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: ★★★