Freitag, 28. August 2015

Marriage, not Dating

연애 말고 결혼 (Marriage, not Dating) is a South Korean drama series that was aired from July 4th to August 23rd 2014 on tvN.

Usually I tend to write about my thoughts at the end of an entry but this time I need to tell you what I honestly think in a really short summary:

This drama shows Korean romance-comedy at its finest.

Story: Joo Jang-mi has been dating Lee Hoon-dong for a while and wants to propose to him. However, Hoon-dong doesn't even think about it and asks his friend Gong Gi-tae who happens to be in the same hotel to help him out.
Gong Gi-tae is a bachelor who doesn't even think about getting married but his family sends him on blind dates often to make him marry a girl.
After Jang-mi is heartbroken because of Hoon-dong breaking up with her after playing around, he decides to help her with revenge but the deal is that she becomes his fake-fiancee so his family would stop making him go on blind dates. Knowing that his family wouldn't accept Jang-mi, Gi-tae hopes that his family would rather see him staying alone forever than marrying someone like Jang-mi.
But because of Jang-mi's revenge Hoon-dong shows interest in her again, as well as his employee Han Yeo-reum while Gi-tae's ex-fiancee Kang Se-ah keeps being around.

Cast: To be completely honest I think I've seen most of the actors for the first time in this drama. For example Yeon Woo-jin as Gong Gi-tae. He doesn't understand women and openly admits to that at one point. And at some point it is also explained why he prefers staying single. I think Yeon Woo-jin's acting was just very well done and I'll happily watch other dramas with him again. As Joo Jang-mi we see Han Groo. I did not she was active as a singer so I think I've heard about her back in 2012 for the first time but I didn't know she was acting as well. I shouldn't be surprised anyways. In this drama, she's a professional trouble maker you just need to love at some point. And actually she's pitiful. Being in a similar position with my parents I understand her quite well. I could connect with her character at some point. And that's definitely a good point, she deserves a lot of attention for her role in this drama.
Jeong Jin-woon of 2AM is in this drama as well as Han Yeo-reum. Despite for me loving his name (that could also translate to "One Summer") he seems to be the perfect man. He's caring, has a nice smile, knows how to cook and would save Jang-mi whenever he's around. But maybe, just maybe, that's why he ends up in the friendzone. However, he's not a typical pitiful second male lead! He accepts the fact that life goes on though he's hurt at first.
Han Sun-hwa of Secret accepted the role of Kang Se-ah. At first I was willing to accept her. Then I hated her. And in the end, I actually came to like her. The way her character developed was actually good to watch though I really thought the writer went a bit too far giving her the typical Second-Female-Lead characteristics. Sun-hwa is a beautiful woman, nonetheless, and her acting just fit the role, I can't really complain about her acting.
Others in the main cast include Heo Jeong-min as Lee Hoon-dong, Yoon So-hee as Nam Hyun-hee, Lim Ye-jin as Na So-nyeo, Park Jun-gyu as Joo Gyung-pyo and Kim Hae-sook as Shin Bong-hyang. But to be completely honest, there are too many actors involved in this series to even consider mentioning all of them.

Soundtrack: Let me talk about the sound effects first. I seriously loved the way they used. Be it dogs, cats, Kakao Talk alarm ringtones - it was just to funny! Especially when Jang-mi and Gi-tae were fighting.
The soundtrack is nice so far. There are some songs that just make you feel like it's a summer drama (which it indeed is) like Mamamoo's "Love Lane". And there are some wonderful ballads like Son Ho-young and Danny Ahn's "하루만 (Just One Day)". Both songs would be included if I'd ever rank my favorite OST tracks.

At the end of the day, the rating is rather untypical. It's a 10/10, definitely.
Unlike many other dramas, this is not the typical romance-comedy series. Sure, the story isn't the most unique but starting with the setting and ending with the sound effects this drama managed to capture my attention all the way through. And it manages to be cute and funny until the very end. Even the last ten minutes of the last episodes were awesome enough.
What I really enjoyed was the structure of the episodes. In the very beginning, you see an event happening and feel like you've missed an episode or something. How this scene was created - well, that's shown within the episode. And since some of those scenes they used to open the episodes just seemed completely different from the atmosphere you've seen before, you'll want to know what in the world happened.

Much love for this drama. For being different, for being funny, for being cute, with only a few really sad and melodramatic moments!

And a little bonus of Han Yeo-reum and Lee Hoon-dong (or Jinwoon and Heo Jeong-min) bromance. This scene made me laugh harder than I should have.


Freitag, 21. August 2015

Boys Love 2 - Schoolboy Crush

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

BOYS LOVE 劇場版 (Boys Love, the Movie; later retitled as Schoolboy Crush) was created after the success of the first Boys Love movie. It was released in 2007.
However, except for sharing the title both movies are different, therefore you don't need to watch one part to understand the other.

Story: Kairo Aoi is a teacher at a prestigious all boys school. After he gets dumped by his ex-girlfriend he spends some time with Sora Amakami, a young man who's selling his body. Soon after that, the two of them meet again - Sora transfers into his class so Kairo has to deal with the possibility of being caught having a personal relationship with a student.
Sora's roommate, Ichiyou Mizuki, is one of the best students and falls for Sora. But Riku Hanazono, whose relationship with Ichiyou is complicated, ends up being jealous of Sora.

Cast: There is indeed something - or rather someone - connected to the first movie in this one. Once again Yoshikazu Kotani can be seen as one of the lead characters, Kairo Aoi. Comparing this one to the first part, he seems to be more comfortable though his character still shows some strange behaviors - but that's okay since his character finds himself endangered. The other male lead character, Sora Amakami, is played by Atsumi Kanno - and he is self-confident in this role. Sure it's about the confident character but he definitely knows how to leave a good impression in this movie.
Other than that we have Yuuki Kawakubo as Ichiyou Mizuki and Kazunori Tani as Riku Hanazono. While the relationship between their characters seems to be a mess at first and Riku definitely isn't a charming character, there was something about their acting that captured my attention.
After all I'd say the acting in this one seems a lot better and more natural than in the first movie though sure there are some exaggerations.

Personally, I gave this movie a rating of 8.5/10 because actually I think the taboo of a teacher-student-relationship is something really interesting. It even inspired me to write some stories but then again I admit that it's not a really unique story. However, watching the movie again after four to five years definitely won't influence my rating for the worse - I actually gave an even better rating nowadays than I did earlier. Some parts made me laugh, others were really sad, but this moving definitely has a story deeper than the first one.

Freitag, 14. August 2015

Vampire Prosecutor (Season 2)

Please note that this entry may involve fangirling, ranting and cursing about a TV channel. Don't mind me, it's just me freaking out because of frustration.

뱀파이어 검사 2
(Vampire Prosecutor) is a South Korean drama series that aired on OCN from September 9th to November 18th 2012.

Story: Prosecutor Min Tae-yeon is a vampire using his special abilities to solve crimes and catch the criminals. However, he stumbles upon another vampire in is series that becomes more commonly known as "L" who seems to enjoy playing games. Trying to safe his team consisting of Detective Hwang Soon-bum, Prosecutor Yoo Jung-in and Choi Dong-man, he solves some cases with them but has to deal with the final enemy on his own..

Cast: We see Yeon Jung-hoon again as Prosecutor Min Tae-yeon. His acting is just awesome, I seriously fell for his character but then again the end left me seriously frustrated (I won't say anything else about this). As Yoo Jung-in we see Lee Young-ah and I definitely prefer her in this season. It's just like her character isn't nagging as much as I remember from the first season so that might be the reason. Lee Won-jung appears as Hwang Soon-bum again and after this season I somehow find his character more and more interesting. Sure he doesn't seem to be an incredibly smart detective but then again, with his good instincts, he's an important member of the team. Choi Dong-man was played by Kim Joo-young again and I seriously came to like his character for lightening up the dark atmosphere in this series.
Lee Kyung-young is new in this series as Jo Jung-hyun. And this man.. I don't know what I should think about him. Weird but effective and him not being a part of the team anymore will be a huge loss? Not the most charming or lovable character but his love for Kim Ji-young as Lee Ji-ae is really touching. I think you'd need to watch the series to understand what's behind this but it's adorable how much he's caring for her.
Kwon Hyun-sang appears as "L". So, except for me wondering why there are so many characters named "L" in Asia (is this some nickname based on stereotypical features?), his madness is damn well acted. I loved to hate him. But he seriously had too much time making plans and observing his enemies.
Others in the main cast include Jung Hwan as Park Hoon, Park Jae-hoon as Ra Jae-wook, Yoshitaka Yuriko as Luna (and seeing a Japanese fortune-teller made this series a lot better in my opinion, I loved her character) and Kim Bo-young as Chief Prosecutor Joo Hyun-ah.

Soundtrack: The ending theme is "Danger" by MC Sniper. Now I'm not a huge fan of rap but I came to like the rock and crossover influence in this song. It's not used that much in the drama though and only appears at the end. As for the instrumentals, they worked well - supported the atmosphere. Watching the drama without sound would make most of the scenes less atmospheric.

My personal rating is a 9.5/10. There was one episode (I think it was Ep. 8, Rude Min Tae-yeon) that seriously got on my nerves. Yes, the last five minutes are important. The rest of the episode seems to be a complete joke. I'm not saying that a few scenes that make you smile or laugh are bad but this episode just didn't fit the overall atmosphere at all.
We get some more information on the characters though, and that is actually really well-played by OCN. Since I've heard that they're still talking about a 3rd season (as of January 2015 it might be aired in Summer/Fall 2016) they need to keep people interested. Same with the ending which seriously leaves me frustrated. If they would liked an open ending or a cliff hanger, I think about 2 minutes earlier (right after the explosion - I hope I'm not saying too much about this) would have been better in my honest opinion.

Overall I'd definitely recommend this to people into crime, mystery and some 'hinted-romance' stuff. While it bothers me that the hints become actually really strong in this season (I prefer my crime series without romance at all), others seem to like that a lot.
But if you want to watch a typical vampire-teenage-romance, this is definitely not the right drama for you.
One more thing I have to add: The fights were awesome. Just awesome. Loved it more than anything.

Freitag, 7. August 2015

Vampire Prosecutor (Season 1)

뱀파이어 검사  (Vampire Prosecutor) is a Korean drama series that aired from October 2nd to December 18th 2011 on OCN.

I'm not a huge fan of vampires. Like not at all. Personally, I think that since Twilight it's already a good sign if vampires don't sparkle. But then again, thanks to this topic being used over and over again after the hype a certain movie series caused, I just came to think that it's all about popularity and I probably shouldn't watch anything involving vampires anymore except for the good old horror movies.
So how did I end up watching this? Just by reading the first paragraph of this entry, you might be able to notice something. It's an OCN Original series, and that's basically a guarantee for a crime series with 100% quality.
That being said, this entry might include fangirling, ranting and cursing because of a certain love-hate-relationship I've mentioned already like ten times before.

Story: Prosecutor Min Tae-yeon becomes part of a Joint Investigation Unit consisting of detectives and prosecutors. He seems to have worked with Detective Hwang Soon-bum before who's one of the few people who know Tae-yeon's secret: The prosecutor, after being bitten by someone he doesn't know one day, became a vampire and uses his abilities to solve mysterious cases. Soon, he figures out that a serial murder called the 'Vampire case' from years ago was committed by a vampire and while solving some cases with his team, he tries to find the other vampire.

Cast: Yeon Jung-hoon accepted the role of Min Tae-yeon, and to be completely honest, if vampires would be like this - I'm want them to come out, we need them. Speaking all honestly I loved his acting from the first minute to the last. It's as simple as that. Lee Young-ah as Yoo Jung-in is the female member of the team, and she's one of the strong and confident female characters in a drama series that I come to like a lot usually. Lee Won-jung as Hwang Soon-bum is a detective who works well with Min Tae-yeon. After having roughly 25 years of experience, he has seen a lot of things. To be honest, after watching the first season, I still wonder why he knows of Tae-yeon being a vampire and basically no one else does but then again I'll try to be patient and I hope I'll be able to figure that out when watching the second season.
Kim Joo-young joined the cast as Choi Dong-man. Though the use of his character might not be that obvious at first, I found myself thinking that he lightens up the atmosphere with his bright and somewhat funny character.
Jang Hyun-sung can be seen as Chief Prosecutor Jang Chul-oh, and while one cannot understand his intentions at first, I was confused even in the end. But nonetheless, I feel like this role was perfect for him, the whole atmosphere fit well. So either he's just good at playing that kind of characters or he's simply a really really really good actor.
As the bartender Ra Jae-Wook (and yes, I did look this up because I think all we get in the first season is "Mr. La") we seen Park Jae-hoon. Sure he did something bad when he was still a doctor but then again I seriously can't judge him for doing that and as someone who has been helping Tae-yeon all along I really liked this role as well.

Soundtrack: Oh, there was a soundtrack? Okay, okay, joking, I did notice like one song and after looking that up I think it was performed by Lee Jung but that's basically everything. And since it is not used that often, it doesn't get boring. I'd love to listen to the instrumentals played during the action scenes though since especially crime series tend to have a quite interesting and exciting soundtrack.

Conclusion? 9.5/10. The first episodes seemed a little bit chaotic to me but good nonetheless.
But then again I'm a huge fan of crime series and to be completely honest I think the 'vampire'-element wouldn't have been necessary. They could've just used a human who's good at observing as well so I think THAT actually was to get attention for the series. And that's not bad at all, sure they need people to watch a production.

*I never thought that a Korean with bright blue eyes could be that attractive since I usually prefer dark eyes but then again it's perfect.

**One of my favorite scenes, I had to laugh so hard and that smirk is seriously worth to capture.

***Excuse the quality of those screenshots, and yes, it's pretty much not my style but I've been watching a few episodes online due to some technical issues. BUT why am I sharing those screencaps? To be completely honest it's just because.. I went to that place. And my friend and I took a photo using that mirror as well. Forgive me, I was pretty much done seeing those pictures in a drama series now.