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Hello, Me! Episode 1-4 Kdrama Review: What would the younger you say about the life you are currently living?

I’m back with a new review on this latest drama on Netflix! This drama really gets you thinking, what if the you from say, 10, 15, or 20 years ago were to show up in your life right now, would they feel proud or disappointed about the way your life has turned out? What if your life is the complete opposite of all the dreams and aspirations you had as a young teenager?

Ban Han Ni is a 37-year-old woman, she is single, and a part time worker at a grocery store. She’s not a cashier, or a stocker, she’s the woman who dresses up as a squid and tries to get people to try the product. She lives in Gangnam, but not because she’s wealthy, she lives in a room with her better off sister, and is practically her maid. Was this how Ban Han Ni imagined her life 20 years back? Far from it. Ban Han Ni from 20 years ago, was a happy 17-year-old girl, super popular, pretty, and charming. Her dream was to be a in a Kpop girl group, and she was extremely good at dancing. How did her life end up like this then?

We’re not sure what exactly happened in the past 20 years, all we know is that time changed her, and unfortunately not for the better. Time made her, timid, insecure, and depressed.

After losing her job, she finds herself in front of an oncoming bus, and out of desperation for her unhappy life, she doesn’t move away, she wishes to die, but she doesn’t. Instead, she wakes up in a hospital, and the patient next to her, is her! But the 17-year-old version. They both can’t believe it, and together try to figure out the reason why the past self is there, and how they can get her back to the past.

It’s definitely a drama with a similar theme as 13 Going on 30 (one of my favorites) but it’s also very different. It’s very endearing seeing the two versions of her together. The youthfulness that the 17-year-old brings to the 37-year-old is beautiful to watch. It really makes you meditate on how much we change through the years, as adults, we sometimes let the realities of life depress us, we allow our jobs and bad circumstances to rob the joy out of us, but is that how the younger versions of ourselves would have faced the challenges? Did time make us more wise, but also too anxious and unhappy?

In addition to meeting her younger self, she also meets a care free rich younger guy, who finds himself in a similar situation as her: Not knowing exactly what to do with their lives.

Han Yu Hyeon is the son of a rich family, a family who owns a large company. He’s also in his 30s and finds himself without a job, but not because he is a good for nothing bum! He actually has licenses for almost everything, and is a man of many acquired skills and interests, but nothing ever sticks. He’s constantly on the search for something new, afraid of commitment to some degree. His father keeps trying to find a way to make his son finally be responsible and settle down, so he takes away all his money, and makes him find a job.

It seems like the two, with the help of the 17-year-old Ban Ha Ni, will work together to change their situations and start living the life they always wanted but never had the courage to begin!

So far, it’s a very interesting drama, a little slow on some parts, and a little silly in others. However, it’s a good family drama, and I am sure it will have many valuable lessons, I hope it motivates me to finally start living before it’s too late and I find myself 37 years old working as a part time squid haha!

Where you can watch: Netflix!

Kdrama Reviews

Start-Up EP 11-12 Kdrama Review: Dosan vs Ji Pyeong

DRAMA ALERT!!!! These episodes were tough on our feelings weren’t they?

Emotional, heart-breaking, frustrating, angering. I think those were the feelings we all had watching this past weekends episodes. I don’t usually write blogs for later episodes of a drama, but I saw so much DRAMA going on in the AsianWiki comments for Start-Up! I don’t know if because this show was released on Netflix if it got a lot of new Kdrama fans but it seems people don’t understand how Kdramas are written. People don’t quite understand the first lead, second lead concept and are barely experiencing it for the very first time. Having been around watching dramas since 2012, and having seen second leads not get the girl for so long, has honestly made me numb to it. Newbies though, seem to be having a hard time accepting reality. I’m not here to criticize them though because I’ve been there. I’m here to talk about WHY Dosan is the lead and why Ji Pyeong is the second lead, and why it makes complete sense.

Our poor baby Ji Pyeong. He’s great, honestly I love the actor who plays him. If you failed to recognize his charms and potential in 100 Days My Prince, that was your loss! Sorry it took you guys this long! But he’s great, definitely been on my radar and I hope he gets a good lead role soon, he’s cute, handsome, charming, funny…I can go on, I love him. HOWEVER, we are talking about Ji Pyeong, honestly the character is probably closer to my type, he’s smart, intellectual, stylish, straightforward, rich (haha!) but let’s be real, just because he’s my type doesn’t mean he is Dal Mi’s type. He’s a human being though, he has flaws. He’s arrogant, he’s a know it all, he’s cold, he lacks tact, he has no friends, he’s a workaholic. Our man isn’t perfect, he’s cute but he isn’t perfect.

Let’s talk about Dosan now.

In my case, I have not been a fan of Nam Joo Hyuk until now, he’s personally too playful and boyish looking to be my type but his character has really grown on me. Nam Do San, is not a prince, FAR FROM IT. He’s not a rich chaebol, he’s clumsy, he doesn’t have a way with words, he’s awkward, emotional. The complete opposite of who we are used to seeing as a male lead in dramas. He has both good qualities and bad ones. He’s a coding genius, he has a close tight knit group of friends (which means he’s a good friend if he’s been able to keep them) he’s kind, he’s learned to be honest, he’s not selfish, he cares about the feelings of others. He’s not perfect though, just like Ji Pyeong he has human like flaws. He’s a bit slow, he lacks ambition, he lacks confidence, he doesn’t control his anger well, he’s an overly emotional guy, he has too many insecurities.

However, the question is, which guy is the right one for DAL MI. Not for me, not for you, but for the character of this drama and honestly, she’s definitely formed a bond and connection with the real Nam Do San.

Ji Pyeong didn’t even like Dal Mi! Not 15 years ago, and not at the start of the drama. He wrote those letters in exchange of Won Deok’s approval. Ji Pyeong’s character doesn’t need romantic love, he needs familial love. He grew up without feeling that type of love, and for him the most important person in his life has always been Won Deok, Dal Mi’s grandma. She showed him love, and care, and warmth. If he’s even a little bit human it’s because of her act of kindness. However, had he not crossed paths with Won Deok again, he would have remained ice cold, blunt, and friendless.

Dosan in a way is the opposite. He grew up with a family, a loving family, but with a toxic father. His father always shoving his own dreams into Dosan’s head from an early age, as an only child, all the attention went to him. What Dosan’s character needs, is not familial love, he has plenty, it’s not love from his friends, because he has plenty of that too, but rather love and support from someone who truly likes him for who he is, who will be there cheering him on, not because they are family and they must be there for him, not friends, but a romantic love, that shares the same dreams as him. He fell for Dal Mi because of her support for his dreams, her ambition, her confidence, everything he’s not.

Dal Mi on the other hand had been in love with a fictional character basically for 15 years. Nam Do San from 15 years ago that she was penpals with did not exist. It was a made up character written by Won Deok and Ji Pyeong. Though some of his feelings were expressed in the letters, he wrote those letters as his duty to Won Deok, had he really had feelings for Dal Mi back then, he would have introduce himself. He could have looked for her too all this time, and he didn’t. Had he also met Dal Mi as the girl working part time at a coffee shop, he honestly wouldn’t have fallen for her. He fell in love with the girl she was becoming once she gained confidence from Do San. Dal Mi got the courage to follow her dreams again after meeting Do San and becoming inspired by him starting up his own business. Had she not shown her awesome creativity and intelligence by becoming a CEO for SamSan Tech, he wouldn’t have ever been attracted to her because she wasn’t at his level.

AGAIN, I love Ji Pyeong, he’s just so mature, while Do San is young and inexperienced, so naturally, we find ourselves rooting for the handsome, mature man, but Dal Mi is young and inexperienced too. She finds herself most comfortable being casual, vulnerable, learning and making mistakes, with Do San.

There’s no doubt that Ji Pyeong’s letters, helped her, gave her a friend when she needed one the most, but right now, who she’s come to love is Dosan. He’s her best friend, her partner, her inspiration. That’s why they make sense.

ALL I WANT NOW IS FOR ALL OF THEM TO BE HAPPY. Yes, all of them, In Jae too. I can’t wait to see how the last 4 episodes unfold. Regardless of who ends ups with who, I care more about them all reaching their dreams, to see their hard work finally pay off. To see them all happy as friends, successful, and still dreaming on.

If this drama ends well, I think it will be in my TOP 10 list of favorite dramas of all time. Let’s hope it all does work out in the end!! Until then…

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It’s Okay To Not Be Okay EP 3-4 Review: Yearning For Warmth and Just To Be Loved

Who doesn’t want to be loved? To be held, to be told one matters?

These two episodes touched on the fact that sometimes people just desperately want warmth and love from others. Honestly it was sad watching all our characters from that lens. This weeks episodes started out with Ko Moon Young returning to her hometown, returning to her old home, “the cursed castle”. She also very openly expressed her new found obsession, Kang Tae. I mean she was willing to return to her hometown and even to the nursing home her father lives in, just to be able to spend some time with Kang Tae.

We learned that she is much more unstable mentally than we initially thought. Her personality really is all over the place, and it’s hard to figure her out, one moment she is doing reckless things, like almost running Kang Tae over when he tried to stop her from running away with a patient, and then other moments she’s actually doing things to help others out.

On the other hand, the second lead female character, she confuses me and scares me even more than Ko Moon Young. Nam Joo Ri honestly feels more evil and reckless than Moon Young, it’s the little things she does. Her small forced smile, the anger she’s holding back, the way she appears a good person, but you never really actually see her doing anything good. The fact that she’s never really happy and envies Ko Moon Young. It just scares me to wonder about what she is capable of. She’s for sure waiting to unleash her true self, I don’t believe her act for a second.

I mean look at her fake smile haha

We learned a little bit more about Ko Moon Young’s mother. I think she is the reason why Ko Moon Young might be the way she is. It appears that her mother might have hid her away for some time, and she definitely put negative thoughts into her head. The memories of her mother and the person she was still haunt her. We were shown a scene where she seems to remember her mother’s death, she’s standing outside of a basement room with a big door lock, and she holds the key, on the other side is her mother, dead. We aren’t really given many details more. My theory is that her mother used to lock her up there and perhaps one day, she locked her mother up instead and her mother committed suicide. She may feel guilty, thinking that she was the reason her mother died, perhaps that is also why her father calls her a monster and wanted to kill her, perhaps he blames her too.

One of the most touching scenes, was not even a real scene at all, it was Ko Moon Young’s dream. After dreaming about her wicked mother, telling her the story of Sleeping Beauty, and telling Ko Moon Young that she was cursed, and the only one that could break the curse was the prince, but that was IF her mother didn’t kill him first. She then see’s herself when she is younger, and she’s looking down at the water of some lake, a woman is in the water, and is asking her to save her. She just stands there, until she pops out of the water screaming: Save me! She “wakes up” in another dream, and she’s crying, finally revealing to us that she isn’t as tough as she leads on, she gets scared and frightened just like everyone. She then imagines Kang Tae, he’s sitting there by her side, he puts his hand on her shoulder. Surprised to see him there, she then sits up and he caresses her cheek. “Don’t cry” he tells her, and she leans into his touch and even smiles a little and then sheds a tear. It was so touching to me because her dreams reveal a lot about what she wishes would happen. How she’s probably been battling these nightmares alone, all the pain from her past, but now she even dreams that Kang Tae will be there by her side, to comfort her, to soothe her and love her. You wouldn’t even think Ko Moon Young in real life would ever even want anything of that sort, since she pretends to hate everyone and everything and only care about herself, she also leads on that she is completely okay, and healed, but she still has a lot of scars left to heal.

The patient from these episodes also demonstrates his yearning to be loved by his family. He is the son of an assembly man, who has been pushed aside by his family all his life, for not being smart, for not being like his siblings, for being slow, and having a mental illness. His mental illness makes him have manic episodes where he does reckless things, like get naked in front of people, spend tons of money, and run away. He admits later that all he wanted was attention. Thanks to Ko Moon Young “kidnapping” him, he is able to reveal to the world, and his family, how much hurt they have caused him and why he has been acting the way he has been. His mother finally for the first time, pays attention to him, though furious, she snaps at him and even slaps him, but he is happy. He is happy to be finally acknowledged by his mother, he has a realization and tells Kang Tae “My mom doesn’t hate me, she loves me like crazy”.

We also find out that Kang Tae didn’t get much love from his mother. He was always put into second place, his brother with autism always being the more important one to his mother. We are shown heart breaking scenes of him getting wet by the rain, as his mother only shares the umbrella with Sang Tae, and also only hugs him as they sleep. Leaving Kang Tae to wish for the love and warmth that his mother only demonstrates towards his older brother.

All of the themes of this week’s episodes are summarized in Moon Young’s book: Zombie Kid. A book that got banned from being released because of its grotesque nature and illustrations, however, the message is a special and unique one. The story of a boy who was born without any feelings, only the desire to eat, his mother, thinking she is protecting him, locks him away, and makes sure he is well fed by doing everything she can to provide him with all the livestock to eat. However an epidemic strikes and kills off all the animals and many of the people, so the surviving move away, the mom remains with her child and to satiate his hunger and not having any more animals to feed to him, gives her son her own legs and arms so that he won’t be hungry, all that is left of her is her torso. In her dying moments, her son embraces her and speaks for the first time and says: “Mom, you’re so warm”.

It’s heartbreaking how some parents waste themselves away, doing everything they can so that their children have everything, material wise, but they forget about the true needs of their kids, love and warmth and quality time. The poor boy in the book, yes his mother made sure he ate, but by locking him away, she deprived him of the one thing he needed which was her, his mother.

THIS DRAMA IS HEAVY. It’s dark and emotional, and not light at all. We still have so much left to learn about all the characters. I am interested in learning more about what exactly happened between Moon Young and Kang Tae in their childhood. What about you guys? Are you guys digging this drama, or are you put off by the dark topics and rather watch a more lighthearted drama for the summer? Let me know, I’m interested in hearing what everyone else is thinking about this new drama! As for me, I am ready for EP 5-6!

Kdrama Related News, Kdrama Reviews

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay EP 1-2 Review – Tim Burton Meets Kdrama World

MY GOODNESS!

Two incredibly strong first episodes! I don’t think I’ve watched a drama like this one in a long time.

Long hours were definitely put into creating this drama. The music, the way the storyline was introduced to us, the haunting Tim Burton-like animation, and visuals, it felt like I was watching a film!

Photo Source: https://ahgasewatchtv.com/2020/06/06/tvn-released-poster-of-upcoming-drama-with-kim-soo-hyun-and-seo-ye-ji/

The drama began telling us in animation form the story of a girl who lived in a castle, she was lonely and tried to make friends, but they were afraid of her and called her a “monster who brings along the shadow of death”. She ends up saving a boy from drowning, and he ends up following her around wherever she goes, for whatever reason, the shadow of death that followed her disappears after this. As if to test the boy and see if he will remain by her side, she ends up showing him her dark side: she rips the wings off of the butterflies. At seeing this, the boy becomes scared and leaves running. The girl is left alone again and the shadow of death returns telling her: “No one can ever stay by your side, because you’re a monster”. We are then shown the main character Ko Moon Young as the grown up version of the girl in this story and it is revealed to us that the shadow of death might be referring to her mother, since she replies “Yes, mother” to the words said to her by this shadow.

It’s a very interesting way of introducing us to the main character, she is a children’s book fairytale author, so it makes sense for her to tell us her story through a story. There’s still a lot of we don’t know about her, but one thing is for sure: She’s had a very rough and dark upbringing.

We are then introduced to our male lead, Moon Kang Tae and his older brother Sang Tae who has autism. Life hasn’t been easy for those two, it appears that Sang Tae can’t keep a job since “he’s too much to handle”. Sang Tae worries that Kang Tae might get upset at him for causing a scene and losing the job but we are quickly shown how much Kang Tae loves his brother, how forgiving and understanding he is too. He makes a living as a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital, he has many scars on his body from his long history of working with patients with psychiatric problems, but he seems to find his job fulfilling in some way, since he is good at it.

What brings these two characters together is one interesting encounter at Kang Tae’s workplace. Moon Young is sitting there in a clearly marked NO SMOKING area, smoking a very fancy cigar, waiting to read her book to the children at the psychiatric hospital. You can tell she’s not one to easily care about rules, and lacks consideration for others. She also has the habit of destroying beautiful things, as she plucks off the petals from a nearby flower shrub. I wondered if this reminded Kang Tae of the girl he once knew, or if he simply was very bothered by her smoking, but regardless of the reason, he approaches her and asks her to please stop smoking. They lock eyes, and for a moment they stare at each other as if they recognize one another. She then asks him if he believes in destiny and explains to him that “If someone shows up when you need them, you call that destiny”. The way these two look at each other is perfect, I feel the chemistry, the sadness and intrigue in their eyes.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am kind of in love with her character, she comes off at first as someone evil, mean, rude, and scary. Even her book at first, sounds like a book that isn’t meant for children since its so dark in nature, but by the time you reach the ending of the book, you come to realize, she’s not a bad person, children love her books because she encourages them, to face their fears, and grow from their trauma and past.

A scene I found interesting, was when the Nurse Nam Joo Ri shows up at her hotel asking for a signature to allow Moon Young’s father to receive a surgery he needs in order to live. The two seem to know each other from childhood, but seemed surprised to see each other (I wonder if Moon Young went by a different name before…) they talk about how they hadn’t seen each other in 20 years since she transferred schools. Moon Young says her father is dead, and then Nam Joo Ri begins to say “But your mother is alive…” and Moon Young interjects saying she registered her death a long time ago and claims to be an orphan. This leaves me wondering about what exactly happened to her family. Is her mother alive, or is she really dead? Did she have a bad relationship with both her parents? In the second episode, we find out that her mother was a writer herself, and is in fact dead and died suddenly…but then why did Joo Ri say she was alive? We also find out her father was a successful architect who went crazy. They keep blaming all the bad things that happened in her life on her.

These phrases about Moon Young were also mentioned throughout the first and second episode: “She was just born like that” and “That’s just how she was born”. I don’t think that’s the case though, if her father tried to murder her as a child, and if her mother died suddenly, and she had no friends growing up, I can understand why she is the way she is. People have shoved in her head that she isn’t worthy of good things in her life and happiness, that bad news follows her and they should stay away unless they want bad things to happen to them too. Makes me feel really sad for Moon Young, her children’s books help us understand that there is much more to her personality than just a mean, anti social, egotistic person. I cannot wait to see her transformation. It seems that Kang Tae really is someone good for her, I think they both can help each other heal from their past wounds.

One last thing to note from these two episodes: Butterflies (나비)

I still don’t know what that’s about, but if you guys have any theories, I am happy to hear them! All we know is that she used to rip the wings off of the butterflies, Kang Tae was horrified to see her do this when they were children, and Sang Tae has bad dreams about them because he claims a mysterious butterfly killed Sang Tae and Kang Tae’s mother. This honestly made me very sad since I love butterflies and we have been seeing a lot of monarch’s around SoCal this past month. I had a classmate who used to rip their wings too, back in the 1st grade. So this honestly brought back to mind some childhood trauma. I wonder what more significance these butterflies will have in the plot. I cannot wait for the next episodes, I really hope they are as detailed and wonderfully edited as these first two were. What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the first two episodes as much as I did, or did you find the drama to be slow? Let me know, I would love to hear what you guys thought about the premiere of: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay!

Where To Watch: Netflix

Kdrama Reviews

The King: Eternal Monarch Review – Why I Wish The Writer Would Have Written A Better Script

Ugh so much potential, this drama had so much potential! But oh well, what is done is done!

Lee Min Ho and I have a long history. He was actually the very first Kdrama male lead I EVER watched. Back in January of 2012 my cousin introduced me to my very first Kdrama: Boys Over Flowers. Gu Jun Pyo was definitely not the type of man I was used to crushing on, those curls were SO not my style and I thought his outfits were over the top.

I mean, look at him…

However, with time, I looked beyond it (haha) and ended up really liking Lee Min Ho and his acting!

When I heard Lee Min Ho was finally back from the military, and that he was going to star in a new drama, I was curious to see what type of project he had chosen. However to my disappointment, it wasn’t exactly anything new. Sorry Lee Min Ho!

Photo Source: https://programs.sbs.co.kr/drama/theking/main

I’m used to seeing him play very similar roles, and for once wished he would try something a little different. The King Eternal Monarch was a fantasy romance thriller, set in two parallel worlds, one being modern day Seoul in the Republic of Korea and the other in Busan in The Kingdom of Korea.

I don’t deny that the synopsis did seem intriguing at first but from the very first episode we were plagued with a hundred different things going on. We were introduced to our main characters and to the crossing of the barrier between the two worlds.

Let me tell you, a friend of mine from Singapore and I had been commenting on each episode after it came out, we couldn’t help but complain about how many plot twists there were and how we didn’t know how the writer could possibly resolve all the conflicts and answer all the questions by the end of this 16 episode drama.

In a very complicated way, the writer kept introducing us to new characters, people who existed in both worlds, so we were left sitting there trying to piece together who was who and with what purpose the villain, Lee Lim, had decided to take them from their original world and switch them to work for him in the parallel one.

I can’t deny that the visuals and cinematography were fantastic. However the editing in some parts was a bit choppy, I noticed that after the ratings were dropping, they must have either hired a new editor or put a sword to his throat because it suddenly got better, but by that time we were already half way through the drama.

The characters just felt so underdeveloped. Still wondering what Prime Minister Koo’s role was in this whole thing, I wish she had teamed up with Lee Lim and done something worthwhile but instead they made her go from a strong powerful woman, to simply thirsty for power, enough to kill her own double from the Republic of Korea. Lee Lim as well was one of the weakest villains ever. I would have liked more back story of his life, all we knew is that he was illegitimate, but what led him to becoming so thirty for the throne? The same with his previous relationship as uncle and nephew with Lee Gon.

Let’s not forget about the lack of chemistry between the leads. I don’t even blame them or their ability as actors, it was more the lousy script to blame. I’ve seen more chemistry between them off screen. I think only for like two episodes did I ever feel like the love between the two characters was genuine and real. I expected more emotions from them but the director too, didn’t do his part in guiding the actors.

Let’s talk about the good parts in this drama though, enough of the negativity.

My favorite part of this drama was discovering how different the parallel characters were from each other, take Yeong for example, in the Kingdom of Korea he was SUPER serious, very intelligent, well mannered, and stylish. Meanwhile his counterpart Eun Seop from Republic of Korea, was funny, goofy, lacking style and not the brightest tool in the shed. When the two met for the first time, it made for one very enjoyable hilarious scene. The actor who played both Yeong and Eun Seop definitely carried this show on this back, he was fresh, he was fun and honestly I wished he would have had more screen time.

I also enjoyed the Court Lady’s role, she was funny and caring, and also had a secret past, which I WISH would have been explored more. Again, I can’t help but be left wondering if this story would have been a better one in book form or in a full length film, but certainly the 16 episodes didn’t quite do it justice.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Episode 16 left me wishing the writer would have written a better script, because for once the drama seemed fun. I loved the idea of them visiting different time periods. I longed for a final episode where we actually got to see Eun Seop/Nari and Yeong/Seung Ha finally getting together and having at least one romantic scene but we didn’t. We also never saw Lee Ji Hun and his mom finally living a good life. There’s also other unanswered questions but what can we do now?

At the end of the day, this drama was enjoyable, but not overly memorable for me. I look forward to seeing them in other projects, and I know the writer will learn from her mistakes, because truly this could have been a better drama, it had all the potential.

My Rating: 3/5

SO LONG THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH! OFF TO MY NEXT KDRAMA ADVENTURE!