Tuesday, December 29, 2009

K-DRAMA: Shining Inheritance

Title: Shining Inheritance (찬란한 유산)
Episodes: 28

Cast (mentioned in post):
Go Eun Sung - Han Hyo Joo
Sun Woo Hwan - Lee Seung Ki
Park Jun Se - Bae Soo Bin
Yoo Seung Mi - Moon Chae Won
Baek Sung Hee - Kim Mi Sook
Sun Woo Jung - Han Ye Won

Find more at Drama Wiki:


Cinderella, with some twists. Go Eun Sung thought she had a happy life with her father, stepmother, stepsister, and younger brother, until her father died. Then her stepmother kicks her out and takes the insurance money, leaving Eun Sung to fend for herself as well as her autistic younger brother. Eun Sung endures much hardship, including losing her brother, until coming across a Grandmother, who happens to be the President of a food company. She helps the Grandmother after she is injured and has a case of amnesia. In return, when the Grandmother regains her memory, she offers Eun Sung a place to live, a job, and help in finding her brother. But living at Granny's house means living with Granny's grandson, who doesn't seem to like Eun Sung very much. That could be due to the fact that Granny has announced the Eun Sung will be the inheritor of all the Granny has, though. The grandson, Sun Woo Hwan, is also linked to Eun Sung's stepsister, Seung Mi. (They have a more-than-friends,-but-less-than-romantic relationship.) And Seung Mi can't believe what her mother did and tries to help Eun Sung when she can, though she becomes torn on what to do when she realizes that Woo Hwan and Eun Sung may be falling for each other, making Eun Sung her love-rival. Eun Sung also becomes a love-rival for Woo Hwan's younger sister, Sun Woo Jung, when Jung's crush, Park Jun Se falls for Eun Sung. Phew...what a triangle, er...square? Whatever, seems like they're all connected somehow. Oh, and let's throw this in...Eun Sung's dad...is not really dead. Drama, drama, drama!

I began watching this drama on the recommendation of a friend. It is not what I would consider a hit drama, though it seems to be the hot drama of the season. Most of the characters are not very likable, and I think that's something that contributes to having a good drama. If you're going to have evil characters, fine...it's understandable if those characters aren't likable. But to have your male lead character not be such a likable guy...who's going to root for him? He can be a jerk, but he should also have his moments where he can be a very likeable guy (a-la Goo Jun Pyo, from Boys Over Flowers, or Lee Shin, from Goong). Sun Woo Hwan hardly has any moments where he's portrayed as a likable guy. He just seems like a bratty jerk who has no respect for his Grandmother and throws money around, that he hasn't earned. There is allusion to the reason for why he's like this, but it's never expanded on, so I feel no sympathy for him. Just...disgust and annoyance. His sister and mother are also characters that are annoying, as they are shallow and vapid, throwing around money when they've never worked a day in their life for it. Eun Sung's stepmother is very conniving, and is one of the characters I'm happy with because she plays it well. This is one of those characters I was talking about, that's not meant to be likable and so can be portrayed as so. I have no strong opinions on the other characters, which is not such a good thing, because that means the main female character didn't strike a chord with me like I think she was supposed to. In my opinion, the main female lead character should be able to gain sympathy for her plight from her audience, but still be a strong person. Sure I felt sorry for her, but...sometimes I thought she was way too nice and understanding, way too naive. Oh, but one character I did like was Jun Se...he's a very likable character. He seemed to care for Eun Sung a lot.

Aside from the characters, the plot was pretty good. Some episodes were a bit boring though, and I did skip through some scenes. There's plenty of drama in this one. I found hardly any comedy though. Also, I found the romance to be lacking, and considering that there's supposed to be a love triangle going on, that's a very bad thing. I don't really like watching dramas like this, as I prefer ones with a healthy balance between comedy, romance, and drama. It was an entertaining watch the first time around, but I don't think I'll be watching it again.

Rating: ★★★

Review Rubric of Sorts

Hello!  I'm starting to get back into watching dramas, now that I have more time, so I thought I'd post a little review rubric of sorts.  This is basically what I'm looking for when I watch a drama, to consider it a good drama (or anime or movie, but I'll just refer to them all as "drama" to make it shorter).

1. A well-written storyline.
I have no problem with remakes of past dramas or the same basic story being told, because let's face it...most of the dramas are like that.  Most of them end with the main male character and main female character getting through all the obstacles and ending up together.  Most.  As long as the storyline and dialogue is well-written and there are some twists involved, it's all good.  Even better if I don't see it coming.

2. Well developed main characters and good side characters.
This is a pretty big one.  Obviously, the characters are what make the story happen.  They should be well developed and have personality, as well as some flaws.  No one wants to watch some perfect person get everything she wants.  I know I don't, unless it's Disney and we're dealing with princesses and prince charmings and glass slippers and fairy tales.  It's a major turn off from a drama, for me.  Characters should be pretty realistic, but I don't mind if they're a little goofier than normal with anime-type expressions and such.  As long as it's not overused.

3. Good acting.
I think this is another big one, as the actors are the ones who bring the character to life.  Bad acting can totally ruin a drama, even if it sounds like it has a good storyline. 

These first 3 points are definitely major ones.  They are deal breakers, when it comes to my rating scale.  But the last one is also key.

4. Good ending.
Finally, a drama must have a good ending.  It doesn't have to be a happy ending, but it must be plausible (unless it's of the fantasy/science fiction genre).  I would love it if it tied up all the loose ends.  Or, if the creators wanted to leave it open to a sequel, if it was done in a realistic manner with a good cliff hanger.  I don't know how else to describe what I'm looking for in an ending...but I can give an example of a recent ending that I was a bit disappointed in: Shining Inheritence.  Actually, I was a bit disappointed in the drama overall.  It didn't live up to the hype, for me, but that's another story that you can read about in my review!

Which leads me to some of advice: take all recommendations with a grain of salt UNLESS you know you definitely have the same tastes in dramas/movies/anime as the person who is recommending.

And yeah, those are the 4 main things I look at when I review.  I also take into account other things from time to time, but these 4 are the deciding factors on whether I'll recommend or not.

Also, as I mentioned before, I will be reviewing one or two episodes at a time from now on, since I hardly have time to watch a drama straight through anymore.  This will let me remember the main points of each episode and what I thought of the episode.  Then, when I've watched all episodes, I'll go through and write a review of the whole drama, referring to my episode posts and following this rubric.

Look for my next review on...You're Beautiful! :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

J-DRAMA: Hanayome to Papa

Title: Hanayome to Papa (花嫁とパパ)
Episodes: 12
Watch: VEOH

Cast (mentioned in post):
Ishihara Satomi as Uzaki Aiko
Tokito Saburo as Uzaki Kentaro
Taguchi Junnosuke as Miura Seiji

Find more at Drama Wiki:


Uzuki Aiko is a 20-year-old woman who has just started working at a fashion company.  She's super excited, because she hopes this will help her father realize that she is no longer a child.  Her father obviously loves Aiko and is very overprotective, to the point that he makes her follow his house rules, including a 7 PM curfew, which are a bit ridiculous for a 20-year-old to follow. At her new job, she meets and eventually falls in love with her coworker Miura Seiji.  But will Aiko's father accept Seiji?  And what about Seiji's family?

Hanayome to Papa is a cute rom-com drama.  The characters' antics are almost anime-ish in character.  And speaking of characters, I would have to say Seiji is my favorite, though I may be a little biased.  His character is very sweet and optimisticc, as well as dedicated.  He tries his hardest to get Aiko's father to accept him and give him permission to date Aiko with the intention of marrying her.  Aiko, on the other hand, is not a character I liked at times.  She gave up way to easily on her relationship with Seiji several times.  Also, since she lived a pretty sheltered life because of her father, she is pretty naive, and that can get annoying.

Though it is a romantic comedy, it still has its serious moments.  Such as Seiji's parents trying to arrange a marriage for him, even after he has told them he loves Aiko.  I think these serious moments definitely give the drama more depth and make it more interesting.  The storyline was pretty much about family.

Rating: ★★★

Sunday, July 12, 2009

K-DRAMA: Boys Before Flowers

Title: Boys Before Flowers (꽃보다 남자)
Episodes: 24

Cast (mentioned in post):
Geum Jan Di - Goo Hye Sun
Goo Jun Pyo - Lee Min Ho
Yoon Ji Hoo - Kim Hyun Joong
So Yi Jung - Kim Bum
Song Won Bin - Kim Joon
Chu Ga Eul - Kim So Eun

Find more at Drama Wiki:


I'm sure you've probably already watched Hana Yori Dango or Meteor Garden already, so you probably know the story. But I'm still gonna give you the gist of it. Main female , Geum Jan Di, is poor, but happy. She has a loving family and wonderful best friend. But then, she enters the richest school and meets F4 by way of a red card, which she is given for annoying F4's leader and the heir to the Shinhwa group, Goo Jun Pyo. (Shinhwa group built the school and is the most powerful company in Korea.) Goo Jun Pyo tries to break her, and she finds an unexpected savior in one of the other F4 members, Yoon Ji Hoo. Quiet, but handsome, she forms a crush on Ji Hoo. In the end though, Goo Jun Pyo realizes he can't break her and actually comes to like her. He tries to woo her in his own way, and she eventually returns his feelings. Unfortunately, Jun Pyo's Mama doesn't like this. She doesn't think Jan Di's good enough for the Shinhwa group heir. So she does everything she can to break them up, while everyone else does everything they can to keep them together.

Okay, it's inevitable that I will make comparisons between this and Hana Yori Dango, as I watched HYD first. So here goes. The way they portrayed Goo Jun Pyo in 꽃보다 남자 is very different from how Tsukasa was portrayed. I felt that Goo Jun Pyo was less harsh than Tsukasa, and in the end a lot more likable. I, for one, really liked his character. He was actually quite affectionate towards Jan Di, in my opinion. I liked Tsukushi better than Jan Di, though. Not to say I didn't like Jan Di...I just liked Tsukushi better.

The storyline was okay. I don't know if it's cuz I already know the story, but I did skip through some scenes that I thought were boring. I didn't skip through any scenes between So Yi Jung and Chu Ga Eul though! Yi Jung and Ga Eul are meant to be! ♥ Their couple name is even called SoEulmates. Hehe. I liked the equivalent of this relationship in HYD, too. But I like it much better in this version. :)

In the end, I felt like the drama dragged on longer than needed. Especially when they tried to add in one last hardship for Jun Pyo and Jan Di's relationship in the form of amnesia and a bakstabbing female hospital patient. I really felt like that was an unnecessary addition, as it was already the last episode so that part of the storyline was very rushed. Another thing I had an issue with was Kim Hyun Joong. I love him as part of SS501, but the man needs to tone down his expressions! Seriously. His eyes get way too big and his expressions are way too intense for some of the scenes that he does.

But even so, I really liked the drama. F4 was great. SoEulmates made it even better. Plus, I love happy endings. I'd probably rewatch this drama in the future. ^^

Rating: ★★★★

Saturday, January 17, 2009

K-DRAMA: 18 vs 29

Title: 18 vs 29
Episodes: 16
Watch: VEOH

Cast (mentioned in post):
Yoo Hye Chan - Park Sun Young
Kang Bong Man (a.k.a. Sang Young) - Ryu Soo Young
Young Hye Chan - Park Min Ji
Young Bong Man - Choi Si Won
Shin Ji Young - Park Eun Hye
Yoo Hye Won - Jo Eun Ji
Kang Bong Gyu - Lee Sang Woo

Find more at Drama Wiki:


29 year old Yoo Hye Chan wants a divorce from her husband. She is on her way to deliver the papers to make the divorce official, when she gets into a car accident. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a world she does not know...since she wakes up thinking she's 18. All the memories she's made since she was 18 have been forgotten, including marrying her husband. She doesn't even recognize her now-grown-up sister. So when her (soon-to-be-ex) husband comes to the hospital, she is adamant that she did not marry him. She is even more in disbelief when she finds out she married Kang Bong Man, a guy she once loathed in high school. She gets into a lot of mischief, but eventually lets Bong Man take care of her. They have their problems, but Bong Man tries to be as supportive and caring as he can...and through this, their marital relationship starts to recover, somewhat. Until she regains her memory...

I will be honest. Though the story line did sound interesting, I really started watching this just to see Siwon. Haha.

Anyway, I don't have much to say about this drama. The story line is interesting, but it's not amazing. I mean, there's definitely lots of drama involved, with Hye Chan thinking she's 18, and trying to come to terms with the fact that she's actually 29 and married to Kang Bong Man. The story plays out well, with many obstacles and misunderstandings in between. One of those obstacles (a BIG obstacle) is Ji Young, who acts innocent around Sang Young and pretends to be Hye Chan's friend, when she learns Hye Chan has amnesia, but really wants Sang Young's and Hye Chan's relationship to end. Sometimes, I really wanted to punch Jiyoung in the face for being such a two-faced bitch. But, ah...I guess that means Park Eun Hye played her part really well right? Another is obstacle would be Noon. He falls in love with Hye Chan, and is basically Ji Young's male counterpart....but, not. Because he is less selfish. He just wants Hye Chan to be unhappy, unlike Ji Young who doesn't really care if Sang Young's happier with Hye Chan. She just wants Sang Young for herself, because she loves him. Noon doesn't get on my nerves like Ji Young does. He's a sweet character, and very protective of Hye Chan. Sang Young gets jealous of his easy relationship with Hye Chan, though they do become friends in the end.

There was also a side story between Hye Chan's younger sister, Hye Won, and Bong Man's younger brother, Bong Gyu. They start to date, but then Bong Gyu has doubts about taking her home to meet his grandfather because he knows his grandfather will have issues with their relationship, since they're already in-laws. They're funny together, and fun to watch. They're both my favorite characters in this drama. And actually, one of my favorite scenes is in episode 11, when Bong Gyu goes to pick up a drunk Hye Won, who was having drinks with another guy, since Bong Gyu had told her earlier (that day?) that he wasn't sure he was ready to get married yet. Bong Gyu takes her home, and then the guy texts her, wondering where she is and that he' sad without her. Bong Gyu gets a bit possessive and replies with "Bong Gyu is the only one for me" or something like that, while Hye Won is passed out. x]

Another favorite scene is one at the end of episode 10, of young Hye Chan and Bong Man. Hye Chan makes a gift that's meant for Bong Man, but her old crush takes it instead thinking it's for him. Bong Man sees this and is mistaken, as well. I must say that Siwon looks really good in that uniform. I really like his hair here, too. Haha.

This is a drama that's good to watch once. I probably won't rewatch it again.

Rating: ★★★