Archive for Asian Dramas

You’re Both Beautiful and Amazing

It’s been a while since I posted anything. I don’t want to lie and say that I didn’t have any time, because let’s face it, time is something I can definitely be sparing, but I just didn’t do anything worth writing about. (I mean book/drama/movie/manga wise, of course) But lately I’ve been back to life, and I finished watching the drama You’re Beautiful.

For those of you who are living an the moon, this drama aired last year in Korea. It’s plot is very original (!), for a Korean drama at least: a girl, Go Mi Nyu, who is about to become a nun, disguises herself as her twin brother, Go Mi Nam, to join a band, called A.N.Jell: consisting of Jeremy, a semi-stupid, fun guy; Shin Woo, a gentle, composed guy; and Tae Kyung, the arrogant, sexy main guy. They live together in this amazing house where Go Mi Nyu causes all kinds of trouble, especially to Tae Kyung. Things get even more complicated when the idol Yoo He Yi, who has a thing for Tae Kyung, learns about this secret and uses it to her advantage. On the sideline, the reason Go Mi Nam wanted to become an idol in the first place was to find their mother, who had left them when they were a baby. Since Korea is small, could it be that Tae Kyung’s mother had something to do with it?!

I really like this drama. The soundtrack is amazing, and I really wanted to attend an A.N.Jell concert. Jan Geun Suk, who plays Tae Kyung, at the beginning, is annoying as hell, but gets milder by the minute, and by the end you don’t even notice how mediocre and actor he is. Right now, the fact that he’s got full make up on doesn’t bother me at all, and I’ve become a fan. Park Shin Hye, who plays Go Mi Nyu, is also good, but Korean actresses usually are. Jun Yong Hwa, who plays Shin Woo, can also be awkward at times, but I’ll cut him some slack since Shin Woo goes through some really difficult times and it’s his first role. I have nothing to say about Lee Hong Ki, who plays Jeremy, since I don’t want to get started on his blond hair.

Another point I want to mention is the hugging scenes. This is actually fairly common in Korean dramas. I was watching Boys Over Flowers the other day and I noticed the same thing. When a boy hugs a girl, he basically pushes her into himself like.. I don’t know what. I haven’t been hugged by many boys, but I’m fairly sure if someone did that to me, I would be pretty mad. And don’t even get me started on the kissing scenes. I am fairly certain that there’s a reason they lack the actual kissing and only involve touching the lips by slanting your head. Oh well. That’s Asian dramas for you.

I don’t like when dramas put ultra silly stuff in, or emphasize how poor the family is etc. This one played on some dangerous ground with Manager Ma and Coordinator Wang and their conversations, but for some reason that didn’t bother me. They were quite fun and cute. Even the stupid aunt didn’t bother me. I think I’m getting more good natured:) Also the thing with Go Mi Nyu’s father and Tae Kyung’s mother doesn’t drag on for 200 episodes, and gets resolved fairly soon, without boring us to death, which is a real plus.

My favorite scene is when Tae Kyung is chased by a pig in the rural village they go to. It’s so funny I laughed out loud. He’s listening to music from his nice MP3 player and dancing to himself in the fields and he sees some old dude waving his arms at him. He thinks: “Wow, is it because this is a rural place that people greet people they don’t know?” and he waves back. But actually a pig is nearby and that guy is telling him to run. His expression is priceless as he runs away. I think it’s the best piece of acting he does, maybe with the exception of his crying. I mean, I’m not saying he deserves an Oscar for acting but that guy sure can cry. After he runs away from the pig, he gets lost and then Go Mi Nyu finds him and goes: “It’s okay, they took the pig home.” Hillarious. I just had to mention that.

In a nutshell, I cannot recommend this drama enough! You should just ignore the fact that you can tell what will happen in the next scene and go along with the nice soundtrack and good natured conversation.

Update: I was just on my way to the airport, listening to You’re Beautiful Soundtrack, and I realized that I haven’t commented on Tae Kyung’s wardrobe. I haven’t been this impressed since Matsumoto Jun’s in Hana Yori Dango. Actually, Domyoji and Tae Kyung are very similar characters, which is called tsundere. It basically means a mean character who changes when he falls in love. Just like Domyoji and Tae Kyung. It’s actually pretty common in the Asian pop culture, but maybe I’ll talk about it later. But now, I just want to say Tae Kyung’s wardrobe is.. well, I wish I had a picture of all the clothes he takes, so I could frame them and hang them in my room. I am no fashion wonder, though I do tend to look okay at times, but come on. You may be a teen idol, but sometimes you shouldn’t wear things that show your chest. Or shirts that make you look even more girly. Or fur. I do believe Domyoji was worse with his white fur jacket, but Tae Kyung comes a very close second. I’ve ignored his nice eye make up through the drama, but some of the outfits are too hard to pretend not to notice. Also his hair is another story. Each time he was on the screen, my mother (for some reason was watching it) went: “Oh, that dude’s got a blow dry.” I don’t know why he insisted on having half of his hair in front of his eye, but he was really successful in keeping it that way. Sometimes he puts it in a nice bun. If my spouse put his hair in anything resembling a bun, that would be cause for divorce but I don’t know how things work on that side of the world. After a while, I really started to think that it works for him.


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Addiction Over Flowers

Turkish TV series don’t do it for me. Although there are exceptions, they are usually too corny, and I almost never enjoy them. I also do not enjoy old Turkish movies, where the cliched plots are so anchored that for a while you believe them to be true. 

hana yori dango

When I started watching Hana Yori Dango, I didn’t yet know that almost all these cliches were present in this piece of classic jdrama. It has everything. Rich boy-poor girl. Mean boyfriends. Rape drugs. Bullying. It’s been a while since I watched it, but I’m pretty sure I can name a bad Turkish movie or TV series for each episode of it. 

I started watching HYD when I was studying for my finals. Some warned me that it might be addictive, but I didn’t pay attention. The beginning was a bit harsh, with very, very intense bullying and Jun Matsumoto’s very, very bad clothes. The bullying was so bad that I just didn’t understand who the main pairing would be. And I am ashamed to say that I was actually surprised. For those of you who are not familiar with F4, which, cheesily, stands for Flower 4 (Hana Yori Dango means Boys for Flowers… go figure), they are “the richest” and “the most handsome” boys in this particular elite school, whose students do not think it’s weird to fly to Las Vegas to purchase a particular Louis Vuitton bag (especially since LA is closer. haha). They serve “the red slip” to those who they will bully, and for the first time they serve it to our very innocent heroine, Makino, because she stands up for her friend when one of the boys bump into her lunch tray. Like I said, the bullying is intense, includes rape and other creative and corny ways. There is even a scene where the F4 leader, Domyoji, orders Makino to lick his shoe (but you have to see the shoe to understand that I am not kidding about the his clothes. it is outrageous. in one scene, he actually wore fur).matsumoto jun

There are other disturbing things about HYD other than the bullying. For example, Makino’s family is so poor that they can’t stop talking about it. It is so annoying, and sometimes I felt like I could just kill her little brother. Domyoji, who’s supposed to be the lead, looks so much like a Turkish singer (who’s a woman but used to be a man) that my mother couldn’t stop pointing it out. For the first few episodes, he’s so unloveable that one cannot believe that he can turn good later on. I later found out that he’s called Matsumoto Jun, and is actually a very famous singer in the band Arashi, and he’s supposed to be an eye candy. I kind of like the way he looks now, and he became very, very famous later on.Makino, on the other hand, is strong as a bull and as annoying. She keeps talking back when she shouldn’t, and goes demure when she should be angry. She has weird principles that she has trouble abiding. I guess the actress, Inoue Mao, also became famous but I don’t care about girls.

F4’s “mysterious member” Hanazawa Rui is played by Oguri Shun, who’s also very famous. That character appeals to the masses in the beginning, but later his stupidity got to me. I mean, if you are not a bad boy, why are you part of F4? At least Domyoji is honest with himself. Makino pointed this out once, and said something like “Aren’t you a man?”. I agree with her on this once.manga

Because they didn’t think my finals were that important, they actually shot a second season of HYD silliness. In Hana Yori Dango Returns, more stuff happens even though F4 has graduated from high school. More cliche stuff, like evil CEOs and the like come into play, and there is actually a part with actual memory loss. I mean, one cannot go more cheesy than that. And since this wasn’t enough, they actually sot a movie, and millions of Japanese people went to see it. Geez.

You might be asking this to me by now: “if you hated this, why did you watch it?”, which is a simple enough question, but I don’t know the answer. I guess it beat studying, or it really is addictive. I didn’t even fast forward until the very last episode, when things got too stupid that I had to see the very end. Also I watched the whole series to see if it would get any more cheesy, and you know what? It did, until the very end.

Now, for the facts. HYD is the creation of the mangaka Kamio Youko, who actually created a manga out of this first. I just can’t imagine the amount of money she earned. There’s also the anime, of course, that comes before the drama. And not only one anime, but also an anime/movie which actually takes place in an alternate reality. Also, before HYD came Meteor Garden and Meteor Garden II, which is the Chinese version. I only watched the very beginning, because even I sometimes have to think of other things to do, and it looks like it’s more in line with the manga (yes, I read some of the manga, too). And last year there was Boys Before Flowers, which is the, yes, Korean version of our beloved classic.korean: boys before flowers

So if you like the story, you should be glad to find 1001 ways in which you can enjoy it. Joy. Check this out if you want more info.

chinese: Meteor Garden

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A Cup of Prince

I am very proud to say that I have never, ever, pressed print screen while watching a drama. At least not before I watched this. During the many hours during which  I watched The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, I print screened many, many prince

In a nutshell, this is a Korean gender-bender drama. There’s this guy called Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo), who is a rich guy in his late 20s. He returns to Korea after his family demands him, and they force him on a bunch of blind dates. However, he doesn’t want anything to do with that, so he employs Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) as his “gay lover”. However, even though Han Kyul thinks he is a boy, Eun Chan is actually a girl. And as I have mentioned in a previous post, it is difficult to tell whether it’s a boy or a girl in dramas. Anyways. After he fails to make a match, his family tell him to open a coffee shop and double (or tripe, I’m not sure) the invested amount in three months, if he wants to return to New York. So he opens Coffee Prince, and Eun Chan helps him. After a while, Han Kyul finds himself deeply attracted to Eun Chan, and he falls into deep depression, because he just can’t believe he’s turned gay.the princes

Of course, there are other problems, for example Choi Han Sung (Lee Sun Gyun), whom Eun Chan likes, and his girlfriend, Han Yoo Joo (Chae Jung Ahn), whom Han Kyul has been in love for the last decade. There are also the coffee shop workers, “the princes”. Hong Gae Sik (Kim Chang Wan), who is disgusting beyond words, who’s a barista. There’s Jin Ha Rim (Kim Dong Wook), who’s a player but will taste his own medicine as the series wears on.Hwang Min Yeop (Lee Un) is in love with Eun Chan’s sister, and has various problems with her. Lastly, No Sun Ki (Kim Jae Wook), who is half-Japanese and followed the woman he loves to Korea. 

I love this drama. I love the fact that it doesn’t get 200 episodes for them to realize that they are in love, like it was in Full House. The characters, at one point, do nothing but cry, cry, cry, but it doesn’t get tiring. The ending is a teeny bit abrupt, and the bits about Eun Chan’s family are a bit boring, but other than that, it’s really, really good. Han Kyul and Eun Chan has great chemistry, though I can’t for the life of me understand why he would fall in love with a boy. But he does, and it’s so, so, sweet. The whole bit between Han Sung and Yoo Joo get a bit tirin after a while, but they are a different story. That part is really, really similar to Full House. If you watched that, you’ll almost know what I’m talking about.the cast

Just like in other k-dramas, food is an essential part of this drama. The characters do nothing but eat, especially Eun Chan eats enough for 5. But Han Kyul is not disgusted at all. I am, and probably every other person who’s watching it is, but he’s not. I’d recommend not watching this if you are hungry. 

I wish, for all of us, a Han Kyul. Watch it, and you’ll understand what I mean. Click here and here for treats^^

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Shuffled Affection

Since I am a semi-otaku, it’s only natural that I also watch Asian dramas. I watch all kinds, J-dramas, K-dramas, C-dramas, and even TW-dramas. I download without prejudice and neatly burn them into nice little dvds and title them with care. Then I abandon them. Because I can barely watch dramas in Turkey, since my attention spam is just too short. I can only watch for 20 to 40 minutes, like American sit-com stuff. However, I recently watched this J-drama called Love Shuffle. I downloaded the episodes as they came out, and watched them all excited.

The drama starts with four strangers getting stuck in an elevator in one of those big residences in the center of Tokyo. They are actually neighbors. Three are men, a shrink, a photographer and a salaryman. And the lady is a translator. They talk about their lives, and it soon becomes clear that the main character is the salaryman who just got dumped by his girlfriend, who happens to be his boss. 

Love Shuffle

The next day the shrink comes up with this idea: each should bring a guy/girl, and they should shuffle girlfriends/boyfriends each week, until they are satisfied. Of course, since this is a drama with no morals, they agree, though the salaryman dude is actually reluctant. But his ex-fiancee thinks they should do it. 

It is actually quite funny, in a quirky Japanese way. The salaryman guy is called Tamaki Hiroshi, who is really a laugh. His character develops quite nicely until the end, so do the others. It is not a “oh-my-god-i-can’t-believe-it” ending, but it’s not THAT predictable. It’s quite well shot, and there are some serious issues, like suicide, marriage, politics etc. The real weak link, in my humble opinion, is DAIGO, who I think is some famous singer, who can’t really act, but his character is just adorable.

Once you get used to the pronunciation of “love” as “lobu”, I’m sure you’ll love it also:)

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