Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Answer Me 1994: Speculations on the Ending

I'm sure I'm not the only one annoyed to death by the groom mystery, but at least the silver lining is Chilbongie finally returned to star in the past couple of episodes of 1994. Despite that, I have no delusions that they're going to let him win out at the end - after all, Korean drama writers are slaves to Korean popular sentiment, and for reasons I'll never comprehend, Trash somehow gained a following there. How does one watch the sibling-type, boring as dirt "romance" and somehow prefer that to the sweet, heart-achy alternative?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Miss Korea: Initial Impressions

I'm liking Miss Korea so far, but will say it feels significantly slower than its popular competitor You From Another Star. I'm not yet invested in either of the lead characters, but I've enjoyed watching their interactions and find them likable both individually and together. I'm also liking all the side characters, who bring interesting color through their own quirks and eccentricities. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Year-End Reflections: Worst to Best Heroines of 2013

Instead of the usual year-end drama review set, I thought I'd start things off with a look-back on all the heroines we encountered this year. Overall, this was a bad year for them. We got lots of pretentious, self-absorbed girls, a couple outright idiots, and several purposeless flower vases. I'm admittedly a harsh critic of female leads, because they really do need to thread a fine balance between relatable, smart, and interesting for me to actually feel invested enough to care (normally I just watch for the guys, cause who are we kidding).

Once in a long span, there comes a lady who makes me care enough to watch for her own right. My top two to date are Ma Hye Ri (Prosecutor Princess) and Cha Bong Sun (Me Too, Flower), and I am happy to say there were a couple good ones this year. But most of the time though, we get ones like those in the "Worst" and "Indifferent" lists below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nine: Series Review

Truthfully, Nine left a poor taste in my mouth after the first episode, which was waddling and lacking of any hook. But I went back to give it a second chance, and in retrospect it was one of the best dramas of the year. It was the rare show that really pushed the bounds of episodic, visual storytelling, and left me entirely convinced of the quality behind this writer-director team. While the show took a while to situate itself, once it got going it was hard to look away. This is the kind of story that stays with you long after watching, and leaves you both puzzled and heart-wrenched in the best way.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Drama Updates: Prime Minster and I, Let's Eat, Answer Me 1994, Pretty Man

I've been steadily checking out the new dramas, and while I haven't formed any defining judgments yet, thought I'd weigh in on the most recent run of episodes:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Answer Me 1994: Episodes 12-13 Thoughts

From the position of someone squarely on Chilbongie's side, episodes 12-13 were pretty painful. I've resigned myself to the fact that these writers and I will never see eye to eye on the romance front. In 1997 I was on the tiny ship for Shi Won and Yoon Jae's brother, and of course in 1994 I again boarded the second-lead love train. However, at least for 1997 I could understand the fan adoration for Yoon Jae, even if I found his romance with her unoriginal and boring. By contrast, I don't get the fan love for Oppa at all. Yes, he was cute back in episodes 2-3 before Chilbongie showed up, but how does one watch all the sweetness of Chilbongie and all the idiocy of Oppa and still somehow support the latter? I can't understand it, and because of that the Na Jung-Oppa scenes leave me fuming rather than resigned.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Answer Me 1994: Episodes 10-11 Thoughts

I'm really not happy with the direction the story started going with Oppa. Yes, I figured he'd have a romantic comeback, but at this stage in the game his "loveline" is starting to feel like an undying pest rather than a compelling story. You can't have Chilbongie do things like ride 12 hours to meet with a girl for one hour, then expect us to greet this long-absent and frustratingly dense Oppa with open arms. Even worse is how mopey and pathetic Na Jung becomes in any scene featuring Oppa. She's at her best, both in terms of her true personality and character strength, when she's with Chilbongie, just as she's at her worst with Oppa. The former, not the latter, is what equates to true love in my book.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Secret: Series Review

What started as a "I'll check out a few episodes" show turned into one of the most addicting and qualitatively sound dramas I've watched in months. Thank goodness I waited until the whole thing had aired before starting, because Secret is definitely one of those that just makes you die for the next episode. I highly recommend it, but warn that it's a bit on the makjang side. However, I can assure you that the ending is completely satisfactory, and left me quite happy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Answer Me 1994: Episode 9

The image above is a giant heart, in case anyone tried but failed to see (try relaxing your eyes, peering up close, then slowly backing away). If you're like me, you may have been left a little cross-eyed after staring at it so long, though it was totally worth it for the squeal effect. How very like Chilbongie to try another (too) subtle prod at letting Na Jung in on his feelings.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Answer Me 1994: Episodes 1-8 Thoughts

I wasn't a fan of 1997, but despite the similarities, 1994 works for me. The single biggest reason is the main romance - I love Chilbongie, and want to see him slowly win the girl (which he better). Another reason is I like all the supporting characters here better. They feel more fleshed out and less like the shallow caricatures of the original. I'm also surprised to say this, but I actually like the secondary pairing here of Yoon Jin with old-faced guy (whereas the secondary couple in 97 grated on me). So far things are going nicely, and I'm just dying to figure out the final couple, partly out of dread that she picked Oppa but mainly out of hope that she grows a brain and picks Chilbongie.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Heirs: Episodes 4-6 Thoughts on the Irritating Eun Sang

Episodes 4-6 took a nosedive for me in terms of characterizations and increased frustration levels. This show is so hair-pulling at this point, and if it weren't Lee Min Ho at the helm I'd have dropped it. My biggest frustration is, as expected, with the heroine, who's gone from slightly emo and self-absorbed (with the most ridiculously self-indulgent Facebook posts) to monstrously pathetic and grovelly. I can't for the life of me get behind her nor understand what the hero sees in her. Let's face it, if she were a real girl there's no way in hell some perfect rich guy would take all her bullshit. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mi Rae's Choice: Episodes 1-4 Thoughts

This is my favorite airing drama and such a low-key thrill to watch. Yoon Eun Hye is vibrant, even if I want to completely substitute out her wardrobe and hair (though she does manage to pull it off). I'm also loving her ahjumma counterpart, who's hilarious and classy. And perhaps most importantly, I love both the leading men. I'd honestly be happy with either one, which is a first. It's more impressive given the fact that I've never liked either of the guys in their past, second-lead roles. Perhaps that's the magic of Yoon Eun Hye, who manages to build a natural chemistry with everyone she works with.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Heirs: Episodes 1-3 Thoughts

I'm only through the first three episodes of Heirs, but at this point feel like there's enough to weigh in my early thoughts on the drama. Overall, it's better than I expected, but there are flaws that occasionally peep through. It's better in that the plot plays out with surprising realism. Even though there's lots of ham-handed manipulation to get the heroine out to CA, there's a groundedness to her relationship with her mom and her sister. The Engrish is horrifying, especially in episode 1, but thankfully it slowly falls into the background. And Lee Min Ho's Kim Tan just drives the show with his mix of melancholy and girl-infatuation.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

7 Seeds: Manga Review

This manga is the bomb. It's mysterious, slightly terrifying and just romantic enough to keep the ships going without slowing down the story. I'm not normally a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, but 7 Seeds does it with such believable depth and heart that you can't help but get swept into the story and its very distinctive characters. Despite the sheer number of plot lines and the immense cast, the manga never falters in its tale; each arc is interesting and distinctive, and I never once feel the urge to fast forward through it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Actresses I Find Overrated

Since I went through all the actors I'm not a fan of, I thought I'd be gender-neutral and take a turn at the actresses that leave me cold. Admittedly, I'm much more picky about leading ladies than I am with leading men, because it really takes a special blend of acting talent and charm to win me over but not alienate me, as well as to be pretty but not obnoxiously so (nor overly frumpy - no thanks to many haircuts). Also, who else agrees that 99% of dramas fail due to an annoying heroine? I'll do a separate post on the actresses I love, but this one's all about the ones I view as chronically overrated.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Master's Sun: Episode 12's Many Failures

I'd been slowly enjoying this show after my complaints post-episode 5, but it shouldn't be a surprise that the writing has again cycled down into utter crap. What makes it worse is that the quality directing seems to be falling down with it. I wanted to believe there was a perfect PD out there, but the last two episodes have revealed the multitude of weaknesses present. Episodes 9-10 were perfection, just as episode 12 was absolute crap.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Her Legend: Episodes 5-6 Turnaround

If you read my previous HL review, you would have seen I was about frothing at the levels of ridiculous makjang in the first four episodes and a mere hair away from dropping. But the adult cast had just started up, and I decided to give episode 5 a shot. And who would have guessed, but it suddenly turned the corner into cute and sweetly addicting. After 5-6, I’m more excited to see new episodes of this than any other airing drama.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Master's Sun: Episode 5 Thoughts

Episode 5 drew me back-and-forth and left me conflicted on my love for this show. It's probably my least favorite episode so far, but for reasons completely unrelated to the leads, who continue to be gushing chemistry. I've come to the conclusion that the biggest reason why I like this show is the PD, who does magical things with music and shots (everyone's gushing about that glass window ending sequence, and for good reason). If someone other than he had gotten a hold of it, I highly doubt I would be enjoying this even a fraction as much. Because the script is utter crap and the Hong Sisters need to retire as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Her Legend: An Angsty Mess as of Episodes 1-4

For a 20-episode drama, Her Legend sure had a long ass childhood sequence. I wish it'd gotten to the point faster; they spent almost four episodes on the past when all I wanted was to see the story finally get underway. This is old-school makjang at its worst, which surprised me because TVN was on such a non-angst streak of good dramas in this slot. You get everything thrown in and poorly stuck together; a naive, upbeat orphan girl, evil adoptive parents, truck of doom, amnesia, villainous step sibling, all within the first three episodes. It's a horrible drain but at this point I want to at see how the adult cast is before I make a final judgement.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Liar Game: Series Review

I had an intense marathon catch-up session on the past 70 or so chapters of the Liar Game manga, and thought I'd go ahead and review both the comic and the popular J-drama/movie from a few years ago. Liar Game's an ongoing manga series and finished drama (with two seasons and a movie) that's quite possibly one of the most intelligently-written and suspenseful stories I've read. I can also safely say the drama adaptation ranks in the top 10 of my all-time favorites and is both riveting and sexy to watch.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Who Are You: Early Impressions

Ghost-seeing dramas are indeed the craze now. I've never understood ghostly love stories, and it's not a genre I'm especially keen on. But Master's Sun was a pleasant surprise, and Who Are You has been interesting though far less impressive. I'm midway through episode 6 and have found that it's about what you'd expect - some jumpy moments, lots of mystery-solving involving tragedy and misunderstanding, and of course that tragic ex-boyfriend lurking in the back. It's not an addicting watch, but is entertaining and low-key.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Nonfiction Book Review: Your Network is Your Net Worth

This won't be to everyone's taste, but I wanted to go ahead and review a nonfiction book that I recently chipped away at, the cheesily titled "Your Network is Your Net Worth" by Porter Gale. I read this while watching several fantastically dull old dramas (ahem Goong), and have to admit I'm becoming increasingly more keen on the act of multitasking with something productive while watching shows. Truth be told though, this book was only somewhat more substantive than the drama on my screen. It's a business book after all, which I've learned tend to be painfully obvious and more or less a rehash of common sense. If you're trying to become a great networker by reading books, well, that's probably not going to work out. (Rant ahead - click away if you love this book).

Friday, August 9, 2013

Initial Impressions of Two Weeks and Master's Sun

Whew, after the stressball that's Two Weeks I feel like I need to sit and calm myself down (and vent a little, as you'll see). I went ahead and checked out the two new premieres, and while this will suck for my time, found that I'm now hooked to both. In terms of pure viewing experience, I like Master's Sun more. It has all the elements of a light but engaging rom-com, with great humor, likable leads, and surprising chemistry. Two Weeks isn't quite as pleasurable - in fact, I kind of wish I hadn't started it because it pissed me off like no other, but it's addicting and admittedly well-crafted.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good Doctor: Episodes 1-2 Early Impressions

Joo Won is on a roll for me. I'm probably one of 5 people that actually liked Level 7 Civil Servant (though admittedly I stopped at about episode 10), but that drama really showed me his capacity to go cute and sweet-natured, free of his popular (?) aggressive, shrieky, violent roles of past. He's kept up the positive turn and raised it about 10 notches for the innocent, intriguingly immature hero in Good Doctor. Combined with Moon Chae Won, one of my favorite Kdrama actresses as the leading lady, this drama now has me fully invested, though I do hope they start toning down the angst and dramatics.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cheesetastic but Expected Finale for Itazura na Kiss Love in Tokyo

I admit, episode 16 made me cringe on multiple occasions. Third time around for this story was a bit excessive, and I had to force myself to sit through all the dramatics (the rain! the angsty looks!) that preceded the grand confession. I do appreciate that the schizo camera finally settled down at this point, allowing us to for once just watch the moment rather than get jostled around side-to-side in-and-out (seriously, please fire the director who did this crap. Worst filmed drama ever, not to mention one of the worst camera qualities).

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Hear Your Voice: Post-episode 12 Thoughts

That's right, time to happily reflect on the latest offering from IHYV in anticipation of this week's episodes. Thank goodness for the upward swing after the almost painfully predictable 9-10. I'm so ready for normal Soo Ha to be back and for things to get moving without the cliche of amnesia or the lack of mind-reading.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why I'm Dropping Heartless City: Post-episode 14 Thoughts

Two weeks ago I was equally enthralled by both Heartless City and I Hear Your Voice. Since then, my love for HC has faded dramatically while IHYV has revived and is managing to hook me in as thoroughly as ever. The only reason I was so invested in HC was because of the expectation of forbidden romance and the intriguing lead man. But rather than putting more focus on that, the show's become a literal swamp pit of talking heads and hammy, overdramatic "love" scenes. By contrast, IHYV knows exactly what it's audience loves, and its relationships and characters feel more real by the minute. I really wish HC had taken the latter's approach, but that's clearly not going to be the case.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Food Network Star: Episodes 1-6 Thoughts

I enjoy reality competition shows. They’re a fun way to learn a little about what you should (and shouldn’t) do via watching other people’s mistakes. Adding food in just makes it all the more appealing, and there’s something nicely down-to-earth about Food Network Star that makes it my favorite of the bunch. My only question is, have any of the previously selected finalists actually made it to stardom (aside from Guy Fieri)? I personally have never followed any of their shows or careers after the competition ends. That said, I will with 99% certainty not be following any of the contestants from this season. There must have been a shortage of qualified applicants, cause I’ve never seen such a large mix of sheer incompetency.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Warm Bodies: Book Review

There's two fiction trends I'm really hoping we're about the see the last of. The first is the dystopian world, and the second is the supernatural romance. It becomes a repetitive chore and a testament to our collective unoriginality when almost all bestsellers of the past 5 years fall into one of these two categories.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reflections on Reincarnation Endings

Even though I stopped watching Gu Family Book long ago, news of its ending spread like a furious wave, so I had to look into it. The fact that its final moments were dissatisfying and filled with WTF-ery honestly shouldn't be surprising considering this writer. But to be honest, I rather liked it (from my disconnected, non-following point of view). I'll admit that I'm a bigger fan of reincarnation endings than most viewers, for no other reason than I just like the idea of them. A reincarnation ending is what I wanted for most of the time-travel stories that aired last year, but unfortunately none of the ones I've seen so far have quite managed to make it work. Here's a quick dive into what I've seen that made me either consider or critique this plot device (spoilers ahead):

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Hear Your Voice: Episodes 7-8 Review

Alright, who else snapped to attention after episode 8? I'd heard vague spoilers that it was sad, but it was far from merely sad - I would better describe it as sweeping, heartfelt, and just a perfect way to close-out the halfway point. I'm so excited and nervous for Soo Ha. We all know a time skip is coming though, because the trial date is set for July 3, 2012 and this Wed's airdate is July 3, 2013. So I'm betting we start the story up in the present, and gradually flashback to what happened one year earlier (especially since this show loves playing back-and-forth with time). This is nerve-wracking, because the skip basically confirms that everything Soo Ha was planning for at the end of episode 8 folds out. But the good news is he's officially legal and the real romance can start up!

Friday, June 28, 2013

5 Older Taiwan Dramas I Love

I caught the first 15 mins of the new drama Just You, which disappointingly felt like every Taiwan drama of the past couple years. The story was so full of cliches, overacting, and nonsense that I had to switch it off for my sanity. It features yet another chirpy, self-narrating, indignant Candy-type, played without any originality by Puff Guo (to give you an idea, the character answers a phone call from her bubble bath with "Are you happy? I'm happy!" - *headdesk*). And our hero - you guessed it - stoic, direct, and has a sob-story past. They tried to make that as apparent as possible by giving him a hatred of roses, and literally had him crush a rose between his fingers. Seriously?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dating Agency Cyrano: Episodes 1-2 Impressions

Watching Cyrano felt a bit like walking downhill. The first impression was so full of promise and charm, but as you make your way down it slowly loses steam until you're flat on the ground again. I'd heard from others that it had no hook, but didn't grasp what that meant until midway through episode 2 when I caught myself dozing off. Good news is there's nothing potentially offensive about its premise or cast, but bad news is I don't find myself caring much for any of it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Heartless City: Episodes 7-8 Review

Episodes 7-8 are what clicked the switch for me on this show. I already liked it, but it was more refreshing than addicting. However, now that the story is fully underway for both leads (and the romance accordingly amped up), it's finally crossed to the point of must-see. I wish it hadn't taken this long, but at least the payoff so far looks to be fully worth it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Thieves: Movie Review

I've had this review on my to-do list for months now, but never felt inspired enough to actually write it. That about sums up my sentiments on the movie - it left me with nothing except faint regret for wasting my time. I have no idea what the Korean audience saw in this, because I for sure would not have paid to watch it. As far as heist plots go, this is purely middle-of-the road and is executed in the most draggy and dull fashion. Scenes feel snail-paced rather than slick, and there's far too much set-up and chatter before we get into the action.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Heartless City: Episodes 1-6 Initial Impressions

Wow, what is this sudden stream of good dramas on air? And not a moment too soon; I'd almost given up all dramas after the wave of mediocrity that came in the last few months. As you can tell, my thoughts on Heartless City are largely positive, which is saying a lot considering I'm not normally a fan of the crime/action genre. This drama's appeal lies entirely with Jang Kyung Ho, who is turning over a career-defining performance as the aloof, layered, and painfully suave drug lord.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Itazura na Kiss Love in Tokyo: Episode 10 Update

The more I watch of Itazura na Kiss the more I like this. I guess that's true of most dramas, but even I'm surprised at how much I enjoy my weekly doses of this show. As mentioned before, I was far from impressed by the first 5 episodes. It felt like a complete rehash of ISWAK, with an overacting heroine and an underacting hero. All of this is still true, but I've persisted through and am learning to enjoy it regardless. I think it's because we've finally hit the sweet spot of the story, which is the post-tennis competition phase. This has always been my favorite part of the drama/manga, because the romance feels more true and the characters have finally hit that cusp of maturity and self-discovery. It doesn't hurt we get everything from a stolen kiss to a Christmas party celebration and an overnight stay.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Hear Your Voice: Episodes 1-4 Review

This drama is amazing. Definitely my new weekly crack. I love the characters, the story, the actors, pretty much everything. It made me stay up to the wee hours marathoning all four episodes, because I couldn't stop after just one. I must add that I completely get the Lee Jong Seok appeal now. While it's unfortunate that he's now played the same character three dramas straight, third time's the charm here! The boy's gorgeous and talented, and I might just go back to School 2013 and High Kick to soak up some more.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monstar: Episode 1 Impressions

I'm going to have to pass on this show. It should have been obvious this wouldn't be my thing, considering neither Dream High nor School 2013 elicited more than a passing interest from me. I do like the lead actor, who's putting in a solid, likable performance. But the character generalizations and the show's overdramatic tendencies aren't to my taste, and without a true hook it's hard to find a reason to continue watching.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stars Whose Appeal I Don't Understand - Actors Edition

There are plenty of stars that while I don't like, I can at least see why others do (e.g., Shin Mina, Jang Dong Gun). And then there are those stars whose mass appeal I don't comprehend at all. This isn't meant to bash them (well, except in good humor), but more of a fun post to discuss differences in people's perceptions.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

When a Man Loves: Finale Review

Alright everyone, I'm thrilled to proclaim that WAML ended on an amazingly satisfying conclusion. In fact, I don't think I've felt this much of a contentness buzz from the end of a drama since Queen of Reversals. That's not to say it cinched everything up tightly, but it did close up the storylines that mattered, and left things bright with an airy burst of hope. Seriously, I'd almost go so far as to recommend this to other viewers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When a Man Loves: Pre-Finale Thoughts

This has to have been one of the most frustrating shows I've watched since Material Queen, but AT LAST it seems on the brink of a turnaround. Episode 18 was almost enjoyable, in that things finally start looking up for Tae Sang and Jae Hee appears set to receive his just desserts. At this rate, I'm even expecting a happy ending, which will at least partly make up for the hours of frustration and anger I experienced in the process.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Vampire Diaries: Season 4 Finale Review

I took a long break from most of the TV series I was previously following, and have only recently been going back through and watching the season finales. I'm not entirely a fan of the seasons model in the US, because I find writers will overcram these final episodes with last-minute cliffhangers, which are usually resolved in the most anticlimactic ways once the show starts back up. Despite that, they are fun to watch and speculate on, and The Vampire Diaries definitely takes the cake for the most convoluted / interesting of them all this year (spoilers ahead).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Say That You Love Me: Episodes 1-4 Thoughts

Only 4 episodes in and I've decided to drop this, but wanted to pop a review in case anyone else was exploring this drama. STYLM is essentially China's attempt at Playful Kiss, and true to their track record on remakes, it's dull, dubbed, and terribly acted. No wonder it came out and broadcasted with hardly a blip in the drama-watching community.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

When a Man Loves: Episode 12 Quick Rant

This is the kind of episode that makes you want to give up dramas entirely. When it leaves you feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, and all sorts of angry instead of happy and giddy. When the only reason to tune in is out of misplaced hope that the angst and issues will be resolved and the bad guys penalized. I'm so upset after watching this that even the thought of watching another drama makes me shirk away. I freaking hate Jae Hee, Mi Do, Mi Do's dad, Baek Seung Joo, even Chang Hee. Why the hell can't people just communicate for once instead of all this subtlety and back-stabbing?

At this point, I just want Tae San to find someone else and move on with his life. Mi Do and Jae Hee freaking deserve each other, these ungrateful bigots. Their kiss and make-out scenes over the past couple episodes made me sick, and it's only somewhat a relief that at least they were interrupted.

Good news is at least Tae San finally has clued in on this. I want him to break up with her now and never see her again, then I want her and Jae Hee to fall into a vat of acid together. Geez, even Mr. Purple hair is less aggravating at this point. It's literally at the point where I never want to see either of the actors ever again. The guy who plays Jae Hee will always be this petulant dipshit while Shin Se Kyung is now forever an indecisive bitch.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gu Family Book: Episodes 1-7 Rant

I really wanted to like this drama. For one, I'm a huge Inuyasha fan and this is about as close to a near rip-off as you can get. Second, I have a soft spot for Suzy and Seung-Gi even though I haven't liked either of their past buzzed-about dramas. And lastly, I loved the opening two episodes (actually more like 1.5 episodes) because of the charming ambiance, the lovely soundtrack, and the very pretty parents. But of course you can't force drama love, and the blandly-told yet over-dramatic story and poor production values slowly killed my interest until I was literally stewing in frustration by episode 7 (where I clicked off).

When a Man Loves: Halfway Review

I've been regularly following WAML out of residual affection for its earlier episodes and curiosity on the relationship developments. Unfortunately, it's hit the midway bump, where things start dragging and characters start feeling stale. Song Seung Heon's Tae San was the key attraction for me and I'm not liking where they're taking his character. He's starting to feel desperate rather than sweet, and it doesn't help that I'm completely apathetic to our heroine.

Basara: Manga Review

I haven't done any manga reviews here yet, and wanted to kick off with one of my old favorites, Basara. This is by the same author, Yumi Tamura, of 7 Seeds (review coming!), which if you haven't read yet you NEED to start. Unlike 7 Seeds though, Basara is complete, meaning you won't have the anxious waiting period between chapters. While I prefer 7 Seeds, I still think this is one of the top mangas I've ever read, especially if you're looking for an intelligent, incredibly competent female lead and a story with heart-thumpingly great stakes.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Itazura Na Kiss Love in Tokyo: Episodes 1-5 Review

This is far from ground-breaking, but could be a nice diversion for other ISWAK/PK fans. I binged my way through the first five episodes over the past day, and am ready to declare it an easy-to-watch, albeit overly-familiar piece. This is also my first J-drama since Rich Man, Poor Woman, and as always I find it refreshing how quick-paced and to-the-point they are. Seriously, getting to the equivalent part of the story in the Taiwan drama would probably take you multiple times the hours and lots of frustrating slowness, but here one long evening will do the trick.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

When a Man Loves: Episodes 3-4 Review

You'd think episodes shot abroad would be at least a smidgen better than standard considering the extra production investment. But at least in the Asian drama/movie realm, foreign locales come hand-in-hand with embarrassing foreign language attempts, awkward bystanders, overly touristy shots, and a general pause in all character development as the actual story breaks and the backdrop becomes the story.