Tag: korean

Unnie Recommends: Abyss

Every now and then, a mystery/romance/supernatural themed show makes its way into kdramaland. Perhaps its the thrill of crafting a killer’s motives or piecing together how the protagonists will deal with each other & their dilemmas — its these different elements that make korean dramas so addicting to watch.

Having premiered with its first 2 episodes this week, Abyss tells the story of 2 friends who work together to solve a crime despite literally having an out of body experience.

Current Impression

The opening scene introduces us to a man drinking his sorrows away on a building rooftop. As he sits on the edge after climbing past the railing, we learn that the man’s (Cha Min) fiancé, can’t go through with their wedding because of his unattractive face. He is accidentally killed by supernatural forces (Special guest appearances from Jung So Min & Seo In Guk from Hundred Million Stars From the Sky🥰) but revived by them with an orb named Abyss. The rule is that a person will be revived with the reflection of their soul and since Cha Min is a kindhearted person, he was given a more handsome and fitter body.

Before Min’s untimely death, he calls his long time friend, Ko Se Yeon, a beautiful, smart, and driven prosecutor who is in the middle of a crime scene. Though it hasn’t been explicitly shown, Min apparently has been in love with her for the longest time but she isn’t reciprocating those feelings. She is murdered one night and by Min’s efforts, he was able to revive her with the Abyss. Only this time, she gets a downgrade as her face & body is just like any other normal Korean woman.

It’s a cat and mouse game they try to solve the mystery of Se Yeon’s murder and navigate everyday life with their new bodies. We weren’t shown any flashbacks yet of how Min and Se Yeon’s characters were like before they died but it’s safe to assume that how they are interacting with each other, revivial mode, is still their true personalities. I hope that Min stays humble and thoughtful even with his more attractive physique. Se Yeon doesn’t have a bad personality (Park Bo Young is adorable & not common at all!), she’s actually resourceful and practical but as the show stands, she has a normal-faced soul but I don’t really see anything wrong with that.

It’s obvious that Se Yeon will fall in love with Min now but I hope that she’ll be able to accept him for his physical features before. Falling in love with his handsome, reborn character is easier but accepting Min’s original face seems like an important point of this show. Despite having a fiancé, I think Min still cares about Se Yeon more than as a friend but with the roles reversed (She’s a plain Jane while he’s a hottie) now, I’m excited to see how their relationship progresses from this point on.

Unleash your detective sleuthing skills and don’t be surprised when you also get romantic feels as Abyss will surely deliver a mayhem of fun and suspense worth the weekly wait!

Unnie Recommends: My First First Love

Ahhh, young, adolescent, love ❤️ The cool and refreshing wind of innocence filling your days with hope and wonder as the smell of new beginnings and (mis) fortunes wrap your thoughts with a sunshine state of mind. Remember the feeling that everything was ahead of you, you just have to walk the path, but nobody told you that taking a detour or obstacles can get in your way?

Netflix’s pre-produced kdrama, My First First Love (Also known as “Because it’s my First Love”), offers viewers with a walk down memory lane of a time in our lives where our curiosity and senses were heightened to explore and make our mark in the world.

Current Impression

We meet our gang altogether at the end of the 1st episode, eager to meet with the series lead, Yun Tae Oh (Played by Ji Soo), as he is the common friend of the four individuals. Due to their personal circumstances sans Do Hyun (the single guy in the picture below), they end up living at Tae Oh’s house. Currently 23 years old and in college, Tae Oh’s friends’ will soon find themselves entangled with each other.

From left to right, the trio in the image above are:

1. Hoon – He was kicked out of his home because his dad had enough of him trying out for musicals and pursuing singing. He goes to auditions and vows to show his parents that he’ll make something of himself someday.

2. Song Yi – Long haired girl in the middle, is Tae Oh’s best friend from high school who is homeless now because her house was seized and her MIA mom wasn’t able to help her out. She is best friends with Tae Oh and develops a crush on Do Hyun. They go to the same school together where she studies architecture.

3. Ga Rin – Wearing the red hoodie, she is a childhood friend of Tae Oh who ran away from her strict and sheltered lifestyle. She follows Hoon in his auditions hoping to learn something from him.

Rounding up the whole gang is:

4. Do Hyun – Goes to the same college witth Tae Oh and is studying to become a civil servant someday. He meets Song Yi in another way (Not thru Tae Oh) and even if he is uninterested in girls, he finds himself falling for her.

5. Tae Oh – Last but not the least, the cheerful, Mr. Congeniality, and glue of the group — Tae Oh is living the bachelor life (not anymore though😜) at his grandfather’s house. He just wants to bring a girl home but complications get in the way of his plans.

Tae Oh had feelings for Song Yi when they were in highschool but the latter did not feel the same for him. There’s the classic love triangle plot here and I’d like to say that it’s cliché and predictable, and yes, the story seems to be pushing Song Yi and Do Hyun together BUT you never know! To be young (er) and have the first signs of heart fluttering, stolen glances, and eventual confessions of the fragile heart — My First First Love presents the details and care of first love in a light yet heartwarming tone❤️ Still rooting for Tae Oh to end up with the girl (As of this writing, I’m only on episode 5).

A story about firsts, friendship, and growing up, My First First Love is a is a slice of life korean drama that comforts our forever young souls but prepares us for the harsher but still fun stage of adulthood. Netflix has released all 8 episodes already so binge watch this if you can!😁

Unnie Recommends: Doctor Prisoner

In today’s vast and creative TV show landscape, the best stories are usually those with unexpected plot twists and where we, the audience, are treated to a whirlwind of emotions. Villains can become heroes, romantic partners can die leaving the hero/heroine all by themselves, or the very person we root for, the show’s protagonist, can even become the bad guy or just borderline evil.

Korean dramas have been getting better and better over the past few years and although remain conservative in some approaches, they aren’t afraid to showcase leading characters with a blurry moral compass. It’s not just a straight path that gets us to the destination, even heroes can stray from the road of righteousness and loyalty to explore the dark and dangerous trail of self imposed justice to get to their desired stop.

Current Impression

Doctor Prisoner tells the story of a very talented and kindhearted surgeon, Na Yi Je, who gets his medical license removed due to an incident with a son helming from a very rich family. With accusations of malpractice and treating patients illegally (He performs surgeries on less fortunate people even if they can’t pay), he serves time in prison as well. He seeks out his revenge by becoming the medical director of a prison where the son will be held at due to an accusation involving possession of drugs after a few years. It has a similar plot to Cross, a kdrama where a great doctor also works at a prison to seek revenge, but the rest of the story takes a different direction.

The first memory I have of the the actor (Namgung Min) in this titular role started out as a villain in the kdrama Remember, and he was so good in it! The so good meaning you hope the bad guy suffers a long death😈 It suits him to play sort of a vigilante protagonist given his face and aura can exude qualities of both a good and bad guy.

It’s always the lone wolf against a pack of enemies though as Yi Je will encounter more enemies such as the prison’s current medical director and the rich son’s (Park Eun Seok) mother who are working together as (of course) a bigger conspiracy is tied into the show’s overall plot.

Smart and cunning, Yi Je will also encounter psychiatrist Han So Geum, a female doctor who works at the prison now but also worked at the previous hospital with him. I’m not sure if they’ll push the romance heavily but hey, what korean drama doesn’t have a side story of love right? As of now, she is the most secretive as her intentions are not clear but don’t expect Yi Je to get blindsided with her quickly as I can see his character just going full force revenge mode on the baddies.

Doctor Prisoner is not the most original in terms of the plot wherein the spoiled and highly connected villain battles with the avenging anti – hero but any medical drama laced with themes of mystery and suspense will always be more than interesting for me. Nam Gu Min is an excellent actor who has proven that he can play the guy who can smile so genuinely but have hidden, killer motives behind his pearly whites. Let Doctor Prisoner free you from the mundane, one dimensional stories and watch an anti-hero’s exciting journey that’ll either lead him to his doom or redemption.

Unnie Recommends: The Light in Your Eyes

If you had the power to alter an important event in your life, would you take it knowing that the costs will hurt you? To go back and change a certain aspect in our lives is tempting and from what we’ll see in this kdrama, there are consequences involved in making any decision.

The Light in Your Eyes leans toward a more melodrama type of show than comedic and/or romantic😁 If you can tolerate something serious and still laugh at funny scenes on a whim, this kdrama is something for you!

Current Impression

The Light in Your Eyes stars Han Ji Min (Familiar Wife) and Nam Joo Hyuk (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo) as two people living the harsh realities of adulthood. Her character, Kim Hye Ja, dreams of becoming a news anchor due to a nonchalant comment her brother’s friend said when she was young. If you’re wondering why an ahjumma (Older lady in Korean) is in the kdrama poster, it’s because the story involves a time travel aspect. I’m interested to see the rules and mechanics of time travel in this show but as the first 2 episodes have shown, the consequences are tiresome.

I found a disconnect at the start though because I felt like they introduced her “ability” to time travel rather too quickly and the rest of the episode didn’t tackle the subject until the end which made me feel like that magical aspect (Time travel) was not as special as it should have been. She found a gold watch at the beach when she was a kid that magically turned back time when she winded the watch. This scene was shown less than 10 minutes in the 1st episode. A montage of her using the watch to her advantage as she grew up was shown next but because her physical appearance aged more quickly as a consequence, she decided to stop using the watch altogether. The story just went back to showing Hye Ja’s struggles in finding a job and her daily life as an adult. I’m probably just being too critical but even I’m sure the magic of the watch will dazzle me with surprises later on.

Nam Joo Hyuk’s character here, Lee Joon Ha, is in the broadcasting industry already who wants to become a reporter someday. I thought he would be more fortunate than Hye Ja but it seems like they are stuck in the same boat of misery — with the latter having no job and wants to give up on being a news anchor while Joon Ha deals with family and financial problems. They become unlikely friends due to a misunderstanding and Hye Ja has developed a crush on him already. They do have chemistry but I’d rather they grow into happier versions of themselves first without needing the other person’s affection to validate their self worth.

I realize that I’m describing the plot on the grim side but I promise you that the lighthearted moments and Hye Ja’s antics will balance out the serious tone of this korean drama. I’m sensing that the romance will play a part in their journey of life but I hope that it’s significance plays out as an effect rather than a cause for self fulfillment.

The Light in Your Eyes deals with the importance of time and how we use it, whether we do nothing or use it to our full advantage, each action entails a consequence that we must live with. We can never get our time back; we just have to deal with the aftermath of our choices and move forward with our lives.

Unnie Life Lessons: 3 Things I’ve learned from Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land

Fresh off it’s hearty conclusion, Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land has easily become one of my all time favorite shows to date. I think it was a number of things– the talented cast, a mysterious plot, the romance, but the most fascination I had with the show was the setting: an airport. It’s a place to meet, to depart from, to come home to– a border of sorts for all types of people to converge in. How do people in an airport operate on a daily basis? What are the different departments? What problems do they encounter and how do they ensure a passenger’s safety/convenience in an airport? The show wasn’t solid in terms of plot development and there were certainly missing storylines here and there but overall, Fox Bride Star captured this unnie’s heart.

For a brief summary and my impression of the show, please check out my previous post to catch up!

Unnie Life Lessons

1. Being normal is okay. You don’t have to strive to be extraordinary to make a difference, doing things regularly is impactful and enough.

  • Nowadays, I think our society dictates the need to be great and exceptional to succeed. But how about just doing well on what we need to do (Ex. Our job)? It’s nice to go above and beyond at times to help our loved ones or provide good service (with no ulterior motive) but there’s nothing wrong in just being ourselves and living life normally.
  • I found Han Yeo Reum annoying at first because she wanted to butter up to her superiors by being nosy and overly ambitious. She disregarded everyday tasks as menial and blamed other people (the male lead) for her misfortunes. But in episodes 3 and 4, she realized the impact she can make by just doing her job properly compared to her futile attempts to impress other people.

  • The scene above shows Yeo Reum able to prevent harm as she was able to catch a signage before it fell on a little child. She felt that reminding employees in airport stores that signages are not allowed to be displayed outside as meaningless. As it turns out, this task is important in ensuring a passenger’s safety.

We can feel that our lives are boring and monotonous if we don’t travel often or do something out of the ordinary. It’s okay to veer away from routine but there is also no harm in appreciating simple joys of life — drinking coffee, going for a walk outside, and being with family.

2. Hardships is always a part of life. How we react and handle any challenge is of our own free will, no matter the situation.

  • Yeo Reum suffered from a victim mentality state as episode 8 will reveal, she was apparently bullied badly in high school. She blamed other people for her own faults and was clearly defensive whenever something unfavorable happened, it took a bit more episodes before she owned up to her mistakes and fought for her rights correctly as an employee. We see the growth of her self esteem and development in her relationships as the show progressed.

  • We can’t control everything that happens to us, especially the bad things, but how we deal with the aftermath is a choice we can control. We hear success stories of people who overcame their personal struggles despite having a difficult background– this is exactly what we can aspire to be. We can’t blame our circumstances for the actions we take, if that were always the case, perhaps only a handful of people would be successful now.
  • Yeo Reum was able to stand up to the bully who tormented her and as I hoped, her character became more confident and lovable. I’m not saying that feeling bad is not okay, it’s perfectly fine to feel upset because of a crappy situation. I’m someone who confronts my emotions by wallowing in them first but I try my best to recover and not dwell in the situation itself afterwards.
  • 3. Giving someone ample time and space to open up to you (if ever they do) can be more helpful than wanting to know every detail or story they are hesitant to tell.

    • The male lead, Lee Seo Yeon, is wearing a special device that allows him to walk and move around his left arm like a normal person. He was in a freak accident chasing after his brother when he was a kid. He just wanted to blend in with the crowd and not attract any special attention from anyone but of course as the show progressed, people slowly took notice of him. There was one scene where he asked Yeo Reum why she didn’t ask about his arm and she replied that it must be hard for the person asked to narrate the answer.

      This is a big struggle for me because I’m always eager to know my loved ones’ problems or thoughts and if they don’t tell me immediately, I feel bad because it seems like they don’t trust me well enough to be honest. BUT what I fail to realize is that it’s not about me or because something is wrong with me, it’s just how they feel about sharing to someone else. It’s their personal opinions and struggles, if it’s hard for them to say, I shouldn’t be entitled to demand it from them just because for example, I’m family or a close friend. Lee Seo Yeon was able to share his secret to Yeo Reum eventually but even if for example, we never find out such a detail, it’s nothing against us.

    Just because we are not privy to every detail of someone else’s life does not diminish our relationship with them. Give the other person time and space, we can still be supportive and be a good friend/loved one despite not knowing everything.

    Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land is not just about romance but it also imparts lessons that anyone can relate to. If you haven’t watched this yet, please put it in your must watch kdramas list! 🙂