Category: Unnie Recaps

Unnie Recap: Best Kdrama Heroines of 2019

2019 has been a great year for kdramas! From romcoms to mystery thrillers, a robot futuristic genre, to period/Joseon dynasty shows, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy😊 Not every show is fully relatable but there are aspects in each that make me excited to tune in for more.

This list is solely my opinion and subject to only the kdramas that I have selected to watch. Looking forward to meeting the new faces and villains who will conquer the 2020 kdrama landscape!

Top 5 Kdrama Heroines

1. Eun Dan Oh (Extraordinary You/Ha Roo found by Chance)

What if you found out that you were merely a comic book character and that you were just an extra whose life’s purpose was to serve the main character’s progression? Never the one to back down from a fight with destiny, Eun Dan Oh (Played by Kim Hye Yoon) is the #1 heroine in my list this year. Extraordinary You was such a relatable and fun korean drama to watch as the story mirrors our struggles with daily life as well. The story setting takes place in a high school where Dan Oh is fated with a terminally ill set-up and a fiancé who hates her guts. She didn’t want to steal the spotlight of the main character but rather, she just wanted to make her own decisions not planned by the writer.

Full of energy, persistent, and loyal, Kim Hye Yoon was outstanding in her role as Eun Dan Oh. Her character is living proof that you can carve your own path to happiness as long as you don’t give up. The fact that she was helped by her soulmate and friends further solidifies how influential and loved Dan Oh is. Extraordinary You also featured a great supporting cast (Baek Kyung, Do Hwa, Dried Squid) that made me root for them as well. Although there are set-ups in our lives that we cannot alter, we can still live out our best days by accepting this fact, learning to adjust, and appreciating the blessings we already have✨

Get hooked with Extraordinary You or if you’re done watching, check out my life lessons post for this wonderful show.

2. Goo Hae Ryung (Rookie Historian: Goo Hae Ryung)

A confident and smart woman ahead of her time, Rookie Historian: Goo Hae Ryung breathed new life into period kdramas. Putting the spotlight on the influence and power of women, this show tackled the fruition of women becoming historians for the 1st time in Joseon history. It emphasized the importance of being brave enough to tell the truth but at the same time being able to handle the consequences of one’s actions.

Hae Ryung wasn’t a role model by design but she slowly grew into one by learning from her mistakes. Of course, falling in love with the Crown Prince’s younger brother isn’t such a bad predicament to be in as well! This is Shin Se Kyung’s best korean drama for me because she was able to convey a range of emotions and a comedic side to her. With 40 episodes to spare, this kdrama is a treat for all romcom and drama addicts out there!

Read about my Rookie Historian: Goo Hae Ryung first impressions and if you want a detailed read of each episode, I also wrote a complete recap for your pleasure.

3. Jang Man Weol (Hotel Del Luna)

Feisty, beautiful, and hella badass, the only reason why Jang Man Weol is not higher in the list is because her character was made to thrive in a more supernatural setting. Hotel del Luna is a kdrama that focused on her being the owner of a hotel for the dead where they could do their unfinished business before proceeding to the afterlife. Man Weol had a lot of baggage against those who had scorned her and didn’t hesitate to get revenge. She also had money problems because she was always attracted to anything that would bring her money and fortune. Not all heroines are perfect of course but it’s these traits that made me rank her a little lower than Dan Oh and Hae Ryung.

With regard to the storytelling and character development aspect, Hotel del Luna gets a 5 star rating. There are misconceptions about the kdrama being “scary” (with the dead spirits and all) but don’t buy into that. It’s a visually entertaining and funny show with lots of emotional maturity and romance. Her perfect complement came in the form of Ku Chan Seong, the hotel’s only human manager and all around moral compass. Despite falling in love, Man Weol remained true to herself and didn’t change to be a friendlier or thriftier woman for him. She did learn to forgive and move forward with her life, and most importantly, love herself in the process🌙

Do check out my recommendation post for this korean drama and peruse my Hotel del Luna ending explained post after watching all 16 episodes!

4. Lee Yeon Seo (Angel’s Last Mission: Love)

Another tough and badass heroine, Angel’s Last Mission: Love was a beloved mid-year show for me. I remember being blown away by the 1st episode’s intensity and immediately wanted more! The male lead was an angel who was given a mission to help the female lead, Lee Yeon Seo, in finding love. Sounds easy enough right? Right off the 1st episode, Yeon Seo is a shell of her former prima ballerina life — blinded by a freak accident, alone in a big mansion without her parents, and cranky as hell, love is the last thing she could ever want in her life.

As much as this post is about heroines only, I do have to give credit to the leading man, Kim Dan (Played by actor L), as he brought out the fun and softer side of the show. He was the perfect complement to Yeon Seo for her to open up to other people and face her fears in becoming a ballerina again. Make it your mission to listen to Angel’s Last Mission: Love OST as the music elevated the show’s appeal even more🎵

Probably one of the hardest life lessons post I wrote, this is a must-read for everyone who needs some encouragement to not give up and keep fighting💪🏻

5. Yoon Se Ri (Crash Landing on You)

Taking the kdrama world by storm, Crash Landing on You is an ongoing show that collided with my romcom heart just a few weeks ago! The only reason why I couldn’t rank Se Ri higher is because there has only been a handful of episodes released and we don’t know her that well yet. Nevertheless, she made such a strong impression that it’s only fitting this kdrama made my top 5 list.

Getting stranded in North Korea due to a paragliding accident, Se Ri must figure out a way to go back to South Korea. As a successful CEO of her own company, Se Ri is a cheerful, confident, yet picky woman who has expensive tastes. She meets her love interest in North Korea, Captain Jeong Hyeok, as he aids her in getting back home. I was surprised that Se Ri had a dark period in her life as shown in a flashback (She contemplated suicide) so watching her character exude a lighter and happier aura is endearing. I’m ecstatic to see how she’ll eventually take over her dad’s business and how the aftermath of leaving Jeong Hyeok will impact both of them.

Read about my Crash Landing on You summary and find out why this kdrama will be your next TV addiction!


There are plenty of other great korean dramas that aired this year too so I hope you discover your own favorites❤️ We have a different kind of life compared to a kdrama heroine but surely the feelings and thoughts that we have coincide with theirs at one episode or another. As much as watching these shows makes me want to do better and live more fruitful days, I hope these same emotions influence your lives too.

Cheers to what has been and may you all have a blessed 2020 ahead🥂

Unnie Recap: Checking out of Hotel Del Luna (Final Episode) – Ending Explained

How do you say goodbye to someone you love? This is the lingering question that stays with you while watching Hotel Del Luna‘s last episode. There’s no shortage of tears as each of our main ghosts have to separate from each other, but knowing that they can finally go to the afterlife is an end that they all individually want and deserve😢 This reminded me of Goblin since it also touched upon reincarnation and star-crossed lovers but the approach of both shows is different.

I didn’t expect to love this kdrama, especially IU, she was so great here as the feisty and determined Jang Man Weol. Her RBF was on point anytime she would strut down the hotel halls or when she had a bone to pick with her enemies. Even though she was commanding and icy, her hard shell cracked open when she fell in love again and helped her friends find peace. Yeo Jin Goo was no doubt amazing here as well as he portrayed the loyal, hardworking, and forever good guy Ku Chan Seong.

Their chemistry as the show’s OTP was not sizzling and apparent at first; instead, it was a slow flame that grew and burned brightly into the night. Their playful banters, Chan Seong’s insistence to control Man Weol’s expenses, and how he didn’t try to change her but rather, was patient with her anger is a wholehearted kind of love that the kdrama illustrated perfectly.

Check out my first impressions post for Hotel del Luna if you’re interested in starting this kdrama (And you should!) 😊

A Bittersweet Farewell

Each and every one of our lovable staff left Earth with their unfinished business ticked off before the next full moon.

Mister Kim was able to prove his innocence for being known as a disgraceful scholar and was the 1st to leave the hotel. He may not have been able to clear his name as a historical figure, at least even in a novel, he was depicted as a noble man who studied hard and was able to write great literature.

Hyun Joong waited for his sister (Hyun Mi) to pass away so they can reunite and cross the bridge together. This was hard to watch as he had to finally say goodbye to Yu Na. Even if she was heartbroken about this, seeing him reunite with Hyun Mi was all she needed to let him go. It’s the plight of being the one left behind but I know that Yu Na will be able to live a good and happy life regardless.

Ms. Choi was the last one to leave as she talked with the girlfriend of the last heir of the Myeongju Yoon family. I envisioned an ending for her that the unborn child is a daughter so her resentment of the baby being able to carry the family line as a boy would finally be put to rest. But this conclusion to her story was much better. Ms. Choi realized that it doesn’t mater what the child’s gender is because he/she is the child of a loving mother that will do anything to protect him/her. She is able to let go of her burden and move on the afterlife.

Somewhere in Another Lifetime…

I believe that the the Ku Chan Seong and Jang Man Weol in this last scene is a version of them in another lifetime already. I did at first think that Chan Seong would meet a reincarnated Man Weol in the same lifetime, perhaps in New York, but she wouldn’t be the exact same person that he fell in love with so I don’t think that’s it. Their love story was always on borrowed time, but nothing short of magical. The voiceover of them talking about meeting again in the future is exactly what unfolds before us🌛

Letting go and honoring one’s happiness is such a major theme for this kdrama as it focused on the beauty of such an act. There was a chance for Man Weol to remain on the realm of the living when Yu Na gave her the wine that could make her into the owner of the new hotel. Chan Seong calmly answered that he wanted to be the last human steward for Man Weol and that extending her life once more wouldn’t make her truly happy. He was devastated to lose her, of course, but he wasn’t selfish to keep Man Weol from attaining peace after a long time of searching for it.

It’s not always about staying together to prove that you care for one another — choosing yourself (For Man Weol) and choosing to respect such a decision (Chan Seong) is the most profound kind of love that anyone can give.

Who is the next owner of Hotel Del Luna?

A cameo by Kim Soo Hyun was made to signify the new owner and a brand new Guest House of the Moon, or in this case, Hotel Blue Moon. He looks so hot here (hee😙) and the plot possibilities for a 2nd season are endless given the show’s success.

I hope they explore the idea next time since I read that there are no plans for the kdrama to extend a 2nd season just yet. But if that happens, can the leading male & female end up together in the present timeline?🙏🏻

***

I cried too with everyone’s parting, but to know that they are leaving with a fulfilled heart was the perfect send-off for them. There’s nothing wrong in being sad when we are separated from the person we care about — whether by mortality, distance, or some other reason, the hope that we’ll be able to meet again is a promise worth taking. If not for the other person, it’s a chance for us to build self-love and prioritize our own desires✨

Though we may not achieve all our unfulfilled desires (like the ghosts) or get everything we want, Hotel del Luna conveys to us that we’ll always find a way to live well after a parting — finding love, forgiveness, and a chance to start anew🌷

Unnie Recap: My First First Love 2 Ending

The wait is over! Netflix’s pre-produced kdrama, My First First Love, is back with its 2nd season as it ties up loose ends and neatly wraps up our gang’s current and yet to be explored chapters. I’ll be tackling the show’s love triangle as well (You know how much I love drama😜) and the series final moments.

Before I get to it, I just want to praise this kdrama’s cinematography because the scenes are so colorfully serene. I don’t know if there’s a term for this but it’s like a filter was used in filming which highlighted the setting’s colors. It gave a warm and pleasant feeling that made watching this show such a lighthearted treat💕 You’ll know what I mean when you watch the show!

Read my previous post about My First First Love‘s 1st season to get to know more about this kdrama’s plot and characters.

Let’s Catch Up!

Previously, Tae O and the gang went on a trip to unwind and get away from the city. He caught Do Hyun and Song Yi kissing near the pool and was shocked about their secret relationship. This season, he struggles to deal with his feelings for Song Yi while also managing the backlash he receives from Se Hyeon, the girl he is currently dating. Do Hyun and Song Yi are still happily together but as the episodes progress, we see glimpses of Song Yi’s attention habitually leaning to Tae O and Do Hyun’s increasing jealousy over their closeness.

Hoon ends up ratting out Ga Rin (because she ran away from home) to get a huge sum of money but he realizes his mistake and apologizes to her. He is still struggling to get a role as a musical theater actor but still pushes on with his goals. Ga Rin finds comfort in meeting other people and attends hobby workshops to fill up her time. She and Hoon eventually fall in love and get into a relationship.

My First Love Triangle

If you read my post about the show’s 1st season, you’d know that my heart went to Tae O over Do Hyun and my choice hasn’t changed. I stand by the notion that it’s almost impossible to just be friends with a person of the opposite sex because I think it’s natural to get attracted if you spend a considerable amount of time with them. With Song Yi and Tae O, their 20 year best friend relationship was bound to cross some lines. It was always Tae O from the get go who was more aware of his feelings for Song Yi. He knew her so well and would do anything for her that I couldn’t see anyone else as a better fit for her.

Do Hyun was a strong contender as well, don’t get me wrong, because his relationship with Song Yi was so naturally developed. They gradually got to know each other through mutual attraction and developed romantic feelings for one another. There was this particular scene in season 1 where he was honest enough to tell her that he was not rich or can do so many things for her but that if she’ll have him, he’ll strive to work hard and provide a happy life for her. That was such a realistic and fair disclosure that it made me root for Do Hyun because he was laying his pride on the line. Both men proved that their feelings were sincere that no matter who she ended up with, I think I’d be able to accept it😢 

For Song Yi, it was clear that she only had feelings for Do Hyun in season 1. Although I interpreted her discomfort over Tae O’s girlfriend as a mix of jealousy and concern; (because she really wasn’t great) but since Song Yi tried to get along with her and went on dates with Do Hyun, I thought it was nothing more but a warranted best friend concern.

It was only in My First First Love 2 that she started to show some not so friendly feelings for Tae O. Although subtle and subdued, the cracks first started to show when he accompanied her on a trip to see her mom who ran away sometime ago. Song Yi also found out a family secret that Tae O’s dad and his stepmom had been hiding all this time that it made her completely distraught. Her unwavering stance to be the one who needed to share such news and be with him, despite Do Hyun’s arguments, was another indication that her care for Tae O was so uniquely special — it had to be of a romantic caliber already.

Who does Song Yi end up with?

Usually you can tell who the leading man or woman will end up with based from the show’s promotional poster alone but I’m still waiting for a few korean dramas that can surprise me. So without further ado, Song yi ended up with…

I can’t believe that a kdrama love triangle FINALLY gave me the very pair that I was rooting for!❤️ Song Yi even mentioned in the previous season that at some point she thinks she was attracted to Tae O but she told Do Hyun that the timing has passed. But I suppose significant events in both of their lives stirred something in her to see him in a different light.

For Song Yi, there was no big confession nor did she have an epiphany scene. I think she was unaware that she had such feelings for Tae O that it was through her actions that reflected how much she thinks about him. I did think that it’s because their friendship ran so deep that major moments such as finding your runaway mom (For Song Yi) and discovering that your own mom is still alive after all these years (For Tae O) will surely elicit a burst of emotions. But as voiced out by both Do Hyun and Se Hyeon, they could still have shared that moment with someone else. At least for Song Yi’s case, she could have assured Do Hyun that despite being the only one who can accompany Tae O to see his mom, that he should trust her and that the trip won’t affect their relationship. But as pointed out by Hoon, it’s apparent that Tae O was her top priority.

Do Hyun was dealing with family financial problems that time that’s why he wasn’t able to accompany her but what if he did and it wasn’t Tae O who was there for her? Wouldn’t her feelings for Tae O stay buried? What if he admitted to Song Yi that he was having a hard time too, would she have chosen him over Tae O? I guess we’ll never really know but perhaps despite those instances, Song Yi and Tae O will still be drawn to each other. 

I think because Tae O and Song Yi’s relationship was so effortless and connected that Do Hyun finally realized that he had to let her go. He was trying too hard in the end to keep their relationship intact, even risking getting fired from his part time job. It was a bittersweet moment when they had to part ways but he also set himself free and gave himself a chance to start fresh.

The Future Looks Bright

Ga Rin was able to start a shared space business where people could hold events or workshops in a building that she owned. Tae O’s friends who started a multimedia company also rented there. Hun became a successful children’s musical actor as the character Flash. It was so satisfying to see him tear up seeing his mom be there for his show and that even if his dad wasn’t there, there’s that feeling of assurance that his career choice in his life will be eventually accepted. Do Hyun had to move out of Seoul with his dad to resolve their financial problem but looks well and content. Tae O is communicating with his mom again and Song Yi has moved in together with her mom as well.

We got a few snippets of Tae O and Song Yi’s status as they went on dates and how their rapport had changed from being just friends to being in a relationship. Sometimes I admit I’m unsure if she really likes Tae O because of her character’s personality; she gives out reserved smiles and is not as affectionate.

I loved the fact that the show addressed this concern of mine when she admitted to Tae O that she truly likes him but that she hasn’t processed all of it yet. I guess it’s because she’s always regarded them as just friends; now that she’s feeling giddy and excited about being his official girlfriend, she’s not sure how to express herself yet. The important thing is that they both know what they truly feel for each other now and that their bond will only grow stronger.

As our gang experienced their share of firsts in making tough choices, finding themselves, and dealing with heartbreaks, they move forward with their lives with the hope that everything will turn out for the best. No matter what happens, I am confident that they will overcome any obstacle thrown at them because they have each other — in their past, present, and their loving future together✨

Unnie Recap: Interpreting My Absolute Boyfriend’s Ending

This is officially my 1st post about a (semi) recap for a kdrama that recently concluded: My Absolute Boyfriend. Well actually, it’s more of a rant because I was typing away too many thoughts and realized that I was deviating from the main point of another post😅 So I decided to dedicate a separate entry for this altogether. If you’re interested in watching this kdrama, check out my first impressions post to familiarize yourself with the story.

Maybe this is the future we’re looking at given the progress of AI and technology today but I’d still prefer a human being as a lifelong partner. Watching the first few episodes of My Absolute Boyfriend gave me hope that perhaps this kdrama would be different. Boy was I wrong😂

An Absolute Choice

Da Da realized that she was truly in love with Zero Nine despite Wang Joon’s best (and a little questionable) efforts, he only ended up being friends with Da Da. Ironically though, Zero Nine was having a meltdown since developing human emotions is too much for his metal state. He ran out of power holding onto the memories he shared with the people he learned to love. Our lead female was heartbroken but she continued to live her life the best way she can. Da Da’s special effects make-up company grew bigger and she and Wang Joon are good friends.

It’s not that the story itself wasn’t compelling or that the cast was bad, but the character development could have been better and the potential for deeper reflections on having a robot vs. human boyfriend could have been further explored. Da Da was just persistent that she liked Zero Nine but does she really like him or is it just convenient that he was able to give her the time and attention she never got from Wang Joon? I hated the fact that they didn’t prolong her struggle of choosing between Wang Joon and Zero Nine since she shared so much history with the former.

In defense of Zero Nine

I disagree with the notion that being with a robot is having perfect love. It’s imperfect in a sense that issues and conflicts still need to be addressed when you’re in such a relationship. Think about all the backlash and raised eyebrows if other people knew you were dating a robot but even if you got past that, what about the fact that you can’t raise a family or grow old together? I do appreciate the fact that Da Da probably thought of these issues and decided that she would be okay with having no kids or having an unaging husband while she grew older. They had their share of arguments like jealousy, missing out on plans, and even a looming break-up just like any normal relationship.

But…

Zero Nine is a love robot programmed to be the perfect boyfriend to its owner. It’s hard to see that his actions are genuinely sincere towards her because it’s his very essence to be a loyal, caring, and unselfish partner. Even if the show did feature an episode where he told his friend that he wanted to receive love from Da Da (which is not programmed in him), he always has her best interests at heart.

It makes me think that she is sticking with him until the end because getting hurt would be of less impact compared to a human. Zero Nine can’t really hurt Da Da because he is hotwired to be her perfect boyfriend.

An Annoying Female Lead

I’m not the biggest fan of Da Da’s character because even if Wang Joon broke up with her and their relationship ran its course, I was so frustrated that the kdrama only showed Wang Joon’s faults and how he was more exhausted of their secret relationship. They were together for 7 years but she agreed to end it too without putting up much of a fight. She didn’t even show half the amount of effort and persistence she had with Zero Nine to make their relationship work. Yes, she was neglected and put to the side by Wang Joon because of his acting career but he could have called her out on not saying anything and also feeling exhausted of all the secrecy.

A relationship takes 2 to tango and I wish that they showed Da Da’s share of mistakes in their relationship too. Instead she meets a person who fulfilled the very things she wanted in a relationship without giving her past a second thought.

An Absolute Ending?

My Absolute Boyfriend’s ending kind of left it open for interpretation (at least for me). In the last episode, Wang Joon visited Da Da to tell her that he had been cast in a hollywood movie and asked her to go with him as his make-up artist. She declined (of course, you foolish girl!) his offer and I thought that this was really the end… but a green umbrella was shown inside his car as he was ready to leave her home. The final scene showed Da Da running into someone holding a green umbrella and wearing a brown coat as she smiles at the person. I mean, WHAT?!

Logic tells me that it’s Zero Nine, who magically came back to power and reliving their iconic under the rain scene in the earlier episodes. Except that I can’t imagine Zero Nine wearing such an attire and why even show Wang Joon having the same umbrella? I know it’s a pre-produced kdrama so there was no chance they could change the ending last minute but if I had to pick, the person standing before her is Wang Joon.

I know it makes little sense after building up the robot and girl but maybe it’s a message of hope that after losing a great love, you can find another one. Wang Joon remains vocal about his feelings for Da Da until the last episode so it’s not a far stretch for him to still try and make things work for them. Zero Nine did ask Wang Joon to take care of Da Da in his absence so this could be the manifestation of his last wish.

Wang Joon + Da Da Forever❤️

Wang Joon’s character was flawed and he showed it evidently when he publicly announced that he loved Da Da without her consent and tried to dissuade her from Zero Nine without trying to understand the situation from her perspective. But let’s be real, wouldn’t you flip out too if the person you love was dating a robot? But he showed his true colors with an honest heart and even helped her fix Zero Nine when he was malfunctioning. His love, like Zero Nine’s, became selfless and geared towards Da Da’s happiness. He reflected and learned to be a better person — an organic growth stemmed from making human mistakes.

If I could give an alternate ending/epilogue to My Absolute Boyfriend, it would be flash forward to a few years after Wang Joon has returned to Korea after becoming a top star overseas. He’ll go to the beach where he and Da Da took a trip to before. Coincidentally, Da Da will be there too. They’ll smile in recognition and walk towards each other as the scene zooms out to reveal an absolute, perfect sunset🌅