Freitag, 31. Juli 2015

Boys Love

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie (which is actually quite obvious in this case)! Don't like the genre? Then just ignore it.

ボーイズ ラブ (Boys Love) is a Japanese movie that was released in 2006.

Story: The story starts of with Taishin Mamiya interviewing model and artist Noeru Kisaragi. They soon fall in love with each other and Taishin finds out about the reasons why Noeru meets up with various men for sex.
Soon they get along and they could be rather happy if it wasn't for Chidori Furumura, Noeru's childhood friend who has a crush on him. This love develops into an obsession that becomes a huge problem for Taishin and Noeru.

Cast: Yoshikazu Kotani accepted the role as Taishin Mamiya. I don't really know what to tell about him. I think his acting in this movie wasn't too bad but sometimes a little overdone and still not completely perfect. As Noeru Kisaragi we see Takumi Saito. To be honest I didn't really understand his character and that one scene when he was crying was just.. meh. That actually goes for both actors but then again I wonder whether they couldn't do better (which I highly doubt) or whether it was about the director pretty much wanting them to do it like this. The last one is Hiroya Matsumoto as Chidori Furumura. To be honest I came to dislike his character but his acting was definitely better than what we've seen from the lead characters. The insane and obsessed friendzoned guy seemed a little bit.. too crazy from time to time but then again that is definitely my opinion and it was easy to believe in his acting.

Though this was one of the movies I've actually liked a lot about five years ago, accept for the ending, my rating today is 6/10. The story actually is good - just a little bit overdone here and there, the ending wouldn't have to be that way. Plus, what actually makes me furious is the fact that it seems too rushed, way too fast. There are so many things that happen within the last five minutes. And then I start to question logic. Usually, when anything like that happens, you'd go to the hospital. But of course a promise is way more important than at least trying to save a life.. That logic.
The cast isn't perfect but then again as someone interested in Japanese culture and society I don't blame the actors, I just wonder if they were uncomfortable because of how Japan deals with homosexuality.
I honestly also think that the usage of quotes is a good idea but then again I feel like they've been using too many quotes in some scenes. Three quotes whithin five minutes? Is that even necessary? But it's fine, it's at least something I haven't seen that often.

Freitag, 24. Juli 2015

Lie to Me

내게 거짓말을 해봐 (Lie to Me) is a Korean drama series that aired from May 9th to June 28th 2011 on SBS.

Story: Gong Ah-jung is a woman in her late 20's. Her best friend stole her first love, and when she meets her best friend and her first love who got married one day, she tells the lie that she got married before as well. Without mentioning whom she got married to, the small lie develops into a big issue and rumors are spread of a civil service officer being married to World Hotel's president Hyun Ki-joon. In order to avoid the truth being exposed, the two of them come to an agreement. Signing a contract, the two of them are married for a certain time to protect Ah-jung's pride and to help Ki-joon to sign with Chinese investors. As if it'd be as easy as it sounds.. Yoon-joo, Ki-joon's ex-fiancee appears, and also his younger brother comes back and so the chaos evolves.

Cast: The two main characters Gong Ah-jung and Hyun Ki-joon are played by Yoon Eun-hye and Kang Ji-hwan. Those two actors have a great chemistry and I really hope I'll see them once again in a drama that might be a little better to show off their great chemistry and abilities. Sung Joon appears as the second male lead character Hyun Sang-hee, Ki-joon's younger brother. While I totally fell for his character in the first few episodes, it seems as if the writer's simply forgot about him later and his acting seemed a little bit.. forced? The same issue appears when it comes to Oh Yoon-joo played by Jo Yoon-hee. Probably the last two characters I'd count to the main characters are Chun Jae-beom played by Ryu Seung-soo and Hong Soo-hyun as Yoo So-ran. To be completely honest those two seemed to be way more important characters than Sang-hee and Yoon-joo somehow, and I admit that I loved to hate So-ran but I seriously don't get who thought about the sudden change of her character.. what in the actual world happened?! Oh, right, the write changed after episode 10 I think..

Soundtrack: The OST is one of the better parts of this drama for me. I'll tell you more about what I personally think about this drama later but M to M's "안녕 정말 안녕 (Goodbye, Really Goodbye)" is pretty much awesome, beautiful and definitely not overused. Probably one of the best drama OST song's I've ever listened to. Comparing it to other ballad songs used in different dramas I definitely fell for this one. I also really liked Kim Hyung-joon "이 밤이 지나가면 (Midnight Passes)". Except for a few really adorable things about the theme song by Yoon Eun-hye and Kang Ji-hwan themselves called "Lovin' Ice Cream" (who in the world thought about that title? geez) and the OST itself I personally feel like the ballad songs were definitely the better choices in this drama.

Conclusion? If someone dares to mention "Lie to Me" around me it's the best to hide because my only reaction by now is:

Honestly, I've never dropped a drama I've started - not even You're Beautiful which has a really critical review and the lowest rating I've ever given a series - but I was so close to just stop watching this.
I readily admit that this drama has it's up's and down's - and I admit that the kiss scenes are pretty much awesome (I would've loved to add a gif of one of those scenes but such a spoiler would be unfair). What is sad, is that the down's appear about 100 times more often than the up's.
In fact I feel like I would have to rate two parts of the drama. I remember until episode 8 everything was fine. Episodes 9 and 10 were okay. But following episode 10 I found myself thinking "Why am I even doing this to me?.."
The first part definitely deserves a rating about 7.5 or 8/10 because it's cute and funny, a typical romance-comedy serie, nothing special in the plot but at least entertaining.
The second part therefore would get a rating of 1/10 maximum just because there are some cute things about it - but the characters completely change, the story loses it's natural and adorable flow.
Just look at this.. ew. Ah-jung was so strong before and then suddenly people ask her what's wrong and that's her answer? Ew, ew and ew.

As for the rating, the average of those makes 4.5/10. The last episodes ruined that drama for me, I just didn't want to watch it but I kept telling myself that it might get better. In the end. And well, at least the scenery was beautiful from time to time, so there were actually interesting things to look at.

At least it is not completely bad - it also might appeal to those who are new to K-Drama - but I refuse to even consider watching this again. Yes, some scenes, maybe in youtube compilations. That's all.

Anyway, this is just my opinion. Maybe I've finished too many K-Drama's before and couldn't deal with this because it's so much of a typical K-Drama (look at the entries about 'tropes' I've written earlier - everything is included in this one) but also be reading other reviews I've seen some mixed opinions. People either love it or they hate it. Easy as that. I belong to the latter category.
And this picture is perfect to show me while watching it..

Montag, 20. Juli 2015

Dr. Frost

!Warning! This post may contain some ranting, fangirling, spoilers and everything that just comes out from me being in a love-hate relationship with OCN!

닥터 프로스트 (Dr. Frost) is a South Korean television series that aired from November 23rd 2014 to February 1st 2015 on OCN. The series consists of 10 episodes with a duration of about 60 minutes.

Story: Baek Nam-bong became a professor of psychology at an early age. After some traumatic events in the past he lost his emotions and studied psychology in order to get to know himself and other humans better. After being asked to work there he becomes a counselor at Yongang University and works as a bartender at night. Working with Teaching Assistant Yoon Seong-ah, he helps the police to solve cases. While he has problems sympathizing with other, Seong-ah is an emotional person and therefore helps him to connect with others.
While a mysterious case of manipulated memories appears, Dr. Frost and the people around him also find themselves in danger.

Cast: Song Chang-eui took over the role of Dr. Frost. And let me tell you that I had a really interesting time analyzing this character. I'm not a psychologist and far from knowing a lot about the human brain but just by observing we can usually figure out some things. Now, in this drama, the mask was basically perfect. But it's good to see a completely different side of the character in the end.
Jung Eun-chae becomes similar to an interpreter to Dr. Frost as Yoon Seong-ah. Does anyone on here know the US series Scorpion? There's a reason why I mention this on here. The team in that series consists of four geniuses but because of a high IQ, their EQ (emotional quotient) is rather low so they need someone to help them understand the world. While Seong-ah couldn't think this logically without Dr. Frost, he actually needs her to understand emotions. Their relationship doesn't seem like sympathy but because of different characteristics, they're an incredibly good team.
Sung Ji-ru as Detective Nam Tae-bong is their connection to the police. At some point we get to know that he has been working with Dr. Frost before but we don't know when they met and why or how exactly their work started.
Others in the main cast include Lee Yoon-ji as Song Seon, Choi Jung-woo as Professor Cheon Sang-won, Song Jong-ho as Moon Sung-hyun and Lee Shi-kang as Detective Cha.

Soundtrack: How I'd wish I could listen to the OST on CD or anything else.. there are very few songs but just by listening to the instrumentals while watching the drama, I loved how the music supported the atmosphere, be it mysterious or calm. The last two songs that are actually song by female vocalists in the end wouldn't have been necessary at all but since that's pretty much popular in Asia, I'm alright with that - and I can proudly say that there was no song that pissed me off.

My rating is a definite 10/10 and there's no need to discuss that.
But then again I am in love with crime series. If you want to watch this drama, give it a shot but there is no 'real' love story - people just love to interpret some things.
If you enjoy the American series Lie to me (not to be confused with the Korean series that has a completely different story!) and Sherlock Holmes this drama is like perfect for you.

The only thing I need to mention is the end again.. OCN, you seriously want to drive me crazy? It's not like I've been waiting for TEN's 3rd season now for a loooong time already - now you want to drive me nuts while waiting for a 2nd season of Dr. Frost as well?! If they continue like this, my hair will become as white as his just because of frustration..
Oh, mentioning white hair - there are two possibilities. Either I didn't realize the reason why his hair was white even at an early age or they didn't mention that at all. As a naturally curious person I need to figure that out..

Long story short: Great series, many mysteries left, now the long wait for a second season starts - if there'll ever be one. If they don't give me a second season, I might start seriously hating OCN but their OCN Original series are just way too good to be true. I'll just drown in feels and look for the next series to watch so I want fall into the post-drama depression.

Donnerstag, 16. Juli 2015

Protect Me!-Female-Lead

If there is something I started to dislike about female lead characters in Korean dramas, it's the point that most of them seem to be the kind of girl that desperately needs a man to take care of her.
That doesn't mean they directly ask for the male lead to protect them but just that they seem helpless and somewhat clueless from time to time.

That being said, I like princesses. More specifically I like princesses that outdrink the dragon, beat up the evil witch and don't need to wait for the prince because they're going out to get him.

Once again this is about Korean culture. In almost every country women weren't that emancipated through the centuries. In Korea, the feminist movement started as late as in the 1970's, following the democratic movement. It has only been around 40 years so it is not surprising that we still find the typical gender roles in Korean society.
Do you know what the word "oppa" actually implies? Yes, directly translated it refers to a girl's older brother but is used for older males a girl is close to as well. However, what leads to the use of this term basically is "I'm a helpless and cute girl, oppa, please take care of me". Women are expected to be cute and helpless up to a certain point to make the older males feel like they're needed. (I've got this information from a good friend of mine who's a Korean male - he himself explained the meaning to me like this and said that it's actually not a good implication.)

So analyzing the culture it's not surprising at all. Remember, there were times when we had rarely any sexy girl groups in K-Pop as well. The culture is changing but in dramas the writers seem to simply stick to the classical roles.
There are a few female characters that belong to the type of princess I prefer - just look at Jan Di in Boys Over Flowers. Now that could be me. But they are not as common as the type of female lead mentioned in the head line. Don't believe me? Well, just some examples.

Dienstag, 14. Juli 2015


This term isn't only used in K-Dramaland - if you're planning to major in Korean studies you'll have to deal with this as well and it's useful to know what we actually mean when talking about chaebol.

Chaebol is a term used for the business conglomerates. Despite for the heirs of such families sometimes being called 'parachutes' usually dealing with chaebol isn't that easy. They have money and friends. You know, in Germany we'd call that 'Vitamin C' - influential contacts.
That being said, they indeed have a huge influence not only in economics but also politics.

But of course, talking about certain characteristics we see in Korean dramas again and again, that is surely overexaggerated. As well as the amount of chaebol I've seen during the last years.

Usually, in Korean drama, we see conceited, mysophobic and rude male characters. Yes, usually the heirs of such families take over the spotlight and once they realize they can't get anything just by buying it - they tend to freak out or make a 180° turn and change their whole personality. But, oh, well, the latter usually just seems to be a weakness for the female lead.
So how come this kind of character is so irresistible? To be honest I have no idea. That's just my personal opinion but I don't care about their looks if they are rude as hell. They end up as completely loveable characters in the end though after falling for the female lead..

The only case I understand is actually the case of Joo Joong-won and the sun in The Master's Sun because he can actually help her dealing with the ghosts. No matter how bad he treats her, he's the only person who can help her getting rid of the ghosts.

A short collection of chaebol characters in Korean dramas? Yes, sure, here you go:

But to be completely fair, not all of them are bad characters - some are rather charming, a few are willing to give up everything for the person they love and there are a few female chaebol as well.

No matter where you go - I bet you'll find one kind or another of chaebol. But thinking about it logically the amount of families falling into this category in K-Dramaland is really large, even if some of them aren't even mentioned as main characters, they just happen to be there.

Sonntag, 12. Juli 2015

Wrist Grab

Another culture class anyone?

I've mentioned it before but Korea actually is a rather conservative country. For a long time holding hands in public was a huge no-no. Even nowadays the older generation tends to not be too happy about seeing the youth holding hands. To Koreans, that's still something rather personal though it's a pretty innocent type of skinship.
In dramas, when taking someone with you, the characters tend to just grab the other person by the wrist instead of taking someones hand. Plus, let's admit it, it's actually a lot easier like this to make a person follow you whether they want to or not.
But this is also used to keep someone from leaving. A simple "Don't go, I still have to talk to you" isn't enough anymore..

Now enjoy this "Wrist Grab" gallery I've collected from various dramas in various contacts. It's something we'll see over and over again. I just wish I'd get 1$ for every wrist grab I see in a K-Drama..

Oh, just saying - it's true that there is indeed a whole tumblr blog dedicated to K-Drama Wrist-Grabs. Just look for it on Google.

Freitag, 10. Juli 2015

Piggyback Ride

Thinking about a typical element in the Korean movie industry, I wonder what else would come to your mind besides the piggyback ride!
Really, I've seen that in so many dramas and movies that I can't count it anymore. There were also two scenes in No Regret, so it's not unusual in Boys Love movies either.

Talking about this, we need to know the drinking culture.
You know, dramas aren't really overdoing the amount people in Korea drink. So it's not really an exaggeration to see characters in dramas being socially pressured to drink, or killing multiple bottles of soju over one meal, especially after being dumped, fired, belittled, or otherwise trampled upon.
But sure it IS an exaggeration to see people literally pass out while drinking.
However, in K-Dramaland this is a common cause as to why someone needs a piggyback ride home.

Seriously, who needs a taxi when someone's drunk? Or an ambulance when someone got hurt? Tsk, tsk, that'd be too old school.

So enjoy the gallery I've collected just now showing the piggyback rides I was able to find~

To The Beautiful You

Reply 1997

Boys Over Flowers

That Winter, The Wind Blows

Her Lovely Heels

All About My Romance


It is a rather typical element as you might have noticed.. but hey, it's cute, so I'm not complaining. Just a little jealous from time to time.