Freitag, 30. Juni 2017


넌 내게 반했어 (Heartstrings; Literally You've Fallen For Me) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on MBC from June 29th to August 18th 2011. The drama consists of 15 episodes with a duration of 65 minutes.

Story: Lee Kyu-won is a Traditional Music (Gugak) major student and plays the Gayageum. Lee Shin attends the same university and majors in Applied Music. After accidentally bumping into each other and getting into conflicts they decide to have a contest - traditional music band Windflower vs rock band The Stupid. The loser will be the winner's servant for one month. Of course while being close together as master and servant Kyu-won and Shin eventually start to develop feelings for each other even though their personalities are still really different.
When preparation for the 100th Anniversary performance of the university start they eventually have to start working together when arranging the music.
At the same time Director Kim Seok-hyun, who came from the Broadway and used to study at the same university, seems to prefer Kyu-won over the daughter of an important person, Han Hee-joo, which eventually causes some trouble for Kyu-won on an entirely different level.
I love how the two line description speaks of a youth melodrama. Personally I didn't feel like it was a melodrama but just a pretty basic teen love story - despite for the fact that they are not in highschool but in university at this drama. It does have the typical antagonists and the typical asshole-male-lead and cute-but-confident female lead in this case in the beginning. Most of the side characters and their stories were only partly developed but it was okay. It was about the main couple after all. I don't see anything outstanding about this drama in the end though.

Cast: Jung Yong-hwa as Lee Shin. His acting in this drama was alright but honestly, it could've been better. Sometimes I had a feeling it was either too much or not enough to make me actually believe in the struggle his character was going through.
Park Shin-hye as Lee Kyu-won. Personally this drama might have been one of her better ones for me. I know in other dramas I absolutely hated her as an actress because she didn't show any emotion. This drama was far better but there were many times when I just couldn't believe her acting as it was just over the top and definitely too much.
Song Chang-ui as Kim Seok-hyun. If there was a character I absolutely adored it was Director Kim Seok-hyun. The acting was done so well that I actually believed a musical director like that exists. I just still don't get why the character was favoring Lee Kyu-won so much but maybe I missed it somewhere along the way and it's not a huge thing.
So Yi-hyun as Jung Yoon-soo. At first I didn't really like her as an actress in this drama to be honest but it got better and her acting seemed much better starting from some point. I don't know why but in the beginning I needed to get used to it I believe. After all I would say her acting was good.
Kim Yoon-hye as Han Hee-joo. As much as this type of character can annoy one, I have to admit her acting was good as well as her singing and her dancing (which was necessary for this role). Yes, some parts were a little bit overdone. I can imagine a girl with her background to behave like this though so it was nothing that bothered me much.
Kang Min-hyuk as Yeo Jun-hee. Such a cutie pie and a character that was written to be weird and a little too much to handle unless you're used to it. Personally I really enjoyed the acting and can't really say anything bad about it.
Lee Hyun-jin as Hyun Ki-young. I absolutely fell in love with his voice! I quite liked his acting and was happy whenever he appeared on screen so I can't say anything bad about his acting. Especially the beginning and the musical rehearsal/preview in front of the potential investors was great, the fear was shown well in my own opinion.
Other actors include Im Se-mi, Jang Seo-won, Lee Jung-heon and Im Do-yoon.

Soundtrack: I personally wish they would've used more songs. It felt like only 3 or 4 songs were always returning during the drama in so many different seems that a song could not support the atmosphere all the time. However, my favorite was and probably still is (after watching the drama) "그리워서... (Because I Miss You)" by Jung Yong-hwa. I absolutely love the band version and the song combined with Yong-hwa's voice.

In general, as a light romance drama between university students, this drama is enjoyable. The main things that bothered me that a huge amount of the characters seemed to be a parody of who/what they were supposed to be, especially Park Sa-rang and her two minions. Also, I really hopes Park Shin-hye finds a balance that seems more realistic one day. I know many people love her but I think this is one of her best dramas for me - and it still wasn't realistic.
What I really found terrible about this drama though is that it sometimes was difficult to focus on the characters, especially in the beginning, because it looked like it was filmed with a smartphone camera (from 2016 and not 2011 to be fair). I got used to it but there are dramas from 2008 to 2010 that look far more professional.
Recommended to fans of music, the lead actors and cute, funny love stories. You will enjoy this drama for sure.

Freitag, 23. Juni 2017

Athena: Goddess of War

아테나: 전쟁의 여신 (Athena: Goddess of War) is a South Korean drama series that aired on SBS from December 13th 2010 to February 21st 2011. The 20 episodes have an average duration of 1 hour and 2 minutes. The series is a spin off of the IRIS series that aired it's first season on 2009.

Story: While planning the reunification of the two Koreas, South Korea is developing a new technology referred to as TWR - a high speed nuclear reactor technology other countries and organisations are also interested in. To prevent terror the NTS (National Anti-Terror Service) is created by the South Korean government.
Lee Jung-woo transfers to the NTS. One day, he's ordered to go to Italy with Kim Ki-soo, a North Korean defector, to track down terrorists. At first they don't know the exact target but soon Jung-woo and Ki-soo figure out that Soo-young, the daughter of the current South Korean president who came to Italy to study architecture, is the target. When she is kidnapped, the South Korean government sends more NTS agents to negotiate but the American DIS, more specifically the East Asian branch, also gets involved in the case. In the aftermath NTS and DIS have to work together which is against the actual rules of the NTS.
Other mysteries occur and it becomes more and more likely that a huge conspiration is behind all of those incidents that involve Jung-woo and other NTS agents as well as Yoon Hye-in who joined the team not too long ago.
Summarizing this whole story is literally impossible. It has various layers from top to bottom regarding the NTS and the government, a love story (of course, what else) about forbidden love, later on a hint of one-sided love.. You have a lot of things in this drama. I personally didn't feel like it was strongly connected to IRIS (since the second season of IRIS wasn't around when Athena was aired I'm going to neglect that part) and you don't need to know IRIS to understand what is happening which is a huge plus (it has been almost 4 years since I watched the first and second season in a row and it's natural I don't remember everything). I personally think that the story is also less complicated because - compared to the parent story - I felt like Athena had a clear goal even though that might have been different from Son Hyuk's.
I quite enjoyed the story line, it was well written in my opinion. I would watch it again for sure.

Cast: Jung Woo-sung as Lee Jung-woo. As an actor, I can't really criticize him. As a character, he certainly did have his strong his points but was a creepy stalker sometime in the beginning and got me literally annoyed. But then again; writing. Jung Woo-sung is still a good actor for sure and this drama suited him well.
Cha Seung-won as Son Hyuk. I honestly love a good villain in its own way and and Cha Seung-won makes an awesome villain! It is a little bit too obvious that he's not the good guy. I really liked his acting though, I totally enjoyed watching him in this drama.
Soo Ae as Yoon Hye-in. The character is badass and I somehow really liked her. As for the acting, I felt like her facial expression was nearly the same so often that I don't really know what to think about Soo Ae as an actress. However, she still pulled off the emotional parts quite well, and the action scenes didn't show her face that much so I would say her acting was okay overall in this drama.
Lee Ji-ah as Han Jae-hee. Another badass female in this drama and I adored her character in some way. As an agent of NTS she for sure has to know how to fight and she does well in this role. As for the acting I really liked Lee Ji-ah as an actress in this drama. I kinda could imagine her to be a real person working for a government agency so she was probably one of my personal favorites in this drama as well.
Kim Min-jong as Kim Ki-soo. Ki-soo is one of the characters I didn't quite like at first but grew on me as the story proceeded and he got to proof why he had such a huge part in the drama. I would say the believable acting was a huge part of what made me like him not only because of sympathy but he was a strong character while Kim Min-jong is a good actor in this series.
Choi Si-won as Kim Joon-ho. Before anyone claims I'm biased - no, I'm not. I'm not a fan of Super Junior nor do I like Siwon. However, I think he was really good in this drama and totally deserves respect for his acting. While some of the scenes made him seem a little bit childish and insecure in my honest opinion this might have been intended (you know the reason when you watch this drama). So thumbs up!
Yoo Dong-geun as Kwon Yong-kwan. The director of the NTS actually shows his full strength at the end of this drama, and so does the actor. He definitely deserved his spot - the actor as well as the character - and I personally think the acting was well done as well. I don't really know what I should say about this but I tried.
This drama also includes two characters of the IRIS seasons: Kim So-yeon makes a cameo in the last few episodes (and I personally think it was more or less pointless to bring the character into this series as it was not really connected to the main plot of Athena) and Kim Seung-woo as Park Cheol-yong, one of the characters that still left a deep impression on me after IRIS and now after Athena as well.
Also, a bunch of idols makes cameos in this drama; Shim Chang-min of TVXQ is in the last episodes, BoA appears in one episode, Onew and Taemin of SHINee are there and Hoon of U-KISS. I wouldn't recommend watching it because of the cameos though as some of them are really short!
Other actors (in bigger roles than cameos) include Lee Jung-kil, Kim Young-ae, Lee Han-wi and Oh Yoon-ah.

Soundtrack: I usually love the soundtracks of actions series and this is not really an exception. The instrumentals fit the atmosphere so well that I really loved the soundtrack a lot. And let's not forget about the OST that includes lots of famous (and great) singers. My personal favorite is most likely 박효신 (Park Hyo-shin), a singer I love to death for his voice, and his song "널 사랑한다 (You Who I Love/I Love You)". The second song I really liked a lot would probably be TVXQ/DBSK's "아테나 (Athena)" for the awesome feeling that it has to it. I know that many people also loved Tae-yeon's song for this OST, "사랑해요 (I Love You)". So to summarize: This OST consists of great names with even greater voices.

I quite enjoyed this drama, maybe I liked it even more than the first season of IRIS but I know I shouldn't compare the dramas. Still, Athena is a spin-off that could totally stand on its own feet. IRIS tells some background story that was not necessarily necessary and the only clear connection is the government - and Kim So-yeon's cameo that still seemed a little bit forced to me as it didn't belong to the main story. I personally think that the idea of love connecting enemies is way more interesting than a love triangle between agents of the same agency and this drama balanced action, political and romance well enough for me to seriously like it and not skip any scenes.
Recommended to fans of action dramas that include romance and can handle a bit of creepy stalker behavior. Also, if you liked IRIS I think this is a must-watch.

Freitag, 16. Juni 2017

Discovery of Romance

연애의 발견 (Discovery of Romance) is a South Korean rom-com drama that was aired from August 18th to October 7th 2014 on KBS2. The 16 episodes have an average duration of 60 minutes.

Story: Han Yeo-reum is in love with her boyfriend of more than 1 year, Nam Ha-jin, who works as a plastic surgeon. However, as she catches her boyfriend going on a blind date arranged by his mom, she eventually meets her ex-boyfriend and owner of a construction company, Kang Tae-ha, and their phones get exchanged. The day after the meeting, Yeo-reum calls her phone while she is drunk and ends up spending the night at her ex-boyfriend's house. Of course she ends up getting caught and her best friend Yoon Sol as well as their roommate Do Joon-ho, who is a close friend of Ha-jin, try to help her out. But suddenly the small woodcraft company Sol and Yeo-reum own together has to work with Tae-ha's construction company so of course they run into each other quite often.
This story is something I personally haven't seen often in K-Dramas yet but I'm pretty sure I have a bunch of stories with the "second chance for the first love"-story line on my list of dramas I still intend to watch. Now was this drama refreshing? Yes and no. I did enjoy the interviews even though it was a little bit awkward at first. But the actual story is not the most unique nor exciting one I've ever seen. I would personally say that this drama is a light, quick watch (I finished it within two days but I'm currently on a drama marathon anyways).

Cast: Jung Yoo-mi as Han Yeo-reum. I was totally surprised to see her in this drama to be honest because she looks totally different on the posters. I still don't know how I should rate her as an actress for sure but her acting wasn't bad. The main problem was that she seemed to be sad or annoyed most of the time. Maybe that's a trait that the writer gave to the character though but it doesn't make it really easy to watch her in this drama.
Eric Moon as Kang Tae-ha. I don't know why but most of the time I found Tae-ha to be a very funny character that was portrayed well. I can't really say anything about Eric's acting that bothered me, he did a good job.
Sung Joon as Nam Ha-jin. I know I've actually watched quite a few dramas with Sung Joon, thank you very much to anyone who wanted to point that out. It's an accident he usually acts in dramas I want to watch sooner or later and I can guarantee that more of his dramas will be on this blog. I really think he is an amazing actor as I liked him in almost all roles I've seen him in so far and this one is no exception, I totally adored his character and his acting. I don't think I need to explain exactly what I mean.
Yoon Hyun-min as Do Joon-ho. I really enjoyed Yoon Hyun-min's acting. Do Joon-ho is a lovable idiot and sometimes his behavior made me facepalm but after all it's adorable even though he also has a serious side when he tries to protect the relationship between Yeo-reum and Ha-jin. The acting was good enough to make me believe almost every line so it's all good and I'm looking forward to seeing him in the future.
Kim Seul-gi as Yoon Sol. Kim Seul-gi also is definitely a good actress that can take over different roles but usually her characters seem to be a little bit grumpy and moody. Sol is no exception, she's picky and gets drunk often. The only thing that bothered me in the long run to be very honest was her voice, I don't know why. However, I think she also did a good job in this drama.
Yoon Jin-yi as An Ah-rim. She seems to be the nice girl living next door. The acting was fair enough but something just didn't work for me. I don't know what exactly it was but something literally bothered me about her acting in general. While she was still not bad I do believe it could've been better.
Other actors in this drama include Lee Seung-joon, Kim Hye-ok, Gu Won and Sung Byung-sook-

Soundtrack: I think the soundtrack, the artists and the titles were well chosen. I can't really point out a song that fit the drama more than the others but I do have to admit that "어린애처럼 (Like A Child)" by Shinhwa's Shin Hye-sung (신혜성) really hit me in that moment and had me sitting straight up. I absolutely love Hye-sung's voice so I had to put this here.

As I mentioned before this is a light watch in between, something romantic and fun but it does have some weaknesses mainly in the story. There are hardly any memorable scenes so I don't really know what I should do or say about this specifically. The story itself is not totally bad but I found my thoughts wandering off many times because it wasn't as catchy as other dramas can be. It is still not bad.
Recommended to those who like romantic comedy dramas that are not too long and who might be interested in the emotional struggle between past and current love.

Freitag, 9. Juni 2017


힐러 (Healer) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 20 episodes that were aired on KBS2 from December 8th 2014 to February 10th 2015.

Story: Seo Jung-hoo is a night errand boy under the name Healer and he's known as one of the best in his field. One day, while completing an assumingly easy mission, he gets into trouble. Shortly after that Go Sung-chul, the man who Healer got something from, is found dead - and the Healer framed to be the murderer. Trying to clear his name he starts looking for the actual murderer. Before that, however, he has a longer order to find a girl and get her DNA.
That's how he meets Chae Young-shin, the bright and cheerful daughter of a lawyer but she has one weakness - she can't see violence happening.
The person asking for Healer's help was Kim Moon-ho, a famous reporter and Young-shin's idol. To find out more about Young-shin, Jung-hoo starts working at Someday News next to Young-shin who is currently investigating a story that might involve the people who also framed Seo Jung-hoo for the murder.
I'm not sure if I was good when it comes to explaining this story but personally I thought it was very interesting even though everything was very close together. How the characters were connected as well as the different parts of the story - 1980's, 1992, and today - were well done. As complicated as my explanation might sound actually it is not that hard to understand when watching the drama. One thing I really enjoyed about the story and the way it was written was that it doesn't lose the action and/or excitement around episode 16 like many other dramas do that just clear up the whole stuff. Even in the last episodes were some things I didn't expect and it was a great finale for a good series. The love story was for sure in the center of this drama but it still wasn't overdone and not too cheesy even though in a few episodes I personally got bored. The lead actors' chemistry made it better though.

Cast: Ji Chang-wook as Seo Jung-hoo. I somehow liked his character but also disliked some parts. He's a good actor, no doubt, I willingly admit that! Now the change in his character irritated me a little bit though. From a logical thinker trying to survive in this world to someone who's incredibly driven by emotions. I see where the writer was coming from but throwing rational thinking out of the window didn't really seem to fit the character we are introduced to in the beginning of the story. I believed the actor but something about that just seemed off.
Park Min-young as Chae Young-shin. As an actress, she seemed perfect for this role, and I mean it. But her character sometimes was difficult to me for understand. While there were always a lot of people around her father's house that taught her things she didn't use those normally. Now as she can't see violence it makes sense but despite of the ability to fight back verbally it makes her seem like the kind of helpless female again and I totally didn't expect a character like hers to be like this. It just seems strange and made me wonder why they didn't turn her into the weak female right away like Korea usually does.
Yoo Ji-tae as Kim Moon-ho. The rebellious journalist was just brilliant and by far my highlight in this drama! I loved Yoo Ji-tae's acting and believed every single line he said. Why he tried to keep something from Young-shin, the relationship between Moon-ho and his brother, the interactions with the colleagues - I know why he was in this drama and I just loved it, I don't know what else I can say.
Park Sang-won as Kim Moon-shik. Do you know the feeling when you see an actor all nice in a drama and you just can't buy it? Yes, that was me with Park Sang-won so in the end I wasn't really surprised about his character actually being one of the antagonists and quite manipulative. As much as I hated his character, the acting was totally awesome!
Kim Mi-kyung as Jo Min-ja. I've actually seen Kim Mi-kyung in smaller roles in countless dramas before and she's in a bunch of dramas I'm still planning to watch as well. In this drama I really liked her in the ridiculousness of her character that sometimes lightened up the mood by some funny comments or her singing. She somehow fit in here but I would've loved to know a little bit more about her history.
Do Ji-won as Choi Myung-hee. I quite enjoyed her in this drama even though I got quite confused trying to calculate the age of the characters because she doesn't look much older than Yoo Ji-tae but much younger than Park Sang-won in my honest opinion. She's still a gorgeous woman though and a good actress. Her acting felt real and I really enjoyed her in this drama.
Other actors in this drama include Park Won-sang, Park Sang-myeon, Oh Gwang-rok and Woo Hee-jin.

Soundtrack: This actually is one of the best experiences for me with this drama. The instrumentals really do a great job highlighting the atmosphere. I can't point out a specific piece as I don't know what they are called (I will find out about that though because it is really great). As for the songs by bands/singers, it is surprising at first to find Michael Learns to Rock on the OST. A danish band and a Korean drama? That's a rare combination but since I first listened to it I absolutely adored "Eternal Love" so it's not surprise I caught myself singing along way too often. The other song I really liked for some reason was Ben's "You" even though it does have a typical K-Drama-OST feeling to it.

I know I usually claim to have issues with very popular dramas and I still think that it is a problem for me but just like Healer there are exceptions. To me, this drama is not one of the best I've ever seen but I still enjoyed it a lot. The main weakness, to me, was the lack of differentiation between love and passion when it comes to the character of the Healer. And I think some characters just disappeared within the last 5 minutes. I don't think we were told what happens to Choi Myung-hee and Kim Moon-shik? I guess he gets punished and they got divorced but it's nothing the viewer knows for sure. Now I finished this drama last night and I still have those things on my mind; and the question whether I missed that part or whether it wasn't there in the first place.
Anyway, it is a solid drama with a mix of action and romance and if you like this mix I'm almost sure you will like Healer.

A small treat for the Ji Chang-wook fangirls at the end.

Freitag, 2. Juni 2017

Kill Me, Heal Me

Yay for my 75th K-Drama!

킬미, 힐미 (Kill Me, Heal Me) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 20 episodes with a duration of one hour each that aired on MBC from January 7th to March 12th 2015.

Story: Cha Do-hyun suffered through a horrible incident in his childhood. He happened to lose all of his memories from when he was seven and eight years old due to the trauma - and created different personalities; Shin Se-gi, Perry Park, Ahn Yo-sub, Ahn Yo-na and Nana, all of them very different in nature. He went to America when he was 17 years old but was suddenly forced to come back after 11 years abroad.
Soon he meets Oh Ri-jin, a young psychiatrist. To not endanger his former psychiatrist, Do-hyun hires Ri-jin as his personal doctor who has to stay with him 24/7. As his memories start to return bit by bit Do-hyun understands how closely entangled his and Ri-jin's fate is while Ri-jin is busy hiding the fact that she is Do-hyun's personal doctor from her family.
Back in 2015 it was obviously DID season with two dramas airing the first episode within two weeks. However easy it might seem to compare the two, when I first started watching Kill Me, Heal Me it was a mess - the first 4 or 5 episodes are a total mess, poorly written, not because of the DID topic but just how extreme everything is. Luckily that got a little better later on. The storyline with DID seemed to be new to Korean viewers at the time, mixed with many totally different personalities and a lot of comedy it does have a certain charm. Some parts of the story were very well done, for example the background story explaining why different personalities were around. However, many of the light-hearted and funny scenes seemed forced to me, and I think especially Oh Ri-jin as a character was poorly written in the beginning. Towards the end I started to enjoy this drama more but it still wasn't the most exciting story I've ever seen.

Cast: Ji Sung as Cha Do-hyun. I did like his acting in the main personality, Do-hyun. As Se-gi, he was okay (that eyeliner looks terrible on him though). Nana was pretty much okay, too, but you don't see him often in that personality. After all I think especially Yo-na and Perry Park were incredibly overacted and I sometimes couldn't even laugh about it. Yo-sub seemed pretty much fine to me as well. So many personalities definitely were a challenge and some were great - others not so much but I see that maybe even the best actor might struggle with 7 totally different personalities in one drama so I would say he did well even though it was not perfect.
Hwang Jung-eum as Oh Ri-jin. Oh boy, I hated her in this role. I can't stand her voice when she's yelling and that happens a lot during the first few episodes so I watched it on mute. As for the rest of the drama, sometimes her acting was overdone as well, sometimes not so much. I mainly think that the way she had to behave according to the writing is responsible for the ridiculousness in some parts. In the end she delivered a solid performance even though I didn't quite like her.
Park Seo-joon as Oh Ri-on. First, I love the name Orion (it's pronounced like that), such a beautiful name! As a writer his character sometimes has is times of ridiculousness I think but it was still pretty much alright. I enjoyed his acting even though sometimes I wished he would behave differently or say things more clearly but of course you can't show all of the secrets right away so he had to keep quiet. I somehow liked him in the beginning and at the end but not so much in between though and I can't really explain why.
Kim Yoo-ri as Han Chae-yeon. You know, in the beginning I was happy this was a drama with a second female lead that was not manipulative, not jealous and not as bitchy as one could've expected according to other dramas. I was wrong and it annoyed the hell out of me. While I think she's not a bad actress I wonder why most of the characters I saw her play seemed the same. Maybe it's just the fact that she has a pretty face that fits those roles. She's not outstanding in this role though but it's not bad either.
Oh Min-suk as Cha Ki-joon. While in the beginning he seems to be the villain he's actually not that bad. I totally believed his acting even though I didn't quite like the way his character was written. I can totally see him as the son of a chaebol trying to protect his position and therefore searching for a way to destroy his opponents. I would probably say that he was the mose realistic actor in this drama.
Kim Young-ae as Seo Tae-im. When you watch the drama you will know what I mean when I say she is also one of those very typical K-Drama characters. I really enjoyed her acting, too, so nothing negative to say about the actress but I wish sometimes those chaebol characters would act a little bit more human and less money-oriented than they do.
Other actors in this drama include Shim Hye-jin, Ko Chang-seok, Choi Won-young, Kim Hee-jung and Park Jun-gyu.

Soundtrack: I sincerely LOVE 장재인(Jang Jae In)'s "환청 (Auditory Hallucination)" with rapper 나쑈 (NaShow). It is a really great song one can listen to a lot even though you might not be very interested in the drama so I sincerely recommend it. Another great song is "Healing Love" by Luna (f(x)) and Choi (Lu:Kus). I really recommend listening to these songs if you didn't know them until now.

I know I might not have said that much about my personal opinion on this drama but as you can see I didn't like it that much and I don't get why it has such high ratings. While it is not really a bad or uninteresting story at least the first 5 episodes almost had me dropping this drama because I hated every single thing about those episodes, except for the actors and the music. Well, I couldn't stand Hwang Jung-eum to be fair but mainly because of her voice. I still continued watching the drama though because I never drop a drama - I finish what I start no matter how much I hate it. And to be very fair, the story got better and better towards the end. But until you get there you might hate a lot of things. So if you really are a fan of the actors or want something that is mainly funny because it is ridiculous you might go through the episodes without problems.
I know my opinion is an unpopular opinion. Maybe it's because I prefer more mature dramas and at first I found so many childish points that show which audience this drama was supposed to appeal to that I was freaking out. But if you really enjoy love stories that are usually popular among most people you might like this. If you read more than one entry you might have figured out that usually the very popular, hyped dramas are totally not for me.