experienced.
But then again I admit that I was sometimes online with my phone and sometimes just half asleep (the second wasn't the movies fault, at least not 100%. I think more like 50%, mixed up with me being tired as hell).
A recommendation? No. Only if you're interested in Korean cinema and the history of Korean movies. Though the movie wasn't a huge hit and still isn't one of the best movies at all, I honestly think that it shows signs of a huge social change if you know Korea's history and pay attention to what is said, there are loads of hints given.

Freitag, 13. November 2015

Wonderful Days

참 좋은 시절 (Wonderful Days) is a South Korean drama series that was aired from February 22nd to August 10th 2014 on KBS2 and consists of 50 episodes.

Story: Kang Dong-seok comes back to Gyeongju after studying and working in Seoul for 15 years. Back in his hometown, he finds himself confronted with issues of a messed up family with his siblings, their children, their relationships - and his own past with his ex-girlfriend Cha Hae-won and her family.

Cast: Even if I wanted to - I just cannot list all the actors that took part in this series, even listing the family around Kang Dong-seok alone would be too much since I have a limited number of tags and don't want to write 20 pages only about the family.
There are good actors in this series though sometimes the emotions weren't perfectly shown but still good.
At first we have Lee Seo-jin as Kang Dong-seok who's in the center of this whole mess. A prosecutor as cold as the Syberian winter. If I remember right. Kim Hee-sun appears as Cha Hae-won whom I clearly preferred in the beginning but then again it might be just me having a thing for strong women.
The reason why I even stumbled upon this series is definitely Ok Taec-yeon as Kang Dong-hui, and I honestly consider him not bad at acting. Like not bad at all though people are always criticizing idols.. I'm looking forward to see more series with him though (and still have at least one on my list).
Lee Elijah appears as Kim Ma-ri in this drama, and while one might think that her character isn't important at all.. One shouldn't underestimate her.
Once again I've been watching a drama with Ryu Seung-soo (accidentally), this time as Kang Dong-tak, Dong-seok's older brother. I start to really enjoy his acting though his characters always seem to be the less serious characters that make you laugh though their actually in a sad situation. Jin Kyung joins him as Kang Hae-ju, Hae-won's older sister, in this drama. While their relationship is completely weird in the beginning, it gets better and better.
The last actors I need to mention are Kim Sang-ho as Kang Ssang-shik, Park Bo-gum as young Kang Dong-seok and Choi Woong as Dr. Min Woo-jin. Now why did I have to add this mix of actors? Mainly because I know that I did watch/will watch another drama with them in the cast, or because it's pretty much likely I would watch a drama for their acting only, and that's perfectly fine!

Soundtrack: The soundtrack has cute instrumentals but rarely anything memorable. Even now, 10 minutes after finishing the last episode, I just can't remember anything about the soundtrack either. And I've been watching the whole drama in two weeks! But let's say there wasn't anything too bad either, otherwise I'd definitely remember the bad parts.

I gave this drama a 6.5/10 and this is of course only my opinion! While to me, the most interesting part of the story is over around Ep. 25, they introduced a 'father' I came to dislike for various personal reasons - let's just say he really pissed me off because he reminds me so much of someone I know - and I did skip a lot. The story is slow and focussed on the character development but sometimes, just sometimes, a rather fast-paced story would've made sense.  And while I did like the character development in the beginning, the harder it was in the end to watch one episode dealing with family issues after another.
And 50 episodes definitely aren't a quota the story can keep up unless you're really into family stuff and slow character development. I have seen worse dramas though and expected worse just because of the number of episodes.
Rewatch value.. no, 50 episodes is too much, but I'll definitely rewatch some scenes. That's enough.

Freitag, 6. November 2015

25 Favorite K-Drama OST Songs

Now as a huge fan of music, especially Korean music, it actually has an influence on me liking or disliking certain parts of a drama. The music, especially the songs sung by other artists than the actors themselves can be either annoying or pretty awesome, they can destroy the feeling of a certain part - or they can actually make you feel what's going on better.
Those songs I'll share by now aren't directly related to the way they were used in dramas - at least not all of them since I didn't watch all of their dramas yet - but they still make up a list of my favorite Korean drama OST songs.

25. Mamamoo - Love Lane
I did watch Marriage, not Dating before and I came to enjoy this drama itself a lot, partly because of this song that has a somewhat cute and bubbly feeling to it. Now after some time I found myself humming the melody, especially on sunny days in spring which actually shows how good I found this song.

24. Roy Kim - Pinocchio (피노키오)
This song is included in the OST of the drama of the same name, Pinocchio, staring Park Shin-hye and Lee Jong-suk. Now I admit on planning to watch this drama solely because it is well-known and - well, Lee Jong-suk. As someone who's not a huge fan of Park Shin-hye I'm still not too sure whether I should watch this or not. Anyways, this song just hit me harder than I expected it. I really like Roy Kim's albums and this song reaches my heart. I just had to include it in my top 25.

23. Dear Cloud - Liar
As someone who's pretty much into Korean rock and indie music I definitely can't leave out this song. It's included in the OST of the Korean version of Liar Game, a drama I really would love to watch and probably will (maybe before this post is even published). I just happen to like it a lot though it isn't one of the most atmospheric songs I have ever heard.

22. 김준수/ 시아준수/ Kim Junsu/ Xiah - 사랑합니다 (I Love You)
I'm truly sorry for the long title but Junsu is known under many names. And there is one rule: There cannot be enough ballads on his albums. That voice just gives me goosebumps. Reasons why I happen to listen to this song. But then again I prefer listening to this during winter or fall since I prefer more powerful songs during the summer season.

21. Melody Day - Listen to my Heart
This song is included on the Tomorrow's Cantabile OST, a drama I really want to watch as well but usually lack time. Melody Day is a group consisting of really talented vocalists just like Spica and Mamamoo but they mainly perform OST songs and I bet many of you heard of them before. This song managed to make its way into this list because of the beautiful instrumental, the nice voices and the cheerful arrangement - it's not a typical OST ballad but doesn't seem to ruin any kind of atmosphere either (though I admit that I still need to figure out whether it works with the drama or not).

20. Ailee/ 에일리 - 하루하루 (Day by Day)
Now talking about why this song that was included on the Triangle OST appears in this list isn't that complicated. Personally I think that Ailee is by far one of the best female vocalists in the K-Pop industry. As someone who's trying not to get involved with the K-Pop fandom too much anymore I forgot about many artists but Ailee is memorable just for her voice.
To me this song has something like a lighter feeling than most ballads though I'm pretty sure the lyrics are actually rather sad (depending on what you consider as sad). I just happened to like this song more than her earlier OST songs and had to include it on here.

19. Kim Bo Kyung / 김보경 - 가슴을 쳐봐도 (Heart Hit)
Kim Bo Kyung is one of the singers I consider as incredibly overlooked. I admit that back in 2013 this was the first song I've heard by her as it was included on the Two Weeks OST and I found the sorrowful vocals incredibly beautiful and actually fitting the whole drama.

18. JACE - Goodbye
Another song that basically belongs to a drama I haven't watched yet. In this case, the song belongs to the drama 'Spy' that appears on my (pretty long) plan-to-watch list as well. Jace captured my attention right after their debut though not many people noticed them. Their style somehow reminds me of F.T Island and their rock ballads, and Goodbye is no exception but basically my favorite song by Jace so far.

17.배치기 / BaeChiGi - 신기루 (feat. 김보경) (Mirage (feat. Kim Bo Kyung)
Another song that features Kim Bo Kyung on this list! Now I do like BaeChiGi's songs in general, especially when they feature female vocalists. This song is in fact no exception and it was something like Love at first Listen. I just fell for the whistling as well as the guitar sound in the beginning though I didn't even watch Three Days as of now. This song is one of the songs that definitely would make me watch a drama!

16. 하현우/ Ha Hyun Woo (Guckkasten) - I Can't Stop Loving You
Let me explain in a few words why I actually listened to this song that's included on the OST of the drama Blood: Ha Hyun Woo is the vocalist of the Korean indie band Guckkasten. Now I'm definitely not their biggest fan, that's what I openly admit, though Guckkasten are a band I'd love to see live next year. However, I still didn't imagine this song to be this beautiful. I admit that I didn't expect Ha Hyun Woo to sing a song like this one day but I'm glad he did and I'm even more glad that I gave it a shot and listened to it!
Now as many of you might have never heard of him and therefore didn't listen to the song (probably) until now, I'd recommend giving it a shot. I'm still surprised because this is so beautiful.

15. J-Min - 일어나 (Stand Up)
I bet most of you either watched this drama or listened to the OST of To The Beautiful You just because it was a kinda popular in 2012 because of many SM Entertainment artists. J-Min is under SM Entertainment as well as far as I know but one of the far less popular artists who was active in Japan for quite some time. I just found this song pretty awesome and I still find it kind of interesting just by the way it's combining rock and K-Pop up to some point.

14. 나도균 / Na Do Kyun - 그대니까요 (It's You)
Talking about Na Do Kyun, some of you might know him as a member of idol group History. That's how I found out about him and also how I found the male version of this song performed for Love Rain OST! Though it is a simple ballad song the beautiful melody captured my attention and his powerful voice didn't let me go, especially that note at the end of the song got me.

13. 정기고/ JungGiGo - 아까워 (feat. 민우 of 보이프렌드) (Too Good (feat. Minwoo of Boyfriend)
This song belongs to High School: Love On, a drama that seems to be made for a teenage audience. That doesn't mean that it's bad but I didn't watch the drama yet and don't know if the story might be too typical for a K-Drama. Anyways, I like Boyfriend and I'm a fan of JungGiGo so no one should be surprised this song appears on here.

12. 예성/ Yesung - 먹지 (Gray Paper)
Now this song appearing on here actually is a huge surprise to those who know how much I actually dislike SM Entertainment and how I actually don't care about their artists at all. But then again, it's Yesung! He's the king of OST's, I basically fell hard for his voice and this song is no joke, I kept playing it on repeat for hours just because I liked it so much. I still do though I prefer listening to it during the cold season.
To be honest this song was also one of the things that made a melodrama watchable to me. That Winter, The Wind Blows definitely isn't one of the strongest dramas ever just judging by the story but this song makes some scenes 10 times better.

11. M to M - 안녕 정말 안녕 (Goodbye Really Goodbye)
This song in fact is a diamond I found while watching Lie to Me, a drama I didn't really like but I'm glad this song appeared in it. It's such a beautiful song that actually made me feel something. Compared to the whole series this song kept me going, I've been hoping to hear it more often.


10. MC Sniper - Danger (feat. 리누 (Lee Nu) & 김서현 (Kim Seohyun))
Another song I got to know because of the drama, in this case Vampire Prosecutor 2, a series I just came to like for it's incredibly dark atmosphere and the awesome action scenes as you can read in the review. I happened to love the combination of rap and the (for rap songs) not so typical music combined with the powerful action scenes, and even without the drama this song is quite addicting and you find your self singing along - at least I did.


09. 정준영/ Jung Joon Young - 같은 자리 (Same Place)
Another song on this list that probably wouldn't have been as good as it is if it was sung by someone else. Jung Joon Young is an awesome singer with this awesome rockish feel right when he starts singing. I've been listening to his two solo mini albums for a long time and still love the rock ballads - songs he could sing anytime and I'd still love them.
This song from the OST of Modern Farmer is definitely no exception though I honestly think the fact that Jung Joon Young sang it makes me love it even more than the song itself performed by another singer would be able to.

08. 악동뮤지션/ Akdong Musician - I Love You
This song is the ultimate cute song for those of you who are in love! While I do enjoy listening to it in spring a lot more than during the cold season, the song, included on the OST of All About My Romance, is cute enough to make me smile anytime. And I can definitely tell you that this is 99% about the song since I am not a huge fan of Akdong Musician but still fell for this song and the lovey-dovey feelings it's giving me.


07. NOXX - All For One (feat. 딘딘)
I honestly don't expect anyone to know about NOXX. I mean, they're a rock band. They're not an idol band. And as far as I know they've only released two digital singles so far, as well as this song for the Three Musketeers OST. Without watching the drama I basically listened to this because of the awesome rock band I enjoy listening to, and this song is definitely worth listening so check it out if you haven't done that already!


06. 트리탑스/ Tritops - 내가 미쳤지 (I was Crazy)
Tritops are another band I don't expect you to know. They're a ballad group that debuted quite some time ago but they're not that active. But those voices actually can melt your heart. This song recorded for the Golden Cross OST is one of my favorite songs by this group so it's not surprising I had to include it in here. I highly recommend everyone checking out Tritops' songs and covers on Youtube, maybe starting off with this track is a good idea though.


05. 김윤아/ Kim Yoon Ah (Jaurim) - 자각몽 (feat. 올티) (Lucid Dream (feat. OLLTII)
I feel like there have been quite a lot of rather unknown artists included on here.. and this woman is not an exception. Kim Yoon Ah, the vocalist of Jaurim, performed an awesome song with rapper OLLTII for the Missing Noir M OST. While it's kind of rare for OCN series to even have an OST consisting of two songs, this is the only song that appears in this brilliant series and I've been listening to it quite often because I actually really like the combination of Kim Yoon Ah's unique vocals (her voice has a different sound to it) and OLTTII's rap. Also, the way this song supports the atmosphere of the drama definitely makes it one of my favorite OST songs not only in 2015 but forever.

04. 성준/ Sung Joon - Wake Up
Going back to the more popular artists now I've included a song performed by actor Sung Joon. While I do respect the tall handsome guy as an actor the first drama I've seen him in was actually Shut Up: Flower Boy Band which I didn't only love for the cast and the music itself but also the fact that it's about a rock band! While I was surprised how nice Sung Joon's voice actually was I couldn't help but make this song one of my favorites as well.

03. B2ST/ BEAST - Black Paradise
As some of you might know, IRIS 2 is still included on the list of my favorite dramas though it's slowly losing it's position because of too many awesome OCN series. To be honest I don't understand why so many people seem to hate this series - I can only guess that this second season isn't for the romance lovers but for those who enjoy action. Anyways, this song performed by B2ST still gives me goosebumps. While I do listen to B2ST and actually enjoy a lot of their other songs as well, Black Paradise happens to be the most played track by B2ST on my playlist. How that works.. I can't tell you. I love the music and the beat, Yoseob's angelic voice and Junhyung's rap as well as the atmosphere they deliver with this song. I never get sick of listening to it.


02. 김범/ Kim Bum - 지금 만나러 갑니다 (I'm Going to Meet You Now)
Before explaining anything else: I wasn't too sure whether this song actually qualifies to be on this list or not. Because it's included on the F4 Special Edition and not the regular edition of the OST for Boys Over Flowers. I decided to put it on here though because the F4 Special Edition in fact belongs to the OST as well.
When I've been listening to this song as well as Kim Bum's voice for the first time I fell head over heels. I love the rather weak but fitting vocals, and I love how this song made me want to cry just because I find it to be incredibly beautiful. That's why it was my #1 for about two years. I've been playing this song roughly 1500 times in total, maybe even close to 2000 nowadays. Just to give you a hint how much I love it.


And now, ladies and gentlemen - the No.1!

01. Nell - Run
If you've been reading this entry carefully enough you might have noticed that I love rock and indie artists. I just do, there's nothing to be done about it and I actually don't even want to change it. Now I openly admit that when I've been watching Two Weeks I didn't listen to Nell regularly. Neither did I really care, I just happened to like the song. However, around January 2015 I figured out that this song is pretty much the most awesome and beautiful thing ever and I seriously can't get over the fact that I needed to start listening to Nell again after two years to realize how great they are - and how awesome this song is! 
Whenever I listen to it I have a movie playing in my head. It's hard to put it into words but it's about action, it's about danger and in fact people who are trying to survive not only for themselves but for the sake of living not only for oneself but for the people around you who need you as well. Definitely one of my most played songs since January, and I'll probably never stop listening to this again.


To all of you who managed to get here - thanks for reading this whole entry!
I know that many people won't agree with my choices, and that's perfectly fine since this ranking is based solely on my opinion but I would be glad if you would at least check out some songs you've never heard about. That's the reason why I actually decided to post this~

Also, I'm curious what your choices might be so leave me comments or feel free to discuss with me on Twitter (@gerreaflower) or on MyDramaList as I really would like to get to know about others choices, especially the songs by not-so-popular artists.

Freitag, 30. Oktober 2015

Missing Noir M

실종 느와르 M (Missing Noir M) that aired on OCN from March 28th to May 30th 2015.

"사라진 사람, 숨겨진 진실" (the sentence on the poster) directly translates to "Missing People. Hidden Truth." So you might make a guess if this drama is appealing to you just by knowing that.

Story: Gil Soo-hyun (or James Gil) is an extremely intelligent former FBI agent who attended Harvard University at the age of 10. Because of Lee Jung-soo, who only wants to talk to him, he comes back to Korea and solves the first case with the help of Detective Oh Dae-young and hacker Jin Seo-joon. Those three become the Special Investigation Unit for Missing Persons. As they solve cases, they also discover rather personal cases as well as dark family backgrounds and the fact that power can be more important than the law.

Cast: I openly admit not knowing much about the actors and I'll just talk about what I see in this series. Kim Kang-woo as James Gil Soo-hyun is extremely fascinating in this drama. I just wanted to know more and more about him and noticed that there's another drama with him in the main cast I am planning to watch. Anyways, what was the most fascinating except for his well-hidden past is actually his eyecolor. I know this sounds weird. But especially in Ep. 9 I noticed that it's almost a mix of gold and brown and I really find this interesting and beautiful. (This is not intense fangirling though, so please forgive me..)
Well, Park Hee-soon... is it weird that I just noticed I've watched another drama with him before? He looks so different as Oh Dae-young, I never would've noticed that without MDL and/or asianwiki. I love the way he's portraying the veteran detecive (who is a typical character in every OCN series in case you missed it). Long story short, I loved his acting. A lot.
The last person who's around almost all the time is Jin Seo-joon played by Jo Bo-ah. She is really beautiful. That's what I'm going to admit first. Her acting wasn't bad but I felt like her character wasn't shown enough to really judge her as an actress - sure there was one outstanding episode and I loved her in that episode but the rest of the time she's just a typical team member following what she's told to do by her seniors and her acting seemed a bit awkward or.. rather monotonous? Does that make sense to those who are reading this?
Anyway, others in the cast include Kim Kyu-chul as Park Jung-do and Park So-hyun as Kang Joo-young. They both were good in their respecitve roles, and Park Jung-do as a character even managed to surprise me in the end.

Soundtrack: The music in this drama deserves 10/10 without a doubt! This is one of the few dramas only including one song, "자각몽 (Lucid Dream)" by Kim Yun-ah, but this song is great and atmospheric. But as much as I love this, the Original Score owns this drama. The song that really makes me shiver is actually "Was Justice Delivered" by No Hyung-woo but also "Story of the Victim" is a great instrumental. However, if you're not that much into instrumentals and classical instruments, there is a chance you might not like this at all. The atmosphere those pieces (as well as most of the others on the Original Score) deliver still makes me shiver.

So do we need to talk about my rating? It's a definite 10/10 and I'm not joking when I say this is one of the best crime series in Korea as well.

The atmosphere becomes darker and darker, some cases basically killed me inside (I think especially Ep. 5 or 6 did an awesome job living me behind as an emotional mess). The cases are great and filled with suspense so you won't end up bored. Some plottwists seemed individual and I didn't expect some things at all. And you know, this series is probably more realistic than others and not always comes up with a happy ending.
Looking at my notes, the only negative things I wrote down always ended with "But that's SO OCN! I hate them for doing this.." while I still love this channel more than any other. Okay, I still criticize that we only get a tiny little bit of background information about James. And OCN still leaves an option about Oh Dae-young as well. I would've loved more concrete facts but then again we'll probably get a second season and therefore there is a chance we get to know more then. Which leads to the point that I hate waiting for episodes. Especially, if two episodes are directly connected and you just want to know what's going to happen next. Which leads to the next point I more or less criticize - TOO MANY SPLIT CASES. I do understand that not every episode could have a duration of two hours but waiting for the second part drove me nuts (since I've been watching this drama while it was airing). Now all the episodes are up and the problem just disappeared, yay for those who were able to wait.
Just one thing I found to be rather acceptable - there are some English parts when it comes to FBI stories. Which are messed up. It sounds too clear and too simple. But then again it's not surprising - productions from other countries would probably mess up Korean worse so I'm willing to forgive them since it's not complete nonsense either and we can understand it.

Watch this if you like crime, suspense and thriller. It's worth it.

Oh, and the last GIF - that's almost the way I used to sit there after finishing this drama. Severe Post-Drama Depression.

Freitag, 23. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: That Sunny Blue Sky

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

あの、晴れた青空 (That Sunny Blue Sky), also known as the fifth and final part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2011.

Story: This movie actually starts with the ending of the third one and therefore ignores the side story (which wouldn't change anything anyways).
The death anniversary of Takumi's older brother is getting closer and he receives a phone call from his mom. Actually Takumi still hasn't forgiven his parents nor his older brother and asks Gii to go with him. Gii promises to join him.
But on the same day, there's a snooker competition in which Gii wants to take part. Takumi feels betrayed and the whole situation obviously creates some tension.

Cast: Ah, one last time we have Daisuke Watanabe as Giichi Saki and Kyousuke Hamao as Takumi Hayama. I have to admit that they've developed a lot through the movies. While in the second movie, there was some good chemistry but they didn't seem to be that comfortable with their roles, they really improved and this might be the peak. I'm really curious how they would've developed if there was another movie. Sadly, we'll never know.
And also, we have Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike. I really have to praise him as an actor like I did through the whole series. As a good friend who's always helping the clueless couple and a shadow just carefully watching over everything I came to wish for a friend like him as well. And did you notice? He's basically the only actor who appears in all movies.
We also see Ryoma Baba as Arata Misu in this movie once again, and one shouldn't underestimate his role in this movie. Though I know I've said that before - his charisma is no joke, and though he keeps saying that he hates Gii, he cares for Takumi somewhat. A character I didn't like in the beginning but will surely miss somehow.

Soundtrack: Just as a short review of the whole series, I loved the music and the use of moments of silence which made me expect something to happen. I loved the sounds they used in general, not only the music, but simple background sounds. I know it works similar in many movies but they just managed to support the atmosphere through music and sounds a lot better than some other movies.

My rating for this movie is a 9/10. It's cute, it's lovely - and I'm dying because I know the whole series is over now. If it was about me, they could go on forever but sadly all good things come to an end.
But I still have to mention some points I've been criticizing before - well, mainly the flashbacks. If they had to change the setting and even what was spoken, at least a little bit, they should've tried to make it more clear that you're watching something that happened in the past. Sure the change of the lead actors made it difficult since they had to film all those scenes again but then again it was quite confusing. And even if they would've used something like a special frame or a color filter. It would've been a lot easier.

I'll miss this series, and I think I'll watch the movies again for sure just because I love all of them.. except for the second movie which made me feel depressed. I remember how often those movies made me smile, sometimes laugh, and at times it made me want to hug the characters..

Freitag, 16. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: PURE

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

ピュア (Pure), also known as the fourth part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2010. Though it does have a strong connection to the original series, this movie can be described as a side story.

Story: Different from 3 previous movies, this Takumi Pure's movie is focus on the relationship between Arata Misu and Kanemitsu Shingyouji. Shingyouji fell for Arata at first sight but their relationship somehow evolves into a push-and-pull game because of Arata having a crush on Takahiro Sagara, a student who graduated before. Takumi, Gii and Shozo Akaike decide to help them out. On the other side, Gii also has to help Izumi Takabayashi and Michio Yoshizawa to solve their problems.

Cast: So this is basically the only movie where the main cast completely changed since we don't see Takumi and Gii that often. But still, since they do appear, we see Daisuke Watanabe and Kyousuke Hamao again in their roles. Their chemistry is still special, and at least there are some cute scenes even in this movie that focusses on side stories. We cannot forget about Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike either. As you might have noticed in the earlier entries, I came to like his character so much. A calm and helpful friend, the so-called 'saving grace' or 'fairy god-mother father'.
There's also Ryoma Baba as Arata Misu again. I don't want to give too many spoilers but his charisma is no joke onscreen, and I was seriously surprised but had to think about the title "You're my pet" in the end. Not that it's related in any way but sometimes such things just appear in my had.
The rest of the cast changed completely though. As Kanemitsu Shingyouji we see Taiki Naito and I admit that he actually is really cute and somewhat pitiful but - well, a one-sided love is always sad.
Suddenly we have Ryo Mitsuya as Izumi Takabayashi. Not that he's doing a bad job but seriously, all those different actors playing the same character just makes it hard to really recognize him at first. I wonder who had the idea. And Yutaka Kobayashi accepted the role of Michio Yoshizawa.
Oh, and just because it was really hard to find the information: Takahiro Sagara is played by Yusuke Hirose. It took me some time to find out his full name so if that's the information you were looking for, you're welcome.

So I did realize that this is the first time watching this movie but it probably won't be the last. My rating is 8.5/10 since I actually think it's a refreshing and cute story. BUT I'll still argue that it would've been a good idea to just try and keep at least some parts of the actual cast. It's so confusing when the actors change all the time..

Freitag, 9. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: The Beauty of Detail

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

美貌のディテイル (The Beauty of Detail), also known as the third part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2010. The whole movie series is based on a manga series of the same name.

Story: After a long break, the students are returning to school and Gii and Takumi enter their third year. But Gii doesn't come to meet Takumi, and after hearing that Gii changed a lot, Takumi starts worrying and plans to visit his boyfriend. But even towards Takumi Gii shows a cold and completely different behavior which leads to a crisis, especially for Takumi who sees himself confronted with a problem he thought wouldn't appear again. Luckily, Shozo Akaike, Arata Misu, Takumi's new roommate, and Kanemitsu Shingyouji are there to help Takumi out - at least as good as they can.

Cast: Once again we have Daisuke Watanabe and Kyousuke Hamao as Gii and Takumi. The two of them already had a good chemistry in the second movie, Rainbow Colored Glass, but this third part seems even better to me. This might just be my idea but both of them seem to be more comfortable acting which makes their chemistry even better.
Once again we can see Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike, the saving grace of this series. How can a character with such a good heart just disappear from time to time.. he honestly would deserve his own movie but anyways, maybe he's the only straight student in that school (don't judge me, just a thought.) In this part, Ryoma Baba also appears for the first time as Arata Misu. Sadly we don't get to know why his character seems so cold towards Gii but as Takumi's new roommate his role in this movie is definitely one of the most important ones. Since he's the one to make Gii realize that something's seriously wrong. Kanemitsu Shingyouji is played by Bishin Kawasumi. While his role in this movie appears to be some minor role, it shouldn't be underestimated. And he's somewhat like a cheerful and cute puppy.
Lastly, we have Yasuka Saito back as Izumi Takabayashi. Once again I wonder, why there was another actor for this role in the second movie when Saito is the one playing this role in the first and third movie. Maybe that's just me but it doesn't make that much sense to me. Anyway, once again it's more like a guest role so it's not that bad actually.

As for the conclusion, my rating is 9.5/10. This movie is definitely more serious than the first one, yes, and it's therefore not as cheerful and bubbly as the first one but also not as sad and depressing as the second.
But they had to film some scenes that were actually included in the first movie with the new lead actors as well. That wouldn't be a problem at all if the setting wouldn't have changed that much. That is actually what makes flashbacks hard to understand. IF they had to change the cast, it would've been better, at least for the flashbacks, to at least try and reconstruct the dormitories presented in the first movie.

Freitag, 2. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: Rainbow Colored Glass

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

虹色の硝子 (Rainbow Colored Glass), also known as the second part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2009. The whole movie series is based on a manga series of the same name.

Story: Takumi Hayama and Saki Giichi are now an item at their all-boys school. However, Gii suddenly seems to be interested in Tooru Morita which makes things really difficult for Takumi. While the two of them try to solve their problem, Takeshi Suzuki, a friend of Gii, drops out of school.

Cast: As for this second movie, the main cast completely changed. If you're planning to watch this movie, you might be able to think for reasons by yourself.
Starting with this movie we have Daisuke Watanabe as Gii and Kyousuke Hamao as Takumi Hayama. Actually, those two have a great onscreen chemistry as well, and I remember watching a 'Making Off' as well. It seems the actors get along well and were able to transfer this into the story. (That doesn't mean that I really think they're gay, most likely they're something like friends, I don't even know.)
Though they're doing a good job I still have to deal with the sudden change of lead actors which makes it hard for me to identify with characters. The same issue appears with Kei Hosogai as Izumi Takabayashi. He rarely appears in this movie, so maybe it would've been better to just leave out his character? Especially since in the third movie, the actor switches back.
Yuta Takahashi can be seen as Takeshi Suzuki. I was quite impressed with some of his scenes. Yes, most of them were flashbacks quite at the end but I think he did a good job especially in displaying the struggles.
There's also Yuuki Hiyori as Tooru Morita. Despite of him having not that much display time either his character is just too adorable. I really loved some of the ending scenes just because of him.
And of course, once again last but not least, we have Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike. He's like the saving grace of all the characters, knows everything and gets involved only to help them out.

Soundtrack: Once again I can only say that I seriously loved the way silence was used, as well as some different classical instruments just to highlight the atmosphere.

My rating for this movie is 8/10 and actually that's only because I don't like the ending. Like not at all.
Actually the charming point about the first movie is the light and bubbly atmosphere - at least most of the time. It made me smile like an idiot because of the cute plot. Sure many people say it sounds like a fanfiction written by some 13 year old fangirl but then again they don't need to watch it.
As for a grown up young woman I understand that there are some difficulties when it comes to love but the actual charming point almost disappeared. It reminds me of a melodrama somehow and I'm not a huge fan of overly melodramatic stuff since I think some things are just way too common.
So as far as I remember this one is the weakest part of the series (I've watched either the first three or even four movies back in 2010/2011, I don't remember clearly) which I just didn't want to watch again because of the sad ending which made me cry back then but that doesn't work anymore for me.

Freitag, 25. September 2015

Takumi-kun: And The Spring Breeze Whispers

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

そして春風にささやいて (And The Spring Breeze Whispers), also known as the first part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2007. The whole movie series is based on a manga series of the same name.

Story: As soon as the new year begins, Saki Giichi and Takumi Hayama become roommates. Gii confesses to Takumi quite early and tries his best to safe him but also gets closer to Takumi by accepting his "human-phobia" that is caused by traumatic events in the past. But Izumi Takabayashi, who has a crush on Gii, as well as Daisuke Nozaki, who asks Takumi out, try to interfere. Shozo Akaike, a close friend of Gii, meanwhile supports the two of them.

Cast: Sadly, the first movie is the only one with this main couple. We have Tomo Yanagishita as Takumi Hayama and Keisuke Kato as Giichi Saki. I would've loved to see the two of them in the other movies as well just because they are too adorable together. They're one of the really few couples in Boys Love movies that do have an impressive chemistry. Anyways~
The opposing characters Izumi Takabayashi and Daisuke Nozaki were played by Yasuka Saito and Tetsuya Makita. I usually don't like that kind of characters and I didn't really like them in here as well - I can deal with Takabayashi though - but as actors those two made a really good job I think.
The last one I need to mention is the saving grace also known as Shozo Akaike played by Yukihiro Takiguchi. I remember that even when I've watched the movie for the first time I really liked his character so much. Yes, he seems like a creeper sometimes just appearing out of nowhere but without Shozo it probably wouldn't have worked at all. Cheering for him all along.

Soundtrack: There is just one thing I need to mention when it comes to the soundtrack. I love the way how the classical music was used as well as the usage of silence, especially in the end.

9.5/10 is my rating for one of my absolute favorite Boys Love movies. This movie is just so cute and if you're into romance and don't mind watching Boys Love, than this is definitely something for you. Rewatch value? Ha ha, nice try. I've been watching this time back in 2010 and I loved it. I think I've watched the first part around five times back then. Now, after all those years, I still find myself loving this movie for various reasons. It has some of the best movie scenes I've ever seen combining chemistry, setting and music/silence.
Why only 9.5/10 then? Well, it does have some flaws. For example the logic in some parts - or the lack of that so-called logic. Usually, when living in a dormitory, students shouldn't walk around at night or they're going to get into big trouble. But then again I don't remember seeing any teacher except for the music teacher (who was around for like 20 seconds).

And now a round of free "aaaaaawwwwwww" feelings for everyone~ Reasons why I love this onscreen couple part 2.:

This is one of my all-time-favorite scenes! So much love for this!

Freitag, 18. September 2015

Bitter Blood

ビター・ブラッド (Bitter Blood, also known as Partners by Blood) is a Japanese drama series that aired from April 15th to June 24th on Fuji TV. It consists of 11 episodes with a duration of roughly 45 minutes.

Story: Natsuki Sahara is a rookie detective at Ginza Police department where he becomes the partner of his father Akimura Shimao. After his father abandoned the family, Natsuki started to dislike him. Akimura's eccentric personality doesn't make things better but he's trying hard to get closer to his son. And as much as both of them deny it: Like father, like son. Together they work on cases but don't know in what kind of a dangerous situation they are.

Cast: Okay, at first I need to tell you that sometimes, just sometimes, the acting is way too overdone. Yes, I know that. But we need to see that this drama doesn't take itself too serious, it's comedy so I honestly think it has to be done that way most of the time.
Takeru Satoh as Natsuki Sahara and Atsuro Watabe as Akimura Shimao are the two most important characters. The way they interact as a helpless father and a son who tries hard to really hate his father but can't be like that all the time seems to be real, they did great and really were in great sync.
The other team members appear all the time as well since the series focusses on the interaction between the members of the team and their unique characteristics. My favorite character was Koji Takano, called Taka most of the time, played by Keiji Kuroki of EXILE. Somehow a playboy, he's the charming cop among the team members but also has some funny sides. Shiori Kutsuna appears as Hitomi Maeda. She's pretty and well - a detective series without one female member around wouldn't be that much fun. As she tries to solve the case of her fathers murder, she happens to be in danger as well and has to deal with emotional conflicts at the end.
Every team needs a leader - this group of goofballs does need one more than anything else. The inspector and team leader Kensuke Kagiyama is played by Katsumi Takahashi. He's also the one who describes the whole team as a family, and he's not completely wrong with that.
Mitsuru Fukikoshi appears as Toshifumi Inagi, also called Chaser from time to time.
Tetsushi Tanaka can be seen as Bachelor Hisashi Koga, and Sarutoki Minagawa took the role of Skunk Kaoru Togashi.
And when it comes to a detective series, we need a villain, right? Mitsuhiro Oikawa appears as the.. slightly mad Takehisa Kaizuka. They could have found an actor who might be better for this role, yes. But after all he did a good job playing the weird psycho as well.

Soundtrack: As far as I know Japanese series usually have a theme song and not a full OST. In this case, it's Mayday's "Do You Ever Shine?" and this song is catchy! I liked it, it has this rock feeling around it.
What really surprised me was the use of the "Erlkönig" ballad written by Goethe. Sadly I'm not familiar with the musical versions but you can't imagine my facial expression when I noticed that it's German and I had to deal with this in my German classes in 12th grade (I think..). Since I was able to understand this, it actually scared me a little since the story is dark and atmospheric. It basically is about a father trying to save his son. I highly recommend reading a translation because it's no joke, this classical peace actually works well with the story!

So.. this was my first try to get through a Japanese series and it actually went well. My rating ended up to be a 9/10. The first few episodes weren't that good but the end made up for it. And please read the read writing in the last picture. There's hope!

Freitag, 11. September 2015

Bad Guys

나쁜 녀석들 (Bad Guys) is a Korean drama series that aired from October 4th to December 13th 2014 on OCN.

Story: The title 'Bad Guys' basically describes the team perfectly. Commissioner Nam Goo-hyun asks former detective Oh Gu-tak to help solving a serial murder case. Oh Gu-tak chooses gangster Park Woong-cheol, professional killer Jeong Tae-su and psychopath and serial killer Lee Jeong-mun as the 'bad guys' who are the best for this job.

With Park Woong-cheol's strength , Jeong Tae-su's skill and Lee Jeong-mun's intellect. Mix those together right and there won't be a criminal under the sun they can't catch.

Getting out of prison whenever they have a case, the team members decide to do something useful with their abilities - and figure out the truth behind a serial murder case.
Detective Yoo Mi-yeong is there connection to the police and helps to solve the cases though she's an ambitious person willing to do a lot to get promoted.

Cast: At first we have Kim Sang-joong as Oh Gu-tak, the 'Mad Dog'. Just the way he was planning everything through the first two episodes made me feel uneasy about the character, I could never guess what he was up to. But then again, as an actor, Kim Sang-joong deserves all my respect for playing this role that well.
As Park Woong-cheol we see Ma Dong-seok. Yes, the character isn't the smartest person on earth.. definitely not, but strong and therefore a good addition to the team. About Ma Dong-seok - I don't remember him playing any other main roles before and this one was really good as well. It somehow suits him, and I can't really explain why.
Jo Dong-hyuk accepted the role of Jeong Tae-su. Except for him being hot and classy as a contract killer (I can't help it, I just loved the serious businessman-look he was wearing all the time.. and I'm still a young woman after all), I think his characters' history was one of the most interesting I've ever seen. And there was one scene (I seriously cannot spoiler too much about this) when I was really crying because of his loss.
As genius psychopath Lee Jeong-mun we see someone who might be the reason for many girls to watch this: Park Hae-jin. Now, after watching this, I'm definitely impressed with his skills. From a second male lead desperately in love in You Who Came From The Stars his character in this drama is a psychopath who was one of the youngest serial killers ever. There's a huge difference and I love the fact he's not sticking to one of the character types but actually tries something new - and definitely succeeds.
Others in the cast include Kang Ye-won as Yoo Mi-yeong (I came to dislike her character from time to time..), Kang Shin-il as Nam Goo-hyun and Kim Tae-hoon as Oh Jae-won (and I hate making good guesses about something fishy sometimes).

Soundtrack: One thing OCN is incredibly good at are sound effects. Sometimes the music and the sounds they used were just creeping me out. God, I hate you for doing that, OCN, I hate you all so much. But then again, when it comes to a series like this, it's necessary. Cute or cheerful songs or heartwrenching ballads wouldn't support the rather dark atmosphere.

As an overall rating? Ha ha, funny, you can make a guess. It's OCN Original and I have nothing really negative to say about this series.
The only thing I wasn't happy about were the melodramatic happenings during the last episodes. But then again, this is also a charming point of this series - the way the characters change.

I'm still laughing about the person who had the idea to censor knifes, but not guns, in a drama that's rated 19+. Like, come on.. we all know there's a knife and we all know someone gets stabbed. So why do you have to censor the knife when this is a series for adults..? Tsk. I don't get it. It's somewhat cute.

Did I miss out on anything? Well, this series deals with the dark sides of human souls in the end. If you have a weak heart, this series probably wouldn't be a good recommendation. Otherwise, go ahead and give it a shot because it has a different charm with being impressive especially when it comes to plot and character development.

And did someone mention a possible Season 2?! Yes, please! Just.. OCN, please don't make me wait four years or something..