Lucky Romance: Lucky Strike

Lucky_Romance-p1.jpg

So after being frightened off by Hwang Jung Eum’s previous romcom, She Was Pretty, I was very hesitant to try another one. But don’t get me wrong, I love her in melos such as Secret Love and Kill Me Heal Me. However, after watching a couple of episodes, I must say I am a fan. Lucky Romance tells the story of Bo Nui, a very unlucky woman who tries her best using rituals and superstitions to ward off her unlucky fate. She works odd jobs, barely/does not make ends meet, and has a sister in the hospital who hasn’t woken up ever since her accident. As she often visits a fortune teller, she is told that if she doesn’t sleep with a man of the Chinese zodiac sign, tiger, her sister will end up never waking up and dying. Desperate to complete this ritual, she look far and wide for a man that fits. Meanwhile, her gambler boss signs up their tiny start up company in a computer designing contest. Bo Nui is actually a very amazing and talented coder and game designer. She also made it into a famous game company called ZeZe, but in the interviewing process, she got sidetracked by her sister’s accident. At ZeZe, the CEO is a young genius named Soo Ho. Soo Ho had a troubled upbringing where exposure to media at such a young age caused him extreme anxiety and phobia of cameras flashing. As an awkward nerd type, he has trouble getting along with others and uses his intelligence at times in a distasteful and arrogant manner. As luck would have it, Bo Nui’s game, IF, gets chosen as the next big virtual reality program for ZeZe to develop. Bo Nui also finds out that Soo Ho is a “tiger”. He wants her game, but has to sign her onto the job as part of the deal. She sets the terms that she will only work for ZeZe if he goes on dates with her in the intent that he will eventually sleep with her. Of course, as we are missing the childhood love story part, we also have Gary Choi, famous tennis player, back from abroad to look for his biological father. As we all anticipated, Bo Niu and Gary Choi used to be close friends, and rekindled this friendship upon meeting again, with hints of romance.

While this drama started out a lot like She Was Pretty, to the point where the office for the company was the same (The Most / ZeZe), it developed its own groove. I appreciate the less screamy version Hwang Jung Eum plays in this drama, but yet she always takes on the role of a long-suffering hard worker who others find to be an oddball. However, she is more endearing this current role. Now I have not watched Ryu before, but he reminds of Kim Woo Bin, down to the unique face structure and eyes. I find their acting styles to be similar, but Ryu carrying more of an awkward type than a charismatic bad boy type that Woo Bin plays. This is not to say his acting is bad, in fact, I enjoy his portrayal of Soo Ho. For Gary Choi, Lee Soo Hyuk is always a solid secondary male lead though I long to see him in a lead role one day. Soo Hyuk is very charismatic and that deep voice does make me swoon. All in all, I hope to continue watching this though I am sure I will be inundated with the huge amounts of doctor dramas that I want to watch coming in!

My Amazing Boyfriend: Love From the Crypt

4910_MyAmazingBoyfriend_Nowplay_Small.jpg

My Love From Another Star, Chinese version? Kind of? Taking a similar approach to the popular Korean drama, My Amazing Boyfriend also has a 500year old guy who looks like he is in his early 20s. Add in one overly dramatic, clumsy, gorgeous actress, and there you have it! More like X-Men mutant, Xue Ling Chao, is a man who through treatment of a animal bite in the dynasty era, becomes unable to grow old because his cells reproduce at such a fast rate. However, he has been asleep for centuries due to a villain who drained all his blood which was the only way to suppress him. One day, after her wedding proposal to her cop boyfriend was rejected soundly, actress Tian Jing Zhi gets into a freak car accident. In the other car was Chao, whose crypt was being transported to a medical facility for research. His crypt busted open and his blood spilled all over Zhi’s broken body as she had flown out of her car. Due to the healing properties in his blood, it healed Zhi’s body to the point where it was even better than before. Chao was also awoken as the drain set up was broken. He decided to save Zhi’s life by infusing more of his blood into her. This creates a deep bond between the two as their hearts pound together and heavier with certain emotions that they feel. In order to protect their secret and for him to find the villain (who seems to be alive as well), they decided to live together. At first, Zhi does not like Chao at all, thinking that he is a monster that she must tolerate. However, slowly they start to care for each other and help each other out.

As you can see, a very similar plot line to My Love From Another Star, to the point where the actors even look like Kim Soo Hyun and Chun Song Yi. However, My Amazing Boyfriend has more of a medical aspect to it and less love triangles. The actress, Janice Wu, played the adorable young version of the female lead in My Sunshine. Here, she takes a more grown up, yet still childlike role of playing an immature, bad-tempered and dramatic actress. While she seems to overact a little bit, it does seem like it is the role’s character personality that she wants to portray. It does not come off annoying, thankfully. Meanwhile, Chao is played by Kim Tae Hwan, who I did not know was a Korean actor before looking him up for this review! I am not really a fan of his acting, perhaps because it is his first role and he does not have any experience yet. A little too wooden for my taste. I really wonder how it is for both actors to act together with a language barrier. It must be difficult on both fronts to get the right expressions and feelings in my opinion. I guess in this situation, the dubbing helps put in needed tone inflections to make the drama seem more natural.

 

Oh Hae Young Again: No Shame

Another_Miss_Oh-p1.jpg

Wow, just wow. I had completely skipped over this drama at first, not even having the slightest inclination to watching it. I thought it was going to be a silly rom-com judging by the poster and teasers. But, I could not be more wrong. This drama is more of a melo that has hit the dysfunctional couple trope for me combined with excellent acting and intense feels. In the drama, Oh Hae Young, an ordinary woman is all set to get married to her handsome and rich boyfriend. However, their wedding is called off the day before. Her boyfriend dumps her cruelly and in her embarrassment, she requests that it be publicized as her calling off the wedding instead. Everyone in her family and friend group is surprised at this turn of events while Hae Young wallows in pain and misery. Her family, in order to shock her out of her despair and also angry at her “irresponsibleness” kicks her out of their house. She ends up moving into a side studio connected to a larger house with a door for access in between. The man who is her neighbor is Park Do Kyung. As fate would have it, these two people are connected. Park Do Kyung had suffered a painful breakup where his fiance left him on the day of his wedding. But get this, her name was was Oh Hae Young. What is more is that both Hae Youngs went to school together in the past. However, Do Kyung’s fiance was the pretty and popular Hae Young, while our Hae Young was more plain and constantly was compared to the prettier one. Heartbroken, Do Kyung had planned revenge on pretty Hae Young. However, through a misunderstanding and confusion with names, Do Kyung ended up ruining the wedding and life of our Hae Young. Through rumors and confusion, he thought that his Hae Young was marrying our Hae Young’s Tae Jin. Thus, he made investors pull out of Tae Jin’s company and the man ended up in jail for a stint. However, it turns out that Tae Jin broke but with Hae Young cruelly in order for her to stop waiting for him and recover her family name before it was ruined. As these Hae Young and Park Do Kyung start to live together, they at first butt heads, but eventually fall for each other. Do Kyung is tortured and guilty because he is unable to tell Hae Young the truth, while Hae Young is unknowingly loving the one who ruined her life. With the pretty Hae Young and Tae Jin coming back into the picture later, it creates all sorts of pain for all parties involved.

Instead of this being a first impression, it is more like a rant after watching 12 episodes! I literally could not put this down. While it does have romcom moments, this drama is very deep into the melo world. Do Kyung and Hae Young is one of the most dysfunctional and toxic relationships I have seen in the drama world. Both are severely heartbroken and depressed when they first meet each other, and somehow manages to help heal each other. However, it is so unfortunate that they have such a knot to untangle between them. Each is torturing themselves for loving each other because it started out wrong. People they are crazy or selfish to be in love after all that has happened, but they just can’t help it. With Eric Mun’s Do Kyung, the character is the brooding and silent type which much of the acting in Mun’s eyes. His agony and regret are palpable. As for our Hae Young, her feelings are so relatable. She had to overcome such comparison and endure many embarrassing situations. However, she picked herself back up, albeit in some weird ways and with the amazing support of her parents. She also doesn’t play hard to get and is honest with her feelings. Yet, I hope the premonitions that Do Kyung keeps on having do not end in tragedy. That would just break my heart !

Mirror of the Witch: Dark Magic

Mirror_of_the_Witch-p1.jpg

The beautiful teasers are what drew me to this fantasy sageuk. Sae Ron plays Princess Yeon Hee, abandoned sister to the Crown Prince. Before the twins were born, the Queen was having trouble conceiving because she was barren. The Queen Dowager, who was extremely controlling, decided to call in a shamaness to use magic to get an heir to the thrown. Furthermore, the kind was a lame duck whose decisions were always overruled by the Queen Dowager, his grandmother. Without heeding the Taoist monks who were in control of the spiritual side of the nation at that time, the Queen Dowager persuaded the shamaness to use black magic to make the Queen pregnant. However, because the children were born through bloodshed from a priestess who was used as a sacrifice, they were cursed. To preserve the crown prince of the twins, the shamaness transferred all the of the curse to the princess instead. It was said that on the twin’s 17th birthday, both children would die. The shamaness made the head Taoist monk use a purifying ritual to burn/kill the princess so that the curse would not come to pass. However, the king ordered the Taoist monk to save the princess instead beforehand. Thus, the princess grew up isolated from the rest of the nation under a talisman guarded house in the forest. Enter, Heo Jun, who seems to be a scam artist in need of 500 nan for some purpose. He makes a hard living trying to sell fake products and gambling. One day, a rich scholar bets that he can’t retrieve a kite that was flying over a “cursed forest”. Heo Jun takes this bet in order to earn the necessary money. He finds that this kite actually belongs to Princess Yeon Hee. He enters her guarded area to talk with her and feels bad that she has been isolated for so long, unable to see the pleasures of the world. Unfortunately, the kite’s strings were cut and neither of them ended up with the kite which had been stuck in a tree. Dissapointed, Heo Jun disappears before her guardians come back while Princess Yeon Hee’s good friend Poon Yeon tempts her to escape her prison to visit a lantern festival.

I find Yoon Shi Yoon to be a fun actor who chooses interesting and variety of different projects. While I have not found his character to be intriguing yet so far, I hope to see how his past has made him this way. He seems like a smart individual, and seems to have a good set of values even if his current occupation says otherwise. Meanwhile, Sae Ron is ethereally beautiful, perfect for her developing role as a princess and future witch. For a girl who hasn’t seen much of the world outside, I’m surprised she hasn’t tried to escape yet or find out why she is trapped like so. This story has hints of The Moon Embraces the Sun and Moon, but is definitely still unique in its own right.