Believe it or not, I actually started writing reviews after I read a long verdict of The Princess Man by thefangirlverdict . I’m still trying out review styles but honestly thefangirlverdict does really detailed reviews, so much so you’ll be swooned by it. So today I chanced upon this liebster post by the sole writer of fangirlverdict and instead of a comment I shall write it up here.
Q1. For some people, kdrama literally saved their lives. What does kdrama mean to you?
It meant fusion of fantasy and reality to me, in which sometimes surfaced values in life which I had long forgotten about. Just like many others, I was touched, mesmerized and deeply inspired by many kdramas. From the seemingly shallow reason of killing time, to the mere curiosity of kdramas and even to sentimental reasons of how kdramas stirred up courage, hope and positive emotions within oneself, it is undeniable that kdramas had affected lives in a way or another. As for mine, it isn’t to the extent of saving my life, but in a way portray realities within fantasies with professional acting and skillful cinematography– which I thought was pretty magical. Kdramas brought me back to ancient times through sageuk dramas ( which I really love), witness the transformation of the past and present through time travel dramas, and of course experience fan girl moments through romance comedies. All of these emotions which was deemed impossible to feel in our mundane life had been dug up thoroughly through these myriad range of dramas. As for that, I am truly thankful
2. Which is your favorite comfort-food drama? Your go-to drama when everything feels bleargh and you just wanna feel better?
I have this habit of not returning to a drama after I’ve watched it once, probably feeling afraid that I will lose interest and love for it. However, if I were to choose one, I would pick Shining Inheritance, a 2009 drama starring Lee Seung Gi and Han Hyo Joo. It is a drama of life, in which showcases how people face adversities in life, how and why people stick to their decisions and values. It gives a very down-to-earth feel throughout the 28 episodes and I just could not have enough of it. Since the values portrayed in this drama is fairly relatable to people from all walks of life, I would strongly recommend this drama and of course is the drama I would return to when I feel like shit.
3. Who’s your favorite kdrama character and why?
The all-so-mighty Jjang Byun. ^^ I was hesitant between Jang Hye Sung of I Can Hear Your Voice and Go Eun Sung in Shining Inheritance. While one is a public defendant full of flaws and the latter is a down-to-earth girl with introspective thoughts, I became more inclined towards Hye Sung eventually. Every viewer can see that Hye Sung is a prideful woman, but her growth is equally significant. Amongst the noona romance and interesting court cases, I thought that her acknowledgment of her mistake in the twins case changed my view towards her. That I believe, was the show’s turning point and that made me watch out for this public defendant more than ever.
It is true that Eun Sang’s personality is admirable as well, but the show had portrayed her thoughts as part of her basic personality and focused more on the growth of Sun Woo Hwan (played by Lee Seung Gi). While I enjoyed watching Eun Sang’s influence on Woo Hwan, I was even more drawn towards Hye Sung who took off her egoistic mask and become a jjang byun ultimately. Though that growth of hers was filled with heartache, tears and laughter, it was filled with courage and faith. Admirable indeed.
When faced with an adversity, there’re people who will go through hell with you, but there remains people pulling you up to stand on both feet again. And cliche as it sounds, it is true that one only know who’s worthy and who’s not through such adversities in life. That I guess… is the good in the bad.
I am deeply thankful to that one who pulled me up with all his might and I would say that while circumstances forced me to grow, he was the one who pushed me on throughout. He was never once shaken by what was deemed as popular and stood by his choices and principles. And I gained courage because of this admirable personality.
Till today and 10, 20, 30 years later, I know I will not forget this gratitude of mine. And that is why, because of this very special character of his, it made the goodbyes, especially today, difficult and reluctant. Nonetheless, cheers to many more years of friendship! ^^
The door opened and mean words echoed in my ears. Fellow peers of mine were doing nothing out of the ordinary but the whispers among them made me wince instantly. And there she is, entering the classroom quietly with her head hung low, as if wanting to be a wallflower.
Throughout the day, I observed her subtly, watching for any signs of frailty. And then I pondered if I should take a step forward to talk to her. And then, I got hesitant.
” Will I become the next target of my peers?”
” Will I end up with no one alongside me?”
” Will I be able.. to withstand those words?”
As these thoughts echoed through my mind, I sat back at my seat with a heavy heart.
As soon as the bell goes off, I watched her got up from her seat quietly and walked out of the classroom quickly, as if not wanting any attention.
My heart sank even further. She is, or rather was, my best friend.
As night falls, mixed feelings were stirred up in my heart as I wondered if I made the right decision. I felt guilty for not standing up for her when mean words were thrown at her but again I wondered what would happen to me if I tried being a superhero. I would probably fail terribly at it, digging my own grave and having the same ending as her. I can’t be alone, or at least I don’t have the courage to. She must be feeling terrible but is me saying nothing at all doing more harm to her?
The next day at school, she walked past me and as I cast my worried eyes at her, she looked back with such cold eyes I’ve never seen before. It isn’t eyes of anger… it is eyes of disappointment.
And then I knew right then, that my decision was wrong, that I had made a mistake in my life, that I had just lost a friend.
Living in uncertainty is one of the most challenging times you can ever have. But good things do come from it. That struggle to figure out what you really want to do and what is good for you hardens your resolve over time. It can be horribly difficult, but in the long run being tested is one of the best things that can happen to you. It forces you to adapt and adjust to the circumstance. You can either rise to the challenge of crumble. Up to you completely.
I finished this drama just a month ago and though this post came kinda late, I thought it would be a good drama to review on. It has been ages since I was last hooked onto a drama so badly, such that I was desperate to find out the ending yet unwilling to sacrifice any bit of detail. For the first time of my life, I wished I was a lawyer (thankfully this thought ended alongside the drama) and this is enough proof of how amazing the cast executed their roles.
Following the hit drama Dream High, Park Hye-Ryun continued showcasing her flawless writing skills in I Can Hear Your Voice. The pace of the drama was at breakneck speed, such that events happen faster than I thought they would have. However, I loved how she managed to seamlessly insert relationships among all the intense drama that is taking place. Character growth was also present throughout but was only prominent during the last few episodes upon the confirmation of extension. Only then did the drama slowed down and focused on more heartfelt and relatable issues.
I was skeptical of this drama initially since I wasn’t a fan of noona romance but the ratings changed my mind and WALAHHH this is one drama which blew me away.
Characters (major spoiler) :
Lee Jong Suk played the role of Soo Ha, a 19 year old guy who can read people’s mind with a simple eye contact. Sounds freaky but just like he said “ there are people in this world with IQs of 200, and others who can run a hundred meters in nine seconds, and so I’m just special, not a monster” (quote taken from dramabeans), Soo-Ha is one unique guy. This ability of his probably started the ball rolling, signifying that this drama is no typical noona romance. This show is a great test on Lee Jong Suk’s acting skills for the reversal of Soo-Ha is nothing but extreme. From his initial noisy world, to him losing his ability and memories after a car accident (sounds cliche but in fact not), it showcased a seemingly powerful Soo Ha for he can see through lies, to a Soo Ha who is vulnerable and someone who has to decipher truths and lies. Not only that, lee Jong Suk has to balance the feeling of man-boy character till the last few episodes, displaying an array of complex emotions and expressions. I am ever so glad that he took upon this role and mannnnn he sure is one star to look out for!
From comic to sorry, to lost, to panic, to rage, we saw Soo Ha grew from a boy to man, one who dedicate his life to protect that special one.
Hye Sung was played by Lee Bo Young, who showcased a lady of strong personality. This was even more prominent after she became a public defendant, but it was this same personality which made her the heroine which so many viewers love. Pride and practical doesn’t go well with each other but this was the perfect combination executed by Lee Bo Young. While one can witness her walls breaking down upon the entry of grown up Soo Ha (she had a history with the kiddy Soo Ha which she desperately want to forget) into her life, her charisma and principles in life remain unchanged, especially so on court. However, her perfect image isn’t all that she is. The writer wasn’t hesitant in uncovering hye Sung’s weak side, including admitting for her mistakes as well as throwing away her pride to plead for justice. This character seems so real and it was no doubt I was so drawn towards Hye Sung throughout the 18 episodes.
If Choi Young Do ( played by Kim Woo Bin in The Heirs) is the scariest bully in school, then Min Joon Kook (played by Jung Woong In) must have been the creepiest killer I’ve seen. I mean look at this, who doesn’t get chills down their spine?!
I was so glad for the extension, for I felt that the slow yet intense unvieling of Min Joon Kook’s history with Soo Ha’s father made us view Min Joon Kook in a different light– well at least for me; that he is in fact a typical man who does all that he can to save his late wife’s life but utterly failed to; that he is a victim behind those evil smirks and chilling looks. But still, just like what Hye Sung said to Soo Ha “If you do (kill him), then all the reasons disappear—what a terrible person Min Joon-gook is, why we hated him—those things disappear. The moment we kill him, we cease to be victims, and just become murderers ” (quote taken from dramabeans)
Lee Dae Hee played the role of Seo Do Yeon in this drama and I really detest this awful character initially… till episode 6, where Do Yeon the prosecutor suggested a plan with a defendant regarding a twins case. However, that doesn’t change her arrogant and prideful character, until I reached episode 12 where Do Yeon spoke of her regretful past involving Hye Sung in her drunken state. With little character growth in the beginning, I was really glad the writer actually wrote a court case involving Do Yeon indirectly towards the end, tearing down her brave front as we watched her sob helplessly to Hye Sung. She sure is one interesting character to watch.
Another supporting role which I thought was crucial was Hye-Sung’s mum, played by the ‘Mum of South Korea’, Kim Hae Sook. From her standing up for Hye Sung to her cute dance when Hye Sung became a public defendant to her dying words for her daughter, she is someone who brought tears to my eyes and I was especially reluctant to see her go. Nevertheless, I thought it was a smart decision by the writer for the death of Hye Sung’s mum sure is impactful.
the best part:
Balance. The drama is mixed with life and death issues as well as a noona romance. Such seemingly impossible combination has been made amazingly possible in this drama. I love how the writer manipulated every court case to its maximum potential, both in the flow of drama, the links between cases as well as character growth. It amazes me how neat the whole story is displayed despite the myriad of events happening simultaneously.
Moreover, I love how the writer depicts the means of our main leads getting closer together, not through meaningless bickering but through serious court cases and the affectionate ways they cherish each other makes the whole drama heartwarming and addictive to watch.
I can surely say that this is one of the best dramas I’ve watched by far, given my willingness to read all the episode recaps before settling in to write this review. And finally… I’m done~!
Having watched several of Park Shin Hye’s dramas, I realized that I had left out one of her supposed hit dramas which aired in 2011, 2 years after You’re Beautiful was aired. Right from the start, the shadow of Shin Woo ( Yonghwa’s role in You’re Beautiful) kept haunting me and even up till the final scene, I felt that Heartstrings merely served as an epilogue from You’re Beautiful.
Disappointment is the word. Predictable is the reason. The opening scene wasn’t a BOOM straight away but the writer did attempt in inserting subtle hints regarding the personalities of the main characters. Lee Kyu Won having a trot song as her ringtone, Lee Shin’s relaxed yet poker face, in fact I thought that the mood was comfortable enough. Sadly, such careful writing trailed off towards the end, leading to nothing but a lazy and predictable plot.
Disappointment was up to the point where I was able to predict the lines of the actors/ actresses. This truly isn’t the way for a drama to receive high ratings. Though I thought the pace was pretty good right from the beginning, it started dwindling down from episode 7 onwards. Many a times, relationships often took a turn at wrong times/ scenes. It felt abrupt, nonsensical and seemingly superficial.
The overall ending was actually pretty good (though predictable) except for the final kiss scene. Unlike The Heirs, the writer for Heartstrings had a good grasp over all characters and gave them a relatively good wrap up. However, the final kiss scene seriously ruined the whole episode.
It was so stiff it felt like it was 2 friends kissing each other, let to say how uncomfortable it is to watch. Mind you, it’s 2 lovers finally acknowledging their need and love for each other after 1 year of breakup. Major major sigh. To add on, the attempt to let history repeat itself (halfway this time) at the ending sums up to one word— cliche.
Apart from that, I thought that the walk down the memory lane between Shin and Kyu Won was heartwarming though classic. The writer sure did keep the mood consistent throughout the drama. Cudos to that! ^^
Honestly, I think the best part of Heartstrings is the OST. From the insertion of appropriate songs into specific scenes to the songs prepared for the centennial performance, this is really one of the best OST I’ve heard. While it is probably my first time hearing Kang Min Hyuk (CN BLUE drummer) sing, he sure didn’t disappoint fans and viewers!
From the hesitant guy when it comes to love in You’re Beautiful to the seemingly cold and arrogant Shin in Heartstrings, he sure did loosen up quite a bit. There was obvious improvement in his acting but nevertheless I felt myself trapped between Shin and Shin Woo to and fro several times in Heartstrings.
That being said, I thought Yong Hwa did a pretty good job in uncovering the layers of his character. The scene where he rushed to the hospital upon receiving the news of his sister’s hospitalisation and his constant heartwarming visits to his dying fathershowed a completely different side of him. From a cool guitarist on stage to a devoted and warm person to the people he deeply cares about, Yong Hwa executed these sides of Shin without a sweat.
Similar to Yong Hwa, it seems like Park Shin Hye had yet to get over her role of Go Mi Nyu/Nam. Unveiling her layers are pretty much obvious the moment she toned down her cuteness to a more serious Kyu Won who became much more passionate in musicals and practices. Her expressions in such scenes truly live up to her title “Queen of Romance Comedy”.
Though Kang Min Hyuk took upon the role of Yeo Joon Hee as a supporting character, he sure plays a crucial role in maintaining the light-heartedness of the drama. With his naiveness as well as his never-ending ball of energy and faith, I found myself smiling at scenes featuring him.
Song Chang Eui played the role of Kim Suk Hyun, a director who returned from Broadway just in time to direct the centennial performance. As much as I love his character, I found myself confused many a times, especially when it comes to his feelings and attitude to Kyu Won. Is his biasness solely because he saw a rare talent in Kyu Won or that he might have romantic feelings for her? The clarification was only made clear in the 2nd last episode. Though the writer did clarify, I wish it was said much earlier for the focus of the drama shifted quite a bit due to that.
If you’re looking for a drama to kill your time, spazz about CN BLUE and occasional appearances of hot guys, or simply want to watch a typical romance comedy, this is the drama for you. That being said, it’s kinda sad to say that I wasn’t really hooked onto the drama ultimately.