Friday, August 31, 2012

Arang vs. Faith

I love, love Faith. It's the most engaging drama I've seen in a while, with that rare quality where I like both the hero and heroine plus the actors playing them. People are smartly but wryly written to where you know the show isn't taking itself too seriously but still manages to carry a hefty plot and rich array of characters.

Sadly, I can't say the same for Arang. This show, while having a similar fantasy element and ironically with Jun Ki of almost-Faith status helming it, just isn't doing anything for me. It's very obviously trying to be original and cool and funny, to the point where the humor, action, and "creepy story" are straining at the seams. I also don't have much affinity for Shin Mina or Jun Ki, and could care less to see them together.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

City Hunter

I did a quick review of City Hunter during my end of year post, but wanted to take a deeper dive into the show now that Lee Min Ho is back in a new drama. I took the time to rewatch much of CH recently, and found myself surprisingly engaged, at least for the first half. While I condescended about the parental flashback portion in episode 1 previously, this time I forced myself to buckle down and watch it without the fast forward. And surprisingly, I enjoyed it and have a far greater appreciation for Jin Pyo’s character as a result.

My Favorite Drama OST Tracks - Taiwan / China

And now for part 2 of the Drama OST series, Taiwan / China. See my previous post on Part 1, Korea. Taiwan drama tracks are more deeply rooted in my heart, perhaps because I started my drama watching experiences here, and can actually understand what they're saying. Thus, you'll see the span of these reach further back in time than with Korea.

It's also the one country whose OSTs I often like even without watching the show. A lot of these are actually from dramas I either didn't like or stopped midway through, but the music is good enough to where I want to keep listening and watching.

Rich Man, Poor Woman: Episodes 1-7

An easy-to-watch, zippy piece, but unfortunately one lacking in much substance or grip. I remember the days when I was in love with Oguri Shun - but this drama doesn't quite do it in terms of adequately calling back on his charm and screen adorableness. Maybe J-dramas in general have lost some of that charm, as it's been almost years since one managed to catch my attention.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Answer Me 1997: Episodes 1-6

To put it straight - I'm not a fan. I think this is a show that tries too hard to be funny and meaningful and mysterious, resulting in obvious strains to character dialog, plot, and behavior. Things come across manufactured rather than heart-warming, and I could care less about any of the pairings (even the boy-boy one, which I'd normally be all over). The reason? The final couples are all ridiculously predictable.

Friday, August 17, 2012

To the Beautiful You: Episodes 1-2 Thoughts

Damn, I really shouldn’t have started another currently airing drama. But whadya know, against all expectations, I really like To the Beautiful You. Episode 1 was meh, but episode 2 cinched the deal, which, coincidentally or not, follows the same pattern as BOF. Despite hating the PD for churning out such a messy version in his previous manga adaptation, after watching this, I have to hand it to him for knowing how to create an addicting rom-com. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Faith: Episodes 1-2 Thoughts

I think my instincts on potential drama loves are getting more accurate with time. I was intrigued by this show the moment I heard of it, and even more once the teasers started coming out. And sure enough, so far I LOVE it. It's so ridiculously wacky, but also contains the potential for some serious depth. The characters are also surprisingly likeable despite their exaggerated antics, owed largely to the streak of heart and commitment I see in them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Haeundae Lovers: Episodes 1-2 Thoughts

I predict that Haeundae Lovers will be cute and enjoyable but not addicting (at least for myself). It's pretty obvious the show is going to rely heavily on the sexiness of its leads and oddball humor to appeal to those in the mood for a summer fling of a drama.

I like the premise, and I'm intrigued by the slippery set-up of having our lead man be already married by the time he starts interacting with our official heroine. Divorce is no small issue in Korea, and I'm curious how the conflict will be resolved. Despite this, after seeing episodes 1-2, the premise is so predictable and shallow that I'm having trouble connecting with it on anything aside from a purely visual level. Gangsters, fish, and amnesia? All pretty much standard fare in kdramas, and with an expected dose of wacky humor.

My Favorite Drama OST Tracks - Korea

Aside from good acting and plot, we all know that music can make or break a show. Unappealing tracks can destroy an otherwise decent drama, while lovely, mood-appropriate pieces can make even the most dull of scenes fun or heartbreaking.

I realized while compiling this that I've watched a scary number of dramas :). Originally I had all of my drama favorites in here, but as it turned out far longer than expected, I'm splitting into separate posts by country, starting with Korea. Unlike with Taiwan/Japan, Korea has differed in that while I've adored many of their oldie dramas, I've only more recently started getting into the music.

This is a fairly exhaustive list of drama songs that I loved both while watching and long afterwards. Ranking is roughly in order of how much I like the songs (although I love all of them). Unfortunately blogger doesn't allow embedded music yet, so I've put up the youtube vids, plus some download links where applicable.

Have fun looking through! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Introduction to Architecture

Intro to Architecture is really two movies in one - the first following the reunion and budding relationship between the adults, played by Han Ga-In and Uhm Tae Woong, and the second of their personas 15 years ago, played by Suzy and Lee Je Hoon. Both are bittersweet tales, and play out in the typical snail-paced, minimal dialogue way that most Asian movies do. As you might expect, there are plenty of misunderstandings paving the way towards the 15 year separation, along with the natural barriers to their reunion in the modern day. I loved how gorgeous the film looks, with not only its lovely cast but also the broad sweeping angles over an ocean landscape and the almost rustic portrayal of the nineties. I was not, however, much impressed with the plot, which is strained at best and boring at worst.