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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Anime Gets Real

Until now, I still cannot forget that day.

My officemate shared the news that come August 2012, "Rurouni Kenshin" will be released in a live-action movie. If there is a term which can topple the phrase "being excited," then, I guess, that described how my colleagues and I felt during that time.

I mean, seeing our favorite ronin of all time slashing his enemies with his reverse-edged sword, protecting the weak and the innocent, and arising from paper to the flesh is indeed a dream come true. Who would not anticipate Himura Kenshin's arrival? "Rurouni Kenshin," also known by the title "Samurai X," originally came from the manga written and drawn by Watsuki Nobuhiro way back in 1994. The anime version came to life  in 1996, with two OVAs following years later, and the live version released last year 2012. 

After more than a year of waiting, "Rurouni Kenshin" finally aired in selected SM cinemas in the Philippines. Because of the limited viewing dates, I thought I would never be able to watch Kenshin on screen. By some stroke of luck, I got lucky! I mean, no matter how many idol groups a girl can idolize, or no matter who her bias in Kat-tun or 2PM is, Kenshin will always be every fangirl's boyfriend--er, virtual boyfriend, that is. 

This will forever be my favorite Kenshin facial expression. "Oro?"

Sato Takeru as Himura Kenshin ("Rurouni Kenshin," 2012)

"Rurouni Kenshin" is not the only anime of its kind that has been adapted to the screen live. Others, too, have their share of seeing real actors portraying different roles. This is not the monopoly of anime, people. American cartoons also have their share of characters brought to life, such as Scooby Doo, Garfield, X-men, Batman, Iron Man, Superman, and all their relatives, cousins, neighbors, classmates, friends, etc. Because this blog entry is dealing with anime and anything related to it, we will settle our focus to anime only. While we are at it, let us have a look into some of them.


Gokusen

Morimoto Kozueko's creation is about a high school teacher who is actually the heir to a Yakuza group. Though she has the qualifications and skills to succeed her grandfather, the current reigning Yakuza boss, she has no intentions of doing so, believing that her heart belongs to the classroom. Yamaguchi Kumiko, also known as Yankumi to her students, is just like any other teacher who longs to handle good students. Like a bad omen, she cannot handle teaching ordinary students, alienating them with her quirky attitude and her use of Yakuza slang. By stroke of luck, it always seem that she handles rowdy male students who spend almost a hundred percent of their time cutting classes and beating up guys from other schools. What a tough job Yankumi must have! But just like in any other story (and in any other relationships), Yankumi grows closer with her students.

This manga series was later adapted into an anime series, both versions with Fuji the dog. Later, this Yakuza girl turns into a real person, with Nakama Yukie bringing Yankumi to life. 

Yankumi in the anime version

The "Gokusen" drama spanned three seasons, each with different set of supporting characters and different set of delinquent students. There were recurring characters too, and the seriousness and comedy that is innate of the Gokusen series never faded. Not only that, Gokusen fans had witnessed Yakumi invading the big screen back in 2009. I thought I was dreaming when I read that Gokusen had a movie franchise, knowing that I often get into a hundred and one (and two, and three, and...) deja vus, but I. Was. Not. Dreaming. At. All! Whoohoo!

Yankumi and her dearly beloved delinquent students
(and one beloved Shin) in Gokusen 1


Nodame Cantabile

If you are one for classical music, this prodigious anime knows your stuff. This brainchild by Ninomiya Tomoko appeared as a manga series since 2001 until 2009. "Nodame Cantabile" aired as a live-action drama in 2006, with a TV drama sequel in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, two movie sequels to the drama were aired. As an anime series, "Nodame Cantabile" had three seasons, each released in 2007, 2008, and 2010.  

The story follows the interaction between two music university students, Noda Megumi aka Nodame and Chiaki Shinichi. Nodame, a supposedly piano genius who plays by ear and purses her lips as she taps the bars, is truly not one for household chores, and is known in the campus for being weird. Her room is as unkempt as a garbage site that she can have a cockroach or two for room mates. Chiaki, on the other hand, is a temperamental genius, a musician-turned-conductor, a perfectionist, and a clean freak who cannot seem to stand Nodame's dirty room and her constant stalking on him. The almost perfect Chiaki, however, has a secret: he has a fear of flying. Despite the differences the two have, they eventually open up to each other and even helping each other grow. 

Well, what do you know? If Love really has a way, it brings two unlikely people together.

My favorite "Nodame Cantabile" scene

Tamaki Hiroshi and Ueno Juri as Chiaki and Nodame

Ranma 1/2

Can you imagine someone changing into another gender or another form of living creature just through cold water? I personally do not want to stand in that person's shoes! Well, no matter how odd it seems, that is the theme in this Takahashi Rumiko masterpiece, which brought a lot of laughter and fandom to different people in different countries around the globe.

The manga reigned since 1987, and two anime versions had been made, both of which were shown on air since 1989. Three anime films were also produced. A live television film starring Watanabe Natsuna and Kaku Kento as the female Ranma and the male Ranma, respectively, and Aragaki Yui as Tendo Akane was released in 2011.

The complicated world of Ranma delves in such strange events. Many a martial artist who trained and fell into any of the cursed Jusenkyo springs finds himself transformed into another creature, depending on who or which entity drowned and died in which pool. For the 16-year-old and total boy Saotome Ranma, falling into the pool where a girl drowned transforms him into a woman. How humiliating is that for a guy who has been proud of his masculinity? His father Genma, meanwhile, transforms from a respectable martial arts expert into a placard-holding panda. How cute! A myriad other eccentric characters who transform into any other being through cold water exist to make the story colorful. Ranma and all these other folks turn back to their original form in the availability of hot water. 

Only a few of these characters remain the same throughout the series, such as Akane, her father Soun, and her elder sisters, Kasumi the feminine and Nabiki the scheming.

It's always the panda that gets my attention, はははは.

I had recently seen the live-action with Kaku and Aragaki in it, and pretty much, the producers stuck to the original Ranma storyline, except for the fact that the other characters were not there. No Shampoo, Kodachi, or even Ryoga. But of course, it was due to the fact that most of the storyline came from the early parts of the manga. A new character was made for the movie, Okamada, school vice principal at day, drag queen at night. Like, he was conceived for the purpose of giving some hope for Ranma to eventually stay as a guy forever. If you don't know what I mean, go watch the movie.

Kaku Kento as Ranma and Aragaki Yui as Akane.
Still, the panda gets my attention, はははは. 


Paradise Kiss

I liked Kaku Kento enough to "stalk" his profile in Wikipedia, and I learned that he starred in a live-action film that was also derived from manga: Paradise Kiss.

ParaKiss intrigued me way back in 2009 when I saw it in anime version in Animax. The anime stole my interest away from anything else. What could be lovelier than fashion itself? Filled with designer clothes and chic details, ParaKiss is a must-see for those who want to know the life and drama behind the runway.

The story and drawing of the manga were conceived inside the brilliant mind of Yazawa Ai, a mangaka who was once a fashion student herself. No wonder her creations are so lovely! The manga appeared in the fashion magazine Zipper from 1999 to 2003. 2005 saw the first episode of the anime version, while the live-action film was released in 2011. Kitagawa Keiko, who acted as the main protagonist Hayasaka Yukari a.k.a Caroline, starred alongside Mukai Osamu as Koizumi Jouji a.k.a George, the genius designer behind the designer label Paradise Kiss. Ranma 1/2 star Kaku Kento starred as Nagase Arashi, Igarashi Shunji as Isabella, and Aya Omasa (Sunako anyone?) as Sakurada Miwako. All last three are George's assistants in the boutique.

I like the intricate drawing of "ParaKiss."
I wish I can draw like that. Gosh, I miss drawing!

One thing that I will leave wanting in this blog entry is Yukari's "blue" look during the fashion show. She absolutely looked stunning in her blue gown created by George, but if you want to see her look for yourself, check out the anime or watch the live action. Kitagawa-san really carried that blue gown like she was born to walk on the ramp with it. But of course! She was a former model before she got serious with acting. Was she really destined to play Yukari or what?

Mukai Osamu and Kitagawa Keiko


Dragon Ball

The two things I could not forget about the Dragon Ball saga were Gohan training under Piccolo, and Angel Goku (Goku with the halo on his head) running along the miles-long Snake Road in "Dragon Ball Z." Since then, I became hooked.

This Toriyama Akira creation started as a manga, and was first seen in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1984. Later, in 1986, the anime version was born. In this series, we saw Goku as a young child. As the story progressed, the anime "Dragon Ball Z" was conceived, and in here, Goku was married and had a family of his own. More anime versions were created in the following years, such as "Dragon Ball GT" in 1996 to 1997, and "Dragon Ball Kai" from 2009 to 2011.

The Dragon Ball universe was so popular that even games were created to cater to the demands of the fans. Due to the many characters intertwined with each other, I lost track of all of them, though I cannot forget Goku and some of his allies. 

Goku in his Super Saiyan form doing the Kame Hame Ha.

Would you believe it? There are seventeen--yes, 17 Dragon Ball anime films released in history of the Dragon Ball saga. I remember one movie was shown here in the Philippines, the one where Gohan had a girlfriend, and Krillin had a wife. If you have known others shown here, please let me know.

Different live-action versions were also produced with different outcomes at the box-office. The recent one was "Dragon Ball Evolution," which was released in cinemas last 2009. Unlike the other live-action films wherein Japanese actors portrayed the characters, the characters in "Dragon Ball Evolution" were multi-national. Actually, Goku was portrayed by Justin Chatwin, while the antagonist Piccolo was portrayed by James Marsters, who  rose to fame as Spike in the TV series "Buffy The Vampire Slayer." The said movie was a flop, and die-hard Dragon Ball fans were disappointed with the outcome of the movie. I don't know, but I have yet to see this. Too bad for me.

Dragon Ball Evolution, starring Justin Chatwin as Goku


Blood: The Last Vampire

It's not only Stephenie Meyer's Edward Cullen, Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, and Anne Rice's Lestat de Lioncourt who occupied the realm of vampire fiction. This one comes through, wielding her sword to slash enemies to bits. Nuh-uh, Sweetheart, she is not your typical fanged entity. And here comes this dark anime called "Blood: The Last Vampire."

"Blood: The Last Vampire" appeared first as an anime film back in 2000, was produced by SPE Visual Works and Production I.G, and was directed by Kitakubo Hiroyuki. A sequel, "Blood: The Last Vampire 2000," surprisingly, a one-volume manga, got published in 2001. This was written by Tamaoki Benkyo. "Blood: The Last Vampire 2002," was published in English in November 2002 by Viz Media. Three light novels and a video game were conceived thereafter. Two similar projects, "Blood +" and "Blood-C," were created as separate anime series. A live-action film of "Blood: The Last Vampire," a remake of the anime film, was released way back in 2009.

The story of the 2009 live-action Blood follows the half-vampire, half-human Saya, who is out to get and destroy original vampires while seeking to kill the strongest vampire of all. The 2000 anime film follows Saya, who goes through all stuff, including going undercover as a student, to seek out and kill chiropterans. Blood +, which was inspired from the original Blood movie and aired from 2005 to 2006, follows Otonashi Saya, killer of chiropterans. In this anime series, Saya not only has to fight the creatures who are out to get her, she also has to to undergo self-discovery as she has no memories of her old life. Blood-C, which is both the title of a 2011 anime/manga and a 2012 movie, recounts the story of a kind-hearted yet clumsy Kisaragi Saya, who learns sword-handling from her father. However, Saya has to overcome several obstacles, which were created to test the tenacity of her kind heart. The common denominator of these stories is: a girl with a sword, fighting evil creatures out there.

The Saya from "Blood: The Last Vampire" (2000)

Otanishi Saya from "Blood +" (2005)

Joon Ji Hyun as Saya, "Blood: The Last Vampire" (2009)


Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

The first two things I noticed in the anime:

* Wow! How come those guys are so hot?
* Who is that little kid among those flower boys?

At first, I just didn't get it. Not until my curiosity got the best of me. As I watched the anime, I finally realized that Nakahara Sunako, for that is what the girl is called, turns into her chibi form whenever she feels insecure around the four handsome guys. 

This must-see anime is thanks to Hayakawa Tomoko, whose masterpiece was serialized in a manga in 2000 by Bessatsu Friend. Kodansha, later on, compiled the manga into 31 volumes. From 2006 to 2007, a part of the "Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge" manga was adapted into a 25-episode anime series by Nippon Animation. In January 2009, it was announced that a live-action drama series of the manga will be aired. Actor-singer Kamenashi Kazuya of Kat-tun and "Tokyo Girl" star Omasa Aya were announced to be one of the cast for the said live version.

"The Wallflower" revolves around the lives and interaction between the main characters: insecure Sunako, gluttonous and ill-tempered Takano Kyohei, cool and brainy Oda Takenaga, sweet kid Toyama Yukinojo "Yuki," and remorseless playboy Morii Ranmaru. 

Due to the great rejection of her first love, Sunako transforms from the regular girl who cares for her looks into the macabre princess who shuns all beautiful things. She goes into the unthinkable extreme by hanging out with creepy items such as anatomical dolls, skeleton models, and bottles with specimens submerged in formaldehyde. Her favorite pastimes include watching horror movies, shutting herself inside her dark room, and hanging out in the Science laboratory. Now, how creepy can that be? 

Now, thanks to Auntie's bidding, these guys have to--literally, transform Sunako into the lady fit for society. But, what can they do? Sunako simply hates the presence of mortals who seem like gods and goddesses walking around her. And what does Sunako do? Go into explosive nosebleeds, that's what.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and that was what Takano Kyohei sees in her. Though she may not be the typical girl who puts on makeup and flirts around with guys, Sunako was one unique girl who steals Kyohei's heart without her intention.

But hey, Sunako can be cool sometimes! She can cook, and she is good with household chores. When the bad guys go running around wrecking havoc or being impolite, it is Sunako who cuts them some slack in that no-nonsense and I-don't-care-who-you-are way of hers. So there!

If you are surrounded with gorgeous guys, what will you do?

The live-action drama adapted the manga pretty much, except for the fact that Auntie has a son, Takeru. If you just want to watch the drama to stare at Kame's face, then it really is up to you. But this I tell you: you definitely should not miss watching the live-action series.

I bet Sunako will love holding a scythe to match her look.


Well, well, well. I guess my discourse has ended. 

You see, seeing your favorite anime series turning into a live-action TV series or film sure is fun. Who would act as who? Will it be the same as the manga or anime, or will the producers deviate a bit? So much expectations out there, but we all should see for ourselves. I am not against the idea of tweaking the manga and anime a bit just to suit the need of the live-action feature just as long as the live-action one will not be seen swerving too much from the original ones... if you know what I mean.

And before I end this post, I would like to share this picture below. Really, the resemblance is just to perfect, like the actor from the Ranma live feature came straight out from paper!

Why do I still find myself laughing at the uncanny resemblance?


Photo credit to all owners. Thank you so much for all your wonderful pictures.

And so, I will have to say sayonara, and see you all again for more posts. Have a good day, everyone! Love you lots!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Frustrated Manhwaga (~지 + 마세요)

I missed making manga and manhwa, and so, this boring Saturday saw me torturing my computer like crazy.

Just kidding. I love my computer, so I take care of it. Anyway...

In my other blog, my other wonder creations were about the usage of "like" in Korean language and self-introduction. I had a lot of things running inside my head that my passion for making manhwa was suddenly placed at the backseat. Not that I don't find it fun anymore. No. It's just that the important things in life were beckoning me to come and get them. I had too!

Good thing for now, I can take some breather and go on with my passion for writing and drawing. How I miss drawing!

For those who had read my first manhwa blog, I had shared that I studied the Korean language by myself. It got hard to get back to self-studying when work came first, but it does not mean that I am not interested to learn anymore. 

In self-studying the Korean language, I have a lot of sources to be thankful for. First, there is JB-seonsaengnim (@KoreanHelp), whose YouTube videos had been very helpful. I would also like to thank Mr. Johnson Park for writing "Primary Korean." This Frustrated Manhwaga lesson is also based on one lesson in his textbook. I would also like to thank the teachers from Talk To Me In Korean website for their bite-size lessons that are easy to understand and digest. Fourth, thank you to all the K-dramas and K-pop songs for making learning Korean language fun and exciting

You have my love!

By the way, I would like to warn you, my dear readers, that I am no Korean language teacher, nor am I an expert. I am just a student who would like to share her knowledge by means of manhwa. Hope that clear things up. Also, if you do not understand Hangul, please do study first before reading my shared lessons. 

Speaking of conjugation, what I would like to share is my learning in formulating sentences when you do not want people to do this or do that.

"Do not (verb)."

or 

"Please do not (verb)."

That is the way a certain sentence is being constructed in the English Language. As what I had studied and noticed, this is the syntax in formulating the aforementioned sentences in Korean language:

(verb)지 + 마세요.

Korean verbs and adjectives end with "다". In the formation of the sentence, the "다" in the verb is dropped and replaced with "지". "말다" is a negative auxiliary verb which can mean "to stop." I will not go into details as to how "말다" evolves to "마세요". You can ask a teacher about that. However, I will share how to compose polite imperative sentences. I am pretty sure that some of you encounter some of these in dramas and songs. Let us begin.

Example number one is Min Hwan (remember Min Hwan in the first manhwa?) with black hair. I miss drawing Min Hwa than Min Ho for the purpose of the former having that hairstyle that is easier to do in Illustrator ^_^. Also, Min Hwan speaks in polite and formal language, while Min Ho speaks in casual language. Because JB-seonsaengnim wants us to speak politely, I will use Min Hwan here as an example of a polite person. And hey, don't mind Min Hwa dyeing his hair black, though. In the picture, Min Hwan seems to be annoyed, but because he is polite, he still speaks in polite sentence.

"말" means "word" or "speech." 

"To do" is "하다." 

Ergo, "말하다" can mean "to do words" or "to do speech." In correct English, it is "to speak."

If we follow the syntax that I had written above, "말하다" will be changed to "말하지마세요." In other words, Min Hwan is telling that somebody not to talk to him.

In casual usage, you will find it as "말하지마." One song that I can relate to is After School's "Play Your Love." "말하지마" is in the last line of the chorus.


Min Hwannie, please do not be angry....



Who's not familiar with "You're Beautiful?" I am sure I had discussed this drama in my previous blog entry about the K-couples. I would like to talk about Go Mi Nam/Go Mi Nyu and Kang Shin Woo.

Everybody, remember this scene in the picture? Yes, my dear fellows, this is Episode 15, the scene wherein Mi Nam finally rejected Shin Woo's love while they were in this glass chapel in Japan.

I had seen this Mi Nam x Shin Woo fan video in YouTube (credit to JKSYBfan). KJSYBfan created this fanvid with BoA's song, "Implode," as the music. Really, can another song truly describe Kang Shin Woo's feelings for Mi Nam? Sure, he sang "Song For A Fool," but "Implode" captured his emotions the best.

One line in the chorus went like this: 나를 떠나지마...

It means, "Don't leave me." If Shin Woo had more initiative, he could have gotten the girl. And if he had been more vocal after the rejection, he could have said BoA's words: 나를 떠나지마...

"나" is "I" if used as subject or topic, or "me" if used as object.

"를" is an object particle. The noun or pronoun used as the direct object, as we know, receives the action. In Korean language, there is the need to use particles to avoid confusion. Object particle "를" or "을" is placed to make the noun or pronoun before the verb as the receiver of the action. I will not delve with the particles as JB-seonsaengnim has a separate lesson for that.

Ergo, "나를" is "me."

"떠나지마" is derived from the verb "떠나다," which means "to leave." I placed the formal way to say it in the picture below. After all, Kang Shin Woo is a nice guy and the perfect gentleman, right? However, in the drama, it is Mi Nam who uses formal speech a lot.

You can see in the picture below that Shin Woo only said, "떠나지마세요" without "나를" or "저를." It's implied, people, that he is talking to Mi Nam about not leaving him. So, drop redundant elements, as JB-seonsaengnim would put it.

By the way, Shin Woo did not say this in the drama. I only placed it for learning purposes. 

Thank you, BoA, for the song. And thank you for increasing my vocabulary. By the way, I really love that song. 

Mi Nam-ssi, why???? Shin Woo-oppa is a nice guy! ㅠ_ㅠ
(It's not only Kang Maru who is the nice guy.)

What else?

There is the famous "하다," which means "to do." If you want to say, "Don't do it," that will be translated to "하지마세요." If you do not want someone "to go (가다)," you can ask him, "가지마세요."

In informal speech, you will encounter the two as "하지마" and "가지마" respectively. Very familiar, right?

Here ends my blog entry for today. Learning the Korean language is fun, and I do it with drawings. Please stay tuned for more updates from this Frustrated Manhwaga.

And please stay updated to more entries about K-pop, J-pop, anime, and whatnot. So long!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

She's Pretty... Or Not

My fascination with "Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge" started way back in 2008 after a boring day. I thought that this anime was super cool with all the pretty guys in sight! I mean, the guys are both pretty and hot!

And one scene caught my eye...

Why did the girl become a midget?

I was really curious so I kept watching. And I realized the girl who went by the name of Nakahara Sunako turned into a "midget" when she was feeling insecure around the pretty boys.

Sunako is hiding skeletons in her closet. She may be untouchable and unapproachable, but get to know her story, and you'll understand her. The cause of her great insecurity and low self-esteem can be blamed to that high and mighty crush of hers way back in middle school, who threw right to her face that she was ugly. Isn't that awful???? Because of one hurtful comment, she took it to heart and started to mismanage herself--from her looks to her choices in life. That single comment broke her heart and exploded her humanity to bits. That kind of nasty guy sure is not the right guy to like... but that kind of guy, nevertheless, created the plot to this macabre but funny anime.

Shall I give him a word of thanks, then? Well, not really... He doesn't deserve my thanks, thank you very much!

And Sunako is also hiding skeletons...literally... though not inside her closet. She's hiding them inside her room. And not only that, she threw away human relationship in favor of friendship with inanimate objects like anatomical dolls and human specimens soaked in formaldehyde. Human interaction such as gossiping and shopping were totally shunned in favor of watching horror movies.

Horror of horrors! Doesn't she look scary????

Uhm, no... She doesn't emerge from the well.
She just emerges from her room.

However, the girl behind the shell deserved friendship and love. And though the guys were really frightened to the bones at first sight, they did not hesitate to befriend her. But oh! Only Takano Kyohei abused her a lot by demanding food, food, and lots of food! Good thing for this Horror Princess, she can cook normal food.

This leads to the realization that real girls are not just about putting on makeup, partying all night, and worrying about that microscopic zit on the tip of the earlobe...er, nose, I mean. Sunako might be your Insecure Gal who does not care about her looks, but she is a princess in her own right. She can cook, can do household chores well, and can bargain good prices of food in the market. Hmm.... housewife material, eh Kyohei? And don't dare forget, in serious situations, Sunako actually had cool and sarcastic remarks to say, which definitely means that behind this insecure person is a girl with substance in between her ears. Bravo, bravo!

After that horrible of a guy lambasted her simple looks, one guy saw through her beauty. It was Kyohei of course. Who in the world can ever imagine that a beautiful guy like him who was chased by girls, ladies, and men alike, but hated by his own mother, would love the Horror Princess?

Oh well, Cupid, you're an Einstein!

She thought of herself as someone ugly. People thought of her as someone scary. Kyohei thought of her as someone beautiful. Noi thought of her as someone worthy of praise.

And I thought of this anime as something worth watching, especially for those who think of themselves as Plain Jane. At least, there is an anime that real girls can relate to.

By the way, Sunako is pretty and cool as she is. She just doesn't know it.


Credit of photos go to owners.

Thanks for dropping by! More updates to come! ^_^

Monday, March 4, 2013

Love Is Reel: Or The Case Of The K-couple ♥ Part 3

Ohohoho!!!!

So, I am finally on my third entry of the Love Is Reel series.

Since I finished an entry about school, might as well bring out another K-drama in a school setup. However, let us fly back to the Joseon era.


Sungkyunkwan Scandal

I was not interested in watching this at first because I seem to have some dislike for some period dramas. This drama made me change my mind because the plot makes all the drab colorful.

Unlike your usual drama with the perky girl and the insensitive guy, this is a bit different. The outlook of the characters in the drama are the outcome of the society in which they live in.

Kim Yoon Hee (Park Min Young) is born into a poor family, and because of an ailing younger brother, she works her days like a buffalo. Being an intelligent girl with the flair for the classics and calligraphy, she is working in a book store as a scribe, writing class notes to erotic novels. She is being careful with her work and with herself because... she is working as a guy...and using her brother's name, Kim Yoon Shik! Because of the injustices she has experienced and seen all over Joseon, it is no wonder why she never thinks of Joseon as a great nation. Her mindset is about to change the moment she meets Lee Seon Joon (JYJ's Park Yoochun).


Unlike the usual rude Hwang Tae Kyung or the curt Seol Gong Chan, Seon Joon actually has manners to boot aside from the distinguished family to which he was born into. Despite his politeness and being a gentleman, he is rather bookish, a bit self-righteous, and says what he thinks is right. However, because of his innocent nature, he is not that street-smart, and he cannot decipher vague idioms and feelings very well. Think of the case where he is tasked to go to the Bu Yong Hwa, the chamber of the daughter of the Minister of War. It is his servant Soon Dol who has to interpret it for him. And because he has no other friends, being with Yoon Hee makes him think of himself as a homo.


The idealistic Seon Joon and the realistic Yoon Hee get together in Sungkyunkwan. Despite their differences, both of them help each other grow. This is one pairing which I root for, aside from K-couples in "Gumiho Oejeon" and "My Girl." I like this pairing for the reason that Seon Joon looks at Yoon Hee as his equal and contemporary, and has high regard for her, unlike in other dramas wherein the female lead seems to be (as usual) second class to the male lead. I like the pair because Seon Joon is a gentleman. I consider this pair, however, my OTP #3 for certain reasons.



The Park couple: Park Min Young and Park Yoochun

Most of the second lead guys are often the calm, caring, and flower boy types. Think of Kang Shin Woo (You're Beautiful), Seo Jung Woo (My Girl), and Yoon Ji Hoo (Boys Over Flowers). The second lead in this, however, is the exact opposite: the rough guy with the I-don't-care-who-you-are attitude. Nevertheless, the second lead is burning hot! Kim Yoon Hee might be a smart girl, but I doubt she knows that her Moon Jae Shin-sahyung (Yoo Ah In) has feelings for her. Oh, so lucky girl! One thing that also make girls swoon over Jae Shin is when he hiccups when there is a girl. Does that make up for the tough persona, eh, Moon Jae Shin? There are so many chances that Jae Shin could have taken Yoon Hee's heart, but like in any K-dramas, the second lead never gets the girl. Moon Jae Shin and Yoon Hee pairing is my OTP #1.2.



Park Min Young and Yoo Ah In

 Wait... 1.2?????


So, who is OTP #1.1? That will be Yoon Hee and THE Goo Yong Ha (Song Joong Ki). For those who had seen the drama, Yong Ha has the interest in Yoon Hee even in the first episode. When I saw Song Joong Ki for the first time, I was thinking he was absolutely cute and adorable. And who would not melt with his playboy acting as the smart player Yong Ha? We know that Seon Joon and Jae Shin saw real evidences of "Yoon Shik" being a girl, but I had been wishing that Yong Ha could also, at least, see an evidence. But of course, because of Yoon Hee's awkwardness, Yong Ha could get what she really was about. It was too bad that Yong Ha and Yoon Hee never get to have a love line on their own. Maybe to cut all the complications? Those times when Yong Ha would playfully tease Yoon Hee are, for me, not sufficient. I would like to see Park Min Young and Song Joong Ki again in a drama.



Song Joong Ki and Park Min Young

As I have an OTP #1.1, OTP #1.2, and OPT #3, where is my OTP #2?


If you have seen "Sungkyunkwan Scandal," you will see that there is a cute OTP that is composed of two hot guys. That spot will belong to Yong Ha and Jae Shin. We know that Yong Ha is not gay. We know that he has a lot of flings, and that he is a friend to the gisaeng Cho Seon. We know that he plays mischievous pranks on Yoon Hee. But have you seen how he acts around Jae Shin? Like he has some feelings for his friend? And have you remembered when he shed some tears when Jae Shin ignored his warning? If you have read the 2007 bestselling novel "Lives Of Sungkyunkwan Confucian Scholars," which was written by Jung Eun Gwol, you will read the chapter wherein Yong Ha kissed Jae Shin. No kidding!



Yoo Ah In and Song Joong Ki

My list of K-dramas will include this drama. I did not regret watching this funny and inspirational drama.


Up next to my list...



Innocent Man


Because I got addicted to the charming and cute Song Joong Ki, I was also drawn to the constant flooding of "Innocent Man" on my FB wall, thanks to Korean showbiz news pages. I decided to watch this because of Song Joong Ki.


The plot is rather typical. You get the picture: A younger man and his noona girlfriend. Girlfriend gets into trouble, and lovestruck Boyfriend foolishly takes girlfriend's place. Girlfriend leaves Boyfriend for someone rich and powerful. Boyfriend is put in jail, goes out after many years, leads a wasted life, plans his revenge. Boyfriend comes to haunt Girlfriend. Girlfriend tries to take Boyfriend back. Boyfriend takes revenge by chasing after daughter of Girlfriend's hubby. Boyfriend breaks Rich Daughter's heart, exacting revenge on Girlfriend in many ways than one. Catastrophes, amnesia, more revenge plots.


That's how the story of "Innocent Man" revolves. That is just the little summary I have of the story. However, what makes me like the drama is that Kang Maru (Joong Ki) executes his revenge in an intellectual manner. There is not the usual use of guns and bombs in exacting his revenge. He plays mental games and takes on a psychological warfare with his noona ex-girlfriend, the scheming and gold-digging Han Jae Hee (Park Shi Yeon). He also pulls the strings on the equally intelligent Seo Eun Gi (Moon Chae Won), but too bad, he falls in love with her. Now what with your revenge, Maru?


Though Jae Hee and Maru are the first lovers in the drama, I like the second lovers best: Maru and Eun Gi. One thing I like about Maru and Eun Gi is when Eun Gi confesses to Maru (Episode 7) that in 29 years of her life, it was her first time to fall in love, and that Maru was her first kiss. The confession in the rain was so damn sweet that it made me cry. Kudos to the writer of the dialogue. Where did you get the inspiration for it?



Song Joong Ki and Moon Chae Won

Though I did not like the ending for being ambiguous, I like the drama as a whole, no matter how dark it was. As a writer, I will not always dwell with the cute dramas that I used to like. Sure, I still like 'em, but I have to broaden my horizon and delve in complicated twists in life. And "Innocent Man" shows me this. I also applaud Joong Ki and Chae Won for their acting.



Rooftop Prince


After Goo Yong Ha, Song Joong Ki became Kang Maru. And after Lee Seon Joon, Park Yoochun became Prince Lee Gak/ Yong Tae Yong. Am I connecting dramas or not? Nah~~


I think it will be very overwhelming, confusing, and scary if, in your quest for truth and justice, you will travel to another time. And that is exactly how Crown Prince Lee Gak and his royal entourage feel when they are transported from the 18th century Joseon to the modern Seoul while playing detective.


Sure, it gets mind-boggling that he has to investigate the death of his wife and Crown Princess, but things get complicated when he also has to connect the dots and investigate why he and his men are transported into the house of Park Ha (Han Ji Min), why Yong Tae Yong vanished, and why the people from the Joseon era are being reincarnated.


When you play Nancy Drew...er, Frank and Joe Hardy, expect to have lots of clues, scheming enemies, and headache-inducing critical thinking.


I am not a fan of Yoochun nor of Ji Min, but I love their team up in this series. I can understand Lee Gak's proud demeanor, for he, of course, is Crown Prince! Be regal, that's what! But of course, our heroine here will not put up with it, and places the prince in his right place in modern Seoul. Ha! That will do some good to people who think they are so high and mighty. Thanks, Park Ha!


When you learn to understand each other, when you learn to sacrifice, it is a recipe for true love, right? Love will always shine through no matter the distance of time, even if it is epochs away. But of course, we have to get real. These things only happen in dramaland.



Park Yoochun and Han Ji Min

Another pair I love in this drama is the scholar Song Man Bo (1993 Lee Min Ho) and webtoonist Lady Mimi (Kang Byul). They are the typical cutesy girl and snobbish guy, but honestly, they look so cute and good together. ^_*



You Who Rolled In Unexpectedly


Being a fan of CN Blue, I wondered why my FB wall was being flooded with tons of news about "You Who Rolled In Unexpectedly," and about Kang Min Hyuk filming the drama. What the heck is it? I read the synopsis but could not understand everyyyyyyything about it, so I decided to watch.


At first glance, I thought, "This drama is so ajumma-esque. Not my thing, Shoo, shoo." However, I was dying with curiosity as to Min Hyuk's role, so I stuck until his appearance in Episode 7. Before I reached the episode, I got hooked in watching the drama, and I did not feel an ounce of regret. Not at all. Why?


Because this drama is a perfect mix of drama, comedy, love, and good feelings. I will not elucidate too much as to why I was able to come up with those realizations, but hey, this drama is worth the watch, even if you have to watch all 58 episodes of it!


Kim Nam Joo becomes included in my list of favorite Hallyu stars because of this drama. Where else can you see an icon so imposing that all the other thugs melt with just her glare? I mean, for me, she has this presence that can set the set on fire! A lot like Lara Flynn Boyle, perhaps?


Kim Nam Joo stars as Cha Yoon Hee, a TV producer who is no-nonsense, means her talk, talks her walk, and walks her talk. She is the embodiment of empowered women in this era, which is why I like her a lot. I like Cha Yoon Hee, and I like Kim Nam Joo. Too bad for all the guys out there, Yoon Hee shuns marriage for the sole reason that she hates in-laws. And what about a compromise? It will be best for her to be married to a guy who is not close to his family so the in-laws, and especially, the typical meddlesome mother-in-law, will stay out of their lives.


Bingo! She hits the jackpot, and finds Mr. Right in the person of Terry Kang aka the long-lost Bang Gwi Nam (Yoo Joon Sang). You know, these two remind me well of Kim Yoon Hee and Lee Seon Joon of "Sungkyunkwan Scandal." Differences are, Kim Yoon Hee hides her identity in order to live free while Cha Yoon Hee (oooh!!! Coincidence!) pushes her way with the knowledge that women in the modern era can do anything. Lee Seon Joon is bookish and naive in the ways of the world, while intelligent Gwi Nam is street smart (though he can be pretty oblivious sometimes that he is in Korea, not in the United States, and therefore, should conform to the Korean norms). 


Not your typical pair of domineering guy and "submissive" and cheerful girl. Actually, almost the exact opposite, though Yoon Hee also looks up to her husband with respect. The gentleman Gwi Nam and the tough Yoon Hee spell Admirable Couple.



Yoo Joon Sang and Kim Nam Joo

This drama has way too many characters that up to now, I still could not memorize the names of the aunts. To add thrill to the drama is to add unusual couples like Bang Yi Sook (Jo Yoon Hee) and Chun Jae Yong (Lee Hee Joon). Not my type of couple though, but I still rooted for them. Why?


Yi Sook is not your typical girl. She is not the makeup-wearing, boy-flirting, status-conscious girl. In fact, she is a real tomboy. Only that, a tomboy who falls in love with a guy. And Jae Yong is not your typical rich guy. You can say the screws in his head are about to fall off, especially when he talks to himself, forms scenarios in his head, and dreams of having a cute and sexy lady for a girlfriend. Despite the fact that Jae Yong still has a crush for his Teacher Cha Yoon Hee, and that he hates the tomboy look that Yi Sook is sporting, Cupid still shoots his arrows of love straight to Jae Yong's heart. Oooooh! Unusual love, I like!



Jo Yoon Hee and Lee Jee Hoon

Uhm, I was talking about Kang Min Hyuk, right? Now, where is he?


OMG!!!!! Min Hyuk... has turned into a heartless playboy???? Yep, my dear friends, Min Hyuk stars as the playboy but Cha-Yoon-Hee-scaredy-cat Cha Se Gwang, Yoon Hee's younger brother. I was so shocked to see him play as a playboy when I was so accustomed to seeing him act as the childish Yeo Joon Hee in "Heartstrings" and the clueless Kim Hae Won in "Bakery Attack," the second segment of the omnibus film "Acoustic." WOW! Min Hyuk has greatly improved! 


Playboy Se Gwang meets Flirty Girl Bang Mal Sook (Oh Yeon Seo). A typical pairing, right? I was not familiar with Yeon Seo until I saw this drama, and I have to say, though in reality, Yeon Seo is older than Min Hyuk, they make a very good couple.


How do I call them? Too bad, I cannot think of any! Nevertheless, I still want to see them in another drama together despite the scandal that Oh Yeon Seo got herself into in her stint for "We Got Married."



Kang Min Hyuk and Oh Yeon Seo

Ohhhhh.... The Bang sisters are lucky! Despite their shortcomings, guys still love them! And what about the eldest, Bang Il Sook (Yang Jung Ah)? Divorce is common in South Korea, but it is still a big deal in the family, especially by the elderly members. Complicated. Despite the fact that Il Sook is divorced from her abusive and two-timing ex-husband, she finds love, inspiration, and the means to change herself in the person of her teenage idol crush, Yoon Bin (Kim Won Joon). And did you know that Yoon Bin also falls in love with her? Whohooo!!! Lucky ajumma! A celebrity falling in love with a commoner is like finding a four-leafed clover. If you are lucky to find it, then it is for keeps.


Lastly, the parents of the Bang siblings deserve a spot. Uhm Chung Ae (Yoon Yeo Jung) and Bang Jang Soo (Jang Yong) are included in my list of K-drama couples or K-couples. There is this thing about elderly couples that I love: the love so strong that they stay together and grow old together. So sweet! Despite the fact that Bang Jang Soo ill-treats his wife for the loss of their son Gwi Nam for thirty years, they stay together. And there will always be room for forgiveness. My heart was crying along with the clouds when Chung Ae releases all the hurt when her husband asks for forgiveness, and I was also melting at his proposal that the two of them go away for a year with just the two of them. So sweet. I wish more couples will be like them instead of ending up in divorce or separation. That is just so sad!


For being a total package, I recommend this drama, and puts this in my list of fave K-dramas.



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Whew! My eyes are tired and dry, and I have other K-couples in mind! I had made this longer, have I? 

By the way, photo credit to all owners!


And here, my friends, ends my list of the K-couples. Hope you enjoy, and please watch out for more entries. See you soon!