Solomon’s Perjury: Truth Trials

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Dark and thoughtful (with a dose of sociopathy), just the way I like them. Solomon’s Perjury is definitely reminiscent of White Christmas, the short little series a few years ago that broke out a lot of popular actors today including Kim Woo Bin, Kim Young Kwang, Lee Soo Hyuk, Sung Joon, and Hong Jong-Hyun, just to name a few. I hope that Solomon will also highlight the new generation of acting talent by featuring some not as trendy popular actors/actresses. To get to the nitty gritty, Solomon is about high school students taking a death investigation into their own hands to uncover the truth for which the parents seem to be wanting to cover up.  In the beginning of the drama, we meet So Woo, a quiet young kid who got into a fight with the school bully, Choi Woo-hyuk. Choi Woo-Hyuk nearly kills So-Woo during the fight, but everyone is to afraid to speak up. It’s beacuase Choi’s father also happened to be extremely powerful in society and whoever crossed his family ended always up squashed. With Choi’s family pressuring So Woo to admit that he instigated the fight, So Woo decided to quit school instead. However, it is hinted that So Woo has knowledge of another of the Choi family’s weaknesses and was in a shaky spot regardless. Unfortunately a few weeks later, his body is found in front of the school, buried in the snow. Two students, Seo Yeon and Joon Young are the first ones to discover the body of their classmate. While the police and school hurry to close the case as a suicide, the circumstances of his death were a little suspicious. Both Seo Yeon and Joon Young are traumatized by this event and ended up bonding over the situation. Joon Young’s life at home has also been hard due to his abusive mother and he had contemplated ending his life at one point as well. However, with Seo Yoen’s support, he decides to keep on enduring. One day, a letter is delivered to Seo Yeon’s house because her father is a detective who was on this case. The letter accused Choi Woo Hyuk and his cronies of pushing So Woo to his death, making the case now a violent homicide instead of a suicide. Of course this spurs on more rumors in the school and this opens the investigation back up to the consternation of the school and Choi family. To the students, it seemed that the adults were doing a slipshod investigation and they want to find the real truth. Fortunately, at this school, an anonymous person called the Watchman seemed to take interest in spurring the student population in opening up their own investigation.

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Nightmare Teacher: Soul Contract

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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).

Pluto: Rabbit Hunting

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Pluto is a movie about the academic pressure of getting into a SKY university in Korea. At this particular school, such cutthroat competition is created that it begins to turn young adults into budding psychopaths. It is a deeply dark and disturbing movie to which young adults who watched it ended up connecting with it on a basic level. The drama tells the story through the eyes of June, who is a recent transfer and genius in science. He is particularly interested in astronomy and has written a thesis on why Pluto, an outlier, should be a planet in the solar system.Even though he was in the top 1% of his last school, he is in the lower end of the class in his new school. Often he is envious of the top 10 students in his grade and how they have special privileges and classes. They pass around a notebook that seems to help improve their grades. June wants to be in this special club and Yujin, the leader of the club says he has to perform special missions in order to be one of them. They call this process Rabbit Hunting. Rabbit Hunting, at first, seems like your general high school bullying, but it has a more sinister aura to it. The missions become more dangerous, bordering on assault and sexual harassment. While Yujin tries to regulate the missions to his best ability due to his past guilt, it is the second in command who enjoys such pleasures. Unfortunately, June participates in these missions just so he can improve his grades and ranking. However, as he is engrossed in such activities, he develops characteristics of a psychopath himself. The turning point comes when Yujin becomes the victim of one of their plots and is murdered by the club. The club members try to blame it on June. June is jolted back into moral reality and ends up trying to bring justice to the group members. As the group members have rich and powerful parents, he thinks that the law force will be of no use. Thus he is taking this into his own hands and forcing the members to perform the missions that he did before. He blackmails them and threatens their life with homemade bombs (that they had originally made him concoct for a mission). On the day of the solar eclipse is when everything comes to a head and June will smite the club with his hand of justice.

I definitely enjoy psychological thrillers and this movie had a White Christmas aura about it. Are monsters born or molded by society? Clearly, the intense academic pressure has twisted these young adults so much that they are willing to do anything to beat out the other person. Yujin played by Sung Joon is the ultimate broody leader who develops somewhat of a conscious after a previous tragedy caused by the club. Sung Joon does dark and brood very well, taking his White Christmas character to the next level. Meanwhile June’s transformation is definitely interesting and frightening to watch as he goes from the timid meek boy to bringing of justice. Pluto is definitely a movie that tries to bring into focus the tribulations of young adults.

Moorim School: X-Men Style

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To be honest, I came into Moorim School with pretty low expectations. While I do enjoy my “school” dramas, the premise didn’t sound too enticing. I am pleasantly surprised by how much I am looking forward to this bag of mixed tricks. Moorim School follows students from different walks of life who end up at this special institute where academics are taught in addition to martial arts (and supernatural abilities). We are introduced to Shi-Woo, top kpop idol star, who is starting to have hearing problems that he can’t find a cause for. These episodes of ringing in his ears are debilitating and pain for him. During one of his concerts, the overhead lights malfunctioned and started to drop. However, somehow he was able to slow the dropping through a possibly mystical force that he possessed. In this confusion, Sun-A, a girl who goes to Moorim School and admires Shi-Woo manages to save him from being crushed and tells him to go find her school. While Shi-Woo’s company tries to cut Shi Woo out because of his disability, Soon-Duk (another student of Moorim), manages to entangle herself in a scandal misunderstanding. This scandal brings down Shi-Woo’s career as a singer completely. Our third main player, Chi-Ang, a young chaebol (out of wedlock) coming from China is forced to go Moorim as he had dropped out of 22 other institutes. He butts heads with Shi-Woo on his first day back as his father is the one sponsoring the concert. They are both arrogant and hate each other on site. On his way to the school, he tries to run away and manages to almost drown himself. Soon-Duk manages to save him as well and he becomes infatuated with her. Somehow as Shi-Woo and Chi-Ang again cross paths on their way to the institute, their playground brawl sends them tumbling into a seal that had kept the school hidden. One or both of them were able to unlock the seal which garners the interest of the professors at the school. However, both of these new student have a hard time adjusting to their new environment. Which of course, ultimately ending in another brawl with a surprising showcase of their own hidden martial arts skills.

Even though I really want to continue the drama, the director has to figure out where he wants to go with it. I am feeling a mixed bag of thriller, mystery, supernatural, and romcom! It feels like each character is playing in a different series right now. With Soon-Duk doing some slapstick, Chi-Ang featuring in a romcom, and Shi-Woo angsting away. Counter this all with everyone being a school drama piece. I know we are only two episodes in so hopefully the director will find some stable ground soon. What really drew me in was that nicely choreographed fight scene at the end of episode two! How mysterious that both of them are already so versed in martial arts! Their past also seem to be entangled as with their future.

Year End Special: Let’s Go to School!

High school/college could have been the times of our lives or the depths of hell. Now that I am finally finished with both, it’s an odd feeling to be reminiscing about those experiences. This year brought a barrage of school related dramas and whole bunch of feels. Just how I like them.

Geography Class: School 2015: Who Are You?

Part of the famous “School” series, “2015” tries out the long lost twin sister game. Separated by just a few towns over, these girls encounter countless obstacles preventing their reconciliation. However, they have one common factor, a villainous bully who can’t wait to wrap her arms around both girls’ necks. This bully who seem to have no morals and that we would love to see her eyes get poked out. Lukily, we get to see an awesome transformation from a once meek twin to one who’s heart seems to be made of ice. Well, revenge is always best served cold…with a warm Sungjae smile on the side! Whispers: and let’s all agree that the writers messed up the ending when the OTP proportions were already on point for 15/16 episodes.

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Sassy Go Go! : Cheering Me Up!

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I came in with low expectations as I’ve watched several school dramas this year and wasn’t sure if another one would keep me interested. I am most definitely glad I took this one up! This drama is breezy with a dose of teenage angst. While the story and themes are not new, it is the characters that make up the heart of this piece. This drama focuses on two rival groups at Sae Bit High. The White Tigers which consist of the top 5% of the school are intelligent, smart and have wealthy parents to back them up or storm up the school. They receive all the resources of the school. Meanwhile, Real King consists of students who are less intelligent than the rest of their peers and are more focused on friendships and dancing instead of academics.

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Queen’s Classroom – Reality Check

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The Queen’s Classroom

With the ages of the cast falling mostly under 15 or so, it may not seem like an appealing drama at first. Even as a fan of school dramas, I found Queen’s Classroom to be an outlier in terms of focus and was iffy about watching it. However, my curiosity had stemmed from raving reviews of the Japanese version and so I decided to check out the Korean version just for a taste. It was and wasn’t what I expected. In this drama, there is a teacher who seems bitterly cold and cruel on the outside to her middle school class. The kids name Teacher Ma as the “Witch” as she harshly rules her classroom based on grade discrimination. For her, the better grades you get, the better she treats you and the more privileges you get. The worse and weaker you are, the more she picks on you. Knowledge and power are everything while friendships mean nothing. For a kid in middle school, it must seem like the end of the world with each difficult situation they are put through. However difficult she may seem, it seems she lives by the philosophy of tough love. She values practicality and teaching the kids about facing reality. The more she picks on the weaker kids of the class, the more she cares about toughening them up to face reality. Her classroom is basically a simulation for future society where there is most definitely discrimination based on power, money and knowledge. Furthermore, she is also hiding a dark past to which known of the kids or staff know about.

After marathoning 8 episodes, I still have not cracked the mystery as to why Teacher Ma acts the way she does. It seems as if she teaches the reverse of the other “usual” teachers. Other teachers care more about being “nice”, “well-liked”, and “democracy”. She does not coddle her students and treats them as society would treat them. Is this a better way to teach? I do not know. I have had one teacher like this in high school who took no nonsense, but not to the extremes that Teacher Ma does. Am I better for it? In the long run, I believe it did me well. Society is not going to smile at me and pat me on the back for each little thing. Even in the news these past few months, articles have come out discussing whether schools have been coddling the minds of young adults with certain subjects and bending to the wills of parents.

As for these children, they are at an age of being moldable and going through puberty. It is vital that the right lessons be installed in them. They are on the brink of becoming independent from their parents and maturing into young adults. Is it too young for these lessons or should these children be raised with more “love”? Teacher Ma seems to feel that it is better to endure these lessons now than to be shocked with disappointments later.

While I appreciate the drama for the lessons it teaches, and the great acting from its younger cast, I am not sure if I am going to finish it just yet. It is one of the those dramas that do not have a huge climax, but just a well written plot that teaches great life lessons in each episode. However, the curiosity of Teacher Ma’s dark past may just keep me going back!