Sunday, December 28, 2014

Korean Drama Year End Review 2014

I have pondered to write year end review since last year but just didn’t know where to start from. I take notes from many year end reviews from blogs like dramabeans, Koala’s Playground and such and have read nearly every review on them. That should give me an idea how to do it right? I’m not even sure why I want to do it, but let’s just say I want to share my opinion and views about dramas I watched in 2014. Upon recounting each and every drama, I knew I didn’t watch as many drama as years before. I dropped so many shows even before halfway. On the other hand the show I watched mostly are my favorites. In my opinion overall this year has better and more watchable dramas than 2013, but the dropping percentage is also higher. Without further ado, here’s my year end review for each network in South Korea.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drama Review: My Lovely Girl (2014)

Korean Title: 내겐 너무 사랑스러운 그녀
English Title(s): My Lovely Girl, Too Lovely Girl For Me, She’s So Lovable
Rating: 6/10
Main Cast:
Rain as Lee Hyun Wook
Krystal as Yoon Se Na
INFINITE’s L as Shi Woo
Cha Ye Ryun as Shin Hae Yoon

The Plot:
Lee Hyun Wook dated Yoon Se Na’s older sister for years but because an accident, her sister died and Hyun Wook was devastated. He closed himself from outside world, but his world changes after he meets Se Na, bright, cheerful and talented girl wanting to be a songwriter. Hyun Wook is sympathetic towards Se Na, wants to help her to reach her potential but instead they fall in love with each other.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Drama Review: It’s Okay It’s Love (2014)

Ratings: 7.5/10
Main Cast:
Jo In Sung as Jang Jae Yul
Gong Hyo Jin as Ji Hae Soo
Sung Dong Il as Jo Dong Min
Lee Kwang Soo as Park Soo Kwang
Jin Kyung as Lee Young Jin
Do Kyung Soo as Han Kang Woo

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Korea Drama Festival 2014 Nominations List

A new  and (relatively unknown) awards show is showing up this year, Korea Drama Festival 2014 or usually called KDF. Taken from Visit Korea website, The Korea Drama Festival, first started in 2006, is an event celebrating Korean dramas—loved not only by Koreans, but by people all around the world. I don’t know if it’s such prestigious and accountable award in Korea, but at least it include both cable and major networks shows. Though truth to be told, I’m left scratching my head at some nominations and you will wonder if South Korea only produces 10 shows or so during 2013-2014. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some nominations, my favorite to win, and most likely to win.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Empress Ki Fanarts

Empress Ki may has been so long passed and new dramas are gracing our days now. But I still miss this drama. For Empress Ki's viewers and fans, especially TaNyang (Ji Chang Wook-Ha Ji Won) shippers, here are some work of fan aka fan arts. Some are simply beautiful to look at.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Laments of Empress Ki’s (International) Viewers

I always love sageuk or korean historical drama. There’s something different in sageuk than the modern drama can’t capture. As readers may know, I really fell in love with Empress Ki, a sageuk about Goryeo-born woman who made her way to be Yuan Dynasty Empress. This drama is already ended months ago, but I still can’t let it go because it holds special place in my heart. Sadly, while I love this drama, there come laments and sorrows, especially for international viewers.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Actress’ Profile: Ha Ji Won

Ha Ji Won, dubbed as ‘Box Office Queen’, ‘Queen of Chemistry’, ‘Korean Angelina Jolie’ as well as recognized as One of The Most Beautiful Korean Actresses by her fans. She has impressive resume in both films and dramas, ranging from historical, action, romantic comedy, and melodrama genres. She never failed to impress both fans and critics and her hard-working character just highlighted what fans call her “amazing yeoja” or amazing woman. 

According to her profile in mydramalist, Ha Ji Won has acted in no less than 12 dramas and 21 movies. Many of her projects, if not all, are memorable and leaving deep impression to the viewers. 

Here I reviewed some of her projects that I watch:
1. Secret Garden (drama, 2010)
Probably the most famous project that done by Ha Ji Won until now. “Secret Garden” is very popular both domestically and internationally, even inspired some gags and parodies in Korea and beyond. Her chemistry with Hyun Bin is very palpable and sizzling. Her character, Gil Ra Im is a strong, independent stuntwoman makes it even more interesting. As a trademark from the writer, this drama is littered by skinships and unforgettable romantic scenes, like push up and foam kiss. Forget some illogical plots, just watch it for the chemistry between Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin will leave you satisfied. Many fans become shippers for the two and called the couple HyunWon Couple, JB or Amazing Couple.

2. King 2 Hearts (drama, 2012)
Ha Ji Won played as Kim Hang Ah here, special service agent from North Korea that end up marrying South Korean prince, played by Lee Seung Gi. As always, Ha Ji Won showed her feistiness, badassery, amazing action skills that will wowed the viewers. Her North Korean accent is quite funny and cute but as the story progressed she was no longer the badass woman, she needed to remind her position and become damsel in distress in the second half of the drama. Still, the drama itself is pretty good and received good reviews although it’s not doing well in terms of ratings in South Korean because of the sensitive issue.

3. As One (movie, 2012)
A movie about sport, table tennis in particular, and this movie is what make me a fan of HJW. A very good movie based on true story about United Korean team in Table Tennis World Championship 1991. I really love her hard work that makes the movie believable eventhough she never plays table tennis before. Besides, I also love her chemistry with co-star Bae Doo Na. Together, they set fire on this movie and I was glued to my screen watching two actresses acting. She really embodied athlete Hyun Jung Hwa, her character in the movie as I imagine she’s the real athlete herself.
Ha Ji Won as Hyun Jung Hwa in As One
4. Hwang Jin Yi (drama, 2006)
If As One made me love Ha Ji Won, this drama made me hate her and her character. Actually, objectively Hwang Jin Yi is a good drama. It has great directing, cinematography, acting, and the clothes are so beautiful. But personally, I hate the drama. I hate the plot and the characters. I hate the writer for making male lead Kim Jae Won that played Kim Jung Han character so pathetic and pitiful. Ha Ji Won’s character is also really difficult to relate to. Most of the time, she acted as cryptic character that I basically can’t understand her actions because I don’t know what she feel and what she think. Although I hate the drama, I really love to talk about this drama because there are so many interesting aspects. It touches arts, gender, and feminism in Joseon era. 
Ha Ji Won as Hwang Jin Yi
5. 100 Days With Mr. Arrogant (movie, 2004)
To wash away my disappointment with “Hwang Jin Yi”, I watched this movie right away finished the drama. It also starred Ha Ji Won and Kim Jae Won as in Hwang Jin Yi. For me this movie is like reincarnated story of Hwang Jin Yi and Kim Jung Han. Thanks God, it’s romcom, light and funny. Although Ha Ji Won’s character, Kang Ha Young sometimes irritating and stupid, it’s no different than many heroines in Asian dramas so I can stand her.  Played as highschooler when she’s 26 in real life, requires suspension of disbelief from viewers. At least, Ha Ji Won makes it work with her childish and innocent character. The ending doesn’t disappoint me either for the reincarnated story of Hwang Jin Yi.

6. Empress Ki (drama, 2013-2014)
Ha Ji Won’s latest drama, a romance action political sageuk that become hit and makes it one of the highest rated dramas in year 2013 and 2014. With 51 episodes, Empress Ki is pretty solid from the beginning although the plots become murky and shaky in the second half of the drama. Ha Ji Won is commanding as Ki Seung Nyang, a Goryeo-born woman who becomes concubine and eventually empress in Yuan Dynasty.  Her chemistry with co-stars, Ji Chang Wook and Joo Jin Mo is nothing short of amazing. In the last few episodes, even Jin Yi Han that played Tal Tal character got the chance to showcase his chemistry with Ha Ji Won. Empress Ki also showed acting ranges of Ha Ji Won, from boyish girl, to fearless servant, to the mother of two sons and Emperor’s wife.
Ha Ji Won in Empress Ki
That’s a few dramas and movies that I select to review Ha Ji Won’s career and acting. Having starred in many hit dramas and movies, Ha Ji Won received many acting and numerous other recognitions. Not only that, Ha Ji Won also starred in numerous MVs, CFs, act as cultural ambassador, and many other activities.

As an actress, Ha Ji Won displays very rare ability in an actor. She shines in all genres, whether it’s period or melodramas, whether it’s action or comedy. It’s quite surprising she never do a medical drama until now considering she has acted in every genre. She also makes her co-star shines alongside her. It’s the case of Hyun Bin in Secret Garden, Lee Seung Gi in King 2 Hearts, and Ji Chang Wook in Empress Ki. Her co-stars tend to perform better and have adequate and sometimes explosive chemistry with her. On the other hand, Ha Ji Won’s acting still lacks something. She tends to play cold-hearted woman and cryptic characters. Her characters in Hwang Jin Yi and Empress Ki are the best example. It’s really hard to connect to the character and follow her logic if we don’t know what she’s actually thinking and feeling. Acting needs subtlety and expressions changes, but Ha Ji Won’s acting is still less subtle and when she plays poker face, we know almost nothing because her expressions not tell us anything. It sometimes leaves me cold to her character. However, it’s just her characters in dramas or movies that troubled me. I really love her in variety shows and from the glimpses of her real life via interviews, etc she’s really a funny woman that always makes me laugh. She literally just laughs at anything every time. That’s what makes me love her. Ha Ji Won, amazing woman!


Profil Aktor: Ji Chang Wook

Halo, chingu!! Annyeong haseyo yeoreobun!!
Tak lengkap blog ini tanpa profil Ji Chang Wook. Maka hari ini saya akan bahas profil Ji Chang Wook. Cekidot!

Nama: Ji Chang-Wook
Hangul: 지창욱
Tanggal lahir: July 5, 1987
Tempat Lahir: Anyang, Korea Selatan
Tinggi: 180 cm
Twitter: @Jichangwook
DC Café: Dayrock

Ji Chang Wook, aktor Korea Selatan yang tampan menawan ini lahir tanggal 5 Juli 1987 (catet!). Dia lahir di Anyang yang juga merupakan kota kelahiran aktor Cha Seung Won dan penyanyi Kim Jong Kook. Ji Chang Wook adalah anak tunggal dan ayahnya sudah meninggal ketika ia berusia 11 tahun (*sobs*). Semasa kecil, ia tinggal bersama ibu dan 2 bibinya. Sedangkan saat ini ia tinggal berdua bersama ibunya di rumah barunya di Gangnam, Seoul. Dia juga punya banyak cita-cita, seperti ingin menjadi hakim, pengacara, polisi, guru, dll tapi akhirnya ia berpikir realistis dan menyukai apa yang dikerjakannya selama ini. Selama bersekolah, ia selalu masuk sekolah khusus pria jadi ia hanya memiliki sedikit teman wanita. Tapi bukan berarti dia nggak pacaran, dia pernah mengaku bahwa dia pertama kali pacaran di SMA. Waktu SMP, di sekolah Ji Chang Wook 50 siswa terbaik di sekolah akan diumumkan dan dipanggil ke depan kelas. Ji Chang Wook yang sebenarnya murid yang biasa-biasa saja jadi tertantang untuk membuktikan kemampuannya dengan belajar lebih giat. Akhirnya, dia juga masuk ke dalam 50 siswa terbaik dan itu membuatnya bangga (salut!).

Selepas SMA Ji Chang Wook masuk Dankook University di tahun 2006 dan mengambil jurusan Teater dan Film. FYI, Dankook  University juga merupakan almamater lawan mainnya di Empress Ki, Ha Ji Won. Ji Chang Wook lulus pada tahun 2012 lalu dan sekarang sedang mengambil S2. Ji Chang Wook menyukai musikal dan mengikuti beberapa audisi musikal dan melakukan pertunjukan di Daehakro. Salah satu teater yang dia mainkan mengambil inspirasi dari film “Match Point”. Gara-gara itu Ji Chang Wook mendapat panggilan Jonathan, yang diambil dari nama Jonathan Rhys-Myers, aktor film “Match Point”. 

Ji Chang Wook dulu berpikir bahwa menjadi aktor itu mudah dan memiliki banyak uang. Hal itu menjadi alasan Ji Chang Wook ingin menjadi aktor. Namun, sekarang dia tahu bahwa pekerjaan aktor itu tidaklah mudah dan akan selalu mendapat sorotan. Walaupun sebenarnya ia ingin tampil apa adanya dan bersikap sama seperti ketika belum menjadi aktor terkenal. Saat ia tampil di musikal di Daehakro (area yang terkenal sebagai pusat kebudayaan dan teater, seperti East End di London), dia mendapat banyak masalah. Ia termasuk anggota termuda dan menjadi tertekan sehingga tidak bisa tampil lepas namun pada akhirnya ia berhasil mengatasi kesulitannya itu.
Ji Chang Wook saat bermain musikal The Days
Ji Chang Wook suka nonton film dan ia suka film thriller. Salah satu aktor favoritnya adalah Brad Pitt. Namun, ia sendiri jarang menonton film atau dramanya sendiri saat ditayangkan. Alasannya, kalau ia nonton dramanya sendiri , ia akan mengkritik dirinya sendiri dan tidak akan puas dengan penampilannya. Tahun 2008, ia tampil untuk pertama kalinya di film “Sleeping Beauty“. Kebetulan sutradara film itu adalah seniornya di kampus, Lee Hana. Ia juga pernah menjadi pemeran figuran di film “The Days” tahun 2006 karena lokasi syuting film itu di Dankook University. Lalu, ia bermain di drama “You Stole My Heart” tahun 2008. Tahun 2009, ia tampil di drama “Hero” sebagai Park Jung Hyung dan drama “Sons of Sol Pharmacy” sebagai maknae dari 4 bersaudara bernama Song Mi Poong.

Tahun 2010, ia main di film “Death Bell 2” yang juga dibintangi oleh Yoon Shi Yoon. Film yang bergenre thriller horror ini membuat nama Ji Chang Wook cukup terkenal karena karakternya yang psycho di film itu. Lalu tahun 2010-2011, Ji Chang Wook mendapat peran utama di drama harian “Smile, Donghae”. Karakternya yang bernama Donghae begitu terkenal di Korea, sampai-sampai banyak orang yang memanggilnya Donghae dan membuat rancu dengan Donghae Super Junior. Gara-gara perannya ini, Ji Chang Wook harus berlatih skating 4 jam setiap hari karena karakter Donghae adalah imigran dari AS yang juga merupakan atlet skating. 

Di tahun 2011, Ji Chang Wook tampil di drama sejarah (sageuk) pertamanya “Warrior Baek Dong Soo”. Ji Chang Wook memerankan tokoh sejarah Baek Dong Soo, pengawal Raja Jeongjo yang juga mengajarkan ilmu bela diri di Korea. Ji Chang Wook beradu akting dengan Yoo Seung Ho. Pada 2012 Ji Chang Wook tampil sebagai cameo di film “How to Use Guys with Secret Tips”. Namun, sampai saat ini juju raja, masih ga tau Ji Chang Wook muncul di bagian mana, karena setelah nonton film itu dengan seksama, masih belum nemu Ji Chang Wook juga. Di akhir tahun 2011-2012 Ji Chang Wook muncul di drama “Bachelor’s Vegetable Store”. Ji Chang Wook memerankan tokoh Han Tae Yang yang kisah hidupnya diadaptasi dari kisah nyata pemilik jaringan toko sayur di Korsel. 

Ji Chang Wook sebagai Yoo In Ha di Five Fingers
Tahun 2012, Ji Chang Wook juga muncul di drama “Five Fingers”. Ji Chang Wook memerankan tokoh antagonis bernama Yoo In Ha disini yang selalu iri dengan kakaknya karena ia selalu kalah dan kemampuannya bermain piano tidak sebaik kakaknya. Disini Ji Chang Wook main jadi chaebol dan antagonis di drama untuk pertama kalinya. Setalah itu, di awal tahun hingga pertengahan 2013 Ji Chang Wook lebih banyak bermain di musikal seperti “Jack The Ripper”, “The Days”, dan “Brothers Were Brave”.  Sebelumnya, Ji Chang Wook juga pernah bermain di musikal “Thrill Me” pada tahun 2010 bersama Kang Haneul dan tahun 2007 di musikal “Fire and Ice” selama ia masih kuliah.
Ji Chang Wook sebagai Daniel di Jack The Ripper
September 2013 Ji Chang Wook mendapat tawaran main di drama “Empress Ki”. Awalnya, peran Kaisar Ta Hwan/Huizong akan diberikan ke Jang Geun Suk atau Jo Hyun Jae, namun keduanya menolak. Akhirnya, Ji Chang Wook yang menerima peran itu. Di drama ini Ji Chang Wook beradu akting dengan 2 sunbae, Joo Jin Mo dan Ha Ji Won. Syuting pertamanya adalah adegan menunggang kuda dengan Ha Ji Won yang berlangsung selama 8 jam. Karakter Ta Hwan awalnya adalah penakut, bodoh, dan kekanak-kanakan, namun karakternya berubah sepanjang drama. Sepanjang drama ini, Ji Chang Wook menampilkan berbagai macam emosi dan ekspresi saat akting. Ji Chang Wook benar-benar memerankan karakter Ta Hwan dengan baik hingga ia menuai banyak pujian dari para fans dan kritikus.
Ji Chang Wook sebagai Ta Hwan di Empress Ki
Salah satu kelebihan utama Ji Chang Wook adalah kemampuannya dalam tersenyum dan menangis. Bahkan tim produksi “Smile, Donghae“ mengakui salah satu faktor yang membuat mereka memilih Ji Chang Wook sebagai pemeran Donghae adalah senyumannya (yang membuat meleleh). Lalu saat ia menangis, ia tak takut kelihatan jelek saat menangis dan benar-benar mencurahkan seluruh emosinya saat menangis. Harus diakui, Ji Chang Wook adalah salah satu dari 2 aktor Korea yang selalu bikin saya menangis juga saat ia menangis. Ji Chang Wook juga termasuk aktor yang menggunakan ekspresi wajahnya dengan baik saat berakting. Tidak hanya itu, Ji Chang Wook juga memiliki suara yang cukup enak didengar dan ia terkadang juga mengisi OST dramanya sendiri. Kemampuan akting Ji Chang Wook ini membuatnya meraih penghargaan, diantaranya Excellence Award, Actor in Daily Drama (Smile, Donghae) KBS Drama Awards 2011; New Star Award (Warrior Baek Dong Soo), SBS Drama Awards 2011; dan Excellence Award, Actor in Special Project Drama (Empress Ki) MBC Drama Awards 2013.

Selain itu, Ji Chang Wook juga tampil di berbagai MV, diantaranya MV T-Ara yang berjudul “Lovey Dovey” dan “Cry Cry”; MV Speed “That’s My Fault” dan “It’s Over”; K.Will “I Need You”; Younha “We Broke Up Today”; Young Gun “I Have To Let You Go”; KARA “Runaway”. FYI, MV KARA yang berjudul “Runaway” itu sebenarnya adalah trailer dari drama KARA berjudul “Secret Love”, namun karena personil KARA ada yang mengundurkan diri, drama “Secret Love” tidak jadi ditayangkan. Berkat kepopulerannya di Empress Ki, Ji Chang Wook mendapat banyak tawaran iklan seperti Northcape bersama Ha Ji Won, Cass Beer, AD HOC, Arpage, dll. Selanjutnya Ji Chang Wook akan bermain di film “Two Constables” yang akan syuting mulai Juni nanti. Selain itu, Ji Chang Wook juga masih harus menunaikan kewajiban wamil yang rencananya tahun depan akan ia laksanakan.

Sekian profil Ji Chang Wook kali ini. Salam!

Monday, May 5, 2014

(04.05.2014) MBC Section TV Empress Ki Special

There are 2 MBC video cuts I have. One is about Empress Ki in general and one is Ha Ji Won’s interview.
A Brief Summary of Empress Ki 

The first one here is a summary of drama “Empress Ki” or as the narrator said “Empress Ki Last Goodbye”. The video explains a lot of things below:
1. Empress Ki’s death row - whereas almost all characters get killed. Wang Yoo, Ta Hwan, Empress Dowager, Lord Zhang, Golta
2. Supporting characters
3. Love triangle among Wang Yoo – Seung Nyang – Ta Hwan
4. Three best lines in the drama:
3rd place: SN to TH: "The power of the emperor does not come from the nobles, but from the people"
2nd place: Tal Tal to SN: "Betrayal is not caused by man, but by time"
1st place: TH to SN: "When I first broke out of my shell, you were my mother bird!"
5. Empress Ki’s men: Wang Yoo, Ta Hwan, Tal Tal
6. Empress Ki BTS

Ha Ji Won Interview - rough translation (Kor-Chi) credit EK Baidu

I only get translations for related to Empress Ki drama.

Ha Ji Won is photographed then she moved to interview. She introduced herself.
The MC says Tahwan's gets jealous really easily, and wonders if he'll ever be able to interview him after what happened (referring to the MC positioning himself as a 'choice' for HJW).
HJW: Don't worry. I can take him down easily with just one hand [on his neck].

HJW mentions JJM's skills at imitating other people's voices, and his skill at always being able to make the atmosphere on set more lively. 
The MC then asks HJW about the three men in "Empress Ki" - 
HJW: I would like someone who is funny, has a great sense of humour and is sexy.
MC: Aren't I the perfect one then? *takes off sweater*
HJW: I like tall people (thus rejecting the MC). 
Side note: JYH and JCW's heights are listed as 1.80, according to Naver/Nate, JJM's unlisted but assumed to be 1.80 by most sites.

MC: When we talk about memorable pairings, Hyun Bin from the hugely popular Secret Garden is someone that must be mentioned.
HJW: At the time, my collaboration with HB was the best. Now, my collaboration with Ji Changwook-sshi and Joo Jinmo sunbae are the best.

Source: EK Soompi

MBC Changes Empress Ki Ending At the Rebroadcast

What’s crazier than dating an alien in dramaland? A drama changes its ending. Not once, but twice these past few weeks alone. First, there’s SBS God’s Gift 14 Days give viewers a special episode contained alternate ending. Not changing much, but a longer scenes and more satisfying one. Second, this week (4/5/2014) MBC Empress Ki changed the ending on the rebroadcast episode. Not just one or two minutes but almost five minutes of the final episode has been changed. It changed some of the storylines, narration, flashback, up until the last scene. 

We don’t know why MBC doing this? I know MBC’s crazy but I don’t know they would change the ending. Some source said that MBC and production staffs simply don’t have time to edit to a better version because they shoot until noon the day final episode aired. So as to not make everyone confused I will called it the rebroadcast version.
Okay, so what are the changes? According to fans in DC Empress Ki and Empress Ki forum here they are:
  1. Removed: Scene of SN changing into her black Koryo robes
  2. In the scene where SN orders troops to be sent to Koryo, King of Shenyang does not appear
  3. Added: scene of Jocham saying that Yeom Byeongsu is at the Koryo village
  4. Added: SN sits on the throne and bans the concubine tribute practice from Goryeo
  5. Added: About King Gongmin, Eunuch Bang brought him over to Yuan, introduced him to Ki, and she asked him to become the King of Goryeo.
  6. Removed: SN deliberating which horse to choose --> Changed to: SN riding with TH (no more WY)
  7. Added: Narration by Ayu (the voice of an older Ayu)
  8. Added: Coronation scene after the horse riding scene
  9. Changed: Ending epilogue text about King of Shenyang being killed
  10. Changed: ending still shots
From this:
Original ending shot
To this: 
Rebroadcast ending shot

What’s in Ayu and Seung Nyang's voiceover in horse-riding scene?
While they show the scene of TH and SN riding on the same horse, we hear a voiceover of Ayu talking to SN.
Ayu: "Mother, are you a Koryo person or a Yuan?"
SN: "Why do you ask that?"
Ayu: "The Koryo people say that you are a Yuan, but the Yuan people say that you are a Koryo person"
SN: "That is not important. I'm merely fighting for the sake of my people. Whatever happens, the people must always be protected"(then scene slowly fades to the coronation scene)

That’s quite many changes right? At least, in this ending, Seung Nyang is given the chance to rule as Empress and there’s clear explanation. No more love triangle, but the ending signify Seung Nyang journey as Empress Ki. It’s better ending in my opinion but of course MBC can’t hope to save the drama that aired its final episode a week ago. It’s just to paper over the cracks.

Source: EK Soompi, EK DC


EK rebroadcast version:
Torrent file: