Black: Grim Reapers

Black_(Korean_Drama)-P1.jpgI came into this drama with fairly low expectations, but I was blown away. Dark dramas are my thing, but not always supernatural. However, the interesting pairing of leads here got me interested. After all, OCN has never let me down. Black tells the story of Ha Ram and Han Moo Gang/Black, well I guess more of Black. Ha Ram grew up with a unique gift, the ability to see death before it happens. She sees it as a black shadow next to the victim who will die soon. The black shadows are actually grim reapers waiting to reap the souls. Unfortunately, her skill isolates her in society and she is afraid to look at people knowing what might happen to them. Moo Gang, a average detective manages to get entangled with her after a case. He begins to believe in her skill and tells her its not a curse. He says she can use it to save people from their deaths. Coincidentally, he was also her first love when they met in childhood. However, after they decided to start saving imminently dying people, Moo Gang gets shot in the head. He effectively “died” and his body was taken over by a Grim Reaper who was out to hunt down his runaway partner. 444, the reaper, renamed Black, has a completely different personality than Moo Gang. However, Ha Ram doesn’t know that Moo Gang is already dead and that the person before her is just the possessed one. She is unable to see the black shadow in him as he wears all black and part of the reason why she uses sunglasses in order to not see shadows. Black tries to convince her to help him find his partner. However, he doesn’t know what he got himself into as he realizes the body he possesses is already involved in a complicated situation.

Song Seung Heon and Go Ara have never really amazing actors in my book, decent and tolerable. HOWEVER, their roles this time played to their strengths and it is perfect. Song plays Black, who is awkward, deadpan, and a grim reaper who is not used to the human world. His limited expressions is funny and his change of personality is hilarious to watch as well as the reactions of his fellow detectives. Meanwhile, Go Ara is great as the fragile girl who is so lonely due to others shunning her. Watching them try to work together is really interesting. However, I can see a harsh betrayal coming soon when Ha Ram finds out that Black is not who he says he is and has been using her all this time. Though I’m sure, he will soften and probably catch feelings. Oh what a complicated puzzle that will create. I hope I won’t have too much heartbreak here.

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Hwarang: Beautiful Knights, Literally

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While admittedly I do have a full drama plate right now, I am not adverse to lopping a healthy dose of dessert right on top. But if I really need this dessert that is Hwarang still remains to be seen. Hwarang is full of gorgeous eye-candy….but it hasn’t hit that addictive spot for me yet. This is not say it won’t as it continues to air. Set in the Kingdom of Silla (for once, not Goryeo!), this drama tells the story of three main characters. The first is Moo Myung, a lone wolf of sort, who is incredible at fighting. He has a heavy sense of justice and goes around helping his adoptive brother find his real father. However, they must cross into the capitol city where peasants such as them, are not allowed. While they finally sneak into the capitol, they unfortunately get into several spots of trouble to the point where his adoptive brother is tragically murdered. Moo Myung is traumatized by the death of good friend and brother and vows to hunt down the one responsible. Meanwhile, Maek Jong, the future king of Silla sneaks into the capitol and is laying low due to the great number of assassins after him. His mother is the regent of the kingdom, but seems power hungry and does not want to relinquish her power ot him. Maek Jong is bitter and feels powerless as his mother orders the people beside him to kill whoever sees his father. Unfortunately, this is how Moo Myung’s brother dies for which Moo Myung wants revenge for. Our last leg of the trio is Ah-Ro, the sister of Moo Myung’s adoptive brother. Because of her family’s fall from grace and her birth from a servant mother, she has not status in the city and goes around spinning tales to earn money. She not only encounters Moo Myung, but also Maek Jong on her daily adventures. At this time in the kingdom, the queen decides to from Hwarang, a group of flower boys or knights to help inspire the people as well as protect the future king. We will see just how many nobles will clash in this new formation.

Do I need this drama or not is the question. Although I really want to be addicted to this drama, I just can’t seem to get into the groove of it yet. The first episode was slapsticky, whereas the second gave us a heavy dose of melo. The highlight for me so far was actually the cameo by Kwang Soo! He played Moo Myung’s adoptive brother. He is always so funny to watch and reminded me of his Running Man days. His death was definitely a tearjerker for me and I had wished he could stay longer. As for Park Seo Joon, while I was not a fan of his She Was Pretty, I really really want to like this drama. I believe this is his first period piece and who doesn’t love a little angstng from him? His story is compelling enough, but as for the rest of the plot, it still remains to be seen. I feel like the search for “flower boys” feels a little slapsticky and nonsensical to me, but hey, who is to deny the feast for my eyes? I just don’t know what is is, but I feel like our trio is better suited to modern dramas? They are all capable actors and actresses for sure, but something just not quite there yet for me. However, since this is only episode 2, this is one of those dramas where I am inclined to give it another go.