Ruler: Master of the Mask

Ruler-_Master_of_the_Mask-p03.jpg

My dream team casting has come into fruition! I have always wanted to see Yoo Seung Ho and Kim So-Hyun as the main leads in a drama. I have watched them grow up from being child actors in dramas to the amazing young actors that they are today. Despite their age, they sometimes out-act older actors! In Ruler, Seung Ho plays a young crown prince who has lived life in anonymity due to the price on his life. The King, his father, had made a deal with a powerful group called the Pyunsoo in order to access the throne and have a peaceful rule. However, the price of such rule was to privatize the water system in Joseon and give them sole power over it. This deal was terrible to the commoners because the water would grow to outrageous prices during drought. Furthermore the corrupt Pyunsoo group decided to divert water wells as well which jacked up water prices even more till the point people were dying because of the lack of water. The group hoped to make the new crown prince a puppet as well. Thus,Crown Prince Lee lived most of his life under a mask to protect his identity. However whoever saw his face would be immediately killed. Once naïve young man, he soon discovers the state his people are in during a venture outside of the kingdom. He is heartbroken that his safety was the cause of such poverty and illness in the commoner’s lives. After accidently becoming involved in a brawl, a young Ga-Eun saves him. She is the daughter of a town official and is very interested in medicine. These two develop a tentative friendship, but without Ga-Eun knowing his true birthright. The Crown prince, knowing that the public did not know his face had ventured out without his mask on, masquerading as a messenger boy. Meanwhile, another young man who is also called Lee Sun, becomes acquainted with the Crown Prince. He is Ga-Eun’s friend and a peasant, but he is eager to learn and educate himself. After a terrible situation where both Lee Sun’s and Ga-Eun’s fathers are killed because of the Pyunsoo group, Crown Prince Lee Sun suffers a mental and heart breakdown. He is both angry and aggrieved that the king and him are so powerless against the Pyunsoo group. Therefore, he decides he wants to spy in Pyunsoo group with the peasant Lee Sun as masquerading as him, the Crown Prince in the palace. These three form a tight friendship, but with poor Ga-Eun not knowing the Crown Prince’s real identity. Furthermore, during this time, Hwa Goon, the Pyunsoo’s leader’s granddaughter, had fallen in love with the Crown Prince after he saved her life when she trespassed in the palace. While she is often terrifyingly manipulative, her soft spot for the Crown Prince puts her at odds with her grandfather.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Bring it On, Ghost: Supernatural Duo

Let's_Fight_Ghost-p1.jpg

SO CUTE. Kim So Hyun hits it out of the park again with her sassy, spunky, ghosty character paired with a straight-laced ghost fighter, Taecyeon. In this drama, Taec plays Bong Pal, a college freshman who makes a living fighting ghosts. He offers a public service where his customers pay him large sums to exorcise ghosts out of certain locations. However, the catch is that he only fights the weaker ghosts. One day, Taec is called to an abandoned girl’s high school to exorcise a strong perverted ghost. The girl who called him there is Hyun-Ji, a female ghost who has been dead for 5yrs, not a human like he expected.  Hyun Ji does not seem like the other ghosts who are gray and decaying in appearance. She still mysteriously retains her youthfulness and color. However, she does not remember anything about her past or how she died. Hyun Ji is very spunky and a good fighter as well.  At first, they are constantly getting into fights with one another. However, gradually they learn to work together to fight off the stronger and more brutal ghosts. She practically follows him around everyday due to one instance where their lips touched and she was able to see bits and pieces of her past. Of course, she tries to sneak in another “kiss” as an attempt to see her past, unsuccessfully. Bong Pal, at first finds her quite annoying, but gradually becomes accustomed to her presence in his life. Together, they manage to defeat ghosts by finding their weak spots and banishing them from the places they haunt.

So Hyun always makes her sassy characters fun and relatable. It is a joy to watch her grow and develop her acting career from such a young age to the beautiful young lady she is now. While Taec at first seems a little stiff on the acting front, it ends up working well with his character. His character is a little awkward, as he plays a loner who seems almost more comfortable talking to ghosts rather than humans. To add comedic effect is the Ghost Net duo who are constantly on the search for supernatural events and more members for their club. I would be just as scared as them if I participated in such ghostly adventures. For the villainy side, we have Hye Sung. On the outside, he seems to be the popular and kind veterinarian and professor. However, we are shown his creepy blank stare and special scar on his back for a more mysterious past. I wonder how he ties into the story. So far, I have good vibes about this drama and appreciate its brisk and fun pace.

 

Nightmare Teacher: Soul Contract

E1VOolmL_8dd173_c2x.jpg

There are seriously so many good dramas that are airing that I will not be able to keep up with! Fortunately, Nightmare Teacher is a special piece where episodes are only 15 minutes each. I came for Kim So Hyun, of course, one of the most talented young actresses. Here, she plays Ye Rim, president of her class and number one student academically. Her constant companion and friend that likes her is Sang Woo. Together, they experience a series of odd happenings as a substitute teacher takes over their class. Said teacher, Bong Gu, offers special counseling to students “in need”. One of his first “victims” is a girl who is an outcast in the class. He offers her a deal that will make her wishes of becoming popular true, if she signs a contract. While she does become mysteriously popular, it actually becomes detrimental to her later on as things escalate. She ends up not wanting to be popular anymore because of the pressure, but it is already too late. She “disappears” when the teacher takes her away to his special dimension. Unfortunately, the class does not remember that she even existed. This “contract” lures other students in as well when they unknowingly sign their souls away just so they fulfill a wish they have. However, Ye Rim and Sang Woo become a little suspicious of the disappearances and notes left behind by the victims. They are unable to place what is happening, but feel that something is up with the teacher.

Kim So Hyun’s bread and butter is spunky high school student roles. With only 4 episodes in, the story has yet to focus on her investigation / battle with the “demon” teacher. Instead, we see an interesting case of “be careful of what you wish for” as the previous victims regret what they had so fervently wanted. I am interested to see what Ye Rim would want or to see how she resists the teacher’s manipulative ways. She does not seem to be beguiled so easily and I am wondering how she will beat the teacher in his games. However, I predict that Sang Woo might disappear which will probably spur her into action. BTOB’s Minhyuk plays Sang Woo naturally enough and is cluelessly adorable in the drama. While he does not have D.O or Lee Joon’s chops yet, I wouldn’t mind seeing him develop in other small roles later on. As a quickie, this drama seems like fun (when I am actually waiting for Kim So Hyun’s other drama, Page Turner, to be subbed).

Page Turner: Another Chapter of Life

Page_Turner-p1

YAAAS. That is how I feel about this drama special. Not only do I get to be treated to Kim So Hyun, but I also get Ji Soo as a package. Kim So Hyun plays Yoo Seul, a piano prodigy who is number one at her art school and bitter rivals with another pianist, Jin Mok. Her mother, a piano teacher, used to teach Jin Mok who plays precisely, but with no feeling. However, through an incident while teaching Jin Mok, Yoo Seul’s genius is discovered. Thus her mom decides to dedicate her life into making Yoo Seul the best pianist ever, living vicariously through her talent. Yoo Seul is not just a bag of hot air, her talent is quite amazing and she always trounces Jin Mok soundly in competitions. Jin Mok hates her arrogance and even prays that she will get retribution. Unfortunately, said prayer seems to be heard and Yoo Seul gets into a tragic accident that takes away her ability to see. She damaged her optic nerve to which there seems to be no recovery from other than perceiving light/darkness. Meanwhile, Ji Soo plays Cha Sik, a talented pole vaulter who can’t take being looked down upon. He is playful and even a bit on the crazy side. However, he too, endures a tragic moment in his life where he aims for a vault a little too high. As a result, he acquires fractures in his back vertebrae that renders him useless in sports because extra stress would make his fractures worse. Now both Yoo Seul and Cha Sik has lost their major purpose in life. Yoo Seul, who actually doesn’t like playing piano, sees this as a opportunity to be free. Yet, her mother doesn’t want her to stop playing. She even tries to commit suicide. This makes Jin Mok feel guilty as he believes he is the cause of this. He also begins to see Yoo Seul in a different light. Cha Sik, who becomes depressed for while, finally finds his purpose in life too. After learning about his piano prodigy father from his mother, he decides he wants to do music as well. Meanwhile, Yoo Seul breaks the news of not wanting to rely on her mother 24/7 as well as stopping piano, to the horror of her mother.

Solid, solid acting by all three of our teenagers. Once again, Kim So Hyun plays that spunky, even a little arrogant teen to a tee. She never fails to garner my attention and even makes me feel sympathy for her unlikable character in the beginning. I am looking forward to how this life changing disability will affect her and how she will grow from it. Plus, I also hope she does not give up piano. More so, I am interested in how Ji Soo’s character will affect her outlook on life as well as how she will tutor him. I adore Ji Soo and his mom’s relationship in the drama. It is a high contrast from So Hyun’s and her mom’s relationship. Ji Soo’s bond depends on communication while So Hyun had repressed all her own opinions. And finally we have Jin Mok, who feels like the third leg into a probable love triangle here. I wonder if he will be able to infuse feeling into his piano playing after interacting with the new blind Yoo Seul. You know that the line between love and hate is really thin, right? We can already see that he doesn’t “really” harbor ill feelings towards his rival. He just wants her to be nicer, and now he feels extra guilty for what has happened. I am actually sad that this lovely set up will only be 3 episodes long!

Year End Special: Growing Pains

Talent from toddler to teens! I’m so used to seeing these actors playing child versions of adults in my favorite dramas. However, these youngins’ are grown up fast and are now leading men and women in their own dramas! Here are 5 of my favorite child actors that have matured into amazing young adults (teens).

Yeo Jin Gu (18yrs) – Uniquely known by his mature deep voice paired to such a young age and face, he started acting back in 2005. He is commonly paired with Kim Yoo Jung as a child actor for saquek dramas. Furthermore, at such a young age, he has played many difficult roles that require heavy angsting and crying. He has become such a master at these broody roles and has progressed to lead roles now as a young adult. Most memorable performances for me are in The Moon Embraces Sun and I Miss You as the childhood version of the adults and Hwayi, the movie, as a lead role.

Dramas: 16 / Movies: 14

Continue reading

Who Are You? School 2015: Who Am I?

wech4

I’ve always loved a doppleganger switcheroo trope and the secrets in the this show are keeping me interested for sure! The show is about Eun-Bi and Eun-Byul, a pair of separated twins who cannot be leading more different lives. Eun-Bi lives at an orphanage and is like a mother to all of the younger kids at the Love House. However, at school, she is viciously bullied around by a trio of girls led by the nasty So-Young. So-Young is an entitled transfer who gets pleasure out of torturing Eun-Bi for the reason of “just because”.

While Eun-Bi tries to stay positive, the school system is against her and does not help her, a child with no parents. Meanwhile, Eun-Byul lives with her adopted mother and is popular at school and loved deeply by her mother. Eun-Byul has a stand-offish personality and prefers mostly to keep to herself other than her other two popular buddies. She also has a tentative relationship with Han Yi-Han, a rookie but talented swimmer. He knew her when they were younger and its a mutual crush between them two even though she tried to cut off their relationship.

What is odd though is that Eun-Byul seems to know of her twin’s existence down to where she lives, but Eun-Bi has no idea she still has family left in the world. Eun-Byul would sometimes send gifts to her sister under her mother’s name. On a school field trip, Eun-Byul arrives at Eun-Bi’s town, intent on finding her. However, on the way, she seems to be bothered by a mysterious person who keeps on texting her threats. Judging by her conversations with her peers, Eun-Bi seems super stressed, exhausted, and threatened. Eventually, she goes missing, possibly kidnapped or a runaway.

Meanwhile, Eun-Bi is expelled from her high school for an incident that she did not cause, but got blamed on. She has had enough of suffering and decides to commit suicide off a bridge. However, we see that someone saved her, but we don’t know who it was. She ends up in a hospital, but WITH NO MEMORIES.

However, she was wearing a sweatshirt that Eun-Byul has one of too and Eun-Byul’s mother’s handkerchief. It is possible that her twin saved her and exchanged their lives for some reason. Eun-Bi now lives the life of Eun-Byul without knowing any better and only has minor flashbacks that she can’t decipher. Everyone notices her complete personlity change. Meaner forces are at work in this supposedly greener side of life. She seems to be set up to be a thief as a classmate implicates her for a jewelry robbery as they found the item in her school locker. Did Eun-Byul steal it, was she set up, but what an inconvenient time for no memories for poor Eun-Bi who can’t defend herself.

Continue reading